New Delhi, India
Meeting between Indian PM, all Chiefs of Army, Navy, Air Force, NSA, and defence minister was already in progress when Home Minister rushed in to the building closely followed by his aide who was stopped at the door by the security guard. “Sorry sir, but we can’t allow your companion in. He’ll have to wait outside in the lobby till the meeting is over. Orders from above”
HM paused for a moment to argue with the guard but then shrugged and went in himself alone to the secure conference room where NSA chief, Angad was debriefing PM and other participants on current situation in Pakistan. Everybody paused for a moment when HM entered. Indian PM signaled him to take seat on the nearest available empty chair and said, “Got held up somewhere Purohit ji? Angad had just started explaining to us the current situation in Pakistan. I believe that you haven’t missed anything that you already didn’t know.” and motioned NSA chief to continue.
“As I was saying, Pakistani politics is currently divided in to numerous camps. But the biggest ones that we need to monitor are the Naqvi-Beg and Asgar-Akhtar alliances. They are being backed up by USA and China respectively. Also there are some minor political groups like MQM, PML (Q), and ANP etc. But their role and influence is comparatively minor. In addition to these mainstream parties, there are numerous jihadi tanzeems (organisations) that we monitor. Some are pro-government, others anti and still many others declare their allegiances on case by case basis. Without any major exceptions, they all sympathise or cooperate with Taliban, Al Qaida and are one of the major support bases for these terrorist organisations.
Beg’s renewed cooperation with US in war against terrorism has been a mixed bag for them. Even though, they’ve suffered lost many senior leaders by means of arrests and even killings, their wide support base and help from closet jihadis in Pak establishment, especially Army ensures that their work continues unhindered. Our intelligence sources suggest that General Asgar has close links with many of these organisations and employs their cadre for his dirty work.
Apart from this, there are two other factors that we can’t afford to miss. First one is Balochistan and second is Pak Occupied Kashmir. Both regions are in serious turmoil directly due to Chinese.
Of the two, it’s POK that concerns us the most as its Indian territory illegally occupied by Pakistan and now being swamped with thousands of Chinese soldiers and workers. In early 2010, Pakistan allowed China to start building a massive network of roads, railway tracks and pipelines through the region connecting the two countries. Chinese hope to safe-guard their energy routes by using this line as it gives them a direct land-route to the Arabian Sea and Gwadar port. This way, they can avoid the longer and potentially less reliable route through Straits of Malacca. They have already started negotiations with Iran, Saudi Arab and some African countries to route their shipments, oil and gas through this port. Pakistanis also hope to benefit from this and have extended their full cooperation. In fact we have intelligence which proves that Chinese have been using at least 2 army and 1 air strip in POK to move in their supplies and as storage dumps.
Satellite pictures show construction of at least 4 permanent colonies where no civilian Pakistani is allowed. Each one of these colonies has one or more heli-pads and heavily armed guards on 24×7 watch. 2 of these colonies and military bases are less than 80 km from Line Of Control and can be used to launch a surprise attack against us within a hour’s notice.
Not only that, there are dozens of terrorist training camps in the vicinity, some of them in direct control of ISI and Paki army. It’s a very dangerous situation for us. Chinese presence in this area means that if we decide to take any action against these terrorist camps in nearby future, Chinese can get in the way. We have reports from multiple sources that Pakistanis have been planning a big terrorist attack in India very soon and I have a gut feeling that Chinese presence in this area will definitely come into play some way or the other.
But the locals of that area are playing spoil-sport with Paki-Chinese plans. They allege that Chinese activities have destroyed their farms, polluted rivers and uprooted 100s of villages. 3 out of 4 colonies are on the land belonging to the locals and they allege that they were paid insufficient compensation and in many cases, none at all. There have been many reports of protests being held by the affected villagers against the Chinese but Pakistani government has been able to hush it up.
Chinese have responded by kidnapping, torturing and even killing some of the more troublesome protesters. Right now, the region is witnessing serious unrest and almost daily confrontations between the locals and Chinese. High handedness of Chinese in dealing with protesters is starting to look like Soviet actions in Afghanistan. Pakistanis have been turning a blind eye to this, as the affected areas are mostly inhabited by ethnic Shias.
As for Balochistan, people are faring no better there either. By and large, Balochis are moderate muslims but some groups do have links with terrorist groups in Afghanistan. Balochis grievances are that the Punjabi and Sindhi dominated army and government are interested in exploiting natural resources of the region all the while treating them as 3rd rate citizens.
Construction of Gwadar port without any involvement or economic benefit to the locals is the latest and just one of the very long list of grievances that they hold against Pakistani government.Balochis have been fighting a bloody war against Pakistani establishment for a long time. Pakistani army has used everything in it’s arsenal ranging from heavy artillery, air strikes and covert missions to put down the rebellion, but hardy Balochis have kept the resistance alive. But the entry of Chinese in to the theater has changed the situation for worse.
As I explained earlier, Gwadar port is supposed to be an important point in the new energy route for Chinese and they’ve invested billions of dollars in it. Common sense dictates that construction of such a massive port, transport routes, pipeline will result in large scale employment of locals and generation of goodwill for the investors. But Chinese kind of screwed up on this one too by employing Chinese workers and engineers for construction as well as daily operations of the port. Instead of helping locals by creation of employment opportunities, Chinese actions, in the area have in fact caused same repercussions as in PoK.
Skirmishes between the Chinese and Balochis have already started in earnest. One of the latest cause of conflict is the oil-gas pipeline that Chinese are constructing from Gwadar to China through POK. Balochis forced the work on pipeline to be halted when they came to know that it’ll pass through the pastures and native village of leader of one of the most powerful nationalist Baloch leaders, Gaffar Khan of Baloch Nationalist Liberation Front. Negotiations between Chinese and Khan broke down over the compensation being offered by Chinese. Pakistanis intervened in their usual high-handed manner by arresting another senior leader and torturing him in custody.
Enraged Balochis responded by ambushing the army convoys passing through the area and destroying any Chinese construction vehicle and material they could lay their hands upon. Unfortunately, situation was exacerbated when Chinese alleged that two of their unarmed workers died in the attack. A joint Pakistani and Chinese assault force then attacked 3 villages killing atleast 57 people, 21 of them women and destroying numerous houses. Next day, son and pregnant daughter-in-law of Khan went missing while on road to her parent’s house. Their badly burned bodies were found 2 days later around 2 km off the road. Nobody took responsibility, but that incident closed the lid on any possible reconciliation effort.
Since then, a savage fight has been going on between Balochis and Paki-Chinese army with the latter using helicopter gunships and heavy artillery to raze down whole villages. Balochis have suffered high causalities, but they’ve managed to halt all construction work and supply lines to the Gwadar port through most of the area.
This conflict has forced Chinese to look for an alternate route that first follows the coastal highway connecting Gwadar to Karachi, then roughly follow either Indus or General Trunk Highway upto Islamabad and from there to occupied Kashmir. But this alternate route is much closer to the Indo-Pak border and within our easy striking distance. Further, they have already invested billions in mapping and construction of the route through Balochistan. Such drastic change of plans at this time will not only increase the operational cost of the project but also cause unacceptable delay.
For the moment, they are trying their level best to find a way out in Balochistan, but I doubt if Balochis will oblige. They know that even if they manage to quell the rebellion, nothing short of a genoicde and complete ethnic cleansing will ensure safety of their route from sabotage in future.
All these facts are explained in detail with maps in the reports that I’ve placed in frotn of you. You’re welcome to ask any questions.”