by editor | May 5, 2012 7:50 am
A study, to examine the wrong perceptions and accusations on Pakistan’s alleged complicity in allowing transportation of raw materials (Amonium Nitrate) used in Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) across Pak-Afghan border was released on 30the March 2012. The study supports Pakistan’s stance on the subject and statistically proves that Pakistan has suffered from these IEDs more than the coalition forces combined together. The report also highlights Pakistan’s continued efforts to stem the crossborder movements of raw materials used in these devices. Anyhow, there was malicious intent in making US aid conditional to stopping the supply of the raw materials for IEDs from Pakistan to Afghanistan. America, in fact, has been using aid as an instrument to coerce Pakistan into accepting its unreasonable demands. Last year, the US Congress passed the bill for stoppage of US aid amounting to $700 million, which could only be released after certification that Pakistan cooperates in War on Terror.
It is assumed that fertilizer used in the making of Improvised Explosives Devices (IEDs) come from Pakistan. In essence, the string boils down to asking Pakistan to stop manufacturing, obtaining or using this fertilizer, no matter what colossal damage it causes to its primarily agrarian economy. Pakistan is amongst the countries having acute shortage of water; per capita water availability ranks last in the list of 26 Asian countries and is likely to become water scarce (below 1000 m3) by 2035, which was 5000 m3 in 1950. It is ruinous for Pakistan. It has to be mentioned that fertilizer is being made in Iran and Uzbekistan also and could be smuggled to Afghanistan. Total world production of such fertilizer is 3.7 million ton – Europe 2.89, Pakistan (0.6). India and China also produces 68% of nitric acid compositions. It is appropriate to give some details from the report of the Perceptors Group, which took up an in depth study on issue of human sufferings specifically due to Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) attacks causing immense human loss in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The study vindicates Pakistan’s position and debunks allegations of Pakistan’s involvement or having lax control on IED material transportation. Commenting on the report, the Media Point pointed out that US Senator Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, in US Senate hearing had raised the issue of IEDs, claiming that Pakistan remained the main source of the materials used for making the devices. During same hearing General James Mattis termed it an area of frustration and serious topic of dialogue with Pakistan. In addition to them, Republican representative Ted Poe, Texas, who serves on the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, wrote in a column in Newsmax that “America must realize that Pakistan is the ‘Benedict Arnold’ to America in the war on terror”. It has to be mentioned that Benedict Arnold was a rebel General and traitor in the Revolutionary War. Such insinuations could only adversely impact the Pak-US relationship, which is already on the lowest ebb.
The Media Point also quoted some statistics and facts from the report: “The IEDs attacks alone in Pakistan has taken lives of 2707soldiers whereas 1188 NATO soldiers fell prey to IEDs in Afghanistan from 2006 to 2012. In 2010/2011 the casualty figures of only Pakistan’s Civil Armed forces (CAF) operating in Balochistan and in FATA is 176. As of 2010, Pakistani check posts on the Pakistan-Afghan border numbered 821 against 112 check posts set up by NATO-US-Afghan troops on their side. The NATO and U.S forces comprise 41 countries; therefore curbing cross-border movement is not a priority for them. Total number of Pakistan’s troops operating on Pak-Afghan border is approx 140,000 and NATO-ISAF troops in Afghanistan are approximately 130,386. Pakistan has undertaken major efforts to stop the free flow of Urea to Afghanistan including cutting dealership in northern region and changing the color of fertilizer to track it but still this fertilizer is coming and being used against security forces engaged in FATA and Balochistan area and Afghanistan”.
Anyhow, in backdrop of perceived accusations on Pakistan and its forces, data collected by Perceptors have been produced above. However, main conclusions are: “a) Pakistan needs to present its case to the world. The fact is that Pakistan is the main victim of IEDs attack and its efforts have not got due coverage. The facts brought out in the study must be given maximum projection. b) NATO must raise number of check posts along Pak-Afghan border, as small number of check posts do not present a deterrent to hostile forces that move freely on Afghan side and reorganize their strength to hit back on Pakistan’s side. c) The international community should be made to realize that Pakistan is amongst countries having acute shortage of water. Its per capita water availability ranks dead last in the list of 26 Asian countries that’s why fertilizer is crucial requirement for agricultural sector. Viable solutions should be considered for Pakistan”.
The use of fertilizer in making bombs was revealed after Oklahoma bombing and took 15 year for legislation in this regard by the US legislators and Government, but they expect from Pakistan to implement it overnight. Nevertheless, producers of fertilizers in Pakistan have started giving different dyes and also colour to the packing for easy detection at the border, which will help control smuggling. But the condition is unwarranted because it is impossible to give sterling guarantees that there would be no smuggling; therefore the condition is unjustified. In December 2011, the new legislation was display of US hubris, as what was so big deal about the $700 million in US aid to Pakistan that a Congressional panel had put to freeze? American leadership does not realize that Pakistan has suffered a staggering amount of $69 billion in economic losses plus loss of 35000 lives that the US war on terror has caused to Pakistan’s national prestige, dignity, solidarity and sovereignty.
By every definition, the American aid to Pakistan over these past ten years is just a huge myth, which has not been broken, thanks to some eminences in Islamabad’s official corridors. It is for their loathsome muteness for not telling the international community that the figures about aid to Pakistan were highly exaggerated. They should have told a few home truths even about the Kerry-Lugar-Bremer US economic aid enactment for Pakistan. Spread over five years, the enactment touted by both American lords and their Islamabad vassals as the century’s miracle-maker, had pledged $1.5 billion annually for Pakistan. Accordingly, some $4.5 billion should have been given to Pakistan over the past three years since that enactment’s passage. Senator Lugar, a co-architect of the enactment had admitted that barely $500 million in all was given to Pakistan over the three years, blaming bureaucratic impediments for this petty amount. According to Institute of Policy Studies Islamabad, from 2001 to 2006 Pakistan had received $2.39 billion in economic aid and $1.31 billion in military aid.
—The writer is Lahore-based senior journalist.
Cross Post from
GAO Report of May 2012 Assessing Efforts in Pakistan to Counter Improvised
Explosive Devices IED. Read complete Report IED
Also see What steps Indian Colonel (retd) Anil Athale suggest to guard against
IEDs attack. (Excerpts)
The steps that can be taken given below require the least amount of expenditure and can be implemented with existing institutional structure and laws. It must be understood that Improvised Explosive Device or IED remotely detonated or with timers are the most frequent tactic of the terrorists. The 26/11 like armed attack is more an exception than a rule, although a lone gunman or a small group of gunmen opening fire at a crowded place (like in the US) also remains a potent threat. By its very nature the threat of IED is confined to urban areas as the crowds that make mass casualties possible are to be found in that setting.
The IED has three components, the timer/trigger, detonator & booster and explosive with shrapnel etc. Timer or trigger can easily be constructed with even an alarm clock and simple batteries or cell phones and is virtually impossible to control. But neither explosive material nor detonators are easily available. With tightening border control and some measures to account for dual use substances like ammonium nitrate fertilizer, this risk can be reduced.
Detonators and boosters are a key component in IEDs and not easily available and fall under the Explosives Act. The three possible sources of detonators and explosives are the armed forces and ordnance factories, private factories, quarrying/mining and the road construction industry. Enough checks exist in the armed forces and government factories.
The most likely sources of detonators and boosters are the private contractors engaged in mining/construction activity. To dry up the supply of this vital component to terrorists, a law needs to be passed to give exemplary punishment to those users who let the detonators/explosives fall into wrong hands. Violence in much of India has been controlled due to strict gun control law. Similar stringent law for control of detonators would go a long way in stopping IEDs.
All cities must establish a network of mohalla committees and housing societies to monitor all suspicious movement in their own locality. Each city must have a dedicated police officer to man this 24×7. This measure will enhance both intelligence gathering as well as alert police to movement of terrorists. Police can circulate photographs and information of the fugitive suspects to these committees. In short a city wide concept of ‘neighbourhood watch’ needs to be implemented immediately. This will cost next to nothing.
In many western countries the police or intelligence agencies have launched ‘sting operations’ to lure and nab would be terrorists BEFORE they commit an act of sabotage. It is time our security establishment did the same.
In all terrorist incidents the police are more concerned with the Big Fish. This is a mistake. It is necessary to come down hard on the foot soldiers or persons who provide support like transport or lodging to the terrorists. These individuals must be punished quickly and made to pay a price. The idea behind this logic is to cut off the terrorists from their supporters due to fear of retribution by the state.
Like guerrillas without help similarly terrorists without local help would be like fish out of water. Infringement of laws to support acts of terror either for money or due to ideology needs to be viewed seriously by both the police (and especially) the judiciary.
For the sake of God and country, the various agencies in field must shun turf battles and act in unison. For instance the Indian Army [ Images ] has been dealing with IED’s for years and has accumulated enough experience in the field. It has bomb disposal units and equipment. Could not the Pune police co-ordinate with the CME (College of Military Engineering) located in Pune itself?
There is an urgent need to create a well thought out SOP or standard operating procedure in case of a terrorist incident. Once an incident is declared as a ‘terrorist incident’ by the designated authority (could be the police commissioner in case of a city) then all resources civil, military or private must come under the pre-designated commander. All agencies must be obliged to obey his orders. It is the lack of unified command and pooling of resources on 26/11 that resulted in the terrorists holding out for over 72 hours!
The judiciary must deal with terrorism related cases quickly and punish the mass murderers. It is time that the judiciary sheds its proclivity to give the benefit of doubt to the criminals while doubting the intention of the law enforcers. If not corrected in time, we may soon come to a situation where the honest policeman will prefer not to act!
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