Tag Archives: ambassadors

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

Pakistan : Everyone his own master!

As creative fiction goes, this is unsurpassed. But it gives rise to the unfortunate perception that if this is the best our intelligence agencies can up with – organisations which claim infallibility and think of themselves as the first guardians of the national interest, superior to anything else – then, collectively, we are in deeper waters than we think.

by Ayaz Amir

This is the dispersal of power at its best: defence policy in the clutches of General Headquarters (GHQ) with no input at all from the federal government; the Supreme Court (SC), under the forceful leadership of the twice-restored Chief Justice (CJ), turning itself into an alternative centre of administration; and the government reduced to presiding over a state of administrative mayhem and colourful financial skulduggery.

To say that only defence policy is with GHQ is to do our most powerful institution a great injustice. Foreign policy, or its most salient aspects, is also being run from that holy of holies. Small wonder that no foreign visit to Islamabad is complete without a call on the army chief, Gen Ashfaq Kayani, who gives every indication of devoting as much time to ambassadors and foreign visitors as to his professional responsibilities.

The Foreign Office likes to take itself seriously but in truth it has been reduced to an adjunct secretariat of GHQ. …

Read more : The News