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18 Months & 18 Days

CommandEleven
Paper
December 2014
18 Months & 18 Days

2014, CommandEleven. All rights reserved.

For more information about receiving this, or other CommandEleven analysis


documents, please visit http://www.commandeleven.com/.

REPORT AUTHORS

18 Months & 18 Days was researched, compiled and written by Khalid


Muhammad, Director General.

ABOUT COMMANDELEVEN

CommandEleven is a research organization focused on Pakistans national


security aspects and enhancing global understanding and collaboration
opportunities for the nation.

Founded in 2015, CommandEleven provides situational awareness to facilitate a


better understanding of the key dynamics that effect Pakistan from a national
security perspective, especially in relation to terrorism, insurgencies and
extremism.

CommandEleven seeks to inform and guide public policy and decision makers in
government, business and military through a rigorous program of publications,
conferences, digital medias, policy briefings and recommendations.

Visit http://commandeleven.com for more information or contact


info@commandeleven.com.
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A CommandEleven Paper

An Open Letter to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif

Honorable Prime Minister,

As-salam-a-lakum.

I am going to apologize in advance for the length of this letter, but you have given
me a great deal to talk about in the last 18 months and 18 days of your
government.

I am just one of the many Pakistanis that love this country and cant stand seeing
it going through these pains over and over.

During the election campaign, you all presented yourselves as being capable to
guide Pakistan out of its problems. On election day, Mr. Sharif, you were given the
mandate to govern the country as the ruling party for the third time in Pakistans
history. We all hoped that this time you would be ready for the new challenges
that Pakistan faced and would compose a cabinet of those who were suitably
capable in their respective fields to assist you with the tough task ahead and that
you would deliver on your election promises of solving the electricity crisis,
improving the economy and ending the terrorism problem in the nation that has
been allowed to grow and festered for decades prior to it rearing its ugly head. We
hoped.

In June, when you and your cabinet took your respective oaths of office, we
waited to see where the country would go under your leadership. You, unlike
President Zardari and Prime Ministers Gilani and Ashraf, were not new to the
position, having held it twice before. We expected more from you and your
cabinet. You, in fact, promised us more.

We have watched with horror, the sheer viciousness and brutality of the attacks
the terrorists have carried out with the burning of Quaid-e-Azams home, the
attack on the Christian church in Peshawar, the suicide attacks in Peshawar,
Mardan, Lahore, Quetta, FATA and Karachi, the attacks on Quaid-e-Azam
International and Bacha Khan International, and the indiscriminate attacks on
schools, masjids and shopping centers throughout the country, ending in the
brutal cold-blooded murder of 141 people at Army Public School in Peshawar.

After each of these attacks we heard the same statements, that the government
will form a comprehensive strategy to counter terrorism in Pakistan. There were
in-camera session in the Parliament with the heads of the armed forces and
intelligence services that raised our hopes that the government was actually
going to do something concrete to stop the tragic loss of life that Pakistanis were
seeing almost daily. Yet, after the in-camera session and the numerous
committee meetings, nothing changed. Nothing got more secure other than the
protection surrounding elected officials, which meant less police to protect
common citizens.

We watched as you tried to push the Pakistan Protection Ordinance through your
majority Parliament, promising to give the needed tools to law enforcement
agencies to stop terrorism, hate speech and incitement. We watched as you
passed this draconian law and then watched as it disappeared into the files of
Parliament, unimplemented. That law alone would have given our law

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enforcement agencies significant powers and authority to move quicker to stop


potential terrorist attacks and threats against the people. Sadly, it still sits in the
files of the Parliament as another failed initiative to stop terrorism in Pakistan.

We waited and continued to collect our dead from the streets of Pakistans urban
centers, small towns and villages, while the government promised to deliver a
counter-terrorism strategy. Sadly, nothing has been done. No concrete action has
been taken and we return to ground zero after each terrorist attack, each more
horrific than the previous.

Mr. Prime Minister, we are tired of the promises. We are tired of listening to the
governments mantra of we are working hard to stop terrorism in the country.
We waited when the government chose to follow the direction of some parties
and engaged in negotiations with the terrorists that were killing our citizens. We
were shocked when you agreed to release terrorists from custody without any
concessions from the other side. We listened to politicians on television make
their case that there are good and bad Taliban or that not everyone wants to kill
us. The Peshawar Church attack happened during those narratives by a splinter
group from the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan, who had been able to re-arm because
no concrete action was taken against those who were misguided brothers, in the
words of another politician.

But the time for pointing fingers is over. The time for twiddling our thumbs in the
air and singing the same chorus is over. It is over.

After the attack on Army Public School, we listened as you lifted the moratorium
on the death penalty and ordered executions of terrorists to start immediately.
We applauded the decision.

We listened as you announced military tribunals for all terrorism cases. We knew
this was the best move forward.

We listened in amazement as you, with Imran Khan sitting by your side,


announced that you would need seven days to develop a plan to counter the
terrorists. 18 months and 11 days since your government took power, numerous
in-camera sessions, parliamentary committee meetings, and your government
needed another 7 days to draft a strategy that had not come forward in 18
months and 11 days.

Days have passed since the Peshawar attack and the expected has happened. Six
executions in, you backed away from the death penalty on the insistence of
domestic and international human rights organizations. I wonder, Mr. Prime
Minister, where your humanity was when a lynch mob executed a Christian couple
for alleged blasphemy? Or the daily execution of Shias and other minorities across
Pakistan? Are they not humans in your eyes? Do their executors not deserve
death as well?

Are the human rights organizations willing to move their offices to Pakistan and
live among us, without police protection, to prove that executing terrorists who
take pleasure in brutally killing our citizens is not the best choice for Pakistan?
Would they be willing to move them into their homes as a form of house arrest to
prove that its inhumane to execute those who take pleasure in indiscriminate
murder?
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Personally, I am not a supporter of the death penalty in normal criminal cases, but
these are not normal criminal cases. These are people who have been
indoctrinated, encouraged and led to believe that indiscriminately killing tens and
hundreds of innocent men, women and children is what Islam teaches. They feel
they are justified by the teachings of our Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), that this
behavior is acceptable. They have given Islam, and Pakistan, a black eye
internationally because we, as Muslims, are unwilling to take real action against
them. Is this the Islam that you believe in, Mr. Prime Minister? Are our lives
expendable, while yours is precious in the eyes of Allah?

18 months and 18 days have passed and you have revoked the call for military
tribunals, choosing instead to have the Pakistan courts hear the cases. The
insistence of the human rights organizations have clouded your vision into
believing that the same courts that have seen fit to release every terrorist in
custody will now be able to change their attitudes and send these individuals to
their death.

Seven years of democracy and three Prime Ministers have not seen one terrorist
convicted in the Pakistani courts. Even the likes of Maulana Abdul Aziz, who has
openly pledged his allegiance to both al-Qaeda and ISIS in video messages, is
walking free in Islamabad threatening citizens again because the courts of
Pakistan have not been able to convict him for the actions he and his brother
inspired at Lal Masjid.

Mr. Prime Minister, at the same time you were making commitments to stop
terrorism on our soil, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi leader Malik Ishaq is being released from
prison because of lack of evidence, the same reason given in every case where a
known terrorist has been released back into the population to plan and carry out
more attacks against Pakistani citizens.

How much more are you willing to blacken Pakistans eye as you say one thing and
do the complete opposite? How much more blood needs to be shed before you
realize that the courts arent capable of delivering justice to the most brutal
animals in our country? I would apologize for using the term animals, but anyone
who takes glee in playing football with the heads of our soldiers is not a human
being and has lost all right to be treated as one.

18 months and 18 days have passed and the committee has not provided any real
actionable steps to counter the ever-growing violence that the terrorist groups
have espoused against Pakistan. We watched Chaudhry Nisars press conference
on the eve of the 8th day where he asked that people watch tandoorwalas to see
if anyone was purchasing a large quantity of naans. In todays Pakistan, where a
joint family system is the norm, someone buying 20 or 30 naans isnt a mark of a
terrorist. Is this what we waited 7 days for?

We listened as he told us of one person having multiple SIMs issued in her name
from a single mobile operator, which were being used by terrorists and wondered
how it was possible that after demanding that all mobile operators ensure
biometric verification of every connection, the process still had not been
completed. We wondered how PTA, who passed a legislation and the government
paid for the advertisements on television and newspapers banning more than 5
connections on any CNIC card, that one person was able to purchase 7 from the

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same mobile operator. The mobile operators, according to press accounts, have
even refused to participate in the verification process, with one saying that they
will pull their business from Pakistan.

Is there no penalty in the legislation passed by your government for those who
refuse to complete the verification of their SIM holders? Will you again make a
deal with the mobile operators who have plenty of money for non-stop
advertisements to give away Corollas, return tickets and free late night calling
packages to incite people to buy a pre-paid connection? I should mention that
the courts have also ordered these practices must be stopped, but as with all
judgments from the Pakistani courts, this was not followed.

We listened in shock as the Interior Minister told the nation that anyone willing to
pay Rs. 25,000 for a room that is usually Rs. 5,000 should be considered
suspicious by the property owner. Was this a recommendation of the committee
that was formed? Look out for those that overpay for rental property? May I ask,
how many rental contracts are actually checked for valid CNIC cards or filed with
the relevant authorities? Most who rent their property to tenants are writing 11
month leases to avoid paying taxes on the rental income, so who is going to turn
down extra money from a potential tenant?

We listened in confusion that it had taken 18 months and 18 days to enact a


terrorist hotline for citizens to be able to phone with information about suspicious
behavior. Should that not have been the first action taken by your government
when you took office? Telling us that we are the best intelligence sources is like
slapping us in the face with your incompetence. With 26 civilian and 2 military
intelligence organizations, are you just realizing that the citizens might have
information that you dont have?

Mr. Prime Minister, why has no information source been provided by the
government so we know whom the police, Army and intelligence services are
looking for? Why are the nightly news programs not running pictures of wanted
terrorists at the beginning and end of their news broadcasts? Your government
saw fit to run advertisements to congratulate yourselves on a variety of economic
projects that honestly mean nothing to Pakistan without security; why havent
advertisements been started in all the national newspapers with pictures of the
most wanted? Why are we not getting the information that we require to
adequately assist the government and law enforcing agencies in eliminating this
threat from our country, and to protect ourselves in the process?

Mr. Prime Minister, I wrote this letter with a heavy heart as I thought of my fellow
Pakistanis that have suffered for your governments inaction to secure our lives. I
thought of my fellow Pakistanis that have joined funeral processions for their
loved ones and friends. I struggled to find the words to explain to you that we
need action today. Not seven days from now. Not a month from now. Now, Mr.
Prime Minister.

We have waited 18 months and 18 days for your government to take the action
promised against terrorism and to secure Pakistan for Pakistanis. I understand
that we are not the primary concern for your government because we are just the
bar, bakra as your colleagues said in Parliament during Imran Khans protest. We,
however, are not expendable. We are not a sacrifice that can be made to the
terrorists in return for extra days added to your governments lifespan.

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The next attack, and there will be another attack Mr. Prime Minister, will put more
blood on your hands. It will put more people in the ground as martyrs to the cause
of your democratic government that has waited 18 months and 18 days to secure
their lives from the biggest threat to them. These are the true shaheeds, Mr.
Prime Minister. These will always be the true shaheeds.

We demand that your government make concrete decisions and move forward
with them. We demand that your government show the world that Pakistan is a
peaceful country that has been laid siege to by terrorists who are not Muslims by
any definition o the religion. We demand that your government take action
according to the Pakistan Protection Ordinance to cease the hate speech and
incitement that comes from the extremists and terrorists to those who are
already wondering if they will make it home tonight. We demand that your
government either step up or step down because we have had enough over the
last 18 months and 18 days of do nothing politics.

Now is the time to act, Mr. Prime Minister. Our blood is just as precious to Allah as
yours is, you can count on that.

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18 Months & 18 Days

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


As Director General of CommandEleven, Khalid Muhammad takes over 26 years of
international experience to guide and drive his team to deliver accurate, reliable
and actionable analysis for private organizations, institutions, government policy
and media outlets. He provides tactical and comprehensive analysis into terrorist
and extremist groups operating in the Indian sub-continent and Middle East,
including recruitment, financing, operations and warfare strategies. His experience
and vision guide the growth and expansion of CommandEleven into new
opportunities.

ABOUT COMMANDELEVEN
CommandEleven is a research organization focused on Pakistans national
security aspects and enhancing global understanding and collaboration
opportunities for the nation.
Founded in 2015, CommandEleven provides situational awareness to facilitate a
better understanding of the key dynamics that effect Pakistan from a national
security perspective, especially in relation to terrorism, insurgencies and
extremism.
CommandEleven seeks to inform and guide public policy and decision makers in
government, business and military through a rigorous program of publications,
conferences, digital medias, policy briefings and recommendations.
Visit http://commandeleven.com for more information or contact
info@commandeleven.com.