By Shaikh Aziz
The news of Z.A. Bhutto’s conviction shocked the PPP workers and supporters who hadn’t thought that Gen Zia would stoop so low. Though some violent protests took place in parts of Lahore and Sindh, the general law and order situation was not seriously affected as the government had taken measures to prevent the breaking out of any violence. For some reason the upper leadership of the party remained out of the scene, leaving the PPP workers directionless.
The military courts became over-active in handing down punishments of jail time and lashing. It was clear that the government wanted to send a message to the top PPP leadership that they could also be arrested in order to keep the administration working smoothly.
Two days after the judgment, on March 20, 1978, retired Gen Tikka Khan was arrested under martial law regulation No 33 for his involvement in political activities. Benazir Bhutto who was under house-arrest at her Karachi residence moved the Sindh government to arrange her meeting with her father at Lahore jail. The meeting was arranged for March 25.
The military regime cracks down on protests in the wake of Bhutto’s conviction
The PPP lawyers worked round the clock to prepare an appeal to be filed in the Supreme Court. Some PPP leaders were of the opinion that there was no need to file an appeal against the verdict; instead they wanted to approach the military government through friendly circles to settle the matter amicably. However, saner elements in the party prevailed and finally an appeal was filed in the Supreme Court on March 25.
As the foreign minister in Ayub Khan’s government and later as the prime minister, Bhutto had developed friendships with a number of world leaders, especially in the Third World and the Arab countries. Now facing a death sentence he hoped they could prevail upon Gen Zia to spare his life. While messages from world leaders were coming in calling for a pardon for Bhutto, Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi’s envoy, Abdul Ali Ubaidi, called on Gen Zia and conveyed to him a message from his president. Zia told him that at this stage the matter was pending with the highest court and he did not want to interfere in it.
While meeting foreign leaders Gen Zia always made sure that the meeting took place without any aide. It was, therefore, impossible to make out what the contents of the talks were and what transpired, leaving the people guessing.
Relieved of a major task of handling Bhutto which was now being done by the courts, Gen Zia focused his attention on strengthening his position politically. However he camouflaged his attempts in such a manner that he could not be blamed for being too ambitious. In this regard he was equally helped by some political leaders. He also began studying the lives and working styles of eminent dictators, like Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler, Marshal Tito and Mussolini, who stayed in power for many years without being challenged by the people. He apparently wanted to learn how these dictators managed to retain power for so long. He also used to engage some of his associates in debates on what style of governanvce would work in Pakistan.
While messages from world leaders were coming in calling for a pardon for Bhutto, Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi’s envoy, Abdul Ali Ubaidi, called on Gen Zia and conveyed to him a message from his president. Zia told him that at this stage the matter was pending with the highest court and he did not want to interfere in it.
During this time it appeared that the Pakistan National Alliance (PNA) was heading towards a break-up; Asghar Khan and Maulana Noorani had already parted ways. After the overthrow of Bhutto’s government, the PNA had decided to keep away from any interim arrangement offered by the military government. They remembered the performance of the Advisory Council Gen Zia had formed on Jan 14 to run the affairs of the government. Though the task of the council was to help in handling state affairs, Gen Zia himself supervised everything which negated the purpose of the council.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, son of the assassinated former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, has called on Pakistani politicians to wake up to the threat posed by militant groups including the Taliban. In a rare interview, he told the BBC’s Lyse Doucet about his political ambitions and his call for military action against armed groups, not talks.
KARACHI: Chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, on Friday said he was declaring jihad (holy war) against “hijackers of the faith”, DawnNews reported.
Addressing his supporters at Karachi’s Karsaz on the occasion of the sixth anniversary of the Oct 18, 2007 bomb blasts that killed 176 people during a historic rally led by Benazir Bhutto, Bilawal promised supporters that he would fight for the people.
The PPP chairman said that on Oct 18, the Taliban had used a child in the suicide attack on the rally led by his mother on her return from Dubai.
Read more » DAWN
ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has arrested former president, General (retd) Pervez Musharraf in relation to the Benazir Bhutto murder case.
The formal proceedings for the arrest were completed by the FIA Deputy Director at Musharraf’s farmhouse in Chak Shahzad which has been declared sub-jail.
During the interrogation, the former president was asked why Benazir Bhutto was not provided security upon her return to Pakistan, to which Musharraf replied that she was provided complete security. Musharraf also refused to accept the allegations against him and said Benazir Bhutto became the target of terrorists.
The FIA will file a petition seeking the physical remand of Musharraf in the Anti Terrorism court on Friday.
Earlier on Thursday, the ATC had allowed the FIA to include Pervez Musharraf in the investigation of Benazir Bhutto murder case.
Musharraf is accused of involvement in a conspiracy to murder Benazir Bhutto, who died in a gun and suicide attack in December 2007. It is one of the three cases he is fighting in the courts since returning home last month after four years in self-imposed exile.
.This act of the former military ruler “underscores his disregard for due legal process and indicates his assumption that as a former army chief and military dictator he can evade accountability for abuses”, Ali Dayan Hasan, Pakistan director at Human Rights Watch said in a statement.
“It is essential that Pakistan’s military authorities which are protecting the former dictator comply with the Islamabad High Court’s orders and ensure that he presents himself for arrest,” the statement added.
It further said that “continued military protection for General Musharraf will make a mockery of claims that Pakistan’s armed forces support the rule of law and bring the military further disrepute that it can ill afford.”
ISLAMABAD: General (retd) Pervez Musharraf on Thursday escaped from the premises of the Islamabad High Court after the cancellation of his bail application by Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui in the judges detention case.
Immediately after the bail cancellation, police tried to reach the former military ruler but he was escorted by his personal security, fleeing in his bullet-proof black four-wheeler.
“Islamabad High Court has cancelled Musharraf’s bail and ordered his arrest in the judges’ detention case today,” said Muhammad Amjad, secretary-general of Musharraf’s All Pakistan Muslim League party.
In a written judgement printed in English, the IHC ordered that: “He (Musharraf) be taken into custody and dealt with in accordance with law.”
The detailed verdict issued by the Islamabad High Court ordered for terrorism to be added to the list of charges against the former military ruler. The order further said that Musharraf’s exit from the court earlier during the day warranted for separate charges to be filed against him.
According to reports, Musharraf’s lawyers reached the Supreme Court to file a pre-arrest bail application in order avoid his surrender to the police.
However, the SC returned the 14-page bail application as the timings for the Registrar’s office had ended. Musharraf’s lawyers are now expected to resubmit the appeal on Friday.
After departing from the IHC’s premises, Musharraf had reached his farmhouse in Chak Shahzad, a suburban area on the outskirts of Islamabad where security was beefed up and all entry and exit routes to the area were blocked.
Is Musharraf going for a political Kargil?
by Dr Ghayur Ayub
Gen. (rtd) Pervez Musharaf is a commando trained by a well disciplined army. Against such background, he is known to have taken risks during his career. He makes tactical and strategic plans and executes them accordingly. He does not get discouraged if his tactical plan fails and waits for proper time to strike at strategic level. Take Kargil episode for example. In 1995 he put the plan and presented it to the then PM Benazir Bhutto. It was turned down. He retreated it tactically but kept it alive strategically for future. When the time came he executed it. That’s how his brain works.
When he was the most powerful leader heading Pakistan with four caps, he shouldered MQM in political gusto and made it the most powerful ally in Sindh controlling the economic hub of Pakistan. During his tenure Mustafa Kamal, the administrator of Karachi, was given a privileged reception when he visited America; thanks to him. It was in those days when a news appeared in media that he might join MQM. He never rebutted it. This was his tactical move to be counted as a political player.
Altaf Bhai who has many political eyes on his face and matching ears on his head realised the consequences. He took it as Musharaf’s tactical move to enter MQM and push him to one side later as part of strategic plan taking over the party leadership. He became active and made sure it did not happen. To show his command over the party he brought down two important personalities of MQM to their knees- Dr. Liaqat Hussain and Mustafa Kamal. It happened both were close to Musharaf. The former was thrown out of the party.
Thus Altaf Bhai was successful in obstructing his tactical move. Being Musharaf, he let it go but held to his strategic plan. According to news coming out of London, he maintained his links with a few old guards of MQM such as (late) Dr Imran Farooq. Were those links part of the strategy? Is it also part of that strategy which landed him in Pakistan? Keeping his Kargil episode in mind it may not be surprising to link it with that. Only this time he might be planning to fight political Kargil on three fronts; to clear his name in court cases; to make inroads in MQM; and to isolate Nawaz Sharif. How?
Before going to Pakistan he went for ‘a politicised Umra’ and prior to that he apparently met Nawaz Sharif in Saudi Arabia with blessings of the West and Saudi Arabia.
Former ISI chief Hamid Gul said that as long as politicians were corrupt, the Army would interfere in the state’s affairs.
ISLAMABAD: During an interview on DawnNews, former chief of the Inter Service Intelligence(ISI) General (Retd) Hamid Gul said that politicians in the country were corrupt, and at the same time admitted responsibility for creating the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI), a political alliance that was allegedly created to prevent Benazir Bhutto’s PPP from winning.
He said that he is not afraid of any case leveled against him, nor is he afraid of being hanged. “The army cannot be controlled by politicians, the army has put control on itself,” he said.
Speaking on DawnNews’s programme ‘Faisla Awam Ka‘, Hamid Gul not only defended the creation of the IJI, but also credited General (Retd) Aslam Beg for helping create it.
By George Bruno
As the NATO military offensive against the revitalized Taliban progresses in Afghanistan, the political situation in neighboring Pakistan remains tense in a way that can directly impact U.S. military and political objectives in the region.
I have long believed that the pacification of the extremist threat in South Asia and around the world can only be accomplished in an environment of democracy and the rule of law. Any assault on these values fuels the fires of fanaticism.
New Prime Minister of Pakistan Raja Pervaiz Ashraf was born in Sindh and speaks Sindhi but he was elected in Punjab
Zardari bowls out opponents once again
by Omar Derawal
Asif Ali Zardari has been underestimated from day one. The shrewd businessman has proved not only to be a master of the boardroom, but of political strategy as well. Nominating Raja Pervaiz Ashraf as Prime Minister after losing successive wickets appears his latest triumph. And, as with his previous deliveries, this one too seems to have outwitted the opposition.
Nawaz Sharif termed Raja Pervaiz’s election as ‘tragedy’, but perhaps the PML-N chief was thinking of his own political fortunes. After all, Raja Pervaiz was born in Sindh and speaks Sindhi, but he was elected in Punjab. Even the carefully staged energy riots look a little bit awkward with a new Prime Minister who, as Minister of Water and Power, added more Megawatts to the national grid than anyone since the government of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.
Imran Khan too seems to have been outplayed in this innings as he finds himself with a Vice-Chairman from a feudal family while Asif Zardari has a Prime Minister who rose through party ranks from a middle class background. By nominating Raja Pervaiz, Zardari has also neutralised Khan’s nationalistic appeals to security hawks. Though a liberal himself, Raja Pervaiz is strong on national security. In his first speech as PM, he declared that there can be no peace in Pakistan without peace in Afghanistan, sending a clear signal that the government continues to be united on defending Pakistan’s priorities.
Qamar Zaman Kaira’s stellar performances on talk shows had many PPP supports hoping he would pull off a surprise win, but it’s Kaira’s unmatched ability to silence the chattering heads that made him indispensable as Information Minister. Some suggested the name of Hina Rabbani Khar, too – but her deft handling of foreign affairs means that she too is more needed where she is. What is impressive about this debate among PPP supporters is that despite losing such figures as Benazir Bhutto, Salmaan Taseer, Shahbaz Bhatti, Husain Haqqani, Yousaf Gilani, and Makhdoom Shahabuddin, PPP still has such a deep line-up from which to draw new players.
Politics is a test match – not T20. You have to play a long term strategy if you want to win. Zardari’s opposition thought they could force him to retire early, but he proved too skilled for that. Now they are praying for a draw. But with this latest innings, Zardari has shown once again it’s the opposition who is still chasing.
Courtesy: new Pakistan
ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari said Wednesday that the people of Pakistan would never permit undermining of the Parliament behind different pretexts and they know how to ensure the supremacy of the Parliament and the Constitution.
He said, “the era of packing the Parliament through the back door by using the defunct Article 58 (2) (b) is over for all times and no back doors and side doors will be allowed to be reopened for sending the elected Parliaments home.”
“Our people will also not suffer a destiny thrusted upon them by militants and extremists in the name of religion or in any other name,” he added.
The president said this in his message on the 59th birth anniversary of Benazir Bhutto falling on Thursday.
President Zardari said, “On the eve of her 59th birthday I wish to reiterate our commitment to the values of supremacy of the Parliament and the Constitution and the building of a modern, egalitarian and pluralistic society in which everyone is allowed opportunity to help shape his or her own destiny—values for which she stood and fought for and when the time came even laid down her life for it.”
He said Benazir Bhutto led from the front the battle for democracy against all sorts of bonapartes and extremists.
“She believed in a moderate and pluralistic Pakistan where ballot determined the ultimate choice of the people and where the House elected by the people representing their will was supreme.”
The Supreme Court’s (SC’s) verdict on the petitions challenging the ruling of the Speaker of the National Assembly (NA) that rejected the argument that Prime Minister (PM) Yousaf Raza Gilani stood disqualified after being convicted and sentenced for contempt of court has pronounced that he does stand disqualified, not only from the premiership, but from membership of parliament as well. Not just that, the SC in its short order has laid down that he cannot stand for election for five years. To that end, the SC has sent instructions to the Election Commission (EC) to issue a notification to that effect. Meantime the PPP’s Central Executive Committee (CEC), which happened to be meeting when the verdict was announced, revealed its decisions on the crisis through a press conference by PPP leaders. The gist of the CEC’s decisions was that despite having reservations about the SC’s verdict, they had accepted the court’s finding that the conviction and sentencing till the rising of the court of Gilani for contempt on April 26 meant that he was no longer the PM, and with retrospective effect, had been removed on and since that date. The PPP has appealed to its workers and supporters to remain calm and restrained, despite the fact that the verdict is bound to inflame opinion in the PPP and allied camp. The CEC has empowered party Co-chairperson President Asif Ali Zardari to take whatever decisions he thinks fit regarding a replacement for Gilani. The intriguing question of course is whether the new PM will suffer the same pressure from the SC to write the letter to the Swiss authorities regarding President Asif Ali Zardari that the court was insisting on Gilani writing, and refusal to comply with which had attracted the contempt conviction for the former PM. In that case, the looming confrontation between state institutions, which began as a confrontation between the judiciary and the executive, could expand to now a confrontation between the judiciary and parliament as well. After all, the SC’s verdict overruling the Speaker of the NA too has set an unprecedented example, one that will reverberate in our jurisprudence for a long time to come. Questions have also been raised whether all the decisions and acts of the former PM since April 26 to date stand. The most important of these acts was the passing of the budget. It is possible that the detailed judgement may throw more light on this matter. Normally, courts are mindful that retrospective judgements should not disrupt things done and transactions closed to an extent that causes greater difficulties.
By: Nadeem F. Paracha
Born in 1956, Fauzia Wahab was enjoying a fiery career as a passionate human rights worker and one of the most prominent voices of reason in the often chaotic, judgmental and fiercely patriarchal world of Pakistani politics and sociology, when her life was cut short on June 17, 2012.
Belonging to Pakistan’s largest political outfit, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Fauzia’s fame was nothing like that of former PPP Chairperson, late Benazir Bhutto, and nor was she known so well outside of Pakistan like the country’s other famous women activists and democrats like Benazir or Asma Jahangir.
Fauzia’s fame was largely local, rooted deep in whatever that is left of the tradition of progressive politics and liberalism in the country’s urban middle-classes – a tradition that was triggered by the rise of the PPP in the late 1960s and gave large sections of the Pakistani middle-classes a left-leaning and almost revolutionary dimension.
Although Fauzia was in school when leftist student organisations and trade, labour and journalist unions rose to successfully challenge the rule of Pakistan’s first military dictator, Ayub Khan, in the late 1960s, she was quick to join politics when she entered college in 1972 and then the Karachi University in 1975.
A glimpse into her career as a student politician can be an insightful exercise to understand the kind of a charisma she possessed that continued to make her stand out without requiring her to be a leading political figure or an ideologue.
A PPP colleague of hers once described Fauzia as a smiling rebel who had a natural knack of balancing her traditional side with her rebellious streak without looking or sounding contradictory or confused.
The same colleague (who was talking to me late last year in an informal chat), thought that Fauzia’s first act of rebellion was actually against her own ethnic background.
Coming from an educated Urdu-speaking family settled in Karachi, Fauzia did not automatically support the Jamat-e-Islami (JI) or the Jamiat Ulema Pakistan (JUP) like most Urdu-speakers of Sindh and its capital, Karachi, did till the late 1970s.
Instead, when she joined college, she at once jumped into the ranks of leftist and progressive student groups, but without waving Mao’s Red Book or Marx’s Das Kapital.
Another colleague of hers who was with her in a progressive student group at Karachi University and then later joined the Mutahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM), told me that Fauzia was always more interested in solving the problems of the students and challenging those who used faith to impose their politics than she was in leftist theory.
It was this attitude of hers that placed her in the leading ranks of the Progressive Students Alliance at the Karachi University – an alliance comprising of various left-wing, liberal and Sindhi, Baloch and Pashtun student groups.
But battling opposing student groups, especially those on the right, through student union elections and campaigning, was where it all started and ended for Fauzia – in 1978 she met and married another passionate progressive student politician, Wahab Siddiqui, who soon went on to become an accomplished journalist.
After marriage, Fauzia gladly became a housewife, raising her children and supporting her husband’s career as a journalist. But her love for politics, the liberal ideals that had driven her as a student and her romance for Karachi remained intact.
Some early recruits of the MQM claim that Fauzia almost joined the MQM when it suddenly rose to become Karachi’s leading party in the late 1980s. Though this was never mentioned by Fauzia herself, it is however true that she eventually became a kind of a pioneer of a little known but important strain in the workings of the PPP in Karachi, Sindh.
I can vouch for this because I, as an active member of the PPP’s student-wing, the PSF (in the 1980s), too got involved in what Fauzia would ultimately represent within the PPP as a Karachiite.
When Benazir returned to Pakistan from exile in 1986 and then went on to become the country’s first woman prime minister in 1988, she at once recognised the importance of having the MQM as a ‘natural ideological partner’ and a party that could keep governments afloat with the seats that it was able to win in Karachi and Hyderabad.
I was at the Karachi University in 1989 when Benazir constituted a team of Sindhi and Urdu-speaking members of the PPP to negotiate a coalition deal with MQM chief Altaf Hussain. I remember how this policy created a kind of a rift within the ranks of the PSF in Karachi.
One faction was totally against Benazir’s move, while the other faction saw it as a way to unite secular forces so they could reclaim the political space they had lost to the ‘reactionaries’ and religionists during Ziaul Haq’s dictatorship.
Though a Punjabi from my father’s side, I was born and bred in Karachi. So I decided to side with the latter group and was ultimately ‘expelled’ from the university by the former faction.
Of course, the coalition collapsed and dozens of students lost their lives in the deadly clashes that followed between the PSF and MQM’s student-wing the APMSO.
However, even while an operation was underway against MQM militants under the second Benazir regime (1993-96), I am witness to the fact that Benazir’s idea of creating a bridge (made up of ideological similarities as well as pragmatism) between Karachi chapters of the PPP and MQM was very much alive.
And here is where Fauzia came in. After the tragic sudden death of her husband in 1993, Fauzia found herself returning to politics. Her husband had played an active role as a journalist against the Zia dictatorship and this drew the attention of Benazir who made Fauzia the Information Secretary of the PPP’s women’s wing in Sindh.
An articulate and educated person from a respected Urdu-speaking middle-class family, Fauzia was to become that bridge between the PPP and Urdu-speakers in Karachi. Later on, Fauzia, along with another prominent PPP Karachite, Faisal Raza Abidi, would play a prominent role in helping Asif Ali Zardari strike a coalition with the MQM after the 2008 elections.
Though a passionate Karachite and proud of her ethnic background, Fauzia was first and foremost a Pakistani who wanted to use the platform of a large political party to continue raising human rights issues, especially those related to women.
Fauzia became a close confidant of Benazir Bhutto. Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, Fauzia was the person Benazir banked on to continue building links between the PPP and Urdu-speakers in Karachi as well as being one of the faces in the PPP the MQM was most comfortable with.
But it wasn’t until during the Musharraf dictatorship that Fauzia was thrown into the limelight of Pakistani politics. Being made an MNA during the 2002 elections, she played an active political role against the Musharraf regime.
This was also due to the eruption of privately owned TV news channels in the country. Fauzia became a prominent fixture in most political talk shows, passionately criticising the Musharraf regime and articulating her party’s understanding of the situation.
After Benazir’s shocking assassination in 2007, Fauzia managed to survive the PPP’s new chairperson Asif Ali Zardari’s changes within the party structure. In fact she became an even more prominent figure in the party.
Along with Faisal Raza Abidi and Qamar Zaman Kaira, Fauzia became one of the fiercest defenders of the PPP regime’s polices in the electronic media. But unlike many other politicians who also became regular fixtures on TV talk shows, Fauzia retained a cheerful witty attitude.
However, she wasn’t only about defending her party’s regime. Along with famous human rights activist and lawyer, Asma Jahangir, Fauzia was one of the few prominent Pakistani women who never held back while lambasting crimes of hate committed by religious nuts and terrorists.
She openly condemned the murder of Punjab Governor, Salman Taseer, by a crackpot who wrongly accused Taseer of committing blasphemy. She was threatened by a number of fanatical clerics and their supporters for this.
Fauzia continued highlighting the threat to Pakistanis, especially women and those belonging to minority religions, faced from radical religious groups. She continued to remain a target of the abuse and menacing threats that came her way from religious outfits.
But she marched on, still holding her balanced mantle that seamlessly mixed passionate oratory with reason and hearty wit.
Temples too discriminated!
By Kapil Dev
You may dislike President Asif Ali Zaradari for his political smartness for he had outwitted many of his opponents and for his failure to deliver to masses. But you may not dislike him for his love for environment. The reason may be he himself held portfolio of Environment Minister in Benazir Bhutto’s first government or his instinctive love for environment.
On Monday, President Asif Ali Zardari expressed concern over the damage to the centuries-old Kataas Raj temple near Choa Saidan Shah, Chakwal, due to the environmental degradation caused by the construction of industrial complexes around the temple and asked for a report from the relevant ministry.
Similar reports were also published some time ago regarding dilapidated conditions of temples in Sindh, particularly ancient Jain temples in Tharparker and an attempt to demolish a Hindu temple in Choorio, Nangarparker, by a Granite lease owner. But the Presidency did not move to instruct authorities for protection.
On Kataas Raj temple located in a small village of Punjab, the President called for a report after taking note of a media report that the building of industrial complexes around the Kataas Raj temple had destroyed its pristine beauty and threatened the natural water pond with complete extinction.
The report was published in Dawn Newspaper on April 22 under the headline “Holy pond at Kataas Raj dying up” and reported by Nabeel Anwar Dhakku.
The natural pond had been in existence for thousands of years attracting pilgrims from far and wide in the South Asian subcontinent. Since ages water flowed from the pond to downstream villages of Wahoola, Tatral and Dulmial without any drop in the pond level that was constantly replenished by the spring waters underneath. However, the industrial units constructed near the site had sucked up groundwater and diverted the flow of the springs resulting in the drying up the pond, the report said. ….
Read more » The Sindh Journal
Pakistan’s Kangaroo Court calls itself “Supreme Court,” but in fact is another front for the Mullah-Military complex
Pakistan’s puppet Court – By Shiraz Paracha
The Supreme Court’s controversial detailed verdict against the elected Prime Minister of Pakistan is one more bad decision by a Court that has a dark history of collaboration with the military in depriving the people of Pakistan of their fundamental rights.
The Supreme Court has been transcending its legal boundaries and constitutional role. Its decisions are biased, unfair and politicized. The Court is not a neutral and objective defender of law and judges have been acting as puppets.
The Judiciary is not independent and appears to be playing someone’s game. Indeed the Supreme Court is acting as a proxy for imposing a controlled democracy in Pakistan. It seems that characters such as Imran Khan and Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan are part of this game. The former ISI chief Lt. General Shuja Pasha was an architect of the latest effort to introduce ‘clean democracy’ in Pakistan. General Pasha was not alone in military’s one more political adventure.
Actually, the military considers itself the sole defender of Pakistan and generals have been trying to shape and control the Pakistani politics. In fact, the military never felt comfortable with parliamentary form of democracy. For this reason every few years new campaigns are launched to ‘clean’ the system.
Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan’s recent calls for the establishment of a technocrat government and Imran Khan’s Tsunami are reflections of military’s new efforts to bring a setup that ‘suits’ Pakistan. The Judiciary and media are means to complete that agenda. As the Parliament is about to complete its term, Imran Khan is threatening that he would not accept results of the new elections. Dr. Qadeer, dubbed by some as the future president, has joined hands with Imran Khan. The media and the Judiciary are taking cue from some in the military to pressurize the present government. All these actors want to maintain the status quo by imposing a controlled democracy.
Evidently, the state of Pakistan is rotten when its former Chief of the Army Staff, who does not stop touting himself as a true patriot, prima facie, violated the constitutional oath he undertook. It is not just Mirza Aslam Beg whose nefarious involvement in politics has been the subject of discussion in the courts and TV channels but countless others in Pakistan who have been upto similar transgressions and getting away with them.
After the death of Gen Ziaul Haq in 1988, military rule only changed its clothes. It survived and flourished for a decade until the Emperor threw off his civilian façade and took over in 1999 through a proper coup d’etat citing the same old excuse of saving the country. The history of 1988-1999 is yet to be written for it has remained hostage to the obfuscations of a political class created by the army itself and its loyalist intellectuals who rule the media and are found in Pakistan’s moribund academia as well.
If Pakistan needs a strong civil government, it will need a strong leader. If it looks for a heroic voice, someone who is courageous enough to take on a Justice system that has proven itself to be pro-Jihadi and anti-female, pro-rape, run by a Pro-Establishment, Chief Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry- this hero may well be Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s recent speech, covered in two stories in LUBP, deserves another look. He reflected his mother’s bravery, Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, and her intelligent and fearless tone, unafraid to speak plain truth and stand up to injustice. His voice sounds like the voice of the people, and has a grassroots type manner of appeal. Unlike manufactured politicians like Imran Khan, Bilawal is not afraid to say the unpopular things. When Imran Khan vaciliated in his condemnation of the murder of PPP governor, Salman Taseer, it was PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari who condemned it unequivocally.
Army belongs to barracks in Rawalpindi
By: Hiranmay Karlekar
Embattled Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari may want to improve relations with India but his Generals will not allow him to do so. New Delhi must keep nudging Islamabad to strengthen its democratic institutions. That alone can contain the Pakistani Army
Something that was never stated officially but said or hinted at media talk shows or in private conversations during Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari’s visit was that India had a responsibility to help Pakistan’s democracy to consolidate itself. There is nothing exceptionable in the suggestion. Every democracy has a responsibility to strengthen kindred political systems. The question is: How should that be done?
By Vikram Sood
Benazir Bhutto made five pilgrimages to the Dargah Sharif of Hazrat Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti, the last being in 2005. She wanted to visit one more time in 2007 but this did not materialise. Instead, she went home to Pakistan to a tumultuous welcome but ultimately to become yet another Bhutto martyr. Her friends had cautioned her that her return to Pakistan could be dangerous for her but Benazir insisted that the country needed her. Quite apparently, there were powerful figures in her country who did not want her alive. So she became the fourth Bhutto to die a violent unnatural death.
…. Citizens have a right to ask why three serving chief justices of high courts are investing huge amounts of their precious time in handling the bizarre claims (and counter-claims) made by Mr Ijaz, when they should be attending to their core mandates of managing the high courts and thousands of subordinate courts. There are roughly 1.2 million cases pending in Pakistani courts and the cost of litigation is soaring due to a virtually unaccountable legal profession and corruption in lower courts. The Supreme Court has time and again reminded us that it is representing the people’s will and is answerable to the people only. Perhaps, nothing is as pressing for the ‘people’ than the denial of justice they are facing.
The Urdu media and internet forums are full of edicts against Mr Haqqani and sections of the establishment feel betrayed by his critical book on the Pakistan military. The least we can do is not to expose a man of his intellect to the rogue elements in the country. For the record, I have never met Mr Haqqani and hold no brief for his past adventures with the intelligence agencies. All I know is that he deserves a fair deal by a country he has tried to serve and defend in difficult times when everyone and his aunt have been wanting to ‘punish’ Pakistan.
Read more: The Express Tribune, April 2nd, 2012.
We expect the Supreme Court to apologise for the role it played, says PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari
We expect SC to apologise for role it played in murder of ZAB: Bilawal
NAUDERO: “We expect the Supreme Court to apologise for the role it played in the judicial murder of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto,” were the words with which Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari summed up the case of righting his dead grandfather’s name in history, on the eve of the PPP founder’s 33rd death anniversary being observed in Naudero.
With his father, the President of Pakistan and co-chairman of PPP, Asif Ali Zardari watching, along with the PPP central executive committee, hundreds of thousands of loyal party workers which had gathered in Ghari Khuda Bux, and around the country, Bilawal exhorted, “the restoration of these judges by our Prime Minister was a truly historic milestone for our country. Now it is up to the courts to redeem their institutions sullied reputation in the eyes of history.” ….
Read more » The Express Tribune
‘Face the truth, Musharraf’ – Will there be justice for Benazir Bhutto?
By Mark Siegel / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
I was with Benazir Bhutto on Sept. 25, 2007, when she received a call from Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who was then Pakistan’s president. She was visibly shaken when she hung up the phone: Musharraf had threatened her with dire consequences if she returned to Pakistan to lead her Pakistan Peoples Party in the upcoming elections, where she was the major threat to defeat him. Bhutto quoted him as saying that she would be responsible for what happened to her.
Three weeks later, she returned to Pakistan after eight years in exile. She was greeted in Karachi by 3 million people — and two suicide assassin bombers. Within hours of her arrival, a failed assassination attempt took the lives of 170 of her party workers. Afterward, she emailed me to say that if anything happened to her, she would hold Musharraf responsible. Two months later, she was dead.
Earlier this month, Pakistan’s government, after a four-year investigation, requested that Interpol issue an international warrant for the arrest of Musharraf for Bhutto’s murder. He has been summoned before the Supreme Court of Pakistan tomorrow. No one expects him to appear.
Baaghi: Caviar to the general – By Marvi Sirmed
Even if the agencies in other countries play this ‘august’ role of interrupting the democratic process in their countries, does it justify ISI’s doling out money to keep a certain political party of the people’s choice out of government?
“Tacitly registering his concern over the debate in the media on the role of the army and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Kayani on Wednesday said, ‘The national institutions should not be undermined’”, said a news item in an English language daily newspaper on March 15. What merited this royal annoyance was open to discussion in the media about the re-eruption of a long simmering ‘Mehrangate’ that should be best described as ISI-gate. According to this case, some Rs 140 million had been doled out to politicians to rig the elections in 1990. The rest of the money out of Rs 350 million, as claimed by one Younas Habib, Zonal Manager of Habib Bank at that time, who was allegedly asked by the ISI to generate these funds, eventually went to the coffers of ISI and its officials and General Aslam Beg, the then army chief.
Bilawal Vows to Defend Minorities on Bhatti Anniversary
Karachi: The Chairperson of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said that the party will continue to stand by Pakistan’s religious minorities and support them against bigotry in the tradition of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.
In a statement marking the first anniversary of the assassination of PPP leader Shahbaz Bhatti, a member of the Christian community, the PPP Chairperson paid tribute to Shahbaz Bhatti’s dedication to Pakistani democracy and the ideal of a more tolerant and inclusive Pakistan. …
Read more » Pak Tea House
Remembering Shaikh Ayaz – “They wanted to take me to “chita” but the rain fall occurred in “shamshan”
2nd March is a birthday and December 28 is a Anniversary of Sindh’s legendary poet Shaikh Ayaz (2 March 1923- 28 December 1997). He was one of the greatest Sindhi poets of 20th century. He was born in Shikarpur Sindh. Ayaz’s critics, friends and contemporaries have agreed that through his poetry, he introduced new trends in Sindhi language and he also revolutionized many aspects of Sindhi poetry. His 46 collections of poetry, short stories, essays, diaries and the translation of Shah Jo Risalo into Urdu, continue to inspire not only literary circles but also common people of the region. Due to his poetry and writings, he had put behind the bars from 1965 to 1968 by military dictator Ayoub Khan and again was behind the bars from May 1971 to January 1972 by military dictator Yahya Khan, in Sukkur Jail in the punishment of opposing the brutal military operation and genocide of Bengalis.
He was friend of Sindh nationalist leader G.M. Syed, who was actually one of the founders of Pakistan but unfortunately he had treated by the authoritarian authorities of Pakistan as traitor and he put under house arrest and his house was declared a sub-jail. He was declared “Prisoner of Conscience” by Amnesty International. He had been detained without trial until his death.
Shaikh Ayaz also fought against military dictator Ayoub with Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the then prime minister of Pakistan was hanged by another military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq and his two sons Shahnawaz Bhutto, Mir Murtaza Bhutto and daughter Benazir Bhutto, twice prime minister of Pakistan was assassinated on 27 December 2007 in garrison city of Rawalpindi.
Recently, Banladesh’s democratically elected government has decided to confer the highest Bangladesh National award to Shaikh Ayaz.
”Shaikh Ayaz’s work is spontaneous, objective, powerful and effective . He wrote verses on every such topic that was disliked intensely by military establishment. He was incarcerated many times for his writings and even he was sentenced as traitor, but escaped gallows due to the sudden change of government.” Shaikh Ayaz proved that all miracles in history was done by common people; through his poetry he has strengthen our faith in human potentials to collaborate in reaching towards global community. A united world along prosper Sindh. Following is lyrical translation of Sheikh Ayaz’s peom in Hindi;
Poornimaasi Poori Ganga, Thandi Thandi Hawa,
Ghoom Raha he Tagore Kinary pe, Mehki He Hawa
Kawi, Ham ne Parnaam Kiya, Choom ke tumhary Paer (feet),
Kawi dekh rahy ho, Kuljag laaya Ham pe kitnay Andher
Kawi Dekhay hain ham ne tumhary peechy kitnay Kaloor
Sach Sooli Pe Latkaya gaya, Khamosh Raha Mansoor!
- Sheikh Ayaz’s
By Dr. Ahmed Makhdoom, Malaysia.
And, this is the reality in this country known as ‘Pakistan,’ where poverty-stricken, shirtless, shelter-less and loaf-less innocents are dying under the open skies and the voracious vultures have a field day and greedily feast on the bodies of the dead.
A large number of people affected by last year’s heavy monsoon rains took out a procession in Samaro town on Wednesday, calling upon the government to provide them permanent shelter, food, health and education facilities to enable them to lead a normal life again. Who will hear their wails and screams of help?
Malik says 27 terrorist groups involved in Benazir’s murder
…. Malik shared this and other details of the investigation of the former prime minister and Pakistan People’s Party chairperson’s murder case while briefing the Sindh Assembly session.
He blamed Baitullah Mehsud, the Haqqani network and the banned Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) for planning the murder and said 27 terrorist groups helped in executing the plan. ….
Read more » DAWN.COM
Mother of all cases?
A testimony of the slim, short, veteran businessman-cum-banker, Yunus Habib, may come in handy when the Supreme Court starts hearing the almost decade-old petition of Air Marshal Asghar Khan on Feb 29, 2012. Habib hit the headlines in the 1990s for his key role in the release of Rs14 million (or maybe more) from his own Mehran Bank to defeat the Benazir Bhutto’s PPP in the next elections.
The affidavit submitted by the then ISI chief, Lt. Gen. Asad Durrani, is the first ever confession by any official of Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency of the role it played in pre-poll rigging and its direct involvement in political matters. But there is much more to it and all facts must come to the surface.
Though there was an unusual delay in the case being taken up for hearing, one hopes it will proceed as fast as other petitions like the ones dealing with NRO, NICL, the infamous Memo Case or the Haj scam.
THE Difaa-i-Pakistan Council (DPC) has announced its aim of defending us against the dangers we face today.
But given the fact that the biggest threat to Pakistan comes from the extremist ideology of many of those who constitute the DPC, the question arises whether these holy warriors will confront the militants.
Don’t hold your breath: during a recent DPC rally in Karachi, speaker after speaker made it clear that their real enemies are India and America. This assembled galaxy clearly failed to notice the uncomfortable fact that over the last decade, well over 30,000 innocent civilians and 5,000 security personnel have been killed in terrorist attacks launched by jihadi militants. Such mundane truths often escape our religious brigade. While focusing on American drone attacks, which while controversial, have been the most effective weapon against the militants in the tribal areas, they have conveniently overlooked the real cause of militancy. The moment these realities are pointed out to them, they go on about how these casualties are the result of the American war in Afghanistan.
The composition of the DPC is interesting as it brings together a number of reactionary elements under one umbrella. Some of these, like Sheikh Rasheed and Ijaz ul Haq, have a semblance of respectability. However, this is based on the dubious proposition that cabinet positions, past or present, in Pakistan confer some degree of social acceptability.
On the other side of the DPC spectrum, we have characters like Malik Ishaq, released by the Lahore High Court and accused of committing several murders for the banned Sipah-i-Sahaba, an extreme Sunni outfit.
Hafiz Saeed is one of the stars of the DPC and head of Jamaatud Dawa, a supposedly charitable organisation banned for fronting for the Lashkar-i-Taiba. This terrorist group has been accused of being behind the deadly Mumbai attack of 2008, as well as other atrocities in India.
Qari Yaqub, the darling of admirers of his sermons on YouTube, also spoke at the DPC rally in Karachi where he warned journalists that he would turn the ground where he spoke into “a graveyard for the media” if they did not give the DPC ample coverage. So here I am, writing about the DPC to avoid an early grave.
Sheikh Rasheed, leader of his Awami Muslim League spoke at the rally, as did army dictator Zia’s son, Ijaz ul Haq. Hamid Gul, the retired general who was sacked as head of the ISI by Benazir Bhutto in 1989, also enlivened proceedings with his rant about the bright future ahead without a western presence.
So Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf, felt right at home in this august company as the PTI’s senior vice president Ejaz Chaudhry’s presence showed.
Clearly then, the 40-odd (some would say very odd) members of the DPC at least appear to be on the same page where extremist thought is concerned. The question is what and who brought them together. Pakistan’s history is littered with the bleached bones of right-wing alliances formed and then ditched by their creators. The IJI, the PNA, the IDA, and the MMA spring instantly to mind.
Add to them the various incarnations and iterations of the Muslim League, and you have a veritable alphabet soup of political aspirations: Q, N, Z and Awami are only the current manifestations.
The common thread running through all these parties and coalitions is the past or current connection with our intelligence agencies. Retired general Asad Durrani, another erstwhile ISI chief, has admitted before the Supreme Court that he funneled millions to anti-PPP candidates during the 1988 elections. This confession emerged years ago as a result of a writ filed by Asghar Khan, but the case has been on the back burner until the Supreme Court resumes hearing it later this month. Watch this space for further developments.
Given the stellar credentials of these stalwart defenders of our country, we can all sleep easy. They have vowed to save us from those nasty Americans and Indians, but before I cancel my life insurance policy, I’m still waiting to hear that they will protect us from the Pakistani Taliban as well.
Seriously, though, what is this circus all about? Why have so many extremist-minded elements and their fellow-travellers suddenly emerged from the woodwork to muddy the political waters? Who’s paying for all these expensive rallies? Actually, scratch that last question: we’re paying for them via whatever shadowy agency that has cobbled this latest alliance together.
And why is Imran Khan’s PTI part of this reactionary group? I know he’s in lockstep with people like Hamid Gul and Maulana Samiul Haq, but why does he need to identify himself with the most violent and unsavoury characters in this coalition? Does he not see that after his recent reinvention as a popular, mainstream politician, he no longer needs to cosy up to the likes of Qari Yaqub and Hafiz Saeed?
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
Pakistan politics: contempt for voters
Legality of supreme court’s move to unseat democratically elected government before its term is highly debatable
The national reconciliation ordinance was a dirty deal, brokered by the Bush administration, between Pakistan’s then military ruler Pervez Musharraf and Benazir Bhutto. It allowed her to return from exile and take part in elections in exchange for the dropping of corruption charges against her husband Asif Ali Zardari and other officials. The constitutional court was right to declare it unconstitutional two years later in 2009 and, it could be argued, equally right to demand the current government’s full implementation of the court’s decision.
The court is trying to do this by requiring the serving prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, to write to the Swiss authorities asking them to reopen a corruption inquiry against Mr Zardari. This the prime minister refuses to do on the grounds that Mr Zardari, who is now president, enjoys executive immunity from prosecution both inside and outside the country. The immunity the president enjoys while in office has not been the issue in the court, only Mr Gilani’s failure to comply with an unimplementable order. Yesterday he was charged with contempt, a move which could lead to his dismissal from office. If the legality of the court’s move is debatable, the politics of it are extremely murky.
First the timing. Having sat on this issue for three years, the supreme court are only now moving against Mr Gilani, who has become Pakistan’s longest serving prime minister. He was also the only one to be have been voted unanimously in power by parliament. Why now? With elections coming up in March 2013 which the leading party in the coalition, the Pakistan People’s Party, could very well win, this is an attempt to stop the civilian government from consolidating its power. In past eras this would have been done by tanks and generals. Today, it is been done by using supreme court justices as proxies. That may be called progress, but the manoeuvre to unseat a democratically elected government before its term is up remains the same.
Further, no domestic proceedings are being brought against President Zardari. They want a foreign government to do their work for them. Nor is any politician in Pakistan in a rush to challenge the rule of the executive immunity from prosecution for the simple reason that in power they would be sure to benefit from it as well. Once Mr Zardari loses office, fairly and at an election, he will lose that immunity and it is entirely right that he should have to account for allegations that he received kickbacks in a court of law. But that is not the purpose of yesterday’s contempt hearing. It is to sow political chaos and Mr Gilani is right to resist it. If he is convicted and forced from office, he will become a martyr in his party’s eyes. This will only propel his career forward.
via » WICHAAR.COM