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Has ANP sold itself to the ISI? – by Farhat Taj

Is this man now guiding the Bach Khan movement in Pakistan?

What is wrong with the ANP? — Farhat Taj

The ANP fell on its knees during the signing of the Swat peace deal with the terrorists. ANP circles have anonymously claimed that suicide bombers were sent to the top leaders to force them to sign the peace deal. If they refused, they would have been killed on the spot

It has been quite a few days now since the top leaders of the Pakhtun nationalist party, the Awami National Party (ANP), have been issuing strange statements. The party chief, Asfandyar Khan, described NATO’s pursuit of terrorists into FATA as a “clear violation of international law and a blow to Pakistan’s sovereignty”. The party’s provincial president, Afrasiab Khattak, condemned the US drone attacks on terrorists in FATA and claimed that innocent tribespersons were being killed in the drone strikes. ANP’s senior provincial minister, Bashir Bilour, also condemned the US drone strikes and NATO incursions into FATA in pursuit of the terrorists who retreated into their safe havens in FATA following attacks in Afghanistan. Above all, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly condemned NATO incursions and the US drone attacks.

This is certainly not the ANP expressing itself with free will and consent. This is an ANP speaking under duress. The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is forcing the ANP leaders to issue such statements. The Americans have put intense pressure on the Pakistani generals through relentless drone attacks that have considerably damaged their strategic assets, the jihadis that the ISI has been keeping in FATA for terrorism in Afghanistan. It seems the Pakistan generals cannot face the US and NATO forces in Afghanistan on their own. They simply force unarmed Pakhtun civilians through extreme torture and violence to associate themselves with the Taliban so as to feign the front of an indigenous Pakhtun resistance to the designs of NATO and US forces in Afghanistan. This pattern of utmost coercion was implemented all over FATA whereby everyone — tribal leaders, the ulema, government servants, community elders, teachers, healthcare workers — who might have the courage to challenge the ISI’s managed chaos in FATA were target killed. In the garb of fake military operations, vast areas of FATA were extracted from the writ of the state and put under the writ of the terrorists. The same pattern was gradually extended to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The strange statements coming from the ANP leadership must be seen in this context.

This is strange because the ANP is clearly speaking with two tongues. The ANP is a signatory of the Peshawar Declaration, signed in February 2010, which categorically supports the drone strikes in FATA and holds the Pakistani military establishment responsible for terrorism in Afghanistan and Pakistan, especially in FATA. Moreover, due to its ethnic, tribal and political affiliations with people in FATA, the ANP knows very well that the drone strikes are precisely killing the terrorists, and the people in the drone-hit areas welcome them. Privately, the ANP leaders support the drone attacks. They hold the Pakistani generals responsible for terrorism and violence in FATA and Afghanistan. They want the terror centres in FATA, under the auspices of the ISI, to be destroyed and they do not mind if the US or NATO forces do so since the Pakistani generals do not seem to be interested in giving up their jihadi adventures from the soil of FATA.

Should the ANP be forgiven for speaking with two tongues under duress? It is not the first time the ANP has succumbed to such pressures. The ANP fell on its knees during the signing of the Swat peace deal with the terrorists. ANP circles have anonymously claimed that suicide bombers were sent to the top leaders to force them to sign the peace deal. If they refused, they would have been killed on the spot and so they had to sign the deal even if they were not prepared for it.

Moreover, under pressure from the military establishment, the ANP government has stopped supporting the anti-Taliban lashkars all over Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, lashkars that the provincial government initially supported with enthusiasm. The lashkar leaders accuse the ANP of abandoning them. “They (the ANP government) have ditched us in the middle of an ocean,” said one leader of the Adezai anti-Taliban lashkar in an interview with me.

The saddest part is that the ANP compliance under duress is obliterating the precious difference between the nationalist ANP and pro-Taliban religious parties like the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI). For example, the ANP stands for provincial autonomy. So does the JI. The ANP demands more share in the electricity royalty for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. So does the JI. The only difference is that the JI supports the ISI-sponsored jihad in Afghanistan and denounces all international efforts to cleanse Afghanistan of jihadi gangs, whereas the ANP stands for the opposite. Through these recent statements against the drone attacks, the ANP appears just like the JI. This is certainly a success of the ISI’s agenda to present all Pakhtuns to the wider world as pro-Taliban, pro-jihad and religious extremists, who are against the international community’s efforts against jihad in FATA and Afghanistan. Can the anti-Taliban Pakhtun afford an ‘Islamic’ ANP even if it is under duress?

The anti-Taliban Pakhtun need an ANP that is a firm embodiment of anti-Taliban, anti-religious extremism and one that is pro-civilisation. By and large, the ANP has been so and, no doubt, the party has greatly sacrificed through the blood of its elected leaders, workers and their close relatives. The challenge at hand, however, is colossal and demands more blood from the ANP. The ANP must now stand up to the occasion, come what may.

It is expected of the ANP leaders to resist this intimidation and blackmail. Of course, this means more assassinations among the leading ANP families and even the killing of top party leaders. The top party leaders must be ready for such an eventuality. If they are not, they should step aside and leave the party leadership to those among the ANP who might be willing to firmly resist all intimidation and blackmail even at the cost of personal sacrifices. These recent statements and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly resolution show that the current ANP leadership is either too soft or compromised to lead the anti-Taliban Pakhtun.

The writer is a PhD Research Fellow with the University of Oslo and currently writing a book, Taliban and Anti-Taliban

Source: Daily Times

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18 Comments

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  • anti-Taliban Pakhtun

    Are there any left?

    And you’re saying In the garb of fake military operations, vast areas of FATA were extracted from the writ of the state and put under the writ of the terrorists

    So what are the military’s own casualties? A figment of our imaginations? We know they aren’t killing all the terrorists, but I seriously suspect it’s because the military is already overstretched throught not just Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, but throughout Pakistan. And the anti-American resistance in Afghanistan is what? All bullied and beaten Afghans forced to fight at the front by the all powerful Pakistan army? You think the Pakistan army is that competetent and powerful to force the entire population of South and East Afghanistan to rise on a whim? This is insane. I think the ANP is simply playing politics, sometimes looking Pakhtun nationalist, sometime looking Pakistani nationalist. The military has made a ton of mistakes, but it is certainly not as much of an all powerful institute that you paint it to be. If it was, why is it losing people every few days in FATA?

    You are a strange woman Farhat Taj.

  • Abdul, I know about the internal dichotomy of the ISI and they’re stupid differentiation game.

    My question is more technical:

    1) Is the miltary actually controlling the Taliban, like full on military command and control “control”?

    2) Is the AlQaeda-Taliban movement letting the military think it controls them whilst manipulating the Pakistan military to it’s own uses?

    3) Is the military trying to control the Taliban and failing spectacularly?

    Personally I lean towards 3. But I would like to add that I have difficulty believing that they are trying to control them AND losing 5 people a day. Why are they losing 5 people a day then?

  • TLW says: October 16, 2010 at 3:48 am My question is more technical: 1) Is the miltary actually controlling the Taliban, like full on military command and control “control”?
    ==================
    You decide 🙂

    LONDON: The Afghan and US governments have recently made contact with insurgent group the Haqqani network, one of the most feared foes of Nato forces in Afghanistan, a British paper reported Thursday. The government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai took part in direct talks with senior members of the Haqqani group over the summer, said the Guardian daily, citing Pakistani and Arab sources. The United States, through a Western intermediary, has made indirect contacts over the past year, said the paper. Talks between the Haqqanis and both countries were extremely tentative, it added. The Haqqani network’s leadership is based in North Waziristan, in Pakistan’s tribal northwest, an area which has been targeted by a wave of US drone strikes in recent weeks. The group is loyal to the Taliban and has been blamed for some of the most deadly strikes in Afghanistan. It has close ties with foreign militant groups including Al-Qaeda. Asked whether talks involving Haqqani, Karzai and the US were taking place, a senior Pakistani official cited in the paper said “you wouldn’t be wrong” but refused to comment further. Western, Arab and Pakistani official sources cited in the paper said the Haqqanis believe a negotiated settlement is the most likely outcome of the Afghan conflict and do not want to be left out of any deal. Sirajuddin Haqqani, who has taken over military leadership of the Haqqani group from his father Jalaluddin, “realises he could be a nobody if he doesn’t enter the process,” said a diplomat involved in the discussions. —AFP REFERENCE: Afghanistan, US in contact with Haqqani insurgents Thursday, 07 Oct, 2010 http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/world/14-afghanistan-us-in-contact-with-haqqani-insurgents-zj-01 White House supporting Kabul contacts with Mullah Omar’s men By Our Correspondent Thursday, 07 Oct, 2010 http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/white-house-supporting-kabul-contacts-with-mullah-omars-men-700 Haqqanis in direct talks with Kabul, indirect contact with US By Julian Borger and Declan Walsh Friday, 08 Oct, 2010 http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/front-page/haqqanis-in-direct-talks-with-kabul,-indirect-contact-with-us-800

  • With Haqqani group, of course sir, even though these people have one of the most openly close relations with old Al Qaeda and encourage Arab Jihadis. I am talking about the Mehsud network, TNSM, L-e-J/Sipah-e-Sahaba types who are directly attacking thE Pakistani security forces in conjunction with Al Qaeda doctrine.

  • Abdul Nishapuri sahab, I respect what you say, so I will be honest with you; I have been reading this woman Farhat Taj for two years, and simply put; I do not trust her.

  • TLW says: October 16, 2010 at 3:54 am I am talking about the Mehsud network, TNSM, L-e-J/Sipah-e-Sahaba types who are directly attacking thE Pakistani security forces in conjunction with Al Qaeda doctrine.
    ================
    These are small fishes “foot soldiers” or cannon fodder who are being kept to keep the Shia community in Pakistan on the run and to finger Iran.

  • @TLW

    I agree with your idea 3: “Is the military trying to control the Taliban and failing spectacularly?”

    The bad Taliban are the ones who are not in their control, and are coming home to roost.

    The problem with the good-taliban bad-taliban theory is that the boundaries between the two are not (and cannot be) clearly defined; there are frequent shiftings across the boundary, and the collateral damage (suffered by the military, people of Pakistan etc) is inherent in the very design of this theory (just like the theory of strategic depth).

  • Thank you Abdul Nishapuri Sahab, I think reality is as messy as you describe it. I also wish to apologise for accidently being snarky at you, when I should have talked to Aamir Mughal sahab.

    Aamir sahab, first off, I want you both to know that it is not either of you that I have a problem with, it is this woman Farhat Taj. I do not trust her. Is she off her head when she insinuates that all the Afghans fighting America inside Afghanistan are broken, tortured puppets of the ISI? That seems a little strange. The ISI cannot control it’s own people inside this country. She has her own agenda where she doesn’t care about the existence of Pakistan and is two steps away from calling for it to be broken up, or cheerleading a direct military intervention by Nato or some such power. She is not doing that right now, but I can see this woman on that path, and thus do not trust her.

    And Aamir Mughal sahab your statement about the terrorists targetting Pakistanis is very cryptic.

    cannon fodder who are being kept to keep the Shia community in Pakistan on the run

    Shia community on the run? What, are you saying the Paki military establishment keeps hardcore killers like the SSP/TNSM/L-e-J to specifically target the Shia community? That is a level of spectacular evil (fomenting sectarianism using the army) that I cannot see the military sinking to at this point in time. I can think of them recruiting general purpose Jihadi’s and from these fundamentalist networks things like sectarian groups springing out, but I really can’t see them doing it on purpose, more by accident.

    Or are you insinuating that the intel agencies keep them around to prevent something like Sipah-e-Mohammad returning. That would be ridiculous.

    and to finger Iran

    What do we care about Iran? There’s 180 million of us and 80 million of them. Woh hamara kya bigarh saktay hain? Why should we keep madmen like the LeJ/SSP/TNSM on hand to “counter” Iran when these psycho-Sunni groups readily kill Pakistani citizens?

  • TLW says: October 16, 2010 at 4:30 am And Aamir Mughal sahab your statement about the terrorists targetting Pakistanis is very cryptic. cannon fodder who are being kept to keep the Shia community in Pakistan on the run Shia community on the run? What, are you saying the Paki military establishment keeps hardcore killers like the SSP/TNSM/L-e-J to specifically target the Shia community?
    =================
    Here are some proofs:

    A VERY DARK AND DIRTY SECTARIAN PAST OF GENERAL RETD. PERVEZ MUSHARRAF

    “QUOTE”

    Gen. Zia chose Gen. Musharraf (then a Brigadier) in 1987 to command a newly-raised Special Services Group (SSG) base at Khapalu in the Siachen area. To please Gen. Zia, Gen. Musharraf with his SSG commandos launched an attack on an Indian post at Bilfond La in September, 1987,and was beaten back. Despite this, he continued to enjoy the confidence of Zia.

    Gen. Musharraf has since then spent seven years in two tenures with the SSG and prides himself on being an SSG commando and projects himself as the greatest expert of the Pakistan Army in mountain warfare. When he recently received Gen. Anthony Zinni, the Commanding Officer of the US Central Command, he was dressed as an SSG Commando. In May,1988, the Shias, who are in a majority in Gilgit, rose in revolt against the Sunni-dominated administration. Zia put an SSG group commanded by Gen. Musharraf in charge of suppressing the revolt. Gen. Musharraf transported a large number of Wahabi Pakhtoon tribesmen from the NWFP and Afghanistan, commanded by bin Laden, to Gilgit to teach the Shias a lesson. These tribesmen under bin Laden massacred hundreds of Shias. In its issue of May,1990, “Herald”, the monthly journal of the “Dawn” group of publications of Karachi, wrote as follows: ” In May,1988, low-intensity political rivalry and sectarian tension ignited into full-scale carnage as thousands of armed tribesmen from outside Gilgit district invaded Gilgit along the Karakoram Highway. Nobody stopped them. They destroyed crops and houses, lynched and burnt people to death in the villages around Gilgit town. The number of dead and injured was put in the hundreds. But numbers alone tell nothing of the savagery of the invading hordes and the chilling impact it has left on these peaceful valleys.” Gen. Musharraf started a policy of bringing in Punjabis and Pakhtoons from outside and settling them down in Gilgit and Baltistan in order to reduce the Kashmiri Shias to a minority in their traditional land and this is continuing till today. The “Friday Times” of October 15-21, 1992, quoted Mr. Muhammad Yahya Shah, a local Shia leader, as saying: ” We were ruled by the Whites during the British days. We are now being ruled by the Browns from the plains. The rapid settling-in of Punjabis and Pakhtoons from outside, particularly the trading classes, has created a sense of acute insecurity among the local Shias.” Zia became the first victim of the carnage unleashed by Gen. Musharraf on the Shias of Gilgit. Though the Pakistani authorities have not released the report of the committee, which enquired into the crash of Zia’s plane in August,1988, it is widely believed in Pakistan that a Shia airman from Gilgit, wanting to take revenge for the May,1988, carnage, was responsible for the crash. REFERENCE: Talibanisation of the heart — by Dr. Abbas Zaidi, The writer is a researcher and has a PhD in sociolinguistics DATED 24 August 2010 http://criticalppp.com/archives/21850 Biography of General Pervez Musharraf: His Past and Present http://www.angelfire.com/al4/terror/musharraf.htm

    “QUOTE”

    In 1988, there was a violent uprising of the Shias in Gilgit, which was ruthlessly suppressed by Musharraf, who was given the task of dealing with the revolt by Zia-ul-Haq. Musharraf had a large number of Sunni Pashtun tribesmen from the Federally-Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) led by Osama bin Laden brought into Gilgit. They carried out a massacre of the Shias in the NA as well as the adjoining NWFP areas. It is believed by many in Pakistan that the crash of the aircraft in which Zia was travelling from Bahawalpur in August 1988 resulting in his death was caused by a Shia airman from Gilgit sympathetic to the TJP in retaliation for this massacre. To keep the Shias of Gilgit under control, Musharraf encouraged the the SSP, which had come into existence in the Punjab in the early 1980s at the instance of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), to extend its activities amongst the Sunni population of Gilgit and to politically organise them against the the TJP. Since then, there have frequently been clashes between the TJP and the SSP followers in Gilgit, the latest outbreak of such violent incidents having taken place in June, 2001, before Musharraf’s visit to India for the summit talks with Mr.A.B.Vajpayee, the Indian Prime Minister. REFERENCE: Musharraf�s Ban: An Analysis Author: B.Raman Publication: South Asia Analysis Group Date: January 18, 2002 URL: http://www.saag.org/papers4/paper395.html http://www.hvk.org/articles/0102/71.html
    The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, and, presently, Director,Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai.

    “UNQUOTE”

  • TLW says: October 16, 2010 at 4:30 am And Aamir Mughal sahab your statement about the terrorists targetting Pakistanis is very cryptic. cannon fodder who are being kept to keep the Shia community in Pakistan on the run Shia community on the run? What, are you saying the Paki military establishment keeps hardcore killers like the SSP/TNSM/L-e-J to specifically target the Shia community?
    ================
    Here are some more:)

    And while the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi stand officially disbanded, their most militant son and leader, Maulana Azam Tariq, an accused in several cases of sectarian killing, contested elections from jail – albeit as an independent candidate – won his seat, and was released on bail shortly thereafter. Musharraf rewrote election rules to disqualify former Prime Ministers Mohammed Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto, and threatened to toss them in jail if they returned from abroad, which badly undermined both Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League and Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). Musharraf has plainly given the religious groups more free rein in the campaign than he has allowed the two big parties that were his main rivals. In Jhang city, in Punjab province, Maulana Azam Tariq, leader of an outlawed extremist group called Sipah-e-Sahaba, which has been linked to numerous sectarian killings, is being allowed to run as an independent�despite election laws that disqualify any candidate who has criminal charges pending, or even those who did not earn a college degree. “It makes no sense that Benazir can’t run in the election,” says one Islamabad-based diplomat, “and this nasty guy can.”

    References: And this takes me back to Pervez Musharraf’s first visit to the US after his coup. At a meeting with a group of journalists among whom I was present, my dear and much lamented friend Tahir Mirza, then the Dawn correspondent, asked Musharraf why he was not acting against Lashkar-e Tayba and Jaish-e Muhammad. Musharraf went red in the face and shot back, “They are not doing anything in Pakistan. They are doing jihad outside.” REFERENCES: “LIES”of General [R] Pervez Musharraf, Sharifs & Talibans.
    http://chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2010/03/liesof-general-r-pervez-musharraf.html

  • TLW says: October 16, 2010 at 4:30 am Or are you insinuating that the intel agencies keep them around to prevent something like Sipah-e-Mohammad returning. That would be ridiculous. – and to finger Iran – What do we care about Iran? There’s 180 million of us and 80 million of them. Woh hamara kya bigarh saktay hain?
    =================
    Kindly explain these maneuvering??? – Iran gets its most wanted terrorist, Abdulmalik Rigi 24 February 2010 Sarah Khan http://criticalppp.com/archives/6290

    Click the links in the link above and please “explain” as to how Abdulmalik Rigi was coming and going between Iran and Pakistan as if he is an envoy. Do watch Seymour Hersh’s interview and read him to get the answer “What do we care about Iran?”

  • TLW says: October 16, 2010 at 3:48 am My question is more technical: 1) Is the miltary actually controlling the Taliban, like full on military command and control “control”?
    ========================

    More—

    S. Arabia brokering Kabul-Taliban talks: ‘Militia severs ties with Al Qaeda’ http://www.dawn.com/2008/10/07/top2.htm

    US supports Taliban return to power By Anwar Iqbal http://www.dawn.com/2008/10/07/top5.htm

    Hekmatyar protected by Iran, says Spanish radio http://www.dawn.com/2008/10/07/top12.htm

    Taleban ‘warned US of huge attack’ by By Kate Clark – Former BBC correspondent in Kabul Saturday, 7 September, 2002, 09:48 GMT 10:48 UK http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/2242594.stm

    Taleban minister’s ‘peace role’ mystery Wednesday, 17 October, 2001, 17:15 GMT 18:15 UK http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/1604691.stm

    Taleban ‘turn on ex-minister’ Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 October, 2003, 17:39 GMT 18:39 UK The hardline Islamic Taleban movement is reported to have disowned its former foreign minister in Afghanistan, Wakil Ahmad Mutawakil. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/3209584.stm

  • I think abdul’s statement is really correct – collateral damage of civilians and since post 9/11 within the lower ranks of the military is part and parcel of a policy like strategic depth. Any policy of supporting proxy fighters is bound to result in this.

    anyway imo the best way to look at the taliban’s relationship with the pak army is that it’s almost exactly the same as the pak army’s relationship with the US.

  • Rabia says: October 16, 2010 at 6:47 am anyway imo the best way to look at the taliban’s relationship with the pak army is that it’s almost exactly the same as the pak army’s relationship with the US.
    ================
    🙂 lol , here is the proof and picture is breath taking :)Islamic militancy is a foreign policy tool of the US and Pakistani establishments Wednesday, December 24th, 2008 at 9:12 am By Yousuf Nazar http://www.yousufnazar.com/?p=777

    Admiral Mike Mullen (first from left), the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Pakistani Army Chief Gen. Pervez Kayani (third from the left) and next to him, the ISI Chief Ahmed Shuja Pasha (then Major. Gen. and Director General Military Operations) aboard the US naval carrier Abraham Lincoln in Indian Ocean; in a secret meeting on August 26, 2008. Pasha was promoted to the rank of Lt. Gen. and appointed as the head of the Inter-Services Intelligence on Sept. 29, 2008.

  • @ Farhat: Politics is difficult. The contours of the realpolitik have to be waded through.

    How about this: you continue to write anti-Taliban articles in the boutique English press from the safety of scandinavia while the ANP’s workers and leaders get killed left, right and centre for having the courage to speak up against the Taliban all across KP and even, surprisingly, some parts of Fata.

    Pristine standards can be preached only by those who comment from the safety of the sidelines.

  • @Umar

    Excellent comment.

    While there is no question about the sacrifices of ANP in the war against the ISI’s sponsored religious fanaticism, value (and constructive pressure) of voices such as Farhat Taj’s may not be ignored.