Tag Archives: complicity

Pakistan’s army should go back to the barracks

By Najam Sethi

The Pakistan army’s vaulting mission to remain the most powerful actor in Pakistani politics has received irreparable setbacks in the last few years.

On the one hand, this is due to the onset of several new factors in the body politic determining the direction of political change in the future.

On the other, it reflects poorly on the ability and willingness of the army’s leadership to understand the far-reaching nature of this change and adapt to it seamlessly.

Pakistan’s future as a viable nation-state now depends on how the generals read the writing on the wall and quickly come to terms with it. Here is a checklist of recent failures that have downgraded the Pak army’s rating with Pakistanis.

(1) The army’s policy of nurturing anti- Americanism in Pakistan for leveraging its strategic relationship with the US has backfired and left it stranded in no-man’s land. It can’t let go of the US privately for purposes of economic rent and military aid extraction but it can’t embrace it publicly because of the rampant ‘Ghairat’ brigade of extremist Islamic nationalists that it has brainwashed.

(2) The army’s policy of nurturing the Afghan Taliban in private while appeasing the Pakistan Taliban in public has also backfired.

The Afghan Taliban are now negotiating directly with America while the Pakistan Taliban are waging an ‘existential’ war against the Pak army and civil society. PAK army’s relationship with the government, opposition, and media is at an all-time low.

The government has meekly folded before the army on every issue; but the army’s arrogant, intrusive and relentlessly anti government propaganda and behaviour is deeply resented.

The media is also wiser and critical about its manipulation by the army and ISI viz its Drone policy, the Raymond Davis affair and Memogate.

Question marks remain over its incompetence or complicity in the OBL affair, especially following recent revelations by former DG-ISI Ziauddin Butt that General Pervez Musharraf ‘hid’ Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad.

The murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad, followed by running threats to a clutch of independent journalists, is laid at the ISI’s door.

The ease with which terrorists have breached military security, as in the attacks on GHQ, ISI offices, military Messes, Mehran Naval Base, etc also rankle deeply.

Finally, the media is now speaking up and asking disturbing questions about the role of MI in the disappearances and torture of Baloch activists. Consequently, the media is loath to blindly follow the army’s ‘line’ on any issue any more. The PMLN, meanwhile, has gone the whole hog, openly demanding that the intrusion of the military in politics must be curtailed and the army’s overweening power cut to size.

If its ratings are falling, the army’s ability to manipulate politics to its ends is also diminishing. In the old days, the army chief was the most powerful member of the ruling troika that included the president and prime minister. Now the office of the president has lost its clout and there are two new and powerful contenders for say.

The first is the judiciary under Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudry that has unprecedentedly pushed politicians into a corner for corrupt practices and the military on the defensive for being unaccountable (the Mehrangate affair of 1990, disappearances and murder of Baloch and Taliban extremists in captivity).

The second is the electronic media that is reaching tens of millions of Pakistanis and courageously raising their consciousness. Neither will countenance any direct or indirect military intervention in politics. Recently, in a bid to salvage some wounded pride, the army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, said that defense expenditure is a mere 18 per cent of the budget and not over 50 per cent as alleged by critics like Maulana Fazlur Rahman. But the truth is that defense expenditure is about 25 per cent of the budget after hidden ‘defense’ items in government expenditures like the military’s salaries and pensions, special project allocations, etc are unveiled and supplementary grants in any budgetary year are accounted for.

More to the point, it is about 50 per cent of all tax revenues in any year, which puts a big burden on the fiscal deficit. Gen Kayani also insists that the army is not involved in quelling unrest in Balochistan. But the fact remains that the Rangers and Frontier Corps who are in charge of ‘law and order’ in the province are directly commanded by army officers who report to GHQ even though they are formally under the interior ministry.

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A new low for Pakistan

EDITORIAL: New low

One might have thought a new low for Pakistan’s reputation would have been a little difficult to achieve given the attention it gets on a daily basis for ‘strategic depth’-led support for criminal and extremist elements within and without the country, corruption, misgovernance, poverty, honour killings, state terrorism in Balochistan, energy and floods crises and what have you. However, never say never — the seemingly impossible has happened. With Afghan President Hamid Karzai accusing Pakistan’s Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), as well as the subsequent claims of responsibility by the LeJ of having carried out the massacre of over 55 Shias in Afghanistan on the 10th of Moharram, one of their holiest days, Pakistan does seem to have landed itself in very hot water.

It may be argued that the LeJ being a ‘non state actor’, flak for Pakistan is unjustified. However, it is also a known fact that the LeJ not only came into being with active support of the state years ago, but that it has enjoyed establishment patronage for creating sectarian strife in the country for decades. The flak, therefore, may not be as unjustified as it may appear superficially. With the level of impunity this virulently extremist and violent group, among others, operates at and wreaks havoc in Pakistan, complicity on the part of the state becomes implicit. This is not to insinuate that the group had the establishment’s blessings in this particular attack. That cannot be known easily. However, even if this particular act of barbarity was not supported or instigated by its backers, there is the concept of the Frankenstein’s monster. Simply by dint of the fact that the military/intelligence establishment has pursued an unrelenting policy of creating and utilising violent, criminal and extremist elements as a matter of strategy for domestic as well as foreign policy, Pakistan cannot profess innocence now that the chickens have come home to roost.

The LeJ is known to have developed links with the Taliban and al-Qaeda in recent years. And whilst it may have been involved in the senseless violence perpetrated by the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan previously, the Ashore attacks in Afghanistan were the first known incidents of sectarian violence in the country by a foreign group. The fact that the LeJ itself has claimed responsibility for the atrocity means that a well-known Pakistani outfit has for the first time been identified as resurrecting and stoking sectarian conflict on Afghan soil. This potentially adds a whole new dimension to the Afghan problem and Pakistan’s involvement in it. Now put this development in the context of the ever-deteriorating AfPak disaster, and you find yourself staring into an abyss. OBL and Shalala hardly make up a mitigating background, with a dangerously antagonistic relationship having developed between a client and a superpower. On the one hand it has seen a CIA chief’s name publicly disclosed in Pakistan, CIA operatives being literally kicked out of the country after the Raymond Davis affair, a denial of logistical support and use of Shamsi airbase to NATO and the Bonn boycott in the wake of Shalala. On the other, is the patience with Pakistan’s double game that has all but run out on the part of the west, on account of its mule-headed pursuit of strategic depth that is eating up not only Pakistan itself, but engulfing the entire region in an inferno.

Intransigence over abandoning and tackling the various strains of terrorism emanating from Pakistan are bound to cost it dearly. The country has already been publicly censured and condemned. Without meaningful and sincere efforts towards a change of trajectory, Pakistan may be set to face the music like never before. The country has withstood isolation and sanctions before — but the present state of its economy, governance, security situation and social unraveling may not be able to withstand the world’s fury this time round.

Courtesy » Daily Times

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\129\story_9-12-2011_pg3_1

Pakistan: The Power of Intelligence Agencies

by Hassan N. Gardezi

Excerpt;

Preamble – The discovery of Osama bin Laden in Abbotabad and his killing by US commandos has raised serious concerns about the performance of Pakistan’s intelligence agencies. The country’s interior minister Rehman Malik, besieged by allegations of incompetence and complicity went on the defensive, pleading that his government was not aware of Osama’s whereabouts until the US attack on his fortified mansion on May 2. He insisted that it was just a case of accidental failure of Pakistani intelligence agencies, similar to the failure of the US intelligence to detect the perpetrators of 9/11 as they planed their attacks within America.

While giving a briefing on the Abbotabad incident to the in-camera session of both houses of parliament on May13, Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, chief of the Inter-services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), also reportedly admitted the “failure” of his agency, offering to resign from his post while adding that it was “not intentional” failure. ….

…. It will be naive to conclude that these happenings in Pakistan are accidents of history or failures of the country’s ruling elite who do not know what they are doing. These incidents and other events which have brought Pakistan to where it stands today are part of the logical unfolding of the paradigm of governance adopted consciously and purposefully by successive governments of Pakistan since the inception of the state in 1947. More on this later, but what is pertinent to note here is that the core of this ruling paradigm is the political use of Islam, the essence of the Islamist enterprise. In this respect the present governing establishment is in competition with the militant Islamists, not in conflict.

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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

Pakistan after bin Laden

Humiliation of the military men

Civilian leaders and the United States put pressure on the beleaguered generals

AMERICA’S killing of Osama bin Laden on May 2nd brought with it a rare chance to ease the Pakistani army’s unhealthy grip on the country’s domestic and foreign affairs. The generals have floundered since the raid in Abbottabad, unsettled by accusations of complicity with bin Laden or, if not, then incompetence. It has not helped that video clips show bin Laden apparently active as al-Qaeda’s leader in his last years.

Pakistanis cannot agree what is more shocking, that bin Laden had skulked in a military town so close to the capital, Islamabad, or that Americans nipped in to kill him without meeting the least resistance. Either way, they know to blame the humiliated men in uniform. Columnists and bloggers even call for army bosses to fall on their swagger sticks.

Ashfaq Kayani, the now sullen-faced head of the armed forces, and his more exposed underling, Ahmad Shuja Pasha, who runs the main military spy outfit, the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate (ISI), are unused to such cheek. Their spokesmen have fumbled to come up with a consistent line. They have claimed both that Pakistan abhorred America’s attack and helped to bring it about. Army inaction on the night was because someone forgot to turn on the radar, or because it only worked pointing east at India. And General Pasha would, and then certainly would not, fly to America to smooth things over.

That disarray gave elected leaders a chance. Neither President Asif Zardari nor Yusuf Raza Gilani, the prime minister, deludes himself that he is really in charge. Nor do outsiders. Just after they had killed bin Laden, the Americans first telephoned General Kayani, not the president. In the past year both Generals Kayani and Pasha have had their spells in office extended beyond their usual terms, without a squeak from the brow-beaten civilians.

The armed forces scoop up roughly a quarter of all public spending and large dollops of aid, with no proper oversight, says Ayesha Siddiqa, a defence analyst. They also run big firms, employ over 500,000, grab prime land for retired officers, set foreign and counterterrorism policies and scotch peace overtures to India. They are racing to expand a nuclear arsenal beyond 100 warheads—Pakistan will soon be the world’s fifth-biggest nuclear power and has been a chief proliferator.

Civilian silence thus spoke volumes. Rather than try to defend the army, both elected leaders found pressing needs to be out-of-town. …

Read more : The Economist

With bin Laden gone, now’s the time to push Pakistan

By Fareed Zakaria

The killing of Osama bin Laden has produced new waves of commentary on the problem of Pakistan. We could all discuss again its selective policy toward terrorists, its complicated relationship with the United States and its mounting dysfunctions. But there is more to this opportunity than an opening for analysis. This is a time for action, to finally push the country toward moderation and genuine democracy.

So far, Pakistan’s military has approached this crisis as it has every one in the past, using its old tricks and hoping to ride out the storm. It is leaking stories to favored journalists, unleashing activists and politicians, all with the aim of stoking anti-Americanism. Having been caught in a situation that suggests either complicity with al-Qaeda or gross incompetence — and the reality is probably a bit of both — it is furiously trying to change the subject. Senior generals angrily denounce America for entering the country. “It’s like a person, caught in bed with another man’s wife, who is indignant that someone entered his house,” one Pakistani scholar, who preferred not to be named for fear of repercussions, told me.

This strategy has worked in the past. In 2009, the Obama administration joined forces with Sens. Richard Lugar and John Kerry to triple American aid to Pakistan’s civilian government and civil society — to $7.5 billion over five years — but with measures designed to strengthen democracy and civilian control over the military. The military reacted by unleashing an anti-American campaign, using its proxies in the media and parliament to denounce “violations of Pakistan’s sovereignty” — the same phrase that’s being hurled about now. The result was that the United States backed off and has conceded that, in practice, none of the strictures in the Lugar-Kerry bill will be implemented.

The military has also, once again, been able to cow the civilian government. According to Pakistani sources, the speech that Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani gave at a recent news conference was drafted by the military. President Asif Ali Zardari continues to appease the military rather than confront the generals. Having come to power hoping to clip the military’s wings, Pakistan’s democratically elected government has been reduced to mouthing talking points written for it by the intelligence services.

There have been almost no marches to protest bin Laden’s death or the American operation, although one 500-person march in Lahore was replayed endlessly on television. The fundamental issue for Pakistan is surely not how America entered the country. The United States has been involved in counterterrorism operations in Pakistan for years, using drones and people. Rather, the fundamental question is, how was it that the world’s leading terrorist was living in Pakistan, with some kind of support network that must have included elements of the Pakistani government? How is it that every major al-Qaeda official who has been captured since 2002 has been comfortably ensconced in a Pakistani city? And how is it that any time these issues are raised, they get drowned out by an organized campaign of anti-Americanism or religious fanaticism?

Washington has given in to the Pakistani military time and again, on the theory that we need the generals badly and that they could go elsewhere for support — to the Chinese, for instance. In fact, the United States has considerable leverage with Islamabad. The Pakistanis need American aid, arms and training to sustain their army. If they are going to receive those benefits, they must become part of Pakistan’s solution and not its problem. With some urgency, Washington should:

l Demand a major national commission in Pakistan — headed by a Supreme Court justice, not an army apparatchik — to investigate whether bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders have been supported and sustained by elements of the Pakistani state.

l Demand that the provisions of the Lugar-Kerry bill on civilian control of the military be strictly followed or aid will be withheld.

l Develop a plan to go after the major untouched terror networks in Pakistan, such as the Haqqani faction, the Quetta Shura and Lashkar-i-Taiba.

In the longer run, as the United States scales back its military presence in Afghanistan, it will need the Pakistani military less and less to supply its troops in theater.

Pakistan’s civilian government, business class and intellectuals have an ever-larger role in this struggle. They should not get distracted by empty anti-American slogans or hypernationalism. This is Pakistan’s moment of truth, its chance to break with its dysfunctions and become a normal, modern country. The opportunity might not come again.

Courtesy: The Washington Post

Baluchs present their Case To US Policy Advisors

By: Khalid Hashmani

The Balochistan Society of North America (BSO-NA) organized a conference titled Balochistan Conference 2011 at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on Saturday, August 30, 2011. The conference focused on key issues faced Baluch including “Balochistan’s Case and Prospects”, “Human Rights Violations in Balochistan”, “Baloch Target Killings and Genocide”, and “Geo-strategic Importance of Balochistan for Peace and Security in South Asia”.

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