Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Cold war inside Pakistani Presidential Palace

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari became furious on his son Bilawal Bhutto when the junior Zardari received a "special gift" from his girlfriend and Pakistani foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar on the day of Eid Ul Fitr. On the early hours of the day, Bilawal Bhutto received a flower bouquet and a hand-written greeting card stating – "No wonder we waited enough, not its time to give an end to our waiting. Eid Mubarak!"

Later President Zardari came to know about the contents of the romantic greetings card sent by his foreign minister, he immediately called Hina Rabbani Khar and expressed anger for her extra-marital affairs with his "minor son". At this stage, Hina Rabbani Khar in harsh tone criticized Zardari's "meanness" and asked him to refrain from "poking nose into her personal affairs". The Pakistani foreign minister even threatened to resign from the ministry as well as membership of Pakistan People's Party if President Zardari didn't apologise for his "inappropriate behavior". The matter was immediately brought into attention of Bilawal Bhutto by Hina Rabbani Khar and on hearing the news of his father's "rudeness" towards Hina; Bilawal also threatened of leaving the post of chairman of Pakistan People's Party and leave the country by the end of the year. It is learnt from dependable sources within the Zardari family that Bilawal Bhutto has made his mind to bid farewell to politics and leave the country either by end of 2012 or early next year, while Hina Rabbani Khar is also expected to resign from the ministry almost at the same time.

While the hidden cold war between the father and the son is getting complex every day, Hina Rabbani Khar on the other end is negotiating a settled divorce with her husband millionaire businessman Firoze Gulzar, from whom she has two daughters named Annaya and Dina. One of the common family friends of Gulzars and Khars is assigned to mediate the settled divorce. It is learnt that, Hina Rabbani Khar is offloading her shares of Polo Lounge in the name of her children following the settlement of the divorce, while she also has signalled to waive Firoze Gulzar from paying her any alimony after the divorce. Trouble between Hina Rabbani Khar and Firoze Gulzar reportedly began two years back when Firoze was caught in having extra-marital affairs with one of the female staffers of his business ventures. She brought this matter to the attention of her father and later they collected some evidence of extra-marital affairs of Firoze Gulzar. At this stage, being terribly shocked at the betrayal of her husband, Hina Rabbani Khar attempted to commit suicide by taking sleeping pills. The incident was kept out of attention of Pakistani media. During such extreme adverse time, relations started growing between Hina Rabbani Khar and Bilawal Bhutto, which ultimately turned into romantic affairs. It is learnt from the intelligence source that, President Asif Ali Zardari is vehemently opposing his son's willingness of knotting marital relations with a woman with two children, saying it would not only jeopardize Bilawal's political career but would also invite political doom for the ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP). Being aggrieved by his son's ego and determination in making family with Hina Rabbani Khar, Asif Ali Zardari played key-role behind using country's intelligence agencies in spreading the scandal about the evasion of electricity bills worth 70 million Rupees by Galaxy Textile Mills, a company owned by Khar's husband Firoze Gulzar and father-in-law. The media reports also alleged that she and her husband are also among many other beneficiaries of NRO - an ordinance drafted to save corruption money and provide immunity to the corrupt.

At this stage, sensing his father's aggressive attitude towards Hina Rabbani Khar, Bilawal expressed anger and even threatened of resigning from the post of Presidency of Pakistan People's Party. He even told Asif Ali Zardari that he would settle in Switzerland with Hina Rabbani Khar and her daughters, though later he even told his father that, Hina might leave her daughters with her husband after the divorce. It may be mentioned here that, Bilawal Bhutto's mother Benazir Bhutto left a hidden wealth worth a few billion dollars in Switzerland and Bilawal is the legal nominee of all those properties. The secret affairs between Bilawal Bhutto and Hina Rabbani Khar came to the knowledge of Asif Ali Zardari, when the duo was caught in compromised situation inside the official residence of the President, where his son Bilawal Bhutto also resides. Later, President Zardari collected mobile call records between Bilawal and Hina and found evidences of relations between the two. The relations became much exposed to Asif Ali Zardari, when Hina Rabbani Khar sent Bilawal a greeting card on his birthday on September 21, 2011 with hand-written message stating – "The foundation of our relations is eternal and soon we shall be just ourselves."

Asif Ali Zardari reportedly also made numerous attempts to reconcile relations between Firoze Gulzar and Hina Rabbani Khar with the target of making an end to Hina-Bilawal romance. But nothing worked as Hina was unwilling for such reconciliation. A confirmed report of a Western intelligence agency even stated Asif Ali Zardari's secret attempt of getting Hina Rabbani Khar assassinated. Through one of his friends in Dubai, President Zardari even contacted the underworld killer gang offering US$ 2 million for the murder of Hina Rabbani Khar.

Bilawal Bhutto is the legal nominee of Benazir Bhutto's secret wealth worth US$ 930 million in Switzerland along with some properties. In 1994, executives of the two Swiss companies wrote, promising to pay "commissions" totalling 9 percent to three offshore companies controlled by Asif Ali Zardari and Nusrat Bhutto [Benazir's mother]. A Cotecna letter in June 1994 was direct: "Should we receive, within six months of today, a contract for inspection and price verification of goods imported into Pakistan," it read, "we will pay you 6 percent of the total amount invoiced and paid to the government of Pakistan for such a contract and during the whole duration of that contract and its renewal." Similar letters, dated March and June 1994, were sent by Societe Generale de Surveillance, promising "consultancy fees" of 6 percent and 3 percent to two other offshore companies controlled by the Bhutto family. According to Pakistani investigators, the two Swiss companies inspected more than US$15.4 billion in imports into Pakistan from January 1995 to March 1997, making more than US$ 131 million. Bhutto family companies made US$ 11.8 million from the deals. For Societe Generale de Surveillance, with 35,000 employees and more than $ 2 billion a year in earnings, the relationship with the Bhutto family has been painful. In addition to doing customs inspections, the company awards certificates of technical quality. In effect, its business is integrity.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

High profile romance in Pakistan exposed

One of the Western intelligence agencies have romantic relations between youngest foreign minister of Pakistan, Hina Rabbani Khar and Bilawal Bhutto, the son of President Asif Ali Zardari and slain Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. The report even indicated a 'cold feud' between the father and the son, following Bilawal's decision of marrying Hina Rabbani Khar, as she is poised to end her marital relations with millionaire businessman Firoze Gulzar, from whom she has two daughters named Annaya and Dina. Born on November 19, 1977, Hina Rabbani Khar hails from an influential feudal and landowner family and is the daughter of politician and landowner Nur Rabbani Khar and the niece of Ghulam Mustafa Khar, a former Governor of Punjab. The Khar family has roots in the village of Khar Gharbi located in Kot Adu – a tehsil (subdivision) in Muzaffargarh District in Punjab; and has many land holdings. The Khar family owns an estate that includes fisheries, mango orchards, and sugarcane fields as well as a local steel mill.

After graduating from local high school, Khar attended the Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS) in 1995, and earned B.Sc. in Economics with cum laude in 1999. The same year, she went to United States to resume her higher studies and attended the post-graduate school of the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and subsequently earned a Master's degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management in 2002.

Hina Rabbani Khar was brought into national prominence and national political arena by Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz in 2004, who publicly appointed her into the Finance ministry. In previous 2002 general elections, she successfully contested and secured the parliamentary constituency of her father, after most members of the family were disqualified. With financial support of her father, she campaigned on a newly founded PML (Q Group) platform against Pakistan Muslim League. After the elections, Khar was elected as a Member of Parliament, representing the NA-177, Muzaffargarh-II constituency in Punjab, a position her father had held previously, but a new law requiring all candidates to hold a university degree meant he could not run that year. The Guardian wrote, "In deference to local sensibilities about the place of women, her landlord father Noor addressed rallies and glad-handed voters; Hina stayed largely at home, with not even her photo appearing on the posters." In 2005, she was elevated as the deputy minister of economic affairs and served under Shaukat Aziz. As deputy minister, she dealt extensively with the donor community during the 2005 earthquake that hit Northern Pakistan.

In 2007, she made an unsuccessful attempt to renew her alliance with PML-Q, but the party denied her a ticket platform to campaign for re-election in 2008, she was later invited by the senior members of the Pakistan Peoples Party and successfully campaign for her constituency for a second time. The PPP secured plurality of the votes and formed a left-wing alliance with the Awami National Party, MQM and PML-Q. They nominated and elected Yousaf Raza Gillani as Prime Minister.

It is learnt from the intelligence source that, President Asif Ali Zardari is vehemently opposing his son's willingness of knotting marital relations with a woman with two children, saying it would not only jeopardize Bilawal's political career but would also invite political doom for the ruling Pakistan People's Party (PPP). 

Being aggrieved by his son's ego and determination in making family with Hina Rabbani Khar, Asif Ali Zardari played key-role behind using country's intelligence agencies in spreading the scandal about the evasion of electricity bills worth 70 million Rupees by Galaxy Textile Mills, a company owned by Khar's husband Firoze Gulzar and father-in-law. The media reports also alleged that she and her husband are also among many other beneficiaries of NRO - an ordinance drafted to save corruption money and provide immunity to the corrupt.

At this stage, sensing his father's aggressive attitude towards Hina Rabbani Khar, Bilawal expressed anger and even threatened of resigning from the post of Presidency of Pakistan People's Party. He even told Asif Ali Zardari that he would settle in Switzerland with Hina Rabbani Khar and her daughters, though later he even told his father that, Hina might leave her daughters with her husband after the divorce. It may be mentioned here that, Bilawal Bhutto's mother Benazir Bhutto left a hidden wealth worth a few billion dollars in Switzerland and Bilawal is the legal nominee of all those properties. The secret affairs between Bilawal Bhutto and Hina Rabbani Khar came to the knowledge of Asif Ali Zardari, when the duo was caught in compromised situation inside the official residence of the President, where his son Bilawal Bhutto also resides. Later, President Zardari collected mobile call records between Bilawal and Hina and found evidences of relations between the two. The relations became much exposed to Asif Ali Zardari, when Hina Rabbani Khar sent Bilawal a greeting card on his birthday on September 21, 2011 with hand-written message stating – "The foundation of our relations is eternal and soon we shall be just ourselves."

It may be mentioned here that, Bilawal Bhutto is 11 years younger than Hina Rabbani Khar. Earliest this year, Bilawal Bhutto was caught in sex scandal with some unknown females.

BY :   Preeta Memon.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Sister sledgehammer


Locked in a painful clash, the Congress government, or its welcome new economic reforms, could now fail.

HER voice is high and birdlike. Tiny, she is fond of finger wagging. Her party, the Trinamool Congress, has just 19 of the national parliament’s 543 elected members. She offers little beyond vague talk of the “common man”, and after a year running West Bengal she looks ill-at-ease in office. Yet Mamata Banerjee feels she is now a sledgehammer in national affairs.

On September 18th, in a tirade before cameras in Kolkata, she tried to topple the Congress-led government in Delhi, led by Manmohan Singh. Crowing that “the whole country is watching us”, she offered Mr Singh a non-choice between risking swift political collapse or what amounts to a slow, humiliating policy defeat. Congress’s leaders will probably find another way out. But India’s already wobbly economy is likely to suffer.

Ms Banerjee, widely known as “Didi” (Bengali for elder sister), said she would pull her ministers from the coalition government in Delhi and end parliamentary support for it, on September 21st. Other parties may be found to back Congress. If not, Congress, with 205 seats of its own plus smaller allies, would be in a minority. Formally the government still has until mid-2014 before the next election, but Ms Banerjee predicts it would tumble in “three or six months” without her.

Her fury is over economic policy. She thrives on fights. The past year has seen confrontations over rail fares, petrol prices, a water deal with Bangladesh and foreign supermarkets in India. She is horrified that Mr Singh and his new finance minister, Palaniappan Chidambaram, have shown rare boldness by announcing economic reforms. The reforms were long overdue. Yet it was sadly telling that neither Sonia Gandhi, Congress’s cagey leader, nor her son, Rahul Gandhi, the tongue-tied pretender, dared offer the prime minister public backing.

The reforms were supposed to cheer investors in need of encouragement and tackle a dangerous budget deficit, which this year will easily breach the official target of 5.1% of GDP. On September 13th diesel prices went up for the first time in over a year, by 12%. The fuel, which sells at well below the world price, is heavily subsidised. The price rise means only the tiniest dent in the deficit. Similarly, plans to cut subsidised supplies of household gas, which is widely stolen, would help government finances only a bit. The idea was to signal, especially to credit-rating agencies ready to recast Indian debt as junk, that the days of profligacy are over.

The next day brought more. A politically sensitive plan was revived to let supermarkets, such as Walmart and Tesco, set up in India. The proposal was advanced last year, but stalled when Ms Banerjee threw her weight behind objections, claiming that foreign retailers would cost local jobs. For foreign investors waiting for straws in the wind, it became a symbolic issue, though investment flows into retailing are unlikely to be huge. This time round a proposed fudge would let individual states veto foreign supermarkets, though that may not prove legal.

Restrictions went, too, on outsiders’ single-brand shops, like Sweden’s IKEA, selling furniture. The government told foreigners they could buy minority stakes in domestic airlines. It also said it was selling equity stakes in state-run firms, to help fill the public kitty.

Investors cheered, the stockmarket rose and Mr Chidambaram hinted at still bigger changes to come. 

Seemingly endless talk about corruption fell away, a boon for Congress. But the political reaction, led by Ms Banerjee, only mounted. The opposition parties—the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Communists and various regional parties—organised street protests and vowed to block change. Even a Congress ally from Tamil Nadu joined the protests.

The BJP, which used its tantrums to stymie the parliamentary session that has just ended, demands that MPs now reconvene. Its approach looks risky: middle-class voters may think it is becoming anti-growth. But a rumour also spread suggesting Congress only wanted more balanced books so it could afford to dish out goodies in next spring’s budget.

Ms Banerjee’s stock is probably set to fall. Though outspoken, she also looks untrustworthy and fractious. Yet she leaves Congress in a bind. If Mr Singh pulls back hard on reforms, he will look craven and cowed by an ally a tenth his party’s size. Yet becoming a minority government is awkward too, especially given scandals over corruption and Congress’s likely walloping in several big state elections next year.

So, as The Economist went to press, Congress was hunting for a replacement for Ms Banerjee’s support. That may be a party which is not keen on early national polls. Perhaps parliamentary backing could come from the 21 national MPs controlled by Mayawati, the dalit (untouchable) leader from Uttar Pradesh.

More likely the current ruler of Uttar Pradesh, the Samajwadi Party of Mulayam Singh Yadav, with 22 national MPs, might be persuaded to join if offered a big enough dollop of development funds for the state. One way or another Congress should hang on. The trouble is that the prospect of recasting India as open for reforms and higher growth could dim once more in the coming days. The baffling swirl of Indian politics makes for a gripping entertainment. But after the drama, will someone remember the economy and India’s stalled development?


Monday, September 10, 2012

Illegal Bangladeshi migrants not behind Assam violence, says Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said Muslims are outnumbering Hindus in Assam not because of the increase in illegal migration from Bangladesh but because Muslims are illiterate and bear more children.
Speaking to Karan Thapar on Devil's Advocate, the Chief Minister took full responsibility for the communal riots and said that there were multiple reasons behind it.

Here is an excerpt from the interview:

Speaking on Devil's Advocate with Karan Thapar, the Assam Chief Minister said that his desire to be a part of the Presidential race stemmed from his desire to assert his rights as a citizen of India and as a tribal.
Below is an edited transcript of the interview:

Karan Thapar: Hello and welcome to a special Devil's Advocate from Guwahati, an interview with the Chief Minister of Assam Tarun Gogoi.

Chief Minister let's start with the recent troubles in your state. Why is Assam so prone to ethnic and communal violence? Is it the demography, is it the geography, is it politics or is it just lack of economic development?

Tarun Gogoi: Of course it is true that Assam is prone to all these clashes. I have seen 1960, 1972, 1983, all along and of course it is a complex state. And of course the reason is socio, economics, sometimes politics also; and economics may be one of the reasons.

Karan Thapar: You are suggesting that there are multiple reasons. The BJP however, says, and many of you opposition leaders in the state say, that the real reason is unrestrained illegal immigration from Bangladesh. You strongly deny that, in which case how do you account for the fact that between 1991 and 2001 the two censuses for which we have accurate data, the Muslim population of districts like Kokrajar, Dubri, Balbata, Narbari, have phenomenally increased?

Tarun Gogoi: You are absolutely right, the Muslim population has increased. But if you look at 2001 census the population growth of Assam is less than national average, almost 3 per cent. Then in 2011 also, in that provision also, growth of the population of Assam is less than national average. So, it is a clear indication that illegal migration has declined.

Karan Thapar: Well, has it because may have grown at a lower rate than the nation as a whole but within Assam the Muslim population in these districts has grown much faster then the Hindu one. Let me quote some of the figures - Kokrajhar, 19 per cent Muslim increased, 5 per cent Hindu, Dhubri, 29 per cent Muslim increased, 5 per cent Hindu, Bongaigaon, 31 per cent Muslim increased, 2 per cent Hindu. Clearly this phenomenal Muslim increase can't be for natural reasons; it is to be because of immigration.

Tarun Gogoi:You see this is because of low literacy. Most of the Muslims are illiterate. Every family has six, seven, eight, nine, 10 members. Literacy is very low, it is because of illiteracy.

Karan Thapar: You seriously are saying that Muslims because they are illiterate are creating more children than Hindus.

Tarun Gogoi: Ya.

Karan Thapar: You really mean that?

Tarun Gogoi: Yes, because of illiteracy. For example, empowerment of women is also done for birth control.

Karan Thapar: This is a very controversial answer Chief Minister. People would say this is tantamount to saying that the illiterate breed more.

Tarun Gogoi: Yes. I believe it 100 per cent. Kerala has the same; the Muslim population growth is higher. Assam is highest, second highest is West Bengal.

Karan Thapar: And in every case you are saying illiteracy is the explanation, not as I'm suggesting illegal immigration from Bangladesh?

Tarun Gogoi: No, immigration has been there. Same case in the tea garden tribes, the birth rate is higher if you compare to Assamese people.

Karan Thapar: Let me quote to you what Hagarama Mohirali, head of the border territorial council has just said, "There are over two lakh illegal Bangladeshi immigrants in Bodo districts. You question that?

Tarun Gogoi: I do question. There are no two lakh migrants, I can challenge.

Karan Thapar: What are you estimates for illegal Bangladeshi immigrants?

Tarun Gogoi: I can tell you that even till today the pending cases in the tribunal are less than three lakh. Anybody can register a case. I tell you AGB can into power as you know, total case registered about 4.5 lakh. Out of them many have been disposed off also.

Karan Thapar: So, what is the figure that you believe is the figure for the illegal Bangladeshi immigrants?

Tarun Gogoi: It is very difficult but as it is today the pending case in the tribunal but among them also all are not…

Karan Thapar: So, you are absolutely certain that Mr Mohilari's facts of the two lakh figures alone in the Bodo district is wrong?

Tarun Gogoi: No, no, he has never said it.

Karan Thapar: He said it, he said it clearly to ‘The Indian Express' on August 6.

Tarun Gogoi: He might have said. I tell you, he told that in the camps there are five lakhs or something.

Karan Thapar: Let's not get caught in the figure, the figure might be disputable. The point that I am making is that you strongly and vehemently continue to dispute that illegal Muslim immigration from Bangladesh is a fundamental cause of the troubles we have just seen in Assam.

Tarun Gogoi: I don't disputed it, it's a fact.

Karan Thapar: It's a fact?

Tarun Gogoi: No, no, not the fact that..

Karan Thapar: The fact that migrant wasn't the problem?

Tarun Gogoi: Yeah.

Karan Thapar: Alright, I'll accept that but I'll point out to you one thing that there are many in India who believe that the key problem in Assam is basically illegal immigration. You are saying that is the wrong understanding of the state.

Tarun Gogoi: You see outside Assam, even inside Assam, there is a wrong perception of Assam. A perception is that Assam is not a safe place, there is a lot of insurgency.

Karan Thapar: This is another wrong perception?

Tarun Gogoi: Yes and these are another wrong perceptions.

Karan Thapar: Alright, then let's then come to what the analysts say is a second explanation for the troubles that you have in Assam. They say the very character of the Bodoland itself, an area where the Bodos because they are the single largest community have power but all the non-Bodos including the Muslims are probably greater in number and they feel unrepresented and they feel left out. And that is the fundamental cause of the bitterness that keeps erupting in violence since the creation of Bodoland.
Tarun Gogoi: Before that also there were clashes.

Karan Thapar: But the Bodoland has made it worst.

Tarun Gogoi: No, no, here earlier when there was no power they were watched. Before 1996 that time…

Karan Thapar: But I quote it to you that Bodos represent something like 20 per cent of the population of the Bodo Territorial Administrative Area, they comprise 30 out of 46 seats on the BTC, which is 65 per cent. Twenty per cent population, 65 per cent seats.

Tarun Gogoi: See, there is a case in the Sixth Schedule, there is about 35 per cent population. It is a true that Bodos are minority, Bodos are minority in the Bodoland, Bodoland Territorial Council.

Karan Thapar: As a result of which the rest of the population feels left out, they almost feel disfranchised. That is why you have this bitterness which keeps erupting periodically.
Tarun Gogoi: BTC, yes they are reservation but for the MLAs there is no reservation.

Karan Thapar: But BTC has local control. Let me quote to you what the President of the All Assam Minority Student Union Abdul Rahim Ahmed has said. He says, "Bodos engineered the recent trouble because they wants to push the Muslims out of the Bodoland, then they could push their numbers to 50 per cent and demand a separate state."

Tarun Gogoi: They have been demanding separate state but to this group they entered into an agreement, agreeing to have a Sixth Schedule.

Karan Thapar: That was in 2003, but since then it is alleged that they are trying to push Muslims out so that they can push their numbers up and demand a separate state.

Tarun Gogoi: I tell you how the incident took place, August 19, one Muslim or one Bodo fellow sustained injury, second day four Bodos were killed by the Muslims.

Karan Thapar: Quite right.

Tarun Gogoi: Then how would you say how did it triggered.

Karan Thapar: Chief Minister, by collapsing from the causes of the problem to how this specific instance happened and actually when it comes to this specific instance, people turn around and say that one of the problems was that you mishandled it. They say that you sided with the Bodos which are your allies in the government, as a result of which you were A – slow to respond and B – when you did respond, you didn't respond decisively.

Tarun Gogoi: No, these are wrong perceptions. Bodos are also accusing me that you are soft to the Muslims because you are looking for their votes. They are saying why did you not arrest those people who were responsible for killing four Bodos on the first day 19th.

Karan Thapar: Can I interrupt and tell you why people say that you were slow, because the first warning of trouble happened well before the July 19, well before July 6, they go back to May and June, when you had clashes over Eid gahas, when you had attacks on Muslims and Muslim property at that time. And your critics say that instead of heeding those warnings six to eight weeks earlier, you ignored them, you didn't take preventive steps.

Tarun Gogoi: No, such incidents do take place everywhere, not only in Bodoland, you see Karbi Anglong, North Cachar hill, other places also. Such minor incidents do take place. Then July 6, it was also not by the Bodos, it was by KLO.

Karan Thapar: But Chief Minister all these incidents happening should have been a sign to you that there was trouble beginning. Surely it was a warning to take preventive action.

Tarun Gogoi: That way there is warning every where in Assam.

Karan Thapar: And the people say the reason you didn't take preventive steps is because the Bodos are your allies, it is their support that is essential for you and therefore you said let me not take action, it will go against my government.

Tarun Gogoi: This is absolutely wrong, it is a false propaganda, I don't depend on them. I have 78 members out of 126.

Karan Thapar: But the Bodos are still part of your government.

Tarun Gogoi: Of course they are part of my government but I don't need their support. And if that was the case why did I arrest a Bodo MLA.

Karan Thapar: You may have arrested one single Bodo MLA, but look at what is happening to the 2,50,000 refugees living in camps. The vast majority of who are Muslim. Because the Bodos are creating obstruction in letting them go to their villages, they are now asked to prove if they are Indian citizens and fill up forms to show where they got their lands from. That is not only indefensible; it is a clear attempt to prevent the Muslims to go back. And once again your government is not preventing the Bodos from doing this.

Tarun Gogoi: No, we will prevent it also. We have already said those who are displaced, Indian citizens, from the Bodoland will be rehabilitated.

Karan Thapar: There is an interesting distinction you make because a moment ago when we began this interview, you said that illegal immigration from Bangladesh wasn't a problem and now you are asking people to prove their citizenship. Why because they are all Indians why should they prove it, because if there is no illegal immigration issue?

Tarun Gogoi: You see, for rehabilitation they have to give some proof, otherwise how do you rehabilitate them. He must have had a house, a paddy field…

Karan Thapar: But Chief Minister, these are people who had their villages burned, their houses destroyed, they found shelter in refugee camps. Now in their own state, they have to prove that they Indian to go back. They have to prove that they have land to go back. Why can't they just go back to the village they came from?

Tarun Gogoi: They are going, 240,000 have already have left…

Karan Thapar: But why are you creating the Bodos Territorial Council to lay down this condition before they can go back.

Tarun Gogoi: You see this is for their own safety because we want to take them into confidence.

Karan Thapar: So you are doing this for the safety of the Muslims not because you are under pressure from the Bodos.

Tarun Gogoi: No, because the land administration belongs to them.

Karan Thapar: Let me give you a final reason why people suspect that in fact you are siding with the Bodos and that is a very simple reason. The disarmament of the Bodos which was envisaged by the 2003 Bodo accord, nine years later still hasn't happened. And people can't understand because you have been Chief Minister right through that time. And once again they say the reason it has not happened is because Tarun Gogoi is soft and gentle towards the Bodos.

Tarun Gogoi: There is no question of being soft. We are having talks with them. Everybody has arms, even Assam.

Karan Thapar: So why have you not succeeded in removing these arms? Why have you not succeeded in disarming people?

Tarun Gogoi: I will tell you why… I'm not talking about Bodos, for example ULFA, KLF, so many groups have come forward to talk.

Karan Thapar: And they all have arms, so why haven't you failed to disarm people?

Tarun Gogoi: I will tell you why. Take the example of the government of India, Army is there… Counterinsurgencies they (Army) can do anything, why they have not done. It is not as easy as it appears to be. I will give you an example, lot of people don't know this, when they come for talks they don't disclose their correct picture of the arms they are having.

Karan Thapar: Which means they are hoodwinking the government.

Tarun Gogoi: To some extend. I will tell you. That was raised by Chidambaram, for one group, not for Bodos. I said suppose 80 per cent of the group surrenders and only 20 per cent remains. That means we have weakened 80 per cent.

Karan Thapar: But 20 per cent remained and that 20 per cent was used by the Bodos, in some instances, when they were butchering Muslims. Just look at the figures of the 96 people killed 70 were Muslims, of the 450,000 made homeless, a vast majority were Muslims.

Tarun Gogoi: Why Army has not been able to do it?

Karan Thapar: You have raised a fundamental question about the Army. Why is it that the Army was unable to more effectively control the situation, after all there was a four-day gap between your calling the Army and their deployment, and during that period the situation sharply deteriorated?

Tarun Gogoi: I will tell you why. I don't say Army alone, I'm also responsible. I'm head of a state definitely I'm also responsible. So there is responsibility of the Army, Assam Police, and CRPF, it is a combination of all; we call it a unified command.

Karan Thapar: So was there an absence of clear cut division in authority?

Tarun Gogoi: No, normally we have been in best of relation, that's why we have been able to survive, sustain. Our unified command structure is the best in the whole country.

Karan Thapar: But if it is the best in the whole country, then why was a four-day delay there.
Tarun Gogoi: Because of the change in the procedure.

Karan Thapar: Who changed the procedure?

Tarun Gogoi: Ministry of Home or Ministry of Defence.

Karan Thapar: So the responsibility for the delay lies with the Ministry of Defence.

Tarun Gogoi: Because of change of procedure. The change of procedure has delayed the whole process.

Karan Thapar: But as a result of a change of procedure, which is clearly a bureaucratic thing, four days were lost, and lives were lost.

Tarun Gogoi: The Defence Minister himself admitted.

Karan Thapar: Did the Defence Minister also extend an apology to the people of Assam because as a result of a four-day delay, lives were lost, homes were lost, villages were burnet.

Tarun Gogoi: That time I had less force because the situation of Assam was improving.

Karan Thapar: And so they had withdrawn forces from Assam. Was that an irresponsible thing for them to do?

Tarun Gogoi: I'm not saying that, because there was a lot of pressure for the Naxalites and other left Left wing.

Karan Thapar: So they took their eye off Assam. They became a little complacent because you had three good years, and they took eye off the state.

Tarun Gogoi: No, they were in urgent need of CRPF.

Karan Thapar: But they forgot that Assam breaks into violence periodically every three, four years.

Tarun Gogoi: I was telling them this.

Karan Thapar: You were saying this to you and yet they overrode you, they overruled you.

Tarun Gogoi: They said it is not possible for them also, not that I didn't take it up. But I don't blame them.

Karan Thapar: You may not blame them but they disregarded the advice of a Chief Minister who has a eleven-year standing.

Tarun Gogoi: No, I didn't say disregard.

Karan Thapar: They didn't listen to you.

Tarun Gogoi: No, sometimes they can't accommodate, otherwise they are nice to me. They are very cooperative… Then to rush back it takes more then seven hours to come back, unless you keep a reserve force.

Karan Thapar: So, they made two mistakes, one they became complacent because there had been no trouble for three years, and they disregarded the advice of a Chief Minister, then they wasted time coming back. And all of this was compounded by the fact that they changed procedures, so bureaucratic delay also compounded the situation.

Tarun Gogoi: You see, this is change of circumstances…

Karan Thapar: My last question to you Chief Minister, you have been Chief Minister of Assam for 11 years, for most of that time you have been Home Minister yourself, you have been head of the unified command, you boost this is the best unified command of the country. How much of the responsibility for failing to effectively tackle the trouble lies with you, after all you had the power and the experience to anticipate that trouble would happen, you had the experience to speedup rehabilitation? Neither was done.

Tarun Gogoi: Today I'm not the head of the unified command.

Karan Thapar: But how much of the responsibility for the delay you take?

Tarun Gogoi: I take 100 per cent responsibility.

Karan Thapar: So things have gone wrong, the blame is yours.

Tarun Gogoi: Yes. As a Chief Minister I take 100 per cent responsibility.

Karan Thapar: So when the critics they, Tarun Gogoi is responsible, you say yes.
Tarun Gogoi: Yes.

Karan Thapar: Alright Chief Minister, those are brave words. Let's hope they don't go against you. A pleasure talking to you.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Assassination of Begum Khaleda Zia has planned

According to Wikipedia Ziaur Rahman, was a Bangladeshi politician, the seventh President of Bangladesh and an army officer, who read the Declaration of Independence of Bangladesh. During Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971, he was first a sector commander before being promoted to one of three brigade commanders of the Bangladesh Forces; his brigade was called the Z Force, after his first initial. A highly decorated and accomplished military officer, he became a Bir Uttom, the highest gallantry award for a living officer for his wartime services, and retired from the Bangladesh Army as a Lieutenant General.He later became the seventh President of Bangladesh from 1977 until 1981. During his administration, he founded the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), one of the two largest political parties in the country. He is popularly known as Shaheed President Zia, meaning “martyred Zia,” in reference to his 1981 assassination. His role during the assassination of Sheikh Mujib in 1975 and subsequent military coups have made him a controversial figure in Bangladesh (

I have been informed by credible intelligence sources that the recent change in high level of Bangladesh Army by promoting three Brigadier Generals to the rank of Major General is a minor change of a major plan suggested by India’s foreign intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing [R&AW].

Intelligence sources also shared that the one of the three new Maj Gens, Sheikh Mohammad Aman Hasan has been made the Director General of the Special Security Force (SSF), as suggested by R&AW. The suggestion was made to bring changes in high level of SSF to insure the security of Prime Minister Sekih Hasina.

The intelligence sources also informed that DGFI and NSI was instructed before to submit an extensive report on newly promoted high army officials. The newly promoted officials were reported as pro Awami League and one the officer’s relative is a politician of Bangladesh Awami League (BAL).  

Intelligence sources has informed that R&AW has informed Sheikh Hasina that a group of Islamic terrorists who had attempted to kill her on August 21, 2004, the allies of same forces are planning to kill Hasina again.

According to the sources R&AW had claimed to Hasina that they have helped here by giving credible information of probable assassination attempt at least 5 times in last years.

Sheikh Hasina has been suggested that to win in the next parliamentary election will be really hard due to bad performance of her government and strong position of the opposition parties. 

R&AW has suggested Hasina to make notable change in top, middle and lower level in Army, police and executive level of the government. A high level official of R&AW is working on that with different attachment of DGFI and officials of NSI and different policy makers.

Hasina has suggested to bring more amendment in the constitution before the election, the draft of the amendment is on process guided by R&AW.

R&AW highly recommend assassinating Begum Khaleda Zia, who is widow of the President and former army Chief Ziaur Rahman, who was assassinated in 1981.

Begum Khaleda Zia, the longest-serving Prime Minister of Bangladesh Since the country’s independence in 1971. R&AW has trained a group of young men to kill Khaleda Zia.

The group has been trained in India and also trained by different level by Bangladesh army.

Intelligence sources have informed that they have setup people within BNP and they are keeping close eye of Khaleda Zia.The group has attempted one time  in last month to assassinate Khaleda Zia but they had failed due to wrong information.

Sheikh Hasina shared with R&Aw that she will fully cooperate with them to make sure the assassination of Begum Zia. She wants to make sure the revenge of her father’s killing by killing Begum Zia.


Delhi worries on Hasina’s popularity slide

The Times of India published an article entitled ‘India’s worries could mount with Khaleda Zia’a expected return to power in Bangladesh’ on August 29, 2012. It said that the India intelligence agencies were very worried at the rapid decline in popularity of the incumbent Awami League government and the expected return to power by BNP.

The article mentions: “New Delhi has got unprecedented cooperation from the Hasina regime in busting the havens of Indian insurgent groups in her country as well as in the investigation of terror incidents with Bangladeshi linkages. However, as the popularity of the Awami League regime under Hasina dips, ceding ground to rival BNP, the agencies fear that the gains of the last few years may be reversed if Khaleda regains power.”

It added: “Obviously, the Indian security establishment is keen to arrest the slide in Awami League’s popularity. Though there is little it can do to reverse the incumbency disadvantage, a positive development on the Teesta water-sharing pact, financial assistance for the Padma Bridge project and exchange of enclaves may go a long way in correcting the negative perception in Bangladesh that Hasina has not managed any major concessions from India. However, these will be possible only after UPA’s troublesome ally, the Trinamool Congress, is convinced to drop its reservations on Teesta and the enclaves…..Even as efforts will intensify over the next year to recover lost ground for Hasina, senior intelligence officials here claimed that Khaleda’s BNP alliance, saddled by corruption cases and expected conviction of its leaders by war crimes tribunals, could see a reversal in its growing popular perception closer to the polls, expected sometime in February 2014.”

Uncharitable, obscene
This article is followed by more than four hundred comments from the readers, an overwhelming majority of whom are Indians. The language used by the Indians to demean the Bangladeshis is mostly uncharitable and obscene. It is obvious that most of them think that Bangladesh is still a ‘basket case’ and is dependent on Indian charity for its survival. The poor Indians seem to be oblivious of the fact that Bangladesh has surpassed India in almost all social and economic indices and in fact this year has left India behind in GDP growth rate. Industrial growth in India is plummeting while it is fast rising in Bangladesh.

Indians know nothing about the tremendous progress Bangladesh has made in the recent years. They treat Bangladesh as a poor cousin of Eastern India which in turn is treated as a poor cousin of Western India. While India as a whole is communal, Eastern India is even more communal. It is common in this region for those who are considered to be of low cast to be submissive to the upper class Brahmins to be punished or even be killed. Thus like the lower caste Hindus, Bangladeshis have no business to be prosperous or successful and this may give rise to the anger and envy they feel towards Bangladesh.

India will most definitely try their best to hold on to their assets in Bangladesh by influencing the public opinion whichever way they can. Ruthless persecution of the opposition parties seems to be high on their “to do” list. But this is unlikely to deliver the desired result as people tend to forget that what happened more than five years ago and are more likely to be influenced by the government’s inaction on a number of corruption and law and order issues that is plaguing the country today.

The only option left for India is to impress upon the western countries to allow the holding of the next general elections under the present Awami League government. This is the only way that Awami League can hold on to power. On the other hand, losing the next elections is not an option for this party. The Awami League is exactly in the same boat as the Caretaker Government of Fakhruddin and Moinuddin, a BNP victory in the 2014 General Elections will be very unhealthy for all the beneficiaries of the current government, exactly as a BNP victory in 2008 would have been to the last Caretaker Government. A defeat in the next elections is not an option for the Awami League and with its growing isolation, it will have to be more dependent on Indian support.

India’s NE strategy
India on the other hand has not been able to extract the desired tangible advantages that it wanted of Bangladesh. The Indian intelligence report clearly exposes their need for Bangladesh support to hold on to their remote north eastern territories. It is ridiculous to claim that insurgents there need Bangladesh support to fight Indian control there. If the Maoists in central India can effectively fight the powerful Indian army without any external support, it is most unlikely that the much better organised, far more experienced insurgents fighting in some of the most inhospitable terrains in Asia will need the support of Bangladesh.

On the contrary, the Indian army, whose recruits are mostly from the plains, do need easy access to these hilly battlegrounds which only Bangladesh can provide. India needs transit through Bangladesh for quick, and more importantly, cheap transport of weapons and personnel to their remote north-eastern battlegrounds.

Certain developments in India have not been advantageous for the Awami League. The departure of “Kakababu” Pranab Mukherjee from the Indian central cabinet and the rise to power by Mamata Banerjee has left Awami League with no powerful friends in New Delhi. This means that India will not be able to oblige Bangladesh with anything that would be seen as a friendly gesture, i.e., Teesta Barrage waters or the exchange of enclaves. This would mean that India would be pressing for long term concessions from the Awami League without giving anything in return. The way things are in the country now, the Awami League may have to do just that if it wishes to stay in power.

River Erosion Along India–Bangladesh Border: Source Of Violent Conflict – Analysis

River erosion along the border often triggers violent conflicts between India and Bangladesh. These two countries share an international border of about 4098 km, 180km of which runs through the middle of shared rivers. When these rivers erode their banks on one side, sediments are deposited slowly onto the other, causing new land to build up. Both countries will then engage in military action in order to take over the new land.

Bangladesh, being the lower riparian state, faces a greater bank erosion risk on its side. The construction of various protective works on the bank of rivers on the Indian side drives the river wave to Bangladesh and causes river erosion. Therefore, Bangladesh loses its geographical territory to India in most cases. According to government accounts, Bangladesh has already lost more than 15,000 hectares of land due to such erosion, the result of 10 common rivers with India, as well as one with Myanmar. On the other side, the state of Assam in India has been worst hit with massive erosion by two major trans-boundary rivers – the Brahmaputra and the Barak near the Bangladesh border. This has resulted in not only territorial loss, but the destruction of housing, crops and arable land as well.

The serious threat of river bank erosion is that it gradually changes the river boundary which separates India and Bangladesh. Although the two countries share 54 trans-boundary rivers, border guidelines have only been framed for the boundary status of the Muhuri and Fenny rivers. Article 1 (5) of the 1974 Indo-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement states, “The boundary in this area should be demarcated along the mid-stream of the course of Muhuri River at the time of demarcation. This boundary will be a fixed boundary. The two governments should raise embankments on their respective sides with a view to stabilizing the river in its present course.” The same rule has been followed to set the boundary of Fenny River. For other common rivers, both countries treat the middle of a river as a borderline in the spirit of aforementioned 1974 Land Boundary Agreement.

However, the agreement neglects to touch down on whether natural changes in the course of these rivers should affect the location of the boundary between two states. In the absence of such a provision, the border guidelines are misinterpreted by both sides that if river changes its course due to erosion or flood, then the mid-stream boundary line will also shift. Thus, a river eroding its banks on the Bangladesh side adds new alluvial land (locally known as char) to adjacent Indian territory and leads to disputes when civilians living on both sides claim this char land as their own. This type of dispute has been prevalent in 17 common rivers at the very least.

Disputes over shifting rivers and ownership of newly accreted land often spark violent armed conflicts between the Bangladesh Border Guard (BGB) and the Indian Border Security Force (BSF). For example, in the Sylhet-Assam border areas alone, the two frontier troops have confronted each other 77 times over the last 37 years to grab the new patches of landmass that have emerged from the Barak-Surma-Kushiara, clashes which resulted in the loss of more than 55 lives. It should be pointed out here that the border areas of India and Bangladesh are heavily populated and extremely poor. The livelihoods of people in these areas are inextricably linked to agriculture. So when new land materializes from a shift in the course of river, people on the both sides move in under cover of their border troops to occupy and cultivate it. The famous Belonia border conflict started when Indian farmers, under the protection of the BSF, attempted to harvest crops on nearly 50 acres of newly surfaced land on the river Muhuri on the Belonia sector, a border area between eastern Bangladesh and the northwestern Indian state of Tripura.

Fighting also breaks out on the border if any side makes attempts at embankment protection against erosion. Each side accuses the other of building various defensive structures include groins, spurs, weirs, and sluices along the banks of common rivers, which in turn leads to accelerated erosion, and therefore, loss of territory. Both sides claim their own erosion control measures are temporary while accusing the other of erecting permanent embankments.

In fact, conflicts over alluvial riverine islands and raising embankments have strained India-Bangladesh relations for decades. A surplus of suspicion and mistrust between two countries has made these conflicts very complex. As a result, livelihoods in the border areas of both sides are becoming increasingly vulnerable, uncertain and insecure. Many of the past border skirmishes have ultimately led to the deaths of innocent civilians.

In recent years, the issue of bank erosion was highlighted in several India-Bangladesh minister level meetings that ended without any positive outcome. The path to prevention of these border conflicts lies in the amendment of the 1974 Land Boundary Agreement in order to insert a provision that in any case of erosion and deposit (natural or artificial), the river boundaries of the two countries remains the fixed. This type of agreement settled the boundary dispute of Bangladesh with Myanmar over Naf River in 1966. There is also need to transform the India-Bangladesh animosity, distrust and suspicion that have grown up over the years into a new relationship that is based on mutual trust and cooperation. It is hoped that such approaches will allow people on both sides of the international river border to live in peace and prosperity.