Tag Archives: BBM

Let’s Talk Civil-Military, NOW!

By Marvi Sirmed

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Forensics and data may not resolve memo issue

By Asmat Zubair

ISLAMABAD: Although the focus so far in the media and the Supreme Court has been on the authenticity or otherwise of the text and BlackBerry messages allegedly exchanged between Mansoor Ijaz and Husain Haqqani, the real task of the memo commission might be to address the non-forensic questions about the origins of the memo.

According to legal experts who have read Mansoor Ijaz’s 81-page affidavit and additional submissions before the Supreme Court, his essential claim is that Husain Haqqani told him to write the memo in a telephone call from a London hotel. The rest of the material is included only to create the impression of close contacts between Ijaz and Haqqani and has no direct relevance to the memo.

As the Supreme Court heard arguments only about maintainability of the petitions about the memo, Haqqani’s lawyer Asma Jahangir was not allowed to make arguments about the substance of Mansoor Ijaz’s claim and point out the flaws in his story.

Careful reading of all the 89 texts and BBM messages submitted by Mansoor Ijaz shows that not once has Haqqani mentioned the memo in any of the alleged messages. Even if forensic evaluation determines that these messages were exchanged, Haqqani’s alleged connection to the memo still depends on Mansoor Ijaz’s claim of what was discussed in their phone call.

Although the DG ISI Lt General Ahmed Shuja Pasha found Mansoor Ijaz’s claim sufficiently reliable to demand a forensic inquiry, the judicial commission will have to address the political question of why Pasha and Mansoor Ijaz met on October 22 and why Mansoor Ijaz wrote the article in the Financial Times on October 10 that attracted the Pakistani military’s concerns leading to the Pasha-Ijaz meeting.

It is interesting to note that Ijaz says in his affidavit to the Supreme Court (Page 4), “At no time did I meet Haqqani in person” even though the very first Blackberry message sent by him to Haqqani on May 9, according to him, (Page 6 of affidavit) said, “I’m in Monaco but it’s no problem for me to fly up. Takes 90 minutes.” ….

Read more » The News

BlackBerry maker vows privacy safeguard amid probe

By AFP

OTTAWA — Research In Motion vowed Tuesday to defend the legal privacy rights of BlackBerry users after a judicial commission in Pakistan ordered copies of smartphone communications in a scandal probe.

The Canadian firm reacted to news that a Pakistani commission was seeking records for a probe into an unsigned memo purported to ask for Washington’s help to rein in Pakistan’s military.

The highly controversial memo was allegedly an attempt by a close aide of President Asif Ali Zardari to enlist the US military’s help to head off a military coup in May in Pakistan. …..

Read more » http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iH0E_CyR0Lc1k_N63vVDrY0MThqg?docId=CNG.3ec81592b40bb5358c1575a97cd5b5ce.201

RIM Asked to Hand Over Memogate Data to Pakistan Court

By Tarek Fatah

this involves the private messages between two individuals and as such RIM is unlikely to share this data — if it exists — with Pakistan’s Supreme Court

Research in Motion (RIM) and the Canadian High Commission in Islamabad have become the latest actors in the so-called “memogate affairthat observers believe is a slow-motion palace coup by Pakistan’s military aimed at unseating the civilian administration of President Zardari.

In a decision on Friday, the Supreme Court of Pakistan ordered the country’s attorney general to demand RIM hand over BBM messages allegedly exchanged between the former Pakistan ambassador to the U.S., Husain Haqqani, and American businessman Mansoor Ijaz. The exchanges involve an unsigned memo handed over to to former American Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, requesting U.S. intervention to stave off a military coup in Islamabad.

The latest tug of war between the government of President Zardari and his generals erupted on Oct. 11, 2011 when the Financial Times ran an op-ed titled “Time to take on Pakistan’s Jihadis.”

In the article, Mansoor Ijaz, a Pakistani-American businessman, claimed he was contacted by a Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S., Husain Haqqani, and asked to contact Admiral Mullen to prevent a military coup from taking place in Pakistan. The military was outraged and wanted heads to roll. Ijaz wrote:

Early on May 9, a week after U.S. Special Forces stormed the hideout of Osama bin Laden and killed him, a senior Pakistani diplomat telephoned me with an urgent request. Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan’s president, needed to communicate a message to White House national security officials that would bypass Pakistan’s military and intelligence channels.

As evidence, the American businessman handed over copies of his alleged BlackBerry message exchanges with Haqqani to Pakistan’s feared military intelligence force, the ISI. On his part, Haqqani categorically denied that he had asked Ijaz to draft any message and dismissed the messages cited by Ijaz as a fabrication.

As a result of the controversy, Ambassador Haqqani — a man not liked by his country’s jihadis, whether civilian or military — was forced to resign his post and ordered back to Pakistan, where he was placed under security watch and barred by the military from leaving the country.

The country’s parliament set up a commission to get to the depth of the matter, but this inquiry was upstaged by opposition politician Nawaz Sharif who took the matter to the country’s Supreme Court that is closely allied to the country’s military generals.

Pakistan Supreme Court

Last Friday, the Supreme Court ruled that there was merit in the complaint against Haqqani and set up a three-member judicial commission that will report back in four weeks to determine the guilt or innocence of the former Boston University professor and Pakistan’s most prominent diplomat in the last four years.

At the crux of the matter is the authenticity of of the BlackBerry messages that were allegedly exchanged between the two men.

In its decision on Friday, the Pakistani Supreme Court ordered the country’s attorney general to get in touch with Research In Motion in Waterloo, Ontario to secure from RIM the data verifying the validity of the alleged BlackBerry conversation between Haqqani and Ijaz.

In an unprecedented move, the Pakistani Supreme Court stepped beyond its jurisdiction to direct the Canadian High Commissioner in Islamabad, ordering it to facilitate in the securing the data from RIM.

In August 2010, Research In Motion was pressured by the Indian government to allow it access to data exchanged on its BBM messenger service. RIM resisted that pressure and the two parties came to a resolution. However, that involved BlackBerry messages within India, not overseas.

RIM ended up ready to compromise on the privacy of corporate customers to placate Indian regulators. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates too threatened to shut off BlackBerry services unless RIM opened its encrypted client data for the sake of national security.

However, in this case, the alleged exchanges between the Pakistani Ambassador and the American businessman were conducted in the United States, not Pakistan. Unlike the Indian request, this involves the private messages between two individuals and as such RIM is unlikely to share this data — if it exists — with Pakistan’s Supreme Court.

In addition, the Supreme Court ordered former ambassador Husain Haqqani to not leave the country, thus placing him in virtual house arrest. Haqqani, fearing for his life at the hands of the military and jihadis, has now taken refuge inside the Prime Minister’s residence in Islamabad.

Dark day for Pakistan

Haqqani’s counsel in the case, prominent human rights lawyer Asma Jahangir reacted with shock at the Supreme Court decision, labelling it a “dark day” for the country’s judiciary.

Ms. Jahangir a former president of the country’s Supreme Court Bar Association and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion, said the decision was evidence Pakistan’s civilian government had for all practical purposes come under the thumb of the army.

Speaking to the media outside the Supreme Court on Friday, Ms. Jehangir said that the court’s judgment in the “memogate scandal” had forced her to wonder whether Pakistan’s judiciary represented the people of Pakistan or the country’s (military) establishment.

Two days later Jahangir announced that in protest at the high-handedness of the Pakistan Supreme Court, she was stepping down as counsel for Husain Haqqani. She alleged the judges of the Supreme Court were acting “under the influence of the [Military] establishment” and not in the cause of justice or due process.

A noose around Haqqani’s neck

She told Karachi’s DAWN Television she was stepping down because the only outcome left was a noose around Haqqani’s neck. She said:

“If nine judges of the Supreme Court can be under their [military] influence, then I am sorry to say I cannot have any expectations from three judges, who are subordinate to the same Supreme Court judges.””Should we close our eyes? Should we allow ourselves to be fooled?… I have told my client [Haqqani] he can appear before the commission if he wishes to — and he will go–but I have no confidence at all in the [judicial] commission.”

Continue reading RIM Asked to Hand Over Memogate Data to Pakistan Court

‘Memogate’ commission should examine existing evidence, not create new evidence

By Beena Sarwar

What is ‘Memogate’? The ‘memo’ in question is a letter allegedly written at the behest of Pakistan’s President by the Ambassador to Washington Husain Haqqani, asking USA to prevent a possible military coup in Pakistan after US Navy Seals killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan on May 2, 2011. Haqqani denied the allegations, sent in a letter offering to resign in order to facilitate an impartial inquiry, and returned to Pakistan to clear his name. Instead, he found his resignation letter accepted. The Supreme Court barred his exit from Pakistan. He has been forced for his own safety to confine himself first to the Presidency and then to the Prime Minister House. On Dec 30, 2011, The Supreme Court in response to a petition against the ‘memo’ formed a three-member judicial commission to look into the matter that the media has dubbed as ‘memogate’.

Asma Jahangir, counsel for Husain Haqqani and former Supreme Court Bar Association President, has refused to appear before the commission saying that she does not trust the judiciary. She has said that instead of forming a commission to create or produce new evidence the Supreme Court should have looked into the evidence placed before it to decide whether there was a prima facie case and whether the court could proceed to enforce any fundamental rights by making a binding order.

The entire affair appears to be geared towards undermining the democratic political process in Pakistan – specifically at targeting President Asif Ali Zardari, using Husain Haqqani as a vehicle. Asma Jahangir has unequivocally termed the Supreme Court’s judgment as a victory for the military that has run affairs in Pakistan for decades and is obviously still all-powerful behind the scenes.

Asma Jahangir has argued that the Supreme Court had no right to bar Haqqani’s travel abroad. Nor does Supreme Court or the judicial commission set up, have the right to demand Blackberry (RIM) data without due process of law. No server (BU or RIM) should share data with Commission, which is essentially pursuing a political dispute, not criminal charges. The judiciary seems to be ruling on the basis of national security ideology instead of constitution and law.

Continue reading ‘Memogate’ commission should examine existing evidence, not create new evidence

Pakistan’s military rejects Pentagon findings, denies coup plot

By Tom Hussain

The war of words between the Pakistani prime minister and army chief follows claims by an American businessman, Mansoor Ijaz, that Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington, Hussain Haqqani, had in May asked him to seek White House support against a planned military coup.

Continue reading Pakistan’s military rejects Pentagon findings, denies coup plot

Memogate: Chief Justice Iftikhar Choudhry Should Not Judge In The Case; He Should Stand In Witness Box & Answer Questions; Barrister Aitzaz Had Approached US To Seek Help For CJ’s Restoration in 2007. Barrister Aitzaz Should Stand In Witness Box too.

By Aziz Narejo

[Click here to watch a video that  how Aitzaz seeks U.S. help for Iftikhar Choudhry – Aitzaz Ahsan in washington withMark Mazzetti and David Rohde]

Memogate is certain to open can of worms in Pakistan. The legal battle is going to be stinky & very dirty. It has been pointed out that in case such memo was actually written to US officials, it had been done so in the response to a real threat of a coup by the military establishment. The whistle-blower, Mansoor Ijaz has pointed out in his black berry messages that a certain Mr. P (generally recognized as general Pasha, chief of Pakistani intelligence agency, ISI) had toured certain Arab countries, Saudi Arabia included, to pave the way for the overthrow of Zardari government.

It has also been said that the United States was approached even on the behalf of ex-prime minister Mian Nawaz Sharif, who is the petitioner in the case in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.

Several other political leaders and even generals are said to have approached the US officials for help in the past. The present Chief Justice of Pakistan, Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Choudhry is not an exception. It is said that leader of the lawyers’ movement, Choudhry Aitzaz Ahsan had visited United States in 2007 to garner support for the deposed Chief Justice, Iftikhar Mohammad Choudhry. Hence it is demanded that the Chief Justice should recuse himself in the case & answer questions in this regards. So should do barrister Aitzaz Ahsan.

Courtesy: Indus Herald

http://indusherald.blogspot.com/2011/12/memogate-chief-justice-iftikhar-coudhry.html

via » adopted from facebook (social media)

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Watch video – a discussion to seek U.S. help for Iftikhar choudhry – Aitzaz Ahsan in washington, Mark Mazzetti and David Rohde

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More details » Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry’s Meeting with Richard Holbrooke

» The Secretary General PTI says the people of Pakistan, do not appreciate the meeting of Iftikhar Chaudhry  with Mr Richard Holbrooke in his chambers

After this startling revelation regarding the role of DG ISI, will DG ISI resign now for conspiring against democratically elected govt? Just like Husain Haqqani was forced to resign for conspiring against Army?

DG ISI got Arab consent to sack Z: blog

KARACHI: In another startling revelation in connection with Mansoor Ijaz’s exchange of Blackberry messages, Omar Waraich in his blog on the Independent indicated that DG ISI Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha had sought and ‘received permission from senior Arab leaders to sack Z’ (President Zardari), Geo News reported. ….

Read more » The News

http://www.thenews.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=28636&title=DG-ISI-got-Arab-consent-to-sack-Z%3A-blog

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Via » News adopted from facebook (Pakhtunkhwa Peace Forum)