Almost half a million pounds of British taxpayer-funded aid and equipment has fallen into the hands of al-Qaeda, the Department for International Development has admitted.
The terror group’s Somali franchise, al-Shabaab, “confiscated” the equipment from DfID contractors in multiple incidents over at least three months before any action was taken.
The admission is contained in the small print of the department’s latest accounts, which say that £480,000 worth of “humanitarian materials and supplies” was written off following repeated “confiscations” by al-Shabaab.
The confiscations are one of a series of developments disclosed by the department, which will increase controversy over the British aid budget, the only item of government expenditure that is rising sharply in an era of cuts.
British aid is due to reach about £11billion by 2015, to meet the Government’s promise that aid spending should be 0.7 per cent of gross national income. Critics say the 0.7 per cent figure encourages wasteful spending to meet the target.
Investigations by The Telegraph show a number of areas of questionable spending and results that are open to question, including how:
By: Jayanth Jacob
New Delhi: Prime minister Manmohan Singh is still keen to visit Pakistan. He “needs a door not a window for making the visit purposeful,” says external affairs minister Salman Khurshid tells HT. Full text of the interview with Jayanth Jacob where talks on a host of foreign policy issues …
Read more » Hindustan Times
By: Tahir Gora
It’s said that a majority of Muslims have been hijacked by a tiny percentage of Islamic extremists. But it’s also true that many Muslims consider the incidents of September 11, 2001, to have been staged by the Bush administration, the CIA, Jews, etc.
The question arises as to why a majority of Muslims would assume that nothing bad could be delivered by Muslims? And why have many Muslims related all bad things to the United States, other western countries and Israel?
Some of the answers by many Muslims to such questions:
Islamabad—United Nations has decided to send a delegation to Pakistan for reviewing the situation in Balochistan. Foreign office has been informed in this regard. The UN authorities has written a letter to foreign ministry mentioning that seven-member UN delegation would visit Pakistan from September 10 to 20 to review the situation in Balochisatan.
Who determines and manipulate Pakistan’s foreign policy narrative? The answer is quite simple: the religious right led by Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), and in some aspects by Jamait-e-Ulama-Islam (JUI). There are numerous religious formations, following politically-oriented Salafi Islam, and the media is overwhelmed by religious crusaders that popularizes foreign policy parameters determined by JI and JUI Ultimately, the right wing is validated by the military and its fearsome intelligence agencies. Most of the times the state is forced to go along with religious right’s Pan-Islamist foreign policy narrative, even though it is forced to oppose it when the nation’s vital interests are threatened.
The process of evolving such a policy narrative unfolded in the case of alleged massacre of Burmese Muslims. While scores of Shia Muslims were being butchered on regular basis in Pakistan, JI head, Syed Munawwar Hussain, started highlighting the case of Burmese Muslims, demanding that state of Pakistan should try to stop the killings. Although there is nothing wrong with raising awareness for the violations of human rights for oppressed communities, but such advocacy from the likes of JI felt strange to say the least. It seemed awkward because the JI leader was demanding something from a state that cannot save scores of Muslims being slaughtered everyday by Taliban, sectarian extremists or Karachi-like gangs. Since JI leaders are not supposed to be so naïve his statements has to be looked from another angle.
If Pakistan does not release Dr Shakil Afridi, Senator Rand Paul will hold up the US Senate to deny Islamabad all aid.
Paul may hold up Senate over Pakistan
By MANU RAJU and TOMER OVADIA
Freshman Sen. Rand Paul is threatening to bottle up the Senate if he doesn’t get a vote on his plan to dramatically cut foreign aid to Pakistan.
In an extraordinary step, the Republican freshman is warning that he may file a motion to shut down debate and push a vote on his proposal, a right typically granted strictly to the Senate majority leader. But Paul is angry that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has refused to give him an up-or-down vote on the proposal, and now appears poised to use arcane Senate procedures to force a vote even if it ties up the Senate for days.
Paul’s bill would halt billions of dollars in foreign aid that the United States provides Pakistan until the country frees a doctor jailed for providing Americans information that helped lead to the death of Osama Bin Laden. And it could put some of his colleagues in a tricky diplomatic spot, as they rail against government spending but also fear provoking tensions with a country whose relations with the United States have frayed.
“I have worked consistently to bring awareness to Dr. [Shakil] Afridi’s plight, and I have offered legislation to deny any current or future foreign assistance to the Pakistani government until they reverse course and free Dr. Afridi,” Paul wrote in the letter. “In pursuing a resolution to this situation, I have gained the necessary number of signatures on a cloture petition to force a vote on my legislation on the Senate floor. If Dr. Afridi is not released upon appeal, I will seek such a floor vote at the earliest opportunity.”
ISLAMABAD – Time magazine, a foreign-based magazine, has targeted CJP Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry for being ‘a lazy-eyed abrasive, un-charismatic, and visibly uncomfortable for scripted speeches’.
Expressing fears that taking suo motto notice, and by keeping ‘ his (CJP’s) unending pursuit of President Zardari, might endanger democracy’ (a notion often wielded by ruling party as a sword of Damocles over any critic /analyst or even a well-wisher), the media source terms CJP as “an unelected judge (elected judges!?) , who has shown no letup in his vendetta against an elected prime minister and President Zardari, even at the cost which the country would end up paying(!?)
This, despite the fact that Pakistan/democracy has nevertheless withstood countless ‘indispensable democratic (and non-democratic) heroes’ in past with aplomb.
The media source does not even spare CJP’s accepted ancestral honesty amid a hornets’ nest infested with blatant corruption and blind power, terming it as the source of CJP’s ‘obdurate and unending Robin Hood attitude’.
Courtesy: Pakistan Today
Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani, Thursday, declared restoration of NATO supply in the interests of Pakistan, saying, it was must for pulling out of foreign forces from Afghanistan. ….
Read more » The Nation
Ahmad Rashid is naïve in his expectations from the youth. Youth holds a mixture of strange contradictory thoughts. Fed with textbook propaganda, Hindu hatred provides basis for nationalism. Removing this hatred will create a severe identity crisis for the already confused youth. Their Paknationalism conflicts with their ummah hood, which they seldom realize. They are more concerned with deaths of Muslims in Palestine or Kashmir than inside the country. Youth are, to borrow Tarek Fateh’s book title, chasing a mirage of a perfect Islamic system that never existed. Youth has developed a strange paranoid mindset which sees conspiracies everywhere. One can get labeled a CIA agent or Zionist stooge on mere twitter/Facebook/blog comments. They seriously think that foreign agencies hire ordinary people to shake the moral/ideological foundations of Pakistan. They see politicians as corrupt and Generals as saviors. They see ethnicity and cultural diversity as threat to the state. Regarding terrorism, mostly live in state of denial. Anti-Americanism is on its peak. People hate the West; even Pakistanis living in West see no contradiction in hating the country where they live. Youth has little idea about economy and capitalism. And most of their views on foreign policy revolves around ghairat. Their idiot savior Imran khan has played a major role in de-intellectualizing the internal debate on foreign policy, economy, politics, civil military imbalance, terrorism. If youth is the last hope, then we are doomed.
Read more » Brown Pundits
In a matter of days, the allegations of the real estate tycoon Malik Riaz against Dr Arsalan Iftikhar, son of the Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, has taken on the hue of a full blown conflict between the accuser and the judiciary. In shocking but unsubstantiated accusations of a bribe amounting to Rs 340 million, and financing of lavish foreign trips, the Riaz claim, notwithstanding its yet to be proved veracity, points to the most important judicial body’s head. The accused is the son of the CJP, thus presenting a more than unpleasant scenario where the establishment of proper distance between the two parties — the accused and the CJP — must be maintained at all costs. A simple civil matter (with possible criminal implications), no matter how preposterous or outrageous it may appear, did not merit a suo motu notice by the Supreme Court (SC), the redundancy of which was proved during the first hearing for lack of concrete evidence. This case must be pursued through the normal course. The recusing of the honourable CJP from the initial bench is a positive step, and the future proceedings of the case would be transparent and unbiased too if the consideration that the accused is the son of the CJP is not allowed to influence the proceedings.
China has urged Pakistan to take effective measures to stop the activities of East Turkistan Islamic Movement (TIM) militants present in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), reported BBC Urdu on Thursday.
According to the report, the Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi currently visiting Pakistan said that it was their belief that militants belonging to the TIM are influencing the Chinese province Xinjiang, which has a Muslim majority population.
Xinjiang, which is home to the Uighur Muslims, has faced increased terrorist activities in recent years, inviting a crackdown by Chinese forces. The restive province which shares a border with Pakistan, has been under heavy security since July 2009, when the Uighurs launched attacks on Han people in the regional capital Urumqi.
Sources within the Chinese Foreign Ministry, on condition of anonymity, told BBC that Chinese officials discussed the matter with Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari along with other officials during several meetings, where the Pakistani foreign secretary was also summoned.
The BBC Urdu report added that most of those belonging to the TIM have taken refuge in Pakistan’s tribal areas, from where they cross the border into China after receiving training.
Altaf wants army to quell violence
…. Mr Hussain set alarm bells ringing late on Tuesday night when he asked the beleaguered people of Karachi — where more than 300 people were killed last month alone — to stock up on ration for at least a month. He said the people must do that even if they had to sell valuables.
That the major portion of the Wednesday speech by the MQM chief was in English indicated that he sought to address the international audience in addition to his party’s senior leaders and general workers at the Lal Qila ground in Azizabad.
This impression was strengthened by a statement issued by British Foreign Office Minister for South Asia Alistair Burt after speaking to Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad over the phone. ….
A second senior U.S. official is saying the Obama administration has definitively decided not to apologize to Pakistan for the recent accidental killings of Pakistani troops by U.S.-led forces — following months of top-level discussions about making such a high-stakes foreign policy decision.
The second official told Fox News on Friday morning many factors played into the decision, including that Pakistan appears to have “moved on” from its initial anger.
The official also asked: “When are they going to apologize to us” for a series of grievances, most notably that high-level terrorists such as Usama bin Laden gained safe harbor inside Pakistan in recent years.
By: Manzur Ejaz, Wichaar.com
The other day a very respectable political analyst made a surprising claim that Pakistan’s military is the only institution genuinely concerned about prevailing conditions of the country. Clearly he was specifically referring to dead-locked Pak-US relations where political parties, numbed or scared by anti-America populism, cannot come together to find a viable solution. One can assume that such sentiments must have been communicated to him by the highest level of the core state. However, the problem is that the fearsome anti-US jinni was created by the military and now it wants the civilians to put it back in the bottle.
House panel cuts foreign aid, UN and military aid to Pakistan
By Associated Press
WASHINGTON — A House panel on Wednesday moved to cut the foreign aid budget by some 9 percent, targeting economic aid and contributions to the United Nations and the World Bank.
Despite the cuts, the legislation won bipartisan backing from the Appropriations foreign aid panel, though it’s sure to draw a White House veto threat because it’s in line with a broader GOP spending plan that breaks faith with last summer’s budget and debt pact with President Barack Obama.
The panel maintains aid to Israel and Egypt at the administration’s requests but denies $800 million that was requested for a special fund for training and equipping Pakistan’s military in counterinsurgency tactics. The move appears to reflect wariness on the part of lawmakers toward the government of Pakistan, which failed to find Osama bin Laden for years until the U.S. military killed him a year ago.
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., accused Pakistan of “harboring a fugitive” and likened the U.S.-Pakistan relationship to a “bad marriage.”
Given the animosity toward Pakistan, the $800 million request for counterinsurgency efforts was an easy target, though the measure would permit transfers from other accounts to make up for some or all of the shortfall. …
Read more » The Washington Post
Via – Wichaar.com
About the Book
Description: Hard Bound, It is for the first time that a book has come out by a senior officer of the 1 Corps in the Western Sector, Shakargarh Region, where the Strike Corps of Indian Army fought its war. As a participant of war, Col. Saigal, analyses 1971 Indo Pak war in his book, and indirectly enables one to have the reasons for Kargil misadventure of the Pak Army. We get a good factual knowledge of Pakistan Army and why it is in the present shape. This book is unique in so far as it gives the insight into Sam Manekshaw’s personality- a fine soldier who has been misunderstood as also of the real liberator of Bangladesh, Lt.Gen. Sagat Singh, about whom very little is known. While narrating the facts of 1971 Indio-Pak war he very rightly spells out a question-Pakistan was spilt while the country had a General at the helm of state of affairs. Will the country be split again with a General at the helm of affairs-a pointer, he argues-as it is not in the interest of Pakistan and India both If a further split occurs, It will be in the interest of foreign powers.
By Dr Tariq Rahman
We know who does not! The Foreign Office certainly does not and the civilian governments also do not. Or, if they do, they control those aspects of foreign policy which do not deal with India, the United States and Kashmir. And if you classify nuclear weapons as a foreign policy issue, then once again, the government does not control them. So then, those who do control these crucial issues of foreign policy are the top leadership of the army, the intelligence agencies and pressure groups in Pakistan. There are bits of evidence in interviews, anecdotes and biographies given by people about decision-making in the 1965 War and the 1971 military action in Dhaka, as well as the long-drawn proxy war in Kashmir to prove the above assertions. To cite but one example, Sartaj Aziz tells us in his book Between Dreams and Realities: some Milestones in Pakistan’s History (OUP, 2009) that the disastrous Kargil misadventure was taken by General Pervez Musharraf, who met him before he went to India as foreign minister and again when he returned from there in order to ensure that Aziz does not concede anything like withdrawal of troops from the forward locations in Indian-held areas. In short, the foreign minister of Pakistan went to Delhi to defuse the tension but ‘with his hands tied behind his back’ (as the press put it). Moreover, Musharraf held his briefing with the prime minister about Kargil after the event and not before. And this usurpation of foreign policy is not something unusual. The military high command thinks it is the sole guardian of national interest and, therefore, keeps making policies which diplomats have to defend — always a nightmare for their excellencies in foreign capitals.
By Francis Fukuyama
….Once humans considered surrendering their nomadic way of life to create states will solve their problems…they lost many rights for the sake of state…but the formation of states without a political order gave birth to tyrant ruling classes…now it has been proved that political order without the concepts of accountability and the rule of law has no meaning.
Francis Fukuyama in his new book ‘THE ORIGINS OF POLITICAL ORDER’ (Dawn B&A) says “every society needs a balance between ‘power grabbing centralising forces’ and ‘rights disseminating decentralising forces’ to establish political order otherwise anarchy and chaos prevails…
this is very well relevant to today’s Pakistan situation…there’s need to strike a balance between the power-hungry military which has ruled this country for more than 30 years and indirectly controls foreign and security policies even today and the weak political class…this country can come on the right track only by establishing a judicious political order which should be democratic and egalitarian in nature…
Source – adapted from facebook wall
Q: What type of conflict is taking place in Karachi?
A: The classification is “Ethno-political” – ethnicity, identity, politics and crime are all in conflict with each other.
Q: Who are the primary actors in the conflict?
A: MQM, ANP and PPP.
Q: Who are the secondary actors in the conflict?
A: Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), organised criminal gangs, sectarian entities and foreign intelligence agencies.
Dialogue only on Freedom Agenda, Pakistan is an Occupier, Intervention Continuing Since 1948! Hyrbeyar Marri & Khan Kalat
Baloch national leader Waja HyrBeyar Marri said that there would be no dialogue on anything except freedom, speaking in a private TV program, the patriotic Baloch leader said that foreign interference in Balochistan started the day one when Pakistan occupied it! Pakistan is the occupier! On a desperate remark of the anchorperson that Zardari would not give you
Freedom, HyrBeyar said that they would knock every door of international community for support, and pledge that every Baloch would work hard to regain the freedom!
HyrBeyar Marri, exiled in London, said that the name of Islam is manipulated to serve morbid interests. He said that the attitude of Punjabi elite has never been friendly, he added that Pakistani oligarch has always plundered and looted Balochistan.
Read more » http://www.twitlonger.com/show/gnsdep
Honorable Dana Rohrabacher a Chairman of US foreign affairs committee has announced to support Sindh’s Freedom movement
Honorable Dana Rohrabacher a Chairman of US foreign affairs committee has announced to support Sindh’s Freedom movement . A month ago he has tabled resolution for Baluchistan’s freedom. …..
آمريڪي سينٽ جي پرڏيھي معاملن جي ڪاميٽيءَ جي چيئرمين ڊانا روھرا بيڪر چيو آھي ته ھو بلوچن جيان جلد مظلوم سنڌين جي حقن لاءِ به آواز اٿاريندو ـ
Discussing the Motives of the Afghan Shooter
by Glenn Greenwald
Here’s a summary of the Western media discussion of what motivated U.S. Staff Sgt. Robert Bales to allegedly kill 16 Afghans, including 9 children: he was drunk, he was experiencing financial stress, he was passed over for a promotion, he had a traumatic brain injury, he had marital problems, he suffered from the stresses of four tours of duty, he “saw his buddy’s leg blown off the day before the massacre,” etc.
Here’s a summary of the Western media discussion of what motivates Muslims to kill Americans: they are primitive, fanatically religious, hateful Terrorists.
Hon. Congressman Brad Sherman discuss with USAID Administer R. Shah. “On Tuesday, March 20, 2012, at a hearing on the foreign aid budget, Congressman Brad Sherman discusses U.S. support for the Sindh.
Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, March 20, 2012.
Have you heard of any country where the apex court wants to hand over a sitting president to a foreign magistrate?
Will not write letter to Swiss authorities, PM tells SC
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani on Monday submitted his reply to the Supreme Court in the contempt of court case, DawnNews reported.
In the reply, the prime minister formally informed the SC that he would not write the letter to the Swiss authorities to reopen graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.
The prime minister’s lawyer Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsen’s associate Barrister Gauhar submitted the reply, consisting of 24 pages, to the apex court.
The PM claimed in his reply that he completely trusts the SC, but expressed reservations on the bench.
Gilani stated that he was wrongly convicted by courts for eight and ten years earlier too, but that he was as innocent then as he is today.
The prime minister claims that his decision to not write to the Swiss authorities was in good faith, and that the constitution does not allow him to write the letter. The reply further argues that presenting the president before a foreign would be in violation of the Constitution.
Earlier today, Aitzaz had said that it was not necessary that court’s verdict against Gilani would result in the premier’s disqualification.
Aitzaz said that Supreme Court should not take any decision on March 21 without hearing him.
Moreover, he also said that a sentence of less than two years could not disqualify the prime minister. Aitzaz added that following the constitution of Pakistan does not indicate that they are at odds with the judiciary.
He said that certain elements were trying to create a rift between the government and judiciary however they would not be allowed to succeed.
Via » Twitter
ISLAMABAD: Foreign Office has moved the European countries providing asylum to Baloch leaders to make sure their soil was not used against Pakistan, Geo News reported.
Foreign Office Foreign Office Spokesman Abdul Basit while replying to questions in his weekly press briefing here said, “Pakistan has raised this question with the concerned countries, adding a demarche has been issued to ambassador of Switzerland in Islamabad.”
Abdul Basit said Islamabad has also wrote to the relevant countries in this regard and was assured by them that their soil would not be used to hatch anarchy in Pakistan.
“We are cognizant of the developments in Balochistan and necessary steps have also been taken,” he added.
The spokesman said Pakistan s trying to handle the situation in the province politically adding “it is our internal issue and will be dealt with in accordance with the constitution and our own preferences”.
He said, “The foreign office and our missions abroad are engaged actively in order to ensure that this issue is not portrayed in any other context by the detractors.”
On the issue of Balochistan, the spokesman said Pakistan has been handling the situation politically in accordance with its own laws, priorities and constitution.
He also disclosed that years ago US embassy had applied for opening a consulate in Balochistan but Pakistan declined the request.
Not learning a lesson from the debacle of East Pakistan has brought Balochistan to the point where it is at the brink of ending its ties with the rest of the country, and the blame is being put on the ‘foreign element’ and the ‘misguided’ Baloch. If the real powers running the country refuse to hear the cries of Sindhis at this time, they would have no one to blame but themselves.
The PPP was always seen as a ray of hope for the Sindhis for a long time. A kind of last refuge. This administration has brought a common Sindhi to the point where he feels robbed of this hope. If ever there existed a Sindh card, the government has already sold it to its coalition partners for a few years in power
By Baqir Sajjad Syed
ISLAMABAD, March 2: Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has said she hopes for a relationship with Afghanistan based on trust and called for leaving behind the past associated with interference in that country and support for Taliban.
“Recognise what we are doing now without overshadowing it with whatever has been Pakistan’s historical baggage. We are moving out of that hangover,” Ms Khar said at a meeting with a group of journalists at her office a week after Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani launched an appeal for all Afghan groups to join an intra-Afghan process for peace and reconciliation. ….
Read more » DAWN
After Pakistan was condemned by the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee last week for human rights violations in Balochistan province, Pakistan’s security forces responded ruthlessly, outraged the Baloch would dare seek external help to escape a nightmarish existence.
According to Malik Siraj Akbar, editor of The Baloch Hal, on Feb. 13 the bullet-riddled body of a prominent Baloch leader was discovered who had been missing for over two years. The gruesome operation is called “kill and dump” and is the calling card of Pakistan’s spy agency – the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
The victim was Sangat Sana Baloch, leader of the Baloch Republican Party (BRP) …
Continue reading » Examiner.com
Baloch Republican Party chief Brahamdagh Bugti living in exile claimed Wednesday Baloch movement did not enjoy any foreign support, saying but they would welcome it, be it from the US, NATO or the India.
‘We know foreign powers have their own interests; we think of our own greater interests”, he said in a telephonic press conference at Quetta Press Club.
Mr. Bugti said Baloch women, leaders, activists, students, writers, poets, and intellectuals were being picked up and eventually being disappeared and eventually turning up dead. Under such circumstances, we would welcome the support of foreign countries for independence, he said.
Bugti backed the US resolution on Balochistan and justified it was not against the sovereignty of Pakistan as every country possessed right to intervene in another country’s affairs if that state was involved in human rights violations ….
Read more » The Point
More details » BBC urdu
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.
Although the congressional hearing and subsequent resolutions were not sponsored by the Obama administration, American diplomats still face the wrath of Pakistani officials due to utter ignorance of the American poli-tical system. Anti-Americanism is not unfamiliar in Pakistan, but bashing the Obama administration for a ‘crime’ it has not committed simply means there is something fishy in Islamabad’s cupboard.
Continue reading →