Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Zahid Hussain of Dawn unveils more of the contrary behavior of the Pakistani army

Zahid Hussain's report in Dawn is so revealing that I want to point it out to anyone who is interested. No wonder Pakistan has so many problems: One day the army hosts the Taliban and celebrates their victory in a new area. The next day they are at war with them and put a price on their heads. Again, the Pakistani people deserve better. As we know, recent news is that in exasperation some local people in the tribal areas have formed their own fighting group [laskars] to drive the Taliban out, and we now hear the army is now willing to help them. Good news. RLC
Dawn May 31, 2009
"From much sought after to ‘most wanted’"
By Zahid Hussain

Accompanied by dozens of well armed Taliban fighters, Muslim Khan, Sirajuddin, Mahmmod Khan and some others (who are said to be responsible for killings of hundreds of soldiers and civilians) were being hosted by the former commissioner of Malakand, Syed Mohammad Javed.

The only person conspicuous by his absence was Maulana Fazlullah, the man with a head money of Rs50 million. ‘He is in Kabal for some important work,’ I was told by one of his lieutenants. [In Kabul?]

It was April 12 and the commissioner had just returned from Buner where he had apparently brokered a truce between the Taliban threatening the district after the Swat peace deal and the local Lashkar who had long resisted the militant onslaught. ...

It seemed that the militant commanders had gathered at the Commissioner House that evening to celebrate the takeover of Buner after consolidating their hold on Swat on the back of the controversial peace accord.

[A] man who now has a reward of Rs4 million on his head looked at home in the hospitable setting of the Commissioner House that night. I was taken aback to see top government officials standing there to receive the man who was responsible for ordering the execution of innocent civilians.

Earlier in the day when I went to interview him in Imam Dehri Madressah, he showed me a list of people whose execution orders were to be issued. Among them was a woman whose husband had allegedly served in the US army.


Sirajuddin, a former spokesman for Maulana Fazlullah who also has a bounty of Rs4 million for his capture, was huddled in a corner with some of his comrades.
... A former left-wing activist, he received his higher education in Kabul in 1980s during the communist rule in Afghanistan. He planned to join Lumumba University, but had to return home for reasons not known.

His transformation from a hard core socialist to a radical Muslim came in late 1990s when like many young men he fell under the spell of Maulana Fazlullah’s fiery sermons.


More shock was in store when later that evening I saw Faqir Mohammed walking in with a large entourage. Escorted by an Uzbek bodyguard he was whisked inside a large hall where a number of commanders squatted on a carpeted floor.

One of the top leaders of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, Faqir Mohammed, has been spearheading the bloody war against Pakistani forces in Bajaur tribal region.

Because of his close links with al Qaeda, security agencies considered Faqir Mohammed more dangerous than Baitullah Mehsud. The presence of Pakistan’s most wanted militant leader at the Commissioner House that evening, when the fighting still raged in Bajaur, was intriguing, to say the least.

[Click on the title to read more.]

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