Is Pakistan Going to Become a Taliban State?

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).

Courtesy: Rawal Tv » Bilatakalluf with Tahir Gora, Episode 131 »» YouTube

Pakistan – Drowned, sinking deeper in debt

By: HUZAIMA BUKHARI AND DR IKRAMUL HAQ

Pakistan, drowned deep in debt, is sinking deeper and deeper with each passing moment. The situation, if not remedied on a war footing, will eventually lead the country to an economic collapse. During the last three months, the debt burden has soared by Rs 980 billion – an unprecedented increase pushing the total domestic debt up to Rs 15 trillion. This does not include borrowing from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to avert a serious balance of payment crisis. The Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) was very critical of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government for increasing the debt burden of the country by 100% in five years, but its own record during three months is more deplorable – adding Rs 11 billion a day is awfully gruesome!

On 30th June 2013, the federal government’s total domestic debt was Rs 14 trillion which as of today stands at Rs 15 trillion. Increase of one trillion in three months is terrifying. The total debt burden-internal Rs 15 trillion and external $62 billion-is not debated in the Parliament. The members seem more obsessed about arguing whether Hakimullah Mehsud, killed in a drone attack, is a martyr or not. For them drone attacks are violation of sovereignty but begging from USA, its allies and international donors is a matter of honour! One needs to remind them Allama Iqbal’s famous verse:

Taqdeer Ke Qazi Ka Ye Fatwa Hai Azal Se/ Hai Jurm-e-Zaeefi Ki Saza Marg-e-Mafajat!

[T'is the immutable decree of the Judge of destinies- That weakness is a crime, punishable by death].

Nobody in the National Assembly or Senate is worried about erosion of our resources consumed largely by debt servicing and how to come out of ‘debt prison’ that is main cause of political subjugation. They are wasting words and energies on non-issues.

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Wailing for the terrorists — Dr Mohammad Taqi

TaqiThe most brutal terrorist is being presented like an apostle of peace who was about to lead his country to the Promised Land

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.

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President Zardari and Sindh

By Mohammad Khan Sial

KARACHI: The people of Sindh were shocked by President Asif Ali Zardari’s remarks while speaking at the fifth South Asian Free Media Association conference in which he complained that nationalists were not ready to talk to the government over the new local government law in Sindh as they were getting money from Punjab for behaving in such a manner. The president also claimed that the controversial Zulfikarabad project is in favour of Sindh and that the nationalists are opposed to the province’s development.

Firstly, I would like to point out that the government has always claimed that the nationalists have no backing in Sindh as they have never been able to win even a single seat in elections. I am unable to understand if that is the case then why is President Zardari so worried about their protests? His claim that Punjab is financing this protest movement in Sindh is unacceptable. The PML-F’s Pir Pagaro is also a staunch opponent of the new law so much so that according to press reports, he did not accept the president’s request to meet him. Can the president please clarify whether Pir Pagara is also receiving funding from Punjab in exchange for opposing the law? I would like to inform the president that the people of Sindh as a whole oppose this system. The government cannot be successful in portraying that only nationalists are opposed to it.

Regarding Zulfikarabad, the president’s claim that “opponents of the project are opponents of development of Sindh” is unacceptable for the simple reason that this project is bound to bring demographic changes in Sindh, increasing fears among Sindhis that after its completion, they would be reduced to a minority in their own province. If the president was really keen on alleviating the plight of Sindh, he would have diverted the funds allocated to Zulfikarabad to the less-developed areas of the province.

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Ousted PM Gilani’s son won by-election

Abdul Qadir Gilani wins by-poll from father’s constituency

MULTAN: The by-poll for the National Assmebly’s seat NA-151 (Multan-IV), vacated by former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani after being disqualified by the Supreme Court, has been won by his son Abdul Qadir Gilani, DawnNews reported on Thursday.

The main candidate, beside Gilani, who was contesting on Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) ticket, was independent candidate Shaukat Hayat Khan Bosan, who had informal support of both Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf (PTI), [-- & Jamaat-e-Islami--].

Read more » DAWN.COM

Fascist terrorists’ attack on peaceful Mohabat-e-Sindh rally and the Opinion of Pakistani politicians. (to Keep the record straight). NATION OF SINDH ! DON’T FORGET ( MATTA’AN WISAARIO!)

News – Indiscriminate firing on peaceful Mohabbat-e-Sindh Rally, 12 killed, 30 injured. — MQM Behind Karachi Killings – Karachi Police Chief Akhtar Gorchani Talks to Media

By: Mir Raza

Please find below the opinion of different Pakistani political parties and leaders about Karachi Massacre of Sindhi’s by the fascists of  terror group.

1. PML ( N) LEADER NAWAZ SHAREEF CONDEMNS KARACHI KILLING AND SAYS THAT TERRORISTS ARE SITTING WITH PPP GOVERNMENT.

2. PML( N) SINDH PRESIDENT SYED GHAUS ALI SHAH SAYS THAT THE DIVISION OF SINDH WILL BE DIVISION OF PAKISTAN, MOHAJIR SOOBA WILL BE CREATED ON THE DEAD BODIES OF MILLIONS OF SINDHI’S.

3. ANP PRESIDENT ASFAND YAAR WALI CONDEMNS THE KILLING AND SAYS THAT THESE ARE SAME TERRORISTS WHO WERE INVOLVED IN 12 MAY MASSACRE AND PPP GOVERNMENT IS ALSO RESPONSIBLE GRANTING SHELTER TO TERRORISTS.

4. ANP SENATOR SHAHEE SAYED SAYS THAT ANY ONE WHO DREAM TO DIVIDE SINDH IS A LIVING IN THE WORLD OF STUPITS. MQM LEIS COWARD WHO ARE NOT DEMANDING OPENLY, IF THEY ARE BRAVE, THEY SHOULD COME FORWARD. SINDH WILL BE DIVIDED ON THE DEAD BODIES OF PASHTOUNS, SINDHIS ARE THE SON’S OF SINDH.

5. JAMAT E ISLAMI CONDEMN THE KILLING OF KARACHI AND SAYS THAT THE TERRORISTS ARE NOT HIDDEN, THEY ARE THE SAME WHO KILLED INNOCENTS ON 12 MAY 2007 AND BURNED LAWYERS ALIVE.

6. PIR PAGARO SAYS THAT * HUR’R* JAMAAT WILL COME DIRECTLY TO DEFEND SINDH. NO ONE CAN DIVIDE SINDH BY WALL CHALKING.

7. MEHMOOD ACHAKZAI CONDEMN KARACHI KILLING AND HELD MQM RESPONSIBLE.

8. ALL BALOUCH LEADERS CONDEMN KARACHI KILLING AND PROMISE TO DEFEND THE UNITY OF SINDH PRACTICALLY.

9. PAKISTAN LABOR PARTY AND COMMUNIST MAZDOOR KISAN PARTY HELD A  DEMONSTRATION IN LAHORE AGAINST THE MASSACRE OF SINDHIS AND DEATH OF JSSM LEADER MUZAFAR BHUTTO IN LAHORE.

OTHER SIDE …..

1. PPP LEADER REHMAN MALIK CONDEMN THE PEACEFUL MOHABBAT-E-SINDH RALLY AND HELD THEM RESPONSIBLE FOR INNOCENT VICTIMS WHO WERE KILLED BY FASCIST TERRORISTS MAFIA.

2. PTI LEADER IMRAN KHAN SAYS THAT HE DON’T KNOW AWAMI TAHREEK OR RASOOL BUX PALIJO AND CAN’T SAY ANY THING ABOUT KILLING BUT HE REGRET THAT ONE CAMERAMEN IS INJURED.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, May 24, 2012.

Pakistan has had so many “moments of reckoning” but here is another – By Najam Sethi

Matters are coming to a head in Pakistan. The deadlock in US-Pak relations over resumption of NATO supplies is veering towards confrontation. And the confrontation between parliament-government and supreme court-opposition is edging towards a clash. The net losers are fated to be Pakistan’s fledgling democracy and stumbling economy.

Pakistan’s Parliamentary Committee for National Security has failed to forge a consensus on terms and conditions for dealing with America. The PMLN-JUI opposition is in no mood to allow the Zardari government any significant space for negotiation. COAS General Ashfaq Kayani is also reluctant to weigh in unambiguously with his stance. As such, no one wants to take responsibility for any new dishonourable “deal” with the US in an election year overflowing with angry anti-Americanism. The danger is that in any lengthy default mode, the US might get desperate and take unilateral action regardless of Pakistan’ s concern. That would compel Pakistan to resist, plunging the two into certain diplomatic and possible military conflict. This would hurt Pakistan more than the US because Islamabad is friendless, dependent on the West for trade and aid, and already bleeding internally from multiple cuts inflicted by terrorism, sectarianism, separatism, inflation, devaluation, unemployment, etc. Indeed, the worst-case scenario for the US is a disorderly and swift retreat from Afghanistan while the worst-case scenario for Pakistan is an agonizing implosion as a sanctioned and failing state.

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A quick question to Nawaz Sharif

Shenanigans, dangerous shenanigans

By Kamran Shafi

Excerpt;

… For God’s sake, will our political leaders never learn? Will they forever be hostage to the Deep State and to the conspiracies spun by it? It is all very well for the PML-N to take the Murky Memo Matter to the Supreme Court, but have its leaders who I consider my friends, ever considered the fact that whilst Mansoor Ijaz’s allegations against the federal government and its officials were immediately ‘investigated’ by the top spook himself and a public indictment issued, the same person’s allegations against Shuja Pasha weighing the possibilities of carrying out a coup against a sitting elected government have been laid to rest by a mere press release of the ISPR denying any such thing?

While it is much exercised by the Murky Memo, does the PML-N find nothing wrong in the allegations against Pasha? Will it not ask for a thorough investigation by an agency/agencies of state, say the IB and the FIA? The ISPR says Pasha did not visit any of the countries mentioned on the stated dates, but did he visit them on other dates? Has anyone forensically examined his cell phones? Or his passports — if he goes through the usual procedures of travelling abroad like the rest of us, of course?! Am I right when I say that our generals are Teflon-coated; that nothing sticks to them; that they are faultless, blameless, and doubly-blessed? That the only bad is in the ‘bloody civilians’?

I have now written for many years that the only way that the politicians can see off the great threat to themselves posed by the Deep State is to stick together come hell or high-water. They must stand shoulder-to-shoulder to prevent that scourge of democracy, the Deep State, from always driving the agenda: giving a dog a bad name and then hanging him. The most effective weapon in its arsenal is spreading rumours about a government’s corruption and ineptness. In this they make no exceptions: exact same allegations were placed at the PPP’s door as were placed at the PML-N’s. I have long said too, that if this present government does not complete its tenure, neither will the next one. But is anyone listening?

No one is, because the fact of the matter is that the real aim of what is going on is to deny the PPP the majority in the Senate that will surely be it’s if it is allowed to stay in power until the elections in March. Simple, but very bad politics, for will the PPP not destabilise the PML-N government when IT comes to power?

A quick question to my friends in the PML-N who so want the government to be rolled up immediately if not sooner and elections held in the next two months: Do you really think that the powers will allow a snap election when its preferred ‘Third Force’ is still girding its loins?

I am most sad.

Courtesy:  The Express Tribune, December 24th, 2011.

Pak Army & ISI are a State within a State – Both are out of government’s control.

There cannot be a State within a State: PM Gilani

Excerpt;

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani Thursday said conspiracies were being hatched to oust the elected government, but vowed to fight for the rights of the people.

Addressing a gathering at the launch of an exhibition of rare photographs of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Pakistan Movement at Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA), Gilani said he is here to serve the people of Pakistan.

The prime minister said, “conspiracies are being hatched to pack-up an elected government. We remain in the government or in opposition, we will continue to protect the rights of the people”.

Gilani categorically stated, “there cannot be a State within a State. Nobody can say that he is not under the government.”

“Every institution of this country including the Ministry of Defence is under the Prime Minister of Pakistan”, he added.

He said there should be no ambiguity about it and nobody should claim himself as an independent. “They are being paid from the State Exchequer, from your revenue and from your taxes.”

“If somebody thinks that they are not under the government, they are mistaken. They are under the government and they remain under the government, because we are the elected representatives of the people of Pakistan.” …. …

…. “But I want to ask how was (bin Laden) living here for the past six years? On what type of visa was he living here? Why was security not taken care of, if he entered in Pakistan without a visa?”

Read more » The News

http://www.thenews.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=29147&title=There-cannot-be-a-State-within-a-State:-PM-Gilani

Former CIA officer: Sharif begged our help against military in 1999. Why is he crying now?

Memo crisis adds pressure to US ties

By Reuters

Excerpt;

WASHINGTON: A political crisis in Pakistan may threaten not only the future of President Asif Ali Zardari but also keep pressure on an already tense relationship with the United States as it seeks to stabilise neighbouring Afghanistan.

A scandal over a murky memo that warned the Pentagon of a possible military coup in Pakistan has highlighted historic tensions between the weak civilian government in Islamabad and the powerful military, whose help Washington needs to battle militants fueling violence in Afghanistan.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court began hearings this week into who was behind the memo, keeping the spotlight on a controversy that has added even more strain to US-Pakistan relations. ….

…. QUESTIONS ABOUT PAKISTANI MOTIVES

There are also doubts in Washington about how much turbulence Pakistan’s fragile democracy can withstand and whether courts can conduct a fair trial in a charged climate.

“The fact that the Supreme Court has now been involved gives (the memo matter) extra importance and legitimacy,” said Shujaa Nawaz, a Pakistan scholar with the Atlantic Council.

Pakistan’s top court is now moving ahead with the petition, filed by Nawaz Sharif, Zardari’s chief opponent, raising questions about the political motivations for the case.

Bruce Riedel, a former CIA and White House official who chaired President Barack Obama’s 2009 review of US policy on the region, said Sharif himself initiated a similar petition over a decade ago.

He recalled a 1999 meeting with Sharif’s brother Shahbaz, who he said traveled to Washington to warn of what civilian officials at the time feared was a brewing military coup.

“It was an entire day spent at the Willard Hotel listening to Shahbaz talk about their fears that a military coup was coming and asking for American help to prevent it,” he said.

“That’s pretty much the charge (that) is being leveled against Ambassador Haqqani.”

A coup did ultimately happen, in 1999, bringing General Pervez Musharraf to power until he resigned as president in August 2008.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

http://www.dawn.com/2011/12/22/memo-crisis-adds-pressure-to-us-ties.html

‘Crimes’ of Asif Zardari – By Shiraz Paracha

President Asif Zardari

The military eliminated all Bhuttos because Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto, Murtaza and Shah Nawaz Bhutto did not accept dictation but Asif Zardari, a non-Bhutto, is no different than Bhuttos and this is the reason of generals’ annoyance with Zardari.

Generals are desperate to remove President Zardari through the Supreme Court as they believe that independent civilians cannot govern the land of the pure.

The military is after President Asif Zardari’s head because in him generals see a challenger. They want to punish the President because he is not a puppet. The military’s indignation at Zardari is rooted in the paranoia that only the military can save Pakistan and also it is the sole right of generals to set the contours of Pakistan’s foreign and defence policies.

Devious military minds have played the Imran Card to blackmail the opposition leader Nawaz Sharif. As expected the Sharif brothers panicked after leaks that the military was behind Imran Khan and that Khan would hurt Muslim League (N) vote bank, particularly in the Punjab Province.

Read more » LUBP

http://criticalppp.com/archives/66558

What American Think-Tank thinkers think about how Pakistan will evolve in future? Part 2

By Khalid Hashmani

Stephen Cohen said that a group of international scholars that included authors and ambassadors were simply asked to provide their insight in the following two questions:

How did they see Pakistan in the medium-term (5-7 years)? What were key factors that may shape Pakistan’s future?

Their answers became the chapters of the book.

Panel Two – 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM (Moderator: John R. Schmidt)

We have to win them over; we cannot destroy them with drones!

Pamela Constable, Staff Writer for Washington Post remarked that situation in Pakistan had been so fluid that she had to revise her recent books six times in the past few months. She also remarked that she struck by the extra-ordinary commonality of diagnosis, She continued that every contributor to the book seems to agree the bleakness about the future of Pakistan. Constable said that hope is always desirable but at the same time there are some bothersome developments. Media for one had shown extra-ordinary potential for bringing positive changes to Pakistan but it has not been as forward-looking and is paddling the most common denominator such as anti-Americanism and mute criticism of extremist attitudes. Similarly, the “judiciary” and the “Lawyer’s Movement” that had once shown that it would help bring positive changes has been a terrible disappointment as too have been backward looking and unwilling to bring about positive changes. Constable remarked, ” yes, most Pakistanis do not support terrorism, but have never been so anti-American”. Some of reasons for the worsening attitudes – emotional defense of Islamism, confusing messages from their leaders, and rise of growth of radical movement as seen in Punjab University. She concluded by saying “We have to win them over, we cannot destroy them with drones”.

Replying to a question, Constable said that the public opinion in Pakistan is getting more conservative and that will further impact the military. The newly recruited crop of officers is more militant and increasingly they will have more influence on decision-makers.

Army will decide National Security and Allocation of Resources!

Bruce Riedel, Senior Fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy focused on the immediate (3-5 years) future of Pakistan. He said that we are seeing a creeping military dictatorship underway right now. It is not going to like Musharraf or Zia eras, but more settled, where decisions would be made by a collective leadership of few military men who will make all critical decisions against what broad population wants. The civilian façade will also go on with positions of President, Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and other showcases of a parliamentary form of government. Media will be active and alive as long as they do not seriously criticize military. Those who do will be eliminated. Judiciary will be able to do what they want as long as they don’t challenge military. Army will decide the key decisions on the matters of national security and allocation of resources.

Riedel said that many would say that this has been the case all along any way, however, at least in the last three years, the civilian government did attempt to take some decisions. He saw the current situation where the current civilian government including President is truly scared and intimidated. He said that the “Memogate” is another example of this. It is ironic that the “memo” that was supposed to prevent dictatorship is now being used to facilitate the arrival of military dictatorship. He said he hoped that the person who wrote the memo and wrote about it in the “Financial Times” could live with conscience in what they have done to Pakistan.

Talking about the settled way of military dictatorship in Pakistan, Riedel said it would be a South Asian model of how military rules Algeria. There, the military rules behind curtains and very few people who are key military officers who make decisions. It is not a single person who dictates but rather a collection of few senior officers. He further said that good news is that this in-progress event can still be reversed if Pakistanis want. However, if this is left on its steady drift it is going to be 5th military dictatorship in Pakistan.

Commenting on the War, Riedel said that NATO and the US are fighting a proxy war in Afghanistan. This is not a new phenomenon but has been since 2002. It is just that veils are now taken off. Riedel continued that the assassination of President Rabbani was a key milestone sending the message that they are in no mood to compromise. He said that Pakistan’s absence at the Bonn conference is the message from Pakistan that it is backing Taliban and does not want negotiations. The US/NATO and Pakistan are heading towards a collision. Riedel added that there are some built-in “breaks” but it is to seen if these “breaks” are strong enough to stop rapture.

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More supreme than the court – By Dr Mohammad Taqi

- In the US, discussion about the ‘political question’ doctrine has been part of the decades-old debate on judicial activism. It would be interesting to see how an assertive Pakistani judiciary now defines what may or may not actually be its province

The issues surrounding the alleged memo, apparently written by a US citizen Mansoor Ijaz, sent via another US citizen General (retd) James Jones, to a third US citizen Admiral Mike Mullen, have now been taken up by the Supreme Court (SC) of Pakistan to adjudicate. The Pakistani apex court had been moved via multiple petitions filed by Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and others.

That the so-called Memogate is a political problem and will have a political resolution has been abundantly clear from the outset. I noted last month that the idea behind what looked like a sting operation had been to get not just Ambassador Husain Haqqani but to also net President Asif Zardari, whose removal through any constitutional means seems extremely difficult, if not impossible.

In this context the political response by the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is understandable. By going to the people and not seeking or receiving overt help from other quarters, the party has sent a strong message to all the major players, including the US. The party’s young co-chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari entering the political scene will certainly energise its base. But with the superior judiciary taking up the memo issue, a new legal dimension was added to the saga fit for a low intensity spy thriller.

Mian Nawaz Sharif’s theatrics in the SC’s courtroom one may have made the late movie star Muhammad Ali envious. He came prepared with a black jacket, a matching necktie and all. Perhaps missing was the wig — no pun intended — and the robe a la Queen’s Counsel. The respected lawyer Justice (retd) Fakhruddin G Ebrahim was supposed to represent him. But Justice (retd) Ebrahim called in sick that day, ceding centre-stage to Mian sahib. Interestingly, Justice (retd) Ebrahim sounded quite well on an hour-long television show with anchor Hamid Mir the same evening. The speed of his recovery was matched only by the swiftness with which the SC delivered what has been dubbed a judgement, not an interim order, by the redoubtable human rights campaigner Asma Jahangir who is representing Husain Haqqani.

Asma Jahangir has filed challenges to the initial court verdict, which were subsequently dismissed. But she raised some very pertinent questions on behalf of her client, both in writing to the court and through the media. One issue pertains directly to the ‘political question’ doctrine and if such a matter falls under the purview of the judiciary, especially when the other state institutions, including the executive and parliament, are not just functional but proactively pursuing the matter.

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In Game Afoot, Cafe Pyala reveals that some well connected persons have been claiming that the care taker government might be set in Jan 2012 and Jehangir Tareen could lead it.

Via BOLTA PAKISTAN » In Game Afoot, Cafe Pyala reveals that some well connected persons have been claiming that the care taker government might be set in Jan 2012 and Jehangir Tareen could lead it. Does this speculation has anything to do with his not joining Tehrik-e-Insaf as yet. May be technocrats like Shahid Kardar etc are taking time to join the same party.  …

Read more » Cafe Pyala » Game Afoot

Via » Facebook » Bolta Pakistan page

Govt failed to arrest Benazir Bhutto’s assassins: Nawaz

LARKANO: PML-N President Nawaz Sharif while addressing a huge public gathering in Larkano, said he is seeing a change in the thinking of people of Larkano, Sindh and across the country, Geo News reported Saturday.

Nawaz said people of Pakistan are changing as he could see the same enthusiasm in the people of other parts of the country.

While blaming the PPP leadership, he said all such people are now ministers and advisors who left Mohratma Benazir Bhutto in critical condition when she was attacked, adding that such people could never be sincere with the party.

’The government has failed to arrest the assassins of leader of their party Benazir Bhutto,’ he added. ‘Arresting her killers should be the top priority of the government.’ …

Read more » The News

Sharif’s letter to Brother Abdullah

by Hakim Hazik

With Saudi money, American weapons, suicidal youths, and the fauji IQ, Pakistan will prevail and lead the Ummah. We will have a friendly government in Kabul, the Dhimmis in Orakzai will pay Jizya and the infidels in New Delhi will pay tribute. I would appeal to Taliban again, not to attack us, because as the Chief Minister has said, we stand for the same things …

Read more » ViewPoint

Brought to book: Jemima Khan on appearing in her ex-husband’s memoir

- What’s it like to appear in someone else’s book without your knowledge or approval? After Jemima Khan got her hands on Imran Khan’s book, she had the opportunity to discuss Pakistan and their time together with her ex-husband

“Too late. Don’t worry Jem – you come across as you always wanted to – Joan of Arc,” was the response I got from my ex-husband, Imran Khan, when I asked if it would be possible to read his memoirs before they were published.

Imran and I have remained on very good terms. He even uses my mother’s house as a London base when he’s in the UK. Still, hearing that there was a chapter in Pakistan: A Personal History entitled “My Marriage”, was, I’ll admit, unsettling. I wrestled an advance copy, a brick of a book, from my sons (to whom it had been dedicated, as well as to “the youth of Pakistan”). ….

Read more » independent.co.uk

Shriek Chairman’s Bum

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

MQM involvement in 12th May incident – WikiLeaks

The language of the talk show is urdu (Hindi).

Courtesy: → Duniya News Tv (Crossfire With Mehar Bukhari – 20th September 2011)

via → ZemTvYouTube

Army Gives Clear Deadline to Settle Karachi Issue

- By Aijaz Ahmed

IH Exclusive Report

The cat seems to have finally come out of the bag after dilly-dallying and procrastination of about three months as military top brass has issued a clear cut deadline to the struggling and fragile political government both in the center and the province to settle Karachi issue by 30th October, sources in the power corridors have revealed with complete confidence and authority.

Zardari-Kayani meeting, a file photo

This scribe saw fear on the faces of many in the ruling structure, and heard certain whispers in the parliament lobbies and pathways of other buildings on the power map of Islamabad ever since the military spokesperson issued a statement on Karachi issue in very awkward manner that put already weak government under further pressure. The fear appeared to have increased manifold the day Army Chief had a detailed meeting with president Asif Ali Zardari at the Capital Hill of Islamabad.

The follow up event, which was none other than the corps commanders’ meeting, was an additional factor due to its unusual end as no formal statement was issued against the normal practice for the last so many years. The footage issued by ISPR was also evident of the fact that the military top commanders were looking grim and worried over the situation of Karachi. The military hierarchy seemed to be under pressure more so as a large number of the common Pakistanis and almost all analysts of high stature consider army leadership responsible for the situation due to its clear-cut support for MQM, a creation of General Zia ul Haq.

The latest deterioration in the situation in Karachi appeared to be due to the multiple factors with the political interests of MQM remaining at the top. The worsening situation has alarmed every one as the situation strengthened fears about the very survival of Pakistan. Many among the political forces, traders, and even liberal intellectuals who have been posturing neutrality are very much disappointed in the present political dispensation and have demanded the deployment of Army under Article 245 of the Constitution.

Only two rival political parties, PPP and PML-N were still resisting army action due to certain reasons. However army was looking reluctant to accept the responsibility, but at the later stage the thinking appeared to have changed and an indication of will was given by Army Chief himself few days back. In this scenario the army chief had a one to one meeting with the president. The insiders having close relations with both presidency and the GHQ are of the view that the army chief has conveyed sentiments of his colleagues in the army to the civilian government. Sources from both sides confided that the October 30th has been given as deadline with a clear-cut message that ‘if the situation does not improve and issues are not addressed then we will address Karachi issue in our own way’. The message, according to the sources, has spread fear among the top party leadership as this is not only a message for an action in Karachi, but also an indication of distrust over the competence and abilities of the civilian government to deal with the situations, sources maintained. The action will not remain confined to Karachi only, the government at center and the provinces will be sent back home was the actual message between the lines, sources added. ….

Read more → Indus Herald

Ayaz Latif Palijo’s speech in Karachi, Sindh

The language of the is Sindhi.

YouTube

Former Sindh chief minister apologised for events on 12 May, and saying he had nothing to do with the bloodshed because he wielded no real power

Pleading innocent: Arbab equates Karachi killings with May 12 carnage

By Hafeez Tunio

SINDH – KARACHI: In a surprise move, former Sindh chief minister Arbab Ghulam Rahim apologised for events which unfolded four years ago on May 12, saying he had nothing to do with the bloodshed because, at that time, he wielded no real power as the province’s chief executive.

Arbab Rahim, who belongs to Thar and elected to the Sindh Assembly, has been living in Dubai since the PPP government came to power. …

Read more → The Express Tribune

Same dirty Politics with Old Formulas!! Pakistan judiciary needs rational approach, judiciary should not do partisan decisions or specific to one party or group. Accountability should be across the board and for every one.

Courtesy: → Duniya Tv News (Cross Fire with Meher Bokhari, 27th July 2011)

via → ZemTvYouTube

Accountability of Military Inc

by Najam Sethi

The terrorist attacks on GHQ last year and the Mehran Naval Base last month were outrageous examples of terrorist efficiency and motivation as opposed to ISI incompetence and military ill-preparedness. The US Navy Seal raid to extract Osama bin Laden from a compound in Abbottabad was deeply humiliating as well. Heads should have rolled. But the military will not even consider an independent commission of inquiry to unearth the facts. No wonder its credibility and sacred-cow status have taken a mighty hit. Within the armed forces, officers are standing up to question and confront their superiors. Outside, an angry public wants to know why we are spending half our tax resources on equipping the military with F-16s and BMWs when it can’t even protect itself, let alone defend the nation. This questioning of Military Incorporated is unprecedented.

More significantly, the civilian opposition is up in arms. It is demanding an informed debate over the military’s national security doctrines – particularly with reference to the obsession with, and fear of, “arch-enemy India” – that have spawned such self-serving budgetary outlays and an arms race at the expense of the social welfare of Pakistanis for six decades. The indignant argument that criticism of the military is “unpatriotic” or serves the interests of the “enemy” doesn’t wash any more. Indeed, the term “establishment”, used hitherto to refer obliquely to the military so as not to offend it, is rapidly going out of fashion. People are not afraid to call a spade a spade.

Ominously, the ISI’s mythology of power is now being deconstructed and exposed as being undeserved. The “agencies” are out of fashion, the ISI is squarely in the spotlight. The premeditated abduction and torture of journalist Saleem Shehzad, which led to his death, has been bravely laid by the media and opposition at the door of the ISI and not some invisible “agency”. The government’s silence – in not establishing a credible commission of inquiry – has also compromised the ISI’s position. This is remarkable, not because of the pathetic response in self-defense elicited from unnamed spokesmen of the ISI but because a conviction has now taken root in the public imagination that the ISI should not be beyond the pale of the law and accountability. The opposition has gone so far in parliament as to demand an oversight of its functions, duties, responsibilities and budgets. This is a far cry from a demand by the media and opposition not so long ago to shield and protect the ISI and its DG from the “conspiratorial” tentacles of the PPP government and its ubiquitous interior minister, Rehman Malik, who sought to bring the ISI’s internal political wing dedicated to political machinations under civilian control.

All this has happened because of two new factors that are not sufficiently imagined or understood by the military and ISI. One is the rise of a fiercely competitive and free media that is rapidly coming of age and will not allow itself to be manipulated wholesale in the “patriotic national interest”, a term that is constantly being re-evaluated in light of changing realities. The other is the revival of a chief justice and supreme court that are acutely aware of the civil burden imposed by their historic and popular enthronement. Neither will countenance any political or military oversight of their own sense of freedom and function. So if the military cannot rely on the troika of army chief, president and prime minister for political leverage of government – because the president and prime minister are one now – it is even more problematic to try and manipulate the media and SC merely on the yardstick of “patriotism” and “national interest”. The military’s woes are compounded by the fact that, for the first time in history, a popular Punjabi “son of the soil” like Nawaz Sharif, whose PML is a veritable creature of the predominantly Punjabi-origin military itself, has turned around and openly challenged its supremacy, arrogance and lack of accountability. The “Punjabi establishment” – meaning the civil-military power combine that has ruled Pakistan since independence — is therefore openly divided. The irony of history is that it is a Sindhi politician (Asif Zardari) who is opportunistically lending his shoulder to the military as it braces for fresh buffetings at home.

But that is just the beginning of a new story. The international establishment – principally the USA and EU – that has nurtured and molly-coddled the Pakistani military for six decades with money and weapons is also at the end of its tether. The “strategic partnership” mantra is dead. Washington, like Islamabad, doesn’t trust Rawalpindi either as long-term partner or ally. It is only a matter of time before the civilians in Pakistan and those in DC or Brussels make common cause for mutual benefit. Indeed, if the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill were to be floated anew with clauses enjoining civilian supremacy over the military, there would not even be conscientious objectors today.

The Pakistan military should see the writing on the wall. It must hunker down and become subservient to civilian rule and persuasion instead of embarking on new misadventures in the region like the proverbial Pied Piper. The road to hell is always paved with self-serving intentions.

Courtesy: Friday Times

via Wichaar

Pakistan: Nawaz asks ‘army’ to change mindset

- Nawaz asks ‘army’ to change mindset

By Amjad Mahmood

LAHORE: PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif has vowed never to allow any institution to become a sacred cow and be above the law.

“There is no sacred cow in the country and none should try to become a sacred cow as (we) won’t allow such an attempt,” he told a reference meeting held here on Friday for journalist Salim Shehzad who has been murdered in mysterious circumstances.

Without naming the army but leaving no doubt which institution he was talking about, he said (they) would have to change their mindset.

If the army wants not to be criticised it will have to remove the causes of criticism.

“End your domination of foreign policy (making) if you wish the criticism to end. Our relations should be with the Afghan people and not with a single party. There should be no parallel government (of agencies) in the country.” …

Read more: DAWN

Democracy starts from home

- Democracy is the best revenge. Really?

Dr. Shazia Nawaz

I say a lot of things too. For example I say, “Going out in the sun can give you skin cancer.” But then I do not go out in the sun. I also say, “Daily cooking by women is a sheer waste of their time.” You guessed it right. I do not waste my time on cooking.

Clearly Pakistan People’s Party is not like me. They say that democracy is the best revenge, but do not have democracy right within their party. It is not only PPP, it is also Muslim league. Is Nawaz Sharif ever going to retire from being the party chairman? Should not there be a time limit for holding the position within the party? For our political parties, it’s not democracy, but it is dynasty. The child of a party leader is picked as a next party leader automatically. And that appointment is done happily. No questions asked.

When it comes to PPP, seems to me that the more you pretend to be in love with Bhuttos, the bigger leader you are considered in the party. Why such hero worship? Was Bhutto not just another man? Same goes for Jinnah and for our very own Allama Iqbal. Interestingly, we are very big on following the “ideology” of these leaders. Has Pakistan stopped producing brilliant minds?

Why do we have to follow the “ideology” of people who lived almost half a century ago? When we are not living in the same old world anymore, why follow the same old ideology? There is always a fight among liberals and conservatives about the “true ideology” of Jinnah. He wanted a Muslim state. No, he wanted a secular state for Muslims. Why does it matter so much anymore what Jinnah wanted? Has Pakistan stopped producing brilliant minds at all now that we cannot come up with new ideas to lead our country? If Jinnah said it, it is ALWAYS right. He cannot be wrong, questioned, or criticized. Same goes for our national poet Allama Iqbal (RA). Youth seems to follow blindly what our great poet said almost a hundred years ago. Things that he said when British ruled the world are not valid in today’s world anymore, where we do not have dynasties anymore, well, except for in PPP. Iqbal’s poetry was for oppressed people of India and Pakistan. Iqbal’s message was for that time.

Now the world has become a global village. Sadly, Iqbal missed out on the biggest invention of mankind, the internet.
Coming back to PPP, don’t get me wrong, Bilawal is adorable. And he knows how to give a speech. If you have not already, please watch the video in which he literally almost lifts his head off his neck saying, ‘ Sar chahe-yay, sar dain gay hum (if you need our heads, we will give you our heads)” I personally think that PPP has given enough heads already. Rest of those heads should stay exactly where they belong. On those rich necks.

Bilawal did not grow up in Pakistan. That might not make him less of a Pakistani though. Bilawal is very smart. He has good genes. But then, is it all about being good? Of course not. It is about being the best. When you pick someone to rule and lead your nation, you want the best person for the job. Was Zardari the best person for the job? Sure, he’s good. But did he compete with others to prove that he was the best person for the job? It is not a dynasty. It is democracy. Bilawal has to prove that he is the best person for the job. Sure, he is learning politics from his seniors as Farah Naz Isphahani said in her article recently. Just like kings taught their kids how to rule a country. The world has rejected kings’ rules. Now handsome kings are only good for watching and marrying. And for selling stuff in their name. Yes, I just bought the similar ring that Prince William gave to Kate. Of course mine is not nearly as expensive.

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The self-centred beggar

by Dr Manzur Ejaz

It is only in the Pakistani media that violation of sovereignty is the focus of discussion rather than Osama’s comfortable living arrangement near an elite military academy. The rest of the world is focusing on Osama rather than the legality of the American operation in Abbottabad.

Probably it is a matter of taste that Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani wanted to hear the same translated lecture from Chinese leaders that Senator John Kerry had given in Islamabad. Maybe it was easier in Beijing because Chinese lectures were (hopefully) directly translated into Urdu or Seraiki. President Asif Ali Zardari may have been given a similar dose in Moscow though the details of his achievements have yet to come out. Both had rushed to the Chinese and Russian capitals to prove their utility to the military brass after the embarrassing US operation in Abbottabad.

It is clear from the published reports that China has flatly told PM Gilani that it does not give budgetary support or cash transfers to countries. They promised some loans on favourable conditions, but this was then sent for approval to the Politburo of the Communist Party. This is an atypical Chinese diplomatic way of saying ‘no’ because such a loan could have been cleared quickly if need be. This simply shows that salvaging Pakistan’s economy is not a Chinese priority or that they take it as a waste of money.

The plan to rush to Beijing was as sane as not knowing that Osama bin Laden was living in Abbottabad near a military academy for the last five years. Probably, there is no method in Pakistan’s madness of decision-making processes. Idealising Pakistan’s strategic worth in global politics, Pakistan’s ruling elite is bereft of common sense. They thought once they announce to the Chinese and Russians that they are getting a legal divorce from the US, Beijing and Moscow would jump all around and shower Yuan and Roubles upon them. No one paused for a moment to think that both China and Russia, victims of jihadi terrorism, agree with the US on the point that terrorist networks must be rooted out of Pakistan. But we have become like street-beggars who develop a habit of asking every passerby for money.

Before PM Gilani had reached Beijing, a senior leader of the Chinese military had declared that his country will not confront the US over Pakistan. And why would China confront the US over Pakistan while its economic interests are heavily vested in the US? Moreover, has China ever confronted the US on any policy other than American policy regarding Taiwan? China has proved to be the wisest nation when it comes to its economic interests. They have economic interests in Pakistan as well but cannot lose the US market, which is their bread and butter. In addition, why would China confront the US for something which, ultimately, safeguards al Qaeda, the Taliban and other jihadi terrorist groups? It is only in the Pakistani media that violation of sovereignty is the focus of discussion rather than Osama’s comfortable living arrangement near an elite military academy. The rest of the world is focusing on Osama rather than the legality of the American operation in Abbottabad.

The Chinese know what the world is saying and are afraid to run into an embarrassing position if the US decides to bring its case against Pakistan harbouring terrorists to the UN. This is the reason that they told Mr Gilani:

One: Pakistan should normalise its relations with India, the US and the rest of the world. The Chinese were telling Pakistan that it is awfully lonely and cannot be supported just by Beijing if the rest of the world stands against it.

Two: the Chinese subtly chided Pakistan for not eliminating the madrassa networks that are producing terrorists. Privately, China has been asking Pakistan to take action against jihadi nurseries but this time they went public on this point.

Three: the Chinese told Gilani that the situation in Afghanistan is improving and Pakistan should not do anything that can stall it.

The Chinese have told Pakistan that they are on the same page as the US as far as the issue of terrorism is concerned and Pakistan should lower its obsession with India. Furthermore, the Chinese have advised that the US is going to be the only source of funds needed for budgetary support for Pakistan. China can invest in infrastructure projects but no cash transfers. Recent assignment of hydro projects to Chinese companies show that China is using its leverage to get better deals from Pakistan than it could if international bids were invited.

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Nationalism or national policy?

by Shahab Usto

We lost half the state territory in 1971 and the other half is threatened by varied internal and external threats. But our state policy continues to reflect the same old duality: employing the security apparatus and building the artefacts of nationalism.

Though our economic team is busy mending the torn deal with the IMF and the military and political leaderships are busy with their US counterparts to reset the button of the Pak-US cooperation shut by the Abbottabad operation, a well-calibrated nationalist fever has touched new heights. The joint parliamentary resolution talks of cutting off NATO/ISAF supplies; the Punjab government has denounced foreign aid, of course without explaining how it would run the foreign-funded projects given the poor health of its finances; the ‘patriotic’ brigade is calling for ending relations with the US and opting for China; and Imran Khan is out staging dharnas (sit-in protests) against the Pak-US alliance on the war on terror.

Yet no one has come up with a blueprint of our national policy dealing with the war on terror and the myriad socio-political crises, using the ‘rare’ national unity that has come about in the wake of the US Abbottabad operation. The same old trick is being played upon us that the monarchs, generals and populists have played in history: using nationalist sentiments to hide rather than resolve national crises. We must avoid this trap because nationalism could be both a reality and an artefact. Let us pick up a few lessons of history to make this point.

Read more : Daily Times

Death of ObL, Nightmare for Pakistan: Army Chief Suggests to Nawaz Not to Demand Resignations; ISI Chief Surrenders to Parliament But His Tone Remains Unchanged?

- Death of ObL, Nightmare for Pakistan: AQ Khan Under Threats; Army Chief Suggests to Nawaz Not to Demand Resignations; ISI Chief Surrenders to Parliament But His Tone Remains Unchanged?

By Aijaz Ahmed

Excerpt:

Islamabad: Developments are taking place at a fast pace ever since Osama bin Laden was killed in a limited operation by US Navy SEALs in Abbottabad, 60 miles north of the federal capital, Islamabad.

The life of the most wanted man on earth was dangerous for peace and stability in Pakistan, but his death has become a nightmare for Pakistan, that puts the very fiber of the society at stake and integrity of the country in danger. The “Ghairat” (honor) brigade of media is very active as it is trying to bring the democratic dispensation under pressure on one hand and point its guns towards the security institutions on the other hand.

The debate sparked by the May 2 operation focused on Pakistan’s national sovereignty, but nobody amongst the hawks were ready to accept the fact that although the US action was undoubtedly a clear breach of the national sovereignty, the presence of ObL on Pakistani soil, especially in a garrison city like Abbottabad had equally subverted the national sovereignty and undermined our security framework. …

…. Indeed the military leadership admitted its failure, but the briefing given to the sitting was not very significant, says Syed Zafar Ali Shah, a PML-N hawk. Although general Pasha surrendered before the parliament, it was for the sake of their institution, and not for the supremacy of the civilian rule, he added. The attitude of the uniformed top brass was rather contemptuous towards the elected representatives of the country, sources said adding that it was evident from the tone of the soldiers and the response they given to the elected representatives who asked tough questions or pointed out political hobnobbing by the agencies.

The tone was harsh and not like that of a person wanting to admit his mistakes, said Zafar Ali Shah. He however, was silent on the question that why PML-N did not ask for certain resignations over the Abbottabad incident. Sources closed to Mian Nawaz Sharif on the other hand answered this question. The close circles of Mian Nawaz Sharif have confided that the Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani had a one on one meeting with Mian Nawaz Sharif on May 9th at his residence in Murree. The said meting took place on the first day of PML-N central leadership’s meeting in Islamabad when Mian Sb asked his party men to demand for the resignation of military top brass.

PML-N sources are of the view that Mian Saheb was to demand resignations during his next day press briefing, and some how this was conveyed to the Army leadership that created bit of worry in Rawalpindi, thus the COAS rushed himself to his Murree residence and requested him not to do so. Mian Sb, according to the sources while accepting the suggestion, changed his words, but kept very harsh tone. This was also indicated in 15th May media briefing when he demanded agencies budget and expenditure to be presented in the parliament. …

To read complete article: Indus Herald

Pakistan’s Faustian Parliament – by Wajid Ali Syed

It was embarrassing enough for the people of Pakistan to find out that Osama bin Laden was living in their midst for years. Even more shameful was the realization that their politicians are incapable of questioning the security apparatus of the country. The masses rallied and protested and faced hardships for months to kick General Pervez Musharraf out of power. They voted the Pakistan People’s Party, the most widely-based and allegedly liberal party to power, believing that democracy has been restored.

Though the leader of the government, President Asif Ali Zardari has been blamed for everything going wrong in the country and is regarded as a corrupt individual, until now there has been a perceived upside that Pakistan is being led by an elected government and not a military dictatorship.

This illusion of so-called civilian supremacy silently burst like a bubble when the head of the ISI, General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, and the Chief of Army Staff Ashfaq Parvez Kiyani were called before the parliament to answer for their incompetence related to the May 2 raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound. The agenda was to inquire about the U.S. attack and why the state security apparatus was unaware of Osama bin Laden’s presence.

But what happened during the closed door meeting revealed once again that the real power in Pakistan still lies with the army and the ISI, not the politicians.

It had been suggested that heads would roll, the foreign aid and the big chunk of national budget that the army receives would be scrutinized. The parliamentarians dropped the ball again and lost another opportunity to exert their authority over other institutions of the state. Once again it became clear who really runs Pakistan.

The last time a civilian government had an opportunity to put the army in its place was in 1971, following the Pakistan army’s defeat in the war that led to the loss of East Pakistan, which became Bangladesh. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Pakistan’s then-president and founder of the Pakistan People’s Party, got off to a promising start by placing former dictator General Yahya Khan under house arrest. He re-organized the Pakistan Armed Forces and boosted the military’s morale. But Bhutto also restored their hubris. Years later, his own appointed Army Chief, General Zia ul-Haq, would overthrow Bhutto’s government and send him to the gallows.

During Zia’s 11 year rule, the Russians invaded Afghanistan and withdrew. The army grew so strong that even after Zia’s death in a plane crash, the new chief of the military did not allow the democratically elected Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto, to tour the country’s nuclear facility. She was labelled anti-Pakistan and an American agent.

It is ironic to witness that the opposition party, the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), which was created with the support of the army to counter the PPP’s popularity, is now asking the tough questions about covert operations and the finances of the military.

By snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, Pakistan’s ruling party, Bhutto’s PPP, is losing its chance to demonstrate leadership and moral authority. They failed to hold the army accountable for the thousands of civilians and security officers killed in the war on terror in Pakistan. They did not press the chief of the generously-funded army to explain how OBL could have lived in a military garrison town for six years.

These are the same parliamentarians who extended General Kiyani’s tenure. The same parliamentarians who extended ISI Chief General Pasha’s tenure. The boastful parliamentarians who had promised to leave no stone unturned roared like lions for the cameras but behaved like lambs behind closed doors.

It was reported that opposition leader Chaudhry Nisar tried to deliver a speech during the question and answer session, only to be snubbed by General Pasha in front of a full house. Pasha claimed that he ‘knew’ why he was being targeted by the opposition leader, alleging that Nisar had asked him for a personal favor, which he, as DG ISI, refused to extend. An embarrassed Chaudhry Nisar was said to have been taken aback as Pasha continued with his ‘counter-attack’.

Then the tail furiously wagged the dog. General Pasha reportedly offered to resign. Rather than demanding that the ISI chief step down immediately, apparently the parliamentarians did not accept his resignation.

The state run television channel could have returned to its heyday of running prime time programming that kept the country glued to their sets by recording that “closed door” meeting to broadcast later as a drama — or farce.

Some idealistic Pakistanis hoped that the U.S. would finally question the secretly played “double game.” After all, the U.S. supported extensions of Kiyani’s and Pasha’s tenures, claiming that keeping the chiefs in their positions would help to continue the war on terror in an orderly fashion. The U.S. abandoned the people of Pakistan by siding with the army once again, pledging support and failing to attach any strings or conditions to the military aid it provides.

Cowed by Kiyani’s and Pasha’s brazen displays, Pakistan’s parliament passed a resolution that drone attacks should be stopped and that the operations like the one carried out on May 2nd won’t be tolerated in future.

The parliament has an obligation to explain to the public not only how and why Osama bin Laden was living in Abbottabad, but why the Taliban continues to carry out its bloody operations, and why al Qaeda leaders have been given safe haven. The risk of allowing these questions to remain unanswered is that the military will gain more strength over the civilian government.

The parliamentarians who are supposed to represent the people of Pakistan abrogated their responsibility for the sake of staying in office for few more months, while at the same time making it clear who the country’s rulers truly are.

Courtesy: Wichaar

Shahbaz was willing to have CJ removed after ‘face-saving’ restoration

KARACHI: Even as PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif was rallying street support by publicly refusing to back down from demands for the restoration of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry in February and March 2009, the party was privately telling American diplomats that the future of the then-non-functional chief justice was up for negotiation.

“Shahbaz stated that following the restoration, the PML-N was prepared to end the issue and remove Chaudhry once and for all,” reported Lahore Consulate Principal Officer Bryan Hunt in a secret American diplomatic cable describing his meeting with the younger Sharif on March 14, 2009.

“On the issue of former Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, Shahbaz claimed that the PML-N was open to negotiation, provided that Chaudhry was symbolically restored.”

The conversation took place just a day before Nawaz Sharif would join a lawyers’ long march in a dramatic public protest for the reinstatement of judges deposed by Gen Musharraf, a demand that President Zardari had been resisting. In private, however, a different story was being told.

“Shahbaz stressed that his party could not afford the political humiliation of abandoning what had become a long-standing principle in favour of Chaudhry’s restoration,” Mr Hunt reported. “At the same time, Shahbaz claimed to understand that Chaudhry was a problematic jurist, whose powers would need to be carefully curtailed.”

Shahbaz Sharif strategised that as a judge who had taken oath under Gen Musharraf’s first provisional constitutional order, Chaudhry could be removed – once “some sort of face-saving restoration” had been carried out – “by adopting legislation proposed in the Charter of Democracy that would ban all judges who had taken an oath under a PCO from serving.”

A week earlier, in another meeting at the Lahore consulate, Shahbaz Sharif had proposed an alternative solution: creating the Constitutional Court envisioned in the Charter of Democracy and ensuring that “it be made superior to the Supreme Court. Iftikhar Chaudhry’s restoration … would then have little measurable impact, as the Constitutional Court, staffed by appointees from both parties, could nullify his decisions.”

Even before the restoration, Shahbaz Sharif confided, the PML-N leadership would agree to any constraints President Zardari might want placed on Chaudhry, “including curtailment of his powers to create judicial benches, removal of his suo motu jurisdiction, and/or establishment of a constitutional court as a check on the Supreme Court.”

“Although Nawaz publicly has said Chaudhry’s restoration is also a red line,” commented US Ambassador Anne Patterson in a separate report, “no leader in Pakistan really wants an activist and unpredictable Chief Justice. … Nawaz emerges stronger in the public eye and retains the ‘high moral ground’ by defending the judiciary.”

As late as January 22, in fact, PML-N leader Khawaja Saad Rafique had told Mr Hunt that a minimum requirement for saving the coalition with the PPP in Punjab was “full retirement of Chief Justice Hameed Dogar and appointment of Justice Sardar Raza in his place.” Chaudhry did not seem to have been a concern.

But by March 2009 he had become the PML-N’s rallying cry, and the timing clearly had to do with political developments at the time: a February 25 Supreme Court decision had declared the Sharif brothers ineligible for office, and the president had imposed governor’s rule in Punjab. …

Read more : DAWN

Pakistan and the US: beyond the tailspin – Dr Mohammad Taqi

Excerpt:

The military events surrounding Senator Kerry’s Pak-Afghan visits suggest that the US is not about to blink first. The question remains whether the Pakistani establishment will pull back from the brink

So, he surrendered to parliament. Or did he? The Pakistani government’s minister for information would have one believe that he did. But General Ahmed Shuja Pasha may actually be recalling Julius Caesar’s words: veni, vidi, vici! The only difference is that when Caesar claimed ‘I came, I saw, I conquered’, he was reporting to the Roman Senate about his swift military victory over Pharnaces II of Pontus. However, for all practical purposes, General Pasha and the security establishment’s triumph is on the domestic front. For now, they seem to have vanquished parliament quite successfully. Like Molly Bloom in James Joyce’s Ulysses, the PPP, PML-Q and the MQM threw themselves into the military’s arms with a fervent “…and yes I said yes I will Yes”. The PML-N’s chiding notwithstanding, Generals Pasha and Ashfaq Kayani had their cake and got to eat it too.

The well-choreographed Pasha tamasha in parliament and the events preceding and after it has left the Pakistani parliament weaker than ever before. Many of us never had any illusions about the security establishment’s tall tale that the civilians should take charge of foreign and security affairs. But anyone who still had a doubt about the ones calling the shots need not look any further than the US Senator John Kerry’s very first stop on his visit to Pakistan this week. Despite his recent tame requests for the prime minister to convene parliament to discuss the Osama bin Laden fiasco, General Kayani did not find anything wrong with Senator Kerry seeing him before meeting the civilian leadership. A simple change in the visiting senator’s itinerary could have been requested — and very likely accepted by the guest — but it was not. Well, so much for the military’s newfound love for parliament’s supremacy. But one must give credit where it is due. A bakery-running enterprise may not be a fighting force but it could be pretty deft at politics.  ….

…. No matter how Pakistan spins it, the tailspin in its relationship with the US and the world at large cannot be reversed by returning the stealth H-60 Blackhawk’s tail. The Pakistani brass is way too familiar with the words “peanuts” when describing a disproportionately minuscule response to tectonic shifts in geopolitics. Osama bin Laden’s lair, less than a mile away from the Pakistan Military Academy, Kakul, is not a pinprick that the world, let alone the US, would forget so easily. The Pakistani parliament may have been duped with it, but there is every indication that the US Congress and the White House consider the ‘intelligence failure’ excuse an insult to their intelligence.

Senator Kerry’s soft but measured tone indicates that the Pakistani brass still has some time, perhaps through July, to make serious amends but all options, including moving the UN, remain on the table. The senator also seems to have spelt out some of the bare-minimum metrics for any rapprochement. Pakistan’s position vis-à-vis Mullah Omar and his Quetta Shura on the one hand and the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) and its various incarnations on the other, will certainly determine the future relationship between Pakistan and the world at large. But if the senator’s visit to Khost — across from North Waziristan — is any indication, the dismantling of the Haqqani network is at the top of the confidence-building agenda. The military events surrounding Senator Kerry’s Pak-Afghan visits suggest that the US is not about to blink first. The question remains whether the Pakistani establishment will pull back from the brink. Unlike the Pakistani parliament, the UN Security Council may actually be difficult to conquer.

To read complete article: Daily Tiems