Tag Archives: tension

Israel to Assad: air strikes did not aim to help Syria rebels

By Dan Williams

JERUSALEM : (Reuters) – Israel sought to persuade Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Monday that recent air strikes around Damascus did not aim to weaken him in the face of a two-year rebellion, and played down the prospects of an escalation.

“There are no winds of war,” Yair Golan, the general commanding Israeli forces on the Syrian and Lebanese fronts, told reporters while out jogging with troops.

“Do you see tension? There is no tension. Do I look tense to you?” he said, according to the Maariv NRG news website.

Intelligence sources said Israel attacked Iranian-supplied missiles stored near the Syrian capital on Friday and Sunday as they awaited transport to Assad’s Lebanese guerrilla ally Hezbollah.

Israel has repeatedly warned it will not let high-tech weaponry get to Iranian-backed Hezbollah, with which it fought an inconclusive war in 2006.

Damascus accused Israel of belligerence meant to support outgunned anti-Assad rebels. The air strikes were tantamount to a “declaration of war”, it said, and threatened unspecified retaliation.

Veteran Israeli lawmaker Tzachi Hanegbi, a confidant of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, said on Monday that Israel did not want to clash with Assad.

Interviewed on Israel Radio, Hanegbi said the Netanyahu government aimed to avoid “an increase in tension with Syria by making clear that if there is activity, it is only against Hezbollah, not against the Syrian regime”.

Israel is reluctant to take sides in Syria’s civil war for fear its actions would boost Islamists who are even more hostile to it than the Assad family, which has maintained a stable stand off with the Jewish state for decades.

Hanegbi said Israel had not formally acknowledged carrying out the raids in an effort to allow Assad to save face, adding that Netanyahu began a scheduled week-long trip to China on Sunday to signal the sense of business as usual.

The Israel prime minister did not comment about Syria during a visit to Shanghai on Monday.

“DIPLOMATIC CHANNELS”

Yedioth Ahronoth, Israel’s biggest-selling newspaper, said the Netanyahu government had informed Assad through diplomatic channels that it did not intend to meddle in Syria’s civil war.

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Our troops didn’t provoke border tension: China

BEIJING: Sticking to its stand that Chinese troops have not caused any “provocation” by violating the Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, China on Thursday said the incident will not affect bilateral ties or disrupt peace at the borders as both sides are trying to resolve it in a friendly manner.

“I do not agree with your allegation that it is the Chinese side that has caused the provocation between the border troops,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said while replying to questions about the intrusion of Chinese troops at the Depsang Valley in Ladakh.

“China’s troops have never crossed the (LAC) line. China and India are neighbours and the boundary is not demarcated yet.

“It is inevitable for problems to prop up in border areas. When there is a problem it should be resolved through friendly consultations though existing mechanisms and channels,” she said.

“We believe this incident can also be handled and will not affect the peace and stability of the border areas as well as the normal development of China and India relations,” she said.

Urging the media to be patient, she said, “We also believe that the two sides continue to solve the issue in a friendly manner and we will not let the issue affect border peace and security and normal development of China-India relations”.

“We hope relevant media can keep patience and create favourable conditions for the two countries to solve this issue through friendly consultations,” she said.

The spokesperson said the situation on the Sino-Indian border is peaceful and stable.

“Just want to tell you that the current situation in the border area is peaceful and stable. Both China and India have the willingness to solve the dispute through peaceful negotiations and consultations.

“In the past three days I have repeatedly stressed China’s point and now I would like to reiterate that Chinese troops have always acted in strict compliance to relevant treaty and protocol between the two countries regarding the protection of security of the areas around the LAC,” she said.

China is committed to peace and security of the border areas as well as the negotiated settlement of the boundary issue left over from history, she said.

Asked about reports that the Chinese troops were insisting on Indian army to remove certain fortifications in that area, she said “since I am not in the frontier, so I do not know the latest development of the situation…Both China and India have the willingness to solve the dispute through peaceful negotiations and consultations”.

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Marx’s Revenge: How Class Struggle Is Shaping the World

Even business journals are recognizing it. Since this piece originates with a business publication, you will obviously find some things that may startle you. If so, disregard..or better, explore and see what the other side thinks. —Eds.

By , Business Time

Or so we thought. With the global economy in a protracted crisis, and workers around the world burdened by joblessness, debt and stagnant incomes, Marx’s biting critique of capitalism — that the system is inherently unjust and self-destructive — cannot be so easily dismissed. Marx theorized that the capitalist system would inevitably impoverish the masses as the world’s wealth became concentrated in the hands of a greedy few, causing economic crises and heightened conflict between the rich and working classes. “Accumulation of wealth at one pole is at the same time accumulation of misery, agony of toil, slavery, ignorance, brutality, mental degradation, at the opposite pole,” Marx wrote.

A growing dossier of evidence suggests that he may have been right. It is sadly all too easy to find statistics that show the rich are getting richer while the middle class and poor are not. A September study from the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) in Washington noted that the median annual earnings of a full-time, male worker in the U.S. in 2011, at $48,202, were smaller than in 1973. Between 1983 and 2010, 74% of the gains in wealth in the U.S. went to the richest 5%, while the bottom 60% suffered a decline, the EPI calculated. No wonder some have given the 19th century German philosopher a second look. In China, the Marxist country that turned its back on Marx, Yu Rongjun was inspired by world events to pen a musical based on Marx’s classic Das Kapital. “You can find reality matches what is described in the book,” says the playwright.

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How painfully ironical that it is happening in PPP govt. in Lyari, the hub of PPP’s vote bank

Violence revisits Lyari: Three, including PPP leader, shot dead

SINDH – KARACHI: In a showdown between police and protestors on Monday, three people were killed while over a dozen sustained bullet injuries and were admitted to local hospitals.

Violence revisited Lyari as agitated residents took to the streets and clashed with police over what they described as ‘biased operation’ of law enforcement agencies against the residents of Lyari.

PPP leader dead

According to sources, PPP leader Hassan Soomro was also shot dead in this recent bout of violence.

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Witch-hunt against democracy in Pakistan

-Pakistani diplomat accused over memo claims he is victim of witch-hunt

Husain Haqqani says he fears for his life as hearing begins into allegations he sent memo to US official warning of military coup

By Saeed Shah in Islamabad

The former Pakistani diplomat at the centre of a scandal threatening to bring down the government in Islamabad says he has become embroiled in a “witch-hunt” against democracy in Pakistan.

A judicial commission on Monday began investigating allegations that could lead to treason charges against Husain Haqqani, who resigned as ambassador to Washington following claims he was behind an anonymous memo asking for US support to stave off a military coup in Pakistan.

The case has again drawn battle lines between the civilian government and the military in Pakistan, where the generals have ruled for half its existence. Haqqani, who denies knowledge of the memo, was a key adviser to President Asif Ali Zardari.

Haqqani was summoned to Pakistan in November and has, in effect, been under house arrest since, with his travel abroad banned. He is staying at the heavily guarded official residence of the prime minister in Islamabad, afraid that religious extremists or military agents will kill him if he ventures out. He said he was there for his “personal safety and security“. Last year, militants assassinated two senior officials of the ruling Pakistan Peoples party.

“Some people want to have the right to judge the patriotism of civilians. Some have joined the witch-hunt to keep democracy weak or even get rid of it if they can,” said Haqqani, speaking to the Guardian in a worn-looking sitting room where he receives few visitors.

In Washington, where Haqqani served for nearly four years, he was lauded as one of the best-connected diplomats in town, a smooth-talking, hyperactive defender of Pakistan on American television screens and in the corridors of the US capital. He is credited by some with keeping aid money flowing and relations with the US alive as the alliance between the two countries foundered in recent years over charges that Pakistan was playing a “double-game” by secretly supporting the Taliban.

In Pakistan, however, Haqqani was persistently vilified by the military establishment and the country’s press, painted as an American stooge and a too-clever-by-half strategist for the unpopular Zardari. Many in Pakistan believe it is the president who is the real target of the “memogate” furore, although he insisted over the weekend that he was not going to quit.

Pakistan’s armed forces, used to controlling the relationship with the US, deeply resented Haqqani’s contacts and level of access in Washington. Democracy was restored in Pakistan in 2008, but the government has been shaky, with simmering tension with the military. Haqqani had advocated closer ties to the US and was a strong critic of the army’s role in politics and its policy of supporting jihadist groups, laid out in his 2005 book, Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military.

“I am being targeted for my views and beliefs on civil-military relations and US-Pakistan ties, not because I did anything wrong,” said Haqqani.

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Troublemakers every where!

Hindu group ‘flew Pakistan’s flag to create tension’

LAHORE: Six members of a right-wing Hindu group have reportedly been arrested in India’s southern Karnataka state for raising Pakistan’s national flag on a government building. BBC quotes police as saying that the arrested men belong to the Sri Rama Sena group. The flag was raised in Sindgi, near Bijapur, on January 1, leading to angry protests by Hindu organisations and the stoning of a Muslim prayer hall. Police say Sri Rama Sena was trying to create “communal disharmony” in an area with a sizeable Muslim presence. Sri Rama Sena is a fringe group that claimed responsibility for attacking women outside a pub in the coastal district of Mangalore in 2009, saying that allowing females in pubs was against Indian culture. Inspector General of Police (IGP) Charan Reddy told BBC that the situation in Sindgi was “now peaceful”. “It seems they were out to create communal disharmony,” he said. Hindu organisations had called for strikes in a number of towns around Bijapur to protest against the flag-raising. However, IGP Reddy said police investigations had led them to members of the Sri Rama Sena, a group founded by Pramod Muthalik after it broke away from the Bajrang Dal, an affiliate of the long-standing Hindu nationalist organisation, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Muthalik is the leading suspect in the attack on the women in Mangalore. Former chief minister and Janata Dal Secular party leader HD Kumaraswamy said of the flag-raising, “It is such a shame. I blame the RSS and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the incident. They want to divide society on religious lines.” daily times monitor

Courtesy: Daily Times

http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=201216\story_6-1-2012_pg7_4

Khaki-colour-blindness!?

Colour-blind accountability

By Abbas Nasir

THE Kargil conflict was raging and I was sitting in the office when the switchboard put a call through. The call was to dramatically alter my perception of that Himalayan conflagration.

After all it was following a long internal debate that the BBC coined the phrase `Pakistan-backed forces` for the combatants. These armed men had occupied the commanding heights, enabling them to sever the strategically important Srinagar-Leh Highway as it now lay within their range of fire.

Tension was mounting as Delhi was insisting that those occupying the heights on its side of the Line of Control were infiltrating Pakistan Army regulars. Pakistan was sticking to its guns that it was Kashmiri guerrillas fighting to free their land.

Therefore, the BBC had to evolve the terminology which enabled it to refer to the conflict in a neutral manner. This was warranted anyway as the harsh terrain and the dizzying altitude meant the theatre of the conflict was inaccessible to journalists.

All we could do was to report the conflict based on the claims and counter-claims of the two parties involved. Every effort was made to diligently and clearly attribute the claims to the side making them.

Tension was mounting. The situation wasn`t helped at all by the fact that it had hardly been a year since India had carried out nuclear tests, forcing tit-for-tat nuclear explosions by Pakistan. There were fears of a possible nuclear clash. It was around this time that I received the call.

After identifying himself, the frantic caller told me he was calling from Sharjah airport, was en route to Pakistan and needed the help of BBC Urdu Service which, he had been told, had carried the news of his brother`s death in Kargil.

Within minutes, I was on the line to our Srinagar correspondent Altaf Hussain who told me the Indian army had brought some bodies from Kargil to Srinagar and showed them to the media.

The Indians wanted to reinforce their claim that it was not Kashmiri militants but Pakistan regulars fighting in Kargil to retain control of the heights they had stealthily captured in early spring after their adversaries had vacated these ahead of the last harsh winter.

Altaf described the young officer and said he`d been identified by a signed letter in his pocket ostensibly written by his sister. I called back the Sharjah mobile and gave all the details including the letter`s contents and the sender`s name.

The person at the other end went quiet but quickly recovered his composure to say: “That is most certainly my younger brother, Captain Karnal Sher Khan. My sister did tell me about the letter and no one else would have known her name.

“I will forever be grateful to you for letting us know. Our own government tells us nothing. In fact, they haven`t told us anything for several months since he first went away on this long assignment. He was last posted to the NLI (Northern Light Infantry).

“We have a right to know. Don`t get me wrong we are several brothers and each one of us will gladly give his life for Pakistan. But why doesn`t our government own its shaheeds ? They may not be proud of our brother`s sacrifice but we are. He beat us to it.”

Wouldn`t you be lost for words? I didn`t quite know how to react, what to say. In a sense, it was a relief when the call ended. This one call had confirmed to me that regulars were engaged in Kargil.

When the fallen soldier`s brother complained of being kept in the dark I obviously put it down to operational reasons. It was to emerge later that even the air force and naval chiefs were not told.

The then prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, also says he didn`t approve the operation nor was he informed. This claim is refuted by Gen Musharraf who along with a handful of his trusted generals had himself planned it and gave it the go-ahead.

The operation first hailed by some Pakistani defence analysts as “tactically brilliant”, soon turned out to be a strategic nightmare as the planners had no exit strategy especially since the scenario they had predicated it on was all wrong.

The Indians refused to talk and despite taking a heavy loss of life (said to be 3:1) responded robustly, bringing in heavy artillery and slowly retaking some of their lost positions after cutting the supply lines, where any existed.

For its part, the international community felt Pakistan hadn`t acted as a “responsible” nuclear power should and called on it to withdraw its forces. Even China reportedly remained adamant that Islamabad was in the wrong and should pull out.

This isolation spelt disaster for the military planners who wanted to take the Indians “by the scruff of their neck” and, at the very least, secure their pullout from the Siachen Glacier. Fearful of what a spiral would mean, the US became proactive. Sharif was asked to fly to Washington. President Clinton met him on a national holiday and issued a call to `restore the Line of Control`. Pakistan was offered nothing in return.

Sharif`s July intervention may have prevented a full-blown war, even a nuclear exchange, but it was to irreparably damage his relations with his out-of-line army chief. By September, the prime minister`s brother Shahbaz was in the US successfully soliciting a statement against a military takeover.

When Capt Karnal Sher Khan`s body was being returned to Pakistan, even the Indians talked of his valour; of how the young officer on a mission impossible did the honourable thing: fight to the very end. Finally, Pakistan also extended recognition: it awarded him the Nishan-i-Haider.

But those who had sent this valiant young man and hundreds of others like him to die in a pointless conflict, shamed the nation and overthrew an elected government have not been held to account. Our khaki-colour-blind accountability process remains unmoved to this day.

Read more » DAWN.COM

http://www.dawn.com/2011/11/26/colour-blind-accountability.html

China is not eager to jump in Afpak conflict

- Analysis: China to keep Pakistan embrace at arm’s length

By Sui-Lee Wee

BEIJING: (Reuters) – Pakistan, facing a crisis with the United States, has leaned closely to longtime partner China, offering its “all-weather friendship” with Beijing as an alternative to Washington.

But Pakistan will be disappointed if it hopes to replace American patronage with the same from China.

While China does not welcome the U.S. presence near its border, it wants stability on its western flank and believes an abrupt withdrawal of Washington’s support for Pakistan could imperil that. It also does not want to upset warming relations with India by getting mired in subcontinent security tension.

Maintaining that delicate balance, China will continue supporting economic cooperation with Pakistan but go slow on defense cooperation. While outwardly all smiles and warm pledges of friendship, China will quietly keep things at arms length.

“I think they see what’s going on in the U.S.-Pakistan front at the moment as reason to tread very carefully,” said Andrew Small, a researcher at the German Marshall Fund think-tank in Brussels who studies China-Pakistan ties and often visits both countries.

“They are taking extra care to make sure that what’s going on in the relationship is correctly understood, not reflecting any willingness to rush in or fill the gap or exploit differences.”

Pakistan’s brittle relationship with the United States, its major donor, has turned openly rancorous. Washington accused Pakistan’s powerful ISI spy agency of directly backing the Afghan Taliban-allied Haqqani network and of providing support for a September 13 attack on the U.S. mission in Kabul. ….

Read more → Reuters

Pakistan’s establishment is now saying to ambassador Husain Haqqani to use his influence in DC to help defuse the current military tension with America!

- A different Haqqani approached to end tension over Haqqani network

by Sohaib Yayha

ISLAMABAD: The country’s top civilian and military leadership has tasked a different Haqqani to defuse the tensions with the United States over the Siraj Haqqani network – Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani.

Although Pakistanis have shown their resolve to face US aggression, Pakistani leadership agrees that there is no advantage to Pakistan in pursuing a path of confrontation. “This is a time for diplomacy,” said a highly placed source, adding: “Even if we can inflict some damage on the US, the damage to Pakistan for confronting the US will be much more. Rhetoric will have to make way for rationality quite soon”.

The leadership has directed the Pakistani ambassador in Washington to use his wide personal contacts in the US government, political system and media to bring temperatures down after the harsh statements by US officials that began with Admiral Mullen’s criticism directed at Pakistan’s military and ISI. ….

Read more → The News

How Indian Muslims see Pakistan

Concerns about growing religious extremism in the neighbouring Islamic republic have been growing since 2001

By Aakar Patel

How is Pakistan seen by India’s Muslims? Since 2001, the view has turned increasingly negative. Let’s have a look at such views in three very different Indian publications. One is the conservative Urdu daily Inquilab, read almost exclusively by Muslims. The second, the liberal online paper New Age Islam, published in Urdu and English. Lastly, the Hindu extremist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s organ Panchjanya, published in Hindi and read almost exclusively by Hindus.

In India’s biggest Urdu newspaper Inquilab, Khalid Sheikh wrote under the headline ‘ Pakistan ka kya hoga?’ He felt Pakistan’s current problems were the result of its own doing (” jaisi karni waisi bharni“). The nation should have known the consequences of using terror to combat India, he said. The world was not unaware of its breeding of Al Qaeda and the Taliban (” sanpolon ko doodh pilaya“). Now the snakes were poised to swallow Pakistan (” nigalne ke dar pe hain“).

Pakistan’s leaders were unconcerned (” kaanon par joon tak nahin rengi“). But the world was watching it. The ease with which the Taliban had attacked and destroyed the P3C Orions in Karachi had worried America, Sheikh wrote. It was now concerned about how safe Pakistan’s atom bombs, which numbered between 70 and 120, were.

In 2001 Pakistan was viewed as a failed state (” nakaam riasat“). After Osama bin Laden’s killing, it won’t be long before it is seen as a rogue state (” badmaash riasat mein tabdeel hote dair nahin lagegi“).

At the time of Partition, it had been predicted by the wise (” sahib-e-baseerat“) that Pakistan would find it difficult to exist (” apna wajood rakhna dushwar hoga“). Sheikh quoted Maulana Azad as writing in ‘India Wins Freedom’ that Pakistan would be unable to find its bearings (” Pakistan kabhi paedar aur mustahkam na reh sakega“). Its foreign policy consisted of hating India (” Hindustan dushmani“) and pleasing America (” Amrika khushnudi“).

The writer thought Pakistan’s insistence that relations with India would improve if the Kashmir issue was settled was untrue (” dhakosla hai“). Pakistan was an unreliable neighbour (” ghair-mu’atbar padosi“) which was a master of creating tension. If Kashmir was resolved, something else would be conjured up.

Sheikh praised Nawaz Sharif’s statement that Pakistan had to stop hating India if it had to progress. US President Barack Obama had said the same thing and America ought to, as France had, terminate military assistance to Pakistan.

Answering the question he had first raised, Sheikh said it was difficult to say what would become of Pakistan because it seemed beyond redemption (” aise mulk ke bare mein kya kaha jaye jahan aawe ka aawa hi bigda hua hai“).

In New Age Islam, Dr Shabbir Ahmed wrote on the blasphemy law under the headline ‘ Pakistan mein tauhin-e-Rasul (PBUH) ka wahshiana qanoon‘. Ahmed said Pakistan was obsessed by this issue (“ hysteria mein jakda hua hai”). Narrow sectarianism had divided the nation, and every sect thought of others as faithless and hated them.

This frenzy was plunging Pakistan into a state of barbarism (” jahiliyat mein ghota zan hai“). Ahmed feared Pakistan might succumb to civil war (“ aisa na ho ke Pakistan khana jangi mein gharq ho jae“).

He said Pakistanis had divided Islam (” deen ko tukdon mein baant diya hai“), and quoted verses from the Holy Quran on the Romans (30:32) to support his argument. It was unfortunate that the majority of Pakistanis, including the educated, were in agreement with disagreeable mullahs. Even intellectuals and lawyers had signed on (” scholars aur wukla ne tauhin-e-Rasul (PBUH) qanoon ki puri himayat ki hai”).

People believed that punishing blasphemy with death was law in five out of 54 Islamic states, but when asked, only two could be named: Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. It was difficult to name other states with such harsh laws, though Afghanistan, Sudan and Iran came to mind.

Ahmed wrote that the Holy Quran prescribed no punishment for blasphemy. No one could be ignorant of the clarity of the ayat ” la ikraha fi ad-deen” (there is no compulsion in religion) because Allah had sent this message to all humanity. This principle was independent and absolute (” is usool mein kisi tarah ki ki riayyat bhi nahin hai“). With many examples, Ahmed pointed to the pardoning and gentle nature of Islam and of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), which he felt was being distorted by Pakistan’s law.

In Panchjanya, the RSS Hindi weekly, Muzaffar Hussain wrote on May 22 under the headline ” Adhikansh Pakistani Islami khilafat ke paksh mein” (A majority of Pakistanis favours khilafat).

He reported the findings of an opinion poll. The market research company MEMRB had surveyed Pakistanis to ask them what sort of government they wanted. Did they want khilafat as prescribed by Islam? They were also offered the option of tyranny (” anya vikalpon mein janta se poocha hai ke kya woh tanashahi pasand karenge?”). Hussain wrote that by this was meant martial law, and it was related to something found commonly in Muslim nations. This was the presence of sheikhs and kings (” Islami deshon mein aaj bhi raja aur sheikh hain”) who ruled through lineage for generations. The last option offered was democracy “as the world knew it”.

The results were unsurprising to Hussain. The majority of Pakistanis picked khilafat, for which the Taliban were also agitating. How was it possible, then, that anybody could defy the Taliban?

Neutral Pakistanis (” Tattastha log”) were merely being realistic in staying silent against extremism. Why should anyone endanger their life by opposing khilafat? (” Islami khilafat ka virodh karne ki himmat kaun kar sakta hai?”)

The survey was conducted in 30 cities and 60 villages. Those in favour of khilafat were 56%. These people said that Pakistan’s creation was rooted in religion and the state should therefore be Islamic. Those favouring dictatorship were 22%. They felt Pakistan had progressed only under military strongmen (” jo pragati hui hai woh keval sainik tanashahon ke karan hui hai“). Only 11% of Pakistanis preferred secular democracy. These figures did not vary significantly between urban respondents and those in villages, those who conducted the survey said. There was some difference however with respect to the residents of Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi and Islamabad. In these cities, 40% preferred martial law and 39% preferred khilafat. In Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, those who wanted khilafat were 60%. In Balochistan and Sindh, about 35% preferred martial law.

The survey did not vary much by age. Those between 16 and 60 preferred khilafat by 66%. Surprisingly, both the illiterate and the very literate approved of khilafat.

Hussain felt that the collapse of the Turkish caliphate had left Muslim nations in disarray (” Islami jagat titar-bitar ho gaya hai”). Both Bhutto and Gen Zia had wanted Saudi Arabia’s king to be crowned caliph of all Muslims.

Aakar Patel is a director with Hill Road Media, Mumbai.

Courtesy: → The Friday Times

In-camera session: ISI chief shot back at ‘favour-seeking’ Nisar

By Rauf Klasra

ISLAMABAD: Though he spent a large chunk of the marathon session on the back foot, besieged by politicians, the chief of Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency did come out of his shell to silence fiery Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.

Details of Friday’s closed-door session of a special joint sitting of Parliament continue to trickle out – with some interesting nuggets of information being narrated to The Express Tribune regarding an exchange between Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt-Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha and Chaudhry Nisar.

Reported yesterday was a fiery speech by Nisar against the military establishment – but it emerged, through fresh information, that the DG ISI did not just stand there and take the tirade.

Pasha, who has been at the receiving end of a number of fiery speeches by the PML-N leader over the last few weeks, is said to have shocked Nisar by replying in the same token.

Nisar is said to have risen out of his seat for his speech right as the question and answer session was to begin. But a “visibly angry” Pasha snubbed Nisar in front of a full house.

Pasha claimed that he ‘knew’ why he was being targeted by the leader of the opposition as of late – alleging that Nisar had asked him for a personal favour, which he, as DG ISI, refused to extend.

Since then, said Pasha, Nisar had launched a number of tirades against him in particular and the military in general. However, Pasha said he would not reveal what the favour was on the floor of the august house – but would if asked outside.

An embarrassed Chaudhry Nisar was said to have been taken aback as Pasha continued with his ‘counter-attack’. The DG ISI kept on grilling Nisar, asking the PML-N leader if he knew what the effects of his recent tirades had been. Pasha told the house that on a recent trip to the US he was told by CIA chief Leon Panetta in an important meeting: ‘Look, General Pasha – how can we trust you when your own country’s opposition leader is saying that you cannot be believed?’

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Who is Aafia Siddiqui? Guantánamo files reveal her as top al-Qaida operative

- Guantánamo files paint Aafia Siddiqui as top al-Qaida operative

Documents claim neuroscientist – jailed in US for attempted murder – aided al-Qaida bombing, poisoning and hijacking plots

by Declan Walsh in Islamabad

Aafia Siddiqui, the Pakistani neuroscientist whose case has become a flashpoint of Pakistani-American tensions, plotted to smuggle explosives into America and offered to manufacture biological weapons, according to the Guantánamo files.

The allegations are a combination of US intelligence analysis and direct testimony by at least three senior al-Qaida figures, including the 9/11 plotter Khalid Sheikh Muhammad. They cannot be independently corroborated and the testimonies were likely to have been extracted under conditions of torture.

Muhammad, known as KSM in intelligence circles, was waterboarded 183 times in the month after his capture in Pakistan in March 2003.

But several of the accounts do overlap, linking Siddiqui, a diminutive 39-year-old mother of three, with some of Osama bin Laden’s most senior lieutenants. They help explain why the FBI placed her on a list of the world’s seven most wanted al-Qaida fugitives in 2004.

Siddiqui disappeared from Karachi in March 2003 only to reappear five years later amid murky circumstances in Ghazni, central Afghanistan. There was an altercation in a police station and the US accused Siddiqui of trying to shoot two soldiers and two FBI agents.

She was sent to the US, tried and last year sentenced to 86 years’ jail. At home in Pakistan she became a cause célèbre widely viewed as an innocent victim of American injustice.

During the recent stand-off over Raymond Davis, the CIA spy who shot two people in Lahore, a chorus of Pakistani politicians demanded the US repatriate Siddiqui in exchange for the American.

The Guántanamo files offer a murky perspective, placing Siddiqui at the heart of an al-Qaida cell based in Karachi between 2002 and 2003. Emboldened by the success of the 9/11 attacks and led by KSM, the cell conspired to mount fresh attacks in the US, on Heathrow airport and inside Pakistan.

According to the files, the cell planned to smuggle explosives into America under the cover of textile exports – 20 and 40ft foot containers filled with women’s and children’s clothes. The explosives would be used to attack “economic targets” inside the US, according to KSM.

The operation would take place through an import-export business run by Saifullah Paracha, a Pakistani businessman who worked as a New York travel agent for 13 years before developing ties to Osama bin Laden. Paracha, 64, is currently in Guantánamo Bay.

According to Paracha’s file, Siddiqui’s role was to “rent houses and provide administrative support for the operation”. As part of this brief she travelled from Pakistan to the US in January 2003 to help renew the American travel papers of Majid Khan, a co-conspirator who had been ordered to bomb petrol stations and water treatment facilities in America.

According to Khan, he provided Siddiqui with money, photos and a completed application for an “asylum travel form” that “looked and functioned like a passport”.

Then, according to Khan’s file, “Siddiqui returned to the US and opened a post office box in detainee’s name, using her driver’s licence information”.

The plot collapsed after Khan was picked up in Pakistan and sent to Guantánamo. A co-conspirator in America, Uzair Paracha, was arrested in possession of the post box key.

Paracha, son of Saifullah Paracha, was sentenced to 30 years’ imprisonment in 2006; details of Siddiqui’s role in the plot surfaced during his trial.

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The Chinese Cozy Up to the Pakistanis

by Selig S. Harrison

China’s expanding reach is a natural and acceptable accompaniment of its growing power—but only up to a point.

Beijing is understandably challenging a century of U.S. dominance in the Pacific and the South China Sea immediately adjacent to its shores. But the aggressive effort to block Indian hegemony in South Asia, reflected in its growing ties with Pakistan and its territorial claim to the adjacent northeast state of Arunachal Pradesh (for which there is no historical basis) is more ominous.

In contrast to its studied neutrality on the Kashmir issue in past decades, Beijing is now openly supportive of Pakistan and is establishing its economic and political influence both in Pakistan-occupied Azad (Free) Kashmir and in the Himalayan state of Gilgit-Baltistan. …

Read more : The National Interest

As Pakistan battles extremism, it needs allies’ patience and help

By Asif Ali Zardari, The writer is president of Pakistan.

Just days before her assassination, my wife, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, wrote presciently of the war within Islam and the potential for a clash between Islam and the West: “There is an internal tension within Muslim society. The failure to resolve that tension peacefully and rationally threatens to degenerate into a collision course of values spilling into a clash between Islam and the West. It is finding a solution to this internal debate within Islam – about democracy, about human rights, about the role of women in society, about respect for other religions and cultures, about technology and modernity – that shall shape future relations between Islam and the West.”

Two months ago my friend Salman Taseer, the governor of Punjab, was cut down for standing up against religious intolerance and against those who would use debate about our laws to divide our people. On Tuesday, another leading member of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Shahbaz Bhatti, the minister for minority affairs and the only Christian in our cabinet, was murdered by extremists tied to al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

These assassinations painfully reinforce my wife’s words and serve as a warning that the battle between extremism and moderation in Pakistan affects the success of the civilized world’s confrontation with the terrorist menace.

A small but increasingly belligerent minority is intent on undoing the very principles of tolerance upon which our nation was founded in 1947; principles by which Pakistan’s founder, Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, lived and died; and principles that are repeated over and over in the Koran. The extremists who murdered my wife and friends are the same who blew up the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad and who have blown up girls’ schools in the Swat Valley.

We will not be intimidated, nor will we retreat. Such acts will not deter the government from our calibrated and consistent efforts to eliminate extremism and terrorism. It is not only the future of Pakistan that is at stake but peace in our region and possibly the world.

Read more : The Washington Post

Balochistan Bleeds – Another Bugti Baloch leader Arrested in a insulting way

Quetta : After Shahzain Bugti’s arrest, tension has once again escalated in Balochistan. Different view points about the arrest of Nawab Akbar Bugti’s grandson are emerging.

In this episode of Reporter, Arshad Sharif tries to figure out the direction in which things would be heading after this high profile arrest and how the situation in Balochistan can be calmed down.

Courtesy: Dawn News TV (Reporter with Arshad Sharif)

via – ZemTVYou Tube Link

Pakistan, Iran jockey for influence after bombings

* Iran says Jundallah group operates from Pakistan, * Pakistan promises to hand over terrorists to Iran, * Ahmed Rashid says there is mistrust for Pakistan all over

ISLAMABAD: As tension grows between Pakistan and Iran after a mosque bombing in Iran, Pakistan could find itself increasingly isolated as its western neighbour looks to increase its influence in the region, analysts say.

Jundallah, a terrorist group Iran says is based in Balochistan, claimed responsibility for a December 15 double suicide bombing in the Iranian town of Chahbahar that killed 39 people and wounded more than 100.

Iran has demanded Pakistan take action with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calling this week on his Pakistani counterpart, Asif Ali Zardari, to arrest “identified terrorists” and hand them over to Iran.

Iran says Jundallah fighters find shelter in Pakistan. Pakistan denies providing shelter for the group.

But in an echo of US demands regarding Taliban sanctuaries in northwest Pakistan, a member of the Iranian parliament’s national security and foreign policy committee suggested that if Pakistan did not act, Iran would. …

Read more : Daily Times

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\12\23\story_23-12-2010_pg7_6

Pakistan: Abandon all hope, ye who live here

by B. R. GOWANI

civil tension, ethnic tension, sectarian tension … police violence, Taliban violence, military violence, political violence, Al-Qaeda violence … murders, robberies, kidnappings … shrines are bombed, temples are bombed, mosques are bombed, churches are bombed … (perhaps, that’s the reason atheists didn’t built curse-sky centers)

power-hungry wolves, the military and opposition, who would do anything to grab power always looking for an excuse have, at this moment in Pakistan’s life, dozens of reasons to snatch the highest throne and most would not blame them and yet they don’t want the power not because they have transformed or have turned democratic or have started liking the corrupt throne-warmer

NO

it’s because they’re well aware, that Pakistan is in the eighth circle of Dante’s Inferno and is sliding towards the last

B. R. Gowani can be reached at brgowani@hotmail.com

Reference : *The actual words are: “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here,” inscribed on the gate of Hell (Inferno in Italian), and is part of Dante Alighieri’s poem, Divine Comedy, written between 1308 and 1321.

Courtesy: Globeistan

Pakistan divides U.S. and India

 

- Washington should stop providing Islamabad with weaponry that can be used against India and take a realistic view of the reasons for Indian-Pakistani tensions.

 

By Selig S. Harrison

” Obama Mission: Billions to Pakistan, Billions From India” — This screaming headline in the Times of India ahead of President Obama’s visit to New Delhi explains why a quiet crisis is developing in what seems, on the surface, to be an increasingly promising relationship between the world’s two largest democracies.

Calling for a strategic partnership, Washington has pressed New Delhi to buy $11 billion in U.S. fighter aircraft and to sign defense agreements permitting U.S. military aircraft to refuel at Indian airfields and for U.S. naval vessels to dock in Indian ports. But New Delhi responds that the United States can hardly be a strategic partner if it continues to build up the military capabilities of a hostile Pakistan that sponsors Islamist terrorists dedicated to India’s destruction. …

Read more : Los Angeles Times