Tag Archives: ISPR

Guess it doesnt harm national sovereignty when Pakistan army gets into secret deals with US; that’s only for bloody civilians

Army has its eye on Nato supplies deal

By Khawar Ghumman

ISLAMABAD: The bankrupt Pakistan Railways management has pulled off the mother of all deals with the NLC, while the army is working hard behind the scenes for an equally big deal with the United States.

In the first week of February, railways signed a deal with the military-run National Logistics Cell (NLC) under which the cell will repair 30 railway locomotives of which 15 will be returned to the railways to use. The other 15 will be used by the NLC to carry freight booked by the NLC.

What does the NLC get out of this deal? This was a question that proved hard to answer as the NLC and the ISPR never bothered to reply to any questions despite a weeklong wait.

However, Dawn has learnt that the military is gearing up to earn big bucks from the transport of US/Nato/Isaf supplies via Pakistan’s land routes in the near future and this is what is behind the NLC deal with the railways.

In fact, negotiations between the Pakistan military and the US started as far back as 2009 for a share of the transport pie that has earned many individuals and companies in this country millions since the start of the war in Afghanistan over a decade ago.

A source within a transport company that carries military supplies to Afghanistan confirmed that trial runs were carried out at the request of the American government in 2009 and 2010; from Karachi to Peshawar and from Karachi to Chaman to not just see if the rail routes worked but also how long the journey took. “The journey to Chaman took seven days which was an improvement on the trucks as the increasing number of FC checkpoints was causing delays,” the source said.

It now appears that while the US waits for the parliamentary review of bilateral relations that was ordered after the Salala incident, behind the scenes the two sides are negotiating the terms and conditions for transporting Nato and American supplies to Afghanistan.

An official in the Foreign Office confirmed that the Americans, Nato officials based in Afghanistan, the NLC and the Foreign Office were working out some plan to use the railway for supplies to Nato forces in Afghanistan.

The recent trip by the newly appointed ambassador to the US, Sherry Rehman, to Pakistan was part of these negotiations, the official said.

This, however, is not the only price that is being demanded. Fees to use the roads as well as a charge at the port may also be negotiated.

The bi-partisan and bi-cameral Parliamentary Committee on National Security has also demanded that a fee be imposed on Nato trucks using roads in Pakistan as well as charging them around Rs30 billion for the repair of roads.

There is a third fee that may also witness a hike once these negotiations are over, although it is not confirmed.

At the Karachi port, goods for Afghanistan are charged at the rate of Rs15,000 per piece, while goods that have arrived from Afghanistan and are on the way out are charged Rs20,000.This fee was imposed in 2010 before which the NLC charged Rs5,000 per item for goods on way to Afghanistan. One reason these negotiations have become so important is that the country is trying to thrash out a deal where none existed to begin with.

After the 9/11 attacks and the quick decision of the allied states to invade Afghanistan, Pakistan could not negotiate any terms, monetary or otherwise, for the movement of US and Nato supplies through it.

As a result, the US reserved the right to choose the companies for the transportation of its supplies.

For Nato/Isaf and British military supplies, the NLC could select or nominate companies.

As a result, Pakistan was used as a route without the state making any money from a business that was worth big bucks.

Over time, Pakistan’s land routes became an important part of the war effort.

According to one estimate, the American supplies constitute about 70 per cent of the goods transported through Pakistan.

US Transcom Commander Gen William Fraser testified this year that “in 2011 more than 35,000 containers were delivered” through Pakistan.

When US embassy’s spokesman Mark Stroh was asked about the deal between the NLC and the railways, he said: “We are aware of the agreement but since the ground shipping lines remain closed, the effects of the agreement with regard to our shipping remain to be seen.”

However, observers say there is a chance that the Pakistan Army will end up with some share of the pie as no other route is as economical as the one through Pakistan.

At the moment, the Americans and the allies are flying in supplies but this is expensive. In addition they are using the ‘Northern Distribution Network’, a variety of routes across Central Asia that originate in Europe.

According to a report by the US National Public Radio, these routes cost “two or three times as much as shipping them by sea and moving them up through Pakistan”.

And the impending elections in the US and its financial constraints may be important factors influencing its decision, especially as the planned drawdown in Afghanistan may mean an increase in the supplies leaving the country.

In this regard, the Salala incident simply provided an opportunity to the army to increase its leverage on the issue.

It now remains to be seen what the outcome is and what the army ends up with.

At a time of dwindling aid and assistance from the US, ‘Rawalpindi’ may just strike gold with the NLC and the war in Afghanistan. …

Read more » DAWN.COM

‘Temper, temper’, the brilliant Kamran Shafi speaks the truth

Temper, temper

By Kamran Shafi

What else this week but about the ludicrous, loud, rude, and completely inappropriate statement of the seemingly out-of-control ISPR attempting to trash the press release of the respected Human Rights Watch (HRW) on the findings of the Saleem Shahzad Commission. And some other propaganda unleashed in the press by certain trolls.

Whilst the contents of the ISPR statement are laughable at best, e.g., “Unheard of court actions have been initiated by the apex court regarding ISI / intelligence agencies and the unprecedented obedience/compliance…” (which says it all doesn’t it, friends?), what is unforgivable is the naming of two of HRW’s staff, Brad Adams and our own Ali Dayan Hassan. This is like fingering the two in much the same way as the mafia does to those it considers its enemies.

Continue reading ‘Temper, temper’, the brilliant Kamran Shafi speaks the truth

Questions raised, Asma said she was baffled by Pasha’s meeting with Ijaz. “I don’t understand his interest in the Memogate affair,” “Under whose authority did he go abroad?” referring to the permission Pasha had required from the prime minister? Pasha must have resigned after 2nd May incident. Supreme Court must take action against Pasha.”

Questions raised: Pressure on Pasha

ISLAMABAD: The rhetoric against country’s top spymaster has increased in recent days – that too from a number of quarters.

Asma Jahangir, the counsel for former ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani, said on Monday that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Shuja Ahmed Pasha “should have resigned immediately” after the May 2 raid in Abbottabad that killed Osama bin Laden.

Speaking to the media after the Memogate case hearing, Jahangir said she did not understand why the DG ISI felt the need to travel abroad in order to investigate the matter. Jehangir also questioned Pasha’s meeting with Mansoor Ijaz.

Asma said she was baffled by Pasha’s meeting with Ijaz. “I don’t understand his interest in the Memogate affair,” she added.

Under whose authority did he go abroad?” she said, referring to the permission Pasha had required from the prime minister. Ijaz, in his reply, had stated that Pasha told him that he was meeting him with the knowledge of the Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

Petition against Pasha

Communist Party Chairman Engineer Jamil Ahmed Malik has also applied pressure on General Pasha. On Monday he pleaded with the Supreme Court to take action against the ISI chief for allegedly meeting Arab rulers.

Filing a petition in the SC on Monday, Jameel asked the court to remove Pasha, claiming he has lost the right to remain in service after his involvement in the Memogate affair.

Jamil said that, although reports regarding Pasha’s meeting with senior Arab leaders were carried in the press, neither ISPR (Inter Services Public Relations) nor Pasha had contradicted them. In the ‘Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto versus President of Pakistan’ case, the SC had decided that “facts given in newspapers, having not been denied, would be considered as undisputed fact”, Jamil said.

Jamil’s argument, therefore, is that news on the meeting indicated that Pasha and the army were involved in politics, which was contrary to their oath under Article 244 of the Constitution. He added that the SC in a 2004 case had barred all government employees from taking part in politics during service. “…the ISI chief has hatched a conspiracy against an elected government and the president and he deserves a court martial under the Pakistan Army Act, 152,” Jamil said. ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

Army Gives Clear Deadline to Settle Karachi Issue

– By Aijaz Ahmed

IH Exclusive Report

The cat seems to have finally come out of the bag after dilly-dallying and procrastination of about three months as military top brass has issued a clear cut deadline to the struggling and fragile political government both in the center and the province to settle Karachi issue by 30th October, sources in the power corridors have revealed with complete confidence and authority.

Zardari-Kayani meeting, a file photo

This scribe saw fear on the faces of many in the ruling structure, and heard certain whispers in the parliament lobbies and pathways of other buildings on the power map of Islamabad ever since the military spokesperson issued a statement on Karachi issue in very awkward manner that put already weak government under further pressure. The fear appeared to have increased manifold the day Army Chief had a detailed meeting with president Asif Ali Zardari at the Capital Hill of Islamabad.

The follow up event, which was none other than the corps commanders’ meeting, was an additional factor due to its unusual end as no formal statement was issued against the normal practice for the last so many years. The footage issued by ISPR was also evident of the fact that the military top commanders were looking grim and worried over the situation of Karachi. The military hierarchy seemed to be under pressure more so as a large number of the common Pakistanis and almost all analysts of high stature consider army leadership responsible for the situation due to its clear-cut support for MQM, a creation of General Zia ul Haq.

The latest deterioration in the situation in Karachi appeared to be due to the multiple factors with the political interests of MQM remaining at the top. The worsening situation has alarmed every one as the situation strengthened fears about the very survival of Pakistan. Many among the political forces, traders, and even liberal intellectuals who have been posturing neutrality are very much disappointed in the present political dispensation and have demanded the deployment of Army under Article 245 of the Constitution.

Only two rival political parties, PPP and PML-N were still resisting army action due to certain reasons. However army was looking reluctant to accept the responsibility, but at the later stage the thinking appeared to have changed and an indication of will was given by Army Chief himself few days back. In this scenario the army chief had a one to one meeting with the president. The insiders having close relations with both presidency and the GHQ are of the view that the army chief has conveyed sentiments of his colleagues in the army to the civilian government. Sources from both sides confided that the October 30th has been given as deadline with a clear-cut message that ‘if the situation does not improve and issues are not addressed then we will address Karachi issue in our own way’. The message, according to the sources, has spread fear among the top party leadership as this is not only a message for an action in Karachi, but also an indication of distrust over the competence and abilities of the civilian government to deal with the situations, sources maintained. The action will not remain confined to Karachi only, the government at center and the provinces will be sent back home was the actual message between the lines, sources added. ….

Read more → Indus Herald

Let us call a spade a spade by Special Correspondent

Though there was nothing against him in the Hamoodur Rehman Commission Report, Mr Bhutto preferred to keep it firmly under lock and key. Reason: He did not want the report, a comprehensive and devastating indictment of the Pakistan’s armed forces, to come in the way of his grandiose plans to rehabilitate and revive on a grander scale the demoralised and defeated institution. But then, in a matter of five years, he was made to pay with his life for setting up the commission of enquiry.

Next, when Mohammad Khan Junejo set up a commission to enquire into the Ojhri camp scandal, it did not take long for General Ziaul Haq, the then army chief and country’s all-powerful president, to send him home most unceremoniously.

And when, after the Kargil debacle, the talk of subjecting General Musharraf to a court martial started making the rounds in the corridors of power, Musharraf hit back by ousting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in a manner most unbecoming of a soldier.

So, perhaps the present coalition government has advisedly agreed to let the Army conduct its own investigation into the failure of the ISI to track down Osama bin Laden and the violation, for more than an hour, of our air space by US helicopters on May 1-2.  One does not know if this seemingly astute approach of the elected government would in the final analysis save it from meeting the fate of its predecessors who acted otherwise.  And what was Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Kayani trying to achieve by going on a lecture tour of three garrisons on the same day the prime minister was making a supposed policy speech in the NA? Was he trying to upstage the PM? Was he trying to tell the nation that his institution is a separate entity from the govt? Why did he do it when the need of the hour is to speak with one voice? He should have been there in the parliament galleries listening to the PM’s speech (most probably the handiwork of an ISPR copy writer rather than that of a political speech writer) to convey the impression that everyone in the country is on the same page.

But then, strangely enough, while the chief seemingly tried to distance himself from the government, he sought the help of parliament – help to save the institution from the wrath of the people at large who, no matter what spin one gave to the May 1-2 incidents, have been persuaded by the media that Osama was living untraced right under the nose of our security agencies and that US helicopters violated our airspace undetected and unchallenged. …

Read more : Wichaar

Pakistan is entering another dark stage of history

Another dark period – by Dr Manzur Ejaz

Jamaat-i-Islami is holding rallies to condemn Osama’s death in the name of Pakistan’s sovereignty as if al Qaeda and the Taliban are not violating it.

Before Osama Bin Laden’s death in Abbottabad, Islamabad’s political orientation had shifted further to the right on every level. In retrospect, it is becoming clearer that the newfound unity between Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q) had been forged with the military’s tacit support. No wonder that Prime Minister Gilani’s responses after the Abbottabad debacle were totally in sync with the military’s public face, Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR). By now all the primitive forces of Pakistan have forged an opportunistic unity barring any enlightened solution to the country’s internal and external problems.

After the Jamiat-i-Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) and Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) had left the government of their own will or on someone’s prompting, the PPP was in a very precarious position. It had no solution other than bowing to the military and seeking its help. PML-Q, not a political party as such, but an ensemble of electable Pakistani aristocrats always finding it abhorrent to sit on the opposition benches, were keen to come back to the ruling group. PML-Q had served in the military-managed government of General Musharraf and got on board once they received signals from the right quarters.

Pakistan’s military had hardly any choice but to support the PPP government after exacting the maximum concessions from it. It has been reported by many insiders that the military hates to see a federal government run by Mian Nawaz Sharif and his party PML-N. The military is fearful of his independent approach and his strong belief in civilian supremacy over the armed forces. His firing of two army chiefs during his last stint as prime minster was more than the military could swallow. The military is said to believe that though the PPP government is inept and corrupt, it still listens to them and dares not challenge its will, while Mian Nawaz Sharif is going to do what he likes and may try to exert control over the ‘untouchable’ mighty institution.

A few months back the military was seemingly trying to corner the PPP and replace it with some other combination of political groupings including MQM. Mian Nawaz Sharif was being encouraged to play a role to destabilise the PPP government but, apparently, he did not oblige. Somehow, he seems to be wedded to the concept of not throwing out the democratically elected government when there is direct or indirect danger of military intervention. Since he did not take the military’s bait, the military had no choice but to work with the PPP.

A weakened PPP government due to lack of governance, incompetence and perceived corruption, had changed its patron from the US to the military. After the PPP-PML-Q alliance was put in place, Prime Minister Gilani has been issuing strong pro-military/ISI statements, owning up to all the mess that Pakistan is accused of creating.

PM Gilani’s reported suggestion to Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karazai to tilt away from the US and embrace China was also in accordance with the military’s cat and mouse play with the Americans. His out-of-place statement that the military’s intelligence agencies are following the civilian government was also an attempt at mollycoddling the GHQ. His statements after the US operation in Abbottabad followed the same pattern. In essence, the military has recreated a Musharraf-like civilian set-up, which will allow it to do whatever it likes in dealings with the US, Afghanistan, India, China and other key external partners. It also gives them a free hand to play duplicitous policy games if they like to.

Presently, the PPP is trying to outdo Imran Khan, religious parties and all other anti-US political formations in standing behind the military. Jamaat-i-Islami is holding rallies to condemn Osama’s death in the name of Pakistan’s sovereignty as if al Qaeda and the Taliban are not violating it. Some religious leaders are blaming the Yahood-o-Hunood (Jews and Hindus) for hatching a conspiracy against the Pakistan military as if Osama bin Laden had been planted by them in Abbottabad. Other random groups are even holding rallies in support of the military. This is happening at a time when the civilians, specifically the governing party, should have been asking some tough questions from the military. Instead, the political groups are competing with each other to win the trophy for being the ‘Best Military Apologist’.

Whether Osama bin Laden was living in Abbottabad with or without the military’s knowledge is a question haunting Pakistan. The world is asking if it should be considered a case of incompetence or mischief on the part of Pakistan. The PPP and all other apologists can woo the military in pursuit of their own agendas but they can neither satisfy the world (not just the US) nor force the military establishment to initiate a corrective mechanism so that, in future, Osama bin Ladens are kept away from Pakistan. In fact, the political environment has been so ‘militarised’ that the Abbottabad operation has turned out to be a blessing for the military. Now the military has proved that it is beyond scrutiny and will be more encouraged to do whatever it wishes. This simply means that the Pakistani state is going to deteriorate further with no self-correcting mechanism in sight.

The conditions in Pakistan were already bad but with the PPP-PML-Q alliance combined with pro-military noises indicate that Pakistan is entering another dark stage of history.

The writer can be reached at manzurejaz@yahoo.com

Courtesy: Wichaar

Behind the walls, a very frank Question/ Answer session with few chosen participants!?!

Insufficient formal response dismayed public: COAS

ISLAMABAD: Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani addressed the officers at Rawalpindi, Kharian and Sialkot garrisons on Monday.

He discussed one point agenda of Abbottabad incident, says a press release issued by ISPR.

He said that Abbottabad incident has been in sharp public focus. Incomplete information and lack of technical details have resulted in speculations and misreporting.

Public dismay and despondency has also been aggravated due to insufficient formal response.

It is believed that people of Pakistan need to be taken into confidence through their honourable elected representatives.

The Chief of Army Staff said that he has requested the Honourable Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani to kindly consider convening of a joint session of the Parliament for briefing on security issues as related to Abbottabad incident. …

Read more : The News

Osama bin Laden: The Chinook in the armour

The Chinook in the armour

by Hakim Hazik

Osama bin Laden is history. Surely, we do not want to go back in history. We want to move forward in history, as we have moved forward in geography, guided by the steady hand of our valiant armed forces. Our history will be written by the dedicated historians of the ISPR, steeped in scholarship and strategic vision, as our geography has been re-written by the matchless scholars of the TTP and Jundullah (SWT). …

Read more : View Point

Is it not time for Gen Kayani to call it quits and take along with him the DG ISI and the air chief?

Time for heads to roll – By Babar Sattar

Excerpt:

OUR military and intelligence agencies stand indicted for being complicit with terror groups and our best defence seems to be to plead incompetence.

Osama’s refuge in the shadows of the Pakistan Military Academy Kakul and his killing without the knowledge or permission of Pakistani authorities have not only raised piercing questions about the country’s willingness to function as a responsible state but also cast fundamental doubts on the ability of our national security apparatus to protect Pakistan against foreign intervention.

An ISPR release after Thursday’s corps commanders’ conference that broke the security establishment’s silence on the Osama operation is mostly gibberish.

While admitting “shortcomings in developing intelligence” on Osama’s presence in Pakistan, it goes on to blow the ISI’s trumpet for extraordinary achievement all around. The commanders feel betrayed by the CIA for not telling the ISI where Bin Laden was hiding.

The release doesn’t say why the military failed to detect foreign choppers and troops in our territory for an hour and 40 minutes. ….

…. In a functional democracy, these gentlemen would be sacked after such a debacle. Unfortunately, national security related decisions in Pakistan fall within the exclusive domain of the military, which jealously guards its turf. But responsibility must accompany such power. And the responsibility for erosion of our international credibility and increased threat to security personnel and citizens from terror networks nestled within Pakistan rests squarely on the military’s shoulder.

Be it a rise in suicide bombing and terror incidents within Pakistan, an increase in US drone strikes in our territory, the Mumbai attacks or the Osama operation, the threat to Pakistan’s interests for being perceived as a pad for terrorist activity and to its citizens as targets of terror has proliferated under Gen Kayani’s watch. Is it not time for Gen Kayani to call it quits and take along with him the DG ISI and the air chief? Shouldn’t these heads roll to account for failing to do their jobs?

With them in the driving seat it might neither be possible to hold a transparent inquiry into the security breaches that led to the Osama operation and its execution without Pakistan’s knowledge nor engage in a rethink of our perverse national security mindset. Can we shed some baggage and create room for untainted faces and ideas?

The concept of sovereignty assumes control over the territory a state claims. We cannot continue to shirk responsibility for the men, material and money transiting in and out of Pakistan and simultaneously wail at the disregard for our sovereignty. It is time to publicly articulate our legitimate security interests linked to the future of Afghanistan and develop a regional consensus around it, instead of vying for the whole hog.

It is time to completely liquidate the jihadi project and cleanse our state machinery of those who believe in its virtue. And it is time to shun the delusions of grandeur and conspiracy that prevent us from realising our potential as a responsible and industrious nation.

Read more : DAWN