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China’s Pakistan Corridor

April 30, 2010 Leave a comment

Balochistan is treacherous territory for many, but Beijing keeps buying its way in.

In the Pakistani province of Balochistan, South Asia and central Asia bleed into the Middle East. Bordered by Afghanistan, Iran and the Persian Gulf, and well endowed with oil, gas, copper, gold and coal reserves, Balochistan is a rich prize that should have foreign investors battering at the gates. But for a half-century it has been the exclusive playground of the Pakistani government and its state-owned Chinese partners. China would prefer it to stay that way.

China is Pakistan’s oldest military and political ally, but in the last two decades it is the economic component of the alliance that has taken center stage. Pakistan, and in particular Balochistan, is China’s physical link to its sizable investments in Iranian gas, Afghan hydropower and Gulf oil. Explains Andrew Small, a fellow at the German Marshall Fund, the Sino-Pak relationship “matters more now, because of India’s economic growth. Pakistan being a trade and energy corridor means that possible pipelines and projects [in Pakistan] have a strategic significance beyond the specific investments.” Chinese control of Pakistan’s commodities corridor can “bind India down in South Asia, restricting its capacity to operate elsewhere.”

Chinese companies have poured at least $15 billion into Baloch projects: an oil refinery, copper and zinc mines and a deepwater port at Gwadar, in the Gulf of Oman. “They wanted Gwadar to be another Dubai,” says Khurram Abbas, the port’s managing director, “to capture the transit trade with countries that are landlocked, like Afghanistan, and to encourage transshipment trade from the Persian Gulf to East Africa.”

China’s Tianjin Zhongbei Harbor Engineering has invested $200 million to build the first three berths and plans to invest a total of $1.6 billion to expand the port in the future. But business at Gwadar has been slow. Though the three berths have the capacity to handle $2 billion worth of cargo a year, the port saw only $700 million in 2009. “The challenge,” says Abbas, “is that Gwadar is not yet linked to the rest of the country. The government was supposed to provide road connectivity. Without roads there can be no commercial activity [in Balochistan]. And we need commercial activity, investors to set up factories around Gwadar, to get cargo for the port.”

China is taking matters into its own hands, starting to build a highway from Gwadar to the capital of Balochistan, Quetta, on the Afghan border, where it will connect to Pakistan’s national highway network, and from there to the Karakoram Highway that leads into China. China’s Harbor Engineering Corps is also working on a new airport at Gwadar, due to open in 2013.

Infrastructure is not the only challenge that Chinese investors in Balochistan face. The province is a key battleground in the wars currently threatening Pakistan. Quetta is rumored to be hiding wanted leaders from the Afghan Taliban. Small towns in the Baloch heartland, meanwhile, are a launchpad for a decades-old separatist movement that capitalizes on populist resentment of federal agencies and foreign investment.

Chinese firms can usually weather these threats. Explains the German Marshall Fund’s Small, “They are less concerned about security than the U.S. because they have faith in the Pakistani military’s ability to look out for their interests, a level of faith that Chinese workers will get privileged levels of protection even amidst destabilizing [political] circumstances.” Unsaid: China is willing to play in the bribery culture traditional to the area.

Moreover, China recruits local figures as managers. Muhammad Sanjrani, the managing director of China’s Saindak copper mine in Chagai, Balochistan, is also the head of the local tribe, with historic control of the Chagai region, and has worked to sell the project to the populace.

Beijing is willing to play hardball to protect its position in Balochistan. That’s a lesson learned the hard way for Tethyan Copper, a joint venture between Canada’s Barrick Gold ( ABX – news – people ) and Chile’s Antofagasta. In 2006 Tethyan signed a deal to survey, and then develop, the Reko Diq reserve in Balochistan, estimated to hold $70 billion in copper and gold.

Behind India’s Bust Of A Pakistan Spy

April 29, 2010 Leave a comment

Behind India’s Bust Of A Pakistan Spy

In this undated handout photo, Madhuri Gupta, 53, an Indian diplomat who worked as second secretary in the Indian high commission in Islamabad is seen

“At 53, she was bored, alone and attractive. Single, but definitely one step ahead to mingle.” That’s how the man who led the operation to bust Madhuri Gupta, the first Indian diplomat to be found spying for Pakistan, described her. For most of her two years in espionage, Gupta was a lone-wolf, conducting a classic spy operation from her base in Islamabad. Old-school “dead drops,” in which she passed off information without even meeting her Pakistani handlers, were her signature style. Yet it was a silly indiscretion — sending e-mails to her spy bosses from her office computer — that finally led to her arrest.

Gupta has not exactly been near the center of Indian decision-making, posted as a second secretary in the media section of India’s high commission in Pakistan’s capital, where her job had been to provide English and Hindi summaries of Pakistan’s Urdu-language newspapers. On April 22, the 53-year-old was summoned back to New Delhi ostensibly to help colleagues prepare for the ongoing South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) summit in Bhutan. After landing at Indira Gandhi International Airport, she was whisked away by officials of the Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau (IB), India’s internal intelligence agency, straight to an interrogation chamber in an undisclosed location. Twenty-four hours later, she was handed over to Delhi police, charged with treason and accessing confidential documents under India’s Official Secrets Act.

“Her spy game was up the moment a Joint Secretary — an IB officer — inside the Islamabad mission suspected her around October 2009 and reported back,” a high-level IB case officer in New Delhi told TIME. The IB launched a massive counter-intelligence operation, in which even its counterparts in the Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW), the country’s external intelligence agency, were kept out of the loop.

Over the next six months, Gupta’s every step was monitored. She was found to be taking undue interest in informal discussions among the senior embassy officials regarding important policy matters, including India’s strategic plans in Afghanistan and resuming a dialogue with Pakistan. She was even fed with incorrect information to be passed on to her Pakistan handlers, suspected to be from the Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI).

Pakistani authorities refused to comment on the case, but analysts in Islamabad saw her arrest as an attempt to scupper upcoming planned talks between India’s and Pakistan’s prime ministers. “The timing was supposed to send a signal that India is not ready to talk to Pakistan yet,” said Cyril Almeida, an editor and analyst at Pakistan’s
Dawn newspaper. “India has not moved beyond its post-Mumbai [the terror attack which Indian and Western authorities say originated in Pakistan] phase. It is not looking for talks with Pakistan any time soon.”

India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was scheduled to meet his Pakistani counterpart, Yousuf Raza Gilani, this week, although the purpose of such talks is contested. After breaking off all dialogue with Pakistan after the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, Indian officials had suggested a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the SAARC summit to discuss a long-running water dispute, but Pakistan has made clear that it wants a formal, open-ended peace talks. As Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi told the India’s CNN-IBN network on Tuesday, “We need to go beyond a handshake.”

Asked whether the two prime ministers would still hold talks in Bhutan this week, Pakistan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Malik Amad Khan told TIME, “Maybe, maybe not, but that’s totally independent of [the spying] allegations.”

Almeida notes that espionage efforts to “turn” the other country’s diplomats are par for the course between the long-time rivals, “But given [Gupta’s] relatively junior position it is unlikely that she would have had access to sensitive documents, unless there was a real breakdown internally.”

Indian government sources say Gupta had been spying for Pakistan since September 2008. “We have reasons to believe that she was not recruited inside Pakistan,” says a senior officer in R&AW. “Possibly she was picked up and nurtured either in Baghdad or Kuala Lumpur where she was posted earlier.” The agency also says this could have been a reason why she was keen for a Pakistan posting — usually a last choice among Indian diplomats and intelligence officials.

Vishnu Prakash, a spokesman for India’s Ministry of External Affairs, says that Gupta “is co-operating with the investigations and inquiries.” Sources told TIME that she has told interrogators that she spied for Pakistan to settle scores with senior Indian diplomats who mistreated her during her early career. She has also reportedly confessed that a prominent Pakistani journalist put her in touch with Pakistani intelligence officers.

TIME

60 years of Sino-Pakistan friendship: Trade to $15 billion

April 29, 2010 Leave a comment

60 years of Sino-Pakistan friendship: Trade to $15 billion

  • The two countries had set a target of enhancing their bilateral trade from the present US$7 billion to US$15 billion over the next two/three years.
  • The Foreign Minister said that the exchange of high level visits between the two countries being planned this year would give further momentum to this upward bilateral trajectory.
  • China had achieved tremendous improvement in its education system and Pakistan could benefit from their advancement. Accordingly, it would be useful if more and more students could get higher education in China either on the basis of scholarship or on self finance basis.
  • The Chinese Vice Foreign Minister welcomed the suggestion saying that his country would explore all possible avenues to encourage Pakistani students to come to China and benefit from their education facilities.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and China will celebrate 60th anniversary of their bilateral relations next year in a befitting manner demonstrating the unique and all weather relationship between the two countries.

This understanding was reached at a meeting between Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wang Guangya on the sidelines of the 16th SAARC Summit at Thimphu, Bhutan on Wednesday.

They reiterated their mutual resolve to continue injecting further substance into Pakistan-China relations to their mutual benefit. The Chinese Vice Foreign Minister stated that Pakistan-China relations would continue to strengthen regardless of any regional or global developments.

Foreign Minister Qureshi expressing full satisfaction at his recent visit to China said that in the last two years the two countries had further augmented the interaction in all spheres of life. It was particularly encouraging to see increased activities in the economic sector.

The two countries had set a target of enhancing their bilateral trade from the present US$7 billion to US$15 billion over the next two/three years. The Foreign Minister said that the exchange of high level visits between the two countries being planned this year would give further momentum to this upward bilateral trajectory.

The Chinese Minister said that they were keenly looking forward to a working visit by President Asif Zardari to China sometime in summer this year. The Chinese Vice Foreign Minister assured that China would always be supporting Pakistan on important regional and international issues.

Appreciating Pakistan’s efforts against violent extremism Guangya said that it was incumbent upon the international community to stand by Pakistan and extend full support to it in the pursuit of its counterterrorism strategy.

The Foreign Minister said that Pakistan was looking forward to focusing especially on enhancing people-to-people contacts. In this regard, it was necessary that more and more opportunities were created for the youth of the two countries.

China had achieved tremendous improvement in its education system and Pakistan could benefit from their advancement. Accordingly, it would be useful if more and more students could get higher education in China either on the basis of scholarship or on self finance basis.

The Chinese Vice Foreign Minister welcomed the suggestion saying that his country would explore all possible avenues to encourage Pakistani students to come to China and benefit from their education facilities.

The Foreign Minister Qureshi briefed the Chinese Foreign Minister about developments in Pakistan-India relations underlining that it was imperative for the two countries to get back to the negotiating table and resolve all their bilateral disputes. The Chinese Vice Foreign Minister appreciated Pakistan’s efforts aimed at creating normal and peaceful relations with India. Pakistan, China to celebrate 60th anniversary of bilateral Ties ‘Pakistan Times’ Diplomatic Correspondent

How India-Israel created Bangladesh

April 29, 2010 Leave a comment

Former head of counter-terrorism branch of India’s intelligence Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), B. Raman, in his book ‘The Kaoboys of R&AW: Down Memory Lane’ documents the major part played by India-Israel intelligence agencies in the dismemberment of Pakistan and creation of Bangladesh in the Eastern part of Pakistan in 1971.

The book give most credit to the first Chief of RAW, Rameshwar Nath Kao (died 2002) from 1969 to 1977, whose photo adorns the front-cover of the book. According to the book the breakup of East Pakistan was carried out by Indira Gandhi government in two phases. Phase one was coordinated by RN. Kao and phase two by Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw (a Parsi, died 2008) – both reporting directly to Indira Gandhi (died 1984).

According to Raman, in the late 1960s, Indira Gandhi, deployed RAW into action as the East Pakistan crisis deepened. RAW trained and supplied arms to the Bengali anti-Pakistan guerrillas and organized phsychological-warfare campaign against Islamabad-based central government. Almost every day Indira Gandhi had at her disposal bugged conversations of top Pakistani officials on Islamabad’s plaaning in East Wing of the country. She did not make a single decision concerning military action in East Pakistan without the advice of RAW’s Chief R.N. Kao.

The Illustrated Weekly of India (1923-93), had posted an article, titled “The Spymaster” in its December 23, 1984 edition, which stated:

“One of the most glorious chapters in the history of RAW, was the operation leading to the creation of Bangladesh. That country would never have been born but for the operation carried out by RAW for several years before the Indian Army action. The first meeting between IB operatives and Sheikh Mujib had taken place as early as 1963, and after RAW was set up in 1968, it anticipated virtually every major military and political development that took place in what was then East Pakistan during a meeting in India with Mrs. Gandhi, at which the master spy (Kao) was also present, Mujib’s successor, Zia-ur-Rahman is reported to have remarked: “This man (Kao) knows more about my country than I do.”

Soon after RAW’s establishment in 1968, Kao arranged a secret liaison with Israeli intelligence agency Mossad – to “learn from its counter-terrorism techniques”. Father Bush as director of CIA (1975-77) cultivated a close friendship Kao. As vice-president, Bush, turned off Washington’s support for the Sikh seperatists in Indian Punjab on the advice of Kao. Later, India’s Hindutva leader and Home Minister LK Advani visited the Zionist entity in June 2000, during which the two Muslim-hating governments agreed that the Israelis would make India and Israel partners in threatening the Muslim world with diabolic conspiracies to fragment and cripple it as a political force in the world. The details of his meetings with Zionist-regime, particularly the heads of the Israeli Home Ministry and its intelligence agencies, Mossad and Sabak, revealed that the arrangements he has made for joint Indo-Israel espionage operations in key areas of the Muslim world would make the Indian embassies in these Muslim countries the eyes and ears of the worldwide cloak-and-dagger of Israeli spy network.

Ed Blanche writes in Janes’ Security on 14 August 2001:“Israeli intelligence agencies have been intensifying their relations with India’s security apparatus and are now understood to be heavily involved in helping New Delhi combat Islamic militants in the disputed province of Kashmir, India’s only Muslim-majority state which lies at the core of the conflict with neighboring Pakistan. Israel has several teams now in Kashmir training Indian counter-insurgency forces to fight the dozen separatist guerrilla groups operating in the Indian-controlled sector of the disputed state. The exact extent of the involvement in Kashmir by Israel’s intelligence agencies is far from clear, but it fits into Israel’s increasing focus on events in Central Asia, and as far field as Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim state, to counteract Islamic fundamentalism, which it perceives as a major threat. We have been reading the name MOSSAD and its role in destroying Muslims around the world and especially in South East Asia with the help of India RAW wraps, in a fascinating plot, full of intrigue and betrayal. It is said that it is the joint venture of the trigone that is the core point of consideration. Mossad, RAW and Israeli Russian Ukrainian drug mafia have been performing these functions as coalition partner previously”.

Asoka Raina in book “Inside RAW: The Story of India’s Secret Service” wrote:

The involvement of RAW in East Pakistan is said to date from the 1960s, when RAW promoted dissatisfaction against Pakistan in East Pakistan, including funding Mujibur Rahmanh’s general election in 1970 and providing training and arming the Mukti Bahini. Indian intelligence agencies, were involved in East Pakistan now, Bangladesh, beginning, in the early 1960’s.

Its operatives were in touch with Sheikh Mujib for quite some time. Sheikh Mujib went to Agartala in 1965. The famous Agartala case was
unearthed in 1967. In fact, the main purpose of raising RAW in 1968 was to organize covert operations in East Pakistan. As early as 1968, RAW was given a green light to begin mobilizing all its resources for the impending surgical intervention in erstwhile East Pakistan. When in July 1971 General Manekshaw told Prime Minister Indira Gandhi that the army would not be ready until December to intervene in Bangladesh, she quickly turned to RAW for help. RAW was ready. Its officers used Bengali refugees to set up the guerilla force Mukti Bahini. Using, this outfit as a cover, the Indian military sneaked deep into Bangladesh. The story of Mukti Bahini and R.A.W.’s role in its creation and training is now well known. RAW never concealed its Bangladesh operations.

Mohammd Zianul Abedin in “RAW and Bangladesh” wrote: “RAW retained a keen interest in Bangladesh even after its independence. RAW was involved in training of Chakma tribes and Shanti Bahini, who carried out subversive activities in Bangladesh. It also unleashed a well-organized plan of psychological warfare, created polarization among the armed forces, propagated false allegations of the use of Bangladesh territory by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency, created dissension among the political parties and religious sects, controlled the media, denied the use of river waters, and propped up a host of disputes in order to keep Bangladesh under constant political and socio-economic pressure.

How India-Israel created Bangladesh

Pak rejects Indian evidence against Hafiz Saeed

April 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Pak rejects Indian evidence against Hafiz Saeed

New Delhi, Apr 27: Pakistan has rejected India’s evidence against LeT founder and suspected 26/11 Hafiz Saeed, on the ground that the Indian evidence cannot be used under their laws for prosecution.

Sources said that in its dossiers seeking extradition of Ajmal Amir Kasab, Pakistan has asked New Delhi to hand over all the additional evidence related to 26/11 to it by the middle of May.

In its response to the three dossiers given by India, Pakistan has said that all the evidence given by India was not credible and was insufficient to prosecute any individual in a Pakistani court.

Stating that the evidence given by India against Saeed and others accused in 2008 Mumbai terror attacks was mainly based on Kasab’s confessional statement, Pakistan said that the evidence were not admissible under Pakistan law.

Pakistan has dismissed  India’s claims about Pakistan Army Major and dreaded terrorist Ilyas Kashmiri’s role in the 26/11 attacks as just a “figment of imagination”.

Pakistan’s response to the dossier was handed over Indian Deputy High Commissioner Rahul Kulshreshth by Foreign Office Foreign Office officials on Monday, Apr 26.

In a dossier given to India, Pakistan has asked for the handing over of Kasab, so that his confessional statement can used against the LeTs operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and six other suspects in the ongoing 26/11 trail in Pakistan.

In its request Pakistan has asked that three Indian officials, including two magistrates and an investigator, be permitted to travel to Pakistan to testify that they had recorded Kasab’s statement.

OneIndia News

Travesty Of Justice In Indian Occupied Kashmir

April 27, 2010 Leave a comment

Travesty Of Justice In Indian Occupied Kashmir

The death sentences given to Kashmiris in the recent Lajpat Nagar bomb blast case verdict is viewed as unfair and oppressive uniformly by the commoners in Kashmir.

Prostest against the verdict has rocked Kashmir. Mother of Mirza Nissar Hussain , who staged a protest dharna in Srinagar says he was only 14 years when he was arrested by Delhi Police. She claims that there is no possibility of his involvement in the bomb blast. The common sentiment in Kashmir is that while Kashmiris caught in mainland India by the “oppressive rulers” are given the maximum punishment, Indians arrested on criminal charges in Kashmir go scotfree. Kashmiris are petrified that in the Shopian double murder and rape case the CBI has approached J &K High Court seeking dismissal of the criminal charges against four policemen arrested for alleged destruction of evidence. These two court cases raises disturbing questions about Kashmiri nationalism, deliverance of justice and engagement of Indian administration and Kashmiri population.

It also reinforces the mutual distrust and hatred that Kashmiri population and Indian administration hold for each other. The survival of this thirty-year-old violent insurgency in Kashmir is fanned by this mutual hatred and distrust. The experiences of Kashmiris in mainland India certainly add to the foreign feelings that the Kashmiris hold. This may be because of the different context from which Indian and Kashmiri nationalism emerged. Kashmiri nationalism, in particular has sustained itself by constructing the hate for India. To be explicitly hating everything Indian is also helpful in constructing their nationalism and identity. William Polk in his book ‘Violent politics’ says, ‘for a sustained insurgency against the foreign rule one doesn’t even need the backup of an ideology; it is just the idea of hate for the “foreign” that would survive it’.

This engagement of the Indian police system and Kashmiri civilians has emerged from this historical backdrop of hate, mistrust and disrespect for each other. It is like the collison of two trains running on the same track. This may be case when cases related Kashmiris come up in court too. Are they treated as humans first without associating this history of hate to their particular case? The mere identity of a Kashmiri can raise the word “Terrorist” in India. Is it fair? Kashmiris fear that Indian courts are not free from these bisases.

The case is quite reverse if it is a Kashmiri court and an Indian convict (for a rape and murder case by the security officials in Shopian). The Hindu reports that “CBI has approached the J&K high court seeking dismissal of the criminal charges against the four policemen arrested for alleged destruction of evidence” (the Hindu, 23/04/2010). Can you complain if Kashmiris loss complete hope and faith in judicial procedures in India after seeing so many go Scot-free after committing heinious crimes like the Shopian rape case or be it the popular kununposhpora mass rape? Let us not forget the popular case of Afzal Guru.

The efforts of Indian administration in managing the Kashmiri lives or the efforts put forth to win Kashmiri support have failed miserably so far. Instead many actions of the Indian administration has led to to further alienatiing Kashmiri populace from India. The prevailing mistrust and hatred will also lead to widening of this divide and worsening the life and the future of so many hopeful youngsters whose life is destroyed by this violent siege that doesn’t seem to end. Travesty Of Justice In Kashmir By Inshah Malik, 26 April, 2010, Countercurrents.org

Inshah Malik is a PhD scholar at Tata institute of Social Sciences Mumbai, India. Inshah.malik@tiss.edu

Pak Beats India In Grabbing Eyeballs At World Expo

April 26, 2010 Leave a comment

Times of India

SHANGHAI: It is easy to keep Pakistan out of the IPL. But when it comes to attracting eyeballs of Chinese visitors and international businesses, Pakistan has beaten Indian hands down at the World Expo in Shanghai.

The Pakistani pavilion is attracting thousands of people by the hour for the past week while the Indian pavilion is far from complete.

In any case, New Delhi has chosen not to showcase India’s industrial might and export potential. Millions of small and big buyers who will visit the World Expo will be given a taste of Indian cuisine, art, culture, handlooms while other countries compete to sell industrial goods.

The “soft” part of India will occupy 12 of the 14 stalls available for commercial organizations at the Indian Pavilion. Only two are left. Any takers among the likes of Tatas, Birlas and Infosys?

“Our focus is on culture. Industrial companies do not fit into the plan,” a senior official of the foreign ministry told TNN.

A “soft opening” has been scheduled for April 27 but it is doubtful that the pavilion will be fully operational even by April 30 when the entire World Expo will be formally opened. At least 40 Indian personnel have been struck because they have not yet obtained Chinese visas. Delays is sanctions and approvals at different stages and the late start of the construction work in June last year are some of the other reasons for the unpreparedness, according to an official connected to the work.

At another level, Pakistan is competing with India when it comes to charming the Chinese with the Buddhist legacy. It has created a dome structure within the pavilion with images of the Buddha found in excavations at Taxila, a World Heritage site 30 kms from Islamabad.

The caption below the images says the Buddha is in the “dhanamudra pose” while another one is a tablet on the Royal court during the time of the Buddha. A Pakistan tourism poster also invites visitors to the country with a image of the Buddha.

The Pakistan pavilion has some other interesting dimensions. An entire wall is devoted to photographs of leaders of Pakistan and China shaking hands over the past half a century.

The Zardari raj is evident in another panel full of pictures of his wife and former prime minister Benezir Bhutto.