Tag Archives: isolated

Pakistan stands isolated in Washington

WASHINGTON, May 25: Pakistan stands isolated in the US capital as the Obama administration joins lawmakers in condemning the conviction of a Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA trace Osama bin Laden.

America’s two top foreign policy makers — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Senator John Kerry — also are denouncing a tribal court’s decision to jail Dr Shakil Afridi for 33 years. Both are considered “Pakistan friendly” in a country where anti-Pakistan feelings run high.

Secretary Clinton called the judgment “unjust and unwarranted” and Senator Kerry said even though he believed in “the importance of the US-Pakistan strategic relationship, realities like these make that effort more difficult”.

Senator Kerry played a key role in the passage of a $7.5 billion, five-year aid package for Pakistan in 2009.

On Thursday, a Senate panel deducted $33 million from a proposed assistance to Pakistan – $1 million for each year Dr Afridi will spend in jail. …

Read more » DAWN.COM

Pakistan: bombs, spies and wild parties

By Declan Walsh

Even before you reach Pakistan there’s reason to fret. “Ladies and gentlemen, we will be landing shortly, inshallah,” says the Pakistan International Airlines pilot, 10 minutes outside Islamabad. To the western ear this ancient invocation – literally “God willing” – can be disconcerting: you pray the crew are relying on more than divine providence to set down safety. But these days it’s about right – Pakistan, a country buffeted by mysterious if not entirely holy forces, seems to have surrendered to its fate.

Viewed from the outside, Pakistan looms as the Fukushima of fundamentalism: a volatile, treacherous place filled with frothing Islamists and double-dealing generals, leaking plutonium-grade terrorist trouble. Forget the “world’s most dangerous country” moniker, by now old hat. Look to recent coverage: “Hornet’s Nest” declares this week’s Economist; “The Ally from Hell” proclaims the Atlantic.

Continue reading Pakistan: bombs, spies and wild parties

Desis stay away from Occupy Wall Street

by Dr. Qaisar Abbas

Excerpt;

While the American silent majority has spoken lodging its protest throughout America, the so-called model minority of Desis seems to be in a state of perpetual silence. The affluent are part of a capitalist system which they cannot afford to oppose anyway. On the other hand, the disadvantaged communities of the diaspora are so isolated from the American society; they do not feel to be part of a grassroots movement …

…. The grassroots agitation against the exploitative capitalist system is challenging the powerful businessmen, financial institutions and politicians in the United States. The recent issue of the progressive journal “The Nation” reports the deplorable economic conditions in the United States in these figures:

  • Twenty five million Americans are unemployed who are desperately looking for jobs
  • While corporate CEOs are paid handsomely, wages of 70% Americans without college education are declining
  • One in 6 American lives below the poverty line
  • One in four homes, considered to be the largest asset for most Americans, is at the verge of foreclosure and eviction by banks for nonpayment of mortgage loans
  • Fifty million people are unable to afford health insurance as healthcare costs are soaring
  • The economy works well for the rich 1% who control 40% of the wealth
  • Multinationals have conveniently transferred domestic jobs in other countries to reduce production costs
  • The rising cost of education is becoming unbearable for youth and they are burdened with a record high education loans ….

Read more » ViewPoint

US sows discord in South Asia

– By M K Bhadrakumar

Two templates in regional politics are seriously debilitating the United States’s campaign to bring Pakistan down on its knees in the Afghan endgame. One is that Delhi has distanced itself from the US campaign and pursues an independent policy toward Islamabad.

The second factor frustrating US policies to isolate Pakistan is the South Asian nation’s bonhomie with Iran. Pakistan would have been pretty much isolated had there been an acute rivalry with Iran over the Afghan endgame. The current level of cordiality in the relationship enables Islamabad to focus on the rift with the US and even draw encouragement from Tehran.

It’s baloney

A recent statement by the Indian External Affairs Minister S M Krishna on the US-Pakistan rift underscored that India doesn’t see eye-to-eye with the US approach. (See US puts the squeeze on Pakistan, Asia Times, October 22). It was carefully timed to signal to Washington (and Islamabad) that Delhi strongly disfavored any form of US military action against Pakistan.

There is a string of evidence to suggest that the Pakistani leadership appreciates the Indian stance. The general headquarters in Rawalpindi acted swiftly on Sunday to return to India within hours a helicopter with three senior military officers on board which strayed into Pakistani territory in bad weather in the highly sensitive Siachen sector. The official spokesman in Delhi went on record to convey India’s appreciation of the Pakistani gesture. Such conciliatory gestures are rare (for both sides) in the chronicle of Pakistan-India relationship.

Again, last week, India voted for Pakistan’s candidacy for the Asia-Pacific slot among the non-permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council and the Pakistani ambassador promptly responded that he would work with his Indian counterpart in New York. Ironically, the UN has been a theater for India and Pakistan’s frequent clashes over the Kashmir problem. ….

Read more » Asia Times

Ardeshir Cowasjee – WE are determined never to learn from history. In our universe, we are in the middle of a party celebrating our greatness and self-glorification but in the real world, Pakistan is in big trouble is unlikely to go away.

Killing the messengers

by Ardeshir Cowasjee

WE Pakistanis are determined never to learn from history. Our leaders deem ignorance to be bliss and choose to pay no attention to what the world thinks of them or of our country.

Pakistan is more isolated internationally than at any time since 1971. That year, for those of us who care to remember, the country lost its erstwhile eastern wing after a civil war and a humiliating military defeat.

Any other nation would teach its young the lessons of its greatest tragedy in the hope of avoiding it. We, on the other hand, are insistent upon re-enacting every mistake we made then as if to prove Einstein’s definition of insanity. “Insanity,” said the great scientist, is “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Continue reading Ardeshir Cowasjee – WE are determined never to learn from history. In our universe, we are in the middle of a party celebrating our greatness and self-glorification but in the real world, Pakistan is in big trouble is unlikely to go away.

Turkey takes over the Arab Spring

– By Pepe Escobar

Finally. Crystal clear. Someone finally said it – what the whole world, except Washington and Tel Aviv, knows in its collective heart; the recognition of a Palestinian state is “not an option but an obligation”.

It did wonders that the man who said it was Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in Cairo, at the Arab League, in front of all Arab foreign ministers and with virtually the whole Arab world glued to satellite networks scrutinizing his every word.

The current Erdogan Arab Spring tour – as it was billed by the Turkish press – comprising Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, has already rocketed him to the status of a geopolitical cross between U2’s Bono and Barcelona’s superstar Argentine footballer Lionel Messi.

Erdogan received a rock/soccer star welcome at Cairo’s airport – complete with “Hero Erdogan” banners brandished by the Muslim Brotherhood. He even addressed the crowd in Arabic (from “Greetings to the Egyptian youth and people, how are you?” to “Peace be upon you”).

Erdogan repeatedly stressed, “Egypt and Turkey are hand-in-hand.” But it’s the subtext that is even more incendiary. While Israel’s former good friends Egypt and Turkey are now hand-in-hand, Israel is left isolated facing a wall. There could not be a more earth-shattering development in the Levant – unheard of since the Camp David peace accords between Israel and Egypt in 1978.

A model campaigner

Erdogan’s tour is a realpolitik master class. He’s positioning Turkey as the forefront supporter of the Palestinian cause. He’s also positioning Turkey at the core of the Arab Spring – as a supporter and as an inspirational model, even though there have been no full-fledged revolutions so far. He’s emphasizing solid Turkish-Arab unity – for instance planning a strategic cooperation council between Egypt and Turkey.

Plus the whole thing makes good business sense. Erdogan’s caravan includes six ministers and nearly 200 Turkish businessmen – bent on investing heavily all across northern Africa. In Egypt, they may not match the billions of dollars already committed by the House of Saud to the military junta led by Air Marshall Mohammed Tantawi. But in 2010, Turkish trade with the Middle East and North Africa was already at $30 billion, representing 27% of Turkish exports. Over 250 Turkish companies have already invested $1.5 billion in Egypt.

Crucially, Erdogan told Egyptian TV channel Dream, “Do not be wary of secularism. I hope there will be a secular state in Egypt.” Erdogan was subtly referring to Turkey’s secular constitution; and at the same time he was very careful to remind Egyptians that secularism is compatible with Islam.

The current Turkish model is enormously popular among the Egyptian street, featuring a moderate Islamic party (the Justice and Development Party – AKP) in power; a secular constitution; the military – albeit strong – back in the barracks; and an ongoing economic boom (Turkey was the world’s fastest growing economy in the first half of 2001). [1]

This model is not exactly what the regressive House of Saud wants. They would prefer a heavily Islamist government controlled by the most conservative factions of the Muslim Brotherhood. Worse; as far as Libya is concerned, the House of Saud would love to have a friendly emirate, or at least a government peppered with Islamic fundamentalists.

Erdogan also stressed that the “aggressiveness” of Israel “threatens the future of the Israeli people”. That’s music for the Arab street. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas met Erdogan in Cairo – and confirmed he’ll go ahead with Palestine’s bid to be fully recognized as a state by the United Nations Security Council later this month. ….

Read more → Asia Times

The arrest of Dr Fai, may appear as isolated legal action of the US government but the scratch below the surface is just the beginning of the US retribution against Pakistani actions

On the course of retributions

By Dr. Manzur Ejaz | DAWN.COM

The arrest of Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, and arrest warrant of a Pakistani national, Zaheer Ahmad, may appear as isolated legal actions of the US government against its citizens for unauthorised lobbying for Pakistan. However, scratch below the surface and it becomes clear that this is just the beginning of the US retribution against Pakistani actions.

The matter has been brewing and coming to the boiling point since Raymond Davis’ arrest and then jailing of those who helped the US in nabbing Osama bin Laden. In recent days, the US media has been reporting that the US is pressuring Pakistan for the releasing of Dr Shakil Afridi who was reported to be arrested for undertaking a fake vaccination campaign to get blood samples of bin Laden’s kids for DNA match.

Every Washington circle that had anything to do with Pak-American-Kashmir affairs was well aware of Dr Fai’s activities in the community, think tanks and on lobbying with Congress and Senate members. Most activists among the Pakistani-American community have been speculating about Dr Fai’s connection with Pakistani government and/or Inter Services Agency (ISI). Therefore, the allegation of having received about four million dollars from Pakistan and making over four thousand phone calls to his alleged handlers from ISI will not be totally perceived as concocted charges even among Pakistani expatriates. Pakistan embassy’s claim that Dr Fai is not a Pakistani citizen—he came from India and sought amnesty in the US—is not going to lessen the impact of such a damaging development.

Dr Fai’s activities on the Capital Hill and his arrangements of large and expensive conferences involving key people from Pakistan and India were quite open. It can be safely assumed that he was giving heart burns to Indian diplomats and lobbyists and they must have been pressurising the US government to rein him in. However, the US had chosen to look the other way for a decade and never bothered with his activities. But, now the parameters have changed. Probably because the US wants to send the message that it has some options to retaliate in Pakistani style as well.

It is well known that Pakistan has its own human intelligence assets in the US. Of course such assets must be a fraction of what a sole world superpower, the US, would have in Pakistan. The US financial power to buy human assets in Pakistan, Europe and from the rest of the world cannot be matched by a poor developing country. Nonetheless, the party with meager resources gets hurt more when mutual retributions occur.

Before Dr Fai’s arrest Washington’s diplomatic circles were subtly pointing out for such retribution. According to very reliable sources, the US side was arguing with Pakistani diplomats that millions of Pakistani-Americans live in America—some of them are Green Card Holders and technically, Pakistani nationals—and the US issues hundreds of thousands of student, visiting, business and work visas to Pakistanis while Pakistan is raising questions about a few hundred visas.

A thinly veiled threat is that if Pakistan continues restricting movements of its diplomats and citizens, the US can do the same putting Pakistani diplomats’ work in jeopardy and creating problems for visitors. Technically, the US can cancel Green Cards on very flimsy grounds, through finding any trivial fault with application process, and send thousands of Pakistanis back home. It is not very likely to happen but if things get too far it is not out of question either.

If the US expands the scope of retributions the diplomatic make-up of staff at Pakistani embassy may change as well. Pakistan may not be able to appoint ranking officials from intelligence agencies as ‘head of community affairs’ or under other such covers. The set of military mission in the embassy may be realigned as well. Most of all, the US agencies, particularly tax authorities, can be used to scare prosperous Pakistanis, mostly physicians, who hold fund raisers for the US lawmakers and arrange their meeting with Pakistani diplomats and incoming Pakistani officials. Such moves will certainly hamper little efforts Pakistani-Americans make to provide bridge between the two countries.

If the negative perception of Pakistan further deepens, the US may not be able to use drones in Pak-Afghan border areas but it will hit Pakistan’s financial system with stealth bombers. Besides stopping the financial aid, the US can harm Pakistan’s foreign currency earnings by creating difficulties for transmitting the remittances of Pakistani expatriates. Presently, Pakistani expatriates contribute a significant portion of foreign remittances of Pakistan. Furthermore, it can issue guidance to donor agencies, European partners and other private financial institution to hold back on financial transfers to Pakistan.

A sketch of broad possible scenarios of US retribution–been started with Dr Fai’s arrest–is not to scare the new found patriotism in Islamabad. Patriotic feelings are very noble, worthy and respectable but one should know the cost as well. Before throwing stones at others while sitting in the glass houses, one should have thick tall walls to protect oneself. Are Islamabad and GHQ ready to build such walls if the US process of retributions expands? Does not seem like it.

Courtesy: → DAWN.COM

Religious fascism – a threat within

by Shafqat Aziz

The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. Instead of altering their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views… which can be very uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that need altering.” –Dr Who

How true is the above quote in regard to prevailing fascist mindset deep rooted in Pakistani society. Yes, fascist tendencies could be found in any society. These are however fringed and alienated from mainstream. Besides, the state, law of land and society itself always remains vigilant about the activities of such fringed elements and never allow them to impose their views on others by use of any coercive tool. It is so because civilized societies are fully aware of the potential of this threat. They have observed and experienced the devastation done by fascist approaches for entire humanity and especially, for the societies that perpetuate such tendencies.

However, the case of Pakistan society vis-à-vis fascism is all together different. Here, fascism is not an isolated phenomenon. Instead, a significant chunk of the entire population including the majority of the urban middle class is now fully inflicted with this disease. The rests are also drifting towards this trend with an unchecked and alarming pace. The urban youth, belonging to upper and lower middle class has developed themselves as brainless zombies, devoid of any reasoning and logic. Their thought patrons are amazingly indistinguishable from each other. Yes, their looks and life style could be different. But they are all equipped with same set of absurd conspiracy theories with an extremely narrow and dangerous worldview. …

Read more → ViewPoint

This torture confirms the worst fears that torture and massacres in Pakistan are encouraged by superiors, and they are not isolated incidents

Kharotabad shooting incident: Police surgeon tortured

QUETTA: Dr Baqir Shah, the police surgeon who conducted autopsy on the victims of Kharotabad shooting incident has been attacked in Quetta.

According to the Express 24/7 correspondent in Quetta, Muhammad Kazim said that Dr Shah was visiting a restaurant on prince road when up to 10 people pulled up outside and dragged the surgeon out. As the men tried to drag the doctor away to their vehicles, he put up resistance, upon which the men beat him up. His wounds were so severe that he had to be rushed to the civil hospital.

Earlier in the day, Dr Shah had recorded his statement in the ongoing tribunal on the Kharotabad killing incident in which five foreigners were gunned down at a check post by police and FC personnel on suspicion that they were armed suicide bombers.

In his testimony, Dr Shah confirmed that all the victims had died of gunshot wounds from the police and FC weapons fired from a distance of 50 – 60 feet, instead of a hand grenade as claimed by the police. This is one of the incriminating evidences pointing towards gross negligence of the police and FC personnel.

The victims, a five member party of men and women of Russian and Tajik nationality, were unarmed. An inquiry report presented to the Parliamentary committee on the killings also said that none of the victims had fired a shot, and that FC personnel injured in the incident had been struck by bullets fired by other FC personnel and police.

The inspector general of police has taken notice of the incident and has suspended the SHO of Gawalmandi.

Correction: The above story carried an error that up to ten police mobiles had pulled up. The correct version reads that up to ten people had attacked the surgeon. The mistake is regretted.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune

Pakistan, Iran jockey for influence after bombings

* Iran says Jundallah group operates from Pakistan, * Pakistan promises to hand over terrorists to Iran, * Ahmed Rashid says there is mistrust for Pakistan all over

ISLAMABAD: As tension grows between Pakistan and Iran after a mosque bombing in Iran, Pakistan could find itself increasingly isolated as its western neighbour looks to increase its influence in the region, analysts say.

Jundallah, a terrorist group Iran says is based in Balochistan, claimed responsibility for a December 15 double suicide bombing in the Iranian town of Chahbahar that killed 39 people and wounded more than 100.

Iran has demanded Pakistan take action with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calling this week on his Pakistani counterpart, Asif Ali Zardari, to arrest “identified terrorists” and hand them over to Iran.

Iran says Jundallah fighters find shelter in Pakistan. Pakistan denies providing shelter for the group.

But in an echo of US demands regarding Taliban sanctuaries in northwest Pakistan, a member of the Iranian parliament’s national security and foreign policy committee suggested that if Pakistan did not act, Iran would. …

Read more : Daily Times
http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\12\23\story_23-12-2010_pg7_6