Tag Archives: Benazir

Bruce Riedel – Pakistan’s Musharraf Has Been Accused of Knowing Osama bin Laden’s Hideout

Gen. Ziauddin Khawaja, an ex–security chief for Pakistan, accuses former president Pervez Musharraf of knowing where bin Laden was hiding and saying nothing.

By Bruce Riedel

Ever since the Navy SEALs found Osama bin Laden hiding in Abbottabad, Pakistan, less than a mile from the country’s national military academy, the question haunting American relations with Pakistan has been: who knew he was there? How did the most-wanted man in human history find a hideout in one of Pakistan’s most exclusive military cantonment cities and live there for five years without the Pakistani spy service finding him? Or did it know all along?

Now there is an explosive new charge. The former head of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence directorate (ISI) says former president Pervez Musharraf knew bin Laden was in Abbottabad. Gen. Ziauddin Khawaja, also known as Ziauddin Butt, was head of the ISI from 1997 to 1999. A four-star general, he fought in the 1965 and 1971 wars with India. He was the first head of the Army’s Strategic Plans Division, which controls the country’s nuclear weapons. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif made him director-general of the ISI in 1997 and promoted him to chief of Army staff on Oct. 12, 1999, when he fired Musharraf from the job. Musharraf refused to go and launched a coup that overthrew Sharif. Ziauddin spent the next two years in solitary confinement, was discharged from the Army, and had his property confiscated and his retirement benefits curtailed. So he has a motive to speak harshly about Musharraf.

Bearing that in mind, here is what the former spy chief claims. Ziauddin says that the safe house in Abbottabad was made to order for bin Laden by another Pakistani intelligence officer, Brig. Gen. Ijaz Shah, who was the ISI bureau head in Lahore when Musharraf staged his coup. Musharraf later made him head of the intelligence bureau, the ISI’s rival in Pakistan’s spy-versus-spy wars. Ziauddin says Ijaz Shah was responsible for setting up bin Laden in Abbottabad, ensuring his safety and keeping him hidden from the outside. And Ziauddin says Musharraf knew all about it.

Ijaz Shah is a colorful character. He has been closely linked to Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, a British-born Kashmiri terrorist who was imprisoned in India in 1994 for kidnapping three British citizens and an American. Saeed was freed when Pakistani terrorists hijacked an Indian airliner to Kandahar, Afghanistan, in December 2000, a plot masterminded by bin Laden and assisted by the ISI and the Afghan Taliban. Saeed was part of the plot two years later to kidnap Daniel Pearl and turned himself in to Brigadier Shah. Musharraf nominated Shah to be ambassador to Australia, but Canberra said no thanks. So he got the intelligence-bureau job.

Former prime minister Benazir Bhutto accused Shah of being behind the attempt to murder her when she returned from exile in late 2007. She was, of course, killed in another attempt later that year. Shah fled to Australia for a time while the situation cooled off.

Ziauddin says Ijaz Shah was responsible for setting up bin Laden in Abbottabad and Musharraf knew all about it.

Without a doubt, Ziauddin has an ax to grind. But he is also well tied in to the Pakistani intelligence world. When he was DG/ISI, he set up a special commando team to find and capture bin Laden with U.S. help. Elite commandos from the Special Services Group, Pakistan’s SEALs, were put on the hunt. Musharraf disbanded the group after he took power. Ziauddin’s successor at the ISI, Gen. Mahmud Ahmad, refused American requests to go after bin Laden right up to 9/11. Then Musharraf had to fire him because, even after 9/11, he did not want to do anything to bring bin Laden to justice.

We don’t know who was helping hide bin Laden, but we need to track them down. If Mush, as many call him in Pakistan, knew, he should be questioned by the authorities the next time he sets foot in America. The explosive story about him, which was first reported in the must-read Militant Leadership Monitor, is more than an academic issue. If we can find who hid bin Laden, we will probably know who is hiding his successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and the rest of the al Qaeda gang.

Courtesy: The Daily Beast

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/02/13/pakistan-s-musharraf-has-been-accused-of-knowing-osama-bin-laden-s-hideout.html

Efforts to unseat elected govt through courts is ‘Contempt for Voters’ – Guardian Editorial

Pakistan politics: contempt for voters

Legality of supreme court’s move to unseat democratically elected government before its term is highly debatable

The national reconciliation ordinance was a dirty deal, brokered by the Bush administration, between Pakistan’s then military ruler Pervez Musharraf and Benazir Bhutto. It allowed her to return from exile and take part in elections in exchange for the dropping of corruption charges against her husband Asif Ali Zardari and other officials. The constitutional court was right to declare it unconstitutional two years later in 2009 and, it could be argued, equally right to demand the current government’s full implementation of the court’s decision.

The court is trying to do this by requiring the serving prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, to write to the Swiss authorities asking them to reopen a corruption inquiry against Mr Zardari. This the prime minister refuses to do on the grounds that Mr Zardari, who is now president, enjoys executive immunity from prosecution both inside and outside the country. The immunity the president enjoys while in office has not been the issue in the court, only Mr Gilani’s failure to comply with an unimplementable order. Yesterday he was charged with contempt, a move which could lead to his dismissal from office. If the legality of the court’s move is debatable, the politics of it are extremely murky.

First the timing. Having sat on this issue for three years, the supreme court are only now moving against Mr Gilani, who has become Pakistan’s longest serving prime minister. He was also the only one to be have been voted unanimously in power by parliament. Why now? With elections coming up in March 2013 which the leading party in the coalition, the Pakistan People’s Party, could very well win, this is an attempt to stop the civilian government from consolidating its power. In past eras this would have been done by tanks and generals. Today, it is been done by using supreme court justices as proxies. That may be called progress, but the manoeuvre to unseat a democratically elected government before its term is up remains the same.

Further, no domestic proceedings are being brought against President Zardari. They want a foreign government to do their work for them. Nor is any politician in Pakistan in a rush to challenge the rule of the executive immunity from prosecution for the simple reason that in power they would be sure to benefit from it as well. Once Mr Zardari loses office, fairly and at an election, he will lose that immunity and it is entirely right that he should have to account for allegations that he received kickbacks in a court of law. But that is not the purpose of yesterday’s contempt hearing. It is to sow political chaos and Mr Gilani is right to resist it. If he is convicted and forced from office, he will become a martyr in his party’s eyes. This will only propel his career forward.

Courtesy: Guardian.co.uk

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/feb/13/pakistan-politics-contempt-voters?newsfeed=true

via » WICHAAR.COM

A sitting Judge i.e. Malik Muhammad Qayyum [Govt. of Nawaz Sharif] discussing the “Sentence and Punishment” against Zardari and Benazir Bhutto with Senator Saif ur Rehman [video and transcript]

LAHORE: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was annoyed over delay in the Lahore High Court’s decision in President Asif Ali Zardari’s case during his tenure, according to a transcript of conversation between Justice (r) Abdul Qayyum and National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) former chairman Saifur Rehman, aired on a private news channel. The audiotape was provided by Senator Faisal Raza Abdi. The channel also aired a conversation between Pervez Elahi, Shahbaz and Justice Qayyum. Following is the transcript of the conversation. Justice (r) Abdul Qayyum: Your task will be done in a day or two. I had to request an adviser (Peerzada) for you. I told him that I am very ill and I have to leave abroad and I have asked him to end up the matter for my sake. Peerzada has told me that he will do it and it will be done. He told me that he would compensate for all the mistakes I have, adding that Mian Sahib (Nawaz Sharif) would be happy as well. REFERENCE: Audiotape reveals Sharifs manipulated verdict in Zardari’s case Daily Times Monitor Sunday, November 21, 2010 http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\11\21\story_21-11-2010_pg7_21 UK paper’s report on Benazir’s conviction M Ziauddin DAWN WIRE SERVICE Week Ending: 10 February 2001 Issue:07/06 http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/SouthAsia/SAserials/Dawn/2001/feb100… In this hammaam who is covered? Ayaz Amir DAWN WIRE SERVICE Week Ending: 10 February 2001 Issue : 07/06 http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/SouthAsia/SAserials/Dawn/2001/feb100… Rush to judgment Irfan Husain DAWN WIRE SERVICE Week Ending:10 February 2001 Issue : 07/06 http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/SouthAsia/SAserials/Dawn/2001/feb100…

Courtesy: Duniaya News Tv Arshad Sharif with 13 Feb 2012

Via » CHAGATAIKHAN » YouTube

A million dollar question of Aitzaz Ahsan – “Why are only the Civilian prime ministers indicted for contempt of court & not military generals?”

Contempt case: Gilani summoned on February 13

By Azam Khan / Web Desk

Excerpts;

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court concluded its hearing of the contempt case against Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Thursday and summoned the premier on February 13, reported Express News. The court said that it will frame charges against the prime minister during the hearing. …

…. Ahsan also questioned the court that if it can send notices to Bhutto, Nawaz Sharif and Gilani, then why it can’t initiate any action against the generals who were involved in arresting the judges.

Read more » The Express Tribune

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More details » BBC urdu

Court Revives Investigation on ISI Money for Politicians

By Nafisa Hoodbhoy

(Includes ATDT Excerpt on Backdrop for Asghar Khan’s Petition)

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Monday fixed February 29 to hear the petition filed by Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Asghar Khan 16 years ago pertaining to Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) distributing money among politicians.

Meanwhile, the former ISI chief Gen. (Retd) Durrani submitted an affidavit confirming the accusation.

The petition has called upon the apex court to punish the politicians and political groups who have been receiving pots of money from the agency.

Various politicians had demanded the petition to be heard.

Air Marshal (retd) Asghar Khan, in 1996, wrote a letter to then chief justice Nasim Hasan Shah against former army chief Mirza Aslam Baig, former ISI chief Lt-General (retd) Asad Durrani and Younis Habib of Habib and Mehran Banks, relating to the disbursement of public money and its misuse for political purposes.

Aboard the Democracy Train Excerpt (P. 27)

Elections Were the Tip of the Iceberg

As a guest of the interim Prime Minister Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi, I had witnessed how state funds and propaganda were used to defeat Benazir. But I was still an onlooker, without inside knowledge of what had transpired in the inner circles. Then still an inexperienced reporter, I couldn’t guess how the establishment defeated the PPP, which, right or wrong, had the support of the masses.

In 1996, some clues emerged. Retired Air Marshal Asghar Khan filed a case in the Supreme Court, alleging that the powerful secret service wing of the army – the ISI – had rigged the 1990 election. Based on Asghar Khan’s petition, former ISI chief, Lt. Gen. Asad Durrani took the stand in the Supreme Court and provided an affidavit that the army had indeed distributed Pkr 140 million (USD 1.6 million) to anti-PPP candidates, only a few months before the October 1990 election.

The anti-PPP candidates banded in the IJI comprised feudal, Islamic and ethnic parties that resolutely opposed Benazir’s populist rule. Subsequently, we learnt that the care-taker President Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi, who had stayed mum while Chip probed him – had actually taken PKR 5 million (USD 59,000) from the ISI. Meanwhile, Nawaz Sharif – who was ushered in by the military to succeed Benazir as prime minister – was revealed to have received PKR 3.5 million (USD 41,000) from the spy agencies.

Apparently, the army was so scared that Benazir would be elected back into power that their IJI coalition distributed state funds among various interest groups to prevent her return.

As I covered national politics, Asghar Khan talked to me in earnest, as though I was a player rather than a reporter. Then in coalition with the PPP, he told me that Benazir and Nawaz ought to unite to repeal Article 58-2(b). This was the constitutional clause introduced by Gen. Zia ul Haq that allowed presidents like Ghulam Ishaq Khan to dissolve the assembly.

Although, I shared Asghar Khan’s desire for principled politics, it surprised me that he seemed clueless about Benazir’s approach of doing whatever it took to return to power.

Courtesy: Aboard The Democracy Train

http://www.aboardthedemocracytrain.com/court-revives-investigation-on-isi-money-for-politicians

ISI chief meets a serial coup-maker, guilty of massive human rights abuses and former dictator Musharraf, tells him not to return to Pakistan.

– ISI chief secretly meets Musharraf in Dubai: sources

ISLAMABAD: Lt General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the chief of the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), held a secret meeting with former President General (retired) Pervez Musharraf in Dubai advising him not to visit Pakistan, sources told DawnNews on Monday.

“General Pasha, who has remained very close to the former president, held a meeting with him (Musharraf) in Dubai and advised him not to return to the country as the situation is not conducive for his return,” said an insider while requesting anonymity from this correspondent.

The Senate on Monday also passed a resolution demanding the arrest of the former military ruler on his return. Interior Minister Rehman Malik also announced that Musharraf would be arrested the day he landed in Pakistan.

The sources claim that Pasha strictly advised Musharraf to not to return.

It is yet not clear whether the meeting was held on the directions of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party government or if it was a private meeting. However the sources insist that it was a private meeting between the two.

The sources also claim that Pasha enjoys a long history of relations with the former dictator.

In 2008, during the last year of Musharraf as president, Pasha was appointed to the key posting of Director General (DG) of Military Operations Directorate. Later General Kayani, after becoming the chief of Army Staff, promoted him as Lt Gen and appointed him the chief of the ISI.

Currently two important cases against Pervez Musharraf have been registered in Pakistan. An Anti Terrorists Court (ATC) in Rawalpindi has already declared Musharraf a proclaimed offender in the Benazir Bhutto murder case. Musharraf was also nominated in Akbar Bugti’s murder case in Balochistan.

The sources also claim that Musharraf, after meeting with the ISI Chief, called a meeting of his party on January 25th for revisiting his decision to return to Pakistan.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

Fatima Bhutto Blasts Imran Khan

By Margherita Stancati

There was a short-lived rumor last month that Fatima Bhutto was flirting with the idea of joining Imran Khan’s opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party.
Speaking at the Jaipur Literature Festival on Sunday, she made it clear this was unlikely to happen. Ever.

He (Imran Khan)  has an incredible coziness not with the military but with dictatorship,” Ms. Bhutto said of Mr. Khan, a cricket legend-turned-politician who has been billing himself as the face of change in Pakistan.

Ms. Bhutto accused Mr. Khan of defending the legacy of former dictator Gen. Zia-ul-Haq, who came to power in the late 1970s after overthrowing Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Fatima’s grandfather and the founder of the country’s ruling Pakistan People’s Party. She also mentioned Mr. Khan’s support for a 2002 referendum allowing Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who had come to power with a coup a few years earlier, to extend his term.

That’s not where it ended. In what appeared to be a well-rehearsed argument to debunk the political credibility of the former cricket captain, Ms. Bhutto went on to list more reasons why she opposed his political foray.

As a woman I worry very much about Imran’s politics,” said Ms. Bhutto. She spoke of his opposition to amending a 2006 woman’s bill in favor of victims of rape. She also questioned Mr. Khan’s commitment to secularism and to defending minorities.

Is he a savior? No, I don’t think so,” said Ms. Bhutto during a Pakistan-focused session at the literary festival. ….

Read more » The Wall Street Journal (wsj)

“Blaming politicians alone for tarnishing democracy is actually less than half the story”- Benazir Bhutto’s interview to Herald (2000)

Tomorrow they may decide to kill me because I know too much. But I want this on record so that one day, 10 years from now, 20 years from now, somebody goes back and says: What was happening in Quaid-e-Azam’s Pakistan?”

Nearly twelve years ago monthly Herald published this interview of Benazir Bhutto (taken by Ali Dayan Hasan). This is perhaps the most revealing interview that BB gave to a local publication. In the context of Pakistan in 2012, this interview remains most relevant. This introduction to the interview is most insightful as it echoes many themes that we are living through once again. Her successor, Yusuf Raza Gilani has made similar remarks on the floor of the Parliament. At least we seemed to have inched a little forward though the destination of democratic Pakistan remains rather elusive. ….

Read more » Pak Tea House
S
ee more » http://pakteahouse.net/2012/01/19/blaming-politicians-alone-for-tarnishing-democracy-is-actually-less-than-half-the-story-benazir-bhuttos-interview-to-herald-2000/

‘Haqqani coerced to confess that Zardari behind memo’

Pakistan’s former ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani said that the judicial commission investigating the memogate was trying to coerce him to confess that President Asif Ali Zardari had urged him to draft the memo to former chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Admiral Mike Mullen.

This was revealed by Haqqani to Professor Christine Fair of Georgetown University, a South Asia expert, who has extensively researched the Pakistan army, the Inter-Serviced Intelligence and the terrorist organisations based in the country.

Haqqani was asked to step down as Pakistan’s envoy to the US over his suspected role in the secret memo, which said that the Pakistan government had sought help from the United States to stave off a military coup in the wake of the Abbottabad raid on May 2, which killed Osama bin Laden.

Fair, who was discussing the memogate affair at a conference at the Hudson Institute and arguing how the judicial process has been subverted and due process disregarded in the investigation of Haqqani, said she had met Haqqani last week. His interpretation of the investigation was “that they are trying to use these proceedings to put the fear of Allah in him to get him to give up the goods on Zardari to bring this government down,” she said. “This is a well-worn playbook that this military had in its disposal,” she added.

Fair said that this case “bears some similarity to what we saw with (former Pakistan prime minister) Benazir’s (Bhutto) father — Zulfikar Ali Bhutto — when they took the head of his security and coerced him into becoming what’s called an approver in Pakistani parlanace — I guess in our parlance it would be basically a witness for the state.”

Thus, she said, “While we all care about Husain Haqqani, I want to emphasise that this is not simply about the particular personal safety or lack thereof of Haqqani, but also about Pakistan’s democratic institutions.”

Fair said that what was currently taking place in Pakistan “in my view is a slow-moving coup.”

So, if we care about Pakistan’s democracy as well as Husain Haqqani, the United States government really needs to be much more vocal than it has been,” she said. “We have to work with our partners to send a very clear message that we recognise that this is a coup albeit via judicial hue.”

Lisa Curtis, who heads the South Asia programme at The Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington-based think tank, warned that “if the Zardari government is forced out, whether it be through the Supreme Court — and it looks like the army is working in tandem with the Supreme Court albeit behind the scenes — this is going to send a negative signal.”

Curtis, a former Central Intelligence Agency official, said the signal would be clear that “the Pakistan army still wields inappropriate control within the systems,” and that ‘civilian democracy has really not taken root in Pakistan“. She argued, “Even though the Zardari government may not be perfect, it’s an elected government and we need to keep that in mind.”

Courtesy: rediff.com

http://www.rediff.com/news/report/haqqani-coerced-to-confess-that-zardari-behind-memo/20120119.htm?sc_cid=twshare

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

Pakistan is beautiful – and it’s mine

By Shehrbano Taseer

2011 was a bleak year for Pakistan — even by its own harrowing standards.

My father, Governor SalmaanTaseer, was assassinated by his own fanatical security guard in January for his stand on Pakistan’s cruel blasphemy laws, and minorities minister Shahbaz Bhatti, the only Christian in the federal cabinet, was gunned down in March allegedly by the Punjabi Taliban for holding a similar view. In April, five of the six men accused of gang raping village woman Mukhtar Mai on the orders of a village council of elders were set free by the Supreme Court. Since the sexual assault on her in 2001, Mai has braved death threats to have her victimisers punished. She has appealed the verdict, but the court, it is widely believed, is unlikely to reverse the acquittal.

In May, Pakistanis around the world hung their heads in shame as Osama bin Laden was found and killed in sleepy, sedate Abbottabad, a stone’s throw from our premier military academy where Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani spoke just weeks earlier declaring that the “terrorists’ back” had been broken.Then the tortured body of journalist Saleem Shahzad was discovered and suspicion fell on the country’s intelligence services. Pakistan had yet to recover from the devastation wrought by the 2010 floods when the August monsoons inundated Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, and especially Sindh affecting tens of million of people. My older brother, Shahbaz, was kidnapped on August 26. It’s January 2012 now and he is still missing.

These are just some of the highlights from a ruefully eventful year. All of these events played out against the cacophonous discord that we have become accustomed to: target killings, routine disappearances in Kashmir and Balochistan, suicide bombings, riots decrying the overall economic condition of the country, protests mourning the loss of Pakistan’s sovereignty, the unsettling hum of rote learning at poisonous madrassas.

But there’s nothing that’s bad about Pakistan that can’t be fixed by what’s good about it. The narrative of lost hope is a tired one.

After the Arab Spring, the first question I was asked by journalists and interviewers was “When will it be Pakistan’s turn?”. General Zia tried hard to convince us that we’re Arabs, but we clearly are not. Watching Muammar Qaddafi’s bloodied and bullet-riddled body paraded up and down streets as protesters cheered, and seeing desperate dictators inflict violence on their own people, I realised that in many ways Pakistan is far ahead. Our transition from a dictatorship to a democracy was relatively smooth — no bloodshed, no political prisoners, no violence. And in 2010 — long before the Arab Spring — Pakistan’s nascent democracy returned the powers usurped by dictators back to parliament with the 18th Amendment to the Constitution, passed unanimously in parliament. As a people, we are more critical, more engaged. We believe in peaceful evolution of existing structures, not revolution. A record number of people have registered to vote in the upcoming elections and the deadline isn’t even up yet. We’ve snatched our democracy back and we’re not letting it go.

Continue reading Pakistan is beautiful – and it’s mine

CIA agents in Pakistan

By Najam Sethi

These are difficult times for professional journalists in Pakistan. Eleven were killed last year in the line of duty. They were either caught in the crossfire of ethnic or extremist violence or targeted and eliminated by state and non-state groups for their political views.

Saleem Shehzad, for example, was abducted, tortured and killed last year and a commission of inquiry is still floundering in murky waters. He had exposed the infiltration of the armed forces by elements affiliated with Al-Qaeda or the Taliban. Several journalists from Balochistan have been killed by non-state vigilantes sponsored by state agencies, others have fled to Europe or USA because they had sympathies with the nationalist cause in the province. Some from Karachi have taken refuge abroad because they were threatened by ethnic or sectarian groups or parties.

Now an insidious campaign is afoot to target senior journalists who question the wisdom of the security establishment on a host of thorny issues. They are being labeled as “American-CIA agents”. This is an incitement to violence against them in the highly charged anti-American environment in Pakistan today. Consider.

If you say the military’s notion of “strategic depth” in Afghanistan is misplaced, outdated or counter-productive, you are a CIA agent.

If you say the military was either complicit or incompetent in the OBL-Abbottabad case, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the civilians should have control over the military as stipulated in the constitution, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the military shouldn’t enter into peace deals with the Taliban that enable them to reorganize and seize Pakistani territory, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the drones have taken a welcome toll of extremist Al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the military’s annual defense budget, which amounts to nearly half of all tax revenues, should be scrutinized by parliament or the Auditor General of Pakistan, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the one and same resignation criterion should be applied to both Ambassador Husain Haqqani and DG-ISI Ahmed Shuja Pasha – the former is accused of trying to influence the American government to back up the civilian government of Pakistan in its attempt to establish civilian control over its army and the latter is accused of seeking the support of Arab regimes for the overthrow of the civilian regime ( both accusations come from one and the same individual) – you are a CIA agent.

If you say we should construct a social welfare state in place of a national security state, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that fundamental citizens rights enshrined in the constitution cannot be violated at the altar of a narrow definition of national security defined exclusively by the security state, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that human rights violations in Balochistan carried out by the security agencies are as condemnable as the ethnic cleansing of Punjabi settlers by Baloch insurgents, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that Pakistan’s foreign policy should not be the exclusive domain of the military establishment, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the Pakistan military’s conventional and nuclear weapons doctrine amounts to a crippling arms race with India rather than a minimal optimal defensive deterrence, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the ISI is an unaccountable state within a state, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that belt-tightening measures to control budgetary deficits and inflation should apply to wasteful aspects of defense expenditures no less than to wasteful aspects of civilian government expenditures, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the Supreme Court should pull out Air Marshal Asghar Khan’s ISI-Mehrangate 1991 case from cold storage and adjudge it along with the Memogate 2011 case, you are a CIA agent.

The irony is that the Pakistan military remains the single largest recipient of American aid in the last sixty five years. The irony is that all military coups in Pakistan have drawn legal and political sustenance from America. The irony is that the Pakistani military has signed more defense pacts and agreements with America than all civilian governments to date. The irony is the Pakistan military has partnered America in Afghanistan in the 1980s, fought its war on terror and leased out Pakistani air bases and Pakistan air space corridors to America in the 2000s, and sent hundreds of officers for training and education to America in the last six decades.

The greater irony is that all those liberal, progressive, anti-imperialist Pakistani citizens who have opposed US hegemony and protested American military interventions in the Third World all their lives are today branded as CIA agents by the very state security agencies and non state religious parties and jehadi groups who have taken American money and weapons and done America’s bidding all their lives.

Courtesy: Friday Times

http://www.thefridaytimes.com/beta2/tft/article.php?issue=20120106&page=1

Sindh and Balochistan’s Issues are not the same as in the Islamic Republic of Punjab

Interview of Naseer Memon was conducted by “DUNYA” TV in the aftermath of a large gathering addressed by President Asif Zardari.

Translation by Khalid Hashmani

Excerpt of Interview;

The interview was conducted by “DUNYA” News Tv in the aftermath of a large gathering [Benazir’s aniversary rally in Garahi Khuda Buksh made PTI-Imran’s tsunami seen like a wall of jelly] addressed by President Asif Zardari in Garahi Yasin, near Larkano in Sindh. The interviewer wanted to know whether or not other political parties are making any headway into the minds and hearts of Sindhis. Naseer Memon sahib, as you can see in the video explains that people should not be misled by the number of people attending political gatherings. As the previous elections have shown that in Sindh and the rest of the Pakistan, the size of vote banks is not the same as the size of crowd attending a political rally. Often people attend the rallies of one political party but do not vote for them. Also, Sindhis may criticize PPP on not delivering on some of its commitments, it does not mean that they will not vote for it.

Memon sahib says that things that excite people in Punjab like Nuclear bombs and religious supremacy are not the main concerns of Sindhis. He adds that most Sindhis think that it is the expenses associated with nuclear bombs and military that are keeping people of Pakistan under poverty. He challenged the interviewer to find even one writing by a Sindhi intellectual that would praise ZAB’s words that “Pakistanis will eat grass but will make a nuclear bomb” even though otherwise he is considered one of their greatest hero. Naseer also points that most Sindhis want a secular form of government as the large minorities of Hindus, Christian and others live peacefully in Sindh. They are least excited by slogans of Islamic  state.

Commenting on the performance of PPP in Sindh, he said people are quite angry because of the decaying of infrastructure (roads, bridges, transportation, etc.) and education and health services outside of Karachi. They abhor increasing corruption of PPP officials and want a quick end to it. He also criticized poor response of the government to recent floods in Sindh. He concluded that people are asking these questions from PPP. He warns PPP that they should not take Sindhi people’s grievances lightly lest they may be left with no Sindh card.

Courtesy: Duniya News TV with Javed Iqbal » YouTube

Pakistani politicians start shivering at what ASMA JAHANGIR, the Iron Lady, can say about sacred cows

Beyond the mandate

ASMA Jahangir, legal counsel of Husain Haqqani in the memo hearings in the Supreme Court, may have had in mind a robust defence of her client while making strong statements about the political role of the ISI but her remarks in Courtroom No 1 on Tuesday are worth reflecting on in a wider context. Also, while ‘memogate’ may have pitched the elected government against the powerful army, the hearings in the Supreme Court could become a way of addressing hitherto taboo subjects, such as the responsibilities of the ISI, official and otherwise. The rub of the present matter is that the ISI appears to have ‘investigated’ its own political leadership and determined that the political leadership has grave charges to answer. In fact, from the statements of ISI chief Lt Gen Pasha filed in the Supreme Court, it would appear that the army prima facie believes the allegations of Mansoor Ijaz regarding the role of Husain Haqqani, and someone more senior to him on the civilian side, in the drafting of the now-infamous memo.

Did the ISI itself transgress official boundaries in the present instance? Also, what is the ISI’s legal mandate: is it a counter-intelligence and external-oriented organisation or does it have a more expansive domestic role? Part of the problem is historical. While there is some irony that the PPP’s founder, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, is believed to have given the ISI a larger role and ingress into domestic politics, the real boost for the organisation proved to be the Afghan war in the 1980s. Organising and equipping the Afghan jihadis while serving the domestic needs of dictator Ziaul Haq, the ISI was an infinitely more fearsome institution at the end of the ’80s than it was at the start. By the time the so-called decade of democracy rolled around, the ISI was confident and capable enough to aggressively intervene in the democratic process. As the self-appointed custodians of the national interest, the army and the ISI established their own rules that only as a matter of convenience appeared to fit into the scheme of a constitutional democracy. For the civilians to assert their control over the country’s armed forces and its intelligence apparatus, many years, much sophistication in approach and honesty of purpose will be required. Sadly, none of that has been evident to date on the civilian side.

Inevitably, perhaps, the courts also must shoulder some of the blame. Had the verdict in the Asghar Khan case, which looked into the manipulation of elections by the ISI in the 1990s, been handed down, the hearings into the memo affair may not have become necessary. Having said that, the present hearing could be used to try and establish the mandate and parameters of the ISI.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

http://www.dawn.com/2011/12/29/beyond-the-mandate.html

A death trap in Rawalpindi – D Asghar

BB was her father’s daughter in every sense and respect, who staunchly believed that the people are able to decide their own destiny. No matter who they are, what social sphere they belong to, they have a voice and a choice

My birthplace, Rawalpindi, has a strange notoriety: it has been extremely unlucky for the prime ministers of Pakistan. Liaquat Ali Khan became a victim of Syed Akbar’s bullet back in 1951, in what was then known as Company Bagh. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was murdered in 1979, at Rawalpindi Central Jail. I use the term ‘murdered’, although he was supposedly sentenced to death by the Lahore High Court, and the Supreme Court had upheld that verdict, for obvious reasons. It is commonly termed as a ‘judicial murder’. His daughter, twice elected prime minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto became a victim of an assassin’s bullet four years back in December 2007. What a strange coincidence that she died at the same Company Bagh, now known as Liaquat Bagh. Boy what a death trap that Company Bagh is. …

Read more » Daily Times

Memogate case: Asma Jehangir drags ISI chief into the ring

ISLAMABAD: The role of the country’s premier intelligence agency came under the spotlight at the Supreme Court on Tuesday, as Asma Jehangir, counsel for former ambassador to US Husain Haqqani, defended her client in the Memogate case.

In an assertion that blurred the boundaries between the alleged perpetrators and the victims in the case, Jehangir termed Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Ahmed Shuja Pasha’s visit to London as a venture against the government.

“Many of us inside this courtroom are guilty of treason if the ISI’s statement is to be believed,” Jehangir said to a nine-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

“The likes of Benazir Bhutto and Wali Khan are also traitors by its standards,” she said. …

Read more » The Express Tribune

More details » BBC urdu

The story of Benazir Bhutto: A Tale of Tears

Courtesy: Front Line with Kamaran Shahid

Via » ZemTv » YouTube

— o — o — o — o —

If you watch the video of Imran Khan’s Karachi Jalsa, you will see Imran Khan coming to the venue by an Army helicopter and then escorted and surrounded by armed Army commandos. The Army and ISI provided full security to him, before and during the jalsa. A million dollar question is , where was the Army and ISI when twice prime minister of Pakistan, Chairperson of PPP, Benazir was speaking at Liaquat Park, Rawalpindi, a stone’s throw distance from GHQ? Why was absolutely no security was provided to her, even as is now disclosed by ISI that there was a specific plan to murder her? Was it because the generals perceived BB as a threat to expose them before the public?

Is their support of Imran Khan because Army generals think that he will get them out of the deep hole they have dug for themselves and get Talibans/ Jihadis and Americans off their backs, sustain their narrow destructive policies and that they can go back to their messes and golf courses and DHAs? [Above text is taken from Pakistani e-lists, e-groups, credit goes to TK for above piece]

She Died As Her Father Did: Bravely

By Tarek Fatah

It was the summer of 1966. We were mere teenagers meeting Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who had just resigned as Pakistan’s foreign minister and was about to launch a new left-wing political movement, the Pakistan Peoples Party.

Continue reading She Died As Her Father Did: Bravely

Listen General (r) Naseerullah Babar, rare interview, Who Killed Bhuttos?

Courtesy » Geo News Tv ( Maray Mutabiq with Dr. Shahid Masood, 13 Apr 2008)

via » chagataikhan » YouTube

Marvi Sirmed remembers the day they killed Benazir Bhutto

BAAGHI: Remembering Benazir Bhutto, personally! – By Marvi Sirmed

One wonders what potent challenge she posed to the establishment that they had to invest all their might, money and resources to gather all the opposing political parties on one platform against BB’s PPP

“Is she okay?” I was screaming at the top of my voice on the phone with my husband while madly driving towards General Hospital, Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007. “It is over, Marvi,” my husband cried and the line disconnected. Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, twice prime minister of Pakistan, had paid the highest price anyone could ever pay for continuing to engage with people and carrying on with the democratic process.

It has been four years since BB, as she was commonly called, has left us but there has not been a single moment in the crisis-ridden politics of Pakistan that she was not missed. Without going into the achievements and failures of her governments, I just want to remember her as she was — a strong leader with a political vision not paralleled by any living politician. The struggle that she chose for herself when she was just 23 years of age was not an ordinary one. At a broader level it entailed dealing with an all-powerful military dictator, being imprisoned and later exiled, losing family, organising the most popular political party of the country during the worst times of persecution, etc.

At a personal level it posed many additional challenges to a young Pinky. Her being a woman never hindered her; so much so that when the forces opposing her tried to use her biology against her, she turned it around. When she was expecting Bilawal, they announced elections around the dates they thought she would be in maternity. I cannot forget her coming to the political rallies with her intravenous drip in her hands. She later wrote in her book, Daughter of the East: An Autobiography, that Begum Nusrat Bhutto, her mother, had advised her to never let her physiological issues come in her way. When she was expecting Bakhtawar during her premiership, the crisis was once again carefully chosen to coincide with the dates of her delivery. She did not make herself absent from her office for more than 48 hours.

All through her political life, she struggled against the hegemony of the oppressive deep state that used every jape that they could, and from right-wing rhetoric that was nauseatingly misogynist and anti-people. From scandalous attacks on her character, assaulting family, facilitating all odd political characters of the country that had only one common thread among them — hatred of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Bhuttos — the establishment put to use every antic. What they could not do was separate BB and the people. When I was growing up, I did not understand the love people had for her. I was in high school when BB came to power for the first time. I did not even pass my higher secondary when her government was dismissed on charges of corruption. Like every youngster, I hated corruption but was amazed to see people from the lowest of the lower strata who were crazy for BB and her PPP. In an industrial exhibition in Lahore, I met an artisan woman selling her handmade fans. She had woven BB’s picture on one of the hand-fans. She broke into tears while telling me how every cruel oppressor in this country has joined hands to bring BB down.

At the Lok Virsa last year, I met a family from southern Punjab who had brought their snakes and were showing snake tricks to earn meagre money. One of their children was wearing a locket bearing BB’s picture. The woman of the family was swearing against Musharraf, the army, feudals and extremists who had snatched their beloved leader. The anger in her voice was so intense that I for once thought she must be a blood relative of BB. She was not.

I recall women of my own family when BB took oath as the prime minister in 1988. My family, being a landholding Punjabi orthodox religious family, has been strongly against a progressive and socialist Bhutto. The men in our family frequently borrowed right-wing arguments against a woman head of the government being un-Islamic, while equally conservative and religious women including my grandmother vociferously confronted the argument. It was amazing to see these women drawing power from a woman prime minister with whose political views they did not even agree. Our village women, very conservative in religious and cultural views and who were made to believe that the PPP was an anti-religion party, could not help loving BB. Women, I can still remember, got new dreams of playing a powerful role in society.

Her struggle did not end when her party came to office in 1988. Seeking office was incomplete without power, which still rested with the all-powerful establishment that had delayed nominating her as prime minister despite her party’s clear majority. They did never rest after that. One wonders what potent challenge she posed to them that they had to invest all their might, money and resources to gather all the opposing political parties on one platform against BB’s PPP. Her clear-headed vision that led the country throughout the years of crisis distinguished her from the rest of the lot who started appearing pygmies in front of her.

My last meeting with her was in November 2007 when she calmly heard our criticism on various recent decisions that we thought would give a lease of life to a dictator. How patiently she heard, how diligently she took notes and how sagaciously she responded to every single concern of ours. When she arrived in October 2007, she had changed in many ways. One could see the strength of her resolve seeing a sea of people ready to sacrifice their lives for her. Despite strict security warnings, she would not stop from going to the hospital to visit the survivors of the October 18 terrorist attack on her rally.

Prior to that, she was the only leader among the entire bunch of expedient politicians of Pakistan who spoke openly against terrorists and their apologists. She was the only leader who tried to lead people’s opinion against the militants who had forced the tragedy of Laal Masjid (Red Mosque), instead of criticising the military action against the militants or terming the Laal Masjid militants as ‘innocent students’ like almost every politician did.

The unusual courage she displayed was not without a vision of possible consequences. She knew the price she might have to pay. Nothing deterred her. She went on and lived up to every challenge. And boy, what a life she lived! Salutes to a leader par excellence, to a woman with unfathomable courage and resolve, to a politician of exemplary vision, to a committed democrat who never failed the test of pragmatic and inclusive politics. Rest in peace BB. Pakistan misses you.

The writer is an Islamabad-based commentator on counterterrorism, social and political issues. She can be reached at marvisirmed@me.com and tweets at http://twitter.com/marvisirmed

Courtesy » Daily Times

Dawn: Nadeem F. Paracha on the shadow of 1980s thinking on Pakistan’s military establishment

Thick muck – By Nadeem F. Paracha

The parameters and paranoia of the bygone Cold War just refuses to evaporate from the psyche of Pakistan’s military-establishment. That war might have folded with the folding up of the Soviet Union in 1991, but it seems Pakistan’s military-establishment is still largely stuck (albeit willingly) in the thick muck that this war threw up in this region in the 1980s.

Continue reading Dawn: Nadeem F. Paracha on the shadow of 1980s thinking on Pakistan’s military establishment

Pak Army & ISI are a State within a State – Both are out of government’s control.

There cannot be a State within a State: PM Gilani

Excerpt;

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani Thursday said conspiracies were being hatched to oust the elected government, but vowed to fight for the rights of the people.

Addressing a gathering at the launch of an exhibition of rare photographs of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Pakistan Movement at Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA), Gilani said he is here to serve the people of Pakistan.

The prime minister said, “conspiracies are being hatched to pack-up an elected government. We remain in the government or in opposition, we will continue to protect the rights of the people”.

Gilani categorically stated, “there cannot be a State within a State. Nobody can say that he is not under the government.”

“Every institution of this country including the Ministry of Defence is under the Prime Minister of Pakistan”, he added.

He said there should be no ambiguity about it and nobody should claim himself as an independent. “They are being paid from the State Exchequer, from your revenue and from your taxes.”

“If somebody thinks that they are not under the government, they are mistaken. They are under the government and they remain under the government, because we are the elected representatives of the people of Pakistan.” …. …

…. “But I want to ask how was (bin Laden) living here for the past six years? On what type of visa was he living here? Why was security not taken care of, if he entered in Pakistan without a visa?”

Read more » The News

http://www.thenews.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=29147&title=There-cannot-be-a-State-within-a-State:-PM-Gilani

Pakistan’s president returns home: “Pakistan is our homeland that is where we will live and that is where we will die” I stand by this.

President Zardari

By Bolta Pakistan

This is the tweet by Asifa Zardari she wrote only a while ago: “Pakistan is our homeland that is where we will live and that is where we will die” “Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, President Asif Zardari , PPP & I stand by this.”

Courtesy: Bolta Pakistan, Facebook page (credit goes to Nusrat Javed)

‘Crimes’ of Asif Zardari – By Shiraz Paracha

President Asif Zardari

The military eliminated all Bhuttos because Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto, Murtaza and Shah Nawaz Bhutto did not accept dictation but Asif Zardari, a non-Bhutto, is no different than Bhuttos and this is the reason of generals’ annoyance with Zardari.

Generals are desperate to remove President Zardari through the Supreme Court as they believe that independent civilians cannot govern the land of the pure.

The military is after President Asif Zardari’s head because in him generals see a challenger. They want to punish the President because he is not a puppet. The military’s indignation at Zardari is rooted in the paranoia that only the military can save Pakistan and also it is the sole right of generals to set the contours of Pakistan’s foreign and defence policies.

Devious military minds have played the Imran Card to blackmail the opposition leader Nawaz Sharif. As expected the Sharif brothers panicked after leaks that the military was behind Imran Khan and that Khan would hurt Muslim League (N) vote bank, particularly in the Punjab Province.

Read more » LUBP

http://criticalppp.com/archives/66558

Presidency is the symbol of the state. Why would any one want to respect Pakistan, when Pakistanis themselves don’t respect their democratically elected president!

President Zardari

After All Zardari is the President of Pakistan

By Saeed Qureshi

If the detractors of Asif Ali Zardari do not respect him as a person let them at least venerate the office he is holding. Simultaneously he is the chairman of the leading political party in Pakistan whose services to the country have not been excelled by any other party. The parties like individuals face phases of rise and fall and decline and fame. The PPP is passing through the same phase but hopefully, would come out of this dismal situation with a new vigor and commitment and fall back on its original track of devotion to the cause of the downtrodden.

Continue reading Presidency is the symbol of the state. Why would any one want to respect Pakistan, when Pakistanis themselves don’t respect their democratically elected president!

Govt failed to arrest Benazir Bhutto’s assassins: Nawaz

LARKANO: PML-N President Nawaz Sharif while addressing a huge public gathering in Larkano, said he is seeing a change in the thinking of people of Larkano, Sindh and across the country, Geo News reported Saturday.

Nawaz said people of Pakistan are changing as he could see the same enthusiasm in the people of other parts of the country.

While blaming the PPP leadership, he said all such people are now ministers and advisors who left Mohratma Benazir Bhutto in critical condition when she was attacked, adding that such people could never be sincere with the party.

’The government has failed to arrest the assassins of leader of their party Benazir Bhutto,’ he added. ‘Arresting her killers should be the top priority of the government.’ …

Read more » The News

Benazir Bhutto Criticised Pakistani Supreme court (Chief Justice Iftikhar Ch) for being Biased

» YouTube

It is about 4 years since the PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in Pak Army town, Rawalpindi. No action on UN commission report yet?

27th December: Get Ready For Another Zardari-Rehman Malik Drama

By Aziz Narejo

27th December is almost upon us. Get ready for another Zardari-Rehman Malik drama about “catching” & “punishing” the “killers of Shaheed BB”. It is about 4 years since the PPP chairperson was assassinated in Pak Army town, Rawalpindi. Her party, led by her widower & son, has been in power for 3 years & 9 months since then. First they delayed any meaningful investigation in the name of UN probe. When UN commission submitted its report, they rejected it & refused to act on it. Then they said they would hold their own inquiry. Now their hand-maiden report is ready since more than a year but they won’t publish or disclose it in full. Last year, they delayed the arrival of the ‘son’ in Garhi Khuda Bux for a day & issued an statement afterwards that since he couldn’t attend the party CEC meeting, the report could not be announced on BB’s 3rd death anniversary. ….

Read more » Indus Herald

Help me in petitioning against Gen. Aslam Baig

Open letter to Gen Aslam Baig

Dear Aslam Baig Sahib,

I heard you talking in a TV programme sometime back, where you once again disputed your role in forming the IJI and your involvement in the Mehrangate Scandal to the sheer shock of the audience. Sir, I will be short and precise in whatever I write because I am traumatised at what you said in the court of law and that too under oath of the holy book.

Let me remind you general to what you said in the Supreme Court in 1997 (Human Rights Petition 19/96 filed by Air Marshal Asghar Khan). Aslam Baig Sahib, your quotes from the SC records are “the money was donated by Younas Habib. The ISI was acting under the directions of higher authorities. As chief of the army staff at that time, when I was informed of this matter, my only concern was that the money received by the ISI was utilised properly and an account was maintained and beyond that I had no concern with the money…” Referring to the amount raised by the ISI for possibly helping right-wing political parties.

But, your astounding claim that you only “over-looked” the operation was rebuffed by your own ISI chief during the time, General Asad Durrani, who filed an affidavit in response to your rather, innocent claim. Gen Durrani, who later in 1996 became our ambassador in Germany, when approached by the SC, wrote an affidavit, confirming that he had received instructions from COAS General Beg (you) to provide ‘logistic support’ for the disbursement of donations made by certain ‘businessmen of Karachi’ to the IJI election campaign of 1990, and was told that the operation had the blessings of the government rebutting your claim that you acted only as a ‘watchdog’.

General Beg, Iqbal Haider who is now a human rights activist, defended General Nasurullah Baber and in a recorded statement (record could be verified by the SC registrar) said, “The ISI was involved in politics”. Lt General Hameed Gul, a former ISI chief, was on record as having boasted that it was he who created the IJI, and another ISI chief, Lt General Javed Nasir, had taken credit for creating the MQM Haqiqi.

Supplementary to this in an another affidavit filed by Gen Babur in the SC (HRC 19/96) included Asad Durrani’s (your ISI Chief) confidential letter to the late Benazir Bhutto which read, “My dear prime minister, A few points I could not include in my ‘confessional statement’ handed over to the director, FIA. These could be embarrassing or sensitive. (a) The recipients included Khar Rs 2 million, Hafeez Pirzada Rs 3 million, Sarwar Cheema Rs 0.5 million and Mairaj Khalid Rs 0.2 million. (b) The remaining Rs 80 million were either deposited in the ISI’s ‘K’ fund (60m) or given to director external intelligence for special operations (perhaps the saving grace of this disgraceful exercise. But it is delicate information.) [Noted in the margin of this paragraph, by the writer in his own hand: “This is false. The amount was pocketed by Beg (Friends)”]

“If the idea is to put Gen Beg on the mat: he was merely providing ‘logistic support’ to donations made by a community ‘under instructions’ from the government and with the ‘consent’ of the military high command. In any case; I understand he is implicated in some other deals in the same case…” Asad Durrani claimed. Fair enough, but money worth Rs 60 million that was supposed to be made to the ISI’s K Fund went to your pockets. General Baig, this is serious, because as per your own ISI chief, “you” and “your friends” pocketed the money.

And friends, sir? Apparently, Naseerullah Babar also filed in court a copy of a bank account sheet headed “G/L Account. Activity Report. Account 12110101 G Baig (sic)” The column heads read “Transaction, Date, Particulars, Debit, Credit”.

The numbered transactions took place between October 23, 1991, and December 12, 1993. The first transaction listed was “Cash-PO Karachi Bar Association A/C Gen Baig (sic.), debit, Rs 505,680” (advocate Mirza Adil Beg, Aslam Beg’s nephew, the then president of the KBA, confirms that the KBA received the money). In January 1992, $20,000 was sold @ 26.50 and Rs 530,000 was credited to the account. Thereafter all debits: “Arshi c/o Gen Baig (sic.) Rs 290,000; Cash paid to Gen Shab Rs 240,000; Cash Friends Rs 100,000 [Aslam Beg’s organisation, FRIENDS, Foundation for Research on National Development and Security]; Cash TT to Yamin to pay Gen Sahib Rs 300,000; Cash TT to Yamin Habib Rs 1,200,000 ; Cash Friends Rs 100,000 ; Cash Friends Rs 100,000 ; Cash paid through YH 1,000,000 ; Cash Friends TT to Salim Khan Rs 200,000 ; Cash Rs 100,000 ; Cash Towards Friends Rs 500,000 ; Cash Asif Shah for Bungalow Rs 35,000 ; Cash Friends Rs 100,000 ; Cash Friends Rs 100,000 ; Cash TT through Yamin for Friends Rs 100,000 ; Cash paid to Fakhruddin G Ebrahim Rs 200,000 [he confirms having received the money from General Baig as fees and expenses for defending him in the contempt of court charge brought against him – PLD 1993 SC310] ; Cash paid through TT to Yamin for Friends ; Cash paid to Fakhruddin G Ebrahim Rs 128,640 [he confirms receipt for fees/expenses for contempt case] ; Cash Guards at 11-A Rs 10,500 ; Cash TT for $240,000 Fav Riaz Malik to City Bank (sic) New York Rs 6876,000 ; Cash Friends Rs 100,000; Cash Guards at 11-A Rs 10,500 ; Cash Major Kiyani Rs 10,000; Cash mobile phone for Col Mashadi Rs 28,911 ; Cash TT fav Qazi Iqbal and M Guddul Rs 300,000 ; Cash Major Kiyani Rs 10,000 ; Cash TT to Peshawar Rs 300,000 ; Cash deposited at Karachi A/C EC [Election Commission] Rs 300,000 ; Cash Guards Rs 24,000 ; Cash TT to Quetta Rs 700,000 ; Cash mobile bill of Col Mashadi Rs 3,237 ; Cash TT to Peshawar Br Rs 400,000 ; Cash deposited at Karachi Br Rs 400,000 ; Cash Guards Rs 11,520 ; Cash TT to Peshawar for EC Rs 200,000 ; Cash TT to Quetta for EC Rs 200,000 ; Cash Guards Rs 5,760 ; Cash Major Kiyani Rs 5,000 ; Cash A/C Guards Rs 8,640 ; Cash th YH Rs 200,000 ; Cash A/C Guards Rs 5,760 ; Cash TT to Salim Khan Rs 100,000.”

General Aslam Baig, its about time you come clean on the allegations and apologise to the nation for not only laundering the nation’s tax money, but artificially forming a right-wing political party, or face Article 6. It is also the duty of the SC to take up the petition of Air Marshal Asghar Khan and take it to its logical conclusion.

Warm Regards,

Ali K Chishti

Courtesy » Daily Times

Source – http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\10\12\story_12-10-2010_pg7_23