India-Pakistan: Generals Versus Judges


January 27, 2012:  In Pakistan, angry generals have forced (via threats of a coup) the president to retract a lot of his open criticism of the military. A month ago, the president had spoken openly of the military as a "state within a state" and criticized generals for illegal acts. The generals then spoke vaguely, but ominously, of serious consequences for such talk. Cooler heads prevailed and the president and the generals met and agreed to back off on threats to reduce economic and political power of the military. But the Supreme Court has continued to examine recent abuses (murdering prisoners) by military intelligence (ISI). This is dangerous stuff, as the ISI has been behind most of the government support for Islamic terrorism.

Since the last coup in 1999 the military has lost a lot of power and influence inside Pakistan. The Internet, and more media outlets in Pakistan, has made it impossible for a government to control the news. Now, evil acts by the military always get publicized, which has greatly reduced popular support for military coups. More and more journalism is coming from unidentified amateurs. The Taliban and the military both have death squads hunting down journalists who are seen as "unhelpful."

Despite the nuclear weapons the military controls, September 11, 2001 changed the attitudes of other nuclear powers towards Pakistan. India and the United States have made it increasingly clear that Pakistan is now held responsible for the Pakistani generals' support of Islamic terrorism. Make that personally responsible, and no more ambiguity about the massive corruption the Pakistani military wallows in. In short, the Pakistani military is more frequently on the defensive. Decades of bad behavior is now coming to the surface and the military is no longer seen as heroic. The military's insistence that India is a threat is also crumbling. The generals feel threatened by their own government and the Pakistani people in general.

Apparently the Pakistani military took note of the growing boldness of the Taliban and other Islamic radical groups in North Waziristan and all along the Afghan border. The lack of CIA UAV missile attacks for two months was the cause of this revived Taliban. The Taliban have also been more brutal towards Pakistani troops, who are now often executed after capture. So the resumption of CIA UAV operations three weeks ago went largely unmentioned by the Pakistani military. The government is officially against such UAV activity, but the government and the generals are even more hostile to Taliban violence against soldiers. The Taliban have denounced the resumption of the UAV attacks but there has been no outpouring of public support for victims of these missiles. The resumption of the attacks found the Taliban more exposed because they had gotten sloppy. Previous to the halt of the UAV attacks the Taliban had become very cautious in their movements. The first few attacks killed ten terrorists, including a senior al Qaeda planner for international attacks. That man's family lives in Abbottabad, the Pakistani military town where Osama bin Laden hid out for years.

In Pakistan, a poorly made counterfeit heart drug has killed over a hundred people in the last month. Government and police corruption have allowed a growing unregulated medical drug manufacturing industry to flourish. Some of the drugs are simply illegal knockoffs of well-known brands, but some are poorly made and are either ineffective or dangerous. Many of these drugs are smuggled into other countries and sold as the real thing.

Nine small rockets were fired at the Pakistan Military Academy in Abbottabad, but no one was injured. Police are seeking those who fired the rockets.

January 26, 2012:  On the Iranian border with Pakistan six Pakistanis were shot dead while trying to sneak into Iran. Two other Pakistanis were wounded.

January 25, 2012: In eastern India (Jharkhand) police arrested wanted Maoist leader Girish Mahto, who was in the midst of planning a large terrorist attack.

January 23, 2012: The Pakistani military refused to accept any responsibility for the November incident where NATO warplanes returned fire when Afghan troops were fired on from Pakistan. The result was 25 Pakistani troops killed. The U.S. accused the Pakistani military of incompetence and miscommunication. The Pakistani military insisted it was all the fault of NATO.

January 21, 2012: In eastern India (Jharkhand) Maoists ambushed and killed 13 policemen.

January 20, 2012: The Pakistani Taliban released a video showing the murder of 15 Pakistani soldiers (who had been captured during a Taliban attack on a border post on the Afghan frontier).

In Pakistan, two more foreign aid workers (an Italian and a German) were kidnapped. That makes six taken in the last six months. Most of the abductions appear to be by common criminals, not Islamic terrorists.

January 19, 2012: Bangladesh reported that a coup attempt by some active duty and retired officers had been foiled. The plotters were seeking to use the army to install a religious (Islamic) dictatorship. There have been three successful military coups in Bangladesh since the country was created in 1971 (after East Pakistan broke away from Pakistan to become Bangladesh). There have been over twenty incidents of rebellion in the military since 1971. Unlike Pakistan (formerly West Pakistan), Bangladesh has limited the political power of the armed forces. Bangladesh has also prevented Islamic radicals from gaining a lot of power or establishing large Islamic terror groups.


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