Tag Archives: coalition

Allies shut doors to reconciliation

By: Ramzan Chandio

SINDH : KARACHI – Differences among the ruling allies further widened as many provincial ministers, advisers and special assistants on Saturday submitted their resignations at the CM’s Secretariat to protest the PPP’s solo flight of promulgating the ‘Sindh Peoples Local Government Ordinance (SPLGO) 2012’, which has not been made public so far.

Moreover, Federal Minister Khuda Bux Rajar, the PML-F’s representative in the federal cabinet, also tendered his resignation, which was sent to President Asif Ali Zardari for his approval.

On the other hand, Pir Pagaro, the chief of PML-F and spiritual leader of Hurs, announced not to reverse the decision to quit the PPP government, saying re-joining the ruling coalition was not an option.

The development came despite the fact that Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah on late Friday night contacted the leadership of PML-F, PML-Q and NPP and assured them of removing their reservations on the new local government law in the Sindh Assembly. But according to sources, Pir Pagara ignored the phone call of the chief minister and instructed the ministers and advisers of his party to submit their resignations immediately.

Talking to media after a meeting with ANP Sindh chief Senator Shahi Syed, who met with him at his residence Raja House, Pir Pagara said the decision to quit the PPP government was final, adding that the re-joining the ruling coalition was out of question.

Shahi Syed said he would not meet with the chief minister or his ministers as the PPP’s provincial leadership lacked powers, adding that any meeting with Qaim Ali Shah was wastage of time.

Continue reading Allies shut doors to reconciliation

“First the military used to carry out coups and now the judiciary has overthrown an elected PM” – Hasan Askari

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari hoped on Wednesday to nominate a new prime minister following a night of crisis talks after the Supreme Court disqualified Yousuf Raza Gilani for contempt.

The move could ease uncertainty in a country that is increasingly trying US patience over al Qaeda-linked havens, struggling with a Taliban insurgency and heading deeper towards a financial crisis that could force it back to the IMF.

The court ruling effectively dissolved the cabinet and unless the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and its fractious coalition members agree on a replacement prime minister, could bring elections forward to later this year.

Ahmed Mukhtar, until recently defence minister and now minister for water and power, is thought to be the most likely candidate, favoured for his experience and unflinching loyalty to President Asif Ali Zardari.

Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar, who has made international headlines for her beauty and designer handbags, has been apparently ruled out for inexperience.

“The process of consultation is continuing. The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has made up its mind to elect a new prime minister rather than confront the court and create constitutional deadlock,” a government official told AFP.

Zardari was to present “three or four names” to coalition party leaders late Tuesday to try and find a consensus, said the official.

Aside from Mukhtar, other strong candidates were Makhdoom Shahabuddin, the textiles minister, and Makhdoom Amin Fahim, the commerce minister.

“If all the coalition parties agree on a name, then the PPP is expected to announce the name for new prime minister on Wednesday,” the official said.

The nominee would then need to be approved by parliament, where the PPP-led governing coalition has a majority.

The crisis is the worst in a showdown between the judiciary led by the popular, anti-corruption campaigning chief justice, and the government which waited till March 2009 to restore independent judges sacked under the military.

The Supreme Court convicted Gilani of contempt on April 26 for refusing to ask Switzerland to reopen multi-million-dollar graft cases against Zardari.

Gilani always insisted Zardari had immunity as head of state and that writing to the Swiss would be a violation of Pakistan’s constitution.

The new prime minister will also come under pressure from the court, for which analysts said Zardari was determined to appoint a loyalist and someone from the central province of Punjab to supplement his powerbase in the south.

Members of the government believe the court is trying to bring down Gilani and Zardari before February 2013, when the administration would become the first in Pakistan to complete a full five-year term.

The president, deeply unpopular among ordinary Pakistanis and nicknamed Mr 10 Per cent for alleged corruption, cancelled a visit to Russia to convene emergency talks with legal experts and party bosses to resolve the crisis.

The Supreme Court verdict was followed in hours by an announcement from the election commission that Gilani had been dismissed as an MP.

Senior PPP members also appealed for calm, a sign that the party preferred to elect a new prime minister than contest the court ruling.

Analysts warned it would be impossible to get parliament to overturn the court’s decision without the support of the main opposition PML-N party.

This is a destabilising move. It is a kind of judicial coup. First the military used to carry out coups and now it’s the judiciary which has overthrown a prime minister,” said political analyst Hasan Askari.

Read more » DAWN.COM

More of a political vendetta than a legal crusade – Los Angeles Times

Pakistan highest court ousts Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani

The ruling stems from a conviction involving a graft case against Pakistan’s president. It sets up a clash between President Asif Ali Zardari and the judiciary.

By Alex Rodriguez, Los Angeles Times

ISLAMABAD, PakistanThe Pakistani Supreme Court ousted Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Tuesday, leaving an important U.S. ally without a chief executive and setting up a showdown between the country’s president and judiciary that could lead to political chaos.

The ruling, triggered by Gilani’s contempt conviction in April for failing to revive an old corruption case against Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari, potentially sets up a constitutional clash between the judiciary and parliament, which is controlled by Zardari’s Pakistan People’s Party, or PPP, and a fragile coalition of allied parties.

For now, Zardari’s party appeared to accept that Gilani and his Cabinet are no longer in government.

“Technically, after this Supreme Court decision, Gilani is no longer prime minister,” Qamar Zaman Kaira, a top party leader who up until Tuesday was information minister, said at a news conference. “And if the prime minister isn’t there, then the Cabinet is no longer there.”

Though Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry is revered in Pakistan as a bulwark against corruption, many experts believe his pursuit of the graft case against Zardari may be more of a political vendetta than a legal crusade. ……

Read more »Los Angeles Times

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-pakistan-gilani-20120620,0,2429553.story

No, Prime Minister: Pakistan’s Highest Court Plunges Country into Uncertainty

In a controversial ruling, Pakistan’s Supreme Court axed Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani—a verdict that speaks volumes of the enmities and uncertainties haunting the country

By Omar Waraich

For anyone hoping to see a Pakistani civilian government complete a full five-year term without any interruption, this verdict was sorely disappointing. On Tuesday, Pakistan’s Supreme Court ruled that Yousaf Raza Gilani can no longer continue as Prime Minister, raising tensions between the government and the judiciary to their highest point and leaving the country vulnerable to a new phase of political instability.

In its unusually terse ruling, the Supreme Court instructed President Asif Ali Zardari to arrange a successor for Gilani. While there is little prospect of Zardari’s government falling, his ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has accepted that there is no Prime Minister at the moment, and, therefore, no cabinet. The PPP is currently in crisis talks with its political allies to decide on a new Prime Minister. The challenge for the ruling coalition will be to hold on to its numbers, achieve a consensus on a new premier and survive a vote of confidence expected in the coming days.

Continue reading No, Prime Minister: Pakistan’s Highest Court Plunges Country into Uncertainty

‘Don’t Attack Iran!’ UK braces for nationwide anti-war protest

Protesters march past The Houses of Parliament during a “Stop the War Coalition Protest March” in London, in protest of the Allied countries presence in Iraq

UK activists from Stop the War coalition are to hold a day of action across the country against war with Iran. The demonstrations are planned in 15 major cities including Bath, Birmingham, Bristol, London, Liverpool, Manchester and Newcastle. …

Courtesy: http://www.rt.com/news/iran-uk-war-protest-375/

Bound by hatred of the US, Pakistan extremists and politicians join hands to shake government – Chicago Tribune

By: ASHRAF KHAN

Associated Press – KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — Bound together by hatred of the United States and support for insurgents fighting in Afghanistan, a revived coalition of supposedly banned Islamist extremists and rightwing political parties is drawing large crowds across Pakistan.

The emergence of the “Defend Pakistan Council” movement has raised suspicions that the group has approval from elements in the powerful military and security establishment, aiming to bolster public support for a hardline position. The group’s rise comes as the military is trying to assert its position in renegotiating its troubled relationship with the United States and as Pakistan prepares for elections likely to take place later this year.

Some of the leading lights in the Defend Pakistan Council have traditionally been seen as close to the security establishment, which has a long history of propping up radicals to defend its domestic interests or fight in India and Afghanistan.

On Sunday, the group’s bandwagon rolled into Karachi, the country’s commercial heart.

Between 20,000 and 30,000 men gathered close to a monument to Pakistan’s founder, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, whose vision of a liberal, secular Pakistan is often contrasted to the rise of hardline, often violent groups in the country.

The star of the gathering was Hafiz Saeed, the head of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a front group for Lashkar-e-Taiba, the militant group accused by India and the West of sending Pakistani militants by boat to Mumbai in 2008 where they killed 166 people in attacks on a hotel and other sites.

“We demand Pakistani rulers quit the alliance with America,” said Saeed, who was placed under house arrest after the Mumbai attacks but has slowly re-emerged in public, without a response from authorities. “There can be no compromise on the freedom and sovereignty of the country.”

Members of Dawa patrolled the rally, some armed with automatic weapons, others on horseback.

Also represented on stage and in the crowd were Sipah-e-Sahaba, a feared Sunni extremist group that has carried out scores of attacks on minority Shiites in recent years. Its members have reportedly formed alliances with al-Qaida operatives in Pakistan.

A large banner that hung over the stage read “Wake up, countrymen, break the shackles of American slavery.”

That anti-American message has been amplified by the Pakistani army since U.S. airstrikes along the Afghan border in late November killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. The Pakistani army accused the U.S. of deliberately targeting the outposts, rejecting American assertions it was mistake.

Pakistan retaliated by closing its western border to NATO and U.S military supplies into Afghanistan, a key supply line for the war. Saeed and other speakers threatened civil disobedience if Pakistan reopens it. Their stance could hamper American hopes that Islamabad will quietly reopen the route in the coming weeks.

“We vow that the NATO supply will never be restored,” he said.

The alliance groups many of the same parties and clerics that banded together after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, capitalizing on anti-American sentiment. It formed a political alliance that won 50 seats in elections that took place in 2002.

The current government, which is broadly pro-American and doesn’t espouse political Islam, is under pressure from the courts and opposition parties. Elections are now seen as likely later this year, and the revival of the “Defend Pakistan” group appears to be a push by politicians grouped within it to win votes among the legions of Pakistanis who subscribe to Islamist views.

It could also be attempt by the army to put pressure on the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, which has repeatedly clashed with the generals since taking power in 2008 and has tried to get closer ties with India. The group has organized large rallies in several Pakistan cities; next week it plans a gathering in the capital, Islamabad.

Many of the speakers in Karachi rallied the crowds with warnings that Pakistan was under threat, and Islam its only defense.

Do you swear to fight back with Islamic spirit, honor and dignity if anyone, whether American, NATO, Israel or India attack Pakistan?” asked Maulana Sami-ul-Haq, head of a hardline school that has sent thousands of people to fight in Afghanistan over the last 10 years.

Jihad! Jihad!” the crowd roared.

Speaker after speaker also touted the army line on India, saying the neighboring country represents an existential threat to Pakistan. This stance justifies the security state that has been established since the two nations broke apart from the British-ruled subcontinent in 1947.

Liberals, democrats and peace activists have been trying for years to bring India and Pakistan closer together. But in the past, the army has funded and trained Islamic militant groups and their umbrella organizations to battle Indian forces in Kashmir, the disputed territory at the heart of the rivalry between the two countries.

The security establishment of this country desires that ultra-radical parties should be brought into politics so that their doctrine against India, America or Israel could be infused to the masses,” said Tauseef Ahmed, the head of the Mass Communication department at the Federal Urdu University.

Also at the Karachi rally was Hamid Gul, a former general who headed the country’s spy agency in the late 1980s when Pakistan and the U.S. were supporting militants in their fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan. He has since become a leading voice in the media against America and in support of the Taliban. Documents released by the whistleblower site Wikileaks alleged he retained ties to the insurgency there, a charge he has denied.

Ejaz Haider, a security analyst, said the security establishment should be “checked for serious dementia if it was using the council for its own purposes, given that many of its members have been linked to terrorism that is taking a deadly toll inside Pakistan.

Continue reading Bound by hatred of the US, Pakistan extremists and politicians join hands to shake government – Chicago Tribune

STOP VIOLENCE AGAINST PAKISTAN’S RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES

We urge you to intervene and stop the killing of Pakistan’s religious communities, including Sunni (Barelvi), Shia (including Hazara) and Ahmedi communities that are facing a virtual genocide simply for following their religious beliefs and practices.

You are no doubt familiar with Quaid-e-Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s speech to the Constituent Assembly on Aug 11, 1947, in which he said: “You are free; you are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this State of Pakistan. You may belong to any religion, caste or creed –that has nothing to do with the business of the State.”

The recent attacks on the 12 Rabiul Awal processions in various cities around Pakistan (including Gujranwala, Mansehra, Gojar Khan, Mirpur, Khairpur, Mustang and Karachi) are evidence of the menace of bigotry and intolerance. The government must act with all of its might to put a stop to this. It needs to be done NOW.

The evil lurks in the belly of the so-called Diffa-e-Pakistan Council, a coalition comprising several ‘religious parties’ including some banned organsiations whose views dont resonate with the majority but are able to use their armed status and street power to attack others with impunity. The activities of this coalition need to be curtailed before it becomes the Destroy Pakistan Council. ….

Read more » CHANGE

Pro-democracy protest: Protestors threaten civilian unrest if govt toppled

LAHORE: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Civil Society Network and Center for Peace protested against the judiciary and army on Thursday, warning the two institutions of civilian unrest if they tried to topple the PPP led coalition government.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Abdullah Malik, advisor to the Punjab governor, said that “The participants sensing the current democratic to be in danger have decided to come out on the roads to show their solidarity with the democracy.”

He added that only people had the right to change the government through their vote in a democracy and not the judge or the generals.

PPP members along with prominent representatives of civil society demonstrated in favour of the current democratic government at the Liberty roundabout.

Participants warned the judiciary and army that if it tried to topple the PPP led coalition government by using the Memogate affair as an excuse, then the civil society will protest on the streets.

Civil Society Network and Center for Peace members, including IA Rehman, Hussain Naqi, Shah Taj Qizilbash, Abdullah Malik along with South Asia Free Media Association’s (SAFMA) Anjum Rashid, Imtiazul Haq, Shoaib Adil and Amina Malik participated in the demonstration.

Other PPP members at the protest included Deputy Parliamentary Leader in the Punjab Assembly, Azma Bukhari and Altaf Qureshi. …

Read more » The Express Tribune

Criticized at home, Pakistan army defends its lack of air response during deadly NATO attack

By Associated Press

ISLAMABAD — Confusion and a communication breakdown prevented Pakistan’s airforce from scrambling to defend troops on the ground during the deadly NATO bombing last weekend of two border outposts, the military said Friday, responding to rare domestic criticism of the powerful institution.

The attack killed 24 Pakistani troops and pushed already strained ties between Washington and Islamabad over the future of Afghanistan close to rupture. Islamabad has closed its eastern border to NATO supplies traveling into landlocked Afghanistan and said it is reviewing its cooperation with Washington.

Thousands of Islamist extremists took to the streets across the country after Friday prayers, some shouting they would join the army in a battle with the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan. The chants were a worrying sign for the West, reflecting how the anger over the incident is uniting hard-liners and the military.

Others rallied against the country’s already weak government for its alliance with Washington.

The Pakistani military, which eats up most of the country’s budget and is accountable to no one, has said Saturday’s border attack was an “act of deliberate aggression” that went on for close two hours. It has also said that Pakistani commanders contacted and pleaded with coalition commanders to stop firing.

NATO and U.S. officials have disputed that account, which has triggered uncomfortable questions in this South Asian country over why Pakistan’s own fighter jets and helicopters stationed close to the border did not take off to defend the ground troops during the attack.

The military has said troops did fire back at the NATO choppers when they attacked.

A Pakistani military statement on Friday said the response could have been more “effective” if the airforce had been called in, but this was not possible because of a “breakdown of communication” and confusion at “various levels” within the organization. …

Read more » The Washington Post

Source – http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia-pacific/criticized-at-home-pakistan-army-defends-its-lack-of-air-response-during-deadly-nato-attack/2011/12/02/gIQAkQaYJO_story.html

via » Siasat.pk

The Generals Have No Clothes

Islamabad’s generals have been sponsoring the deaths of Americans for years, and yet Obama does nothing. Why?

BY KAPIL KOMIREDDI

Pakistan is indignant about the killing of 25 of its troops in a NATO air raid on Saturday. The circumstances that led to the assault are still unknown, but Washington and Europe have expressed contrition and promised an investigation. Pakistan has every reason to feel angry. But after a suitable period of mourning, shouldn’t the United States, in the interests of fairness if nothing else, ask the Pakistani army if it plans ever to apologize for — or, at bare minimum, acknowledge — its role in the deaths of hundreds of coalition forces and many more Afghan civilians?

At the start of the 21st century, the United States offered Pakistan a very straightforward ultimatum: Join us in the war against terrorism inaugurated by al Qaeda’s attacks on 9/11 — or find yourself bombed to the Stone Age. In the decade since, Pakistan has arguably been responsible for more American deaths than any other state on earth. Yet Pakistan has not only evaded prosecution for its crimes. In a staggering turn of events, its army has found its program of sponsoring the slaughter of American troops in Afghanistan by the Taliban and al Qaeda amply subsidized by Washington. ….

Read more » Foreign Policy

I will go down like Allende, not Nawaz Sharif – President Zardari

President Asif Zardari

By Tarek Fatah

Few leaders have emulated Julius Nyerere of Tanzania, who in 1985 relinquished all of his powers and voluntarily stepped down as president of the country. At a time when African dictators, Arab Kings and Latin American generalissimos adorned themselves in bizarre military uniforms, medieval costumes and got appointed ‘life presidents’, Nyerere, known to his people simply as Mwalimu or “teacher”, quietly passed on the torch. Other Afro-Asian leaders have done the exact opposite. Notably, Mugabe, Qaddafi and the King of Saudi Arabia it seems will only leave office when the angel of death descends.

From Canada, it seems impossible to imagine that anyone at the top would ever dare to relinquish power. Whether it is the Saudi kings or Mugabe or Qaddafi, it seems in the third world, only divine intervention brings about change.

However, a quarter century later, on Monday, April 19, an echo of Nyerere’s rare statesmanship was heard and witnessed on another continent. With a simple signature, President Asif Zardari of Pakistan signed away most of his executive powers he had inherited from military predecessors to become the country’s ceremonial head of state. For 40 years military dictators who had overthrown elected governments had ruled unconstitutionally with a complicit judiciary that had legitimised their acts of treason. Zardari’s action nullified decades of damage to give Pakistan the chance for a fresh start.

In the words of columnist Raza Rumi, Pakistan “crossed a major milestone” when all of the country’s political parties — the ruling alliance and the opposition — reached a consensus on the 18th Amendment to the country’s constitution. He wrote, “The distortions inserted by the military rule have been done away with. Political elites this time, however, have gone a step further and improved the state of provincial autonomy. Perhaps this is where a civilian negotiation and democratic politics of compromise has been most effective. Who would have thought a few years ago that this was achievable? There were many sceptics who thought that the amendments might not be approved. However, the ‘corrupt’ and ‘incompetent’ politicians have proved everyone wrong.”

Few years ago when Zardari was unanimously elected president by the country’s National Assembly, Senate and all members of the four provincial legislatures, he had promised that he would work to amend the country’s constitution so that no future president was able to dismiss an elected parliament or usurp power. At the time few people believed he would do what he was promising. After all, who in his right mind gives up power, willingly?

Zardari has proven all his critics wrong and in doing so has changed the course of Pakistan’s history. The man lampooned unfairly by the country’s powerful establishment — the media, the generals and the judges — as “Mr Ten Percent” has in fact given “One-Hundred-and-Ten Percent” back to the country. While the nation celebrates, still in disbelief that anyone at the top was willing to curtail their own powers, his critics in the armed forces and the judiciary are foaming with anger, unable to stop him from enshrining democracy as an immutable reality in Pakistan.

The country’s Punjab-dominated judges and generals, though smarting from this setback, still wield the power to undo this historic development. In fact, as he signed the document, President Zardari did not shy away from suggesting there may still be some generals lurking in the shadows who may stage a military coup with the backing of the judiciary.

After the signing ceremony Zardari took everyone by surprise when he said while the doors stood closed to dictators, “mishaps” could not be ruled out. Asked about the possibility of another dictatorship, he said, “I am fully confident that no dictator would dare step in now, but then, who can rule out mishaps?”

Ever the realist, the man who has witnessed the murder of his wife, the former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, the judicial assassination of his father-in-law, Prime Minister ZA Bhutto and two of his wife’s brothers, Zardari has seen death at close quarters and I am told he has warned the military as well the judiciary that any attempt to stage a military coup will have to contend with his dead body. “I will go down like Allende, not Nawaz Sharif,” he told a common friend and those who know him since his days at a military cadet college say the man keeps his word.

Continue reading I will go down like Allende, not Nawaz Sharif – President Zardari

PPP govt. is doing nothing for recovery of 48 kidnapped Hindus and many murdered for ransom.

KARACHI, SINDH – The Pakistan Coalition for Religious Minorities (PCRM) will launch a protest campaign against Sindh Minority Affairs Minister Dr Mohan Lal Kohistani for “not taking any interest in the increasing kidnapping of Hindus throughout the province”.

The PCRM – a newly established representative body of Pakistani Hindus, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Ahmedis and other religious minorities of the country – termed these incidents as a conspiracy against religious minorities and expressed disappointment over the ministry’s silence even after 48 cases of kidnapping for ransom, murders, forced conversion in the last six months alone.

Continue reading PPP govt. is doing nothing for recovery of 48 kidnapped Hindus and many murdered for ransom.

JI “BLAMES” MQM for TERRORISM

KCCC’s alleged involvement in killings: Jamaat calls for judicial inquiry

LAHORE, Aug 10: Jamaat-i-Islami chief Syed Munawar Hasan has expressed concern over the reported involvement of the Karachi Command and Control Centre (KCCC) in terrorist activities and called for a judicial inquiry into the matter.

In a statement issued on Wednesday, he alleged that custodians of peace and civil liberties had turned into murderers.

Quoting reports published in a section of the print media, the JI chief said the criminals involved in target killings and terrorist activities were allegedly getting assistance from the Command and Control Centre.

The reports said that activities of police, Rangers and other law-enforcement agencies were being watched through secret cameras and targets identified.

Mr Hasan said the KCCC had been set up during the tenure of Karachi Nazim Mustafa Kamal and thousands of workers of a particular party had been recruited to it.

He said it was a tragedy and a matter of concern that the rulers were themselves protecting the killers of innocent citizens only to stay in power and the assassins were not being arrested despite having been identified. Mr Hasan alleged that certain parties in the ruling coalition were involved in the bloodshed and target killings, adding that some ministers and senators were on payroll of foreign agencies.

Courtesy: → DAWN.COM

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JI chief condemns MQM’s terrorism

LAHORE, July 6: The Jamaat e Islami chief, Syed Munawar Hasan, has said that the writ of the government in Karachi has been eroded because of the MQM’s terrorism. He was talking to the family members of JI member ( Rukn) Mubinul Haq, who lost his life at the hands of the MQM terrorists in Faisalabad colony, Karachi.

Syed Munawar Hasan said that the MQM’s inclusion in the government had emboldened the terrorists who were moving about freely and the law and order in the port city had been shattered. The residents of the mega city had become hostages in the hands of a few terrorists, he added.

Read more → http://www.smunawar.com/2010/07/ji-chief-condemns-mqms-terrorism.html

via → Chagataikhan

PEACE VIGIL Against Terrorism and For Productive Talks By the People of India and Pakistan

Movement for Tolerance of Pakistan & India Peace Coalition announced a Peace Vigil on July 27, 6:30 pm at Hyderabad Press Club organized. The vigils are being held in the various cities of Pakistan and India on the occasion of India-Pakistan foreign ministers meeting.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, July 26, 2011.

MQM Will Soon Rejoin the PPP led Coalition Government

PPP, MQM talks in final stages: Govt sources

ISLAMABAD: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) will soon rejoin the PPP led coalition government, Geo News reported.

The channel quoted government sources claiming that telephonic talks between President Asif Ali Zardari and MQM chief Altaf Hussain Thursday night were the turning point between the two parties.

In the first stage Ishratul Ebad Khan will reassume his office of Sindh Governor, the sources said and added that talks between PPP and MQM were in final stages.

MQM had parted its ways with the PPP government, both at provincial and federal level in protest against the postponement of polls on two Karachi constituencies of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly. …

Read more → THE NEWS

Govt Prepares For Post-MQM Scenario

Govt Prepares For Post-MQM Scenario: Suddle, Mirza May Get Top Slots

By Aijaz Ahmed

It is believed that the central government has prepared ‘Plan B’ to deal with any eventuality in case MQM finally refuses to rejoin the coalition and creates any law and order situation. The sources say that the government may resort to strong action, which may be contrary to the so far soft image of President Asif Zardari as the PPP may be losing patience with the ‘my way or highway’ attitude of the relatively immature ex-coalition party.

Teasers are already being sent to MQM, but at the same time, efforts to bring the ex-coalition partner back to the government’s fold are also underway, sources reveal. ‘Indeed Plan ‘A’ is to bring MQM back in the government’, sources told IH. Ch. Shujaat Hussain, Rehman Malik, and some common friends from UK are assigned the task.

The first priority to bring MQM back in the fold is mainly for two reasons, say insiders in the power corridors. The first reason is very obvious that government wants to avoid any confrontation and thus did not want to create an image that the leading party in the ruling coalition does not have ability to resolve the differences and thus unable to maintain relations with coalition partners.

Second reason is more interesting and strong according to the sources: the leadership of the ruling coalition according to the sources was astonished at the way the PML-N and MQM came closer, and the reaction of Imran Khan and other opposition forces. The inclusion of MQM in the opposition with PML-N and other parties may result in creation of stronger and vibrant opposition.

Grand opposition of PML-N, JUI-F, Jamaat i Islami, PTI, the Sindhi Nationalists and MQM embedded with a section of intelligence agencies can pose threats to the very survival of the elected government and also can assert more pressure on the President. The government – judiciary relations strengthen the view that all may not be well for PPP, Mr. Zardari and his allies if the grand opposition is allowed to come into existence, sources maintain.

There are also clear indications that a section of the intelligence agencies influenced by Hameed Gul mindset is providing some backing to Imran Khan and partly to PML-N as well, and this may lead towards disastrous end to the present set up.

MQM may be offered the seat of deputy speaker in the AJK Assembly along with a slot of advisor in AJK government. These offers will be apart from some concessions the party may be offered in Sindh once again. The MQM, according to the sources, intends to get some of its workers released, closure of few investigations and withdrawal of PPP’s stand on Municipal system in Karachi. The PPP wants to return to the previous system and remove existing 18 towns and restore commissionerate system in Karachi, Hyderabad and rest of Sindh, sources maintain.

Although the hopes of MQM’s return in the government’s folds are very slim as according to the assessment of PPP hawks, Altaf Hussain and his party intends to make political inroads in Punjab, Pakhtoonkhwa and Kashmir and to get better results it has to be out of the government, adopt ‘Majha’ (macho) style of politics in Punjab and adopt harsh tone against policies disliked by the people.

Thus the PPP and PML-Q are chalking out the plan B. Functional League, The National peoples Party and few leaders of ‘Hamkhyal’ (like-minded) League are being approached and some new faces from all these forces may be included in the Sindh Cabinet if Ch Shujaat and Rehman Malik failed to get favorable results. However it may take more than 6 weeks.

The most important part of the Plan will be the top slots in Sindh. The name of Zulfikar Mirza is being mentioned for the position of CM and everybody is talking about his new role in Karachi and Islamabad.

However the name of the new Governor of Sindh could be a surprise. Although Faisal Raza Abidi is being tipped as new Governor of Sindh for very obvious reasons, in the final count down he may not be the ultimate choice. Although he has abilities to give tough time to his arch rivals in Karachi and MQM, the man who can win the confidence of both the President and the Military Establishment, which is a settled norm when a governor is appointed, former police official Mr. Shoaib Suddle may be the elevated to the job. Mr. Suddle has a background of a successful action against terrorists in Karachi, majority of them was believed to be associated with MQM. He is also known to be honest and impartial but believed to have some grudges against MQM. He is also supposed to be close to the president.

Former IB Chief Mr. Masood Sharif could have been a natural choice for the post but he developed some differences with the president because of Rehman Malik sources said adding that Appointment of Mr. Wajid Durrani as IG Sindh Police is a clear indication in this regard. The Police and Rangers have been asked to mark people from MQM who according to the reports could make trouble in Karachi, but this time a direct action will be avoided only targeted action will be taken and only against all trouble making elements, but elements believed to have MQM connections will be on top of the list for which preparations are being made.

The party sources also maintain that the leadership wants a strong man in the Governor House Karachi having different background from CM Sindh, most probably from the Urdu speaking community, as has been the norm. Any other name may also come up in the race, but Mr. Saddle is the strongest contender for the slot at the moment, sources believe.

Courtesy: → Indus Herald

Imran hints ‘conditional coalition’ with MQM

KARACHI: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) or Pakistan Movement for Justice’s Chief Imran Khan on Thursday said that ‘conditional coalition’ with Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) is not completely ‘out of question,’ DawnNews reported. …

Read more: → DAWN.COM

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Click here → Do you want to know the background of Imran Khan: Do you want to know whose “peshkash” he is? Read a column in urdu language by renowned journalist Nusrat Javed & get the answer.

Let us call a spade a spade by Special Correspondent

Though there was nothing against him in the Hamoodur Rehman Commission Report, Mr Bhutto preferred to keep it firmly under lock and key. Reason: He did not want the report, a comprehensive and devastating indictment of the Pakistan’s armed forces, to come in the way of his grandiose plans to rehabilitate and revive on a grander scale the demoralised and defeated institution. But then, in a matter of five years, he was made to pay with his life for setting up the commission of enquiry.

Next, when Mohammad Khan Junejo set up a commission to enquire into the Ojhri camp scandal, it did not take long for General Ziaul Haq, the then army chief and country’s all-powerful president, to send him home most unceremoniously.

And when, after the Kargil debacle, the talk of subjecting General Musharraf to a court martial started making the rounds in the corridors of power, Musharraf hit back by ousting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a manner most unbecoming of a soldier.

So, perhaps the present coalition government has advisedly agreed to let the Army conduct its own investigation into the failure of the ISI to track down Osama bin Laden and the violation, for more than an hour, of our air space by US helicopters on May 1-2.  One does not know if this seemingly astute approach of the elected government would in the final analysis save it from meeting the fate of its predecessors who acted otherwise.  And what was Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Kayani trying to achieve by going on a lecture tour of three garrisons on the same day the prime minister was making a supposed policy speech in the NA? Was he trying to upstage the PM? Was he trying to tell the nation that his institution is a separate entity from the govt? Why did he do it when the need of the hour is to speak with one voice? He should have been there in the parliament galleries listening to the PM’s speech (most probably the handiwork of an ISPR copy writer rather than that of a political speech writer) to convey the impression that everyone in the country is on the same page.

But then, strangely enough, while the chief seemingly tried to distance himself from the government, he sought the help of parliament – help to save the institution from the wrath of the people at large who, no matter what spin one gave to the May 1-2 incidents, have been persuaded by the media that Osama was living untraced right under the nose of our security agencies and that US helicopters violated our airspace undetected and unchallenged. …

Read more : Wichaar

The Haqqani Network in Kurram

By Reza Jan, Jeffrey Dressler

This paper details the expansion of the Haqqani Network in Pakistan’s tribal areas through peace accords signed between rival Sunni and Shia factions in Kurram Agency, Pakistan. The peace accords brought nearly four years of continuous fighting to an end. Despite the appearance of legitimacy, the peace accords were manipulated by the Afghanistan-focused Haqqani Network to serve its own ends. In exchange for brokering the peace between Sunnis and Shias, the Haqqanis allegedly received the authority to operate through Shia-controlled terrain in central and upper Kurram which will aid their ongoing insurgency against Afghan and coalition forces throughout eastern Afghanistan. The Haqqanis have also demonstrated their growing power and influence in the Pakistani tribal region in areas beyond their historical stronghold of neighboring North Waziristan Agency.

The Haqqani Network is Afghanistan’s most capable and sophisticated insurgent network. The Haqqanis enjoy sanctuary in the tribal areas in Pakistan along the border with Afghanistan. With the backing of elements within the Pakistan security establishment, the Haqqanis have used their sanctuary in the North Waziristan Agency of Pakistan to operate across the border in southeastern Afghanistan.

In response to increased coalition activity against the Haqqani Network in both Pakistan (via drones) and Afghanistan (via Special Operations Forces), the Haqqanis have increasingly sought new Pakistani sanctuary and additional infiltration routes in order to continue to battle coalition forces for control of southeastern Afghanistan. The Haqqani Network has increasingly turned their attention to Kurram Agency over the past several years as a potential sanctuary for the Haqqanis and affiliated terrorist organizations.

Kurram is a region of special strategic importance to Afghanistan-focused insurgents. It served as a base to the Afghan Mujahideen during the war against the Soviet Union in the 1980s. Kurram remains coveted terrain today as it facilitates convenient access to several Afghan provinces and is also the shortest route to Kabul from anywhere in Pakistan. …

Read more :  criticalthreats.org
http://www.criticalthreats.org/pakistan/reza-jan-jeffrey-dressler-haqqani-network-in-kurram-may-9-2011

Britain: Royal wedding exposes deep class divisions

by Alan Woods

On Friday 29 April the people of Britain will be invited to participate in the joyful celebration of the marriage of Mr. William Windsor and Ms. Katherine Middleton. At the same time that the government is cutting billions from unnecessary extravagances such as hospitals, schools, teachers, nurses, the old and the sick, the unemployed and single parents, the Coalition has had the good sense to spend a lot of money on something as essential to the Public Good as the nuptials of Willy and Kate.

One can see many advantages in this. At a time of falling living standards for everyone who is not either a member of the royal family or a banker, it can take the minds of the British public off unpleasant thoughts of unpaid debts and unemployment. It might even make them forget the recent mass demonstration that brought half a million of them onto the streets of London to protest the vicious cuts being implemented by the ruling Conservative-Lib-Dem Coalition. …

Read more : Marxist.com

Obama Gives Gadhafi the Ultimatum

Obama Gives Gadhafi the Ultimatum: Stop Violence or Face International Military Action

U.S. President Stressed that Europe, Arab States Would Lead Military Action Against Libya, if Needed

By JAKE TAPPER, HUMA KHAN and MARTHA RADDATZ

President Obama today gave an ultimatum to Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi that he must immediately implement a ceasefire in all parts of Libya and allow international humanitarian assistance or risk military action against his regime.

“Moammar Gadhafi has a choice. The [U.N.] resolution that passed lays out very clear conditions that must be met. The United States, the United Kingdom, France and Arab states agree that a ceasefire must be implemented immediately. That means all attacks against civilians must stop,” the president said today. “Humanitarian assistance must be allowed to reach the people of Libya.”

“These terms are not subject to negotiation,” he added. “If Gadhafi does not comply with the resolution, the international community will impose consequences and the resolution will be enforced through military action.”

Obama’s speech indicated that coalition forces are giving Gadhafi time to change course, but are also gearing up for an attack if their demands are not met. …

Read more : ABC News

Injustices in Pakistan: Discrepancies in Federal Employment Including Appointments in Presidency & PM House

By: Aziz Narejo

It is a general feeling in Sindh that the province has suffered injustices in almost every field since the inception of Pakistan – from the days of the first Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan to the present PPP led coalition government. Some governments have been outright hostile and hateful to Sindhis while others have not been able to help mitigate injustices due to several reasons. …

Read more : Indus Herald

Rally for freedom and democracy in Egypt

Mubarak, you’re fired!’ Toronto rally Saturday

By Krystalline Kraus

Rally for freedom and democracy in Egypt, Saturday, February 5, Assemble at 1 p.m., Queen’s Park (south side), TTC: Queen’s Park, Nearest intersection: University Avenue and College Street, March begins at 2 p.m. Please dress warmly.

Event on Facebook: http://on.fb.me/FreeEgypt

Just weeks after a revolution in Tunisia toppled its decades-old dictatorship, a similar movement in Egypt is poised to overthrow the 30-year-old regime of Hosni Mubarak. Please join us for a city-wide, family-friendly rally and march in downtown Toronto in support of the Egyptian people’s struggle for freedom and democracy, and to support all freedom struggles across the region. Please bring your placards, banners, and noise-makers.

Organized by – Canadian Coptic Association, Egyptian National Association for Change, Toronto Egypt Solidarity Campaign, Canadian Arab Federation, Canadian Peace Alliance, Toronto Coalition to Stop the War

WE NEED VOLUNTEERS!

Join our next volunteers’ meeting: Friday, February 4, 2011, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre, 427 Bloor Street West, Room number to be posted, TTC: Spadina

Help us assemble placards and paint banners (all materials provided) and find out how you can help during the rally and march. Please RSVP to info@nowar.ca.

Read more : Rebble.Ca

Professional Beggars at their best … but .. Beggars are not choosers!

Vice President Joe Biden is the latest high level U.S dignitary to visit Pakistan. As the series of such high profile visits continues, one wonders what actually transpires in such meetings and what kind of assurances are given from both sides to each other. In this episode of Reporter, Arshad Sharif tries to find out what PM Gilani meant when he said that he has given assurances to Joe Biden that practical steps will be taken to resolve all the difficult problems.

Courtesy: Dawn News (program Reporter with Arshad Sharif)

Source- You Tube Link

Drawing all the wrong lessons

JOE BIDEN, America’s vice-president, will pay a visit to Pakistan this week, a Pakistan once again in the grip of crisis. The government and the country itself have been in a shocking state of retreat since the assassination on January 4th of Salman Taseer, a brave and progressive voice from the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), which leads the governing coalition. …

Read more : The Economist

Pakistan’s Road to Disintegration?

Interviewee:
Stephen P. Cohen, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
Interviewer:
Bernard Gwertzman, Consulting Editor

In the first few days of this year, Pakistan’s coalition government was thrust into crisis after losing a coalition partner, and then a top politician–Punjab Governor Salman Taseer–was assassinated. A leading expert on the country, Stephen P. Cohen, says these incidents are symptoms of the profound problems tugging the country apart. “The fundamentals of the state are either failing or questionable, and this applies to both the idea of Pakistan, the ideology of the state, the purpose of the state, and also to the coherence of the state itself,” Cohen says. “I wouldn’t predict a comprehensive failure soon, but clearly that’s the direction in which Pakistan is moving.” On a recent trip, he was struck by the growing sense of insecurity in Pakistan, even within the military, and the growing importance of China. …
Read more : COUNCIL on FOREIGN RELATIONS

Pakistan at knife’s edge

Karachi – Pakistan Peace Coalition (PPC) is organizing the launching ceremony of the book “Pakistan at knife’s edge” by late M. B. Naqvi at Pakistan Institute of International Affairs (PIIA), Aewan-e-Sadr Road, Karachi on January 9, 2011 at 3.00 pm. Former diplomat, Former Union State Minister for External Affairs, Ex-Member of Indian Lok Sabha (lower house) and central leader of member of the Indian National Congress party Mani Shankar Aiyar will the chief guest on the occasion.

MQM: Losing the plot?

by Nadeem F. Paracha

So, the MQM has finally decided to quit the PPP-led coalition government at the centre. I am not sure what the fallout of this event would be like by the time this article is published, so I would not dare slip into an analysis mode here. Instead, I want to ask a few very simple questions. …

Read more : DAWN

BELGIUM and THE QUESTION OF IDENTITY

By: Abdul Khalique Junejo.

Holding of general elections and subsequent formation of government, some times coalitions, is just a routine matter and a normal course of life in the countries of Western Europe. But not so in the case of Belgium, the country considered and called to be the ‘Capital of Europe’ since it provides headquarters for European Union and the NATO. The recently held general elections in this tiny country of about 10 millions people made bigger and eye-catching head-lines in the world media; not for any ‘Landside Victory’ but because of a split mandate, a mandate that threatens to split the country. For example the news paper carried the headlines; “Separatists claim victory in Belgian election”. These developments have generated extraordinary interest in this part of the world as many regions /peoples here are encountering the problems of similar nature.

Belgium, being situated between France and Holland, is a bi-lingual country comprising the French-speaking Wallonia people and Flemish-speaking Flanders. For many years the emphasis on the linguistic identity has been on the rise and recently quite vociferous voices have been heard for the dissolution of Belgium and creation of a separate country for the Flemish-speaking people of Dutch origin. New Flemish Alliance, the party advocating for separate country, has emerged as the largest party, not only among the Flanders but in the country as a whole. This has given an exceeding impetus to the demands for the parting of ways between the Flanders and the Wallonia.

Pakistan was created by conjoining of different peoples with their own distinct identity based on history, language and culture. After creation of the new country, these peoples (Bengalis, Sindhis, Balochs etc) started demanding recognition of their identity and asking for the promotion of their culture and language. In response the state-organs used the force of gun and the state-intellectuals used the force of pen to suppress such demands and, instead, promote and impose ‘single identity, single language and single culture’. This ‘strategy’ created strong reaction which manifested itself in the shape of mass movements for the ‘restoration’ of different identities.

One of these movements, Bengali, culminated in the ‘split’ of Pakistan and creation of a new country. Bangladesh while Sindhi and Baloch movements are getting fiercer by the time.

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