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Court Challenges Put Unusual Spotlight on Pakistani Spy Agency

By DECLAN WALSH

LAHORE, Pakistan — Long unchallenged, Pakistan’s top spy agency faces a flurry of court actions that subject its darkest operations to unusual scrutiny, amid growing calls for new restrictions on its largely untrammeled powers.

The cases against the agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, have uncertain chances of success, analysts say, and few believe that they can immediately hobble it. But they do represent a rare challenge to a feared institution that is a cornerstone of military supremacy in Pakistan.

In the first case, due for a hearing on Wednesday, the Supreme Court has ordered the ISI to produce in court seven suspected militants it has been holding since 2010 — and to explain how four other detainees from the same group died in mysterious circumstances over the past six months.

The second challenge, due for a hearing on Feb. 29, revives a long-dormant vote-rigging scandal, which focuses on illegal donations of $6.5 million as part of a covert, and ultimately successful, operation to influence the 1990 election.

The cases go to the heart of the powers that have given the ISI such an ominous reputation among Pakistanis: its ability to detain civilians at will, and its freedom to meddle in electoral politics. They come at the end of a difficult 12 months for the spy service, which has faced sharp criticism over the killing of Osama bin Laden by American commandos inside Pakistan and, in recent weeks, its role in a murky political scandal that stoked rumors of a military coup.

Now its authority is being challenged from an unexpected quarter: the chief justice, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. Only weeks ago, Justice Chaudhry, an idiosyncratic judge, faced accusations of being soft on the military when he inserted the courts into a bruising battle between the government and army.

Now Justice Chaudhry seems determined to prove that he can take on the army, too.

“This is a reaction to public opinion,” said Ayaz Amir, an opposition politician from Punjab. “The court wants to be seen to represent the popular mood.”

The court’s daring move has found broad political support. Last Friday, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, the leader of the opposition in Parliament, compared the military to a “mafia” during a National Assembly debate about the plight of the four detainees who died in ISI custody.

Continue reading Court Challenges Put Unusual Spotlight on Pakistani Spy Agency

Sindhis should rethink their priorities before it is too late!

by Khalid Hashmani, McLean, Virginia

The Sindhi political analysts and thinkers in Sindh continue to provide further insight into thinking of educated and middle class Sindhis who live in Sindh. These should help Sindhi Diaspora to better understand the ground realities in order to chalk out their actions about their supporting role in awakening of Sindhi society. Indeed, only the determined resolve and courageous actions by masses of Sindh would bring about enough changes to thwart the ill designs of internal and external anti-Sindh forces. Yesterday, I have shared my review on Naseer Memon’s article published in Sindhi daily Kawish on August 13, 2011 under the title “PPP’s recent decision to revive Local Government Ordinance 2001 is violation of its own manifesto‏”. Today, I am reviewing an article by Zulfiqar Halepoto that was published yesterday (13 August 2011) in Sindhi daily Awami Awaz. I am currently reviewing Jami Chandio’s article “PPP & a New Sindh” that was published in Sindhi daily Ibrat on 13-14th August, 2011. The purpose of these reviews is to provide a compilation of what Sindhis in Sindh so that Diaspora Sindhis can assess the need and formulate their actions in support of Sindh interests.

Zulfiqar Halepoto articulates the need for “paradigm shift” in Sindh where one political party has been looked upon as the only capable force that can protect their interests and Sindh’s integrity. Where once PPP leaders were honored and welcomed in their communities, most Sindhis are angry and hold PPP responsible for many of their problems.

According to Zulfiqar Halepoto, people of Sindh overwhelmingly voted for PPP in 2008 with the following four expectations:

1. The government of Sindh will be formed without the participation of those that had ruled Sindh for the several years in immediate past. During that time, the Sindhi interests suffered the most as the regimes became oblivious of the collective interests of Sindh and focused on only their personal gains. Sindhis expected PPP to adhere to its pledge not to share power with MQM and dissipate impression that in order to have peace and prosperity of the people of Sindh, MQM must be made a part of the government.

2. The PPP government will find the killers of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and bring them to justice.

3. The PPP government will bring about the required constitutional and administrative changes that the dictatorial regime had brought to weaken native Sindhis and allow only one ethnic group to control Sindh’s larger cities.

4. The governance in Sindh that had suffered greatly in the last 12 years under the regimes that violated Sindhi Rights on all fronts will end. Sindh’s government would be an example of an exemplary governance in Pakistan ensuring welfare of all those who live in Sindh.

Unfortunately, the government of PPP has gone even beyond the status quo and has made sufferings of Sindhis much worse. Sindhis often express that they are now lost and wonder who will protect their interests? PPP thinks that Sindh vote bank is in their pocket and they are not afraid of any backlash from their actions that regularize injustices of previous regimes and further compromising on Sindhi Rights. Like the previous regime headed by a Sindh Chief Minister, PPP too has surrendered its power to MQM whose discriminatory policies against all groups of Sindh not only continues unabated but has worsened. There is an increasing feeling among the people of Sindh that PPP has become part of problem and looking at it as a solution provider is a big mistake!? Most Sindhis think it would be far easier to wedge struggle against a dictator and racist political parties without PPP’s presence.

It would seem to me that PPP had been, at minimum, a silent partners of those who do not wish Sindh & Sindhi identity to survive in Pakistan. These forces want Sindhis should leave their mother tongue and centuries old culture of peace & communal harmoney and to adapt the language of minority as their first language.

Sindhis are angry with PPP and with themselves for misplacing their trust and hopes in PPP. Sindhis do not understand why a PPP which won 90 seats in Sindh would forget their voters within a span of less than three years. Sindhis are disappointed that on the pretext of saving their regime at the center, they have been continually ignoring aspirations and hopes of Sindhis. Instead of creating more opportunities for Sindhis, doors for Sindhis continue to shut, particularly in those areas where they are controlled by MQM. People of Sindh can no longer tolerate this situation and a determined movement towards forming a genuine unity of Sindh on the point that “protection of interests of Sindh is their first priority” is fast spreading among Sindhis living in villages, towns, and cities.

President Asif Zardari has played Sindh as “Sindh card” whenever his rule faced a threat from opposition and the Pakistani security establishment. The “Sindhi Topi Day” was also a part of that gimmickry. It is said that most people in Pakistan think that regardless of what happens, Sindhis will continue to support PPP? This myth is now to great extent shattered as people of Sindh are able to see through the politics of exploitation of Sindhis by internal and external forces. Some non-Sindhi Pakistanis are noticing that a change is brewing among Sindh. Sindhis are now condemning the decisions of PPP that are counter to the interests of Sindh. They are also realizing that Sindhis are not against the integrity of Pakistan and that main demand is to secure equitable rights in Pakistan and preserve their identity, culture, and language.

The anger of Sindh is lost on other political parties in Pakistan as most are now taking steps to seek support of Sindhis. Awami National Party, Jamat-e-Islami, and Sunni Tahrik are now supporting Sindhi demand for cancellation of former dictator Musharraf’s undemocratic, black, repressive, & discriminatory Local Government Ordinance. MQM is staying silent about the demands of Sindhis. On other side, Sindhis have notice support of Pir Pagaro on this issue. However, Sindhis have not forgiven for his pro-Kala Bagh stand and his support of General Musharraf’s policies that hurt the interests of Sindh.

The Sindhi nationalist parties are remain divided. Although most Sindhis respect those nationalist parties for their their stand on the interests of Sindh, some of these political parties are likely to keep themselves away from the upcoming elections. Their divergent views including the separatist leaning of some have kept their voter bank constrained.

Zulfiqar Halepoto urges Sindhis to look at all aspects of this complicated situation, weigh all options before jumping on any bandwagon. Sindhis should think and formulate strategy, long-term plans and be ready to effectively respond to any tactical challenges. One should look at the success of Pakhoons, who have more than one credible options for exercising their vote. Without a fundamental change in the political landscape of Sindh, Sindhis still only have two serious options – Muslim League and PPP. The Sindh chapters of these two parties are dominated by anti-Sindh waderas, who together with MQM and anti-Sindhi business owners will continue to damage the interests of Sindh.

It is imperative that Sindh nationalist parties create a formidable political party or group that will become a credible second alternative for Sindhis. If this is achieved, it will be an important paradigm jump for Sindhis that will likely bring about a positive development for not only Sindh but also for Pakistan.

Courtesy: → Sindh e-lists/ e-groups, August 14, 2011.

The arrest of Dr Fai, may appear as isolated legal action of the US government but the scratch below the surface is just the beginning of the US retribution against Pakistani actions

On the course of retributions

By Dr. Manzur Ejaz | DAWN.COM

The arrest of Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, and arrest warrant of a Pakistani national, Zaheer Ahmad, may appear as isolated legal actions of the US government against its citizens for unauthorised lobbying for Pakistan. However, scratch below the surface and it becomes clear that this is just the beginning of the US retribution against Pakistani actions.

The matter has been brewing and coming to the boiling point since Raymond Davis’ arrest and then jailing of those who helped the US in nabbing Osama bin Laden. In recent days, the US media has been reporting that the US is pressuring Pakistan for the releasing of Dr Shakil Afridi who was reported to be arrested for undertaking a fake vaccination campaign to get blood samples of bin Laden’s kids for DNA match.

Every Washington circle that had anything to do with Pak-American-Kashmir affairs was well aware of Dr Fai’s activities in the community, think tanks and on lobbying with Congress and Senate members. Most activists among the Pakistani-American community have been speculating about Dr Fai’s connection with Pakistani government and/or Inter Services Agency (ISI). Therefore, the allegation of having received about four million dollars from Pakistan and making over four thousand phone calls to his alleged handlers from ISI will not be totally perceived as concocted charges even among Pakistani expatriates. Pakistan embassy’s claim that Dr Fai is not a Pakistani citizen—he came from India and sought amnesty in the US—is not going to lessen the impact of such a damaging development.

Dr Fai’s activities on the Capital Hill and his arrangements of large and expensive conferences involving key people from Pakistan and India were quite open. It can be safely assumed that he was giving heart burns to Indian diplomats and lobbyists and they must have been pressurising the US government to rein him in. However, the US had chosen to look the other way for a decade and never bothered with his activities. But, now the parameters have changed. Probably because the US wants to send the message that it has some options to retaliate in Pakistani style as well.

It is well known that Pakistan has its own human intelligence assets in the US. Of course such assets must be a fraction of what a sole world superpower, the US, would have in Pakistan. The US financial power to buy human assets in Pakistan, Europe and from the rest of the world cannot be matched by a poor developing country. Nonetheless, the party with meager resources gets hurt more when mutual retributions occur.

Before Dr Fai’s arrest Washington’s diplomatic circles were subtly pointing out for such retribution. According to very reliable sources, the US side was arguing with Pakistani diplomats that millions of Pakistani-Americans live in America—some of them are Green Card Holders and technically, Pakistani nationals—and the US issues hundreds of thousands of student, visiting, business and work visas to Pakistanis while Pakistan is raising questions about a few hundred visas.

A thinly veiled threat is that if Pakistan continues restricting movements of its diplomats and citizens, the US can do the same putting Pakistani diplomats’ work in jeopardy and creating problems for visitors. Technically, the US can cancel Green Cards on very flimsy grounds, through finding any trivial fault with application process, and send thousands of Pakistanis back home. It is not very likely to happen but if things get too far it is not out of question either.

If the US expands the scope of retributions the diplomatic make-up of staff at Pakistani embassy may change as well. Pakistan may not be able to appoint ranking officials from intelligence agencies as ‘head of community affairs’ or under other such covers. The set of military mission in the embassy may be realigned as well. Most of all, the US agencies, particularly tax authorities, can be used to scare prosperous Pakistanis, mostly physicians, who hold fund raisers for the US lawmakers and arrange their meeting with Pakistani diplomats and incoming Pakistani officials. Such moves will certainly hamper little efforts Pakistani-Americans make to provide bridge between the two countries.

If the negative perception of Pakistan further deepens, the US may not be able to use drones in Pak-Afghan border areas but it will hit Pakistan’s financial system with stealth bombers. Besides stopping the financial aid, the US can harm Pakistan’s foreign currency earnings by creating difficulties for transmitting the remittances of Pakistani expatriates. Presently, Pakistani expatriates contribute a significant portion of foreign remittances of Pakistan. Furthermore, it can issue guidance to donor agencies, European partners and other private financial institution to hold back on financial transfers to Pakistan.

A sketch of broad possible scenarios of US retribution–been started with Dr Fai’s arrest–is not to scare the new found patriotism in Islamabad. Patriotic feelings are very noble, worthy and respectable but one should know the cost as well. Before throwing stones at others while sitting in the glass houses, one should have thick tall walls to protect oneself. Are Islamabad and GHQ ready to build such walls if the US process of retributions expands? Does not seem like it.

Courtesy: → DAWN.COM

Pakistan is suffering from a disease known as Gangrene and AIDS

Reasons for disastrous situation of Pakistan

By Altaf Hussain

The factual reasons for the present disastrous situation or the root cause of the present weak scenario of Pakistan

Unfortunately, Pakistan is suffering from a disease known as gangrene. The common cause of either wet or dry gangrene is loss of an effective local blood supply to any tissue. Loss of blood supply means tissues are deprived of oxygen thus causing the cells in the tissue to die. The most common causes of tissue/blood supply loss are infections, trauma and diseases that affect blood vessels (usually arteries). Gangrene is a potentially life-threatening condition that arises when a considerable mass of the body tissue dies (necrosis). As a result of reduced blood supply, the organisms (the saprogenic microorganisms) causes wet gangrene which produces toxins. They spread throughout the body and as a result more parts of the body develop gangrene. And finally a time comes when the total blood flow of the body or blood supply system of the body collapses resulting in the collapse of the body as well. In early stages of gangrene, if diagnosed, could be treated through medicines keeping the fact in mind that you may not expect 100% success results. If any part or area of the body has suffered a lot from gangrene, it is advisable to cut that part of the body or that area of the body completely just to save and protect the remaining parts of the body for survival. This phenomenon of cutting a part is like a bitter pill to swallow. If you want the body to survive and remaining parts of the body which are not affected to be safe then it is better to cut that part or parts whether one or more hands, one or two legs or any other affected part or parts. This occurs within the body.

AIDS: The AIDS virus after entering inside the body through any means multiplies and multiplies. The body has three natural self defence mechanism. HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) produces AIDS. HIV is not a disease but it is a virus that causes AIDS. The three natural defence mechanisms are (1) Skin, (2) Under the skin (hypodermis/subcutaneous) which is second line of defence and (3) when the organism enters into the blood, meaning inside the body, as it enters inside the body simultaneously body starts producing immune army. If the immunity is not present then human being cannot survive. Viruses are around us always and because of our immune system we don’t get affected.

In AIDS, HIV overcomes immune system that is the defensive system and destroys it and as a result it weakens the immune system. And that is why it is called AIDS and so the reason that a person having AIDS is not safe from any other disease because the auto system of the body collapses.

Without the immune system nobody can survive because cascade of organism are present everywhere around you in abundant and you intake continuously but you don’t get sick. The immune system saves us from bacteria, fungi and viral diseases. Unfortunately, our institutions are also suffering from gangrene and AIDS. When one has gangrene then it is advisable to save the rest of the body. One has to cut of the effected part of the body as there is no other treatment. If one has the finger, legs, hands or any other part of the body and thinks that as this is his or her part of the body and it can be cured then the entire body will get affected with gangrene. Our institutions, say that those that are affected, are our part and have been misguided and can be convinced to return are not aware of the fact that there is no treatment for gangrene. One can only save the institutions by cutting off the affected gangrene parts to save the rest of the body. Now if you cut off the leg then you can still walk with a limp but will certainly remain alive and if not then you will not even be able to walk and also will not survive. If you want to save the institution then drastic and ruthless actions are needed and one has to take the bitter pill. For example, if the gangrene-affected part touches a piece of cloth then it has to be burnt and cannot and must not be washed. Again the affected part has to be cut off and no other solution. Similarly, in case of other such diseases, like chicken pox, it is also advisable to burn the piece of cloth that has come into contact with the affected person.

It is your duty to decide whether you want to cut gangrene part and save the body or keeping the gangrene part and destroying the whole body. This is not my decision – it is your decision.

Continue reading Pakistan is suffering from a disease known as Gangrene and AIDS

Pakistan: Lawyers or mobsters?

The way lawyers led by Fazal-ur-Rehman Niazi, president PML (N) lawyers’ wing in Rawalpindi, came out in support of Mumtaz Qadri, was unethical and shameful. It not only violates the very basic rules of the legal profession, it expressed admiration for intolerance and fanaticism. Federal Minister of Law, Babar Awan, may be trying to get political mileage by categorizing the martyrdom of Salman Taseer as political because of Niazi’s actions; but he has a point: PML (N) is part of the crowd that abets religious extremism.

The legal profession includes judges, lawyers and other functionaries involved in the court system. Legal professionals of all levels are supposed to uphold the existing laws and try to implement them. Even when a professed murderer is on trial, lawyers make sure that all legal requirements are being fulfilled. A legal professional is duty bound not to become part of sedition or exonerate an accused outside the court of law. However, all such rules were violated when Niazi led a crowd of lawyers that showered rose petals on self-confessed murderer Malik Mumtaz Qadri.

If a legal professional cannot uphold a simple rule that no has the right—come what may—to take another person’s life, then he is part of a wild mob rather than a member of the legal community. A lawyer may have private biases against certain type of people but he is not supposed to publically endorse an illegal activity. Violating this basic rule, Mr. Niazi’s lawyer crowd and all the other who are volunteering to defend him are proving themselves to be nothing more than a lawless gang. Even if every Pakistani lawyer joins the killer-adoring crowd, it will still be a lawless gang. Their jackets and ties cannot cover this ugly reality.

The lawyer’s crowd in this case was no different than the fatwa issuing mullahs. Actually, the lawyers were confirming that mullahs’ fatwas are more valid than the country’s law. By adoring and idealizing killer Qadri, the lawyers’ crowd was condoning murder by an individual who can act as his own judge, jury and executioner. I wish the mullahs formally take over the court system and then we will see how these lawyers earn their bread and butter. All of them will have to go back to madrassas to become advocates in Qazi courts. These lawyers have no clue that they are cutting their own feet by supporting fatwas at the expense of the country’s laws. Evidently, Pakistani situation is very grave: If the defenders of the law turn into the biggest law breakers then the future is very bleak. It is just like setting your own house on fire.

The very fact that the lawyers’ crowd was led by a PML (N) leader shows that, at its base, the ruling party of Punjab is also comprised of fanatic mobsters who have no respect for the law. Advocate Niazi was not the only PML (N) leader who expressed admiration for the killer: PML (N) spokesman, Sidique-ul-Farooq also gave a similar spin to this murder by saying the Taseer was going to be murdered any way by someone if not killer Qadri. This means that Punjab government was aware of the danger and it did not do much about it. PML (N) may not be part of a conspiracy to kill Taseer but it is part of the crowd that has created an environment of extremist religion. After all, it was in Nawaz Sharif’s tenure as prime minister, that the mandatory death sentence was added to the Zia era blasphemy law.

The degeneration of some lawyers groups into mobster gangs is the most heart breaking development. People like us had thought that the lawyers’ movement has ushered in a new era where Pakistan will be run by law and order. But it has been proven over the months that our conclusion was a premature half-truth. Probably, the silent majority of lawyers led by Aitzaz Ahsan and Asma Jahangir are still the ray of hope. But they should know if they don’t rise to defend the rule of law their profession is in jeopardy. The lawyers’ crowd, as a tool in the hands of Mullah Shahi, is most lethal and destructive. The silent majority of lawyers has to find out a way to fight the lawyer mobster gangs.

Courtesy:  http://www.wichaar.com/news/285/ARTICLE/23526/2011-01-08.html

All deeds are led by mind- Buddha

1. Mind is the forerunner of all actions. All deeds are led by mind, created by mind. If one speaks or acts with a corrupt mind, Suffering follows, As the wheel follows the hoof of an ox pulling a cart.

2. Mind is the forerunner of all actions. All deeds are led by mind, created by mind. If one speaks or acts with a serene mind, Happiness follows, As surely as one’s shadow.

May all beings be at ease. Whatever living beings there may be; Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none, The great or the mighty, medium, short or small, The seen and the unseen, Those living near or far away, Those born, and to be born, May all beings live at ease!… – Buddha