Our Little Worlds
By Saroop Ijaz
In a recent appallingly bad Hollywood movie, Pakistanis are shown conversing in Arabic, you know, because that is what ‘brown Muslim’ people speak. Rudyard Kipling, whose death anniversary passed a few days ago, has certainly not been forgotten. The movie is thoroughly unwatchable for multiple reasons. Yet, it does show the liberties that people will take with societies that they do not know or do not care enough to know. The film-makers did not need in depth research on the ground to know that Arabic is not the language of everyday chit-chat in Pakistan or Abbottabad is not exactly a 45-minute drive from Islamabad. (Although, on the language question, watching people dressed in Arab clothing and riding on camels on January 25, the particularly gullible can perhaps be cut some slack.) Basic Google search would have unravelled the mystery. Also, it shows that there are not many Pakistanis working in Hollywood. It is patronising and insulting when people make grossly inaccurate, generalised observations about us. Yet, it does not stop us from doing the same.
By: Bruce Riedel
2013 will be a pivotal year in Pakistani history. National elections, turnover at the top military position and the denouement in the war in Afghanistan; all promise to make it a critical year for a country that is both, under siege by terrorism and the center of the global jihadist movement. The changes in Pakistan are unlikely to come peacefully and will have major implications for India and America. The stakes are huge in the most dangerous country in the world.
Pakistan is a country in the midst of a long and painful crisis. According to the government, since 2001 45,000 Pakistanis have died in terrorism related violence, including 7,000 security personnel. Suicide bombings were unheard of before 9/11; there have been 300 since then. The country’s biggest city, Karachi, is a battlefield.
One measure of Pakistan’s instability is that the country now has between 300 and 500 private security firms, employing 3,00,000 armed guards, most run by ex-generals. The American intelligence community’s new global estimate rates Pakistan among the most likely states in the world to fail by 2030.
Pakistan also remains a state sponsor of terror. Three of the five most-wanted on America’s counter-terrorism list live in Pakistan. The mastermind of the Mumbai massacre and head of Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hafeez Saeed, makes no effort to hide. He is feted by the army and the political elite, appears on television and calls for the destruction of India frequently and jihad against America and Israel.
The head of the Afghan Taliban Mullah Omar, shuttles between ISI safe houses in Quetta and Karachi. The Amir of Al Qaeda, Ayman Zawahiri, is probably hiding in a villa not much different than the one his predecessor was living in, with his wives and children, in Abbottabad until May 2011.
Pakistan also has the fastest growing nuclear arsenal in the world, bigger than Great Britain’s. The nukes are in the hands of the generals, the civilian government only has nominal control. President Asif Ali Zardari has only nominal influence over the ISI as well; indeed it has conspired for five years to get rid of him.
Against the odds, Zardari has survived.
By next fall, he will have served five years, becoming the first elected civilian leader to complete a full term in office and pass power to another elected government. It will be a major milestone for Pakistani democracy. He has served years in prison and lost his wife to the terrorists who besiege the nation. He has often been called a criminal by many, including his own family, and the national symbol of corruption.
Yet, as president, he presided over a major transfer of power from the Presidency to the Prime Minister’s Office, even the titular national command authority over the nukes, to ensure the country is more democratic and stable.
The parliamentary election in the spring will be a replay of every Pakistani election since 1988, pitting Nawaz Sharif’s PML against the late Benazir Bhutto’s PPP. Needless to say, many Pakistanis are sick of the same stale choices. But the odds favour the old parties. Both Sharif and Zardari are committed to cautiously improving relations with India, keeping open ties with America and trying to reform the Pakistani economy. Both will have troubled relations with the Army.
The Economist has tagged Sharif as likely to do best. If he returns to the Prime Minister’s job for a third time, it will be a remarkable turn in his own odyssey.
Sharif was removed from the office in 1999 in an illegal coup and barely escaped alive, to go into exile in Saudi Arabia. His decision to withdraw Pakistan’s troops behind the LOC, during the Kargil war, prompted his fall from power; it also may have saved the world from nuclear destruction. It was a brave move. I remember talking to him and his family in the White House the day after he made the decision to pull back, you could see in his eyes that he knew Musharraf would defame him; but he knew he was in the right.
But many Pakistanis want a new face to lead their country. Out of desperation some are turning to Imran Khan to save Pakistan. The ISI is probably helping his campaign behind the scenes to stir up trouble for the others. He is a long shot at best. He is much more anti-American, anti-drone and ready to make deals with the Taliban, to stop the terror at home. Yet, he understands well that Pakistan is a country urgently in need of new thinking.
Whoever wins will inherit an economy and government that is in deep trouble. Two-thirds of 185 million Pakistanis are under 30, and 40 million of the 70 million 5 to 19 years old are not in school. The youth bulge has yet to spike. Less than one million Pakistanis paid taxes last year. Most politicians don’t pay any taxes. Power blackouts are endemic. Clean water is increasingly scarce even as catastrophic floods are more common. Growth is 3%, too little to keep up with population demand.
So, it is no wonder that the generals prefer to have the civilians responsible for managing the unmanageable, while they guard their prerogatives and decide national security issues. As important as the coming elections will be, the far more important issue is who will be the next Chief of Army Staff.
The incumbent General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani was given an unprecedented three-year extension in 2010. He is the epitome of the Pakistani officer corps and the so-called ‘deep state’. Pervez Musharraf made him Director General of the ISI in 2004. It was on his watch that the Afghan Taliban recovered and regrouped in Quetta, Osama bin Laden built his hideout 800 yards outside Kayani’s alma mater the Kakul Military Academy in Abbottabad in 2005, and planning began for the Lashkar-e-Taiba attack on Mumbai. He was DG/ISI when David Headley, the American serving life for his role in the 2008 attack, began his reconnaissance trips to Mumbai to prepare the way for 26/11. Kayani probably authorized the funds for Headley’s cover and travel. He is the first DG/ISI to become COAS. His term expires in September, 2013.
The history of civilians choosing Chiefs of Army Staff in Pakistan is not encouraging.
Pakistan must come clean on who provided support to Osama Bin Laden – says former Ambassador Husain Haqqani
Ex-envoy: Pakistan must account for bin Laden
By: Josh Rogin
The Pakistani government must explain how Osama bin Laden was able to hide in Abbottabad for years and reveal who in Pakistan helped him, Pakistan’s former Ambassador to Washington Husain Haqqani said Wednesday.
“It’s Pakistan’s responsibility to the world to say who did it,” Haqqani told an audience at the Center for the National Interest, formerly known as the Nixon Center. “It doesn’t have to be the government, it doesn’t have to be the military, but whoever it is, we have to come clean on that, because that is the only way we will assure the rest of the world that Pakistan’s government and Pakistan’s state has its hands clean on this whole thing.”
Haqqani said that he has no information on how the late al Qaeda leader lived with a large number of family for five years in a military garrison town, but that there were clearly sympathizers in Pakistan that supported bin Laden and the government has failed to issue any report on who they were.
By Raza Rumi
Two days after Pakistan’s powerful army chief made some startling observations in his address to the Pakistan Military Academy, the militants attacked a key strategic installation — the Kamra airbase. That the attack took place on the revered night of 27th of Ramazan is not without symbolism. For the brand of ‘Islam’ practised by the militants of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) violence precedes other imperatives of faith. General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani took a bold public position in his address by saying: “Any person who believes his opinion to be the final verdict, is an extremist…. A human claim to be the final word in judging right from wrong, is tantamount to a claim to divine attributes”. The lethal by-products of our strategic ‘games’ — the TTP — are not amenable to such a worldview. In Kamra, they battled the military for more than five hours. The foreign media highlighted the nebulous connection between the airbase and the country’s nuclear assets; but both the Pakistani and American authorities later affirmed that Pakistan’s nuclear programme was safe.
If Pakistan does not release Dr Shakil Afridi, Senator Rand Paul will hold up the US Senate to deny Islamabad all aid.
Paul may hold up Senate over Pakistan
By MANU RAJU and TOMER OVADIA
Freshman Sen. Rand Paul is threatening to bottle up the Senate if he doesn’t get a vote on his plan to dramatically cut foreign aid to Pakistan.
In an extraordinary step, the Republican freshman is warning that he may file a motion to shut down debate and push a vote on his proposal, a right typically granted strictly to the Senate majority leader. But Paul is angry that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has refused to give him an up-or-down vote on the proposal, and now appears poised to use arcane Senate procedures to force a vote even if it ties up the Senate for days.
Paul’s bill would halt billions of dollars in foreign aid that the United States provides Pakistan until the country frees a doctor jailed for providing Americans information that helped lead to the death of Osama Bin Laden. And it could put some of his colleagues in a tricky diplomatic spot, as they rail against government spending but also fear provoking tensions with a country whose relations with the United States have frayed.
“I have worked consistently to bring awareness to Dr. [Shakil] Afridi’s plight, and I have offered legislation to deny any current or future foreign assistance to the Pakistani government until they reverse course and free Dr. Afridi,” Paul wrote in the letter. “In pursuing a resolution to this situation, I have gained the necessary number of signatures on a cloture petition to force a vote on my legislation on the Senate floor. If Dr. Afridi is not released upon appeal, I will seek such a floor vote at the earliest opportunity.”
Reports claim American supership USS Enterprise is in the territorial waters of Balochistan near the port city of Gwadar
Reports claim American supership USS Enterprise is in Pak territorial waters
By Shafqat Ali
US moves its nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise, into Pakistani territorial waters near Gwadar, media reports said.
“The US has moved its biggest aircraft carrier 65 to 70 nautical miles away from Gwadar in the second week of June”, a Pakistani television channel reported.
The USS Enterprise, which holds a crew of over 4,000, had taken part in several wars.
The move comes as relations between Pakistan and the US have touched new lows. Pakistan has refused to reopen Nato supply through infuriating the US.
The Pak-US relations have never recovered to normal since the killing of Al-Qaeda founder Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad in May last year. The killing of 26 Pakistani soldiers by the Nato forces in November further dented the ties.
“After the deployment of the aircraft in Pakistani sea the country’s security agencies are now investigating into the matter. The movement apparently shows the increasing interest of the US in Balochistan province of Pakistan”, another channel reported.
Meanwhile, the Los Angeles Times reported that the Pentagon plans to soon deploy a new generation of drones the size of model planes, packing tiny explosive warheads that can be delivered with pinpoint accuracy.
The move to introduce new small drones seeks to minimize civilian casualties and collateral damage, the report said.
Errant drone strikes have been blamed for killing and injuring scores of civilians throughout Pakistan and Afghanistan, giving the US government a black eye as it targets elusive terrorist groups, the newspaper said.
The Predator and Reaper drones deployed in these regions typically carry 100-pound laser-guided Hellfire missiles or 500-pound GPS-guided smart bombs that can reduce buildings to smouldering rubble.
The new Switchblade drone, by comparison, weighs less than 6 pounds and can take out a sniper on a rooftop without blasting the building to bits. It also enables soldiers in the field to identify and destroy targets much more quickly by eliminating the need to call in a strike from large drones that may be hundreds of miles away.
“This is a precision strike weapon that causes as minimal collateral damage as possible”, said William I. Nichols, who led the Army’s testing effort of the Switchblades at Redstone Arsenal near Huntsville, Ala.
The Obama administration, notably the CIA, has long been lambasted by critics for its use of combat drones and carelessly killing civilians in targeted strikes in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and Somalia.
In Islamabad, on Thursday, Foreign Office spokesman Muazzam Khan said that efforts were underway to mend the strained relationship between Pakistan and the US.
Speaking to reporters at a weekly news briefing, Mr Khan said that the decision to restore the Nato supply route would be made by the political leadership.
The FO spokesman dispelled the impression that Pakistan was raising the tariff on the supply route adding that there were several other issues involved.
“Pakistan will not allow its territory to be used as terrorist safe havens”, he added.
Courtesy: Decan Chronicle
Considering how very incensed the Deep State gets the more you hold a mirror to it; and being conscious of the sudden torrent of vile abuse and, worse, dastardly and outlandish allegations presently being heaped upon yours truly, I wanted to write about dog shows and fat Labradors this week. However, this is the Land of the Pure, where ever newer horrors are visited upon us every single minute of every single day, some couched in words. All of them, you can be sure, spoken from on high: as if the sermonisers were standing on some particularly elevated moral ground, with us mortals crawling somewhere down there.
To come straight to the point, the following words in Lt.-Gen. Asad Durrani’s article “The second oldest profession” in this newspaper of May 29 sent a very, very cold chill down my spine. Said the general: “I do not know if Afridi should have been tried by a jirga or in a court of law, under tribal decree or under the country’s penal code, but I do know that for him, it is not yet all over.” And as if that was not disturbing enough: “I think Dr Afridi will get another chance to administer a polio vaccine; the next time in the Promised Land.” I ask you.
Who does not know that Dr Shakil Afridi, the man who helped our ally in the War on Terror find Osama bin Laden a few hundred metres from the Pakistan Military Academy in Kakul, Abbottabad Cantonment, is a ‘Dead Man Walking’? He is in Peshawar Jail, which is as vulnerable to attack by the mighty Taliban as Bannu Jail where they first bribed their way in; then garlanded and honoured General Musharraf’s convicted attacker, Adnan Rasheed (who was sentenced to death) with a dastarbandi (adorning him with a turban), and then made video recordings of their great feat, rehearsed firing and all. We have to note that not a single person was even injured in that Great Escape in which nearly 400 prisoners, some of them dangerous terrorists, escaped. So, where’s the problem in ‘rubbing out’ Shakil Afridi in Peshawar Jail?
However, for a former head of the ISI to say almost gleefully what he said, Durrani certainly deserves mention. Specially, and I say this as someone who lauded his stand on the Mehrangate scandal: admitting that as a Pakistan army general he should not have done what he did, being such a senior person. Indeed, what he said about Afridi is way out of court.
And now to the jailbreak. There is not a squeak out of the leaders and the spokesmen of the Ghairat Brigades about that catastrophe. Remember that we know that Adnan Rasheed worked for Amjad Farooqi, who in turn worked for Abu Faraj al Libi and is also known to have been a member of these extremist organisations at various times: Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan; Harkatul Ansar; Harkatul Mujahideen; Harkatul Jihad-al-Islami in which he is said to have been this group’s pointman with al Qaeda’s International Islamic Front. Quite a beauty, what? Yet, not a word about the jailbreak and its links with al Qaeda, especially when one of the prisoners who escaped was accused of plotting to kill the then chief of army staff himself!
Since Osama bin Laden met his demise in the garrison town of Abbottabad last May, Pakistani officials say they haven’t found anyone who helped him hide out for most of a decade in their backyard. But our supposed allies have spared no effort to hunt down the people who helped the U.S. find the al Qaeda mastermind.
Soon after the successful American raid, the Pakistani army picked up locals suspected of supplying fuel to SEAL Team Six’s helicopters and firing flares to …
Read more » WALL STREET JOURNAL
By: Manzur Ejaz, Wichaar.com
The other day a very respectable political analyst made a surprising claim that Pakistan’s military is the only institution genuinely concerned about prevailing conditions of the country. Clearly he was specifically referring to dead-locked Pak-US relations where political parties, numbed or scared by anti-America populism, cannot come together to find a viable solution. One can assume that such sentiments must have been communicated to him by the highest level of the core state. However, the problem is that the fearsome anti-US jinni was created by the military and now it wants the civilians to put it back in the bottle.
Islamic Radicalism: Pakistan Entrapped in A Vicious Circle of Militancy and Cowardice of the State
By Mujahid Husain
Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants have once again started attacking Pakistan, this time in a much organised manner. It was being said, after the successful military operations in tribal areas that Taliban and Al-Qaeda sympathizers have been chased away. But the reality is totally opposite to it. Indeed it is the Local and foreign militants who have driven away security forces and other peace-promoting organisations from there.
Militants are now focussing their attention on the suburbs of big towns and hamlets. They are easily making them their prey. Their successful operation of getting hundreds of dreaded inmates flee from Bannu jail, situated in the tribal area, is the latest example of their prowess. Adnan Rashid one of the most wanted and a dreaded attacker on the life of former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf was one of them. He was greeted with garlands in the jail campus by the attackers of the Bannu Jail. Garlands were specially brought for him by the miscreants. This incident proves militants’ planning, strength and their self confidence.
Taliban attackers kept celebrating their victory for two hours in the jail campus itself. In the meantime the police station and security forces of Bannu town kept themselves silently locked in their offices. They dare not try to interfere in the operation of the militant attackers.
After the jail break incident a private school of Peshawar came under their wrath. The school was attacked with hand grenades in which children were killed.
State government finds itself helpless in front of the terror organisation called ‘Lashkar-e-Islam’ which is active in the suburbs of Peshawar.
U.S.-Pakistan Relationship Hits New Low
By: Walter Russell Mead’s Blog
The U.S.-Pakistan relationship is fraught in the best of times, but we may be approaching a new low. Pakistani politicians of all stripes have united in denouncing the $10 million dollar U.S. bounty on Hafiz Saeed, the man behind the 2008 terrorist attack in Mumbai, who is currently living openly in Pakistan. Pakistan’s refusal to cooperate in turning over Saeed is the latest sign that the already chilly U.S.-Pakistan relationship is beginning to freeze over.
Illegal stay: 45-day imprisonment, Rs50,000 fine for Bin Laden’s family
By Web Desk / AFP / Obaid Abbasi
ISLAMABAD: A senior civil judge indicted former al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s family on Monday for having resided illegally in Pakistan.
Senior Civil Judge Shahrukh Arjumand handed down 45-day imprisonment along with a fine of Rs10,000 each, to Bin Laden’s three widows and two daughters, after the investigative unit of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) informed that the family had been residing illegally in the country.
During the proceeding of the case which took place in a private house declared a sub-jail located in Sector G-6/4, Justice Arjumand handed the sentence to Bin Laden’s three widows, Amal Ahmad Abdul Fatheh, Silham Sharif, and Kharia Hussain Sabir, and two daughters, 17-year-old Maryam and 21-year-old Sumiya, said family’s lawyer Muhammad Aamir while talking to The Express Tribune.
Amal was also charged under section 419 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) for cheating and not providing her real identity, said Khalid Naeem assistant director (legal) FIA who appeared on the behalf of agency. ….
Read more » The Express Tribune
Via – Twitter
By Najam Sethi
The Parliamentary Committee on National Security has taken more than two months to get cracking. Now it is faced with the prospect of being left in the lurch by the PMLN that is backpedaling on certain proposals. Thus the PPP government finds it difficult to own the proposals recommended by the military, which imply, at the very least, a reopening of the NATO supply line without absolute US guarantees of an end to the drone strikes. Meanwhile, President Obama has hissed a word of advice to Prime Minister Gillani: ‘protect your sovereignty by all means but don’t undermine US national security interests’.
By Sumera Khan
ISLAMABAD: Brigadier (retd) Ali Khan – who is accused of conspiring to overthrow the government and currently facing court martial proceedings – sent a request to the Abbottabad commission to record his testimony and to make revelations pertaining to the Kargil Operation and the 1999 military coup, sources have revealed.
Sources have said that Brig Ali has requested the Abbottabad commission to allow him to appear in a hearing as he has sensitive information pertaining to national security, which he think should be shared with them. He has, in his written request, stated that he is the one who was most affected by the May 2 raid in which Osama bin Laden was killed.
The application from Brig Ali had been sent though courier dispatch by his family.
Brig Ali, who is accused of having links with Hizb-ut-Tahrir (HuT), had earlier claimed that the court martial is to malign him because he had asked the military brass to fix responsibility for the May 2 raid. Charges of planning an air raid on the General Headquarters using F-16s had also earlier been dropped.
Courtesy: The Express Tribune
By Carl Prine
Lt. Gen. Shuja Pasha, the Director General for Inter Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), is expected to retire from active duty on March 18th after serving five years as the chief of country’s most powerful intelligence agency.
The big question remains: What’s Pasha’s legacy?
Extension in DG ISI tenure would be a deal with government, says Nisar
ISLAMABAD: If the Pakistan Peoples Party-led government extends the contract of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt General Ahmad Shuja Pasha for a third term, then it would be considered as a “deal” with the government, said Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Friday.
Speaking at a press conference in Islamabad, Nisar said a possible extension would also make a case for government’s indictment.
In a press conference earlier, Nisar had said there are a lot of competent generals who are capable of filling this post, “and I hope that the army itself will devise a strategy to replace Pasha.”
He added: “During Pasha’s service, Pakistan witnessed massive intelligence failures such as the raid in Abbottabad; the Mumbai tragedy; the attack on Mehran Base Karachi; the Memogate scandal and Nato air strike on the Salala check post. It was unfortunate that despite all this, Pasha claims that the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani stopped him from resigning his post, which is strange for us.”
The Opposition Leader had earlier in a press conference on Thursday said that other, competent Generals, ought to be given a chance to run the agency.
Courtesy: The Express Tribune
WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that Pakistan has no justification for holding Dr Shakil Afridi, who had a role in the CIA operation to hunt down Osama bin Laden in Abbotabad.
This she said while addressing US Congress Committee. Hillary Clinton said Dr Shakil Afridi provided key information to US before the Abbotabad operation, adding that he served for the interest of both Pakistan and the US.
Clinton said Pakistan has no basis for detaining Dr Shakil.
Courtesy: The News
LONDON: Osama bin Laden was in routine contact with senior members of Pakistan’s spy agency while hiding in his Abbottabad-safe house, secret intelligence documents have revealed.
E-mails from the private US security firm, Stratfor, which were published by WikiLeaks, revealed that up to 12 officials in Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency knew of the Al-Qaida leader’s safe house.
The internal email did not name the Pakistofficials involved, but said the US could use the information as a bargaining chip in post raid negotiations with Islamabad, The Telegraph reports.
“Mid to senior level ISI and Pak Mil with one retired Pak general that had knowledge of the OBL arrangements and safehouse,” the email said. ….
Read more » TOI
Pakistan : Gathering of Jihadis linked to al-Qaeda in Islamabad demands holy war against US – chanting “death to America”
Gathering demands holy war against US
Islamabad – Pakistanis poured onto Islamabad’s streets on Monday, chanting “death to America” and demanding holy war at a rally whipped up by right-wing, religious and banned organisations linked to al-Qaeda.
It was the latest show of support for Defence of Pakistan, a coalition of around 40 parties chaired by a cleric dubbed the father of the Taliban that include organisations blacklisted at home and abroad as terror groups. ….
…. “Today, we have gathered here to raise a voice of protest against US intervention in Pakistan,” chairperson Maulana Sami ul-Haq, who runs an extremist madrassa that educated several Taliban leaders, said.
Also present was member Hamid Gul, who headed Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency during the 1980s US and Pakistani-sponsored war against Soviet troops in Afghanistan.
His membership has helped fuel suspicions that Pakistan’s security establishment is backing the coalition as a means of exerting pressure on the weak government and whipping up rhetoric against the unpopular US alliance. ….
….. “Death to America” and “America deserves one treatment: Jihad, jihad” shouted the crowd in a bustling commercial area, an AFP reporter said. ….
To read complete report » news 24
The anchor (Wajahat Khan) who interviewed Hamed Gul facing death threats after exposing Hamid Gul’s lies about Malik Ishaq
Pakistan’s right-wing is questioned, and questioned hard, as former ISI Chief Lt. Gen (retd) Hameed Gul faces off against Wajahat S. Khan on the role of the controversial Difa-e-Pakistan Council. 32 minutes of a no-holds-barred debate on Aaj TV’s Ikhtilaf. The language of the interview is urdu (Hindi).
By Najam Sethi
The Pakistan army’s vaulting mission to remain the most powerful actor in Pakistani politics has received irreparable setbacks in the last few years.
On the one hand, this is due to the onset of several new factors in the body politic determining the direction of political change in the future.
On the other, it reflects poorly on the ability and willingness of the army’s leadership to understand the far-reaching nature of this change and adapt to it seamlessly.
Pakistan’s future as a viable nation-state now depends on how the generals read the writing on the wall and quickly come to terms with it. Here is a checklist of recent failures that have downgraded the Pak army’s rating with Pakistanis.
(1) The army’s policy of nurturing anti- Americanism in Pakistan for leveraging its strategic relationship with the US has backfired and left it stranded in no-man’s land. It can’t let go of the US privately for purposes of economic rent and military aid extraction but it can’t embrace it publicly because of the rampant ‘Ghairat’ brigade of extremist Islamic nationalists that it has brainwashed.
(2) The army’s policy of nurturing the Afghan Taliban in private while appeasing the Pakistan Taliban in public has also backfired.
The Afghan Taliban are now negotiating directly with America while the Pakistan Taliban are waging an ‘existential’ war against the Pak army and civil society. PAK army’s relationship with the government, opposition, and media is at an all-time low.
The government has meekly folded before the army on every issue; but the army’s arrogant, intrusive and relentlessly anti government propaganda and behaviour is deeply resented.
The media is also wiser and critical about its manipulation by the army and ISI viz its Drone policy, the Raymond Davis affair and Memogate.
Question marks remain over its incompetence or complicity in the OBL affair, especially following recent revelations by former DG-ISI Ziauddin Butt that General Pervez Musharraf ‘hid’ Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad.
The murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad, followed by running threats to a clutch of independent journalists, is laid at the ISI’s door.
The ease with which terrorists have breached military security, as in the attacks on GHQ, ISI offices, military Messes, Mehran Naval Base, etc also rankle deeply.
Finally, the media is now speaking up and asking disturbing questions about the role of MI in the disappearances and torture of Baloch activists. Consequently, the media is loath to blindly follow the army’s ‘line’ on any issue any more. The PMLN, meanwhile, has gone the whole hog, openly demanding that the intrusion of the military in politics must be curtailed and the army’s overweening power cut to size.
If its ratings are falling, the army’s ability to manipulate politics to its ends is also diminishing. In the old days, the army chief was the most powerful member of the ruling troika that included the president and prime minister. Now the office of the president has lost its clout and there are two new and powerful contenders for say.
The first is the judiciary under Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudry that has unprecedentedly pushed politicians into a corner for corrupt practices and the military on the defensive for being unaccountable (the Mehrangate affair of 1990, disappearances and murder of Baloch and Taliban extremists in captivity).
The second is the electronic media that is reaching tens of millions of Pakistanis and courageously raising their consciousness. Neither will countenance any direct or indirect military intervention in politics. Recently, in a bid to salvage some wounded pride, the army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, said that defense expenditure is a mere 18 per cent of the budget and not over 50 per cent as alleged by critics like Maulana Fazlur Rahman. But the truth is that defense expenditure is about 25 per cent of the budget after hidden ‘defense’ items in government expenditures like the military’s salaries and pensions, special project allocations, etc are unveiled and supplementary grants in any budgetary year are accounted for.
More to the point, it is about 50 per cent of all tax revenues in any year, which puts a big burden on the fiscal deficit. Gen Kayani also insists that the army is not involved in quelling unrest in Balochistan. But the fact remains that the Rangers and Frontier Corps who are in charge of ‘law and order’ in the province are directly commanded by army officers who report to GHQ even though they are formally under the interior ministry.
Dr Afridi’s act could not be hidden from the world because the US is directly involved in it. Therefore, a smear campaign has been launched. It depicts the doctor as a dishonest person and a traitor. The aim, it seems, is to absolve the military of any responsibility for bin Laden’s presence in Pakistan for years
A native of Khyber Agency in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Dr Shakil Afridi has been arrested by the military authorities in Pakistan. He faces charges of treason for his role in locating and killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Reportedly, he ran a vaccination campaign for the US intelligence agency the CIA in Abbottabad to collect blood samples of the children of Osama bin Laden. The DNA test from the blood samples established the presence of bin Laden in a military area in Abbottabad and subsequently he was killed in the US commando raid in the house where the al Qaeda leader had lived with his family for many years.
Capturing or killing of al Qaeda terrorists is the aim of the UN-mandated US-led war on terror. Pakistan is supposedly a partner in this war. The Pakistani military authorities have not only been killing, capturing and handing al Qaeda militants based in Pakistan to the US but have also been taking pride in doing so. Former dictator Musharraf admits in his book (In the Line of Fire, pg 237) that his government captured and handed over 369 al Qaeda militants to the US. He also writes that Pakistanis received ‘millions of dollars’ as prize money from the CIA for capturing those militants. But none of those Pakistanis ever faced the treason charges that Dr Afridi does today. The reason is not what some people are underscoring in internet blogs and newspapers in Pakistan — that because Dr Afridi’s cooperation with the US led to, what they call, an ‘invasion’ of Pakistan, so he must be tried for treason.
The reason is that his act has torn apart the strategic depth narrative internalised by many in Pakistan due to a constant state-backed propaganda based on outright lies or at best distortion of facts. According to this narrative, the people of FATA are fanatically religious. They have given refuge to al Qaeda militants following their escape from the US bombing in Afghanistan. They have given their daughters and sisters in marriage to foreign al Qaeda militants, who enjoy comfortable hospitality in the area not only under the code of tribal Pashtunwali but also as sons-in-law and brothers-in-law. According to this narrative, Osama bin Laden was never supposed to be discovered in a military area in Pakistan, but in FATA. The tribes in the area were supposed to rise in rage in the event of any harm to Osama bin Laden by the US. Dr Afridi, himself a tribesman from the area, proved exactly the opposite.
Dr Afridi, however, is not the first person from FATA who has exposed the Pakistani military’s control over the Taliban or al Qaeda terrorists, whereby they are used for terrorism in Afghanistan and the ‘unwanted’ among them handed over to the US to prove Pakistan’s ‘performance’ in the war on terror as well as to win the head money placed by the US on terrorists. There are countless more people in the area who have done so before him. But their contributions have never made it to the wider world because there is a strict state control over the flow of information from FATA coupled with a systemic state-sponsored propaganda that distorts facts as well as attributes outright lies to the area, its culture and people. More importantly, many of those who exposed the military control over the militants were eliminated through targeted killings, which had scared the others into silence. …
Read more » Daily Times
Gen. Ziauddin Khawaja, an ex–security chief for Pakistan, accuses former president Pervez Musharraf of knowing where bin Laden was hiding and saying nothing.
By Bruce Riedel
Ever since the Navy SEALs found Osama bin Laden hiding in Abbottabad, Pakistan, less than a mile from the country’s national military academy, the question haunting American relations with Pakistan has been: who knew he was there? How did the most-wanted man in human history find a hideout in one of Pakistan’s most exclusive military cantonment cities and live there for five years without the Pakistani spy service finding him? Or did it know all along?
Now there is an explosive new charge. The former head of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence directorate (ISI) says former president Pervez Musharraf knew bin Laden was in Abbottabad. Gen. Ziauddin Khawaja, also known as Ziauddin Butt, was head of the ISI from 1997 to 1999. A four-star general, he fought in the 1965 and 1971 wars with India. He was the first head of the Army’s Strategic Plans Division, which controls the country’s nuclear weapons. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif made him director-general of the ISI in 1997 and promoted him to chief of Army staff on Oct. 12, 1999, when he fired Musharraf from the job. Musharraf refused to go and launched a coup that overthrew Sharif. Ziauddin spent the next two years in solitary confinement, was discharged from the Army, and had his property confiscated and his retirement benefits curtailed. So he has a motive to speak harshly about Musharraf.
Bearing that in mind, here is what the former spy chief claims. Ziauddin says that the safe house in Abbottabad was made to order for bin Laden by another Pakistani intelligence officer, Brig. Gen. Ijaz Shah, who was the ISI bureau head in Lahore when Musharraf staged his coup. Musharraf later made him head of the intelligence bureau, the ISI’s rival in Pakistan’s spy-versus-spy wars. Ziauddin says Ijaz Shah was responsible for setting up bin Laden in Abbottabad, ensuring his safety and keeping him hidden from the outside. And Ziauddin says Musharraf knew all about it.
Ijaz Shah is a colorful character. He has been closely linked to Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, a British-born Kashmiri terrorist who was imprisoned in India in 1994 for kidnapping three British citizens and an American. Saeed was freed when Pakistani terrorists hijacked an Indian airliner to Kandahar, Afghanistan, in December 2000, a plot masterminded by bin Laden and assisted by the ISI and the Afghan Taliban. Saeed was part of the plot two years later to kidnap Daniel Pearl and turned himself in to Brigadier Shah. Musharraf nominated Shah to be ambassador to Australia, but Canberra said no thanks. So he got the intelligence-bureau job.
Former prime minister Benazir Bhutto accused Shah of being behind the attempt to murder her when she returned from exile in late 2007. She was, of course, killed in another attempt later that year. Shah fled to Australia for a time while the situation cooled off.
Ziauddin says Ijaz Shah was responsible for setting up bin Laden in Abbottabad and Musharraf knew all about it.
Without a doubt, Ziauddin has an ax to grind. But he is also well tied in to the Pakistani intelligence world. When he was DG/ISI, he set up a special commando team to find and capture bin Laden with U.S. help. Elite commandos from the Special Services Group, Pakistan’s SEALs, were put on the hunt. Musharraf disbanded the group after he took power. Ziauddin’s successor at the ISI, Gen. Mahmud Ahmad, refused American requests to go after bin Laden right up to 9/11. Then Musharraf had to fire him because, even after 9/11, he did not want to do anything to bring bin Laden to justice.
We don’t know who was helping hide bin Laden, but we need to track them down. If Mush, as many call him in Pakistan, knew, he should be questioned by the authorities the next time he sets foot in America. The explosive story about him, which was first reported in the must-read Militant Leadership Monitor, is more than an academic issue. If we can find who hid bin Laden, we will probably know who is hiding his successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and the rest of the al Qaeda gang.
Courtesy: The Daily Beast
“Bin Laden told his children to live in peace in the West” – They only ask others children to go to Heaven. Shame
Bin Laden told his children to live in peace in the West
He did not want them to follow jihad — report
London: Slain Al Qaida chief Osama Bin Laden urged his younger children to go live peacefully in the West and get a university education, his brother-in-law said in an interview published on Sunday.
Zakaria Al Sadah, the brother of Bin Laden’s Yemeni fifth wife Amal, told Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper that the militant believed his children “should not follow him down the road to jihad”.
“He told his own children and grandchildren, ‘Go to Europe and America and get a good education,'” Al Sadah told the Sunday Times.
Al Sadah said Bin Laden told them: “You have to study, live in peace and don’t do what I am doing or what I have done.”
Bin Laden was killed in a commando raid in May 2011 by US Navy SEALs at a house in Abbottabad, northwest Pakistan.
Al Sadah said that in November he had seen his sister for the first time since she was shot in the knee during the raid and had since been allowed to have a number of meetings with her in the presence of guards.
He said the three wives and nine children who were in the compound — some are Bin Laden’s children and others are his grandchildren — have been held for months in a three-room flat in Islamabad. They are guarded by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency, he said.
The Sunday Times published what it said was the first photograph to show some of the young children from the compound: two sons and a daughter, and two grandsons and a granddaughter. The children were still traumatised after seeing the raid in which Bin Laden died, Al Sadah said.
“These children have seen their father killed and they need a caring environment, not a prison — whatever you think of their father and what he has done,” he said.
Courtesy: Gulf News
Via – Twitter
Baloch politicians and leaders share their vision of self-determination and freedom from Pakistani rule.
By Al Jazeera
In the rugged mountains of southwest Pakistan lies the country’s largest province of Balochistan. Far from the bustling cities of Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad, this remote region has been the battleground for a 60-year-long insurgency by the Baloch ethnic minority.
“The Baloch people now live in a state of war. Every day, they face injustice. The army and intelligence agents kidnap our young, and we know nothing about them for years. The Baloch people live in a state of war. We will not accept any offers until we regain control over this land. They burn down our homes and then ask us for peace? We are not stupid.” – Baloch Khan, Baloch rebel leader
The ongoing conflict is often called Pakistan’s dirty war, because of the rising numbers of people who have disappeared or have been killed on both sides.
But the uprising against Pakistan’s government has received little attention worldwide, in part because most eyes have been focused on the fight against the Taliban and al-Qaeda in other areas of Pakistan. …
Read more » al Jazeera
The Pakistan’s current political crises, is the most horrific tussle among its top institutions, has morphed grievous consequent deadlocks for the running of the affairs of the state. In order to understand its fundamental reasons, here, we would need to analyze its background circumstances.
1). The Pakistani military is no more a mere security agency , but an industrial and business corporation, in real terms. The economic and business positions of the army Generals, has over taken in many folds, the volume of the civilian business enterprises on the basis of these economic interests, being a class in stalk ,the political privileges, advantages and access to power or supremacy over the political dispensation is for now realized to be an oxygen for them . Therefore , military, as a class no way can afford any civilian government to deliver things independently without their prior approval .
2). Among ,the many businesses of the army, apart from industries and import -exports , “JEHAD” is adapted to be the most credible business corporation ,which has been for long greatly flourishing in leaps and bounds , under US imperialist’s patronage for the last 40 or so many years ,as a result almost all 5 stars Generals and Major Generals have turned billionaires and down to the rank of Majors ,have become Millionaires ,in quite short span of life.
3). The Obama’s administration ( democrats ), seems interested to work out some settlement for the Afghan issue, in order to cut down its colossal expenditures , there . They earnestly aspire for to have been successful in installing a US amicable government in Kabul, which would mean for the Pakistani Generals to wash off hands from the Jihad dividends . Consequently, the Generals have to resort, applying every means to keep up the past madcap policy on Afghanistan intact, so as to let the Jihad business go on . The present elected government, has opted, greatly, a US harmonious policy on this issue.
4). There is also, exists a profound contradiction between the army and the civilian government over the establishment of relations viz a vis, India concerned . The Pakistani government desires to normalize relations with India, which is a total opposite perspective to the basic policy stand of the Generals. Keeping the Kashmir issue alive at all costs to legitimate the false security apprehension from India, so as to justify the persistent un-auditable increase in military budget and its personnel strength . This is subject to keep intact the security state, status of Pakistan, through enhanced empowerment and role granted to play by the military institution.
Mansoor Ijaz claimed CJ ‘owes’ Nawaz Sharif
RAWALPINDI: Although his guns are currently focused on former ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani, the creator of the Memogate controversy, US citizen Mansoor Ijaz, has vilified or denigrated virtually every individual and institution in Pakistan at some point in time. Research into the writings of the controversial figure reveal that once he described the most respected Chief Justice in Pakistan’s recent history, Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, as someone who “sadly, owes his return to power to Mr Sharif” –a reference to the PML (N) leader.
Mansoor Ijaz’s derogatory remarks about the honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan were slipped into an article titled, ‘A game changer for Pakistan-US relations’ published on the website of the International Center for Peace & Democracy-ICFPD in October 2010. In that article, Mansoor Ijaz claimed that “President Barack Obama had characterised Pakistan as the ‘cancer’ inhibiting US progress in Afghanistan. He went on to criticise the army, President Zardari, Mian Nawaz Sharif and the Chief Justice to conclude that American intervention was the only way things would change in Pakistan.
“The army, Pakistan’s only viable institution of governance, can’t decide whether it wants to nurture the Taliban so it can maintain strategic depth in Afghanistan or kill them so the money spigot continues to flow from Washington,” Mr Ijaz wrote. He added, “Pakistan’s vaunted intelligence services stand accused of harbouring America’s No. 1 enemy, Osama bin Laden, in northwest frontier border areas in the relative luxury of homes, not caves, by the very NATO officials they are supposed to be assisting in tracking down the terror master and his key aides.” (This was well before the US secret mission in Pakistan in May 2011 that resulted in the killing of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad).
Institute for Defence Studies & Analysis (idsa) – Pakistan Military’s Desire to Slip Into The Driving Seat Once Again
By P. K. Upadhyay
Some very strange developments seem to be unfolding in Pakistani politics. A political dogfight between the civilian and military leaderships has been unheard off in the country’s history so far. The generals never had to air their differences with the political masters in the public as they are doing at present. When faced with a ‘defiance’ of their writ at any stage, the generals have always taken over power after booting-out the civilian government. …..
…. Then why this time around is General Kayani not able to push out the President and Prime Minister ….
….. Nawaz Sharief’s efforts to fish in troubled waters as also to move closer to the Army’s position on ‘Memogate’ ….
….. It was clear that the Army was reluctant to assume power and, at the same time, also reluctant to let the Zardari-led PPP government continue. It appears to have chosen the judicial route to hound out the government. Apparently, a deal between the Army and the Chief Justice of Pakistan allowed not just a renewed focus on the old National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) cases against Zardari and others, but also the setting up of a four-judge judicial enquiry into Memogate ….
…. Why is this unprecedented and uncharacteristic spat between the Army and the civilian government continuing? Apparently, the United States is a factor. Although, for the record, the US Administration and Pentagon had dismissed the memo to Mullen, they seem to have quietly acted on it by heavily leaning on the Pakistan Army. Despite the recent breakdown in their relationship, the US military still has a considerable hold over the Pakistan Army …..
…. Why is this unprecedented and uncharacteristic spat between the Army and the civilian government continuing? Apparently, the United States is a factor. Although, for the record, the US Administration and Pentagon had dismissed the memo to Mullen, they seem to have quietly acted on it by heavily leaning on the Pakistan Army. Despite the recent breakdown in their relationship, the US military still has a considerable hold over the Pakistan Army in the form of continuing supply of spares and other vital equipment, apart from training and intelligence cooperation. The Americans could have conveyed to Kayani and company that ousting the civilian regime in a coup would mean a total break in links, including the supply of spares and other wherewithal. The Pakistan Army cannot resist this pressure, since without using US supplied armour and attack helicopters, it cannot continue its operations against the Taliban in FATA or the Baluchi rebels in Baluchistan. Another inhibiting factor for Kayani and his generals could be the extent of penetration of the Army by jehadi elements. For sometime now, there appears to be a lull in clashes between Islamic radicals and the Army. While a let-up in US drone strikes (after the handing over of the Shamsi airbase) appears to be a significant facilitating factor for this lull, it cannot be the key trigger for it. The possibility of a JUI (F) brokered truce between the Army and Taliban should not be ruled out. The Army wants to preserve this truce for the present and, therefore, is reluctant to rock the boat by staging a coup at this juncture. It possibly fears that in case it ousts the Zardari government and becomes all powerful, that may have some destabilizing impact on the current truce with the Taliban. Lastly, Kayani and other senior generals may still not be out of the shock they suffered from the violent outbursts of junior officers after the Abbottabad raid. They recognize that the younger lot of Pakistan Army Officers does not come from traditional sections of the society known for its contempt for ‘civilians’ and their ways. These officers are the off-spring of former JCOs/NCOs of the military, as also the urban middle and lower middle classes, and may be harbouring a strong antipathy towards the bourgeois attitudes of their superiors.
This, however, does not mean that Kayani and company are going to let the Zardari-Gilani combine continue to spite them. Army backed judicial action against the regime is a strong possibility. ….
To read complete article » Institute of Defence Studies & Analysis (idsa)
- Exclusive: Ijaz told Jones three people prepared the “Memogate” document
By Josh Rogin
Mansoor Ijaz, the main figure in the “Memogate” scandal that is rocking the highest levels of the Pakistani political establishment, told his U.S. go-between Gen. Jim Jones in a private e-mail that there were three people who “prepared” the now-infamous memo, not just former Pakistani Ambassador to Washington Husain Haqqani.
These are difficult times for professional journalists in Pakistan. Eleven were killed last year in the line of duty. They were either caught in the crossfire of ethnic or extremist violence or targeted and eliminated by state and non-state groups for their political views.
Saleem Shehzad, for example, was abducted, tortured and killed last year and a commission of inquiry is still floundering in murky waters. He had exposed the infiltration of the armed forces by elements affiliated with Al-Qaeda or the Taliban. Several journalists from Balochistan have been killed by non-state vigilantes sponsored by state agencies, others have fled to Europe or USA because they had sympathies with the nationalist cause in the province. Some from Karachi have taken refuge abroad because they were threatened by ethnic or sectarian groups or parties.
Now an insidious campaign is afoot to target senior journalists who question the wisdom of the security establishment on a host of thorny issues. They are being labeled as “American-CIA agents”. This is an incitement to violence against them in the highly charged anti-American environment in Pakistan today. Consider.
If you say the military’s notion of “strategic depth” in Afghanistan is misplaced, outdated or counter-productive, you are a CIA agent.
If you say the military was either complicit or incompetent in the OBL-Abbottabad case, you are a CIA agent.
If you say that the civilians should have control over the military as stipulated in the constitution, you are a CIA agent.
If you say that the military shouldn’t enter into peace deals with the Taliban that enable them to reorganize and seize Pakistani territory, you are a CIA agent.
If you say that the drones have taken a welcome toll of extremist Al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders, you are a CIA agent.
If you say that the military’s annual defense budget, which amounts to nearly half of all tax revenues, should be scrutinized by parliament or the Auditor General of Pakistan, you are a CIA agent.
If you say that the one and same resignation criterion should be applied to both Ambassador Husain Haqqani and DG-ISI Ahmed Shuja Pasha – the former is accused of trying to influence the American government to back up the civilian government of Pakistan in its attempt to establish civilian control over its army and the latter is accused of seeking the support of Arab regimes for the overthrow of the civilian regime ( both accusations come from one and the same individual) – you are a CIA agent.
If you say we should construct a social welfare state in place of a national security state, you are a CIA agent.
If you say that fundamental citizens rights enshrined in the constitution cannot be violated at the altar of a narrow definition of national security defined exclusively by the security state, you are a CIA agent.
If you say that human rights violations in Balochistan carried out by the security agencies are as condemnable as the ethnic cleansing of Punjabi settlers by Baloch insurgents, you are a CIA agent.
If you say that Pakistan’s foreign policy should not be the exclusive domain of the military establishment, you are a CIA agent.
If you say that the Pakistan military’s conventional and nuclear weapons doctrine amounts to a crippling arms race with India rather than a minimal optimal defensive deterrence, you are a CIA agent.
If you say that the ISI is an unaccountable state within a state, you are a CIA agent.
If you say that belt-tightening measures to control budgetary deficits and inflation should apply to wasteful aspects of defense expenditures no less than to wasteful aspects of civilian government expenditures, you are a CIA agent.
If you say that the Supreme Court should pull out Air Marshal Asghar Khan’s ISI-Mehrangate 1991 case from cold storage and adjudge it along with the Memogate 2011 case, you are a CIA agent.
The irony is that the Pakistan military remains the single largest recipient of American aid in the last sixty five years. The irony is that all military coups in Pakistan have drawn legal and political sustenance from America. The irony is that the Pakistani military has signed more defense pacts and agreements with America than all civilian governments to date. The irony is the Pakistan military has partnered America in Afghanistan in the 1980s, fought its war on terror and leased out Pakistani air bases and Pakistan air space corridors to America in the 2000s, and sent hundreds of officers for training and education to America in the last six decades.
The greater irony is that all those liberal, progressive, anti-imperialist Pakistani citizens who have opposed US hegemony and protested American military interventions in the Third World all their lives are today branded as CIA agents by the very state security agencies and non state religious parties and jehadi groups who have taken American money and weapons and done America’s bidding all their lives.
Courtesy: Friday Times