India-Pakistan: The Border Bewilderness


August 18, 2012: Pakistani politicians were quick to denounce Western reports that the United States and Pakistan had agreed to shut down Islamic terrorist sanctuaries in North Waziristan. American officials have long demanded that Pakistan take action and now insist that Pakistan has agreed to do so next month. Pakistani leaders have never been confident about their national independence and are constantly warning of threats that are rarely real. India has, according to this myth, been plotting for generations to take control of Pakistan. Pakistanis are not impressed that you find nothing about this in the Indian media. Quite the opposite, as Indian observers are quick to point out that Pakistan is, compared to India, an economic, cultural, and political disaster. But this "we are under attack" myth has proved durable, reliable, and very resistant to reality, so Pakistani politicians continue to use it.

In Pakistan, efforts to pass new anti-corruption laws are being resisted by many corrupt politicians. The Supreme Court is responding by allowing prosecution of senior officials (who are supposed to be immune to this while in office).

In Indian Kashmir police and army commanders are being prosecuted for trying to cover up incidents where civilians were mistakenly attacked and the incidents were reported as terrorist encounters. The military and police leadership are resisting official and media investigators.

In eastern India (the Bengal-Jharkhand border) thousands of special police have assembled and are moving against Maoist rebels who have been reorganized and reinforced in an effort to reclaim rural territory the leftists have lost control of to the government. The earlier government effort included economic reforms, which the Maoists are particularly hostile to as the Maoists insist that their brand of extreme socialism is the only solution to rural poverty.  

Pakistani attacks into eastern Afghanistan (Kunar province) continue with Afghan complaints that Pakistani troops are firing directly on Afghan border posts. Pakistan denies these attacks and demands that Afghanistan do something about Pakistani Taliban who are hiding in Kunar and making attacks in Pakistan. The Afghans have become insistent and Pakistan has agreed to a joint investigation of the allegations. This usually results in Pakistan continuing to deny everything, including new evidence witnessed by their own observers. There is a similar pattern on the Indian border, especially Kashmir, where Pakistani border troops regularly open fire on their Indian counterparts. The Pakistani government sometimes apologizes (especially when the media evidence of these attacks is overwhelming and sustained) but are otherwise unable, or unwilling, to halt this cross border violence. In response, Pakistan media makes a lot of noise (with little or no evidence) of official Indian and Afghan involvement in carrying out terrorist attacks inside Pakistan.

Pakistan is also under growing international pressure to do something about the growing violence against non-Moslems in Pakistan. This has been a common problem in majority Moslem countries for centuries, and the source of constant migration. In the United States, for example, most Arab migrants were, until the 1960s, Arab Christians who were fleeing Moslem persecution in the Middle East. Islamic tradition calls for tolerance of non-Moslems but that means constant (sometimes violent) pressure to convert and additional taxes on non-Moslems as well as fewer economic and other opportunities. The growth of government-sponsored Islamic radical groups in Pakistan since the 1970s has created a lot more violence against non-Moslems (especially Hindus and Christians).

In Pakistan (Quetta) a car bomb killed four paramilitary police on patrol.

August 17, 2012: In Pakistan (Karachi) a bus was bombed, killing one of the Shia passengers on board.

In Pakistan (central Punjab province) Islamic terrorists attacked Minhas air base. Shooting went on for several hours leaving nine attackers and two soldiers dead and one aircraft damaged. Some of the attackers wore bomb vests and were seeking to get close to aircraft before detonating their explosives. Several of the attackers were later identified and traced back to terrorist groups in North Waziristan.

In Kashmir, an Indian soldier was killed when Pakistani border guards fired on him.

August 16, 2012: In northwest Pakistan (Mansehra) Sunni Islamic terrorists stopped a bus and killed 22 Shia passengers.

August 14, 2012: In northwest Pakistan (the Orakzai tribal area) the army responded to an ambush of one of their patrols and went after a large group of Islamic terrorists. By the end of the day, 30 Islamic terrorists and five soldiers were dead.

After yet another meeting between senior American and Pakistani military officers, it was leaked that the U.S. had finally convinced (or coerced, with threats of cutting military aid) Pakistan to shut down the terrorist sanctuaries in North Waziristan. As part of the deal the U.S. agreed to send American and Afghan forces to the border to prevent any of the Pakistani terrorists from escaping into Afghanistan. The U.S. made much of the fact that the North Waziristan sanctuaries contained many terrorists who were carrying out attacks inside Pakistan. For that reason the U.S. wanted to send armed observers to insure that the Pakistanis did not spare terror groups (like the Haqqani Network) that only carried out terror attacks in Afghanistan. Pakistan refused to allow any form of "joint" operation in North Waziristan, meaning that Haqqani would be spared. This is not a sure thing, because the U.S. still has satellites and UAVs watching the area, so there will be plenty of evidence to torment Pakistani commanders with if they try and lie about lack of action against Haqqani. Based on past performance, a North Waziristan operation will only seek out the enemies of Pakistan, not terrorists who attack non-Pakistani targets.

August 13, 2012: In Pakistan (Baluchistan) a bomb went off in a restaurant, wounding at least a dozen people. The bomb was apparently planted by tribal separatists.

August 12, 2012: In Pakistan (North Waziristan) a roadside bomb killed three soldiers.

August 11, 2012: In Mumbai, India demonstrations by Moslems (protesting violence against Moslems in Burma) left two dead and over fifty wounded.

August 10, 2012: In northwest Pakistan (the Orakzai tribal area) the army and air force attacked several Islamic terrorist camps, killing over a dozen people. Civilians complained that the bombs damaged their property. The security forces have been trying to drive the Pakistani Taliban out of the Orakzai area for months. This has succeeded in the valleys but has proven more difficult up in the mountains.

August 9, 2012: In eastern India (Jharkhand) a gun battle between rival Maoist groups left one of the leftist rebels dead.

August 8, 2012: In Kashmir, Pakistani border guards fired on several Indian border posts. The Indians returned fire but there were no casualties on either side. This is the fourth day in a row the Pakistanis have made such attacks and Indian efforts to halt the violence, or even get the Pakistani commanders to discuss the matter, have been unsuccessful. 


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