SOUTH ASIA INTELLIGENCE REVIEW
by Other Means
The shift in Maoist strategy that had been emerging since June this year has now crystallized in what is evidently a tactical and – for Kathmandu – deeply unsettling unilateral declaration of ceasefire. On September 3, 2005, the Maoist ‘chief’, Pushpa Kamal Dahal aka Prachanda, issued a Press Statement declaring a three-month truce, under which the Maoists would not undertake any "offensive activities", but would "remain in a position of active defense and resist if there is an offensive from the side of the enemy (the Government)". The Maoist chief also warned that if the Government intensified its military offensive or expanded Army bases by interpreting the Maoist move as ‘weakness’, the ceasefire could be ended ‘at any point’.
Shortly thereafter, the Maoist spokesperson, Krishna Bahadur Mahara, made it clear that there was no prospect of peace talks between his party and the Royal Government – clearly eliminating any possibility of actual resolution of the protracted insurgency by obviating negotiations with the most significant political and military entity in the country. Instead, he said, the Maoists would hold talks with the seven-party Opposition alliance, members of civil society and the international community.
With this move, after months of an apparent impasse, a "false air of suspended animation", the Maoists have launched the next phase of their strategic advance, seeking a more complete polarization of political forces in Nepal, with the King increasingly pitted against all others. Already, September 4 has seen large political demonstrations in Kathmandu, with police resorting to baton charges and tear-gassing to disperse crowds, culminating in the arrest of former Prime Minister and current President of the Nepali Congress (NC), Girija Prasad Koirala.
The present unilateral truce can be expected to herald a process of feverish overground mobilization and political activity, even as the Maoists continue with a process of quiet military recovery and consolidation. In this, the Maoists would exploit the persistent and widespread misconception that the insurgency ‘had to be eventually resolved through negotiations’. In truth, a ‘resolution’ is even now unfolding, as the King’s position weakens and as the desperate political parties tentatively seek an alliance with the Maoists to engage in ‘democratic protests’ against the King’s seizure of power.
The Maoists had already secured a significant political consolidation with the Opposition alliance progressively diluting its stance on the Monarchy as an ‘essential pillar’ of Nepali politics. The Monarchy is now – infinitely more than it was before February 1 – regarded as an anachronism, and the only relevant consideration remaining appears to be to define the terms of its dissolution. The demand for a ‘republic’ has moved from the radical Maoist camp squarely into the democratic mainstream. Indeed, protesting against King Gyanendra’s participation in the UN General Assembly at New York on September 16, 2005, and demanding that UN Secretary General Kofi Annan disallow the ‘unconstitutional King’ from speaking on behalf of Nepal, Koirala echoed the Marxists, "The days of King are gone. Now his days at the throne are numbered, you can start counting his days."
A false dichotomy has often been created by analysts, between ‘military’ and ‘political’ solutions. But war, as Clauswitz remarked, is just ‘the continuation of politics by other means’. What is being engineered in Nepal is, at once, both military and political, and there is not the remotest possibility of excluding one or the other from the evolving dynamic. The current ceasefire is a link in a chain of initiatives that seeks the de facto transformation of the prevailing equation of power and of the status of the rebel group in Nepal, and this is consistent with the circumstances that have emerged out of each phase of ‘peaceful negotiations’ in the past. The success of this strategy of a tactical truce on earlier occasions is demonstrable, though it remains widely and wilfully ignored within a political constituency that remains apparently unaware of the dangers of a ‘false peace’.
It is of crucial importance to note that that this truce is a Maoist decision. Both war and peace are now conditions imposed by them, demonstrating fairly clearly where the initiative and control is located in the present conflict. This confirms further the emerging patterns that were differently manifested in Prachanda’s call to the political parties to join in the ‘historic movement’ to bring ‘an end to the despotic monarchy’. As for the feeble and fractious political parties, all they have sought in return for their emerging alliance with the Maoists is an assurance that their cadres would not be attacked and, as former Prime Minister Surya Bahadur Thapa of the Rashtriya Janashakti Party, expressed it, that the Maoists do not to use this ceasefire period to consolidate their strength or extort money, as they did during two periods of ‘peace’ in the past (2001 and 2003).
There is another significant aspect to the current change of strategic direction – it appears to have at least an implicit Indian catalyst, and is believed to have emerged from the ‘consultations’ between leaders of India’s Left Parties, partners in the ruling coalition at Delhi, and the top Maoist leadership which was brought to the Indian capital under obvious intelligence cover in May 2005. The King’s obduracy has been substantially to blame for the evolving shift in the Indian position (this is still to consolidate itself into declared national policy, and there are polarized factions within the Indian policy community that are advocating diametrically conflicting approaches), and there would also have been some pressure from the Left. The argument increasingly heard in Indian intelligence and policy circles is that you simply have to deal with the Maoists – their power is a fact and there are no credible political forces in Nepal that could provide any effective policy option. Within the prevailing circumstances, the Maoists cannot be neutralized, nor is there a stable alternative, with sufficient popular legitimacy in Kathmandu, that could be supported within the context of a protracted war. There is, moreover, a belief that a prolonged process of negotiations and possible participation of the Maoists in the political order or political processes in Kathmandu will moderate the orientation of at least some of their leaders and transform their goals. This is utter nonsense, entirely unrealistic and contrary to the lessons of recent history. It is, nevertheless, an influential position among those who have, for decades, made denial and evasion the essence of security policy in South Asia.
If anything, King Gyanendra has lent himself further to the process of Maoist consolidation in Nepal, forcing the hapless political parties into Prachanda’s arms. Even as he sought to destroy their freedoms and political base, Gyanendra presented the parties with a stark choice between his autocratic and unconstitutional rule and ‘the terrorists’, declaring that "the parties are talking about negotiation and alliance [with the Maoists]. They must be clear about their position on terrorism." Having painted himself into a corner as far as all his potential ‘natural allies’, both within the country and in the international community, are concerned, the King now stands utterly isolated – unless he chooses an uncharacteristic and dramatic retreat from positions he has intransigently held since his ‘takeover’ on February 1, 2005.
For those who see in the Maoist ceasefire an offer in good faith of ‘peaceful’ or ‘political’ resolution, it is of vital importance to note that the announcement came within two days of a joint statement by the Nepalese and Indian Maoists (under the signature of Prachanda and Ganapathy, the ‘General Secretary’ of the ‘Central Committee’ of the Communist Party of India – Maoist) reiterating their "pledge to fight unitedly till the entire conspiracies hatched by the imperialists and reactionaries are crushed and the people’s cause of Socialism and Communism are established in Nepal, India and all over the world." The vaunting rhetoric of the joint declaration must not detract from the fact that these groups have separately sustained these objectives in a protracted war that has continuously afflicted parts of India for at least 25 years – and with interruptions and under different organisational structures has been ongoing for the better part of half a century in certain areas – and that has been inflicted continuously for nine years on Nepal. The Indian State of Andhra Pradesh is still staggering under the consequences of an ill-considered period of a false peace and a deceitful process of ‘negotiations’ which the Maoists exploited to further consolidate their position both within Andhra and in neighbouring States, before they unleashed a campaign of escalating violence. The Maoists are currently at the point of their widest influence in this region, and are continuously experiencing rising successes and extensions of their areas of operation. It is altogether delusional to expect that, at this historical moment, they would accept any dilution of their objectives, or can, in any measure, be distracted from their strategy of protracted war by the weak blandishments and importunities of politically marginalized parties in Nepal, or by the patternless plotting of vacillating states and their agencies who cannot even begin to consistently define the outcome they seek to secure in the tormented Himalayan Kingdom. .
Notes of Caution
Like the virtues of motherhood, the desirability of dialogue is nigh-impossible to dispute. New Delhi’s decision to resume dialogue with the Mirwaiz Umar Farooq-led All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) has consequently been greeted with near universal applause. Most observers see the dialogue as being a key element in the complex process of restoring peace to Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) – one that will, at least, strip jihadi violence of its political legitimacy. It is worth considering, however, that real-life motherhood, as distinct from the version advertised in infant formula advertisements and afternoon soap-opera, can be both painful and unhappy: and that the dialogue due to begin at Delhi next week, similarly, may not prove cost-free.
On September 5, representatives of the mainstream APHC – as well as some secondary secessionist groups – are scheduled to meet India’s Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh. It will be the first formal engagement between this grouping and the Government of India since January 2004, when Mirwaiz Farooq had met with Prime Minister Singh’s predecessor, Atal Behari Vajpayee and India’s then-Deputy Prime Minister, L.K. Advani. That dialogue went nowhere – dissensions within the APHC, the resistance of jihadi groups, and the change of regime in New Delhi, all contributed to the impasse. Following the coming to power of Prime Minister Singh, considerable efforts were made to bring on board formations which rejected dialogue, notably the hardline Islamist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani. While these efforts to broad-base the dialogue sank without a ripple, they seem to have had the effect of nudging the APHC back to the table.
What are the prospects, now of a successful dialogue process?
New Delhi has demonstrated that a change of regime has done nothing to mitigate the chaotic mechanics of Indian decision-making on Jammu and Kashmir. Sources told SAIR that at least two members of the Indian negotiation team – which if media reports are to believed comprises of New Delhi’s official negotiator, N.N. Vohra, senior bureaucrat Wajahat Habibullah, former Research and Analysis Wing chief A.S. Dulat, Congress politician Saifuddin Soz and National Security Council head M.K. Rasgotra – had not been consulted before their names were made public. Most members of the team are still uncertain if they would actually be involved in the September 5 meeting, and if, when and with what mandate, they would directly meet with their APHC counterparts. Given that parallel lines of back-channel diplomacy preceded the dialogue – Habibullah, Vohra and Soz all played independent roles, with each only cursorily involved in the others’ work – there is also some risk that the APHC may have been made conflicting promises by these multiple interlocutors.
Chaos is, however, a part of business-as-usual in most of South Asia. A more serious problem, however, must be addressed. While there is no disputing the fact that dialogue is necessary on J&K, the structures of the ongoing process contain within them considerable risks. For one, New Delhi risks undermining many of the gains which have been made since democratic processes were revived in the State a little under a decade ago. Mirwaiz Farooq has made it clear that the APHC intends to bring a wide spectrum of issues – Indian counter-terrorism legislation, possible prisoner releases, and human rights violations – to the table. All of these are questions the J&K Government has raised with the Union of India. Unless elected representatives of the State are at the table where these questions are addressed, the dialogue process will undermine the legitimacy of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP)-Congress coalition Government, ceding to the APHC the right to speak for J&K.
Second, it remains unclear just what the APHC might gain from a successful dialogue process. Few believe that the APHC, at least in public, can accept some variant of the status-quo in J&K, even one that concedes significant federal autonomy to the State. The APHC most certainly has little incentive to do so, for there is little evidence that its constituents would be able to gain power through the democratic exercise which would have to precede such an agreement. Even cursory analysis of the raw election data on the 1987 elections – which those grouped together under the APHC umbrella as well as the Jamaat-e-Islami and elements of what is now the PDP fought in alliance – demonstrates that a secessionist platform would at best be able to gain a majority of seats only in the Kashmir Valley, leaving it well short of the mandate needed to form a Government in J&K. It is hard to conceive of incentives which could persuade the APHC to abandon its position as de facto representative of J&K’s people for a post-dated and unsigned cheque promising future power.
Finally, and most important, New Delhi appears to have no real sense of the costs of a failed dialogue. Should the APHC walk out of the dialogue process, claiming that New Delhi was being intransigent, it would have very real consequences. India’s position on J&K, for one, would most likely come under considerable pressure. Pakistan would project the ‘core problem’ as India’s unwillingness to make concessions to even its chosen dialogue partners. Even if these pressures did not create serious problems, there would also be consequences within J&K. Hardliners like Geelani and his supporters among terrorist groups would claim their resistance to dialogue had been vindicated. With the APHC discredited, New Delhi would come under pressure to make concessions to the extreme Islamist Right-wing. Of course, as Indian strategists point out, this is excellent reason for the APHC not to walk out of the dialogue – but the fact remains that a prolonged and fruitless dialogue will have much the same impact as one that fails.
Much will depend, of course, on the position Pakistan takes in the coming months and years. It is worth remembering, first, that the current reduction in violence has nothing to with the revival of political processes in J&K. Pakistan began to de-escalate its war-through-proxy in the State after the near-war of 2001-2002, aware that a failure to calibrate the jihad could lead to existence-threatening crisis. In forcing this realization on Pakistan, and in sustaining it, both India’s threat of war and arm-twisting by the US played a role. None the less, violence continues in J&K; it is only by the exceptionally macabre standards set in the state in the 1990s and early 2000s that what we see today can be described as a step towards ‘normal life’. It is important to note, moreover, that much of the ongoing terrorist violence has been directed at coercing mainstream political systems: abortive attempts on the lives of high-level PDP and Congress politicians, and successful assassinations of low-level leaders and activists, are an everyday occurrence.
Moreover, while there is little doubt that Pakistan has been incensed by Geelani’s rejection of the détente process, it is also interesting to note that it has not acted against groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM), which have taken much the same position. While Pakistan has been forced to act to reduce cross-border terrorism, there is no sign that the infrastructural capabilities of terrorist groups have been reduced so far. It is at least possible that the public support General Pervez Musharraf has given to the New Delhi-APHC dialogue is a tactical response to the pressures on him, not part of a strategic re-think. Aware that a crisis like that of 2001-2002 imposes disproportionate costs upon Pakistan, and hard-hit by the punishment his military has been taking in both Balochistan and the North-West Frontier Province, General Musharraf may simply be biding his time in the hope that the dialogue process goes nowhere – after which the jihad in J&K would resume.
All these possibilities are, of course, speculative and, possibly, markedly pessimistic. Exhausted by a decade and a half of endless conflict which has succeeded, in the main, only in bleeding ordinary people in J&K, both the APHC and the Pakistani military establishment might well be responding to the manifest and widespread public support for peace. If so, the ongoing détente process – of which the September 5 meeting will be just a small part – could lead to a genuine, broad-based dialogue, yielding progress on the many separate disputes which together constitute what we call the crisis in J&K. Apart from broadening the depth and content of democratic processes and governance in J&K, there are any number of things that could be done to transfigure the situation: cross-border trade, joint watershed management and border de-escalation are just a few obvious examples.
Nevertheless, it is not without reason that pessimistic prognoses have a record of proving right in J&K: a little caution, dialogue enthusiasts might do well to consider, after all, costs nothing.
for a Buddha
Sri Lanka heads into crucial elections later on in the year with the stalled peace talks firmly placed on the backburner. Truce monitors of the Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM) warned that the elections had undermined the chances of rekindling high-level talks. As SLMM spokesperson Helen Olafsdottir noted, "Other issues are dominating the limelight now." Earlier, just before the Supreme Court made the announcement that the Presidential Election was due this year, there had been a flicker of hope that talks, suspended since April 2003, would recommence.
This was when, following the murder of Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, both the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and the Sri Lankan Government agreed to resume talks. Many observers believe that the decision to return to talks was primarily the result of international pressure.
While the murder was condemned outright, all international players had made it clear that they wanted the peace process to continue. The pressure on the Tigers, who were blamed for the Kadirgamar assassination, was very high. Indeed, President Chandrika Kumaratunga, who initiated the latest moves for talks by writing to the Norwegians, was criticised by hardliners in Colombo for giving the Tigers a way-out when they were under tremendous international pressure.
But elections have now left Colombo bereft of steady leadership, opening the room for the Tigers to argue that they can only talk with a more stable order. Kumaratunga is in the last leg of her 11 year stint as President. Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapakse, the presidential aspirant from her party, has aligned himself with the nationalist People’s Liberation Front (PLF) and is projecting himself as a hard-line Sinhala leader to the southern polity. The PLF set the stage for elections earlier, when it pulled out of the Kumaratunga administration after the President signed the Post-Tsunami Operational Management Structure (PTOMS) agreement with the Tigers to share tsunami aid and resources.
Rajapakse’s main rival, Opposition leader Ranil Wickremasinghe, is appealing to voters on a platform based on a federal power-sharing mechanism as a solution to the ethnic conflict, and on market-based economic revival. Early indications were that he would be supported by the Tamil-dominated areas in the North East and will gain a sizeable chunk of the minority vote if the Tiger-backed Tamil National Alliance stays out of the presidential race.
However, the likelihood of all-out war also remains very slim. The Tigers cannot afford to go back to war and risk international condemnation and, more importantly, military help to the Sri Lankan Forces. "The ceasefire will hold, but LTTE will continue to provoke the Government," according to international terrorism expert Rohan Gunaratna.
It was evident last week that killings and attacks would continue, especially in the volatile East. On August 30, the LTTE said that cadres and civilians in Kirimichchi were attacked by soldiers and paramilitaries working with renegade commander Karuna. The location lies just inside areas held by the Tigers in the East and has witnessed several similar attacks since Karuna defected to the Government side in April 2004.
The following 24 hours saw six attacks targeting Army check-points and policemen. On one occasion a convoy that was escorting a magistrate was attacked leaving two policemen injured. The Army blamed the LTTE for the attacks but denied any responsibility for the ambush at Kirimichchi. The Army said that it was the work of a ‘rival LTTE faction’, in other words, the Karuna group.
The Karuna faction has made life very difficult for the Tigers, especially in the East. Most of the cadres supporting the renegade commander hail from the region and are masters of the terrain. They use the border areas between Government-controlled and LTTE-held areas and those between Sinhala/Muslim areas and Tamil areas as staging grounds for attacks and as hideouts.
Though Karuna claimed in a recent interview that he has the support of 5,000 cadres, only several hundred are believed to be actively engaged in taking on their erstwhile brothers-in-arms in the East, since the internal rebellion. However, when he fled the LTTE, Karuna released 2,437 child soldiers and several hundred other cadres from the fighting ranks.
Since its takeover of the East in April 2004, the LTTE has been keen to keep its cadre levels high, leading to persistent allegations, by UN and other agencies, of child recruitment and forcible conscription of adults. The Tigers have taken trouble to keep the Eastern situation within control, leading to the tit-for-tat attacks such as last week’s. Truce monitors located in the East likened the situation to being tied to a swinging yo-yo, one day it can be all bonkers, the next day absolutely calm.
Two senior military commanders on par with Karuna, Bhanu and Balraj, have been placed in the East on either side of the main town, Batticaloa. The Tigers have inducted specially trained units from the northern theater to confront attacks by the rival faction and to act as buffers.
However, the battle has been more a war of attrition than of face to face confrontations. The Tigers have been targeted inside Government areas, where they cannot officially operate with arms, or close to the line of control, as in Kirimichchi, making it that much more difficult for them to pursue and engage with their rivals. The Tigers have, consequently, targeted informants and ranking members of the Government intelligence units as a counter attack.
The Tigers have also mobilised their civilian support base in northern Jaffna and areas under their command as a voice supporting autonomy. Two months ago, a series of public events were held in Tamil dominated areas including Batticaloa under the banner of the Tamil National Resurgence Convention. A proclamation adopted at the rallies read:
The finale was held in the LTTE political centre, Kilinochchi, last week amidst a large gathering. Plans to hold a similar event in Jaffna as a finale appear to have been shelved following the Kadirgamar assassination and the earlier killing of a high ranking police officer in Jaffna.
The Tigers have also not been loath to advertise that they continue to impart basic military training to civilians. Even during the ceasefire, the Sri Lankan Armed Forces have charged that the Tigers were training civilians. In early August, there was a large training session in northern Pallai under Tiger rule and on August 30, 2005, a similar event, including a ‘passing out ceremony’, was held inside Tiger-held areas in Trincomalee.
Trincomalee military commander Sornam, who attended the ‘passing out ceremony’ as chief guest, acknowledged that Tigers relied on civilian support during major military operations. He said that the LTTE was able to thwart Government efforts to wrest control of the main A9 highway that links the Jaffna Peninsula as a result of help from civilians, who were involved in light military work. Analysts believe that, when the main units are forced into action, the Tigers use civilians for back-up duties and logistics. Sornam also said that the Tiger military strength was one of its prime strengths at the negotiating table and should be reinforced further.
While the Tigers appear to be manoeuvring on different fronts, a southern backlash against the Norwegians has grown louder since the Kadirgamar assassination. The Norwegians have been criticised for allowing the Tigers to continue with attacks and assassinations, and there have been calls for wider international and regional involvement in the roles of facilitators and monitors. Gunaratna asserts, "LTTE has never stopped fighting. Norway has gravely failed as a mediator. India is the solution." India, however, had its fingers badly burnt the last time it got directly involved in the Sri Lankan conflict when it sent in the Indian Peace Keeping Force in 1987.
The Norwegians have been aware of the growing dissent regarding their role for some time. In private conversations, Chief Peace Negotiator Erik Solheim has, nevertheless, dismissed possibilities of any other party – including India – taking up the thankless task in the foreseeable future. Last September, at the end of yet another frustrating visit to Kilinochchi, Solheim remarked, "Some people think that the Norwegian facilitators are some kind of semi-gods or magicians. I can tell you it will not happen. It will not be over by one visit. Even if Jesus Christ or Buddha came, they will not be able to do this easily."
With the political equation further destabilized by the approaching elections, the role of the mediators will become the more complex, and more controversial, as the LTTE can be expected to exploit the political vacuum for further consolidation and the systematic targeting of its rivals and opponents.
Weekly Fatalities: Major Conflicts in South Asia
August 29-September 4, 2005
Provisional data compiled from English language media sources.
Landmine blast kills 24 security force personnel in Chhattisgarh: 22 personnel of the paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force and two from the State police were killed in a landmine blast triggered by the Communist Party of India-Maoist (CPI-Maoist) near Padeda village in the Dantewada district of Chhattisgarh on September 3, 2005. Home Minister Ram Vichar Netam said the Maoists used 100 kilograms of explosives to blast the vehicle as it was negotiating a turn near the Panjor rivulet. The Times of India, September 5, 2005.
Prime Minister to meet Hurriyat leaders on September 5: On August 31, 2005, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh invited the separatist All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC) faction led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq for talks in New Delhi on September 5. Farooq, who will lead the delegation, accepted the invitation for the talks that will take place nine days ahead of Dr. Singh's meeting with the Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in New York. "The Prime Minister has invited Hurriyat chairman and other leaders for talks," the Prime Minister's Media Adviser Sanjaya Baru said in Delhi. "It was our demand that the talks should be held at the highest level. So we have agreed to meet the Prime Minister on the scheduled date," Farooq said in Srinagar. The Hindu, September 1, 2005.
Government seeks deportation of Dawood Ibrahim, Masood Azhar, Salahuddin and Paresh Baruah from Pakistan: On August 29, 2005, India is reported to have handed over to Pakistan a list of nearly 30 wanted people, including mafia don Dawood Ibrahim, Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) chief Maulana Masood Azhar and United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) chief Paresh Baruah, seeking their deportation to face trial. The list, which also includes names of Dawood associate Chhota Shakeel and Rawalpindi-based Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) chief Syed Salahuddin, was handed over by the Union Home Secretary V.K. Duggal to his Pakistani counterpart Syed Kamal Shah on the opening day of the two-day Home Secretary-level talks in New Delhi. Among other names in the Indian list are Khalistan Commando Force (KCF) chief Paramjit Singh Panjwar, Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) leader Wadhawa Singh and two men - Ishaq Atta Hussain and Sagir Sabir Ali Shaikh - who allegedly wanted to target the Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil. India also sought extradition of five hijackers of the IC-814 in 1999 and some of the Khalistan leaders, including Ranjit Singh Neeta of the Khalistan Zindabad Force (KZF). Pakistan also gave India a list of 37 'wanted' persons alleging they were in India and mostly involved in alleged drug trafficking offences. Daily Excelsior, August 30, 2005.
announce three-month cease-fire:
On September 3, 2005, Chairman of the Communist Party
of Nepal (Maoist), Pushpa Kamal Dahal alias Prachanda,
announced a unilateral cease-fire for three months with
immediate effect. In a statement, Prachanda said "With
deep sense of responsibility towards the people longing
for democratic political outlet and peace, and with
the aim of eliminating doubts about our movement, our
party announces a unilateral cease-fire for three months
with immediate effect." However, the Maoist chief also
warned that if the Government intensifies the military
offensive and expands army bases by taking their latest
move as a 'weakness', the truce could be ended 'at any
point'. He added that his army would remain in defensive
position, and 'won't carry out any offensive operation'.
September 4, 2005.
Seminaries' body rejects registration process: The Tanzimul Madaris Ahle Sunnat (Barelvi school), one of the apex bodies of Madrassas (seminaries), on August 30, 2005, rejected registration of seminaries under the amended law and said it would not cooperate in the process unless their reservations about changes made in the law were removed. Speakers at a convention on "Religious Institutions and Contemporary Needs" in Islamabad also said that they would not abide by the Government's orders on the question of syllabus, nor would they stop teaching the concept of Jihad as it was in the Holy Quran and Hadith. They rejected allegations that some religious schools were giving militancy training to students. A week earlier, the Islamabad chapter of Wafaqul Madaris (Deobandi school) had announced they would not get their affiliated seminaries registered and had constituted a 19-member committee to deal with the Government on the issue. Dawn, August 31, 2005.
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