New Age Islam Edit Bureau
23 September 2015
• Banned Organizations Go Online To Collect Hides
Jawad R Awan
• Pakistan SC’s Pursuit Of Minorities’ Rights
• Questions For Authorities In Kabul
Banned organizations go online to collect hides
Jawad R Awan
September 21, 2015
The state’s security apparatus do not have capacity to monitor all traffic as the organisations keep on changing their addresses online, he said.
The banned organisations have also established public welfare wings with new faces to cover their activities, a traditional way to flout government regulations. Animal hides are a key source for many banned organisations involved in militancy, especially in Punjab and Sindh.
Separatist organisations in Balochistan also generate some funds through this source.
However hides have never been a significant source of funding for outlawed Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), the biggest monster which now has been badly hurt by the military operation in the north-western tribal areas of the country. Some security sources said militants use funds generated from hides for converting their “black funds” into legitimate finances.
According to reported statistics, more than 10 billion rupees sales of the hides was made last year to the industries concerned. Despite all measures taken by the government to choke fund lines of militants, banned outfits are still reaching out to masses, especially in rural areas, for hides. Security experts said it is a daunting task to identify and clog their funding lines.
“It is not possible for security services to launch surveillance on every house of the country,” the intelligence official said. The government should come up with a clear strategy to deal with the issue, the experts stressed. Banned outfits in Punjab and Sindh influence the government by using their supporters who vote for the parties that go soft on them after taking power, they said while mentioning a major problem. According to an interior ministry official there are around 200 hundred militant and welfare organisations of local and international origin banned by the government at various stages.
The major banned organisations that cannot collect hides include: Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), Sipah-i-Mohammad Pakistan (SMP), Jaish-e-Mohammad (JM), Lashkar-e-Tayyiba (LT), Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), Tehrik-e-Jaferia Pakistan (TJP), Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi (TNSM), Tehreek-e-Islami, Millat-e-Islamia Pakistan (Formerly SSP), Khuddam-ul-Islam (Formerly JM), Islami Tehreek Pakistan (Formerly TJP), Jamiat-ul-Ansar, Jamiat-ul-Furqan (Formerly JM) and Hizb-ul-Tahrir.
The list also includes Khair-un-Naas International Trust, Balochistan Liberation Army, Islamic Students Movement of Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Islam, Ansar-ul-Islam, Haji Namdar Group, Shia Tulba Action Committee, Gilgit, Markaz Sabeel Organisation, Gilgit, Tanzeem Naujawanan-e-Sunnat (TNA), Gilgit, Balochistan Republican Army, Balochistan Liberation Front, Lashkar-e-Balochistan, Balochistan Liberation United Front, Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamat, Al Harmain Foundation, Rabita Trust, Peoples Aman Committee, Anjuman-e-Imamia Gilgit Baltistan, Muslim Students Organisation, Baltistan, Tanzeem Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jamat, Gilgit, Tehreek Nafaz-e-Aman, Tahafuz Hadadullah, Islam Mujahidin, Jaish-e-Islam, Khana-e-Hikmat and Jeay Sindh Muttahida Mahaz.
Pakistan SC’s pursuit of minorities’ rights
September 23, 2015
The issue of minorities’ rights and their suffering in Pakistan is becoming a serious matter. Theyseem more frustrated and tormented than ever before as the government appears to be oblivious to their marginalisation and repression, and has done very little to help.However, theSupreme Court(SC) seems more concernedand unwilling to ignore the plight of minorities. It recently expressed its views during a hearing in pursuit of the implementation of the order of the then Chief Justice (CJ) Tassaduq Hussain Jilani.
Three judges expressed their satisfaction over the report submitted by Punjab while another three provincial governments have been ordered to submit detailed progress reports on the implementation of its decision of June 19 last year.Mr Jilani orderedthe constitution of a national council of minorities’ rights to monitor the practical realisation of the rights and safeguards provided to minorities under the Constitution and law. The council will also be mandated to frame policy recommendations for safeguarding and protecting minorities’ rights by the provincial and federal governments. The CJ also ordered the formation of a special task force to protect minorities’ places of worship, which continue to be attacked.Three CJs have retired since then butthere has been no progress. In contrast, the situation ofminorities continues to deteriorate.
The SC seems concerned and determined aboutminorities’ worsening situationand I do not think there is any way for the government to escape and continue being indifferent in regards to minorities’ rights as CJ Jawwad S Khawaja (retd) has said that it is not possible for the courts to do the government’s job; he knows the ways and means for the implementation of orders. While Jawwad S Khawaja has been CJ of Pakistan for less than a month but during his tenure he has made landmark decisions and will be remembered for his indomitable courage, especially what he said in his farewell speech. I hope new CJAnwar Zaheer Jamaliwill also keep in mind the struggle of minorities and their rights.Justice Dost Mohammad Khan remarked that special funds should be available for minorities. He said that mere meetings were not enough and that he wanted to see results. He added that many Hindu families have migrated to India but it is not justHindus;all minorities are migrating to different countries. Thousands of Christians continue to migrate in search of safe havens while according to latest news the Parsi community has also started packing.
It is the government’s failure that Quaid-e-Azam’s minorities do not feel safe and secure in his state as their lives, properties, worship places and even honour are under attack. In fact, they are not just suffering because of the government’s polices but on a societal level they have to face hatred and are looked atas inferior.
Recently, we marked Quaid-e-Azam’s 67th death anniversary.Magnificent events were held throughout the country and passionate speeches and statements were issued by politicians about making Pakistan Quaid’s country.But this has been nothing but political rhetoric. I wish they had understood and embraced Quaid’s vision for Pakistan. Justice Dost Mohammad Khan has said there should be exclusive funds for minorities. Quaid-e-Azam wanted a Pakistani society free from religious elements.For this purpose he formed two committees: one for monitoring human rights and another for the protection of minorities’ rights. Unfortunately,the situation of minorities continues to worsen with every new coming day.
CJ Jawwad S Khawaja also said that Quaid-e-Azam had insight on the treatment of minorities because he had seen the treatment of the Muslim minority in India. Our SC’s judges seem justly concerned about the minorities who are living under constant fear of their lives.
But I am still not very optimistic as the misuse of the blasphemy law continues to be rife and is considered a root cause behind their suffering. New cases continue to be registered against minoritieson mere allegations and to settle personal scores.For example, last month in Gujrat a case was registered against 13 Christians and one Muslim for using the word rasool to pay tribute to a late pastor while earlier this month, in Kasur, Pervez Masih was charged under the blasphemy law for having a financial dispute with his contractor.Need I remind that Shama and Shahzad’s case is still making headlines in the national and international media?
Interestingly,the SC has expressed its satisfaction over the report (about minorities’ rights) presented by the Punjab government. I do not know what magic wand they used to satisfy the courtdespite minorities beingas disgruntled as they have been in the past. I think the situation is somewhat better in other provinces. Very few blasphemy cases are registered against minorities in other provinces; even the Sindh Assembly has already ordered mandatory mental health assessment of blasphemy suspects and has even decided to include Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah’s speech of August 11, 1947 in the curriculum of classes eight to 10.
There have been dozens of atrocities committed against minorities in Punjab, including an attack on two churches in Youhanabad. They consider the blasphemy law a root cause of their suffering.A few monthsago there was news in the media that to stop the abuse of this law and the killing of innocent people by vigilantes, a draft bill would shortly be put before the Pakistani government for approval. The proposed law would introduce severe penalties for people who make false accusations of blasphemy. It would also aim to stop vigilantes from taking the law into their own hands.
Civil society continues to press the government for the implementation of the landmark decision of June 2014, particularly with regardsto establishing a national council of minorities’ rights, something thathas been their long-standing demand.They believe the establishment of a minorities’ council is the solution to their ongoing suffering.However, I do not have much hope as the opposition leader,Khurshid Shah, has said that the council has been established and thatjust the formal announcement is pending. I have talked to several minority leaders who have complained that they have not been consulted over this matter. Our Quaid promised minorities they would be consulted over any legislation and policies made about them. Last month, we marked the 68thanniversary of our independencebut we are still far from the Pakistan our Quaid envisioned.His vision cannot be fulfilled until we give equal citizenship rights and status to our minorities.
Hopefully, the SC will continue in its fight to ensure Pakistan’s minorities are given the rights they are entitled to and continue to demand that the government recognise the pressing urgency of the situation.
The writer is a freelance columnist
Questions for authorities in Kabul
September 22, 2015
Execution of terrorist attacks from Afghanistan on Pakistan’s Badaber Air base ten months after the Army Public School’s massacre has raised key questions about the role of the Afghan and US-led security forces in counter terrorism. Why authorities in Kabul failed to track down fugitive TTP leaders including Maulvi Fazalullah, Mangal Bagh Afridi and Maulvi Faqir Mohammad and their associates using safe heavens in Afghanistan’s bordering provinces with Pakistan?
Why authorities in Kabul failed to move against these elements using Afghan soil in destabilising Pakistan? And finally Afghan and US forces failed to manage the Pak-Afghan border on their side which led to the two major terrorist attacks in Peshawar within ten months. Adviser to Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz said on Sunday last that initial investigation into the attack on a PAF camp near Peshawar had proved terrorists’ contacts within Afghanistan.
“There are evidences that terrorists had telephonic contacts within Afghanistan. Since the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan leadership is in Afghanistan, the possibility of terrorists’ contacts within Afghanistan cannot be ruled out,” he said while speaking to a private TV channel. On the other hand, some security analysts believed that Pakistani Taliban who fled into Afghanistan during military operations in FATA are being patronised and aided by a powerful Panjshiri group in Afghanistan’s National Directorate of Security (NDS).
“There is a deep rooted nexus between Panshiri group in NDS and the India’s RAW ever since the US routed out the Taliban regime in Afghanistan,” Senator Lt Gen (retd) Abdul Qayyum said. He was of the firm view that militants who fled into Afghanistan to escape the military operations in Pakistan were now operating from Afghanistan’s provinces bordering Pakistan. The latest tweet by former NDS Chief Amrullah Saleh about terrorist attack on Badaber air base forced many Pakistanis to believe that NDS was in hands and glove with militants hiding in Afghanistan.
Amrullah Saleh said, the attackers killed in the course of their attack on Badaber air base were martyrs and their action was part of the tit for tat policy. Another ex-senior military official, who requested anonymity, endorsed the view point of Senator Abdul Qayyum, saying, India’s RAW had cultivated the Panjshiri group during the stint of Afghan General Faheem, and the group also enjoys very deep ties with Afghan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah. He asked why the Afghan intelligence agency NDS has not taken action first against Maulvi Faqir Mohammad and then Mauvli Fazlullah who fled into Afghanistan in 2009 and since then had carried out several attacks on Pakistan from Afghanistan.
According to former Interior Minister Lt-Gen (retd) Moinuddin Haider, the nexus between NDS and RAW developed deeper after Panjshiri group led by the then General Faheem had handed over more than two dozen Pakistani prisoners in Afghanistan to India through a central Asian state in June 2002. According to reports, 30 Pakistanis were plucked by a helicopter from a prison in northern Afghanistan and flown to Kuliyab airbase in Tajikistan. The Pakistanis were subsequently airlifted to India. The then interior minister had said that Pakistan’s fear that the Indians will use these Pakistanis as a tool to defame Pakistan by taking them to Kashmir and kill them in a bid to support their allegations that Pakistanis are infiltrating into held Kashmir.
Some people aware of that development still believed that those Pakistani prisoners airlifted to India have been used in mock terrorist attacks by Indian security forces in Kashmir, Mumbai and other places to defame Pakistan.