Tag Archives: GHQ

Editor quits, columnists dropped: Pakistan Army ‘has choked all dissent’

Today, the Marxist editor is at the centre of another controversy involving the establishment after resigning as editor of the Lahore-based English language newspaper Daily Times.

Written by Nirupama Subramanian

In the 1970s, when the Pakistan Army barrelled into Balochistan to bring the restive province under control, Rashed Rehman was among a handful of youngsters from a few elite families in Lahore who joined the rebel forces and fought against the military. Today, the Marxist editor is at the centre of another controversy involving the establishment after resigning as editor of the Lahore-based English language newspaper Daily Times.

Read more » The Indian Express
See more » http://indianexpress.com/article/world/world-news/editor-quits-columnists-dropped-pakistan-army-has-choked-all-dissent/#.VlpH66zVYLw.facebook

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Pakistan’s Army Chief Is in Washington — Embarrassing His Prime Minister

By 

Why is General Raheel Sharif, Pakistan’s army chief, visiting Washington right now? Wasn’t his Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, in the nation’s capital less than a month ago? I know you are confident about your guess: The Americans must have invited him to come and discuss the unfinished war on terror. Oops! You got it wrong.According to the Voice of America, the United States government has not invited Pakistan’s powerful army chief. To borrow a phrase from the Hindustan Times, Raheel has invited himself to the U.S. The invitation does not matter much but this trip once again highlights the army’s brazenly tight grip on the country’s democratic government, specifically its foreign policy. A smug Raheel is in Washington with a straightforward message to D.C.’s policymakers: Forget about what was discussed between President Obama and Prime Minister Sharif last month. Let’s talk again. I decide my country’s foreign policy, not the prime minister.

Before his arrival to Washington, Raheel’s army, on November 10th, had solely taken credit for the “improved security situation” but rebuked the democratic administration that the “progress” it had made in the fight against terrorism could not be “sustained without matching betterment in governance and administration.”

Although the army has historically been in full control of Pakistan’s external relations, Raheel, since becoming the army chief, has staged sort of a foreign policy coup. Prime Minister Sharif, a victim of a military coup in 1999, has been so cautious in avoiding another military takeover that he has even not appointed a foreign minister two years after becoming the prime minister for a third term. On the foreign policy front, the army is explicitly intimidating the prime minister. He cannot take bold decisions or fulfill the promises he makes during meetings with foreign heads of government. The army chief has entered into an undeclared competition with the prime minister over foreign trips.

According to Zahid Hussain, a senior Pakistani journalist, the army chief “has perhaps travelled to more world capitals over the last two years than even the prime minister, reinforcing the perception that not only does the military call the shots on security matters it is also actively directing the country’s foreign policy

Read more » Huffington Post
See more » http://www.huffingtonpost.com/malik-siraj-akbar/pakistans-army-chief-is-i_b_8580138.html

NAP progress not only reason of tension between institutions

ISLAMABAD: A lack of progress on the National Action Plan (NAP) to counter terrorism in the wake of the Army Public School massacre was just one of many reasons behind the civil-military tensions that boiled over last week.

In background conversations with Dawn, military officials and civilian leaders offered their own interpretations for the reasons behind a public spat between the government and the army.

Also read: Military’s complaint

Sources say that there have been a number of recent developments that have strained the ever-sensitive balance of power between the two institutions.

After the corps commanders’ meeting on Nov 10, the military leadership expressed its dissatisfaction with the government’s performance on NAP. This prompted an uncharacteristic response from the PM Office the following day, which emphasised that effective implementation of NAP was the shared responsibility of all national institutions working within the ambit of the constitution.

A senior government functionary close to the PML-N leadership told Dawn that the prime minister had never been very comfortable with the army chief’s trips to international capitals. He was particularly unhappy, the functionary said, with Gen Raheel Sharif’s visits to Saudi Arabia in the first week of November, and now the US.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1220034

Pak army chief’s remarks: Senate chief proposes joint session

By Afzal Khan/ Islamabad

Rabbani calls for in-camera meeting as senators raise alarm.

Amid a continuing debate over the army chief’s provocative statement on governance, Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani has suggested that an in-camera joint session of parliament should be held to discuss it.

Rabbani called for the joint session as senators picked up the largely negative reaction earlier voiced in the National Assembly where several members voiced alarm that Gen. Raheel Sharif had overstepped his constitutional authority.

Rabbani further proposed that besides the progress on the National Action Plan (NAP), the in-camera session should also take up issues pertaining to foreign policy. It is widely believed that the Nawaz Sharif government has ceded its control over major foreign policy matters to the army.

Read more » Khaleej Times
See more » http://www.khaleejtimes.com/international/pakistan/pak-army-chiefs-remarks-senate-chief-proposes-joint-session

In case of threat, opposition to stand by govt: Aitzaz

“The ISPR  and the Corps Commanders has no right t publicly talk about the democratic and constitutional government.”

BY AMIR WASIM

ISLAMABAD: Severely criticising a recent ISPR statement on poor implementation of the National Action Plan (NAP) by the civilian set-up, several political parties — mainly the PPP — assured the PML-N government of their complete support in any eventuality.

“I am disappointed with the governance of the present government. But the ISPR and the corps commanders have no right to publicly talk about the democratic and constitutional government of Nawaz Sharif,” Leader of Opposition Aitzaz Ahsan said while speaking on a point of order in the Senate.

“Keep on indulging in my character assassination, but you will find Aitzaz Ahsan and those sitting on the opposition benches with you in case of any threat (to the government),” he said in an apparent reference to recent personal attacks on him by some ministers on the floor of the house.

Also read-editorial: Military’s complaint

Mr Ahsan said it was Mehmood Achakzai of the Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) who had been talking on the matter over the past two days, regretting that no-one from the PML-N had the courage to speak out.

Indicating tensions in civil-military ties, the military leadership had gone public on Tuesday with its concerns about poor implementation of the NAP and warned that efficacy of its counter-terrorism efforts could be undermined by inadequate supporting actions from civilian agencies.

The ISPR (Inter-Services Public Relations) issued the statement after a corps commanders’ meeting presided over by army chief Gen Raheel Sharif.

“There is no doubt that the present government is absolutely incompetent. But can the military make such an announcement through an official statement after the corps commanders’ conference,” said Farhatullah Babar. “The ISPR statement itself is a manifestation of poor governance of the rulers.”

“We can also ask questions about your governance, Mr Commander,” he said in an apparent reference to the army chief.

“You almost daily tell us about the killing of foreign militants in Tirah Valley and other tribal areas. Please tell us the names of at least two militants,” he said. Similarly, he added, there were many questions in their minds about the ongoing Operation Zarb-i-Azb. “However, we do not ask such questions publicly believing that the army is doing a good job.”

Mr Babar said he would like to know why the army chief had not raised the issues at a meeting on national security issues presided over by the prime minister only two days before the corps commanders’ conference.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1219328/

Gen Sharif himself requested for this visit – Pentagon

COAS to share ideas with US on Afghanistan

BY BAQIR SAJJAD SYED

ISLAMABAD: Army chief Gen Raheel Sharif is expected to mainly focus on Afghanistan during his coming visit to the United States.

During his stay in the US, from Nov 15 to 20, the COAS will meet senior officials at the Pentagon and the State Department, according to officials making preparation for the visit.

This will be the army chief’s second visit to Washington in a year. And it comes close on the heels of a visit to Washington by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif last month when he discussed almost everything with President Barack Obama.

But given the extent of the military’s influence in the country’s foreign affairs and security matters, people here believe that more substantive discussions would take place during the army chief’s US trip.

One must also not lose sight of the fact that Gen Sharif himself requested for this visit. To put it in the words of a Washington-based source, it is not ‘a counterpart visit’.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1218291

More details » Voice of America
http://m.urduvoa.com/a/pentagon-says-raheel-sharif-visiting-us-without-invitation-12nov2015/3054787.html

Win Pak-India nuke war?

By PERVEZ HOODBHOY

That Pakistan may first use nuclear weapons in a future war with India was announced last week by Foreign Secretary Aizaz Chaudhry. Coming just two days before Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s Oct 22 visit to Washington, this could be considered a reiteration of the army’s well-known stance. But, significantly it came from the Foreign Office rather than GHQ or Strategic Plans Division. Coming from both ends of the power spectrum, this confirms that Pakistan has drastically shifted its nuclear posture.

In the late 1980s, Pakistan had viewed nuclear weapons very differently; they were the last-ditch means to deter a possible nuclear attack by India. But Pakistan now says it intends to use low-yield nuclear bombs, also called tactical nuclear weapons, to forestall the possible advance of Indian troops into Pakistan under India’s ‘Cold Start’ operational doctrine.

Floated by Gen Deepak Kapoor in 2010, Cold Start calls for cutting Pakistan into “salami slices” as punishment for hosting yet another Mumbai-style terrorist attack inside India. It assumes that this limited action would not provoke a nuclear exchange. India strenuously denies that such a doctrine is official or that it has been made operational.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1216449/

Pakistani military controlling Nawaz government: TIME

The Pakistani Military Has Tightened Its Control of the Country’s Security Policy

Appointment of retired general to key security role seen as military attempt to have greater sway

Pakistan plans to appoint a recently retired army general as its new national security adviser, senior officials have told Reuters, indicating yet another step forward in the Pakistani military’s effort to increase its control of the country’s government.

Lieut. General Naseer Khan Janjua will soon be appointed to the key diplomatic and strategic post and will accompany Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on an upcoming visit to the U.S., Reuters cited one military and two civilian officials as saying.

Janjua retired from the armed forces last week and will reportedly replace current national security adviser Sartaj Aziz, who also holds a key post in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Read more » TIME
Lear more » http://time.com/4077679/pakistan-national-security-advisor-naseer-khan-janjua/

More » The Nation
See more » http://nation.com.pk/national/19-Oct-2015/pakistani-military-controlling-nawaz-government-time

General (retd) Zaheerul Islam: The shadow warrior

By Herald

There were rumours in the air. During the 126-day-long dharna by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) against the ruling Pakistan Muslim League–Nawaz (PMLN), there were murmurs of a coup d’état. Other than General Shuja Pasha, the former intelligence officer who is known to be a close friend and supporter of PTI Chairman Imran Khan, the other name that was repeatedly brought up was that of Zaheerul Islam, the then director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Allegedly, the two were conspiring to create a rift between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif. In the past, the premier had acted against generals whom he had differences with. It was expected that he would again act in a similar manner, under the presumption that the dharna had the general’s backing. But the events did not play out as expected. Not exactly.

It was Federal Defence Minister Khawaja Asif who first stated that the two were behind the political unrest that prevailed last year. Specifically, the minister said, Islam had a “personal grievance” with the ruling party for siding with a particular media house. Asif was subsequently sidelined and snubbed at a dinner with army generals and quickly made to learn a central lesson.

Not everyone took from his experience. In an interview with the BBC in August 2015, Senator Mushahidullah Khan claimed that an audio tape obtained by the Intelligence Bureau was played during a meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Raheel Sharif last year, in which Islam could be heard giving instructions to raid the prime minister’s office. According to the senator, when questioned by General Raheel Sharif, Islam confirmed that the voice was his own.

Khan later clarified that he himself had not heard the tape. Never mind the fact that he kept referring to the ex-ISI Chief as Zahirul Islam Abbasi – the major general who had plotted to overthrow the Benazir Bhutto government in 1995, and who died six years ago – the damage had been done.

Appointed on the recommendation of then President Asif Ali Zardari in March 2012, Islam became the 18th director general of the ISI. He has remained mostly out of the spotlight and yet, he manages to cast a shadow over many major events in the last few years. The most significant of them was when a private television channel ran photographs of Islam alongside allegations by journalist Hamid Mir’s brother stating that firing on the prime-time anchorperson was the handiwork of the intelligence agencies.

Continue reading General (retd) Zaheerul Islam: The shadow warrior

Attacking Pak Army Hqrs an option: Indian Army

By Faisul Yaseen

Srinagar, Sept 29: Brigadier J S Cheema of the Army’s Baramulla-based 19th Infantry Division said attacking Pakistan Army headquarters in Rawalpindi was an option with the Indian Army.

Addressing a conference organized by the Army to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the end of 1965 war at Army’s strategic Srinagar-based 15 Corps headquarters, Brig Cheema said, attacking Pakistan Army headquarters was an option with the Indian Army.
“What are we waiting for? Another 26/11?” he said.
Brig Cheema said New Delhi should deal with Islamabad the way the United States dealt with Pakistan when it carried the Operation Neptune Spear in May 2011 that resulted in the death of the former Al-Qaeda chief, Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
He said Indian Army had already carried attacks inside another country – Myanmar – by attacking the camps of its rebel leaders and attacking Pakistan Army headquarters would not be something new.
Indian Army had “crossed over to Myanmar territory” and launched a massive search involving hundreds of Army men and helicopters to track down the rebels during the operation.
Brig Cheema also said that the Army needs to play a role in making the separatist leadership in Kashmir irrelevant.
Read more » Rising Kashmir
See more » http://www.risingkashmir.com/news/attacking-pak-army-hqrs-an-option-indian-army/

Pakistan’s army Hail to the chief

Politicians are overshadowed by a publicity-seeking general

THE image of a mustachioed man with peaked cap and a chest full of medals is becoming hard to avoid in Pakistan. It is splashed across the posters of a politician competing in a by-election in the eastern city of Lahore. It looms large on giant billboards in the port city of Karachi, apparently paid for by adoring citizens. And it is a rare day when Pakistan’s chief of army staff is not pictured on a newspaper front page. He has even entered the colourful repertoire of artists who decorate the nation’s trucks and rickshaws.

The apotheosis of General Raheel Sharif (pictured, wearing beret) makes it harder than ever for his unrelated namesake, Nawaz Sharif, who is prime minister, to claw back powers from an army that has directly and indirectly controlled Pakistan for most of its history. Nawaz Sharif’s election victory in 2013 resulted in the country’s first transfer of power from one civilian government to another. But the extent of his authority is debatable: the army is reasserting itself.

This marks quite a turnaround for an institution that eight years ago was so unpopular that off-duty soldiers in the most restive areas were advised not to wear their uniforms in public. The long rule of General Pervez Musharraf, a coup-maker, had seriously tarnished the army’s prestige. A particular setback was the violence unleashed in central Islamabad in 2007 when General Musharraf decided to clear out a pro-Taliban mosque in the heart of the city. The army was humiliated in 2011 when the public discovered Osama bin Laden had been hiding next to the country’s officer-training school and that American special forces had been able to penetrate deep into Pakistan to kill him.

Today the army is riding high, buoyed by an improvement in security following a decision in June 2014 to launch an all-out campaign against the Pakistani Taliban. Many credit General Sharif with taking the initiative. Operation Zarb-e-Azb has seen key towns in the former Taliban sanctuary of North Waziristan retaken by the state. Militants have been hunted down elsewhere, particularly in Karachi, which had been a major centre of Taliban activity. All this work has helped cut militant violence by nearly half in the last nine months, according to the Pakistan Institute of Peace Studies, a think-tank in Islamabad.

At the same time the army has been waging a public-relations war, promoting General Sharif as a star. The media dutifully report on his every visit to the front lines and publish photographs of every honour-guard he inspects during his numerous overseas trips.

Read more » The Economist
See more » http://www.economist.com/news/asia/21667980-politicians-are-overshadowed-publicity-seeking-general-hail-chief

Is democracy still a “security imperative”?

By Umer Farooq

A political set-up devoid of legitimacy invites military coups. In a politically unstable country like Pakistan, when the government’s legitimacy is lost or challenged, a military coup becomes a real possibility — this is clearly exemplified by the two previous military coups. General Ziaul Haq staged the 1977 coup when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s government was facing a challenge to its legitimacy, from a coalition of groups belonging to the religious right alleging rigging in the general elections. General (retd) Pervez Musharraf and his generals staged their coup when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was facing allegations of rigging in parliamentary elections. In a subsequent case of intervention by the army, Musharraf was removed from power by his subordinate generals when the street protests spearheaded by the lawyers’ community brought into focus the question of Musharraf’s legitimacy — a question as old as the regime itself.

Every regime in the post-Musharraf period has faced a challenge to its legitimacy. This includes the administration headed by Musharraf himself. On the onset, he hardly faced political resistance of any significance to his rule; nevertheless, the legal and constitutional legitimacy of his rule were seriously questioned from the very start. The Lawyers’ Movement, starting in 2007, only brought this issue of legal and constitutional legitimacy to the forefront.

Legitimacy can be defined as a public perception that a ruler or a government has the right and authority to govern the country — politically, legally and morally. Losing legitimacy means a situation where the government or the ruler becomes devoid, in public perception, of the right to rule the country on account of any illegality or corruption.

The Asif Ali Zardari-led Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) government was elected through a democratic electoral process which was legally, politically and morally legitimate. Nevertheless, a situation was created where the PPP was forced, through a campaign of media trials and succession of court judgments, to face allegations of financial corruption of its leaders and the situation escalated to created a sense of mistrust in the government.

The Pakistan Muslim League–Nawaz (PMLN) government came into power in 2013 in an atmosphere where allegations of corruption were a constant. Something new and more powerful was required, and came when the leading opposition party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), pushed for rolling back the whole political system on the basis of alleged rigging in the 2013 election. The protests that brought these allegations into the limelight came and went away, with the Sharif government surviving the onslaught. However, the protests left lingering doubts in the public imagination about the credibility of parliamentary elections. These doubts could be left to hibernate, while the power struggle continued in the corridors of power in Islamabad, and revived at an appropriate time to act as the Sword of Damocles over the political system.

The Pakistani people have passively witnessed similar developments unfold so often in the past that they can make educated guesses regarding what the next act will entail, and who the main actors will be. The actors are constant: political parties of the religious right spearheading campaigns to raise the legitimacy question, the recently mobilised retired generals and ex-servicemen similarly advancing this campaign, and the media acting as another proxy in this game played out by not-so-hidden hands.

Continue reading Is democracy still a “security imperative”?

US Set to Suspend Military Aid to Pakistan

The U.S. government will withhold certification of Pakistan’s counter-terrorism operations against the Haqqani network.

By Ankit Panda

The United States government will not certify Pakistan’s counter-terrorism operations in North Waziristan over recent months as adequately damaging to the Haqqani network, a U.S.-designated terror group. The U.S. Department of Defense has reportedly notified the Pakistani embassy in Washington of the development, according to a report by Dawn. The non-certification of the Pakistani counter-terror campaign, known as Operation Zarb-e-Azb, will block the release of a new tranche of U.S. financial assistance for the Pakistani military from the Coalition Support Fund (CSF). CSF support had been extended for a year with a specific stipulation that the U.S. Department of Defense would certify the effectiveness of Pakistani military operations in North Waziristan against the Haqqani network.

The development would drive a major wedge between the United States and Pakistan, two allies who have grown apart over their divergent interests and priorities in stabilizing the broader Afghan-Pakistan border. Beyond the financial implications of the blocked CSF tranche, the development will deal Islamabad a politically damaging blow. As the Dawn report notes, given the recent deterioration in ties with Kabul amid allegations from the Afghan president, Ashraf Ghani, that Pakistani has inadequately reigned in cross-border terrorists, including militants affiliated with the Haqqani network, the U.S. government’s decision to withhold certification vindicate Afghan perceptions.

Read more » The | Diplomat
See more » http://thediplomat.com/2015/08/us-set-to-suspend-military-aid-to-pakistan/

Afghan president Ashraf Ghani slams Pakistan over recent Kabul attacks

By AFP

KABUL: Afghan president Ashraf Ghani lambasted neighbouring Pakistan today over a recent wave of insurgent attacks in the capital Kabul that killed at least 56 people.

“The last few days have shown that suicide bomber training camps and bomb-producing factories which are killing our people are as active as before in Pakistan,” Ghani told a news conference.

“We hoped for peace but we are receiving messages of war from Pakistan.”

Pakistan has historically supported the Taliban insurgents and many Afghans accuse it of nurturing militant sanctuaries on its soil in the hope of maintaining influence in Afghanistan.

Read more » The Times of India
See more » http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/south-asia/Afghan-president-Ashraf-Ghani-slams-Pakistan-over-recent-Kabul-attacks/articleshow/48424463.cms
– – – –
More details » BBC urdu
http://www.bbc.com/urdu/regional/2015/08/150810_kabul_blast_fz

Even armymen not above the law, say ex-servicemen

BY IKRAM JUNAIDI

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Ex-Servicemen Association has openly called for punitive action against anyone — irrespective of rank or status — who is guilty of corruption or providing support to terrorists, even if they are from the military.

A statement issued on Sunday after a meeting of the association’s executive council said that members had demanded that the government “ensure total human equality while dealing with all cases of corruption and other unlawful activities”.

It further said: “[Ex-servicemen have] always maintained that punitive action must be taken against all found guilty of supporting corruption or terrorism, irrespective of their status and rank, including [members of] the armed forces.”

Explaining the association’s resolve, retired Brigadier Samson Sharaf told Dawn, “If we are to clear the dirt, we have to do it indiscriminately. We are a citizens’ army, we are not above anyone.” He added that all ex-servicemen had offered themselves up for accountability and said that he believed that no-one should be exempt from scrutiny.

The statement’s timing is significant, coming at a time when rumours regarding the possible court-martial of military officials, including a general, on corruption charges are doing the rounds. A reference to the case in a recent newspaper editorial has also sparked speculation, although ISPR has yet to confirm or deny whether such proceedings have actually been instituted.

The meeting, which was chaired by retired Lt-Gen Ali Kuli Khan, was also attended by Air Marshal Masood Akhtar, Lt-Gen Naeem Akbar, Brig Mian Mahmud, Brig Arbi Khan, Brig Masudul Hassan. Brig Akram Malik and Brig Waqar Raja, among others.

Continue reading Even armymen not above the law, say ex-servicemen

‘If attempts are made to agitate us then we’ll respond accordingly’

ISLAMABAD: Former President and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Tuesday said that he was not interested in coming into power but only wanted to serve the masses of the country.

Speaking to party workers and office bearers belonging to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and FATA here, he said when the ‘PPP moves it jolts all others’, adding that mid-term elections would have been held if his party put its weight behind Imran Khan’s PTI led protests against the government last year.

“We are watching the political game, political moves and waiting for the right time to arrive… let those play to whom we provided a bat and ball,” said the former president.

“Let them put the economy back on track… it will be good if they succeed, but if they don’t then those provoking us must understand that if I stand up then not only Sindh but every town from Khyber to Karachi would be shut.”

Commenting on former military ruler Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf, Zardari said that the former president, who he said still acts like a commando, cannot even spend three months in a Pakistani jail.

“Musharraf does not know how many threats Pakistan is facing currently, but I do,” he remarked.

He warned against character assassination of his party, saying if they started doing the same then no one would be spared including army generals. “Army is our institutions,” he added.

Zardari went on to say that army chiefs come and go every three years but the political leadership is here to stay. “I don’t want the national institutions to weaken,” he added.

“If attempts are made to agitate us then we’ll respond accordingly,” said the aggressive looking PPP co-chairman.

Addressing the party workers, he said that they had to learn a lot and he had to teach them.

“At the time of BB’s [former prime minister Benazir Bhutto] martyrdom, I said Pakistan khappay (long live Pakistan)… but, there’s a limit to everything,” he concluded.

PPP Patron-in-Chief Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari was also present on the occasion.

News courtesy: The News
Read more » http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-188229-If-attempts-are-made-to-agitate-us-then-well-respond-accordingly

Asif Zardari bursts out against army with a clear warning

ISLAMABAD: Temperament of Co-Chairman PPP Asif Ali Zardari finally lost when he burst out against army and indirectly straight forwardly towards Chief of Army Staff, General Raheel Sharif after the latter put allegations of corruption, smuggling, land-grabbing and extortion on him.

Zardari got out of control of emotions during his address to the party workers of PPP in FATA and clearly declared a war against army if it had tried to interrupt him again in future. He said not mentioning the name of COAS to stop his character assassination otherwise if he would stand then he would disclose the list of all the retired generals involved in corruption since the formation of Pakistan in media.

“We had stood by with army in difficult time, you have to stay here for just three years but we have to stay here forever”, he said, adding, “if we have been disturbed then we will tear you down brick by brick”.

He also clearly warned COAS not to interfere in those matters which are not related to him and said that if the beginning is started with war then we know how to fight. He further mentioned Gen Raheel Sharif that on one side India is threatening you, on the other end you are tackling with banned organizations of Taliban and in Balochistan you have to face the mean tactics of RAW, so at this crucial time we don’t want to weaken you.  

Read more » The News Teller
See more » http://www.thenewsteller.com/pakistan/asif-zardari-bursts-out-against-army-with-a-clear-warning/17800/

Pakistan Military vows befitting response against Indian aggression

RAWALPINDI – A Formation Commanders’ conference on Wednesday reiterated the armed forces resolve to defeat enemy’s designs, and defend the territorial integrity of Pakistan at any cost.

The conference was held here at the General Head Quarters (GHQ), which was presided over by Army Chief General Raheel Sharif and attended by Corps Commanders, Principal Staff Officers and all Formation Commanders.

It took serious notice of the recent Indian hostile rhetoric coupled with covert and overt actions to destabilise Pakistan. It was termed “highly regrettable” that Indian politicians not only indulged in actions which were in violation of the United Nations’ Charter, but also took pride in claiming their interference in the internal affairs of other states.

Read more » Daily Times
See more » http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/national/10-Jun-2015/military-vows-befitting-response-against-indian-aggression

The General Mindset: A Satire

Army2A Corps commander meeting was held in Rawalpindi under the chairmanship of most senior General of Pakistan Army to discuss the prevailing political and security situation in the country. The invitation was also extended to the high ranking official from SPD as a special guest, since it is the fourth branch of Pakistani military. During the meeting all the issues pertaining to common man were discussed in detail. While going through the agenda of the meeting, one general raised the point that we are not supposed to discuss the issues that are in the civilian domain and our focus should be only on the implementation of operational aspects of the security policy articulated by the political government. The participants of the meeting quickly noted that this general has just recently attended year long war course in USA and he is forgetting his duties as an officer of Pakistan army. He was reminded about the lack of professional expertise of the civilian principals, chronic corruption by political eliteand most importantly their dangerous tendencies to seek the peaceful relations with enemy of the state i.e., India.

Read more » PAK TEA HOUSE
See more » http://pakteahouse.net/2015/06/05/pakistani-generals-mindset-a-satire/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+teahouse+%28Pak+Tea+House%29

More lethal than RAW

BY PERVEZ HOODBHOY

Our generals say India’s spy agency RAW is up to its nasty tricks again. No evidence provided but, okay, we’ll buy the story for now. There are two good reasons. First, it’s safer not to question the wisdom of generals. Second, they speak from deep experience, having long played the spy-versus-spy game across borders.

Read more » DAWN
See more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1182200

‘Ex-army major, colonel involved in robbery of millions’

BY MOHAMMAD ASGHAR

RAWALPINDI: Local police sent a request to the interior ministry for the names of two former army officers involved in the biggest heist at the airport to be put on the Exit Control List (ECL).

A request was also sent to the Interpol for one of their accomplices in Dubai to be arrested.

Addressing a press conference on Wednesday, Regional Police Officer Muhammad Wisal Fakhar Sultan Raja said five people involved in the robbery were arrested and Rs30.86 million was recovered and the vehicle used in the heist was also found by the police.

 

Read more: Published in Dawn, April 30th, 2015
Read more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1179078/ex-army-major-colonel-involved-in-robbery-of-millions

`Modi may use military option if terror attack traced to Pakistan’

By PTI

“Every Indian Prime Minister since the attack on the Parliament in Delhi now heading on 15 years ago has looked seriously at a military response when these incidents occur and has stepped back. But I believe that sentiment inside India has changed substantially and I think this Prime Minister is unlikely to step back,” former US Ambassador to India Robert Blackwill said.

“If there is a major terrorist attack whose breadcrumbs lead to Pakistan and the Pakistan military and ISI, I think that this Prime Minister is likely to use military force against Pakistan territory. It’s not a certainty,” Blackwill told reporters during a conference call organised by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), a top American think-tank.

Read more » The Hindu
Learn more » http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/news/modi-may-use-military-option-if-terror-attack-traced-to-pakistan/article6864786.ece

Hafiz Saeed urges India to ‘leave Kashmir’

LAHORE: Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed urged India to “leave Kashmir” while addressing a rally in Lahore to mark Kashmir Solidarity Day on Tuesday.

“No one could defeat the Muslims… If America had to run away, then India, you will have to leave Kashmir as well,” said Saeed amid chants of ‘al-jihad, al-jihad’.

Read more » The Express Tribune
See more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/502947/hafiz-saeed-urges-india-to-leave-kashmir/

‘China, Russia back India on UN terror resolution targeting Pakistan’

NEW DELHI: China and Russia decided on Monday to back the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT) — a resolution supported by India and heavily biased against Pakistan.

At a meeting of Russia-India-China (RIC) in Beijing, Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj said her counterparts from the two countries understood the need for endorsing the resolution that has been pending at the UN for nearly two decades and seeks to widen the existing definition of terrorism.

The CCIT was proposed by India in 1996 in lieu of Pakistan allegedly backing Kashmiri separatists.

In Tuesday’s meeting, the RIC communiqué vouched to oppose terrorism of all forms and called all countries to join efforts in combating terrorism together with the United Nations.

Speaking at a press conference after the RIC meeting, Swaraj told reporters: “Our discussions on terrorism brought consensus on two issues. Firstly, there can be no ideological, religious, political, racial or any other justification for the acts of terrorism and secondly the need to bring to justice perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these acts of terror.”

Swaraj added that the ministers emphasized the need to step up information gathering and sharing and prevent the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICTs) for the purposes of recruitment and incitement to commit terrorist acts.

News courtesy » The Express Tribune
Read more » http://tribune.com.pk/story/832183/china-russia-back-india-on-un-terror-resolution-targeting-pakistan/

Is Pakistan Really Cracking Down on Terrorism?

BY

Many have called it a game-changer. On December 16, gunmen loyal to the Pakistani Taliban attacked a military school in Peshawar, killing 148 people. Most of the victims were children, and many were killed as they hid under the desks. The violence was so gruesome it seemed to rattle the country like never before. Quickly, the Pakistani government rushed to assure people it had the situation under control. In the aftermath of the attack, the government set up special military tribunals in which to try suspected terrorists, and the penalties are expected to be harsh. Meanwhile, the army reportedly broadened its crackdown in the federally administered tribal areas, in hopes of thwarting terrorism. “There will be no differentiation between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ Taliban,” Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said. As Matthew Green wrote in Newsweek, Sharif’s words were “a rare public acknowledgement of Pakistan’s murky record on state sponsorship of extremist proxies.” But more than a month after the massacre in Peshawar, has anything really changed? To explore that question, I chatted with Christine Fair, a professor of South Asian political and military affairs at Georgetown and the author of Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army’s Way of War (Oxford University Press, 2014).

Was the school shooting a turning point for Pakistan?

It absolutely was not. The army has said very clearly that they’re hoping these [tribunals] are going to give Pakistanis confidence that the military has the situation under control, but they don’t have anything under control

Who are the “bad militants” in Pakistan?

For the most part, almost all of the so-called bad militants have their origins in groups that the state has long sponsored, aided, abetted, trained and in some cases even developed from the grassroots, either to fight in India or in Afghanistan. So there would be no Pakistan Taliban if there had not been this flotilla of militant groups that the state developed.

The groups targeting the state follow the Deobandi interpretative tradition of Islam. This is important because this means that they share a significant common organizational infrastructure. For example, they rely on mosques and madrassas that adhere to the Deobandi tradition of Islam. When 9/11 happened and Pakistan was forced to work with the Americans, these Deobandi groups were furious. Many of these groups came to know Al-Qaeda through their association with the Taliban in Afghanistan. [The Afghan Taliban emerged from Deobandi madrassas in Pakistan.] And these Deobandi groups were furious that the Pakistani state was aiding the overthrow, not only of the Taliban government, but the only government in the world that was exercising a Deobandi version of Sharia [Islamic law]. After 9/11…[some] of these Deobandi groups began fracturing and disobeying the [Pakistani] state. That’s when the insurgency began. Over time these Deobandi organizations began calling themselves the Pakistani Taliban.

Who are the “good militants”?

The “good militants” are, of course, the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani Network, which continue to be loyal to the Pakistani state. And elements of the Pakistani Taliban that refuse to kill Pakistanis. All of those groups kill in Afghanistan on behalf of Pakistan’s interests. The other “good militant group” is Deobandi is Jaish-e-Mohammed, which was raised to kill Indians in Kashmir and beyond. Over the past year or so, Pakistan has been trying to resurrect Jaish with the aim of luring away some members of the Pakistani Taliban into Jaish for operations against India. There’s one other group that we haven’t talked about, because they’re not Deobandi, and that’s Lashkar-e-Taiba. That organization belongs to the Ahl-Hadith tradition of Islam. This organization has never conducted an operation in Pakistan. They have exclusively focused on India for the vast majority of its history. In recent years, they have been operating against Americans and our Afghan and other allies in Afghanistan.

Is Pakistan unable to crack down on the “bad militants”? Or do they simply choose otherwise?

The problem is they want to preserve the networks that produce terrorists because those networks are the same networks that also produce the “good militants.” When the “bad militants” come after the state, the Pakistanis do try and kill them. And they try and kill them rather than arrest them because Pakistan’s [civilian] legal system is so decrepit, judges are afraid to convict. But they can’t shut down the system comprehensively because Pakistan still hopes to use “good militants” as tools of foreign and defense policy in the region.

What purpose do these “good militants” serve?

Pakistan is an ideological state, not a security-seeking state. Pakistan was founded as the homeland for South Asia’s Muslims. The Pakistan movement mobilized around the Two Nation Theory, which held that Muslims and Hindus are equal nations even if Muslims are fewer in number than Hindus. The proponents of the Two Nation Theory argued that Muslims cannot live under Hindu domination. Pakistan needs to wrest Kashmir away from India to fulfill the dream of the Two Nation Theory because Kashmir is the only Muslim majority area in India.

Pakistan also hopes to retard India’s ability to impose its will on Pakistan and other countries in the region.The only assets Pakistan has to accomplish these goals are its jihadis, who operate with impunity thanks to Pakistan’s growing nuclear weapons. Also, these groups undertake operations with plausible deniability.

The so-called good militants also have an important role to play in Afghanistan. Pakistan prefers a manageable chaos in Afghanistan rather than an Afghanistan that is friendly to India. Pakistan is trying to bring some of the “bad militants” back into the fold of the “good militants.” Pakistan’s efforts to reorient part of the Pakistani Taliban in this way also explains why the Pakistan military gave a five-months warning before undertaking operations in North Waziristan. They wanted to make sure they could return as many of their assets as possible to the category of good militants. And they were pretty successful. What remained in North Waziristan are committed foes who can be dealt with through violence and death.

Continue reading Is Pakistan Really Cracking Down on Terrorism?

Sindh’s rude awakening

By Qasim A. Moini

Friday’s massacre in a Shikarpur Imambargah has proved fears long held by many observers that behind the traditional image of Sindh as a placid land of Sufis, a much darker reality is developing.

While Karachi, the provincial capital, has witnessed incredibly bloody violence carried out by militants of various stripes, it is the first time an attack of such devastating proportions has occurred outside the metropolis, in the hinterland of Sindh.

Also read: At least 60 killed in blast at Shikarpur imambargah

Shikarpur and its surrounding districts are far from islands of peace and tranquillity. They have witnessed a high level of lawlessness as well as religiously-inspired violence, but nothing of this level. For example in February 2013 the custodian of a dargah was attacked in neighbouring Jacobabad district. Yet while the area is said to have a soft corner for religious groups, there is no major history of sectarian discord.

Senior journalist Sohail Sangi says there have been a number of sporadic incidents of religiously-inspired violence in Shikarpur and its environs. “Nato supply trucks were attacked in this region. It is quite a lawless area. Religious groups and parties have considerable presence here. Before the Sept 11 attacks some locals even went to fight for the Afghan Taliban. But there are not that many sectarian issues. Sectarian problems mostly exist in Khairpur and Sukkur.

Indeed Khairpur, which borders Shikarpur, has developed a reputation for communal tension and is seen as one of the centres in Sindh of the Sipah-i-Sahaba Pakistan/Ahle Sunnat Wal Jamaat. In fact the late head of the SSP,

Ali Sher Hyderi, who was killed in 2009 in the city, hailed from Khairpur. Elsewhere in the province, extremist outfits are said to be active in the Thar region, while along most of the provincial highways sectarian and religious graffiti is hard to miss.

Security analyst Amir Rana feels Sindh is going through the same motions as Punjab did in the 1990s where the development and proliferation of extremist tendencies are concerned.

“Different [extremist] groups have been making inroads in Sindh. After Ali Sher Hyderi’s assassination there were fears there would be a reaction. However, it didn’t happen then.

Deobandi madressahs are spreading, similar to what happened in the Punjab in the 1980s. With the expansion of madressahs, sectarian tendencies also tend to grow. The sectarian divide is definitely growing in Sindh,” he observes.

Human Rights Commission of Pakistan chairperson Zohra Yusuf feels the atrocity in Shikarpur puts a question mark over the state’s methods of countering militancy in the aftermath of the Peshawar school attack.

The bombing “goes against the government’s rationale that military courts and the death penalty would be deterrents. There needs to be zero tolerance for sectarian outfits. The government is not clear. The list of banned outfits has not been clearly released.

You need a clear definition of [who] the terrorist and sectarian groups are and what the government is doing against them. The government is in two minds, whether to take action against them or not.”

Asked how the state was dealing with the threat of extremism in Sindh, Mr Rana feels that efforts are piecemeal and that the state is not looking at the bigger militant picture.

“The administration takes a firefighting approach. It doesn’t take any actions [which it thinks] may lead to a law and order situation. Things are handled on a case-by-case basis at the district level. There is no broader perspective.”

Sindh clearly has a problem with extremism, and if it is not examined in a forthright manner, the cancer of sectarian and religious hatred will only grow.

Considering the province’s historically pluralist ethos, there may still be time to turn the tide and root out the merchants of death and divisiveness. If this is not done, Shikarpur may well be the harbinger of worse tragedies to come.

Courtesy: Published in Dawn January 31st, 2015
Read more » http://www.dawn.com/news/1160614/

Pakistan’s paradigm shift: too good to be true?

TaqiBy Dr Mohammad Taqi

The Pakistan-Haqqani ties date back to the mid-1970s, long before any Soviets, the US, mujahideen, Taliban or al Qaeda popped onto the scene, and are unlikely to be severed so abruptly

“Een keh mi-beenam ba baidaareest ya Rabb, ya ba khwab?/ Khaishtan raa dar chuneen nai’mat pas az chundeen azaab!”//

Pakistan’s national security paradigm has changed, or so they say. Perhaps my Afghan readers, who would be the major beneficiaries of such a tectonic shift, may be able to appreciate the above quoted Persian verse, in which the classic poet Anvari says: “O my Lord, am I seeing this all while I am awake or is it a dream? Such bounties for this poor soul after such prolonged misery!” After the decades of the death and destruction it unleashed, the Jalaluddin Haqqani terrorist network, run currently by his son Sirajuddin Haqqani, has reportedly been banned by Pakistan. Additionally, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed’s Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD), which effectively is the political front for the proscribed terrorist group Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT), has ostensibly been banned too. Amen to that! There, however, is a slight problem before one goes to town on the news: it is not official and might actually not become official for several weeks or, perhaps, ever.

Continue reading Pakistan’s paradigm shift: too good to be true?