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.
Difa-i-Pakistan Council (DPC) alliance of Jamatud Dawa (JuD), Ahle Sunnat Waljamat (formerly known as Sipah-e-Sahaba), Jamiat Ulema Islam (JUI), & Jamat-e-Islami (JI) are doing long march against the resumption of Nato supplies
Saying ‘no’ to NATO: DPC long march enroute to Gujranwala
By Web Desk / Rana Tanveer / Zahid Gishkori
LAHORE: The long march against the resumption of Nato supplies through Pakistan as announced by Difa-i-Pakistan Council (DPC) started from Lahore on Sunday and is expected to reach Islamabad tomorrow, Express News has reported.
Hundreds of cars were part of the procession.
The participants included activists from Jamatud Dawa (JuD), Ahle Sunnat Waljamat (formerly known as Sipah-e-Sahaba), Jamiat Ulema Islam (JUI), and Jamat-e-Islami (JI).
JI’s caravan had already reached Nasir Bagh under the leadership of Amirul Azeem where JuD ‘s caravan, led by Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, joined it.
JuD’s caravan had proceeded from Masjid-e-Shuada where JI leader Sayed Munawar Hasan, DPC chairman Molana Samiul Haq, former ISI chief General (r) Hamid Gul, his son Abdullah Gul, Pakistan Ulema Council head Maulana Tahir Ashrafi and other leaders joined them. The leaders were mounted on a truck, which also doubled as a moveable stage.
A number of JD and Hizbul Mujahideen activists were providing security to the truck.
The leaders delivered speeches at Istanbul Chowk at The Mall in front of Town Hall.
Addressing the protesters, Maulana Samiul Haq said they were holding a long march to save Pakistan and Afghanistan from the clutches of the US, adding that their movement would continue until complete withdrawal of US forces from Pakistan and Afghanistan.
He said suspension of Nato Supply is one of their goals, urging the masses to join them towards Islamabad. ….
Read more » The Express Tribune
Thousands of hardline Islamists stream to Pakistan’s capital to protest NATO supply line
By: Wichaar Desk
LAHORE, Pakistan — Thousands of hardline Islamists streamed toward Pakistan’s capital in a massive convoy of vehicles Sunday to protest the government’s decision to allow the U.S. and other NATO countries to resume shipping troop supplies through the country to Afghanistan.
The demonstration, which started in the eastern city of Lahore, was organized by the Difah-e-Pakistan Council — Defense of Pakistan Council — a group of politicians and religious leaders who have been the most vocal opponents of the supply line.
Pakistan closed the route in November in retaliation for American airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistani troops. Following months of negotiations, Islamabad finally agreed to reopen the route last week after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton apologized for the deaths.
Clinton met with Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar for the first time since the apology Sunday on the sidelines of an Afghan aid conference in Tokyo and expressed hope that resolution of the supply line conflict would lead to better relations between the troubled allies.
One of the reasons Pakistan waited so long to resolve the conflict is that the government was worried about domestic backlash in a country where anti-American sentiment is rampant despite billions of dollars in U.S. aid over the last decade.
The protest started Sunday in the center of Lahore, where several thousand people assembled with scores of buses, cars and motorbikes. They linked up with thousands more supporters waiting on the city’s edge and drove toward Islamabad in a so-called “long march” against the supply line. The convoy included about 200 vehicles carrying some 8,000 people when it left Lahore, said police official Babar Bakht.
After completing the 300 kilometer (185 mile) journey to Islamabad, they plan to hold a protest in front of the parliament building Monday.
“By coming out on the streets, the Pakistani nation has shown its hatred for America,” one of the Difah-e-Pakistan leaders, Maulana Samiul Haq, known as the father of the Taliban, said in a speech on the outskirts of Lahore.
Supporters showered Haq with rose petals as he rode through Lahore in the back of a truck with other Difah-e-Pakistan leaders, including Hafiz Saeed, founder of the banned Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group; Hamid Gul, a retired Pakistani intelligence chief with a long history of militant support; and Syed Munawar Hasan, leader of Pakistan’s most powerful Islamist party, Jamaat-e-Islami.
Many demonstrators rode on the tops of buses, waving party flags and shouting slogans against the U.S. and NATO. “One solution for America, jihad, jihad!” they shouted.
The crowd was dominated by members of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, widely believed to be a front group for Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is blamed for the attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai in 2008 that killed more than 160 people. Jamaat-ud-Dawa is led by the group’s founder, Saeed.
“The movement that has been started to reverse the government’s decision to restore the NATO supply will go on until America leaves this region for good,” Saeed said in a speech on the outskirts of Lahore. “The mission is noble because it is to save the country and the nation from slavery.”
The U.S. announced a $10 million bounty earlier this year for information leading to the arrest or conviction of Saeed, but he operates freely in the country. Pakistan says it doesn’t have enough evidence to arrest Saeed, but many suspect the government is reluctant to move against him and other militant leaders because they have longstanding ties with the country’s military and intelligence service.
Rehman Malik, a government security adviser, said members of banned militant groups would not be allowed to enter Islamabad for the Difah-e-Pakistan protest Monday, but all others would be welcomed.
“They are patriots. They are not anti-state people,” Malik told reporters. “We will welcome them with open arms.”
It’s unclear if they will try to prevent Saeed from attending the protest.
Difah-e-Pakistan is widely believed to be supported by the Pakistani army as a way to put pressure on the U.S. Its leaders have vowed to stop NATO trucks from making the journey from the southern port city of Karachi to the Afghan border. But if the group has army backing, it could moderate its actions.
By Farrukh Khan Pitafi
…. A group has the audacity of calling itself the Difa-e-Pakistan Council and then simultaneously threatens to kill its people. The question that arises then is why has the country’s establishment tolerated this ragtag army of thugs thus far? Somehow, everybody forgets that the transformation that it was asked to bring after 9/11 was so onerous that it might not have brought the dissent under full control and hence, the calculated and cautious approach. The fact is that we have witnessed some uncharacteristically huge mishaps in recent years and yet, if this scribe is asked to put his life in the hands of our government and the army, he will willingly do so. But tolerance of such terrible outfits is nothing short of criminal neglect. Perhaps, the DPC long march schedule from July 8, will give us definitive proof of whether the country’s deep state is involved in its genesis or not.
Courtesy: The Express Tribune, July 7th, 2012.
By: Times of India
LONDON: An English language manual for Westerners seeking to join al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has been published, which asks potential jihadists to think of virgins in paradise when bomber-drones are overhead.
Described as a “mustread” source, the guide has emerged on the internet shortly after it was leaked that AQAP had been penetrated by a British spy who managed to smuggle out the latest version of their “underpants bomb” .
The manual recommends on how to cope with the hardships and dangers of life as a jihadist, and includes rules such as keeping clean and not using mobile phones, The Telegraph reports.
“In some cases, you will be staying with a few brothers in a tight room or house. In order to avoid unnecessary problems , encourage yourself and your brothers to clean the room(s) on a regular basis. As for yourself, a daily shower is ideal, but not possible in many cases” , the first section tilted ‘cleanliness’ read.
Another section headed “aerial bombardment” describes the “bee-like sound” of the unmanned aerial vehicles . “If you feel terrified, Close your eyes and imagine yourself inside paradise. Think of your hoor [virgins] that are awaiting you as well as meeting prophets,” it says.
The guide was written by Samir Khan, an American who served as the top propagandist for the Yemen-based branch of the terrorist movement . He was killed by a drone attack in September, alongside AQAP’s leader Anwar al-Awlaki .
WASHINGTON, Nov 3: A senior US official responsible for counter- terrorism on Tuesday directly accused Pakistan of supporting training of militant groups in Afghanistan as well as providing “material support” to some of the Kashmiri militants. “There are numerous Kashmiri separatist groups and sectarian groups involved in terrorism which use Pakistan as a base…We have repeatedly asked Islamabad to end support of terrorist training in Afghanistan,” Michael Sheehan, State Department’s coordinator for counter-terrorism, told a Senate Foreign Relations sub-committee. The sub-committee hearing was called and presided over by Senator Sam Brownback and the list of experts who testified included a former CIA officer in Pakistan Milt Bearden, president of Stimson Centre Michael Krepon, John Hopkins University Central Asia Institute chairman Dr Fredrick Starr and a Pakistani- American businessman and columnist Mansoor Ijaz. …..
Read more » ChagataiKhan
Former DG ISI and Chief of Difa-e-Pakistan Council Gen. (R) Hameed Gul fall from chair in leadership row
The language of the news is in urdu (Hindi).
Courtesy: Express News Tv » YouTube
Javed Hashmi backs ‘most wanted’ Hafiz Saeed, Hafiz Abdur Rehman Makki
By Owais Jafri
MULTAN: Javed Hashmi, the Paistan Tehreek-i-Insaf President, on Friday extended his support to Jamaatud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed on whom the US recently placed $10 million bounty for his alleged role in the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
Calling him a preacher of peace in the world, Hashmi said, that if something should happen to Hafiz Saeed, then the entire nation will be responsible.
He was addressing a public demonstration organised by the Difa-e-Pakistan Council in Ghanta Ghar Square in Multan on Friday. The gathering was also addressed by leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami, Lawyers community, Jamat-e-ahl-e-hadees, Ahle-SunnatWal-Jamaat, Jamiat ulema-e-Pakistan, and members of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz. …
Read more » The Express Tribune
Turkey’s ex-army chief on trial for coup plot – When the Pakistani generals will meet the same fate?
Ilker Basbug is among 29 accused of being part of shadowy group plotting to overthrow government.
Ilker Basbug, Turkey’s former army chief, has gone on trial on charges of leading a terrorist group accused of plotting to overthrow the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the prime minister. ….
Read more » AlJazeera
The language of the discussion is urdu (Hindi).
Via – Twitter
Hamid Gul a complimentary member of Stratfor, says report
KARACHI: Former spy chief of Pakistan General Hamid Gul was reportedly a member of the US intelligence firm Stratfor, it emerged on Wednesday.
A report published in the Indian daily Times of India says that approximately five million emails of the Texas-based think tank were revealed by WikiLeaks.
“Whereas seemingly large numbers of Stratfor’s subscribers and clients work in the US military and intelligence agencies, Stratfor gave complimentary membership to General Hamid Gul, the controversial former head of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), who, according to US diplomatic cables, planned an IED attack on international forces in Afghanistan in 2006,” the report said. ….
Read more » DAWN.COM
By Durdana Najam
Why should the Pakistan Army borrow the mullah alliance to restore its image? Perhaps the language of Islam is the easiest to use as an exploitive tool for an emotionally charged Muslim community
The religious-politico parties have become active owing to the US’s increasing intrusion into Pakistan’s territorial precincts, the latest being the Salala checkpost attack that killed 24 soldiers in November 2011. The investigative report prepared by NATO, which revealed the determinants of the attack, termed the incident to be a joint sin committed by NATO and the Pakistan Army, suggesting that on a border as volatile as the one between Afghanistan and Pakistan’s tribal region, the rage of wrath can unleash itself at any time in any mode. Pakistan rejected the findings of the report, alleging it to be biased and obsessive. The attack irked even the government and, for a change, the NATO supply route was completely shut down — to this day. A parliamentary committee on national security is working to define new contours for Pak-America relations. In the meantime, Pakistan Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar is sending strong massages to the American government about the so-called sovereignty that we guard so close to our bosoms (depending largely on our whims and wishes).
The recent collaboration of 40 religious parties going by the name of Difa-i-Pakistan Council, comprising the likes of General (retd) Hamid Gul, Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, President Awami Muslim League Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, JUI-S chief Maulana Samiul Haq and the Amir of Jamaat-e-Islami, Munawar Hasan, geared towards defending Pakistan against foreign aggression, has raised national and international concerns, especially since the definition of foreign aggression from the point of view of Difa-i-Pakistan relates to none other than the US and India. ….
Read more » Daily Times
Pakistan : Gathering of Jihadis linked to al-Qaeda in Islamabad demands holy war against US – chanting “death to America”
Gathering demands holy war against US
Islamabad – Pakistanis poured onto Islamabad’s streets on Monday, chanting “death to America” and demanding holy war at a rally whipped up by right-wing, religious and banned organisations linked to al-Qaeda.
It was the latest show of support for Defence of Pakistan, a coalition of around 40 parties chaired by a cleric dubbed the father of the Taliban that include organisations blacklisted at home and abroad as terror groups. ….
…. “Today, we have gathered here to raise a voice of protest against US intervention in Pakistan,” chairperson Maulana Sami ul-Haq, who runs an extremist madrassa that educated several Taliban leaders, said.
Also present was member Hamid Gul, who headed Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency during the 1980s US and Pakistani-sponsored war against Soviet troops in Afghanistan.
His membership has helped fuel suspicions that Pakistan’s security establishment is backing the coalition as a means of exerting pressure on the weak government and whipping up rhetoric against the unpopular US alliance. ….
….. “Death to America” and “America deserves one treatment: Jihad, jihad” shouted the crowd in a bustling commercial area, an AFP reporter said. ….
To read complete report » news 24
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?
The anchor (Wajahat Khan) who interviewed Hamed Gul facing death threats after exposing Hamid Gul’s lies about Malik Ishaq
Pakistan’s right-wing is questioned, and questioned hard, as former ISI Chief Lt. Gen (retd) Hameed Gul faces off against Wajahat S. Khan on the role of the controversial Difa-e-Pakistan Council. 32 minutes of a no-holds-barred debate on Aaj TV’s Ikhtilaf. The language of the interview is urdu (Hindi).
Pakistan’s finest are at it again, but why?
The “defence of Pakistan” council has held several public meetings (each probably costing millions of rupees) in different parts of the country and is now headed for a “mother of all jalsas” at Karachi on Feb 12th. All the usual suspects are there. Jamat ud Dawa (reincarnation of the blessed Lashkar e Tyaba of Mumbai atrocity fame) is leading the way, but everyone who is anyone is there. Sheeda Tully is there (He was Musharraf’s railway minister and helped to run it into the ground, after having held several other ministries, his farmhouse was famously listed as a gathering spot for Kashmiri Jihadis in the 1990s). Zia ul Haq’s son, Ejaz ul Haq is there. Hamid Gul is there.
Why has military intelligence, in its infinite wisdom, activated every zombie from the good old days of the Kashmir Jihad?
Is it to get more money out of Uncle Sam? That particular ATM may be out of cash right now, so its probably not that.
Is it because the bloody civilians may actually be able to do shocking things like start normal trade with India? so what? what is the threat here?
Is it something to do with the ongoing bumbling “get Zardari operation”.
Is it because the army has split into factions and the jihadi faction is trying to embarrass the mercenary faction?
Come on hive mind, answers please.
Courtesy: Brown Pundits
By Pervez Hoodbhoy
….. In the military’s mind, the Americans are now a threat, equal to or larger than India. They are also considered more of an adversary than even the TTP jihadists who have killed thousands of Pakistani troops and civilians. While the Salala incident was allowed to inflame public opinion, the gory video-taped executions of Pakistani soldiers by the TTP were played down. A further indication is that the LeT/JuD is back in favor (with a mammoth anti-US and anti-India rally scheduled in Karachi next month). Pakistani animosity rises as it sees America tightly embracing India, and standing in the way of a Pakistan-friendly government in Kabul. Once again “strategic defiance” is gaining ground, albeit not through the regional compact suggested by General Mirza Aslam Beg in the early 1990s.
This attitudinal shift has created two strong non-India reasons that favour ramping up bomb production.
First, Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are seen to be threatened by America. This perception has been reinforced by the large amount of attention given to the issue in the US mainstream press, and by war-gaming exercises in US military institutes. Thus, redundancy is considered desirable — an American attempt to seize or destroy all warheads would have smaller chances of success if Pakistan had more.
But such an attack is improbable. It is difficult to imagine any circumstances — except possibly the most extreme — in which the US would risk going to war against another nuclear state. Even if Pakistan had just a handful of weapons, no outside power could accurately know the coordinates of the mobile units on which they are located. It is said that an extensive network of underground tunnels exists within which they can be freely moved. Additionally, overground ones are moved from place to place periodically in unmarked trucks. Mobile dummies and decoys can hugely compound difficulties. Moreover, even if a nuclear location was exactly known, it would surely be heavily guarded. This implies many casualties when intruding troops are engaged, thus making a secret bin-Laden type operation impossible.
The second – and perhaps more important — reason for the accelerated nuclear development is left unstated: nukes act as insurance against things going too far wrong. Like North Korea, Pakistan knows that, no matter what, international financial donors will feel compelled to keep pumping in funds. Else a collapsing system may be unable to prevent some of its hundred-plus Hiroshima-sized nukes from disappearing into the darkness.
This insurance could become increasingly important as Pakistan moves deeper into political isolation and economic difficulties mount. Even today, load-shedding and fuel shortages routinely shut down industries and transport for long stretches, imports far exceed exports, inflation is at the double-digit level, foreign direct investment is negligible because of concerns over physical security, tax collection remains minimal, and corruption remains unchecked. An African country like Somalia or Congo would have sunk under this weight long ago.
To conclude: throwing a spanner in the works at the CD (Geneva) may well be popular as an act of defiance. Indeed, many in Pakistan — like Hamid Gul and Imran Khan — derive delicious satisfaction from spiting the world in such ways. But this is not wise for a state that perpetually hovers at the edge of bankruptcy, and which derives most of its worker remittances and export earnings from the very countries it delights in mocking.
To read complete article » The Express Tribune, January 30th, 2012.
From Syed Ali Dayan Hasan in London
The security apparatus has run amok
In her most candid interview since 1988, Benazir Bhutto, twice elected prime minister of Pakistan, reveals the extent to which successive civilian governments have been held hostage, and destabilised, by the ‘securityapparatus’ of the military. Bhutto, chairperson of the PPP — the single largest political party of the country — explains the helplessness of civilian governments in the face of Intelligence-inspired disinformation on the one hand, and ideologically motivated illegal activities of ‘rogue elements’ of the army on the other. She argues that the security apparatus of the country is out of control and that no government can hope to function smoothly unless these elements are brought under a formalised command structure that prevents them from taking on the role of a state within a state. There is much evidence to support Bhutto’s claims, including that of her adversaries — General Aslam Beg, General Hameed Gul and General Asad Durrani — all of whom conspired against civilian governments and have repeatedly gone on record to admit as much. “Blaming politicians alone for tarnishing democracy is actually less than half the story,” argues Bhutto. Here, she explains why.
Q. What do you think is the basic problem with civil-military relations?
A. The inability of the military tobow before the people’s will.
Q. Why is that?
A. The military’s view on security and government is at variance with the popular will. Pakistan is a federation but the armed forces distrust provincial units. They are scared of giving up power.
Q. So, what is the solution to this impasse in civil-military relations?
A. Either we have democracy or dictatorship. The military seeks a dictatorship or a controlled democracy to continue with their security agenda. They need the centralised state and a diversion of resources for that security agenda. For the first time, they are realising the difficulty of running the ship of state. I believe the solution lies in democracy and devolution. We should return to the roots of the Quaid. He founded Pakistan on the principles of federalism, autonomy and freedom. If we revert to this dream, we might devolve more power but we will be more secure.
Q. How has the army managed to present a discredited image of political figures, including you?
A. I dispute that they have succeeded but I agree that they have tried. There are two factors that explain this. One, political institutions are weak and have financial resources and organisational ability. Also, they are unable to communicate freely with the masses. This is because genuine political forces have been continually hunted by the establishment, and when you are constantly hunted, you have little time to organise. Second, because the army does give power to some politicians, it has divided the civilian popular base by holding out to those who cannot win — the promise of power without legitimacy.
Q. You have presided twice over a controlled democracy.What have you learnt from the experience?
A. There is a tendency in Pakistan, due to military dictatorships and one-man rule, to think that one person can make allthe difference. But in a democratic system, it is not just one person that makes a difference. A democratic, such as myself, functions within the confines of the constitution. We need a civic consensus on what a constitution should be and what constitutes freedom and plurality. I had to work on the mandate I was given and that is why I say that we did not achieve much. I had to work with the 8th amendment and a president who could sack the prime minister. In other words, some elements in the intelligence agencies used the president when they felt I was becoming too powerful. They never allowed us enough time to elect members of the senate which would have made my party — and the democratic forces — stronger. The real solution lies not with any individual. I can only give a clarion call. Then it depends on the masses whether they rally around that call to say that they want a constitution based on the supremacy of the will of the people and that the prime minister and parliament must determine national security and not the military.
Q. But then, if you had commanded a two-thirds majority and could have amended the constitution, a coup would have taken place against you ….
Read more » Scribd
Dear Aslam Baig Sahib,
I heard you talking in a TV programme sometime back, where you once again disputed your role in forming the IJI and your involvement in the Mehrangate Scandal to the sheer shock of the audience. Sir, I will be short and precise in whatever I write because I am traumatised at what you said in the court of law and that too under oath of the holy book.
Let me remind you general to what you said in the Supreme Court in 1997 (Human Rights Petition 19/96 filed by Air Marshal Asghar Khan). Aslam Baig Sahib, your quotes from the SC records are “the money was donated by Younas Habib. The ISI was acting under the directions of higher authorities. As chief of the army staff at that time, when I was informed of this matter, my only concern was that the money received by the ISI was utilised properly and an account was maintained and beyond that I had no concern with the money…” Referring to the amount raised by the ISI for possibly helping right-wing political parties.
But, your astounding claim that you only “over-looked” the operation was rebuffed by your own ISI chief during the time, General Asad Durrani, who filed an affidavit in response to your rather, innocent claim. Gen Durrani, who later in 1996 became our ambassador in Germany, when approached by the SC, wrote an affidavit, confirming that he had received instructions from COAS General Beg (you) to provide ‘logistic support’ for the disbursement of donations made by certain ‘businessmen of Karachi’ to the IJI election campaign of 1990, and was told that the operation had the blessings of the government rebutting your claim that you acted only as a ‘watchdog’.
General Beg, Iqbal Haider who is now a human rights activist, defended General Nasurullah Baber and in a recorded statement (record could be verified by the SC registrar) said, “The ISI was involved in politics”. Lt General Hameed Gul, a former ISI chief, was on record as having boasted that it was he who created the IJI, and another ISI chief, Lt General Javed Nasir, had taken credit for creating the MQM Haqiqi.
Supplementary to this in an another affidavit filed by Gen Babur in the SC (HRC 19/96) included Asad Durrani’s (your ISI Chief) confidential letter to the late Benazir Bhutto which read, “My dear prime minister, A few points I could not include in my ‘confessional statement’ handed over to the director, FIA. These could be embarrassing or sensitive. (a) The recipients included Khar Rs 2 million, Hafeez Pirzada Rs 3 million, Sarwar Cheema Rs 0.5 million and Mairaj Khalid Rs 0.2 million. (b) The remaining Rs 80 million were either deposited in the ISI’s ‘K’ fund (60m) or given to director external intelligence for special operations (perhaps the saving grace of this disgraceful exercise. But it is delicate information.) [Noted in the margin of this paragraph, by the writer in his own hand: “This is false. The amount was pocketed by Beg (Friends)”]
“If the idea is to put Gen Beg on the mat: he was merely providing ‘logistic support’ to donations made by a community ‘under instructions’ from the government and with the ‘consent’ of the military high command. In any case; I understand he is implicated in some other deals in the same case…” Asad Durrani claimed. Fair enough, but money worth Rs 60 million that was supposed to be made to the ISI’s K Fund went to your pockets. General Baig, this is serious, because as per your own ISI chief, “you” and “your friends” pocketed the money.
And friends, sir? Apparently, Naseerullah Babar also filed in court a copy of a bank account sheet headed “G/L Account. Activity Report. Account 12110101 G Baig (sic)” The column heads read “Transaction, Date, Particulars, Debit, Credit”.
The numbered transactions took place between October 23, 1991, and December 12, 1993. The first transaction listed was “Cash-PO Karachi Bar Association A/C Gen Baig (sic.), debit, Rs 505,680” (advocate Mirza Adil Beg, Aslam Beg’s nephew, the then president of the KBA, confirms that the KBA received the money). In January 1992, $20,000 was sold @ 26.50 and Rs 530,000 was credited to the account. Thereafter all debits: “Arshi c/o Gen Baig (sic.) Rs 290,000; Cash paid to Gen Shab Rs 240,000; Cash Friends Rs 100,000 [Aslam Beg’s organisation, FRIENDS, Foundation for Research on National Development and Security]; Cash TT to Yamin to pay Gen Sahib Rs 300,000; Cash TT to Yamin Habib Rs 1,200,000 ; Cash Friends Rs 100,000 ; Cash Friends Rs 100,000 ; Cash paid through YH 1,000,000 ; Cash Friends TT to Salim Khan Rs 200,000 ; Cash Rs 100,000 ; Cash Towards Friends Rs 500,000 ; Cash Asif Shah for Bungalow Rs 35,000 ; Cash Friends Rs 100,000 ; Cash Friends Rs 100,000 ; Cash TT through Yamin for Friends Rs 100,000 ; Cash paid to Fakhruddin G Ebrahim Rs 200,000 [he confirms having received the money from General Baig as fees and expenses for defending him in the contempt of court charge brought against him - PLD 1993 SC310] ; Cash paid through TT to Yamin for Friends ; Cash paid to Fakhruddin G Ebrahim Rs 128,640 [he confirms receipt for fees/expenses for contempt case] ; Cash Guards at 11-A Rs 10,500 ; Cash TT for $240,000 Fav Riaz Malik to City Bank (sic) New York Rs 6876,000 ; Cash Friends Rs 100,000; Cash Guards at 11-A Rs 10,500 ; Cash Major Kiyani Rs 10,000; Cash mobile phone for Col Mashadi Rs 28,911 ; Cash TT fav Qazi Iqbal and M Guddul Rs 300,000 ; Cash Major Kiyani Rs 10,000 ; Cash TT to Peshawar Rs 300,000 ; Cash deposited at Karachi A/C EC [Election Commission] Rs 300,000 ; Cash Guards Rs 24,000 ; Cash TT to Quetta Rs 700,000 ; Cash mobile bill of Col Mashadi Rs 3,237 ; Cash TT to Peshawar Br Rs 400,000 ; Cash deposited at Karachi Br Rs 400,000 ; Cash Guards Rs 11,520 ; Cash TT to Peshawar for EC Rs 200,000 ; Cash TT to Quetta for EC Rs 200,000 ; Cash Guards Rs 5,760 ; Cash Major Kiyani Rs 5,000 ; Cash A/C Guards Rs 8,640 ; Cash th YH Rs 200,000 ; Cash A/C Guards Rs 5,760 ; Cash TT to Salim Khan Rs 100,000.”
General Aslam Baig, its about time you come clean on the allegations and apologise to the nation for not only laundering the nation’s tax money, but artificially forming a right-wing political party, or face Article 6. It is also the duty of the SC to take up the petition of Air Marshal Asghar Khan and take it to its logical conclusion.
Ali K Chishti
Courtesy » Daily Times
Those media anchors who consider the Taliban important for lasting peace in Afghanistan, why don’t they consider allowing the Taliban to set up a government in, say, Karachi?
- Let the Taliban rule Karachi
By Asad Munir
Those who support the Taliban also think that when the Americans leave, the Taliban will give up their arms and return to a normal peaceful life. They should see a recent video uploaded on YouTube. It is titled “Takfiri Molvi” (http://youtu.be/C_uYiQxTTf8) and shows a Pakistani Taliban leader calling the Quaid-i-Azam ‘Kafir-i-Azam’. This man also says that army troops have been declared apostates; he calls the Imam of the Kaaba “gumrah” and justifies kidnapping for ransom by saying that this is allowed under jihad. He refers to a kidnapped person as “aseer-e-ghaneemat”. Lootings of banks is also permitted, by calling the loot as “mal-e-ghaneemat” and the killing of women and children is justified by saying that this happens during a war.
The Taliban leader then goes on to call most Pakistanis “apostates” and hence this justifies their killing as a religious obligation. He says quite clearly that the Taliban will continue their jihad till the enforcement of Shariah in Pakistan and will kill all those who oppose them.
The Taliban’s agenda has been clearly spelt out in this video. They want to impose Shariah in this country, through the use of force. And they are armed, trained and capable of accomplishing this mission, if they have support from the people. They will neither lay down arms nor end their terrorist activities, even with the withdrawal of US forces and people who think that they will are naïve or living in a state of denial.
So to consider them as “our own people” and to initiate dialogue with them is not going to stop them from carrying on with their activities. I would wish good luck to all those who want to negotiate peace with the likes of Mullah Fazlullah, Hakeemullah Mehsud, Faqir Muhammad, Hafiz Gul Bahadur, Qari Hussian and others.
And as for those media anchors who consider the Taliban important for lasting peace in Afghanistan, why don’t they consider allowing the Taliban to set up a government in, say, Karachi?
To read complete article » The Express Tribune
- Analysis » By Khaled Ahmed
The planned committee that will ensure that the APC statement is acted upon will have a tough time bringing the Haqqanis under control because in this instance the tail is wagging the dog
During the APC against America on 29 September 2011 in Islamabad, Maulana Samiul Haq said that the Haqqani network was ‘indigenous to Pakistan’. How could he say that except on the basis of the fact that both the founder of the Network, Jalaluddin Haqqani and his son the current commander Siraj, are graduates of his Madrassa Haqqania in Akora Khattak, Nowshehra, near Peshawar?
by Hakim Hazik
My brather Khawaja Saader Feeq thinks otherwise. He thinks it was an inside jaab. He says, they put dynamite inside the building and pulled the sooch at the same time. And no yahoodis came to work! Why did ten thousand yahoodis nat come to work sir ji? I thinks so that is very suspishus. They are very secret peepal. They did nat tell any bady. Nat even Christian
Where you were on nine leven? I was eating Benazir Qulfa near Pani Wala Talab. I would normally go to Mochi gate for Seekh Kabab, but it was tweezday and I don’t eat meat on tweezdays. I saw it myself with my own eyes on tally viyun. The fust plane then the sacond plane. Peepals running like chickens in New Yarak. Tawars falling. I thought inside inside my heart, Allah Pak take mercy, they will come after Brather Usama Bin. …
Read more → ViewPoint
Accused of Mehran Bank Scandal, former army chief “General (r) Mirza Aslam Beg,” sends a message to serving army chief Gen. Kayani to use his influence aka. impose Martial Law on Pakistan
The language of the talk show is urdu (Hindi).
Courtesy: Aaj Tv News (Bolta Pakistan with Nusrat Javaid and Mushtaq Minhas – 20 July 2011)
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As per 1973 Constitution of Pakistan http://www.pakistani.org/pakistan/constitution/part1.html
PART I -→ 6. (1) Any person who abrogates or attempts or conspires to abrogate, subverts or attempts or conspires to subvert the Constitution by use of force or show of force or by other unconstitutional means shall be guilty of high treason.
(2) Any person aiding or abetting the acts mentioned in clause (1) shall likewise be guilty of high treason.
(3) [Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament)] shall by law provide for the punishment of persons found guilty of high treason.
“UNQUOTE” → Definition of Accomplice: An accomplice is a person who actively participates in the commission of a crime, even though they take no part in the actual criminal offense.
Govt Prepares For Post-MQM Scenario: Suddle, Mirza May Get Top Slots
By Aijaz Ahmed
It is believed that the central government has prepared ‘Plan B’ to deal with any eventuality in case MQM finally refuses to rejoin the coalition and creates any law and order situation. The sources say that the government may resort to strong action, which may be contrary to the so far soft image of President Asif Zardari as the PPP may be losing patience with the ‘my way or highway’ attitude of the relatively immature ex-coalition party.
Teasers are already being sent to MQM, but at the same time, efforts to bring the ex-coalition partner back to the government’s fold are also underway, sources reveal. ‘Indeed Plan ‘A’ is to bring MQM back in the government’, sources told IH. Ch. Shujaat Hussain, Rehman Malik, and some common friends from UK are assigned the task.
The first priority to bring MQM back in the fold is mainly for two reasons, say insiders in the power corridors. The first reason is very obvious that government wants to avoid any confrontation and thus did not want to create an image that the leading party in the ruling coalition does not have ability to resolve the differences and thus unable to maintain relations with coalition partners.
Second reason is more interesting and strong according to the sources: the leadership of the ruling coalition according to the sources was astonished at the way the PML-N and MQM came closer, and the reaction of Imran Khan and other opposition forces. The inclusion of MQM in the opposition with PML-N and other parties may result in creation of stronger and vibrant opposition.
Grand opposition of PML-N, JUI-F, Jamaat i Islami, PTI, the Sindhi Nationalists and MQM embedded with a section of intelligence agencies can pose threats to the very survival of the elected government and also can assert more pressure on the President. The government – judiciary relations strengthen the view that all may not be well for PPP, Mr. Zardari and his allies if the grand opposition is allowed to come into existence, sources maintain.
There are also clear indications that a section of the intelligence agencies influenced by Hameed Gul mindset is providing some backing to Imran Khan and partly to PML-N as well, and this may lead towards disastrous end to the present set up.
MQM may be offered the seat of deputy speaker in the AJK Assembly along with a slot of advisor in AJK government. These offers will be apart from some concessions the party may be offered in Sindh once again. The MQM, according to the sources, intends to get some of its workers released, closure of few investigations and withdrawal of PPP’s stand on Municipal system in Karachi. The PPP wants to return to the previous system and remove existing 18 towns and restore commissionerate system in Karachi, Hyderabad and rest of Sindh, sources maintain.
Although the hopes of MQM’s return in the government’s folds are very slim as according to the assessment of PPP hawks, Altaf Hussain and his party intends to make political inroads in Punjab, Pakhtoonkhwa and Kashmir and to get better results it has to be out of the government, adopt ‘Majha’ (macho) style of politics in Punjab and adopt harsh tone against policies disliked by the people.
Thus the PPP and PML-Q are chalking out the plan B. Functional League, The National peoples Party and few leaders of ‘Hamkhyal’ (like-minded) League are being approached and some new faces from all these forces may be included in the Sindh Cabinet if Ch Shujaat and Rehman Malik failed to get favorable results. However it may take more than 6 weeks.
The most important part of the Plan will be the top slots in Sindh. The name of Zulfikar Mirza is being mentioned for the position of CM and everybody is talking about his new role in Karachi and Islamabad.
However the name of the new Governor of Sindh could be a surprise. Although Faisal Raza Abidi is being tipped as new Governor of Sindh for very obvious reasons, in the final count down he may not be the ultimate choice. Although he has abilities to give tough time to his arch rivals in Karachi and MQM, the man who can win the confidence of both the President and the Military Establishment, which is a settled norm when a governor is appointed, former police official Mr. Shoaib Suddle may be the elevated to the job. Mr. Suddle has a background of a successful action against terrorists in Karachi, majority of them was believed to be associated with MQM. He is also known to be honest and impartial but believed to have some grudges against MQM. He is also supposed to be close to the president.
Former IB Chief Mr. Masood Sharif could have been a natural choice for the post but he developed some differences with the president because of Rehman Malik sources said adding that Appointment of Mr. Wajid Durrani as IG Sindh Police is a clear indication in this regard. The Police and Rangers have been asked to mark people from MQM who according to the reports could make trouble in Karachi, but this time a direct action will be avoided only targeted action will be taken and only against all trouble making elements, but elements believed to have MQM connections will be on top of the list for which preparations are being made.
The party sources also maintain that the leadership wants a strong man in the Governor House Karachi having different background from CM Sindh, most probably from the Urdu speaking community, as has been the norm. Any other name may also come up in the race, but Mr. Saddle is the strongest contender for the slot at the moment, sources believe.
Courtesy: → Indus Herald
Dear Pakistani Muslim brethren (and sisterren who became breteren), our armed forces have been fighting a war on two fronts. One is against corrupt civilian politicians, who want us to submit our sovereignty to Christian/Jew/McDonalds America and Hindu India, and one against uncircumcised Hindu/Christian/Atheist /Jain men posing to be Muslim warriors.
In this day and age of utter chaos and confusion in our Islamic republic, it is the duty of patriotic Pakistanis to continue informing their young compatriots as to why this country was formed.
There is so much these days out there in the electronic media and the cyber world about Pakistan, but unfortunately a lot of it is squarely aimed at confusing our young generations and making them rebel against their land’s ideology.
Dear compatriots, I must remind you that Pakistan came into being, first and foremost, to challenge the hegemony of the West, especially the United States.
To quote our great leader, Muhammad Ali Jinnah: ‘You are free to go to your mosques or some else’s mosques but only to a mosque in this Islamic republic. Religion is the business of the state and the business is gooood!’
Osama bin Laden’s death presents retired general with new opportunities for intrigue
by Declan Walsh in Rawalpindi
Last week Afghan intelligence put out a story that General Hamid Gul, a retired chief of the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate (ISI), had been caught shunting the one-eyed Taliban leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar, between safe houses in Pakistan’s border badlands.
It seemed to make sense. The ISI, which on Tuesday faced angry questions over the death of a journalist who allegedly died in its custody, has long been accused of covertly aiding the Taliban. Gul is Pakistan’s guardian angel of jihad – an outspoken Islamist who supports the Taliban and spends much of his time peddling lurid conspiracy theories on television.
The key issue is that the security establishment has shown no signs of course correction so far. From the bluster about a befitting response to a future Abbottabad-style attack to the attempted outing of the CIA’s Islamabad station chief, everything points towards a top brass set in its ways and unwilling to let go of its jihadist proxies.
The events of the last ten days have been as much amusing as they have been distressing. The Pakistani establishment has been running like a chicken with its head cut off. From an initial reaction that mixed denial with a desire to claim some credit for the death of the US’s enemy number one, the response has morphed into a wrangling within the ruling classes as well as posturing and digging in vis-à-vis the US.
While the establishment, and now the political government, has determined that there, ostensibly, is enough blame to go around the whole world and the intelligence agencies therein, the primary finger pointing continues between the military and the political elite. It reminds me of the game called ‘hot potato’ in which the kids pass around the hot potato — usually a ball — to the fast pace of music. The person holding the hot potato when the music stops, is out of the game. Apparently, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has been ‘volunteered’ to hold the hot potato of the Osama bin Laden (OBL) fiasco for now.
In a complete about-turn from his statements of less than a month ago, the Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has suddenly discovered the importance of the civilians leading the charge on security issues. Asking the civvies to lead in the national security and foreign policy matters — really? Something is not right with this picture. This never happens unless the top brass is in thick soup. The 1965 Operation Gibraltar, the 1971 Dacca debacle, 1989 Jalalabad misadventure, and the 1999 Kargil disaster: as Yogi Berra would have said, it’s like déjà vu all over again!
In several addresses, including the one last month on the Martyrs’ Day (Yawm-e-Shuhada), General Kayani had made no mention whatsoever of the civilian government. And he was not just talking past them. He had been talking of a bond directly between the people and the army, with the political forces conveniently left out of the equation. Is it not interesting then that the army chief now “believes that the people of Pakistan need to be taken into confidence through their honorable elected representatives”? He has further “requested that strength of democracy must be put into effect to develop a consensus on important security issues, including war on terror. Articulation of a national response through parliament, under the circumstances, is the most effective way to let the world know the historic achievements of Pakistan against al Qaeda and its terror affiliates.” And in the vintage Pakistani Army style, the millstone will be finally put around parliament’s neck, as the general has also requested the “honorable prime minister, Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, to kindly consider convening of a joint session of parliament for briefing on security issues as related to Abbottabad incident”.
In February 1989, the security establishment through the then ISI director, General Hamid Gul, gave an in-camera briefing to parliament. The nascent Benazir Bhutto government had been under severe pressure to steer clear of any interference in the foreign policy agenda set out by the establishment. The domestic pressure brought to bear on BB through a hostile provincial government in Punjab was intensified to get her to comply. The closed-doors briefing informed parliament that the ISI was about to unleash the Afghan mujahideen mercenaries on Jalalabad in March 1989 — a battle that ended in the rout of the jihadists. One of BB’s close lieutenants and perhaps her most powerful minister then, told me: “We decided to step aside and let the khakis have their way … to get them off our backs.” Unfortunately for the Pakistan People’s Party, neither could it shake the khakis off its back then, nor would it be able to do it now. And Pakistan continues to reap the whirlwind for the wind that Hamid Gul et al sowed in Afghanistan.
The civilian government is being blamed now for not taking interest in national security matters. The public memory may be short but we have not yet gone into collective amnesia to not remember the ruckus raised by the establishment and its media stooges to successfully block the placement of the ISI under civilian control in 2008. Similarly, the civilian government and Ambassador Hussain Haqqani were much maligned for ‘engineering’ the clauses in the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Act, which called for civilian oversight of the US funding to the military. And lest we forget, the ambassador neither invited nor granted visas to OBL, Ayman al-Zawahri, Mullah Omar, Tahir Yuldeshev, the Haqqani network and thousands of jihadists roaming in Pakistan.
The question however is not just whether the civilian leadership should extend a lifeline to a junta on the ropes for reasons over which the politicians never had any control. The key issue is that the security establishment has shown no signs of course correction so far. From the bluster about a befitting response to a future Abbottabad-style attack to the attempted outing of the CIA’s Islamabad station chief, everything points towards a top brass set in its ways and unwilling to let go of its jihadist proxies. The embarrassment does not appear to be about lying but about getting caught lying. All indications are that the wiggle room left by the world powers is being squandered through misplaced swagger.
At minimum, the public deserves to know that there has been an undeclared policy of pursuing foreign policy objectives through the jihadist proxies. If the people of Pakistan agree to this adventurism, then at least everyone will be on the same page and brace for whatever consequences it entails. If the PPP and its coalition partners wish to be a party to a jingoistic consensus, more power to them. But such public consensus can never be developed through in-camera briefings and passing on the buck.
While the politicians are rightly accused of dodging accountability, the security establishment has not done any better. In fact, the opposite has been true in many cases. Professor Hassan Abbas records in his book Pakistan’s Drift into Extremism that in Operation Gibraltar, the highly competent General Akhtar Malik was replaced mid-battle with the inept General Yahya Khan, resulting in disaster, but Yahya was never held accountable. But it is better late than never to begin. If OBL indeed moved into his Abbottabad hideout five or six years ago, that implies that General Kayani himself was in charge of the ISI at the time. The buck therefore stops at his desk, not parliament.
The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Courtesy: Daily Times
…. Gen. Hameed Gul, former head of the ISI, told the Financial Times on May 3 that the ISI knew where he was, but regarded him as “inactive.” Writing in the May 5 Guardian (UK), author Tariq Ali says that a “senior” ISI official told him back in 2006 that the spy organization knew where bin Ladin was, but had no intention of arresting him because he was “The goose that laid the golden egg.” In short, the hunt for the al-Qaeda leader helped keep the U.S. aid spigot open.
Indeed, bin Ladin may have been under house arrest, which would explain the absence of trained bodyguards. By not allowing the al-Qaeda leader a private militia, the ISI forced him to rely on it for protection. And if they then dropped a dime on him, they knew he would be an easy target. As to why he was killed, not captured, neither the U.S. nor Pakistan wanted him alive, the former because of the judicial nightmare his incarceration would involve, the latter because dead men tell no tales. …
Read more : Dispatches From The Edge
- The curious case of Osama bin Laden
By Pervez Hoodbhoy
….. But then it turned out bin Laden was not hiding in some dark mountain cave in Waziristan. Instead, probably for at least some years, he had lived comfortably smack inside the modern, peaceful, and extraordinarily secure city of Abbottabad. Using Google Earth, one sees that the deceased was within easy walking distance of the famed Pakistan Military Academy at Kakul. It is here where General Kayani had declared on April 23 that “the terrorist’s backbone has been broken and inshallah we will soon prevail”. Kayani has released no statement after the killing.
Still more intriguing are pictures and descriptions of bin Laden’s fortress house. Custom-designed, it was constructed on a plot of land roughly eight times larger than the other homes in the area. Television images show that it has high walls, barbed wire and two security gates. Who approved the construction and paid for it? Why was it allowed to be away from the prying eyes of the secret agencies?
Even the famous and ferocious General Hamid Gul (retd) — a bin Laden sympathiser who advocates war with America — cannot buy into the claim that the military was unaware of bin Laden’s whereabouts. In a recorded interview, he remarked that bin Laden being in Abbottabad unknown to authorities “is a bit amazing”. Aside from the military, he said “there is the local police, the Intelligence Bureau, the Military Intelligence, the ISI — they all had a presence there”. Pakistanis familiar with the intrusive nature of the multiple intelligence agencies will surely agree; to sniff out foreigners is a pushover.
So why was bin Laden sheltered in the army’s backyard? General Pervez Musharraf, who was army chief when bin Laden’s house in Abbottabad was being constructed in 2005, unwittingly gives us the clearest and most cogent explanation. The back cover of his celebrated book, In The Line Of Fire, written in 2006, reads:
“Since shortly after 9/11 — when many al Qaeda leaders fled Afghanistan and crossed the border into Pakistan — we have played multiple games of cat and mouse with them. The biggest of them all, Osama bin Laden, is still at large at the time of this writing but we have caught many, many others. We have captured 672 and handed over 369 to the United States. We have earned bounties totalling millions of dollars. Here, I will tell the story of just a few of the most significant manhunts”.
So, at the end of the day, it was precisely that: A cat and mouse game. Bin Laden was the ‘Golden Goose’ that the army had kept under its watch but which, to its chagrin, has now been stolen from under its nose. Until then, the thinking had been to trade in the Goose at the right time for the right price, either in the form of dollars or political concessions. While bin Laden in virtual captivity had little operational value for al Qaeda, he still had enormous iconic value for the Americans. It was therefore expected that kudos would come just as in the case of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the Kuwaiti-born senior al Qaeda leader who was arrested in Rawalpindi, or Mullah Baradar, the Taliban leader arrested from Karachi.
Events, however, have turned a potential asset into a serious liability. Osama’s killing is now a bone stuck in the throat of Pakistan’s establishment that can neither be swallowed nor spat out. To appear joyful would infuriate the Islamists who are already fighting the state. On the other hand, to deprecate the killing would suggest that Pakistan had knowingly hosted the king of terrorists.
Now, with bin Laden gone, the military has two remaining major strategic assets: America’s weakness in Afghanistan and Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. But moving these chess pieces around will not assure the peace and prosperity that we so desperately need. They will not solve our electricity or water crises, move us out of dire economic straits, or protect us from suicide bombers.
Bin Laden’s death should be regarded as a transformational moment by Pakistan and its military. It is time to dispense with the Musharraf-era cat and mouse games. We must repudiate the current policy of verbally condemning jihadism — and actually fighting it in some places — but secretly supporting it in other places. Until the establishment firmly resolves that it shall not support armed and violent non-state actors of any persuasion — including the Lashkar-e-Taiba — Pakistan will remain in interminable conflict both with itself and with the world.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 4th, 2011.
To read complete article : The Express Tribune
Condolences to Taliban apologist, Imran Khan, on the death of Osama Bin Laden – by Maula Bux Thadani
First of all, let me congratulate all Muslims, all Pakistanis, all Americans, all peace loving people on this planet (who want to live a life free of terror) on the death of the most vile and most dangerous terrorist the world has ever seen, Osama Bin Laden, a product of the evil ideologies ….
Read more : Let Us Build Pakistan