As North Korea issues increasingly over-the-top threats, officials in Washington have sought to reassure the public and U.S. allies. But the risk of nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula is far from remote–and the United States should adjust its military planning accordingly. ….
WASHINGTON: Washington and Islamabad should give up the fiction of being allies and acknowledge that their interests simply do not converge enough to make them strong partners, Pakistan’s recent envoy to the US, who is now a hunted man in his home country, has advised both sides in a searing examination of tortured relationship between the two countries.
Instead, says Hussain Haqqani, till recently Pakistan’s ambassador to the US, Washington should leave Pakistan to its own devices so that it can discover for itself how weak it is without American aid and support, eventually enabling it to return to the mainstream suitably chastened about its limitations.
“By coming to terms with this reality, Washington would be freer to explore new ways of pressuring Pakistan and achieving its own goals in the region. Islamabad, meanwhile, could finally pursue its regional ambitions, which would either succeed once and for all or, more likely, teach Pakistani officials the limitations of their country’s power,” Haqqani writes about the broken relationship in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs journal.
“Once Pakistan’s national security elites recognize the limits of their power, the country might eventually seek a renewed partnership with the United States — but this time with greater humility and an awareness of what it can and cannot get,” says Haqqani who was ousted by Pakistan’s security establishment because he was seen to be working with Washington to contain the overarching influence of the military on Pakistan.
Taking a distinctly dim view of Pakistan’s prospects without US support, Haqqani acknowledges that “it is also possible, although less likely,” that Pakistani leaders could decide that they are able to do quite well on their own, without relying heavily on the United States, as they have come to do over the last several decades. In that case, too, the mutual frustrations resulting from Pakistan’s reluctant dependency on the United States would come to an end.
“Even if the breakup of the alliance did not lead to such a dramatic denouement, it would still leave both countries free to make the tough strategic decisions about dealing with the other that each has been avoiding,” Haqqani writes. “Pakistan could find out whether its regional policy objectives of competing with and containing India are attainable without US support. The United States would be able to deal with issues such as terrorism and nuclear proliferation without the burden of Pakistani allegations of betrayal.”
Western World’s opposition to Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline is seen as a reiteration of its economic interests and geopolitical hegemonic designs in the region
By Huzaima Bukhari & Dr. Ikramul Haq
In the face of threats of sanctions from the United States, President Asif Ali Zardari and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on March 11, 2013 launched the groundbreaking work on the 781-kilometre-long pipeline on the Pakistani side of the border. The Iran-Pakistan (IP) Gas Pipeline Project, initialed in 1995, has been facing perpetual opposition from the United States and its allies. Heads of both the countries, in their speeches at the occasion, reaffirmed their commitment to go ahead with the project “despite threats from the world powers”.
President Zardari said that the project would promote peace, security and progress in the region besides improving economic, political and security ties between the two neighbouring states. Stressing that the project was not against any country, President Zardari said such steps forging better understanding would also help fight terrorism and extremism.
President Ahmadinejad, while pointing towards foreign states and criticising what he called “their unjustified opposition to the project under the excuse of Iran’s nuclear issue”, said: “They are against Iran and Pakistan’s progress and have used the nuclear issue as an excuse”. He added, “We never expected [Western] companies to make an investment in this pipeline which guarantees progress, prosperity and peace in the region; if they don’t want to join this project for any given reason, they are not entitled to rock the boat and disturb the project”.
Pakistan on the completion of IP is to receive 21.5 million cubic meters of natural gas on daily basis. Faced with extraordinary energy crisis, Pakistan needs natural gas badly — its shortage has caused miseries to millions of Pakistanis and closure of industries. Iran has already constructed more than 900 kilometres of the pipeline on its side. The Tehran-based Tadbir energy development group has undertaken all the engineering procurement and construction work for the first segment of the project. It will also carry out the second segment of the project and also extend the financing of $500 million to Pakistan. Iran and Pakistani are optimistic to complete the project by December 2014.
By Dr Farrukh Saleem
The Kayani Doctrine, built on four pillars, comprises: American troops would have to withdraw from Afghanistan; reconciliation among Afghan factions is not possible without the ISI; the Jalalabad-Torkham-Karachi route remains the most viable for withdrawing American forces and India cannot be allowed to encircle Pakistan. In 2009, General McChrystal, commander Isaf and commander US forces in Afghanistan (USFOR-A), refusing to buy the Kayani Doctrine, requested a ‘troop surge’ numbering 30,000-40,000. In 2010, 101st Combat Aviation Brigade, 502nd Infantry Regiment, 187th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team and the 101st Sustainment Brigade were deployed to Afghanistan.
In 2010, General Petraeus, commander Isaf and commander USFOR-A, refusing to buy the Kayani Doctrine, began implementing his “comprehensive counterinsurgency (COIN) strategy”. General Petraeus’ COIN had four pillars: “securing and serving the population, understanding local circumstances, separating irreconcilables from reconcilables and living among the people”.
By 2011, America’s cost of war in Afghanistan hovered around a colossal $500 billion and the US had incurred 1,814 fatalities. By 2011, Petraeus’ four pillars had begun to fall flat – one by one. America could no longer sustain the war in Afghanistan – neither politically nor financially. Finally, President Obama, in a prime time speech, bought into the Kayani Doctrine by announcing a troop drawdown schedule. On December 2, 2012, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton held talks with COAS General Ashfaq Kayani. This may have actually been the first formal buy-in of the Kayani Doctrine.
On December 17, the principal deputy assistant attorney general told a federal court in New York: “In the view of the United States, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) is entitled to immunity because it is part of a foreign state within the meaning of the FSIA (Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act).” This may have actually been an implicit acceptance by the US of the ISI’s indispensability in the Afghan endgame (the doctrine’s second pillar).
On December 29, Pakistan received $688 million under the Coalition Support Fund (CSF). According to the Ministry of Finance, “from May 2010 onwards Pakistan had asked for $2.5 billion under the CSF but only $1.9 billion have been reimbursed.”
On February 10, “two convoys each hauling 25 shipping containers entered Pakistan at the Chaman and Torkham borders” heading back to where they came from. To be certain, these convoys will be followed by a few thousand taking back around 750,000 major military items valued at close to $40 billion (the doctrine’s third pillar).
Indian defence analysts claim that the British have acted as the intermediaries in the latest US-Pakistan rapprochement and that Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are also involved in the game. Pakistan is once again becoming the centre piece in the Afghan endgame.
India’s Ambassador MK Bhadrakumar, who served in Islamabad, Kabul, Tashkent and Moscow, opines, “Washington is stonewalling India’s requests for the extradition of two key protagonists who are in the US jails – David Headley and Tahawwur Rana” and that “India’s worst fears with regard to the situation in Afghanistan are probably coming true.”
Pakistani man accuses ambassador to U.S. of blasphemy
By Asim Tanveer, MULTAN, Pakistan
(Reuters) – Pakistani police registered an accusation from a businessman on Thursday that the country’s ambassador to the United States had committed blasphemy, a crime that carries the death penalty, in connection with a 2010 TV talk show.
The accusation against Ambassador Sherry Rehman is the latest in a string of controversial blasphemy cases in Pakistan, a largely Muslim nation whose name translates as Land of the Pure.
According to Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, anyone found to have uttered words derogatory to the Prophet Muhammad can be put to death. Those who are accused are sometimes lynched by mobs even before they reach court.
Rehman has already faced death threats from militants after calling for reforms to the country’s anti-blasphemy law, according to court documents. Two politicians who suggested reforming the law were assassinated.
Washington DC : Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari accompanied by Sanam Bhutto, Senator Akbar Khawaja and Ambassador Sherry Rehman attended the National Prayer Breakfast – NPB on 7th Feb, Thursday morning in Washington, D.C.
The breakfast was joined by President Barak Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State, John Kerry while other participants included members of U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, leaders of humanitarian faith organizations, and selected international guests. Regarding the prayer breakfast, which began in 1953, President Obama told the audience he looks at scripture to learn how to become a better man as well as a better president.
By: Shaheen Sehbai
Zardari will have to make his decision very quickly on whether he wants to exit with dignity or become a martyr. The days, as they say, are in fact numbered.
ISLAMABAD: The crumbling presidential edifice in the bunkered palace with two green flags on the Constitution Avenue is giving rise to numerous stories, some fiction, some wishful thinking, and some partly true.
The man inside the house is reported by some to be collapsing while others say he is in a defiant mood and will fight till the last. One thing is clear though that a psywar is going on and President Asif Ali Zardari has not many friends who have unflinching faith and commitment to defend him.
The key role is being played by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and it is hard to figure out on whose side he really stands. His own political future is also at stake but his role has assumed the all critical importance because everyone is looking up to him, the civil and military establishment has put its power eggs in his basket as against the president, while his party remains confused and divided. The opposition and most of his coalition partners have abandoned the president but continue to back his handpicked prime minister.
The few who are still standing with Zardari include the Governor of Punjab Salmaan Taseer, whose latest brag that there would be no ‘minus-1’ but that if anything happened it would be a ‘minus-342’ (reference to total strength of the National Assembly) is considered by many as the final defeatist declaration that Zardari will not go alone but will take the entire house with him. There are not many takers for Taseer’s threats. On the contrary, the party which President Zardari considered to be his most dependable ally, the MQM of Altaf Hussain, has gone many steps forward to seek his removal from the top office. Almost everyone I met and talked to was surprised at the leap Altaf Hussain had taken from just opposing or abstaining from voting on the NRO to demanding the resignation of Zardari. It was like the last straw on the heavily loaded camel’s back and Zardari was stunned, those around him reported.
His attempt to save the sinking ship by calling Governor of Sindh Ishratul Ebad to Islamabad and then authorising Interior Minister Rehman Malik to fly to Dubai for urgent talks with an MQM delegation from London could be the last desperate effort but as someone who knows the scene reported, “The MQM has closed the doors and has gone to sleep,” meaning that it is no longer interested in seeing Zardari sitting in the Presidency.
Nice words wrapped in high sounding moral logic are being said by MQM to urge Zardari to make his exit dignified but Altaf Hussain is not backtracking from his demand of a resignation. He probably knows more than many in Islamabad. Even when Governor Ebad was rushing to Dubai on Wednesday night after meeting the president, the MQM made it a point to include the resignation issue in the agenda of the Dubai talks expected to begin on Friday.
Noam Chomsky: The Paranoia of the Superrich and Superpowerful
“Is America over?” It’s a standard complaint of those who believe they should have everything.
By Noam Chomsky
[This piece is adapted from “Uprisings,” a chapter in Power Systems: Conversations on Global Democratic Uprisings and the New Challenges to U.S. Empire, Noam Chomsky’s new interview book with David Barsamian (with thanks to the publisher, Metropolitan Books). The questions are Barsamian’s, the answers Chomsky’s.]
Does the United States still have the same level of control over the energy resources of the Middle East as it once had?
The major energy-producing countries are still firmly under the control of the Western-backed dictatorships. So, actually, the progress made by the Arab Spring is limited, but it’s not insignificant. The Western-controlled dictatorial system is eroding. In fact, it’s been eroding for some time. So, for example, if you go back 50 years, the energy resources — the main concern of U.S. planners — have been mostly nationalized. There are constantly attempts to reverse that, but they have not succeeded.
Take the U.S. invasion of Iraq, for example. To everyone except a dedicated ideologue, it was pretty obvious that we invaded Iraq not because of our love of democracy but because it’s maybe the second- or third-largest source of oil in the world, and is right in the middle of the major energy-producing region. You’re not supposed to say this. It’s considered a conspiracy theory.
The United States was seriously defeated in Iraq by Iraqi nationalism — mostly by nonviolent resistance. The United States could kill the insurgents, but they couldn’t deal with half a million people demonstrating in the streets. Step by step, Iraq was able to dismantle the controls put in place by the occupying forces. By November 2007, it was becoming pretty clear that it was going to be very hard to reach U.S. goals. And at that point, interestingly, those goals were explicitly stated. So in November 2007 the Bush II administration came out with an official declaration about what any future arrangement with Iraq would have to be. It had two major requirements: one, that the United States must be free to carry out combat operations from its military bases, which it will retain; and two, “encouraging the flow of foreign investments to Iraq, especially American investments.” In January 2008, Bush made this clear in one of his signing statements. A couple of months later, in the face of Iraqi resistance, the United States had to give that up. Control of Iraq is now disappearing before their eyes.
Iraq was an attempt to reinstitute by force something like the old system of control, but it was beaten back. In general, I think, U.S. policies remain constant, going back to the Second World War. But the capacity to implement them is declining.
Declining because of economic weakness?
By Hasan Suroor
Pakistani nuclear scientist Pervez Hoodbhoy has spoken of growing fears in Pakistan that its nuclear arsenal could be “hijacked” by extremists as a result of “increasing radicalisation” of the Army.
He said such fears were initially expressed mostly in the west but were now widely shared within Pakistan after “repeated” extremist attacks on Army installations, including the ISI headquarters in Lahore. These could not have taken place without “some sort of inside information”.
“There’s a fair degree of concern that because of increasing radicalisation of Pakistani Army, the country’s nuclear weapons could be hijacked by extremists,” he said speaking to a group of Indian journalists at the launch of his book, Confronting the Bomb: Pakistani & Indian Scientists Speak Out, a collection of essays by Indian and Pakistani scientists who believe that the acquisition of nuclear weapons by the two countries was “undesirable” and had put the entire subcontinent in danger.
Mr. Hoodbhoy, who has often been a target of the Pakistani establishment, said Pakistan’s nuclear capability had given a new dimension to its campaign against India. Islamabad saw it as a “counter-force” to overcome India’s military superiority and was providing a “nuclear umbrella” to jihadis engaged in anti-India activities.
Pervez Hoodbhoy interview: The Mumbai massacres and Pakistan’s new nightmares
“If Pakistan did not have nuclear weapons, Kargil would not have happened. My contention is that it was the first instance that nuclear weapons actually caused a war, ‘’ he said.
Warning of continued jihadi threat to India, he said: “Today India is faced with a very difficult situation because jihadis are still operating in Pakistan with the sanction of the state and they are provided cover by the fact that Pakistan has nuclear weapons.”
By: Nadeem F. Paracha
Recent Hollywood blockbuster, ‘Zero Dark Thirty’, was quite an experience. Though sharp in its production and direction and largely accurate in depicting the events that led to the death of Osama Bin Laden, it went ballistic bad in depicting everyday life on the streets of Pakistan.
With millions of dollars at their disposal, I wonder why the makers of this film couldn’t hire even a most basic advisor to inform them that
1: Pakistanis speak Urdu, English and other regional languages and NOT Arabic; 2: Pakistani men do not go around wearing 17th and 18th century headgear in markets;
3: The only Urdu heard in the film is from a group of wild-eyed men protesting against an American diplomat, calling him ‘chor.’ Chor in Urdu means robber. And the protest rally was against US drone strikes. How did that make the diplomat a chor?
4: And how on earth was a green Mercedes packed with armed men parked only a few feet away from the US embassy in Islamabad? Haven’t the producers ever heard of an area called the Diplomatic Enclave in Islamabad? Even a squirrel these days has to run around for a permit to enter and climb trees in that particular area.
I can go on. The following is what I have learned …
Read more » Pakistan according to Hollywood
Drop in the Ocean – On whose side is Allah?
by Gen. Shahid Aziz
Published in The Nation, December 30, 2012.
Half-cocked measures never work. Public sentiments are echoed in slogans like ‘drone attacks must end’, ‘stop supporting Baloch separatism’, ‘Black Water and the likes must end terrorism in Pakistan’, ‘stop interfering in our domestic affairs’. But these are mere public appeasement proclamations, made in a manner not to offend our masters. The people, however, know that nothing short of a total breakaway from the US will end our plight. Half-cocked measures never work. And we cannot breakaway unless the current political order is replaced with something more dynamic. They have permeated to the very roots of this system and will control any change within it. This political carousel, irrespective of new players, will continue to remain compliant to US objectives. For any positive outcome, these shackles have to be entirely removed and a new citizen friendly order created; adjustments to fit ankle size will not reduce the pain.
Our Little Worlds
By Saroop Ijaz
In a recent appallingly bad Hollywood movie, Pakistanis are shown conversing in Arabic, you know, because that is what ‘brown Muslim’ people speak. Rudyard Kipling, whose death anniversary passed a few days ago, has certainly not been forgotten. The movie is thoroughly unwatchable for multiple reasons. Yet, it does show the liberties that people will take with societies that they do not know or do not care enough to know. The film-makers did not need in depth research on the ground to know that Arabic is not the language of everyday chit-chat in Pakistan or Abbottabad is not exactly a 45-minute drive from Islamabad. (Although, on the language question, watching people dressed in Arab clothing and riding on camels on January 25, the particularly gullible can perhaps be cut some slack.) Basic Google search would have unravelled the mystery. Also, it shows that there are not many Pakistanis working in Hollywood. It is patronising and insulting when people make grossly inaccurate, generalised observations about us. Yet, it does not stop us from doing the same.
Initiated by an Aman ki Asha supporter in New Delhi, this global event on Sunday, Jan. 27 is taking place in different cities at different times around the world. It invites Indians and Pakistanis and those who want peace between the two countries, to come together in their respective cities. The purpose of the vigils is to urge the governments to continue the dialogue, and not give in to the war hype being created by some sections of sections of society. The vigil statement is online at this link (text below)
Confirmed venues and times so far:
Bradford: 2-3 pm, Student Central, J.B. Priestly Library, University of Bradford, U.K.
Cambridge, MA: 4.30-5.30 pm, Harvard Square Pit (fb event link)
Islamabad: 6 pm, Press Club, F-6/4. Contact 0344-5469738 and 0300-9880397
Karachi: 5.30 pm, Karachi Press Club
Lahore: 6 pm, Lahore Press Club, Shimla Pihari (fb event link)
Los Angeles – 5 pm, in front of UCLA
Mumbai: 7 pm, Gateway of India
New Delhi: 5.30 pm, Gandhi Peace Foundation, email firstname.lastname@example.org
New York: 5 PM at Union Square near Mahatma Gandhi’s statue
Shahdadkot- 5 pm, Press Club
Toronto: 5 pm, 365 Bloor St. East, Toronto (outside Indian Consulate) (fb event link)
Washington DC: 6 pm, Chutney Restaurant, Springfield, VA
Kansas City: 5:30-7:30 at Kababesh Grill, Overland Park
Courtesy: via Facebook
By: Bruce Riedel
2013 will be a pivotal year in Pakistani history. National elections, turnover at the top military position and the denouement in the war in Afghanistan; all promise to make it a critical year for a country that is both, under siege by terrorism and the center of the global jihadist movement. The changes in Pakistan are unlikely to come peacefully and will have major implications for India and America. The stakes are huge in the most dangerous country in the world.
Pakistan is a country in the midst of a long and painful crisis. According to the government, since 2001 45,000 Pakistanis have died in terrorism related violence, including 7,000 security personnel. Suicide bombings were unheard of before 9/11; there have been 300 since then. The country’s biggest city, Karachi, is a battlefield.
One measure of Pakistan’s instability is that the country now has between 300 and 500 private security firms, employing 3,00,000 armed guards, most run by ex-generals. The American intelligence community’s new global estimate rates Pakistan among the most likely states in the world to fail by 2030.
Pakistan also remains a state sponsor of terror. Three of the five most-wanted on America’s counter-terrorism list live in Pakistan. The mastermind of the Mumbai massacre and head of Lashkar-e-Taiba, Hafeez Saeed, makes no effort to hide. He is feted by the army and the political elite, appears on television and calls for the destruction of India frequently and jihad against America and Israel.
The head of the Afghan Taliban Mullah Omar, shuttles between ISI safe houses in Quetta and Karachi. The Amir of Al Qaeda, Ayman Zawahiri, is probably hiding in a villa not much different than the one his predecessor was living in, with his wives and children, in Abbottabad until May 2011.
Pakistan also has the fastest growing nuclear arsenal in the world, bigger than Great Britain’s. The nukes are in the hands of the generals, the civilian government only has nominal control. President Asif Ali Zardari has only nominal influence over the ISI as well; indeed it has conspired for five years to get rid of him.
Against the odds, Zardari has survived.
By next fall, he will have served five years, becoming the first elected civilian leader to complete a full term in office and pass power to another elected government. It will be a major milestone for Pakistani democracy. He has served years in prison and lost his wife to the terrorists who besiege the nation. He has often been called a criminal by many, including his own family, and the national symbol of corruption.
Yet, as president, he presided over a major transfer of power from the Presidency to the Prime Minister’s Office, even the titular national command authority over the nukes, to ensure the country is more democratic and stable.
The parliamentary election in the spring will be a replay of every Pakistani election since 1988, pitting Nawaz Sharif’s PML against the late Benazir Bhutto’s PPP. Needless to say, many Pakistanis are sick of the same stale choices. But the odds favour the old parties. Both Sharif and Zardari are committed to cautiously improving relations with India, keeping open ties with America and trying to reform the Pakistani economy. Both will have troubled relations with the Army.
The Economist has tagged Sharif as likely to do best. If he returns to the Prime Minister’s job for a third time, it will be a remarkable turn in his own odyssey.
Sharif was removed from the office in 1999 in an illegal coup and barely escaped alive, to go into exile in Saudi Arabia. His decision to withdraw Pakistan’s troops behind the LOC, during the Kargil war, prompted his fall from power; it also may have saved the world from nuclear destruction. It was a brave move. I remember talking to him and his family in the White House the day after he made the decision to pull back, you could see in his eyes that he knew Musharraf would defame him; but he knew he was in the right.
But many Pakistanis want a new face to lead their country. Out of desperation some are turning to Imran Khan to save Pakistan. The ISI is probably helping his campaign behind the scenes to stir up trouble for the others. He is a long shot at best. He is much more anti-American, anti-drone and ready to make deals with the Taliban, to stop the terror at home. Yet, he understands well that Pakistan is a country urgently in need of new thinking.
Whoever wins will inherit an economy and government that is in deep trouble. Two-thirds of 185 million Pakistanis are under 30, and 40 million of the 70 million 5 to 19 years old are not in school. The youth bulge has yet to spike. Less than one million Pakistanis paid taxes last year. Most politicians don’t pay any taxes. Power blackouts are endemic. Clean water is increasingly scarce even as catastrophic floods are more common. Growth is 3%, too little to keep up with population demand.
So, it is no wonder that the generals prefer to have the civilians responsible for managing the unmanageable, while they guard their prerogatives and decide national security issues. As important as the coming elections will be, the far more important issue is who will be the next Chief of Army Staff.
The incumbent General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani was given an unprecedented three-year extension in 2010. He is the epitome of the Pakistani officer corps and the so-called ‘deep state’. Pervez Musharraf made him Director General of the ISI in 2004. It was on his watch that the Afghan Taliban recovered and regrouped in Quetta, Osama bin Laden built his hideout 800 yards outside Kayani’s alma mater the Kakul Military Academy in Abbottabad in 2005, and planning began for the Lashkar-e-Taiba attack on Mumbai. He was DG/ISI when David Headley, the American serving life for his role in the 2008 attack, began his reconnaissance trips to Mumbai to prepare the way for 26/11. Kayani probably authorized the funds for Headley’s cover and travel. He is the first DG/ISI to become COAS. His term expires in September, 2013.
The history of civilians choosing Chiefs of Army Staff in Pakistan is not encouraging.
Since General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani made his Yaum-e-Shuhada (Martyrs’ Day) speech on April 30, 2012, there had been speculation about at least he, if not the Pakistani security establishment under him, had had some change of heart vis-à-vis the use of jihadist proxies as so-called strategic assets. Then came the COAS’s August 14, 2012 address in which he spoke more specifically about the twin dragons of extremism and terrorism breathing fire all over Pakistan and its neighbourhood. The general is not an orator but he really did strike a chord with even the worst critics. The diplomatic corps in Islamabad were ecstatic and already declaring the discourse as a paradigm shift.
On the heel of these two speeches came the talk of the Pakistan army revising the so-called Green Book, i.e. its doctrinal manual, to add that the entities such as the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) perpetrating sub-conventional warfare pose a bigger threat to the country than its eastern neighbour against which all military planning has revolved to date. Prime Minister (PM) Raja Pervez Ashraf, when addressing the National Defence University, talked about the need for the army to redefine and redesign its military doctrine. What are the odds that the PM came with the idea of asking the army for a course correction of one of its premier institutions all by himself? I would say slim to none! Someone somewhere wants to sell this idea of the new thinking to someone else.
Courtesy: Rawal TV » BilaTakalluf with Tahir Gora
By Kiran Nazish
Kiran Nazish: You say that the Pakistani government has double crossed the US, and the US does not have the guts to stand up to it. What are those deceptions in your opinion? Why do you think the US does not stand up? What is their weakness or restraint?
Tarek Fatah:Any country that harbored and protected Osama Bin Laden for ten years while taking billions in US aid to supposedly locate the world’s most wanted jihadi terrorist, would qualify as a country that double-crossed the USA. Pakistan’s military and civilian establishment that runs the country is guilty on that count. In fact on July 19, when the US House of Representatives voted to cut US aid to Pakistan by $650 million, congressman Ted Poe (R-Texas), put it rather succinctly when he said, “Pakistan seems to be the Benedict Arnold nation in the list of countries that we call allies, they have proven to be deceptive and deceitful and a danger to the United States.”
The United States gets blackmailed time and again by Pakistani Foreign Office’s argument that any sanctions imposed on Pakistan will make things worse with Islamabad’s nuclear assets falling into the hands of radical generals committed to a worldwide jihad.
Washington has been playing a Chamberlainesque diplomacy of appeasement and it seems the US State Department is at conflict with the Department of Defence, but has the upper hand in setting US-Pakistani relations.
The influence of pro-Muslim Brotherhood officials in the US State Department and the White House may also be a reason America has not come down hard on Pakistan and is focused on Iran as its enemy.
KN: What is your definition of a fascist? Especially given that you are a Punjabi Muslim yourself, and in that, how do you deal with the fact the Punjabis are often accused of fascism in Pakistan?
Stephen Cohen summarizes some views on the future of Pakistan.
Another Five Years: More of the Same
The most likely future for Pakistan over the next five to seven years, but less likely than it would have been five years ago, is some form of what has been called “muddling through”, and what, in 2004, I termed as an establish-
ment-dominated Pakistan. The military will play a key although not always and not necessarily central role in state and political 73 Quoted in The News (Lahore), May 31, 2009.
74 “Mapping the Global Future,” Report of the National Intelligence Council’s 2020 Project Based on consultations with nongovernmental experts around the world (Washington, DC: National Intelligence Council, December 2004), p. 21.
decisions. This scenario could also include direct military rule. As several of the Bellagio participants have noted, it has not made much difference whether the military or the civilians are in power, since both had progressive moments, but each has also contributed to the long decline in Pakistan’s integrity as both a state and a nation.
In this scenario, the political system would be bound by certain parameters: the military might take over, but only for a temporary fix; it will neither encourage nor tolerate deep reform; and civilians will be content with a limited political role. The political system would be frozen in an intermediate, gray zone between full-fledged democracy and military autocracy. The state will always be in transition, but will never arrive ….
by Adnan Khalid Rasool
Based on the political events of the last 10 days, one of the most commonly asked questions in Pakistan is:
‘What is going on?’
As in what is going with the whole Qadri parade, what is up with Bilawal’s launch, and generally what on earth is going on in Pakistan?
Simply put, there are two sides going up against each other and all of these events, or whatever you want to call them, are just parts of that.
Who are these sides and what are they after?
One side to all this is the establishment.
For the last five years, the establishment has played one hand after another against a democratically elected government but failed, as for once, the largest opposition parties refused to play along with them. So a year ago, they launched their own horse in the race who initially did very well but later fizzled out like most of the establishment’s schemes.
The establishment learnt from this failed experiment and went back to the drawing board and came up with Tahirul Qadri. Tahirul Qadri, already having played a pawn multiple times in the establishment’s miscalculated moves, jumped right back on the horse and rode in promising to change the system. But as is the case with most of the establishment’s experiments, he came, he saw and he backed off from what he said.
So one side to this fight is these guys, but why are they doing this?
The answer to that is actually very simple but not very commonly discussed.
What the establishment is after is something dubbed as the ‘Bangladesh formula’. For years, our army and their army have been messing around in politics without much success. No matter how many times they took over, they were always kicked out eventually and in this process they ended up earning a bad name. But about four years ago, the Bangladeshi army finally cracked the code to solve this complicated riddle. The play was that the army does not get involved; instead a caretaker government needs to be formed that would include all branches of the state including judiciary and the military.
This way the army would get a seat on the table, but it would not be the bad guy as the caretaker government would make it a ‘joint effort’. And just to make things more ‘legitimate’, smaller insignificant parties would be invited to become part of the caretaker setup. That would then decide the rules for elections which would be delayed from their actual date as the new structures being designed just happen to take about two years to complete.
* Defence secretary says Islamabad has ‘complete’ list of CIA agents in Pakistan
* US, UK against Pakistan’s nuclear programme
ISLAMABAD: Defence Secretary Lt General (r) Asif Yaseen Malik on Friday said that the US is using the spy agencies of other countries against Pakistan.
Speaking to a select group of journalists at the Defence Ministry, the defence secretary said Pakistan had complete information about the CIA agents working in the country. He said Pakistan has been informed by the US regarding presence of the CIA agents.
He added that no country was allowed to work undercover in the country. “The CIA also uses the agencies of other countries.” He said the US and Britain are against the nuclear assets of Pakistan, adding that America is using agencies of other countries against the country.
General Asif said there is no formal agreement between CIA and the ISI for secret operation. He said 95 percent of the defence policy is made by the three defence services on the basis of mutual consultation. He added that negotiations were going on for the replacement of spy aircraft that were damaged in attacks on Mehran and Kamra bases.
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By: Andrei Volodin, specially for RIR
Russia should make every effort to help recover the pattern of civil society in Pakistan by supporting the role of political parties, civil groups and any organisations that aim to fight terrorism.
Terrorism has grown into probably the most destructive phenomenon in today’s Pakistan. The sorrow list of victims of terrorist attacks is expanding rapidly, going up from 164 casualties in 2003 to 40,000 in 2011. According to official data, damage suffered by the country from 2000 to 2011 exceeded $70 billion.
The official government acknowledgement of terrorism as the main threat to the unity and integrity of Pakistan has proved unable to reverse the situation as terrorist efforts retain their momentum.
The sources of terrorism in Pakistan are usually linked to the policy of Islamisation of the country by General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq (years in office: 1977 to 1988). An important element of the then emerging terrorist activity was Pakistan’s direct involvement in military actions in Afghanistan and the actual creation of the mujahideen units, who after the end of the military actions rose to prominence as a military and political force first in Afghanistan and then in Pakistan.
The government and society at large have no clear understanding of the strategy and tactics of fighting terrorism. The point of view of George Friedman, a U.S. analyst, is that Pakistan is losing its “trajectory into the future.” This opinion is underpinned by the increasingly chaotic social and political life in Pakistan, the army’s involvement in domestic processes, the poorly regulated government economy and the inability of political parties to set up adequate political life for more than five years. This “institutional vacuum” is inevitably filled up by other organisations, in case of Pakistan, terrorist structures.
Experts often describe Pakistan as a “pendulum state,” meaning the country’s typical alternation of military and civil government. However, following the resignation of Pervez Musharraf and with certain influence from the US, which disrupted the usual cyclicality, this constraint of political struggle was withdrawn from the political process. As a consequence, Pakistani parties were made even more fragile and unpredictable in their actions. There are basically personal problems that are substituting the existing controversies in the diverse social and political programmes of the Pakistan People’s Party, on the one hand, and the Pakistan Muslim League, on the other hand.
Tahirul Qadri asks govt to bring ‘change’ by Jan 10
By Web Desk
LAHORE: Allama Tahirul Qadri, head of Minhajul Qur’an International (MQI), said the government should improve the current setup by January 10 or else he will lead a protest march to Islamabad on January 14.
Qadri was addressing a gathering named “Siyasat nahi, Riyasat bachao” at Minar-e-Pakistan, Lahore.
Criticising those in power, Qadri said in order to save the country, the people of Pakistan must decide if they will let corrupt people represent them.
Referring to the recent investigative report on country’s lawmakers who don’t pay taxes, Qadri said such people should not be allowed to become a part of the parliament.
“How can people who themselves break laws be allowed to sit in the parliament,” he said.
He also said that the parliament formulates laws that are in favour of the lawmakers rather than the people of Pakistan.
Speaking about his political plans, Qadri said his entire agenda is in accordance with the Constitution of Pakistan.
He further added that the much-anticipated election should take place but the concerned authorities should ensure it is conducted according to the Constitution.
Malala Yousafzai drew a ‘red line’
BY: SALMA ATAULLAHJAN
I recently met the parents of Malala Yousafzai in Birmingham, England. Malala, who should be learning and laughing and doing what teenaged girls do, is instead lying in a British hospital, recovering after being shot and wounded in Pakistan by the Taliban for advocating girls’ education.
Malala and I are both Yousafzai Pakhtun women, from the same town and the same clan. We are a generation and two continents apart, but the 15-year-old girl’s courage, determination and maturity has triggered hope and inspiration in me at a time when I felt that all was waning in the land of our birth, Pakistan.
When I was 15 in the historic city of Peshawar, in the province of Pakhtunkhwa, my sisters and cousins could never have imagined a day when simply going to school would jeopardize our lives. We were brimming with confidence and optimism. Girls and young women were emerging to take positions of responsibility in government, social development and politics. Our colleges and universities were centres of learning and debate. I studied at a convent run by Irish nuns, and we spoke English and wore Western-style uniforms.
The goals of Pakistani Americans in US politics may not align with those of Islamabad
By Dr Manzur Ejaz
Most of the correspondents of Pakistani news networks in Washington and New York were unable to understand why the anchors and commentators back home were not accepting what they were seeing on the ground – that Obama was winning the elections. The analysts back home had wishfully concluded that Mitt Romney would win, and that was what they wanted to hear. The US presidential election has shown that Pakistani opinion makers are in a state of denial. The expatriates are coming around to this reality and disagree with the views back home. Such diverging views may result in a change that may not be to Islamabad’s liking.
Just before the first anniversary this week of the NATO attack on the Pakistani military check post in Salala, Pakistan has released some mid-level Taliban leaders that it held. The post-Salala saber-rattling between an angry Pakistan and an unrepentant United States almost caused the bilateral relations to snap. A frigid standoff followed the bitter spat and Pakistan blocked the NATO ground supply route through its territory. A face-saving apology of sorts was squeezed out of the US, a thaw ensued, and the supply line reopened. It was business as usual between the frenemies.
The Taliban release is purported to be not merely a goodwill token towards the Afghan High Peace Council delegation that visited Pakistan but is also being showcased to mark a ‘sea change’ in Pakistan’s notorious policy towards Afghanistan, i.e. its quest for strategic depth. A slew of reports in the western and Pakistani media appearing before and after the Taliban leaders’ release quoting Pakistani officials and analysts close to the Pakistani security establishment claim that not only has Pakistan jettisoned its strategic depth policy but has also been reaching out to Afghan groups other than its Taliban proxies.
Veteran who found his way circles back to help others
By Petula Dvorak
Every night in America, about 70,000 veterans sleep on the streets. For 30 years, Gerard Thomas was one of them.
A paranoid schizophrenic, Thomas took a long time to get back indoors after serving in a stateside military hospital during the Vietnam War.
In and out of prison, mental institutions and straitjackets for decades, sleeping on park benches, in doorways or in the woods, Thomas was living proof of the holes in our social safety net.
He kept looking for help, he said, but like many veterans of that war, all he heard was “No.”
“Back then, people didn’t understand how damaged we were,” said Thomas, 62, who now devotes his life to helping homeless veterans.
By: Bruce Riedel
As the United States and India grow ever closer as partners, they cannot escape the challenges posed by Pakistan, which has been a complication in the bilateral relationship between Washington and New Delhi since 1947. The next American President and his Indian counterpart will find it impossible to ignore the dangers and opportunities posed by Pakistan today. Cooperation between Washington and New Delhi on how to deal with these challenges is crucial and fortunately seems to be improving especially as we prepare for the 2014 transition in Afghanistan.
By: Anwar Iqbal
He is gone, disappeared among the waves. And I am looking for him. Has he disappeared though? He may have gone to another beach, perhaps on the West Coast, away from Hurricane Sandy.
Moving from one place to another was never a problem for him. He lived out of his suitcase, rather a large bag that he carried with him. He ate little, morsels of bread with coffee in the morning and some bread, with coffee and cheese at night. And he carried these with him too.
I met him at Ocean City, Maryland, where I also watched him playing his guitar. He played well. So when the session ended, he collected about $30, put his guitar back in its case and said: “Enough for the dinner and tomorrow’s breakfast. Now I will go back to the waves, they are calling me.”
His name was Johnnie, Johnnie what, he never told me but he did tell me that he was a Vietnam veteran. I met him on the beach when one of my sons wandered away. He saw him far from us, brought him back and said: “You are from India, right? I know you people, you believe this country is crime free, so you let your children wander away. Let me tell you, it is not crime free. He can be kidnapped from anywhere.”
I told him I was from Pakistan, not India, thanked him and offered him a sandwich. He accepted the offer but put two sandwiches in his bag and said “This means less work and more time for the waves.”
He then said he only works to make enough for breakfast and dinner and never eats lunch. “And who pays your bills?” I asked. “No bills, I do not own or rent anything.”
He said he had a friend in Ocean City, and was living in his basement. But there are places where he does not have a friend and in such places, he has to work a little more to pay for sleeping somewhere. For him working a little more is playing his guitar a little more.
We became friends when I told him I was a war correspondent. “In Vietnam?” he asked. “No, in Afghanistan, during the Soviet occupation,” I said. “Do you sing?” he asked. “No,” I said. “Then what do you do? Those who have seen wars always do something other than what they do for a living, like singing, painting, writing poetry,” he explained.
I said I love poetry. Although I am not a poet, I do sometimes write a little poem. He asked me to read a poem about my war experience. I said I did not have one with me but I had one about terrorism in my cell phone and could read it out for him. He agreed.
“No, no, this is not how it happens, when crops of pain are reaped. Nobody beats drums, when village youths return home in body bags. Women do not dance, people mourn, they do not rejoice,” I read the poem.
“Their coffins are brought home, drenched in tears. No, no, this is not how it happens. You cannot sow seeds of hate and hope for flowers. When a storm lands, when a fire rages, homes burn, people cry. They do not rejoice, cities of pain do not thrive, flowers do not grow in fields of hate. No, no, this is not how it happens,” I finished.
He asked me if I wrote it in English. I said no, in my language, Urdu. He copied the English version in his diary and then asked me to recite some lines in Urdu. I did. He noted them too.
“You gave me a lot of work,” he said and disappeared.
Tradition of nonviolence originated along the banks of the Sindhu/Sindh (Indus) River. The American Institute of Sindhulogy (AIS) is dedicated to spreading the lessons of the ancient Sindhu-Saraswati River Civilization and its message of nonviolence. ….
Read more » American Institute of Sindhulogy
The attack on Malala has pushed liberal Pakistan to re-ascertain its face. However, the important thing to see is whether Pakistan restructures itself as a liberal moderate democracy.
THE TALIBAN attacked Malal Yousafzai due to her denial of their barbaric codes of self-described and imposed religious taboos. Unlike on the brutal murder of Salman Taseer, the people of Pakistan vociferously denounced this heinous act and stood by her – a good omen for the country, which is living in misery between devil and the deep sea.
Pakistan, which has been historically an Indus country in the past, and once was known as Sindh, have a deep background of secular ethos that until the recent past remained unchanged. The beginning of perversion in Pakistan kicked off with the adaptation of state-religion. In the social and cultural context, it began when the people of Pakistan were pushed through socio-cultural engineering by imposing Arab terminologies in spite of the local ones – replacement of Maseet with the Arabic word Masjid for a mosque and word Khuda with Allah for the God. It was the cultural fanaticism, which came first through sponsored Tabligh (preaching) and was gradually introduced during General Ziaul Haq period when he started altering historical Indian cultural roots of Pakistan and resisted possible Iranian influence- thus the Arabic terminologies, and Salafi school of thought was blended with the Sunni Hanafya majority of the country.
Washington-USA, Toronto-Canada, Brussels-Belgium, London-U.K., Middle East+ Sharjah+ Abu Dhabi, UAE, *Sindh*-Pakistan.
13th October 2012 – We, the undersigned Sindh Diaspora Organizations, Sindh Civil Society Organizations and Sindh Nationalist Parties unequivocally and resoundingly reject the controversial and apartheid Bill passed by the Sindh Assembly, to give a legal facade to the SPLG ordinance 2012.
It may be remembered that this same forum had twice rejected this and a previous ordinance emanating from the Governor House, which had the same purpose: Administrative, Fiscal and eventual Political Division of Sindh.
This forum view these repeated onslaughts on the fundamental rights of the nation of Sindh on their own land as an act of aggression against humanity.
The Sindhi Nation is not only cognizant of the contents and intentions of this so called “Bill”, but has resolved to struggle for its reversal.
The obscure and back room circumstances and haste surrounding the promulgation of first, the SPLGO and second its passage into “law” by the Sindh Assembly on 1st October 2012, further and finally confirmed to the Sindhi Nation that the intentions of the current coalition partners in the ruling Sindh Government, the PPPP and MQM, are malafide. This coalition stands rejected by the nation of nation, and has lost their confidence.
The SPLGO has been designed to further dis-empower and disenfranchise the nation of Sindh in their own historic homeland.
It is aimed to divide Sindh administratively with a view to its eventual political division in the future.
Further, the SPLGO privileges urban areas dominated and controlled by the MQM and expands their writ into adjoining areas where their vote base is non existent. The SPLGO has given the MQM a license to eradicate or render marginal, the vast Sindhi speaking population that lives in Sindh’s urban areas particularly in and around Karachi and its historical districts and coastal areas. The cooperation and compliance of PPPP leaders in delivering to the demands of the MQM, shows that the PPPP is not in a position to safeguard the interests of Sindh.
Sindh’s entire civil society, Nationalist Political Parties and Sindhi Diaspora Organizations stand united in their opposition to the apartheid SPLG Bill. The SPLG Bill stands rejected.
Sindhi Association of North America, SANA, World Sindhi Institute, WSI, Canada, USA+Europe, World Sindhi Congress, WSC, USA+Eurooe, Sindhi Sangat Middle East, Dubai+Sharjah+Abu Dhabi, UAE, Sindh Bachayo Commitee, Awami Tehreek, Sindh, Sindh Taraqqi Pasand Party, Sindh United Party, Awami Jamhoori Party, Sindh National Movement, Sindh Univerity Teachers Association, Centre for Peace and Civil Society, Women’s Action Forum, Sindh.
If only this interview was in English the world would understand the pain of a people of Sindh & Balochistan who have lost 14,000 dead and disappeared youth at the hands of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The language of the interview is urdu (Hindi).
Courtesy: Geo Tv (Capital Talk with Hamid Mir, 27th September 2012.)
Via – Adopted from facebook » TF’s wall
From being a prayer and reflection day, Friday, over the years, has effectively become a day of rage and rampage in the Muslim countries. Protests and mayhem are planned around this day of the week, when the rabblerousing clerics can and do unleash hate-mongering congregations utilising the well-oiled infrastructure of violence. This past Friday was no exception in Pakistan. Over 20 lives were lost and a church was burnt protesting the infamous video Innocence of Muslims. Fortunately, major diplomatic disasters were averted as the law enforcement agencies thwarted the attempts by the Islamist parties and banned terrorist groups to reach and potentially destroy western embassies in Islamabad’s diplomatic enclave.
The federal government capitulated to the rightwing parties by declaring a national holiday on September 21, setting an extremely dangerous precedent. Government not just ceded the narrative to the mullahs and media but some of the most ominous calls came from within its own ranks. Minister of State for Labour and Manpower, Sheikh Waqas Akram was perhaps the first one to go on primetime television stating that if he had his way he would have killed the maker of the offensive video. Not content with just that, Akram then said that he refuses to accept anyone as a bona fide Muslim if that person is not infuriated at the video. Not to be outdone, the host of the show stated that he agreed with Akram. In the same show, Senator Hasil Bizenjo, while brandishing his liberal credentials, claimed that he was once so enraged by a Dutch artist’s sacrilegious work that he could have killed him. In the next breath, Bizenjo lamented that due to radicalisation under the late General Ziaul-Haq, Pakistani society had become very violent. The show ended with calls for peaceful protest!