Fugitive Sindhudesh chief operating from Kabul

Fugitive Sindhudesh chief

Fugitive Sindhudesh chief

ISLAMABAD: Wanted for his alleged role in several terrorist activities across Sindh, Shafi Burfat, the fugitive chief of the Jeay Sindh Muttahida Muhaz (JSMM) who is also the moving spirit behind the Sindhudesh Liberation Army (SLA), is now well beyond the reach of the Pakistani agencies, having already fled to Afghanistan and established his control centre in Kabul.

Well-placed officials in security agencies which are investigating the November 9, 2012 bomb attacks targeting the houses of six PPP leaders in different towns of Sindh, have concluded that the attacks were carried out by the Sindhudesh Liberation Army under instructions from Shafi Burfat, one of the most wanted terrorists, being sought by the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Sindh for years. Burfat carries head money of Rs5 million.

Although the pamphlets left behind by saboteurs at several sites of low-intensity bomb explosions, were signed by Dilawar Khan, the investigating agencies say Burfat had ordered these attacks from his control centre in Kabul. They also claim that the Burfat-led JSSM and SLA were being funded by the Indian Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) which has a heavy presence in Afghanistan and which also funds some of the Baloch separatist groups.

According to the information collected by the Pakistani security agencies, besides using satellite phones and email to communicate with his JSSM and SLA operators in Sindh, the renegade Sindhi nationalist-turned-militant boss openly uses Face Book and Twitter to spread his message. Burfat’s Face Book account introduces himself as “a Guevarian leader who struggles for the freedom of Sindhudesh from the occupation of Pakistan.” In his latest tweet on October 10, 2012, Burfat refers to the previous independent status of Sindh which had a liberal society and asks as to how the state of Pakistan can support the current war against terror when its own foundation is laid on religious fanaticism. “We are ready to be burnt alive and die fighting but we would neither surrender nor abandon our goal of freedom”, he tweets.

In another tweet, Shafi Burfat claims to be leading a non-violent political movement for the liberation of Sindh through peaceful means.

While refuting his followers’ involvement in some recent acts of violence and terrorism in various parts of Sindh, Shafi Burfat accuses the state agencies of involvement in the disappearance and killings of dozens of the JSSM workers and leaders in recent years. While accusing the state agencies of killing the JSSM secretary general Muzaffar Bhutto, Burfat tweets that the growing atrocities of the state agencies against Sindhi nationalists would plunge Sindh into Balochistan-style mayhem. The bullet-riddled body of Bhutto, who was one of Burfat’s most-trusted men, was recovered from Hyderabad on May 22, 2012, almost 15 months after his February 23, 2011 abduction. Although such incidents are common in Balochistan, Bhutto’s case was the first one in Sindh in which a missing nationalist leader’s bullet-riddled body was found. Following his abduction, Saima Muzaffar, wife of Muzaffar Bhutto, told Asma Jahangir, the chairperson of Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), that her husband might be murdered by the agencies in captivity. In a May 23, 2012 press release, the HRCP had described Muzaffar Bhutto as one of the many victims of enforced disappearance by the state agencies in Sindh. “The abduction and subsequent murder of nationalist leader Muzaffar Bhutto is the latest manifestations of violent suppression of political debate. The Pakistan government must ensure that the state agencies are reined in and dissent and struggle for political rights are not countered by violence or strong-arm tactics”, the HRCP statement added.

On May 25, 2012, two days after Muzaffar’s dead body was found, the Sindhudesh Liberation Army, the military wing of the Jeay Sindh Muttahida Muhaz, claimed responsibility for the gruesome killing of seven passengers of a Kohat-bound bus that was sprayed with bullets by masked gunmen of the SLA on the National Highway near Nawabshah, the hometown of President Asif Ali Zardari. Likewise, the SLA also conducted a series of 16 low-intensity blasts targeting the railway tracks in Sindh and suspending train traffic on February 25, 2011.

Following Muzaffar Bhutto’s killing, Burfat had written a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki moon, asking him to take notice of the growing human rights violations against the people of Sindh. He had alleged in his letter that many of the JSSM workers remain missing like the nationalists of Balochistan; they are kept incommunicado and never produced in courts.

However, well-placed officials of security agencies have strongly refuted allegations of involvement in the abductions and killings of the JSSM activists. “Shafi Burfat, who himself is a fugitive from the law, is only trying to tarnish the image of the Pakistani security agencies at the behest of his foreign masters who fund him and pull his strings to carry forward their anti-Pakistan agenda”, a senior security official added.

Balochistan: Pakistan’s Rulers Under Fire After Quetta Bombing

Conflict Watch12

Pakistan’s government, which is gearing up for elections expected within months, faced growing anger on Sunday for failing to deliver stability after a sectarian bombing in the city of Quetta killed 81 people.

Leaders have done little to contain hardline Sunni Muslim groups, which have stepped up their campaign of bombings and assassinations of minority Shias.

On Saturday, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), regarded as the most ruthless Sunni sectarian group, claimed responsibility for the attack in Quetta, which deepened suspicions among Shias that Pakistan’s intelligence agencies were turning a blind eye to the bloodshed or even supporting extremists.

“The terrorist attack on the Hazara [an ethnic minority almost entirely belonging to the Shia sect of Islam] community in Quetta is a failure of the intelligence and security forces,” Nawab Zulfiqar Ali Magsi, governor of Baluchistan province, said while touring a hospital.

Leaders of the Hazara community called on the government to take decisive action, and Pakistanis warned that sectarian violence was spiralling out of control.

“The government is responsible for terrorist attacks and killings in the Hazara community because its security forces have not conducted operations against extremist groups,” said Aziz Hazara, vice-president of the Hazara Democratic party.

“We are giving the government 48 hours to arrest the culprits involved in the killing of our people and after that we will launch strong protests.”

The death toll from Saturday’s bombing rose overnight, with Hazaras making up most of the casualties in the main bazaar of the town, capital of Baluchistan near the border with Afghanistan. A senior security official said the figure could rise as 20 people were critically wounded.

On Sunday, people searched for survivors under blocks of cement torn off buildings by the blast. A large bloodstain could be seen on a wall near the site.

Many shops and bazaars were closed. Relatives of the wounded responded for an appeal for blood made by hospitals.

“The government knows exactly who is doing what and who is behind all this,” said Mohammad Imran, a local trader. “If the government wants [to prevent it], no one can take even a kitchen knife into any market.”

In the capital, Islamabad, about 400 people, including some Sunnis, staged a protest demanding the government to stamp out extremism.

“There is a law of the jungle, but in this country I think there is not even a law of the jungle,” said Syed Abbas Naqvi, a Shia.

“A person who is extremely helpless, vulnerable and powerless is always made the target of barbarity whereas all brutal people like the terrorists, Taliban and others who carry out these merciless acts … roam free all over the country.”

Protests were also held in other cities, including the commercial capital Karachi, and in Quetta.

Poverty, corruption and power cuts

Public anger has been growing over a host of other issues in the runup to elections, from widespread poverty to power cuts to corruption. But waves of major sectarian attacks have highlighted the government’s poor track record on security.

Critics say Pakistan’s intelligence agencies previously supported groups such as LeJ to fight against Indian forces in Kashmir and failed subsequently to control them.

Now Shias in Quetta and other cities say they are under siege. “We have grown tired of picking up the bodies of our loved ones,” said Nasir Ali, 45, a government employee. “I have lost three family members so far in such blasts.”

LeJ also said it was behind a bombing last month in Quetta that killed nearly 100 people, one of Pakistan’s worst sectarian attacks. After that incident, Shia leaders called on Pakistan’s military to take over security in Quetta and take on the LeJ.

Sectarian violence is piling pressure on the US-backed administration, which already faces a Taliban insurgency, to ensure stability.

“Unless we decide to unite, we will continue to get killed, said Malik Afzal, a Sunni student. “Today they [Shia] have died. Tomorrow we [Sunni Muslims] will die. The next day, others will get killed.”

Pakistani intelligence officials say extremist groups, led by LeJ, want to destabilise the nation through sectarian violence and pave the way for a Sunni theocracy.

More than 400 Shias were killed in Pakistan last year, many by hitmen or bombs. Some hardline Shia groups have struck back by killing Sunni clerics.

Tibet: China Jails Senior Buddhist Monk

Conflict Watch11A Chinese court on Friday sentenced a senior Tibetan Buddhist monk to one year and three months in prison for his alleged involvement in the self-immolation protests against Chinese oppression in Tibet.

On March 1, 2013, (Afternoon) a local Chinese ‘Intermediate People’s Court’ has sentenced the 42-year old Tibetan monk to one year and three months in prison. Sources told The Tibet Post International that the “Yarphel is a respected senior Tibetan Buddhist monk of Yershong Monastery in Rebkong county of eastern Tibet.”

Dorjee Lhundup, a 25-year-old Tibetan, set himself on fire on November 4, 2012 in Rebkong, Amdho region of eastern Tibet. The Chinese security forces attempted to force their way towards the body in an effort to remove his remains from the site.

Lhundup died at the scene, and his body was protected by local Tibetans and monks, who cremated it and returned the ashes to his hometown. The local Tibetans at the scene reportedly have taken the young man’s body to nearby Rongwo Monastery in Rebkong.

“Ven Yarphel was charged over accusation of taking part in carrying Lhundup’s ashes from Rongpo Monastery to his home-town. He is originally from Dragkar village in Rebkong, Malho of eastern Tibet and his father name is Lhubum Gyal,” the sources added.

Their trial, as per usual, took place behind closed doors and in secrecy. According to our sources inside Tibet.

A number of recent photos coming from Tibet showing heavy armed Chinese military presence in Rebkong and sorrounding areas, according to sources, that has been increasingly deployed after and during Losar religious festivities.

Over 107 Tibetans- including monks, nuns, students and lay people – have set themselves on fire in Tibet since 2009 and most of them have reportedly died.

The most common call for the return of the spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the preservation of the Tibetan language, and an end to restrictions on freedom of religion. However, many also called for Tibetan independence.

In the severe crackdowns in Tibet, authorities in Beijing still believe use of heavy imprisonments is the only and best way to stop the massive wave of self-immolation protests that has records as the largest in human history.

“We remain concerned by the deteriorating human rights situation in Tibetan areas, including the numerous tragic self-immolations that have occurred and related reports of detentions and arrests,” US State Department acting deputy spokesman Patrick Ventrell told reporters on Friday, during his daily press briefing.

“We’ve also seen, as you mentioned, in Nepal, self-immolations. We continue to call on the Chinese Government to permit Tibetans to express grievances freely, publicly, peacefully, and without fear of retribution. And we urge Tibetans to end self-immolations.,” he added.

West Balochistan: Iran Accelerates Executions Of Baloch Prisoners

Conflict Watch10The Iranian fascist regime hanged yet another four Baloch in a prison in Zahedan, the capital city of Iranian occupied Balochistan, on Saturday.

The Human Rights Activist (HARANA) has named the four latest Baloch victims of the state’s barbarism as: Gulam Reki, Parviz Mirbalochzahi, Abdulah Barahoui and Mohammad shah Norzai. They were executed on 16 February 2013.

The report further said with elections approaching, the brutal regime of Iran has accelerated the murder of Baloch prisoners under-custody.

Just two weeks ago on Wednesday on 30th January 2013, five Baloch prisoners named: Nezar Shahbakhsh son of Allahdad, Abdullah Shahbakhsh son of Asad, Nematullah Shahbakhsh son of Wali Mohamad, Abdul Rahman Shahbakhsh son of Yousef and Saleh Nutizahi were executed in the city of Kerman.

It is pertinent to mention that the Iranian regime never provides any legal attorney to the political prisoners. Their fate is decided by the kangaroo court of Iranian mullahs out of public sight. The regime also often refuses to hand over the bodies of the executed persons to their families.

Tibet: National Uprising Day Now Also Martyr’s Day

Conflict Watch9The decision to formally observe a Martyr’s Day to commemorate the sacrifices made by Tibetans inside and outside Tibet was unanimously approved during the Second Special General Meeting of the Tibetan People held in September 2012.  The Tibetan Parliamentary Secretariat this week notified that starting from this year March 10 will be jointly observed as the National Uprising Day and Martyr’s Day.  On March 10, 1959, Tibetans in the capital city of Lhasa rose up against the Chinese occupying forces, leading to the death of thousands of Tibetans and the eventual escape of the Dalai Lama to exile.  Each year, Tibetans observe the day as the National Uprising Day all over the world. Last year on March 10, Gepey, 18-year-old monk of the Kirti Monastery in Ngaba, eastern Tibet set himself on fire near a military camp in the region. Since then, as many as 107 Tibetans have set themselves on fire protesting China’s occupation and demanding for freedom and the return on His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Announcing plans for the 54th Tibetan National Uprising Day in the exile headquarters of Dharamshala, the five major Tibetan NGOs, Tibetan Youth Congress, Tibetan Women’s Association, National Democratic Party of Tibet, Gu-Chu-Sum Movement, and Students For a Free Tibet, India held a joint press conference yesterday [5 March 2013].

The groups said a protest march will be held from the Tsug-la Khang right after the official function to Lower Dharamshala with protesters wearing black cloth around their foreheads. Representatives of the five major Tibetan NGOs addressing the press in Dharamshala on March 5, 2013.

Local Indian and Tibetan leaders will be addressing the gathering followed by a signature campaign for Tibet. The organisers further appealed against parading of Chinese flags during the protest. Elsewhere in south India, a group of Indian supporters will be marching from the south Indian city of Mysore to Bylakuppe Tibetan settlement (around 80 kms) on the eve of the 54th Tibetan National Uprising day.

Organisers have said the march is aimed at expressing “solidarity with Tibet and its people in their 54 year long nonviolent struggle, to extend our support for those suffering at the hands of the Chinese inside Tibet right now and to the Tibetan refugees who long for their country more than anything else.”  “We hope to create awareness among fellow Indians about the plight of our Tibetan brothers, to go beyond nationalities and stand up for what is morally right, stand up for freedom and stand up for the oppressed to raise their voice against the oppressors,” organisers said.