Her Rebellion

Whispering her conation
she demurs its entreat
Panicked at intimation
eternity skips a heartbeat
Giant anxious breaths
choked in its wreaths
Intrigued by the bustle, naive brace
absurd indifference,
averts her away
Distrait heeds
Apt deft sway
Divines kneel
accede to eternal grace
Avid reverie
from a distance attends
Awaiting eagerly
as she asserts
Verity in intent
as nay pretends
He smiles,
as dithered assent averts..
Eludes the lore,
defying the realm
The verve denies to fathom
Her angst nay bounds to helm
Smiles,
Deems,
Never confers her freedom.

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Pakistan Air Force during the May 1998 Nuclear Tests

After the Israeli attack on Iraq’s under-construction French-built nuclear Osirak-type reactor, Pakistan felt that it would be the next target of an Israeli misadventure. The Israeli Air Force had, at first, explored the possibility of such a plan and, later, put together operational plans for a possible air strike against Kahuta in the 1980s. These operational plans are still kept updated and pilots of some specially assigned Israeli F-16 and F-15 squadrons are given special training exercises to carry out mock attacks on Kahuta. So much so that a full-scale mock-up of the Kahuta facility was built in the southern Negev Desert for their pilots to train on.

Israeli F-15s in a dogfight

The Kahuta plan was made concurrently with the plan to attack Osirak using the same pilots of the Iraq mission, if it went through successfully. The Israelis planned to either use Indian airbases or fly non-stop from Israel to Kahuta while refuelling their aircraft using airborne tankers. Israeli Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) aircraft would jam Pakistani air defence radars while the Israelis took out Kahuta – or at least attempted to do so.

AWACS system

To this effect, India had played its part to convince Israel to carry this ill-advised plan through. However, Israel was insisting on using Indian air bases but India was reluctant to allow them such a facility for a fear of sparking another Indo-Pak war. According to a paper published by the Australian Institute for National Strategic Studies, “Israeli interest in destroying Pakistan’s Kahuta reactor to scuttle the “Islamic bomb” was blocked by India’s refusal to grant landing and refueling rights to Israeli warplanes in 1982.” India wanted to see Kahuta gone but did not want to face the blame or the retaliation nor bear any responsibility. Israel, on its part wanted it to be seen as a joint Indo-Israeli strike so that responsibility could be shared. This plan, therefore, never materialized and was indefinitely postponed, and rightly so, after Pakistan reminded the Israelis that they were not the Iraqis and the Pakistan Air Force was not the Iraqi Air Force. Through indirect channels, Pakistan had also conveyed the message to Israel, if Kahuta was attacked, Pakistan would lay waste to Dimona, Israel’s nuclear reactor in the Negev Desert.Image

The Israeli nuclear facility outside Dimona in the northern Negev

Pakistan, however, was not taking any chances. Soon after the Osirak raid in 1981, then President Zia-ul-Haq directed PAF to make contingency plans for a possible Israeli attack on Kahuta. Plans were drawn up for a retaliatory Pakistani strike on Dimona. The strike would be carried out by Mirage III/Vs. When Pakistan received 40 F-16s from the US, this new weapons system too was incorporated in Pakistan’s contingency plan to carry out retaliatory strikes on Dimona. In the backdrop of the above scenario, it was, therefore, not surprising that in the aftermath of the Indian nuclear tests of 13 May 1998, Pakistan felt that there was a strong possibility of a joint Indo-Israeli strike against Pakistan’s nuclear installations. The PAF had an essential role to play in defending Pakistan’s strategic installations and airspace to thwart any such plan. The tensions were so high that a PAF F-16 flying low over the Ras Koh test site in the Chagai District of Balochistan on the eve of the Pakistani nuclear tests was, for a moment, mistaken by the personnel on the ground, to be an Israeli warplane. The incident sparked off a diplomatic squabble between Pakistan and Israel. As soon as the decision to conduct the nuclear tests had been taken, the PAF was ordered to assume air defence duties over Chagai and the strategic nuclear installations of Pakistan. The PAF operations for the defence of Pakistan’s strategic nuclear installations during the May 1998 nuclear tests were codenamed “Operation Bedaar ’98” by the PAF. PAF C-130 extended the necessary logistical support to the rest of the PAF squadrons that were being redeployed for air defence alert (ADA) duties. PAF Mirage fighter jets were deployed at different air bases to assume the responsibility of day and night Air Defence Alert. PAF F-16 fighter jets were deployed throughout Balochistan on 27 May 1998 to provide night-time air defence cover to the nuclear test sites at Ras Koh and Kharan. Rest of the PAF fighter squadrons were deployed throughout the country to retaliate promptly in case of any misadventure from Israeli or Indian Air Force.

A PAF Mirage III Aircraft about to take off
A PAF Mirage Aircraft about to take off

It was felt that a joint Indo-Israeli attack could target not only Pakistan’s nuclear installations but the nuclear test sites at Ras Koh and Kharan as well. According to intelligence reports, US and Indian intelligence did not know about the Kharan Desert site, which came as a total surprise to them. Dalbandin Airfield had an important role to play during Pakistan’s May 1998 nuclear tests. In fact, two names gained prominence around the world during the tests: (i) Chagai Hills and (ii) Dalbandin airfield. Dalbandin is located among sand dunes some 30 km south-east of the Chagai Hills near the Pakistan-Afghanistan Border. The Koh Khambaran Massif in the Ras Koh Mountain Range, the site of Pakistan’s nuclear test, lies south of the Chagai Hills and Dalbandin.

Chagai hills trembling under the force of Pakistan’s nuclear test

The nuclear devices were themselves flown in semi-knocked down (SKD) sub-assembly form on two flights of PAF C-130 Hercules tactical transport aircraft, escorted even within Pakistani airspace by four PAF F-16As armed with air-to-air missiles. At the same time, PAF F-7P air defence fighters, also armed with air-to-air missiles, were on CAP guarding the aerial frontiers of Pakistan against intruders. Both the nuclear devices and the fissile material were divided into separate consignments and flown on separate flights of the Hercules. The PAEC did not want to put all its nuclear eggs in one basket in case something adverse was to happen to the aircraft. The security of the devices and the fissile material was so strict that that PAF F-16 escort pilots had been secretly given standing orders that in the unlikely event of the C-130 being hijacked or flown outside of Pakistani airspace, they were to shoot down the aircraft before it left Pakistan’s airspace. The F-16s were ordered to escort the C-130s to the Dalbandin airfield in Balochistan with their radio communications equipment turned off so that no orders, in the interim, could be conveyed to them to act otherwise. They were also ordered to ignore any orders to the contrary that got through to them during the duration of the flight even if such orders seemingly originated from Air Headquarters. On 30 May 1998, when Pakistan sixth nuclear device shook the ground in the Kharan Desert, Operation Bedaar ’98 had accomplished its mission – that of deterring any misadventure by either India or Israel to strike at Pakistan’s nuclear infrastructure. —

– – Fake Religious Orgasms . . !!

– – “Ladies n gentlemen, the captain has turned off the fasten seat belts sign, however for your own safety I suggest you keep them fastened, thank you “ the cabin crew onboard flight 591 enroute from San Antonio to New York announced as the hostess approached the passengers for drinks n the snacks. As she served liquor to almost every other person onboard, I tell her pre-emptively “I’d rather have a coke with rocks thank you “.

The man sitting next to me grins: “You must be a Muslim for not getting drunk n that too, on a weekend, let me guess you are from Emirates right?” He’s in his late forties, elegantly suited up and a deep voice with an accent certainly that of the North.

“Well it’s a yes and a no. I’d be a Muslim and from Pakistan”. I courteously reply back with a smile.

Almost choked on hearing this, I could clearly see a squirmy and a nervous look on his face as it went blank with a failed attempt to conceal his discomfort whilst his forehead shrunk n his eyes went wide. Lost on words, all he could say was “well, good for you then”, turns 45 degree to the other side, takes out a magazine and kind of makes it up to himself for talking to a Pakistani I guessed.

Flabbergasted by what just had happened and not known to have taken something like that ever the way it was meant, swallowing my instinctive feelings down with a sip of my drink; I decide to take a chance: “well you know what, there is a huge percentage of people back home who think Americans are nothing but just a bunch of selfish, arrogant, hypocrite and racist people.”
Not believing his ears maybe, he puts the magazine in the ‘back seat’ pouch, looks at me with an eye brow raised with a ‘repeat-it and-get-punched-in-the-face’ look, and clarifies: “excuse me ?.”

Seeing just the reaction that was needed, I continue : “Well yes, but you know what ?, I believe what I see, I build up my own point of view and since the day I came here, I got to observe people quite opposite to what masses believe and they mostly are caring, helping and peaceful.”

There was a rather long pause and looking at his thoughtful expressions I reckoned the dart hit the bull’s eye, and so it did. For the remaining two hours in flight, he continued to ask me questions and share the misconceptions regarding Pakistan and not surprising enough most of them mentioning the tribal belt on the Durand Line. The psychological jargons at least did some good and he left saying he would someday be happy to visit and for once not believe only what media had to project.

A year into this incident, and my firm belief that I changed at least one man’s opinions based totally on one sided manipulative pictures; I now am startled at my own very logics that I thought were good enough at that time. Two of the most influential institutions in our society for building the character of the masses in our part of the world are the teachers and the mullahs and yet, unfortunately; both of them are highly unqualified in general to speak. As much as I stand up for the authentic clerics, the incompetent and completely ignorant even of the basic Islamic beliefs, some of the mullahs in some of the remote areas let aside judging every other sect or group as non Muslim are reported to have even termed day light saving time as that of the Jews and that anyone following the said time will be one of them. For them, any wrong anywhere has always something to do with the villainous yet most talked about conspiracy theory or the illuminati.

The tribal belt also known as Federally Administered Tribal Areas commonly known as FATA, though having quite a less with the federally administered part, give or take; 3.3 million people living there only constitute 2% of the total population of Pakistan and considering the fact that more than 90% of the population of this belt is genuinely consisted of the tribes who believe in the centuries old taboos and have nothing to do with terrorism in any form whatsoever.

While some of my intellectual friends might consider the drones as ‘the only problem’ Pakistan faces at the moment that needs to be addressed because it has allegedly given birth and flourished the rancorous extremism; I still cite it as a ‘chicken or egg’ riddle. As much as the drones might have added fuel to the fire, they were or are never solely responsible for the ostensibly twaddle reaction on our streets by some mentally challenged freaks who think anyone who is not into breaking or bImageurning public property and is not torching cinemas and fast food chains are somehow lesser of the Muslims than them. To me it is like someone abuses my mother and I kill my brother in rage. It is as if they simulate fake religious orgasms in a bid to cover up their hollow conscience. It is as if religion is a buffet to them and they pick and choose only what they like.

I stand here in the middle of the desert of opinions and judgements and ask all those who whine all day about this bunch of fanatics taking over our roads and streets, burning tyres, stoning at our very own poor taxi drivers and breaking everything in their way they possibly can. Weather it is for caricatures, burning of the holy scripts or a blasphemous online stuff, the question remains; are we willing to be dictated by those mere less than 1% of us ?. How many times have we actually talked to our own drivers, gardeners, milkmen, batmen or maids and have conveyed the other side of the picture ?. They never had a counter logic and the fact remains they never will have unless we stop complaining only and participate actively and bring back the lost respect to the green passport. Charity begins at home.

– – Together we can. . .Together we must. . !!

– – She must die . . !!

…as I enter the crew-room after flying, I see my squadron mates discussing a firing incident that took place in Swat this morning. Sensing the gloom in the atmosphere, I reckon it appropriate not to question anyone and so I switch on the news channels for the details. A 14 years old girl from Swat was the target this time and is severely injured,and why was not I taken by surprise. Is it that when Emily Bronte says :t’was grief enough to think of mankind, all hollow, servile, insincere ; but worst to trust to my own mind, and found the same corruption there. . ?

– – I am hearing her name all around and everyone is sad about the unfortunate yet anticipated incident. I recall the reasons to know her. Everything comes vividly and the thoughts mostly are associated to the words “courage”, “bravery” and “rebellion against the chauvinist judgmental society”. She inspires a lot of girls including my younger sister who is her age and even most of the men who suffer from false super egos having frequent attacks of low self-esteem. She is taken as a metaphor for rebelling against the stereo-typical, male dominant society who in the name of religion satisfy their hollow-conscience and “serve God” only but to call for His wrath.
But then I re-think of her “crimes”. She raised her voice through her pen against the injustice and the gender discrimination prevalent in the society since ever and certified by the ‘illiterate-Mullahs’, who even define our foreign policy in their Jummah speeches.
Enough reason to kill her already I guess. Why should her family suffer . . ?? Why should her friends, relatives and all those who support the true and the sane and the ‘God’s point of view in Quran’ ?
Lets nip the”evil in the bud”. Lets not “endanger” any more innocent girls who think even Islam gives them every opportunity. Lets end this once and for all. . .
– – – Malala Yousafzai MUST DIE . . !!