Saturday, May 21, 2011

Inda And Pakistan : A Rivalry That Threatens The World

 OUTSIDERS, especially Indians, have expressed dismay ever since Osama bin Laden was killed this month in Abbottabad, a prim military town in Pakistan. Here is a state that both fights, and protects, Islamic fanatics. Even when Pakistanis themselves are the main victims of attack by jihadis, the state fails to act.
On May 13th suicide-bombers sent by an al-Qaeda-affiliated group, the Pakistani Taliban, killed 80, mostly young army cadets, in Shabqadar, a town in the north-west. That attack was claimed as retaliation for bin Laden’s death, but such strikes have grown dismally common. As America’s ambassador in Islamabad, Cameron Munter, puts it, “If you grow vipers in your backyard, you’re going to get bitten.”
At moments Pakistan sounds ready to co-operate with America against extremists. John Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, whizzed through Kabul and Islamabad this week and claimed, after four hours of talks with General Ashfaq Kayani, Pakistan’s army chief, that the troubled bilateral relationship was again “on track”. Pakistan will hand over the remains of the stealth helicopter blown up in the Abbottabad raid. And America’s secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, will visit in the coming weeks.
More important, America’s spies, after a year of lurking by madrassas and in dark corners of towns without telling their Pakistani counterparts what they were up to, will start working again with the Pakistani military spy outfit, the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate (ISI). Any more strikes against “high-value targets”, which presumably means Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda’s deputy leader, or Mullah Omar, boss of the Afghan Taliban, will officially be joint efforts. Almost immediately, on May 17th, Pakistan announced results: the army arrested a Yemeni in Karachi, said to be a senior al-Qaeda operative.
Many Pakistanis, however, cannot see things as Americans do. On Abbottabad, for example, they care little that bin Laden was there, and much more about the ease with which American forces swooped in. A poll a week after the raid of 2,500 people found that only 26% believed bin Laden had been killed. Around half, 49%, reckoned the event had been faked, and nearly as many thought bin Laden, if dead, was anyway a martyr. Around 68% were most bothered that an outsider had violated Pakistan’s sovereignty.
The Abbottabad affair was especially galling because the town sits close to the border with the Indian-run bit of Kashmir, supposedly a well-guarded frontier. Ordinary Pakistanis are conditioned to fret that India has still not come to terms with the existence of their country, and may one day simply come strolling in. It is no surprise that a resident in a house across from bin Laden’s, describing the raid, said: “We first thought the Indians were invading.”
At a joint session of the Pakistani parliament on May 13th, attended by army chiefs, the real concern was India. India’s army chief, foolishly, had boasted just after the bin Laden raid that his special forces had the means to do something similar. Pakistan’s spy chief, Ahmad Shuja Pasha, told MPs that the Pakistani army had not only picked targets in India for retaliation but had also rehearsed striking them.
The usefulness of jihad
Amid all the threats, MPs did not bother to ask questions about bin Laden. That may have been pride, or it may have reflected Pakistanis’ sense that jihadis are less snakes in the yard than a practical, if unconventional, means for a weak country to project power against a much bigger one.
India’s population and its economy are now both eight times bigger than Pakistan’s, and growing fast (see table). Whereas Pakistan relies on aid and begs foreigners to equip its army, India, by contrast, races on, is now an aid-giver and has America eager to be its friend. As a longstanding, stable democracy, it has moral power. It sits on the United Nations Security Council, shares intelligence closely with America and plans to spend tens of billions of dollars a year on defence.
Pakistan’s relative insecurities have been intensified over the years by natural disasters, such as huge floods in 2010, and self-inflicted wounds such as frequent military coups. But they are all the more deeply felt because they are not new. The country was born from partition with India in 1947, a bloodbath that killed hundreds of thousands (both Muslims and Hindus) and displaced many millions. That, and Islam, helped forge a sense of nationhood. But the wounds of partition also caused Pakistanis to fear for their existence.
For a weak country, using proxy armies and jihadis has often seemed a good idea. Just after partition, late in 1947, fierce Pushtun tribesmen poured into Kashmir to seize territory for Pakistan from India. Where they reached is still, more or less, the territory’s line of control (see map). Later, with American help, the then ruler of Pakistan, General Zia al Haq, sent jihadis to take on the Soviet invaders in Afghanistan. His eventual successor as dictator, General Pervez Musharraf, recently admitted what everyone knew, that militants had then been sent to stir trouble in Indian-run Kashmir.
Deploying jihadis is cheap, easy and somewhat deniable if things go wrong. It occupies men who might otherwise make mischief at home, and may also help foster a sense of national unity in Pakistan, as jihadis fight in the name of Islam. But as Ijaz Gilani, a Gallup pollster in Islamabad, points out, national feeling is also fuelled by hostility to India. Many Pakistanis are quick to explain away, or even actively support, jihadis who strike even at soft, civilian, targets in India, such as the attack in Mumbai in 2008 when 170 people died.
A trial that started on May 16th in America may test this idea. Prosecutors in Chicago accuse a businessman of Pakistani descent, Tahawwur Hussain Raina, of helping the Mumbai attackers, among whose victims were six Americans. A government witness has already said that an ISI officer, a “Major Iqbal”, helped to fund and guide the Mumbai attackers.
If Pakistan’s unhealthy tolerance of jihadi groups is the result of an obsession with India, what of its disruptive behaviour in Afghanistan? It lets America drive three-quarters of its war supplies from Karachi, and goes along with immensely unpopular drone strikes against extremists in its own tribal areas. Yet it also diverts funds to its Pushtun brethren, the Afghan Taliban, and resists any ground attack on another group connected with al-Qaeda, the Haqqani network (active in Afghanistan, based in Pakistan), though it is said to be pressing them to join Afghan peace talks.
Seen from Kabul, Pakistan’s ISI is behind the growing activity of Afghan insurgents. Researchers there totted up 12,244 attacks in the country last year, a more than five-fold increase since 2006. “Those connected to the insurgency say to us that ISI activities have increased [especially] over the past 18 months,” reports a well-connected observer. The Pakistanis deny that they are actively helping the Taliban.
They also refuse to accept that they are duplicitous in their dealings with America. Yes, they say, they agreed to back America’s war: refusing would have made an enemy of a superpower. But that does not mean they are adopting America’s aspirations in Afghanistan. Pakistanis plainly see quite different national interests there—again, largely, because of India.
Where America broadly hopes to clamp down on Islamic extremists, impose some sort of order and find a way to get its soldiers home, Pakistan, by contrast, does not want to see a strong Afghan state—particularly one where ethnic groups such as Tajiks, traditionally friendly to India, tend to predominate in positions of power.
Manmohan Singh, India’s prime minister, drove home the point on a rare visit to Kabul on May 13th. In Afghanistan’s parliament he made much of India’s impressive $1.5 billion aid schemes, which have built roads, set up power lines and fostered ties between the two countries. He promised another $500m as he cheered the emerging “strategic” partnership.
A senior Indian government official says India has “no endgame” in Afghanistan; all it wants is a country that is “moderate” and “stable”. But even that makes insecure Pakistanis jumpy. Afghanistan has been hostile to Pakistan for much of its history: opposing, alone, Pakistan’s membership of the UN, refusing even now to recognise Pakistan’s external borders. Separatists in Pakistan, notably the Baluchis and perhaps even Pushtuns, might also grow more active if war ended next door. Pushtuns are a large minority in Pakistan and the biggest ethnic group in Afghanistan. The Afghan government has never recognised the “Durand line”, the Afghan-Pakistan border that the British drove through Pushtun tribal lands, and the idea of an independent “Pushtunistan” has never entirely vanished.
Pakistan fears encirclement by India and its ally. The Pakistanis have long accused India, via Iran and Afghanistan, of arming the Baluchi separatists. Suspicion runs deep. An ISI official in Islamabad spins a theory that Indian road-building in Afghanistan is really a cover for shipping enormous quantities of explosives there for use by terrorists inside Pakistan, including, supposedly, the 2008 bombing of the Marriott hotel in Islamabad.
Pakistan therefore wants influence in Afghanistan for the sake of “strategic depth”. That variously means having control of territory to which its leaders, soldiers or even nuclear weapons could move in case of war with India, or simply having close Afghan allies across the border, who can help keep Indian meddling at bay. Either way, Pakistan wants Afghanistan weak, divided, or once more ruled (at least in part) by a pliant Pushtun proxy; though some generals say they are less keen on the Taliban, now they have seen what they are like.
Armed and dangerous
To Indians Pakistan’s existential fears are exaggerated, blown up by the army to scare the people. India has never been the aggressor, they point out. Even when India intervened to help split Pakistan in two, in 1971, it only did so late, after seeing mass flows of refugees and atrocities on a horrific scale by the army against civilians in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh).
Instead, say Indians, Pakistanis’ own paranoia is the root of their instability. M.J. Akbar, an eloquent Indian journalist and author of a new book on Pakistan, sums up the place as dangerous and fragile, a “toxic jelly state”. He blames the army, mostly, for ever more desperate decisions to preserve its dominance. “Pakistan is slipping into a set of contradictions that increasingly make rational behaviour hostage to the need for institutions to survive,” he says.
Others, including liberal Pakistanis, add that Pakistan cannot shake itself from military men obsessed with India. “We have become delusional, psychotic, fearing how to protect ourselves from the rest of the world,” says one. India’s most senior security officials say that Pakistan is still, in essence, a state run by its army. That army, the world’s seventh-largest, bleeds the state of about a sixth of all public funds with almost no civilian oversight.
All that is grim enough. Then consider how Pakistan is rapidly expanding its arsenal of nuclear weapons. That programme was born out of the country’s humiliating loss of East Pakistan in 1971. Six years earlier, around the time of a previous defeat by India, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, then Pakistan’s foreign minister, had declared: “If India builds the bomb, we will eat grass or leaves for a thousand years, even go hungry, but we will get one of our own.”
Pakistan may now have between 70 and 120 usable nuclear devices—and may be unusually ready to use them. Some in the West believe Pakistan started preparing nuclear-tipped missiles in the midst of the 1999 Kargil war against India, after Pakistan invaded a remote corner of Kashmir.
Nobody doubts that Pakistan, in the midst of its anxiety over India, is trying hard to get more. Its nuclear warheads use an implosion design with a solid core of about 15-20 kilograms of highly enriched uranium. The country produces about 100 kilograms of that a year, but is rapidly expanding its nuclear infrastructure with Chinese help. And with production long-established, the price of adding weapons has fallen to almost nothing. A nuclear physicist in Pakistan, Pervez Hoodbhoy, now suggests that “you can have a working nuke for about $10m, or the cost of a nice big house in Islamabad.”
The new push seems, as ever, to be a response to two developments next door. Pakistan was badly spooked by India’s deal on civil nuclear power with America, completed in 2008. This not only binds America and India closely; it also lets India buy uranium on international markets, and probably means it will soon build many more reactors. By one panicky Pakistani estimate, India could eventually be making 280 nuclear weapons a year.
The other change is over doctrine and delivery. India has long held a position of “no first use” of nukes. Pakistan, by contrast, with weaker conventional forces, refuses to rule out the option of starting a nuclear war against India, and is now taking steps that could make such first use more likely. Last month it test-fired a new missile, the Hatf IX, with a range of just 60km and specifically designed for war-fighting. Two missiles are carried in tubes on a transporter and can be fired, accurately, at short notice. The warheads are small, low-yielding devices for destroying large tank formations with relatively little explosive damage or radiation beyond the battlefield.
Pakistan’s generals say their new tactical weapons will meet a threat from India’s Cold Start doctrine, adopted in 2004, that calls for rapid, punitive, though conventional thrusts against Pakistan. But by rolling out tactical nuclear weapons, Pakistan is stirring fears of instability. Previous efforts to reassure observers that terrorists or rogue army officers could not get hold of nukes rested on the fact that warheads and delivery systems were stored separately and were difficult to fire—and that final authority to launch a strike requires “consensus” within the National Command Authority, which includes various ministers and the heads of all three services, and is chaired by the prime minister.
But tactical nuclear weapons deployed close to the battlefield pose new risks. Command-and-control protocols are likely to be looser and more delegated. If field officers retreating in the face of a conventional attack by India were forced to decide between using or losing their nuclear weapons, a border incursion could swiftly escalate into something very much bigger and more lethal. 

Talking, not shooting
Trouble on the border is not a theoretical problem; it is commonplace. Exchanges of fire between Pakistanis and Indians over the border in Kashmir killed an Indian soldier this weekend. This time it did not escalate, in part because the two countries are in the midst of diplomatic efforts. But India’s prime minister, Mr Singh, ordered a review by his security chiefs.
Some in India have been trying to ease tensions with Pakistan. Mr Singh, born before partition in territory that is now Pakistan, is personally eager to do so (though others in his government, and hawkish opposition parties, disagree). He tried “cricket diplomacy” this year, inviting his counterpart, Yusuf Raza Gilani, to watch India play Pakistan in the cricket World Cup. He is the driving force on bilateral talks on trade, water and counter-terrorism, which should culminate in the next few months in a meeting of foreign ministers.
Encouragingly, on Pakistan’s side, civilians also seem open to talks. It helps, too, that Kashmir has fallen quiet in recent months, though that may be merely seasonal. Nawaz Sharif, the main opposition leader, who as prime minister in 1999 came close to striking a peace deal with India, dared to suggest on May 16th that Pakistan would make progress only when it stopped treating India as its “biggest enemy”. As controversially, he called for a cut in public funds for the army.
View the various territorial claims from each country's perspective here
Yet suspicion lingers. General Kayani told a diplomat in Islamabad recently that he backs peace efforts with India, but he has done little about it. And the army has an interest in maintaining at least the illusion of an Indian threat to protect its bloated budget and special privileges.
In private, too, many remain gloomy. Talks, let alone a deal, may simply spur the terrorists to another atrocity. General Mahmud Ali Durrani, a former ambassador to America who supports peace talks, feels that the army’s insecurity is too big a problem. “I don’t think we are flying. The security elements are not so enamoured by the idea. They feel India never accepted Pakistan, and given half a chance [the Indians] would undo it.”

Indian, Pakistani And Chinese Border Disputes : Fantasy Frontiers

Disputed borders are both a cause and a symptom of tensions between big neighbours in South Asia. When the colonial power, Britain, withdrew from India it left a dangerous legacy of carelessly or arbitrarily drawn borders. Tensions between India and China flare on occasion, especially along India’s far north-eastern border, along the state of Arunachal Pradesh. In recent years Chinese officials have taken to calling part of the same area “South Tibet”, to Indian fury, as that seems to imply a Chinese claim to the territory. A failure to agree the precise border, and then to demarcate it, ensures that future disagreements may flare again. Pakistan, too, is beset by difficult borders. Afghanistan, to the north, has long been a hostile neighbour. This is largely because Afghanistan refuses to recognise the frontier—known as the Durand line—between the countries, drawn by the British. Most contentious of all, however, are the borders in Kashmir, where Pakistan, India and China all have competing claims. By the time of independence, in 1947 , it was clear that many Indian Muslims were determined to break off from Hindu-majority India. It fell to a British civil servant, who knew nothing of the region, to draw a line of partition between territory that would become Pakistan and India. Pakistan was given Muslim dominated areas in the far north west, plus territory in the east ( which itself got independence as Bangladesh in 1971). The rulers of some disputed areas, notably Kashmir, were told to choose which country to join. While Kashmir’s Hindu rulers prevaricated, hoping somehow to become an independent country, Pakistan’s leaders decided to force the issue. Since Kashmir was (and is) a Muslim majority territory, Pakistan felt justified in seeing Pushtun warlords charge in from the north-west of Pakistan, late in 1947 , to seize control of Kashmir. In response India, apparently invited by Kashmir’s rulers, deployed its national army and stopped the invaders taking Srinagar, Kashmir’s capital, located in the Kashmir valley, the most coveted part of the territory. The resulting line of control, by and large, remains the de-facto international frontier within Kashmir and, in effect, is accepted by Paksitan and India. Huge numbers of Indian and Pakistani soldiers remain in Kashmir today as both countries profess to be the rightful authority for the rest of Kashmir. Complicating matters, China has also extended its influence, and control, over portions of Kashmir, largely with the support of Pakistan, an ally.

Lieutenant Colonel Quazi Nooruzzaman : Citizen Soldier, Sector Commander

Colonel Quazi Nooruzzaman Colonel Quazi Nooruzzaman in many ways is what one may consider the true embodiment of the spirit of our liberation war. For the past forty years he lived his life in a manner where his actions and deeds upheld the spirit of the liberation war in every sense of the term. In March 1971 , Colonel Zaman was a retired army officer of the Pakistan Army leading the life of a private citizen in Dhaka. For Colonel Zaman the choice was clear once the Pakistan army cracked down on unarmed civilians. He was a trained soldier and his country required him to fight in the trenches in its hour of need and that's what he was going to do - be it as a commander or a private.    For his part in the liberation war, Colonel Zaman was awarded the gallantry award Bir Uttam but he has steadfastly refused this award. He neither attended any ceremony to accept this award nor has he ever used this award as a part of his credentials. His reasons for not accepting the award are simple. First, gallantry awards are for professional soldiers and not for soldiers of a liberation army who fight for their independence. Normally, a professional army fights the enemy and protects its civilian population. In our liberation war, the entire population (barring collaborators) fought against the enemy. The reward for the struggle was independence itself and gallantry awards diminish the significance of this struggle.    Second, during the liberation war, there were innumerable instances of utmost courage and dedication by ordinary people who fought against the professional Pakistani army with very little in terms weaponry and equipment. These sons of the soil willingly and selflessly gave their lives for their people and country. They did not receive any gallantry award for their courage or sacrifice. Consider the case of the early volunteers of the Mukti Bahini. By the end of April 1971 , organized resistance by Bengalee soldiers against the crackdown had ended and the Mukti Bahini was pushed across the borders. At that time it was important to keep up the struggle and raise the morale of the population. During April to June 1971 , hundreds of Mukti Bahini volunteers, mostly peasants and village people, were trained for one to two weeks and organized in small groups and armed with only grenades and one pistol per group were sent to fight the Pakistan army. Like sacrificial lambs, they were all killed. Most of their names are not even in the records of the liberation war and the tales of their sacrifice is now lost. These were the bravest sons of this soil and if they did not receive any gallantry award, Colonel Zaman felt he could not accept any gallantry award for his role in the liberation war.    He suffered indignation of being a Bengalee in the Pakistan army. Often he would find himself in situations where he was subjected to racial epithets, including personal insults. Colonel Zaman never accepted such insults lying down even if that meant getting on the wrong side of the President of Pakistan, General Ayub Khan. He was a man of strong conviction and quiet dignity. He was not known to raise his voice or get involved in arguments. If he disagreed with a point of view he would clearly say so and would articulate his position lucidly.    In the past forty years, he has written extensively on the problems of Bangladesh. He is the author of several books and wrote regularly in newspapers. In all his writings, we see the essence of the spirit of the liberation war which was the dignity of a citizen in an independent country. He wanted nothing more or anything less for himself other than what was due to him as an ordinary citizen. He felt strongly that there can no disagreements on the spirit of the liberation war, which he saw as the struggle for the protection of individual rights and dignity of ordinary citizens so that they achieve economic and social emancipation. He always stood against privilege and nepotism.    Immediately after our victory on 16 December 1971 , Colonel Zaman returned back to his old civilian life. He did not accept any inducement of high office in return for his political support. When freedom fighters persuaded him to take over the helms of the Muktijoudha Sangsad, he only agreed to do so if he was elected as Chairman and not in any other way. It is now a matter of historical record that the Muktijoudha Sangsad has had only one open and fair election in its forty years of existence and it was the one when Colonel Zaman was elected as Chairman.    In 1981 , when the Sattar Government under the directives of General Ershad was persecuting freedom fighters in the army and was going through the mockery of a trial by holding a Court Martial in camera in Chittagong Jail, Colonel Zaman's was the lone voice that protested against this charade. He continued his protests for days and months and even went on a hunger strike. Neither intimidation nor inducement could silence him. Ershad arrested him under martial law regulations and kept him in jail for several months. Immediately, after his release, Colonel Zaman published an article on the evils of martial law when the country was under Ershad's martial law.    Colonel Zaman was the founding convener of the Ekkatorer Ghatak Dalal Nirmul Committee. He continued to play an important role in this committee and when he felt that Committee was straying from its original intent he stepped aside.    Colonel Zaman joined the liberation war immediately after the crackdown of March 25 , 1971. He understood the severity of the situation and decided to join the liberation struggle straightaway even before making any arrangements for the safety of his family. He left it to his friends and relatives to look after his family. Eventually, the entire family crossed over to India. When his 15- year old son, Nadeem, expressed his desire to fight, Colonel Zaman assigned him the duties of a rifleman in Captain Jahangir's sub- sector. He wasn't given any special consideration. His wife, Dr. Sultana Zaman on her own arranged equipment and supplies for a field hospital from the Government of West Bengal. She found a Bengalee surgeon, Dr. Moazzem, who agreed to work with her in the field hospital. She set up the field hospital in Mohidipur sub sector of Sector 7 where her daughters Naila and Lubna along with other medical students worked tirelessly to bring comfort to the wounded and sick freedom fighters.    I first met Colonel Zaman sometime in May 1971 at the Raiganj Mukti Bahini Camp in West Dinajpur. He was heading the Selection Team that was interviewing prospective officer candidates for the liberation army. Only two candidates were selected from that entire region. One was Kaiser Haq and the other was I. Little did we know that both of us would be assigned to Sector 7 after the completion of our training where Colonel Zaman was the Sector Commander.    As a Sector Commander, Colonel Zaman was methodical and he devoted his attention to those areas where he felt he would have the most impact. He personally spoke to as many freedom fighters as he could especially when they were being infiltrated into the hinterland. Whenever, freedom fighters from the interior came back to base camp to pick up supplies or ammunition, Colonel Zaman tried to talk to as many of them as he could. He listened to their problems with empathy, discussed operational issues and always impressed upon them not be overwhelmed with problems. He was firm and assertive but never disrespectful to anyone. His approach was to encourage innovation and improvisation to make up for what we lacked in weaponry and ammunition. Colonel Zaman did not have any time for those freedom fighters that were reluctant to fight; he left them alone and focused his attention on matters where his energies would be better utilized.    Colonel Zaman worked closely with his Sub-sector Commanders in almost every operation. When the Indian Army agreed to support his sector operations with artillery but would not be able to provide any forward observation officer, being an artillery officer Colonel Zaman decided to take that task upon himself. This meant that even as a Sector Commander he had to be with his frontline troops for all major operations to direct the artillery bombardment. As far as I know, he is the only Sector Commander who had done this. His leadership style was pragmatic and he did what was needed to be done without any fuss. He was confident of his abilities and the abilities of his men but he wasn't foolhardy; he took calculated risks but never gambled.    He instilled in his men a code of conduct consistent with the Geneva Convention. After victory when many freedom fighters sought retribution against collaborators, Colonel Zaman insisted that no one should take the law in their own hands. Instead, he ordered the arrest of collaborators so that all those who were guilty of crimes against humanity could be brought under the due process of law.    Colonel Zaman passed away on May 6 , 2011 after prolonged illness caused by old age complications. He did not seek and nor did he receive any assistance from the government in dealing with his medical condition. When family members tried to convince him to go abroad for medical treatment he steadfastly refused. His reason was - how many citizens of Bangladesh can go abroad for medical treatment? Even in his final days, Colonel Zaman remained what he has always aspired to be - a citizen of Bangladesh living with dignity!

Lakhs Of Stimulating YABA Entering Bangladesh Everyday From MAYANMAR : Intelligence Sources

Despite close vigilance of the Border Guard Bangladesh and other law enforcing agencies, several lakhs of stimulating Yaba tablets are entering the country everyday from Myanmar border. Intelligence sources told UNB that some powerful international criminal and financial networks are controlling drugs supply-chain within Bangladesh. Yaba is a combination of methamphetamine (a powerful and addictive stimulant) and caffeine. Yaba tablets typically are consumed orally. Users place the yaba tablet on aluminum foil and heat it from below. As the tablet melts, vapors rise and is inhaled. People who use Yaba face the same risks as users of other forms of methamphetamine: rapid heart rate, increased blood pressure, and damages small blood vessels in the brain that can lead to stroke. Chronic use of the drug can result in inflammation of the heart lining. Overdoses can cause hyperthermia ( elevated body temperature), convulsions, and death. Yaba addicts also may have episodes of violent behavior, paranoia, anxiety, confusion, and insomnia. Yaba are coming to Teknaf of Cox’s Bazaar from Myanmar through Naf river mainly by small boats, fishing boats, cattle carrying trawlers and small cargo ships. The drugs traffickers have been using a 14- kilometer-long route between Teknaf and Shahpuri Deep. Sabrang Union, located in the southern part of Teknaf Upazila, near Maungdaw township of Arakan State in Mayanmar, is one of the main points used by the traffickers. The sources said nearly 100 drug paddlers are involved in supplying Yaba tablets across the country especially capital Dhaka from Teknaf. Each dealer supply 10 ,000 to 20 ,000 Yaba tablets in each consignment, said an intelligence officer, adding that each drug dealer sends five to six consignments every months depending on demands. Acting on a tip-off, a joint team comprising members of RAB-1 and department of Narcotics Control raided a Chinese restaurant in Uttara and arrested drug dealer Abdus Sakur Mahmud, 44 , at about 7 :00 pm on Thursday. The law enforcers searched the bag kept on his lap and found around 18 , 000 pieces of Yaba tablets. This was the second biggest Yaba recovery by RAB in terms of quantity as earlier the elite force recovered around 1.20 lakh pieces Yaba tablets from Gulshan in 2007 and arrested a manufacturer. Drug dealer Mahmud confessed that he was involved in Yaba trade for a long time and he used to bring four to five consignments of Yaba tablets in Dhaka from Teknaf every month. RAB headquarters organized a press briefing Friday morning where the arrested drug dealer Mahmud was produced. Replying to a question, Mahmud revealed that demand of Yaba tablets are increasing as a section of physicians, judges, army majors and officials have been taking Yaba along side young generation. Director (Media) of RAB Headquarters Commander Sohail said a section of influential people are involved in Yaba trading in the country. “We have got names of a number influential people and information about their bank account numbers,” Sohail said, adding “We are checking with their bank accounts”. The influential people send money to Singapore through hundi and the money then is re-transferred to Myanmar as payment for Yaba consignment, he said. According to latest information, police searched a land cruiser jeep at Ukhia Court Bazar road Thursday night and recovered 40 ,000 Yaba tablets. The RAB (Media) director said members of RAB so far recovered 3.22 yaba tablets since the elite force was launched in March 2004.

Marxists Blunders Paved Way For Mamata's Resounding Victory

An electoral avalanche marked the resounding victory of Miss Mamata Banerjee's Trinamul Congress (TG) routing the 35- year old fortress of West Bengal Left Front (LF) last week. Affectionately called Didi, who studied Islamic history at the ' Varsity and lives a frugal life, told the media after the win, 'People are my heart's biggest strength. Today I remember Rabindranath Tagore, Kazi Nazrul Islam and Swami Vivekananda.' The TG supremo Mamata Banerjee is scheduled to take oath of office as the first woman chief minister of West Bengal today (Friday, May 20) at Raj Bhavan in Kolkata.    Nephew of revolutionary Bengali poet Sukanta, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee took over from his mentor Jyoti Basu when the latter stepped down in 2000 , and led the LF to victory. After the landslide triumph with 235 out of 294 seats in the assembly election in 2006 a complacent LF's policy blunders began. The humiliating defeat of the LF is a severe blow to the CPM and Left forces of India. The defeat is an expected outcome if one considers the cause and effects of LF's acts. The CPM's huge mass base in West Bengal and seven election victories in a row had made it the biggest Left stronghold in India as well as in the entire non-socialist world.    Socialism has undergone evolution and social democrats throughout the industrialised world espousing democratic socialism have promoted nationalisation of manufacturing; and public spending has seen a large, long- term rise. Ensuring people's rights and fulfilling their bare minimum demands constitute the basic norm of socialism then the LF comrades activities conspicuously negated the masses their birth right to own and cultivate their croplands handed down from their ancestors as inheritance. Singur was another scene of public wrath against Tata' s proposed Nano plant. What can be a more cruel betrayal than policy of acquiring their agricultural land by force?    The March 14 , 2007 massacre at Nandigram perpetrated by West Bengal's Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led LF government, observed the World Socialist Web Site (WSWS), was outspokenly condemned by some of India's best-known leading Indian intellectuals many of them supporters of the LF. The WSWS reports that on the orders of the LF government, heavily armed police stormed the Nandigram area with the aim of stamping out protests against the West Bengal government's plans to requisition 10 ,000 acres of land for a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) to be developed by the Indonesian- based Salim Group. The police shot dead at least 14 villagers and wounded 70 more. The wanton massacre of peasants on behalf of a transnational corporation notorious for the comfy relations its founder developed with the murderous Suharto dictatorship provoked a chorus of disapproval across India. The Nandigram massacre came as a cruel shock.    The Communalism Watch blogspot on October 17 , 2007 decried the CPI(M) government for the murder of Rizwanur Rahman in Calcutta. Rizwan and Priyanka Todi, both of right age, fell in love and got married, duly and legally on August 18 , 2007. Rizwan came of a Muslim family, and Priyanka of a Hindu. Priyanka moved out to live with Rizwan, her husband. Apprehending interference from Priyanka's father, the couple sent copies of their marriage certificate to the Police Commissioner and DC (Calcutta South), both in the police headquarters at Lalbazar in addition to concerned police stations. Alas! eventually Rizwan was found dead and the police said that he had committed suicide. The circumstantial evidences however, stood against Rizwan's suicide, and pointed palpably to a murder. It was alleged that the LF regime was complicit in that ugly incident that reminded West Bengal Muslims of Hinduttwabadi Narendra Modi's bloody hand in Muslim Massacre in Gujarat in 2001. Will LF learn from its ignominious defeat?    Decades back as a young Congress party worker Mamata's raison d'etre was to oust the Left in her state. In her first reaction, Mamata said, 'This verdict will bring joy to the people of Bengal'. Now it is to be seen how well Miss Banerjee governs. People of neighbouring Bangladesh will wish her Godspeed, successful journey ahead and expect Mamata to use her good offices in resolving Dhaka's various outstanding unresolved issues with Delhi.

Indian Maoists Have Stepped Up Action

Indian Maoists have stepped up its activities when the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force ( CRPF) deployed to combat the red rebels are currently undergoing Yoga class to battle the enemy within - stress and fatigue. At least 11 persons were killed in Maoist attacks during this fortnight in Bihar and Jharkhand. Final round of Panchayet election in five districts of Bihar on Wednesday (May 18) has been postponed for fears of Maoist attacks. "EC does not want to put election officials' lives in danger for conducting polls," election official AB Pandey said last Tuesday announcing the postponement of polls in Gaya, Aurangabad, Banka, Jamui and Rohat districts.    Meanwhile, Maoists have called for 48- hour strike from May 21 in six states of Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Orissa. Announcing the strike CPI (Maoist) spokesperson Abhay on Tuesday demanded immediate release of three central committee members arrested from Bihar on April 29. Security forces fear that the Maoists may go for an offensive during the strike to keep pressure on the government. They said the rebels are likely to attack on government establishments to boost up the comrades.    According to latest available information, at least seven paramilitary troopers were killed in a landmine attack in Chhatisgarh last Tuesday night. A 3- vehicle convoy of CRPF was passing through highway in Dantewada district when Maoists detonated a landmine. Explosion ripped apart the last vehicle killing five soldiers on the spot while two more died soon after taken to hospital.         High suicide rate    Over the last few years, the 300 , 000 strong CRPF force has been affected by high and increasing rate of suicides. Senior officials admitted that the troops suffer from mental, emotional and psychological problems that they developed during their long duty hours, away from their families for longer period and always remaining in danger of being killed or maimed in encounter with the dreaded Maoists - better trained and equipped with sophisticated arms.    Scanty reports percolated from across the border said the Maoists have killed two election officials in Bihar during the panchayet polls last Sunday. The rebels have blasted landmine killing two officials and injuring several others. Seven polling officials were abducted on the same day. They could not be traced out till Tuesday. Police said the Maoists have demanded the release of some of their leaders in exchange of safe return of the officials. The Bihar government has shown flexibility in securing the release of officials but the central government viewed such swapping will create bad precedence and weaken the anti-Maoist operation.    In a similar case in Orissa, a district collector and an engineer were abducted by the Maoists couple of months ago. Their release was secured through negotiations after accepting all the 14 demands including immediate cessation of anti-Maoist Operation, release of more than 600 tribals thrown into prison for their suspected involvement in Maoist movement and cancellation of agreements with multinational companies giving the lands of the tribals. But the central government did not implement any of the demands. Maoists vowed to strike for violation of the agreement. Since then joint forces came under frequent attacks during their anti- Maoist campaign in the forest area. Last Sunday, government forces fought gun battle with the rebels. Officials denied any casualty.    The Telegraph of Kolkata reported that 250 armed Maoists, 50 of them in black uniform, on May 14 plundered the office of contractor engaged on construction of the four-lane Hazarika-Ranchi highway. They set ablaze 47 heavy vehicles used in road development purposes causing colossal damage. Patrol police came in only to retreat in the face of Maoist fire. Police admitted one of their officers was killed. The contractors have said that the Rs. 625 crore road development project will be delayed by years because of frequent attacks. Maoists dared to pull off the operation only 13 km from the district town.         MP's house blasted    The Maoists also blew up the house of Kameshwar Baitha, an MP of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, on May 11. A former Maoist leader Baitha contested the 2009 election from prison and returned with support of the Maoists. But coming out of the jail he asked the Maoists to shun violence causing anger amongst his former comrades.    Maharashtra police claimed to have arrested 10 Maoists. But apparently they were poor tribals aged in 20 s came in search of employment from the trouble-torn West Midnapore district of West Bengal. They were thrown into prison further antagonizing the tribals who have been accusing the police of atrocities.    A police vehicle was blown up by landmine in Chhattisgarh on May 10. Police admitted some of them were wounded but none died.    Rising Maoists activities in Bihar, the state bordering Nepal on the north, has worried the government. Intelligence sources officers feel that the Maoists of the two countries are coming closer. They believe the Indian Maoists will be able to secure safe passage in Nepal and procure weapons from China through Nepal. The Red Brigade has already spread its tentacles in different parts of Assam and trying to open a new Maoist corridor through the north eastern states (Seven Sisters) of India. Intelligent reports say a senior Polit Bureau member of CPI (Maoist) has been assigned to keep liaison with half a dozen outfits fighting for independence from India.         Police in yoga class    This being the situation CPRF, the main force deployed in the red corridor to combat the Maoists is undergoing yoga class. Yoga instructor Anoop Shukla conducts classes for troopers to help them increase their alertness, concentration after long duty hours. He has so far held five classes in two weeks at the Bawana-based 89 th Battalion of the CRPF in Delhi.    Faced with a high suicide rate, the CRPF has over the last few years been making concerted efforts to make life easier for its personnel in insurgency areas of Jammu and Kashmir and those under Maoist influence. Official figures released late last year show that since 2007 , 143 of the 300 ,000- strong force had committed suicide, which is double the figure for the Border Security Force (BSF). Seventy-five BSF troopers have ended their lives since 2007.    A substantial number of troops posted in the Maoist hit areas have resigned from service. Fratricidal killings have also alarmed troopers posted in insurgency areas, where CRPF personnel slog through gruelling conditions of fighting insurgents in areas outside the domain of the Indian Army.    Yoga instructor Shukla said constant exposure to conflict operations put tremendous psychological pressure on soldiers that erodes their morale. Some 500 personnel and officers have so far participated in the yoga and mental alertness training.

India And Pakistan : The World's Most Dangerous Border

Our interactive map demonstrates how the territorial claims of India, Pakistan and China would change the shape of South Asia THE late Richard Holbrooke, the Obama administration’s envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, had many virtues as a diplomat, but tact was not among them. His description of his theatre of operations as “AfPak” infuriated the Pakistanis, who wanted the Americans to regard their country as a sophisticated, powerful ally worthy of attention in itself, not just as a suffix to the feuding tribesmen next door. But that was not the only reason the coinage was unwise. It encouraged the understandable American tendency— shaped by the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, the war against the Taliban and now the death of Osama bin Laden—to see Pakistan in the context of the fighting on its north-west frontier, and thus to ignore the source of most of the country’s problems, including terrorism: the troubled state of relations to its east. The border between India and Pakistan has seen a bloody partition in 1947 that killed hundreds of thousands; more than 15 ,000 dead in three wars and 25 years spent fighting over a glacier; 40 , 000-100 ,000 dead (depending on whom you believe) in the insurgency in the disputed province of Kashmir. And now both countries are armed with nuclear weapons. Bloodshed over the border is not the only measure of the damage this poisoned relationship does. In India it exacerbates feuds between Muslims and Hindus. But Pakistan has been worse affected. Fear and hatred of India have distorted its world view and politics ( see article ). Ignoring this—as the West seems to be doing again—is a terrible mistake, especially because a settlement is not beyond reach. Death and distortion Pakistan’s obsession with India has damaged it in three ways. First, it has given its generals too much power. Pakistan’s army, at 550,000 men, is too small to match India’s 1.1m, but too big for Pakistan. The armed forces eat up 16 % of the government’s budget, whereas education gets 1.2 %. Because the armed forces are powerful, the government is weak; and the soldiers’ frequent interventions in Pakistani politics exacerbate this imbalance and undermine democracy. Second, it has shaped Pakistan’s dealings in Afghanistan. In the 1990 s Pakistan helped create the Taliban partly in order to undermine India’s allies in northern Afghanistan. Although it signed up to fight the Taliban after September 11 th 2001 , Pakistan has continued to protect some of the Taliban in order to counter India’s influence in Afghanistan. Third, it has led Pakistan to foster Islamist terrorism—especially the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a Punjab-based outfit whose purpose is to attack India. After the LeT attacked the Indian parliament in December 2001 Pakistan banned it, but it has survived—either ( as the Pakistanis claim) because it has grown too successful to crush or (as the Indians suspect) because the Pakistani armed forces continue to help it covertly. Either way, India is not the only victim of this murderously stupid policy: terrorism within Pakistan is being fuelled by splinter groups from the LeT—and is going global. As India grows in wealth and power, so do fear and obsession in Pakistan. Yet India, too, would benefit from a solution. The tension with the minnow to its west distracts it from the rise of the giant to its north, and China will surely dominate its security horizon in the 21 st century. America also has much to gain from a saner subcontinent. If Pakistan’s world view were not distorted by India, it might be able to see straight on terror. The soldiers growl Six and a half decades of bloodshed suggest that the problem may be intractable. The hostility springs from a potent mix of religion, history and territory. Although the fighting has subsided in Kashmir, the issue remains hypersensitive: the Indian government censors publications, including The Economist , that print maps showing the current effective border. Politicians in both countries find it hard to be sensible: even those who would like a resolution are susceptible to domestic pressure—the Indians from Hindu nationalists, and the Pakistanis not just from Muslim militants but also from the generals, who regard India as a military, not a political, problem. Nervous subcontinentals used to reassure themselves that neither side could use a nuclear weapon because the aggressor would suffer from the fallout. That may no longer hold. Since America destabilised things in 2008 by agreeing to give India civil nuclear technology, Pakistan’s determination to build up its nuclear arsenal has increased. Last month it announced that it had tested a new mobile missile with a miniaturised nuclear warhead designed to destroy invading tanks with little radiation beyond the battlefield, thus increasing the risk that a border incursion could escalate into something much more dangerous. On May 13 th the head of Pakistan’s powerful Inter- Services Intelligence told parliament that he had already picked targets in India, and rehearsed attacks. He did not specify nuclear attacks, but did not exclude them. This is a dangerous time: Pakistan’s militants are evidently keen to show that Islamist terror will survive bin Laden’s death, and—unlike the cold war—there is scope for terrorists either to provoke a nuclear conflict or to explode a dirty nuclear device. But while the soldiers growl, the politicians have made progress. In 2004-07 quiet talks established the framework for a settlement over Kashmir, under which Pakistan would in effect give up its claim to Indian Kashmir and India would agree to a “ soft” border (one allowing a lot of freedom of movement). That deal was scuppered by the attack on Mumbai by the LeT in 2008 that killed 170 people. But both governments have shown they are willing to get back to the table, and talks are now resuming. India’s prime minister, Manmohan Singh, met Pakistan’s, Yusuf Raza Gilani, at a cricket match in March; and their foreign ministers are due to meet in July. The ingredients needed for progress are clear. Pakistan has to make more effort to stop a terror group scuppering talks for a second time; India, to help Pakistan give up its claim to Indian-held Kashmir, needs to pull its army out, grant plenty of autonomy and stop shooting schoolboys who lob stones at its soldiers. (Last summer 120 died in this way.) Yet the risks—for instance from another terrorist attack— are immense. After Mumbai, India’s politicians showed great restraint. It would be difficult for them to do so again. America can help. The nuclear deal gives it extra clout with India, which it should lean on to show restraint in and flexibility on Kashmir. It should also change its approach to Pakistan. America plies Pakistan’s soldiers with military aid, and tends to talk to them rather than the politicians. Last year it pressed the government to give General Ashfaq Kayani an extension of his term as chief of army staff; and it informed Pakistan’s generals of the death of bin Laden before President Obama called President Zardari. Boosting the soldiers’ clout diminishes the chances of a political settlement with India. By itself, a settlement with India will not make Pakistan a safe place. But it would encourage a series of changes— reining in the generals, building up democratic institutions, spending more on health and education, rejecting Islamist terrorism, rethinking its approach to Afghanistan—which could start to transform the country. Until that happens, Pakistan will remain a disappointment to itself and a danger to the world.