Pakistan’s military and legislators plan peace talks with Taliban

– In the midst of bad and worsening relations with Washington, Pakistan considers new round of peace talks with Pakistan-based Taliban, arguing that ‘military solutions’ are making things worse.

By Owais Tohid

Excerpt;

……. But analysts believe that striking negotiations with Islamic militants will pose serious challenges. “We struck peace accords with militant commanders during the past and those blew up on our face,” says Peshawar-based defense analyst, retired Brig. Mohammad Saad. “Once you enter into negotiations, they [the militants] grow bigger than their size and start believing themselves as equal. The more the state talks to them, they will become a bigger problem in Pakistan.”

“Their agenda is different,” Brigadier Saad adds. “Their ideology is in clash with the norms and values of any modern civilized society.” …..

To read complete article → csmonitor

IQRA Program

– Information on 30 million “Improving the Quality of Reading Activity (IQRA)” Program in Sindh

by Khalid Hashmani, McLean

Recently, the US government issued “Request for Agreement (RFA)” documents for engaging NGOs for a US $ 30-million “Improving the Quality of Reading Activity (IQRA)” Program in Sindh. This RFA was issued in conjunction with the $ 155 million agreement between Government of Sindh (GoS) and the US Aid Agency. The full RFA document is available at http://www.usaid.gov/pk/docs/USAIDPakistanRFA-391-11-000005.pdf

Those interested to be active participant in the “Improving the Quality of Reading Activity (IQRA)” Program must read read the full document at above link.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, September 30, 2011.

Naraaa e Takbeer

Grass à la carte

by Hakim Hazik

We are, without a doubt the most honorable nation on the face of the earth. An attack on our sovereignty will be resisted with all possible means at our disposal. Haqqani Sahib is our knight in shining armour who will demolish the cruel and heartless American imperialism.

He is the defender of the Faith and the servant of the Strategic Depth, in which we believe with our hearts and with our souls, unto which we hold no equal, to which we prostrate ourselves and from which we seek succour and sustenance. There is only one Supreme Entity superior to the Strategic Depth and that is the Soft Strategic Depth.

It was Daddy Ji Haqqani, who give the glad tidings to President Reagan over high tea in the Blue Room, that the Soviet Union was no more, that the Clash of Civilizations was over and for the world economy to prosper and for Lockheed Martin to get new contracts, a new clash and a new civilization had to be found. It was him who made possible the peresteroika, the glasnost, the demolition of the Berlin Wall, the internet revolution, the New American Century, the Desert Storm, the Freedom Fries and the Arab Spring. We all owe him a debt of gratitude. It is strange that the whole world knows it, except Admiral Mullen.

Even the Foreign Minister knows it. She has laid it out in clear and categorical terms. Any attack on Daddy Ji or Junior will be considered an act of extreme provocation and we will respond with our strategic assets mounted on Hatf missiles and on Birkin handbags. If necessary, we will eat grass. By the grace of God, half the population is already eating grass. This is a morally and nutritionally sound option especially if flavoured with raw sewage, as in the blessed province of Sindh.

We will sell our children, we will die of dengue hemorrhagic fever, we will drown in foreign seas, trying to cross over into Europe but we will defend Daddy Ji. Our resolve is unshakable, our honour is not to be trifled with. We will borrow from Brother Hu and we will borrow from Brother Abdullah, we will buy F16 aircraft with cash payments and with the new American aircraft, we will fight the new American aggression.

The stalwart of the Ummah and the Doyen of Soviet Jihad, Imam Charlie Wilson, (D), Texas, had said that Brother Jalal ud Din was ‘goodness personified’. The Interior Minister was paying homage to the memory of Imam Sahib, when he said that the Brother is a son of the soil. To win the soil, you must talk to the son.

Our faith is growing steadily, matched only by the growth of our population and light years ahead of the growth of our economy. This is the winning formula. Faith combined with IMF dollars, dengue virus, nuclear weapons and a diet of grass will allow us to conquer the world and disprove allegations of nuclear proliferation and spot fixing. This is the formulation which our premier intellectual forum, the Corps Commanders Conference has devised and which the Brain of the Ummah, Maulana Peabrain of Karachi fully approves off.

Naraaa e Takbeer.

Courtesy: → ViewPoint

http://www.viewpointonline.net/grass-a-la-carte.html

Mirpurkhas, Sindh – Human Rights and Human Security Report

September 2011 – Mirpurkhas was found in 1806 by Mir Ali Mohammad Khan Talpur. The word Mirpurkhas means, “The land of high Mirs.” In 90s this district gained the status of the head quarter of district Tharparkar. Later on 31 October 1990, the district was bifurcated into two districts: District Mirpurkhas and District Tharparkar. Afterwards, it was further bifurcated in two districts Umerkot and district Mirpurkhas.

Continue reading Mirpurkhas, Sindh – Human Rights and Human Security Report

GRAPES TURNING SOUR: THE APC

Waseem Altaf

They give a damn when it comes to worthless civilians and more so in case of corrupt politicians but when feel the need to signal the world that the whole nation stands behind them, orchestrate such gatherings. However, perhaps the time is over for such theatrics. This time around popular leaders from Baluchistan were not invited because they don’t like their faces but militant mullahs were very much part of the APC.

The Prime Minister gave his address by reading a carefully crafted paper rejecting the US allegations and “do more demand” and also stressed his complete support to the valiant armed forces.

The DG.ISI categorically denied any links with Haqqani network and any export of terrorism. However Mian Nawaz Sharif countered him and asked if that was so why the whole world accused Pakistan? General Kayani and Molvi Munawwar Hassan of Jamaat-e-Islami, the hand in glove came to Pasha’s rescue. Mahmood Achakzai stated that if ISI wanted, there could be peace in Afghanistan within a month. The gallant sons of the soil however could not muster enough courage to even name the US or even its functionaries in the draft of the resolution and the drone issue was not even discussed.

Let us look at the general and vague clauses of the APC resolution:-

A) The already passed resolutions of the Parliament should be implemented.

Yes sure, but a little difficult task for you guys. How about hiring some overseas consultants to get those implemented after all we do import professionals to get things done.

B) Pakistan wants good relations with all countries.

Yes you want to have good relations with other countries but also want to continue with mischief mongering. Unfortunately the two things don’t go together.

C) The focal point of Pakistan’s foreign policy is peace in the region.

Yes that is why you facilitated peace in Afghanistan (1979-89) and in Indian administered Kashmir (1989-99) Peace in Baluchistan and Karachi is immaterial for those who think “international

D) Defense of Pakistan is the first and foremost duty of the people and defense forces of Pakistan.

Maybe it’s the first and foremost duty of people of Pakistan but please let the defense forces defend the Defense Housing Societies .And please also defend your citizens in your own country. They are being abducted and bombed and killed within your so called jurisdiction.

E) Pakistan rejects all baseless allegations.

Okay! So allegations leveled by you have a base but the Indian and the Afghan allegations, the American and the British ones and perhaps those by Iran and China are all baseless. And surely the allegation of murder of Saleem Shahzad by ISI should also be baseless.

F) Pakistan wants negotiations with all groups who want peace.

Unfortunately you only want negotiations with those who don’t want peace.

G) To move forward Pakistan should focus on trade and not aid.

Good realization after 64 years of coming into existence.

Perhaps the grapes are turning sour.

Courtesy: → SPN → South Asian Pulse

‘Taliban and Anti Taliban’ – A People’s History of FATA

by Amit Julka

When I read Taj’s book, ‘Taliban and Anti Taliban’, I thought a more suitable title for the book would have been A People’s History of FATA, as it has much in common with Howard Zinn’s seminal work A People’s History of the United States. Both books narrate the story of a land from the point of view of the conquered, and not the conquerors. Both books seek to challenge the dominant narrative and conventional wisdom. The only difference is that Zinn’s Native Americans had been vanquished and exterminated about four centuries ago while Taj’s tribesmen are being systematically oppressed and exterminated as we speak.

And this is where the significance of the book lies. It presents the story of a people who have been often been regarded as savages and brutes from their eyes and not the eyes of those who wish to conquer them. FATA has often been termed as Pakistan’s dirty backyard. The state claims that the region is not under its control, and hence justifies oppression against the natives under the garb of the draconian FCR laws. The Americans say that the region is a haven for terrorists. However, no mainstream observer has bothered to tell the story of the people and the way they have been squeezed between the state and the Taliban.

The book starts with the chapter ‘Deconstructing Some Myths About FATA’. In this chapter, Taj questions two fundamental notions that outsiders have about the region and its people. Her first argument is that contrary to popular opinion, the people of FATA are not Taliban sympathizers. She argues that the widespread militant activities in the region have more to do with the state’s policy of treating the Taliban and their ilk as strategic assets. Thus, according to her, the Taliban and other jihadi groups have been imposed top-down and enjoy no popular support. On the contrary, she argues that it is the indigenous people of the region who have tried to resist them, and it is the state’s collusion with the militants that has changed the power structures in the region and destroyed tribal institutions like jirga and Pakhtunwali.

Her second argument is that the state’s attempt to portray the tribal areas as unruly and beyond its control is nothing but insidious propaganda. In fact, it is the state, and especially Pakistan’s intelligence agency, the ISI that has repressed people through legal and extra-legal means. Moreover, she adds that the influx of militants from Afghanistan to Pakistan wouldn’t have been possible without the state’s collusion. This, she claims flies in the face of the state’s claim that some soldiers may have sympathised with the Taliban due to ethnic affiliation or other such factors. ….

Read more → ViewPoint

Catch 22 for Pakistan’s left

– by Nayyer Khan

I do not expect a balanced outlook from a common man in Pakistan who lives behind a smoke screen created by Urdu press and brain washed through 60 years of antagonistic indoctrination against the non-Muslim world, except China. However, the views of old friends from left Wing (now liberals mostly associated with NGOs or civil society) and laissez-faire intelligentsia astonish me. The old cult is still deep seated in their minds, in which America takes the position of the devil. They go so far in their prejudice against America that they lose their ability to pick the lesser of the two evils.

I fully agree to the universal rule that my enemy’s enemy is my friend, yet the issue is to identify who the current enemy is. It is a well established fact that a smaller but irrational enemy is much more dangerous than a bigger yet rational enemy. Hence the later becomes a friend when an irrational enemy is the immediate threat. …

Read more → ViewPoint

Permanent revolution

by John Reiman

There will be no breaking the power of the “feudals” in Pakistan, no equality for women in Afghanistan, no establishment of stable democracy in Egypt, no resolving the tribal conflicts in Africa, and no salvation for the 15 million children who die of hunger every year on the basis of capitalism

As they did in the 1950s, once again, the winds of revolution are sweeping the former colonial world. This time, however, these winds are mixed with those of counter-revolution also, and this complication is partly a result of the failure of the previous period to resolve the problems in that part of the world. ….

Read more → ViewPoint

Kashmir: A troubled paradise

– As a child growing up after India’s partition, Kashmir to me was always a part of India. Only in middle school did I begin to realize that it was considered “disputed territory” by much of the world, the sentiment being especially fierce in neighboring Pakistan. The map of India that we studied in school showed Indian Kashmir as a larger territory than what was actually under Indian control. Parts of it in the north and the west were in reality, within China and Pakistan. The scenic northernmost state, a popular destination for summer tourism and the backdrop of many a puerile romantic song & dance number of made-in-Bombay movies, was not a very urgent topic of discussion for the general Indian public. Kashmir for most Indians, evoked benign, pretty images of apple, apricot and walnut orchards, chinar trees, shimmering lakes, snow capped mountains, houseboats, fine pashmina shawls, lacquered papier mache ornaments and the valley’s light skinned aloof inhabitants.

Later in my teen years I began to understand that Kashmir was not the placid paradise we had imagined as children. Its politics were complicated and its population sharply divided on the state’s rightful status – part of India, part of Pakistan or a wholly independent/ autonomous entity. The difference of opinion fell across religious lines. Kashmiri Hindus wished to remain with India and the majority Muslim population of the state did not. Even then, things were mostly quiet and free of turmoil. There were quite a few Kashmiri students in my school. Many had ancestral homes and relatives in Kashmir and they visited there regularly during summer breaks. Those friends were all Hindus. Come to think of it, I did not know a single Kashmiri Muslim on a personal level until I was in college. There were Muslim traders and merchants who came down to major Indian cities bearing expensive and much coveted Kashmiri merchandise such as saffron, dried fruit, nuts and embroidered woollens, but they did not reside in the plains permanently and their children did not attend our schools. The first Kashmiri Muslim I came to know well was Agha Shahid Ali, a graduate student a few years ahead of me in Delhi University who later became a lecturer of English at my college as also a poet of some renown. It was Ali who first revealed to me that most Kashmiri Muslims did not identify themselves as Indians and many felt a greater emotional and cultural allegiance with Pakistan. An equal number wanted an autonomous state with a very loose federation with India for economic reasons. The Indian government spent large sums of money to subsidize the state’s economy and prohibited non-Kashmiris from buying land there while also meddling in local politics. Kashmiris became increasingly suspicious of the central government’s motives and the rift with India widened both politically and culturally.

Despite tensions and uncertainties, Kashmir never experienced the sectarian violence that had racked the eastern and western wings of India around partition time. Even when India and Pakistan fought several wars over their disagreement surrounding the region, Kashmir itself remained relatively free of communal strife for many decades after India’s independence. The uneasy calm ended in the late 1980s and early ’90s when the Kashmir valley became a battle ground for armed insurgents trained in Pakistan and the Indian military forces. The conflict caused a communal rift among long time residents and resulted in a mass exodus (some say expulsion) of Kashmiri Hindus from their homes. Those tensions remain to this day laced with bitterness on both sides.

I had never visited Kashmir when I lived in India. By the time the political upheaval unfolded in the 1990s, I had already left and had been living abroad for a decade. Kashmir’s troubles and deteriorating political situation were not something I paid close attention to until the Kargil War erupted in 1999. It became clear then that Kashmir had become an intractable problem for India. I am still not sure how I feel about the situation. What can India gain by holding on to a territory whose residents do not want to be a part of India? Can India protect regions like Ladakh and Jammu in the vicinity which identify firmly with the rest of India? What would happen if India does decide to vacate the valley and stops spending money to placate the population and maintain the large presence of its armed forces? Would Kashmir valley remain “independent” or will some other country like China or Pakistan march in and establish control even closer to other Indian states? How does one balance the interests of Kashmiris and the rest of India? Is peace ever possible when the citizenry perceives the government as an “occupying force?” Most confusing of all, will Kashmiri Hindus be permitted go back to the homes they abandoned out of fear and panic? And even if it was possible, would they ever want to return to a place that had cut all ties to India? ….

Read more → Accidental Blogger

What if we win?

– By Omar

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politi…c7K_story.html

Going from bad to worse? It seems that tragedy is turning into farce. Pakistan should do something quickly to help the US before the US loses the war (see below). Pakistan’s rational and far-sighted response may now be America’s best hope!

Many of my Pakistani friends are happy because they think this is a zero-sum game: what is bad for the US is good for Pakistan. I disagree. First of all, I dont think the US is done yet. Confused, yes. Done? probably not.
But even if we imagine that everything goes downhill for the US from now onwards and they eventually pull out defeated, it is not likely to be a fatal blow (Some Paknationalists imagine a Soviet Union scenario, but their knowledge and analysis are both terribly off in this case). The US, while chastened and shocked (as after Vietnam?) will not be seriously wounded by defeat in Afghanistan; What happens to the economy at home will be far more crucial than what happens in Afghanistan and Pakistan, neither of which have a big role in the economy, and the role they do have is entirely negative.

Pakistan is another matter. I dont think stoppage of US aid is going to be a necessarily fatal problem (severe sanctions are another matter, but maybe China can prevent those?). And the inevitable military coup (perhaps a “hidden one” in which a civilian caretaker regime is installed by the army) may even lead to a temporary improvement in administration in the core region for a while; but this “victory” will not solve deep seated problems in the structure and direction of the state. In fact, it will likely make them worse as the jihadi faction starts looking for a victory dividend. In any case, Afghanistan will erupt in open civil war and that will suck us into all kinds of trouble. Even in the best case scenario, it will be very tough. In the worst case scenario, we may collapse before the last American takes off from the embassy roof. The risks in case of “victory” are enormous.
Does this mean that someone in Pakistan will in fact sort out the confusion and help the US out just to save itself? While that may appear logical, it does not appear likely. This is a genuine mess. The kind where nobody is sure what will happen next.

A joke from the nineties suddenly appears to be prescient: Nawaz Sharif was portrayed as something of a simpleton, getting by on the advice of his shrewd father (abba ji). Here is the joke:
Nawaz Sharif: Abba ji, the economy is in terrible shape and nothing is working. What can we do now?
Abba ji: Son, there is only one solution. Start a war with America. They will bomb the country and utterly destroy it. Then they will occupy us and launch a Marshall plan and we will be rebuilt with their money. Look how rich Japan and Germany have become after losing a war to America.
Nawaz Sharif: But abba ji, what if we win?

PS: the “all parties conference” in Pakistan has just released its resolution. They seem to agree with me. Who knows, the corrupt elite may have enough self-awareness to sneak out of this one ….

Notice that Pakistan is opening up trade with India. We delayed an American victory in Afghanistan for 10 years because we dont want Indian influence in Afghanistan. We dont want Indian influence in Afghanistan because the Indians are our eternal enemies. Now the Americans are threatening us, so we are going to make peace with India to relieve pressure on the economy. When we are friends with India, will we still need to deny them “influence” in Afghanistan? Inquiring minds want to know….

Courtesy: → BrownPundits

When was Pakistan’s fate sealed?

Pak paying heavily for its mistakes in the 1970s: Tony Blair

NEW DELHI: Pakistan is “paying heavily” for its mistakes in the 1970s when it started mixing religion with politics and promoted extremism, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said.

“I think Pakistan is paying a heavy price for the mistakes of 1970s by linking religion with politics and developing religious schools which are, in some cases, dangerous sources of extremism,” Blair told Karan Thapar in an interview to a news channel.

The former British prime minister was responding to queries relating to the role of ISI in spreading terrorism and its links with the Haqqani group in Afghanistan.

When asked if the US, after eliminating Osama bin laden, should also go after the Haqqani faction, Blair said it was something which the Americans have to decide.

“The trouble with these groups is that there is no way to use them wisely. On these issues like Pakistan might have to say about its influence in Afghanistan vis-a-vis India’s influence there, there will be nothing good out of supporting these groups,” he said.

“If ISI is engaged in such activities, in the end it will not merely affect US, UK, Afghanistan or India, it poisons the atmosphere in Pakistan also,” Blair said.

The former British prime minister said that if there was any linkage between the ISI and terror groups such as the Haqqani group and the Lashkar-e-Taiba, “it is a mistake.”

Blair said there was a need to engage “modern and open-minded” Pakistanis who are involved in a struggle against the extremists.

“We have to see how we can engage elements in Pakistan who believe that this was a mistake. The best way is to allow Pakistan to change and evolve and there are a lot of decent people in Pakistan,” he said.

Blair said that Pakistan itself has suffered a lot due to terrorism as thousands of people have been killed. There was a “struggle going on in the country between those with modern and open-minded attitude towards future against those who are in the power struggle and will play dangerously,” he said. ….

Read more → TOI

Asia Times Online – Pepe’s opinion

– THE ROVING EYE

Pentagon aims at target Pakistan

By Pepe Escobar

Syria will have to wait. The next stop in the Pentagon-coined “long war” is bound to be Pakistan. True, a war is already on in what the Barack Obama administration named AfPak. But crunch time in Pak itself looms closer and closer. Call it the “no bomb left behind” campaign.

Al-Qaeda is a thing of the past; after all, al-Qaeda assets such as Abdelhakim Belhaj are now running Tripoli. The new Washington-manufactured mega-bogeyman is now the Haqqani network.

A relentless, Haqqani-targeted manufacture of consensus industry is already on overdrive, via a constellation of the usual neo-conservative suspects, assorted Republican warmongers, “Pentagon officials” and industrial-military complex shills in corporate media.

The Haqqani network, a force of 15,000 to 20,000 Pashtun fighters led by former anti-Soviet mujahideen figure Jalalludin Haqqani, is a key component of the Afghan insurgency from its bases in Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal area.

For Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Haqqani network “acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence [ISI] agency”. It took Mullen no less than 10 years since Washington’s bombing of Afghanistan to figure this out. Somebody ought to give him a Nobel Peace Prize.

According to the US government narrative, it was the ISI that gave the go-ahead for the Haqqani network to attack the US Embassy in Kabul on September 13.

Pentagon head Leon Panetta has gone on record saying that in response, Washington might go unilateral. This means that the vast numbers of Pashtun farmers, including women and children, who have already been decimated for months by US drone attacks on the tribal areas should be considered as extras in a humanitarian operation. ….

Read more → ASIA TIMES ONLINE

Pakistan gets ready for the Jihad?

– In Pakistani Media, the U.S. Is a Target for Acrimony

By SALMAN MASOOD

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The United States might still be weighing its options about how to deal with Pakistan, but many politicians, retired army generals and popular television talk show hosts here have already made up their minds that America is on the warpath with their country.

Such is the media frenzy and warmongering that popular talk show hosts have even begun discussing possible scenarios of how Pakistan should react if the United States attacks the country. One television news channel has even aired a war anthem.

Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani has called on a conference of opposition political parties and government’s allies for Thursday to discuss the crisis. The government is also enlisting allies.

Islamabad, the capital, has seen a flurry of diplomatic activity with the visits of Chinese and Saudi officials. The American ambassador, Cameron Munter, has also met with President Asif Ali Zardari and Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir.

After meeting with Vice Premier Meng Jianzhu of China on Tuesday, Mr. Gilani said that “China categorically supports Pakistan’s efforts to uphold its sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity,” an oblique reference aimed at the United States.

Earlier in an interview with Reuters, Mr. Gilani warned against any cross-border raids by American forces in Afghanistan. “We are a sovereign country,” Mr. Gilani was quoted as saying. “How can they come and raid in our country?”

Pakistan’s powerful army and intelligence chiefs, meanwhile, have conveyed their message through their posturing. Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the army chief, canceled his Monday visit to Britain, stoking a sense of crisis.

On Sunday, General Kayani led a meeting with his top military commanders. No press statement was issued, but leaks to local media outlets warned of a “stern response” to any attack on Pakistan by American forces from Afghanistan. ….

Read more → THE NEW YORK TIMES

How Pakistan Lost Its Top U.S. Friend

Outgoing U.S. Joint Chiefs Chairman Explains Shift From Confidence in Islamabad to Tougher Tone

BY JULIAN E. BARNES AND ADAM ENTOUS

WASHINGTON—U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen has long been seen as Pakistan’s closest friend in Washington.

He visited Islamabad 27 times since 2008 in his role as America’s top uniformed officer, cultivated a bond with the Pakistani army chief of staff and early in his tenure said he believed Pakistan was serious about plans to take on militant groups that the U.S. wanted shut down.

But in recent months, Adm. Mullen said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal, he concluded that the partnership approach he long had championed had fallen short and would be difficult …

Read more → THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

BBC – Pakistan is ‘failing’ the flood victims of Sindh

– Is Pakistan ‘failing’ the people hit by the floods?

By Aleem Maqbool

Pakistan’s most needy are being left to fend for themselves after flooding devastated much of southern Sindh province.

It is astonishing and depressing that this is all happening again. Only this time, for the people of southern Pakistan, things appear even worse.

In travelling the vast flood-hit areas as we have been doing, what is striking this year, as compared to last, is the massive number of people who tell us they have had no help at all – not from aid agencies, not from the army and not from the government of Pakistan. ….

Read more → BBC

Islam in the garrison

– by Umer Farooq

On March 16, 2004, the Pakistan Army launched its first operation in South Waziristan tribal agency to weed out al-Qaeda and Taliban elements who had crossed into Pakistan after coming under American attacks in Afghanistan. General Pervez Musharraf, the then Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and the ruler of the country, held a series of meetings with his top commanders in the run-up to the operation and repeatedly asked them a single question. “Do you see any kind of reluctance among your soldiers to fire at the militants?” a participant of these meetings quotes him as asking. “He was visibly worried. He wanted to be dead sure that he did not face any backlash from within the army as he sent it into the tribal areas,” says a retired military officer who worked closely with Musharraf during his tenure in the government.

The commanding officers told their chief that their men were all set to strike the militants. What transpired during the operation, however, must have surprised many of them. As the militants offered tough resistance to the Pakistan Army, in some cases paramilitary troops and army soldiers surrendered without a fight apparently in response to the calls from religious leaders in the tribal areas that the operation was meant for killing their own “Muslim brethren”.

In the three years between the maiden military operation in South Waziristan and Musharraf’s retirement as the army chief in November 2007, apprehensions and fears persisted among the military high command of a religious backlash from within the army, says the retired official. Not without a reason. On July 3, 2007 security agencies laid a siege around Lal Masjid in Islamabad where militants led by brothers Abdul Aziz and Abdul Rashid Ghazi were holed up. Senior security officials planned a commando operation (Operation Silence) – involving the breaching of the wall that the mosque shared with its adjacent Jamia Hafsa madrasah – to flush out the militants. But before the commandos could reach the wall from where the militants were firing, a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) of the army passed on the information about the operation to the militants. Consequently, the operation failed and led to loss of several lives (official figures account for the death of 62 people). The Military Intelligence arrested and interrogated the JCO who was then working as the driver of a senior military official. His investigators soon found out that he had sympathies for the militants. There have been many other incidents in which the military personnel either cooperated or collaborated with the militants to launch lethal terrorist attacks. The most well known of these are the attempts to assassinate Musharraf which he has described in detail in his autobiography In the Line of Fire and which resulted in the arrests, court martial and conviction of many low-ranking military officials.

With the arrest in May this year of Brigadier Ali Khan, who was working at a senior position at the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi, and four unnamed majors for having links with Hizbut Tahrir (HuT), a transnational extremist organisation banned in Pakistan, serious questions about the influence of religious ideologies in the army have risen again. The way the army’s public relations machine portrayed their case, laced with strong declarations of not tolerating any sectarian and radical ideologies among the soldiers and officers, is a clear manifestation that the worries about growing religious radicalisation in the armed forces are growing.

Continue reading Islam in the garrison

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani warned Washington that if the Haqqani network is attacked by the U.S, it would be a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty!

US raid on Haqqanis violation of sovereignty: Gilani

by Reuters

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani warned Washington on Tuesday that continued accusations of playing a double game in the war on militancy only risked fanning anti-Americanism in Pakistan.

Gilani, speaking in an interview, also said any unilateral military action by the United States to hunt down Haqqani network inside Pakistan would be a violation of his country’s sovereignty.

Read more: → The News

Gradually say goodbye to strategic assets

Time to say good bye to strategic assets

The time has come for Pakistan to take decisive steps and needs to change policy on terrorism. Pakistani citizens who are paying taxes for human security: Health, education, protection and quality life need it now, just like any other civilized country in the world, they want a clear cut uniform national policy against terrorism & extremism for human dignity, security and peaceful prosperous modern life.

The whole world would also like to welcome shift in Pakistan’s stance towards terror organisations whom it’s Army and its premier intelligence agency ISI considers being its ‘strategic asset’, as U.S. accuses Pakistan of exporting violence to Afghanistan

The White House is calling on Pakistan’s government to break any links it has with the militant Haqqani Network. Obama administration officials say Islamabad has not acted against those who attacked the U.S. Embassy and NATO headquarters in Kabul last week. ….

Read more → LUBP

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

Family marooned in floodwater for eight days evacuated

– by Jan Khaskheli

Shahnaz, a lady health visitor (LHV) in her 40s, was looking upset while being brought out with an eight-member family from her inundated house by a boat. She stayed marooned for eight days inside the flooded house in the affected Sanghar city, which was hit by floods after breaches in artificial drains.

Known among the neighbouring people as Dr Shahnaz, she was running her flourishing maternity home in the city’s neighbourhood. When the floodwater was flowing to the city – comprising a population of 150,000 – she was advised by relatives and family friends to leave her house but she took the floods easy and refused to leave.

The house is located in a low-lying neighbourhood, from where almost all other families had shifted to safer areas. Some of them hired vehicles to reach their relatives living in Karachi and other parts of the country. There was seven feet deep water in the low-lying parts of the city. Many houses collapsed completely. Items were flowing in the streaming water. When she was brought out with her family she was still looking in an unending shock. ….

Read more → The News

Secularism is necessary for a prosperous and peaceful Pakistan

– Different perspective – The Baloch and Sindhis certainly believe that Pakistan should be more than an Islamic monoculture

By Raza Ahmed

Pervez Hoodbhoy is a familiar name among critics who see Pakistani society in the context of extremism and terrorism. A distinctively fierce critic of nuclear weapons and technology, Hoodbhoy is a professor of nuclear and high energy physics at the Department of Physics, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. He has delivered lectures at US and European research centres and universities. In addition to his BS, MS, and PhD degrees from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he has received Baker Award for Electronics and Abdus Salam Prize for Mathematics.

He was awarded UNESCO’s Kalinga Prize in 2003 on science. The same year, he was invited to the Pugwash Council. He has also received the Joseph A. Burton Award from the American Physical Society.

His book, Islam and Science — Religious Orthodoxy and the Battle for Rationality, has been translated into seven languages. Understandably, Hoodbhoy is one of the most sought-after commentator on nuclear and related issues today. Recently, TNS sat with Pervez Hoodbhoy and focused on various aspects of Pakistani state, society, and regional affairs. Excerpts follow. The News on Sunday: What, in your opinion, is the root cause of religious extremism-terrorism in Pakistan?

Pervez Hoodbhoy: It came from Pakistan’s foreign policy in the early 1980s. The US and Pakistan, with Saudi funding, created the deadly jihadist machinery after the USSR invaded Afghanistan. For over a decade, they armed, financed, and trained the mujahideen. Once the USSR withdrew and disintegrated, the infrastructure should have been disbanded. But then Pakistani generals, like Mirza Aslam Beg, decided to use jihadists to conquer Kashmir and establish strategic depth in Afghanistan. Those mujahideen, “assets” as they were called, are now slaughtering our soldiers and officers whenever and wherever they can.

TNS: Has Pakistan been misdirected because no political or intellectual input seems to have gone into policy making?

PH: Civilian and military governments are to be blamed for today’s catastrophic situation. Although he denies it now, let us remember that Nawaz Sharif was thick with Musharraf on Kargil and had accompanied him to visit the troops there. Our insistence on Kashmir being the number one problem is the cause of many of our sorrows. We did not realise that the well-being of Pakistan, and addressing the grievances of Balochistan and Sindh, is more important than liberating Kashmir from Indian occupation. …

Read more → The News

via → Secular Pakistan

The killer has no remorse

– Salmaan Taseer case: No remorse as defence wraps up arguments

By Mudassir Raja

RAWALPINDI: In their concluding remarks on Saturday, lawyers representing Malik Mumtaz Qadri, the self-confessed killer of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer, tried to justify the high-profile assassination by saying the governor’s conduct was “unbecoming of a Muslim”.

Special Judge Anti-Terrorism Court-II Pervez Ali Shah put off the hearing in the case until October 1 after the lawyers representing Qadri said that if their client had not killed Taseer, someone else would have.

Special Public Prosecutor in the case, Saiful Malook, was absent from court on Saturday, though he is likely to make the prosecuting case on the next date of hearing.

Talking to the media after attending the hearing in Adiala Jail, Advocate Raja Shujaur Rehman, representing the accused, said they had argued before the court that the action of Qadri was as instantaneous as the statements of a public figure like the Punjab governor had been provocative. He added that Taseer’s conduct was against the sentiments of the common man.

The lawyer said the accused himself had tried to justify his act by presenting different passages of the Quran and Islamic teachings against blasphemy.

The governor’s statements against blasphemy laws, Rehman said, were also against the laws of the country but state machinery did not take any legal action against him.

Courtesy: →  The Express Tribune, September 25th, 2011.

Christian Fundos!

My Life as a Daughter in the Christian Patriarchy Movement — How I Was Taught to Obey Men, Birth 8 Kids and Do Battle Against Secular America

We were raised to fight the enemy, be it Satan or environmentalists and feminists; to come against them in spiritual warfare and at the polls.

By Libby Anne

Deep within America, beyond your typical evangelicals and run of the mill fundamentalists, nurtured within the homeschool movement and growing by the day, are the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements. This is where I grew up.

I learned that women are to be homemakers while men are to be protectors and providers. I was taught that a woman should not have a career, but should rather keep the home and raise the children and submit to her husband, who was her god-given head and authority. I learned that homeschooling is the only godly way to raise children, because to send them to public school is to turn a child over to the government and the secular humanists. I was taught that children must be trained up in the way they should go every minute of every day. I learned that a woman is always under male authority, first her father, then her husband, and perhaps, someday, her son. I was told that children are always a blessing, and that it was imperative to raise up quivers full of warriors for Christ, equipped to take back the culture and restore it to its Christian foundations. …

Read more → butterfliesandwheels

via → AlterNet

Pakistan’s Dalits denied flood relief because of caste discrimination

– Desperately needed shelter and relief items are not reaching hundreds of thousands of Dalits who are left homeless after the severe flooding in Pakistan’s Sindh province. Dalits are being discriminated against because their caste relegates them to the bottom of the social order in Pakistan and ‘untouchability practices’ exclude them from sharing the same shelters as other members of society.

The President of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardai, has spoken out against this discrimination against Dalits saying that any discrimination in extending rescue, relief and rehabilitation operations to anyone on the basis of caste, creed or religion is “Unacceptable” and has called for a report from the provincial government on the situation. ….

Read more → IDSN

You can’t stop marching, even when it looks like there is no way, find a way, through the mud, and the muck, and the driving rain, we don’t stop … because we know the rightness of our cause – President Obama

“… You can’t stop marching … Even when folks have hit you over the head, you can’t stop marching … Even when they turn the hoses on you, you can’t stop … Even when somebody fires you for speaking out, you can’t stop … Even when it looks like there is no way, you find a way, you can’t stop … through the mud, and the muck, and the driving rain, we don’t stop … because we know the rightness of our cause …” – President Obama Speaks At The Congressional Black Caucus – 9-24-2011.

YouTube

After the Haqqani suicide bombers to attack the US Embassy in Kabul, the Pakistan Army now says “there is a need to de-escalate the situation!?

– Commanders ‘in favour of defusing tensions’

By Baqir Sajjad Syed

ISLAMABAD: Top army commanders held an extraordinary meeting on Sunday in the wake of US allegations about ISI’s links with the Haqqani network and agreed on the need to de-escalate the situation. …

Read more → DAWN.COM

Sen. Graham Doesn’t Rule Out Military Action Against Pakistan if No Crack Down on Extremists

– Graham Doesn’t Rule Out Military Action Against Pakistan if No Crack Down on Extremists

WASHINGTON — Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham on Sunday wouldn’t rule out U.S. military action if Pakistan’s intelligence agencies continue supporting terrorists who are attacking American forces.

Outgoing Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen last week accused Pakistan’s intelligence agency of backing the Haqqani network, a terror group active in Afghanistan but based out of Pakistan who attacked the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan and detonated a truck bomb that wounded scores of American soldiers.

Arguing that Pakistan has made a “tremendous miscalculation” in allowing the Haqqanis to operate without consequence, Graham said the U.S. won’t make the same mistake with Pakistan.

“The sovereign nation of Pakistan is engaging in hostile acts against the United States and our ally Afghanistan that must cease. I will leave it up to the experts, but if the experts believe that we need to elevate our response, they will have a lot of bipartisan support on Capitol Hill,” the South Carolina senator told “Fox News Sunday.”

White House senior adviser David Plouffe said Mullen and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke with their counterparts in Pakistan last week and made the point that safe havens and support for the Haqqani Network will not be abided.

But Plouffe wouldn’t say if the U.S. would cut aid to Pakistan if it didn’t crack down on the Haqqanis.

Graham, who’s on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the relationship with Pakistan is flawed but is not spoiled to the point of abandonment. However, he did suggest that the U.S. could “reconfigure” assistance to Pakistan.

“No longer are we to designating an amount of aid to Pakistan. We’re going to have a more transactional relationship,” Graham said.

Read more:→ http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/09/25/graham-doesnt-rule-out-military-action-against-pakistan-if-no-crack-down-on/#ixzz1Z0sHhaS2

via → Siasat.pk

AQ Khan on Pakistan: Bastards first used us and now playing dirty games with us

–  Chidanand Rajghatta

WASHINGTON: In an angry, bitter, self-exculpatory letter he wrote to his wife, Pakistan’s nuclear architect A Q Khanhas seriously implicated the Pakistani military and the Chinese government in proliferation of nuclear technology and material, and instructed her to take a “tough stand” if Pakistani establishment “plays any mischief with me.””Tell them the bastards first used us and now playing dirty games with us,” Khan concludes in a letter to his Dutch wife Henny, asking her to contact the media, in particular British journalist Simon Henderson, his confidante for many years, in a December 2003 letter.

Henderson, custodian of many of Khan’s secrets revealed to him as an “insurance” against harassment or worse by the Pakistani establishment, has periodically leaked them to the western media each time Islamabad has turned the screws on Khan, who has been under house detention and close watch ever since Pakistan’s proliferation activities were exposed early last decade.

In the latest such expose, Henderson last week provided Fox News with Khan’s letter to his wife in which the nuclear engineer reveals a stunning degree of proliferation between Islamabad and Beijing, evidently with government compliance. Pakistan has insisted that the proliferation was a rogue operation by Khan and the government or the military had nothing to do with it.

But in the letter Khans says “You know we had cooperation with China for 15 years. We put up a centrifuge plant at Hanzhong (km250 south-west of Xian). We sent 135 C-130 plane loads of machines, inverters, valves, flow meters, pressure gauges. Our teams stayed there for weeks to help and their teams stayed here for weeks at a time. Late minister Liu We, V. M. [vice minister] Li Chew, Vice Minister Jiang Shengjie used to visit us.”

The C-130 military transport planes were given to Pakistan by the United States under a military aid program; Washington has continued to lavish Islamabad with such aid even after reports of its misuse. In fact, documents relating to Pakistan’s proliferation through much of the 1990s suggest Washington was asleep on the watch through much of the nuclear exchanges involving Pakistan, China, North Korea, Iran, and Libya, or simply chose to close its eyes.

Khan also reveals that “the Chinese gave us drawings of the nuclear weapon, gave us kg50 enriched uranium, gave us 10 tons of UF6 (natural) and 5 tons of UF6 (3%). Chinese helped PAEC [Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, the rival organisation to the Khan Research Laboratories] in setting up UF6 plant, production reactor for plutonium and reprocessing plant.”

Further, Khan discloses that Gen Jehangir Karamat [chief of army staff 1996-8, sent by Musharraf as ambassador to US 2004-2006] “took $3 million through me from the N Koreans and asked me to give them some drawings and machines.” In a separate letter to Fox News, Karamat has denied the allegation.

Many of these disclosures are elaborated in detail during Khan’s “questioning,” under pressure from Washington, by the ISI, which put out a separate 17-page report to mollify the US and its allies when the extent of Pakistan’s proliferation was revealed through Libya in 2003.

Khan’s letter to his wife was evidently meant to warn the Pakistani establishment that no harm should come to him and his family even though the nuclear engineer had by then agreed to be the fall guy and agreed, under orders from them military ruler, Pervez Musharraf, to take the blame for government and military-initiated nuclear proliferation in order to save Pakistan from embarrassment and sanctions.

“They might try to get rid of me to cover up all the things (dirty) they got done by me in connection with Iran, Libya & N. Korea,” Khan writes to his wife. “This is just to forewarn you.”

He then instructs her to “Get out quickly to Dubai with Tanya [grand-daughter who lives with them] for a while or leave Tanya with Ayesha [daughter who lives in Islamabad],” signing off the letter with “Love you, Khantje” (diminutive name used between Khan and his wife).
Courtesy: → TOI

via → WICHAAR.COM

Americans are liars & president Obama is also a liar – says former ISI chief, Gen. Javed Ashraf Qazi

Americans are liars & president Obama is also a liar because he lied on the Raymond Davis issue – says former ISI chief, Gen. Javed Ashraf Qazi in Pakistani political talk show “Capital Talk with Hamid Mir” on September 25th, 2011). The language of the talk show is urdu (Hindi).

Courtesy: → Geo Tv News (Capital Talk with Hamid Mir– 25th September 2011)

via → ZemTvSiasat.pkYouTube