Courtesy: Daily Motion
PESHAWAR – Peshawar Corps Commander Lt Gen Khalid Rabbani has made it clear that the government alone will make the decision regarding a military operation in North Waziristan and “no one can impose its own will from abroad in this respect”.
“The armed forces are well aware of their responsibilities and are alert for all sorts of action in any part of the country,” was his reply to a query while talking to reporters on Thursday at an iftar dinner hosted by him in the honor of journalists and analysts.
The corps commander expressed surprise over media reports regarding military operation in North Waziristan, saying “how is it possible for the armed forces to accept a wish from abroad regarding our own internal issue or any other administrative matter”?
WASHINGTON: The Obama administration expressed renewed frustration with Pakistan on Tuesday, urging its reluctant counterterrorism ally to break remaining links between its security services and the Haqqani network and stem the flow of bomb-making material into Afghanistan.
A State Department report credited Pakistan’s government with taking action against al-Qaida last year, even though the United States acted unilaterally in the commando operation that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. It called Islamabad’s attempts weaker when it came to snuffing out groups such as the Haqqani network and Laskhar e-Taiba. …
Read more » DAWN.COM
Delhi: If Pakistan doesn`t stop backing terrorists acting against India, New Delhi must pay back Islamabad in the same coin, says a scholarly book on Indian counterterrorism strategy.
“Indian policymakers need to critically evaluate whether in fact a `strong and stable Pakistan` is in India`s interest,” says Prem Mahadevan in “The Politics of Counterterrorism in India” (I.B. Tauris).
Suggesting that the entire basis of Indian counterterrorist policy might need to be re-examined, the 297-page book says that New Delhi should take a unilateral two-pronged approach against pan-Islamist jehad.
While implementing domestic security reforms, the book says, the “more productive approach could be to take the counterterrorist offensive inside Pakistan itself“.
“This would be a daring move, requiring considerable political courage to initially be implemented.
“Once started, however, it has the potential to exert a strong deterrent effect upon the ISI (Inter Services Intelligence agency) and Pakistani jehadists.”
According to the author, a senior researcher at the Centre for Security Studies in Zurich, India`s failure to declare Pakistan a long-term adversary, “whose covert operations need to be reciprocated, has left Indian citizens vulnerable to further terrorist attacks”.
Mahadevan quoted former RAW chief K. Sankaran Nair as saying: “If what Pakistan does within our borders exceeds our capacity to control it, then we must take the fight to their doorstep. There is no question.”
The Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) is India`s external intelligence agency.
The book says: “Strikes against terrorist masterminds, including `rogue` or `freelance` ISI officials, would thus be an integral component of an ideal Indian counterterrorist policy.”
Women’s Action Forum (WAF) Hyderabad, Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad are appalled that a peaceful demonstration of Mohabat-e-Sindh (Love of Sindh) rally against the division of Sindh on the 22nd of May was violently attacked resulting in the tragic death of friends and comrades. We strongly condemn the use of force under any circumstances and particularly when it is used to subdue the democratic rights of the people to express their sentiments and political positions.
WAF offers its profound condolences to the family of Yasmeen Baloch, and Sindiani Tehreek for the tragic deaths and offers condolences to the family of labour leader Usman Baluch whose niece Ghazala Siddiqui was also killed. We will miss all of them not only in our political struggle but for the personal strength that their activism gave to all of us.
The mischievous noise of the ‘division’ of Sindh has been often used with sinister intent over to further the interests of a particular fascist terrorist group and has often been supported by the ‘hidden’ hand of those who have frequently brought the nation on the brink of destruction. WAF stands with the people of Sindh and does not accept the division of Sindh on ethnic or administrative lines, no matter what the rationale since this goes against the very fabric and spirit of secular Sindh.
Women’s Action Forum (WAF) is a women’s rights organization and has a presence in several cities in Pakistan. It is a non-partisan, non-hierarchical and non-funded organization. It is supportive of all aspects of women’s rights and related issues, irrespective of political affiliations, belief system, or ethnicity.
Tensions rise after Mohajir Suba rhetoric, Nationalists demand action against patrons of division, Ten nationalist parties warn taking action if govt. fails
Urdu-speaking people should not support evil design
Sindh’s nationalist parties on Sunday demanded of the government to take stern action against those responsible for organizing rallies, putting up billboards and banners and graffiti in different parts of Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur for carving out a new province out of Sindh.
Leaders of almost ten nationalist parties also warned that Sindhi people would themselves take action against such people if the government failed in stopping them.
The parties included Sindh National Movement, Jeay Sindh Tehreek, Awami Jamhori Party, Sindh United Party, Awami Tehreek, Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz, Sindh National Party, Jeay Sindh Mahaz, Sindh Dost Democratic Party and Karachi Sindh Shehri Ittehad.
The leaders warned of serious consequences if any attempt was made to divide the province or to carve out another province out of Sindh.
They said Urdu-speaking community should not support any evil design of dividing Sindh adding they (Urdu-speaking people) are their brothers but if they continue to demand a separate homeland here or support anti-Sindh elements, they are advised and warned to leave Sindh.
Another report adds: They said that a conspiracy was being hatched for the last couple of months. “We did not take any action fearing bloodshed but enough is enough. We are peaceful people but know how to fight for our motherland,” said Ameer Bhanbhro.
“Our elders welcomed Mohajirs at the time of partition and Urdu-speaking people enjoy all kinds of rights and privileges in Sindh today. They were elected as Nazims in major cities and are members of the national and provincial assemblies and governors as well. On the contrary, Sindhis are not given entry in the educational institutions and are denied jobs in Karachi,” said Elahi Bux Bikik.
It merits mentioning that Sindh Taraqi Pasand Party (STPP) on Saturday issued a 72-hour ultimatum to the Sindh government to remove the wall chalking, posters, banners and posters carrying maps of Mohajir Suba (Refugees Province) from all parts of Sindh. In case of failure, the party declared to its workers would do it in every city from Karachi to Larkano.
Courtesy: The Point
By: Mir Mohammad Ali Talpur
During the 1973-1977 army action in conflict zones, thousands of innocent people were killed, tens of thousands were internally displaced
Mr Ikram Sehgal’s “Of Empire and Army” (Newsline, March 2012) is a bundle of misinformation and bias against the Baloch. Perturbed that the media holds the security establishment solely responsible for the Balochistan crisis, he claims, “Most of our problems stem from jumping to conclusions that are based on misinformation, and then deliberately distorting those half-truths to suit mass perception.” He feels, “Disproportionate media projection of the separatist leaders encourages ethnic divisions and violence.” He probably thinks the Baloch struggle and the atrocities by the state are a figment of the media’s imagination.
The state’s brutal kill and dump policy seems justified to him. He half-heartedly admits, “No one denies the fact that targeted killings of the Baloch are taking place, that people are being picked up and that state actors are involved in the killing and the disappearances.” Then he offers a lame justification that “sons of the soil” are killing an equal number of settlers. Balochistan Home Department’s recent report said that the majority of the ones killed are ethnic Baloch.
Sehgal tells us that on December 29, 1973, as his son was being born in Karachi, his company came under heavy fire from Marri insurgents near Kahan, after the dismissal of Ataullah’s representative government. The Baloch considered them aggressors rightly, and could not be expected to throw a party. He then says, “Throughout that year, many soldiers were martyred and several injured,” and adds, “In one instance, the insurgents beheaded 19 of our soldiers.”
Well, I too was in the Marri area with the Baloch nationalists then and assuredly, the Marris never indulged in such abhorrent practices. His claim defies reason as no guerilla could possibly have time to ambush and behead soldiers. Ambushes invite response and with helicopters, jets and motorised transportation at the army’s disposal, only fools would linger after an ambush.
The columnist adds that the army could have retaliated against the Marris in kind but relented because they understood that their Sardar (tribal chief), who was living comfortably in Kabul, misguided the Marris. Incidentally, Sardar Khair Baksh Marri and other Baloch leaders, including Sardar Ataullah Mengal, were in jail until 1978. He blames the media for misinformation and distortion. During the 1973-1977 army action in conflict zones, thousands of innocent people were killed, tens of thousands were internally displaced, social and economic life was disrupted, flocks were stolen, crops destroyed, and the entire Balochistan was terrorised. Eight persons, whom I knew personally, including my dear friend, Daleep Dass, aka Johnny Dass, went missing, never to be heard of again. Sher Muhammad Aliani — a sept, an elder, a septuagenarian — was picked up because of an ambush in the vicinity of his settlement near Kahan; his brutally tortured corpse was later recovered. Murad Khan Ramkani of Tadri too was similarly killed. The valiant Asadullah Mengal and Ahmed Shah Kurd were abducted and killed in Karachi. The examples of the ‘consideration’ shown are too numerous to note.
By Beena Sarwar
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan has ordered Rinkal Kumari and Dr Lata Kumari to be sent back to Karachi shelter home for 3 weeks to give them time to “think”. Would he have done that if they had given statements in favour of their kidnappers?
Here is the account from a family friend of Rinkal’s” “When Rinkal came into court, without letting her meet her parents/mother, she (Rinkal) was brought to give statement in front of CJP, she only stated that she doesn’t want to go anywhere, BUT her mother. Then CJP met with Rinkal alone for about 20 minutes, and then let her mother meet her for only 10 minutes. Afterwards Rinkal was crying before CJP, she wanted to go to her parents. CJP said, girl wants to go with her parents but there is confusion as the girl had embraced ISLAM and had spent married life, so how can she turn around from her previous statement? Therefore, he ordered Rinkal to be sent to shelter home for more 3 weeks to think, along with Dr. Lata, who was sent to Shelter home on same grounds. Is this justice?? Chief justice should have backed innocent girls, supported them and should have ordered immense and appropriate action against Mullah and involved culprits, BUT after all he is a Muslim as well, he has intentions to book a plot in heaven as well…”
Rinkal Kumari said in court:..” Pakistan mein sab log ek doosre ke saath mile huwe hain, yahan insaaaf sirf muslaman ke lye hai, Hindu ke lye koi insaaf nahee hai, mujhe yaheen court room mein maar daalo, lekin Dar-ul-aman nahee bhejo, yeh sab log mile huwe hain yeh humein maar daalen ge“. Translation: (Everyone in Pakistan is hand in glove, there is justice only for Muslims, there is no justice for Hindus. Kill me here in court, but don’t send me to Darul-Aman, all these people are hand in glove, they will kill us) – KTN news channel live reporting captured on a personal camera – the reporter repeats Rinkals words quote-un-quote.
Courtesy: Adopted from Beena Sarwar’s facebook page
By Chidanand Rajghatta
WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s state-endorsed discrimination, and in some cases extermination, of its minorities has finally caught the eye of Washington lawmakers. Coming on the heels of support in Congress for a Baloch homeland in the face of Islamabad’s depredations in the region, a US Congressman has zeroed in on the abduction and forced religious conversion of Hindus in the country highlighted by the case of Rinkel Kumari.
In a sharply-worded letter to Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari, Congressman Brad Sherman urged him to take action to ensure the return of Rinkel Kumari to her family, pursuant to reports that she had been abducted with the help of a Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) lawmaker. In a case that has been widely reported in the liberal Pakistani media, Rinkel, who was abducted on February 24, was forced to marry one Naveed Shah and convert to Islam.
She was subsequently produced before a civil judge twice, but she was reportedly coerced into claiming that she had converted on her own will, even as her family was denied access to her in kangaroo court proceedings that revealed in video clips to be led by a frenzied mob of zealots, including armed followers of the Pakistani lawmaker. According to Pakistani civil liberties activists in Washington DC, Rinkel was allegedly threatened while in police custody that if she did not change her statement, she and her family would be killed.
”Rinkel Kumari’s case is just one case of abduction and forced religious conversion in Pakistan,” Congressman Sherman said in the letter to Zardari, citing the Asian Human Rights commission figure of 20-25 kidnappings and forced conversions of Hindu girls in Sindh every month. ”I urge you to take all necessary steps to bring an end to this practice and other harassment of Hindus in Pakistan.”
The Rinkel Kumari case was brought to the attention of US lawmakers not by Hindu activists but by the Sindhi American Political Action Committee (SAPAC), a lobby group that, like the Baloch groups, is increasingly asserting the secular and syncretic identity of Pakistan’s Sindhi community in the face of growing Islamization in the country. Sapac activists are telling US lawmakers that state sponsored discrimination against minority groups in Pakistan is rampant and is causing Hindus to migrate out of Pakistan in droves.
Hindus, who constituted more than 15 per cent of Pakistan’s population soon after Partition, have now dwindled to less than two per cent, mostly in some districts of Sindh. There have been several reports in recent months of Hindu families seeking to migrate to India in the face of growing radical Islamization of Pakistan, including abduction and forcible conversions, but it is the first time that Washington, which literally slept over Pakistan’s genocide of Bengalis in 1970-71, is paying attention to the issue.
US interest in the Rinkel Kumari case comes close on the heels of sudden support in Congress for Baloch self-determination, an effort led by California lawmaker Dana Rohrabacher. That effort has rattled Islamabad to the extent that it has told American interlocutors that Pakistan-US ties will be deeply affected if Washington interfered in Balochistan, even though the Obama administration has clarified that support for an independent Balochistan is confined to the Hill, where lawmakers are free to introduce any legislation they deem appropriate. That in turn resulted in Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S.,, writing to House Speaker John Boehner, expressing deep concern over Congressional action on Balochistan.
March 8, 2012 – Washington, DC – The Sindhi American Political Action Committee (SAPAC) was recently informed about the urgent and alarming case of a Hindu girl, Rinkel Kumari, who was abducted by Muslim fanatics from her home in Mirpur Mathelo and forced to convert her religion to Islam. We are in the process of arranging appointments with members of Congress and their staff to discuss Rinkel’s case as well as the plight of minorities in Pakistan. We would like to invite you to join us as we meet with members of Congress.
Sadly, Rinkel Kumari’s is one of many cases of abduction and forced religious conversion in Pakistan. We have gathered some information about Rinkel’s case and the situation of Hindus in Pakistan below:
· Rinkel Kumari was forcibly abducted from her home in the early hours of February 24, 2012 by Naveed Shah who was accompanied by three other armed men.
· Rinkel was held in custody by Mian Mohammad Aslam, the son of Pakistan Peoples’ Party MNA Miya Mithoo in Bharchundi Shareef where she was forced to marry Naveed Shah and convert to Islam.
· On the morning of February 24, Daya Ram, Rinkel’s uncle registered an FIR against Naveed Shah.
· On February 25, Rinkel’s case was brought before a Ghotki civil judge. Rinkel testified that she had been kidnapped and forced to change her religion against her will. However, the judge ruled in favor of Naveed Shah and Rinkel was taken into police custody for two days at Sukkur police station.
· Rinkel was allegedly threatened while in police custody that if she did not change her statement, she and her family would be killed.
· On February 27, Rinkel appeared in court again. This time, her relatives were not allowed inside the court. Additionally, there were armed followers of the MNA surrounding the court.
· During this second hearing, Rinkel was under pressure and changed her statement in favor of Naveed Shah. She was given into his custody. Rinkel’s family is not aware of the whereabouts of their daughter.
· On March 2, the Hindu community protested in front of the Press Club against the abductions and forced conversions of Hindu girls to Islam. The family of Rinkel also participated in the protest.
· Hindus are a minority group in Pakistan, making up approximately 2% of the population.
· According to the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), around 20 to 25 forced kidnappings and conversions of Hindu girls take place every month in Sindh.
· The Hindu American Foundation states that “many Hindus in Pakistan are compelled to pay regular sums, as a type of ransom, to extortionists and local leaders in exchange for the physical security of their families and themselves.”
· As a result of Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws, minority groups in Pakistan are not free to express their own religions and ideologies without fear of persecution.
· State sponsored discrimination against minority groups in Pakistan is rampant. This state sponsored discrimination has caused several Hindus to migrate out of Pakistan. In March 2011, Hindu politician in Pakistan Jaipal Chabria, said that “every month a Hindu family leaves for neighboring India. Insecurity, killings, kidnappings and forcible conversion of women to Islam are the major causes.”
We humbly request that you contact us to join us in presenting Rinkel’s case to members of Congress on Capitol Hill. Please let us know as soon as possible if you plan to participate. We hope to work together to bring justice to Rinkel and her family and to bring an end to state sponsored discrimination in Pakistan.
Marxist political advice and its discontents
By Omar Ali
Professor Vijay Prashad is the George and Martha Kellner professor of history at Trinity college. He is also a prominent left wing activist. The two roles have different requirements. Here he tries to bridge the gap.
Someone had commented on 3quarksdaily.com that this is “Another bucketload of gormless Marxist verbiage around a central anti-semitic core: forget the mountains of corpses and the decades of torture and oppression – Assad’s main crime is defined as “neoliberalism … and a practice of accommodation with both the US and Israel.”
That triggered the following comment (i have edited the original slightly for clarity) from me: The real problem with neomarxist verbiage is not double standards or selective outrage, its the unbridgeable gap between being a professor and being an actor on the ground in a civil war in a faraway country.
Vijay Prashad as a professor in a first world University may eventually contribute to changing the way X or Y issue is framed in the mind of the elite, and that in turn will eventually have some impact somewhere in actual daily politics and political struggles but those are big “eventually-s”. Some professors are OK with that and focus on doing their research and writing their books and teaching their students in the hope that their analysis will eventually “trickle down”. But that (for obvious reasons) is not very satisfying for most of us. Hence the need to suggest practical courses of action in today’s clash, to pick sides, to “organize a relief column”. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on your estimate of said professor’s wisdom and insight) this aspect of a professor’s work has near-zero real world relevance.
I don’t know how to fix this problem, but it does seem to be a real problem. Most right wingers are almost by definition closer to the ruling elites so maybe they dont feel the pain as much, but left wing professors are in a painful bind here..to have no opinion on proximate politics and wars seems silly, but to have an opinion that arises logically from their theoretical framework is frequently sillier, and any honest and good man may end up in Professor Prashad’s position. Its a real dilemma.
In an attempt to pre-empt misunderstandings, let me add:
1. My question is not about the details of his analysis.
2. Its about this scenario. Lets say Vijay is Vladimir Lenin. Well, in that case he is not only a theoretician (though he would like to believe that his superior understanding of theory informs his practice), he is an organizer, a rebel, a leader, a politician with day to day decision to make. Very fine nuances and very involved calculations will come into play. Many of those calculations will be very cynical. All of them will be locally bound by existing circumstances. Theory will have to give way again and again. But Vijay (probably not even in his own mind, but I don’t know him personally, so I cannot say for sure) is not Lenin. He is a professor. He does research, he writes books. He has theories. And he is part of a broader left wing academic current that has its own internal dynamics very far from the ground in Syria. I am saying I don’t expect him to say things that are too useful as guides to action.
3. What do you think?
Courtesy: Brown Pundits
Although the congressional hearing and subsequent resolutions were not sponsored by the Obama administration, American diplomats still face the wrath of Pakistani officials due to utter ignorance of the American poli-tical system. Anti-Americanism is not unfamiliar in Pakistan, but bashing the Obama administration for a ‘crime’ it has not committed simply means there is something fishy in Islamabad’s cupboard.
By Azam Khan / Web Desk
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court concluded its hearing of the contempt case against Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Thursday and summoned the premier on February 13, reported Express News. The court said that it will frame charges against the prime minister during the hearing. …
…. Ahsan also questioned the court that if it can send notices to Bhutto, Nawaz Sharif and Gilani, then why it can’t initiate any action against the generals who were involved in arresting the judges.
Read more » The Express Tribune
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More details » BBC urdu
Govt has no intention of sacking Kayani, Pasha: AG
ISLAMABAD: During the hearing of a petition filed against a possible removal of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani and Director General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt-Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha, the government clarified that it had no intention of sacking the said officials, DawnNews reported.
Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq told the Supreme Court bench hearing the petition that the government had no plans to take such an action.
On the attorney general’s explanation, Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry directed him to file a written reply after taking orders on the issue from the government. ….
Read more » DAWN.COM
ISLAMABAD: The rhetoric against country’s top spymaster has increased in recent days – that too from a number of quarters.
Asma Jahangir, the counsel for former ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani, said on Monday that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Shuja Ahmed Pasha “should have resigned immediately” after the May 2 raid in Abbottabad that killed Osama bin Laden.
Speaking to the media after the Memogate case hearing, Jahangir said she did not understand why the DG ISI felt the need to travel abroad in order to investigate the matter. Jehangir also questioned Pasha’s meeting with Mansoor Ijaz.
Asma said she was baffled by Pasha’s meeting with Ijaz. “I don’t understand his interest in the Memogate affair,” she added.
“Under whose authority did he go abroad?” she said, referring to the permission Pasha had required from the prime minister. Ijaz, in his reply, had stated that Pasha told him that he was meeting him with the knowledge of the Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.
Petition against Pasha
Communist Party Chairman Engineer Jamil Ahmed Malik has also applied pressure on General Pasha. On Monday he pleaded with the Supreme Court to take action against the ISI chief for allegedly meeting Arab rulers.
Filing a petition in the SC on Monday, Jameel asked the court to remove Pasha, claiming he has lost the right to remain in service after his involvement in the Memogate affair.
Jamil said that, although reports regarding Pasha’s meeting with senior Arab leaders were carried in the press, neither ISPR (Inter Services Public Relations) nor Pasha had contradicted them. In the ‘Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto versus President of Pakistan’ case, the SC had decided that “facts given in newspapers, having not been denied, would be considered as undisputed fact”, Jamil said.
Jamil’s argument, therefore, is that news on the meeting indicated that Pasha and the army were involved in politics, which was contrary to their oath under Article 244 of the Constitution. He added that the SC in a 2004 case had barred all government employees from taking part in politics during service. “…the ISI chief has hatched a conspiracy against an elected government and the president and he deserves a court martial under the Pakistan Army Act, 152,” Jamil said. ….
Read more » The Express Tribune
By Joshua Partlow and Karin Brulliard
A former Afghan official said Karzai is regularly frustrated by what he sees as the United States’ failure to take stronger action against Taliban sanctuaries in Pakistan or pressure Pakistan’s military or intelligence agency to address the problem.
“We put all our eggs in the American basket,” he said. “The problem is, that basket has a huge hole in it, and it’s called Pakistan.”
KABUL — The Afghan police general watched on television as Pakistani soldiers solemnly saluted the coffins of 24 of their comrades who were killed in a U.S. military airstrike Saturday.
The general stood up in disgust. “That’s the best thing America has done in 10 years here,” he said.
While U.S. officials from the war zone to the White House offered contrite condolences to the families of the dead and scrambled to repair the tattered relationship with Pakistan, Afghan officials have taken a tougher line. Frustrated by a Taliban insurgency they are convinced is supervised by and based in Pakistan, they have expressed little remorse, even accusing Pakistan of exaggerating the gravity of the situation to deflect attention from its own meddling in Afghanistan.
Afghan officials said the strike — which followed an operation by U.S. Special Operations forces and Afghan army commandos — was justified because the troops came under fire first from a Pakistani border post. “We have absolutely nothing to apologize for,” a senior official said.
Read more » The Washington Post
A Statement by the Asian Human Rights Commission
PAKISTAN: Army and government officials remain silent to the demands for action against the alleged rapists of 16 years old girl
AHRC-STM-166-2011, November 3, 2011 – The Ansar Burney Trust announces that it will take responsibility for providing medical treatment to the victim for the safe delivery of the child and their protection
- Laurie Penny: Across the world, a new spirit took hold – power was taken back by the people
More than city squares are being occupied. What is being reoccupied is a sense of collective possibility
Something enormous happened on Saturday night. In over a thousand towns and cities around the world, people from all walks of life took to the streets and occupied the squares in an international “day of action” against austerity and corporate greed. In Madrid, I watched 60,000 stamp and cheer in Puerta del Sol as protesters took over a nearby building and dropped a banner reading “Somos El 99%” (“we are the 99 per cent”), a slogan from the Occupy Wall Street movement which has become a mantra for new global resistance.
As thousands streamed into the main square of the Spanish capital, a projector was showing hundreds facing down police to camp outside the London Stock Exchange. Protest, like profit, has become globalised.
The fact that politicians and pundits are asking what all these people want can be considered a victory for the “occupy everywhere” movement. It’s not a question many in public life have seemed much concerned with in the past decade.
What commentators fail to understand is that occupation is itself a demand. It’s a new, practical politics for those disillusioned with representative democracy, which demonstrators claim is a private club run by the rich, for the rich.
The recolonisation of public space, the forming of alternative communities based on direct democracy where people can meet and realise a common struggle, is an act of defiance with its own solution to the alienation and frustrations of life under capitalism. Those who attend occupations with individual grievances stay because they want to belong to a community built on mutual aid and shared values.
As political ambitions go, “occupy everywhere” is hardly modest. It is fitting that the most notable showdown of Saturday night took place in New York’s Times Square, where thousands of peaceful protesters clashed with mounted police under the glow of giant electric billboards in this temple to corporate power.
What is being occupied is far more than a few public squares for a few weeks. What’s being reoccupied is the collective political imagination, and a sense of collective possibility – beyond nationalism, beyond left and right – as millions of people lose faith in mainstream politics.
Power is not being petitioned here – it’s being reinvented. That’s what makes “occupy everywhere” so fascinating and also so exciting.
Courtesy » independent.co.uk
- by Harris Bin Munawar
When America’s top military official hinted at direct US action in the tribal region where it believes Pakistan shelters and works with the anti-American Haqqani Network, among the first to respond was the network’s top leader. “The US would suffer more losses in the North Waziristan Agency than they did in Afghanistan,” Sirajuddin Haqqani said, daring the US to send its troops into the tribal region that the Pakistani army itself has refused to enter.
This means: 1. His network is entrenched in North Waziristan 2. It is their responsibility to defend the agency 3. They would prefer to do so over several years in Afghanistan-style guerrilla warfare
Pakistan Army says it is not ready to take on the influential pro-Taliban leader, effectively giving up a claim on the territory he controls.
Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani says a raid on the Haqqani Network would be an attack on Pakistan’s sovereignty, as if the defence of North Waziristan has been outsourced to the Haqqanis.
Prone to the drone:
If Pakistan Army indeed lacks capacity, or will, to reclaim North Waziristan where Afghan insurgents are believed to hide, regroup and plan new attacks, that means it has no effective control over the region.
Pakistan says that: 1. Its army does not have the means or resources to control that territory 2. The government will lose political credibility if it orders an operation in the North Waziristan 3. Taliban reaction to such an operation will destabilize the entire country
If that is correct, Pakistan has lost de facto control over the area and it cannot claim sovereignty. That gives the US a justification to go after its enemies itself. And that is what the US does with missile attacks by unmanned aircraft.
A government that has been holding tribes collectively responsible for violations committed by their individual members has no moral authority to suddenly invoke modern notions of justice or mourn the death of innocent civilians who shelter the Taliban.
So little leverage:
If Pakistan is collaborating with, or supporting, or merely avoiding confrontation with a group it has long-standing ties with, a group it believes or hopes will have a significant role in the post-US Afghanistan, there is no reason it will stop doing that for an ally that is about to leave the battlefield.
Washington wants to put its foot down. It wants Pakistan to stop supporting its enemies. But “the problem is”, security analyst Caroline told Reuters, “we have so little leverage”. Because:
1. America cannot engage in a long-term battle inside Pakistan with its economy worsening, troops thinning, and a complete withdrawal from the region already announced
2. It has no identifiable target in Pakistan. The Haqqani Network does not have too much of a stationary central command that it could attack
3. Now that they are expecting an attack, members of the group will disperse
4. If the IsI is supporting the Haqqani Network, killing one or two of its leaders will not significantly hurt the group’s capability to attack US interests
What can America do?
1. The US can make a May 2 style incursion into Pakistan and go after the top leader of the Haqqani Network. After his father Jalaluddin Haqqani’s retirement, Sirajuddin the most influential insurgent figure in that region. But the impact of his killing might not be more than that of the killing of Osama bin Laden
2. It can make a number of simultaneous raids under air cover on several key targets in North Waziristan – people or buildings that might include Pakistan Army’s check-posts. Like the May 2 raid, the legitimacy of the operation will depend on how successful it is
3. The US can carry out a series of individual strikes followed by periods of calm. That way it will continue to meet its goals and embarrass the Pakistan Army, while making sure the tipping point is never reached
4. Washington can impose an economic embargo on Pakistan, stop all aid, freeze its accounts and declare the ISI a terrorist organisation. It can also use its influence on international agencies to end all aid and loan programs to Pakistan. That will be deathblow to Pakistan’s ailing economy
5. It can increase drone strikes in the Tribal Areas and take out targets with virtual impunity
Neither of these steps is new or extraordinary, and neither of these steps will dramatically reverse the US predicament in Afghanistan.
What can Pakistan do?
Any US move against Pakistan does not have to be new or extraordinary to hurt Pakistan. Pakistan Army has influenced public opinion in the past to create an anti-America feeling that it can then cite to seek concessions from the US. In doing that, it has entrenched itself into a position where it will have no choice but to respond to a US strike.
As an immediate response, Pakistan can:
1. Retaliate and fire at intruding US aircraft or men. Claims have been made that Pakistan can shoot down predator drones, but it is less likely Pakistan can detect and attack US fighter aircraft. The Osama bin Laden raid has also raised doubts about Pakistan’s ability to detect and attack intruding helicopters
2. Carry out a delayed but full-fledged counter-attack on US bases in Afghanistan that it believes were used in attacks on its soil. That may lead to a US counter-counter-attack and an all out war. How long can Pakistan sustain that war is an important question
3. Increase attacks on US interests through any Taliban factions or other insurgent groups that are ready to support Pakistan. If Sirajuddin Haqqani has made an offer to defend North Waziristan, the Pakistani military might take them up on that. Sooner or later, the US will withdraw anyway. But is there a guarantee these groups will not go rogue like many in the past? Can a modern Pakistani republic reconcile with their version of the Muslim faith?
4. Step back and start an operation in North Waziristan. But with the US leaving, will Pakistan want to alienate its supporters in Afghanistan? One way to deal with the problem is to continue the policy Pakistan is accused of. The army can hide key figures of the network and then conduct a fake operation for several months until the US is pressured by its politics or economics to leave the region. But then, how will Pakistan deal with the network and reclaim its territory after the US leaves?
5. Not retaliate with a military move, and just end diplomatic ties with the US, losing a key source of aid. Closing down NATO supply routes will hurt the US immediately. But if the supplies are stopped for too long, the US will find new, although more expensive, ways to get supplies to Kabul. If that happens, Pakistan would have burned up a very important advantage.
6. Go to China for help. China’s key security officials came to Pakistan last week. Pakistani analysts saw that as a sign of support. But the Chinese delegation is on a scheduled visit to discuss terrorists hiding in Pakistan’s Tribal Areas that fight against China in its Xinjiang province. It is not likely China support Pakistan on some of the possible plans we have discussed. Nor is it in China’s interest to jump into a US-Pakistan conflict.
Can Pakistan sustain a war?
Opinion leaders in Pakistan believe the resource-rich republic can sustain confrontation with a defeated US empire. Such self-deception has cost Pakistan dearly in the past. Let us look at the key resources needed in a war:
Troops: Pakistan does not have enough troops to guard both the Indian and Afghan border. We have grouped India with the US as a matter of policy, and will have to pay for that by being sandwiched between two hostile neighbours
Weapons: The weapons and equipment used by Pakistan Army come from the US and its allies. That means we will soon run out of ammunition and cannot repair or service the equipment
Money: Pakistan’s economy cannot pay for a war, especially after an embargo by the US. Hit by floods two years in a row, suffering from an energy crisis, cash-strapped because of huge government spending, and dependent on foreign aid, how long will its money last?
Communications network: Pakistan’s communication system can not bear the burden of war with a dysfunctional railways. With engine shortages and trains stopped half way for up to 20 hours because there is no diesel, how will Pakistan fight a war?
Intelligence: If Pakistan’s intelligence agencies are to be believed, they had no clue about the presence of Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in Pakistan, a planned US raid to kill him, or even about the activities of Raymond Davis and CIA contractors like him. On the contrary, it is accused of targeting journalists who there is a general consensus are not American agents. Pakistan’s intelligence network does not look like it is ready to fight a war
Diplomatic support: Every single country in this region was hurt when Pakistan had influence in Afghanistan the last time. Insurgents from China and Central Asia were sheltered and trained in Afghanistan, Iran was unhappy because tens of thousands of Shias were massacred, and India was among the victims of guerrilla warriors too. The International Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia is asking for former ISI chief Gen Javed Nasir. Who in the region will support Pakistan in its battle to control Afghanistan?
Domestic politics: Hundreds of people have been killed in ethnic and political battles in the crime-infested economic hub Karachi, Punjab is suffering from a new epidemic, Sindh is submerged in floods, Balochistan is fighting an insurgency and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is dysfunctional because of terrorism. Pakistan’s domestic situation is less than ideal for a war.
- Congressional Briefing: The importance of Sindh in the U.S./Pakistani relationship: How flood aid is of humanitarian and U.S. national security interest
Washington, D.C., Oct. 7, 2011 – The Sindhi American Political Action Committee in conjunction with the Congressional Sindh Caucus will host a congressional briefing at the Capitol Hill in room HC-5 on October 13, from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00p.m. The topics for discussion at the briefing will be the current floods in Sindh, the U.S. – Pakistan relationship, and U.S. aid and assistance in the Sindh Province in regards to the floods.
Heavy monsoon rains in early August have devastated the Sindh region of Pakistan. Sixteen of the 23 districts in Sindh have been affected with over 1.7 million acres of standing crops, the Sindhis main source of livelihood, destroyed. More than 270 deaths have been reported and more than 6 million people have been displaced or directly affected by flood waters. Currently, there are 700,000 people living in temporary sites and 280,000 have been relocated to 1,800 relief camps within Sindh. There have been 120,000 pregnant women and 500,000 children who have been directly affected by the floods and more than 2 million people are suffering from flood-related diseases. Thousands of flood victims need relief and aid, but the slow and limited response of the Pakistani government and the international community has left a gap that is being filled by Islamist terrorist organizations like Jamaat-ud-dawa.
As the Sindhi people are a peaceful people, wanting a region that is accepting of religions and cultures, they stand as a crucial ally to the United States in this vulnerable region in the world. The briefing will bring to light the importance of maintaining a good relationship between the United States and the Sindhis and the Sindh region and how flood relief is of importance in this endeavor.
Speakers at the briefing will include Dr. Haider K. Nizamani, teaches Political Science at the University of British Columbia, Dr. Louis Flam, professor of archaeology, paleoecology, geo-archaeology and South Asian Studies at the City University of New York, Dr. Geeta Chainani, President and co-founder of Life Bridge US, and Dr. Gul Agha, professor of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Courtesy: » Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, October 8, 2011.
- Dr. Geeta Chainani, Dr. Haider K. Nizamani, Dr. Louis Flam, Dr. Gul Agha to join panel at congressional briefing Hosted by the Sindhi American Political Action Committee in conjunction with the Congressional Sindh Caucus. Date/Time: October 13, 2:00p.m. – 4:00p.m. Place: Capitol, room HC-5.
Beginning in August, the monsoon season hit Pakistan and has come to devastate the province of Sindh. With over 5 million people affected, including 2 million homeless and hundreds dead, the people of Sindh remain in a precarious situation. With little aid and relief, the Sindhi people are suffering from diseases, loss of livelihood, and nowhere to go.Join us to learn more about the Sindh, who the people are, and most importantly, how the Sindh region plays a crucial part in the United States’ relationship with Pakistan and its security.
- US raid on Haqqanis violation of sovereignty: Gilani
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani warned Washington on Tuesday that continued accusations of playing a double game in the war on militancy only risked fanning anti-Americanism in Pakistan.
Gilani, speaking in an interview, also said any unilateral military action by the United States to hunt down Haqqani network inside Pakistan would be a violation of his country’s sovereignty.
Read more: → The News
- Graham Doesn’t Rule Out Military Action Against Pakistan if No Crack Down on Extremists
WASHINGTON — Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham on Sunday wouldn’t rule out U.S. military action if Pakistan’s intelligence agencies continue supporting terrorists who are attacking American forces.
Outgoing Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen last week accused Pakistan’s intelligence agency of backing the Haqqani network, a terror group active in Afghanistan but based out of Pakistan who attacked the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan and detonated a truck bomb that wounded scores of American soldiers.
Arguing that Pakistan has made a “tremendous miscalculation” in allowing the Haqqanis to operate without consequence, Graham said the U.S. won’t make the same mistake with Pakistan.
“The sovereign nation of Pakistan is engaging in hostile acts against the United States and our ally Afghanistan that must cease. I will leave it up to the experts, but if the experts believe that we need to elevate our response, they will have a lot of bipartisan support on Capitol Hill,” the South Carolina senator told “Fox News Sunday.”
White House senior adviser David Plouffe said Mullen and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke with their counterparts in Pakistan last week and made the point that safe havens and support for the Haqqani Network will not be abided.
But Plouffe wouldn’t say if the U.S. would cut aid to Pakistan if it didn’t crack down on the Haqqanis.
Graham, who’s on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the relationship with Pakistan is flawed but is not spoiled to the point of abandonment. However, he did suggest that the U.S. could “reconfigure” assistance to Pakistan.
“No longer are we to designating an amount of aid to Pakistan. We’re going to have a more transactional relationship,” Graham said.
via → Siasat.pk
- By Reuters
WASHINGTON: US officials say there is mounting evidence that Pakistan’s chief intelligence agency has been encouraging a Pakistan-based militant network to attack US targets.
The allegations, if fully confirmed, heighten a painful dilemma for President Barack Obama’s administration. Washington is under growing political pressure to take action against the Haqqani network after a spate of deadly attacks US officials have attributed to it. These include last week’s strike againstthe American Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.
Some US intelligence reporting alleges that Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence directorate (ISI) specifically directed, or urged, the Haqqani network to carry out the September 13 attack on the embassy and a NATO headquarters in Kabul, according two US officials and a source familiar with recent US-Pakistan official contacts. However, officials cautioned that this information is uncorroborated.
Another US official familiar with internal government assessments said that at the very least, the available intelligence strongly suggests the ISI has been egging on elements of the Haqqani network to launch attacks at American targets in the region.
While American officials have aired allegations of ties between the ISI and the Haqqani network in recent days, they have not publicly cited evidence that the Pakistani agency, or elements of it, urged its proxy to attack US targets.
While the ISI’s motives in any such attacks are not clear, Pakistan has long wanted to play a major role in Afghanistan’s future after the departure of NATO troops, and to counter what it sees as the growing influence there of arch-rival India.
This week, top US officials, including Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Admiral Mike Mullen, demanded that Pakistan’s leaders take action against the Haqqanis, ….
Read more → The Express Tribune
- Four members of Congress to speak at SAPAC’s Second Anniversary Banquet Dinner
Washington, D.C., Sept. 13, 2011 – Congressman Brad Sherman and Congressman Dan Burton, co-chairs of the Congressional Sindh Caucus, Congressman Adam Schiff, first member of the Congressional Sindh Caucus, and Senator Robert Menendez will be special guest speakers at the Sindhi American Political Action Committee (SAPAC) Second Anniversary Banquet Dinner, dedicated to victims of the 2011 floods in Sindh, at the Phoenix Park Hotel in Washington D.C. at 7:00 P.M. on October 13, 2011. Other special guest speakers will include Dr. Gul Agha, professor at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, and Dr. Harold Gould, visiting scholar at the Center for South Asian Studies at the University of Virginia.
SAPAC’s Second Anniversary Banquet Dinner will bring Sindhi Americans throughout the nation together to discuss topics relating to Sindhi Americans and issues within the Sindh region. Topics will include the state of U.S. relations with Pakistan, countering militancy through indigenous Sufi beliefs, Sindhi language programming on the Voice of America, Advancement of Women’s health and education in Sindh, Protecting religious minorities from state persecution and terrorism, recent flooding in Sindh, and the history, journey and present status of African Sindhis.
Dinner for the event is $75 per guest with all proceeds going directly to SAPAC and its continuing efforts on behalf of advancing the cause of Sindhis. If interested in attending, please RSVP by September 19th to Mr. Munawar Laghari, SAPAC Executive Director, by phone at (202) 496-5300 or by e-mail at email@example.com. Space is limited.
Federal Law requires that all contributions to SAPAC must be from United States citizens or permanent residents only. Contributions from Federal Employees are strictly prohibited. We cannot accept corporate or business checks.
by Zulfiqar Halepoto
The situation is getting worst day by day in Sindh. This will affect other parts of Pakistan and ultimately whole nation and the entire country will suffer.
Conservative ‘constituents’ BOX politics of PPP and MQM is not helping Sindh to lead Pakistan’s journey towards a prosperous land, full of resources (natural and human) and opportunities on merit with rule of law and constitutionalism. The political rift is dividing the citizens of Sindh on ethnic lines and peace loving and progressive people are afraid.
On the other hand ‘ACTION REPLY OF HUMAN DISASTER’ has destroyed billions of rupees agriculture, crops and food supply in 12 fertile districts of Sindh. Around 100 people are died in couple of days. Thousands of families are displaced. Children and women are the worst victim of the fresh wave of FTAL rain. Livestock and food supply are vanished. People are living measurable lives in camps. Political heat has over shadowed this human catastrophic situation.
Where is the government? Where is the state? Nobody is there to take notice. Government stopped INGOS and UN systems to intervene in the recent disaster relief actions. Government has no capacity to deal with the science of disaster.
Another bad news is that in two years time 600 Sindhi Hindu families have migrated from upper Sindh to India, Dubai, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and Singapore due to every day deteriorating law and order situation in rural Sindh. People are victim of terrorists in Karachi and other urban towns peaceful citizens of rural areas are victim of kidnapping, Bhatakhoree and forced conversation of their women to other religions.
All anti-Sindh feudal who are destroying the landscape of ‘diversity and plurality’ are now part of PPP government under so-called reconciliation. These feudal and tribal chiefs initiate tribal clashed and instigate their tribesmen to kill innocent people and they maintain their fiefdoms. There is no rule of law. They all are beyond any accountability because they are supported by agencies too to destroy Sindh’s progressive political base. Sindhi Hindu families are also victim of this culture.
Some districts of upper Sindh have become ‘NO GO AREAS’ for innocent citizens. So-called progressive and learned PPP leaders are shamefully kept silent on these crimes. Sindh is about to collapse on all political, economic and social fronts.
I wonder, even the greatest sacrifice of Benazir Bhutto didn’t inspire the rulers to change the CULTURE. I don’t know who is going to stop all this menace in Sindh, which is heating the whole country.
Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, September 3, 2011.
Bangladesh nabs leader of banned Islamic group
Yahiya returned to Bangladesh in 1992 after the Mujahidin war in Afghanistan. In December of 2005, he was arrested for alleged involvement in a series of bombings. Later he jumped bail and was absconding.
The leader of a banned jihadist group was arrested by Bangladesh’s elite anti-terror unit while he was traveling on a passenger bus Thursday.
The Rapid Action Battalion captured Hafez Maulana Yahiya and two of his bodyguards on the Dhaka-Sylhet highway northeast of the capital Dhaka. Yahiya has been identified as acting chief of the banned militant outfit Harkatul Jihad al-Islami (HuJI), confirmed M Sohail, director of the legal and media wing of the battalion.
The United States lists HuJI as an international terror organization, as have the international police (Interpol). The jihadist network is active in the South Asia nations of Bangladesh, India and Pakistan. The terror network moved its headquarters from Pakistan to Bangladesh after allied countries invaded Afghanistan in 2001.
In a daring bid to assassinate opposition leader Sheikh Hasina in 2004, HuJI militants attacked her rally in the capital with hand grenades and sniper rifles. The attack was allegedly masterminded by Yahiya. Hasina is presently the prime minister of Bangladesh.
The RAB said Yahiya, 60, had served as the acting chief of HuJI since its former chief, Maulana Sheikh Farid, was detained on July 26. HuJI’s sole mentor Maulana Fazlur Rahman is the most wanted person and his whereabouts are unknown, said retired General Moniruzzaman, chief of a global security think-tank.
By: Ali Nawaz Memon
President Zardari is afraid of MQM, he is sure that MQM can destablize his rule and he thinks people of Sindh are nothing. I have a feeling that even some of his ministers and members of federal and Sindh national assembly members do not agree with his thinking. But they are powerless before him. He has given them power single handily. They know that he can take away their power. May God forgive me for saying this, but, unfortunately, these PPP ministers and assemblymen do not see any other power in Sindh above President Zardari and MQM.
13th August 2011 strike may be an eye opener for President Zardari. People of Sindh and even some other groups have stood up against Zardari-MQM power. But “one day” strike is not going to mean anything. It has to be Tahrir square type of continuous action.
Then may be members of Sindh assembly will refuse to eat crow and change the former dictator Musharraf’s undemocratic, repressive, & discriminatory local bodies law and restore the previous status of Hyderabad and Karachi as districts West, East, South, North, Ibrahim Haidery, Lyari and Malir.
Please note: The writer is an author of “Sindh Development Thoughts” and he is also a chairman of Sindh Development Institute.
Courtesy: → Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, August 14, 2011.
Norway reeling after 2 deadly attacks
By the CNN Wire Staff
(CNN) — Norway came under deadly attack Friday with a massive bombing in the heart of its power center and a shooting at the ruling party’s youth camp on an island outside the capital. ….
Read more → CNN
- On the course of retributions
By Dr. Manzur Ejaz | DAWN.COM
The arrest of Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, and arrest warrant of a Pakistani national, Zaheer Ahmad, may appear as isolated legal actions of the US government against its citizens for unauthorised lobbying for Pakistan. However, scratch below the surface and it becomes clear that this is just the beginning of the US retribution against Pakistani actions.
The matter has been brewing and coming to the boiling point since Raymond Davis’ arrest and then jailing of those who helped the US in nabbing Osama bin Laden. In recent days, the US media has been reporting that the US is pressuring Pakistan for the releasing of Dr Shakil Afridi who was reported to be arrested for undertaking a fake vaccination campaign to get blood samples of bin Laden’s kids for DNA match.
Every Washington circle that had anything to do with Pak-American-Kashmir affairs was well aware of Dr Fai’s activities in the community, think tanks and on lobbying with Congress and Senate members. Most activists among the Pakistani-American community have been speculating about Dr Fai’s connection with Pakistani government and/or Inter Services Agency (ISI). Therefore, the allegation of having received about four million dollars from Pakistan and making over four thousand phone calls to his alleged handlers from ISI will not be totally perceived as concocted charges even among Pakistani expatriates. Pakistan embassy’s claim that Dr Fai is not a Pakistani citizen—he came from India and sought amnesty in the US—is not going to lessen the impact of such a damaging development.
Dr Fai’s activities on the Capital Hill and his arrangements of large and expensive conferences involving key people from Pakistan and India were quite open. It can be safely assumed that he was giving heart burns to Indian diplomats and lobbyists and they must have been pressurising the US government to rein him in. However, the US had chosen to look the other way for a decade and never bothered with his activities. But, now the parameters have changed. Probably because the US wants to send the message that it has some options to retaliate in Pakistani style as well.
It is well known that Pakistan has its own human intelligence assets in the US. Of course such assets must be a fraction of what a sole world superpower, the US, would have in Pakistan. The US financial power to buy human assets in Pakistan, Europe and from the rest of the world cannot be matched by a poor developing country. Nonetheless, the party with meager resources gets hurt more when mutual retributions occur.
Before Dr Fai’s arrest Washington’s diplomatic circles were subtly pointing out for such retribution. According to very reliable sources, the US side was arguing with Pakistani diplomats that millions of Pakistani-Americans live in America—some of them are Green Card Holders and technically, Pakistani nationals—and the US issues hundreds of thousands of student, visiting, business and work visas to Pakistanis while Pakistan is raising questions about a few hundred visas.
A thinly veiled threat is that if Pakistan continues restricting movements of its diplomats and citizens, the US can do the same putting Pakistani diplomats’ work in jeopardy and creating problems for visitors. Technically, the US can cancel Green Cards on very flimsy grounds, through finding any trivial fault with application process, and send thousands of Pakistanis back home. It is not very likely to happen but if things get too far it is not out of question either.
If the US expands the scope of retributions the diplomatic make-up of staff at Pakistani embassy may change as well. Pakistan may not be able to appoint ranking officials from intelligence agencies as ‘head of community affairs’ or under other such covers. The set of military mission in the embassy may be realigned as well. Most of all, the US agencies, particularly tax authorities, can be used to scare prosperous Pakistanis, mostly physicians, who hold fund raisers for the US lawmakers and arrange their meeting with Pakistani diplomats and incoming Pakistani officials. Such moves will certainly hamper little efforts Pakistani-Americans make to provide bridge between the two countries.
If the negative perception of Pakistan further deepens, the US may not be able to use drones in Pak-Afghan border areas but it will hit Pakistan’s financial system with stealth bombers. Besides stopping the financial aid, the US can harm Pakistan’s foreign currency earnings by creating difficulties for transmitting the remittances of Pakistani expatriates. Presently, Pakistani expatriates contribute a significant portion of foreign remittances of Pakistan. Furthermore, it can issue guidance to donor agencies, European partners and other private financial institution to hold back on financial transfers to Pakistan.
A sketch of broad possible scenarios of US retribution–been started with Dr Fai’s arrest–is not to scare the new found patriotism in Islamabad. Patriotic feelings are very noble, worthy and respectable but one should know the cost as well. Before throwing stones at others while sitting in the glass houses, one should have thick tall walls to protect oneself. Are Islamabad and GHQ ready to build such walls if the US process of retributions expands? Does not seem like it.
Courtesy: → DAWN.COM
See the apartheid in action? Here it is in the heart of Arabia. Any flotillas, anti-apartheid marches for this victim? Non-white or brown foreign labor in the Middle East aren’t better than slaves. Watch a youth beats a garbage collector who cannot fight back for fear of being deported. Those who criticize the “western” values, can they please explain this sickening, in-humane behavior, racism, hatred, maltreatment, slavery and no respect for human. Where are the human rights values of ummah?
- The cold-blooded torture and murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad by “invisible agencies” roused the journalists of Pakistan to unite and demand an independent and credible commission of inquiry to unearth the facts and punish the perpetrators. A media “dharna” outside parliament in Islamabad was aimed at securing an independent supreme court judge to head the inquiry instead of Justice Agha Rafiq, the chief justice of the Federal Shariat Court, nominated by President Asif Zardari.
Two questions arose. First, why did the media unite in such an unprecedented manner in this case when it didn’t do so in the case of the sixteen journalists so far killed this year in Pakistan? What was so particularly frightening or significant about this murder that compelled the media to stand up and be counted? Second, why did President Zardari originally pick a “Zardari-loyalist” to head this commission? Was this aimed at shielding any slip up or criminality on the part of the PPP government? And if it wasn’t, who was President Zardari trying to shield and why?
The answers are straight forward enough. Saleem Shehzad had recorded his problems with the ISI and left a testament indicting it if he was harmed. He was writing a book exposing the inroads into the armed forces and ISI made by retired or serving officers sympathetic to Al Qaeda’s violent ideology. Such exposure was deemed irrevocably embarrassing to the national security establishment. It explained the lack of preparedness on the part of the military to defend and protect itself — as evidenced in Rawalpindi, Karachi and Abbottabad in recent times. It also confirmed the fears of the international community about the security of the nukes, triggering scenarios of pre-emptive action against them in the event of their seizure by rogues allied to Al Qaeda. When Saleem Shehzad went ahead and published his book, he had to be silenced.
That, at least, is the media’s perception of what happened to him and why. Thus the media banded together to demand accountability so that the same fate did not befall any other journalist. If this perception was wrong, an independent commission of inquiry should have been able to establish the innocence of the ISI and redeem its credibility. If it was right, the ISI had to be chastened and cleansed of such elements. What is wrong with this way of thinking? Indeed, when an attempt is made to hide the facts behind a stooge commission, such suspicions and perceptions take deep roots and protests are inclined to become more widespread and violent. If President Zardari hadn’t finally heeded the journalists’ threat and appointed Justice Saqib Nisar to head the commission instead of Mr Agha Rafiq, the media was all geared up to announce a blackout of all government news and military press statements and advice.
Much the same sort of trouble for the government and military may be forecast for another commission of inquiry pledged by parliament to uncover the truth behind the Abbottabad debacle. In this case, too, the military seems to have leaned on the weak PPP government to desist from seriously inquiring into the mishap because it would deeply embarrass the “national security establishment” and conceivably jeopardise its “strategic relationship” with its Pentagon counterpart in the United States.
In both instances, however, there is one critical factor that threatens to derail the unholy nexus between a weak government and an arrogant military that are clutching at each other for protection. That is the opposition lead by Nawaz Sharif. The PMLN stood solidly with the fearful media in the first instance and will back the outraged public in the second. No less significantly, the sympathies of the newly independent judiciary are with the media, opposition and public. This is an inherently unstable and precarious situation. Where do we go from here?
The military has no option but to press the strategic “Paradigm Reset” button. The media and judiciary have joined the stake holders’ club. The military must realize that it is no longer capable of “managing” or “manipulating” or “blackmailing” the twice-bitten opposition to do its bidding blindly. The media too has been empowered by a wave of “citizen-journalists” who cannot be repressed. There are 20 million internet users in Pakistan and 4 million Facebook freaks and Tweeters. This organic new species had defied the dictators of the Middle East and smashed their censors. It is destined to do the same in Pakistan.
The situation is fraught with dangers of unmanageable upheaval. The military must adjust its sights accordingly. If, for example, the US were to launch any new unilateral action that outraged the Pakistani media, opposition and public, the military would be caught in the eye of the storm. It won’t be able to resist the public pressure but it also wouldn’t like to be savaged by America. Thus it could be the biggest loser in the game. Forewarned is forearmed.
Courtesy: Friday Times
By UMAR CHEEMA
Islamabad, Pakistan: WE have buried another journalist. Syed Saleem Shahzad, an investigative reporter for Asia Times Online, has paid the ultimate price for telling truths that the authorities didn’t want people to hear. He disappeared a few days after writing an article alleging that Al Qaeda elements had penetrated Pakistan’s navy and that a military crackdown on them had precipitated the May 22 terrorist attack on a Karachi naval base. His death has left Pakistani journalists shaken and filled with despair.
I couldn’t sleep the night that Saleem’s death was confirmed. The fact that he was tortured sent me back to a chilly night last September, when I was abducted by government agents. During Saleem’s funeral service, a thought kept haunting me: “It could have been me.”
Mourning journalists lined up after the service to console me, saying I was lucky to get a lease on life that Saleem was denied. But luck is a relative term.
Adil, my 2-year-old son, was the first person in my thoughts after I was abducted. Journalists in Pakistan don’t have any institutionalized social security system; those killed in the line of duty leave their families at the mercy of a weak economy.
When my attackers came, impersonating policemen arresting me on a fabricated charge of murder, I felt helpless. My mouth muzzled and hands cuffed, I couldn’t inform anybody of my whereabouts, not even the friends I’d dropped off just 15 minutes before. My cellphone was taken away and switched off. Despite the many threats I’d received, I never expected this to happen to me.
Sure, I had written many stories exposing the corrupt practices of high-ranking officials and pieces criticizing the army and the intelligence agencies. After they were published, Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan’s prime security agency, always contacted me. I was first advised not to write too much about them and later sent messages laced with subtle threats. But I never imagined action was imminent.
On Sept. 4, I was driven to an abandoned house instead of a police station, where I was stripped naked and tortured with a whip and a wooden rod. While a man flogged me, I asked what crime had brought me this punishment. Another man told me: “Your reporting has upset the government.” It was not a crime, and therefore I did not apologize.
Instead, I kept praying, “Oh God, why am I being punished?” The answer came from the ringleader: “If you can’t avoid rape, enjoy it.” He would employ abusive language whenever he addressed me.
“Have you ever been tortured before?” he asked.
“No,” I said.
“These marks will stay with you forever, offering you a reminder never to defy the authorities,” he replied.
They tortured me for 25 minutes, shaved my head, eyebrows and moustache and then filmed and photographed my naked body. I was dumped nearly 100 miles outside Islamabad with a warning not to speak up or face the consequences.
The following months were dreadful. I suffered from a sleep disorder. I would wake up fearing that someone was beating my back. I wouldn’t go jogging, afraid that somebody would pick me up again and I’d never return. Self-imposed house arrest is the life I live today; I don’t go outside unless I have serious business. I have been chased a number of times after the incident. Now my son asks me questions about my attackers that I don’t answer. I don’t want to sow the seeds of hatred in his heart.
When Saleem disappeared, I wondered if he had been thinking about his children, as I had. He had left Karachi, his hometown, after receiving death threats, and settled with his wife and three children in Islamabad. From there, he often went on reporting trips to the tribal areas along the Afghan border. Tahir Ali, a mutual friend, would ask him: “Don’t you feel scared in the tribal areas?” Saleem would smile and say: “Death could come even in Islamabad.” His words were chilling, and prescient.
The killing of Syed Saleem Shahzad is yet another terrifying reminder to Pakistani journalists. He is the fifth to die in the first five months of 2011. Journalists are shot like stray dogs in Pakistan — easily killed because their assassins sit at the pinnacle of power.
When Daniel Pearl was brutally murdered by militants in Karachi in 2002, his case was prosecuted and four accomplices to the crime were sentenced. This happened only because Mr. Pearl was an American journalist. Had he been a Pakistani, there would have been no justice.
Today, impunity reigns and no organization is powerful enough to pressure the government to bring Saleem’s killers to justice. Journalists have shown resilience, but it is hard to persevere when the state itself becomes complicit in the crime. Now those speaking up for Saleem are doing so at a price: they are being intimidated and harassed.
Pakistan is at a crossroads and so is its news media. In a situation of doom and gloom, Pakistani journalists offer a ray of hope to their fellow citizens and they have earned the people’s trust. Even the former prime minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain has admitted that people who once went to the police with complaints now go to the press.
But this trust will be eroded if journalists continue to be bullied into walking away from the truth. News organizations throughout the world must join hands in seeking justice for Saleem and ending the intelligence agencies’ culture of impunity. An award for investigative journalists should be created in his honor, as was done for Daniel Pearl. No stronger message could be delivered to his killers than making him immortal.
Umar Cheema is an investigative reporter at The News International, Pakistan’s largest English-language daily. He was a Daniel Pearl Fellow at The Times in 2008.
Courtesy: The New York Times