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On the Sidelines of Kashmir History

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By K.N. Pandita

Mr. Jagmohan’s write – up (Kashmir’s new danger April 12, 2007) asks for some vital clarifications. A letter will not do, hence a full write-up.

Shri Jagmohan is one most outstanding authority on contemporary Kashmir essentially first by virtue of being an astute scholar, and secondly having headed the J&K State twice, once in normal times and the next at a crucial time when armed insurgency broke out. Notwithstanding these unique qualifications, some basics of Kashmir history and psyche appear to have remained obscure to his searching eye. Continue Reading…

Not only a sectarian divide

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By K.N. Pandita

The roots of Shia-Sunni jihad bedevilling Pakistan’s Punjabi dominated regions in general and more recently the Kurram Agency of FATA in particular, have to be traced in the deep – seated conflict and contradiction existing in traditional ideologues of the Shia and the Sunni sects of Islam ever since the tragic happenings in Kerbala in 7th century A.D. After the Arab conquest, Iran became predominantly Shia for several reasons. Her centuries old pre-Islamic monarchical mindset harking back to the days of great Achaemenian and Sassanian Empires, her dislike for Arab domination resulting in several anti-Arab revolts and uprisings, her rich and ennobling cultural heritage and national pride, her agriculture-oriented economy and entrenched feudalism, her organized and structured society as against a tribal and a nomadic way of life are some of the factors, which prompted Iranians to carve out their Shia (literally meaning weaning away from mainstream) identity and reinforce it through exceptionally studious, accurate and reasoned scholarship. Continue Reading…

Protest without logic

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Letter to the editor by K.N.Pandita. This is with reference to ‘Beyond Muslim condemnation of terrorism’ by Louay Safi (AT 5 August 2005). Some Muslim organizations have reacted against the brutality of London bombing. But that is not enough. It is the duty of those Muslims who claim that Islam is a religion of peace and that they do not approve suicidal attacks, should draw a long term plan of confronting the extremists among themselves. They have full information who the extremists are, wherefrom they get support, what are their links and how they move. Continue Reading…

The Saudi-Pakistan nexus

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The Tribune, Only jehadis have gained, by G. Parthasarathy

WHEN Saudi Arabia’s ruler King Fahd died after a prolonged illness on August 1, his last rites were performed according to strict and austere Wahabi traditions. But one person who reacted as though his beloved uncle had died and mourned publicly, was Pakistan’s General Musharraf, who promptly declared one week’s state mourning and became the first non-Arab ruler of a Muslim country to rush to Saudi Arabia for the last rites of the Saudi monarch. Continue Reading…

Iran bogged down with nuclear controversy

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By K.N. Pandita,

A less expressed view in some knowledgeable Iranian circles is that the new President’s hard-line posture is an exception rather than the rule There are other more baffling issues that must fill the priority list of the President. Un-remitted social and economic baggage, groupism in civilian and military establishments and a restructured relationship with the west should be among his priorities. Above all, declining interest in the ideals of Islamic Revolution of Khumeini’s days among the younger generation that forms more than half of her population needs to be addressed.

However, the President is beset with the nuclear crisis, which projects him as an inveterate hardliner. Perhaps the catalyst for hard-line stance on nuclear programme is not strictly of President’s choosing. Other factors seem to have contributed to it. Continue Reading…

Terror in the holy cities

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K.N. Pandita, Recently terrorists were holed up in Mecca and Medina, the two historic and holy cites of the Saudi Kingdom. Saudi police found them activists of Al-Qaeda, the crusaders of the 18th century puritanical Sunni ideology of Abdu’l-Wahhab. Ironically, when Banu Saud clan of Nejd was fighting to raise a kingdom in Arabia, it sought political support from Wahhabism, which had made deep inroads into the Arab society. Today Wahhabism has come home to roost.

Emboldened by the success of 1979 Islamic revolution culminating in the dismissal of monarchy in Iran, , Ayatollah Khumeini began mounting criticism against the Saudi monarchy calling it unlawful and hence non-acceptable to Islamic community. Once again the Saudi monarchy was obliged to invoke political-social support of Wahhabism, this time to counter the rising popularity of Khumeinism. Continue Reading…

The heavy hand of justice

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Letter to the Editor, by K.N.Pandita – Dear Sir, The Supreme Court of India, the highest institution of justice in the country has delivered its judgement in the case of terrorist attack on the parliament. One of the accused has been given death sentence and the other one served ten years of rigorous imprisonment. The verdict was delivered after all legal formalities were completed. In this process the most important part was of furnishing adequate and convincing evidence. The honourable judges never allowed any lapse in completing all technicalities. The accused were provided all opportunity of defending themselves. Legal assistance was also offered though not accepted by the accused. Thus from all legal aspects the case was thoroughly screened and examined.

There have been demonstrations in Srinagar and other towns of Kashmir valley against the verdict by the separatists. Interestingly, demonstrations against. The decision of the apex court began from the defenders of the law of the land meaning the Srinagar bar association itself. Continue Reading…

Calculated muscle-flexing

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Found in Asia Times, August 6, 2005, by Sergei Blagov, MOSCOW – Russia’s unprecedented joint war games with China can be viewed as a dual message to the United States and the Central Asian republics of the extent to which Beijing and Moscow are prepared to go to protect their interests. Russia is to dispatch about 2,000 troops for exercises scheduled August 18 to 25 near Russia’s far-east port city of Vladivostok, before moving to the Yellow Sea and then to an area off the coastal Chinese province of Shandong.

The games are expected to involve Russia’s Il-76 transport planes with paratroopers, Tu-95MS bombers firing cruise missiles at targets in the sea and Su-27SM fighter jets simulating coverage of ground forces. Russian and Chinese military leaders, including defense ministers as well as Russian Chief of General Staff Yury Baluyevsky and his Chinese counterpart Liang Guanglie, are expected to attend the drills. Continue Reading…

Cool-headed diplomacy

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Found in Asia Times of 6th August, 2005, by Adam Wolfe, Russia and China delivered a one-two punch to Washington’s ambitions in Central Asia on the eve of the Group of Eight (G-8) summit with a joint statement on “international order” followed by a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) that was hostile to US interests. While this combination was not enough to knock the US out of the region, it was the most forceful challenge to US interests in Central Asia since the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.

Seeking to prevent any further damage to Washington’s position in the “Great Game”, US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld traveled to the region to shore up support for maintaining American bilateral agreements with the key players. This was followed by Uzbekistan announcing a deadline for US withdrawal from a military base in its territory. These moves indicate that even though fighting in Afghanistan has yet to cool down, the traditional power politics of Central Asia are heating up. Continue Reading…

Metamorphosis – The Answer

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Letter to the Editor, The Tribune, Chandigarh, India, by K.N. Pandita, Jammu 01.08.05,

Sir – This refers to ‘The metamorphosis of Al-Qaeda’ by Rajeev Sharma (August 1, 2005). A comprehensive subject like terrorism and al-Qaeda demands an elaborate and specialised analysis. The fact is that the Islamic society (ummah) is beset with deep contradictions within. Some of these were highlighted by agalaxy of eminent and emancipated Muslim thinkers around 10-12th century who had been greatly influenced by the great Greek philosophers with their fomidable instrument of logic. But this emancipated segmentof Muslim society was only to be ruthlessly suppressed by the emerging orthodoxy of 12-13th century. The orthodoxy had found a strong backing from the vested Khurasanian feudal structure imposed by the victorious Arab conquerors of Iran. Al-Ghazali led the retaliatory campaign and established the supremacy of the dogma. Notwithstanding intermittent groundswells of less intensity, this ideological rupture in the ummah lay benign for several centuries perhaps because of mutual political and logistic interdependence with strong Islamic monarchies and satrapies in the Asian-Eurasian continent until the unprecedented supremacy of modern scientific and technological advancement made by the west. Continue Reading…

The metamorphosis of Al-Qaida

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The Tribune, Chandigarh, India, 01 August 2005,

ANALYSIS, by Rajeev Sharma, New Delhi, July 31 – The world of jihad is undergoing a never-before churning process which is set to throw up significant new trends in international terrorism in the months to come. Today’s Al-Qaida has metamorphosed. Al-Qaida as an organisation which emerged in the eighties when Saudi rulers propped up Osama bin Laden with American help as a Deobandi power centre opposed to Salafis or Wahabis who were raising their heads in the desert kingdom, does not exist today. This Al-Qaida was a creation of Saudi and American intelligence.

But, as an idea, a unifying concept or dream, this Al-Qaida is alive and kicking and has become even more powerful. Only its profile, modus operandi and operational culture have changed and its operational character has become global, key counter-terrorism officials of the Indian Government told The Tribune. It is a fine distinction that has to be understood clearly. Continue Reading…

Open season for jihadis

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Asia Times-online publishes on 27 july 2005 the following article by Syed Saleem Shahzad:

KARACHI – Sophisticated terror attacks using the minimum possible resources to target civilians are the issue of the day, whether it be in Egypt, the United Kingdom or Spain. Invariably, Pakistan is linked to the attacks. In the case of the July 7 suicide attacks in London, three of the bombers were of Pakistani descent and had visited madrassas (Islamic schools) in Pakistan. Pakistanis are being sought in connection with the weekend’s attacks in Egypt.

Pakistan, simply, is widely reckoned as the premier breeding ground for jihadis, fueled by the Afghan resistance to the Soviets in the 1980s, the on-going troubles in Kashmir and the current Taliban-led resistance to foreign forces in Afghanistan. Continue Reading…

Center about Tajik Culture in Bolder, USA

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The Osimi Cultural Center is a non-profit organization that was registered on April of 2002 in Denver, USA. The main goal is the promotion of cultural and scientific collaboration between intellectuals for cultural and scientific communications. The Centers library prepares to present in the Internet different aspects of scientific and cultural heritages of Central Asia and Iran and its modern achievements. Take a look at this center.

Charlie’s war, act two

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Found in Asia Times, 19 July 2005, by William Fisher, NEW YORK – Today’s media have all but forgotten that the emergence of Afghanistan’s Taliban can be largely attributed to the policies of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and a hard-drinking, party-loving Texas congressman who helped funnel billions of dollars in arms to “freedom fighters” like Osama bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Omar.

In the 1980s, Charles Wilson, a colorful and powerful Democrat from the East Texas Bible Belt, was a member of a Congressional appropriations sub-committee. From that position of power he funneled billions of dollars in secret funding to the CIA, which used the money to purchase weapons to help the mujahideen drive the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan. Continue Reading…

The smash of civilizations

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Found in Asian Times, July 9, 2005, by Chalmers Johnson,

Note from Tom Engelhardt, editor of Tomdispatch: The World Monuments Fund has placed Iraq on its list of the Earth’s 100 most endangered sites, the first time that a whole nation has been listed. The destruction began as Baghdad fell. First, there was the looting of the National Museum. That took care of some of the earliest words on clay, including, possibly, cuneiform tablets with missing parts of the epic of Gilgamesh. Soon after, the great libraries and archives of the capital went up in flames and books, letters, government documents, ancient Korans and religious manuscripts stretching back centuries vanished forever. What we’re talking about, of course, is the flesh of history. Worse yet, the looting of antiquity, words and objects not only never ended, but seems to have accelerated. From well organized gangs of grave robbers to American engineers building bases to American soldiers taking souvenirs, the ancient inheritance not just of Iraqis but of all of us has simply headed south. Though less attended to than the human costs of the war, such crimes against history are no small matter, as Chalmers Johnson indicates below. [1] Continue Reading…

Kashmiri Youth: Accepting the Challenges

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By K.N. Pandita

The history of a nation is usually interspersed with moments of passivity as well as of activity: it is seldom smooth and even. How the nation reacts to the upheavls or how it conducts itself during the interrugnums of peace and turmoil is the interesting chapter of its social history.

Kashmir is passing through an unprecedented period of turmoil. This nation of fairly substantial antiquity has seen through the millennia, short or long, periods of chaos and confusion as well as of placid peace and prosperity.

But the history of past one decade and half has no precedent. It is not one warlord pitted against the other: it is not one ruler bent on undermining the other. It is a period of deep divide within the civil society. It is a period just short of civil war. Continue Reading…