Headley’s deadly deposition could have triggered weird feel good factors and trepidation in some Indian and Pakistani circles respectively. The entire conversation below is fully imaginary but logically thought out.
Somewhere in Islamabad, Pakistan’s military top brass is having a party.
Each of them is seen nursing a drink resembling highly diluted Coke or Pepsi visible through tall transparent glass tumblers one finds in taverns that sell liquor in star hotels.
The atmosphere is one of bonhomie.
Inter-Services Intelligence [ISI] – boss Lt Gen Rizwan Akhter: Last time, towards the fag end of our meeting with the President in his hangout, we were metaphorically stabbing each other’s backs. That was because of the parliamentary committee blaming us for funding terrorism in Kashmir. Now, our somewhat twerp-like boy Headley is deposing in a local Indian from 3 continents away – in the United States of America with evidence that may not pass legal muster in international terms, we can breathe easy. Frankly, I was wondering whether that section in the American Central Intelligence Agency had sold us down the Potomac River because my organisation was being named – left, right and centre. We let out a huge sigh of relief after Obama announced US$ 860 million in aid to us. Meanwhile, a busybody Indian journo picked holes in Headley’s deposition. He pointed to connections between Indian central minister Gadkari, Nationalist Congress Party boss Sharad Pawar, respectable gangster Tejani and Dawood Ibrahim to name just a few. But, he curiously left out the links Headley had with Rahul Bhatt – son of filmmaker Mahesh – who regularly hires artistes from Pakistan. No one in India’s silly-telly-crazy decision-making boardrooms of the public and private sector saw the larger picture – as to how we work on various aspects of democratic life in India to our advantage. Idiots like that Madrasi pen-pusher can cry himself hoarse. Whores in the media will continue the pretension of ignoring the writings on the wall in neon signs!
General Raheel Sharif [Pakistan army Chief of Staff]: Don’t be too sure of that, Rizwan. After this Tamil harrier pointed out the sub judice angle, the Mumbai-based dimwit special prosecutor Ujjwal Nikamma disappeared from television headlines’ radars. I am juxtaposing the terms dimwit and Ujjwal as supreme examples of antithetical statements. The latter word in Hindi means bright and this chap is its exact opposite. Further, after his introducing the Ishrat Jahan angle – heh-heh – one of your Indian female expendables in the 26/11 trial – the whole thing has become a stupid circus. That renders this nincompoop a dyed-in-the-wool Nikamma – meaning useless. The Nikam caste’s originally famous 7th century warrior’s first name was – you’re your breath – Allashakti! I would break the word into two and make it Allah-Shakti – Shakti denoting power. This ruler belonged to Khan-Desh a border region in the northwest part of one of India’s richest states – Maharashtra – whose capital is Mumbai. Desh means nation, in Hindi. Thanks to Dawood Ibrahim – still technically beyond the reach of the international community – and his minions in virtually section of Mumbai’s society – Maharashtra has truly become Khan-country. And Bollywood is ruled by the 3 Khans – Salman, Aamir and Shah Rukh – all of whom played to India’s intolerance gallery – a debate continuing to dog in the living rooms India’s intelligentsia by being a – for want of a better phrase – barking role.
National Security Advisor Naseer Khan Janjua: That is one way of looking at it. But, it has a flipside. Salman-starrers like Ek Thaa Tiger and Bajrangi Bhaijaan made us look like dolts. Aamir Khan’s PK exposed the soft underbelly of gullibility in India in the name of faith and also where and how we could find common cause with India. In the movie Sarfarosh – he slammed our method of mixing culture with terrorism in a thinly veiled reference to singer Ghulam Ali. Actor Naseeruddin Shah who essayed the role supports Azad Kashmir but also, surely, his bread is buttered on the Indian side. Shah Rukh painted the Indian nationalists black in the movie Main Hoon Naa. If push comes to shove, all actors from Aamir to Rukh and Shah – will back India rather than us.
Rizwan: Our discussion, with due respect sir, is degenerating into a show like the one hosted everyday by Arnab Goswami where focus on the narrative is completely lost when our army guys – retired and serving yell their heads off uttering utter rubbish. We were discussing the Headley deposition and its aftermath. Could we come back to the subject, please?
Raheel: Thank you, Rizwan.
Janjua: I am indeed sorry.
Rizwan: The following points need to be looked into carefully, sirs. Headley’s deposition is of little value as he already has been found to be a double agent. In an American prison for 35 years – he is of no use to anyone – other than the CIA to set the imaginary cat amongst the pigeons to be fleeced in the Indian political dichotomy. The good work done by Indian NSA Ajit Doval is being laid waste systematically by the likes of this joker Nikamma. Thanks to his introducing the Ishrat angle, the Congress is saying all those things in India – with much more credibility – than what we have been doing from here. When juxtaposed with sections of the Indian media that point to the simple fact – that the Ishrat matter is still in Indian courts – the sudden reference would cause the future acquittal of Amit Shah seem dishonourable. The opposition in India will make sure of that and keep repeating those lines ad nauseam.
Janjua: Sure, you right all the way.
Rizwan: In this brouhaha – the entire world will overlook one simple fact that as part of the United Nations – we ought to have handed over Specially Designated Nationals [SDNs] like Dawood, Sayeed, Azhar and Lakhvi to Interpol long ago. The myopic Indian state keeps asking for their custody – instead of demanding their handover to the UN from where they can get them through diplomatic pressure – just as Doval got Headley to testify. So far as the stupid media in India and the clever ones abroad overlook and pretend to overlook this respectively, we can go on and on till kingdom come.
Janjua: Feasible, I would say.
Rizwan: Now, all sides concerned are talking about Headley’s testimony and clammed up on the failure of the talks between Indian and our foreign secretaries and also those of our NSAs – which has saved the retired general and our NSA here a lot of embarrassment.
Raheel: A correct assessment, I would say.
Rizwan: All of us know that we cannot burst a nuke in Pakistan. If we sell one to Saudis, they cannot burst one either. But the media will keep harping on this because some of our agent provocateurs on the Indian side in the idiot boxes will broach the subject at the most inopportune moment to divert attention. When Headley’s heady statements begin fading, this scandal will be suitably introduced. Already sold on the idea that Islam and terrorism are apposite to each other, the Western World will threaten to initiate more action thanks to mindless guys like Trump in the US of A and French President Hollande. This will nurture terrorism – our greatest export commodity – instead of putting it down. We will keep saying that we in Pakistan are its victims and there will always be a gullible section in the globe to believe this tripe.
Janjua: Are you saying all this to please me or are you seriously admitting to the bitter, blunt reality?
Rizwan: I am sure, sir, hearing the bitter blunt reality from me will indeed please you.
Raheel: Continue Rizwan, this is beginning to sound interesting.
Rizwan: We have no interest in Kashmir other than having fun with those nice nubile girls. The accusation of our torture of the blighters in AJK – what the Indians call Pakistan Occupied Kashmir or simply PoK is true and the whole world knows it. Our aim is to get the lion’s share of the underground goodies in Afghanistan said to be worth around US$ 20 trillion!  Thanks to the West’s thirst for cheap Middle-East oil, the ISIS has support on either side of the political divide. All of us know that most people in most Islamic nations hate ISIS and terrorism. But, power is concentrated in the hands of the military – or dictatorships or both in most Muslim nations. That brings home our – pardon the expression – the bacon. The top 4 most populous Islamic nations are Indonesia, Pakistan, Nigeria and Bangladesh. But for the semblance of democracy in the Indonesian regime, the rest of the democratic nations are cruel jokes on the term. Bangladesh under Sheikh Hasina is nothing but an Indian stooge. The 5th largest so-called democratic nation is Egypt. We do not even know whether a government exists in that African country. Then there are other nations like Turkey, Lebanon and Malaysia – that are more military-ruled than us here. With 1.7 billion adherents, Islam is the globe’s second-largest faith denominator. We – the Sunnis are roughly 85%. The Shia sect forms 13 % of the minority. The rest are heretics. In Western Europe, Islam is the second largest religion after Christianity representing 6% of the total population. Of all those, our army is the most well-trained and sees action all the time – both overt and covert. Notwithstanding the sabre-rattling by the likes of John Kerry, NATO jokers will continue to – I will use this rather indecent term – fellate us. We should be more worried about the ongoing Indian tour of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Nahyan as he has the ears of the new Saudi ruling disposition.
Janjua: All this sounds very good from your perspective, Rizwan. To me, it appears as though you are patting yourself in the back and gloating over the stranglehold the military has over Islamic regimes. I am a former military man myself and the situation, sometimes, does warm the cockles of my heart as well. But, the real of the crying and the dying singes my conscience. Being besotted with our Afghan and hate-India centric policy – we seem to be losing sight of the global developments, I would carefully add. It is high-time that we see that the horizons of war are changing rapidly.
Raheel: Perhaps, you could explain this, sir.
Janjua: On paper, a cessation of hostilities has been declared between various sides of the International Syrian Support Group [ISSG] formed in November 2015. That development suddenly undermines the need for our army’s role in the Middle-East and/or its extension – unless approved by the NATO-dominated UN. The ISIS came into existence only because, Putin wanted to renegotiate the price of cheap natural gas being sold to Western Europe. To hide that real intention, mayhem was let loose in Ukraine in order to shift blame on a ‘free’ nation depending on Russia but straining at the leash to join EU. NATO tried to plug it in two ways – firstly by extending an olive branch to Kiev and secondly by negotiating for gas with Oman and Qatar. Strapped for cash, Russia did a deal with cash rich China for its gas and descended on Syria from the skies to squeeze Western Europe’s balls on the proposed Middle-East gas pipeline to turn into a pipedream. The so-called ‘safety-valve-fig-leaf’ shown to the world by Moscow was support to the legitimate regime of Assad despite knowing what a bad egg he is. That was countered by the West’s sudden love for the mad-Mullahs in Iran on the one hand, clandestine support for ISIS on the other and slamming it on the unseen third hand. The suffering millions seemed to have a mind of their own as did that Baghdadi chap – who then began driving refugees in hundreds of thousands into Western Europe. The conscience of the erstwhile colonial powers’ populace woke up and a steady demand to allow the settlers started. But, that never was the original plan hatched by Baghdadi – whose sole aim is to destroy the white man’s land. So, terrorist acts in Belgium, Paris and Germany began happening. Russia has its own home-grown Islamic problem in Chechnya. To keep China from gumming up the works, a run was triggered on its bourses to wipe out some 35% of its wealth. A clear signal was also given by – what western journalists call the ‘unexplained series of explosions that flattened Tianjin’. The West knew that China had stockpiled a huge cache of calcium carbide in that neck of the woods, got someone to start a minor a fire and then got some glook in the local fire services department to sprinkle water to douse it. As you know water reacts with calcium carbide to release the explosive acetylene – that burns at 3000 0 C – in a way – ridiculously simple – when you know how and have the know-how. In the meanwhile, our little shenanigan with the captured drones from Afghanistan to sell it to China by smuggling them through Kuala Lumpur using the Malaysian Airline’s MH 370 was stymied by the Israelis. The China-Russia combine’s attempt to challenge the might of World Bank through the BRICS bank and the new power bloc got its chilling warning through the downing of Malaysian Jet MH 17 – exposed by that busybody Indian journo – you derisively referred to – against whom Google has acted dirty. All along, we fed our population in Pakistan on a steady diet of hate India and it suited those who sold weapons to us to be permanently at each other’s throats for an eternity. As a result, we lost 4 of them to India. Our men die on the borders, our civilians get bombed in Peshawar and India is digging its heels in Afghanistan – all because you think wars are the solution. Sadly, they are not.
Rizwan: With due respect sir, allow me to say that Doval has brainwashed you with this tripe. India’s right-wing anti-Muslim Prime Minister Modi will be pulled down by those within his party who are crowing about the useless achievement being put out by the Indian media in the aftermath of Headley injecting the anti-Modi rump within the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party [BJP]. Their machinations ensured the BJP lost heavily in Delhi and Bihar. In 2016, there are immediate bye elections in a dozen constituencies in 9 states in the length and breadth of India. The BJP will lose in most of them. Assam, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Kerala are 4 full states where BJP’s hold is minimal. And then, there is the Union Territory of Puducherry – where again – the BJP’s support is almost non-existent. Upon the emergence of dismal results for the BJP, the knives will be out to claim Modi’s career by the end of May. Headley’s deposition being touted as the next best thing after Einstein’s theory of relativity by sections of the BJP – achieved after a lot of sweat by Doval and Modi – will prove to be totally useless – even in Indian courts. Meanwhile, we can keep the pot boiling with some terrorist attacks in some parts of India. Without Modi, Doval will fade away. You seem to be backing the wrong horse, sir.
Raheel: Your analysis seems excellent, Rizwan. But, there are a few flies in the balm you offer. Two of our flanks – Afghanistan and India – are – in unison – the raison d’être of our armed forces’ stranglehold over the civilian population. Suppose Modi is able to do a deal with the West to ‘liberate’ our AJK, reunite it with India’s J&K, pave the way for the Afghan goodies to exit through ports in Gujarat – we will lose face and lose it badly. Then, through Afghanistan, India would have access to the Iranian gas pipeline – and even a land route. Sure, we can whip up sentiments in the Sunni world with Wahhabi slogans – but – will they work? Bottoms of the real estate market have dropped out in Dubai and Abu Dhabi as they have in the rest of the world. The channel Al Jazeera – based in Doha, Qatar – that used to be sympathetic towards us – is now saying things that are favourable to India including favourable reports of a Hindu temple coming up in Abu Dhabi. In 2015, a movie called Baby – partly made in Abu Dhabi. It was a thinly veiled plot to kidnap Hafiz Sayeed to India – successfully made a cost of nearly US$ 9 million. The world, my dear chap, is changing, and changing very, very fast. Once upon a time, Islam’s rule extended from what is now the eastern border of Indonesia to Spain and even Siberia in Europe encompassing parts of China. The Mughals ruled India for long. We can feel good about it, but that is the past. In Saudi Arabia, women – whom we had imprisoned in our harems can vote now. A Saudi Arabian girl whose last name is Al Hindi has a commercial pilot’s licence! One of our singers – Adnan Sami is now an Indian citizen. I can keep citing instances – like these. But, I am aware, it will take some time for you to wake up and smell the coffee.
Janjua notices an SMS from PM Sharif. He informs the rest of the group of the message, leaves the room.
The others notice that he hasn’t taken a sip from his glass.
Since it is part of his office, Rizwan stays behind.
Raheel Sharif smiles at Rizwan and adds, “That was for the benefit of Janjua. I like my job, Rizwan and would like to complete my term. The PM can have me replaced. So can you be. It is better, if we keep our options open. That busybody journo had penned a piece of fiction upon Modi getting elected. It is better you read it. I will send you its link.
Rizwan too offers a wan smile. The two shake hands and part.
As he is being driven to meet the PM – he gets a call on a very secure line from Nawaz Sharif.
“I heard the entire conversation in that room. Can we take what seems like a changed Raheel, Janjua?”
“Too early to say,” Janjua replies.
“Should we send a message to Modi?”
Realising a wee bit trepidation in Sharif’s voice, Janjua calmly replies, “Let us wait till the deadly Headley drama plays itself out, sir.”
Janjua notices a prompt on his I-pad.
It tells him that both Raheel and Rizwan are attempting to get Doval’s mobile number. He picks up his secure line to inform Sharif of the development.
The nation has over 1400 mineral fields, containing barite, chromite, coal, copper, gold, iron ore, lead, natural gas, petroleum, precious and semi-precious stones, salt, sulfur, talc, zinc, besides high quality emerald, lapis lazuli, red garnet and ruby.
The estimate of the wealth was made by President Karzai in December 2013.
Excerpts from a report that appeared in The Guardian – entitled Afghanistan’s newfound mineral wealth could fuel further conflict.
The US Geological Survey prompted widespread cheer in Kabul with the release of a report on Monday stating that Afghanistan is home to US $ 1 trillion in mineral wealth.
This discovery is a double-edged sword. The mineral reserves may lead to more endemic conflict.
The “blood diamond” phenomenon – diamonds mined in African war zones that are then sold on to finance an insurgency or a warlord’s grip on a region – is well known, but other examples of misused mineral wealth abound.
Afghanistan may not have diamonds, but it does have an insurgency, the country is packed with warlords and many of the minerals present in Afghanistan are the cornerstones of conflicts in other parts of the world.
One of Afghanistan’s closest neighbours is mired in conflict that is partly rooted in mineral wealth. In India, a hidden war against the government is raging in the central Indian state of Chattisgarh home to some of India’s largest reserves of iron ore, coal, bauxite and limestone. The basis for this conflict is political and social. The insurgents, called Naxalites, are descended ideologically from Mao Zedong and show no signs of abandoning their violent war against what they believe is to be an unfair, caste-bound capitalist system.
In 2009, the Indian prime minister concluded that the state was losing the fight against the Naxalites.
Afghanistan finds itself in this milieu.
Just last year, the Chinese began digging into the ground in Logar Province to access the 240m tonnes of copper ore accessible via surface mines.
Historically most of Afghanistan’s resources have not been exploited – in part due to the constant war. The rugged terrain, lack of infrastructure, primitive methods and out-fashioned technology further complicate the excavation of minerals. The same variables also hinder the ability of the Taliban and Afghan warlords to exploit these resources. The rediscovery of mineral wealth may become yet another factor contributing to Afghanistan’s endless war.