U.S. Lawmakers Urged Not to Fund Terror
WASHINGTON DC: The American Friends of Baluchistan has urged U.S. lawmakers and policy planners to cut down billion of dollars in aid to Pakistan that was being doled out without oversight.
According to A.F.B., pre-conditions are a must as Pakistan's premier spy service Inter Services Intelligence seems to have run amok as it defies civilian control and has literally turned itself into a state within a state, running a parallel government. "The recent Mumbai mayhem was work of I.S.I. agents and powerful segments within the country's army," said Muhammad Ali Baloch, a presidential council member of the A.F.B.
The A.F.B. letter was sent out to Senator Barbara Mikulski, copies of which were also sent to Senators [Majority leader] Harry Reid, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, and Robert P. Casey; House Speaker Nancy Pelosi; House Majority leader Steny Hoyer; Bruce Riedel, advisor to President-elect Barack Obama and Dr. Jonah Blank, advisor to Vice President-elect Joe Biden.
Following is the full text of the A.F.B. letter to U.S. lawmakers and policy planners:
"In the wake of the Mumbai mayhem on Bloody Thanksgiving, I am writing to you as a taxpayer to express my grave concern over the appropriation of billions of US aid dollars flowing to Pakistan with almost zero oversight or accountability. In the last six years, over $5 billion in military aid has been given to Pakistan without proper oversight.
We shall appreciate if you may please bring this matter to the notice of the honorable Senators Hillary Clinton and John Kerry and other members of the U.S. senate and house of representatives.
In 2006, Pakistan was the largest buyer of U.S. arms and during the same year one of the most popular leaders, Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, former governor and chief minister of Baluchistan, was extra judicially killed by the Pakistan army.
The A.F.B. also takes this opportunity to bring to your notice two of the most well-known defenders of Baluch human rights, Hyrbyair Marri and Faiz Baloch, are being tried on terrorism charges in London. Their only sin was defending Baluch rights. Interestingly, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has publicly apologized to the Baluch for the army's brutalities and Islamabad has openly admitted the charges against Marri and Baloch were politically motivated, but the U.K. administration has been throughly misled by the I.S.I. and seems bent upon sending the two to prison.
Another respected Baluch tribal leader, the Khan of Kalat Suleman Daud Ahmedzai is seeking asylum in the U.K. but is faced with difficulties. The Baluch look upon Ahmedzai as their De Jure ruler and head of state and if he is returned to Pakistan, there are reasons to believe he will be martyred by the Punjabi-Mohajir generals.
Please note the Baluch in Pakistan are one of the most secular people in southwest Asia and form the bulwark of resistance against religious extremisim.
In 2008, the US gave $743 million in aid to Pakistan and it is projected in 2009 that an approximate $1.4 billion of US aid will be considered for Pakistan, including military aid and F-16 fighter jets.
It is a well-documented fact that Pakistan’s military and Inter Services Intelligence (I.S.I.) help the Taliban and al-Qaeda. There is widespread talk about rogue elements within I.S.I., which is in fact an oxymoron. The I.S.I. is running a parallel government rendering Pakistan's civilian government ineffective in controlling its homegrown Islamist terrorism as well as cross-border terrorist training centers.
It is regrettable that it took many days for Pakistan to arrest one of the key suspects in the Mumbai carnage, Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi.
In the same breath, killing of the Baluch is continuing unabated, despite installation of a civilian administration earlier this year. Tens of thousands of Baluch have been rendered homeless in their own homeland.
Because of the I.S.I.'s machinations, U.S. military and humanitarian efforts in Afghanistan have suffered devastatingly. Furthermore, despite the astronomical U.S. aid provided to Pakistan, their human rights record remains abysmal and Pakistan is a huge jail for national and religious minorities, including the Baluch.
You might be knowng Baluchistan, which forms more than 40 percent land mass of Pakistan is extremely resource rich but its people are one of the poorest, was annexed by Pakistan against the wishes of its people in March 1948, seven and half months after the British left India divided in August 1947.
Religious minorities, especially Christians and Hindus, face a daily litany of atrocities and abuses ranging from killings to kidnappings to rapes to forced marriages to usurpation of property. Pakistani government approved textbooks continue to spread venom against Hindus, Jews and other minorities as enemies of Pakistan despite $62.7 million in US aid aimed to revamp their content. Christians continue to be treated as third-rate citizens and a slur bhangee, which means a dirty person, is used to describe them even today. There are no avenues for their upward social mobility and for generations now they have been doing the most lowly paid jobs like sweeping streets and cleaning gutters.
As much as an estimated that up to 70 percent of the $5 billion in US military aid to Pakistan is unaccounted for. And despite some nominal requirements in 2008 in the HR 2764, sec. 699F of Pakistan to make better efforts to prevent terror outfits from operating in Pakistan and implementing democratic reforms, among others, there has been little or no improvement.
As an elected representative charged with upholding democratic principles and human rights of Americans, I request you not to endanger American and Baluch lives by continuing to finance Pakistan's military--fourth largest in the world and one equipped with nuclear arms-- but to ensure the following language be considered for any and all appropriation bills in 2009 to Pakistan:
Of the funds appropriated under the heading `Foreign Military Financing Program', no more than one-tenth of what was given in 2008 in assistance to Pakistan may be provided, only if the Government of Pakistan demonstrates to the Secretary of State and as reported by the Secretary of State to the Committees on Appropriations that the Government of Pakistan:
- grants people of Baluchistan the Right to Self Determination and recalls more than 200,000 of its army and Frontier Corp troops from Baluchistan;
- stops all military and nuclear arms related activities in Baluchistan;
- has made concerted, effective and consistent progress in preventing Al Qaeda, Taliban and other terrorist group, including but not limited to Lashkar-e-Toiba, Harkat-ul-Mujahedeen, Jaish-e-Muhammad and Dukhtaran-e-Millat, from operating in the territory of Pakistan, including by eliminating terrorist training camps and/or facilities, arresting members of Al Qaeda, Taliban and other terrorist groups, and countering recruitment efforts;
- making effective and consistent efforts to prevent al Qaeda, the Taliban and other terrorist groups from using the territory of Pakistan as a sanctuary, arresting terrorist leaders, stopping cross-border incursions, and countering recruitment efforts; and
- implementing democratic reforms, including by--
a)- incorporating Baluchi as a medium of instruction at the primary level. b)- allowing free, fair and inclusive elections to ensure the Right to Self Determination to the Baluch people in accordance with internationally recognized democratic norms; c)ensuring freedom of expression and ending harassment of journalists and government critics by security and intelligence forces in Baluchistan; d)- respecting the rights of Baluch minority Zikri sect and countering all moves to have them declared non-Muslims; e)- respecting the independence of the judiciary and implementing judicial decisions; f)- improving religious freedom and human rights of ethnic and minority groups by changing school textbooks that promote obscurantism; removing the requirement of religious identification on passports; and providing security for temples, churches and other non-Muslim places of worship; g)- conceding Baluchistan was illegally annexed in March 1948 and giving the Baluch and giving the Baluch the choice to opt out of Pakistan.
The A.F.B. urges you to reconsider the total aid Pakistan is receiving and is scheduled to receive in the coming years."
Meanwhile, the controversial role of the Pakistan army in striking deals with the Islamic terrorists was bared in an article in the Times of London by Carey Schofield, senior fellow at the Changing Character of War program of the political science department at Oxford University.
The article pertains to the killing of Major-General Faisal Alavi, the brother-in-law of VS Naipaul, the celebrated British novelist and Nobel laureate. Alavi was murdered in November just a week before the Mumbai mayhem after threatening to expose Pakistani army generals who had made deals with Taliban militants.
Alavi, a former head of Pakistan’s special forces, whose sister Nadira is Lady Naipaul, named two generals in a letter to the head of the army. He warned that he would “furnish all relevant proof”.