Serving Major among 4 Pak nationals behind 2008 Mumbai attacks: US chargesheet

by Wichaar Desk

NEW DELHI: A suspected serving Pakistani Major, believed to be working with the ISI, is among four nationals of that country charged by the US with being alleged conspirators behind the 2008 Mumbai terror strikes.

The accused identified as ‘Major Iqbal’, was named along with Sajid Mir, Mazhar Iqbal and Abu Qahafa in a second superseding indictment filed by the federal prosecutors before a court in Chicago on April 25 last. Besides, the indictment mentioned an unnamed individual as “Lashkar Member D.”

Indian investigators had named Major Iqbal along with another Pakistani Army officer Major Sameer Ali as the brain behind the Mumbai terror strikes and on the request of New Delhi, Interpol has issued a Red Corner Notice against them.

The dossier was handed over during the Indo-Pak foreign secretary-level talks on February 25, 2010 in New Delhi.

The role of ‘Major Iqbal’ emerged in the interrogation by the FBI of US terror suspect David Headley, arrested in Chicago in October, 2009 in connection with the Mumbai attack.

The four men identified were previously mentioned but not named in the indictments that charged Pakistani-American David Headley and Pakistani-Canadian Tahawwur Rana in connection with the Mumbai attacks which killed 166 people, including six Americans.

An individual known as ‘Major Iqbal’ participated in planning and funding attacks carried out by LeT in Mumbai, federal prosecutors said.

According to the Indian dossier, Maj Iqbal was posted in Lahore from 2007 to 2008 and was handling Headley. He also handled all the surveillance videos sent by Headley.

The US federal prosecutor said that in July 2006, Major Iqbal provided to Headley approximately USD 25,000 to, among other purposes, establish and operate the Mumbai office of First World and pay for living expenses while Headley carried out his assignments for Lashkar.

In September 2006, February 2007, September 2007, April 2008 and July 2008, Headley travelled to Mumbai for extended periods for the purpose of conducting surveillance of possible targets of attacks by LeT.

Prior to Headley’s departure for each of these trips, Mir and Major Iqbal along with others instructed Headley regarding locations where he was to conduct video surveillance in and around Mumbai, as well as other locations in India.

After each trip, Headley travelled to Pakistan, where he met Sajid Mir and Major Iqbal associated with Lashkar to report on the results of his surveillance, and provided them with photographs and videos from the surveillance, the US federal prosecutors said. …

Read more : Wichaar

Major General Isfandiyar Ali Pataudi may take charge as next ISI chief

Pataudi’s first cousin tipped as next ISI chief

by Josy Joseph

NEW DELHI: With Pakistan’s military-intelligence complex reeling from the embarrassment Americans inflicted when they took out Osama bin Laden in the garrison town of Abbottabad, speculation is rife that ISI chief Ahmed Shuja Pasha may have to step down.

Pasha, who is in the direct line of criticism for the failure to detect the presence of bin Laden and the American operation, is already on an extension and the estimate here is that Pakistan army chief General Ashfaq Kayani may have to sacrifice him to appease the popular anger.

Front runners among those tipped to take over from Pasha is Major General Isfandiyar Ali Pataudi, first cousin of cricketing legend, former India skipper Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, and an uncle to film stars, Saif and Soha.

Isfandiyar’s father, Major General Nawabzada Mohammad Ali Pataudi, was the younger brother of Mansur Ali Khan’s father Iftikhar Ali Khan. Major General Nawabzada Mohammad preferred to opt for the Pakistan army at the time of partition, while his elder brother stayed back to pursue a diplomatic career.

Sources here said Maj Gen Isfandiyar Ali Pataudi, who was appointed a deputy director-general of ISI a few weeks ago, stands a good chance if a major churning happens at the higher echelons of the Pakistan army. His liberal moorings and aristocratic background may work to his advantage at a time when Rawalpindi is required to allay US’s fears of a fundamentalist takeover of the intelligence agency. An armoured corps officer, General Isfandiyar has another India connection: he was a classmate of the chief of the Indian Army, General V K Singh, at the Army War College in the US a few years ago. …

Read more : Times of India

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Climate Change: Question of Protecting Mangroves Forests in Pakistan

By Jamil Junejo

Sea level rise is one of horrifying offshoots of the climate change. It has risen reportedly by 1.7 mm/year in the 20th Century, globally. Since 1993, the rate has accelerated to 3.1mm/year. Such sea level rise has been posing serious threats to human settlements especially in coastal areas. Cyclones and Tsunamis coupled with the sea level rise will prove more disastrous due to increased height and intensity of the tides. Mangroves forests are the natural shield to avert a heavy loss by the possible heightened waves, cyclone and Tsunami.

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The Double Game

The unintended consequences of American funding in Pakistan.

by Lawrence Wright

It’s the end of the Second World War, and the United States is deciding what to do about two immense, poor, densely populated countries in Asia. America chooses one of the countries, becoming its benefactor. Over the decades, it pours billions of dollars into that country’s economy, training and equipping its military and its intelligence services. The stated goal is to create a reliable ally with strong institutions and a modern, vigorous democracy. The other country, meanwhile, is spurned because it forges alliances with America’s enemies.

The country not chosen was India, which “tilted” toward the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Pakistan became America’s protégé, firmly supporting its fight to contain Communism. The benefits that Pakistan accrued from this relationship were quickly apparent: in the nineteen-sixties, its economy was an exemplar. India, by contrast, was a byword for basket case. Fifty years then went by. What was the result of this social experiment?

India has become the state that we tried to create in Pakistan. It is a rising economic star, militarily powerful and democratic, and it shares American interests. Pakistan, however, is one of the most anti-American countries in the world, and a covert sponsor of terrorism. Politically and economically, it verges on being a failed state. And, despite Pakistani avowals to the contrary, America’s worst enemy, Osama bin Laden, had been hiding there for years—in strikingly comfortable circumstances—before U.S. commandos finally tracked him down and killed him, on May 2nd.

American aid is hardly the only factor that led these two countries to such disparate outcomes. But, at this pivotal moment, it would be a mistake not to examine the degree to which U.S. dollars have undermined our strategic relationship with Pakistan—and created monstrous contradictions within Pakistan itself.

American money began flowing into Pakistan in 1954, when a mutual defense agreement was signed. During the next decade, nearly two and a half billion dollars in economic assistance, and seven hundred million in military aid, went to Pakistan ….

Read more : The New Yorker