Tag Archives: army

Exclusive: Act against militants or face international isolation, civilians tell military

Excerpt:

BY CYRIL ALMEIDA

…. On the US, Mr Chaudhry said that relations have deteriorated and will likely further deteriorate because of the American demand that action be taken against the Haqqani network. On India, Mr Chaudhry stated that the completion of the Pathankot investigation and some visible action against Jaish-i-Mohammad were the principal demands.

Then, to a hushed but surprised room, Mr Chaudhry suggested that while China has reiterated its support for Pakistan, it too has indicated a preference for a change in course by Pakistan. Specifically, while Chinese authorities have conveyed their willingness to keep putting on technical hold a UN ban on Jaish-i-Mohammad leader Masood Azhar, they have questioned the logic of doing so repeatedly.

Extraordinary exchange

The foreign secretary’s unexpectedly blunt conclusions triggered an astonishing and potentially ground-shifting exchange between the ISI DG and several civilian officials.

In response to Foreign Secretary Chaudhry’s conclusions, Gen Akhtar asked what steps could be taken to prevent the drift towards isolation. Mr Chaudhry’s reply was direct and emphatic: the principal international demands are for action against Masood Azhar and the Jaish-i-Mohmmad; Hafiz Saeed and the Lashkar-e-Taiba; and the Haqqani network.

To that, Gen Akhtar offered that the government should arrest whomever it deems necessary, though it is unclear whether he was referring to particular individuals or members of banned groups generally. At that point came the stunning and unexpectedly bold intervention by Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

Addressing Gen Akhtar, the younger Sharif complained that whenever action has been taken against certain groups by civilian authorities, the security establishment has worked behind the scenes to set the arrested free. Astounded onlookers describe a stunned room that was immediately aware of the extraordinary, unprecedented nature of the exchange.

To defuse tensions, Prime Minister Sharif himself addressed Gen Akhtar and said that policies pursued in the past were state policies and as such they were the collective responsibility of the state and that the ISI DG was not being accused of complicity in present-day events. …

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1288350/exclusive-act-against-militants-or-face-international-isolation-civilians-tell-military

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Editor quits, columnists dropped: Pakistan Army ‘has choked all dissent’

Today, the Marxist editor is at the centre of another controversy involving the establishment after resigning as editor of the Lahore-based English language newspaper Daily Times.

Written by Nirupama Subramanian

In the 1970s, when the Pakistan Army barrelled into Balochistan to bring the restive province under control, Rashed Rehman was among a handful of youngsters from a few elite families in Lahore who joined the rebel forces and fought against the military. Today, the Marxist editor is at the centre of another controversy involving the establishment after resigning as editor of the Lahore-based English language newspaper Daily Times.

Read more » The Indian Express
See more » http://indianexpress.com/article/world/world-news/editor-quits-columnists-dropped-pakistan-army-has-choked-all-dissent/#.VlpH66zVYLw.facebook

Pakistan’s Army Chief Is in Washington — Embarrassing His Prime Minister

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Why is General Raheel Sharif, Pakistan’s army chief, visiting Washington right now? Wasn’t his Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, in the nation’s capital less than a month ago? I know you are confident about your guess: The Americans must have invited him to come and discuss the unfinished war on terror. Oops! You got it wrong.According to the Voice of America, the United States government has not invited Pakistan’s powerful army chief. To borrow a phrase from the Hindustan Times, Raheel has invited himself to the U.S. The invitation does not matter much but this trip once again highlights the army’s brazenly tight grip on the country’s democratic government, specifically its foreign policy. A smug Raheel is in Washington with a straightforward message to D.C.’s policymakers: Forget about what was discussed between President Obama and Prime Minister Sharif last month. Let’s talk again. I decide my country’s foreign policy, not the prime minister.

Before his arrival to Washington, Raheel’s army, on November 10th, had solely taken credit for the “improved security situation” but rebuked the democratic administration that the “progress” it had made in the fight against terrorism could not be “sustained without matching betterment in governance and administration.”

Although the army has historically been in full control of Pakistan’s external relations, Raheel, since becoming the army chief, has staged sort of a foreign policy coup. Prime Minister Sharif, a victim of a military coup in 1999, has been so cautious in avoiding another military takeover that he has even not appointed a foreign minister two years after becoming the prime minister for a third term. On the foreign policy front, the army is explicitly intimidating the prime minister. He cannot take bold decisions or fulfill the promises he makes during meetings with foreign heads of government. The army chief has entered into an undeclared competition with the prime minister over foreign trips.

According to Zahid Hussain, a senior Pakistani journalist, the army chief “has perhaps travelled to more world capitals over the last two years than even the prime minister, reinforcing the perception that not only does the military call the shots on security matters it is also actively directing the country’s foreign policy

Read more » Huffington Post
See more » http://www.huffingtonpost.com/malik-siraj-akbar/pakistans-army-chief-is-i_b_8580138.html

NAP progress not only reason of tension between institutions

ISLAMABAD: A lack of progress on the National Action Plan (NAP) to counter terrorism in the wake of the Army Public School massacre was just one of many reasons behind the civil-military tensions that boiled over last week.

In background conversations with Dawn, military officials and civilian leaders offered their own interpretations for the reasons behind a public spat between the government and the army.

Also read: Military’s complaint

Sources say that there have been a number of recent developments that have strained the ever-sensitive balance of power between the two institutions.

After the corps commanders’ meeting on Nov 10, the military leadership expressed its dissatisfaction with the government’s performance on NAP. This prompted an uncharacteristic response from the PM Office the following day, which emphasised that effective implementation of NAP was the shared responsibility of all national institutions working within the ambit of the constitution.

A senior government functionary close to the PML-N leadership told Dawn that the prime minister had never been very comfortable with the army chief’s trips to international capitals. He was particularly unhappy, the functionary said, with Gen Raheel Sharif’s visits to Saudi Arabia in the first week of November, and now the US.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1220034

Pak army chief’s remarks: Senate chief proposes joint session

By Afzal Khan/ Islamabad

Rabbani calls for in-camera meeting as senators raise alarm.

Amid a continuing debate over the army chief’s provocative statement on governance, Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani has suggested that an in-camera joint session of parliament should be held to discuss it.

Rabbani called for the joint session as senators picked up the largely negative reaction earlier voiced in the National Assembly where several members voiced alarm that Gen. Raheel Sharif had overstepped his constitutional authority.

Rabbani further proposed that besides the progress on the National Action Plan (NAP), the in-camera session should also take up issues pertaining to foreign policy. It is widely believed that the Nawaz Sharif government has ceded its control over major foreign policy matters to the army.

Read more » Khaleej Times
See more » http://www.khaleejtimes.com/international/pakistan/pak-army-chiefs-remarks-senate-chief-proposes-joint-session

In case of threat, opposition to stand by govt: Aitzaz

“The ISPR  and the Corps Commanders has no right t publicly talk about the democratic and constitutional government.”

BY AMIR WASIM

ISLAMABAD: Severely criticising a recent ISPR statement on poor implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) by the civilian set-up, several political parties — mainly the PPP — assured the PML-N government of their complete support in any eventuality.

“I am disappointed with the governance of the present government. But the ISPR and the corps commanders have no right to publicly talk about the democratic and constitutional government of Nawaz Sharif,” Leader of Opposition Aitzaz Ahsan said while speaking on a point of order in the Senate.

“Keep on indulging in my character assassination, but you will find Aitzaz Ahsan and those sitting on the opposition benches with you in case of any threat (to the government),” he said in an apparent reference to recent personal attacks on him by some ministers on the floor of the house.

Also read-editorial: Military’s complaint

Mr Ahsan said it was Mehmood Achakzai of the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) who had been talking on the matter over the past two days, regretting that no-one from the PML-N had the courage to speak out.

Indicating tensions in civil-military ties, the military leadership had gone public on Tuesday with its concerns about poor implementation of the NAP and warned that efficacy of its counter-terrorism efforts could be undermined by inadequate supporting actions from civilian agencies.

The ISPR (Inter-Services Public Relations) issued the statement after a corps commanders’ meeting presided over by army chief Gen Raheel Sharif.

“There is no doubt that the present government is absolutely incompetent. But can the military make such an announcement through an official statement after the corps commanders’ conference,” said Farhatullah Babar. “The ISPR statement itself is a manifestation of poor governance of the rulers.”

“We can also ask questions about your governance, Mr Commander,” he said in an apparent reference to the army chief.

“You almost daily tell us about the killing of foreign militants in Tirah Valley and other tribal areas. Please tell us the names of at least two militants,” he said. Similarly, he added, there were many questions in their minds about the ongoing Operation Zarb-i-Azb. “However, we do not ask such questions publicly believing that the army is doing a good job.”

Mr Babar said he would like to know why the army chief had not raised the issues at a meeting on national security issues presided over by the prime minister only two days before the corps commanders’ conference.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1219328/

Gen Sharif himself requested for this visit – Pentagon

COAS to share ideas with US on Afghanistan

BY BAQIR SAJJAD SYED

ISLAMABAD: Army chief Gen Raheel Sharif is expected to mainly focus on Afghanistan during his coming visit to the United States.

During his stay in the US, from Nov 15 to 20, the COAS will meet senior officials at the Pentagon and the State Department, according to officials making preparation for the visit.

This will be the army chief’s second visit to Washington in a year. And it comes close on the heels of a visit to Washington by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif last month when he discussed almost everything with President Barack Obama.

But given the extent of the military’s influence in the country’s foreign affairs and security matters, people here believe that more substantive discussions would take place during the army chief’s US trip.

One must also not lose sight of the fact that Gen Sharif himself requested for this visit. To put it in the words of a Washington-based source, it is not ‘a counterpart visit’.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1218291

More details » Voice of America
http://m.urduvoa.com/a/pentagon-says-raheel-sharif-visiting-us-without-invitation-12nov2015/3054787.html

Win Pak-India nuke war?

By PERVEZ HOODBHOY

That Pakistan may first use nuclear weapons in a future war with India was announced last week by Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry. Coming just two days before Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Oct 22 visit to Washington, this could be considered a reiteration of the army’s well-known stance. But, significantly it came from the Foreign Office rather than GHQ or Strategic Plans Division. Coming from both ends of the power spectrum, this confirms that Pakistan has drastically shifted its nuclear posture.

In the late 1980s, Pakistan had viewed nuclear weapons very differently; they were the last-ditch means to deter a possible nuclear attack by India. But Pakistan now says it intends to use low-yield nuclear bombs, also called tactical nuclear weapons, to forestall the possible advance of Indian troops into Pakistan under India’s ‘Cold Start’ operational doctrine.

Floated by Gen Deepak Kapoor in 2010, Cold Start calls for cutting Pakistan into “salami slices” as punishment for hosting yet another Mumbai-style terrorist attack inside India. It assumes that this limited action would not provoke a nuclear exchange. India strenuously denies that such a doctrine is official or that it has been made operational.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1216449/

Pakistani military controlling Nawaz government: TIME

The Pakistani Military Has Tightened Its Control of the Country’s Security Policy

Appointment of retired general to key security role seen as military attempt to have greater sway

Pakistan plans to appoint a recently retired army general as its new national security adviser, senior officials have told Reuters, indicating yet another step forward in the Pakistani military’s effort to increase its control of the country’s government.

Lieut. General Naseer Khan Janjua will soon be appointed to the key diplomatic and strategic post and will accompany Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on an upcoming visit to the U.S., Reuters cited one military and two civilian officials as saying.

Janjua retired from the armed forces last week and will reportedly replace current national security adviser Sartaj Aziz, who also holds a key post in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Read more » TIME
Lear more » http://time.com/4077679/pakistan-national-security-advisor-naseer-khan-janjua/

More » The Nation
See more » http://nation.com.pk/national/19-Oct-2015/pakistani-military-controlling-nawaz-government-time

General (retd) Zaheerul Islam: The shadow warrior

By Herald

There were rumours in the air. During the 126-day-long dharna by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) against the ruling Pakistan Muslim League–Nawaz (PMLN), there were murmurs of a coup d’état. Other than General Shuja Pasha, the former intelligence officer who is known to be a close friend and supporter of PTI Chairman Imran Khan, the other name that was repeatedly brought up was that of Zaheerul Islam, the then director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Allegedly, the two were conspiring to create a rift between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif. In the past, the premier had acted against generals whom he had differences with. It was expected that he would again act in a similar manner, under the presumption that the dharna had the general’s backing. But the events did not play out as expected. Not exactly.

It was Federal Defence Minister Khawaja Asif who first stated that the two were behind the political unrest that prevailed last year. Specifically, the minister said, Islam had a “personal grievance” with the ruling party for siding with a particular media house. Asif was subsequently sidelined and snubbed at a dinner with army generals and quickly made to learn a central lesson.

Not everyone took from his experience. In an interview with the BBC in August 2015, Senator Mushahidullah Khan claimed that an audio tape obtained by the Intelligence Bureau was played during a meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Raheel Sharif last year, in which Islam could be heard giving instructions to raid the prime minister’s office. According to the senator, when questioned by General Raheel Sharif, Islam confirmed that the voice was his own.

Khan later clarified that he himself had not heard the tape. Never mind the fact that he kept referring to the ex-ISI Chief as Zahirul Islam Abbasi – the major general who had plotted to overthrow the Benazir Bhutto government in 1995, and who died six years ago – the damage had been done.

Appointed on the recommendation of then President Asif Ali Zardari in March 2012, Islam became the 18th director general of the ISI. He has remained mostly out of the spotlight and yet, he manages to cast a shadow over many major events in the last few years. The most significant of them was when a private television channel ran photographs of Islam alongside allegations by journalist Hamid Mir’s brother stating that firing on the prime-time anchorperson was the handiwork of the intelligence agencies.

Continue reading General (retd) Zaheerul Islam: The shadow warrior

Pakistan’s army Hail to the chief

Politicians are overshadowed by a publicity-seeking general

THE image of a mustachioed man with peaked cap and a chest full of medals is becoming hard to avoid in Pakistan. It is splashed across the posters of a politician competing in a by-election in the eastern city of Lahore. It looms large on giant billboards in the port city of Karachi, apparently paid for by adoring citizens. And it is a rare day when Pakistan’s chief of army staff is not pictured on a newspaper front page. He has even entered the colourful repertoire of artists who decorate the nation’s trucks and rickshaws.

The apotheosis of General Raheel Sharif (pictured, wearing beret) makes it harder than ever for his unrelated namesake, Nawaz Sharif, who is prime minister, to claw back powers from an army that has directly and indirectly controlled Pakistan for most of its history. Nawaz Sharif’s election victory in 2013 resulted in the country’s first transfer of power from one civilian government to another. But the extent of his authority is debatable: the army is reasserting itself.

This marks quite a turnaround for an institution that eight years ago was so unpopular that off-duty soldiers in the most restive areas were advised not to wear their uniforms in public. The long rule of General Pervez Musharraf, a coup-maker, had seriously tarnished the army’s prestige. A particular setback was the violence unleashed in central Islamabad in 2007 when General Musharraf decided to clear out a pro-Taliban mosque in the heart of the city. The army was humiliated in 2011 when the public discovered Osama bin Laden had been hiding next to the country’s officer-training school and that American special forces had been able to penetrate deep into Pakistan to kill him.

Today the army is riding high, buoyed by an improvement in security following a decision in June 2014 to launch an all-out campaign against the Pakistani Taliban. Many credit General Sharif with taking the initiative. Operation Zarb-e-Azb has seen key towns in the former Taliban sanctuary of North Waziristan retaken by the state. Militants have been hunted down elsewhere, particularly in Karachi, which had been a major centre of Taliban activity. All this work has helped cut militant violence by nearly half in the last nine months, according to the Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies, a think-tank in Islamabad.

At the same time the army has been waging a public-relations war, promoting General Sharif as a star. The media dutifully report on his every visit to the front lines and publish photographs of every honour-guard he inspects during his numerous overseas trips.

Read more » The Economist
See more » http://www.economist.com/news/asia/21667980-politicians-are-overshadowed-publicity-seeking-general-hail-chief

The new political (dis)order

BY ZAHID HUSSAIN

HOW does one describe the present political power structure? Diarchy? Not really. Some call it a hybrid or more precisely a civil-military partnership. Neither of the two fully defines the existing power matrix, with the civilian authority fast losing its relevance to the swelling support, real or hyped, for the military.

It is more a political disorder — not civil-military cohabitation. The balance of power has long tilted towards the military, yet neither Sharif the prime minister nor Sharif the general is actually in the driving seat. Can this tenuous power calculus last long? It cannot. But it is hard to predict how and what kind of change is in the offing.

It seems extremely difficult for Nawaz Sharif to regain lost ground amidst governance failure and the breaking down of consensus among the major political parties to defend the democratic political process. It was this unity that had protected the system during the PTI-Qadri dharna last year.

But that episode had also exposed the vulnerability of a set-up devoid of any effective leadership and competence. The perception of civil-military leadership being on the same page was mere eyewash. Pictures of the prime minister in a huddle with the army chief every other day did not hide the growing strains over major issues.

The military’s deepening involvement in state affairs and public expectations could lead to a slippery path.

Meanwhile, the clout of the military has grown further in the aftermath of the Peshawar school massacre and the formation of apex committees to oversee the implementation on the National Action Plan. The prime minister appeared quite happy with the military taking over the entire responsibility of internal security as well, but this has political ramifications. The broadening of the Karachi operation further enhanced the military’s role. That also caused an end to the politics of ‘reconciliation’ between the PML-N and the PPP that had helped the last parliament complete its term and the unprecedented transfer of power from one elected government to another.

Continue reading The new political (dis)order

Pakistan press freedom under pressure from army

Journalists claim they are forced to self-censor criticism of the military after indirect threats from army officials

Hamid Mir knew one of the guests on his nightly television show had made a mistake the moment he blurted out the name of the country’s army chief without due deference.

“He just said ‘Raheel Sharif, Raheel Sharif’ without calling him general,” Mir says of a recent episode of his influential Capital Talk programme. “I knew immediately the words came out it would be cut.”

At a time of intense pressure on the media to cooperate with an army public relations campaign that is burnishing the image of General Sharif, channels routinely edit out or drop the sound on the mildest criticism of the military.

Even the country’s only Nobel peace prize winner, the schoolgirl activist Malala Yousafzai, was briefly silenced in early August when she said in an interview with Aaj TV that the prime minister had told her he was unable to spend more money on education because of pressure to fund military operations.

Mir fears that behind the pressure for self-censorship lurk “anti-democratic forces deliberately trying to undermine political institutions by giving more importance to the army.”

Leading journalists claim to have received indirect threats from army officials who warn them they are being targeted by terrorists or that their coverage is raising suspicions they have been compromised by the Indian intelligence service.

Read more » The Guardian
See more » http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/sep/14/pakistan-press-freedom-army-journalists-military?CMP=share_btn_fb

Is democracy still a “security imperative”?

By Umer Farooq

A political set-up devoid of legitimacy invites military coups. In a politically unstable country like Pakistan, when the government’s legitimacy is lost or challenged, a military coup becomes a real possibility — this is clearly exemplified by the two previous military coups. General Ziaul Haq staged the 1977 coup when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s government was facing a challenge to its legitimacy, from a coalition of groups belonging to the religious right alleging rigging in the general elections. General (retd) Pervez Musharraf and his generals staged their coup when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was facing allegations of rigging in parliamentary elections. In a subsequent case of intervention by the army, Musharraf was removed from power by his subordinate generals when the street protests spearheaded by the lawyers’ community brought into focus the question of Musharraf’s legitimacy — a question as old as the regime itself.

Every regime in the post-Musharraf period has faced a challenge to its legitimacy. This includes the administration headed by Musharraf himself. On the onset, he hardly faced political resistance of any significance to his rule; nevertheless, the legal and constitutional legitimacy of his rule were seriously questioned from the very start. The Lawyers’ Movement, starting in 2007, only brought this issue of legal and constitutional legitimacy to the forefront.

Legitimacy can be defined as a public perception that a ruler or a government has the right and authority to govern the country — politically, legally and morally. Losing legitimacy means a situation where the government or the ruler becomes devoid, in public perception, of the right to rule the country on account of any illegality or corruption.

The Asif Ali Zardari-led Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government was elected through a democratic electoral process which was legally, politically and morally legitimate. Nevertheless, a situation was created where the PPP was forced, through a campaign of media trials and succession of court judgments, to face allegations of financial corruption of its leaders and the situation escalated to created a sense of mistrust in the government.

The Pakistan Muslim League–Nawaz (PMLN) government came into power in 2013 in an atmosphere where allegations of corruption were a constant. Something new and more powerful was required, and came when the leading opposition party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), pushed for rolling back the whole political system on the basis of alleged rigging in the 2013 election. The protests that brought these allegations into the limelight came and went away, with the Sharif government surviving the onslaught. However, the protests left lingering doubts in the public imagination about the credibility of parliamentary elections. These doubts could be left to hibernate, while the power struggle continued in the corridors of power in Islamabad, and revived at an appropriate time to act as the Sword of Damocles over the political system.

The Pakistani people have passively witnessed similar developments unfold so often in the past that they can make educated guesses regarding what the next act will entail, and who the main actors will be. The actors are constant: political parties of the religious right spearheading campaigns to raise the legitimacy question, the recently mobilised retired generals and ex-servicemen similarly advancing this campaign, and the media acting as another proxy in this game played out by not-so-hidden hands.

Continue reading Is democracy still a “security imperative”?

Even armymen not above the law, say ex-servicemen

BY IKRAM JUNAIDI

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Ex-Servicemen Association has openly called for punitive action against anyone — irrespective of rank or status — who is guilty of corruption or providing support to terrorists, even if they are from the military.

A statement issued on Sunday after a meeting of the association’s executive council said that members had demanded that the government “ensure total human equality while dealing with all cases of corruption and other unlawful activities”.

It further said: “[Ex-servicemen have] always maintained that punitive action must be taken against all found guilty of supporting corruption or terrorism, irrespective of their status and rank, including [members of] the armed forces.”

Explaining the association’s resolve, retired Brigadier Samson Sharaf told Dawn, “If we are to clear the dirt, we have to do it indiscriminately. We are a citizens’ army, we are not above anyone.” He added that all ex-servicemen had offered themselves up for accountability and said that he believed that no-one should be exempt from scrutiny.

The statement’s timing is significant, coming at a time when rumours regarding the possible court-martial of military officials, including a general, on corruption charges are doing the rounds. A reference to the case in a recent newspaper editorial has also sparked speculation, although ISPR has yet to confirm or deny whether such proceedings have actually been instituted.

The meeting, which was chaired by retired Lt-Gen Ali Kuli Khan, was also attended by Air Marshal Masood Akhtar, Lt-Gen Naeem Akbar, Brig Mian Mahmud, Brig Arbi Khan, Brig Masudul Hassan. Brig Akram Malik and Brig Waqar Raja, among others.

Continue reading Even armymen not above the law, say ex-servicemen

Rangers ‘cementing’ hold in Karachi

Despite the fact that the federal government has earmarked Rs 300 million under Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for the construction of accommodation for Abdullah Shah Ghazi Rangers at Karachi, paramilitary Sindh Rangers are unlawfully running a construction business in the city to “meet expenses”.

Pakistan Today has learnt that the paramilitary force, by the name of Karachi Block Works (KBW), prepares and sells construction material in the open market and also provides services for building and demolishing houses in the city. Their construction depot is situated along the boundary wall of Sheikh Zaid Islamic Research Centre (SZIRC) on University of Karachi (KU) land in Gulshan-e-Iqbal.

Upon visit to the site, Pakistan Today witnessed a large quantity of cement blocks, sand and stones, spread over thousands of square yards of land, with material-loaded trucks, shuttling from and to the depot. Within the depot, Rangers have made a makeshift office where paramilitary personnel ensure their presence for public dealing and security.

Talking to Pakistan Today, a Rangers ‘supervisor’ at the depot said that Rangers had been running this business since 1994. “We supply cement blocks, crush stones and sand to the market. We also provide services for building and demolishing houses in all parts of the city,” he said.

‘SWEET’ BLOCKS, THIRSTY LOCALS:

Unlawfully using KU land for the business, the paramilitary force has intercepted the main water pipeline of Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) to use water for manufacturing blocks.

Due to this puncture in the KWSB water pipeline, the residents of Gulistan-e-Jauhar, residing opposite to KU, have been facing acute water shortage for the last eight years.

“KBW is famous in the area for manufacturing quality blocks by using sweet water,” the supervisor however boasts.

WHO ALLOWED THIS?:

When contacted, the KU administration claimed that they had given a piece of land to Rangers for six months for manufacturing blocks for the construction of its installation in the city, but they started a private construction business and have been running it for eight years now on the varsity’s precious land.

“Permission to Rangers to manufacture blocks was given on request of the then KU security adviser Prof Dr Khalid Iraqi for six months in 2008,” KU External Estate Officer Naeemur Rehman said.

“As the given deadline expired, the then vice chancellor Prof Dr Pirzada Qasim Raza Siddiqui wrote a letter to Rangers high-ups, requesting them to evacuate the varsity land however the Rangers refused to vacate the land,” Rehman maintained.

WHERE DOES THE REVENUE GO?:

Investigation confirmed the Rangers construction business in the city but it is yet to be ascertained as to where the revenue generated by this business ends up. The Rangers depot supervisor claimed that the business is controlled and monitored directly by the Sindh Rangers director general but this could not be confirmed from the Rangers authorities.

RANGERS DILLYDALLY:

When contacted, Rangers officials initially disowned their involvement in any commercial business in Karachi, however they later accepted that the paramilitary force was engaged in construction business to “finance its construction projects in the city and to meet financial expenses of the paramilitary force here”.

Rangers Sindh spokesperson Colonel Tahir Mehmood diverted Pakistan Today’s query to Major Sibtain, saying “I will get back to you on this”.

Major Sibtain initially disowned the business, but later claimed that Rangers were constructing pickets by generating revenue from this business. “Rangers got Rs 300.5 million in the federal PSDP for the construction of accommodation for Abdullah Shah Ghazi in Karachi, but it has not yet received the money,” Maj Sibtain maintained.

Questioned on the paramilitary force’s development budget, Maj Sibtain excused himself saying that he needed to check details with the Accounts Department.

Moreover, the spokesperson dodged a question about the record of the revenue generated through the construction business.

“The paramilitary force is working to bring law and order situation under control by conducting targeted raids and operation in every nook and corner of the city,” he said instead.

News courtesy:Pakistan Today
Read more » http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2015/06/17/national/rangers-cementing-hold-in-karachi/

FALSE EQUIVALENCY IN THE “INDO-PAKISTAN” DISPUTE

By 

In the wake of India’s hot pursuit of militants into Myanmar, Pakistan has raised numerous alarms about Indian aggression. It has issued various warnings that no such Indian incursion into Pakistan will be tolerated. As often happens in such circumstances, the international media has raised the tocsin of the potential for yet another “Indo-Pakistan” clash. Unfortunately, much of this coverage of the so-called India-Pakistan conflict is deeply problematic in that writers, perhaps with good intentions, seek to impose a false equivalence on both nations’ conduct, giving the impression that India and Pakistan contribute equally to the fraught situation that currently exists.

This is dangerously untrue and feeds into a policy-process that has failed to come to terms with the most serious problem in South Asia: Pakistan. Such coverage also rewards Pakistan for its malfeasance by attributing blame to India in equal share and thus legitimizing Pakistan’s ill-found grievances. The only parties who benefit from such an understanding of the “Indo-Pakistan” dispute are the Pakistan military and its terrorist proxies. One such article was published by the Washington Post on June 11 by Tim Craig and Annie Gowen. In this essay, I seek to provide the necessary historical and empirical background that is required to make sense of the current situation. In doing so I directly challenge such writers as Craig and Gowen, among others, to devote more time to understanding the conflict dynamics before they inadvertently obfuscate the situation more than they illuminate it.

Pakistan’s Tired Kashmir Claims

As the article notes, the origins of the India-Pakistan dispute date back to 1947, when the two countries were tweezed out from the detritus of the British Raj. Pakistan’s founders argued that Muslims of South Asia could never be safe and secure under a Hindu majority in a unified India and thus required a separate state after the British departed. This was the crux of the so-called Two Nation Theory, which held that Muslims and Hindus are equal nations despite the fact that Muslims were far fewer in number.The Two Nation Theory was deeply problematic from beginning. First, Muslims had lived under Hindu dominion in the past with no significant diminution of their basic freedoms. Second, as independence loomed,many of the Muslims in what became West Pakistan did not want to join Pakistan in the first place. Third, during and after Partition, about one third of South Asia’s Muslims opted to remain in India rather than join Pakistan. Fourth, the 1971 secession of East Pakistan based upon ethno-nationalist mobilization against West Pakistani oppression further undermined the notion that South Asian Muslim identity was a sufficient basis for nationhood. The Two Nation Theory has remained the motivation for Pakistan’s claims upon Kashmir, without which Pakistan believes Partition can never be a complete process and the Two Nation Theory remains a dream deferred.

Partition was conducted on the basis of geographical contiguity and Hindu-Muslim demographics. Three so-called Princely States — Hyderabad, Junagarh, and Kashmir — did not cast their lot with either of the new nations even though hundreds of other such states had done so. The Muslim sovereign of Hyderabad, a large swathe of territory deep within India, governed a mostly Hindu population. He preferred to remain independent of either dominion. After a prolonged skirmish with the sovereign’s own militia and their supporters, India forcibly annexed Hyderabad. Junagarh, a Hindu majority state also deep within Indian territory, was governed by a Muslim who signed an instrument of accession to Pakistan. Pakistan initially refused to accept it because it shared no border with Junagarh. In the end, Pakistan accepted the instrument, likely in hopes of using it as a bargaining chip for the prize: Kashmir. Kashmir’s sovereign was a Hindu who presided over a Muslim majority population. While Kashmir was the only Muslim-majority state in the Raj, the polity was diverse and included Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists and Muslim communities various sects of Sunnis and Shia. Kashmir’s sovereign also sought independence. He signed a stand-still agreement with Pakistan to stave off military action while he dithered in casting his lot with either India or Pakistan.

Continue reading » WAR ON THE ROCKS
Read more » http://warontherocks.com/2015/06/false-equivalency-in-the-indo-pakistan-dispute/?singlepage=1

Angry outburst: PPP co-chairman fires broadside at establishment

ISLAMABAD: In a surprising outburst ostensibly against the powerful security establishment, Pakistan Peoples Party Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari said on Tuesday that politicians were better suited to running the affairs of the country. “You are here for only three years,” he said in an apparent jab at the army chief.

Read more » The Express Tribune
See more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/904947/angry-outburst-ppp-co-chairman-fires-broadside-at-establishment/

‘If attempts are made to agitate us then we’ll respond accordingly’

ISLAMABAD: Former President and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday said that he was not interested in coming into power but only wanted to serve the masses of the country.

Speaking to party workers and office bearers belonging to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA here, he said when the ‘PPP moves it jolts all others’, adding that mid-term elections would have been held if his party put its weight behind Imran Khan’s PTI led protests against the government last year.

“We are watching the political game, political moves and waiting for the right time to arrive… let those play to whom we provided a bat and ball,” said the former president.

“Let them put the economy back on track… it will be good if they succeed, but if they don’t then those provoking us must understand that if I stand up then not only Sindh but every town from Khyber to Karachi would be shut.”

Commenting on former military ruler Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf, Zardari said that the former president, who he said still acts like a commando, cannot even spend three months in a Pakistani jail.

“Musharraf does not know how many threats Pakistan is facing currently, but I do,” he remarked.

He warned against character assassination of his party, saying if they started doing the same then no one would be spared including army generals. “Army is our institutions,” he added.

Zardari went on to say that army chiefs come and go every three years but the political leadership is here to stay. “I don’t want the national institutions to weaken,” he added.

“If attempts are made to agitate us then we’ll respond accordingly,” said the aggressive looking PPP co-chairman.

Addressing the party workers, he said that they had to learn a lot and he had to teach them.

“At the time of BB’s [former prime minister Benazir Bhutto] martyrdom, I said Pakistan khappay (long live Pakistan)… but, there’s a limit to everything,” he concluded.

PPP Patron-in-Chief Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari was also present on the occasion.

News courtesy: The News
Read more » http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-188229-If-attempts-are-made-to-agitate-us-then-well-respond-accordingly

Asif Zardari bursts out against army with a clear warning

ISLAMABAD: Temperament of Co-Chairman PPP Asif Ali Zardari finally lost when he burst out against army and indirectly straight forwardly towards Chief of Army Staff, General Raheel Sharif after the latter put allegations of corruption, smuggling, land-grabbing and extortion on him.

Zardari got out of control of emotions during his address to the party workers of PPP in FATA and clearly declared a war against army if it had tried to interrupt him again in future. He said not mentioning the name of COAS to stop his character assassination otherwise if he would stand then he would disclose the list of all the retired generals involved in corruption since the formation of Pakistan in media.

“We had stood by with army in difficult time, you have to stay here for just three years but we have to stay here forever”, he said, adding, “if we have been disturbed then we will tear you down brick by brick”.

He also clearly warned COAS not to interfere in those matters which are not related to him and said that if the beginning is started with war then we know how to fight. He further mentioned Gen Raheel Sharif that on one side India is threatening you, on the other end you are tackling with banned organizations of Taliban and in Balochistan you have to face the mean tactics of RAW, so at this crucial time we don’t want to weaken you.  

Read more » The News Teller
See more » http://www.thenewsteller.com/pakistan/asif-zardari-bursts-out-against-army-with-a-clear-warning/17800/

Army chief arrives in Russia for crucial talks: ISPR

By Kamran Yousuf

ISLAMABAD: Army chief General Raheel Sharif arrived in Moscow on a three-day official visit to Russia against the backdrop of realignments taking place in the region.

The chief military spokesperson, who is also accompanying the army chief, said General Raheel was given an “elegant guard of honour” at a ceremony held at Kremlin on Monday.

“Wreath laying at tomb of unknown soldier. Heart warming to see Russian band play Pakistan anthem perfectly,” Major General Asim Bajwa tweeted.

Read more » The Express Tribune
See more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/904003/army-chief-arrives-in-russia-for-crucial-talks-ispr/

Pakistan Military vows befitting response against Indian aggression

RAWALPINDI – A Formation Commanders’ conference on Wednesday reiterated the armed forces resolve to defeat enemy’s designs, and defend the territorial integrity of Pakistan at any cost.

The conference was held here at the General Head Quarters (GHQ), which was presided over by Army Chief General Raheel Sharif and attended by Corps Commanders, Principal Staff Officers and all Formation Commanders.

It took serious notice of the recent Indian hostile rhetoric coupled with covert and overt actions to destabilise Pakistan. It was termed “highly regrettable” that Indian politicians not only indulged in actions which were in violation of the United Nations’ Charter, but also took pride in claiming their interference in the internal affairs of other states.

Read more » Daily Times
See more » http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/national/10-Jun-2015/military-vows-befitting-response-against-indian-aggression

No one dare cast an evil eye on Pakistan, army chief hits back at India

By Kamran Yousaf

Taking note of recent anti-Pakistan rhetoric by Indian politicians, Army chief General Raheel Sharif warned on Wednesday that Pakistan will defeat their designs and defend Pakistan’s territorial integrity at any cost.

“No one should dare cast an evil eye on Pakistan,” the army chief was quoted as saying by DG ISPR Asim Bajwa.

Read more » The Express Tribune
See more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/901161/army-chief-assures-china-of-cpecs-smooth-completion/

The General Mindset: A Satire

Army2A Corps commander meeting was held in Rawalpindi under the chairmanship of most senior General of Pakistan Army to discuss the prevailing political and security situation in the country. The invitation was also extended to the high ranking official from SPD as a special guest, since it is the fourth branch of Pakistani military. During the meeting all the issues pertaining to common man were discussed in detail. While going through the agenda of the meeting, one general raised the point that we are not supposed to discuss the issues that are in the civilian domain and our focus should be only on the implementation of operational aspects of the security policy articulated by the political government. The participants of the meeting quickly noted that this general has just recently attended year long war course in USA and he is forgetting his duties as an officer of Pakistan army. He was reminded about the lack of professional expertise of the civilian principals, chronic corruption by political eliteand most importantly their dangerous tendencies to seek the peaceful relations with enemy of the state i.e., India.

Read more » PAK TEA HOUSE
See more » http://pakteahouse.net/2015/06/05/pakistani-generals-mindset-a-satire/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+teahouse+%28Pak+Tea+House%29

‘Ex-army major, colonel involved in robbery of millions’

BY MOHAMMAD ASGHAR

RAWALPINDI: Local police sent a request to the interior ministry for the names of two former army officers involved in the biggest heist at the airport to be put on the Exit Control List (ECL).

A request was also sent to the Interpol for one of their accomplices in Dubai to be arrested.

Addressing a press conference on Wednesday, Regional Police Officer Muhammad Wisal Fakhar Sultan Raja said five people involved in the robbery were arrested and Rs30.86 million was recovered and the vehicle used in the heist was also found by the police.

 

Read more: Published in Dawn, April 30th, 2015
Read more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1179078/ex-army-major-colonel-involved-in-robbery-of-millions

Pakistan military’s new combat drone

Pakistan military’s new combat drone is ‘great national achievement’

Burraq unmanned aircraft capable of firing laser-guided missiles

US refused to share technology despite heavy use of drones in Pakistan

Pakistan, the country that has been subjected to more secret US drone strikes than any other, has hailed the development of its first unmanned combat plane as a “great national achievement”.

In a significant breakthrough, the country’s army announced on Friday it had successfully test-fired a missile from an indigenously developed drone – a technical feat few nations have managed.

Army chief Raheel Sharif was among the engineers and scientists who witnessed the demonstration of a technology that has largely been the reserve of a few countries, such as the US and Israel.

The army said the drone, named Burraq after the flying horse of Islamic tradition, successfully hit stationary and moving targets with its Barq laser-guided missile with “impressive pinpoint accuracy”.

The system would be a “force multiplier in our anti-terror campaign”, said an army spokesman, Asim Bajwa.

Developing homemade drones has been a priority for Pakistan given the extensive use made of them since 2004 by the CIA to target terrorist groups in the restive north-west tribal belt.

he controversial weapons have proved irresistible given their ability to linger over their targets for extended periods of time, collect intelligence and deliver deadly missiles far more cheaply than conventional aircraft.

But the US supplies only its most trustworthy allies with the capability and has refused repeated requests from Pakistan, which has been attempting to join the club of countries with armed drones for at least two years.

Read more » The Guardian
See more » http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/mar/13/pakistan-military-new-combat-drone-great-national-achievement

‘China, Russia back India on UN terror resolution targeting Pakistan’

NEW DELHI: China and Russia decided on Monday to back the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) — a resolution supported by India and heavily biased against Pakistan.

At a meeting of Russia-India-China (RIC) in Beijing, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said her counterparts from the two countries understood the need for endorsing the resolution that has been pending at the UN for nearly two decades and seeks to widen the existing definition of terrorism.

The CCIT was proposed by India in 1996 in lieu of Pakistan allegedly backing Kashmiri separatists.

In Tuesday’s meeting, the RIC communiqué vouched to oppose terrorism of all forms and called all countries to join efforts in combating terrorism together with the United Nations.

Speaking at a press conference after the RIC meeting, Swaraj told reporters: “Our discussions on terrorism brought consensus on two issues. Firstly, there can be no ideological, religious, political, racial or any other justification for the acts of terrorism and secondly the need to bring to justice perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these acts of terror.”

Swaraj added that the ministers emphasized the need to step up information gathering and sharing and prevent the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICTs) for the purposes of recruitment and incitement to commit terrorist acts.

News courtesy » The Express Tribune
Read more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/832183/china-russia-back-india-on-un-terror-resolution-targeting-pakistan/