Tag Archives: defence

Deal to sell MI-35 helicopters ‘politically approved’: Russian envoy

By Dawn.com

ISLAMABAD: Russian envoy to Pakistan Alexey Dedov on Wednesday said that the MI-35 helicopter deal with Moscow and Islamabad is “politically approved”, Radio Pakistan reported.

In an interview with Radio Pakistan, Dedov said that the Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu will visit Islamabad soon. The report further stated that Alexey Dedov said the deal between Pakistan and Russia will help combat terrorism.

While Dedov said the deal has been “politically approved”, further negotiations on details of the political-commercial contract are in progress.

The ambassador also said that Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu has talks with Pakistani counterparts on his agenda, to discuss the sale of defence equipment to Pakistan.

Pakistan’s request for MI-35 helicopters has been on the table since 2009, but Russia had kept the issue pending because of the Indian factor.

Read more » DAWN
http://www.dawn.com/news/1144000/

Advertisements

Pentagon plans to downsize US military

Pentagon’s Chuck Hagel plans to downsize US military

Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel has unveiled plans to shrink the US Army to its smallest size since before the US entered World War Two.

Outlining his budget plan, the Pentagon chief proposed trimming the active-duty Army to 440,000-450,000 personnel, down from 520,000 currently.

Cold War-era Air Force fleets – the U-2 spy plane and the A-10 attack jet – will also be retired.

The US defence budget remains higher than during most of the Cold War.

‘Difficult decisions ahead’

On Monday, Mr Hagel noted the US military had come under pressure to downsize after two costly foreign wars. “This is a time for reality,” he said

Read more » BBC
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-26326969

Gibraltar visit for Royal Navy warship is routine, says MoD

Gibraltar visit for Royal Navy warship is routine, says MoD

A Royal Navy warship is to pay a “routine” visit to Gibraltar, the UK government has said, amid a continuing row with Spain over border checks.

Relations between Gibraltar and Spain have deteriorated in recent weeks.

But the Ministry of Defence said the visit was “long-planned” and one of many “regular and routine deployments”.

HMS Westminster, accompanied by two auxiliary ships, makes up part of a task force which is destined for the Middle East.

‘Granted permission’

Other warships in the task force will visit ports in Portugal, Spain, Turkey, and Malta. “Gibraltar is a strategic base for UK defence and as such Royal Navy ships visit its waters throughout the year as part of a range of regular and routine deployments,” an MoD spokesman said.

Spain’s foreign ministry agreed that the visit was “routine”, adding that the UK government had asked for permission to stop over at the Rota naval base, which is near the Strait of Gibraltar in south-west Spain.

Read more » BBC
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-23624715

Pakistan – Defence budget hiked by 15 per cent

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has increased its defence spending by 15% for the coming fiscal year, as the military remains engaged in fighting a deadly Taliban insurgency in the strife-torn tribal regions.

The defence budget has been jacked up to Rs627.2 billion for the financial year beginning July 1, compared to Rs545.3 billion allocated in the outgoing fiscal year, showing an increase of Rs82 billion.

However, against the original allocation of Rs545.3 billion, the military overspent Rs25 billion, raising the total expenditure to Rs570 billion in 2012-13.

According to the budget document, the lion’s share went to the army which got Rs301.54 billion, followed by the air force with Rs131.18 billion and the navy with Rs62.80 billion.

Of the total Rs627.2 billion, Rs271.2 billion have been allocated for employees-related expenses, Rs162.2 billion for operating expenses and Rs131.3 billion for physical assets.

However, the figures do not include over Rs132.7 billion allocated for pensions of the retired military personnel that would be paid from the civilian budget and a separate allocation for the security-related expenses, a move which critics say seeks to conceal the actual defence spending.

In addition to this, the military will also be given Rs150 billion under the contingent liability, Rs70 billion under the Coalition Support Fund (CSF) and Rs35 billion has been allocated for the military’s services to the UN peacekeeping missions in the coming fiscal year. This means a whopping Rs1,014 billion have been allocated for the military, which is about 28.2% of the country’s total budget.

The defence budget – which has never been properly debated in Parliament – has remained a sensitive and controversial subject in Pakistan and there have been calls for greater scrutiny of the spending.

Read more » The Express Tribune
http://tribune.com.pk/story/562640/defence-budget-hiked-by-15-per-cent/#.UbkuwH1R5qc.facebook

Via Facebook

‘US using spy agencies of other countries against Pakistan’

* Defence secretary says Islamabad has ‘complete’ list of CIA agents in Pakistan

* US, UK against Pakistan’s nuclear programme

ISLAMABAD: Defence Secretary Lt General (r) Asif Yaseen Malik on Friday said that the US is using the spy agencies of other countries against Pakistan.

Speaking to a select group of journalists at the Defence Ministry, the defence secretary said Pakistan had complete information about the CIA agents working in the country. He said Pakistan has been informed by the US regarding presence of the CIA agents.

He added that no country was allowed to work undercover in the country. “The CIA also uses the agencies of other countries.” He said the US and Britain are against the nuclear assets of Pakistan, adding that America is using agencies of other countries against the country.

General Asif said there is no formal agreement between CIA and the ISI for secret operation. He said 95 percent of the defence policy is made by the three defence services on the basis of mutual consultation. He added that negotiations were going on for the replacement of spy aircraft that were damaged in attacks on Mehran and Kamra bases.

Read more » Daily Times

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012\12\29\story_29-12-2012_pg1_2

Pakistan’s economy Plugging leaks, poking holes – Who will pay for Pakistan’s state?

PAKISTAN’S national poet, Muhammad Iqbal, believed the subcontinent’s Muslims needed to unite if they were to prosper. Without a strong sense of nationhood, he wrote, “mountains become straw and are blown away in the wind”.

Poetry and taxes do not often mix. But those melancholy lines grace an analysis of Pakistan’s fiscal plight by Ehtisham Ahmad of the London School of Economics. The country’s tax revenues have collapsed. Its debt is almost certainly unsustainable without outside help. And yet Pakistan does not pull together. “Textile lobbies, the urban gentry, traders and agriculturists, all point to the other and say: Tax that group first, but do not tax me,” Mr Ahmad writes.

The tax authorities can identify a mere 768,000 individuals who paid income tax last year. Even fewer—just 270,000—have paid something in each of the past three years. That is one reason why Pakistan’s tax revenues amounted to only 9.1% of GDP in the latest fiscal year, one of the lowest ratios in the world (see chart). These are exceedingly narrow shoulders on which to rest a nuclear-armed state of 180m people. The culture of cheating starts at the top. Most members of parliament, many of them conspicuously affluent, do not file tax returns.

In the months before an election, due by May, the government of President Asif Zardari of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) is proposing a controversial remedy: an amnesty for evaders. They will be invited to wipe the slate clean with a one-off payment of only 40,000 rupees ($400). The government says it is a quick way to resuscitate the public finances and expand the tax net. Its critics see the amnesty as a boon for politically connected crooks.

Continue reading Pakistan’s economy Plugging leaks, poking holes – Who will pay for Pakistan’s state?

Et tu Brute?

Islamabad diary

We know the kind of influence Malik Riaz Hussain of Bahria Town has been famous for peddling: chummy with presidents and prime ministers, close links to all major political parties, ex-generals and air-marshals in his employ, leading champions of the fourth estate in his pocket, or at least beneficiaries of his largesse. We can even go a step further and for the sake of argument say that he is the biggest wheeler-dealer this side of Suez.

Continue reading Et tu Brute?

US moving to punish Pakistan severely

By: Wajid Ali Syed

WASHINGTON: The United States House Armed Services Committee on Thursday approved a bill that will prohibit the preferential procurement of goods or services from Pakistan until the Nato supply lines are reopened.

The committee fine-tuned the bill, also known as the National Defence Authorisation Act, all day on Wednesday and into the early hours of Thursday, when it was passed with an overwhelming majority by the committee members.

Confirming the passage of bill, a committee spokesman told The News, ìWe did three things, but they generally boil down to one theme ñ we are restricting or cutting funds until the Pakistani supply routes are reopened. When they are, we are pressing for greater accountability. We hope the US-Pakistan relationship will improve, but until that happens, we need to be conscious of our roles as stewards of the taxpayer dollar.î

A section of the bill extended the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Fund (PCF) through the 2013 fiscal year, but the modified sub-sections require the Secretary of Defence, with the concurrence of the Secretary of State, to submit an update to the report on the strategy to utilise the fund, and the metrics used to determine progress with respect to the fund. It also limits the authority of the Secretary of Defence to obligate or expend funds made available to the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Fund to not more than 10 percent of the amount available until such time as the update is submitted to the appropriate congressional committees.

Continue reading US moving to punish Pakistan severely

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

Toronto Sun – Pakistan’s the problem, not Taliban

National Defence Minister Peter MacKay speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa February 7, 2012. (REUTERS/Blair Gable)

By Peter Worthington

Whatever one thinks of Defence Minister Peter MacKay’s penchant for taking military helicopters on fishing trips, the country should support him chiding elements in Pakistan for helping the Taliban.

While there’s nothing new in NATO leaks that elements of Pakistan’s intelligence service and military are helping co-ordinate Taliban attacks on coalition forces, the fact these reports keep surfacing has to be upsetting.

Pakistani denials ring hollow — nearly 10 years of denials.

Good on MacKay for not brushing the NATO leaks aside. He said if such reports are reliable, and if Pakistan wants western allies to continue working for “peace and security” throughout the region, then Pakistan’s co-operation is not only required, but is demanded. And “demand” is what MacKay is doing. But is anyone listening?

That’s fairly tough talk. Ever since Navy SEALs took out Osama bin Laden at his Pakistani retreat, there’s been substantial evidence Pakistan is playing a double game.

There are even suggestions China hopes to exploit a rift between western allies and Pakistan — a possibility that makes traditional diplomats shudder. But, if true, Pakistan and China cuddling each other seems destined to be an enormous headache for both these hypersensitive, paranoid, nuclear states.

U.S. Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has made the curious observation that after next year, U.S. policy in Afghanistan will be one of “advise and assist,” rather than actually fighting. What on earth does that mean? One supposes it means that by 2014, Panetta hopes the Afghan National Army and National Police being trained by coalition troops, including Canadians, will be able to handle Taliban incursions.

Don’t bet on it.

By having a safe haven in Pakistan, and a seemingly endless supply of fighters, the future has got to look encouraging for the Taliban. They can lose battles indefinitely against American forces — and win the war once the Americans have had a bellyful.

Time is on the Taliban’s side. And patience is their virtue.

There’s not much that can be done. Clearly, coalition countries don’t intend to stay in Afghanistan, and the U.S. especially wants out with an election looming in November.

When Barack Obama’s predecessor, George Bush, was president and flailing away in Iraq, Obama made Afghanistan (relatively quiet at the time) the war he’d prosecute. Well, Afghanistan has turned bad for Obama. So he wants out, and has fired those generals who thought they could win the damn thing.

MacKay says he doesn’t give much credence to the so-called secret NATO report that says the Taliban are gaining confidence and are sure they’ll win in the end.

He thinks that’s what the Taliban would say no matter what — “an overly optimistic view of what’s happening on the ground … in battlefield skirmishes they always lose.” But the Taliban leadership is not in disarray — although coalition leadership may be approaching that state.

If the U.S. were realistic, it would consider cutting aid to Pakistan — $12 billion in military aid, $7 billion in economic aid over the last 10 years.

That may be the only way to get the attention of those who rule Pakistan.

Like hitting a mule on the head with a two-by-four.

The problem is not the Taliban, but the Pakistan leadership which seems hell-bent on wrecking relations with western allies, and gambling we are too timid to do anything about it.

Courtesy: Toronto sun

http://www.torontosun.com/2012/02/10/pakistans-the-problem-not-taliban?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=recommend-button&utm_campaign=Pakistan%27s+the+problem%2C+not+Taliban

The statement of the Committee of Progressive Pakistani-Canadians: ‘Winds of Change? Balochistan and US-Pak Relations’

On Nov 16, 2011 and Jan 13 this year respectively, State Department deputy spokesperson Mark Toner, and chief spokesperson Victoria Nuland, expressed U.S. concern about the human rights situation in Balochistan. On Feb. 8 Congressman Brad Sherman spoke at a subcommittee of Foreign Affairs of the House of Representatives of the marginalization of the Baloch and Sindhi (speaking people) and the disappearances, torture and killing of their activists by Pakistan’s security forces.

Sherman went to say that the Baloch and Sindhis, being secular and moderate-minded, shared American values and that the US should reach out to them. Feb 18 saw the introduction of a resolution in the House stating that the people of Balochistan, currently divided between Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, have the right to self-determination and their own sovereign country and should be afforded the opportunity to choose their own status.

A fuller argument openly calling for support of the separation of Balochistan from Pakistan because the latter was acting against American and western interests, appeared in the Globe and Mail – a key mouthpiece of big capital and imperialism in Canada – in an op-ed piece on Dec 21, 2011, titled ‘Solve the Pakistan problem by redrawing the map’ by Chris Mason, a retired US diplomat now at the Center for Advanced Defence Studies in Washington.

Without a doubt the Sindhi people have suffered grievous injustices in Pakistan. Many times greater has been the pain inflicted by the state on Balochistan which, in addition to severe cultural, economic and political deprivation, has been on the receiving end of almost half-a-dozen prolonged and brutal military attacks which began in 1948 and continue to this day. Frustrated and angry beyond measure – and justifiably so – at their appalling treatment by the Pakistani state, the above developments in the U.S. have been widely welcomed by the Baloch.

Continue reading The statement of the Committee of Progressive Pakistani-Canadians: ‘Winds of Change? Balochistan and US-Pak Relations’

Imran Khan’s security state – DAWN

By Huma Yusuf

THERE has already been adequate kerfuffle around the appearance of PTI senior vice-president Ejaz Chaudhry at the Difaa-i-Pakistan Council’s rally in Karachi.

This is the latest demonstration of PTI’s tendency to cavort with the religious right and extremist groups. Imran Khan himself delivered a message via his envoy at the DPC’s Lahore rally in December. Previously, Chaudhry has attended rallies with Jamaatud Dawa’s Hafiz Saeed. And flags of the banned SSP have been raised at many a PTI rally. The further right the Great Khan and his party stray, the more defensive his supporters become. It is high time that defence was analysed. ….

Read more » DAWN.COM

Top court summons Defense Secretary in missing persons’ case but too scared to summon army chief & DG ISI

Adiala missing prisoners: Produce the seven men on Feb 13, says SC

By Azam Khan

ISLAMABAD: After a day’s unsuccessful wait, the Supreme Court has ordered that the seven prisoners who went missing from Adiala Jail must be presented in person on February 13.

“Our order has not been complied with. The missing prisoners are in custody of the intelligence agencies,” Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said in Friday’s hearing. “Right now, we want to see the surviving prisoners. Later, we will investigate the circumstances in which the four deceased prisoners died and also fix responsibility.”

The court also summoned the defence secretary and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa chief secretary in person at the next date of hearing. The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa governor was directed to present a report through the provincial chief secretary on the condition of the prisoners who are hospitalised in Peshawar and Parachinar.

The court also ordered the chiefs of Inter-Services Intelligence and Military Intelligence agencies and the defence secretary to produce the surviving prisoners safely before the court and file a compliance report with the Registrar Office.

Hearing was then adjourned till February 13.

Earlier on Friday, the court had told the ISI and MI chiefs’ counsel that the bench will wait till 7pm in the court until the missing prisoners are brought before the court.

The court had earlier directed the counsel of ISI and MI chiefs Raja Irshad that the missing prisoners be presented before the court after Irshad told the court that four out of 11 prisoners picked up from Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi, had died in custody, but of “natural causes”.

Resuming the hearing on Friday, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry questioned Irshad, “Which authority considers itself above the law and is intervening in court’s matter.” The chief justice asked Irshad why court’s orders were not followed properly.

Irshad told the court that the prisoners were in poor health condition and that they could not be presented before the court. Justice Arif Khilji responded saying that if the patients should have been brought to the court even if they were to be brought on a “stretcher”.

In his defense, Irshad presented a letter to the court which entailed the details of the prisoners’ medical condition and stated that currently, they could not be moved out of the hospital.

The chief justice remarked that if the prime minister of Pakistan could be summoned to the court for not complying to its orders, then it does not leave room for anyone else to not obey court’s orders.

“Bring them [the patients] in helicopters, if they cannot be brought in cars,” said the chief justice.

The bench also asked the counsel of ISI and MI that why the patients were admitted in hospitals located outside Islamabad when there are “enough hospitals in Islamabad as well.”

The court said that an investigation could also be initiated against ISI and MI under Article 9 of the Constitution for not following the court’s orders. “This is a violation of fundamental rights of an individual. We have to determine the reason of the deaths,” said Chief Justice Chaudhry.

Justice Tariq Parvez observed that the whole world felt the gravity of the case and said that institutions in Pakistan “have done nothing about it so far.”

The civilians had been facing a court martial under the Army Act on charges of attacking the General Headquarters (GHQ) and ISI’s Hamza Camp base.

They were picked up from Adiala Jail by intelligence agencies after they had been acquitted of the charges by the court.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune

– – – – – – –

More details » DAWN.COM

Pakistan: Extra Rs150 billions sanctioned above defence budget

ISLAMABAD: On top of the Rs495 billion officially-sanctioned defence budget, the government has allocated an additional Rs150 billion for the armed forces, almost half of which was billed under the Armed Forces Development Programme.

A senior official of the finance ministry, citing the ‘Budget-in-Brief’ document, said the total defence and security allocation comes to around Rs645 billion, which is almost 23.8 per cent of the total budget. In addition, Rs73.2 billion would be paid from civilian accounts on army pensions – a practice initiated by Musharraf in 2000. By adding the three allocations – stated budget, contingent liabilities and army pensions – the total allocations total Rs718 billion, almost 26 per cent of the total budget. ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

Defence of Pakistan Council – Pakistan’s finest are at it again, but why?

By: Omar

Pakistan’s finest are at it again, but why?

The “defence of Pakistan” council has held several public meetings (each probably costing millions of rupees) in different parts of the country and is now headed for a “mother of all jalsas” at Karachi on Feb 12th. All the usual suspects are there. Jamat ud Dawa (reincarnation of the blessed Lashkar e Tyaba of Mumbai atrocity fame) is leading the way, but  everyone who is anyone is there. Sheeda Tully is there (He was Musharraf’s railway minister and helped to run it into the ground, after having held several other ministries, his farmhouse was famously listed as a gathering spot for Kashmiri Jihadis in the 1990s). Zia ul Haq’s son, Ejaz ul Haq is there. Hamid Gul is there.
But why?

Why has military intelligence, in its infinite wisdom, activated every zombie from the good old days of the Kashmir Jihad?
Is it to get more money out of Uncle Sam? That particular ATM may be out of cash right now, so its probably not that.
Is it because the bloody civilians may actually be able to do shocking things like start normal trade with India? so what? what is the threat here?

Is it something to do with the ongoing bumbling “get Zardari operation”.

Is it because the army has split into factions and the jihadi faction is trying to embarrass the mercenary faction?

Come on hive mind, answers please.

Courtesy: Brown Pundits

Military-Owned Businesses Pose Unique Corruption Risks

By Samuel Rubenfeld

Businesses owned by militaries around the world pose unique corruption risks to the sectors in which they operate, a new report found.

The report, released Thursday by Transparency International’s U.K. Defence and Security Programme, looks at how military-owned businesses are structured, what the inherent corruption risks are for these firms, and why and how the countries have made reforms to their military-owned companies.

“Once the military begins to engage in economic activities, it is often difficult to end such practices. In most situations, corruption becomes rampant and a major problem which (sic) harms the state and the national economy as well,” the report said.

Introducing a profit motive into the military increases the chance for distraction, the report said. Looking at case studies in China, Indonesia, Turkey and Pakistan, the report found that distraction often leads to outright graft, and in the more extreme cases that manifests itself in the form of embezzlement of state funds, tax fraud and even brutal coercive practices on workers. …..

Read more : The Wall Street Journal

Tehelka – Coup & Memo: In the battle of nerves between the civilian and the military establishment he who can stay the longest, wins

Round 1 to the Civilian Government

In the battle of nerves between the civilian and the military establishment in Pakistan, he who can stay the longest, wins

By Mohammad Taqi, Columnist, Daily Times

EVER SINCE the controversial Memo in October 2011, allegedly seeking American help in case of a military coup, trouble has been brewing in Pakistan. The latest is the sacking of Lt Gen (retd) Khalid Nadeem Lodhi as defence secretary on 11 January by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. The civilian-military relationship in Pakistan is going through a churn. The military wants to get rid of President Asif Zardari. The Supreme Court allowed itself to be dragged into the situation through a PIL. But the elected Pakistani civilian government, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and its coalition partners are not going to give in without a fight. Under the circumstances, the sacking of Lodhi was inevitable. It sends a clear message in a long drawn out war of attrition that will ultimately decide which way the balance of civil-military relationship tilts.

The establishment has been speaking through press releases issued by the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR). On 11 January, it issued a fourth statement criticising the government. Previously, the prime minister had retaliated by implying the army was trying to become a State within the State and had issued a visa to Osama bin Laden. That did not go down well. The civil-military relationship has not recovered from this blow, and relations are souring. The judiciary appears to be allied with the military establishment or at least feels that their interests are in confluence.

The army wants the current PPP dispensation to go, but a text-book coup d’état is not possible in the present day. With an active social media, a questioning press and Pakistan’s economic condition, it is not a feasible option. The army is frustrated and is making this public but with everyone harping on about democracy for so long, it’s not easy for anyone — not Kayani, not the top judge — to sack the present system. They might be facing allegations of corruption or bad governance, but you have to vote them out.

Gilani’s statement says the army chief and the DG, ISI, Shuja Pasha did not follow the protocol in the Memogate proceedings in court. The briefs the three filed with the court were diametrically opposed to the government’s position in the Memogate scandal. Constitutionally, the ISI is under the prime minister. The army chief reports to the president and also the PM via the defence ministry. The defence secretary made a statement in the court saying the government has administrative and not operational control over the army and the ISI.

Prior to that, Pasha met Pakistan-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz in London. The ISI is an intelligence-gathering and not an investigating agency. He brought back evidence that is now being made admissible in the civil court. Pasha went without the permission of the civilian leadership. The PM was informed through Kayani only after he returned.

Things would have been different a decade ago; the army would have toppled the government. Today, it’s a battle of nerves. Whoever blinks first, loses. So far, Gilani has not blinked, but his options are limited. Even if he fires Pasha and Kayani, he has to select from a pool of 200 generals, as he has no one in the PPP to replace him. Pasha’s head is certainly on the chopping block, but the PPP will not win this by a knockout, but on points. Taking it to the last round will mean they have won. As long as Zardari, Gilani and Hussain Haqqani — and the general public — stick together, the civilian government will prevail.

Courtesy: Tehelka.com

http://www.tehelka.com/story_main51.asp?filename=Op210112Round.asp

Pakistan: a coup by other means

– Tensions between the army and Pakistan’s civilian government have boiled over into open conflict

By guardian.co.uk, Editorial

Messages were delivered in Islamabad on Wednesday. Through a megaphone. Minutes after the prime minister sacked the defence secretary, a retired general who acted as the army’s representative in government, the Pakistan army replaced the commander of the Triple One Brigade in Rawalpindi. This happens when a coup is about to be launched. The army chief General Ashfaq Kayani has called an emergency meeting of his principal staff officers for Thursday.

Simmering tensions between the army and Pakistan’s civilian government have boiled over into open conflict in the latest episode of a scandal dubbed memogate. A former ambassador to Washington was accused of having dictated, or solicited, a memo written by a Pakistani American businessmen to Admiral Mike Mullen, requesting his help in preventing a coup. The ambassador, Husain Haqqani, who denies knowledge of the memo, has been recalled and is effectively under house arrest in the prime minister’s heavily guarded residence, fearing for his life. Kayani and the head of the military’s spy agency, Lieutenant-General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, pressed the supreme court in affidavits to investigate the allegations against Haqqani that could lead to treason charges. The prime minister said that these affidavits were “unconstitutional and illegal”. The military responded with a statement that darkly hinted at “potentially grievous consequences”.

What is happening is a coup by other means. The army has staged four coups in the past, but this time, its instrument is a blatantly partisan supreme court, which is attempting to force an elected government to resign. The timing of the traitor tag is not accidental. In March the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) could win control over the upper house of parliament and then – whatever happens to President Asif Ali Zardari and the PPP in the next election – the next government could not change the constitution.

Mr Zardari and the PPP government can be faulted for many things. The political charge sheet is long: incompetence, weakness, venality. They reacted terribly to the worst floods in living memory. They have pandered to fundamentalism over the blasphemy law rather than facing it down. A weak state has grown steadily weaker under their civilian control. Mr Zardari carries much personal baggage, which is almost certainly worthy of further investigation, but while president, he enjoys immunity from prosecution and he is right to face down the military. The place to oust an administration enjoying a two-thirds majority is at an election, and the people to do so are voters, not judges, generals or intelligence chiefs. Anyone who allows generals to remove politicians must be aware that the same could happen to them.

Courtesy: guardian.co.uk

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jan/11/pakistan-a-coup-by-other-means?newsfeed=true

Gilani removes Lodhi from Defence Secretary post

ISLAMABAD: Lt Gen (Retd) Naeem Khalid Lodhi was removed from the post of Defence Secretary by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Wednesday, a move that is likely to create further friction between the government and the military. “Prime minister has terminated the contract of defence secretary Naeem Khalid Lodhi for gross misconduct,” a senior government official told AFP.

Nargis Sethi has been given the additional charge of Defence Secretary. …

Read more » The Express Tribune

Kayani, Pasha acted illegally, says Gilani

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani once again on Monday took what appeared to be a potshot at the military when he said affidavits submitted to the Supreme Court by the Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and ISI chief Lt Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha on `memogate` were `unconstitutional and illegal`.

In an interview with the People`s Daily Online of China, which was released by the official Associated Press of Pakistan news agency, Mr Gilani said since the COAS and ISI DG had submitted their replies to the court without seeking approval of the competent authority under the rules of business, the statements carried no legal import.

`No summary seeking approval of the competent authority was initiated by the ministry of defence nor was any approval obtained fromthe defence minister,` the prime minister was quoted as saying by the APP.

The media wing of the prime minister`s secretariat confirmed the statement.

Soon after the APP released excerpts of the interview, it was picked by major news search engines and online editions of newspapers all over the world.

Some saw it as an obvious reference to the ongoing tension between the government and the military establishment. …

Read more » DAWN.COM

http://www.dawn.com/2012/01/10/army-isi-chief-statements-to-sc-not-approved-by-govt-pm.html

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

Showcause to Kayani’s Man Over Affidavit on Memogate

By Rezaul H Laskar

Excerpt;

At loggerheads with the powerful Army, the Pakistan government has issued a showcause notice to the Defence Secretary for submitting an affidavit on the memo scandal to the Supreme Court without seeking approval from the Defence Minister.

Lt Gen (retired) Khalid Naeem Lodhi considered to be very close to army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, was issued the notice last week, official sources said. …

… The PPP insiders further said Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani’s sharp criticism of the Pakistan Army on Thursday was triggered by Lodhi’s refusal to obey a directive from the government.

… Sources said Lodhi submitted the affidavit without getting it cleared by Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar.

… The following day, Gilani issued a directive that Lodhi should submit a fresh affidavit that was more in line with the government’s stance but the Defence Secretary refused to obey, officials of the PPP and other sources confirmed. …

… It was after Lodhi refused to obey the government’s directive that Gilani strongly criticised the military in two separate speeches on December 22. …

…. Speaking in parliament, Gilani said it was unacceptable for the army to function as a “state within a state” and questioned the military’s failure to detect Osama bin Laden’s presence in Pakistan for six years. …

Read more » Out Look

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 Defence Pvt Ltd – By Gulmina Bilal Ahmad

The very fact that these banned organisations are still working so openly in our society, without any fear or even a slight concern for the rule of law and state authority, makes evident the will of the authorities to tackle extremism

Generally throughout the entire history of Pakistan, the defence budget has been continuously increasing. Particularly in the last decade the budget allocated to defence expenditures has witnessed enormous growth, from $ 2.5 billion in 1999 to around $ 5 billion in 2011. The reason cited by defence experts is the various external and internal threats, especially evolving after 9/11 and the initiation of the war on terror. The finance for this growing expenditure is supported through the earnings of the citizens of Pakistan. Let me make it clear to everyone that here I am not making a case against the budget allocated to the security of the country, as security is the foremost issue for Pakistan nowadays. My concern is that if the people of Pakistan are contributing for the defence budget and are willing to sacrifice the financial requirements of other sectors for safeguarding the country, then they also have the right to know what policies are being employed by the security apparatus for this purpose.

Pakistan has been outsourcing its defence activities to civilians or non-military groups since the outset. Starting from the war in Kashmir immediately after independence, during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the Kashmir movement and finally in the current war on terror where tribal lashkars (militias) are being formed to battle militancy. Numerous platforms have been invented in various eras according to requirements, whether it is the Pak-Afghan Council, Muttahida Jihad Council or the latest talk of the town, the Pakistan Defence Council (PDC). This last mentioned amalgamation of right-wing mainstream political parties and banned militant outfits has received colossal limelight in the aftermath of the NATO attack. The recent rally held in Lahore on December 18 by the PDC was attended by thousands and was under the very symbol synonymous with the sovereignty of the country. The rally was not only attended by mainstream political figures but also the leaders of banned terrorist organisations. Ijazul Haq, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, General Hamid Gul and Syed Munawar Hasan shared the stage with Hafiz Saeed, head of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD). The reason for the sudden rise of these organisations is very simple. As I mentioned in my previous article, these militant outfits are pouncing on the opportunity to exploit the sentiments of the already enraged citizens for their own vested agenda to regain their foothold. ….

Read more » Daily Times

Pakistan army or Real estate developers?

Paradise city: DHA City masterplan unveiled to real estate agents

By Saad Hasan

KARACHI: On Wednesday at exactly 10 am, the master plan for the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) City Karachi or DCK was revealed to real estate agents and investors.

The residential project is located 56 kilometres from the city and is being constructed at the cost of one billion dollars. It is spread over 11,640 acres of land and will be self dependent for water and electricity – at least when the first batch of owners build their houses in the next four years.

While referring to the 25,000 plots sold in 2010, DHA Administrator Brig. Aamer Raza Qureshi said that by going public with the master plan, he hoped that the people would start paying up their installments. He added that they still hadn’t received around 30% of them. The project is expected to attract a total investment of over three billion dollars ….

Read mroe » The Express Tribune

http://tribune.com.pk/story/310149/paradise-city-dha-city-masterplan-unveiled-to-real-estate-agents/

‘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

Nato air attack on Pakistani troops was self-defence, says senior western official

US-Pakistan relations strained further after attack allegedly kills up to 28 and prompts ban on Nato trucks crossing Afghan border

By Jon Boone in Kabul

An attack by Nato aircraft on Pakistani troops that allegedly killed as many as 28 soldiers and looks set to further poison relations between the US and Pakistan was an act of self-defence, a senior western official has claimed.

According to the Kabul-based official, a joint US-Afghan force operating in the mountainous Afghan frontier province of Kunar was the first to come under attack in the early hours of Saturday morning, forcing them to return fire. ….

Read more » guardian.co.uk

via » Siasat.pk

Can India Rescue Pakistan? – a peace conversation in Goa

Seven ways India can rescue Pakistan

Editor’s Note: Firstpost editors Sandip Roy and Lakshmi Chaudhry report on the ultimate celebrity conference. A five star line up of authors, intellectuals, biz tycoons, actors, politicians and more have gathered at the Grand Hyatt in Goa as part of Thinkfest. Co-organized by Tehelka and Newsweek, this haute version of TED brings together an eclectic and intriguing range of A-list names, from Nobel peace prize winning Leymah Gbowee to Omar Abdullah to author Siddharth Muherjee to Arvind Kejriwal. Here are their reports on some of the most interesting conversations.

Pervez Hoodbhoy: Former Pakistani President Pervez Musharaff offered him the Sitara-i-Imtiaz, the third highest honour in the State of Pakistan, but Dr Pervez Hoodbhoy, 61, refused it. A Pakistani scientist, essayist, and political-defence analyst, Hoodbhoy is a professor of nuclear physics and heads the physics department at Quaid-e-Azam University. A strong and avid supporter of nuclear disarmament, non-nuclear proliferation and the peaceful use of nuclear technology in Pakistan. ….

Read more » FirstPost

Afghanistan says Rabbani’s killer was Pakistani

– By: AFP

KABUL: Afghanistan said on Sunday that the suicide bomber who assassinated Afghan peace negotiator Burhanuddin Rabbani was a Pakistani national.

Tensions between the neighbours have been rising amid allegations from Afghan officials that Pakistan and its powerful ISI intelligence agency masterminded Rabbani’s assassination and are seeking to destabilise Afghanistan.

An investigative delegation established by President Hamid Karzai said evidence and a confession provided by a man involved in Rabbani’s killing on Sept. 20 had revealed that the bomber was from Chaman and the assassination had been plotted in Quetta, both on the Pakistani side of the border.

“It proves that the assassination of Professor Rabbani was hatched in Quetta and the man who carried out the suicide bombing is a Pakistani national,” the delegation, led by Defence Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak, said in a statement issued by the presidential palace.

“The documents and evidence in hand, details of other accomplices and their phone numbers have been handed over to Pakistan to make arrests,” it said.

Rabbani’s killing derailed efforts to forge dialogue with the Taliban to end the 10-year war, and raised fears of a dangerous widening of Afghanistan’s ethnic rifts.

The High Peace Council, which Rabbani headed, reiterated earlier comments by Karzai that negotiations should continue, but with Pakistan, rather than the Taliban.

“For the groups that are tired of conflict and want to end the killings and destruction inside the country, peace efforts must continue,” the council said in a separate statement issued late on Sunday.

“But because of those who hide in Pakistan with no known address, who send killers (to Afghanistan), we must negotiate with Pakistan instead.”

Hundreds of Afghans took to the streets of Kabul on Sunday to condemn recent shelling of border towns by Pakistan’s army and accuse the ISI of involvement in Rabbani’s killing.

Courtesy: → DAWN.COM

More details → BBC urdu

The killer has no remorse

– Salmaan Taseer case: No remorse as defence wraps up arguments

By Mudassir Raja

RAWALPINDI: In their concluding remarks on Saturday, lawyers representing Malik Mumtaz Qadri, the self-confessed killer of former Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer, tried to justify the high-profile assassination by saying the governor’s conduct was “unbecoming of a Muslim”.

Special Judge Anti-Terrorism Court-II Pervez Ali Shah put off the hearing in the case until October 1 after the lawyers representing Qadri said that if their client had not killed Taseer, someone else would have.

Special Public Prosecutor in the case, Saiful Malook, was absent from court on Saturday, though he is likely to make the prosecuting case on the next date of hearing.

Talking to the media after attending the hearing in Adiala Jail, Advocate Raja Shujaur Rehman, representing the accused, said they had argued before the court that the action of Qadri was as instantaneous as the statements of a public figure like the Punjab governor had been provocative. He added that Taseer’s conduct was against the sentiments of the common man.

The lawyer said the accused himself had tried to justify his act by presenting different passages of the Quran and Islamic teachings against blasphemy.

The governor’s statements against blasphemy laws, Rehman said, were also against the laws of the country but state machinery did not take any legal action against him.

Courtesy: →  The Express Tribune, September 25th, 2011.