Courtesy: Al Jazeea/ Daily Motion
Via – Facebook
Courtesy: Al Jazeea/ Daily Motion
Via – Facebook
Pakistan military protests with NATO and Afghan forces over cross-border attack
By Jibran Ahmad
PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) – Pakistan lodged a protest with NATO and Afghan forces on Monday, accusing them of failing to act against militant safe havens in Afghanistan after a cross-border attack killed 13 Pakistani troops, a military official said.
The move is likely to intensify tensions between troubled allies Islamabad and Washington, currently involved in difficult talks to repair ties.
More than 100 militants based in Afghanistan’s Kunar province entered Pakistan and attacked a military patrol on Sunday, the military official said. Fourteen militants and six soldiers were killed in the skirmish.
Seven Pakistani soldiers were beheaded by militants after the clash and four were still missing, the official said.
Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said the Afghan deputy head of mission in Islamabad was summoned and presented with a “strong protest”.
The Malakand faction of the Pakistan Taliban claimed responsibility, and threatened more attacks.
“Our fight will continue until the establishment of sharia law in Pakistan … We will fight whoever tries to stand in our way,” Sirajuddin Ahmad, the faction’s spokesman, told Reuters.
Ahmad claimed the group had killed 17 Pakistani soldiers.
The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan said it was aware of the report, but had no information.
Fazlullah Wahidi, governor of Kumar province, said militants were based in Pakistan, not Afghanistan. “We don’t have any information about militants crossing the border from Afghanistan to attack troops in Pakistan,” he told Reuters.
The Malakand, or Swat, Taliban are led by Maulvi Fazlullah, who was the Pakistan Taliban leader in the Swat Valley, about 100 miles northwest of Islamabad, before a 2009 army offensive forced him to flee.
Also known as FM Mullah for his fiery radio broadcasts, he regrouped in Afghanistan and established strongholds, according to the Pakistan military.
Fazlullah re-emerged as a threat last year, when his fighters conducted cross-border raids that killed around 100 Pakistani security forces, angering Pakistan, which faces threats from multiple militant groups.
Continue reading Pot calls Kettle Black – Pakistan lodged a protest with NATO and Afghan forces, accusing them of failing to act against militant safe havens in Afghanistan after a cross-border attack killed 13 Pakistani troops
BY C. CHRISTINE FAIR
With an “ally” in a state of perpetual dysfunction, it’s time for Washington to reconsider its options: containment or benign neglect.
Excerpt: …. “At long last, it seems, various agencies of the United States government have come to the conclusion that Pakistan cannot be changed. Islamabad’s behavior in the region will remain staunchly pegged to its antipathy toward New Delhi. It will pursue policies that threaten the integrity of the Pakistani state for no other reason but the chimerical objective of resisting the obvious rise of India, while clinging to the delusion that it is India’s peer competitor — despite obvious and ever-growing disparities. Finally, Americans are asking what Pakistanis have long concluded: How can the United States and Pakistan have any kind of positive relationship when our strategic interests not only diverge but violently clash?…….While some may view these offerings as unreasonable, reckless, dangerous, and irresponsible, it is equally fair to ask whether Washington’s decades of policies toward Pakistan have been unreasonable, dangerous, and irresponsible? Moreover, what good have they accomplished? While many policymakers and analysts are willing to bank everything on the gamble that Pakistan is too dangerous to fail, we should be willing to consider what failure would mean and the inherent costs and benefits of this happening. After all, when the Soviet Union fell, none of the worst fears materialized. And Pakistan is hardly the Soviet Union” ….
Read more »Foreign Policy (FP)
Philippines’ top judge ousted in victory for Aquino
By Stabroek editor
MANILA, (Reuters) – The Philippine Senate voted today to remove the country’s top judge for failing to disclose his wealth, a landmark victory for President Benigno Aquino as he pushes a campaign to root out endemic corruption in the Southeast Asian nation.
More than two-thirds of the 23 senators voted to oust Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona, who becomes the first official in the country to be removed by an impeachment court. The decision bars him permanently from public office.
The ruling is likely to be welcomed by investors amid concern that the four-month-long trial was distracting the government from policy matters at a time when the Philippines is seeing a resurgence of interest in its long-underperforming economy. ….
Read more » Stabroek News
Matters are coming to a head in Pakistan. The deadlock in US-Pak relations over resumption of NATO supplies is veering towards confrontation. And the confrontation between parliament-government and supreme court-opposition is edging towards a clash. The net losers are fated to be Pakistan’s fledgling democracy and stumbling economy.
Pakistan’s Parliamentary Committee for National Security has failed to forge a consensus on terms and conditions for dealing with America. The PMLN-JUI opposition is in no mood to allow the Zardari government any significant space for negotiation. COAS General Ashfaq Kayani is also reluctant to weigh in unambiguously with his stance. As such, no one wants to take responsibility for any new dishonourable “deal” with the US in an election year overflowing with angry anti-Americanism. The danger is that in any lengthy default mode, the US might get desperate and take unilateral action regardless of Pakistan’ s concern. That would compel Pakistan to resist, plunging the two into certain diplomatic and possible military conflict. This would hurt Pakistan more than the US because Islamabad is friendless, dependent on the West for trade and aid, and already bleeding internally from multiple cuts inflicted by terrorism, sectarianism, separatism, inflation, devaluation, unemployment, etc. Indeed, the worst-case scenario for the US is a disorderly and swift retreat from Afghanistan while the worst-case scenario for Pakistan is an agonizing implosion as a sanctioned and failing state.
By Pervez Hoodbhoy
Zero attention was paid to recent news which, in many a country, would justifiably have been cause for panic. But in Memogate obsessed Pakistan no military or civilian ruler — or any normally loquacious TV anchor — has yet commented upon the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER). Released one week ago, this damning indictment of Pakistan’s schools shows how badly the country is failing to teach children even the most elementary of skills. For a country with a huge youth bulge and a population growing out of control, the consequences are fearsome.
By Khaled Ahmed
States released from colonial rule in the 20th century have by and large not done well. Today, most of them are either failing or failed states. Only a few have reached the finishing line of liberal democracy with a survivable economic model beyond the 21st century. Most of the Muslim states are included in the failing postcolonial model. Dictators with mental bipolar disorder — historically mistaken for charisma — who aimed to achieve romantic goals have crumbled, leaving in their wake equally romantic mobs of youths demanding what they presume is liberal democracy.
After Saddam Hussein, Iraq is in disarray; after Hosni Mubarak, Egypt is teetering; Libya promises nothing better. And after Musharraf, Pakistan’s democracy is dysfunctional. Among Muslims, only the market state in the Gulf may survive. In the Far East, too, it is the market state that looks like marching on. Muslim Indonesia and Malaysia may survive if they don’t exterminate their entrepreneur Chinese minorities under the spur of Islam. In Europe, when the dictator quits, civilisation takes over and the state survives. No such thing happens in the Muslim world. The premodern seduction of the Muslim mind prevents return to democracy. The blasphemy law is more powerful than any democratic constitution. …
Read more » The Express Tribune
Tenth Anniversary of US Invasion of Afghanistan
Terror Networks Relocate to Pakistan
by Nafisa Hoodbhoy
As the US marks the tenth anniversary of its invasion of Afghanistan, pro Taliban terror networks – driven out of Kabul in October 2001 – have reinvented themselves inside Pakistan.
They are enabled by an inept foreign policy and absence of governance that allows the most brutal ideologues to consolidate themselves within failing states. ….
Read more » Aboard The Democracy Train
Time for heads to roll – By Babar Sattar
OUR military and intelligence agencies stand indicted for being complicit with terror groups and our best defence seems to be to plead incompetence.
Osama’s refuge in the shadows of the Pakistan Military Academy Kakul and his killing without the knowledge or permission of Pakistani authorities have not only raised piercing questions about the country’s willingness to function as a responsible state but also cast fundamental doubts on the ability of our national security apparatus to protect Pakistan against foreign intervention.
An ISPR release after Thursday’s corps commanders’ conference that broke the security establishment’s silence on the Osama operation is mostly gibberish.
While admitting “shortcomings in developing intelligence” on Osama’s presence in Pakistan, it goes on to blow the ISI’s trumpet for extraordinary achievement all around. The commanders feel betrayed by the CIA for not telling the ISI where Bin Laden was hiding.
The release doesn’t say why the military failed to detect foreign choppers and troops in our territory for an hour and 40 minutes. ….
…. In a functional democracy, these gentlemen would be sacked after such a debacle. Unfortunately, national security related decisions in Pakistan fall within the exclusive domain of the military, which jealously guards its turf. But responsibility must accompany such power. And the responsibility for erosion of our international credibility and increased threat to security personnel and citizens from terror networks nestled within Pakistan rests squarely on the military’s shoulder.
Be it a rise in suicide bombing and terror incidents within Pakistan, an increase in US drone strikes in our territory, the Mumbai attacks or the Osama operation, the threat to Pakistan’s interests for being perceived as a pad for terrorist activity and to its citizens as targets of terror has proliferated under Gen Kayani’s watch. Is it not time for Gen Kayani to call it quits and take along with him the DG ISI and the air chief? Shouldn’t these heads roll to account for failing to do their jobs?
With them in the driving seat it might neither be possible to hold a transparent inquiry into the security breaches that led to the Osama operation and its execution without Pakistan’s knowledge nor engage in a rethink of our perverse national security mindset. Can we shed some baggage and create room for untainted faces and ideas?
The concept of sovereignty assumes control over the territory a state claims. We cannot continue to shirk responsibility for the men, material and money transiting in and out of Pakistan and simultaneously wail at the disregard for our sovereignty. It is time to publicly articulate our legitimate security interests linked to the future of Afghanistan and develop a regional consensus around it, instead of vying for the whole hog.
It is time to completely liquidate the jihadi project and cleanse our state machinery of those who believe in its virtue. And it is time to shun the delusions of grandeur and conspiracy that prevent us from realising our potential as a responsible and industrious nation.
Read more : DAWN
COMMENT: A tale of triplets — by Shahab Usto
Pakistan’s utmost priority should be to follow the Chinese model: shun external engagements and turn inwards to focus only on economic, social and human development. Remember, we have missed the bus twice
Independent Pakistan, India and China were born at almost the same time, inherited the same decrepit state structures, and shared the same trajectory of international wars and civil strife. But they do not share the same present. China is the fastest growing economy. India is catching up fast with it. But Pakistan lags far behind both.
As it is, China (closely followed by India) is all set to dominate the Asia-Pacific region, if not the world. The US-led West is jittery. Stuck in a financial crisis, the West has lost faith in its economic philosophy based on unregulated markets. “The teachers are in trouble,” as one Chinese minister put it, referring to the ideologues of the failing Anglo-Saxon corporate and financial models. …
Read more : Daily Times
By S. Akbar Zaidi
THE country which was considered to be a basket case in 1971, is today offering a mirror to others on how developing countries can become a development state and is being referred to as the `development surprise` of the 21st century.
At the same time, it has also ensured that democracy is developing as a strong and permanent alternative to military rule, under which it has had many years of painful repression.
That this overwhelmingly Muslim country is also constitutionally and increasingly in practice politically secular is also a lesson for other Muslim majoritarian countries to emulate. The Supreme Court struck down a 31-year-old constitutional amendment and restored the country to its founding status as a secular republic, banning the writings of some radical Islamic ideologues.
The country which in the mid-1960s was heralded as a role model for other developing countries, where the international press had praised its military-led development model no end, stating that it might just reach the levels of development achieved only by the United States, has just appeared as the world`s 10th most failed, or failing, state. On the course towards reaching this rather ignominious distinction, this country has also been called “the most dangerous place in the world”, and a “rogue state with a nuclear arsenal”.
Read more : DAWN
HEC’s devolution to provinces opposed
by Khalid Hashmani, McLean
In my opinion, the recent decision by the Pakistani Government to devolve HEC into provincial HECs is overdue and must be carried out. As a matter of fact, I recommend to Dr. Javaid Laghari to not only support this decision but also help to ensure that it is implemented fully and that he should assume the role of Sindh HEC and make it one the best educational institutions in Pakistan and in the world as he did with ZABIST.
I do not know of any federal-level powerful higher education authorities in any federal state in the world as we have in Pakistan. Using the name of Islam and Pakistan, the establishment of Pakistan has been imposing unnecessary and inefficient centralization on the provinces/ States/ Republics. The tool of “centralization” has been used to discriminate and exploit smaller provinces and usurp resources of Sindh and Balochistan for the benefit of other provinces. Neither Canada has a federal HEC nor USA and other democratic and federal countries have created such institutions. In other countries where a federal-level commissions exist, their role is very limited and constrained to advise on standards.
The reason that Sindh’s Education Ministry is inefficient has no relevance whether or not Pakistan’s HEC should be devolved. The federal Education Ministry and HEC both have history of discrimination against Sindhis and denying due share in educational opportunities in Pakistan. The same rational of inefficiency is given for centralized control of Sindh’s resource industries such as coal, oil, gas, and ports.
The fact that few Vice Chancellors and educationalists from Sindh do not support devolution of HEC is the same as some pro one-unit establishment organs gave when the people of Sindh, Balochistan, and Pakhtunkhwa demanded dissolution of one unit. Such pronouncement did not succeed then and they will not stop devolution of HEC and other federal agencies and departments returning them into their provincial jurisdictions.
As a highly super centralized state, Pakistan is increasingly failing and is now considered one of worse countries on most human development factors. It is time that it’s setup is reorganized on the basis of the 1940 Resolutions, which is the fundamental principle for various provinces/ States/ Republics to join Pakistan.
Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, March 27, 2011.
by Sher Ali Khan
A few days ago, the progressive-leaning parliamentarian Shabaz Bhatti was shot down in cold blood for advocating a moderated stance against a draconian law in Pakistan. The changing societal dynamics comes in the backdrop of a struggling democratic government, which is failing to assert itself for Pakistan’s survival.
It was almost a month ago when I wrote a report for the Express Tribune about the Christian community yearning for a ‘more tolerant’ Lahore. After exploring various pockets of the society, it was sad to see that the community had become insolent and rather afraid to even interact with general population.
If one spoke to historians regarding the character of Lahore say not sixty but thirty years ago, one would have found a completely different social structure in Lahore. Though Islam had rapidly become a majority entity, communal activities were not exclusive rather they were inclusive.
The story of Pakistan’s road down the conception of Islamic state has only hardened differences between various communities to the point Pakistanis cannot be considered Pakistanis without obeying to a certain brands of Islam.
For years, the army and the ISI have provided safe havens for militant groups as part of a greater plan to maintain a strategic and military presence in Kashmir and Afghanistan. It is clear with the confirmed death of Colonel Imam, the so-called father of the Taliban that the dynamics of these relationships have changed over time. Increasingly these militant groups have become rouge thus functioning beyond the scope of the state. …
Read more : View Point
Stephen P. Cohen, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution
Bernard Gwertzman, Consulting Editor
In the first few days of this year, Pakistan’s coalition government was thrust into crisis after losing a coalition partner, and then a top politician–Punjab Governor Salman Taseer–was assassinated. A leading expert on the country, Stephen P. Cohen, says these incidents are symptoms of the profound problems tugging the country apart. “The fundamentals of the state are either failing or questionable, and this applies to both the idea of Pakistan, the ideology of the state, the purpose of the state, and also to the coherence of the state itself,” Cohen says. “I wouldn’t predict a comprehensive failure soon, but clearly that’s the direction in which Pakistan is moving.” On a recent trip, he was struck by the growing sense of insecurity in Pakistan, even within the military, and the growing importance of China. …
Read more : COUNCIL on FOREIGN RELATIONS