By David Rohde
REUTERS – In a nation more associated with calamity than consensus, the initial results of Saturday’s Afghan presidential election are startling.
Despite Taliban threats to attack polling stations nationwide, the same percentage of Afghans turned out to vote – roughly 58 percent – as did Americans in the 2012 U.S. presidential race. Instead of collapsing, Afghan security forces effectively secured the vote.
And a leading candidate to replace Hamid Karzai is Ashraf Ghani, a former World Bank technocrat who has a PhD in cultural anthropology from Columbia University, a Lebanese Christian wife, and an acclaimed book and TED talk entitled “Fixing Failed States.”
“Relative to what we were expecting, it’s very hard to not conclude that this was a real defeat for the Taliban,” Andrew Wilder, an American expert on Afghanistan, said in a telephone interview from Kabul on Monday “And a very good day for the Afghan people.”
Two forces that have long destabilized the country – its political elite and its neighbors – could easily squander the initial success. Evidence of large-scale fraud could could undermine the legitimacy of the election and exacerbate long-running ethnic divides. And outside powers could continue to fund and arm the Taliban and disgruntled Afghan warlords, as they have for decades.
Distinguished anchor of Rawal TV, Tahir Aslam Gora, discusses the current negotiations of Government of Pakistan & Taliban, with Arshad Mahmood an astute political commentator in Bilatakalluf (Straight Talk). The language of the talk show is Hindi (urdu).
By Ayaz Amir
Except; … What a contrast with our mighty men of straw moving about in their gleaming motorcades, bullet-proof vehicles, hundreds of men for their protection, yet consumed by fear, fear sitting in their hearts, and therefore seeking endless excuses for their irresolution.
The Taliban are in no doubt. They have virtually declared war against Pakistan, its army and its people. What does it take to see that their aim is not the emirate of Waziristan, or even drawing a line at the Indus but something higher, the whole of Pakistan? Yet far from being goaded into action, the men of straw in command of the republic’s destiny seek endless excuses for not doing anything. Hamlet’s “to be or not to be…” would seem a model of decision compared to their indecision.
The enemy is not at the gates; he is within. And while the Taliban make an art of the hidden roadside bomb, their deadliest weapon as it was of the insurgency in Iraq, the governing class hailing from Punjab – along with that other gift to clarity, Imran Khan – continues to weave bandishes (variations) on the raga of talks.
The Taliban kill a general of the Pakistan Army – Maj Gen Sanaullah – and our men of straw are for talks. A Peshawar church is bombed and they are for talks. Imran’s party men are killed in KP and he is for talks. Pakistan’s toughest cop, Chaudhry Aslam, is killed and the talks mantra does not change. In Hangu young Aitizaz sets an example for the entire country to follow but his sacrifice is in vain because those who should take heed remain men of straw.
So what should we do? God knows this is not a country of Athenian or Spartan warriors. But whatever bit of pluck and daring there may be, it is being held in check – nay, dissipated – by the ruling lot a blind Providence has been pleased to place upon the people of this country. Of what avail another Chaudhry Aslam, another Aitizaz, when the nation’s caravan is led by such heroes?
Best of Frenemies: Pakistan’s Husain Haqqani has tough words for his home country -and for its supposed ally, the United States
Pakistan and the United States aren’t allies – they “just pretend to be allies.” Or so says Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s former ambassador to the U.S. He’s making waves with his latest book, Magnificent Delusions, which speaks hard truths about the difficult relationship between the two countries. In 2011, Haqqani was forced to resign as Islamabad’s envoy to Washington following a controversy in which he was accused of delivering, through an intermediary, a note to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff asking for U.S. help to ward off a supposed coup in Pakistan after U.S. forces killed Osama bin Laden. (He has denied the episode and also said there was no attempted coup.) He was investigated by the Supreme Court at home for treason, and he eventually left the country, saying his life was at risk. Haqqani returned to the United States and now teaches international relations at Boston University. Newsweek Pakistan spoke with him by email about his book and the delusions that continue to impair Pakistan’s relationship with the U.S.
NW: You have been a consistent advocate of resetting Pakistan-America relations on the basis of pragmatism. What exactly does this entail?
HH: For 66 years, Pakistan has sought close ties with the U.S. with the sole purpose of offsetting India’s size and military advantage. This has been a security relationship. But no nation can become a regional power while also being dependent on assistance from other countries. A better option for Pakistan would be to normalize relations with India and Afghanistan and then have a broader, nonsecurity relationship with the United States. Pakistanis resent the U.S. partly because we have been dependent on it. The United States had not been constant in its relations with Pakistan, but it was also wrong on Pakistan’s part to expect constancy. I have studied several models of partnership with the United States and wondered why most other U.S. allies since World War II have prospered while Pakistan has not. The answer came down to our unwillingness to have an honest relationship. South Korea and Taiwan aligned their security policies and perceptions with the Americans. Pakistan refused to accept U.S. advice, especially when its regional view was questioned. My vision, encouraged by [former prime minister] Benazir Bhutto, was for a strategic rather than tactical relationship. It would not be based on asking for military aid in return for providing some services to the Americans in their concerns. We need to build a self-confident Pakistan, free of the burdens of past blunders, especially jihadist misadventures. American assistance should be directed toward standing on our own feet. We need a relationship involving education, tourism, investment, and trade – like other countries have – not one that is all about seeking military equipment and aid in private and abusing America in public.
The latest statement from the military blasting chief of the Jamaat-i-Islami Munawar Hasan for undermining the sacrifices made by the soldiers fighting terrorists has shocked many in the capital. The JI traditionally, has been the mouthpiece for the military during the 1980s Afghan jihad and fighting in Kashmir. It’s also established that the army had used the Jamaat’s street power to put democratic governments under pressure through controlled or sometimes out of control protests. It is also believed that there is a huge following of JI in the armed forces. Even the arrests of Al Qaeda leaders, including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, from the residences of JI activists has not affected the military-JI relations in the past.
So, is it a signalling of sorts that the military is trying to portray itself as a national army now as compared to its earlier image of an ideological force whose notion of jihad is similar to Jamaat-i-Islami?
But what prompted this strong reaction by the military needs to be examined. Even pragmatic military rulers like Pervez Musharraf had to seek help from the JI to prolong his tenure. Then why is it that the Jamaat and the military are finding themselves at the crossroads today?
The issue of missing persons that began in 2006 started the rift between the traditional partners when JI followers that included lawyers approached the courts for the release of what they claimed were innocent civilians who were arrested by military intelligence agencies on the allegations of supporting Al Qaeda and the Taliban. The courts took up the cases and started questioning the role of the military behind these forced disappearances. JI-backed lawyers were pressurised by the military to drop these cases and to stop pursuing the matter. But the cases continued, despite the fact that they did not reach their logical conclusions.
It is rare that a country’s top leaders are seen virtually bawling over the death of its enemy number one. But Pakistan’s Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and the chief of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) Mr Imran Khan did pull that off. The two leaders have led the national wailing over the killing of Hakeemullah Mehsud and his cohorts in a drone attack on his house in Dande Darpa Khel village, North Waziristan Agency (NWA). The two Khans made it sound like a helpful boy scout and not the ringleader of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) had been assassinated. The most brutal terrorist is being presented like an apostle of peace who was about to lead his country to the Promised Land. And, of course, the big bad US is the vicious villain according to the Interior Minister and his former college mate Mr Imran Khan.
The lamentation for Hakeemullah Mehsud and the vitriol against the US is literally a replay of how Pakistan and its leaders had reacted to Osama bin Laden’s 2011 killing. After bin Laden’s death there was a lucid interval of a few days where the then president Mr Asif Zardari and his close aides sought to take the opportunity to make a clean break with Pakistan’s dubious past association with jihadist terrorism. But they could not withstand the drummed up anti-US sentiment and caved in. The leaked bin Laden Commission Report, which has still not been released by Pakistan, essentially identifies the US, not bin Laden or the terrorist outfit(s) he sired, as Pakistan’s enemy number one. The report said that the US had “acted like a criminal thug”, and it termed the US raid on bin Laden’s lair “an act of war”. Similar rhetoric was codified in the September 9, 2013 All Parties Conference’s declaration that condemned the US actions as “illegal and immoral” and responsible for the terrorist ‘blowback’. The same document, which elevated the murderous thugs like Hakeemullah Mehsud to ‘stakeholder’ level and threatened to take the drone attacks issue to the UN, now serves as the guideline for negotiating peace with the TTP.
By DR ALI AKBAR DHAKAN, Karachi, Sindh
On the top hill of Margalla mountain at the sight of Pir Suhawa, a Restaurant namely M O N A L has been established and opened in the night only by a highly influential retired Government servant. It is at the height of about 4000 feet and situated at the distance of about 20 kms fom Islam abad city where MNAs, SENATORS, MINISTERS, High graded bureaucrats, Contractors of big contracts, Business people, Ambassadors and Foreighners etc are residing having many resources and unaccountable money. They want to spend their money and resources lavishly on eating and entertainment visiting such dangerous heights in the darkness of the nights if not daily but usually on alternate nights along with their friends, family members, guests coming from other big cities and also foreighn countries. At night the position of the hotel area becomes very dangerous for lives of the visitors due to traffic jams, small and big vehicles in huge number and also countless huge number of people of young,middle and old age level male and female gentry. Up to 2am the people come and eat the dinner in the heavy rush to the extent that the tables for sitting purpose remain so busy that people coming late have to wait for their turn even mostly for hours and stand in big rows. The number of such tables for the visitors must be more than a thousand accomodating at least more than five thousand visitors.The items of edibles ordered by the hosts are so of lavish and expensive quantity that every group leaves about half of items or they order for packing the rest food for drivers or for their family members.The bill for each table must be about more than Rs ten thousand and total receipts of the hotel must be for about more than one crore per night.Now many questions arise from such lavish habits. Some are as under: (1) why such hotels and restaurants have been allowed at such dangerous places (2) why not such lavish activity taxed to discourage lavish expenditures (3) There is no security arrangement so it is very risky to visit such places in the nights. The concerned departments particularly the FBR,Home ministry, CDA and others may consider these points and take necessary steps to save the Pakistani nation from the self destructive activities.
Received via email – email@example.com
Without a holistic strategy addressing Afghanistan, India and also the United States, Mr Sharif cannot even begin to solve the domestic terrorism problem
Two months into his third stint, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his core team’s handling of the national security debate has been cavalier and sloppy at best, and downright dangerous at worst. The ostensibly well-oiled political machine that was supposed to have replaced the chaotic governance of the outgoing Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has yet to issue a coherent statement on the domestic counterterrorism issue and the national security and foreign policies, which Mr Sharif and his associates have been promising after every major terrorist attack. About 60 terror incidents in as many days have not really instilled a sense of urgency. No sane person wants Mr Sharif’s government to fail on the anti-terrorism front or elsewhere for that matter.
We had noted here at the start of Mr Sharif’s term that “his cautious approach early in his stint is understandable but if Mr Sharif does not delineate his idea of the national interest, chances are that the usual suspects who have had a chokehold on formulating such definitions will do it for him. It might not be too long before the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) finds in its lap issues like the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Act, which were used to set the national security narrative against the PPP.” Also, within days of President Asif Zardari’s October 2008 interview with The Wall Street Journal to start with a clean slate in India, the Mumbai massacre was unleashed. With the volatility along the Pakistan-India Line of Control in Kashmir, Mr Sharif already has a mini-Mumbai situation on his hands, if not something worse. His previous generic remark that ‘Pakistan and India should be friends’ is not enough. The usual suspects may be defining the national interest for Mr Sharif and perhaps the domestic redlines that they don’t want him to cross.
By Khaled Ahmed
On Aug. 15, the same day that interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan presented his government’s national-security policy to Parliament, 51-year-old Mohammad Sikandar drove his wife and two children to Islamabad for an hours-long, made-for-TV showdown with police in the middle of the road that leads to Parliament.
Sikandar, the son of a land-records functionary in Hafizabad, Punjab, was armed with a Kalashnikov and a submachine gun. He made his demands—forwarded on a piece of paper by his wife, who was not opposed to what he was doing—known to a police officer. Sikandar called for disbanding the elected government currently in power and for imposing a truly Islamic system on Pakistan. If his demands could not be met, Sikandar said he wished to be killed and buried at sea—like Osama bin Laden.
Semiliterate Sikandar mouthed the myths created by the state of Pakistan back at it. He aped the terrorists at the unconscious level, adopting their appeals to the broken pledges of the ideological state, and clearly embraced the rhetoric of religious parties who accept the status quo with strong, clearly expressed reservations of the “incomplete state.” He also resorted to the line adopted by Al Qaeda after its top leader’s death—and supported by Pakistan—that bin Laden’s murder was wrong. He added to it the universally accepted “truism” in the country that the state of Pakistan is a “slave” of America.
His father-in-law told the media that Sikandar was mentally disturbed—“had psychological problems”—but was not linked to any religious organization. This could be said about most Pakistanis because the collective mind has been molded by the state to justify its stance until it looks abnormal to any objective observer. (An objective observer has to be either a foreigner or a Pakistani who has “sold himself to foreign powers.”)
ISLAMABAD: An armed man demanding the establishment of Islamic rule in Pakistan opened fire in the heavily policed heart of Islamabad on Thursday after slipping past the capital’s many checkpoints.
Security has been tight in Islamabad after police received an alert about possible attacks by militants operating from the tribal areas on Pakistan’s lawless border with Afghanistan.
As night fell, the unidentified man drove a black vehicle into the tightly guarded centre of Islamabad, stopped within a stone’s throw from the president’s official residence and opened fire in the air.
The gunman is said to have a Kalashnikov in his possession along with a submachine gun. A woman and two children are also reported to be in the car with him.
“I am against vulgarity and immorality. My associates have taken up positions in the whole of Pakistan,” he told a local TV channel.
Hundreds of onlookers gathered in the central Jinnah Avenue as night fell and periodic gunshots rang out in the air.
Checkpoints and police armed with assault rifles dot many major access points in Islamabad, where attacks have become rare in recent years.
Security has been tightened further in past weeks, particularly in the city centre where most government buildings and diplomatic missions are located.
Although he appeared to act on his own and seemed confused in his demands, it was unclear how the man, armed with at least two automatic rifles, managed to paralyse the city centre and cause a standoff with police including anti-terrorist units.
Police and other officials are speaking with the man in order to defuse the situation. So far he has refused to lay down his weapons.
The gunman has also threatened to target Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
This is a developing story and will be updated accordingly
Shallow gestures of democracy and human rights with the crushing domination of capital will not end the extreme poverty, misery, alienation and deprivation that stalk Afghanistan
Just hours before the beginning of the peace talks between the Taliban and the US delegation in Qatar, the mercurial Afghan President Karzai suspended talks on a long-term security deal to keep US troops in Afghanistan after NATO leaves in 2014. Irritated by a press conference in Qatar at which the Taliban effectively portrayed itself as a government in exile, Karzai is reported to have said, “The Taliban’s flag and the banner of the Islamic Emirate was something we did not expect…In view of the contradiction between acts and the statements made by the United States of America in regard to the peace process… the suspension of the talks will continue until there is clarity from the United States.”
These are daring words from a man who was installed with his puppet regime by the western imperialists after the occupation of Afghanistan by the US forces in 2001. This is a clear display of weakness by US imperialism brought to the fore by the economic collapse and the military defeats in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, repeated phone calls by John Kerry, the US Secretary of State, appeared to have mollified Karzai, who “wants to keep wheels moving again.” President Obama said after the G-8 summit in Enniskillen in Northern Ireland, “This is an important first step towards reconciliation; although it’s a very early step…we anticipate there will be a lot of bumps in the road.”
The whole scenario of setting up a palatial office for the Taliban by the oil-rich reactionary Qatari monarchy seems to be surreal. While the Americans were devastating Afghanistan and the Taliban were involved in an orgy of terror and bloodshed for the last 12 years, the Saudi and now the emerging Qatari monarchy had retained relations and funded sections of the Taliban to fulfil their hegemonic designs in the regions. These reactionary despotic monarchies in connivance with US imperialism are in liaison with Islamic fundamentalists in Egypt, Palestine, Syria and other Islamic countries in the region, and are carrying out a ferocious repression in their own kingdoms.
It is a myth that the Taliban are a homogeneous and centrally-organised body. There are numerous groups led by different warlords representing warring factions of black capital, who have been tearing each other apart for control of this ill-gotten booty. They all represent black reaction and are aligned to the regional and international imperialist powers that are involved in this new great game to exploit and control mineral resources, gas pipelines and the strategic location of Afghanistan. It is a mystery which group or coalition of groups is there to negotiate in Qatar and who their sponsor is. According to an AFP report of June 19, “A divided insurgency is likely to complicate peace talks.” There are many other fundamentalist outfits that will try to sabotage these talks. Even those represented in Qatar will face splits and disintegration of their groups with the hardliners breaking away in fear of losing the assets and the money they had accumulated in this reactionary war. The Taliban delegation in Qatar has till now refused to accept the preconditions set by the US negotiators, which include breaking ties with al Qaeda, recognising the regime in Kabul and many others. Then there is the question of the regime in Kabul and the Northern Alliance that is bitterly opposed to any direct negotiations with the Taliban.
The Taliban captured Kabul in September 1996 with the support of the ISI during Benazir Bhutto’s government in Pakistan. The financial support from the US, particularly by Robert Oakley, former US Assistant Secretary of State and advisor to the American oil giant UNOCAL at the time was crucial in the capture of Kabul by the Taliban. US imperialism balked at the Taliban only after their government under Mullah Omar double-crossed UNOCAL. Apart from sending a delegation to its head office in Texas, the Taliban sent another delegation at the same time to Buenos Aires to the headquarters of BRIDAS, an Argentinian oil conglomerate, to negotiate an even more lucrative deal of laying a pipeline from Central Asia through Afghanistan. The rest as they say is history.
by Ayaz Amir
With the announcement of a Taliban address in Doha, Qatar, and the Americans welcoming this development, the window for military action in our Waziristan has finally slammed shut. The army wasn’t about to launch any operation – no fear of that – but even the tantalising possibility that at some point in the future vacillation would give way to decisive action now evaporates.
The scales have shifted. With the Americans engaging, however fruitlessly, with the Taliban in Doha, the Pakistan Army is in no position (psychologically) to undertake any kind of military operation in North Waziristan. The army can play around with the status quo in that embattled region – huffing and puffing and losing more officers and men to Taliban ambushes, six of our soldiers killed in an ambush this Wednesday – but the status quo, rail against it as we might, has come to stay.
Time was on the side of the Taliban, as it always is on the side of any force engaged in irregular warfare. And the Pakistan Army and a confused nation, their thinking split down the middle, have missed the bus. For us that is the significance of the Taliban gaining, at long last, virtual American diplomatic recognition – which is what this latest development amounts to.
A triumph for Mullah Omar and a problem for us, because Mullah Omar’s resurgent emirate, waiting patiently for the Americans to depart, now extends, like a dagger, into Pakistan – in the form of Hakeemullah’s Waziristan.
Let us not lose heart too much. This is not history being rewritten, only history being reversed. The kingdom of Kabul once held sway over the territories constituting our north-west frontier. Maharajah Ranjit Singh (sorry for bringing up his name again) pushed the Afghans back and the British inherited Ranjit Singh’s kingdom. That is how the new state of Pakistan came into possession of those frontier lands.
But through an historical process, starting with the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan in 1979 and leading up to the American invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, Pakistan’s control over those territories stands immeasurably weakened.
Strange the workings of history – our military geniuses under Gen Zia sought strategic depth in Afghanistan. It is the Taliban and Al-Qaeda which have acquired strategic depth in Pakistan.
The Americans are about to talk to the Taliban not to get them to lay down their arms and ship them to the Solomon Islands, but as a face-saving exercise. They want to exit Afghanistan sans too much humiliation. In so many words they are telling the Taliban, look we are getting out; make our departure easier. That’s it, if only we could read the writing on the wall.
Hamid Karzai has more sense than we do. Look at his anger: he knows he’s been used and the Americans, for all their tall talk, are about to talk, if not cut a deal, with his sworn enemies. And he’s frothing at the mouth, without this having the slightest effect on his paymasters.
At least Karzai knows what is what. We get used like a box of tissues again – the first time under Zia, the second time now – and still think we are ‘stakeholders’ in the Afghan game. There’s no end to our talent for make-believe, even as the tide of history is being reversed.
The next prime minister Mian Nawaz Sharif has promised to stand together with the West in taking on the forces of terrorism, hours after voting finished in the country’s historic general election.
During a close-fought campaign Nawaz Sharif had promised to end drone strikes and review the country’s relationship with America. As he publicly claimed victory in the poll, the two-time prime minister sought to reassure Western governments and said he would not pull back on the fight against al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
“I have experience of working with US counterparts and will be very happy to further work with them,” he told The Sunday Telegraph.
“What is most important is that we must never allow our soil to be used by anyone to create problems with any country in this world.”
ISLAMABAD: Lawmakers in the Upper House of the Parliament Thursday demanded action against former President General (retd) Pervez Musharraf for his crimes against constitution, democracy, political leadership and the nation.
They also demanded from the caretaker interior minister to inform the House how he escaped from the court to his residence and “why a former General could not be arrested if the elected prime ministers of the country can be sent to jails.”
Speaking on points of order, the senators claimed that double standard existed in the country in violation of the Constitution which considers every Pakistani equal before the law.
“We have been talking of the rule of law and independence of judiciary. But, today we have seen that it is easy to send an elected prime minister to jail but a former General and military dictator cannot be arrested,” remarked senior PPPP Senator Raza Rabbani.
“In Pervez Musharraf’s case it is test of time. When the court had ordered to arrest him, then why he was not arrested. It’s a question mark,” Rabbani added.
He charged Pervez Musharraf of involvement in the abetment of killing of Benazir Bhutto and Nawab Akbar Bugti, abrogating the constitution and house arresting the judges of superior judiciary.
“Musharraf is a usurper who twice abrogated the Constitution. He was announced to be arrested but he safely fled in connivance with state institutions. The caretaker government was responsible to arrest him and the interior minister should inform the House why the government had not fulfilled its obligations,” Rabbani said.
PPPP Senator Farhatullah Babar said he does not hold caretaker government responsible for his escape. “I have been looking the state apparatus very closely. There are two laws and double standards in the country. If we could not mend it over the time how we can hold the caretakers responsible for these double standards.”
‘Pipeline undermines US hegemony in the region’
The US has threatened Islamabad with sanctions over Pakistan’s partnership with Iran to construct a section of a gas pipeline. Washington said that the much-delayed $7.5-billion project violates sanctions on Iran, a claim denied by Pakistan.
Iran and Pakistan expect the completed pipeline will deliver 21.5 million cubic meters (760,000 million cubic feet) of gas per day to Pakistan from its giant offshore South Pars field in the Persian Gulf by December 2014.
Iranian contractors will construct the pipeline, which crosses Pakistani territory. Tehran has agreed to lend Islamabad $500 million, one-third of the estimated $1.5 billion cost of the 750-kilometer pipeline, according to Fars news agency.
After Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Pakistani counterpart Asif Ali Zardari launched the project on Monday on the Iran-Pakistan Border, the US threatened to respond with sanctions if the project “actually goes forward.”
“We have serious concerns if this project actually goes forward that the Iran Sanctions Act would be triggered,” State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said, commenting on the so-called ‘peace pipeline.’
Iran has completed 900 kilometers of the pipeline’s segment on its side of the border with Pakistan. Monday’s ceremony marked the beginning of work on the Pakistani segment, which will start at the Iranian town of Chahbahar near the border.
India asks Pakistan to seek NoCs for projects in GB, AJK
ISLAMABAD: India has asked Pakistan to get no objection certificates (NoCs) from New Delhi for building all the hydropower projects being completed in Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) and AJK involving funding of international donor agencies.
India has also asked Pakistan to provide detailed information about all hydropower projects being built in Gilgit-Baltistan with the funding of these international donors.
This has been communicated to Pakistan in the latest correspondence in which India has again declared Gilgit-Baltistan as its integral part. ….
…… Pakistan has to become secularized to survive as a multi-religious state. Otherwise, the plan is clear. It is to become a Sunni Jihadi state. And everyone else has to live under those rules, or will face their wrath.
The army and the police cannot control these people while supporting and using their ideology. They cannot give up that ideology until they suppress/forget/ignore the dream of a pure Islamic state and its international jihadi armies.
They lack the will and the ability. The will more than the ability.
Courtesy: Brown Pundits
Initiated by an Aman ki Asha supporter in New Delhi, this global event on Sunday, Jan. 27 is taking place in different cities at different times around the world. It invites Indians and Pakistanis and those who want peace between the two countries, to come together in their respective cities. The purpose of the vigils is to urge the governments to continue the dialogue, and not give in to the war hype being created by some sections of sections of society. The vigil statement is online at this link (text below)
Confirmed venues and times so far:
Bradford: 2-3 pm, Student Central, J.B. Priestly Library, University of Bradford, U.K.
Cambridge, MA: 4.30-5.30 pm, Harvard Square Pit (fb event link)
Islamabad: 6 pm, Press Club, F-6/4. Contact 0344-5469738 and 0300-9880397
Karachi: 5.30 pm, Karachi Press Club
Lahore: 6 pm, Lahore Press Club, Shimla Pihari (fb event link)
Los Angeles – 5 pm, in front of UCLA
Mumbai: 7 pm, Gateway of India
New Delhi: 5.30 pm, Gandhi Peace Foundation, email firstname.lastname@example.org
New York: 5 PM at Union Square near Mahatma Gandhi’s statue
Shahdadkot- 5 pm, Press Club
Toronto: 5 pm, 365 Bloor St. East, Toronto (outside Indian Consulate) (fb event link)
Washington DC: 6 pm, Chutney Restaurant, Springfield, VA
Kansas City: 5:30-7:30 at Kababesh Grill, Overland Park
Courtesy: via Facebook
An influential Pakistani preacher and thousands of his supporters have reached Islamabad on Monday as part of a “long march” against corruption.
Tahirul Qadri, a preacher who returned to Pakistan from Canada last month, is leading a call for electoral reforms.
He left the city of Lahore on Sunday with thousands of supporters, and reached Islamabad late on Monday, where he addressed crowds near parliament.
The authorities accuse him of trying to postpone elections due by May.
The cleric wants the military and judiciary to be involved in installing a caretaker government to oversee the forthcoming elections.
The government is due to disband in March, and elections must then be held within six weeks.
Addressing tens of thousands of supporters in the capital late on Monday night, Mr Qadri called for provincial assemblies to make way for a caretaker administration.
He wants measures put in place to prevent corrupt people or criminals from standing for elected office.
“Morally, your government and your assemblies have ended tonight,” he said from behind bullet-proof glass on a stage erected on Jinnah Avenue, less than a mile from Pakistan’s parliament.
“I will give [the government] a deadline until tomorrow to dissolve the federal parliament and provincial assemblies. After that, the people’s assembly here will take their own decision.”
Earlier, his black chauffeur-driven car was showered with pink rose petals as it approached the stage in Pakistan’s main city.
By the time his procession reached Islamabad, an estimated 10,000 people had joined the slow-moving convoy of cars, buses and trucks – more crowds were waiting in Islamabad to greet the cleric.
An extra 15,000 police had been deployed on the streets and many parts of the capital were sealed off.
Authorities in the capital had warned that Mr Qadri and his supporters would not be allowed into the city centre. The government had warned that militants may target the marchers.
Mr Qadri’s flamboyant preaching style and expensive television campaigns have raised his profile in Pakistan in recent weeks.
But there has also been widespread speculation that he is backed by Pakistan’s powerful military, and is being used to reassert the army’s control over Pakistani politics.
By: Malik Siraj Akbar, Editor in Chief, ‘The Baloch Hal’
A Pakistani Muslim scholar with Canadian nationality has announced to transform Islamabad into “the world’s biggest Tahrir Square” on January 14th ahead of this year’s upcoming general elections. Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri, a cogent public speaker, has made an abrupt but a robust comeback in Pakistan’s politics after spending nearly five years in Canada. Qadri, previously an unpopular politician but still a cleric with a large following of religious disciples, is asking for electoral reforms prior to the next polls.
There are two fundamental problems with Qadri’s demand.
First, he has given an absolutely unrealistic ultimatum of mere two weeks to the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (P.P.P.) to carry out vague electoral reforms, for example to ensure the election of ‘honest people’ to the parliament. In order to conduct these reforms, Dr. Qadri, while citing the Article 254 of the Pakistani constitution, justifies the postponement of the general elections which are expected to take place in May. The mainstream political parties, such as the P.P.P. and the Pakistan Muslim League of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, want to go for elections without any interruptions soon after the completion of the current term of the parliament because they oppose any kind of derailment of the democratic process.
Second, Dr. Qadri is asking for representation for the powerful Pakistani military and the politically active judiciary in the interim government, a demand that clearly clashes with the very spirit of democracy.
By Agha H Amin
Pakistan today stands in the eye of the storm and every act of Islamic extremism can be traced to Pakistan or persons of Pakistani origin. Resultantly a battle of ideas has started in Pakistan about ascertaining the true role of Mr Jinnah and his political ideas.
The political use of religion was started after 1857 by Muslim aristocracy of United Provinces of Agra and Oudh and Punjab once they saw that Muslims were under threat of being reduced to zero because of introduction of competitive examinations and European style political representation.Thus the origins of Muslim politics in India in the period 1858-1947 was safeguarding the class interests of Muslim aristocracy and middle class in Punjab and UP.
The All India Muslim League founded in 1906 was a Bengali Muslim heavy effort but immediately hijacked by UP Muslims and its headquarters shifted to UP.The All India Muslim League remained UP Muslim dominated to such an extent that in Lucknow Pact in absence of many Punjabis or Bengalis the All India Muslim League agreed to surrender Muslim majority in Punjab to partity and Muslim majority in Bengal to minority.A direct result of Lucknow Pact was the Unionist Party in Punjab ,formed because Muslims of Punjab needed to be in partnership with Hindus and Sikhs without which they could not form a government.Similarly the Bengali Muslims suffered all along till 1946 because of Lucknow Pact and were forced to be manipulated by Hindu blackmail in Bengal politics.Chaudhry Khaliquzzaman did call Lucknow Pact a faux pas.
Mr Jinnah the founder of Pakistan was not known to be a religious man till 1937 at least when his All India Muslim League was literally routed in Muslim majority provinces of India getting just (7,319,445) the League got only 321,772 Muslim votes out of a total Muslim votes of 7,319,445 a mere 4.4 percent. In Punjab the League won just 2 seats out of 84 , in Bengal 39 out of 117,in NWFP none .Even in Muslim minority provinces the Muslim League was not Muslims first choice except Bombay where it won 20 out of 29 seats.
The Second World War brought the Congress in conflict with British and the Congress resigned from its ministries.The Lahore Resolution of 1940 was a strategic response of Mr Jinnah to counter the congress.It dove tailed with British war effort which Mr Jinnah supported and it countered the Congress which again suited the British.
The higher class and the middle class Muslims in UP , Punjab , Bengal and Sindh saw it as an opportunity to eliminate the Hindus and Sikhs from political , economic and employment competition.It is well known that some 25 % of Hindu money lenders were in Punjab and the vast majority of Muslim landlords in Punjab and Sindh were in debt to these money lenders.This factor prompted many Punjabi Muslim members of the Unionist Party to change loyalties to the Muslim League in 1940-46.
The Muslim feudal and educated classes of Punjab and UP saw Pakistan as a place where they would dominate the politics ,the business, the jobs and thus be the successors of British,The Bengali and Sindhi position was very low in the Muslim League hierarchy dominated till 1936 by UP Muslims and by Punjabi Muslims in partnership with UP Muslims after 1938.
It is a well known fact that Islam was used as a central mobilizing slogan in the elections of 1946 in Punjab,Sindh and Bengal.Mr Jinnah may have been a totally secular man but the campaign of 1946 did create a religious picture of Pakistan.
And now the class aspect of Pakistan. Who voted in 1946 Elections for Muslim League or Congress. Most of the people, particularly, women and lower class people, had no voting rights. These elections were based on the extremely restricted franchise of the 1919 Act, and the total number of votes cast was only 586,647, representing almost exclusively the propertied classes.Stanley Wolpert notes that just 5 % of Indias population voted in 1946 Elections.
Those who could understand and feel were bitter about the Punjab massacres and Hafeez Jullundhuri thus expressed his disgust :–
Qaafloay lut gayay barbad ho gayay to kia hua
Mutmain hain Qaflas salaar apnay kam say
The aftermath of Pakistan and its chequered political history proves many contradictions .
Tahirul Qadri asks govt to bring ‘change’ by Jan 10
By Web Desk
LAHORE: Allama Tahirul Qadri, head of Minhajul Qur’an International (MQI), said the government should improve the current setup by January 10 or else he will lead a protest march to Islamabad on January 14.
Qadri was addressing a gathering named “Siyasat nahi, Riyasat bachao” at Minar-e-Pakistan, Lahore.
Criticising those in power, Qadri said in order to save the country, the people of Pakistan must decide if they will let corrupt people represent them.
Referring to the recent investigative report on country’s lawmakers who don’t pay taxes, Qadri said such people should not be allowed to become a part of the parliament.
“How can people who themselves break laws be allowed to sit in the parliament,” he said.
He also said that the parliament formulates laws that are in favour of the lawmakers rather than the people of Pakistan.
Speaking about his political plans, Qadri said his entire agenda is in accordance with the Constitution of Pakistan.
He further added that the much-anticipated election should take place but the concerned authorities should ensure it is conducted according to the Constitution.
NEW DELHI: Press Council of India (India) chairperson justice Markandey Katju today said that the only solution to the Kashmir problem is reunification of India and Pakistan under a strong and “modern-minded” government which will not tolerate bigotry.
“The cause of the Kashmir problem is the partition of India on a totally bogus basis – the two nation theory, that Hindus and Muslims are separate nations….I don’t recognise Pakistan as a legitimate country because the whole basis is the two nation theory and I don’t accept the two nation theory,” he said.
The goals of Pakistani Americans in US politics may not align with those of Islamabad
By Dr Manzur Ejaz
Most of the correspondents of Pakistani news networks in Washington and New York were unable to understand why the anchors and commentators back home were not accepting what they were seeing on the ground – that Obama was winning the elections. The analysts back home had wishfully concluded that Mitt Romney would win, and that was what they wanted to hear. The US presidential election has shown that Pakistani opinion makers are in a state of denial. The expatriates are coming around to this reality and disagree with the views back home. Such diverging views may result in a change that may not be to Islamabad’s liking.
By: Sharon Behn
ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN — Afghan forces say they are ready to retaliate against Pakistan for cross-border shelling along the country’s northeastern border. Analysts in both countries are extremely concerned about what the situation means for the future of the region.
Afghanistan Defense Minister General Bismillah Mohammadi said that if diplomacy fails to stop Pakistan’s alleged shelling of Afghan soil, his forces are ready to react accordingly.
“Afghan forces,” he said, “are ready to sacrifice their lives and properties to defend their homeland,” said Mohammadi.
Trouble at Durand Line ….
Read more » VOA
What was supposed to be a day for Pakistanis to show their love, respect and reverence of the Holy Prophet (pbuh), instead turned out to be a day of murder, arson, looting and much mayhem. The government may have thought that by declaring September 21 “Youm-e-Ishq-e-Rasool”, it may have grabbed the initiative from the religious and conservative elements and that the protests and outrage may perhaps have channelled into one single day. However, the events of the past two days, in particular Friday, suggest that this was a grave miscalculation. The decision seems to have only galvanised and emboldened those elements in society who believe that by burning public and private property, destroying cars and injuring and killing innocent passers-by, they are somehow expressing their love for the Holy Prophet (pbuh). To many of those who we saw burning public and private property on our television screens on Friday, the government’s holiday announcement translated into a licence to do as they saw fit, and in most cases, this was to damage and destroy whatever they could find at arm’s reach.
How many more “kaafirs” have to die before the thirst of Pakistan’s Islamist jihadis is quenched? As you read this, a Christian girl, no more than 14 years of age, gifted with the pure innocence of Down’s Syndrome, stays locked up in a maximum security prison in Pakistan, charged with the offence of ‘blasphemy,’ facing a death penalty or a life sentence in prison, despite evidence she was framed.
This child’s name is Rimsha Masih, the daughter of a dirt-poor Christian family who until last month lived in a one-room house in Islamabad’s shantytown suburb of Mehrabad. Inhabitants of this township are mostly Christian families who work endless days as sweepers and janitors in Pakistan’s capital.
NEW DELHI, Aug 25: Asserting that judges should not govern the country or evolve policies, the chief justice of India said on Saturday he wondered what would happen if the executive refused to comply with the judiciary’s directives.
Justice S.H. Kapadia asked judges if they would invoke contempt proceedings against government officials for not complying with their decisions and disapproved a recent Supreme Court judgment which said “right to sleep” was also a fundamental right.
“Judges should not govern this country. We need to go by strict principle. Whenever you lay down a law, it should not interfere with governance. We are not accountable to people.
Islamabad—United Nations has decided to send a delegation to Pakistan for reviewing the situation in Balochistan. Foreign office has been informed in this regard. The UN authorities has written a letter to foreign ministry mentioning that seven-member UN delegation would visit Pakistan from September 10 to 20 to review the situation in Balochisatan.
The Balochistan conflict has been on and off since 1948 when the Pakistan army invaded the independent State of Kalat, assassinated its leadership and occupied it since then. Four uprisings have occurred in 1948, 58, 73 and the latest since 2006. This time the youth of Balochistan are demanding independence from Pakistan and their case has been taken up by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher who has tabled a resolution in the US House of Representatives to support the right of self-determination by the Baloch people.
Courtesy: Sun News » YouTube » Via – Twitter
KARACHI, Aug 24: MPA Saleem Khursheed Khokhar, who represents the Christian community in the Sindh Assembly, has called for the immediate release of a Christian girl arrested recently near Islamabad. She was accused of desecrating the Quran and charged under the blasphemy law.
Speaking at a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Friday, Mr Khokhar appealed to the government to abolish the blasphemy law, claiming that it was being misused to settle personal scores and victimise the minorities.
By Jamie Weinstein, Senior Editor
Recently removed Pakistan Ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani urged the American government to take a tougher line on his home country in a remarkably candid speech Wednesday afternoon.
“Pakistan ends up behaving like Syria while wanting to be treated like Israel,” Haqqani told several dozens journalists, think tankers, opinion makers and government officials at a luncheon in Washington held by the Center for the National Interest.
“And the behavior change is not going to come unless and until there is behavior change on your part. So you should stop the meddling. … You have to stop going in and seeing all our politicians and thinking they are all your friends and trying to influence. Make Pakistanis realize that America has an interest in Pakistan, but you know what, America respects Pakistani opinion. Show respect for Pakistani public opinion. And if Pakistanis don’t want to be your friends, you don’t want to be their friends, thank you very much.”
Haqqani, who recently returned to the United States to become director of the Center of International Relations at Boston University, was removed as Pakistani ambassador late last year after facing charges that he sought U.S. help to prevent a military coup in Pakistan in the wake of the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Haqqani, who returned to Pakistan to face the charges against him at some personal risk, maintains the charges are baseless.
But Haqqani’s essential argument at the luncheon was that America and Pakistan should no longer put up the pretense that they are allies. Haqqani said that it is unrealistic to believe that “endless discussions and chats and what I call the class of narratives will somehow, some day produce a change of thinking either in Washington” or Islamabad.
The U.S. isn’t going to be convinced to treat India as an enemy for Pakistan’s sake and Pakistan won’t be convinced to give up its nuclear weapons or end its support for jihadi groups it sees as strategically beneficial for “regional influence” because America wants it to, he said.
August is a month that brings both joy and grief to the 1.3 billion people of the Indian subcontinent. Joy, as we celebrate the end of nearly 200 years of British colonial rule in 1947, and sorrow as we remember the one million who were slaughtered unnecessarily in a genocidal frenzy of religious hatred.
Punjab, my ancestral homeland, was sliced in two by the departing British to create the new state of Pakistan. In a few short months, the entire population of Punjab’s indigenous Sikhs and Hindus in Pakistan was either slaughtered or driven out by raging mobs of Muslim fanatics. On the other side of the border, there was more bloodshed.
The question often asked is, who penned the partition of India? Who was responsible for carving out Pakistan, a country that seems to have an insatiable appetite for bloodshed, and that has been responsible for, or associated with, more acts of jihadi terrorism then any other country on earth?
From Khalid Sheikh Mohammad’s 9/11 plans to the recent recruitment of jihadis in Burma; from the Toronto 18 to the London 7/7 bombings, fingerprints of Pakistan-based jihadi groups and ideologies are ubiquitous.