Monday, February 28, 2011



In assessing Col.Muammar Gadaffi’s continuIng defiance of the international pressure to force him to quit, the following facts have to be kept in mind:

• Firstly, what one is facing in Libya is not a revolutionary situation as one had seen in Egypt with mass participation by the youth and other sections of the population, but a civil war like situation with members of rival tribes taking a leading part in the fighting on both sides.
• Secondly, despite reports to the contrary, the involvement of youth in the fight against Gadaffi is not as widespread as it was in Egypt against Hosni Mubarak. The fight against Mubarak was led by innovative and enterprising youth who had nothing to do with his regime in the past, but the fight against Gadaffi is being led by a small group of ex-politicians, ex-bureaucrats, tribal leaders, lawyers and others, who had collaborated with Gaddafi’s oppressive regime, but had fallen out with him only recently. They do not command the same respect with the general population as the young leaders of Egypt did.
• Thirdly, Mubarak had only two forces at his command for dealing with the protest--- the riot police which comes under the Ministry of the Interior and the Army. The riot police got discredited in the initial days of the protest and the Army was not willing to use force against the protestors. Gadaffi has built up a multiplicity of forces to maintain his rule. If one force is unwilling to carry out his orders, there are others who are willing to.
• Fourthly, ever since he succeeded Anwar Sadat in 1981, Mubarak had enjoyed a cosy relationship with the West in general and the US in particular. He also enjoyed good relations with Israel. The intelligence agencies of the US and other Western countries had considerably penetrated and softened the Egyptian Armed Forces and intelligence agencies. This enabled the US to play successfully an activist role in bringing about a peaceful change in Egypt once it realized that Mubarak had to go. Ever since he came to power in 1969, Gaddafi and his forces had looked upon the US and Israel as Libya’s principal enemies. They had prepared themselves for over 40 years to confront the US and Israel. The US had not been able to penetrate the Libyan security forces and intelligence agencies in the same way as it had done in Egypt. It still does not know through whom it should and it can operate in Libya. The recent defectors such as the Libyan diplomats posted abroad and some of the Ministers are unknown quantities in Libya. They will have only limited value as assets for the US.
• Fifthly, there are many strands involved in the protest movement in Libya----anti-Gadaffi elements, rival tribes and anti-foreigner elements such as those who attacked Chinese and South Korean workers and construction sites. Resentment over the better quality of life enjoyed by foreign workers has been an important factor in complicating the situation in Libya. One has not so far seen attacks on foreign workers in Tunisia or Egypt or other countries affected by the current unrest.
• Sixthly, there are only two ways of bringing about the end of the Gaddafi regime---- by inciting a revolt against him by the multiple forces raised by him. The West has not so far been able to do this. The other way is by training and arming the protesters who have liberated large pockets of Eastern Libya, with Benghazi as the epicenter, and helping them to march on to Tripoli to get rid of Gaddafi. Distances involved are large and even if the West provides them with an air cover by enforcing a no-fly zone, the marchers have to cross areas inhabited by tribals who have till now been loyal to Gadaffi. If the fighting is fierce and continues for a long time, there could be a danger of a balkanization of Libya.

2. Gaddafi may not be another Mubarak, who left with his tail tucked between his legs. He may turn out to be another Saddam Hussein----defiant till he dies. ( 1-3-11)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: )



Repeated calls for “Jasmine Strolls” in Chinese cities, including Beijing, emanating from overseas Chinese web sites have added to the nervousness of the Chinese authorities.

2.A Jasmine Stroll is a stroll undertaken by those responding to the calls at pre-indicated places at pre-indicated timings to quietly demonstrate, without shouting slogans, their demand for the end of the rule of the Chinese Communist Party and for democracy and human rights. The purpose of the Strolls is not to indulge in any noticeable protest activity, but just to get out into the streets in large numbers and take a Stroll as a silent mark of their demands.

3. Two such calls have so far been issued---the second one being for Jasmine Strolls on February 27. Nervous Chinese authorities deployed the police and officials of the Ministry of Public Security in large numbers in different cities. While there were no unusual crowds in the streets in addition to the usual Sunday strollers, the authorities have been rounding up suspicious persons for interrogation.

4. It has been reported that among those who took a stroll at the pre-indicated time in a pre-indicated street in Beijing was the outgoing US Ambassador Mr.Jon Huntsman. Following this, the Chinese authorities have blocked his name from all search engines. A call has now been disseminated for another Jasmine Stroll on March 6.

5. The Chinese authorities have stepped up security precautions in the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region and in Chinese-Controlled Xinjiang. It has been reported that all mobile phones of Tibetans and Uighurs are being checked for any prohibited anti-Government songs. Mobile phones containing anti-Government tunes are being seized and the users detained for interrogation.

6. In Tibet and Xinjiang, shops selling books, newspapers and music CDs are being checked for any prohibited material or for cuttings or Xerox copies of reports regarding the unrest in Tunisia and Egypt.

7. The authorities’ security concerns have increased since many of the Chinese being evacuated from Libya in special air lifts following attacks on Chinese workers in Libya are Uighurs. They are apparently worried that these Uighurs, on their return to Xinjiang, might spread stories of the unrest in Egypt, Tunisia and other places and this could encourage the inhabitants of Xinjiang to come out in the streets.

8. The Chinese authorities have not yet informed their population of the details of the attacks on the Chinese workers in Libya. So far, there have been no attacks on Chinese workers in other countries affected by the present unrest. If there are similar incidents in other countries, the Government’s embarrassment could increase.

9. Radio Free Asia, funded by the US State Department, continues to disseminate guidance to the people of China as to how to circumvent Internet controls. ( 28-2-11)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: )

Sunday, February 27, 2011



The Orissa Government’s handling of the situation arising from the kidnapping on February 16,2011, of Shri Ravella Vineel Krishna, the popular District Collector of Malkangiri District, and a junior engineer Pabitra Majhi by the Maoists active in the District has evoked mixed reactions.

2.While some on the left of the political spectrum have showed understanding of the decision of the Orissa Government to accept 14 demands of the Maoists to secure the release of the kidnapped officers, political parties on the right of the spectrum such as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its representatives and many retired officers of the security bureaucracy have strongly criticized the State Government for conceding the demands of the Maoists.

3. In an editorial titled “Lessons From the Kidnapping” published on February 26, “The Hindu” of Chennai, whose Editor N.Ram is known for his sympathies with the leftists, has praised the “astute handling” of the situation by the State Government. Even before the demands were conceded by the State Government, one saw examples of the hardline views during “The Buck Stops Here” programme of Barkha Dutt on NDTV on February 21. Shri A.K.Doval, former Director of the Intelligence Bureau, and Shri Kanchan Gupta, Associate Editor of the “Pioneer’, a daily close to the BJP, expressed themselves in favour of a “no concessions” approach. Shri Gupta, who is known to be an uncritical admirer of Israel’s no-holds-barred approach to terrorism and insurgency, was even prepared to face the risk of the death of the two officers if that was the outcome of a hardline approach.

4. There has to be an agreement on one point---it was extremely unwise on the part of the District Collector to have undertaken a village visit in an insurgency-affected area without a security escort. The District Collector probably thought that what he apparently looked upon as a brave gesture to the people of the area by touring without security would bring the people of the area closer to the administration. He did not seem to have realized that such gestures were ill-advised in insurgency-affected areas and could prove counter-productive. His action in dispensing with security while touring enabled the Maoists to kidnap him and the junior engineer accompanying him in order to secure their demands and thus placed the State in an unenviable position at the mercy of the insurgents. There are other ways of bringing the people closer to the administration without dispensing with necessary security measures. The hostage situation might not have arisen but for this ill-advised action of the Collector.

5. Once the kidnapping had taken place and the Maoists had taken advantage of the hostage-taking to exercise pressure on the State Government to concede their demands, the State Government was confronted with three difficult questions—Should it negotiate with the insurgents? If so, should it concede their demands? If it did not, what could be the public reaction to the possible death of two dedicated public servants?

6. The counter-terrorism doctrine of practically all countries of the democratic world, including the much-admired Israel, do not rule out negotiations. In fact, agreeing to negotiations is viewed as an essential first step in the strategy to deal with hostage-taking. That is why techniques of negotiations with terrorists or insurgents is included in the syllabus of counter-terrorism training courses in many countries. When Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister in the 1980s and the late R.N.Kao was her Senior Adviser, some officers of the IB and the Research & Analysis Wing (R&AW) were got trained in negotiation techniques either in the UK or the US.

7.Negotiations, which are an essential part of the drill to deal with hostage situations, have two aspects---operational and psychological. The operational aspect is about giving time to the intelligence and security agencies to collect ground information in order to prepare themselves for physical intervention to rescue the hostages should such intervention become necessary or feasible.

8. The psychological aspect relates to exercising pressure on the insurgents or terrorists either directly or through intermediaries to release the hostages. India had been facing hostage situations since 1971 when two members of the Jammu & Kashmir Liberation Front (JKJLF) hijacked a plane of the Indian Airlines to Lahore. All Governments in power when these incidents took place had negotiated with the hostage-takers either directly or through intermediaries. It is, therefore, pointless to say that no negotiations should be held. Such a position would be unwisely rigid and come in the way of operational flexibility.

9. It is more difficult to answer the second question---should the demands of the hostage-takers be conceded? The basic principle of all counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency doctrines is that the demands should not be conceded, come what may. While this principle is generally adhered to in most countries even at the risk of the hostages being killed, history of counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency has instances where the demands were conceded for some reason or the other even by countries such as Israel or the US even though they openly did not admit so. In India itself, there were two controversial instances of the demands being conceded---- to secure the release of the daughter of Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, the then Home Minister in the V.P. Singh Government, in 1989, and the release of some terrorists by the Government of Atal Behari Vajpayee in December 1999 to secure the release of an Indian Airlines Plane hijacked to Kandahar and its passengers. While the release of some terrorists to secure the release of the Mufti’s daughter was inexcusable, the release of some terrorists to secure the release of a large number of IAC passengers was understandable. Once the Vajpayee Government, through its mishandling of the situation, allowed the hijacked plane to leave the Indian airspace and go to Kandahar, it had only two options---either let the passengers die or concede the demands of the terrorists. Public reaction would have been strong had it allowed such a large number of civilians to be killed.

10. In the history of counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency, there have been instances where States had rejected the demands of the hostage-takers even at the risk of the hostages being killed when the number of hostages was small and their deaths would not have caused strong public reaction. Examples: The action of the V.P.Singh Government in refusing to concede the demands of the terrorists who kidnapped the Vice-Chancellor of the Kashmir University and one of his staff members in 1990 resulting in their death; the refusal of the Narasimha Rao Government in 1995 to concede the demands of the Al Faran terrorists who had kidnapped five foreign tourists, one of whom managed to escape and the others were allegedly killed by the terrorists; and the refusal of the US and Pakistan Governments to concede the demands of the terrorists who had kidnapped Daniel Pearl, the US journalist, in 2002, which resulted in his death. While the deaths of the tourists in 1995 and of Pearl in 2002 due to the strong line taken by the Governments did not result in strong public reaction, the deaths of the Vice-Chancellor and his staff member did create strong public reaction since it came soon after the surrender by the V.P.Singh Government to the demands of the terrorists to secure the release of the daughter of the then Home Minister. In other hostage situations, the hostages were got released through psychological pressure on the hostages during prolonged negotiations.

11. The major mistake committed by the Orissa Government in dealing with the kidnapping of the District Collector and the Junior Engineer is that it would appear to have concluded at the very beginning of the situation that it had no other option but to concede the demands of the hostage-takers. As a result, the principal aim of the negotiations became not giving the intelligence and security agencies time to prepare the ground for a possible rescue mission, but to reach a compromise with the hostage-takers on their demands. Once the Maoists realized that the State Government had no stomach for prolonged negotiations or intervention to rescue the hostages, they stuck to all their demands and forced the Government to capitulate. The Government seemed to have capitulated without any exercise to identify the various operational and psychological options available to it. Even if the Government was mentally prepared to concede some of the demands in order to save the lives of two dedicated public servants, it could have explored the option of conceding those demands of the Maoists relating to the welfare and grievances of the local people and rejecting those demands which could affect the counter-insurgency operations. It did not do so. It just capitulated without even seeming resistance to the demands of the Maoists. This is likely to affect adversely the effectiveness of future counter-insurgency operations in the State. (27-2-11)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: )

Saturday, February 26, 2011


( Based on a talk delivered by me at a seminar on the Indian Ocean at Bangalore on February 26,2010. It was jointly organized by the Asia Centre, Bangalore, and the Indian Council of World Affairs, New Delhi )

The main security threats to Indian interests in the Indian Ocean area arise from three factors---firstly, the gradual erosion of the Indian political influence in the area; secondly, the increase in the Chinese presence in the area; and thirdly, the uncontrolled activities of the Somali pirates.

2.Nowhere is the erosion of the Indian political influence more evident than in Sri Lanka where despite our assistance to the Government of Sri Lanka in its successful counter-insurgency operations against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) we have not been able to protect either the interests of the Sri Lankan Tamils or the lives and livelihood of Indian Tamil fishermen, who have been repeatedly at the mercy of the Sri Lankan Navy.

3. Our repeated pleas for finding an early political solution to the grievances of the Sri Lankan Tamils and for stopping attacks---some of them brutal and fatal--- on Indian Tamil fishermen have had no impact on the Government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Rajapaksa, while pretending to be sensitive to Indian interests, has been ignoring them without any fear of the likely consequences. He has no fear because he is confident that there will be no consequences. India’s core interests in the region to the south of India have been repeatedly ignored by Rajapaksa.

4. Our dilemma in Sri Lanka underlines the hard reality that having a strong Navy alone would not be sufficient to make our core interests prevail in the Indian Ocean region. There has to be a political courage and will to use our naval strength in support of our core interests. In the absence of such courage and will, the ships of our Navy will remain not a powerful arm of the Indian State ready to go into action if our core interests are threatened, but mere oceanic curios, exhibited in public and admired, but not feared.

5.The negative state of affairs that we are confronted with in Sri Lanka today could be repeated in the Maldives, Mauritius and Seychelles in the years-if not months-- to come if the Indian political leadership is not more assertive in protecting Indian interests in these Island countries.

6. Fortunately, in the Maldives, the Indian interests still prevail despite an increase in political and economic contacts between China and the Maldives. The Government of Maldives continues to look up to India for strengthening its capacity for meeting threats to its security, which presently mostly arise from non-State actors such as Pakistan-based jihadi elements and the Somali pirates. It is still attentive to Indian interests in the area.

7. So is the case in Seychelles. Despite the Chinese offer of help to Seychelles for strengthening its anti-piracy capabilities, which its has accepted, the Government of Seychelles continues to be as receptive to Indian offers of assistance and co-operation as it was before.

8. However, one has reasons to be concerned over recent developments in Mauritius since the visit of President Hu Jintao of China to Port Louis in February,2009. During his visit, China announced a credit at low interest of US $ 260 million to Mauritius to modernize and expand its airport. He said that trade between the two countries had increased by 11.7 per cent during 2008 to reach US $ 323 million. He also announced an interest-free loan of US $ 5.9 million and a grant of 30 million yuan ( about US $ 5 million ). Mauritian Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam said that the two countries had discussed possible further assistance to improve transport in and out of the island's congested capital.

9.Hu pledged to speed up the construction of the China-funded $730 million Economic and Trade Zone north of the capital. The Tianli project, as it is called, will be the largest single foreign-funded project in Mauritius creating about 40,000 jobs. Between the recognition of China by Mauritius in 1972 and Hu’s visit in February 2009, the total value of the Chinese assistance to Mauritius amounted to US $ 117 million. The fresh assistance extended since then has crossed US $ one billion--- an almost ten-fold increase. Thirteen Chinese companies operate in Mauritius in the textiles, construction and IT sectors.

10.The 521-acre economic and trade zone is an important part of what China calls the “going out” policy and its Africa strategy. The objective is to use Mauritius as a platform for servicing its construction and business projects in Southern Africa. The corporate headquarters of Chinese companies operating in Southern Africa are expected to be located in the new commercial city which China will construct outside Port Louis under this project. The zone with a modern Chinese-styled city is being built by a consortium consisting of the Shanxi Tianli Enterprise Co., Ltd., the state-controlled Shanxi Coking Coal Group Co. Ltd and the Taiyuan Iron & Steel Group Co. Ltd. The idea seems to be to convert Mauritius into a Singapore of Southern Africa to serve China’s Africa strategy. Since Mauritius does not have enough skilled workers to meet the requirements of the Chinese-aided projects, it has allowed China to bring its own nationals to work in these projects. As a result, about 50 per cent of Mauritius’ foreign labour force could be Chinese. There could be more Chinese than Indians working in Mauritius.

11.The corporate city being built by the Chinese will compete with the Ebene Cyber City constructed with Indian assistance. Huawei, the Chinese IT company, reportedly operates from the Cyber City. It provides financial services to Chinese companies in Southern Africa.

12.In an article titled “China makes foray into Mauritius” published on January 25,2010, the “Financial Times” of London wrote: “China’s state-led approach to foreign investment is muscling India aside in its traditional “backyard” by investing $700m in a special economic zone in the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius to service Beijing’s expansion in Africa. Ramakrishna Sithanen, the vice-prime minister of Mauritius and minister of finance, said China was “extremely aggressively” pursuing its objectives in Africa via Mauritius with a wave of strategic investments on the island. He said China’s “different approach”, which forcefully combined business and government interests, was in contrast to India’s more fragmented style that had less backing from the state. So strong was his government’s relationship with Beijing that he said the island had been able to call on the personal intervention of Hu Jintao, China’s president, to sort out problems. China’s participation in Mauritius is a key part of the island’s diversification away from a sugar cane and tourism economy into logistics, information technology and financial services. There are plans to build a logistics and services hub in the economic zone, together with a university and an oceanographic research centre. Mr Sithanen said the Mauritian government had secured China’s consent that the economic zone would not be exclusively for Chinese companies but could be used by others seeking to invest in the region.”

13. Having seen the gradual erosion of the Indian political influence in Sri Lanka, we are now seeing a similar erosion in Mauritius It used to be under Indian cultural and economic influence. It continues to be under the Indian cultural influence, but the economic influence is more and more Chinese. As the Chinese economic influence grows, so will its political influence. In protecting one’s core interests, it is the economic and political influence that matters and not the cultural influence.

14. The gradual decline in our political and economic influence in the Indian Ocean region---whether we admit it or not--- has been accompanied by a steady increase in the Chinese onshore presence in the countries of this region--- mainly for helping these countries in developing their infrastructure--- an airport and an economic and trade city in Mauritius, a commercial port and an international airport in Hambantota in Sri Lanka, expansion and modernization of the Colombo port, road and rail repairs and construction in others parts of Sri Lanka, construction of a new port at Kyaukpyu in Myanmar, gas and oil pipelines connecting Kyaukpyu and Yunnan so that gas and oil produced locally and coming by tankers from West Asia and Africa could be moved to Yunnan without having to pass the Malacca Strait and construction of a rapid rail system connecting Rangoon (Yangon) with Yunnan. Talks are on with Bangladesh for Chinese assistance in the modernization of the Chittagong port and for connecting the rail systems of Bangladesh and Myanmar. China is the largest foreign investor in Mynmar today, with the total value of actual and promised investments already touching US $ three billion.

15. For expanding and strengthening its political and economic influence in the Indian Ocean region China has two precious assets which India is not in a position to match now and will not be in a position to match in the foreseeable future---- its vast cash reserves and its vastly superior infrastructure construction skills. There is a hunger for the development of the infrastructure in all these counties. When these countries think of expanding and modernizing their infrastructure, they think of China first and only then of India.

16. Even the best of Navies with a vast reach in the Indian Ocean region will be only of limited use in the absence of commensurate political and economic influence in the countries of the Ocean region. In building up its onshore presence and influence, China has taken a head-start over India. The Chinese Navy still cannot match and will not be in a position to match the off-shore presence of our Navy in the Indian Ocean area, but Beijing’s onshore presence and influence will pose increasing challenges to the Indian political leadership and diplomacy.

17.Periodic reports of a speculative nature regarding a Chinese interest in the acquisition of military base ---particularly naval---base--- facilities in the Indian Ocean region have not been corroborated. The present Chinese interest is in strengthening their economic presence in this area. When the economic presence goes up, political influence automatically goes up. Yes, the Chinese have been developing a robust military supply relationship of a strategic nature with Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. One could see the beginnings of such a relationship with Bangladesh too. Do these relationships form part of a well thought-out strategy to acquire a permanent military presence in this area? There is no evidence at present in support of such a suspicion. The Chinese focus is on establishing a strong economic presence and through that a strong political influence. Their willingness to enter into military supply and capacity-building relationships with the countries of this region is a tactical move to strengthen their economic and political influence.

18 The Chinese have been taking care to prevent their growing on-shore influence in this area from being seen as a carefully calculated move to undermine the Indian influence. They project their moves as not inspired by a larger Indian Ocean strategy, but merely as responses to requests for assistance received from the countries of this region. Whether the Chinese are making calculated moves to undermine the Indian influence or not, the net effect will be an undermining of the Indian influence

19. The present Chinese focus is on the Pacific. Their efforts are concentrated towards building a strong Pacific presence for their Navy and Air Force so as to be able to counter the US presence and achieve parity with it. Building an equal Indian Ocean presence is not yet part of their short or medium term strategy. They are not in a position to achieve parity with the Indian Ocean presence of the US and India. I do not visualize a Chinese threat to the naval presence of the US and India in the short and medium terms.

20. Compared to their Pacific naval strategy, there is very little debate in China on the contours of an Indian Ocean strategy. They do not have the required material resources to be able to challenge the prominence presently enjoyed by the US and Indian Navies in the Indian Ocean region. Their interests are presently focused on protecting the security of their energy supplies and keeping Pakistan propped up as a credible threat to India.

21. The entry of Chinese naval ships on anti-piracy patrols into the Indian Ocean region and the Gulf of Aden has not created any adverse reactions in the region or in the West. The Chinese concerns over the growing threats from the Somali pirates to their ships and crew are accepted by the countries of the region and the West as natural. The regular anti-piracy patrols undertaken by ships of the Chinese Navy in this area ,without causing any regional concerns, have enabled the Chinese Navy to familiarize itself with operating conditions and difficulties in the waters of this region, build up Navy-Navy relationships and offer Chinese assistance in capacity-building.

22. Should their anti-piracy forays be used as the initial building block for a long-term Indian Ocean strategy? The Chinese are avoiding any open discussion on this question lest they give rise to unnecessary concerns in the region about Chinese naval assertiveness in the Indian Ocean region as a follow-up to their assertiveness in the Pacific. Occasional voices are heard from the community of retired Chinese naval officers on the need for a naval base in this region to meet the logistics and rest and recreation requirements of their anti-piracy patrols, but such voices have been discouraged by the Government and party leadership to prevent undue concerns. A long-term Chinese naval strategy for the Indian Ocean region is not yet in the making.

23. In working out an Indian strategy for the Indian Ocean region, the political, economic and naval aspects have to receive equal attention. So too the aspect of the Indian and US Navies co-operating with each other to maintain their present primacy in this region. Working out a national Indian Ocean Region strategy should go hand in hand with working out a joint Indo-US strategy to safeguard their interests in the Indian Ocean region. (26-2-11)

(The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: )

Wednesday, February 23, 2011



The seriousness with which China has been viewing the dangers of a new revolution in China inspired by the people's uprising in Egypt would be evident from the number of high-level meetings---some of them attended by President Hu Jintao himself--- that have been held in Beijing under the auspices of the Chinese Communist Party and the Government to discuss how to preserve social harmony and stability. Repeated calls are being made for better social management.

2. Unfortunately, in their view as expressed at these meetings, better social management does not mean a greater political liberalisation, but more effective controls over freedom of expression. However, the need to give the people an opportunity to let out steam is grudgingly recognised, but the leadership is confused as to how to do this. Appeals are being made through media outlets such as the party-controlled "Global Times" for greater political maturity. By greater political maturity, one means a greater willingness on the part of the people to recognise that there cannot be social harmony and stability without internal discipline and that the party and the Government have a legitimate obligation to maintain discipline.

3. The role of the Internet in encouraging a new youth-led revolution different from the proletariat-led revolution of the USSR and the peasant-led revolution of China has made the Chinese leaders realise with concern the stealth power of the Internet. China has greater Internet penetration than any other country in the Asian-African region. It has a larger community of Netizens than even India. Chinese leaders and security agencies are well-versed in controlling old means of public expression such as the print media, the radio and the TV. They thought they could control with equal effectiveness the new stealth power of the Internet. They have started apprehending that they may not be able to do so and that a danger to their social stability could arise from the inexorablty growing community of Netizens.

4. Stopping the growth of this community is no longer feasible. Before someone else seeks to mobilise this community for promoting a new revolution, the Government should mobilise it to ensure the maintenance of stability and harmony. How to do this? That is the question being discussed at these meetings. It is being pointed out that there cannot be better social management without better Internet management. The security agencies are being advised to pay greater attention to this.

5. Mao Zedong believed that power grows out of the barrel of the gun. Deng Xiao-ping believed that power grows out of the money purse. The present Chinese leadership has realised that youth power grows out of the Internet. How to make the Internet an engine for gradual, controlled political change while maintaining stability instead of becoming an engine for a new Revolution?

6. How will the Chinese community of Netizens respond to the suble attempts being made by the Party and the Government to maintain and further strengthen Internet management ostensiblty for preserving the vast economic gains made by the country since 1978? The answer to this question will determine how far and for how long internal peace, stability and harmony as defined by the party can be maintained.

7. A new youth, Netizen led revolution may be in the offing in China. Will it suddenly burst out as did the revolution in Egypt or will it be creeping and inexorable? Let us wait and watch.

8. I am annexing an editorial of significance carried by the Party-controlled "Global Times" and an article of interest carried by the Government-controlled "China Daily" in this regard. ( 24-2-11)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: )



China's rise requires maturity from citizens

The central government has attached great importance to modern public governance. But the improvement of its public governance also relies on the proactive participation of people from all walks of life. The maintenance of social stability calls for cooperation by the public, especially from elites.
With a population of 1.3 billion, China is a big power that is experiencing the convergence of various social problems.
No matter how rapidly its economy and society develop, it is inevitable that many grass-roots appeals will not be addressed in the short term. China's rise is going to be accompanied by complaints among the general public, and even some elites.
Due to the spread of mobile phones, the Internet and microblogs, it is fairly easy for someone to publish criticism and cause a flow of complaints. Similarly, it costs nothing to draw attention by doing something sensational. In comparison, it is one of the hardest projects in the world to mould a society into a stable platform that facilitates life for those pursuing happiness.
Many believe that China will emerge from its period of social transformation in a steady and peaceful manner. But in theory, it is not totally unfeasible that the nation could fall into social turmoil should its public governance fail.
It is the responsibility of every patriot to cooperate with the government's social management efforts and help craft sustainable social stability.
Int e l l e c tua l s should set an example in this regard. Some argue that their mission is to criticize. Such a perspective is one-sided, and even becomes an excuse for irresponsible elements.
In recent years, a few Chinese have always challenged public governance and national stability. This goes counter to the major goals of China in the 21st century.
Three decades of reform and opening-up has enabled China to become the world's second largest economy. The nation has set itself the goal of growing into a modern country governed by political democracy. It just needs several more decades to realize this ambition.
China's intellectuals, especially those with the power of discourse and various social resources, should contribute to social stability, rather than undermine them by encouraging trouble.
China's national rejuvenation has been a dream for generations of people with lofty ideals. The 21st century may witness the realization of the dream. All of Chinese society must maintain social cohesion by allowing the country to develop.
China is bound to progress as an imperfect nation. It has many problems. Nevertheless, none of them should become an excuse to challenge social governance.


China ratchets up moves to aid harmony, stability
February 24, 2011

China will take stronger action to resolve social conflicts and ensure there is a harmonious and stable society, says a senior official in charge of public security affairs.

Chen Jiping, deputy director of the Central Committee for Comprehensive Management of Public Security, made the comment after repeated calls from the nation's leaders for enhanced social management and innovations to resolve such problems.

In the Monday issue of the Beijing-based magazine Outlook Weekly, Chen noted social conflicts were "prominent" and said so-called mass incidents were "frequent occurrences".

He attributed such problems to imbalanced and uncoordinated development that has led to differences between urban and rural areas and to a wide income gap.

"Because social management and services are lagging behind social development, we may frequently face social conflicts," he said.

Chen also listed specific security problems that "we cannot afford to ignore".

"Various conflicts frequently occur in certain regions," he said. "They mainly involve land seizures, corporate reforms, labor disputes, medical disputes and occasionally lead to mass incidents and extremism."

In July 2009, a senior executive was beaten to death when 3,000 steel workers who had been threatened with job cuts protested following the takeover of their company in Tonghua, Jilin province.

And in September 2010, three members of a family surnamed Zhong doused themselves in gasoline and set themselves ablaze to protest the forced demolition of their home in Yihuang county, Jiangxi province. One died and two were seriously injured. The local Party secretary, the governor, a vice-governor in charge of the demolition and other responsible officials were later investigated and removed from office.

Chen said the resolution of social conflicts and the safeguarding of social security "would not only be a key task for political and legal leaders this year but remain a very difficult and onerous task during the period of the 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015)."

His comments were published days after President Hu Jintao said the country was "still at a stage where many social conflicts are likely to arise". He said: "There are still many problems with China's social management" despite its remarkable development.

At a high-profile seminar on Saturday, Hu urged provincial and ministerial-level officials to recognize the significance of improving and innovating social management as a prerequisite to pushing forward with the country's development and building a harmonious society.

Zhan Zhongle, a professor in administrative law at Peking University, told China Daily it was a "positive sign for the authorities to face social conflicts directly, rather than simply shunning them".

"Ignoring people's concerns will leave them no other option but to complain through letters and visits or resort to extreme actions," Zhan said. "Integrating the resources of the government and judicial bodies to mediate conflicts is more efficient in stabilizing the society."

According to Chen, social management has been set as a key index in the assessment of the performance of government and Party leaders.

Chen told the magazine that a risk assessment of threats to social stability should take place before any decisions are made on major projects and policies.

"We shall not allow inappropriate decision-making to cause social conflicts," he said.

Professional mediation organizations will be established or enhanced to play a bigger role in resolving conflicts in sectors such as demolitions, labor disputes, medical disputes and for food and drug safety.

And more efforts will be made to investigate cases exposed by whistleblowers, with special attention given to prominent problems affecting social stability, he said.

Chen also vowed to further crack down on gangs, violent crimes and property-related crimes.

By Wang Huazhong, China Daily


My dear Raman,

I have often wondered at the courage and fortitude you show in daily life since the discovery .Writing your morning piece with your first cuppa coffee as I once teased you .You are keeping up with life as if nothing has changed ,

Metaphorically what else can be described as not worrying about the end and having conquered the fear of death and death itself and fearlessly going on like a Karamyogi.

What a bench mark for others.

My salutations and respect to you .God bless you for as long a time as he can to keep you healthy and us daily well informed.

Warm personal regards Gajendra


I was greatly touched.It is friends & well-wishers like you who have kept me going. And my interest in the subject and the love and loyalty of my readers---many if not most of them young.I will keep going for as long as I can.Take care, dear batch-mate. I still remember our working and drinking together in Paris in the days of the Emergency.Oh God, how much I used to drink those days! I could drink four large pegs of S & S, one or two glasses of wine and some Cognac and drive for 300 KMs anywhere in Europe without getting into an accident.Now I am allowed to drink only socially---not more than two large pegs on each social occasion.I miss my daily S & S.

Those were the days, my friend
I thought they never end.
I'll sing & dance
For ever every day,
I'll live the life I choose,
And always fight & never lose,
For I was young & sure to have my way.(Mary Hopkins,1968)

Those days are in the distant past.
With bags of affection. Raman

We have lived life we felt like living .You could some and more even when knees sank.No regrets .

We can have one more when you come here .

Cheers Gajendra

Monday, February 21, 2011



Resentment over the comfortable life-style of foreigners working in Libyan projects as compared to the poverty of Libyan workers seems to be playing a role in the current turmoil in Libya. This resentment has led to a number of attacks on South Korean and Chinese companies in Libya.

2. Even before the unrest began in Egypt, there were reports of attacks on South korean construction sites. On January 14 and 15, hundreds of Libyans raided four South Korean-run construction sites, destroying heavy equipment and setting vehicles and other facilities on fire. According to the South Korean Foreign Ministry, on February 21, about 500 Libyans stormed and looted a South Korean construction site west of Tripoli, injuring South Korean and Bangladeshi workers.It said about 15 Bangladeshis were hurt along with three South Koreans when the mob invaded the site about 30 kilometres west of Tripoli. Two of the Bangladeshis were seriously injured with stab wounds. After some time, the Libyans left the site, where 1600 Bangladeshis are reportedly working. It is not known whether the attacks on the Bangladeshis were motivated by economic reasons or by anger over reports of the Libyan Army using Pakistani and Bangladeshi mercenaries for crushing the uprising.

3. On February 17/18,about 200 Libyans in the eastern coastal town of Darnah invaded a South Korean-run construction site and set fire to a dormitory for Korean workers. According to the South Korean Foreign Ministry, the offices of some South Korean companies were looted on February 19. The Ministry said there are currently about 1,400 South Koreans in the country.

4. The February 22 issue of the "China Daily" has carried the following report of the Xinhua, the official news agency, datelined February 22, Tripoli:

"Several Chinese companies in Libya have been attacked and looted, but no casualties were reported yet, a Chinese worker here said Monday (February 21).

"A construction site run by Huafeng Construction Co., Ltd. from China's Zhejiang Province was looted by a group of armed gangsters Sunday afternoon in the eastern city of Agedabia, and nearly 1,000 Chinese workers there were forced out of the site and became homeless, said Yuan Canhua, a Chinese living in the suburb of Tripoli, capital city of Libya.

"The Chinese worker said one of the robbed construction workers phoned him after the looting.

"The construction workers then left the city on foot and were trying to walk towards Tripoli hundreds of kilometers away, hoping to catch a plane here to fly back to China, he said.

"Staff at the headquarters of the company in Zhejiang Province in south China said Monday the workers in Libya had been transferred to a safe place.

"Some Chinese workers here said nearly all Chinese companies in the country were "attacked or looted." But Chinese companies were not the sole target of the series of lootings in Libya. Several South Korean-run construction sites were also looted.

"Also on Monday, China's Ministry of Commerce urged Chinese businesses in Libya to pay increased attention to their security and suggested Chinese businessmen planning to visit Libya postpone their plans for the time being."


( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: )



"Go, go, go! Forge on ahead.

"The awakened lion is roaring.

"It will smash corruption, and bury the dictatorship.

"Mighty Egypt has no room for clowns.

"With no equality or human rights, these are the roots of poverty.

"May democracy shine on the Nile.

"Its people are no longer sheep."

2. This is a song ostensibly in praise of the Egyptian Revolution, written and tuned to music by two Chinese, one of whom goes by the name Li Lei, alias Red Uncle and the other by the name Snowman.This song, which started spreading fast among the Netizens community of China, on February 17 has since been blacked out by the Chinese Ministry of Public Security, which is responsible for internal security.

3. According to Radio Free Asia, funded by the US State Department, the song was released onto Chinese video-sharing websites Tudou and Ku6 earlier last week, and had proliferated across at least 30 sites by 6.00 p.m. on February 17, according to searches on Baidu and Google.By February 18, only two video-sharing sites still carried it, with popular YouTube-style site Tudou producing an error message instead. The music in the song on Egypt is reportedly similar to that in a popular Chinese song on Mao Zedong.

4. Radio Free Asia has quoted Li alias Red Uncle as saying that he and his songwriting partner wanted to use the song to educate their own people, as well as to support the Egyptian revolution, which brought an end to the 30-year rule of President Hosni Mubarak, whose picture is reportedly seen spinning away in the video. "The people of Egypt have demanded democracy," Li said. "Their political goals are very similar to those of the Chinese people. We felt we had to write this song in support of the Egyptian people.At the same time, it's also an education for us [in China]. That was the aim."

5. According to the Radio,the video was rapidly picked up and passed along by netizens across China, apparently striking a chord with many.
One netizen in the northern city of Chengde reportedly told Li that he had not heard such a rousing and motivating song in ages. Another, a bus driver in Inner Mongolia, reportedly vowed to play it to his passengers. "This guy said that he'd listened to it dozens of times over," Li claimed.

6. Red Uncle added in his interview: "Normally, you need an army to change the course of history.But the ordinary people can also rise up in revolution.And I think the Internet can speed up the rate of social progress and help make history."

7. Worried over the possible impact of the Egyptian Revolution on China, the Chinese Communist Party is reported to have set up an office for maintaining internal stability. In a paper on the internal situation in China presented at a seminar on China organised by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) of New Delhi in the beginning of December, I had drawn attention to the fact that China spends more on internal security than on its armed forces reflecting the nervousness of the Party leadership over internal stability. I had said: "Maintaining internal security against economic unrest in the Han-inhabited coastal areas and against ethnic unrest in the Tibetan and Uighur inhabited border areas has become a major concern. Chinese leaders have, of late, been speaking of their core interests and major concerns. When they talk of their core interests, they mean their disputes with other countries. In their perception, the threats to their core interests arise from abroad. When they talk of major concerns, they largely mean threats to their internal security. The Chinese authorities have seen to it that the rest of the world does not know much of the internal security situation, but it is of major concern to the leadership. This would be obvious from their enormous budgetary allocation for their internal security apparatus, which, according to the “Global Times” of August 23, amounts to US $ 76 billion. If the “Global Times” is to be believed, China spends more money for maintaining political stability than for protecting the country from external threats. Under these circumstances, it is not surprising that the leadership is going slow on political reforms." ( )

8. During that presentation, I had said that while the Chinese would continue to be confronted with security and stability related problems in Chinese-Controlled Xinjiang and in the so-called Tibet Autonomous Region, they should have no difficulty in maintaining stability in the Han core of the country. I am not that sure now.

9. I wrote subsequently on December 16: "Can China disintegrate under the weight of its internal security problems? This is unlikely. The undoubted economic prosperity and the interest of the homogenous Hans as a whole in ensuring that this prosperity is maintained guarantees against any tendency towards disintegration in the Han core of the country. The Tibetan and Uighur uprisings have shown that economic prosperity has not diluted their yearnings for freedom. So long as this urge for freedom remains alive, the danger of instability in the border areas will remain. India should closely monitor and study the internal security situation in China without trying to take advantage of it. An unstable and insecure China is not in India’s interest. This should not mean that India should forsake the Tibetans. They are our objective allies. We need to nurse them and help them to keep the flame of Buddhism alive in China. We need to pay more attention to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and interact with him more frequently politically and in religious matters. An alienated Tibet will always look up to India for moral support in its hours of distress. We have a moral responsibility to be attentive to their hopes and fears. How to give back the Tibetans and His Holiness their dignity as a proud civilization without causing the disintegration of peripheral China? This is a question that should keep engaging our attention." ( )

10. That advice remains valid as the Chinese nervousness in the wake of the Egyptian Revolution increases. Don't wish ill of China as a State. But at the same time wish well of its people. If they want democracy here and now, why not? Let the tribe of Red Uncles multiply.May God give them strength and freedom from fear.(22-2-11)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-Mail: )

Why Pakistan Cannot Release the Man Who Calls Himself Raymond Davis

This article was received by me from a friend. He has unfortunately not given the name of the newspaper that carried it.Brig.(retd), Shaukat Qadir is a highly respected and well-informed Pakistani analyst. After the Kargil conflict he had come out with an excellent analysis. In response to some requests from readers, I am reproducing this below. Hoping to be excused by him for reproducing it without his prior permission.---B.Raman

Why Pakistan Cannot Release the Man Who Calls Himself Raymond Davis

By Shaukat Qadir

February 19, 2011 "ThisCantBeHappening" -- Islamabad--By now journalists everywhere (except in the US) have come to the conclusion that there is far, far more to Raymond Davis than is being revealed by the US or by Pakistani officials. That he was engaged in anti-state activities in Pakistan and that the two young men he killed were intelligence agents tailing him is virtually an accepted fact.

The US, never famous for its diplomacy (The Ugly American, which made that point more than half a century ago, became a best seller and a very successful movie, starring Marlon Brando), seems to have discovered fresh depths to its strong-arm, coercive diplomacy. The mere fact that no less a personage than the US President has asked that this low-ranked person be granted absolute immunity, is indicative of the US desperation to get him him out of Pakistan and its court system.

One Western journalist has referred to this incident as the "biggest intelligence fiasco since the downing of a U-2 by the erstwhile USSR in 1962." Obviously, the apprehension is that were he to be tried and convicted in Pakistan and handed a lengthy prison, or even a death sentence, Davis might "spill the beans" and that, were he to do so, those Wikileaks cables could pale into insignificance!

That, in itself, is more than sufficient reason for Pakistan to refuse to hand him over; but there is far more to Pakistan’s problems regarding this issue than just that. However, before we get to those, some comically farcical blunders committed by the US Embassy in Pakistan merit narration, since I am fairly certain these are not being reported by the US media. They illustrate clearly the extent of the desperation American officials are feeling!

On January 25th 2011, just two days before Davis shot and killed the two young Pakistanis, the US Embassy submitted a list of its diplomatic and non-diplomatic staff in Pakistan to the Pakistani Foreign Office (FO), as all foreign nations are required to do annually. The list included 48 names. Raymond Davis was not on the list. The day after Davis shot and killed the two Pakistanis, the US Embassy suddenly submitted a “revised” list to the Foreign Office which added Davis’ name!

When Pakistani police took Davis into custody on January 27th, he had on his person an ordinary American passport with a valid ordinary Pakistan visa, issued by the Pakistan Embassy in Washington. On January 28th, a member of the US Consulate wanted the Pakistani police to exchange that passport in Davis’ possession with another one. The fresh passport being offered was a diplomatic passport with a valid diplomatic visa dated sometime in 2009. This visa was stamped in Islamabad by the FO!

It gets ridiculously funnier. The prosecutor representing the Punjab government has presented two letters from the US Embassy as evidence before the Lahore High Court, forwarded to the Punjab government through the FO. The first letter, dated January 27, reads: “Davis is an employee of the US Consulate General Lahore and holder of a diplomatic passport." The second, dated February 3rd, states that Davis is a member of the “administrative and technical staff of the US Embassy Islamabad!” Just how gullible do the Americans take Pakistanis to be!

Before moving on to the political implications for Pakistan, were Davis to be granted immunity, it is important to review some domestic impediments, without which, he would never have been taken into custody.

Asif Ali Zardari might be a politically empowered president domestically, but if the US asked him to jump, he would ask "how high?" If they asked him to bend over, he would ask, "how low?" Had Davis committed the murders in Islamabad, under federal jurisdiction, he would have been flown out of the country within hours of his crime before any furor could have time to develop. But he slaughtered his victims in Lahore, in the jurisdiction of the Punjab state government, manned by the PML(N), which is Zardari’s party’s main opposition.

Despite repeated and numerous requests from the US Embassy and the Federal government, the Punjab government has stood firm and has even denied Davis the comforts normally afforded a political prisoner. Instead, Davis has the same facilities that any common Pakistani criminal has, in the rather notorious Kot Lakpat jail in Lahore (though he is being separated from the general prison population for his own safety).

Then there is the superior judiciary; the Supreme Court (SC), which awaits Davis with sleeves rolled up, more than ready to ensure justice in defiance of Zardari’s wishes. Meanwhile, Davis has already been indicted before the Lahore High Court (LHC), which has extended his judicial remand in police custody to allow time for more interrogation. Therefore, even if the LHC could be intimidated, an appeal before the SC is inevitable.

Finally there is the Pakistani Pentagon, the General Headquarters, commonly known as GHQ. Now that it is a fairly accepted fact in Pakistan that Davis is guilty of anti-Pakistan activities and has killed two members of an intelligence agency, probably the well-known Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI), GHQ will have a say in his disposal. Consequently, despite Zardari’s desire to please the US, he may find himself hamstrung.

Under Pakistani law, there is provision for "Blood Money," i.e. that the next of kin can accept monetary remuneration and then pardon the killer before the court. Despite pressure brought to bear on the families of Zeeshan and Faheem, the ill-fated pair that was murdered, both families have unanimously refused to accept Blood Money. In fact, tempers are running so high that local wealthy businessmen have publicly urged them to refuse, with the promise that they would match any sum offered to them by the US!

When rumors were floating that the US might cut a deal, offering Aafiya Siddique--the Pakistani scientist convicted in the US of attempting to murder two US interrogators and now serving a controversial 86-year sentence-- in exchange for Davis, Siddique’s own family refused to accept her back on these terms and spoke to local dailies urging the Punjab government not to release Davis for any reason.

Based on all of the above, I personally doubt that Davis’ immunity plea will be accepted. However, if despite everything, his claim were accepted, what would be the political repercussions?

That’s the million-dollar question!

The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), known in the US media as the Pakistan Taliban, has issued a warning to the government of dire consequences if Davis is released. That would mean suicide attacks, murder and mayhem would immediately follow his release. Targets might well include any judges involved in the decision.

The youth of Pakistan--who rose to a pedestal in my eyes during last year’s floods, when young boys and girls defied our social taboos (sometimes even parental edicts) in the hundreds of thousands, spending many nights away from home so as to assist those affected by the floods and demonstrating courage, determination, warmth, and patriotism of a level I had not expected--have again joined hands over this case.

They can be found in droves on the web; exhorting the Pakistan government to refuse US aid, promising to raise donations from their resources and the public if the US cuts it off, and urging the government to withstand US pressure and refuse Davis immunity. They are also vowing that if immunity is granted, a youth movement of unprecedented proportions will start and, that like the historic Long March for the restoration of the judiciary in March 2009, which could have toppled the PPP government, this youth movement will succeed in toppling the government, where the Long March let it off the hook when its demands were met.

It’s not just the youth either. Every shopkeeper, cab driver, vendor and ordinary laborer that I have spoken with is unanimous in expressing the view that they will rise to demonstrate and overthrow this government, if Davis is granted immunity.

When the Egyptian People Power revolution started, I explained to a number of friends, local and foreign, why it was unlikely to spread to Pakistan. If Davis is granted immunity, though, I am more than likely to be proven wrong. Here too, as in Egypt, it is more than likely that GHQ will refuse to turn their guns on the demonstrators. But the fall of the PPP government might be the least of our concerns.

Despite the numerical increase in what used to be an infinitesimally small number of Islamic extremists, I have argued forcefully that there is, for the immediate future, no fear of Islamic forces becoming dominant in Pakistan. I have frequently cited the unanimous support for the military in the use of force against TTP--support which persists to date, despite suicide attacks. In fact, each suicide attack increases the determination of the people to fight terrorists.

Davis, however, could change that. Granting him immunity, in my opinion, could be the sole act that could provide an excuse for militant Islam to become dominant in Pakistan.

So, tread carefully, Mr Obama. You have already made one blunder by stoking unrest in Pakistan, using Raymond Davis, or whatever his name is, and his ilk, and have been caught with both hands in the cookie jar. But in trying to avoid the repercussions of this blunder, you could commit another of even more disastrous proportions--one that would reverberate around the world. You could create the realization of your own worst nightmare: a nuclear Pakistan dominated by religious extremist forces.

It might still not happen this way, but the path you are treading certainly is one that leads in the direction of converting that nightmare into reality.

See also - Probe finds connection between Davis, drone attacks: Sources have revealed that a GPS chip recovered from Davis was being used in identifying targets for drone attacks in the tribal region.

Was Davis Running Drone Programme in Pakistan?

SHAUKAT QADIR retired as a Brigadier from the Pakistan infantry in 1999. He was the founder, vice president and, briefly, president of a think tank. He now divides is time between teaching, studying many subjects, including journalism, and baby-sitting his grandchildren. He was a regular writer for the late Far East

Sunday, February 20, 2011



Anti-Chinese Communist Party dissidents based abroad have unleashed a web campaign against the dictatorship of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

2.In hundreds of messages directed to the Chinese people, they have been disseminating details of the people's uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt and asking the Chinese to rise in revolt to secure democracy and human rights and end to their economic hardships. Tibetans and Uighurs based abroad have also joined in this web-based bombardment.

3.Coinciding with this campaign, Western intelligence agencies are re-shaping their psywar directed against China. Instead of spending money on TV and radio programmes beamed to China, they have started focussing on the use of the Internet as a platform for their psywar.

4. Mrs.Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State, has in a speech on February 15 called for end to Net censorship.She urged governments around the world to end Internet censorship, or risk the kind of social and political unrest sweeping through the Middle East. She also pledged strong U.S. support for cyber-dissidents worldwide who wish to circumvent government censorship and protect themselves from reprisals.

5. Enraged by her remarks, Ma Zhaoxu, spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Office, said on February 17: "We are opposed to any country using Internet freedom as a pretext for interference in Chinese affairs.Internet freedom in China is guaranteed by law, and China wishes to step up and strengthen dialogue and communication with other countries about relevant matters concerning the Internet."

6. Radio Free Asia, funded by the US State Department, has broadcast the following: "Postings promoting Clinton's speech to the microblog account of the U.S. embassy in Beijing were blocked by China's system of Internet blocks and filters called the Great Firewall, or GFW. One post on Chinese microblogging site Tencent Weibo by U.S. Ambassador to China Jon Hunstman quoted Mrs. Clinton's remarks that "Liberty and security are often presented as equal and opposite," and asked: "What do you think is more important, liberty or security?" Another post questioned whether other users agreed with Mrs. Clinton that "freedoms to assemble and associate also apply in cyberspace." The embassy has been using microblogs and other online services in China in an effort to connect with Chinese citizens.Online searches for the word "Hillary" in Chinese were also reportedly blocked on at least one site. "We are disappointed that some Chinese Internet sites have decided to remove discussion of Secretary Clinton's Internet Freedom speech from their websites," Huntsman said in a statement. "It is ironic that the Chinese are blocking an online discussion about Internet freedom." Clinton had also singled out the role of social networking sites Twitter and Facebook in organizing protests in the Middle East. Both sites are blocked in China, although there are homegrown, censored, equivalents."

7. The Radio has further reported: "Beijing routinely blocks the websites of foreign news organizations, including RFA, and filters keywords that it regards as "sensitive," including search terms for the uprising that toppled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Under U.S.-backed proposals, circumvention tools will be made more widely available to countries lacking free Internet access, while bloggers and rights activists will receive training about how to secure their e-mail from surveillance or wipe incriminating data from cell phones if they are detained. Chinese activists and bloggers have expressed mixed feelings about events in the Middle East, according to prominent blogger Yang Hengjun. "The mood is partly happy ... that democracy can come so quickly, but also sad about when it is ever going to come to China," Yang said. "I think the two moods are entwined together ... among ordinary Chinese people."

8. The seriousness of the Chinese concerns over the dangers of a Net-spawn uprising in China against the CCP became evident on February 19 when Chinese President Hu Jintao called for stricter government management of the Internet . Hu told a meeting attended by top Communist Party leaders at a party school in Beijing that despite rising prosperity, China was facing deepening social conflicts that would test the party's ability to maintain firm control. Without mentioning developments in Tunisia and Egypt,Hu told Chinese officials they needed to come to grips with "virtual society" in their nation with some 450 million Internet users. "At present, our country has an important strategic window for development, but is also in a period of magnified social conflicts." Among the steps Beijing had to take to counter these risks, Hu said, one was "further strengthening and improving management of the Internet, improving the standard of management of virtual society, and establishing mechanisms to guide online public opinion."

9.His comments came as messages spread across foreign web sites of Han dissidents and Tibetan and Uighur freedom-fighters calling for gatherings across China on February 20 to demand sweeping democratic reforms inspired by the "Jasmine Revolution" in the Middle East. (21-2-11)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate, Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: )

ANNEXURE (My article of February 15 at )

Cairo Lava Flowing in Unexpected Directions

By B. Raman

The lava from the people's volcano in Egypt has started flowing in unexpected directions.

2. It did flow to Yemen and Algeria as widely expected, but on February 14 it started flowing in a totally unexpected direction towards Iran---a non-Arab country.

3. It is no longer a purely Arab anger. It is no longer a Muslim anger towards the West and Israel as Al Qaeda and the Ayatollahs of Iran had wanted it to be.

4. It has become the anger of the masses wherever people's rights are suppressed and people are subjected to hardships by uncaring rulers. One does not know when the lava will lose speed and stop and in which directions it will flow. Before it stops, the world is going to see changes in the political landscape of all countries where people are suppressed---- whether Arab or non-Arab, whether Muslim or non-Muslim, whether West, South or East Asia, whether Myanmarese or the Hans. The lava is going to be no respecter of rulers and regimes and their religion.

5. It could sweep everything before it. It could temporarily damage the global economy yet to recover fully from the recent economic melt-down.

6. We in India cannot afford to be over-confident that it can't affect us. It can. If it does due to our insensitivity and self-complacency, it will not have a pan-Indian impact. It will be an impact felt in some pockets where there is already people's anger as in the North-East or Jammu & Kashmir or in the tribal areas of central India.

7. We have to be alert. Being alert does not mean more security forces. It means actions to monitor the grievances and anger of the people and timely steps to address them.

8. If the protests succeed in Yemen and Algeria, the impact on India will most probably be minimal. If they succeed in Iran, the impact could be considerable. It could become worse if the lava further flows into Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

9. There were protests in Iran on February 14 in solidarity with the Egyptian people. There have been calls for more protests on February 15.

10. The Mubarak regime committed a serious mistake in underestimating the force of the people's anger. The Iranian regime will be committing a similar mistake if it under-estimates the force of the anger of its people.

Saturday, February 19, 2011




* Colonel Muammar Gaddafi has led since 1969
* Population 6.5m; land area 1.77m sq km
* Population with median age of 24.2, and a literacy rate of 88%
* Gross national income per head: $12,020 (World Bank 2009)

Latest reports indicate a state of civil war in the cities of Benghazi (1000 kms from Tripoli) and nearby al-Bayda in Eastern Libya with the protesters running into thousands and the Libyan army fighting each other with no holds barred. Despite the use of mortars and heavy guns by the Libyan Army, which has allegedly been using mercenaries from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Chad, the protesters, who are also allegedly aided by mercenaries from Egypt and other countries, have managed to overrun the local Brigade headquarters and capture large quantities of arms and ammunition with which they are fighting. Some reports, not yet confirmed, say that the armed opponents of Col.MuammarGaddafi and the Arab mercenaries supporting them have managed to push out of these cities the Libyan army units deployed there and the mercenaries being used by them. Over a hundred persons are reported to have been killed in the fighting so far. There have been no reports of any major incidents in Tripoli, the capital.

2. The Libyan authorities have alleged that Tunisian, Egyptian, Sudanese, Palestinian, Syrian and Turkish mercenaries have entered the country to fight on the side of the protesters. They have claimed to have arrested dozens of them. The official Jana news agency has said that those detained in several Libyan cities were members of a "foreign network (and were) trained to damage Libya's stability, the safety of its citizens and national unity." It has hinted that Israel is behind the unrest. It said: "The people arrested have been charged with inciting acts of looting and sabotage, such as burning hospitals, banks, courts, prisons, police stations and offices of the military police, as well as public buildings and private properties, according to plans drawn up earlier. Certain Libyan cities have been the scene of acts of sabotage and destruction since Tuesday. Sources close to the investigation have not ruled out Israel being behind the network."

3.The protesters have destroyed a radio station in Benghazi. There have been large-scale jail breaks. There's a Facebook video of a captured mercenary from Chad .The mercenaries have been allegedly offered between $12,000 - $30,000 each. Some of the latest Tweets originated by an organization called the “Democratic Underground” are given below:

This is exactly what I have been afraid of hearing. Where the fuck is the US, the UN, or any other ?
Come morning we'll learn just how much that oil is worth.
And then they'll escalate from concern to condemnation.
When world leaders respond decisively, it stops
"I'm not afraid to die, I'm afraid of losing the battle"
Youtube channel albayda2011 has selection of footage including shooting with automatic weapons.
Intl banks who hold Libya accounts, do the right thing and FREEZE these accounts.
Security forces in Al Bayda, Darna and Ajdabiya have joined protesters, strong tribal ties
There are bodies everywhere I've read.
Martyrs at Benghazi reached 500 and they will stay in the streets: no room
Chilling, but possibly the only thing better than them being
Special forces are executing doctors.
Tripoli "boiling like a cooking pot'
Women+children leapt from bridges to their deaths trying to escape Gaddafi thugs
This appears to be headed to be a complete genocide.
Do you remember what BP was allowed to do here? Libya is BP land now
Rwanda moment in Libya. This calls for international intervention now.
No electricity, water or medical supplies. Hundreds have been wounded by machine guns. We need aid.
in Darna- largest armory in the hands of the people. includes tanks
To the World, Gaddfi is using oil money paid by you, to pay mercenaries to kill his own people
No news or updates from inside Libya broadcast during the past hour.
SMS sent 2 mobile phones ‘We will hit w/iron fist all oppose (Qaddafi's) revolution’.
Egyptian brother and sisters smuggling sim cards into libya. Thank you Egypt
Youtube removing videos
Reports of a C130 sent from Austria with arms for Libya via Malta. Please write to Austrian Chancellor
UK based group aiming to set up a mobile medical centre for Libya
United Nations consider deploying peace keepers in Benghazi to prevent protestors from being shot
I misread that... thought they WERE deploying peacekeepers.
When the people grab the oil fields, watch how fast the UN will move in
Egyptians in Cairo are collecting medical supplies, a heart warming gesture in these dark moments
Protesters destroying Gov’t Property but…
Gaddafi is a psychopath, criminal & gutter snipe. And the governments that watch this murder in silence ..... (20-2-11)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-Mail: )

Friday, February 18, 2011



* King Hamad, 61, a Sunni, has been in power since 1999
* Population 800,000 (70 per cent Shias); land area 717 sq km, or 100 times smaller than the Irish Republic
* Ranks 48 out of 178 on corruption
* A population with a median age of 30.4 years, and a literacy rate of 91%
* Youth unemployment at 19.6%
* Gross national income per head: $25,420 (World Bank 2009)

Latest reports from Bahrain speak of considerable tension marked by anti-King and anti-Government slogans shouted by thousands of Shia mourners attending the funerals of seven persons killed during a crack-down by the riot police on a group of young people demonstrating against the Government from the Pearl Square since February 14,2011.

2.The protest movement started as a movement of solidarity with the Egyptian youth on February 14, turned into an anti-Government movement on February 15 after the death of two Shias due to alleged use of force by the Police and then turned into an anti-King movement on February 17 after the brutal dispersal of the protesters from the Pearl Square by the riot police on the night intervening February 16/17.

3. Initially, the demonstrators were mainly shouting pro-democracy slogans calling for reforms and action to remove economic hardships. There was no religious or sectarian colour , but after the crack-down by the riot police it is tending to take a religious colour. Some of the slogans shouted during the funeral ceremonies on February 18 were : "Justice, freedom and constitutional monarchy," "victory for Islam", "death for Al Khalifa [the ruling family]", "we are your soldiers", "Revolution till victory." Many Shia women have participated.

4.The Government initially allowed the demonstrations to take place, but as they gathered strength the riot police moved in on the night of Februaty 16/17 and forcibly dispersed the demonstrators in the Pearl Square. This was followed by a ban on meetings, fencing of the Square to prevent demonstrators from gathering there again and deployment of the Army with tanks and armoured personnel carriers at key points in the capital Manama.

5. The Bahrain authorities have sought to project the demonstrations and the incidents of violence as largely organised by mischievous elements in the Shia community instigated from outside, meaning Iran. Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Ahmed Al Khalifa told a press conference on the evening of February 17 that the police intervention was justified to prevent "a sectarian conflict and an economic crisis." He accused the demonstrators of "polarizing the country" and pushing it to the "brink of the sectarian abyss."

6. However, there have been some reports of the involvement of some Sunni youth also in the demonstrations. The BBC reports that the Shias formed "the bulk of the protesters" on February 18. Al Jazeera’s correspondents in Bahrain have reported as follows:”Hospitals are full of injured people after Wednesday night's police raid on the pro-reform demonstrators. Some of them are severely injured with gunshots. Patients include doctors and emergency personnel who were overrun by the police while trying to attend to the wounded.After several days of holding back, the island nation's Sunni rulers unleashed a heavy crackdown, trying to stamp out the first anti-government upheaval to reach the Arab states of the Gulf since the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. In the surprise assault, police tore down protesters' tents, beating men and women inside and blasting some with shotgun sprays of bird-shot. The pre-dawn raid was a sign of how deeply the Sunni monarchy fears the repercussions of a prolonged wave of protests, led by members of the country's Shia majority but also joined by growing numbers of discontented Sunnis.”

7. Even though the demonstrators initially took care not to project their protests as Shia protests against Sunni domination, the authorities, who have accused the Shia protesters of polarising inter-communal relations, have themselves contributed to the polarisation by encouraging the Sunnis, including Sunnis from South Asia living and working in Bahrain, to hold a counter demonstration in support of the King. The attempt of the authorities to encourage counter-demonstrations by the Sunnis and the reported participation of Sunnis from South Asia in them could turn the Shias against the Muslim migrants from South Asia.

8. The Shias have been enraged by the brutal dispersal of the protesters from the Pearl Square.A senior Shia cleric, Sheikh Issa Qassem, has condemned the attack on the protesters by the riot police as a "massacre" . According to Al Jazeera,in the wake of the crack-down by the riot police, angry demonstrators chanted "the regime must go," and burned pictures of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa outside the emergency ward at Salmaniya Medical Complex, the main hospital in Manama

9.Bahrain's opposition has demanded the resignation of Prime Minister Khalifa bin Salman al-Khalifa's government in the wake of the raid.
"The opposition groups, including Al-Wefaq, have issued a statement demanding the government resign and calling for the formation of a new government to investigate this crime," said Al-Wefaq bloc's leader, Ali Salman. "We have decided to completely pull out from parliament," added Salman, whose bloc holds 18 seats in the country's 40-member elected house.

10. Iran finds itself in a dilemma. It cannot vociferously support the demand for democracy and political reforms by the Shias of Bahrain while ruthlessly suppressing demonstrators in Iran voicing similar demands and threatening to execute their leaders. The US has been greatly concerned due to the likelihood of the unrest spreading to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries and coming in the way of its support to the anti-regime demonstrations in Iran. How can the US vociferously support the pro-democracy demostrations in Iran while maintaining a muted response to the demonstrations in Bahrain? If the demonstrations succeed in Bahrain and a pro-Iranian Shia group comes to power, it could affect the operations of the US Fifth Fleet, the headquarters of which are located in Bahrain.

11. The spread of the unrest in the Gulf region could impact on oil security. Mrs.Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, and Mr.Robert Gates, the US Defence Secretary, are reported to have contacted their counterparts in Bahrain and urged restraint.Obama's spokesman Jay Carney has said the President's view is that "we oppose the use of violence by the government of Bahrain." If the US is not careful in handling the issue, it may end up by playing into the hands of Iran. At present, both the US and Iran face an equal dilemma in Bahrain, but the ultimate advantage could be with Iran if the protest movement picks up further momentum

12. There is considerable nervousness in the Gulf Countries.Foreign Ministers of the Gulf Co-operation Council consisting of Bahrain,Oman,Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates held an emergency meeting in Manama on February 17 and said in a statement: "Our security is a collective responsibility and there is no question of accepting foreign interference."

13. The crisis in Bahrain poses a ticklish situation for Indian workers---particularly India Muslims, many of whom are believed to be Sunnis. If the Shias ultimately succeed, local anger could turn against the Sunnis from South Asia, who will be suspected of letting themselves be used by the Sunni rulers to suppress the movement. (18-2-11)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute for Topical Studies, Chennai. )

Thursday, February 17, 2011



The Lucknow correspondent of has reported as follows on February 17,2011:

" The two-day India visit by Islamic hardliner and Pakistan's Jamiat-ul-Islami chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman is believed to be aimed at reinforcing the anti-Vastanvi forces at the Darul-Uloom Deoband seminary in Uttar Pradesh , where the recently appointed vice chancellor Ghulam Mohammad Vastanvi had drawn much flak for praising Narendra Modi's governance in Gujarat.

"Ostensibly, Rehman was in Deoband and New Delhi earlier this week to broker peace between the two warring factions of Indian Jamiat-Ulema-e-Hind led by rival Madnis -- uncle Arshad Madni and nephew Mahmood.

"However, informed sources at Deoband suspect that the Pakistani cleric's 'real intent behind bringing the Madnis together was to strengthen the anti-Vastanvi lobby.'

"Vastanvi's fate is to be decided at a meeting of Deoband's 'Majlis-e-Shoora', the highest decision making body of the institution on February 23.

"Considering that Mahmood Madni was responsible for mobilising support for Vastanvi against whom Arshad was known to have fuelled all the trouble, unity between the duo was aimed at weakening the seminary chief's case.

"The proximity between Pakistani cleric Rehman and Arshad Madni was always an open secret. And even during his 17- hour long stay in Deoband, the two were seen together every minute.

"Sources in Deoband claimed that Rehman's visit was planned by Arshad, who was clearly worried about his hold over Deoband.

"Rehman was therefore called to convince Mahmood to sink his differences with his uncle Arshad in the larger interest of maintaining the undisputed hold of the undivided Madni power over the seminary.

"Who does not know that the Madnis whose family has called the shots at the seminary for decades, were responsible for appointment of the previous vice chancellor Maulana Maghrubur Rehman who passed away last year," a senior faculty member told over telephone from Deoband.

"Yet another young lecturer, who had hailed the appointment of a computer savvy and MBA qualified Vastanvi as the new vice chancellor felt, "Members of the Arshad Madni lobby were busy impressing upon all north Indians at the seminary that they must not allow Vastanvi to continue as he was the first non-north Indian to head the Deoband seminary."

"He went on to add, "Evidently, the whole idea was to prevent any progressive Muslim to take over the reins of this historic institution; and that was the reason that a Pakistani Islamic hardliner had come down all the way."

"The last time Rehman flew down to Deoband in similar circumstances was in March 2007, when he succeeded in bridging the divide between the Madnis."

2. In this connection, I am reproducing below an article titled SUPPING WITH THE MAULANA written by me on July 23,2003, when the Maulana had come on a visit to India, It is available at The Maulana continues to be close to the Pakistan People's Party. He has toned down his pro-bin Laden and anti-US rhetoric. His party is a member of the ruling coalition in Islamabad though there were recent reports of its having quit the Cabinet of Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani due to differences over portfolios. It is not a member of the new Cabinet formed by Mr.Gilani on February 11.

3. The Maulana, who has now come to India, is a sobered man compared to the Maulana of July 2003. Thus, one cannot find fault with the decision of the Government of India to issue a visa to him. Even the Government of former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee had issued him a visa. So did the Government of Narasimha Rao.

4.Recently, Mr.Gilani has been quoted in the Pakistani media as having talked of a religious solution to the crisis relating to the arrest and prosecution of Raymond Davis, a member of the staff of the US Consulate-General in Lahore, who allegedly shot to death two Pakistanis who were mysteriously following him on a motor-bike on January 27. A religious solution apparently meant Davis apologising to the families of the deceased and paying them a compensation in return for which the families would pardon him and tell the court they do not want him to be prosecuted. Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been in Pakistan to find a way out.

5. One would have expected the Maulana to play an important role in this. Instead of staying on in Pakistan during Mr.Kerry's visit he has come away to India, reportedly to lend a helping hand in sorting out the differences in Deoband and to ensure that nobody in Deoband deviates from the policy of opposing Shri Narendra Modi, the Chief Minister of Gujarat. This would show that L-Affaire Deoband has greater importance in his eyes than L'Affaire Davis. ( 18-2-11)

( The writer is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. E-mail: )



by B. Raman, CAMP US

The high-profile visit of Maulana Fazlur Rahman, the controversial leader of the Jamiat-ul-ulema Islam (JUI) of Pakistan, to India and the attention accorded to him in governmental and non-governmental circles in New Delhi are being viewed by many India-watchers in the US with a mix of bewilderment and concern.

2. Fazlur Rahman is a fundamentalist with a difference, known for his proximity to Mrs.Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians (PPPP). Despite his fundamentalist orientation, he supported her right to become the Prime Minister and opposed the campaign of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JEI) in the 1990s against a woman heading the Government of an Islamic country.

3. Benazir rewarded him by making him the Chairman of the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee and allegedly asked the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) to place a large amount from its secret service fund at his disposal during his travels abroad.

4. He loves foreign travels and the good things of life and during her second tenure as the Prime Minister, he spent more time abroad than in Pakistan.

5. In 1993-94, Pakistan’s cotton crop was practically destroyed by insects for two years in succession and many textile mills were threatened with closure. Asif Zirdari, her husband, through a business crony in Hong Kong, entered into a contract with Turkmenistan for emergency supplies of cotton. The responsibility for transporting them to Pakistan by road via Afghanistan was given to the Hong Kong-based Pakistani businessman.

6. His cotton convoys were attacked and the cotton looted by armed followers of Gulbuddin Heckmatyar of the Hizb-e-Islami (HEI) and Ismail Khan, the pro-Teheran warlord of Herat.

7. Zirdari then asked Maj. Gen.(retd) Naseerullah Babbar, Benazir’s Interior Minister, to organize a special force to escort the cotton convoys through Afghanistan. Naseerullah, with the help of Pervez Musharraf, organized the Taliban by rallying round many of the dregs of the Afghan war of the 1980s against the Soviet troops under the leadership of Mulla Mohammad Omar, the Amir of the Taliban.

8. They were helped in this by Maulana Fazlur Rahman and his protégé, Mufi Shamzai of the Binori madrasa of Karachi. Thus, the Taliban came into existence in 1994. The role played by Fazlur Rahman in helping Benazir and her husband in creating the Taliban led to serious differences between him and Qazi Hussain Ahmed of the JEI, who was a strong supporter of Gulbuddin. Another person who was a strong critic of the Maulana’s soft corner for Benazir and Zirdari was Lt. Gen.Hamid Gul, who was the DG of the ISI during her first tenure as the Prime Minister.

9. The US started viewing the Maulana with suspicion in 1995 due to the proximity of the Harkat-ul-Ansar (HUA), then headed by Maulana Fazlur Rahman Khalil, to the Maulana. In March, 1995, Kamran Khan, the well-known investigative journalist, came out with a series of articles under the title “Jihad Worldwide” in the “News”, the prestigious daily. In these articles, he exposed not only the role played by the HUA in organizing terrorist operations in India’s Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), southern Philippines, the Arakan area of Myanmar and Chechnya, but also its attempts to carry its jihad to the US homeland by recruiting and training a group of Afro-American Muslims. It was suspected that the HUA could not have been indulging in such activities without the complicity of Fazlur Rahman.

10. This was followed by the kidnapping of some Western tourists, including two Americans, one of whom escaped, by the HUA in J&K under the name Al Faran. The Clinton Administration in the US sought Benazir’s help in getting them released. She and Zirdari asked Fazlur Rahman to go to India to persuade the HUA to release them.

11. At the request of the US Embassy in New Delhi, the Narasimha Rao Government, then in power, agreed to let him come. The Rao Government was hoping that he would keep his mission unpublicized, but Fazlur Rahman, who has a weakness for publicity, made the visit high-profile. After reaching New Delhi, he demanded that he should be allowed to visit Srinagar to which the Indian intelligence agencies were strongly opposed.

12. On coming to know of his visit, circles close to the present ruling coalition in New Delhi, which were then in opposition, strongly criticized the Rao Government for allowing the patron of the HUA to visit India. Thereupon, the Rao Government totally cut of all contacts with him and he went back to Pakistan.

13. In October 1997, the US State Department designated the HUA as a foreign terrorist organization under the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996. Consequently, it is a crime for anyone in the USA to be associated with it and foreigners associated with it are not entitled to US visas. Fazlur Rahman, as the suspected supporter if not the mentor of the HUA, is covered by this ban. After the ban, the HUA ostensibly split into two organizations called the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM) and the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI). The Maulana is viewed by many in Pakistan and the US as the patron of both.

14. After the explosions outside the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzaniya in August,1998, the Clinton Administration exercised considerable pressure on the Nawaz Sharif Government and Lt. Gen.Ziauddin, the then DG of the ISI, to help the US Special Forces in organizing a commando raid into Kandahar to capture Osama bin Laden and take him to the US for trial.

15. This pressure was kept up during 1999 too. Nawaz Sharif, fearing an adverse reaction from Musharraf, his Chief of the Army Staff (COAS), was initially hesitant to co-operate. However, after a visit to Washington DC by Ziauddin after the Kargil war, Nawaz agreed to pressurize the Taliban to hand over bin Laden to the US and, if it refused, to co-operate with the US Special Forces in their planned raid.

16. Ziauddin met the Amir of the Taliban at Kandahar in this connection. While sticking to his refusal to hand over bin Laden to the US, the Amir agreed to consider expelling him to another Islamic country. On coming to know of this, Musharraf, who was not kept in the picture by Nawaz or Ziauddin, sent Mohammad Aziz, then his Chief of the General Staff, along with Fazlur Rahman to Kandahar to tell the Amir that he should not carry out any instructions received from Ziauddin. It was on coming to know of this that Nawaz decided to sack Musharraf and appoint Ziauddin as the COAS, triggering off the coup and his overthrow.

17. Following the visit of Ziauddin to Kandahar, there were many speculative reports in the Pakistani media that US Special Forces had already arrived in the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP) and were about to raid Kandahar. Fazlur Rahman issued a statement warning the US that if bin Laden was killed or captured, no American national in Pakistan would be safe. A senior US diplomat posted in Islamabad thereupon visited him and reportedly warned him that if any US national in Pakistan came to any harm, it would hold him personally responsible and act against him. Thereafter, he lowered his anti-US rhetoric.

18. After 9/11, Musharraf sent a delegation of Pakistani mullas headed by Mufti Shamzai to Kandahar to persuade the Taliban Amir to hand over bin Laden to the US in order to avert a war. The delegation was accompanied by Lt.Gen.Mehmood Ahmed, the then ISI chief.

19. Before going to Kandahar, the Mullas and the ISI chief had met Fazlur Rahman at Peshawar. They then met the Taliban Amir at Kandahar and came back and reported to Musharraf that the Amir had refused to co-operate. It was said that the USA came to know from one of its sources in the mullas’ delegation that instead of pressurizing the Amir to hand over bin Laden to the US, the delegation, in the presence of Mehmood Ahmed, congratulated the Amir for resisting US pressure and encouraged him to continue to do so.

20. It was after this that the US pressurized Musharraf to remove Mehmood Ahmed, known to be close to Fazlur Rahman, from his post. He did so on October 7, 2001, and appointed Lt.Gen.Ehsanul Haq, then Corps Commander in Peshawar and a close personal friend of Qazi Hussain Ahmed, as the new DG.

21. Musharraf’s decision to co-operate with the US against the Taliban led to a re-alignment in Pakistan. The JEI and the JUI forgot their past differences over the role played by Fazlur Rahman in helping the Benazir Government in the creation of the Taliban as a counter to Gulbuddin’s HEI and joined hands in backing the Taliban, the Al Qaeda and the HEI in their joint operations against the US forces in Afghanistan.

22. Despite the formation of the coalition of six fundamentalist parties called the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), of which the JUI and the JEI are the driving force, suspicions continue to mark the relations between the Maulana and the Qazi. Each suspects the other of continuing to maintain clandestine contacts with the military-intelligence establishment. There was also friction over the decision of the Maulana to nominate one of the members of his party as the Chief Minister of the NWFP without consulting the Qazi.

23. Since 9/11, US suspicions of the Maulana have worsened because of the active role played by the HUM under the name HUM (Al Alami—International) and the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) in the terrorist strikes against French and American nationals in Karachi and Islamabad. There were reports before the US invasion of Iraq that the HUM had sent its cadres to Saudi Arabia under the cover of haj pilgrims and that they were to infiltrate into Iraq to start a jihad against the US troops. When an injured bin Laden escaped into Pakistan from Afghanistan in the beginning of last year, Mufti Shamzai, the protégé of Fazlur Rahman, gave him shelter in his madrasa in Karachi till last August.

24. Five Pakistani jihadi organizations are members of bin Laden’s International Islamic Front (IIF)---the HUM, the HUJI, the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), the Jaish-e-Mohammad (JEM) and the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ). Of these, the HUM, the HUJI, the JEM and the LEJ are close to the Maulana. The LET, despite its strong Wahabi orientation, is not. The Maulana’s perceived hobnobbing with India could act as a red rag to the bull and provoke an intensification of the terrorist strikes in Indian territory.

25. The questions being asked in the US are: Did the Maulana come on his own or at the instance of the Government of India or the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)? What was the motive? What would be its implications?

26. It is alleged by many here that the Govt. of India has been making overtures to the Maulana through PPPcircles close to Benazir in the hope of using his services for persuading the Deobandi leaders of India to react more positively to the proposals made by Kanchi Shankaracharya for a solution to the Ayodhya issue and to pressurize the jihadi organizations close to him to stop their terrorist activities in India.

27. There is concern that this exercise might prove counter-productive and lead to an aggravation of the ground situation in J&K. (23-7-2003)