Tag Archives: abandon

US should dump Islamabad, Pakistan diplomat says

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.”

Continue reading US should dump Islamabad, Pakistan diplomat says

Democrats and Republicans unite around criticism of Pakistan

By Josh Rogin

In a rare moment of bipartisan unity in the Senate, Democrats and Republicans joined together to admonish Pakistan for its treatment of the doctor who helped the United States find Osama bin Laden.

At a Senate Appropriations Committee markup this morning, senior senators from both sides of the aisle took turns accusing Pakistan of supporting terrorism, undermining the war in Afghanistan, extorting the U.S. taxpayer, and punishing Shakil Afridi, the doctor who worked with the CIA to find Bin Laden and was sentenced this week to 33 years in jail for treason. One senior senator predicted the Pakistani government was about to fall.

Continue reading Democrats and Republicans unite around criticism of Pakistan

President Zardari pardon Indian Spy Gopal Das

Indian spy Gopal Das returns to India

LAHORE: Indian spy Gopal Das, held in Pakistan for 27 years was handed over to Indian officials at Wagah border on Thursday. Das was released on presidential orders.

The spy was transferred from the Kot Lakhpat jail to Wagah Border in a special vehicle. The notification by President Asif Ali Zardari to remit the remainder of the spy’s prison sentence was issued on March 27.

President Zardari issued the notice on humanitarian grounds following an appeal from India’s Supreme Court.

Das — who told reporters he was 26 when he was arrested — was sentenced to life in prison in June 1987 and had been due for release by the end of this year.

Pakistan’s presidency did not say why he was convicted, but Das himself confirmed reports that he had been jailed for spying.

“Yes… I went to Pakistan on a spying mission and I was arrested for espionage,” said Das, who was clearly angered by what he saw as his abandonment by the Indian authorities.

“Indian intelligence never bothered to get me released from jail in Pakistan,” he said.

“I carry a grudge against the Indian leadership because it does not bother about Indian prisoners still rotting in Pakistan prisons for many years,” he added.

He made a point of thanking the president and prime minister of Pakistan for his early release.

Read more » The Express Tribune

Killing OBL & US citizenship for Dr Shakil Afridi, says congressman

US citizenship for Dr Shakil Afridi, says congressman

By Huma Imtiaz

WASHINGTON: A United States (US) Congressman has submitted a bill to the House of Representatives asking to grant US citizenship to Dr Shakil Afridi, the doctor who provided vital help to the US in finding Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad.

The bill submitted by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher on Friday, called for Dr Afridi to be deemed “a naturalized citizen of the United States.”

In his speech in Congress, Rohrabacher, who is also the Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight, said, “Pakistan’s Inquiry Commission on the Abbottabad Operation, the US mission which killed bin Laden, has recommended that Dr Afridi be tried for treason for helping the US. If convicted, he could be executed. My bill would grant him US citizenship and send a direct and powerful message to those in the Pakistani government and military who protected the mastermind of 9/11 for all those years and who are now seeking retribution on those who helped to execute bin Laden.”

Rohrabacher cited media reports that Dr Afridi’s wife, an American citizen of Pakistani origin was also missing. “This bill shows the world that America does not abandon its friends,”  adding that 21 members of Congress had endorsed the bill as well.

The bill, which was referred to the Committee on Judiciary, comes after US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said in an interview last week that Dr Afridi had provided key intelligence that led to the raid in Abbottabad.

Media reports had earlier said that Dr Afridi had organized a polio vaccination campaign in the city for the Central Intelligence Agency, in order to collect DNA sample to prove that the al Qaeda leader was present in the Abbottabad compound.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune

http://tribune.com.pk/story/332342/us-citizenship-for-dr-shakil-afridi-says-us-congressman/

China Pullout Deals Blow to Pakistan

Mining Company Abandons $19 Billion Pact; Move Is Setback to Islamabad’s Effort to Establish Beijing as Foil to U.S.

By TOM WRIGHT in New Delhi and JEREMY PAGE in Beijing

A Chinese mining company pulled out of what was to be Pakistan’s largest foreign-investment deal because of security concerns, complicating Islamabad’s effort to position its giant neighbor as an alternative to the U.S. as its main ally.

An official at China Kingho Group, one of China’s largest private coal miners, said on Thursday it had backed out in August from a $19 billion deal in southern Sindh province because of concerns for its personnel after recent bombings in Pakistan’s major cities. …

Read more » The Wall Street Journal

Peace is not in line with Pak generals – Karzai

Ruling out negotiations: ‘Taliban talks futile’

With no headway being made, Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his top aides have hinted that they may abandon efforts at peace talks with the Taliban after concluding that negotiating with the militant leadership was futile.

Instead, Karzai has said, negotiations should actually be held with Pakistan – an apparent dig at Islamabad, which is regularly accused of harbouring the Taliban’s senior leadership.

The comments come on the heels of fresh allegations that the assassination of Afghanistan’s top peace negotiator Burhanuddin Rabbani in Kabul was planned in Pakistan. Rabbani was killed in a bombing by a purported Taliban emissary who had come to visit the former Afghanistan president last month.

The frustration with stalled talks and the escalating violence come months before a key conference is to be held in Bonn, Germany – where it is expected that the Afghan end game will be charted. There had been reports that the Taliban leadership would be involved, in some manner, about the future of the war-torn nation.

“The peace process which we began is dead,” Rangin Dadfar Spanta, Karzai’s national security adviser, said in an interview on Saturday. “It’s a joke,” The Wall Street Journal reported.

Karzai and his aides have decided to shift their efforts on putting pressure on Pakistan, which has allegedly provided aid and sanctuary to Afghan insurgents.

“Their messengers are coming and killing … So with whom should we make peace?” Karzai said in the recorded address to the country’s senior religious leaders.

“I cannot find Mullah Muhammad Omar,” Karzai said, referring to the Taliban supreme leader. “Where is he? I cannot find the Taliban council. Where is it? “I don’t have any other answer except to say that the other side for this negotiation is Pakistan.”

Afghan officials have also unilaterally cancelled plans to host a trilateral meeting on Oct 8 with Pakistan and the United States. Instead, a special Afghan delegation will present Pakistani leaders with evidence about the killing of Rabbani, WSJ reported.

Courtesy: → The Express Tribune, October 2nd, 2011.

People of the World: Please Take Note! Where is your Conscience!

“Shattered Humanity on Move Again”

By Dr Ahmed H. Makhdoom

According to the Times Of India News: [“ AMRITSAR: As many as 600 Hindus, including women and children, arrived in India via Attari land border on Monday. Custom’s deputy commissioner RK Duggal said that the group arrived here on pilgrim visas. Sources at Attari said that these Hindus, largely from Sindh province of Pakistan, had expressed their desire to permanently settle in India and have come with a large quantity of luggage and household goods.” http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Large-contingent-of-Hindus-from-Pakistan-arrives-in-India/articleshow/9193434.cms]

This is absolutely sad, heart-breaking, heart-wrenching news! Why do the simple, innocent and peace-loving people be forced to take such painful and nerve-wrecking course in their life? Why do they have to resort to this tragic move of leaving their Motherland?

Why do they have to abandon and forsake their motherland where the ashes of their ancestors lay strewn in field, plains, hills and rivers! Why do they give up on their motherland, where the bones of their loved ones are entombed since centuries? Why do they have to take such a drastic action! Does the civilized world take note of such tragic, catastrophic and calamitous plight of desperate human beings?

Oh Prince! How can this maid ever abandon, Thought and yearning for my own kith and kin? Within heart and soul are love’s sharp skewers, Pierced inside me without blacksmith’s hammers; Darts and arrows coated with love and longing, Thousands of them my beloveds kept striking; Humble dwellings back home and kindred dears, Alas! This unfortunate maid had not seen for years.” (Shah Bhittai: Translated by Ahmed Makhdoom) (Note: In Bhittai’s epic ‘Umar Marvi;’ Soomra=the caste of Prince Umar, the ruler of Sindh)

Surely, it is not easy or joyful leaving ones beloved kindred folks, with whom they have spent years with love, happiness and mutual respect and admiration! Certainly, it is not pleasant to leave ones Motherland, where one had stayed since centuries! Really, there must be something wrong! Certainly, serious human rights violations must have taken place! Surely, the lives of these despondent people must have been at risk! Surely, these simpleton people must have been threatened, abused and vilified!

Where is the civilized world? Why they have shut their eyes to the sorrows and sufferings of human beings? Why the powerful countries, world’s human rights organizations, international social and welfare organizations and resourceful, potent and mighty individuals closed their ears to the cries of pain and anguish of these punctured, pushed and punched people?

This is a clear case of ethnic cleansing and serious human rights abuse perpetrated, planned and engineered by the policies of establishment. And, the children of the Soil leave, and Mother Sindh becomes dejected, demoralized, and depressed! And the Sons of the Soil in Sindh become extinct!

We demand immediate investigation into this very sad and sordid affair! We appeal and plead the World’s Human Rights Organisations, International Court of Justice, International Criminal Court and the United Nations Organisations to enquire from government officials about what is going on and why poor innocent people are being resorted to take such drastic action! The culprits who have been the cause of such a tragedy should be apprehended, tried and punished. Long Live Humanity!

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, 16 July, 2011

US rejects demand to vacate Shamsi base

WASHINGTON / ISLAMABAD: The US is rejecting demands from Pakistan that American personnel abandon a military base used by the CIA to stage drone strikes against militants, US officials told Reuters.

US personnel have not left the Shamsi air base and there is no plan for them to do so, said a US official familiar with the matter. “That base is neither vacated nor being vacated,” the official said. The information was confirmed by a second US official.

On Wednesday, federal Minister for Defence Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar said that US had been asked to stop using the base for drone strikes and vacate it. ….

Read more → DAWN.COM

‘Stable Afghanistan not worth abandoning strategic interests’

By Shahbaz Rana

Excerp:

…. The German cabinet member appeared reluctant to commit to additional assistance for security. “We know that for our work we need a secure environment but we cannot make payments as much as you require,” he said. …

…. The German minister urged Pakistan to implement tax reforms. “For us as donors, a strong, big and proud country must do more than have revenues from only 1.5 million people out of a 180 million population as it is important for us to explain our taxpayers,” he added.

To read complete article: The Express Tribune

Pakistan has been playing us all for suckers

Britain is spending millions bolstering Pakistan, but it is a nation in thrall to radical Islam and is using its instability to blackmail the West

by Christina Lamb

When David Cameron announced £650m in education aid for Pakistan last week, I guess the same thought occurred to many British people as it did to me: why are we doing this?

While we are slashing our social services and making our children pay hefty university fees, why should we be giving all this money to a country that has reduced its education budget to 1.5% of GDP while spending several times as much on defence? A country where only 1.7m of a population of 180m pay tax? A country that is stepping up its production of nuclear weapons so much that its arsenal will soon outnumber Britain’s? A country so corrupt that when its embassy in Washington held an auction to raise money for flood victims, and a phone rang, one Pakistani said loudly: “That’s the president calling for his cut”? A country which has so alienated powerful friends in America that they now want to abandon it?

As someone who has spent almost as much time in Pakistan as in Britain over the past 24 years, I feel particularly conflicted, as I have long argued we should be investing more in education there.

That there is a crisis in Pakistan’s education system is beyond doubt. A report out last month by the Pakistan education taskforce, a non-partisan body, shows that at least 7m children are not in school. Indeed, one-tenth of the world’s children not in school are in Pakistan. The first time I went to Pakistan in 1987 I was astonished to see that while billions of pounds’ worth of weapons from the West were going to Pakistan’s intelligence service to distribute to the Afghan mujaheddin, there was nothing for schools.

The Saudis filled the gap by opening religious schools, some of which became breeding grounds for militants and trained the Taliban. Cameron hopes that investing in secular education will provide Pakistan’s children with an alternative to radicalism and reduce the flow of young men who want to come and bomb the West.

“I would struggle to find a country that it is more in Britain’s interests to see progress and succeed than Pakistan,” he said. “If Pakistan is a success, we will have a good friend to trade with and deal with in the future … If we fail, we will have all the problems of migration and extremism that we don’t want to see.”

As the sixth most populous country, with an arsenal of between 100 and 120 nuclear weapons, as the base of both Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban leadership, and as homeland to a large population in Britain, Pakistan is far more important to our security than Afghanistan. But after spending two weeks travelling in Pakistan last month, I feel the situation has gone far beyond anything that a long-term strategy of building schools and training teachers can hope to restrain.

The Pakistani crisis has reached the point where Washington — its paymaster to the tune of billions of dollars over the past 10 years — is being urged to tear up the strategic alliance underpinning the war in Afghanistan.

Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican congressman from California who sits on the House foreign affairs committee and has been dealing with Pakistan since working in the Reagan White House, says he now realises “they were playing us for suckers all along”.

“I used to be Pakistan’s best friend on the Hill but I now consider Pakistan to be an unfriendly country to the US,” he said. “Pakistan has literally been getting away with murder and when you tie that with the realisation that they went ahead and used their scarce resources to build nuclear weapons, it is perhaps the most frightening of all the things that have been going on over the last few years.

“We were snookered. For a long time we bought into this vision that Pakistan’s military was a moderate force and we were supporting moderates by supporting the military. In fact the military is in alliance with radical militants. Just because they shave their beards and look western they fooled a lot of people.”

Christine Fair, assistant professor at the centre for peace and security studies at Georgetown University in Washington, is equally scathing. “Pakistan’s development strategy is to rent out its strategic scariness and not pay taxes itself,” she said. “We should let them fail.”The Pakistani crisis has reached the point where Washington is being urged to tear up the strategic alliance underpinning the war in Afghanistan

Pakistan’s prime minister, Yousuf Gilani, comes from one of Punjab’s largest land-owning families. Watching Cameron sign over the £650m, he said: “I think the root cause of terrorism and extremism is illiteracy. Therefore we are giving a lot of importance to education.”

If that were the case one might expect Lahore University of Management Sciences, one of the most elite universities in the country, to be a bastion of liberalism. Yet in the physics department Pervez Hoodbhoy, professor of nuclear physics, sits with his head in his hands staring out at a sea of burqas. “People used to imagine there was only a lunatic fringe in Pakistan society of these ultra-religious people,” he said. “Now we’re learning that this is not a fringe but a majority.”

What brought this home to him was the murder earlier this year of Salman Taseer, the half-British governor of Punjab who had called for the pardoning of a Christian woman sentenced to death under the blasphemy law. The woman, Aasia Bibi, had been convicted after a mullah had accused her of impugning Islam when she shouted at two girls who refused to drink water after she had touched it because they said it was unclean.

Taseer had been a key figure in Pakistan’s politics for decades and had suffered prison and torture, yet when he said the Aasia case showed the law needed reforming, he was vilified by the mullahs and the media. In January he was shot 27 times by one of his own guards. His murderer, Mumtaz Qadri, became a hero, showered with rose petals by lawyers when he appeared in public.

After the killing, Hoodbhoy was asked to take part in a televised debate at the Islamabad Press Club in front of students. His fellow panellists were Farid Piracha, spokesman for the country’s biggest religious party, Jamaat-e-Islami, and Maulana Sialvi, a supposed moderate mullah from the Barelvi sect. Both began by saying that the governor brought the killing on himself, as “he who blasphemes his prophet shall be killed”. The students clapped.

Hoodbhoy then took the microphone. “Even as the mullahs frothed and screamed I managed to say that the culture of religious extremism was resulting in a bloodbath in which the majority of victims were Muslims; that non-Muslims were fleeing Pakistan. I said I’m not an Islamic scholar but I know there are Muslim countries that don’t think the Koran says blasphemy carries the death sentence, such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Egypt.

“I didn’t get a single clap. When I directly addressed Sialvi and said you have Salman Taseer’s blood on your hands, he looked at them and exclaimed: how I wish I had done it! He got thunderous applause.”

Afterwards, “I came back and wanted to dig a hole in the ground,” he said. “I can’t figure out why this country has gone so mad. I’ve seen my department change and change and change. There wasn’t one burqa-clad woman in the 1980s but today the non-hijabi, non-burqa student is an exception. As for the male students, they all come in turbans and beards with these fierce looks on their faces.”

Yet, he points out, these students are the super-elite, paying high fees to attend the university: “It’s nothing to do with causes normally associated with radicalism; it’s that the mullah is allowed complete freedom to spread the message of hate and liberals are bunkering down. Those who speak out are gone and the government has abdicated its responsibility and doesn’t even pretend to protect life and property.”

Raza Rumi, a young development worker and artist who blogs regularly, agrees. As we sat in a lively coffee bar in Lahore that could have been in the West until the lights went off in one of the frequent power cuts, he said: “Radicalism in Pakistan isn’t equated with poverty and backwardness — we’re seeing more radicalisation of the urban middle and upper class. I look at my own extended family. When I was growing up, maybe one or two people had a beard. Last time I went to a family wedding I was shell-shocked. All these uncles and aunts who were regular Pakistanis watching cricket and Indian movies now all have beards or are in hijabs.

“I think we’re in an existential crisis. The moderate political parties have taken a back seat and chickened out as they just want to protect their positions. What is Pakistan’s identity? Is it an Islamist identity as defined by Salman Taseer’s murder, ISI [the intelligence service], the jihadists? Is that really what we want to be?”

He does not know how much longer he will write about such things. “I’ve been getting repeated emails that I should leave the country or shut up,” he said.

When I left the cafe I was followed for the rest of the day by a small yellow car.

Courtesy: thesundaytimes.co.uk