Tag Archives: Khakis

No room for dissent in Pakistan

By: Zulfiqar Shah

It was an end of the beginning. Idle to the unforeseen world-shaking incidents like 9/11, Khakis chose military takeover of Pakistan in 1999 pushing the country into a non-democratic mode of government. Eventually, due to gross human rights violations, the anger simmered-up taking citizenry and lawyers to the streets.

It was the first law of motion in the political physics of Pakistan that the military regimes and civil rights were equally opposite. A new chapter of gross human rights violations that Pakistan saw during last military rule has no full stop even today.

Abduction of the dissent

The involuntary disappearances and abductions by the security outfits in Pakistan have been dominating the human rights violations scene since the last decade. If seen in the state-society relations, this had a two-pronged dynamics.

One, the state suppressed political dissent by choosing militarization over the dialogue particularly against Sindhi and Baloch ethnic-nationalists. Two, the state attempted to quarantine some religious non-state elements with which it earlier partnered in the strategic warring in the name of Jihad against Soviet Union and India in Afghanistan and Kashmir. The latter provided an excuse to Pakistan to justify earlier actions with the concerned international community.

It led to hundreds of reported as well unreported cases of arbitrary disappearances and confinements. According to the Commission of Inquiry on Enforced Disappearances, it has received around 861 new cases of disappearances during January 2011- February 2013 mostly of political dissenters from Balochistan and Sindh provinces, rather of the rouge religious terrorists.

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The blurred vision of Imran Khan – Promising to end corruption in 90 days smacks more of autocracy than democracy

Eliminating corruption in 90 days

By Raza Rumi

Excerpts;

….  Much has been said about the great Khan’s sympathies for the militants who are resisting ‘America’s war’ in our region. Never mind that they also kill Pakistanis, attack mosques, shrines and funerals and are in bed with a global ideology that wants to decimate the ‘un-Islamic’ Pakistani state. The odd relationship between the PTI and the self-declared defenders of Pakistan — the ragtag Islamist parties, ex-servicemen and known terrorists — has also been highlighted. I will not dwell on these issues as several commentators have indicated the dangers of this populist discourse and the larger, intrinsic relationship between populism and authoritarianism.

My real worry is that Mr Khan is yet to offer an alternative agenda. His charisma, cricket connection, philanthropic record and the use of social media are at work. When it comes to policy, the plan ahead is almost farcical. Haven’t we heard of elimination of corruption in 90 days before? Corruption, as a slogan, has been used by almost every Pakistani government to undermine political opponents. As early as the 1950s, laws to disqualify politicians were enacted.

The 1990s saw the military establishment orchestrate a ridiculous anti-corruption charade. Nawaz Sharif’s second tenure had a Himmler-wannabe as the chief of accountability, who turned anti-corruption efforts into medieval witch-hunts. Former President General Pervez Musharraf’s illegitimate rule was welcomed by the same urban middle classes, which now cheer for Imran Khan to eliminate the ‘corrupt’, old guard politicians.

Tackling corruption is not a 90-day job, for it will only result in high-powered accountability operations stuck in a dysfunctional legal system. It is a medium to long-term process involving restructuring of institutions — laws, formal and informal rules and conventions — which shape societal interaction and determine state behaviour. Pakistani politics and economics are defined by the military’s hegemony. The biggest expenditure items — defence and debt servicing — are virtually unaccountable. Has Mr Khan thought about these issues or will these disappear through ‘moral legitimacy’ — another wooly construct cited like a totem. ‘Clean’ civilians will make the khakis give up power. One has to live in wonderland to accept such postulates as even half-credible. ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

via – Twitter

Press: In chains of another kind

by Waseem Altaf

Excerpt:

Two great champions of Islam with prominent beards, …, received Rs. 0.3 and Rs. 3.3 million each. In vernacular terminology, all the maal-e haram was received as maal-e-halal.

The yaum-e-shuhada ceremony held at GHQ has been consistently aired on various TV channels to reinvigorate those special feelings of the ordinary people towards the special khakis, with …. dedicating everything she has got to the shaheeds in general and ghazis in particular. On 9th May 2011, a quarter page advertisement in color appeared on the front page of daily “Jang” on behalf of veteran politician Haji …., currently running a Qabza group in Rawalpindi, and Islamabad. The ad read that all those ridiculing the army and the ISI were following the agenda of the enemies of Pakistan. The ad contained basic mistakes but had cost millions.

On 11th May 2011 a rally was organized in front of the parliament in Islamabad in support of the army and the ISI in which some children from government schools and a few workers of Capital Development Authority(CDA) carried placards and raised slogans in favor of the army and the ISI. The rally began at a time when Mian Nawaz Sharif was about to announce his party’s stand on the Abbotabad incident and ended when Nawaz Sharif ended his press conference. Interestingly the children did not know why they were brought to the venue and the leader of the rally a labor leader of CDA ….  said that he himself arranged the rally. Some of the slogans written on the placards were” We love ISI” “Pak army zindabad” and “ISI zindabad”

…, Haji … and children of a model school chanting slogans in support of ISI would definitely raise the morale of our premier intelligence outfit.

Who paid for the costly ad and who arranged the rally is not difficult to understand.

In conclusion, the chains of repression referred to by Zamir Niazi are no more there yet the invisible ones targeting human weaknesses, stronger and more addictive have come all the way to enslave a large part of our media.

It also appears that today, armor and infantry, artillery and air defense, radars and aircraft are no more relevant as the external threat appears irrelevant to our security establishment.

Media management and manipulation, TV channels and FM stations ceremonies and rallies, eavesdropping equipment, lobbying and campaigning, psyops and propaganda comprise the new hardware and software quite relevant to our valiant armed forces for countering an internal as well as the external threat.

To read complete article : ViewPoint

Osama Bin Laden fiasco: the buck stops with the military —Dr Mohammad Taqi

- OBL fiasco: the buck stops with the military

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 mazdaki@me.com

Courtesy: Daily Times