By Dr. Haider Mehdi
Yahan rosay hashr bapaa huway
Pay koi bhi rosay jazaa nahin
Yahan zindagi bhi azaab ha
Yahan maut main bhi shafaa nahin
(Here every day is doomsday – a thousand days of tumult
Here every day is a day of judgment – without rewards – only punishments are meted out
Here living is a torment
Here even death does not bring peace!)
“Tzu-Chin said to Tzu-Kung:…Our Master gets things (done) by being cordial, frank, courteous, temperate, deferential. That is our…way.”
from Analects of Confucius quoted by Jaswat Singh in a recent article
Using Confucius’s philosophy of wisdom, cordiality and frankness, I wish to ask the heavyweights of Pakistani politics, outside the circle of the PPP governing elite in Islamabad: How long will the current cycle of destructive political management continue in this country? With absolute frankness and absolute respect to Nawaz Sharif, Imran Khan, and Gen. Kayani, I put questions straight to them: How long will the willful political deception of this nation go on? How long will drones continue to rain death and havoc on the citizens of this state? How long will the prostituting auction of national assets last? How long will we go on begging and borrowing? How long will the US, Britain, Germany, France, the IMF, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank dictate our national economic policy? How long will US-trained bankers run and ruin our nation’s economy? How long will the Pakistani army fight a proxy war for the global political agenda of US-Western interests? How long will this nation be subjected to poverty, deprivations, slavery and dependence? How long will it take us to value and cherish national self-respect, sovereignty, dignity and self-reliance? How long will it be before we attain emancipation for our masses and independence from foreign powers to run our lives and country the way we wish? What is our way of getting things done in our national interests and how long will it take us to find “our way” to liberate ourselves from the yoke of our alliance with our enemies, both homegrown and imposed on us by foreign powers?
Drone attacks are killing Pakistani citizens indiscriminately – 20 killed the other day in one attack, 60 perished a few days before – thousands have died in this vicious strategy of lethal bombardment by an unseen, unethical enemy. No names, no faces – just propaganda, a symbolic slogan of alleged terrorists and the massacre of the innocent continues. We are the first nation in modern history that has set aside international laws on war and rented out our armed forces and national sovereignty in exchange for American dollars to permit and collaborate in the systematic genocide of our own citizens. Foreign operatives operate with absolute impunity (though it is denied by the democratically-elected government of Pakistan) all over our towns and cities they search our homes, arrest our citizens and make our people disappear – all with our national managers’ approval , implicit knowledge, and secret connivance.
I assume that the incumbent democratically-elected national leadership believes that all this is in the best interest of the nation and that the world will be a safer place if the public are kept in ignorance. Indeed, I would assume again that the ruling elite’s insatiable appetite to do everything to preserve their power, often wheeling and dealing behind closed doors, is also deemed a perfect strategy to maintain a democracy that has risen out of the ashes of a horrific decade-long dictatorship. Advocates of such infantilism as an option maintain that Pakistani citizens, by and large ignorant and uneducated, cannot be trusted with state secrets, and public sentiment, once elections are over, is inconsequential in the management of national affairs. The question is: How long will this obsession with self-preservation, as undemocratic and illegitimate as it is, go on?
Inflation is absolutely out of control and beyond the management capabilities of the clique of our banker-Finance Ministers. The prices of daily consumables are skyrocketing (imagine meat being sold at over Rs. 500 per kilo which I used to buy at Rs. 2 and 50 paisas per kilo in the 60s) making a single healthy meal impossible for the majority of people. We are out of water, electricity, gas, petrol, diesel; health facilities are inadequate, expensive and outside the reach of the common citizen; and the educational infrastructure has turned into a money-making enterprise. This nation has never had such a dismal everyday existence, and yet, a new tax on the implicit conditionality of IMF loans is being imposed and hailed as a step forward in this God-forsaken country. The question is: How long will these economic financial atrocities against common citizens continue at the hands of an absolutely incapable financial management that is being passed from one US-trained and deployed banker to another and to yet another? Are there no other alternatives of fiscal management models other than the ones prescribed by the IMF and its handpicked banker-Finance Ministers of Pakistan.
Balochistan’s immensely valuable natural resources of gold and copper, estimated to billions and trillions of dollars, are being handed over to foreign corporations at throw-away prices in shady deals. Baloch nationalists, seeking provincial autonomy and control over its resources, are being hounded and liquidated on a daily basis, creating a similar political scenario as the 1971 East Pakistan debacle. And yet, the seriousness of the issue and its legitimate resolution is nowhere on the political horizon of the incumbent regime in Islamabad. In addition, it is dreadful that the Americans are being granted air field and air surveillance facilities and permitted covert operations in Quetta and other parts of Balochistan. The question is: How long will this criminal apathy to national problematics continue at the hands of our so-called democratically-elected national government?
Punjab’s Chief Minister was in the UAE recently offering $5 billion worth of investment opportunities in agriculture, livestock, energy and low-cost housing projects to state and private investors in the Gulf. Amazingly and ironically, the Chief Minister, himself with a family history of self-made rags to riches entrepreneurs, is unable to visualize a comprehensive economic doctrine of national self-reliant, self-motivated and self-propelled developmental plans funded and promoted by internal national resources and domestic investments. Hasn’t the Chief Minister heard of alternate models of corporate schemes in agricultural development, livestock and dairy production, and housing – all free of foreign investments and interference – whereby the benefits of a development process trickle down to the indigenous population rather than large scale profits being sucked out by foreign multinational corporations and investors.
Look at the case of British Petroleum’s recent sell-out of its assets in Pakistan to a tune of $775 million to an investment group in Hong Kong. Is the Chief Minister aware of it? Net production of these assets is about 35,000 barrels of oil equivalent a day. Obviously, the new owners of these assets, the UEG, is not going to relinquish its profits – neither will Pakistan totally benefit unless it had owned the assets itself. The future loss in revenues can also be calculated on the basis of proven reserves (around 43.1 million barrels of oil) and its estimated appreciated value. The question is: How long will this 6-decade old capitulation to capitalistic model of development, which has itself caused the contemporary economic chaos and failure worldwide, be our ruling elite’s obsession at the expense of the masses?
The ultimate question is : What is our way of getting things done?
When will Nawaz Sharif, a paper tiger now, turn into a tiger of action?
When will Imran Khan come down from the mountaintop and mobilize the nation?
When will General Kayani finally say to the Americans: “Enough is enough!”
I am simply being frank and upright, as Confucius would have put it. Will someone answer my questions?
The writer: a professor, political analyst, published author and conflict-resolution expert.
An unofficial data on Drone Attacks is appended below:
Data of Drone attacks since 2008
January 9. Mir Ali. PBC lists 6 civilian casualties. No mention in Af-Pak or any other listing.
January 29. Mir Ali. Al-Qaeda leader and spokesman Abu Laith al-Libi is killed in the strike. BBC reports death of seven Arab and six Central Asian militants. PBC lists 1 Al-Qaeda and 11 civilian casualties.
February 28. Azam Warsak, SWA. Dawn, citing AFP, reports death of 13 Al-Qaeda and Afghan Taliban militants. PBC lists 12 civilian casualties.
March 12. Lwara Mundi, NWA. AFP reports 4 civilian casualties. PBC does not list strike.
March 16. Dhook Pir Bagh, SWA. AFP and Telegraph report 16 militant casualties. Ambiguity whether they were militants. PBC lists 16 civilian casualties (erroneous date of March 19). Accurate.
May 14. Damadola. PBC lists 1 Al-Qaeda and 11 civilian casualties. High Value Target Abu Sulayman Jazairi is killed. Lack of claim over rest of the people should allow ambiguity. Accurate to a certain extent.
June 13. Makeen, SWA. Geo reports casualty of one person after drone was fired at with a RPG. Ambiguity over claim whether casualty was a militant or civilian. Not listed by PBC.
July 28. Azam Warsak, SWA. Abu Khabab Al Masri is killed alongwith 3 other militants. 3 civilian deaths reported as well. Reuters reports 5 Al-Qaeda militant deaths. PBC lists 1 Al-Qaeda and 5 civilian casualties.
August 6. PBC lists 13 civilian casualties in NWA. No link/source provided as usual. Possible August 12 drone strike listed on a Vietnamese news archive. Af-Pak does not list.
August 13. Bhagar/Angor Adda, SWA. 9-25 militants including commander Abdul Rehman and Islam Wazir. Geo reports death of three Turk and several Arab militants as well. PBC lists 22 civilian casualties.
August 20. Wana. 8 militants killed according to AFP. PBC does not report event (there is a August 28, 4 civilian injuries listing for Gangikhel that does not correlate with any other archive).
August 30. Korzai, SWA. Daily Times reports five militant deaths possibly including two foreigners.
August 31. Rappi, NWA. Geo reports death of 6 including a women and a child. PBC lists same. Accurate.
September 4. Chaar Khel, NWA. Dawn lists death of 10 militants including Al-Qaeda leader Abu Wafa Al Saudi. Possibly 4 civilian casualties.
September 5. Goroverk, NWA. Geo reports deaths of 7 including 4 children. PBC lists 6 civilian casualties on September 5 and another 6 for September 6. September 4 strike has a Qaeda leader and militants amongst dead. Error in one report at least.
September 8. Danday Darpakhel. PBC reports 23 civilian casualties. CNN reports death of Al-Qaeda’s Pakistan chief Abu Haris and another three Arab fighters amongst 25.
September 12. Tol Khel, NWA. AFP reports 12 Al-Badr militant casualties. Dawn lists casualties as associated with Qari Imam group. PBC lists 12 civilians.
September 17. Baghar Cheena, SWA. Al-Qaeda leader Abu Ubaydah Al-Tunisi an 5 other operatives are killed. PBC lists 7 civilians.
October 1. Khushali Toorikhel, NWA. Geo reports 4 casualties possibly militants who fired at the drone. PBC lists 6 civilian casualties.
October 3. Datta Khel, NWA. Two strikes (one possibly jets not drones) kill 21 militants including 16 foreigners according to Geo and another four in the jet/drone strike according to Reuters (identity ambiguous). PBC lists 18 civilians.
October 9. Reuters reports deaths of 6 militants including three Arabs. PBC lists 9 civilians.
October 11. Miramshah. Geo reports 5 casualties. AFP reports target was a Qaeda/Taliban meeting. Ambiguous reports whether dead were militants. PBC lists 5 civilians. Accurate.
October 16. Taparghai, SWA. NYT and CNN report Al-Qaeda leader Khalid Habib and 4 other casualties, possibly civilian or Arab. PBC lists 2 Al-Qaeda and 4 civilian casualties.
October 22. Danda Darpa Khel, NWA. NYT reports 4 civilian casualties. Reuters reports “scores”. PBC lists 10 civilians.
October 26. Shakai, SWA. CNN reports 7 and Geo reports 8 casualties. Ambiguity over claims over militants. PBC lists 20 civilians casualties.
October 31. Wana and Mir Ali. Geo reports 6 militants, all foreigners killed in Wana strike. BBC reports 20 including an al-Qaeda leaders Abu Akash and Abu Jihad Al-Masri in Mir Ali strike/ PBC lists 2 Al-Qaeda and 13 civilian casualties as one.
November 7. Kumsham, NWA. AFP reports 11-14 militants, mostly foreigners being killed. PBC lists 1 Al-Qaeda and 12 civilian casualties.
November 14. Garyom, NWA. Geo reports 11 casualties. No claims they were militants. Reuters says 5 were foreigners. PBC lists 12 civilians.
November 19. Bannu. Al-Qaeda leader Abdullah Azzam al Saudi is killed. CNN reports local confirming three foreigners being killed. Reuters reports. PBC does not list strike.
November 22. Ali Khel, NWA. Al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubair Al-Masri and terrorist at large Rashid Rauf alongwith 3 others killed. PBC lists 1 Al-Qaeda and 4 civilians.
November 29. Chashma, NWA. CNN reports 3 casualties. No claims they were civilians. PBC lists 3 civilians. Accurate.
December 6. PBC lists 3 civilian casualties in Mir Ali Strike. Express News reports 6 as militants.
December 11. Azam Warsak, SWA. Reuters reports 7 militant casualties, possibly foreigners as well (Geo reports 3 foreigners). PBC lists 12 civilian casualties.
December 15. Miramshah, NWA. Geo reports 3 casualties. PBC lists 2 civilian casualties.
December 22. Karikot, SWA. ToI and VoA report 8 militant casualties. PBC lists 7 civilians.
January 1. Karikot, SWA. PBC report 2 Al-Qaeda and 2 civilian casualties. Al-Qaed’s chief in Pakistan, Osama al Kini and Sheikh Ahmed Salim Swedan are killed. The Nation reports 5 Taliban deaths.
January 2. Laddha, SWA. Geo reports 4 casualties. No claims they were militants. PBC lists 1 Al-Qaeda and 4 civilian casualties. Inaccurate about Qaeda death.
January 23. Mir Ali, SWA and Zera, NWA. 20 militants, including four foreigners are killed according to Geo. Washington Post reports 10 insurgent casualties. PBC lists 13 civilian deaths.
February 14. Laddha, SWA. Daily Times reports 28 militant casualties including two Arabs, several Uzbeks. Paper quotes Taliban spokesman as accepting 28 were “mujahideen”. PBC lists 30 civilian casualties.
February 16. Sur Pul, Kurram. This paper reports 30 casualties. Attack targeted an Afghan refugee camp, specifically meeting of Taliban. PBC lists 30 civilian casualties. Ambiguity over claims of being militants. Somewhat accurate.
March 1. Sararogha, SWA. NYT reports death of 8 militants. This paper reports 5 Taliban casualties. PBC lists 12 civilian casualties.
March 12. Barjo, Kurram. Dawn reports 25 casualties. Conflicting reports as it cites a security official stating some injured were foreign militants but rest were locals. PBC lists 14 civilian casualties. Somewhat accurate (should have listed more civilians).
March 15. Jani Khel, Bannu.Target is local militant commander Taj Ali Khan according to NYT. BBC quotes a local saying all were militants, including two Arabs. PBC lists 5 civilian casualties.
March 25. Makeen, SWA. Dawn reports death of 7 Arab militants in an attack on a vehicle. Tis paper reports eight Taliban and Al-Qaeda operatives. PBC lists 7 civilian casualties.
March 25. Esokhel, NWA. AFP reports 4 casualties and that target was local pro-militant elder Malik Ghulab Khan. PBC lists 4 civilian casualties. Ambiguity over affiliation of the dead. Somewhat accurate.
April 1. Drone Strike in Khadezai, Orakzai. PBC reports 12 civlian deaths. Dawn and a host of international news agencies report 12-14 militant deaths.
April 4. Miramshah. PBC tells us 13 civilians died. Geo TV report says 3 foreigners amongst dead. Reuters and AFP report anywhere between 4 and 10 militants killed. Ambiguosness is reported as civilian casualty because of some unknown reason.
April 8. Gangikhel, SWA. Four militants who opened fire at a low flying drone killed. Reported by Reuters, Dawn and Geo. PBC lists all four as civilians.
April 19. Gangikhel, SWA. PBC lists 3 civilian casualties. International wire agencies report suspected militants.
April 29. Kani Garam, SWA. Dawn reports 6 militants including 2 foreigners dead in drone strike. All six listed as civilians in PBC data.
May 9. Sararogha. Daily Times reports anywhere between 5 to 10 Taliban militants dead. 10 civlian casualties in PBC data.
May 12. Sra Khawra, SWA. Dawn and a host of international wires report 6-9 militants possibly Al-Qaeda killed. PBC lists 8 civilian casualties.
May 16. Khesoor, NWA. PBC lists 2 Al-Qaeda and 23 civilian casualties. Target assumed to be a seminary may have killed upto 23 Al-Qaeda militants according to NYT. Al-Jazeera reports 10 militants including 2 Arabs. This paper reported 25-28 local militants leaving for fighting in Afghanistan.
June 14. Laddah, SWA. Dawn reports 3 Taliban killed in their vehicle. International agencies report 5. PBC lists 5 civilians.
June 18. Shah Alam, SWA. PBC lists 11 civilian deaths. This paper report 12 Taliban casualties and Al Jazeera reports five deaths targeting house of militant commander Malang Wazir.
June 23. Makeen, SWA. Two drones strikes in one day including one on the funeral of Niaz Wali kills 51 Taliban according to Daily Times. Other reports list anywhere between 45 and 83. Dr Usmani’s data shows a total of 91 civilians and only 6 Al-Qaeda deaths.
July 8. Laddah. Two strikes leave 45 militants dead according to Dawn. Geo reports convoy of militants’ vehicles being targeted. PBC reports 50 civilian casualties.
October 24. Damma Dola. Daily Times report 22 terrorists being killed in a drone strike. Taliban commander Maulvi Faqir left minuted before strike. PBC lists 18 civilian casualties.
December 8. Aspala, NWA. 2-3 militants including Al-Qaeda leader Saleh al-Somali are kiilled. PBC does not list this strike.
Decemeber 17. Datta Khel. 10-15 militants including Al-Qaeda leader Zuhaib al-Zahibi. PBC reports 17 civilians.
December 31. Machhikhel. Dawn reports six including three militants who security officials suggested maybe Al-Qaeda. Geo reports three militant casualties. PBC lists 33 civilian casualties.
Januray 1, Ghundikala village, NWA- DAWN reports that three militants in a vehicle were killed. PBC claims three death of three civilians quoting the news story from BBC Urdu which does not make any claim regarding the identity of those killed.
Januray 3, residential compound of Jehan Roze in Mosaki village of Mirali tehsil, NWA, destroying its guesthouse. DAWN reprots five killed, three of them Arabs. According to AFP:“There may have been an important figure hiding in the house,” a security official in Miramshah said. “Five militants have been killed Two are local and three are foreigners. One among the foreigners is an Arab”. PBC reports 5 civilian deaths.
January 6, NY times reports 20 to 25 dead in two strikes in NWA. DAWN reports that 17 were dead in an attack on a militants training camp(fort). “It was a huge, fort-like mud-house. They were using it as a training centre and the training centre belonged to Hafiz Gul Bahadur,” a Pakistani intelligence official said. PBC claims 20 civilian deaths.
January 8, Tappi Village NWA, kills 5. PBC reports 5 civilians. Accurate
January 9, Ismail Khan village NWA, PBC claims that 4 civilians were killed and two injured. Associated Press (Washington Times January 14, 2010, p. 7) reports that Mahmoud Mahdi Zeidan, bodyguard for al Qaeda leaderSayeed al-Masri, was reported killed in either the January 8 or 9 airstrike. LA Times claims that Jamal Saeed Abdul Rahim who was allegedly involved in hijacking ofPan Am Flight 73 in 1986 was also reported killed in this strike.
January 13, Pasalkot village, NWA. DAWN reports 12 dead in attack on militant hideout in Skaktoi area, SWA adjacent to North Waziristan. Reports rumours that Hamik ullah Mehsud was target and the rumours that he died in the attack. PBC reports 15 civilian deaths.
January 15. Zanini, NWA and Shaktoi. 7-12 militants killed including militant commander Azmatuallah Muawiya as per reports from Dawn, AP and Reuters. PBC lists 22 civilians casualties.
January 16/17, Shakoi, NWA, PBC claims 22 civilians dead and 12 injured. BBC Urdu reports 15 militants killed in the attack.
January 29, Mohammad Khel, NWA. DAWN reports that 9 militants were killed when three missiles hit a compund and a bunker. NY Times reports 15 killed including four Arab and two ethnic Uzbek fighters were killed, along with local militants. PBC reports 6 civilians dead.
February 2. Geo reports target was a militant compound and Dawn reports 16 militant casualties. PBC lists 29 civilian deaths.
February 14, Mir Ali, NWA,.DAWN reports 4 foreigners (reportedly Uzbek) and three militants killed. Compund was used for training insurgents. Reuters claim 5 deaths. CNN reports 6 dead. PBC does not mention the attack.
Februar 15, Miram Shah, NWA. Geo reports AlQaeda linked leader Abdul Haq al-Turkistani, leader of a group called the Turkistani Islamic Party killed. DAwn reports him being killed among three militants. PBC claims four civilian deaths and 1 civilian injured. Quotes Express (Urdu newspaper) story as reference.
February 17, Tappi, NWA. DAWN reports top al-Qaeda leader of Egyptian origin Sheikh Mansoor killed. Geo reports 4 killed. PBC claims 4 civilains dead and 2 injured
February 18, Dandey Darpa Khel, near Miram Shah, NWA. DAWn reports son of Jalaluddin Haqqani was killed among three other militants. PBC lists 4 civilian deaths and 5 civilians wounded.
February 24. Dargi Mandi, 2.5 miles north of Miram Shah, North Waziristan. Mohammad Qari Zafar killed. PBC lists 13 civilians dead and 10 injured.
May 11. Datta Khel and Gorwek, NWA. Geo reports 24 militant casualties, NYT reports 14 in two strikes. PBC lists 30 civilians.
June 19. Enzer Kali, NWA. PBC lists 1 Al-Qaeda and 15 civilian casualties. Dawn, The News and all major news sources report at least 16 militants including Al-Qaeda leader Abu Ahmed Tarkash.
June 29. Karikot. Drone strike on house of local commander Halimullah leaves 6 dead as per international news wire reports. PBC reports only 1 Al-Qaeda dn 9 civilian casualties.
September 3. Two drone strikes kill 12-15 militants. Dawn reports 6 local militants being killed in first strike. Samaa reports death of Taliban commander Inayatllah in second strike. PBC reports 13 civilian deaths.