Senior Fellow, VIF
A broad spectrum of Pakistani leadership used harsh language about the future of Pakistan. Sample this report carried by Jinnah and Daily Pak on February 5. “PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif alleges that President Zardari has broken promises and without a revolution nothing will improve in Pakistan. Nawaz further said that drone attacks have been carried out on the behest of the government.”
Daily Pak and Urdu Point wrote about the powder keg situation that is fast developing in Karachi. Interior Minister Rehman Malik said that terrorists have entered Karachi and set up base in the city, but that the government was determined to root them out, the two newspapers reported on February 10.
Daily Pak reported on February 5 that the parts of China, Iran, Afghanistan and Russia have been impacted by Islamic fundamentalists and have become very explosive. The group Uzbekistan Islamic Tehrik has intensified its activities and is preparing for a long term Middle East operation. Pakistan and Afghanistan expert Ahmad Rashid said the entire region was facing an economic and political crisis. The report states that Uzbek, Tajik and Kyrgyzstan fighters are preparing to fight for the region.
Ausaf came up with an even more disturbing report on February 8 wherein it said a secret letter issued by the Pakistani government to the so-called Azad Jammu and Kashmir administration warned that militants defeated in Swat and Waziristan can try to infiltrate into AJK. It states that these terrorists have explosives with them hence alerts should be issued to ambulances and non-custom vehicles and a list of such vehicles should also be made ready. The report claims that similar letters have also been issued to all provinces and Gilgit Baltistan. The letter has asked the administration to keep an eye on the former activists of defunct organizations and fool-proof security should be provided to densely populated areas.
The Daily Intekhab commented editorially on the Karachi unrest and said the situation in Karachi was so pathetic that Internal Minister Zulfikar Mirza was compelled to say that the army would be called to control the situation but on the other hand it shows the inability of the government to maintain law and order situation. It further writes that the PPP, ANP and MQM should come together and stop their confrontation against each other as it would give anti-state elements to take advantage of the situation and if the economic heart of Pakistan is targeted then the whole system would be in trouble.
The Water Issue
The Pakistani Urdu media went ballistic over the water issue in the run up to the February 25 Foreign Secretary-level talks. Here are a couple of samples.
Ausaf wrote a highly vituperative editorial roundly criticising India on the water issue. It said that India has begun work on the construction of one more dam over the Chenab River at Sawal Kot. The height of the dam will be more than that of the Tarbela and Mangla dams. It claimed that when this Indian project will finish, the Chenab River will completely dry up and Pakistan’s agriculture will suffer. It quoted federal minister for Kashmir affairs Mian Manzoor Watoo that Kashmir was the issue of life and death for Pakistan and dams on Chenab and Jhelum will have devastating effects over Pakistan and to protect its national interests Pakistan should take all possible steps. It alleged that India on the one hand had occupied Kashmir forcibly and was spreading chaos in Pakistan and on the other hand it had adopted a strategy to construct dams on rivers flowing towards Pakistan with the intention to hurt Pakistan but Pakistan is silent over such an Indian conspiracy. The editorial writes that India has constructed 62 dams whereas Pakistan has not even made twelve in the last 62 years. Indian dams on Pakistani Rivers have engaged Pakistan into serious deliberations that if steps will not be taken today then later Pakistan will be left to regret. The editorial concludes that water has been an issue of life and death for Pakistan and hence politicians should stop their petty politics and show unity against Indian water aggression.
Jasarat came up with another editorial on the same issue and said the Indus River Statutory Authority had been informed that the Indus River is drying up due to water scarcity. The newspaper said the reasons behind this were both natural and human- induced. While the rains were becoming less frequent, India was building dams on rivers flowing from Kashmir into Pakistan, thus violating the Indus Water Treaty, the editorial alleged. It added that the Chairman of the Indus Water Council and the Chief Coordinator of the World Water Assembly, Hafiz Zuhurul Hasan Daher has said that water scarcity was a serious issue and that India is constructing 62 dams, of which 44 have been completed. The editorial quoted Daher as stating that out of 13 hydro operations in Pakistan, 8 of them had no output. The Chenab River had dried and that the Indus River was also drying. The editorial’s final punchline: Jinnah had referred to Kashmir as the jugular vein of Pakistan, but today the vein is under Indian clutches and India is carrying out water aggression against Pakistan.
- As usual, the Pakistani Urdu media was full of vitriol and anger against India. Here are some examples.
- Jamaat-ud-Dawa spokesman Mohammad Yah Yah Mujahid rejected Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram’s statement that Hafiz Saeed was to be blamed for his involvement in the Mumbai attacks. He said that India first blamed Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and is now blaming Hafiz Saeed. He said that Saeed does not have any links to the Mumbai attacks and that JuD is not an illegal organisation. He said that Pakistan’s government should take note of India ’s accusations and respond at the governmental level. Mujahid said that on the one hand India invites Pakistan for talks and on the other it spreads negative propaganda. He said Chidambaram’s statement was in contempt of Pakistan’s courts. (Ummat, Urdu Point)
- Pakistani observers have said that India’s test of the Agni III missile is detrimental to the peace process. (Daily Pak)
- Mutahida Kisan Muhaz Chief, Ayub Khan Mayo, Defence analyst, Brigadier (retd.) Farooq Hameed and agricultural expert Dr. Shahid Raza said that India wants to make Pakistan a barren country and convert it into an Indian market. They criticised Pakistan ’s government for remaining silent with regards to India ’s water aggression. (Ummat)
- PML-Q leader Chaudhary Pervez Ilahi accused India of blocking Pakistan’s water. He said India had waged a water war against Pakistan . He said that India was supporting subversive elements against Pakistan. In a separate report, he said that India was interfering in Balochistan. He said that Pakistan will protect its autonomy, but that the international community should stop India from harming Pakistan. (Ummat, Jang)
- APHC Chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani said that Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram had offered to hold ‘secret’ talks on the Kashmir issue with him. However, he had refused the offer, stating that he would not agree to talks unless they were tripartite. (Jasarat)
- The President of the Coordinating Committee, Dr. Musafir Hasan said that India is increasing terrorism in J&K and Pakistan . He said that when international pressure increases on India , then New Delhi agrees to talks and that when it subsides, India backs out. He said that Kashmiri’s should be included in talks on the disputed territory. (Jang)
- amaat-e-Islami JI Chief Syed Munawar Hasan addressed the 57th annual convention of Islami Jamiat Tulba at Punjab University. He said that extremism was borne out of the situation and was not an ideology. He said that people should struggle peacefully. He said that situation was normal in Karachi on the 5th of February till the afternoon, and that after that it was spoilt at the behest of India, so as to divert focus away from Kashmir solidarity day. (Jasarat)
- The Chairman of the People’s Youth League-Kashmir Committee, Mohammad Azeen Bux Chaudhary said that regional peace could only be achieved through a resolution of the Kashmir issue. He said that Barrister Sultan Mehmood has highlighted the Kashmir issue at international forums. He said that India and Pakistan should resolve the issue or they risk facing a nuclear war. (Jang)
- In a joint meeting of JKLF’s executive council and central committee, it was decided that India should hand over the body of Maqbool Butt to the Kashmiri community. In addition, it was decided that his death anniversary would be observed by Kashmiris across the world. (Jang)
- Lord Nazir Ahmed, a member of the House of Lords, UK, has said that India was trying to push Pakistan into a corner to isolate it by using a well planned strategy to establish its supremacy in South Asia whereas the American and Jewish lobby were backing India for this dangerous plan. Lord Nazir said that America was supporting India in view of the threat posed by the increasing might of China . Lord Nazir said that the geopolitical position and investment of China into Pakistan will help Pakistan sustain its economy in the future and Sino-Pak ties can diminish trade and supremacy of many countries; hence more than six countries under the leadership of Israel and India were trying to create instability in Pakistan through various acts of terror. He also said that terrorists have begun to target civilians after attacking the Pakistani Army, Pakistani Police, ISI and other sensitive agencies to deliver a message that Pakistan ’s nuclear weapons were not safe from the reach of the Taliban. He alleged that the secret agencies of India and Israel and money and technology of six other countries were behind the terrorism in Pakistan. He demanded that the Kashmir issue should not be reduced to just a water issue as India wants that Kashmir should become a secondary issue in the dialogue process. In addition he said that Kashmiris across the world should raise the Kashmir issue at all fora and predicts that Kashmir will be free one day. (Ausaf)
- Pakistan High Commissioner for UK Wajid Shamsul Hasan, attending the Kashmir Solidarity Conference organized in the Pakistan High Commission, has said that in the last 20 years Kashmiris have endured a lot of suffering as thousands of unnamed graves have been recovered in J&K, people were disappearing and around one lakh people have been killed. Wajid said that in this background, the responsibility of the International Community has increased towards finding a solution of the Kashmir issue. He said that the Labour Party has included the Kashmir issue in its 1995 election manifesto which has raised the Kashmir issue internationally hence now the Labour government should play a role to resolve the said issue. The report states that during the Kashmir Solidarity Conference held in the Pakistan High Commission, the Chief of the Kashmir Centre Prof. Nazir Shawal, Raja Muhammad Ayyub of Liberation Front, former MLA Chaudhary Muhammad Khan and Maulana Yaqoob Cheshti also addressed the gathering. The report claims that Sir Gerald Kaufman was the chief guest of the conference, who promised that next week he will raise the Kashmir issue with PM Gordon Brown. The other speakers blamed India for human rights violation in J&K and said that peace cannot be established without resolving the Kashmir dispute. (Ausaf, Nawa-i-Waqt)
- The PM of the so-called Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Farooq Haider condemned India while speaking with the convener of the Hurriyat Conference AJK branch Mahmood Sahar and others in Islamabad, for what he called human rights violation by India in J&K and house arrests of Hurriyat leaders. Haider demanded the UN to send a special mission to investigate Indian state sponsored terrorism. Haider claims that Indian stubbornness can bring South Asia to the verge of destruction. He alleged that the Indian track record about negotiations was poor as India had not honoured the Sindh Water Treaty and was not honest with regards to dialogues. The PM alleged that India was using negotiations for passing its time and to fool the international community. He said that India wanted to talk with the J&K Hurriyat leaders for autonomy and not for freedom. The report also states that the Hurriyat delegation briefed Haider about the current situation of J&K. Another report states that Farooq Haider states that Indian bureaucracy is an obstacle in the resolution of the Kashmir issue.(Ausaf, Jinnah, Nawa-i-Waqt)
- AJK President Raja Zulqarnain has said that efforts for talks and peace were in vain due to India’s rigid attitude. (Khabrain)
- The Central leader of the PML-N Raja Muhammad Zafar-ul Haq has demanded that the government should expose Indian involvement in the terrorist attacks in Pakistan in front of the international community. He demanded the government to give a befitting response to the statement of Indian PM Manmohan Singh that Pakistan was behind terrorism in J&K. Zafar further said that Indian supremacy in the region was against the security of Pakistan and Indian aggression will become stronger if a weaker policy is adopted against India. (Nawa-i-Waqt)
- Former ISI Chief Hamid Gul has said that Pakistan should stop “Aman Ki Asha” with India and start talking in terms of “Jang Ki Bhasha”. He added that India was involved in this drama due to international pressure but is trying to talk only on the terrorism issue by sidelining the actual dispute on Kashmir . (Khabrain)
- Hafiz Zahoorul Hassan Daher, Chairman Indus Water Treaty and Chairman World Water Assembly has said that because of the inabilities of Pakistani rulers 50 years ago, India is building big dams and barrages on Chenab, Jhelum and Indus. He said because of the Indus treaty, Pakistan is deprived of 24 million acre feet of water from the western rivers. He has alerted that if India succeeds in its plans, Pakistan will not be left with even a drop of water. He said such a condition can make Pakistan the next Ethiopia and Somalia . (Awami Awaz)
- Leaders of Mutahida Kisan Mahaz have said that India wants to reduce Pakistan into a barren piece of land. They said that despite the fact that 80% of Pakistan economy was dependent on agriculture, the government continued to show ignorance to such a serious issue like water. They have said that history will never forgive them. They said if India does not show any flexibility on the water issue, then Pakistan will have to wage war. (Awami Awaz)
The Chief of APHC Syed Ali Shah Geelani has rejected rumours about his demise and states that Indian secret agencies were spreading such rumours. He said that the people should not pay heed to such reports and urged them to be united to continue their peaceful struggle. Another report states that Syed Ali Shah Geelani has rejected the offer from Indian Home Minister for covert negotiations and states that first India should accept that Kashmir was a disputed territory. Geelani also said that former President Pervez Musharraf had harmed the Kashmir cause and America has influenced the Kashmir policy. (Ausaf, Jinnah)