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Ayaz Latif Palijo comes for Lyari rally despite govt. ban

SINDH – KARACHI: Awami Tehreek (AT) leader Ayaz Latif Palijo has entered in Lyari for the party’s scheduled ‘Mohbat Sindh Rally’ despite the Sindh government’s ban over public gatherings in the province, SAMAA reported on Sunday.

Palijo managed to come at the venue of the rally. He came by a bus.

On the other hand, the government has closed the road with containers leading towards the rally venue.

Yesterday, Sindh Home Ministry issued an arrest warrant for Palijo ….

Read more » SAMAA

Pakistan to face international sanctions if NATO routes stay closed: Defence Minister

LAHORE: If Pakistan refuses to reopen the Nato supply routes, it will have to face international sanctions, said Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar on Sunday. ….

Read more » The Express Tribune » BBC urdu

Pakistan’s Faustian Parliament – by Wajid Ali Syed

It was embarrassing enough for the people of Pakistan to find out that Osama bin Laden was living in their midst for years. Even more shameful was the realization that their politicians are incapable of questioning the security apparatus of the country. The masses rallied and protested and faced hardships for months to kick General Pervez Musharraf out of power. They voted the Pakistan People’s Party, the most widely-based and allegedly liberal party to power, believing that democracy has been restored.

Though the leader of the government, President Asif Ali Zardari has been blamed for everything going wrong in the country and is regarded as a corrupt individual, until now there has been a perceived upside that Pakistan is being led by an elected government and not a military dictatorship.

This illusion of so-called civilian supremacy silently burst like a bubble when the head of the ISI, General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, and the Chief of Army Staff Ashfaq Parvez Kiyani were called before the parliament to answer for their incompetence related to the May 2 raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound. The agenda was to inquire about the U.S. attack and why the state security apparatus was unaware of Osama bin Laden’s presence.

But what happened during the closed door meeting revealed once again that the real power in Pakistan still lies with the army and the ISI, not the politicians.

It had been suggested that heads would roll, the foreign aid and the big chunk of national budget that the army receives would be scrutinized. The parliamentarians dropped the ball again and lost another opportunity to exert their authority over other institutions of the state. Once again it became clear who really runs Pakistan.

The last time a civilian government had an opportunity to put the army in its place was in 1971, following the Pakistan army’s defeat in the war that led to the loss of East Pakistan, which became Bangladesh. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Pakistan’s then-president and founder of the Pakistan People’s Party, got off to a promising start by placing former dictator General Yahya Khan under house arrest. He re-organized the Pakistan Armed Forces and boosted the military’s morale. But Bhutto also restored their hubris. Years later, his own appointed Army Chief, General Zia ul-Haq, would overthrow Bhutto’s government and send him to the gallows.

During Zia’s 11 year rule, the Russians invaded Afghanistan and withdrew. The army grew so strong that even after Zia’s death in a plane crash, the new chief of the military did not allow the democratically elected Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto, to tour the country’s nuclear facility. She was labelled anti-Pakistan and an American agent.

It is ironic to witness that the opposition party, the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), which was created with the support of the army to counter the PPP’s popularity, is now asking the tough questions about covert operations and the finances of the military.

By snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, Pakistan’s ruling party, Bhutto’s PPP, is losing its chance to demonstrate leadership and moral authority. They failed to hold the army accountable for the thousands of civilians and security officers killed in the war on terror in Pakistan. They did not press the chief of the generously-funded army to explain how OBL could have lived in a military garrison town for six years.

These are the same parliamentarians who extended General Kiyani’s tenure. The same parliamentarians who extended ISI Chief General Pasha’s tenure. The boastful parliamentarians who had promised to leave no stone unturned roared like lions for the cameras but behaved like lambs behind closed doors.

It was reported that opposition leader Chaudhry Nisar tried to deliver a speech during the question and answer session, only to be snubbed by General Pasha in front of a full house. Pasha claimed that he ‘knew’ why he was being targeted by the opposition leader, alleging that Nisar had asked him for a personal favor, which he, as DG ISI, refused to extend. An embarrassed Chaudhry Nisar was said to have been taken aback as Pasha continued with his ‘counter-attack’.

Then the tail furiously wagged the dog. General Pasha reportedly offered to resign. Rather than demanding that the ISI chief step down immediately, apparently the parliamentarians did not accept his resignation.

The state run television channel could have returned to its heyday of running prime time programming that kept the country glued to their sets by recording that “closed door” meeting to broadcast later as a drama — or farce.

Some idealistic Pakistanis hoped that the U.S. would finally question the secretly played “double game.” After all, the U.S. supported extensions of Kiyani’s and Pasha’s tenures, claiming that keeping the chiefs in their positions would help to continue the war on terror in an orderly fashion. The U.S. abandoned the people of Pakistan by siding with the army once again, pledging support and failing to attach any strings or conditions to the military aid it provides.

Cowed by Kiyani’s and Pasha’s brazen displays, Pakistan’s parliament passed a resolution that drone attacks should be stopped and that the operations like the one carried out on May 2nd won’t be tolerated in future.

The parliament has an obligation to explain to the public not only how and why Osama bin Laden was living in Abbottabad, but why the Taliban continues to carry out its bloody operations, and why al Qaeda leaders have been given safe haven. The risk of allowing these questions to remain unanswered is that the military will gain more strength over the civilian government.

The parliamentarians who are supposed to represent the people of Pakistan abrogated their responsibility for the sake of staying in office for few more months, while at the same time making it clear who the country’s rulers truly are.

Courtesy: Wichaar

In-camera session: ISI chief shot back at ‘favour-seeking’ Nisar

By Rauf Klasra

ISLAMABAD: Though he spent a large chunk of the marathon session on the back foot, besieged by politicians, the chief of Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency did come out of his shell to silence fiery Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.

Details of Friday’s closed-door session of a special joint sitting of Parliament continue to trickle out – with some interesting nuggets of information being narrated to The Express Tribune regarding an exchange between Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt-Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha and Chaudhry Nisar.

Reported yesterday was a fiery speech by Nisar against the military establishment – but it emerged, through fresh information, that the DG ISI did not just stand there and take the tirade.

Pasha, who has been at the receiving end of a number of fiery speeches by the PML-N leader over the last few weeks, is said to have shocked Nisar by replying in the same token.

Nisar is said to have risen out of his seat for his speech right as the question and answer session was to begin. But a “visibly angry” Pasha snubbed Nisar in front of a full house.

Pasha claimed that he ‘knew’ why he was being targeted by the leader of the opposition as of late – alleging that Nisar had asked him for a personal favour, which he, as DG ISI, refused to extend.

Since then, said Pasha, Nisar had launched a number of tirades against him in particular and the military in general. However, Pasha said he would not reveal what the favour was on the floor of the august house – but would if asked outside.

An embarrassed Chaudhry Nisar was said to have been taken aback as Pasha continued with his ‘counter-attack’. The DG ISI kept on grilling Nisar, asking the PML-N leader if he knew what the effects of his recent tirades had been. Pasha told the house that on a recent trip to the US he was told by CIA chief Leon Panetta in an important meeting: ‘Look, General Pasha – how can we trust you when your own country’s opposition leader is saying that you cannot be believed?’

Continue reading In-camera session: ISI chief shot back at ‘favour-seeking’ Nisar

Berating General Pasha: Pakistan’s Spy Chief Gets a Tongue-Lashing

by Omar Waraich / Islamabad

The head of Pakistan’s powerful Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) offered his resignation to the country’s prime minister on Friday as he sought to defend the role of the spy agency. Lieut. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the ISI chief, conceded that Osama bin Laden’s presence in Pakistan had been an [–Intentional–] “intelligence failure” and that he was prepared to step down and submit himself to any scrutiny, parliamentarians from both government and opposition parties told TIME on condition of anonymity. Gen. Pasha was speaking at a rare, closed-door briefing to Pakistan’s parliament where the lawmakers swore an oath not to reveal details discussed.

I present myself to the Prime Minister for any punishment and am willing to appear before any commission personally,” Gen. Pasha said, according to the parliamentarians who spoke to TIME. “But I will not allow the ISI, as an institution, or its employees, to be targeted.” According to those present, the general offered his resignation to Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, but it was neither accepted nor openly declined. “He did offer to resign, but there was no reaction,” a parliamentarian tells TIME. During the briefing, the spymaster was subject to rare and fierce criticism from opposition lawmakers. Pasha is serving the final year of a two-year extension as ISI chief. He was appointed by, and remains close to, Army Chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. (See pictures of Osama bin Laden’s Pakistan hideout.)

The ISI has been subject to rare public criticism and scrutiny since the U.S. Navy Seal raid on Osama bin Laden’s hiding place, in a compound in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad. The revelation that he had been hiding in plain sight has been a source of deep embarrassment for many Pakistanis, with some calling for “heads to roll.” The failure to locate him, and the unilateral U.S. decision to capture and kill him, has set off allegations of complicity or incompetence. While no evidence has emerged of Pakistan hiding bin Laden, the country’s military leadership has struggled to respond to the crisis as tensions have risen with the U.S. …

Read more : TIME

Via : Wichaar

Wikileaks reveal parties behind Jeddah’s closed doors

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia might be an ultra-strict Islamic society, but princes’ mansions in Jeddah hide a buzzing party scene replete with alcohol, drugs and sex, according to a leaked US diplomatic memo.

“Behind the facade of Wahabi conservatism in the streets, the underground nightlife for Jeddah’s elite youth is thriving and throbbing,” said the November 2009 cable, released by the WikiLeaks website.

“The full range of worldly temptations and vices are available – alcohol, drugs, sex – but strictly behind closed doors,” it said.

“This freedom to indulge carnal pursuits is possible merely because the religious police keep their distance when parties include the presence or patronage of a Saudi royal and his circle of loyal attendants.”

The cable, from the US consulate in the Red Sea city, described a Halloween party attended by 150 people mostly in their 20s and 30s, including consulate personnel.

“The scene resembled a nightclub anywhere outside the kingdom: plentiful alcohol, young couples dancing, a DJ at the turntables, and everyone in costume.”

Big Jeddah parties – also often attended by prostitutes – are a recent phenomenon, according to the consulate.

One Saudi told the consulate that wealthy locals try to throw parties at princes’ homes or with princes in attendance so that the religious police can be kept away.

It also said that the high price of smuggled alcohol – a bottle of Smirnoff vodka can cost 1,500 riyals, or 400 dollars – sometimes forces party hosts to refill original bottles with the harsh, locally bootlegged spirit sadiqi. …

Read more : DAWN