Balochistan: Behind an Iron Curtain,Nepal: Deadlock:: South Asia Intelligence Review (SAIR),Vol. No. 9.4
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Weekly Assessments & Briefings
Volume 9, No. 4, August 2, 2010

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Balochistan: Behind an Iron Curtain
Guest Writer: Vikram Sood
Former Secretary, R&AW; Vice President, Observer Research Foundation

"Awake my Punjab, Pakistan is ebbing away", Baloch poet, philosopher and Left Wing activist lawyer, Habib Jalib wrote, "Our Dreams have faded now, Pakistan is ebbing away, / Sindh, Baluchistan, have been weeping for ages. / The people of Punjab are still lost, asleep."

On July 14, 2010, Jalib was shot dead outside his brother’s shop on Sariab Road in Quetta. Ironically, barely twenty persons showed up to condole the poet-politician’s death in faraway Islamabad, a city rendered remote by its own siege and indifference. Was Punjab really losing interest in the rest of the country, troubled as it was with its terrorists?

Jalib, the Secretary General of the Baloch Nationalist Party (BNP), who often fought legal battles pro bono, and who meant so much more to so many, had been imprisoned, at various times, by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, and Generals Zia-ul-Haq and Pervez Musharraf. Yet Habib would not bend.

Habib’s murder was not an incident in isolation, nor was he killed by mistake. His compatriot and colleague, Mir Maula Baksh Dashti, from the National Party also a former Chairman of the Baloch Students Organisation, had been gunned down only four days earlier, on July 10. Commentator Amir Mateen noted, in a report published on July 25, 2010, that there are, on average, two targeted killings in Balochistan every day; while official figures put this figure at 370 in the last ten months, others say the number would be closer to 600. Sardar Akhtar Mengal, president of the Balochistan National Party (BNP) and a former Chief Minister of the Balochistan, on July 31, also accused the Government and its functionaries of carrying out targeted killings, adding, "The State and its agents have deliberately created panic in Balochistan, but the BNP is not scared of anything, as the party has already scarified the lives of many of its leaders and workers."

Baloch nationalists like Malik Siraj Akbar Khan compare the killings of Habib and Dashti to the assassinations of Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti and Balach Marri. Yet, while the latter had united the Baloch, the unfortunate reality today is that the Baloch remain divided. There is a leadership vacuum in Balochistan, with most surviving iconic leaders no longer living in Quetta. Mir Khair Baksh Marri is in Karachi; Sardar Atuallah Khan Mengal is in Wadh (Khuzdar district), while his son, Akhtar, is in Dubai; Mir Hasil Bizenjo, Member of Pakistan’s National Assembly, operates from Karachi. Even an important secular Pashtun nationalist like Mahmood Khan Achakzai, leader of the Pakhtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party, is believed to be away, possibly in the United Kingdom.

An acute provincial xenophobia now targets the non-Baloch in the Province. Mateen says one-quarter of Quetta is a no-go area; half the city goes to sleep at sun down; and areas like Sariab Road and Arbab Karan Road are out of bounds for the non-Baloch even during daytime. Barring the Quetta Cantonment, which is heavily protected, all other areas, including pickets of the paramilitary Frontier Corps, are subject to attacks; local Police enter areas like Spiny Road and Samungli Road at their own peril. Mateen observes,

... the ordinary citizenry has been left to the butchery of a lethal mix of extremist nationalists, political separatists, religious fanatics, smugglers, drug dealers and the land mafia hand in glove with criminals, not to forget international terrorists and foreign intelligence agencies."

The Pushtun of Quetta have moved to safer areas of Nawankhali and Sraghurdhi, while Punjabi settlers, many of whom have lived in Quetta for generations, have been forced to leave for other Provinces. Doctors and surgeons have been intimidated and prevented from attending their clinics, so that they are not able to report incidents and casualties. About 1,600 Government officials have sought transfers out of Balochistan.

In the current cycle of violence, according to former Senator Sanaullah Baloch, between 2003 and December 2005, about 2,600 to 3,200 innocent people were killed in military operations, particularly in the Marri and Bugti areas. Islamabad frequently used air raids to subdue the Baloch tribals. About 80 to 85 per cent of those killed were women and children. During this phase, according to the United Nations’ December 2006 estimates, there were 84,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Balochistan without any relief or shelter; there was a total blockade of the Marri and Bugti areas; an estimated 8000 to 10,000 died in the exodus which caused malnourishment, disease and lack of shelter.

Violence in Balochistan has since been continuous. Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti was assassinated on August 26, 2006, and Mir Balach Marri, on November 21, 2007. The Baloch cannot forget the campaigns launched by General Musharraf against the Bugtis from 2005, when he rolled in tanks and brought in the Air Force to eventually kill the Nawab. Both these killings were accompanied by numerous others. There were only six reported incidents in 2005; the number rose to 44 the next year, accounting for 391 deaths, including 124 Security Force (SF) personnel. In 2007 there were 22 major incidents, with 199 fatalities. Since 2005, there have been 1,448 deaths, more than half of which were described as civilians; 404 were security personnel and 247 ‘terrorists’. In 2010, 97 civilians have been killed, as against 8 terrorists and 32 security personnel, thus far. While there have been a few sectarian killings, many targets have been the middle class – the educated and the professionals.

To put this into perspective, Balochistan has a population of 7.8 million, and there have been 1,448 fatalities. Pro rata, in the Punjab Province of Pakistan, with a population of more than 85 million, this would be equivalent to nearly 15,000 fatalities. Worse, UN reports claim that 8,000 Baloch have been missing since 2005; translated into Punjab equivalents, this would mean as many as 80,000. The truth is that there is no accurate figure of how many Baloch have died behind Pakistan’s Iron Curtain. The enormity of the casualties has been lost in the remoteness of the Province, and the seemingly ‘low’ absolute number of casualties spread over five years.

There are two versions about the ownership of these killings. Representatives of the Jamhoori Watan Party insist that the middle class was being targeted by the separatists, since the former believed in an unified Pakistan even as they struggled for a better deal for the Baloch. Others feel that the separatist movement draws its inspiration from Sardar Khair Bux Marri, who is believed to have said that violence was the only way to attain Baloch goals. Many, however, believe that this targeted killing of the political middle class is the handiwork of the ‘Agencies’ who wish to "knock out our political brains", according to Senator Manzoor Gichki. The Baloch also suspect that the so-called Baloch Massala Daffah Army (BDMA), which has claimed responsibility for the recent assassinations, is a front for the Agencies. The plan looks reasonable from the Agencies’ point of view. Having either killed or driven away the traditional leadership of the Baloch, it would be best to decimate the middle class leadership, which could be the source and inspiration for the other dissenting Baloch. Although there are many who believe that violence is the only way to attain Baloch rights, some nationalist leaders still believe that dialogue may yield results, which could include provincial autonomy and a greater say in the national affairs under the original terms of accession. This, however, is unlikely to be granted, though Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, on August 1, reiterated the old formula that the Government was ready for a dialogue with the Baloch leaders, whether they were in or out of the country, and that the Government wanted to bring Baloch leaders into mainstream politics.

The picture that emerges from Balochistan is of total lawlessness, with no one seemingly in control. A situation where various kinds of mafia – drugs, weapons, land and smuggling, anything, take control, and even the government of the day seems part of that mafia. With Chief Minister Aslam Raisani taking shelter in Dubai for half the month, nobody is really in charge. Local dissidents and objectors are routinely described as ‘terrorists’ and treated as such. The Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA), for instance, has been seen to be increasingly anti-Punjabi in recent years. Its cadres consist of the educated class too, which includes doctors, engineers and lawyers, and this obviously means that this class too feels that their basic rights would not be available to them except through a violent struggle. Age-old grievances have not been addressed and new ones like the presence of the Chinese in Gwadar have been added.

The Baloch resent the fact that theirs has become a garrison province; that lucrative projects like the Saindak Copper Project and the Gwadar Port are being handled by the Chinese; that projects like the Sui Gas and Reko Dik Copper-Gold undertakings are exploited by Pakistan Petroleum Limited, and the Baloch get no share of the revenue. In November 2009, former Senator Sanaullah Baloch gave a detailed account of the extent of discrimination and deprivation that the Baloch face, speaking of "The centre’s endless desire to control the province’s natural wealth and its continued suppression of the people through ethnically-structured military and paramilitary forces..."

There is further resentment on issues such as the fact that Civil Armed Forces in the Province (numbering 50,000 personnel). The World Bank released the Balochistan Economic report 2009, which recounts a dismal story. During the period 1972-73 to 2005-06, Balochistan’s economy expanded 2.7 times compared to 3.6 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP, formerly the North West Frontier Province) and four times in Punjab. The report also pointed out that Balochistan had the worst social indicators for education, literacy, health, water and sanitation for 2006-07. The Human Development Index rate the resource-rich Dera Bugti as the worst District in Pakistan, at 0.285, compared to the best in the land of the powerful Jhelum District at 0.703. While rural poverty in Punjab decreased by four per cent, it increased by 15 per cent in Balochistan during the same period (other provinces, Sindh and KP, also grew poorer). Gas from Balochistan has been used primarily in the Punjab since 1964; Quetta got gas only in 1986. The Chaghai nuclear tests were carried out without the knowledge of the Baloch Government and, although many in the Province have suffered from the after effects of these tests, there has been no compensation.

Yet other grim statistics are

  • 92 percent of Balochistan’s districts are classified as ‘high deprivation’ areas, compared to 50 per cent in Sindh and 29 per cent in Punjab.
  • Balochistan has the highest infant and maternal mortality rate in South Asia, caused mainly by malnutrition among 34 per cent of pregnant women.
  • Infant mortality rates in Balochistan stand at 130 per thousand, against Pakistan’s national average of 70.
  • Balochistan has only one vocational institute for women. Punjab has 111.
  • 23 per cent of girls in rural Balochistan have access to primary schools. The figure for Punjab is 46 per cent.
  • Punjab has 486 polytechnic, computer science and women’s vocational institutes, as well as commercial and law colleges, while Baloch have just nine.
  • The Social Policy Development Centre report of 2005 stated that the percentage of population living in a high degree of deprivation was 88 per cent in Balochistan, compared to 25 per cent in Punjab.

Such statistics are endless, but all confirm the acute discrimination and deprivation that Balochistan faces. Deprived of political, economic and social rights, the Baloch have no faith that the Federal Government will ever deliver on the various promises it has made in the past. This is the sentiment that underpins their struggle for self-determination. Islamabad, on the other hand, feels it has an inalienable right to exploit the resources of Balochistan, and feels no necessity to assuage the feelings of the rebellious Baloch.

Comparisons between the present situation in Balochistan and East Pakistan in 1971 are not just tempting, they are, in many ways, accurate. The Bengalis had suffered decades of neglect and discrimination, which the Punjabi rulers in Islamabad/Rawalpindi fobbed off as ‘external intervention’, sustaining the argument that nothing needed to be done to alleviate the local grievances. When the Bengalis reacted by launching a movement for separation, the response was brutal, indeed, genocidal, use of force. In Balochistan, four previous uprisings have been suppressed through brute force, and nothing has been done to remove the sense of injustice, alienation and deprivation. In a recent interview to a Sindhi newspaper, Khair Bux Marri declared, "The British only laid the foundation of our slavery but the Punjabis bathed us in blood and kept us slaves. What would we do in such circumstances? Obviously, we would retaliate."

There are other complications in Balochistan. The foremost is the presence of the Quetta Shura of Mullah Omar, and divergent US and Pakistani interests in the future of this Shura, as well as the Pushtun response to this in Balochistan. US involvement in the intricate and seemingly hopeless war in Afghanistan against the Taliban and al Qaeda with the dubious assistance of Pakistan and its surrogates in Balochistan, will inevitably bring the Province on to the front page. The activities of the Jundullah, a Sunni Wahhabi organization, from bases in Balochistan, have already attracted Iranian ire and the suspicion in Tehran that the movement is meant to detach the predominantly Sunni Sistan-Balochistan. Already feeling surrounded by Sunni regimes, fearing a Talibanised Afghanistan on its northern borders and the Centcom Forces in the area that have indulged in periodic sabre-rattling, the Iranian leaders have reason to be paranoid.

Further, the concept of reconfiguring the region has been doing the rounds for some time. Among these, Ralph Peters, in his article "Blood Borders – How a better Middle East would look", argued that, since there have been arbitrary and distorted borders in Africa and the Middle East, it was necessary to mend this. His redrawn map leaves a reconfigured Iran, Afghanistan and a much reduced Pakistan. Peters does not say how this would be achieved and his argument remains no more than a hypothesis.

In July 2010, former US Ambassador to India Robert Blackwill and geopolitical journalist Michael Hughes, explored the idea of re-configuration of the region again. Blackwill’s essay "A de facto partition of Afghanistan" is more about how the US could exit Afghanistan and stay there as well: "De facto partition is clearly not the best outcome one can imagine for the United States in Afghanistan. But it is now the best outcome that Washington can achieve consistent with vital national interests and US domestic politics."  Though he refers more to the Pushtun belt in Afghanistan, it is unlikely that the Pushtun belt in KP and Balochistan would remain unaffected by this plan. A domino effect is quite likely.

Hughes’ essay, "Balkanising Pakistan: A collective national Security Strategy – Breaking Pakistan to Fix It" argues that,

…as a result of flawed boundaries combined with the nexus between military rule and Islamic extremism, Pakistan now finds itself in rapid descent toward certain collapse and the country’s leaders stubbornly refuse to do things required to change course. But before allowing Pakistan to commit state suicide, self-disintegrate and further destabilise the region, the international community can beat them to the punch and deconstruct the country less violently.

Hughes admits that Balkanisation did seem to be an extreme step, but adds, "after considering Pakistan’s historic and current relationship with al Qaeda – it becomes easy to justify." More than just strategic justification, one can discern a serious undertone of exasperation and disillusionment with Pakistan in the emerging western discourse, which the Wikileaks exposures will only exacerbate.

It is only natural that all Pakistanis would find this kind of discourse about their country extremely abhorrent. But they must also realise that the biggest existential threat to them comes from the policies followed by their political and military leaders these past sixty years, with little hope that this will change. The implications of all this go beyond Balochistan, even beyond Pakistan, and the region and the world cannot be passive spectators.

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Anshuman Behera
Research Associate, Institute for Conflict Management

Nepal plunged into deeper crisis, with political parties failing to elect the Prime Minister (PM) in two rounds of Prime Ministerial elections held on July 21 and July 23, 2010. Earlier, on July 13, the Constitutional Assembly (CA) had decided to conduct Prime Ministerial Elections so that the peace process and the Constitution drafting process could be taken to their intended conclusion.

Notably, PM Madhav Kumar Nepal had submitted his resignation to the President, Ram Baran Yadav, on July 1 [he continues as caretaker PM till date]. Significantly, the main Opposition party in Singh Durbar (Parliament), the Unified Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist (UCPN-M), was determined to topple the Government led by Madhav Kumar Nepal’s Communist Party of Nepal –Unified Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML). The official rationale of the Maoist drive against the CPN-UML led Government was its failure to draft a Constitution for the land by the May 28 deadline. Repeated strikes and shut downs by the UCPN-M ultimately forced the PM to resign.

In the first round of the election on July, 21, UCPN-M chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda, Nepali Congress (NC) leader Rama Chandra Poudel and CPN-UML General Secretary Jhala Nath Khanal filed their nominations. The election, however, ended in a deadlock, as neither of the final two candidates – Prachanda and Poudel – could get the magic number of 401 out of a total strength of 599 in the House. Significantly, the CA conducted voting on the nominations of the UCPN-M and the NC, since the CPN-UML withdrew its candidature just minutes before the scheduled time of election. The caretaker PM explained the decision to withdraw, stating, "The UML withdrew the candidature as it could not receive a written commitment of support from at least 401 members of Parliament which makes a two third majority."

Of the 592 members voting, Prachanda secured the support of 242, while 114 voted against and 236 members remained neutral. In Poudel’s case, out of the 587 votes cast, 124 members voted in his favour , 235 members voted against, and 228 remained neutral. The UCPN-M has a total strength of 238 members in the Parliament while the NC has 114.

With no decision possible on this outcome, the Chairman of the CA, Subash Nembang, declared that a run-off election would be held on the July 23.

On July 23, even as the process of the run-off elections was to start, Prachanda and Subash Nembang held a flurry of meetings with fringe parties in a bid to secure support for the Maoist candidate. Ironically, Prachanda also held a separate meeting with the leaders of the pro-monarchy Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP), seeking their support. He was also scheduled to meet the Madhesh-based parties, but the meeting failed to materialise, as the Madheshi leaders remained busy working out their common strategy. Four Madheshi parties, under the umbrella of the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF), decided to list their conditions for support to either candidate. These included an assurance that the new Constitution would be drafted, that peace would be established, and Madheshi concerns would be addressed.

The results of the run-off elections, however, were almost a repetition of the earlier round. Of the 572 votes cast for the UCPN-M, 241 voted in favour, 113 against, and 218 remained neutral. Of the 578 members participating in the election process of the NC, 123 voted in favour, 241 against, and 214 remained neutral. Meanwhile, the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) of the Legislature-Parliament on July 23 itself decided to hold a second run-off election on August 2.

Given the prevailing political situation, any possibilities of a positive outcome in the next run-off are remote, even as each political party continues to contribute to the deadlock in Nepal. The CPN-UML remains determined not to take part in the elections as long as it is not assured of a clear outcome. On July 23, CPN-UML leader Bharat Mohan Adhikari announced that his party would not take part in the election until there is confirmation that it would ensure "a national consensus Government". The UML, moreover, is also not particularly keen on an alliance with the Nepali Congress (NC), with whose support it remained in office for little more than a year. During its year in office, the CPN-UML failed to garner the confidence and support of its 22 coalition partners. The chances of forming a national consensus Government – what the UML is looking for – are consequently bleak at the present juncture.

The NC has its own problems, and there has been crisis of leadership since the death of Girija Prasad Koirala. While some of its members support the CPN-UML, others insist on an ‘independent’ line. In an effort to break the deadlock, Sujata Koirala, Deputy Prime Minister in the caretaker Government and NC leader, said, on July 22, that the parties should trust the Maoists and that she had no problem with a Maoist-led Government. On July 30, she went on to say that the NC was ready to withdraw its candidate from the race for the Prime Minister’s post.

However, the prospects of the NC and UCPN-M reaching the magic number are also bleak, as it is near impossible for them to get the support of the Madhesh based parties, who have 83 members in the Constituent Assembly, and have become even more demanding on a special status to the Madhesh region. Notably, the UDMF has asked for a written commitment from both NC and UCPN-M on the issue. Though the UCPN-M, on July 29, agreed to give a written commitment to the UDMF, it does not support the core demand of "ek Madhesh ek Pradesh" (One Madhesh, one Provincial State).

Compounding issues further, is the question of integration of Maoist armed cadres with the Nepal Army. Even as electoral uncertainties mounted, the Vice Chairman of the UCPN-M Baburam Bhattarai declared, on July 29, that his party was ‘ready to finish the important task’ of integration and rehabilitation of Maoist combatants, by separating those among them who want to be integrated into the State Security Forces and those who do not. He also said that this would be done by bringing the Maoist combatants under the Army Integration Special Committee. It is, however, clearly understood that this statement was only intended to secure the support of the other political parties for the August 2 elections. The Maoists have demonstrated an increasing obsession with the being in power and, while they speak of the formation of a "national Government" or "unity Government", they have failed to evolve a basic and mutual understanding with the NC and CPN-UML on the writing of the Constitution. It is significant that, when they decided to support the CPN-UML candidate Jhala Nath Khanal in the First run-off election on July 23, they chose to keep their own candidature unchanged at the same time.

There is no chance of a new candidate emerging to strike a balance among the political parties, since the Parliament Rules of Procedures, 2008, bar the entry of new candidates in run-off elections, even where contestants from previous rounds fail to secure a majority.

In the five years since the peace process was initiated in 2006, Nepal has had two different Governments under two different political parties. The UCPN-M led Government, headed by Pushpa Kamal Dahal as Prime Minister remained in the office from August 18, 2008, to May 4, 2009, while the CPN-UML led Government under Prime Ministership Madhav Kumar Nepal presided between May 23, 2009, and June 30, 2010.

The continuing uncertainty over elections, the deadlock in the Constitution-drafting process, the absence of progress on critical outstanding issues, including the integration of Maoist armed cadres, the simmering difficulties in the Madhesh, and the intensifying cycles of disruptive strikes and street demonstrations, are all combined in a deeply unsettling scenario in Nepal. The country has learnt to live in a state of permanent crisis, but unless some political breakthrough is devised, there is a rising danger that things may worsen dramatically, as one or the other player finds brinkmanship more seductive than the wearing tasks of building a consensus between myopic, fractious and irreconcilable political parties.


Weekly Fatalities: Major Conflicts in South Asia
July 26-August 1, 2010



Security Force Personnel







Jammu and Kashmir




Left-wing Extremism






West Bengal


Total (INDIA)












Khyber Pakhtunkhwa







Provisional data compiled from English language media sources.


14 protesters killed in Kashmir Valley since July 30: At least eight people, including a woman, were killed in two separate incidents in the Pulwama District on August 1. While four people were killed in Police firing in Pampore, four more died when an ammunition store exploded in the Khrew Police Station after it was attacked by a mob.

On July 31, one youth was killed as Security Forces opened fire on an enraged mob at Naid Khai in Sumbal area of Bandipora District while another youth was killed during protests in Baramulla town.

Four youths were killed in Sopore and Pattan towns of Baramulla District on July 30.

Acknowledging that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir "is not yet normal" due to repeated calls for bandh (shut down), the Centre, on July 30, made it clear that it was committed to holding a ‘quiet' dialogue with all shades of opinion in the State.

On July 28 the Centre had said it was aware that anti-India elements, who are based in Pakistan, were provoking the people of Jammu and Kashmir with the support of certain sections of secessionist groups in the State. Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Ajay Maken informed the Rajya Sabha (Upper House of Parliament) that these anti-India elements were inciting people on various pretexts to arouse public sentiments. "The statements of All Party Hurriyat Conference (Abbas) and All Party Hurriyat Conference (Geelani) in the media and LeT [Lashkar-e-Toiba] across the border in this regard are documented," he said. Daily Excelsior; The Hindu Times of india, July 29-Augsut 2, 2010.

740 militants tried to infiltrate into Jammu and Kashmir since 2009, says Defence Minster A. K. Antony: Infiltration attempts across the Line of Control (LoC) show no signs of abating. In fact, they have registered a jump. As many as 740 militants tried to sneak into Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) over the last 18 months. "In 2009, 485 terrorists had attempted to infiltrate into J&K. This year, from January to June, a total of 255 terrorists have attempted to infiltrate,'' Defence Minister A. K. Antony told the Lok Sabha (Upper House of Parliament). The Security Forces, on their part, killed 114 terrorists -- 59 of them while infiltrating -- and arrested 60 others in J&K in the first six months of 2010. Times of india, July 28, 2010.

NSCN-K leader in Nagaland admits China links: A National Socialist Council of Nagaland-Khaplang (NSCN-K) leader, Kughalu Mulatonu, said the Chinese found their way to militant camps in Sagaing Division of Myanmar via New Delhi. On links to the Chinese, Mulatonu said "Chinese people" often come and visit NSCN (K) camps in Myanmar to hold meetings with their leaders. "They (Chinese people) openly come to India via Delhi carrying passport and meet Mr. Khaplang," Mulatonu said. The NSCN-K refers to the Sagaing Division of Myanmar as Eastern Nagaland. Hindustan Times, July 27, 2010.

US investigating possible ISI role in 26/11: In the wake of India's assertion that Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was involved in 26/11, the US administration has said that it was investigating the matter to find out whether Pakistan's ISI played a role in 26/11. Indian Express, July 28, 2010.

Nagpur emerging as new Maoist hub, indicates report: Nagpur appears to be emerging as a new hub for the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) with security agencies suspecting that it is being used for transit, treatment and regrouping. With its proximity to Naxalite [Left Wing Extremists] hotbeds like Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand, sources also indicated that Nagpur was being used not just as a transit point but also for medical treatment. Times of india, July 27, 2010.

Militancy related violence declines in Northeast: Union Ministry of Home Affairs sources said that militancy-related violence in the North-eastern region has come down during the first six months of 2010, as compared to the same period in 2009. Of the Northeastern States, Assam and Manipur continue to remain trouble-torn, although the incidence of violence has come down during the past six months. Mizoram remains the most peaceful State. Assam Tribune, July 31, 2010.

Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram hopes for change of heart among Maoists: A day after expressing confidence that the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) menace could be contained in the next three years, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram, on July 30, said that was the goal and hoped there would be a change of heart among the CPI-Maoist cadres who believe in armed liberation. Asked if his statement on July 29, that the problem of Naxalism [Left Wing Extremism] would be overcome in the next three years, was not overambitious, Chidambaram said, with action being taken by the Government, both in developing and securing Naxal-affected areas, the menace would come down substantially in about three years. "But ultimately, there has to be a change of heart among the Extreme Leftists who believe in armed liberation struggle. They have to give up that ideology. That ideology has no place in a parliamentary democracy," he said. Times of india, July 31, 2010.

Many Maoists want to surrender, says West Bengal Chief Minister: Quite a few Maoists have surrendered and many more want to, said West Bengal Chief Minister (CM) Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee on July 29, a day after the State Government issued a notification on its surrender policy for Naxal [Left Wing Extremists]. The Hindu, July 30, 2010.

Union Government hands over Samjhauta Express blast probe to NIA: The Union Government handed over the Samjhauta Express blast case probe to the National Investigation Agency (NIA). The case will be the third one to be probed by NIA after Goa's Margao town and Gujarat's Modasa bomb blast cases in which Hindu extremist groups are suspected to be involved. Times of india, July 30, 2010.

Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways seeks two more Districts of Madhya Pradesh under Naxal-hit areas: Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Kamal Nath has urged Union Minister for Home Affairs (MHA) P. Chidambaram to include two more Districts of Madhya Pradesh in the list of those hit by Naxals [Left Wing Extremism]. The list of such Districts is the basis of a programme run by the Road Ministry to provide road connectivity. Financial Express, July 29, 2010.

27,261 Bru refugees in Tripura: There are a total of 27,261 Bru refugees from Mizoram in six relief camps in North District in Tripura as per a head count completed on July 28. The head count exercise was undertaken on the instruction of the Mizoram Government. This is regarded as the first step in the effort to repatriate all Bru refugees in 2010, following a directive from Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram that the process be completed by October end. PTI News, July 29, 2010.


75 militants and 12 civilians among 94 persons killed during the week in FATA: At least 15 Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) militants were killed and 10 were injured when the Security Forces (SFs) backed by fighter jets pounded militant hideouts in Orakzai Agency of Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) on August 1.

At least 10 persons were killed and their houses set ablaze in sectarian violence in Kurram Agency on July 29.

12 militants were killed and 11 were injured in a clash with SFs in the Kurram Agency on July 29.

Three SF personnel were killed and 10 were injured when militants attacked a convoy in the Pash Ziarat area of South Waziristan Agency on July 28.

24 dead bodies, believed to be those of militants, were recovered in Akakhel area of Khyber Agency on July 26.

14 TTP militants, including a ‘commander’, were killed when jet fighters bombed two vehicles in Dogar area in Upper tehsil (revenue unit) of Orakzai Agency. Dawn; Daily Times; The News, July 19-26, 2010.

Destroy militant hideouts in Pakistan, urges Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai: Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, on July 29, urged his Western allies to destroy Islamist militant sanctuaries in neighbouring Pakistan after thousands of secret US files were leaked. "The time has come for our international allies to know that the war against terrorism is not in Afghanistan’s homes and villages," Karzai said, adding, "But rather this war is in the sanctuaries, funding centres and training places of terrorism which are outside Afghanistan. Whether we are able to destroy these sanctuaries or not is another question. Our international allies have this ability, but the question is why they are not doing it." The News, July 30, 2010.

Sanctuaries of militants in urban areas to be eliminated: Corps Commander Peshawar, Lt. Gen. Asif Yasin Malik, on July 28 said that after suffering defeat in Swat and South Waziristan, the militants have now started arriving in major cities to terrorise the people, but the Security Forces (SFs) would soon eliminate their new sanctuaries in urban areas. The News, July 29, 2010.

Pakistan secretly helping Afghan Taliban, US leaked intelligence report indicates: Pakistan was actively collaborating with the Taliban in Afghanistan, while accepting US aid, leaked US military reports showed on July 22. Under the heading "Afghan War Diary", the revelations were released by online organisation WikiLeaks. The leaked reports, covering a period from January 2004 to December 2009, suggest that current and former officials from the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) have met directly with the Taliban in secret strategy sessions to organise terrorist networks fighting US soldiers. Daily Times, July 27, 2010.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik confirms New York bomb suspect met TTP chief: Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik on July 26 said that the Pakistani-American, Faisal Shehzad, who pleaded guilty to a New York bomb plot, met the country’s Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) ‘chief’ Hakeemullah Mehsud, just days after footage emerged of them hugging. "He visited Pakistan seven times and he met Hakeemullah Mehsud and also met other people, those so-called leaders of the TTP," Malik added.. Daily Times, July 27, 2010.

3,000 terrorists for India battle, claims TTP: Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claims it has organised 3,000 terrorists for its declared battle against India. The TTP spokesperson Tahir Ali declared in Islamabad on July 26 that it is providing training to terrorists to launch an attack on India. Another TTP spokesperson Azam Tariq in a telephone interview said that the TTP has vowed to capture "Hindustan". Rediff, July 27, 2010.

US lawmakers reject motion for pulling US troops out of Pakistan: US lawmakers on July 27 challenged the President Barack Obama’s war strategy, defeating a resolution calling for the removal of US forces from Pakistan by a crushing 38-372 margin. Daily Times, July 29, 2010.

No plan to send combat troops to Pakistan, says US: The United States (US), on July 30, brushed aside an Afghanistan demand to strike at Afghani Taliban safe havens across the border, saying it has no plan to send combat troops to Pakistan. "We have no plans to send US combat forces to Pakistan," State Department Spokesman Philip Crowley said. Daily Times, July 31, 2010.

People less concerned about Taliban and al Qaida as compared to Indian threat and US enmity, indicates report: A majority of Pakistanis still consider India as a major threat, view America as an enemy and are far less concerned about Taliban and al Qaida, a Pew Research Centre opinion poll reported on July 30. "When asked which is the greatest threat to their country – India, the Taliban or al-Qaida – slightly more than half of Pakistanis (53 per cent) choose India, compared with 23 per cent for Taliban and just 3 per cent for al-Qaida," it said. However, most Pakistanis want better ties with India. Times of india, July 31, 2010.


Higher Security Zones cannot be removed completely in North, says Government: Government on July 29 said that the Higher Security Zones (HSZs) extended during the war cannot be removed completely overnight, although some HSZs have already been narrowed, as the Government has to ensure safety of all citizens in the country. Addressing a group of journalists from the North and East, who visited Colombo, Director General of the Media Centre for National Security Lakshman Hulugalle said the Government will never compromise on national security despite the war is being over. Colombo Page, July 31, 2010.

Government rehabilitates and releases 3,000 ex-LTTE cadres: Sri Lanka Rehabilitation Commissioner Brigadier Sudantha Ranasinghe says that 3,000 surrendered cadres of the defeated Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) have been released so far. The Rehabilitation Commissioner said that 11,698 LTTE cadres were identified for rehabilitation. Among the 3,000 released ex-LTTE cadres, there were university students, children, ill and disabled cadres, pregnant women, mothers with children, minor offenders and those who were acquitted by courts, Brigadier Ranasinghe said.. Colombo Page, July 31, 2010.

85 percent war-displaced resettled, says Government spokesman Keheliya Rambukwella: The Sri Lankan Government has re-settled 85 per cent of the nearly 300,000 war displaced Tamil civilians in the Northern Province, according to Government spokesman and Media and Information Minister Keheliya Rambukwella. The Hindu, July 30, 2010.

The South Asia Intelligence Review (SAIR) is a weekly service that brings you regular data, assessments and news briefs on terrorism, insurgencies and sub-conventional warfare, on counter-terrorism responses and policies, as well as on related economic, political, and social issues, in the South Asian region.

SAIR is a project of the Institute for Conflict Management and the South Asia Terrorism Portal.

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K. P. S. Gill

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