Sunday, September 21, 2008

Bomb Blast in Islamabad: The Morning After

The pictures of the Marriott in daylight are harrowing.

Marriott, before and after the bombing:

(via Marriott website)



(Courtesy: New York Times)


The scale of this bombing is unprecedented, as is the identity of the ultimate target. I can't recall any such incident that was aimed squarely at civilians. And while it may be true that the Marriott is frequented by foreigners, the timing of the bombing (around Iftar) indicates that the aim wasn't to kill foreign nationals but to kill as many people as possible.

As is usually the case in these incidents in Pakistan, the majority of people who died were people who were just doing their job - policemen, security guards, valets and receptionists. Eyewitness reports state that after the first blast, the driver of the truck shouted at the security guards to get out of the way or die. Many of them, including guards stationed at Frontier House (I think that's what they said) which is some way away, rushed TOWARDS the truck. We salute these people. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of all those who perished.

We must see this attack as what it is: an attack on Pakistan and its people. We are at war and the only way we win this is by fighting back. There is a need for all of us to think of this as a war because that's what this is. The Pakistani security establishment needs to focus its energies away from India once and for all, it's the western border that poses the greatest danger to us at this time.

Final thought:

Listening to various politicians all night has yet again highlighted that he PML(N) and the Jammat-e-Islami cannot ever be allowed to come into power. Not only that, they've forgone any right to be taken seriously. But what troubles me is that the PML(N) and the JI have been historically aligned with various members of the armed forces, for whom they served as proxies, if these army men continue to share the same sort of ideology as espoused by the likes of Liaquat Baloch of the JI, then we've got a big problem.

(For more pictures and videos of the incident, check out All Things Pakistan.)

43 comments:

Kamal Shah said...

"Listening to various politicians all night has yet again highlighted that he PML(N) and the Jammat-e-Islami cannot ever be allowed to come into power. Not only that, they've forgone any right to be taken seriously. But what troubles me is that the PML(N) and the JI have been historically aligned with various members of the armed forces, for whom they served as proxies, if these army men continue to share the same sort of ideology as espoused by the likes of Liaquat Baloch of the JI, then we've got a big problem."

-------------

Save us the bombast. You think the other fuckers are any good? They are all bastards. Worst of them all are the terrorists. Lawyer lynching MQM goons are good? Don't politicize this.

AKS said...

@ Kamal Shah

Thanks for your thoughts Kamal. It's good to know that at least someone got the true meaning of what I was saying i.e. PML(N) is to blame and MQM is the best; Altaf is my suga' daddy!

I agree with you that we are political leadership is really not much to talk about but one still reserves the right to examine this situation and assess which political leaders are more adept at handling the crisis. Moreover, I wasn't indicating that the PPP and MQM would be good, just that PML(N) and JI would be worse.

Salah uddin said...

Pakistan's September 11th?

"i am looking for peace. i am looking for mercy.
i am looking for evidence of compassion.
any evidence of life.
i am looking for life."

http://beta.vajood.com/?p=437

Jack said...

we must see this attack as it is. a REACTION to an attack on the people.

the pakistan government has far more blood of innocent victims on its hands than any militant group in pakistan. since 9/11 they have been complicit in blowing up afghani and pakistani civilians time after time after time. 60 dead is nothing in comparison to the joint air raids and drone-attacks that pakistan has been responsible for in recent years agains innocent villagers.

people on this blog have a short memory and a twisted sense of justice. it seems if you are poor and killed in a village it is not the same as being killed in the marriot. the hypocrisy of some pakistanis makes me sick - maybe this is why the country is afflicted with such carnage. until 9/11 these militants were lauded as the lions of kashmir and victors of kargil - the minute they turn on a government that decided to kill its own and support american butchery in the region, they become insurgents and enemies of pakistan.

you guys make me laugh.

at least the militants had the guts to take a principled stand and not back down in the face of overwhelming power and money. the government and its american stooges lined their pockets with billions whilst carrying out weekly 'marriot bombings' in the frontier and afghanistan.

frankly the concern on this blog shown for the innocents who wrongfully died in this attack reeks of hypocrisy and politicized sentiments. the death of any innocents is wrong, and the pakistani governement is leagues ahead of any other group in perpetrating these atrocities.

nobody, and i mean nobody, in pakistan can take the moral high ground over the militants because pakistan's politics, its army, its politicians, its feudal lords and its upper classes have been devoid of any morality for much much longer.

Ahsan said...

Jack:

You have a nasty habit of putting motives, words, and thoughts in other people's mouths and heads. I would advise you to cease and desist from this habit, because it would save me the trouble of continuously correcting the record, and save you the trouble of sounding like a complete moron.

No one on this blog "lauded" or lionized these militants as the saviors of Kashmir or anything else. Next time you say something ridiculous like that, please find a direct quote.

No one on this blog has stated or implied that the lives of innocent civilians in villages are worth less than those lost in a hotel. Indeed, here - for once - we are in agreement with the Taliban and their local affiliates, who target innocent civilians in urban hotels like they did last night, as well as tribal maliks (over 400 murdered by the Taliban since 2004) and villagers (regular beheadings against "collaborators", bomb blasts in CD shops, attacks against barbers, destroying girls schools, targeting foreign NGO workers and engineers). Just like we, the contributors, don't discriminate on the question of which civilians lives are worth more, so don't the Taliban, who murder and commit mayhem in line of their political objectives irrespective of the identity of their victims.

I find it ludicrous and wholly offensive that you refer to the militants as "principled". They are no more or no less principled than any other politico-military organizing that is waging an insurgency against a state. OF COURSE they will resist co-optation! I am glad, however, that you are able to locate a principled stand in all this - good for you.

Most importantly, it is dangerously stupid to conflate the Taliban's motivations with any idea of defending "the people". The Taliban care as little about the local population in FATA as well as Swat/rural NWFP as they do about the local population in the power centers of Pakistan. This can be verified by their physical and murderous attacks against these very local populations TIME AND AGAIN in the form of bombings, beheadings, and assassinations. This attack WAS NOT a "reaction to an attack on the people." This attack was a reaction to an attack on the Taliban and their buddies. There is a massive difference between the two. As Dawn News' slogan has it: understand the difference.

goc said...

@jack:

I agree with you partially. There is and will always be an inherent bias when we talk about violence. You know the saying, it hurts most when the hit is closest to home. And for a lot of the bloggers and readers (myself included) the Marriot is a lot closer to home (it seems like) than a small village in the border region of NWFP. A lot of Pakistani's complain about how in the US media an American life lost lamented so much more than that of and anon Iraqi citizen. Well, I have'nt seen as extensive a coverage of lives lost in tribal areas as I have of bomb attacks in urban settings. Yes that information is not easily available, but we need to ask why that is.

However, I don't think that gives you the right to question the authenticity of the remorse expressed by AKS at the lives lost of "ordinary people." You are assuming there is a class based affinity between these "ordinary lives" and the lives lost in tribal areas. I think its more of an Urban/rural divide. I don't think you will find that many families who lost loved ones flocking to sign up with the militants.

All that said, I think there is an us vs. them mentality floating around here.

"We must see this attack as what it is: an attack on Pakistan and its people. We are at war and the only way we win this is by fighting back."

Yes it is an attack on Pakistan and its people, but by whom? Probably more of Pakistan's people.

"the pakistan government has far more blood of innocent victims on its hands than any militant group in pakistan."

Ok. Ill agree with that. But explain that to the families of the people who have NOTHING to do with the government. Even when the gov. of Pakistan is "democratically" elected, the nature of politics in Pakistan I think exempts a lot of Pakistani citizens for being accountable for their gov. actions b/c frankly, the government is not accountable to pretty much anyone. Whats your solution? Blow up the whole country cause the government is evil?

I think its telling that this was described above as Pakistan's 9/11. The question is is the reaction going to take a lesson from the last 7 years of how NOT to deal with this kind of situation. Or are we going to degenerate into another "this is an attack on my freedom hence I can bomb the shit out of you" vs "you are evil and cause all problems in this world and your citizens deserve to die?"

Jack said...

@ahsan
my lions of kashmir comment was not aimed at authors of this blog, but pakistanis in general. privately the army loved the militants for their role in kargil, but now its sings a different tune. their opinion, like most opinions in pakistan, can be easily bought.

i may not agree with the taliban, but i maintain that they FAR MORE principled than any other institution in pakistan. that includes the judiciary, the army, the parliament, the ISI, the feudal lords and the pakistani upper classes.

you and your ilk love to hate the taliban because you'd like others to believe they stand against what you love. and it works for a while. but in reality all this pandering about democracy and freedom is about preserving the status quo of your selfish kind.

look at pakistan: look at its social elite and its blood-sucking feudal families and its corrupt businessman and its pathetic army. they have no problem killing balochis or bengalis or whoever when it suits them (yes, women and children too: gasp!). its a country that DESERVES to be run by the taliban because every other option has sucked the country dry... but its ok? right? as long as they serve alcohol, allow cinemas, 'freedome' and let NGOs in. right? please.

that is why you avoid the key fact that stands out in all of this: that the army, the pakistan government and their US-backers are responsible for FAR more death and destruction than ALL the militant groups in pakistan put together.

is that so hard to comprehend? but, no, we won't blog about their murders because we simply dont give a damn about ragheads living in some afghani village. honestly, the hypocrisy is amazing and YET so predictable because 90% of upper-class western educated pakistanis i have met say the EXACT same thing. (the other 10% give me hope for that country)

you think your thoughts are unique. they're not.

Jack said...

@goc
its easy to misunderstand what i say as justifying the talibans actions - but im not. i find ANY killing of innocent civilian atrocious.

why do i question the remorse? well, to me its a natural conclusion because the authors of this blog are not stupid.

if person x says that these militants need to be defeated by the government because of these terror attacks which kill innocent civilians, then you would assume he

a) is stupid and doesnt know that every facet of pakistan's government has directly or indirectly been killing far more innocent people over the years and over the last 7 in particular

OR

b)his remorse is not actually tied to the death of innocent civilians but to the instititutions and symbols in pakistan that personify his principles and lifestyle. if they were tied to the deaths of innocent civilians, then he would put pretty pictures of the villages bombed off the map by the pakistani govt and laud the brave individuals who stood up to US interference and aggression in the region.

now i discounted a) because the writers of this blog are not stupid. and that only left me with option b. if there is an option c, please enlighten me.

and dont get me wrong, i hate what happened yesterday and i hate the people that perpetrate it but i hate others in pakistan far more because their crimes are far greater no matter how you look at it.

AKS said...

@ Jack

I think Ahsan's retort covers much of what I would've liked to say. The only thing I would like to reemphasize is that when one looks at violence in FATA one must also consider the violence perpetrated by the Taliban on ordinary people.

The other thing that I wanted to say, and I know it may rile you but that is not my intention, is that not all villagers are innocent. They may not be actively taking part in terrorism but they are offering or have offered sanctuary to many who are. I've had enough of these romantic notions of the 'hospitable pathans' who would lay their lives for their guests. If you're protecting a guest who happens to be a murderer, you're an accomplice.

Of course, everything's not black and white, and my intention is not to paint an overly simplistic picture. The crux of my argument is that we must recognise that we are fighting an insurgency that is bent on undermining the writ of the state and we must challenge that and we must also challenge the structures (and traditions) that allow such activities to flourish.

Moreover, we need to let go of the past - yes, the U.S. was partly responsible for what happened in Afghanistan some 20 years ago but it's our problem now and we need to solve it. Just as we need to get over our tit for tat battle with India. Screw Siachen!

Ayub famously said that one Pakistani could take care of ten Indians, this worked well because that's roughly the ratio of our populations. But I don't think Ayub really thought this one through, because the conclusion of that hypothesis is the death of every Pakistani and Indian.

It's time for new ideas, a time for ideas that make some common sense, ideas that seek to create a better tomorrow and not some hackneyed ideas that seek to recreate glories of the past.

Rabia said...

@goc, brilliant comment, especially the last paragraph. I totally agree.

goc said...

@jack

I take back what I initially said. I no longer partially agree with you. I asked you whether you had a solution to the current problem (bad government vs militant insurgency) and you answer suggests that you are looking at a very complicated situation as a black and white one. i.e. Pakistani govt = evil, Taliban = less evil (and i disagree with that), hence Taliban > Pakistan govt. Life, I hate to break it to you, is not a math equation.

I think you will find a large majority of Pakstani's, particularly Pakistani women, won't necessarily agree with your assessment of the Taliban being the most principled of all these institutions. I suggest you go and talk to woman ALL over Pakistan, rich, poor, urban, rural, tribal etc and actually ask them how they feel about an option that deprives them of the right to education and work. The women in the elite will be fine if a Taliban govt. comes to power b/c they a) don't need to work or b) will leave for vilayat. As we saw in Afghanistan, it is the very poor, rural people that you somehow claim to be a champion of that will suffer.

And again your idea of option a,b and c just reflects your inability to look at a complex situation. Like I said, you can't neatly distill attacking civilians from attacking institutions from militancy from bad governance.

Ahsan said...

Jack:

1. Your claim that the Taliban is "far more principled than any other institution in Pakistan" is laughable, so much so that I simply am at a loss to come up with a retort.

2. I honestly don't know what you meant when you started talking about pandering, democracy, NGOS and alcohol. Perhaps if you were to restate these points in clearer language, I could respond, but as it stands, I simply don't know what you mean, so I can't.

3. The fact that state forces are able to inflict more damage on innocent civilians than non-state actors is (a) not news to me or anyone else, and more importantly, (b) not indicative of their being better people than those that make up instruments of the state. States simply have much more power to play with. If the Taliban had gun helicopters and drones in their possession, they too would kill as many (or perhaps more) civilians than the Pakistan government. The Taliban killing less innocents is not indicative of how nice or principled they are compared to the government, but how powerful they are compared to the government.

4. Again, I lost you with the "your thoughts are unique" line. You might want to elaborate because I have no idea what you're talking about.

NB said...

@Jack

Frankly, your comments have received more attention than is merited by their substance.

Having been compelled to reply to you myself, I understand that this is a direct result of you having stated your simple beliefs in such strong, presumptuous and disrespectful terms.

Everything you have said has been picked apart and addressed pretty thoroughly, by Goc, Ahsan and AKS whom I agree with, so I won’t go there. Instead ill just address what you say is your central point namely:

“that is why you avoid the key fact that stands out in all of this: that the army, the pakistan government and their US-backers are responsible for FAR more death and destruction than ALL the militant groups in pakistan put together.”

And moreover,

“if person x says that these militants need to be defeated by the government because of these terror attacks which kill innocent civilians”

Your belief that the polity that ‘holds the moral high ground’ or merits support is simply the one that inflicts the least death and destruction is ridiculous. Death and destruction result from the violence employed by different protagonists to achieve their respective agendas. That is why no side is more or less principled than the other, just more or less able to inflict damage, as Ahsan pointed out. Your belief that bombing a hotel full of civilians can be even *be* part of a ‘relatively’ "principled stand" goes beyond ignorance and lands somewhere in the middle of self delusion and idiocy.

At the core of it, it is not chiefly about death or destruction, it’s about agendas. To believe that the Pakistan government’s agenda is about defending the public’s access to alcohol, cinemas and NGOs is simple, convenient and dumb. To believe that the Taliban’s agenda is to put up a relatively principled resistance to foreign occupiers is equally unintelligent.

The question boils down to what you want for Pakistan, and how you think it might best be achieved. If you think it is served best by capitulating to militant Islamism in FATA, dismantling the writ of the State of Pakistan, and allowing the Taliban to launch cross border attacks into Afghanistan, then that’s option one. I know you like to make things easy to understand for yourself, but consider the full implications of what that could mean.

If you believe that Pakistan’s interests are best served by the Government reasserting its writ over Pakistani soil, its conditional collaboration with NATO, and by Pakistani society’s rejection of militancy, religious regression and bigotry, then there’s option two for you.

And if I have completely misunderstood you, and you don’t believe in defending Pakistan’s interest at all, then frankly I hope that no one bothers to respond to any further comments you choose to make.

KHAN LALA said...

wow.. i dont know wat to say. i am new here. been reading you guys's comment .kamal sha grow up and wake and c wat ur PEER SAHIB ALTAF HAS DONE TO KARACHI all he talks abt is talibanization and get ready for war this is our leader and ZARDARI ....great pakistanis are by far the most stupid ppl on earth just sit home watch tv shows or chat on the internet or sit out side with buddies smoking , drinkingblablablano one realizes that god will not come down and help us and the only thing that night help is change get rid of these altaf,s and zardari's get on t streets and shut the whole country down untilthere is change .ppl are dying of starvation any ways so wat the hell lets get some one new some one like chd IFTIKHAR some one who is honest and stands for some thing and is not a chor and is educated. shame on us . that man is sitting on the side and ppl just don't give a shit. ppl of pakistan deserve this , no food no electricity no law and order, we deserve it because over and over u vote for the same chor,s and the good ppl and just sitting and watching cause they can't do any thing alone.
MAY ALLAH GIVE THE PPL OF PAKISTAN SOME SENSE THAT THEY REALKIZE AFTER ALLIT IS THEM WHO WILL BRING A CHANGE

PostMan said...

@khan lala

and may Allah give you the guidance to understand what the topic is.

Jack said...

@NB
Frankly my comments got attention because they don't bleat the same tune as everyone else on here. Honestly, are all of you clones or from the same family? or maybe, just maybe, all of you see yourselves as upper class, educated, 'better than the rest', 'we know what's best for pakistan' type of people???

please, who gave you the right to know whats best for pakistan. and who cares about the writ of the state of pakistan? you guys sound like a bunch of jingoistic lab monkeys going pakistan pakistan. what has the writ of the state of pakistan EVER done for its people? its track record is WORSE than the talibans. its history is smeared with murder, corruption, feudalism, lies and deceit.

it seems you guys are obsessed with protecting this writ no matter what it stands for. maybe if some of you more priveleged pakistanis stopped supporting the government and its institutions we could have REAL change in a country with no real achievements to its name. but no, its about preserving the status quo because you guys sit quite prettily in it.

my argument has not been picked apart by any one of you, so you can stop the mutual ass-licking all of you love to do.

my belief is not that morality or principles is linked to death and destruction - it is linked to how fervently you hold to your beliefs regardless of the military, economic or social situation. the state of pakistan and its institutions suffer because their principles change like the seasons - the talibans have always had a set of core beliefs and have never reneged on them no matter how many dollars and f-16s the americans offered (and they did). that is what a principled stand is based on.

@AKS
your audacity is totally appalling, for someone like you question the innocence of the villagers that are killed - who are usually women and children is just sickening and no different to the taliban spokesman who will claim all those in the marriot were kafirs anyway.

whats ironic is that you claim to be from that beacon of integrity in pakistan - the law profession. HAHAHA. a drone could hit your offices and it would probably kill more accomplices to murder than some poor village in the frontier.

@Ahsan
I think most of what you write is laughable but i still respond to it. confusion and 'being lost' for someone as educated as you is not a valid excuse - especially given the amount of superfluous vocabulary you love to use in your blogs - i'm surprised anyone can follow it. why use ten words where one will do?

{CPM - copy paste material} said...

firstly, jack should have his own blog address cuz he's the most popular person here and everyone wants to fire one at him.

secondly, he is right, the taliban are principled relative to their core beliefs. i believe a comparison can be made to the National Socialists in Germany, who also held a certain set of principles they didn't really budge from.

thirdly, questioning the morality of the villagers was hopefully an abberation. didn't sound like it was very well thought out.

goc's comment on the attitude of women towards pakistan was by far the best one here. its funny how people admire the taliban for their sense of justice, and the security and order they provide, and disregard the fact that parading patriarchy as religion is simply an insult to islam

but lastly, there is a simple reason this argument is waging for so long. its because we don't know which way to go just yet in this war. and because we don't, it won't be long, as the editor of Dawn recently put it, before we will have to choose between the taliban or the US.

so i suggest that the educated amongst us realise that defending the taliban doesn't mean a vote for alcohol and NGOs. and accept that there is an urban/rural divide that is betrayed in our sensibilities, and even more, there is a pakistan/fata divide as well. but if two sets of intelligent people digress to personal attacks, we allow our minds to shut out intelligence and accept the soothing mindfuck of belligerent authority behemoths, like the National Socialists, and their failed artist leader.

adeel said...

@ Jack
I think the mutual front against you is because of the polarising way you set things out, it's like you're hankering for a fight and so you'll get one. Are you actually interested in other people's views or are you here simply to shove them down our throats? (which would explain your soft spot for your taliban brethren)

Being principled isn't necessarily something commendable or to be romanticized because it needs to be balanced by what those principles actually are. As illustrated by goc, women in Pakistan wouldnt quite benefit from these 'principles' even in the form envisaged in our religion. You just sit there and assume taleban principles are all things good compared to the drinking, drugging, blah blah blah blah blah blah western liberal elitist swine, blah blah blah (trying to imitate your constant Morales/Chavez style rants here...). And do stop making presumptive personal comments on the character of the people here, we're not in high school anymore ( I assumed you aren't either).

AKS said...

@ CPM

Didn't the Taliban head over to the U.S. in the mid 90's to finalise an oil pipeline deal, all the while harbouring militants who wanted to destroy the US. Principled?

Having said that, I do understand what you mean but it's really inane to use the language of principles here. Stalin was principled and uncompromising and ended up killing millions and millions of people.

Please re-read my comment and note that I stated 'some villagers' not villagers and let me further clarify that villagers in this context would include tribal leaders ruling the said villages. I'm in no way advocating the carpet bombing of villagers or the killing of innocent people, I don't think any of us are. The only point that I was making was that if a person harbours a murderer, knowing that he's a murderer, then they must bear the responsibility of such an act. Tribal traditions and romantic notions of hospitality cannot be used as a defence.

Goc's statement was spot on.

Btw, when you write "defending" the Taliban do you mean "defeating?" It would make a lot more sense.

While I know little about the National Socialists, I quite like the term 'artist leader' and think that it's such an apt representation of the path that we're headed towards. Would early 20th century anarchists fall under the same definition? I really do fear anarchist movements.

Rabia said...

AKS:
I hope you know that hundreds of tribal leaders in FATA have been assassinated by the taliban over the course of the last 5 years.

Jack said...

@AKS
the taliban did go to the US to deliberate on a pipeline deal in the 90's and REJECTED it despite the US's offer of money, weapons and political support. ONLY FOLLOWING this were they added to the list of terrorist organisations by the US. get your facts straight.

and the (relatively) more principled party is? the US of course because its about the writ of pakistan and not principles. honestly, you make me laugh.

@adeel
i dont support the taliban or their interpretation of my religion. but i believe stringently that pakistan is full of far worse individuals from top to bottom and i have a right to point out the hypocrisy of those supposedly educated individuals that support the latter and hate the former based on fake principles.
on a side note, this blog is notorious for personal and vitriolic attacks on anyone and anything they don't like. if the authors can't take the flak, then they shouldn't dish it out. do you see me launching personal attacks on goc? or rabia or CPM or yourself?

@CPM
an educated discourse on this matter is not possible until the educated individuals of pakistan, eg authors of this blog, understand that their approach to principles is based on western parameters ingrained in them from a young age in their priveleged upbringing.

they have to understand that democracy or freedom or whatever BS their politics professor shoved down their throat in a classroom in boston can NOT be applied to pakistan until the status quo is changed. that includes the govt, the feudals, the army, everything.

instead they indulge in their belief that somehow the taliban is pakistan's biggest problem when it's a useful scapegoat for what is really pakistans biggest problem: pakistanis like them sitting on their degrees in their fancy apartments overseas (or in pak) feeding the corruption, the lies, the deceit and perpetuating a class-based, inherently unjust society.

Rabia said...

I don't know why everyone is so outraged to discover that there are people on slightly different sides of the political spectrum to them.

In any case, both sides should at least agree on their opposition to democracy if nothing else :) What with AKS and his argument that PML-N should never be "allowed" to come into power and Jack's argument that Pakistan is not ready for democracy.

AKS said...

@ Rabia

Yes I do, which is something that I and Ahsan have mentioned in our comments early on. Again, 'some villager' and some 'tribal leaders' do not mean all.

I'm definitely not proposing that the PML(N) be prevented from ruling. I would not allow them to rule by not voting for them.

@ jack

Your English seems pretty good, which leads me to believe that you yourself are part of an elite with "principles based on western parameters ingrained in you from a young age in your privileged upbringing". Pray, tell, how did you manage to see the light? This will aid in my comrades and I changing our ways, maybe this way we wont remain the 'biggest problem facing Pakistan.'

The reason for the Taliban's success is that the state of Pakistan has been extremely unfair and unjust to the majority of it's people. You imagine that the only way to stop this injustice is to remove the state or radically alter it's constitution, maybe through a revolution - do correct me if I'm wrong; whereas I'm of the opinion that the destruction of state structure will lead to a lot more bloodshed and without really improving the plight of the people.

And your statements about the Taliban oil deal are absolutely false. The Taliban did not reject a deal.

It's a fascinating thing the internet, one can even find the truth if one is looking for it, I suggest you go look it up. The gist of the story is that there was a bidding war between UNOCAL and Argentinian firm BRIDAS, two firms that were very active in Turkeministan at the time and saw Afghanistan as the best place to lay their pipeline in. The Taliban signed several agreements with BRIDAS but were still negotiating with UNOCAL (talk about principles!) which led to a $15 Billion law suit. Moreover, UNOCAL were then sued for aiding in 'Crimes Against Humanity.' BRIDAS on the other hand was facing it's own problems and was kicked out by the Turkeministan government.

The kicker came in the form of falling oil prices which made the pipeline deal financially unsustainable. The deal was always about money, and in the end there was too little for the oil companies.

P.S.

Isn't every society 'class based'?

AKS said...

@ Rabia

By I do, I meant I know that the Taliban have killed a large number of Tribal elders. It's a battle for control.

{CPM - copy paste material} said...

umm...

the national socialists are today known as the Nazis. I don't know if AKS was making fun of me, since i'm pretty sure he knows this.

the failed artist leader, is of course, hitler, who was a failed artist.

thus when i spoke of their principles, i meant that some principles are fucked up.

and spot on rabia - jack you are clearly intelligent and western styled educated, thus the belligerent attacks on anything western is a bit odd for you since you seem to be not so different from any of us "liberal western types". maybe you're playing a prank.

but its very dangerous to make these arguments taliban vs usa. cuz i'm not in either corner, and neither are most of us.

Anonymous said...

Jack what is wrong with drinking alcohol or frequenting the cinema? Or even going to privileged schools for that matter. Our parents have worked hard to provide us this elitist education, why not take advantage of it and enlighten our brains, instead of plotting revenge like no do gooders

PostMan said...

Jack help me out here. We are talking of 'moral stance'. Talibans 'have' a moral stance as you said and they kill people. Govt has no moral stance and it too kills its own people. So why is 'morality' at all being discussed?

'please, who gave you the right to know whats best for pakistan.'

Should it not include you as well?

Jack said...

@AKS
firstly, the more you write, the more contempt I have for you. instead of googling 'taliban pipeline' and regurgitating literally the SECOND webpage that comes up, how about you actually research the subject matter before you commence your verbal diahhorea. the talibans visit, at the invitation of the US, was to get them to sign on the dotted line for the pipeline and the taliban refused. a few weeks later, the taliban were 'terrorist entities' according to the state department. ironically two of UNOCALS advisors at the time were Hamid Karzai and Zalmay Khalilzad: the puppet afghan leader and the US national security supremo.

secondly, im not calling for revolution of dismantling of the state. im calling for people like yourself or the authors of this blog to maintain SOME sort of adherence to principles. if you, the priveleged classes of pakistan, would stop supporting the state of pakistan as it is then maybe, just maybe, there is a chance that things will change for the people of pakistan. but instead of basing your arguments on principles or core beliefs that you believe in without hypocrisy, you revert to a natural aversion of anything islamic in the country no matter HOW MUCH WORSE the incumbents are. this may be a result of your upbringing, your socializing circles, your parents' attitudes to religion or just your arrogance. i dont know.

if the authors of this blog, instead of crying 'taliban taliban' everytime something goes wrong, would just look at the root cause of pakistan's poor state and the role they have in perpetuating it, then MAYBE i wouldn't question their intentions. how many blogs on this site have we seen about social welfare in pakistan? charitable entities? social justice? organisations we, people outside of pakistan, can donate to? very very few, if any. not only is it intellectually lazy, but its also disingenuous to claim to speak for pakistans best interest only when someone like me comes along and questions the premise of your weak arguments. most of the political articles on this blog are not written out of any real principled conviction, but rather a simmering natural prejudice that only becomes apparent when someone challenges you. why else are there no other articles with 20 to 30 comments?

finally all societies have classes. but not each society is class-based. an obvious distinction i can't be bothered to explain.

@anon
nothing wrong with drinking alcohol or frequenting cinema. whats wrong is if those are part of your core beliefs, then remain principled to them regardless of who questions you.

@postman
its all relative here. nobody is moral or immoral.
i've laid out what i think is best for pakistan - its for people to find a set of principled which they can adhere to and live their lives based on those principles. we can't say we hate the taliban because they are bad for pakistan and ignore the fact that the politicians, feudals, judiciary and upper classes have been far worse for pakistan for far longer.

AKS said...

@ Jack

"how many blogs on this site have we seen about social welfare in pakistan? charitable entities? social justice? organisations we, people outside of pakistan, can donate to? very very few, if any."

Kindly check the links on the right hand side of the blog. While the list of charities may be limited, the list constitutes institutions with which we have a personal link and which have a website.

Thanks for reading other content on the blog and correctly identifying that we have no principles to speak of, except maybe the hope of a more peaceful, prosperous and tolerant Pakistan; though I guess that's an ideal rather than a principle. Oh, well. By the way after reading the blog in detail if you continue to imagine that we don't believe in meritocracy, then I'm just lost for words.

I'm rather intrigued by your fly on the wall testimony of what happened in the meeting between the Taliban and UNOCAL, and would love to hear. Sadly, I'm really busy right now, this business of raping and pillaging a country that I live in is a tough task.

Jack said...

@AKS
sarcasm is a great way to avoid debate. i knew you would mention ALL 3 charities you've listed and are so proud of (two of which are actually the same thing - lol). maybe you should click on the links off your own blog once in a while. token gestures giving you a feel-good factor about your life are not what i was talking about - im talking about real, tangible and genuine efforts to help the people of pakistan. given the wealth of resources the authors of this blog probably have - the attempts are pretty pathetic and pitiful.

but who am i kidding? im talking to a lawyer in pakistan about helping those in need. the irony. your 'raping and pillaging the country' comment is quite apt given the profession you're in.

Maulana Fazlur Rahman said...

@jack

your nick is also quite apt, given the amount you know.

Jack said...

@maulana
and that's why you've read through 30+ comments. something kept you interested.

Pervez Musharraf said...

Please shutup Fazlur Rahman. You always do this. Poke your little two bit JUIF into other peoples business and try to win leverage. I've had enough of it. The next time I meet you, Im going to slap the pug off your fat head.

Fazlur Rahman said...

Pervez if you so much as touch my orange pug i will rip your mustache off and tickle your mother with it.

Jack your wit has me wet with excitement. Please contact me on fazlurrahman@hotmail.com.

Maulana Fazlur Rahman said...

@Jack

Im serious.

AKS said...

"two of which are actually the same thing"

mmm...they're not.

"token gestures giving you a feel-good factor about your life are not what i was talking about - im talking about real, tangible and genuine efforts to help the people of Pakistan."

So what exactly would a tangible helpful effort?

Thank you so much for these comments, it's helped me get over you. You've demonstrated once and for all that you a) know nothing about Pakistan; b) that you do not care about ascertaining facts; and c) that you are unwilling to even acknowledge anything helpful done by anyone you seem to disagree with and whom you've conveniently pigeonholed into a category that exists only in your head.

There's of course no point in me saying anything because you are unwilling to enter into a dialogue or entertain any of my contentions.

But I sill think it's important to expose your misstatement and set the record straight. CV Boosters, Concern for Children and The Citizen's Foundation are three distinct entities. Your assertion that TCF and CFC are the same is absolutely wrong and I implore you to at least read about the two organsiations; they're doing some amazing work which really ought to be appreciated.

Laila said...

@Jack
I usually don't ever do this because I'm generally quite a tactful and diplomatic person, and I am certainly not going to argue politics with you because I have so much "BS shoved down my throat by my politics professors in Boston" (or Philadelphia), but I certainly do not appreciate you making personal remarks about the people who write this blog. You do not know anything about their personal lives or whether they take time out to help the poor in Pakistan or whether they are involved in alleviating the plight of the people in this country (and other such accusations which you have levelled against them), therefore I do not think you have any bases to lash out at them. Yes their opinions can be a little critical sometimes, but that's why they're using a blog and not writing for a newspaper or whatever(except for bubs). The whole point of a blog is to put your personal opinion forward to the world, and if you don't like that opinion then I don't know why you would continue to read this blog! It's not like arguing with them or submitting thousands of comments is going to change how they feel or their opinions. I'm not really going to go into a lenghthy description of all the charitable activities that Ahsan, AKS or NB have taken part in because I don't think that's any of your business, and not all of us feel comfortable advertising how we're helping people all the time.

ps: in reference to your comment on another post, MSA iftars are never free.

Hira S. said...

Jack,
It would be much easier to respect your opinion if you at least tried to express it civilly.

Ismat said...

@ Jack and AKS

I would be really interested in knowing what sources either of you are using to make your arguments about the US-Taleban oil pipeline deal(or lack thereof). Could you post them so the rest of us can be better informed?

AKS said...

@ Ismat

I've relied primarily on Ahmed Rashid's Book "Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia." I read it a while back so it's possible that I've screwed up some of the stuff.

My other sources are web based, I don't have time to name them all (I just googled "Taliban Pipeline"). Two sources that I have relied on, and have links for right now, are:

A webpage titled "Afghanistan, Turkmenistan Oil and Gas, and the Projected Pipeline" (by Professor Dale Scott, UC Berkley - this page links to several others)

http://socrates.berkeley.edu/~pdscott/q7.html

The other is a Timeline drawn up by World Press.

http://www.worldpress.org/specials/pp/pipeline_timeline.htm

Hope these help.

Jack said...

@AKS & Laila
will respond in due course, partly due to mid-week inundation of work and partly due to nothing of substance being said by either of you. (Laila, given your history of comments, you are closely related to the authors and the least I would expect is for you to come out and stand up for them - even though you totally misunderstand what I'm saying in the first place).

@Ismat
I will dig up my sources as I first researched the whole pipeline deal a few years back when the US first invaded Afghanistan.

I heard of it first-hand however when the Taliban originally visited the US as I have several relatives in Houston, one of whom worked at the UNOCAL Houston refinery back in 1999. He was quite taken aback when a group of men in turbans turned up one day being given an escorted tour.

Laila said...

Jack:
First of all I am not related to any of the authors on this blog(god forbid – no offense guys but you know exactly what I mean). Second of all I am not trying to have a debate here or say anything particularly deep – I am just telling you that you can express your opinions in a more civilized manner instead of leveling personal attacks against the authors. Third of all 3 comments do not a history make. You are again making assumptions about someone based on inadequate sources (which is what I was calling you out on initially). Anyway this is going to be my last comment on this subject because like I said I am not looking for a fight or a debate. You can respond if you want or don’t it really does not make a difference. After all it’s not like I said “anything of substance” anyway.

sameer bijlani said...

as u sow, so shall u reap---da biggest cancer is da pak military generals---taliban and qaida r just excuses---theeze fucking launday baaz sharabi zani loteray just think pak is their baap dadaaz property and they can do whatever they want without any consequences---yes what happened at da marriot was criminal---those bearded bastardz should b hanged 2 death---but who trained theeze bearded imbeciles---it was da fucking pak military and ISI---so now we have a fucking frankenstein monster which is out of control---its OK for our military 2 use these bearded imbeciles against india,afghanistan,china,amerika etc but when they strike us back, we get pissed off---these bastard generalz should b held accountable---they cant protect da average pakistani citizen on da street---it wont be 2 long when theeze fundos will b ruling da streets of paki and especially islamabad and imposing their fucking shariah lawz and putting us back on da stone ages---good luck.