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. ….

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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.

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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.

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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. ….

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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. ….

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