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Benazir Bhutto on Pakistan’s Military Establishment and how the Generals undermine Democracy

From Syed Ali Dayan Hasan in London

The security apparatus has run amok

In her most candid interview since 1988, Benazir Bhutto, twice elected prime minister of Pakistan, reveals the extent to which successive civilian governments have been held hostage, and destabilised, by the ‘securityapparatus’ of the military. Bhutto, chairperson of the PPP — the single largest political party of the country — explains the helplessness of civilian governments in the face of Intelligence-inspired disinformation on the one hand, and ideologically motivated illegal activities of ‘rogue elements’ of the army on the other. She argues that the security apparatus of the country is out of control and that no government can hope to function smoothly unless these elements are brought under a formalised command structure that prevents them from taking on the role of a state within a state. There is much evidence to support Bhutto’s claims, including that of her adversaries — General Aslam Beg, General Hameed Gul and General Asad Durrani — all of whom conspired against civilian governments and have repeatedly gone on record to admit as much. “Blaming politicians alone for tarnishing democracy is actually less than half the story,” argues Bhutto. Here, she explains why.

Q. What do you think is the basic problem with civil-military relations?

A. The inability of the military tobow before the people’s will.

Q. Why is that?

A. The military’s view on security and government is at variance with the popular will. Pakistan is a federation but the armed forces distrust provincial units. They are scared of giving up power.

Q. So, what is the solution to this impasse in civil-military relations?

A. Either we have democracy or dictatorship. The military seeks a dictatorship or a controlled democracy to continue with their security agenda. They need the centralised state and a diversion of resources for that security agenda. For the first time, they are realising the difficulty of running the ship of state. I believe the solution lies in democracy and devolution. We should return to the roots of the Quaid. He founded Pakistan on the principles of federalism, autonomy and freedom. If we revert to this dream, we might devolve more power but we will be more secure.

Q. How has the army managed to present a discredited image of political figures, including you?

A. I dispute that they have succeeded but I agree that they have tried. There are two factors that explain this. One, political institutions are weak and have financial resources and organisational ability. Also, they are unable to communicate freely with the masses. This is because genuine political forces have been continually hunted by the establishment, and when you are constantly hunted, you have little time to organise. Second, because the army does give power to some politicians, it has divided the civilian popular base by holding out to those who cannot win — the promise of power without legitimacy.

Q. You have presided twice over a controlled democracy.What have you learnt from the experience?

A. There is a tendency in Pakistan, due to military dictatorships and one-man rule, to think that one person can make allthe difference. But in a democratic system, it is not just one person that makes a difference. A democratic, such as myself, functions within the confines of the constitution. We need a civic consensus on what a constitution should be and what constitutes freedom and plurality. I had to work on the mandate I was given and that is why I say that we did not achieve much. I had to work with the 8th amendment and a president who could sack the prime minister. In other words, some elements in the intelligence agencies used the president when they felt I was becoming too powerful. They never allowed us enough time to elect members of the senate which would have made my partyand the democratic forces — stronger. The real solution lies not with any individual. I can only give a clarion call. Then it depends on the masses whether they rally around that call to say that they want a constitution based on the supremacy of the will of the people and that the prime minister and parliament must determine national security and not the military.

Q. But then, if you had commanded a two-thirds majority and could have amended the constitution, a coup would have taken place against you ….

Read more » Scribd

http://www.scribd.com/doc/78809888/Benazir-Bhutto-on-Pakistan-s-Military-Establishment-and-how-the-Generals-undermine-Democracy#source:facebook

‘Haqqani sahib should not use Pakistan territory for wrong activities’

– By Huma Imtiaz

Excerpt;

…. On allegations of the Haqqani Network being involved in attacks on the US Embassy in Afghanistan and support for the group by the IsI, the former General said that “Haqqani sahib”, alluding perhaps to Jalaluddin Haqqani, is an Afghan citizen and he “had no right to use Pakistani territory for wrong activities which would harm Pakistan”. Musharraf said that either Haqqani should leave Pakistan and go to Afghanistan. Or, said Musharraf, “if Haqqani is here, he should stop crossing back and forth (across the border). –[(meaning) — stay in safe house, and don’t go outside–]–” …..

Read more → The Express Tribune

Pakistan seeks Bramdagh’s extradition

By Baqir Sajjad Syed

ISLAMABAD: The government has asked the Swiss authorities to reject the plea for political asylum made by Bramdagh Bugti, who heads an outlawed Baloch rebel group, and extradite him to Pakistan. ….

Read more → DAWN.COM

JI “BLAMES” MQM for TERRORISM

KCCC’s alleged involvement in killings: Jamaat calls for judicial inquiry

LAHORE, Aug 10: Jamaat-i-Islami chief Syed Munawar Hasan has expressed concern over the reported involvement of the Karachi Command and Control Centre (KCCC) in terrorist activities and called for a judicial inquiry into the matter.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, he alleged that custodians of peace and civil liberties had turned into murderers.

Quoting reports published in a section of the print media, the JI chief said the criminals involved in target killings and terrorist activities were allegedly getting assistance from the Command and Control Centre.

The reports said that activities of police, Rangers and other law-enforcement agencies were being watched through secret cameras and targets identified.

Mr Hasan said the KCCC had been set up during the tenure of Karachi Nazim Mustafa Kamal and thousands of workers of a particular party had been recruited to it.

He said it was a tragedy and a matter of concern that the rulers were themselves protecting the killers of innocent citizens only to stay in power and the assassins were not being arrested despite having been identified. Mr Hasan alleged that certain parties in the ruling coalition were involved in the bloodshed and target killings, adding that some ministers and senators were on payroll of foreign agencies.

Courtesy: → DAWN.COM

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JI chief condemns MQM’s terrorism

LAHORE, July 6: The Jamaat e Islami chief, Syed Munawar Hasan, has said that the writ of the government in Karachi has been eroded because of the MQM’s terrorism. He was talking to the family members of JI member ( Rukn) Mubinul Haq, who lost his life at the hands of the MQM terrorists in Faisalabad colony, Karachi.

Syed Munawar Hasan said that the MQM’s inclusion in the government had emboldened the terrorists who were moving about freely and the law and order in the port city had been shattered. The residents of the mega city had become hostages in the hands of a few terrorists, he added.

Read more → http://www.smunawar.com/2010/07/ji-chief-condemns-mqms-terrorism.html

via → Chagataikhan

Terrorists in ‘Command and Control’?

– BY IMDAD SOOMRO

» During recent incidents of violence, ISI recorded conversations between Command and Control Centre officials and target killers, On Feb 28, SHC ordered handing over centre to Home Department, but directives not complied with so far

SINDH: KARACHI – The officials of the Command and Control Centre established by former Karachi nazim Mustafa Kamal is aiding target killers and terrorists in their activities, Pakistan Today has learnt. Sources said that with their eyes on various parts of the city through the cameras installed all across the metropolitan, the officials of the centre’s Cam Wing provide anti-social elements with information about movement of the police and personnel of other law enforcement agencies as well as instructions for terror activities.

During the recent incidents of violence, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) has recorded conversations of the centre’s officials with target killers and terrorists, the sources added. They said that officials of the Cam Wing were discovered directing criminals regarding targets for killing and causing disruption as well as vandalism, looting and arson.

The ISI has recorded conversations of Cam Wing officials on separate occasions of violence and found that they directed criminals to leave a particular location or reach a specific site, they added. Sources said that the ISI has forwarded a letter to the federal government to immediately investigate the Cam Wing officials, and has recommended that the centre be handed over to the law enforcers immediately because due to these corrupt officials, the law enforcers have been unable to take action against target killers and terrorists among other criminals.

In its letter, the ISI has also expressed its reservations over the department of Community Police, more commonly known as the City Wardens, the sources added.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Community Police Department was also established by the former city nazim, and some 7,500 activists of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) were appointed in the department without conducting any interviews to determine their eligibility.

It is also relevant to mention here that on February 28 this year, the Sindh High Court (SHC) had ordered handing over the Command and Control Centre to the Sindh Home Department, but despite the passage of over five months, no action has been taken in this regard due to the Pakistan People’s Party’s policy of reconciliation.

An SHC division bench comprising Justices Gulzar Ahmed and Imam Bux Baloch had ordered constituting a committee headed by the Sindh Special Home Secretary and Sindh Additional Inspector General of Police with Pakistan Rangers-Sindh Lieutenant Colonel and a grade-19 officer of the City District Government Karachi (CDGK) as its members to supervise the centre.

The bench had issued the orders on a constitutional petition filed by Jamaat-e-Islami Karachi President Muhammad Hussain Mehanti who sought handing over the centre to the Sindh government.

At the time of the SHC decision, Sindh Additional Advocate General Miran Muhammad Shah had assured the court on behalf of the provincial government that the centre would be run under the control of the Home Department.

Shah had said that the centre would be run under the supervision of the Home Secretary and law enforcers among others.

The court had then disposed of the petition and ordered handing over the centre to the Home Department.

The Command and Control Centre was established by the CDGK in its last tenure following the directives of the former city nazim to control the traffic problems of the city; however, according to sources, the centre has been misused by a specific political party.

They said that the law enforcers have expressed their reservations on many occasions and suggested that instead of a political party or the local government, this centre be supervised by the provincial government because the centre has been misused by a political party for its own interests.

Several terror incidents – including the 12 Rabiul Awwal, 12 May and April 9 incidents as well as the Ashura and Chehlum tragedies – shook the metropolis, but no video evidence was maintained or handed over to the law enforcers, they added.

They also said that former Sindh home minister Dr Zulfiqar Ali Mirza had publicly complained that the Command and Control Centre was being misused by a specific political party. The video clip of a recent quarrel between Mirza and a private television channel’s team was also provided by the officials of the centre to the said channel, they added.

Courtesy: →PAKISTAN TODAY

New York Times – Pakistan Spies on Its Diaspora, Spreading Fear

By MARK MAZZETTI, ERIC SCHMITT and CHARLIE SAVAGE

WASHINGTON — F.B.I. agents hunting for Pakistani spies in the United States last year began tracking Mohammed Tasleem, an attaché in the Pakistani Consulate in New York and a clandestine operative of Pakistan’s military spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence.

Mr. Tasleem, they discovered, had been posing as an F.B.I. agent to extract information from Pakistanis living in the United States and was issuing threats to keep them from speaking openly about Pakistan’s government. His activities were part of what government officials in Washington, along with a range of Pakistani journalists and scholars, say is a systematic ISI campaign to keep tabs on the Pakistani diaspora inside the United States.

The F.B.I. brought Mr. Tasleem’s activities to Leon E. Panetta, then the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and last April, Mr. Panetta had a tense conversation with Pakistan’s spymaster, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha.

Within days, Mr. Tasleem was spirited out of the United States — a quiet resolution typical of the spy games among the world’s powers.

But some of the secrets of that hidden world became public last week when two Pakistani-Americans working for a charity that the F.B.I. believes is a front for Pakistan’s spy service were indicted. Only one was arrested; the other is still in Pakistan.

The investigation exposed one part of what American officials say is a broader campaign by the Pakistani spy agency, known as the ISI, to exert influence over lawmakers, stifle public dialogue critical of Pakistan’s military and blunt the influence of India, Pakistan’s longtime adversary.

American officials said that compared with countries like China and Russia — whose spies have long tried to steal American government and business secrets — the ISI’s operations here are less extensive and less sophisticated. And they are certainly far more limited than the C.I.A.’s activities inside Pakistan.

Even so, officials and scholars say the ISI campaign extends to issuing both tacit and overt threats against those who speak critically about the military.

The ISI is widely feared inside Pakistan because of these very tactics. For example, American intelligence officials believe that some ISI operatives ordered the recent killing of a Pakistani journalist, Saleem Shahzad. ….

Read more → The New York Times

Sovereignty: rights and responsibilities

by Dr Manzur Ejaz

Excerpt:

Having been embarrassed by the Abbottabad operation, the military’s position was seemingly weaker and they wanted to regain their previous status by using the media to spread anti-American sentiments amongst the people and parliament.

Nawaz Sharif torpedoed the sovereignty ship that the Pakistan military had launched under the stewardship of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief, Lieutenant-General Shuja Pasha. ….

…. However, Pakistan lives on a different planet by allowing or tolerating the Taliban and other jihadi groups that are involved in harmful activities against many other nations, including Afghanistan, the US, and Pakistan itself. A television talk-show host on one of the most watched programmes listed all the violent suicide bombings of a decade in the world. He pointed out that all the perpetrators of these violent acts were nabbed from Pakistan. Pakistan may boast about having handed over these criminals to the world but why were these terrorists found in Pakistan, instead of war-torn Afghanistan?

That is what makes the world suspicious about our state’s security policy run by the military and the ISI. If you look at the data from an outsider’s eye that every bomber is found in Pakistan, what will you conclude? Therefore, if Pakistan takes its case of breach of its sovereignty by the US to the UN, who will listen to it? Conversely, if Afghanistan, the US, Europe, India, Indonesia and many other countries take a similar case to the world forums, what would be the outcome? You can well imagine.

The military, backed by the weak PPP-PML-Q government, can create an illusion of sovereignty in Pakistani minds but the world is much larger than Pakistan and every outsider that counts is suspicious. If the US stops drone attacks and forgets about Mullah Omar or Ayman al-Zawahiri, can Pakistan assure the world that it can cleanse its territory of religious crusaders? And, unless that is done, the world is not going to respect Pakistan’s sovereignty. Probably, it can be done only if the military accepts the supremacy of civilian democratic governments as demanded by Nawaz Sharif. Yes, of course, the democratic governments have to be strong, but that is only a sufficient condition; the necessary condition is that the military gets out of foreign policy-making and other pivotal decisions of the state.

To read complete article : Wichaar

Debate: Feeding Pakistan’s Paranoia

When Pakistan Says No to the C.I.A.

Will Pakistan’s demand that the C.I.A. curtail its activities be a blow to American efforts to fight terrorism?

Feeding Pakistan’s Paranoia

Excerpt:

Shuja Nawaz is director of the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council in Washington. He is the author of “Crossed Swords: Pakistan, its Army, and the Wars Within” and “Learning by Doing: the Pakistan Army’s Experience with Counterinsurgency.”

Behind all the talk of a strategic dialogue and strategic partnership between the United States and Pakistan lurks the reality of a persistent transactional relationship, based on short-term objectives that intrude rudely into the limelight every time a drone attack kills civilians inside Pakistan or in the instance when an American “operative” is caught by the Pakistanis after killing two people on the streets of Lahore.

In “Paranoidistan,” as the historian Ayesha Jalal has called Pakistan, the public and the authorities are prepared to believe the worst. Conspiracy theories abound, involving the C.I.A., Israel and India, in various permutations. …

…. The United States needs to stop paying the Pakistan army with coalition support funds to fight in the border region and instead provide it adequate military aid in kind, as part of a carefully structured cooperative program to build its mobility and firepower against the militants. Money cannot buy love. ….

Read more : The New York Times

–  http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2011/04/12/when-pakistan-says-no-to-the-cia/feeding-pakistans-paranoia

Communist Party of Egypt resumes open political activities

March 24, 2011 — People’s World — On March 15, the Communist Party of Egypt announced that after many years underground because of repression, it will be assuming open, public political activities once more. The announcement came after “an extensive meeting with all of its bodies” and was unanimous.

The original Communist Party of Egypt, the Hizb al Shuvuci al-Misri, had been founded in 1922 when Egypt was still a monarchy and very much under the thumb of British imperialism. The last king of Egypt, Farouk, was overthrown by an uprising of young army officers in 1952. Out of that revolution came the 14-year regime of Colonel Gamel Abdel Nasser, a radical nationalist who worked to break Egypt away from subservience to Western capitalist powers. In 1965, the Communist Party of Egypt merged into Nasser’s own movement, the Arab Socialist Union.

A number of former Communist Party activists dissented from this merger and formed their own independent journal, Al-Inisar (Victory), starting in 1973, which led to their re-founding the Communist Party in 1975. Under the governments of Anwar Al Sadat and Hosni Mubarak, the re-founded Communist Party of Egypt faced repression and was not allowed to run in elections. However, it did not disappear and did not abandon the struggle for democracy and socialism.

When the demonstrations against the Mubarak regime began earlier this year, the Communist Party of Egypt, working in unity with other left-wing dissident groups, quickly gained public visibility as a key voice in the secular opposition. Its February 1, 2011, proclamation read as follows. ….

Read more : Link International

An Army Without a Country – by Ahmed Rashid

Excerpt:

….. As leaders worldwide—from the Pope to Hillary Clinton to Nicolas Sarkozy—strongly condemn Bhatti’s murder, the reaction of the Pakistani government has been vapid. No action has been taken or promises made to curb the freedom of violent extremist groups, who have hailed both murders and who have meanwhile been staging daily street demonstrations in Lahore to demand the death sentence for Raymond Davis, the American CIA agent who is now in Pakistani custody after killing two Pakistani men believed to be agents for the army’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). (Davis was part of a secret team working in the country; the exposure of his activities puts further strain on the uneasy alliance between the US and Pakistan.)

For its part, the army has so far failed to express regret about either Bhatti’s murder or Taseer’s. The army chief General Ashfaq Kayani declined to publicly condemn Taseer’s death or even to issue a public condolence to his family. He told Western ambassadors in January in Islamabad that there were too many soldiers in the ranks who sympathize with the killer, and showed them a scrapbook of photographs of Taseer’s killer being hailed as a hero by fellow police officers. Any public statement, he hinted, could endanger the army’s unity.

Behind this silence lies something more sinister. For decades the army and the ISI have controlled the extremist groups, arming and training them in exchange for their continuing to serve as proxy forces in Afghanistan and Kashmir. But in recent years, the army has lost control of them and they are striking targets of their own. Yet the army has refused to help crack down on its rogue protégés—despite the fact that extremists have increasingly attacked the army and the ISI itself, and at least 2,000 military personnel have died at their hands in the past five years. This is all the more ominous in view of the resources the military commands: half a million men, another half a million reserves, 110 nuclear weapons (according to US media estimates) and one of the largest intelligence agencies in the world, the ISI, which has an estimated 100,000 employees.

If the army has now surrendered any willingness to take on the extremists, the political establishment had already given up long ago. ….

Read more : The New York Review of Book

Governor Salman Taseer’s assassination & the rising tide of fanaticism in Pakistan

By Ahmed Chandio

The assassination of Punjab Governor Salman Taseer has spread fear and terror among people. A killer has been made hero and the victim as a villain in the name of blasphemy law. Religious parties of the country have intensified their activities in the wake of the Governor’s assassination. They don’t care about the country’s image abroad and the cost anyway. People are not ready to discuss the issue of blasphemy saying it’s a sensitive issue.

Lawyers of Rawalpindi forced a judge of an anti-terrorism court not to leave for the capital to hear the case. Finally, police shifted the accused to Rawalpindi to present him before the judge. Lawyers and activists of some religious parties placed garlands of roses around the killer’s neck. They showered him with flower petals and kissed him. According to a PPP minister, lawyers who garlanded the killer belonged to the PML-N.

Over 300 lawyers signed legal documents expressing their willingness to defend the killer. But no public prosecutor came forward to plead the case of the assassinated governor because of fear.

One newspaper reported that Qadri was a mercenary killer and paid to carry out the murder. He was given an assurance that his family would be looked after if anything happened to him or if he was convicted. Sources said announcements had been made about bounty to be paid to the killer and the amount offered totaled Rs40 million.

The Punjab governor’s murder is seen as an act of religious fanaticism. The roots of the menace can be traced back to the Zia era. Earlier it was considered that madressahs (religious seminaries) served as breeding grounds for producing fanatics. But profiles of 9/11 terrorists, Times Square bomber, the killer of journalist Daniel Pearl proved that all of them had not studied in madressahs. The killer of Punjab governor had also not studied in madressah.

Can we hold curriculum being taught from primary to university-level education in Pakistan responsible for terrorism? No. Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, the killer of Daniel Pearl, had studied in the London School of Economics.

Then what instigated them to be a fanatic? What are sources and forces of hate in Pakistan?

There has been no doubt that hate missions are very much institutionalized and billions of rupees are spent on them. Some foreign countries are also funding millions of rupees to groups involved in acts of militancy. …

Read more : Indus Herald

Top US military commanders in Afghanistan are seeking to expand ground raids by Special Operations Forces across the border in Pakistan’s tribal areas, The New York Times reported

US seeking to expand raids into Pakistan

WASHINGTON: Top US military commanders in Afghanistan are seeking to expand ground raids by Special Operations Forces across the border in Pakistan’s tribal areas, The New York Times reported Monday.

Amid growing US frustration with Pakistan’s lackluster efforts at removing militants from strongholds there, the officials are proposing to escalate military activities in the nuclear-armed nation, the Times said in its online edition.

US forces have been largely restricted to limited covert operations and unmanned drone strikes in Pakistan due to fears of retaliation from a population that often holds strong anti-American sentiment in a country rife with militants.

Even these limited operations have provoked angry reactions from Pakistani officials. The drones are believed to be largely operated by the CIA.

Read more : DAWN

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End Game Has Started, for details : BBC urdu