Tag Archives: accountability

ECP urged to shun ‘dictatorial-era’ tactics

KARACHI: Members of the public, civil society, professional bodies and trade unions have expressed their strong disapproval of the tactics being used to push the election process in a certain direction, demanding that no attempt be made by any quarter to vitiate the atmosphere that can lead to subverting the will of the people as the upcoming elections are of crucial importance to the future of the country.

The statement issued on Thursday has been endorsed by I.A. Rehman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Mohammad Tahseen of the South Asia Partnership Pakistan, Karamat Ali of the Pakistan Institute of Labour Education and Research, Suleman Abro of the Sindh Agriculture Forestry Workers’ Coordination Organisation, Naseer Memon of the Strengthening Participatory Organisation, Jami Chandio of the Centre for Peace and Civil Society, Dr Tipu Sultan of the Pakistan Medical Association, Dr Manzoor Awan of the Sungi Development Foundation, Samson Salamat of the Centre for Human Rights Education, Farhat Parveen and Mir Zulfiqar of NOW Communities, Uzma Noorani of the Women’s Action Forum, Zahida Detho of the Sindh Rural Partners Organisation, Javed Qazi of the Forum for Secular Pakistan, Nasir Mansoor of the National Trade Unions Federation, Saeed Baloch of the Pakistan Fisherfolk Forum, Dr Kaiser Bengali, Dr A.H. Nayyar of the Pakistan Peace Coalition, B.M. Kutty, Zulfiqar Halepoto and others.

“We express particular concern at the process of scrutiny of the candidates by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), which amounts to Zia-era vigilantism and a disguised return to the ‘accountability before elections’ mantra. This whole exercise smells of mala fide intentions,” the statement read.

Continue reading ECP urged to shun ‘dictatorial-era’ tactics

ISI should be accountable – No clue to Rs4.1bn paid to ISI for project

ISLAMABAD: Already in the eye of the storm for its political role, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency came under criticism at a Public Accounts Committee meeting on Tuesday for having spent over Rs4 billion on a project which never materialised.

The PAC of the National Assembly was informed that the National Police Bureau (NPB) had handed over Rs2.1bn to the ISI in 2005-06 for setting up an automated fingerprints identification system and a police record and office management system.

The project also included the setting up of a national integrated trunk radio system for police. Later, the amount was increased to Rs4.1bn.

According to an audit report presented before the PAC, the project had to be completed during 2005-06. However, no progress was reported in 2006-07.

NPB Director General Aleena Saeed Iqbal said she had repeatedly sought from the ISI information about the status of the project and details of the accounts, but there had been no response.

Continue reading ISI should be accountable – No clue to Rs4.1bn paid to ISI for project

Arsalan-Iftikhar case: NAB dissolves JIT after SC’s concerns

ISLAMABAD: National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Thursday dissolved the Joint Investigation Committee (JIT) which was investigating Arsalan-Iftikhar case after the Supreme Court had stopped it from conducting inquiry for two days, DawnNews reported.

A two member bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Khilji Arif heard the review case of alleged corruption of Arsalan Iftikhar, son of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

The Prosecutor General NAB K.K. Agha of the NAB informed the apex court that the accountability bureau will formulate a new team comprising of NAB’s officials.

In reference to yesterday’s court order of stopping the JIT to continue its investigation of the Arsalan –Iftikhar case after one of the members of the team Faisal Memon was accused of being partial, Agha said that “NAB has decided to formulate a new team comprising of its own officials.” Adding that, “the bureau does not doubt the credibility of Memon, but it is for the greater good that we form a new investigation team.”

On the petition of Malik Riaz’s attorney Zahid Bukhari, the apex court directed the investigation teams and other sub ordinate courts, who are dealing with other cases of Riaz and his family, to perform their duties without getting under pressure of the proceedings of Arsalan-iftikhar case.

The apex court subsequently adjourned the hearing for an indefinite period of time.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

http://dawn.com/2012/08/02/arsalan-iftikhar-case-nab-dissolves-jit-after-scs-concerns/

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More details » BBC urdu

http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/pakistan/2012/08/120802_arsalan_nab_supreme_court_uk.shtml

Independence and accountability

By: Yousuf Nasim

Over the last two decades, a significant amount of work has been done in Pakistan on the Constitutional subject of Judicial Independence. While the Al-Jehad Trust Case set the stage for this development by limiting political interference in the process of judicial appointments, the doctrine – as it exists in Pakistan today – reached its nadir with the Supreme Court’s order in Nadeem Ahmed v Federation of Pakistan, which precluded perceived nascent threats to independence through the proposed 18th Amendment. The 19th Amendment to the Constitution, which followed shortly thereafter, crystallised the predominance of the judiciary insofar as fresh appointments were concerned. Today the process is overseen by the Judicial Commission of Pakistan, which is composed primarily of sitting judges. The JCP nominates individuals for consideration to a Parliamentary Committee, whose decision is open to judicial review.

Continue reading Independence and accountability

What is wrong with our judiciary? By: Imran Kureshi

In the darkest days of dictatorship, because of the previous role of some courageous judges, their respected and somewhat inviolable positions, the public has always considered the judiciary as a ray of hope

Primarily what is wrong with our judiciary is that apparently it is corrupt. No! This is not a jaundiced personal opinion; this is according to the rating of Transparency International. Among the primary 10 institutions in the country previously, the judiciary was very low in the ‘corruption’ ratings. In 2008 and 2009, it rocketed up to number three, in 2010, it was number six and in 2011, it was number four. Such an increase in corruption is understandable because of the inadequacy of the judicial accountability regime.. A vocal section of the public and media influence public opinion considerably, and in the eyes of this section, the judiciary with its newfound independence can do no wrong. It is about time somebody revealed the other side of the picture. In this country, it has always been a problem of who will check the corruption of those who are checking corruption.

Continue reading What is wrong with our judiciary? By: Imran Kureshi

Parliament cannot discuss SC judges’ conduct: SC

Supreme Court has said PAC cannot carry out audit of apex judiciary as per Article 58.

According to a report presented to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Tuesday morning three existing and twelve retired judges of the Supreme Court received two residential plots each worth millions of rupees in expensive sectors of the federal capital.

The Supreme Court (SC) refused to provide audit report details to the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) saying the Parliament cannot review judges conduct.

This was said in a reply written by Registrar Supreme Court to the Chairman Public Accounts Committee with the consent of full court bench of the Supreme Court in which it is mentioned that constitution prohibits PAC to call any official including Registrar of the apex judiciary, however President, being head of the state has the authority to decide about the consultative sphere of the Supreme Court, so the committee should consult President of Pakistan

If the committee is interested in a formal court order, it should approach the president , the letter said

The letter referred to Article 68 which said: “No discussion shall take place in [Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament)] with respect to the conduct of any Judge of the Supreme Court or of a High Court in the discharge of his duties”.

It is worth mentioning here that on the orders of former Chairman PAC Chaudhary Nisar Ali Khan, a letter was written to the Registrar Supreme Court for presenting its accounts before the committee, however it was not dispatched at that time. But new chairman Nadeem Afzal Chan ordered to dispatch it.

Courtesy: Dunya News Tv

http://dunyanews.tv/index.php?key=Q2F0SUQ9MiNOaWQ9ODgxMzc=

Via – twitter

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More detials » BBC urdu

http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/pakistan/2012/07/120703_pac_judges_sa.shtml

Arsalan’s letter ‘threatening’: NAB

Islamabad: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chief Fasih Bukhari has said that the letter Chief Justice’s son Arsalan Iftikhar sent to him was ‘threatening’.

Speaking to media on Saturday, Fasih Bukhari said that Arslan Iftikhar tried to influence the ongoing investigation against him, adding that notice will be taken in this regard.

“The letter is threatening, it uses threatening language,” said Bukhari

Earlier, Arsalan Iftikhar wrote a letter to NAB Chairman, expressing serious reservations over the conduct of the attorney general, and distrust in NAB as well as the FIA.

It is worth mentioning that both the organizations will carry out the investigation regarding the alleged financial impropriety involving Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry’s son Arsalan Iftikhar, and business tycoon Malik Riaz.

Bukhari told the media that a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) comprising the FIA, NAB and police among others had been formed to probe the Arsalan Iftikhar- Malik Riaz case.

He said the JIT will be headed by the NAB director general (DG) Financial Crime Investigation Cell, as per the order of the Supreme Court and the Attorney General’s letter.

Speaking on the issue of conducting an unbiased investigation, the NAB chief said, “It doesn’t matter if we know Malik Riaz or Nawaz Sharif, the investigation will be unbiased.” …..

Read more » Saach

http://www.saach.tv/2012/06/30/cjs-sent-threatening-letter-nab-head/

Bangladesh model » By Najam Sethi

As expected, the Supreme Court has sent PM Yousaf Raza Gillani packing. As expected, too, the decision has been hailed and decried by the opposition and government respectively. But independent opinion at home and abroad is uniformly critical of the court’s unprecedented political activism that has relentlessly targeted the PPP – the decision has been variously described as a judicial “soft-coup“, “vendetta-judgment” and “political victimization“.

Certainly, some of the SC’s recent judgments have dampened our enthusiasm for its “populism”. In the contempt case against Mr Gilani, for example, the 7-member court which convicted him with a 30 second punishment did not expressly disqualify him in its detailed judgment on April 26th, yet a 3-member bench did so summarily in a short order on 19th June on the basis of a highly dubious clause of the constitution which has never been used before according to which Mr Gilani has been deemed not to be a good Muslim or Amin! It is significant that the two petitioners in the case were PMLN and PTI leaders and the SC blithely entertained and adjudged their prayers directly instead of forwarding them to the election commission as expressly ordained by the constitution.

Earlier, the SC’s approach in the case of Arsalan Chaudhry, son of the Chief Justice, had raised many sober eyebrows. The CJ took suo motu note of it, chaired a two judge bench, put a copy of the Holy Quran on his desk and declared that justice would be done in an Islamic fashion a la Hazrat Umar, disregarding the very code of conduct for judges that he had personally helped to formulate in 2009 in which a judge may not sit in judgment in matters such as the one before him. Then he gagged the media and accuser, hauling up both for contempt. No less disquieting was his decision not to set up a neutral commission of inquiry of either the bar or bench as demanded by many, instead passing the buck to the controversial Attorney General, a clear deviation from his decision to set up a judicial commission to investigate Memogate. Under the circumstances, if the AG’s Joint Investigation Team comprising the FIA and NAB holds against Arsalan Chaudhry and or the CJP and his family, it will be denounced as a vindictive attempt by the government to hurt the CJP and SC. The decision against the PM comes on the heels of the Arsalan case and has swiftly diverted public attention from it. What next?

Continue reading Bangladesh model » By Najam Sethi

Why CJ receives Holbrooke?

CJ receives Holbrooke, calls on Zardari

By Matiullah Jan

ISLAMABAD, June 5 Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry met visiting US envoy Richard Holbrooke in the Supreme Court building on Friday.

The meeting was held at the request of the visiting US envoy Mr Holbrooke who came to meet the chief justice in his chambers,” said Dr Faqir Hussain, Registrar of the Supreme Court. He said that officials of the Foreign Office were present at the meeting.

Continue reading Why CJ receives Holbrooke?

China’s ‘Bad Emperor’ Problem – Francis Fukuyama

For more than 2000 years, the Chinese political system has been built around a highly sophisticated centralized bureaucracy, which has run what has always been a vast society through top-down methods.  What China never developed was a rule of law, that is, an independent legal institution that would limit the discretion of the government, or democratic accountability.  What the Chinese substituted for formal checks on power was a bureaucracy bound by rules and customs which made its behavior reasonably predictable, and a Confucian moral system that educated leaders to look to public interests rather than their own aggrandizement.  This system is, in essence, the same one that is operating today, with the Chinese Communist Party taking the role of Emperor.

Continue reading China’s ‘Bad Emperor’ Problem – Francis Fukuyama

Elements of the ISI and Pakistan’s military operate radical Islamic groups that are actively murdering Americans

US Congress introduces Pak ‘terrorism accountability’ bill

A far-reaching legislation has been introduced in the US Congress that would deduct $50 million from the aid to Islamabad for every American killed by terrorists operating from the safe havens in Pakistan with the ”support” of ISI.

“Pakistan has for decades leveraged radical terrorist groups to carry out attacks in India and Afghanistan,” Congressman Dana Rohrabacher said introducing the ‘Pakistan Terrorism Accountability Act of 2012′.

Continue reading Elements of the ISI and Pakistan’s military operate radical Islamic groups that are actively murdering Americans

New York Times – How Pakistan Lets Terrorism Fester – By HUSAIN HAQQANI

ON the anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death last week, Pakistan was the only Muslim country in which hundreds of demonstrators gathered to show solidarity with the dead terrorist figurehead.

Yet rather than asking tough questions about how Bin Laden had managed to live unmolested in Pakistan for years, the Pakistani Supreme Court instead chose to punish the prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, by charging him with contempt for failing to carry out the court’s own partisan agenda in this case, pressuring the Swiss government to reopen a decades-old corruption investigation of President Asif Ali Zardari. (Never mind that Swiss officials say they are unlikely to revisit the charges.)

In handing down the decision, one justice chose to paraphrase the Lebanese poet Khalil Gibran. He held forth in a long appeal to religious-nationalist sentiment that began with the line, “Pity the nation that achieves nationhood in the name of a religion but pays little heed to truth, righteousness and accountability, which are the essence of every religion.”

That a Supreme Court justice would cite poetry instead of law while sentencing an elected leader on questionable charges reflects Pakistan’s deep state of denial about its true national priorities at a time when the country is threatened by religious extremism and terrorism.

Today, Pakistan is polarized between those who envision a modern, pluralist country and those who condone violence against minorities and terrorism in the name of Islam. Many are caught in the middle; they support the pluralist vision but dislike the politicians espousing it.

Meanwhile, an elephant in the room remains. We still don’t know who enabled Bin Laden to live freely in Pakistan. Documents found on computers in his compound offer no direct evidence of support from Pakistan’s government, army or intelligence services. But even if Bin Laden relied on a private support network, our courts should be focused on identifying, arresting and prosecuting the individuals who helped him. Unfortunately, their priorities seem to lie elsewhere.

In Pakistan, most of the debate about Bin Laden has centered on how and why America violated Pakistan’s sovereignty by unilaterally carrying out an operation to kill him. There has been little discussion about whether the presence of the world’s most-wanted terrorist in a garrison town filled with army officers was itself a threat to the sovereignty and security of Pakistan.

Pakistanis are right to see themselves as victims of terrorism and to be offended by American unilateralism in dealing with it. Last year alone, 4,447 people were killed in 476 major terrorist attacks. Over the last decade, thousands of soldiers and law enforcement officers have died fighting terrorists – both homegrown, and those inspired by Al Qaeda’s nihilist ideology.

But if anything, the reaction should be to gear up and fight jihadist ideology and those who perpetrate terrorist acts in its name; they remain the gravest threat to Pakistan’s stability. Instead, our national discourse has been hijacked by those seeking to deflect attention from militant Islamic extremism.

The national mind-set that condones this sort of extremism was cultivated and encouraged under the military dictatorships of Gen. Mohammad Zia ul-Haq from 1977 to 1988 and Gen. Pervez Musharraf from 1999 to 2008. A whole generation of Pakistanis has grown up with textbooks that conflate Pakistani nationalism with Islamist exclusivism.

Anti-Western sentiment and a sense of collective victimhood were cultivated as a substitute for serious debate on social or economic policy. Militant groups were given free rein, originally with American support, to resist the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, and later became an instrument of Pakistani regional influence there and in Indian-occupied Kashmir.

Pakistan’s return to democracy, after the elections of 2008, offered hope. But the elected government has since been hobbled by domestic political infighting and judicial activism on every issue except extremism and terrorism.

Before Mr. Musharraf was ousted, a populist lawyers’ movement successfully challenged his firing of Supreme Court justices. The lawyers’ willingness to confront Mr. Musharraf in his last days raised hopes of a new era. But over the last four years, the Court has spent most of its energy trying to dislodge the government by insisting on reopening cases of alleged corruption from the 1990s. During the same period, no significant terrorist leader has been convicted, and many have been set free by judges who overtly sympathize with their ideology.

This has happened because the lawyers’ movement split into two factions after Mr. Musharraf’s fall: those emphasizing the rule of law and those seeking to use the judiciary as a rival to elected leaders.

Asma Jahangir, who helped lead the lawyers’ movement, has become a critic of the courts, accusing them of overstepping their constitutional mandate and falling under the influence of the security establishment. And Aitzaz Ahsan, who represented the Supreme Court’s chief justice during the lawyers’ showdown with Mr. Musharraf, is now Prime Minister Gilani’s lawyer in the contempt-of-court case – a clear indication of the political realignment that has taken place.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s raucous media, whose hard-won freedom is crucial for the success of democracy, has done little to help generate support for eliminating extremism and fighting terrorism. The Supreme Court, conservative opposition parties and the news media insist that confronting alleged incompetence and corruption in the current government is more important than turning Pakistan away from Islamist radicalism.

Continue reading New York Times – How Pakistan Lets Terrorism Fester – By HUSAIN HAQQANI

Rehman Malik provided proves against PMLn Chief Nawaz Sharif was involved in money laundering

Mehran Bank Scandal: Rehman malik provided proves to media

Interior Minister Rehman Malik proved that PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif was involved in money laundering.

He gave evidence against Nawaz Sharif would be placed before the Supreme Court and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for alleged corruption of $32 million.

Federal Rehman Malik said a commission may be formed to investigate alleged involvement of Nawaz Sharif in money laundering.

He appealed to the Supreme Court to call him and he would present all evidence. He further alleged that Nawaz Sharif made an NRO with former President Farooq Ahmed Leghari and as a result, Benazir Bhutto’s elected government was unconstitutionally dismissed in November 1996.

Federal Rehman Malik said that Nawaz Sharif made a second NRO with dictator Pervez Musharraf and went abroad after signing an agreement and violated the Charter of Democracy (COD) he signed with Benazir Bhutto in 2006. …

Courtesy: Duniya Tv News » Read more » LUBP

The military-backed judges and a section of media and politicians acting against the PPP leadership as instruments of power and negotiation through the decades

A question of accountability

By Raza Rumi

The inevitable has happened. An assertive judiciary has convicted the prime minister even if the punishment was token — awarded for non-compliance of court orders. The prime minister’s counsel, Aitzaz Ahsan, has objected to the judgment saying that the punishment awarded was beyond the scope of his original indictment. There are multiple legal questions surrounding this decision and only the full judgment will clarify matters. However, it is the political ramifications of judicial assertion, which are of import in today’s Pakistan.

The PPP’s victim card — of being wronged by the establishment and the courts — is not entirely unfounded. Yet, this Supreme Court is not the court of the past. The lawyers’ movement (2007-9) allowed for an unprecedented populist backing to the courts and now many vested interests and groups deem the courts a natural ally in their own quest for independence, leverage and profits.

Public officials must be held accountable for their transgressions. This is vital for effective governance as well as for building legitimacy of democratic institutions. In purely technical terms, the Court’s decision is a welcome one. No longer can the executive be allowed to trample on judicial orders. After all, a letter to the Swiss authorities seeking the reopening of a case against President Asif Ali Zardari may have averted the crisis. Presidential immunity in the international and domestic laws is a given. However, in hindsight, this was a great opportunity for the PPP to underscore the fact that it is always the victim of selective accountability.

The cases against President Zardari and twice-elected Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto were registered by their political opponents, i.e., military-backed arbitrary presidents; and the main opposition party, which till 1999 was on the right side of the establishment. This context cannot be divorced from the legal aspects of the case. That said, at the end of the day the courts decide on issues of law and fact. The truth is that the Pakistani state has used cases against the PPP leadership as instruments of power and negotiation through the decades. This is why the perception within the PPP support base especially in Sindh (and now southern Punjab) is that the court’s verdict is not a ‘fair’ one given that other political parties and state institutions have gotten away with far worse.

As for the Supreme Court, it has done its job according to its interpretation of the Constitution and law. That, however, will not prevent the PPP from using the conviction to ramp up its support, especially with the next election around the corner.

Moving on, the role of some TV channels and anchors in acting as lawyers, judges and prosecutors has been most worrying. Legal issues require informed debate and political commentary requires objectivity. Both were missing before and after the Supreme Court verdict. This brings us to the vital issue of accountability of the new players in the power game.

The higher courts are accountable via the Supreme Judicial Council. The latter’s record has not been encouraging, as far as holding members of the superior judiciary accountable is concerned. Similarly, the media — or large segments of it — acts as if it is not accountable to any authority.

Continue reading The military-backed judges and a section of media and politicians acting against the PPP leadership as instruments of power and negotiation through the decades

ISI’s classic blunder in Siachen Conflict (1984)?

By: Tausif Kamal

1984 Siachen was another debacle by Pakistan Army. Shouldn’t our COAS and GOC Siachen should be held accountable and resign? Of course don’t count our shameless generals to resign in the long tradition of our Army. They did not resign upon loosing wars or even loosing half of the country. Did they resign when the GHQ was attacked, or Mehran base or Kargil or 1965 or surrendering of whole battalions to Talibans, other fiascos. Most probably they got more bonuses and DHA plots and promotions …

Courtesy: Pakistani e-lists/ e-groups, April 9, 2012.

The origins of political Order

By Francis Fukuyama

….Once humans considered surrendering their nomadic way of life to create states will solve their problems…they lost many rights for the sake of state…but the formation of states without a political order gave birth to tyrant ruling classes…now it has been proved that political order without the concepts of accountability and the rule of law has no meaning.

Francis Fukuyama in his new book ‘THE ORIGINS OF POLITICAL ORDER’ (Dawn B&A) says “every society needs a balance between ‘power grabbing centralising forces’ and ‘rights disseminating decentralising forces’ to establish political order otherwise anarchy and chaos prevails…

this is very well relevant to today’s Pakistan situation…there’s need to strike a balance between the power-hungry military which has ruled this country for more than 30 years and indirectly controls foreign and security policies even today and the weak political class…this country can come on the right track only by establishing a judicious political order which should be democratic and egalitarian in nature

Source – adapted from facebook wall

The blurred vision of Imran Khan – Promising to end corruption in 90 days smacks more of autocracy than democracy

Eliminating corruption in 90 days

By Raza Rumi

Excerpts;

….  Much has been said about the great Khan’s sympathies for the militants who are resisting ‘America’s war’ in our region. Never mind that they also kill Pakistanis, attack mosques, shrines and funerals and are in bed with a global ideology that wants to decimate the ‘un-Islamic’ Pakistani state. The odd relationship between the PTI and the self-declared defenders of Pakistan — the ragtag Islamist parties, ex-servicemen and known terrorists — has also been highlighted. I will not dwell on these issues as several commentators have indicated the dangers of this populist discourse and the larger, intrinsic relationship between populism and authoritarianism.

My real worry is that Mr Khan is yet to offer an alternative agenda. His charisma, cricket connection, philanthropic record and the use of social media are at work. When it comes to policy, the plan ahead is almost farcical. Haven’t we heard of elimination of corruption in 90 days before? Corruption, as a slogan, has been used by almost every Pakistani government to undermine political opponents. As early as the 1950s, laws to disqualify politicians were enacted.

The 1990s saw the military establishment orchestrate a ridiculous anti-corruption charade. Nawaz Sharif’s second tenure had a Himmler-wannabe as the chief of accountability, who turned anti-corruption efforts into medieval witch-hunts. Former President General Pervez Musharraf’s illegitimate rule was welcomed by the same urban middle classes, which now cheer for Imran Khan to eliminate the ‘corrupt’, old guard politicians.

Tackling corruption is not a 90-day job, for it will only result in high-powered accountability operations stuck in a dysfunctional legal system. It is a medium to long-term process involving restructuring of institutions — laws, formal and informal rules and conventions — which shape societal interaction and determine state behaviour. Pakistani politics and economics are defined by the military’s hegemony. The biggest expenditure items — defence and debt servicing — are virtually unaccountable. Has Mr Khan thought about these issues or will these disappear through ‘moral legitimacy’ — another wooly construct cited like a totem. ‘Clean’ civilians will make the khakis give up power. One has to live in wonderland to accept such postulates as even half-credible. ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

via – Twitter

The Legacy of Pasha

By Carl Prine

Lt. Gen. Shuja Pasha, the Director General for Inter Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), is expected to retire from active duty on March 18th after serving five years as the chief of country’s most powerful intelligence agency.

The big question remains: What’s Pasha’s legacy?

Continue reading The Legacy of Pasha

Finally, the shoe is on the other foot – NAB initiates probe against senior PTI leader

Embezzlement: NAB initiates probe against senior PTI leader

By Zahid Gishkori

ISLAMABAD: A senior member of Imran Khan’s party of self-professed ‘clean politicians’ has come under scrutiny. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has started investigations against a senior leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf for accumulation of assets beyond known sources of income, officials said.

Malik Naveed Khan allegedly embezzled millions of rupees in the procurement of arms for the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa police at exorbitant prices on the pretext of fighting terrorism, they added.

“He (Naveed), who served as inspector general police K-P, allegedly made Rs25 million in an arms purchase deal worth Rs6 billion with a Chinese firm during his tenure,” a member of an executive board of NAB told The Express Tribune.

The decision to start investigations against Naveed was taken in a board meeting on Wednesday, which also approved investigations against deputy IGP K-P Khurshid Alam, in the same case.

Naveed, who is now pursuing a political career with the PTI, is working with his close friend, head of PTI’s scrutiny committee in the province, Rustam Shah Mohmand. …..

Read more » The Express Tribune

New York Times – Can Egypt Avoid Pakistan’s Fate?

By MICHELE DUNNE and SHUJA NAWAZ

ONE year after the revolution that ousted President Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian military is closing down civil society organizations and trying to manipulate the constitution-writing process to serve its narrow interests. Meanwhile, in Pakistan, where the military has also held sway for more than half the country’s existence – for much of that time, with America’s blessing – a new civil-military crisis is brewing.

For the United States, the parallels are clear and painful. Egypt and Pakistan are populous Muslim-majority nations in conflict-ridden regions, and both have long been allies and recipients of extensive military and economic aid.

Historically, American aid tapers off in Pakistan whenever civilians come to power. And in Egypt, Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama both resisted pressure from Congress to cut aid to Mr. Mubarak despite his repression of peaceful dissidents.

It is no wonder that both Egyptians and Pakistanis express more anger than appreciation toward the United States. They have seen Washington turn a blind eye to human-rights abuses and antidemocratic practices because of a desire to pursue regional objectives – Israeli security in the case of Egypt, and fighting Al Qaeda in the case of Pakistan.

The question now is whether the United States will, a year after the Egyptian revolution, stand by and allow the Pakistani model of military dominance and a hobbled civilian government to be replicated on the Nile.

Pakistan and Egypt each have powerful intelligence and internal security agencies that have acquired extra-legal powers they will not relinquish easily. Pakistan’s history of fomenting insurgencies in neighboring countries has caused serious problems for the United States. And Egypt’s internal security forces have been accused of involvement in domestic terrorist attacks and sectarian violence. (However, Washington has long seen Egypt’s military as a stabilizing force that keeps the peace with Israel.)

The danger is that in the future, without accountability to elected civilian authorities, the Egyptian military and security services will seek to increase their power by manipulating Islamic extremist organizations in volatile and strategically sensitive areas like the Sinai Peninsula.

Despite the security forces’ constant meddling in politics, Pakistan at least has a Constitution that establishes civilian supremacy over the military. Alarmingly, Egypt’s army is seeking even greater influence than what Pakistan’s top brass now enjoys: an explicit political role, and freedom from civilian oversight enshrined in law.

Continue reading New York Times – Can Egypt Avoid Pakistan’s Fate?

Let’s Talk Civil-Military, NOW!

By Marvi Sirmed

Atiqa Odho needs to change her name. Not only her name but also the prefix if she wants to avoid further humiliation that she possibly could not and would not want, just because she is a woman and does not bear the right prefix before her name. Brigadier Zafar Iqbal had both — the right name and the right prefix.

The good brigadier embarked on a PIA flight from Karachi to Lahore on Saturday night, intoxicated with the ‘sherbet’. The captain of the plane handed him over to the Airport Security Force (ASF) after the brigadier publicly harassed one of the female crew members. The ASF, obviously, could not hold him for more than a few minutes when they discovered the full name of the detainee. No wonder the news item merited just a few lines in Sunday newspapers. I am still waiting for the ‘suo motu’ and media-panic that we saw in Atiqa Odho’s case. Pertinent to remind here, Ms Odho was neither drunk nor did she harass anyone on the flight.

This points to two serious maladies of this society: one, a strong gender bias that women of this country have to endure everywhere, including the courts; and two, unjust and unfair partiality that society confers on the military. It is not only about an overly powerful military but also about an extremely weak civil society. It would be naïve to believe that civil society in Pakistan is powerful enough to foil any attempt to usurp power from the civilian entities. This is mainly because the military here never departed from power. Irrespective of who occupied the buildings of the Prime Minister Secretariat and the Presidency, the military always ruled in the country through its incontrovertible influence over political decision-making and social phenomena.

The way things happen in the court, and outside of it, memo scandal is a case in point. In the memo scandal, Husain Haqqani was treated as an accused by the media and society at large because the military thought so. Everything else had to be in sync with what the military wanted or at least, was perceived to be wanting. The same ‘evidence’ (the BBM conversations claimed by Mansoor Ijaz that took place between him and Husain Haqqani) implicated the head of the ISI who was accused in the same BBM conversations to have spoken to the leaders of some Arab states and gotten their consent to sack the present government. But no one from the media, politicians (even the ones who portray themselves as most committed to civilian supremacy) and the judiciary could ever point a finger towards General Pasha, the accused. Husain Haqqani was an easy target because he was not a general. Or even a brigadier.

Later, the chief of army staff and the head of ISI submitted their affidavits in clear departure of the government’s point of view — the same government that both of them are accountable to. The prime minister was openly criticised by everyone for calling this action of the two generals as unconstitutional. So much so that the media wing of the Pakistan Army, the ISPR, attacked the prime minister — their boss — by issuing a strongly worded statement warning the government of grave consequences and serious ramifications. So there were two statements, one by the chief executive of a country castigating his subordinate generals for unconstitutional actions, and the other from the subordinate generals threatening their boss with grave consequences. Guess who had to retract the statement? You got it right, it was the boss. The Islamic Republic is unique in its construction.

What can be more worrying for a people whose representative is humiliated by an agency that should be subordinate to the people. The agency, it is more perturbing, does so with popular consent. The absence of popular outrage amounts to consent if one could decrypt public reactions. We can go on endlessly criticising hungry-for-power generals, selfish politicians, corporate media and an ambitious judiciary, but what remains a fact is Pakistani society’s utter failure — rather refusal — to grow from a Praetorian state to even a half decent egalitarian democracy.

Continue reading Let’s Talk Civil-Military, NOW!

Memogate: an attempt to thwart democracy, and threatening the representative system is an attack on sovereignty of the people of Pakistan

Civil Society of Pakistan’s stand on So-called Memogate

Civil society terms memogate scandal an attempt to thwart democracy; Says threatening the representative system tantamount to attack on sovereignty of people.

Karachi, Sindh – 17 December 2011: We, the representatives of the Civil Society including non governmental organisations, labour organisations, academia, women’s rights bodies, and media persons express deep concern over the current political situation in the country where a crisis is being manufactured on frivolous grounds, and is being referred as the so-called Memogate. This has the potential of subverting democratically elected Parliament and the Constitution.

It is time all conspirators against democracy and the sovereignty of the people be called to account. Sovereignty belongs to the people who have agreed to exercise it through their representatives in a federal, parliamentary, and a democratic system. Any attempt at arbitrarily altering this arrangement is tantamount to an attack on the sovereignty of the people. Various institutions of the state are supposed to function within their defined constitutional parameters and complement each other but they seem to be working at cross-purposes, to the determent of public interest.

We emphasise that the role of political parties and political leaders is to represent their constituents’ interests and arrive at negotiated agreements to differences in agreed political forums.

The role of state’s security organizations is to serve the people through stipulated constitutional arrangements, under the command of the executive, and not to define what is or is not in the national interest.

The role of the judiciary is to protect the rights of the citizens from arbitrary abuse of executive power, and not to itself become a source of arbitrary executive power.

The role of the mass media is to help citizens hold powerful interests groups within and outside the state to promote their legitimate interests and hold violators of rights accountable, and not to itself act as an unaccountable interest group.

In our opinion, parliament is the appropriate forum to discuss and investigate this issue and come up with findings.

We believe that any attack on the sovereignty of the people will be unjust. It will necessarily lead to conflict and must be resisted.

We appeal to the people of Pakistan to stand united and firm in support of democracy and to resist all attempts aimed at its subversion. The people of Pakistan have made great many sacrifices for the cause of democracy and they should not let any vested interests trample their right to have a democratic and an elected representative system run the country.

Continue reading Memogate: an attempt to thwart democracy, and threatening the representative system is an attack on sovereignty of the people of Pakistan

Former DG ISI Gen retd Ziauddin Butt has said Musharraf provided sanctuary to Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. DAWN TV

The language of the interview of former DG ISI is urdu (Hindi).

Courtesy » DAWN News Tv – 11th Dec 2011 -p2

via » ZemTv

Why is Nawaz Sharif paving the way for military establishment through Supreme court?

PPP Needs To Re-evaluate It’s Policies

By Aziz Narejo

Excerpt;

…. Most analysts agree that the real Pakistani rulers since last 60+ years are now fed up with President Zardari [and PM Gilani] & that they are not willing to put Nawaz Sharif in the driving seat either. Why then Mian Nawaz Sharif has taken it upon him to dislodge Zardari/Gilani govt through Supreme Court? Does he have any false assurances or any illusions or is he unwittingly paving the way for military establishment’s hand-picked man, Imran Khan, to gain power?

Presence of Osama bin Laden next door to Pakistan’s premier military academy in Abbottabad was a smoking gun against military establishment. They kept lying. No accountability. When elected PMs wanted peace with India, they were either overthrown or sabotaged with conspiracies like the abortive Kargil offensive. When an elected president talked of an agreement on no-first use of atomic bomb & industrial zone on the borders with India, they planned terrorist attack in Mumbai. They have been defeated in all the wars with India but have conquered own country FOUR times & are eating away most of country’s budget & have become biggest industrial & commercial enterprise in the country.

They killed, raped & injured hundreds of thousands of people in Bengal yesterday & are repeating the same in Balochistan today, no questions asked. Murder of Bhuttos, Bugti & several more is on their hands.

Thousands have sacrificed for an end to military role but their sacrifices seem to have gone in vain as they again are staging comeback using anti-American bogey today. What a waste!

Courtesy » Indus Herald

http://indusherald.blogspot.com/2011/12/ppp-needs-to-re-evaluate-its-policies.html

Khaki-colour-blindness!?

Colour-blind accountability

By Abbas Nasir

THE Kargil conflict was raging and I was sitting in the office when the switchboard put a call through. The call was to dramatically alter my perception of that Himalayan conflagration.

After all it was following a long internal debate that the BBC coined the phrase `Pakistan-backed forces` for the combatants. These armed men had occupied the commanding heights, enabling them to sever the strategically important Srinagar-Leh Highway as it now lay within their range of fire.

Tension was mounting as Delhi was insisting that those occupying the heights on its side of the Line of Control were infiltrating Pakistan Army regulars. Pakistan was sticking to its guns that it was Kashmiri guerrillas fighting to free their land.

Therefore, the BBC had to evolve the terminology which enabled it to refer to the conflict in a neutral manner. This was warranted anyway as the harsh terrain and the dizzying altitude meant the theatre of the conflict was inaccessible to journalists.

All we could do was to report the conflict based on the claims and counter-claims of the two parties involved. Every effort was made to diligently and clearly attribute the claims to the side making them.

Tension was mounting. The situation wasn`t helped at all by the fact that it had hardly been a year since India had carried out nuclear tests, forcing tit-for-tat nuclear explosions by Pakistan. There were fears of a possible nuclear clash. It was around this time that I received the call.

After identifying himself, the frantic caller told me he was calling from Sharjah airport, was en route to Pakistan and needed the help of BBC Urdu Service which, he had been told, had carried the news of his brother`s death in Kargil.

Within minutes, I was on the line to our Srinagar correspondent Altaf Hussain who told me the Indian army had brought some bodies from Kargil to Srinagar and showed them to the media.

The Indians wanted to reinforce their claim that it was not Kashmiri militants but Pakistan regulars fighting in Kargil to retain control of the heights they had stealthily captured in early spring after their adversaries had vacated these ahead of the last harsh winter.

Altaf described the young officer and said he`d been identified by a signed letter in his pocket ostensibly written by his sister. I called back the Sharjah mobile and gave all the details including the letter`s contents and the sender`s name.

The person at the other end went quiet but quickly recovered his composure to say: “That is most certainly my younger brother, Captain Karnal Sher Khan. My sister did tell me about the letter and no one else would have known her name.

“I will forever be grateful to you for letting us know. Our own government tells us nothing. In fact, they haven`t told us anything for several months since he first went away on this long assignment. He was last posted to the NLI (Northern Light Infantry).

“We have a right to know. Don`t get me wrong we are several brothers and each one of us will gladly give his life for Pakistan. But why doesn`t our government own its shaheeds ? They may not be proud of our brother`s sacrifice but we are. He beat us to it.”

Wouldn`t you be lost for words? I didn`t quite know how to react, what to say. In a sense, it was a relief when the call ended. This one call had confirmed to me that regulars were engaged in Kargil.

When the fallen soldier`s brother complained of being kept in the dark I obviously put it down to operational reasons. It was to emerge later that even the air force and naval chiefs were not told.

The then prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, also says he didn`t approve the operation nor was he informed. This claim is refuted by Gen Musharraf who along with a handful of his trusted generals had himself planned it and gave it the go-ahead.

The operation first hailed by some Pakistani defence analysts as “tactically brilliant”, soon turned out to be a strategic nightmare as the planners had no exit strategy especially since the scenario they had predicated it on was all wrong.

The Indians refused to talk and despite taking a heavy loss of life (said to be 3:1) responded robustly, bringing in heavy artillery and slowly retaking some of their lost positions after cutting the supply lines, where any existed.

For its part, the international community felt Pakistan hadn`t acted as a “responsible” nuclear power should and called on it to withdraw its forces. Even China reportedly remained adamant that Islamabad was in the wrong and should pull out.

This isolation spelt disaster for the military planners who wanted to take the Indians “by the scruff of their neck” and, at the very least, secure their pullout from the Siachen Glacier. Fearful of what a spiral would mean, the US became proactive. Sharif was asked to fly to Washington. President Clinton met him on a national holiday and issued a call to `restore the Line of Control`. Pakistan was offered nothing in return.

Sharif`s July intervention may have prevented a full-blown war, even a nuclear exchange, but it was to irreparably damage his relations with his out-of-line army chief. By September, the prime minister`s brother Shahbaz was in the US successfully soliciting a statement against a military takeover.

When Capt Karnal Sher Khan`s body was being returned to Pakistan, even the Indians talked of his valour; of how the young officer on a mission impossible did the honourable thing: fight to the very end. Finally, Pakistan also extended recognition: it awarded him the Nishan-i-Haider.

But those who had sent this valiant young man and hundreds of others like him to die in a pointless conflict, shamed the nation and overthrew an elected government have not been held to account. Our khaki-colour-blind accountability process remains unmoved to this day.

Read more » DAWN.COM

http://www.dawn.com/2011/11/26/colour-blind-accountability.html

PPP senator, Faisal Raza Abdi says, Punjab chief minister, Shahbaz Sharif is a Chota NASOOR (cancer)

The language of the talk show is urdu (Hindi).

Courtesy: → SAMAA TV (Tonight with Jasmeen, 27th July 2011)

via → ZemTV  → YouTube

Same dirty Politics with Old Formulas!! Pakistan judiciary needs rational approach, judiciary should not do partisan decisions or specific to one party or group. Accountability should be across the board and for every one.

Courtesy: → Duniya Tv News (Cross Fire with Meher Bokhari, 27th July 2011)

via → ZemTvYouTube

Chief Justice (R) Sajjad Ali Shah Exposes Pakistan Judiciary Corruption

Ethnic Discrimination in Pakistan Judicial System. The language of the interview is urdu (Hindi).

Courtesy: → Meher Bokhari via → ChagataikhanYouTube

Chronicles foretold – By Najam Sethi

– The cold-blooded torture and murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad by “invisible agencies” roused the journalists of Pakistan to unite and demand an independent and credible commission of inquiry to unearth the facts and punish the perpetrators. A media “dharna” outside parliament in Islamabad was aimed at securing an independent supreme court judge to head the inquiry instead of Justice Agha Rafiq, the chief justice of the Federal Shariat Court, nominated by President Asif Zardari.

Two questions arose. First, why did the media unite in such an unprecedented manner in this case when it didn’t do so in the case of the sixteen journalists so far killed this year in Pakistan? What was so particularly frightening or significant about this murder that compelled the media to stand up and be counted? Second, why did President Zardari originally pick a “Zardari-loyalist” to head this commission? Was this aimed at shielding any slip up or criminality on the part of the PPP government? And if it wasn’t, who was President Zardari trying to shield and why?

The answers are straight forward enough. Saleem Shehzad had recorded his problems with the ISI and left a testament indicting it if he was harmed. He was writing a book exposing the inroads into the armed forces and ISI made by retired or serving officers sympathetic to Al Qaeda’s violent ideology. Such exposure was deemed irrevocably embarrassing to the national security establishment. It explained the lack of preparedness on the part of the military to defend and protect itself — as evidenced in Rawalpindi, Karachi and Abbottabad in recent times. It also confirmed the fears of the international community about the security of the nukes, triggering scenarios of pre-emptive action against them in the event of their seizure by rogues allied to Al Qaeda. When Saleem Shehzad went ahead and published his book, he had to be silenced.

That, at least, is the media’s perception of what happened to him and why. Thus the media banded together to demand accountability so that the same fate did not befall any other journalist. If this perception was wrong, an independent commission of inquiry should have been able to establish the innocence of the ISI and redeem its credibility. If it was right, the ISI had to be chastened and cleansed of such elements. What is wrong with this way of thinking? Indeed, when an attempt is made to hide the facts behind a stooge commission, such suspicions and perceptions take deep roots and protests are inclined to become more widespread and violent. If President Zardari hadn’t finally heeded the journalists’ threat and appointed Justice Saqib Nisar to head the commission instead of Mr Agha Rafiq, the media was all geared up to announce a blackout of all government news and military press statements and advice.

Much the same sort of trouble for the government and military may be forecast for another commission of inquiry pledged by parliament to uncover the truth behind the Abbottabad debacle. In this case, too, the military seems to have leaned on the weak PPP government to desist from seriously inquiring into the mishap because it would deeply embarrass the “national security establishment” and conceivably jeopardise its “strategic relationship” with its Pentagon counterpart in the United States.

In both instances, however, there is one critical factor that threatens to derail the unholy nexus between a weak government and an arrogant military that are clutching at each other for protection. That is the opposition lead by Nawaz Sharif. The PMLN stood solidly with the fearful media in the first instance and will back the outraged public in the second. No less significantly, the sympathies of the newly independent judiciary are with the media, opposition and public. This is an inherently unstable and precarious situation. Where do we go from here?

The military has no option but to press the strategic “Paradigm Reset” button. The media and judiciary have joined the stake holders’ club. The military must realize that it is no longer capable of “managing” or “manipulating” or “blackmailing” the twice-bitten opposition to do its bidding blindly. The media too has been empowered by a wave of “citizen-journalists” who cannot be repressed. There are 20 million internet users in Pakistan and 4 million Facebook freaks and Tweeters. This organic new species had defied the dictators of the Middle East and smashed their censors. It is destined to do the same in Pakistan.

The situation is fraught with dangers of unmanageable upheaval. The military must adjust its sights accordingly. If, for example, the US were to launch any new unilateral action that outraged the Pakistani media, opposition and public, the military would be caught in the eye of the storm. It won’t be able to resist the public pressure but it also wouldn’t like to be savaged by America. Thus it could be the biggest loser in the game. Forewarned is forearmed.

Courtesy: Friday Times

via Wichaar