Debate begins on whether DG ISI, MI can be booked
By: Ahmad Noorani
ISLAMABAD: For the first time in country’s history, the Punjab Police have registered an FIR against the chiefs of the Inter Services Intelligence (IsI) and Military intelligence in a missing person’s case in compliance with the Islamabad High Court orders.
The Punjab police action has sparked a new debate as to whether police can book chiefs of major intelligence agencies of the country.According to details, one Naveed Butt, spokesman of banned Hizbul Tehrir was allegedly picked up by the agencies on May 11, 2012, outside his home in Lahore in area of Liaqatabad Police Station. Saadia Rahat, a lawyer and wife of Naveed Butt, moved the Islamabad High Court (IHC) against abduction of her husband and also moved an application in the Police Station concerned.
On May 14, 2012, the IHC ordered the Punjab Police to recover the missing person and act under the law. However, Naveed was not recovered and on June 26, 2012, the Punjab Police registered an FIR based on the application of Naveed’s wife.
The FIR is captioned: ‘FIR against DG ISI, Deputy Director ISI, Lahore, DG MI, Rawalpindi, Deputy Director MI, Lahore,” and numbered 566/12 PS Liaqtabad, Lahore. Some experts say that an FIR could not be registered against the intelligence chiefs of the country while others disagree with this view.
After registration of the FIR, the Punjab Police immediately took action against the SHO Rana Khursheed of the police station concerned and made the concerned SP, Athar Waheed, an OSD, considered to be a punishment in bureaucratic parlance.
Raja Irshad, senior lawyer, who represented the ISI in many cases, when approached by The News, said that registering of FIR against the DG ISI and DG MI is a ‘wrongful and ‘illegal act’.
Asghar Khan petition: Gen Beg blames ISI for poll rigging
By Azam Khan
ISLAMABAD: Former army chief Gen Mirza Aslam Beg has blamed the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) for distributing money among various politicians to rig the 1990 elections as alleged in air marshal Asghar Khan’s petition.
Maintaining his innocence, Beg submitted another statement before the Supreme Court, in which he claimed that the ISI was a separate entity from the army and was not under the command of the army chief.
Beg insisted he was not directly involved in maintaining accounts and distributing funds during 1990 elections. “…In fact, the accounts were maintained by the ISI and (Beg) only instructed then DG ISI Gen (retd) Asad Durrani to maintain accounts ….
Read more » The Express Tribune
Former DG ISI and Chief of Difa-e-Pakistan Council Gen. (R) Hameed Gul fall from chair in leadership row
The language of the news is in urdu (Hindi).
Courtesy: Express News Tv » YouTube
Did General Pasha and his colleagues ever realise that their mid-20th century organisation, built on ‘paradigms of control and fear’ and buttressed through old fashioned notions of ‘national security’ and ‘patriotism’ needs a strategic rethink to face the challenges of a new interactive age? …
Read more » Daily Times
By Carl Prine
Lt. Gen. Shuja Pasha, the Director General for Inter Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), is expected to retire from active duty on March 18th after serving five years as the chief of country’s most powerful intelligence agency.
The big question remains: What’s Pasha’s legacy?
Extension in DG ISI tenure would be a deal with government, says Nisar
ISLAMABAD: If the Pakistan Peoples Party-led government extends the contract of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt General Ahmad Shuja Pasha for a third term, then it would be considered as a “deal” with the government, said Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Friday.
Speaking at a press conference in Islamabad, Nisar said a possible extension would also make a case for government’s indictment.
In a press conference earlier, Nisar had said there are a lot of competent generals who are capable of filling this post, “and I hope that the army itself will devise a strategy to replace Pasha.”
He added: “During Pasha’s service, Pakistan witnessed massive intelligence failures such as the raid in Abbottabad; the Mumbai tragedy; the attack on Mehran Base Karachi; the Memogate scandal and Nato air strike on the Salala check post. It was unfortunate that despite all this, Pasha claims that the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani stopped him from resigning his post, which is strange for us.”
The Opposition Leader had earlier in a press conference on Thursday said that other, competent Generals, ought to be given a chance to run the agency.
Courtesy: The Express Tribune
By Saroop Ijaz
Suppose one were to break a rule of a lifetime and take Rehman Malik seriously when he announced his intention of granting amnesty to Baloch nationalist leaders and went so far as saying that he will personally receive them on arrival. It is hard to miss the condescension and arrogance of the statement since it evidently fails to recognise the very basics of the conflict and treat this as a petty quarrel which can be muffled with assurances to a few individuals and attempts to rectify it with what comes across as some cheap pillow talk. More significantly, there is a clear implication in the statement which I am not sure Mr Malik completely grasps. To guarantee the end of violence and hostilities in future, has embedded in it the assumption that the guarantor would perhaps have a semblance of control over them. So, Rehman Malik has with one statement, used as a desperate measure, has attempted to take the blood and the guilt of decades of murder upon his hands. Hence, Rehman Malik cannot be taken seriously in this case, even if one does not mention Nauroz Khan Zehri.
‘Security establishment’ is becoming too hazy a term to ascribe direct culpability. It has become an oblique way of saying that the Pakistan armed forces and their subordinate agencies are using intense, non-stop and lethal violence upon the Baloch. Remaining on imprecise terms, ‘missing person’ is a case in point. It is a seemingly innocuous term summoning to mind the image of somebody absent from dinner or someone forgetting to pick someone up. Quite to the contrary, somebody did pick them up with the intention of torture and probably murder; it is abduction or kidnapping at the very least.
The apology and the assurance will have to come from the Army Chief, the DG ISI and the IG FC. And for it to mean anything, those kidnapped have to return ……
Read more » The Express Tribune
ISLAMABAD: The judicial commission probing the Memogate scandal continued recording US businessman Mansoor Ijaz’s testimony today at Pakistan’s High Commission in London, DawnNews reported on Thursday.
During his testimony today, Ijaz admitted that he had prepared the first draft of the controversial memo himself without former ambassador to US Husain Haqqani’s consent.
Former US General James Jones had asked for the message to be in written form, said Ijaz, adding that he had to author the first draft himself after he was unable to get hold of Haqqani.
Ijaz, who is testifying to the commission by video link, claimed he agreed on secret codes for the army and intelligence chiefs with Haqqani.
Ijaz told judges that the former wrote him a message on his Blackberry referring to the Pakistani government as “friend”, and army chief General Ashfaq Kayani and ISI chief Lieutenant General Ahmad Shuja Pasha as “bad boys”.
He also claimed that Ispahani, which is Haqqani’s wife’s second name, was their code word for the Americans.
Asked by the commission, what he meant by “bad boys”, Ijaz replied: “they are army chief and DG (director general) ISI (Pakistan’s intelligence service).” ….
Read more » DAWN.COM
Malik says 27 terrorist groups involved in Benazir’s murder
…. Malik shared this and other details of the investigation of the former prime minister and Pakistan People’s Party chairperson’s murder case while briefing the Sindh Assembly session.
He blamed Baitullah Mehsud, the Haqqani network and the banned Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) for planning the murder and said 27 terrorist groups helped in executing the plan. ….
Read more » DAWN.COM
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.
…. Visibly frail Abdul Majid was carrying a urine bag attached to the lower part of his stomach. He learnt only on Monday that one of his detained brothers, Abdul Saboor, had died long ago in imprisonment. …
… He was limping and needed assistance because he could not walk on his own. …
…. One thing is common among all. They are suffering from a common ailment of skin with the entire body covered with small blisters. ….
….. We were treated worse than animals. All during our confinement stretching over years we were given gram curry and dry bread,” Mazhar-ur-Haq said.
Dr Niaz complained: “We were kept blindfolded and given only two minutes time for toilets twice a day.”
Almost all of them said they had no idea why they had been picked and never interrogated. …
…. We have no right to live, we are not human beings,” said Murtaza in a choked voice …
To read full report » DAWN.COM
Mansoor Ijaz embarrasses ISI DG, SC with fresh claims: says he’s in constant contact with Pasha – Daily Times
Ijaz embarrasses ISI DG, SC with fresh claims
LAHORE: The instigator of the memo case, Musawwer Mansoor Ijaz, has claimed that he has been in contact with the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Lt General Ahmed Shuja Pasha in connection with “logistics and security arrangements” for his testimony before the inquiry commission created by the Supreme Court.
Talking to a private television channel last Friday, Ijaz said that he had been in touch with the ISI chief after his first meeting in London on October 22, 2011. Ijaz’s claim, if true, creates doubts about his being a disinterested party only seeking to reveal the truth and raises questions about why he maintains relations with the spy agency that he has described as “a cancer” in past writings.
Mansoor Ijaz also quoted text messages and emails he exchanged with General Pasha in the letter he sent to Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on January 30, which was sealed by the chief justice in the custody of the Supreme Court Registrar.
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
ISLAMABAD – The counsel for the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) and Military Intelligence (MI) directors general conceded before the Supreme Court on Monday that four out of 11 prisoners of Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi, picked up by intelligence personnel for investigation into their alleged role in the October 2009 attacks on General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi, had died.
He said some of the remaining seven prisoners were in Lady Reading Hospital Peshawar and Internment Centre, Parachinar, thus he was unable to produce them in court. “No one is above the law and the prime minister also appeared in court when he was summoned,” the chief justice remarked. A three-member bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Khilji Arif Hussain and Justice Tariq Parvez, directed the spy agencies’ counsel Raja Muhammad Irshad to file a reply explaining the circumstances under which the four prisoners died and produce the remaining seven prisoners in court on February 9. ….
Read more » Pakistan Today
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani Sunday dispelled the impression of anything being said as regards giving extension in service to DG ISI with an aim to ‘improve matters’ with the army, Geo News reported.
“All these references (about granting of extension to DG ISI) are nothing but disinformation,” the Prime Minister said while talking to media men upon his return from Davos after attending World Economic Forum there. …
Read more » The News
By Kamran Shafi
All of the time, in more ways than one. So, first to our blow-hot, blow-cold prime minister who has executed another dizzying U-turn. This time on his statement that the Sipah Salaar-e-Azam (an honorific bestowed upon the Sipah Salaar by Akram Shiekh, who is also Mansoor Ijaz-of-the-Murky-Memo’s counsel) and the DG ISI had acted improperly in submitting a reply to the SC without the government’s approval.
We are now told that he had said what he said under “a unique situation when there was no clarity”, but that now, “since there is clarity and now we have all met … that (remark) does not pertain to these two gentlemen”. I don’t know if your head is spinning reader, mine surely is. It’s so bad actually that I am now going for a walk with my beloved Labrador, Mister, to try and clear my head. I only hope I can get this piece done by my deadline.
Now, that was good! A crisp sun shines down on a Lahore that was freezing till yesterday — no gas, thank you very much. While the walk was bracing, my head is still buzzing at the extent of Makhdoom Sahib’s naiveté. However, here goes another effort at writing.
So then, the three protagonists met and clarity came, eh? Was it in the form of a demand that the PM withdraw his remarks and mayhap the army would let the government off the hook? Or were there any other quid pro quos to off-set the PM’s humiliation? And if there weren’t any, why? Should one of them, indeed, not have been ISPR’s withdrawing its harsh and insolent statement against the PM? Once bitten twice shy they say, but he simply will not learn: I’ll bet the PM will be bitten again.
And now to Mamogate or Meemogate, depending on which TV channel you prefer. I attended the first hearing of the Commission and, even before proceedings started, told my nephew who was with me that this was going to descend into a complete farce. And what do you think made me say that? Only the fact that whilst a twice-elected former prime minister accompanied by seven senior leaders of his party, all former chief ministers and federal ministers (two of them flying in from Karachi for the hearing) attended; whilst senior Grade-22 ‘bloody civilian’ bureaucrats attended, two army officers, one Grade-21 and one Grade-22 did not deign to attend. All had been issued like summons. The portends were clear from the start.
Look at where we are today; just look at what the world is saying about us Pakistanis, our politicians, our army, our intelligence services, even our superior judiciary. Just read reports in the international press from the Christian Science Monitor to the Washington Post to the Wall Street Journal. Indeed, see what the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) has said. In short, that we are an irresponsible, unfair, inequitable, capricious, bitter people.
One of Pakistan’s most bizarre political dramas appears to be running out of steam. What began as an unsigned memo seeking American help to rein in the military escalated into a full-blown power struggle between the civilian government and the army after Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz accused then ambassador to Washington Husain Haqqani of writing it. Haqqani, who denied involvement, resigned and returned to Pakistan to clear his name. But that did nothing to stem a crisis in civilian-military relations which carried uncomfortable echoes of the 1990swhen government after government were dismissed in a decade which ended in a coup in 1999.
With Haqqani now living in virtual house arrest in Pakistan, the so-called “Memogate” affair is far from over – it remains subject to judicial and parliamentary enquiries. But after weeks of drama, from coup rumours to allegations the army had already sought Gulf backing to take over – both denied by the military – to unusually spirited criticism of the army by the government, to the more farcical circulation of an old video featuring Ijaz commenting on naked female wrestling – the media feeding frenzy triggered by the memo appears finally to be satiated. Ijaz, meanwhile, has said he is unwilling to travel to Pakistan to testify, citing fears for his safety, diminishing his utility as a star player.
Taking credit, avoiding blame
It was General Kayani’s strong warnings that prevented Nato strikes into Pakistani territory, claims the military. This is a cause for celebration. For it seems that the western forces in Afghanistan take heed to the Pakistani military chief’s warnings. This would, in turn, present a solution to the drone strikes, the latest of which we saw in the Datakhel area in North Waziristan on Monday. All the army chief has to do to stop them is to protest. Taking credit for one development means taking responsibility and blame for another.
There is, clearly, a lack of objective standards with which the military’s performance is to be evaluated. A pick-and-choose approach doesn’t hold water in any other government department, why should it here?
Much confusion persists, as always, on the role of the military. The military’s top spymaster, for instance, reportedly, met with former president Pervez Musharraf in Dubai the other day. Under what mandate did this meeting take place? The chief of an organisation that is tasked with counter-intelligence should not be going about liaising with political figures. If he can meet with the latter, then nothing much could be found wrong with the spy chief’s meeting with US national Mansoor Ijaz in London. It seems that the agency’s penchant for “political management” (as a former spy chief called it) has not ended.
By Press Media of CPP
The memo gate Commission’s order of providing security to an American citizen, Mansoor Ijaz, by the Army battalion is ridiculous. The CC of CPP discussed this issue at party Central Secretariat today on 22-1-2012 and strongly protested on it. From: Engineer Jameel Ahmad Malik, Central Chairman of CPP.
Out of 11 people taken from Idyala jail last year by the ISI, dead bodies of 4 of them has been found from Peshawar. The disappearance case was taken in supreme and ISI accepted that they have these men and they are interrogating them and so they accepted the responsibility in the supreme court.
Now as 4 of them has been found dead, definitely by the ISI, therefore will Supreme Court (SC) deliver contempt of court notice to DG ISI??? whose agency members were given order by SC to make sure their safety of life and they didn’t obey the SC order. ….
Read more » Siasat.pk
Intrusion in executive’s domain? Pakistan Supreme Court asks govt to say in writing it will not fire Army & ISI chiefs!?
Govt has no intention of sacking Kayani, Pasha: AG
ISLAMABAD: During the hearing of a petition filed against a possible removal of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani and Director General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt-Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha, the government clarified that it had no intention of sacking the said officials, DawnNews reported.
Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq told the Supreme Court bench hearing the petition that the government had no plans to take such an action.
On the attorney general’s explanation, Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry directed him to file a written reply after taking orders on the issue from the government. ….
Read more » DAWN.COM
By Saroop Ijaz
The difficulty of maintaining a pretence of conducting a profound analysis in Pakistan is that nothing ever ends. So the event one seeks to comment on is always underway hence, exposing the commentator to the real possibility of indignity in misinterpreting the happenings. The mayhem of the last few days is not over yet. It does, however, point out the fragility and precariousness of this architecture of democracy. It is almost as if this period of democratic governance is a momentary armistice, a feebly vulnerable interruption to the continuous military rule. Another disturbingly striking thing is the complete abandonment of core principles on the first sight of attack. In all fairness, none of this is unprecedented but it manages to make one cringe every time.
The prime minister is empowered to terminate the contract of a federal secretary and to comment on the conduct of the army and intelligence chief and for this reason it is hardly news worthy enough of interrupting the nation in frenzied tones. There has been some feeing of triumphalism and jubilation on being able to thwart or possibly delay a coup. Perhaps rightly so, yet the most recent episode is unique in the public manner in which the whole episode was conducted. Gone are the days where out of the blue, one will see a pompous general creeping out of nowhere and saying ‘meray aziz humwatanon’ on national television. This time, the intimidation and bullying was deliberately done in the full view of the public eye, the ISPR press release cautioning of “dire consequences” had the unmistakable slant of blackmail. The utter absence of embarrassment was unbelievable. It was like being subjected to the ISPR version of O J Simpson’s, “If I did it.” The response by the media and the politicians failed to ask the most basic question; did the ISPR posses any justification, legal or moral to threaten an elected parliament. Toni Morrison, once writing about the progress of African Americans in the United States said, “The question is whether our walk is progress or merely movement.” All this coming after four years of democratic rule, ours seems to be an awkward stationary wiggle.
If one is compelled to identify a positive coming out of this fiasco, it will probably be the fact that most of the media and major political parties refused to welcome the khakis. I have a mild suspicion that many of them did it grudgingly; it was the sheer impracticality of a ‘direct’ military takeover which guided their comments as opposed to any meaningful commitment to democracy. In any event, they merit whatever small congratulation is due. Nevertheless, whereas, it is a ridiculously easy and even intuitive question when asked to choose between an elected parliament and the khakis, I believe the real test lies ahead and not so far ahead. It would be if the same demagoguery is garbed in an intervention obtained through a judicial order or some other permutation of what has been somewhat suggestively named, ‘soft coup’. I have a feeling, the response by those agreeing to the abstract notions of democracy in such an event would be more of a waffle and exposing — I certainly hope I am wrong.
The prime minister has already formed the undesirable habit of displaying almost schizophrenic alternating bouts of gallantry and meekness. The ostensible reason is to avoid institutional conflict. It is not a ‘conflict’, it is capitulation in the face of assault, certainly not self-preservation in any long-term meaning. A lot of ink has been spilled (or at least the word processor equivalent) on how to set the civil-military balance incrementally right by people having considerably more expertise on such matters than myself. Yet, the answer to me, at least, is fairly simple. The prime minister should sack the army chief and the director general ISI for gross misconduct and insubordination. To put it at its harshest, their performance records, especially recently have been humiliatingly ordinary. Even otherwise, they cannot claim to be not given a fair innings, they have served, perhaps more accurately commanded for a period reasonably exceeding the normal. In any event, they have considerably overstayed their welcome. I know this proposal seems incredibly naïve even reckless, but I am afraid that needs to be done, even if it means staking the government on it. To romanticise it a bit, “Conscientious Objector” is a beautiful poem by Edna St Vincent Millay, some of its verses go,” I shall die, but/ that is all I shall do for Death/ I hear him leading his horse out of the stall/ I hear the clatter on the barn-floor/ ….But I will not hold the bridle/While he clinches the girth/ And he may mount by himself / I will not give him a leg up.”
I do not in any way suggest a literal scenario as terminally grim as that in the poem but Mr Prime Minister, at least, do not give them a leg up. Trying to maintain a wobbly equilibrium, a false feeling of reconciliation and shallow coexistence will not work, it never has, never does. In terms of basic economics, it is the case of Gresham’s law, the bad would drive out the good, if it is overvalued long enough with a clear preference. Negotiating or plea bargaining the way in and out of situations where you are strong-armed is not survival or diplomacy. It has now become a question of modalities and timing, rather than “if”. Stories both in real life and fiction are remembered inordinately by the ending. Albert Camus ends his La Peste (The Plague) by observing that though the plague was over and the city had returned to normalcy, “the plague bacillus never dies … that it can lie dormant in furniture and linen chests… perhaps the day would come when,… it roused up its rats again and sent them forth to die in a happy city”. Fire the two generals and make a point, the bogus feeling of security is going to end soon anyways.
The writer is a lawyer and partner at Ijaz and Ijaz Co in Lahore saroop.ijaz@ tribune.com.pk
Courtesy: The Express Tribune, January 15th, 2012.
As Habib Jalib said, “How can this desert be called a rose garden? How can I write a silver lining of this cloud? We have inherited this grief from the past, how can I write this grief anew?”
Critics argue that the Supreme Court’s decision to continue its probe of Memogate is a replay of past judgments which legitimised the will of the military over the people’s civilian government. Others contend that the will of the people demands that Zardari and his cohorts be punished in any manner for corruption, and the Supreme Court’s decision is one step in that political fight.
Though the Supreme Court judges and the Lawyer’s Movement acted as a political force to remove Musharraf, they should reexamine their roles in the battle for constitutional supremacy today. The Court has a valid interest in applying the rule of law equally to all, including Presidents and former Ambassadors, but they must also recognise the context of that judgment. The law, unlike politics, is powerful only when it follows precedent, and the precedent being set by the court today is quite a dangerous one for the future of civilian-military relations.
The Supreme Court’s order calls for a three judge panel to collect evidence and present findings within one month. In the Order, the Supreme Court stated that it was protecting fundamental rights recognised in Articles 9, 14, and 19A of the Constitution. These articles protect the right to due process, dignity of man, right to information of matters of public importance.
These are difficult times for professional journalists in Pakistan. Eleven were killed last year in the line of duty. They were either caught in the crossfire of ethnic or extremist violence or targeted and eliminated by state and non-state groups for their political views.
Saleem Shehzad, for example, was abducted, tortured and killed last year and a commission of inquiry is still floundering in murky waters. He had exposed the infiltration of the armed forces by elements affiliated with Al-Qaeda or the Taliban. Several journalists from Balochistan have been killed by non-state vigilantes sponsored by state agencies, others have fled to Europe or USA because they had sympathies with the nationalist cause in the province. Some from Karachi have taken refuge abroad because they were threatened by ethnic or sectarian groups or parties.
Now an insidious campaign is afoot to target senior journalists who question the wisdom of the security establishment on a host of thorny issues. They are being labeled as “American-CIA agents”. This is an incitement to violence against them in the highly charged anti-American environment in Pakistan today. Consider.
If you say the military’s notion of “strategic depth” in Afghanistan is misplaced, outdated or counter-productive, you are a CIA agent.
If you say the military was either complicit or incompetent in the OBL-Abbottabad case, you are a CIA agent.
If you say that the civilians should have control over the military as stipulated in the constitution, you are a CIA agent.
If you say that the military shouldn’t enter into peace deals with the Taliban that enable them to reorganize and seize Pakistani territory, you are a CIA agent.
If you say that the drones have taken a welcome toll of extremist Al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders, you are a CIA agent.
If you say that the military’s annual defense budget, which amounts to nearly half of all tax revenues, should be scrutinized by parliament or the Auditor General of Pakistan, you are a CIA agent.
If you say that the one and same resignation criterion should be applied to both Ambassador Husain Haqqani and DG-ISI Ahmed Shuja Pasha – the former is accused of trying to influence the American government to back up the civilian government of Pakistan in its attempt to establish civilian control over its army and the latter is accused of seeking the support of Arab regimes for the overthrow of the civilian regime ( both accusations come from one and the same individual) – you are a CIA agent.
If you say we should construct a social welfare state in place of a national security state, you are a CIA agent.
If you say that fundamental citizens rights enshrined in the constitution cannot be violated at the altar of a narrow definition of national security defined exclusively by the security state, you are a CIA agent.
If you say that human rights violations in Balochistan carried out by the security agencies are as condemnable as the ethnic cleansing of Punjabi settlers by Baloch insurgents, you are a CIA agent.
If you say that Pakistan’s foreign policy should not be the exclusive domain of the military establishment, you are a CIA agent.
If you say that the Pakistan military’s conventional and nuclear weapons doctrine amounts to a crippling arms race with India rather than a minimal optimal defensive deterrence, you are a CIA agent.
If you say that the ISI is an unaccountable state within a state, you are a CIA agent.
If you say that belt-tightening measures to control budgetary deficits and inflation should apply to wasteful aspects of defense expenditures no less than to wasteful aspects of civilian government expenditures, you are a CIA agent.
If you say that the Supreme Court should pull out Air Marshal Asghar Khan’s ISI-Mehrangate 1991 case from cold storage and adjudge it along with the Memogate 2011 case, you are a CIA agent.
The irony is that the Pakistan military remains the single largest recipient of American aid in the last sixty five years. The irony is that all military coups in Pakistan have drawn legal and political sustenance from America. The irony is that the Pakistani military has signed more defense pacts and agreements with America than all civilian governments to date. The irony is the Pakistan military has partnered America in Afghanistan in the 1980s, fought its war on terror and leased out Pakistani air bases and Pakistan air space corridors to America in the 2000s, and sent hundreds of officers for training and education to America in the last six decades.
The greater irony is that all those liberal, progressive, anti-imperialist Pakistani citizens who have opposed US hegemony and protested American military interventions in the Third World all their lives are today branded as CIA agents by the very state security agencies and non state religious parties and jehadi groups who have taken American money and weapons and done America’s bidding all their lives.
Courtesy: Friday Times
By Josh Rogin
Three U.S. senators are calling on the Pakistani government and judiciary to protect former Pakistani Ambassador to Washington Husain Haqqani, who they say has been the victim of “ongoing harassment and mistreatment” since resigning late last year due to the Memogate scandal.
“We are increasingly troubled by Ambassador Haqqani’s treatment since he returned home to Pakistan, including the travel ban imposed on him,” said Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), and Mark Kirk (R-IL) in a Thursday statement. “Like many in Washington, we are closely following Ambassador Haqqani’s case. We urge Pakistani authorities to resolve this matter swiftly and consistent with civilian rule of law and to prevent the judicial commission investigating Ambassador Haqqani from becoming a political tool for revenge against an honorable man.” ….
Read more » Foreign Policy (FP)
By Asmat Zubair
ISLAMABAD: Although the focus so far in the media and the Supreme Court has been on the authenticity or otherwise of the text and BlackBerry messages allegedly exchanged between Mansoor Ijaz and Husain Haqqani, the real task of the memo commission might be to address the non-forensic questions about the origins of the memo.
According to legal experts who have read Mansoor Ijaz’s 81-page affidavit and additional submissions before the Supreme Court, his essential claim is that Husain Haqqani told him to write the memo in a telephone call from a London hotel. The rest of the material is included only to create the impression of close contacts between Ijaz and Haqqani and has no direct relevance to the memo.
As the Supreme Court heard arguments only about maintainability of the petitions about the memo, Haqqani’s lawyer Asma Jahangir was not allowed to make arguments about the substance of Mansoor Ijaz’s claim and point out the flaws in his story.
Careful reading of all the 89 texts and BBM messages submitted by Mansoor Ijaz shows that not once has Haqqani mentioned the memo in any of the alleged messages. Even if forensic evaluation determines that these messages were exchanged, Haqqani’s alleged connection to the memo still depends on Mansoor Ijaz’s claim of what was discussed in their phone call.
Although the DG ISI Lt General Ahmed Shuja Pasha found Mansoor Ijaz’s claim sufficiently reliable to demand a forensic inquiry, the judicial commission will have to address the political question of why Pasha and Mansoor Ijaz met on October 22 and why Mansoor Ijaz wrote the article in the Financial Times on October 10 that attracted the Pakistani military’s concerns leading to the Pasha-Ijaz meeting.
It is interesting to note that Ijaz says in his affidavit to the Supreme Court (Page 4), “At no time did I meet Haqqani in person” even though the very first Blackberry message sent by him to Haqqani on May 9, according to him, (Page 6 of affidavit) said, “I’m in Monaco but it’s no problem for me to fly up. Takes 90 minutes.” ….
Read more » The News
By Beena Sarwar
What is ‘Memogate’? The ‘memo’ in question is a letter allegedly written at the behest of Pakistan’s President by the Ambassador to Washington Husain Haqqani, asking USA to prevent a possible military coup in Pakistan after US Navy Seals killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan on May 2, 2011. Haqqani denied the allegations, sent in a letter offering to resign in order to facilitate an impartial inquiry, and returned to Pakistan to clear his name. Instead, he found his resignation letter accepted. The Supreme Court barred his exit from Pakistan. He has been forced for his own safety to confine himself first to the Presidency and then to the Prime Minister House. On Dec 30, 2011, The Supreme Court in response to a petition against the ‘memo’ formed a three-member judicial commission to look into the matter that the media has dubbed as ‘memogate’.
Asma Jahangir, counsel for Husain Haqqani and former Supreme Court Bar Association President, has refused to appear before the commission saying that she does not trust the judiciary. She has said that instead of forming a commission to create or produce new evidence the Supreme Court should have looked into the evidence placed before it to decide whether there was a prima facie case and whether the court could proceed to enforce any fundamental rights by making a binding order.
The entire affair appears to be geared towards undermining the democratic political process in Pakistan – specifically at targeting President Asif Ali Zardari, using Husain Haqqani as a vehicle. Asma Jahangir has unequivocally termed the Supreme Court’s judgment as a victory for the military that has run affairs in Pakistan for decades and is obviously still all-powerful behind the scenes.
Asma Jahangir has argued that the Supreme Court had no right to bar Haqqani’s travel abroad. Nor does Supreme Court or the judicial commission set up, have the right to demand Blackberry (RIM) data without due process of law. No server (BU or RIM) should share data with Commission, which is essentially pursuing a political dispute, not criminal charges. The judiciary seems to be ruling on the basis of national security ideology instead of constitution and law.
Asma Jehangir blasts Pasha for meeting Mansoor Ijaz
ISLAMABAD: A day after Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had adopted a soft attitude towards the military leadership, the top spymaster came under intense scrutiny in the Supreme Court hearing a set of petitions in the memo case here on Tuesday.
“I called these petitions ‘benami’ (anonymous) because two of its respondents are the actual petitioners,” Advocate Asma Jehangir argued while alluding to Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Director General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt-Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha who are named as parties in the petitions.
In her usual assertive and hard-hitting style, Ms Jehangir, the counsel for former ambassador to the US Hussain Haqqani, asked why one of the petitioners changed his mind two days after writing a letter to the Parliamentary Committee on National Security and then filing petitions in the Supreme Court. …
Read more » DAWN.COM
By Mohammad Ali Mahar
That the tsunami is coming looks for sure. What will be left of the country after the water tides recede is not known]
After wandering in the political desert of Pakistan for 15 years, Imran Khan finally seems to be led to the ‘promised’ land of power.
One wonders why all those who used to ridicule and laugh at Mr Khan’s TV talk show sponsored demagoguery for 15 long years have, all of a sudden, during the past six months or so, discovered a messiah in him. Why are the established puppets of the establishment making a beeline to join the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)? Let’s examine. …
Read more » Daily Times