Tag Archives: influence

Pakistan-China railway to extend Beijing’s influence, says scholar

China should give its full effort to develop the China-Pakistan railway to extend China’s economic and political influence in the region and even to Africa, China’s state-owned Reference News cites an expert as saying.

China pledged US$4 billion to upgrade Pakistan’s rail network during President Xi Jinping’s visit to the country last week. A railway project that connects Kashgar in northwestern China’s Xinjiang region to the Pakistan port of Gwadar is also underway and is expected to play a major role in the economic corridor that the two nations have agreed to establish.

Gao Bai, a professor of sociology at Duke University in the United States and director of the National Research Center on Strategic Development of High-Speed Rail at Southwest Jiaotong University in Chengdu, has been a keen advocate of the China-Pakistan railway. In a 2013 article, Gao suggested that the railway could be a pillar for the expansion of China’s influence over land and could fundamentally impact the economic and political development of the region.

Gwadar Port, constructed by a Chinese firm, is now operated by a state-run Chinese company under contract for 40 years. The port sits on the western end of the Balochistan coast on the opposite end of the Gulf of Oman which is an important route for oil tankers from the Persian Gulf. It is also an important point that handles goods flowing out from western China and Central Asia to the Middle East, Europe and Africa.

The Gwadar-Kashgar railway is thus strategically significant as a shortcut for China to the Indian Ocean, said Gao, who believes that its construction may lead to the establishment of the Kashgar-Andijon railway via Kyrgyzstan and further facilitate the connection between Central Asian countries and India and the Indian Ocean.

Continue reading Pakistan-China railway to extend Beijing’s influence, says scholar

A Strategic Seaport – Is Pakistan Key to China’s Energy Supremacy?

By Syed Fazl-e-Haider

A seaport in southwest Pakistan may hold the key to China’s energy supremacy. At least, that’s what China hopes. The Gwadar port, which China has built and will operate in the province of Balochistan, is situated near the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil-shipping lane that can serve as an energy corridor from western China through Pakistan to the Persian Gulf.

Beijing’s pivot to Pakistan is a substantial one. The story goes back to 2008, when Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf proposed a railroad and an oil pipeline to link Gwadar to the Kashi port in Xinjiang—allowing China to take advantage of the shortest possible route to the Middle East. In exchange, Pakistan would get an influx of Chinese investment. Indeed, in 2014, the Chinese government committed to spending $45.6 billion over the next six years to build the China–Pakistan Economic Corridor, which will include the construction of highways, railways, and natural gas and oil pipelines connecting China to the Middle East. China’s stake in Gwadar will also allow it to expand its influence in the Indian Ocean, a vital route for oil transportation between the Atlantic and the Pacific.

Another advantage to China is that it will be able to bypass the Strait of Malacca. As of now, 60 percent of China’s imported oil comes from the Middle East, and 80 percent of that is transported to China through this strait, the dangerous, piracy-rife maritime route through the South China, East China, and Yellow Seas.

The United States fears that China will come out of its dealings with Pakistan with more power. But it need not be worried: China’s involvement in Balochistan, a restive area prone to insurgencies, will not end well. Many believe Quetta, Balochistan’s capital, is hiding wanted leaders from the Afghan Taliban. Meanwhile, small towns in Balochistan are the breeding grounds for a decades-old separatist movement targeting federal agencies. Increasingly, China has been caught up in the violence. In 2004, three Chinese engineers were killed and nine wounded when separatists attacked their van in Gwadar. In 2009, China shelved its $12 billion plans to build an oil refinery and an oil city in Gwadar due to security concerns.

China’s involvement in the region’s politics can only be bad news. In 2012, U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher introduced a resolution that asked the United States to support Baloch separatists as freedom fighters. The resolution was tabled, but if the United States ever does decide to involve itself in the conflict, China’s strategic interests will be at risk.

Read more » Foreign Affairs
See more » http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/143227/syed-fazl-e-haider/a-strategic-seaport

Book Review: Al Gore – “The Future – What are the drivers of Global Change.”

You can’t deny Al Gore’s knowledge & intelligence. A thought provoking book, every page of his book offers new insights. A must read book. In his book “The Future: What are the drivers of global Change”, he writes;  “The dominance of wealth & Corporate influence in decision making has so cowed most politicians that they  are scared to even discuss this existential threat in any meaningful way. (Page 323)

“With rare exceptions, the majority of legislators are no longer capable of serving the public interest because they are so dependent on Campaign Contributions from these corporate interests & so vulnerable to their non-stop lobbying.” — “It is profoundly troubling that special interests have been able to Capture Control of decision making & policy formation.” (page 326)

“ … Greece is only the best known of many examples of countries no longer able to make decisions for themselves. It must first get permission from the European Union, which supports it, and international Banks, which holds its debt.”

“U.S self-government is now about completely dysfunctional, incapable of making important decision necessary to realm control of its destiny.”

“The inequality in the distribution of wealth, property and income in the United States is now larger than at any time since 1929. The outbreak of the Occupy Movement has been driven by the dawning  awareness of the majority of Americans that the operations of democratic Capitalism in its current form are producing unfair & intolerable results. But the weakened state of democratic decision making  in the U.S. and the enhanced control over American democracy by the forces of wealth & corporate power, have paralyzed the ability of the county to make rational decisions in favour of politicians that would remedy these problems” (Page 121)

“Corporate “Persons” on the other hand now often seen to have little regard for how they can help the country in which they are based, they are only concerned about how that country can help them make more money.”

“Some political Scientists have asserted that the influence of corporations on modern governance is now almost analogous to the influence of the medieval Church during the era of feudalism” (page 125)

“Ruther Ford B – Hayes, to complain that, “this is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people no longer. It is government of corporations, by corporations & for the corporations.” (Page 106)

“It is now common for lawyers representing Corporate lobbies to sit in the actual drafting sessions where legislation is written and to provide the precise language for new laws intended to remove obstacles to their corporate business plans – usually by weakening provisions of existing laws & regulation intended to project the public interest against documented excesses and abuses. Many U.S. state legislatures often now routinely rubber stamp laws that have been written in their entirely by Corporate Lobbies.

Having served as an elected official in the federal government for the last quarter of the 20th century, and having observed it closely before that period, and since, I have felt a sense of shock and dismay at how quickly the integrity & efficacy of American democracy has nearly collapsed. There have been other periods in American history when wealth & corporate power have dominated the operations of government but there are reasons for concern that this may more than a cyclical phenomenon particularly recent court decisions that institutionalize the dominance & control of wealth & corporate power. “(Page 104-105)

Pakistani’s Iron Grip, Wielded in Opulent Exile, Begins to Slip

By

LONDON — For two decades, Altaf Hussain has run his brutal Pakistani political empire by remote control, shrouded in luxurious exile in London and long beyond the reach of the law.

He follows events through satellite televisions in his walled-off home, manages millions of dollars in assets and issues decrees in ranting teleconferences that last for hours — all to command a network of influence and intimidation that stretches from North America to South Africa.

This global system serves a very localized goal: perpetuating Mr. Hussain’s reign as the political king of Karachi, the brooding port city of 20 million people at the heart of Pakistan’s economy.

“Distance does not matter,” reads the inscription on a monument near Mr. Hussain’s deserted former house in Karachi, where his name evokes both fear and favor.

Now, though, his painstakingly constructed web is fraying.

A British murder investigation has been closing in on Mr. Hussain, 59, and his party, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement. His London home and offices have been raided, and the police have opened new investigations into accusations of money laundering and inciting violence in Pakistan.

The scrutiny has visibly rattled Mr. Hussain, who recently warned supporters that his arrest may be imminent. And in Karachi, it has raised a previously unthinkable question: Is the end near for the untouchable political machine that has been the city’s linchpin for three decades?

“This is a major crisis,” said Irfan Husain, the author of “Fatal Faultlines,” a book about Pakistan’s relationship with the United States. “The party has been weakened, and Altaf Hussain is being criticized like never before.”

Continue reading Pakistani’s Iron Grip, Wielded in Opulent Exile, Begins to Slip

Baloch need to struggle within Pakistan, says chief minister

By Anwar Iqbal

“Democracy is the only option for Baloch nationalists,” says Balochistan’s new chief minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch. “We need to connect with national democratic forces to achieve our objectives. We need to work within Pakistan. We have no other option.”

In an interview to Dawn.com, Dr Malik said that a move by US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher to create a separate state for Balochs will further confuse the Baloch struggle for their rights.

“In the past, we were told the revolution will come from Moscow. Now we are told it will come from Moscow. I disagree with such suggestions. We need to struggle for our rights within Pakistan. We need to work with other democratic forces in the country.”

He said that relations with neighboring states, particularly India, Iran and Afghanistan have a direct impact on the situation in Balochistan.

“Our institutions need to sit together and work out a new foreign policy if we want peace, particularly in Balochistan.”

The sectarian violence, he said, was directly linked to the Iran-Saudi conflict and “we need to device a balanced approach to prevent these two countries from fighting their war on our turf.

Continue reading Baloch need to struggle within Pakistan, says chief minister

Holding Onto Life

By Rev. Lou Kavar Ph.D.

The emotions caught me off guard. I wasn’t expecting them, particularly during a meditation class. I had no realization this was something about which I felt so deeply. I sat with forty or fifty others in the Buddhist meditation hall. The leader guided us in meditation to consider the ways we are attached to things that bring us suffering. As he spoke, we were reminded of ways that people value wealth and possessions, power and influence, or position and reputation. As he went through the list, I thought about the ways I value having nice things and receiving respect from others. He reminded us that all things we’re attached to will pass from our lives. One day, they will all be gone. If our happiness is based on them, what becomes of our happiness?

That’s when an overwhelming sadness welled up within me. Tears began to stream down my face. My emotional response had nothing to do with my worldly possessions, accomplishments, or the esteem of others. Instead, the awareness came to me that one day I would lose what I valued so much: my relationship with a spouse, my companion and friend.

The truth is that I’m not much bothered by my own death. I recognize that life has been very good to me. But for ten years, I’ve shared my life with another. I simply don’t want it to ever end. Recognizing that I am the older person, I know that I am likely to die first. The thought of leaving my beloved and not seeing life continue to unfold was simply overwhelming.

During the break between sessions, I spoke with one of the other participants. She noticed I had a strong reaction to the meditation. As I tried to put words around my experience, she said that she too was struck by her mortality – even though the leader never drew us to consider that our lives would end.

Over the last few days I’ve sat with these feelings. I’ve tried to understand them, particularly in light of the Buddhist teaching of impermanence. It’s a simple lesson found in other great spiritual traditions. Every thing is always in a state of flux. Every thing that exists is changing. What is today will be different tomorrow. When we try to hold onto what is now, we are only left with frustration because it will change. That’s the nature of the lives we lead.

Continue reading Holding Onto Life

ANP to file petition in SC against Sindh-government

ISLAMABAD – Awami National Party (ANP) has decided to file a petition against Sindh government for non-implementation of Supreme Court’s ruling in Karachi-unrest case. Sources said ANP’s counsel Iftikhar Gilani has started preparing the petition and will file it in the Supreme Court next week.

The petition will support the stance that the Sindh government has deliberately been indifferent to the verdict of the apex court in Karachi, Sindh, sou motu case and has not implemented it, sources added.

The petitioner will stress upon the notion that all the office-holders of the Sindh government are creating hurdles in the way of peace in Karachi, Sindh. He would state that certain high-level political personalities are backing the criminal elements in Karachi such that workers of some political parties are involved in extortion.

The petitioner is expected to state that political influence dominates Sindh police and the authorities hire the ‘ favorites’ in the department.

Courtesy: Pakistan Today

http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2012/10/03/news/national/anp-to-file-petition-in-sc-against-sindh-government/

Husain Haqqani: Manipulated Outrage and Misplaced Fury

Islamists stoke resentment of the West—and anger over the long decline of Muslim influence—to serve their own violent ends.

BY HUSAIN HAQQANI

The attacks on U.S. diplomatic missions this week—beginning in Egypt and Libya, and moving to Yemen and other Muslim countries—came under cover of riots against an obscure online video insulting Islam and the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H). But the mob violence and assaults should be seen for what they really are: an effort by Islamists to garner support and mobilize their base by exacerbating anti-Western sentiments.

When Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tried to calm Muslims Thursday by denouncing the video, she was unwittingly playing along with the ruse the radicals set up. The United States would have been better off focusing …

Read more » The Wall Street Journal

Former Pakistani ambassador: Pakistan behaves ‘like Syria while wanting to be treated like Israel’

By Jamie Weinstein, Senior Editor

Recently removed Pakistan Ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani urged the American government to take a tougher line on his home country in a remarkably candid speech Wednesday afternoon.

“Pakistan ends up behaving like Syria while wanting to be treated like Israel,” Haqqani told several dozens journalists, think tankers, opinion makers and government officials at a luncheon in Washington held by the Center for the National Interest.

“And the behavior change is not going to come unless and until there is behavior change on your part. So you should stop the meddling. … You have to stop going in and seeing all our politicians and thinking they are all your friends and trying to influence. Make Pakistanis realize that America has an interest in Pakistan, but you know what, America respects Pakistani opinion. Show respect for Pakistani public opinion. And if Pakistanis don’t want to be your friends, you don’t want to be their friends, thank you very much.”

Haqqani, who recently returned to the United States to become director of the Center of International Relations at Boston University, was removed as Pakistani ambassador late last year after facing charges that he sought U.S. help to prevent a military coup in Pakistan in the wake of the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Haqqani, who returned to Pakistan to face the charges against him at some personal risk, maintains the charges are baseless.

But Haqqani’s essential argument at the luncheon was that America and Pakistan should no longer put up the pretense that they are allies. Haqqani said that it is unrealistic to believe that “endless discussions and chats and what I call the class of narratives will somehow, some day produce a change of thinking either in Washington” or Islamabad.

The U.S. isn’t going to be convinced to treat India as an enemy for Pakistan’s sake and Pakistan won’t be convinced to give up its nuclear weapons or end its support for jihadi groups it sees as strategically beneficial for “regional influence” because America wants it to, he said.

Continue reading Former Pakistani ambassador: Pakistan behaves ‘like Syria while wanting to be treated like Israel’

“Fear not, America, for there is no Muslim Tide”

Chris Selley: Don’t worry people, there is no Muslim Tide

Canadian journalist Doug Saunders’ new book, The Myth of the Muslim Tide (Knopf), promises and delivers an impartial examination of the notion that Muslim immigration urgently threatens Western civilization. Balanced as it is, though, it reads mostly as a thorough, fact-dense and convincing debunking of that notion. For those inclined to be reassured, it does so very efficiently.

Continue reading “Fear not, America, for there is no Muslim Tide”

Pakistan’s ruinous political farce

By M Ilyas Khan

The political pantomime played out in Pakistan over the past few years is degenerating into farce.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court terminated the career of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani – disqualifying him from office on the basis of a contempt of court conviction linked to his refusal to reopen corruption cases against President Zardari.

Two days later, a lower court issued a warrant for the arrest of Makhdoom Shahabuddin, a member of Mr Gilani’s party, just hours after he was nominated as his possible successor. Uncanny timing, some might say.

Late on Thursday night Mr Shahabuddin was still closeted with senior colleagues at the president’s house – but whether he will be a free man come morning remains to be seen.

Many in Pakistan see these developments as signs that the skirmishes between the judiciary, the military and the civilian government are now erupting into all-out war.

This is all happening at a time when the country can least afford it – relations with the West are at an all-time low, the economy is heading for disaster and people are battling severe power and fuel shortages.

To compound matters, nuclear-armed Pakistan – which is known to have promoted armed militant groups over the past two decades – has steadily been losing territory to these groups in recent years. That’s a major issue for its neighbours and the wider world.

But instead of dealing with the big problems, Pakistan’s power elite have other fish to fry.

Military role

A major part of the problem lies in the traditional domination of the military in Pakistan, and the fact that the judiciary has supported successive attempts by the generals to cut the politicians down to size.

The civilians have rarely held the reins of power, and when they have, they have always had the military establishment to contend with.

Accusations of corruption are a time-tested tool to beat the civilians with, and corruption cases lodged against them during the country’s 64-year history literally run into the hundreds. Few of those cases have ever been resolved.

But they have been successfully used to bring every single civilian government down well before the end of its constitutional five-year term.

The present administration is the longest-serving civilian government Pakistan has ever had – it is just over six months short of reaching the finish line.

If it does, it will set a new precedent – and this is an unsavoury proposition for the establishment for two reasons.

First, prolonged civilian rule is likely to permanently dent the political influence of the military, and thereby the massive business and real estate empires it has acquired.

Second, while Pakistan’s military and civil bureaucracy are dominated by Punjab province, the country’s largest vote-bank, the ruling Pakistan People’s Party has its roots in the southern province of Sindh, the country’s main source of revenue and home to a distinct linguistic group that detests Punjab’s domination. So while the establishment is generally sceptical of politicians, it has been almost intolerant towards the PPP.

Judicial activism

The military is widely accused by Western powers of playing a double game in Afghanistan and lost credit in the eyes of many Pakistanis when US forces killed Osama Bin Laden in a secret raid on Pakistan’s soil.

But its diminishing ability to openly control Pakistan’s politicians has been more than offset by what some analysts describe as the judiciary’s increased ability to encroach on the administrative sphere.

This has led to a number of fierce battles between state institutions in recent years which are a distraction from the main challenges.

Since 2009, when judges sacked by the Musharraf regime were reinstated by the present government, they have shown an appetite for pursuing long-standing corruption cases against President Zardari.

Mr Zardari spent eight years in jail because of them, without being convicted in a single case.

That led to the Supreme Court’s dogged pursuit of Prime Minister Gilani and his conviction in April.

The Supreme Court also responded with alacrity late last year in investigating a controversial memo which invited the US to help avert a possible coup in Pakistan after Bin Laden’s death.

The “memogate” affair had the potential to drag in President Zardari but has led only to the dismissal of Pakistan’s then ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani. Top military leaders showed a keen interest in the case and participated in initial hearings, but gradually pulled out when questions were raised over their own political role.

Most recently, the country was stunned to find its bulwark against corruption – Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry himself – implicated in allegations of bribe-taking levelled against his son. They both deny any wrongdoing and an investigation has been ordered.

Continue reading Pakistan’s ruinous political farce

Iran Opens Chabahar Port For NATO Supply

Iran Opens Chabahar Port For NATO Supply zaranj-delaram – PKKH.tv

PKKH Exclusive by Shaikh Fahad

Afghan officials from Ministry of Chamber & Commerce speaking on condition of anonymity have said that Afghanistan will be allowed to use Iran’s Chabahar port for shipments and trade after the two countries signed an agreement in Kabul last Wednesday. It has also been learned that the Chabahar port has been financed by Indian government to maintain Iranian and Indian influence in Afghanistan after US forces leave Afghanistan in 2014. The second purpose, we believe of investment in this port is to counter Gwadar port of Pakistan.

The agreement was signed by Afghanistan’s Minister of Commerce and Industries Anwar al Haq Ahady and the Iranian Ambassador to Afghanistan Abolfazl Zohrevand.

The endorsement of the pact means Afghan traders including those directly working with American contracting companies will be able to use the southeastern port – Iran’s only port with direct access to the sea – for importing and exporting goods. The news of signing of this agreement comes as relief to US/NATO official since the closure of NATO supplies from Pakistan has caused massive setback in terms of finance to US/NATO.

Officials said the Chabahar port will help Afghanistan’s trade-related transit problems and is likely to boost commercial transactions.

Continue reading Iran Opens Chabahar Port For NATO Supply

What happens when organized crime takes office? The rise of the mafia states

Mafia States – Organized Crime Takes Office

By Moisés Naím

The Rise of the Mezzanine Rulers

Michael Crawford and Jami Miscik

Governments across the Middle East and South Asia are increasingly losing power to substate actors that are inserting themselves at a mezzanine level of rule between the government and the people. Western policymakers must address the problem systematically, at both a political and a legal level, rather than continue to pursue reactive and disjointed measures on a case-by-case basis.

Continue reading What happens when organized crime takes office? The rise of the mafia states

Pakistan is in denial over spreading sectarian violence

After decades of turning a blind eye, the government seems helpless in the face of attacks on Shias and other minorities

By: Mustafa Qadri

While banned political groups preach hatred towards religious minorities in Pakistan’s major cities, a conflict along sectarian lines is spreading across the country, even to areas not previously associated with violence. Having spent decades turning a blind eye to the calculated violence of groups with a clear agenda based on hatred and intolerance, Pakistan’s government appears helpless in the face of continuous attacks on Shia Muslims and other minorities.

Sectarian attacks are not new in Pakistan, but there has been an upsurge, especially in Balochistan since at least 2010, in the Khurram and Orakzai tribal agencies bordering Afghanistan, the port city of Karachi and across the Punjab. Now the frosty, picturesque mountain ranges of Gilgit-Baltistan, on the northern border with China, are seeing an increasingly violent sectarian conflict pitting Muslim Sunnis against Shias.

Continue reading Pakistan is in denial over spreading sectarian violence

LONDON – TORONTO: World Sindhi Congress and the World Sindhi Institute strongly condemned the Target-Killing of Brahmdagh Bugti’s Sister and Niece

Zamu Domki, her daughter Jana Domki and their driver Barkat Baloch were returning home at their resident from a wedding when unknown assailants on a motorbike fired at them in an ambush, killed all of them and conveniently escaped.

Zamu and Jana Domki were wife and daughter of Balochistan MPA, Mir Bakhtiar Khan Domki. They were also sister and niece of most loved Baloch Leader Brahamdagah Bugti and grand daughters of Nawab Akbar Bugti.

WSC, sees these recent murders of prominent Baloch leaders and their families in Sindh as an attempt to create gulf among historical solidarity between the Nations of Sindh and Balochistan. WSC calls upon Sindhi people to protest and condemn this heinous crime against innocent people. WSC also call upon on International community to condemn and influence Pakistan to stop these genocides against Baloch people.

In another press release, Humaira Rahman, General Secretary, World Sindhi Institute USA-Canada, submits its deepest condolences to the Baloch Human Rights Council and the Baloch nation on the disappearances and brutal murders of innocent men, women and children that takes place on a daily basis in Balochistan.

The latest case of the targetted killing of Saieen Brahmdagh Bugti’s sister and niece is a highly provocative act underlined with disrespect and designed to deliver a premeditated and insulting blow to the legitimate struggle for fundamental human rights (including the right of self determination) of the Baloch nation.

Instead of respecting the historical rights of the Baloch, the Sindhi and other nations, the Pakistan Army + ISI insist on holding these indigenous nations hostage whilst siphoning off their rich national resources, with impunity.

The World Sindhi Institute condemns these brutal killings and demands a judicial enquiry from the Supreme Court of Pakistan, and a UN sponsored and monitored investigation to publicly identify and punish the perpetrators of these crimes against humanity.

Let’s Talk Civil-Military, NOW!

By Marvi Sirmed

Atiqa Odho needs to change her name. Not only her name but also the prefix if she wants to avoid further humiliation that she possibly could not and would not want, just because she is a woman and does not bear the right prefix before her name. Brigadier Zafar Iqbal had both — the right name and the right prefix.

The good brigadier embarked on a PIA flight from Karachi to Lahore on Saturday night, intoxicated with the ‘sherbet’. The captain of the plane handed him over to the Airport Security Force (ASF) after the brigadier publicly harassed one of the female crew members. The ASF, obviously, could not hold him for more than a few minutes when they discovered the full name of the detainee. No wonder the news item merited just a few lines in Sunday newspapers. I am still waiting for the ‘suo motu’ and media-panic that we saw in Atiqa Odho’s case. Pertinent to remind here, Ms Odho was neither drunk nor did she harass anyone on the flight.

This points to two serious maladies of this society: one, a strong gender bias that women of this country have to endure everywhere, including the courts; and two, unjust and unfair partiality that society confers on the military. It is not only about an overly powerful military but also about an extremely weak civil society. It would be naïve to believe that civil society in Pakistan is powerful enough to foil any attempt to usurp power from the civilian entities. This is mainly because the military here never departed from power. Irrespective of who occupied the buildings of the Prime Minister Secretariat and the Presidency, the military always ruled in the country through its incontrovertible influence over political decision-making and social phenomena.

The way things happen in the court, and outside of it, memo scandal is a case in point. In the memo scandal, Husain Haqqani was treated as an accused by the media and society at large because the military thought so. Everything else had to be in sync with what the military wanted or at least, was perceived to be wanting. The same ‘evidence’ (the BBM conversations claimed by Mansoor Ijaz that took place between him and Husain Haqqani) implicated the head of the ISI who was accused in the same BBM conversations to have spoken to the leaders of some Arab states and gotten their consent to sack the present government. But no one from the media, politicians (even the ones who portray themselves as most committed to civilian supremacy) and the judiciary could ever point a finger towards General Pasha, the accused. Husain Haqqani was an easy target because he was not a general. Or even a brigadier.

Later, the chief of army staff and the head of ISI submitted their affidavits in clear departure of the government’s point of view — the same government that both of them are accountable to. The prime minister was openly criticised by everyone for calling this action of the two generals as unconstitutional. So much so that the media wing of the Pakistan Army, the ISPR, attacked the prime minister — their boss — by issuing a strongly worded statement warning the government of grave consequences and serious ramifications. So there were two statements, one by the chief executive of a country castigating his subordinate generals for unconstitutional actions, and the other from the subordinate generals threatening their boss with grave consequences. Guess who had to retract the statement? You got it right, it was the boss. The Islamic Republic is unique in its construction.

What can be more worrying for a people whose representative is humiliated by an agency that should be subordinate to the people. The agency, it is more perturbing, does so with popular consent. The absence of popular outrage amounts to consent if one could decrypt public reactions. We can go on endlessly criticising hungry-for-power generals, selfish politicians, corporate media and an ambitious judiciary, but what remains a fact is Pakistani society’s utter failure — rather refusal — to grow from a Praetorian state to even a half decent egalitarian democracy.

Continue reading Let’s Talk Civil-Military, NOW!

CIA agents in Pakistan

By Najam Sethi

These are difficult times for professional journalists in Pakistan. Eleven were killed last year in the line of duty. They were either caught in the crossfire of ethnic or extremist violence or targeted and eliminated by state and non-state groups for their political views.

Saleem Shehzad, for example, was abducted, tortured and killed last year and a commission of inquiry is still floundering in murky waters. He had exposed the infiltration of the armed forces by elements affiliated with Al-Qaeda or the Taliban. Several journalists from Balochistan have been killed by non-state vigilantes sponsored by state agencies, others have fled to Europe or USA because they had sympathies with the nationalist cause in the province. Some from Karachi have taken refuge abroad because they were threatened by ethnic or sectarian groups or parties.

Now an insidious campaign is afoot to target senior journalists who question the wisdom of the security establishment on a host of thorny issues. They are being labeled as “American-CIA agents”. This is an incitement to violence against them in the highly charged anti-American environment in Pakistan today. Consider.

If you say the military’s notion of “strategic depth” in Afghanistan is misplaced, outdated or counter-productive, you are a CIA agent.

If you say the military was either complicit or incompetent in the OBL-Abbottabad case, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the civilians should have control over the military as stipulated in the constitution, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the military shouldn’t enter into peace deals with the Taliban that enable them to reorganize and seize Pakistani territory, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the drones have taken a welcome toll of extremist Al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the military’s annual defense budget, which amounts to nearly half of all tax revenues, should be scrutinized by parliament or the Auditor General of Pakistan, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the one and same resignation criterion should be applied to both Ambassador Husain Haqqani and DG-ISI Ahmed Shuja Pasha – the former is accused of trying to influence the American government to back up the civilian government of Pakistan in its attempt to establish civilian control over its army and the latter is accused of seeking the support of Arab regimes for the overthrow of the civilian regime ( both accusations come from one and the same individual) – you are a CIA agent.

If you say we should construct a social welfare state in place of a national security state, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that fundamental citizens rights enshrined in the constitution cannot be violated at the altar of a narrow definition of national security defined exclusively by the security state, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that human rights violations in Balochistan carried out by the security agencies are as condemnable as the ethnic cleansing of Punjabi settlers by Baloch insurgents, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that Pakistan’s foreign policy should not be the exclusive domain of the military establishment, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the Pakistan military’s conventional and nuclear weapons doctrine amounts to a crippling arms race with India rather than a minimal optimal defensive deterrence, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the ISI is an unaccountable state within a state, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that belt-tightening measures to control budgetary deficits and inflation should apply to wasteful aspects of defense expenditures no less than to wasteful aspects of civilian government expenditures, you are a CIA agent.

If you say that the Supreme Court should pull out Air Marshal Asghar Khan’s ISI-Mehrangate 1991 case from cold storage and adjudge it along with the Memogate 2011 case, you are a CIA agent.

The irony is that the Pakistan military remains the single largest recipient of American aid in the last sixty five years. The irony is that all military coups in Pakistan have drawn legal and political sustenance from America. The irony is that the Pakistani military has signed more defense pacts and agreements with America than all civilian governments to date. The irony is the Pakistan military has partnered America in Afghanistan in the 1980s, fought its war on terror and leased out Pakistani air bases and Pakistan air space corridors to America in the 2000s, and sent hundreds of officers for training and education to America in the last six decades.

The greater irony is that all those liberal, progressive, anti-imperialist Pakistani citizens who have opposed US hegemony and protested American military interventions in the Third World all their lives are today branded as CIA agents by the very state security agencies and non state religious parties and jehadi groups who have taken American money and weapons and done America’s bidding all their lives.

Courtesy: Friday Times

http://www.thefridaytimes.com/beta2/tft/article.php?issue=20120106&page=1

Asma refuses to continue as Haqqani’s lawyer

ISLAMABAD: Renowned lawyer Asma Jahangir on Sunday refused to continue as former Ambassador to the US Hussain Haqqani’s counsel in the memogate case, DawnNews reported.

Asma Jahangir said that she did not trust the commission formed by the Supreme Court to investigate the memo-scandal, alleging that the Supreme Court judges were under the establishment’s influence.

Asma also told DawnNews in an exclusive interview that Hussain Haqqani feared the powerful spy agencies may force him into giving a statement. This fear was the reason behind the former ambassador’s stay at the prime minister’s house, she said.

Moreover, she said that the Supreme Court’s decision on the memogate petition was a victory for the country’s establishment. The law was being used to transform the country into a ‘security state’, she said.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

PAKISTAN: ISI Head must be prosecuted for hatching conspiracy against democracy – AHRC

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – AHRC-UAC-248-2011

19 December 2011 – The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that the Director General of the Inter Services Intelligence Agency, the country’s foremost intelligence agency, has hatched a conspiracy to overthrow the democratically elected government and parliament by taking help from some Arab monarchies who have strong influence in the affairs of the country. The Pakistan Army has been trying for two years to overthrow the civilian government and it is alleged that in the month of May 2011, Lieutenant General Shuja Pasha, the chief of the ISI, visited several Arab monarchies in a personal capacity and sought clearance for the army to take over the country. It is also alleged that he was given the ‘OK’ by these monarchies. He also visited China, without taking permission from the prime minister, but apparently did not get any formal assistance.

Continue reading PAKISTAN: ISI Head must be prosecuted for hatching conspiracy against democracy – AHRC

In Israel, women’s rights come under siege

By Ruth Marcus

Women are forced to board public buses from the back and stay there. Billboards with images of women are defaced. Public streets are cordoned off during religious holidays so that women cannot enter.

Continue reading In Israel, women’s rights come under siege

Get out, leave Afghanistan to Pakistan

Get out, leave Af to Pak

By Shekhar Gupta

The sharply polarised political debate on the nuclear deal was the most significant instance of the so-called holy national consensus on foreign policy breaking in India. Some of this spirit keeps returning vis-a-vis Pakistan any time the government reaches out to Pakistan, or when there is another terror attack. But beyond that, the larger consensus remains intact. It is not healthy for a democracy, and particularly not when it has a strategic community that has had even greater continuity than its establishment economists, defying all changes of government, leaders, ideology. That is why the time has come to question, or at least intellectually challenge, some other aspects of this lazy “consensus”. Even at the risk of inviting the charge of apostasy, therefore, the time might have come to question the wisdom and prudence of our totally unquestioned, un-debated idea of engaging in a dirty little cold war with Pakistan in Afghanistan once the Americans withdraw from there.

Today, everybody seems to be accepting the idea that Afghanistan is of great strategic significance to India, and we can neither cede it to Pakistan, nor leave them to fill the power vacuum that the Americans will leave behind. Similarly, that this is the Great Game country, and we are back to the Great Game, somehow inheriting the mantle of the British power in the 19th century, except that we might have to deal with an additional distraction called Pakistan. Further, that Afghanistan is a resource (mineral)-rich land where we have future commercial stakes, and is a gateway to Central Asia, making transit rights of such paramount importance for us.

There is some truth to some, but not all, of these. But the larger picture may look very different on closer examination. Also, engaging in a policy that puts us permanently and, inevitably, violently at odds with the Pakistanis is an idea that is being accepted much too readily. As if this is our destiny, part of an ongoing blood feud. As if we have no choice.

All of this, frankly, is lazy, self-serving rubbish, dished out by a strategic establishment that suffers terminally from a cold war mindset, and does not quite know, like all bigger powers (the US included), when to declare victory, and when to cut its losses.

The more curious thing is, some of this is happening under a prime minister who never tires of exhorting his policy-makers to “think out of the box” and a national security advisor who has built a formidable reputation for doing exactly this, not just now but over many decades of diplomatic service.

What kind of strategic importance does Afghanistan have for us now? Yes, we need transit to Central Asia. But to reach Afghanistan, we have to first persuade the Pakistanis to grant us transit. The more we jostle with them for influence in Afghanistan, the lesser the chances of their being so nice to us. Yes, Afghanistan is resource-rich and the Chinese may get there if we are not there. But what are we, meanwhile, doing with our own mineral resources? So many of our mines are shut, or not accessible. We might get a hundred times more value by either fighting, or bribing (as everybody eventually does with insurgents in Afghanistan), our own Maoists to be able to exploit our own mines. And the Chinese will get there before us anyway. And yes, there will be a power vacuum in Afghanistan. It will still be a country of great strategic importance. But for whom, is the question. It will be of no strategic importance to us. None of our supplies or trade come to Afghanistan. None of our bad guys hide there. No Afghan has ever been involved in a terror attack on India. In fact, almost never has a terror attack on us been even planned in the more precise Af-Pak region. They have all been planned and executed between Muzaffarabad, Muridke, Karachi and Multan. Almost never has an Afghan, Pakhtun, Baluch, Tajik, any ethnicity, been involved in a terror attack in India. It’s always been the Punjabis. Ask anybody in the Indian army who has served in Kashmir and he will tell you that the intruders he fought were exactly of the same ethnic stock as the bulk of the Pakistani army he may have to fight in a real war: the Punjabi Muslims.

Yes, as we said earlier, Afghanistan is still a country of great strategic importance. But for Pakistan, and certainly not for us. Pakistan has a long, unsettled border with it and a more-than-latent irredentist Pathan sentiment on both sides of the Durand Line that it dreads spinning out of control as (and if) Afghanistan breaks up along north-south-west ethnic lines. From tribal ties, to funny trade-links, like gun and drug-running, an unsettled Afghanistan will be a permanent thorn in Pakistan’s side when six divisions of its army are already not able to get the measure of the armed anarchy in FATA. Why should India then get into this unwinnable mess? More importantly, why should India give the Pakistani army and the ISI just what they need, a great, holy, moral justification to pour into Afghanistan to “fight the Indian challenge”?

Leave Afghanistan to the Pakistanis. If the Pakistani army thinks it can fix, subdue and control Afghanistan, after the British, Soviets and Americans have failed to do precisely this at the peak of each one’s superpower-dom, why not let the Pakistanis try their hand at it? If they pour another ten divisions and half of the ISI into that hapless country now, isn’t it that much of a relief for us on our western borders? What could serve our strategic interests better than having the Pakistanis discover a permanent strategic threat/ challenge/ opportunity along their western borders? Won’t that be some relief?

And if the Pakistani army thinks it can succeed in a mission in which their mightier predecessors, the British and the Soviet empires and the Americans, failed, good luck to them. Because it will fulfil a fantasy of “strategic depth” they have nursed since they were rocked by totally fictional visions of massive Indian tank assaults through the desert cutting their mainland into two during General Sundarji’s Operation Brasstacks in 1987. It is since then that the Pakistani strategic establishment has been seeking “strategic depth” in Afghanistan. Now, if any army wants to seek the “depth” of Afghanistan for its armour, vital air force assets, or even nukes, good luck to them. In fact, it would be interesting to see how the rest of the world, particularly the Americans, would react if such a thing was even contemplated. Far from being a security asset ever, Afghanistan, for the Pakistani army, will be exactly what it has been for any other invading army in its history: a permanent Waterloo in slow motion.

So shall we leave the Pakistani army and ISI to their own devices in Afghanistan? Whether they fail or succeed, it will confirm only one widely held view in the global strategic community: that howsoever dashing it may be tactically, the Pakistani military-intelligence establishment’s strategic thinking emerges not from its brains but that some place lower down in human anatomy. Maybe then, the best way we can serve our own strategic interests in Afghanistan is to stay out of their way.

Courtesy » Indian Express

China’s ‘Cake Theory’

‘Cake Theory’ Has Chinese Eating Up Political Debate

by Louisa Lim

What goes on inside China’s leadership is usually played out behind the closed oxblood doors of the compound where the top leaders live. This year, though, a political debate has sprung out in the open — and it has leaders and constituents considering how to move forward politically.

This ideological debate comes as China gears up for a once-in-a-decade political transition. The country’s future top leaders seem almost certain, with Xi Jinping in line for president and Li Keqiang on track for premier. Horse-trading is under way for other leadership positions, however, sparking a debate that could define China’s future.

The Chongqing Model: Equal Slices

In recent months, the streets of the city of Chongqing have been ringing with song. These are not spontaneous outbreaks; they’re government-mandated sessions, requiring employees to “sing the red,” patriotic songs praising China.

This is a leftist vision of China’s future, with powerful echoes of its Maoist past.

It’s the brainchild of Bo Xilai, Chongqing’s party secretary and the son of a revolutionary elder, Bo Yibo, one of the “eight immortals” of Communist China. Bo Xilai has taken a three-pronged approach by “smashing the black,” or attacking corruption and organized crime, with what some say is a disregard for the rule of law. His approach also includes putting in place measures to help those left behind by China’s economic boom.

“The government intervenes to correct the shortcomings of the market economy,” says Yang Fan, a conservative-leaning scholar at China University of Political Science and Law and co-author of a book about the Chongqing model.

“There are projects to improve people’s livelihood by letting migrant workers come to the city, by building them cheap rental places and allowing them to sell their land to come to the city,” he says.

This is where it comes to what’s been dubbed “cake theory.” If the cake is China’s economy, the Chongqing model concentrates on dividing the cake more equally.

The Market-Driven Guangdong Model

The competing vision, based in the province of Guangdong, focuses on making the cake bigger first, not dividing it. In economic terms, the Guangdong model is a more market-driven approach, pushing forward development ahead of addressing inequality.

“The Guangdong model aims to solve the concerns of the middle class,” says Qiu Feng, a liberal academic from the Unirule Institute of Economics. “It’s about building society and rule of law. It wants to give the middle class institutionalized channels to take part in the political process. Its basic thought is co-opting the middle class.”

He says the “Happy Guangdong” approach is aimed not at those left behind, but at those who have profited from the economic boom.

Guangdong’s party secretary, Wang Yang, has criticized the Chongqing model, saying people need to study and review Communist Party history, “rather than just singing of its brilliance.” In political terms, he’s throwing down the gauntlet at his rival, Bo Xilai.

Finding A Way Forward

Both these politicians are fighting for a place — and influence — inside the holiest of holies: the Politburo Standing Committee. This comes against a background of criticism of the current leadership from a surprising quarter.

“The bureaucracy is corrupt. Power has been marketized. Governance has been industrialized,” says Zhang Musheng, a consummate insider. “Local governments are becoming riddled with gangsters.”

Zhang’s father was secretary to China’s Premier Zhou Enlai. This makes him what’s known as a “princeling.” He’s attended a number of meetings held by children of former leaders, where criticism of the current leadership has been aired.

Despite their grievances, they came to one conclusion.

“China’s such a complicated society. Right now, it can’t leave the Communist Party. So the Communist Party must reform and improve,” Zhang says. “Although it’s criticized, right now there is no social force which can replace the Communist Party.”

Those are the key questions: how to reform or even if the Communist Party can reach consensus over which model it follows. ….

Read more » NPR

The United States Should Change Its View on Pakistan

-With a Friend Like This

By ANATOL LIEVEN

If Washington wishes to improve relations with Pakistan, it needs to stop regarding Pakistan as an ally, and to start regarding it as an enemy — at least as far as the Afghan War is concerned.

Seeing Pakistan as an ally has not only obscured the reality of the situation, but has bred exaggerated bitterness at Pakistani “treachery.” And since Pakistanis also believe that America has “betrayed” them, the result is a thin veneer of friendship over a morass of mutual distrust and even hatred.

It would be far better from every point of view to admit that the two countries’ policies over Afghanistan are opposed to the point of limited conflict — and then seek ways to negotiate an end to that conflict.

Very little affection has ever been involved in the U.S.-Pakistani relationship, and both sides have sought their own advantage at the other’s expense. The Pakistani masses have long harbored deep hostility to the United States, which is now being reciprocated by many Americans. Given the appalling consequences for both countries of an armed clash, there is every reason why both sides should seek to keep their mutual hostility from getting out of hand.

The need for a change in U.S. attitudes toward Pakistan forms part of what should be a wider shift in U.S. attitudes to the outside world. Not just in the “Global War on Terror,” but in the Cold War, Americans have been strongly influenced by the belief that “you’re either with us, or against us.” …..

Read more » The New York Times

Analysis: For Pakistan, Deep Ties to Militant Network May Trump U.S. Pressure

By PIR ZUBAIR SHAH and CARLOTTA GALL

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and other senior administration officials visited Pakistan in October to demand that Pakistan’s spy agency either deliver the Haqqani network, a virulent part of the insurgency fighting American forces in Afghanistan, to the negotiating table or help fight them in their stronghold in Pakistan’s rugged tribal areas.

But there are any number of reasons why the Pakistanis may disappoint the Americans. Not least is that the Haqqani leadership — contrary to the American emphasis on drone strikes in the tribal areas — does not have to hide in Pakistan’s ungoverned fringes. So close are the Haqqanis’ ties to Pakistan’s military and intelligence service that one might just as well look for them around the capital, Islamabad, or in the closely guarded military quarters of Rawalpindi.

Osama bin Laden was thought to have been hiding in the tribal areas, too, said a tribal elder reached by telephone in the Haqqani stronghold of North Waziristan. Instead, Bin Laden was killed by American commandos in Abbottabad, a small city deep in Pakistan that is home to a top military academy. Whether he was there with the knowledge of Pakistan’s spy agency is still unclear.

“The Americans have taken the hell out of us through drones all these years trying to target O.B.L.,” said the elder, referring to Bin Laden, and not wanting to be named for fear of his safety. “But they found him in Abbottabad. The same will happen with the Haqqanis, too.”

The freedom of movement the Haqqanis enjoy in Pakistan could be witnessed on a sweltering July day last year at a graduation ceremony at one of Pakistan’s largest religious schools, Darul Uloom Haqqania, well known for producing the ranks of the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban.

Among the thousands who had gathered that day in Akora Khattak, just an hour from the capital, were top members of the Haqqani family. The family patriarch, Jalaluddin Haqqani, is a graduate of the school and draws his last name from it.

The Haqqanis stayed for several hours at the event, which was almost certainly monitored by Pakistani intelligence agents, and, after lunch, left in a car with Islamabad license plates.

The Haqqani family, which runs the network like a mafia, maintains several town houses, including in Islamabad and elsewhere, and they have been known to visit military facilities in Rawalpindi, attend tribal gatherings and even travel abroad on pilgrimages, say military and political analysts who follow militant activity in Pakistan.

Among those present at the ceremony was Khalil Haqqani, a brother of Jalaluddin, and an important fund-raiser for the network who travels frequently to the United Arab Emirates. In February he was added to the United Nations Security Council’s sanctions list for having links to Al Qaeda.

With him were two of Jalaluddin’s sons. One was Nasiruddin Haqqani, often described as the Haqqani network’s liaison with Pakistani intelligence and the person in charge of channeling money.

Senior leaders of the group concerned with political and financial affairs, like Khalil Haqqani and another of Jalaluddin’s brothers, Ibrahim Haqqani, have long resided in Islamabad, said Vahid Brown, a counterterrorism expert at Princeton who is researching a book on the Haqqani network.

“My impression is they mostly live in the cities,” Mr. Brown said. He cited news reports and a tribal legislator as saying that Ibrahim Haqqani had lived in Islamabad for the past 20 years. Diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks last year also revealed that the two Haqqanis often traveled to the United Arab Emirates from Pakistan, Mr. Brown said. Ibrahim Haqqani even met an American official there for exploratory negotiations in late August.

Sirajuddin Haqqani, who manages the network for his father — and is the undisputed boss — travels freely around Pakistan’s northwestern province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the tribal areas, according to two Western analysts with extensive experience of Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“The fact that he is able to drive around means he is protected,” one analyst said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to avoid angering the Pakistani government.

Kashmiri and Afghan militant groups have long been supported by the Pakistani military, and many of their members carry passes that allow them to go through any police checkpoint, he said.

As much as Mrs. Clinton and other American officials would like the Pakistani leadership to make a definitive break with the Haqqanis, such free movement reflects the symbiotic relationship between the network’s members and Pakistan’s military.

The Haqqanis need a haven to train fighters and receive financial and material support, which they get from Pakistan, especially in North Waziristan, part of the tribal areas. Pakistan’s military, for its part, needs a proxy to extend its influence in Afghanistan after the Americans leave; that is what the Haqqanis give them. …

Read more  » The New York Times

When was Pakistan’s fate sealed?

Pak paying heavily for its mistakes in the 1970s: Tony Blair

NEW DELHI: Pakistan is “paying heavily” for its mistakes in the 1970s when it started mixing religion with politics and promoted extremism, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said.

“I think Pakistan is paying a heavy price for the mistakes of 1970s by linking religion with politics and developing religious schools which are, in some cases, dangerous sources of extremism,” Blair told Karan Thapar in an interview to a news channel.

The former British prime minister was responding to queries relating to the role of ISI in spreading terrorism and its links with the Haqqani group in Afghanistan.

When asked if the US, after eliminating Osama bin laden, should also go after the Haqqani faction, Blair said it was something which the Americans have to decide.

“The trouble with these groups is that there is no way to use them wisely. On these issues like Pakistan might have to say about its influence in Afghanistan vis-a-vis India’s influence there, there will be nothing good out of supporting these groups,” he said.

“If ISI is engaged in such activities, in the end it will not merely affect US, UK, Afghanistan or India, it poisons the atmosphere in Pakistan also,” Blair said.

The former British prime minister said that if there was any linkage between the ISI and terror groups such as the Haqqani group and the Lashkar-e-Taiba, “it is a mistake.”

Blair said there was a need to engage “modern and open-minded” Pakistanis who are involved in a struggle against the extremists.

“We have to see how we can engage elements in Pakistan who believe that this was a mistake. The best way is to allow Pakistan to change and evolve and there are a lot of decent people in Pakistan,” he said.

Blair said that Pakistan itself has suffered a lot due to terrorism as thousands of people have been killed. There was a “struggle going on in the country between those with modern and open-minded attitude towards future against those who are in the power struggle and will play dangerously,” he said. ….

Read more → TOI

Admiral Mike Mullen says Pakistan’s spy service is backing violence against U.S. targets in Afghanistan

U.S. TURNS UP THE HEAT ON PAKISTAN’S SPY AGENCY

by: Reuters

ISLAMABAD — Washington’s stunning charge that Pakistan’s spy service is backing violence against U.S. targets in Afghanistan has pushed Islamabad into a tight corner: either it cleans up the powerful agency or it faces the wrath of an angry superpower.

There has never been much doubt in Washington that the shadowy Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) plays a “double game,” supporting some militants to extend its influence in Afghanistan and counter India, while targeting others.

But the gloves came off on Thursday when U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen bluntly described the Haqqani militant network as a “veritable arm” of the ISI and accused Pakistan of providing support for the group’s September 13 brazen attack on the U.S. embassy in Kabul.

It was the most serious allegation leveled by Washington against the nuclear-armed South Asian nation since they allied in the war on terror in 2001, and the first time it has held Islamabad responsible for an attack against the United States.

“Mullen has finally put Pakistan on the spot and I don’t think he has left any ambiguity about the feelings of the U.S. about the ISI,” said Rasul Bakhsh Rais, an Islamabad-based academic and political columnist. “Mullen has thrown the ball into Pakistan’s court.”

A STATE WITHIN A STATE

Pakistan’s equivalent of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) — with which it has a paradoxical relationship of cooperation and deep distrust — the ISI has tentacles so far-reaching that it is often seen as a state within a state. Widely feared by Pakistanis, it is widely believed to employ tens of thousands of agents, with informers in many spheres of life. ….

Read more → msnbc

ISI urged attacks on US targets: Officials

– By Reuters

WASHINGTON: US officials say there is mounting evidence that Pakistan’s chief intelligence agency has been encouraging a Pakistan-based militant network to attack US targets.

The allegations, if fully confirmed, heighten a painful dilemma for President Barack Obama’s administration. Washington is under growing political pressure to take action against the Haqqani network after a spate of deadly attacks US officials have attributed to it. These include last week’s strike againstthe American Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Some US intelligence reporting alleges that Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence directorate (ISI) specifically directed, or urged, the Haqqani network to carry out the September 13 attack on the embassy and a NATO headquarters in Kabul, according two US officials and a source familiar with recent US-Pakistan official contacts. However, officials cautioned that this information is uncorroborated.

Another US official familiar with internal government assessments said that at the very least, the available intelligence strongly suggests the ISI has been egging on elements of the Haqqani network to launch attacks at American targets in the region.

While American officials have aired allegations of ties between the ISI and the Haqqani network in recent days, they have not publicly cited evidence that the Pakistani agency, or elements of it, urged its proxy to attack US targets.

While the ISI’s motives in any such attacks are not clear, Pakistan has long wanted to play a major role in Afghanistan’s future after the departure of NATO troops, and to counter what it sees as the growing influence there of arch-rival India.

This week, top US officials, including Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Admiral Mike Mullen, demanded that Pakistan’s leaders take action against the Haqqanis, ….

Read more → The Express Tribune

Drivers of social change & mass awareness

by Waseem Altaf

The social media is now impacting the political scene in Pakistan too. The press conference of Zulfiqar Mirza and the recent speech of Altaf Hussain are thoroughly being discussed on the social media. Earlier the murder of Governor Salaman Taseer turned Facebook into a battleground between his supporters and opponents

Earlier civilizations relied on the oral tradition to pass on advice and knowledge from one generation to the next. The human development took a giant leap when man developed writing systems around 3200 BC. Human experience could now be preserved to be transmitted to posterity in a more organized and systematic manner. However handwritten material was restricted to a privileged class with tremendous influence of the clergy on the content. …

Read more → ViewPoint

MQM: a neo fascist organization

– By: Farooq Tariq

I started visiting Karachi in the mid-1990s after the Labor Party established a group there. Whenever I came to speak to a public meeting, comrades advised me to avoid verbal attacks on the MQM. “We have to live here” was the usual justification.

After the National Trade Union Federation was formed in 1998, I was one of the key speakers at the annual May Day rallies in Karachi. And whenever I ignored the advice and called the MQM a neo-fascist organization, I received maximum applause. It seemed that among the Karachi working class there was tremendous antagonism against the MQM, but not many were prepared to speak publically against this organization.

On 10th September 2011, speaking on GEO television, Mustafa Kamal, the former mayor of Karachi, responded to the criticism of some who talked to Hamid Mir by commenting, in coded language, of retaliation against those who dare to be critical. He falsely compared Bangladesh’s struggle for independence struggle with the situation of Karachi. One was a struggle by an exploited nationality against the atrocious treatment of the West Pakistan civilian and military establishment while in Karachi today there is a struggle to break the shackles of the neo-fascists, who have attempted to strangle working people for over three decades.

I distinctly remember 12 May 2007, when I was going to speak at a peasant rally in Punjab. I received several calls from Karachi, one from Azra Perveen, a female activist of the Labour Party. She had been part of a group organized by LPP to go to a rally at the airport and welcome the chief justice. Shots rang out while buses were still arriving. The main victims were ANP activists, whose bus had to stop and let the passengers rush to find safe places. Azra, whose white dress was drenched in blood, was forced to hide behind a pole as she tried to help the wounded.

I tried to contact Eidhi, the BBC and other media to aid activists encircled by MQM thugs. Earlier in the morning, I was informed that all the transport arranged by LPP had been withdrawn on the instructions of the MQM. No one was willing to risk their transport. In fact the previous day, even commercial painters refused to prepare the LPP banners because of the fear of retaliation by MQM. Nevertheless brave activists of the LPP, ANP and some other parties attempted to get the airport. They found containers blocking the roads and were fired on at several places.

On 10th September 2011 night, I was very angry to hear Mustafa Kamal denying that the MQM played a role in shedding blood in May 2007. Earlier in the press conference from his exile cage, Altaf Hussain, the “leader” accepted the MQM the “negligence” by the local chapter of MQM. And what a negligence, over 50 were killed, chief justice was unable to come out from the airport, all the main roads were blocked by the heavy containers and so on. This was an act of fascism. MQM believes in fascist philosophy that means the physical elimination of political opponents.

It was no accident that when Benazir Bhutto visited our bookstall in Lahore in 1992, she bought all fifty copies of a bookletFASCISM What It Is and How To Fight It.” The booklet was written by Leon Trotsky and translated in Urdu by Dr. Khalid Javed Jan. Benazir Bhutto must have felt the need to arm the activists of PPP with this booklet. And what a historical paradox that her husband Asif Ali Zardari is trying his best to go along with this terrorist organization instead of fighting it in an effort to win a “peace” in Karachi and other cities of Sindh.

You cannot have peace by compromising with the fascists. That is a lesson evident from studying the political history of the fascism. All the social democrats and even the communists who tried to compromise with Hitler, Mussolini, and Franc, the fascist leaders of Germany, Italy and Spain, became their victims. Fascists are not democrats. They do not believe in democracy. For them democracy is just an opportunity to spread their influence.

What is fascism? It is a system of government characterized by rigid one-party dictatorship, forcible suppression of the opposition, private economic enterprise under centralized governmental control, belligerent nationalism, racism, and militarism. It is a mass movement, with its leaders employing a great deal of socialist demagogy. Its base is the petty bourgeoisie, the middle class.

The capital of Sindh, Karachi has been in the grip of a one-party dictatorship for long time. The MQM talks of revolution, instead of Socialist demagogy. It has always had close links with the military establishment; they always make efforts to smooth over any differences. The MQM gave full support to General Musharaf.

MQM has always used the race issue to unite the groups around it. Racism may be defined as the hatred of one person or group by another because of skin, color, language, customs, place of birth or any other factor. This reveals the belief that one is less than human establishes an unequal power relationship that is perpetuated through wars, slavery, the formation of nations, and legal codes.

In order to popularize its message, the MQM propagated the “discriminated” attitude of the Sindhis, Punjabis, Pushtoons and Baluchs against Urdu-speaking migrants. It uses the racist card to divide the working class in Karachi, the main industrial city of Sindh, Pakistan. MQM members make jokes about the native Balucies and Sindhies, revealing a contemptuous attitude that these people are not “civilized” enough to be equal to other people.

When journalist Hamid Mir asked a question Hyder Abbas Rizvi, a MQM representative of MQM, why the party pressurized the AAJ television channel to sack Nusarat Javed, one of the channel’s main anchor people who was sacked during a programme when he was criticizing MQM fascist tactics, , he responded by denying the charges, stating that no one from MQM called the AAJ owners. That may be so, but the sheer fear of MQM retaliation might have forced the owners to sack this reputed journalist.

What had Nusrat Javed said? He simply reacted to the three-hour press conference by Altaf Hussain, the chief of MQM by stating the whole nation was kept hostage for five hours. Yet the MQM representative slyly remarked that the MQM did not force the media to broad the entire conference but only gave out a press release announcing the conference. Yet it is the fear of retaliation by MQM that forced all the media to carry the entire the press conference live for over 5 hours.

Recent developments have forced the neo-fascist MQM retreat from their ambitious plan to expand nationally. All their sloganeering against feudalism is rolled back to their original political stand that to maintain their base among the Muhajirs, taking refuge in Karachi.

The case of the MQM exposes the failure of Pakistani state to address the question of racism and fascism. In fact, the Pakistani state is deeply rooted in religious bigotry and racist superiority where some nationalities are dominant and others are oppressed. It has tried to impose the Urdu language on the Bengalis as early as 1948. Sindhies have had to wage a struggle for their linguistic rights. The emergence of the MQM in the mid-1980, with the help of the military dictator General Zia Ul Haq was mainly based on the supposed superiority of the Urdu language. Different institutions of the state played vital role in bringing this monster up in the air and the MQM has very cleverly used this attitude against all other local, indigenous and other languages.

Today the MQM-PPP alliance reveals a crisis of bourgeoisie democracy. The PPP government is facing one of the most real crises it has faced so far during the three and half year of power. It is both the crisis of the system and the leadership. The so-called clever, smart, witty, intelligent, gifted and chic leadership of Asif Ali Zaradari has to confront one of his most trusted handpicked Zulfiqar Mirza. The crisis has weakened the grip of PPP leadership from its own apparatus. It has weakened their basis in Sindh. That is a result of their policies of conciliations with the neo-fascists MQM. You can never gain by allying with your own enemies.

The working class must not have any illusions in Zulfiqar Mirza’s fight against the fascists. He wants to reap the anger of the working people of Sindh against MQM and put it back to PPP or to the military establishment but he cannot wage a serious fight against the fascists.

What is the way forward? It is revealed in the current struggle of the workers at Karachi Electric Supply Corporation (KESC) for jobs and against privatization. Here we see the MQM and the PPP united to crush the heroic struggle of the KESC trade union with state repression. We must support this struggle and demand an immediate release of the workers, organizing strike support actions. Building the working-class movement in Karachi is the answer to the present crisis.

It is with the present political scenario that the forces of the Left can expose the real nature of the neo-fascist forces and the danger it presents for the working class in Pakistan. At different times religious fundamentalists or the neo-fascist MQM have been promoted by state institutions and bourgeoisie in order to divide and conquer and thus maintain rotten capitalism. Both, along their master, deserve rejection by the working people of Pakistan.

About the writer – Farooq Tariq is spokesperson of the Labour Party Pakistan

Courtesy: → SocialistPakistan, September 12, 2011

via → Indus Herald

MQM in the way of plot against Pakistan: Altaf

– By Azfar-ul-Ashfaque

Excerpt;

…. The gist of the press conference was that Western powers were plotting the dismemberment of Pakistan, but the Muttahida had resolved to foil the design.

Repeated assurances were made to the armed forces, the Inter-Services Intelligence as well as the nation that the MQM was against conspiracies being hatched against the country.

Mr Hussain chose not to answer the serious allegations levelled by former Sindh home minister Dr Zulfikar Mirza against him and his party over the past fortnight, parrying a number of questions by reporters.

He concentrated on showing documents, maps and reports from the international media to strengthen his contention that international powers were working for the break-up of Pakistan.

Although he refused to pinpoint the international powers he was referring to, an allusion left no doubt: “The country which has the biggest influence in Pakistan is behind such conspiracies”. The MQM cannot fight such powers alone, Mr Hussain added. “There would have been no super power had the army, the ISI and the MQM got united.”

The MQM supremo accused the leadership of the Awami National Party of “misleading the Pukhtoons living in Karachi and Peshawar”. He even went to the extent of claiming that the United States had given millions of dollars to Asfandyar Wali for contesting the 2008 general election. ….

Read more → DAWN.COM