Original Articles

Attack on Sheikh Rashid: the other side of the story

By Omar Khattab in Rawalpindi

There is a lot of confusion in Rawalpindi and elsewhere in Pakistan about who would have wanted to kill Shiekh Rashid.

This is what happened: Yesterday as he was coming out of his election office, two gunmen allegedly shot at him while two more gunmen were covering the shooters. As a result four persons walking along Sheikh Rashid were killed. He was injured and was taken to a hospital where it was discovered that his “injury” was not a result of a bullet, but of a fall. Technically he was not injured but had a bruised thigh.

Now a few points to ponder: Who wants to kill Shiekh Rashid? But before we answer this question, we must ask another question: Who kills civilians in Pakistan?

The answer is: the jihadis. In other words, the killers are the Taliban who belong to different sectarian-terrorist organizations but have the same ideology of Islamo-fascism. Shiekh Rashid has been one of the guardian angels of the jihadis as he, by his own confession, has run jihadi camps in Pakistan and Azad Kashmir.

Another point to note is that the jihadis in Pakistan are handled, trained, and protected by the Inter-Services Intelligence (the ISI), which regularly kidnaps and kills mostly non-Punjabi liberals, progressives, and nationalists. Shiekh Rashid, a Punjabi, has been a civilian-political asset of the ISI. He is known to be an Islamist who openly supports Islamo-fascsim and terrorist activities in India. He is so subservient to the Army that he has been proudly claiming the superiority of the Army over all other institutions in Pakistan.

Thus, why would the jihadis or their godfathers, the generals, want Shiekh Rashid to be killed?

If you try to read between the lines, you will find some clever stuff built into the so-called attack on Shiekh Rashid. How come two gunmen shoot straight at the man and miss him completely, but kill four persons beside him? We must remember that no one was in front of Shiekh Rashid, and yet no bullet even brushed past him! Four violent deaths and one man, the supposed target, with a bruise! Can common sense accept this?

This is what lies beneath the headlines and journalistic reporting: It was a well-planned attack to infuse life into the moribund career of a pro-Taliban politician who was defeated at the polls. The ISI wants its man to return to parliament and no can serve it with more servility than the ever-faithful and time-tested Shiekh Rashid. Now he will ride on the sympathy vote and the ruling People’s Party will be arm-twisted (by the ISI) to ask its voters to vote for him. A victory of this constant supporter of martial law (first General Zia and then General Musharraf) will be yet another piece of evidence that even if you are dead, the gods of the ISI can bring you to life.

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Omar Khattab


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  • http://politicalpakistan.blogspot.com/2005/06/sheeda-tulli-in-trouble.html

    Sheeda Tulli in Trouble

    The Newsflash
    On 13 June at an HRCP function in Islamabad the visiting JKLF Chairman Yasin Malik blurted out that the current Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed had once been actively involved the training of Kashmiri guerillas.

    As Daily Times of 14 June reported:

    “ISLAMABAD: When the armed struggle in held Kashmir was at its zenith, Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed set up a camp where around 3,500 Jihadis were trained in guerrilla warfare, revealed Yasin Malik, the Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chairman…
    …The JKLF leader praised Rashid for his contribution to the armed struggle, but the minister refused to comment when journalists approached him.”

    A Sudden Denial
    The very next day (Wednesday, 15 June) Sheikh Rashid Ahmed denied running ‘terrorist camps’. This time Daily Times, quoting the Associated Press, reported:

    “I never ran any training camp for terrorists. It has never been my policy to
    train militants. I am a politician and support the peace process between
    Pakistan and India,” AP quoted Rashid as saying.
    Then the Foreign Office also weighed in, as the newspaper added:

    The Foreign Office on Tuesday denied a story that Sheikh Rashid had been running terrorist training camps. “The news item is based on reported remarks by Yasin Malik,” an FO spokesman said. “The Government of Pakistan strongly refutes the story which is obviously based on lack of comprehension by the reporter. In fact, Yasin Malik had commended the moral support to the Kashmiri cause by the minister,” he added.


    Swift Rebuttals
    Several People unexpectedly entered the fray by robustly corroborating Yasin Malik’s version, these included:

    – General Mirza Aslam Baig, the former Army Chief,
    – Maj Gen Naseerullah Babar, Interior Minister (1993-1996) during Benazir’s 2nd government
    – Ch.Nisar Khan, ex- Federal Minister & colleague of Sheikh Rashid during Nawaz Sharif governments
    – Khawaja Khalid, former officer in the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI)
    – Hamid Mir, of the Geo Television Network

    They all confirmed that Rashid Ahmed used to run a militant camp in Rawalpindi which allegedly functioned under the name of ‘Freedom House’.

    Hamid Mir went on record and said:
    Sheikh Rashid’s Rawalpindi farmhouse was dubbed Freedom House and used to be a hub of Kashmiri activists belonging to the JKLF. The camp was operational from 1988-90 to train JKLF cadres and Sheikh Rashid accompanied JKLF leaders, including Yasin, to the LoC several times. The camp’s existence was known to high officials in Islamabad
    Amir Mir writing in Outlook stated that:
    A retired [Pakistani] intelligence official told {Amir Mir} that late Ashfaq Majeed Wani was in charge of Freedom House, the Sheikh’s 20-acre farmhouse in Fateh Jang, Rawalpindi; and it was the ISI, then under Lt Gen Hamid Gul, which established the facility. But the former official claims the “liberation of Kashmir” may not have been the Sheikh’s sole motive. “There were those in the intelligence who believed that he had actually rented out his farmhouse to the ISI for a hefty sum of money
    In the same Outlook article, Amir Mir quotes Farhatullah Babar, a Pakistan People’s Party spokesperson with a decided anti-Rashid standpoint:
    Since only 20 acres of land was used to train militants, Babar has alleged that hundreds of acres of land were given to the Sheikh for some “collateral purposes”. Claiming that the “training camp story was anything more than a decoy to divert state funds to favoured political leaders to overthrow democracy”, the PPP has now demanded an inquiry into the Sheikh’s role in training militants.
    The most damaging allegation came from the former ISI officer Khawaja Khalid who asserted:
    Then Nawaz Sharif introduced me to Sheikh Rashid, and he took me to his Freedom House camp near Fateh Jang Road near Rawalpindi. He asked me to get support from Arabs. I took several of my Arab friends to his training camp, and they provided him with some money, though they were not satisfied with the environment. The youths were mostly trained to fire AK-47 rifles, but there was no arrangement for the ideological training of youths. That was the point on which the Arabs objected, that it is ideological training that makes a difference between a mercenary and a mujahid. Rashid was the least bothered about ideological training, he was interested in money – Rs50,000 per person. Some money was provided to Rashid, and he claimed that he procured AK-47 guns with that money. How many, I do not remember.

    A Retraction
    Yasin Malik then spoke to BBC with a clarification which was refuted by the former Army Chief Mirza Aslam Baig:
    “We got refuge in his farmhouse… Sheikh Rashid helped us a lot and loved us” like a brother, Mr Malik told the BBC. However he denied having alleged in Pakistan’s Daily Times newspaper that the minister had set up a training camp. “I have never mentioned the word training,” Mr Malik said.
    But Gen Beg has taken the allegations further, saying that Mr Rashid did run such a camp. “It came to my knowledge in 1990 that there was a militant training camp on Fateh Jang Road some 20km from Islamabad. I passed the information to the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who ordered the closure of the camp in 1991,” he told the BBC.
    . _________________________________________________________

    Indian Reaction
    On 24th the Press reported that Indian government turned down a visa application from Sheikh Rashid Ahmed to visit Indian-administered Kashmir.

    A Blog Comment
    Your blogger vividly recalls Sheikh Rashid Ahmed bragging in the Pakistani press about the camp and his heroic support for the Kashmiri cause.

    Can anyone, who has the patience and the urge to sift through newspapers of around 1989-1991, track down this report and find out what exactly Sheeda Tulli said? He certainly wasn’t handing out Havana cigars to his guests, so what was he actually providing them with?

  • شیخ رشید پر حملہ، سیاسی یا دیگر وجوہات؟

    ہارون رشید
    بی بی سی اردو ڈاٹ کام، اسلام آباد

    شیخ رشید پر قاتلانہ حملے میں ان کے دو محافظوں سمیت چار افراد ہلاک ہو گئے تھے

    عوامی مسلم لیگ کے سربراہ شیخ رشید احمد کو اگر پاکستانی میڈیا کی ہر دل عزیز شخصیت کہا جائے تو شاید غلط نہیں ہوگا۔میڈیا میں اکثر وہ اپنی یا صحافیوں کی وجہ سے رہتے ہیں لیکن سوموار کی شام ان پر حملے نے انہیں کسی تیسرے فریق کی وجہ سے بھی ذرائع ابلاغ پر حاوی کر دیا۔

    یہ تیسرا ’خفیہ فریق‘ کون ہوسکتا ہے اس بابت چہ مگوئیاں شروع ہوگئی ہیں۔ وہ خود بھی کسی کا براہ راست نام لینے سے ہچکچا رہے ہیں اور ایف آئی آر تک میں نامعلوم افراد لکھوا دیا ہے۔ لیکن میڈیا کو جو انٹرویو دے رہے ہیں ان میں وہ قدرے بہادری دکھاتے ہوئے اپنی بندوقوں کا رخ بظاہر اپنے سیاسی حریفوں کی جانب موڑ رہے ہیں۔ البتہ ان کے ناقدین اسے اس حملے سے سیاسی فائدہ اٹھانے کا الزام عائد کرتے ہیں۔

    لیکن پاکستان کی سیاسی تاریخ میں بہت کم کسی نے مخالف امیدوار پر محض اس لیے جان لیوا حملہ کروایا کہ وہ ان سے جیت رہا تھا۔ بڑے بڑے وڈیرے یا سردار تو ایسے حملے ماضی میں کرسکتے ہوں گے لیکن شہری علاقوں میں اس طرح کا شدید ردعمل کم ہی دیکھنے میں آیا ہے۔ وجہ یقینا کوئی اور ہے۔

    اس بابت ایک وجہ جو ذہن میں فوراً آتی ہے وہ ہے شیخ رشید کا سابقِ فوجی آمر صدر جنرل پرویز مشرف کا ان کے دورے حکومت میں ساتھ دینا۔ اس دوران قبائلی علاقوں میں ان گنت فوجی کارروائیاں بھی ہوئیں اور اسلام آباد کی لال مسجد میں فوجی آپریشن بھی۔ شیخ رشید بحثیت وفاقی وزیرِ اطلاعات ان کا دفاع کرتے رہے تھے۔

    لال مسجد میں فوجی کارروائی کے وقت شیخ رشید وفاقی وزیر اطلاعات تھے

    شیخ رشید لال مسجد کی حد تک عام معافی بھی مانگ چکے ہیں اور یہ بھی کہہ چکے ہیں کہ اس وقت مستعفی نہ ہونا ان کی سب سے بڑی غلطی تھی۔ لیکن یہ بات عام ہے کہ لال مسجد کے شدت پسندوں سے ان کو خطرہ موجود ہے۔ وہ محض موقع کی تلاش میں تھے۔ تاہم حملے کے بعد بھی شیخ رشید احتیاط کرتے ہوئے لال مسجد کا ذکر نہیں کر رہے ہیں۔

    مشرف کابینہ کے وہ واحد وزیر نہیں جن پر حملے ہو چکے ہیں۔ سابقِ فوجی آمر ضیا الحق کے بیٹے اور اس وقت کے کلِک وفاقی وزیرِ مذہبی امور اعجازالحق پر بھی بہاولنگر میں ایک موٹر سائیکل سوار نے حملے کی بظاہر کوشش کی تھی تاہم وہ ہدف تک پہنچنے سے قبل ہی دھماکہ خیز مواد کے پھٹنے سے ہلاک ہوگیا تھا۔

    ان کے علاوہ اس وقت کے کلِک وفاقی وزیرِ داخلہ آفتاب شیرپاؤ پر بھی چارسدہ میں دو ہزار سات میں دو بڑے خودکش حملے ہوئے جن میں وہ بال بال بچ گئے۔ تاہم ایک مرتبہ ان کے حجرے اور دوسری مرتبہ ایک مسجد میں ہوئے ان حملوں سے بڑی تعداد میں عام لوگ مارے گئے تھے۔

    سابق فوجی حکمران پرویز مشرف پر بھی متعدد حملے ہو چکے ہیں

    صوبہ سرحد سے ہی تعلق رکھنے والے ایک دوسرے کلِک سابق وفاقی وزیر امیر مقام ہیں جن پر دو ہزار سات میں قاتلانہ حملہ شانگلہ میں ان کے گھر پر ہوا لیکن وہ محفوظ رہے۔ صدر مشرف نے انہیں سیاسی امور کے قلمدان کے علاوہ خصوصی طور پر بلٹ پروف گاڑی بھی دے رکھی تھی۔

    کلِک مشرف پر خود کئی حملے ہوئے تاہم وہ محفوظ رہے۔ اسی طرح ان کی کابینہ کے کئی اراکین پر بھی بار بار حملے ہوئے لیکن وہ بھی ان کا کچھ نہیں بگاڑ سکے۔ تحقیقاتی اہلکاروں اور تجزیہ نگاروں کے مطابق شیخ رشید پر حملے کا زیادہ شک سیاسی مخالفین کی بجائے شدت پسندوں کی جانب جاتا ہے۔

    ان شدت پسندوں میں اب لال مسجد یا قبائلی علاقوں کی تخصیص تقریباً ختم ہوچکی ہے۔ انتخابی مہم کی وجہ سے شیخ رشید کو زیادہ آسانی سے نشانہ بنایا جاسکتا تھا۔ اور شاید اسی کا فائدہ انہوں نے اٹھانے کی کوشش کی ہے۔