Tuesday, 23 April 2013

India-Pakistan - Jail For The Generals

Indian and Chinese officers are still discussing why twenty or so Chinese troops have been camped out ten kilometers inside Indian Kashmir since the 15 th . China says their troops are not inside India, something India disputes. Neither country seems eager to escalate this, or resolve it.
 
Indian communist (Maoist) rebels, reeling from several years of growing pressure by special police battalions, are seeking alliances with separatist rebels in the northeast. The only thing the Maoists and the separatists have in common is hostility towards the Indian government. But both groups are losing ground to government forces and need whatever help they can get. 
 
While the Pakistani Army is losing it power to act without consulting the civilian government it does not appear that this will change the long-term Pakistani military’s cooperation with and sponsorship of Islamic terrorist groups. Too many Pakistani voters still back Islamic radicalism as a cure for the corruption and bad government in Pakistan. The U.S. has made it clear that as long as Pakistan supports Islamic terrorists (a violation of international law) the U.S. will keep operating its armed UAVs over Pakistan to hunt down Islamic terrorists. This is also a violation of international law but the alternative is to allow the terrorists in their sanctuaries to plan and carry out attacks against Western targets. That is unacceptable in a democracy. When given a choice, most people will vote to defend themselves. 
 
The Pakistani tolerance of Islamic terrorists has also made it dangerous for democracy in the tribal territories. Candidates for the May 11 parliamentary elections in the tribal territories have to take extraordinary security precautions as they campaign in rural areas. The Pakistani Taliban has been quite openly making war on the ruling parties in the tribal territories, seeking to make it possible for pro-Taliban politicians to be elected. At least one female candidate has withdrawn because of death threats. While the Taliban consider democracy un-Islamic, they believe having their own men elected will pave the way for the desired religious dictatorship. 
 
Decades of support for Islamic radicalism and terrorism has hurt the popularity of the Pakistani military. The generals ignored this trend for a long time but that is no longer possible. Civilian leaders are less willing to tolerate whatever the military does and the courts have become dangerously hostile. This is a major change for Pakistan, especially since the military leadership appears divided over what to do. The big question is when, or if, the army can be made to stop supporting Islamic terrorists and its constant attacks on Indian border posts and border patrols. The Pakistani military denies responsibility for this violence, despite the obvious evidence about what it really happening.
In southern (Karachi) and central (Kabirwala) Pakistan female health workers administering polio vaccine to children were assaulted and beaten by Islamic terrorists who oppose Western medicine. In Karachi shots were fired. The Islamic militants have apparently decided to stop trying to kill the health workers as that brought on too much police attention and bad publicity. 
 
Pakistani factory owners are complaining that the growing electricity shortages will cost the country billions of dollars’ worth of lost export sales. As the hours the electricity is turned off (load shedding) increases factories simply cannot produce the products they have overseas orders for. For decades government corruption has impeded the construction and operation of new power plants and despite predictions that these shortages would grow worse nothing was done. 
 
April 22, 2013:  In Pakistan the courts ordered the government to release a list of journalists who received some two million dollars in payments over the last two years. This was not widely reported in the media, for obvious reasons. It’s been an open secret for a long time that journalists, and favorable coverage, could be bought in Pakistan and the government was often buying. Not all journalists are for sale, but many, if not most are and few care to have details of their relationships in this area made public. Technically the government payments were for “legitimate expenses” but the reality was that reporters were expected to produce pro-government stories to justify their expense money. Government officials tried to defy the court order by providing an incomplete list, which included the names of some journalists who never got any money. 
 
April 21, 2013: In the Pakistani tribal territories (North Waziristan) a roadside bomb killed four soldiers.
 
April 20, 2013: In the Pakistani tribal territories (Bajaur) a suicide bomber was halted at the entrance to a hospital, where she detonated her explosives and killed four people. What was unusual was that the bomber was an elderly woman, who may have been coerced into carrying a remotely controlled explosive vest. 
 
April 19, 2013: In Pakistan former head of the military (and military dictator from 1999-2008) Pervez Musharraf submitted to house arrest. Musharraf had returned from exile recently to run for president (“to save the country”) but misjudged the degree of popular hatred for his years of military rule. This is the first time such a senior military officer has been arrested. While there is still a pro-Musharraf faction in the military, that faction was not powerful enough to protect Musharraf from arrest. The courts have also barred Musharraf from running for president and want to prosecute him for various illegal acts while he was military dictator. 
 
April 17, 2013: In the Pakistani tribal territories (South Waziristan) an American UAV fired two missiles at a terrorist compound and killed at least five of the terrorists there.
April 16, 2013: In the Pakistani tribal territories (Peshawar) a suicide bomber killed 19 people at a political rally. 
 
April 15, 2013: In Indian Kashmir a platoon (20-30) of Chinese troops crossed the disputed border with India and set up camp ten kilometers into Indian territory. This was in the mountains at an altitude of 5,500 meters (17,000 feet). This camp was soon discovered by an Indian patrol, which did not confront the Chines but called for reinforcements, which camped nearby and called for diplomats to talk to their Chinese counterparts to clear up the situation. In this age of GPS you can’t blame this sort of thing on getting lost.
 
In eastern India (Chhattisgarh state) police raided a Maoist rebel camp and killed nine of them. The police had received a tip about the location of the Maoist camp in this rural area.

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