Friday, November 26, 2010

Scenario. Part IV

Previous Post (Part III)

18:00 Hours

26 Oct 2012

CIA Headquarters

Langley, USA

Bill Cosby, CIA's South Asia specialist was still going over his notes when a disheveled CIA chief Richard Cobain walked in to the meeting room. He slumped into a chair closest to the door and just lay their with his eyes closed. After a while he opened his eyes and said in a tired voice, " What are we dealing with here ? Any idea who did this ?"

" 4 different groups, 2 each based in Pakistan and Afghanistan have claimed responsibility for the attack till now. To soon to confirm anything" Cosby replied

"I don't care whats being shown on TV. Who really did it ?"

"There are so many players in this game that it's almost impossible to point out the culprit without any good piece of evidence."

Richard replied in exasperated tone of voice, " For Christ's sake, I have to brief the president within 2 hours over this incident. What am I supposed to tell him ? Do you want me to report that even after spending billions of dollars on gizmos, spooks and buying loyalties, we don't have any information on who very nearly killed the president of our nuclear armed ally ? "

Sergey Page, a senior analyst replied tentatively, "Actually we do have something that might prove interesting, but we are still missing some pieces of the puzzle. We have evidence of some kind of alliance between PML(N) led by Wasim Akhtar , General Asgar and the Chinese. A large number of PML(N) men have recently received weapons and training from people who we believe work for Pakistani army. We are not exactly sure how this bombing incident will help Wasim Akhtar, but weakening of PPP can pave the way for General Asgar to become even more powerful. But, the thing that's really worrying me is involvement of Chinese "

"What do you mean? "

" Chinese have been secretly propping up General Asgar as their man in Pakistan for quite some time now. After Beg started cooperating with us against Taliban and Al Qaida terrorists, only way he could survive in Pakistan was with our help. Also, our attacks on their strongholds in Af-Pak region forced many terrorists to move to safer places, most prominent being muslim majority Chinese province Xinjiang. Recent resurgence of "civil unrest" in Xinjiang is indirectly due to our improved intelligence and tactics in Af-Pak".
Page paused for breath and then continued, " For Chinese, somebody they can control will be a much better asset than the current regime headed by Beg. He was supposed to step down from post of army chief last year and hand over the reigns to Asgar, but he pulled a fast one by getting himself a 3 years extension. Now, Asgar has no chance of becoming army chief unless something drastic happens. "

"Drastic like assassination of Naqvis?" Cobain half-inquired under his breath.

Page replied, "Possibly yes. General Asgar is a very resourceful and ambitious man. We suspect that he stuck a deal with Chinese according to which he'll use their influence to gain power in exchange for crackdown on supporters of Uighur separatists in Af-Pak and possibly needling India. His dependence on Chinese must have increased even more after Beg's newest extension.
We had no choice except to help Beg prolong his tenure. We really need his cooperation in our war against terror and only man senior enough to take his place, Asgar was on our list of suspected terrorist sympathisers in Pakistani defence forces that we handed over to Musharraf after 9/11. His links with Chinese and radical Islamists make him very unreliable and detrimental to our interests in the region. In fact, we have proof of his involvement with some militant Islamist groups that we are fighting. Some telephone intercepts suggest that these groups have been attacking PPP cadre on his instructions. "

" Do you have any concrete evidence to prove involvement of Asgar and Chinese in this ?" Richard asked sharply.

Page was unruffled, " Not yet sir. We do have bits and pieces of evidence that points to some kind of alliance between Asgar, Wasim and Chinese. But nothing that'll prove their involvement with this bombing."

"Great ! Less than 90 minutes before my conference with President, Joint Chief of staff and other biggies start and I have nothing to put on table except wild theories." A frustrated Richards addressed to no one in particular. " Well, gentlemen. . From now on, presentation of some solid evidence to back up any theory will be highly appreciated. Thanks for your time."

Thursday, November 25, 2010

War Scenario Part III

Previous Post (Part II)

12:15 Hours

26 Oct 2012

Secret army safe house

Karachi, Pakistan

Lt. Zia knocked nervously on the closed door and waited for permission to enter. He had strict instructions to leave the occupants of the room in complete privacy, but owing to urgency of situation he felt he had no other option other than to comply with what the caller on phone asked for. Door was unlocked by General Asgar who inquired in a level voice the nature of business. Lt. Zia just told him name of the caller and handed over the phone. General Asgar put the phone to his ear and ambled up to the sofa on which he was sitting earlier.
His ear was blasted by the frantic voice of Wasim Akhtar who seemed to be scared out of his wits.
“What the hell just happened General ? Bombing of Naqvi's rally !! I tell you General, we are all screwed.”

General Asgar asked mildly, “What are you talking about Wasim ? “

“PPP rally in National stadium was bombed ! Switch on the TV for god sake. Naqvi is seriously injured and his son blown to pieces. Where are you hiding General ? Why the hell you did this ? Didn't you think of the consequences ?” Wasim shrieked.

Voice of General Asgar suddenly took on a hard edge, “What makes you think that I'm behind this attack, Wasim ? It's a very serious allegation that you are making “

Surprised by the change in tone of General's voice Akhtar could only manage to stammer “But, but... what, err who could have done this ? “

“How am I supposed to know this ? Do I look like an oracle ? Keep watching TV for any updates”

“But everybody will accuse me only. PPP workers are already baying for our blood. What the hell am I supposed to do now ?“ Akhtar's whining voice made General Asgar wince. Maintaining his composure, he replied in a cool voice, “Whoever did this will soon take responsibility. Your name will not be dragged in to this. “

“But what about those crazy Sindhis ? They've already made up their minds that I'm behind this ! Their leaders have already started mobilising supporters to avenge this bombing. “

“I believe that your men are well trained and suitably armed to defend themselves against any such stupid attacks. You yourself are guarded well enough” General Asgar smiled to himself.

“But you are missing the consequences. Even though Mushtaq was not a candidate, elections can be postponed indefinitely due to his death. All the efforts that we had put in too discredit Naqvi and Gilani will be neutralised by the sympathy wave. “

“You don't need to worry about that either. You have my support and only you'll win these elections. When was the last time free and fair elections were held in Pakistan anyway? “ General Asgar laughed loudly at his own joke.

“Are you really sure about this General ? Remember our fortunes are tied to each other. If I go down you go down too”

“ I realise that very well Mian Wasim. Both of us will certainly get what we both need. Just relax and stop worrying about it. I want you to do one thing for your own sake. Organise a press conference as soon as possible and announce your shock and sorrow at this tremendous loss to nation. Just don't overdo the sympathy bit and go out publicly. Wait for someone to take responsibility for the attack. Do you understand me ?”

Wasim Akhtar replied like an obedient school boy to his teacher, “ Yes General. I understand perfectly well.”

General Asgar put down the phone and smiled at the only other occupant of the room, General Mao Hu of People Liberation Army, China. “ You might have guessed it by now, it was future PM of Pakistan asking his trusty general for advice in face of what he thinks is a colossal crisis”

General Hu replied, “Of course. It was only logical that he did. I assume that you were able to calm him down. Everything going according to plans ?”

“As always. Would you mind if I turn up the volume on TV ? I think that they are broadcasting what I've been waiting for.”

They both turned their attention to TV screen on which the news channel was playing voice recording of a man who claimed to be member of a new Paksitani Islamic organisation, Al Mujahideen committed to cleanse Muslim nations of corruption and immorality. He claimed full responsibility of the attack on PPP rally and blamed Naqvis of bringing shame to whole Islamic world by their corrupt ways and allegiance to kafir USA. Within minutes of broadcast of this recording, another channel played a recording made by Haqqani's eldest son who claimed that he had personally planned this attack to avenge the death of his father due to intelligence provided by Paki govt. Soon, all the channels were full of self-styled experts debating and analysing this new development and “who-really-dunnit” began in earnest.

General Asgar turned down the volume and remarked, “ These TV channels remind me of a circus that I once visited as a child. . Shall we resume discussing our plans ? “

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

War Scenario Part II

Previous Post (1st)

It was at this time when Mushtaq Naqvi was hurriedly called back from London to give a much needed boost to election campaign being led by his father. Mushtaq's publicity handlers were was wise enough to cultivate his image as a suave well educated secular Muslim who cared more about Pakistan than holding any position of power. It was particularly essential after pictures of him indulging in drinking and cavorting with women in London were published on Internet. That was waved away as inevitable discretion of youth and Mushtaq Naqvi in 2012 was a far cry from the drunk womaniser that he was alleged to be.

Sitting in his bulletproof SUV along with his father as it raced to the election rally spot, he listened intently as his father gave him last minute instructions on how to conduct himself on stage in front of thousands of supporters. As the convoy reached the rally spot, it was surrounded by thousands of eager supporters intent on catching a glimpse of their young fresh leader. Death of his mother in similar conditions was still fresh in the minds of security detail who had forbidden any member of Naqvi family to even peek outside the heavily tinted bulletproof windows of their vehicles. Their SUV stopped at the stairs of 12 feet high temporary stage and both father and son quickly alighted the stairs surrounded by dozens of well trained and heavily armed commandos.

PPP speaker Mahroof Raza who was already on stage greeted the father son duo warmly and escorted them to the chairs strategically placed so as to allow the crowd full glimpse of whoever was sitting there. After customary hand waving, sloganeering and introductory speech by Raza, Naqvi senior took control of the mike to address the rally. He wanted this rally to be the launchpad for his son's future political career and presented Mushtaq as the next great hope for Pakistan. After waxing eloquent for what seemed like an eternity he invited his son to make his first ever speech in Pakistan. Flanked by his body-guards, Mushtaq got up from the chair and started walking towards the dais.

His short journey was rudely interrupted by sounds of gun shots fired just 70-80 meters from the stage. Panic spread quickly among the massive crowd and the stadium was full of terrified people rushing towards the nearest exit. Saqlain and Mushtaq both were quickly surrounded by their body guards who started escorting them to their convoy. At this time, whole stadium shook with a massive explosion that blew up most of the stage and put the rest on fire.
Last thing that senior Naqvi saw before losing consciousness was the sight of his son's body being tossed up high up in air like a broken rag doll.

Monday, November 22, 2010

War Scenario

I've started writing a multi-front, multi-country war scenario . It's not too great. There will be some inaccuracies, sentences will be broken and language amateurish. 1st few posts are really awful but I hope things even out as I manage to get the hang of it. Here is the first post:

11:00 Hours

26 Oct 2012

National Stadium

Karachi, Pakistan

MMushtaq Naqvi, son of Pakistani President, Saqlain Naqvi was going to make his first public speech to mark his formal entry in to the troubled nation's political arena. His entry in to politics wassupposed to revive the sagging fortunes of his father and party PPP before national elections in 2013. PPP was in trouble from many fronts, most serious of them being their ongoing spat with powerful factions in Pakistani Army.

A popular saying among people interested in international affairs is, “ Every Country has Army, Pakistani Army has a country ”.

Naqvi was never a really popular President to begin with. He got the post for one reason only, his wife, former PM Samina Naqvi was assassinated while campaigning before elections in December 2007. One among countless conspiracy theories circulating in Pakistan suggested that the assassination was carried out on the orders of then in power military dictator and “President” General Inzamam. Most PPP supporters beleived in it and held deep resentment against Army. Adding to this mistrust was the fact that PPP was Sindhi dominated while Punjabis formed the bulk of Pakistani army. Most of the issues troubling Naqvi originated from this bitterness among two groups.
Major one was growing closeness of PML(N), a Punjabi dominated party led
by former PM Wasim Akhtar with powerful elements in army and it's shady intelligence agency ISI. Both resented PPP and it's hold on civilian government and had been working behind the scenes patiently to weaken what they saw as disproportionate influence of Sindhis in nation's political arena . PML(N) and army together had launched a vicious campaign against PPP by planting stories about ill-gotten wealth and debauchery of families of Zaradari and his PM Yaqub Raza in media and targeted killings of PPP cadre thinly disguised as terrorist attacks.

Brains behind this sustained campaign against Sindhi PPP was General Abdul Asgar. He was an ambitious and well-connected man who thought nothing of using people or ideologies for his personal gains. Right from the time he joined army, he had cultivated image of a pious muslim with hatred for anything western or what Pakistanis thought of as anti-Pakistan. But nobody, except him knew real General Asgar and his ambitions.
He quickly rose through ranks to command a senior post in Pakistani Strategic Missile Group (SMG). He was a casualty of Musharraf's half-hearted attempts of purging the military of radical Islamic elements after 9/11 and was transferred to a army unit in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir bordering China and India. After Musharraf's exit, he was promoted to rank of a General and given the command of army's garrison in Islamabad and then in Karachi.

Being a powerful army guy in Pakistan brings many benefits, money and political influence not being least of them and General Asgar was quick to make the most of it. Very soon, he was considered to be army chief in waiting as soon as General Beg stepped down. But Beg had other plans.

Even though he considered General Asgar favourably, he had no intention of giving up post of army chief anytime soon. During the last 18 months he had started to appease his paymasters in US with a fervour by providing vital intelligence against major anti-US militant groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Using his help, NATO forces had captured or killed a numerous most wanted terrorists in a short period. Although it increased his influence within US and correspondingly Pakistan, number of enemies among Islamist militants as well as sympathetic elements in defence forces and civilian population increased exponentially. Like General Prevez Musharraf before him, he too alleged numerous conspiracies and attempts of assassination directed against him to gain sympathy.

Using his influence amongst US officials he managed to get extension to his already prolonged tenure, the latest one being in April 2011 that extended his virtual rule on Pakistan by another 3 years. In this, he had no small help from US which was fully backing him up as their new "ally" in Pakistan .

It didn't go down with many people in Pakistan, least of all with General Asgar, who saw his chances of gaining absolute power in Pakistan rapidly diminishing. It was at this time, that general Asgar started looking for allies in political arena of Pakistan and he zeroed in on Wasim Akhtar. Akhtar, too despised Beg who was protege of his nemesis General Prevez Musharraf. Akhtar had never forgotten how Musharraf had launched Kargil misadventure, overthrown his civilian government and put him into exile, thereby striking a crippling blow on his political clout and career. Even though he had no trust in military, he was only too glad to forge a secret alliance with General Asgar who promised him chairs of PM and President in exchange for an indefinite tenure on post of army chief for himself.

Together, they had launched a vicious covert assault on PPP and the government it led. News stories were planted in local and international media exposing ill-gotten wealth, bribery and sex scandals of various ministers and army personnel loyal to Beg who were holding key positions in the regime. Many junior leaders and cadre of PPP and it's allies were assassinated in violent attacks which were conveniently blamed on Indian and Israeli intelligence agencies.

With just months to go into elections, effect of this onslaught on government and Beg's hold on it was tremendous. Nobody ever expected elections to be free and fair in Pakistan, but revelations of brazen corruption and immorality among ruling politicians and Beg faction of army caused the popularity of PPP and Beg plunge to an all time low. Adding to their woes were the ever increasing friction between cadre of PPP and Punjabi parties who clashed almost daily armed with automatic weapons and explosives. Punjabis having the support of General Asgar invariable had the upper hand in most of these battles. Combined with sectarian Shia-Sunni violence and frequent attacks by Talibani organisations, situation in Pakistan was truly dire

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