Asad Chandio is a journalist and a human rights activist based in Sindh, Pakistan.
By: via Facebook Comments about Hamid Mir
Strongly condemn the attack on anchor, columnist & journalist, Hamid Mir in Karachi today. That tells you how some elements in the military & civil establishment & their collaborators ‘deal’ with the voices of dissent. His views on govt talks with Taliban, Musharraf trial, Balochistan army operation & on some other issues have been at variance with some powerful lobbies. And this is how they silence the voices of dissent. This may be an act by the mother of all terrorist outfits in Pakistan. The country is certainly becoming more & more dangerous for its citizens, especially the ones that don’t agree with the establishment.
Today it is about the attack on Hamid Mir. Yesterday it were Umar Cheema & Saleem Shahzad. (Even the killings of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto, Akbar Bugti, Noroze Baloch, Nazeer Shaheed, Hasan Nasir, Bashir Qureshi, Muzaffar Bhutto, Sarai Qurban Khuhawar, Maqsood Qureshi, Samiullah Kalhoro & numerous others).
The supporters of the security establishment will not speak against the assailants & condemn them. They will even blame the victims. If you are in Pakistan, you can listen to some TV channels & commentators & read some columnists & see how they are blaming GEO news & Hamid Mir instead of condemning the attackers. Similarly, they will find ways even to defend the actions of military dictator Pervez Musharraf & try to undermine the Treason case against him.
They will label the critics of the security establishment as Indian agents. It is worst kind of fascism & it is dangerous. People must stand up against fascism.
According to his brother Aamir Mir; Hamid Mir had recently told family and colleagues that he had received threats from the IsI because of his political views and his stand supporting the Balochistan movement. He is the second prominent TV anchor to be targeted. Earlier this month, Raza Rumi was attacked, forcing the man to abandon his journalism career and leave the country.
We are not his followers and keep our right to oppose his point of view but killing some one on his right to say is inhuman.
State within State is not acceptable…nobody…no institution or its head is above the law… those responsible… direct or indirectly must brought to justice….
Please note: Above comments are taken from social media (Facebook)
Courtesy: Via Facebook
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LAHORE: The parliamentary committee of the Punjab Assembly has agreed on veteran journalist Najam Sethi as the caretaker chief minister of Punjab province, committee head Rana Sanaullah announced Tuesday.
“We have selected Najam Sethi, an opposition candidate, for the post of caretaker chief minister of Punjab,” Sanaullah, told reporters in Lahore.
Sethi has earlier served as a federal minister in the caretaker set-up led by Malik Meraj Khalid in 1996.
Writer, poet Shamsherul Hyderi passes away
SINDH – KARACHI: Renowned writer, poet, playwright and journalist Shamsherul Hyderi dies after prolong illness here on Friday.
He was around 80. He was recently shifted to the Aga Khan Hospital from a local private hospital. Earlier he had remained under treatment in Islamabad.
Hyderi left behind four daughters, a son, and thousands of friends and well wishers to mourn. He was buried in historical Chaukandi Graveyard situated at National Highway.
He was born on September 15, 1931 in coastal town of lower Sindh, Badin. He served in Federal Ministries of Information and Broadcasting, Communication and Youth Affairs, and retired in grade-19 in 1990. He also served the Sindhi Adabi Board, Jamshoro for 15 years as member publications and secretary.
Hyderi was writer of several books of poetry, literature, history, etc. He had started his career as broadcaster from PTV in 1970. He has written more than 100 Sindhi and Urdu plays and serials for PTV during his 38-year association with it, besides writing numerous songs both for PTV and radio.
He remained member Urdu Dictionary Board, Karachi for three years, and member Pakistan Films Censor Board, Karachi also for three years. He was member of Karachi Press Club and member of Pakistan Arts Council, Karachi.
By: Tarek Fatah
Who would have thought a Canadian mother of two would leave her children behind and join the international jihad unfolding in Syria?
Meet Thwaiba Kanafani. She left the comforts of her apartment in downtown Toronto, soon to appear in a YouTube video dressed in camouflaged battle gear, holding an automatic assault rifle, to declare: “I came from Canada to answer the call of my homeland” as the men surrounding her chanted “Allah O Akbar.”
Kanafani is not alone. A Dutch journalist who was kidnapped by rebels inside Syria, along with his British colleague, reports some of his abductors had “Birmingham accents,” while others were from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Chechnya, with no Syrians present.
Reports of non-Syrian jihadis have been confirmed by correspondents of both the Guardian and the New York Times who say foreign fighters under the banner of al-Qaida’s black flags bearing the Islamic declaration of faith, “There is no god but God,” are taking a bigger role.
The jihadis are the best-funded and well-equipped of the groups fighting the Bashar al-Assad regime.
While the American-backed Syrian National Council (SNC) had its own share of U.S.-based Islamists pulling the strings, it is now clear these jihadis-in-suits will not be the ones determining the future of Syria when the doctor dictator is gone. Very soon, Damascus will get a taste of al-Qaida’s hatred of life and their yearning for death as they have demonstrated in the last couple of months.
In one attack by the al-Qaida fighters on the historic Damascus district of Zainabiya, the fighters made no effort to hide the al- Qaida flag. Some wore the black head bands while others wore the flags of Pakistan, Somalia, and other Muslim countries. They killed Shia residents and pilgrims as they tried to destroy the shrines of Prophet Muhammad’s granddaughter Hazrat Zainab and Ruqaiya. At least one Afghan family was slaughtered inside their home.
One al-Qaida commander inside Syria, Abu Khuder, had this to say about foreign jihadis: “In the beginning there were very few. Now, mashallah, there are immigrants joining us and bringing their experience … Men from Yemen, Saudi, Iraq and Jordan … (al-Qaida’s) goal is establishing an Islamic state and not a Syrian state.”
The role of America in Syria seems at best incompetent and disastrous.
However, evidence suggests there is a method in the madness of the Obama Administration. Instead of helping the democratic forces of Syria it has dilly-dallied on the sidelines until the Islamists managed to get an upper hand. The same cowardice was demonstrated when Iran’s democrats rose up in 2009.
One of the leaders of the Syrian al-Qaida is Abdelhakim Belhadj, a Libyan accomplice of Osama bin Laden who, according to former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar, was suspected of complicity in the 2004 Madrid train bombings.
Belhadj was arrested by the CIA, but then released under mysterious circumstances and returned to Libya where he facilitated the U.S.-NATO overthrowing of Col. Moammar Gahdafi.
Now the same Libyan ally of NATO has been parachuted inside Syria with the help of the Turkish government.
Reportedly, 15,000 Syrians have given their lives to fight a dictator, and Belhadj’s presence in the war-torn country could make it a hell on earth.
Courtesy: Toronto Sun
Via – Twitter
Journalist abducted in Hub
By: Bari Baloch
QUETTA – A local journalist was abducted in Hub, the industrial town of Balochistan, on late Saturday night while a person was shot dead in Khuzdar.
As per reports, unidentified people abducted Javed Naseer Rind from IT Chowk Hub at gun-point and drove him away towards undisclosed location.
Javed Naseer Rind is a journalist and columnist, associated with a local daily, a Balochistan based Urdu language newspaper. Police quoting eyewitnesses said abductors were riding in two separate cars who held Javed Naseer at gun-point and bundled him into the car and drove away.
Police have started investigation into the incident,however, so far police have found no clue of the abductors.
Meanwhile, unidentified people shot dead a person in Khuzdar district on Sunday.
Police said the incident occurred at Mishk area of Tehsil Zehri when armed men opened fire on Gohar Jattak before escaping from the site.
Resultantly, he received bullet wounds and died on the spot. Police shifted the body to local hospital for autopsy. However, motive behind killing is yet to be ascertained.
Courtesy: The Nation
Adopted from Facebook » Via → LUBP
To know how the security agencies of the deep state operates in Pakistan and silences all. Please read the sad and frightening story [the will] of the reporting journalist on a missing persons of Sindh and the atrocities of Holy ISI, written by Hasan Mujtaba “Mama Don’t Cry If I Die” at BBC urdu website.
By Najam Sethi
The Pakistan army’s vaulting mission to remain the most powerful actor in Pakistani politics has received irreparable setbacks in the last few years.
On the one hand, this is due to the onset of several new factors in the body politic determining the direction of political change in the future.
On the other, it reflects poorly on the ability and willingness of the army’s leadership to understand the far-reaching nature of this change and adapt to it seamlessly.
Pakistan’s future as a viable nation-state now depends on how the generals read the writing on the wall and quickly come to terms with it. Here is a checklist of recent failures that have downgraded the Pak army’s rating with Pakistanis.
(1) The army’s policy of nurturing anti- Americanism in Pakistan for leveraging its strategic relationship with the US has backfired and left it stranded in no-man’s land. It can’t let go of the US privately for purposes of economic rent and military aid extraction but it can’t embrace it publicly because of the rampant ‘Ghairat’ brigade of extremist Islamic nationalists that it has brainwashed.
(2) The army’s policy of nurturing the Afghan Taliban in private while appeasing the Pakistan Taliban in public has also backfired.
The Afghan Taliban are now negotiating directly with America while the Pakistan Taliban are waging an ‘existential’ war against the Pak army and civil society. PAK army’s relationship with the government, opposition, and media is at an all-time low.
The government has meekly folded before the army on every issue; but the army’s arrogant, intrusive and relentlessly anti government propaganda and behaviour is deeply resented.
The media is also wiser and critical about its manipulation by the army and ISI viz its Drone policy, the Raymond Davis affair and Memogate.
Question marks remain over its incompetence or complicity in the OBL affair, especially following recent revelations by former DG-ISI Ziauddin Butt that General Pervez Musharraf ‘hid’ Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad.
The murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad, followed by running threats to a clutch of independent journalists, is laid at the ISI’s door.
The ease with which terrorists have breached military security, as in the attacks on GHQ, ISI offices, military Messes, Mehran Naval Base, etc also rankle deeply.
Finally, the media is now speaking up and asking disturbing questions about the role of MI in the disappearances and torture of Baloch activists. Consequently, the media is loath to blindly follow the army’s ‘line’ on any issue any more. The PMLN, meanwhile, has gone the whole hog, openly demanding that the intrusion of the military in politics must be curtailed and the army’s overweening power cut to size.
If its ratings are falling, the army’s ability to manipulate politics to its ends is also diminishing. In the old days, the army chief was the most powerful member of the ruling troika that included the president and prime minister. Now the office of the president has lost its clout and there are two new and powerful contenders for say.
The first is the judiciary under Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudry that has unprecedentedly pushed politicians into a corner for corrupt practices and the military on the defensive for being unaccountable (the Mehrangate affair of 1990, disappearances and murder of Baloch and Taliban extremists in captivity).
The second is the electronic media that is reaching tens of millions of Pakistanis and courageously raising their consciousness. Neither will countenance any direct or indirect military intervention in politics. Recently, in a bid to salvage some wounded pride, the army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, said that defense expenditure is a mere 18 per cent of the budget and not over 50 per cent as alleged by critics like Maulana Fazlur Rahman. But the truth is that defense expenditure is about 25 per cent of the budget after hidden ‘defense’ items in government expenditures like the military’s salaries and pensions, special project allocations, etc are unveiled and supplementary grants in any budgetary year are accounted for.
More to the point, it is about 50 per cent of all tax revenues in any year, which puts a big burden on the fiscal deficit. Gen Kayani also insists that the army is not involved in quelling unrest in Balochistan. But the fact remains that the Rangers and Frontier Corps who are in charge of ‘law and order’ in the province are directly commanded by army officers who report to GHQ even though they are formally under the interior ministry.
By Khalid Hashmani
It is my pleasure to forward you the news about the launch of the book ‘Aboard the Democracy Train’ by fellow Washingtonian Sindhi Nafisa Hoodbhoy. Nafisa was one of the few journalists in Pakistan who reported and wrote about the evils of Zia’s regime and contributed to the temporary return of democracy to Pakistan after Zia’s terror ended. She has taught a course at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and is currently working as a journalist in the US, her articles have appeared in the Washington Post, Paris Match. and many other publications.
And, learn about Pakistan’s most luxurious and expensive train, launched under heavy security at:
– Who killed Saleem Shahzad?
The purpose of government commissions, it seems, is to obfuscate rather than illuminate. They exist not to investigate but to give the impression of hard work. So, it was in the case of the judicial commission investigating the murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad. The commission was supposed to find out who was responsible for the killing but in its final report has declined to do so. It was meant to wrap up in six weeks but has ended up taking six months. In the end, all the suspicions everyone had after Mr Shahzad was murdered remain but we are no closer to the truth. The commission has recommended giving Rs3 million in compensation to the dead journalist’s family but it has denied them the opportunity of getting justice.
The investigative process of the commission was flawed from the start. It faced inordinate and unexplainable delays in getting Mr Shahzad’s email and cell phone data, information that may have been crucial in solving his case but which could well have been scrubbed of anything incriminating by the intelligence agencies. When he was murdered, the initial reaction among journalists and human rights groups was to blame the military, since Mr Shahzad’s reporting focused on its alleged ties to militants. Indeed, just two days before he was killed, he had written a story on the infiltration of al Qaeda in the Pakistan Navy. The commission’s inconclusive report will do little to allay those suspicions.
By failing its mandate, the judicial commission has also failed in its task to help out vulnerable journalists. Having seen that a prominent reporter can be killed with no consequences for those involved is sure to have a chilling effect on the profession. Will those who report critically on the military refrain from doing so in the future for fear that they may end up in a ditch somewhere? The commission has also shown Mr Shahzad’s killers, whoever they may be, that they can operate with impunity. Already, Pakistan has been described as the most dangerous place in the world for journalists by Reporters without Frontiers, with 10 journalists having been killed here in the last decade. The failure of the commission may have ended up making it just a little more dangerous.
Courtesy: The Express Tribune, January 12th, 2012.
Siraj Ahmed Malik, an ambitious young Pakistani journalist, was enjoying a stint last fall on a fellowship at the University of Arizona when he started getting chilling messages from home.
One after another, his friends and colleagues were disappearing, he learned, and their bodies were turning up with bullet holes and burn marks. A doctor’s son from his home town was arrested and vanished. A fellow reporter was kidnapped, and his corpse was found near a river. A student leader was detained, and his bullet-riddled body dumped on a highway. A writer whose stories Malik had edited was shot and killed.
“These were kids I had played cricket with, people I had interviewed, younger reporters I had taught,” Malik, 28, said in an interview last week in Arlington County, where he now lives. The final straw came in early June, when one of his mentors, a poet and scholar, was gunned down in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan, Malik’s native province.
On Aug. 19, Malik applied for political asylum in the United States. In his petition, he said that his work as a journalist and ethnic activist in Baluchistan, where he had exposed military abuses, made him likely to be arrested, tortured, abducted and “ultimately killed by the government” if he returned. …
Read more » The Washington Post
Journalist’s body found in Khuzdar
QUETTA – A bullet-riddled body of a journalist was recovered from Khuzdar district, some 360 Km southeast of Quetta, on Saturday.
According to police officials, area people spotted a body lying at Gazgi area and informed police. Policemen rushed to the site and moved the body to Civil Hospital Khuzdar for medico-legal formalities where deceased was identified as Javed Naseer Rind, a missing journalist. “The victim was hit by bullets in head and chest while marks of torture were also visible on his body,” hospital sources said. Police after completing legal formalities handed over the body to heirs. …
Read more » The Nation
– London Post journalist’s mutilated body found in Lahore
By Asad Kharal
LAHORE: The mutilated body of 28-year-old Faisal Qureshi, web editor of The London Post, was discovered by his brother Zahid and Johar Town police from his residence in Lahore at around 2am on Friday.
The FIR regarding the incident states that the body bore torture marks and that the deceased journalist’s throat was slit open. The police have taken the body into custody to conduct further investigations.
The London Post recently published a story regarding Muttahid Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain’s alleged escape to South Africa. Zahid Qureshi claims that his brother had been receiving death threats in the past week from men who said they were from the MQM.
Zahid told The Express Tribune that he immediately became suspicious when he called his brother late last night but was unable to get through to him as his mobile was switched off.
He proceeded to go to his brother’s house in Johar Town, to find that the gate had traces of blood on it. Zahid notified the police, who arrived at the scene and entered the house to find Faisal dead.
Zahid claims that this was a target killing and that his brother was murdered because of the news he had published regarding the MQM. ….
Read more → The Express Tribune
– Kashmir is one of two war zones in India from which no news must come. But those in unmarked graves will not be silenced
by Arundhati Roy
At about 3am, on 23 September, within hours of his arrival at the Delhi airport, the US radio-journalist David Barsamian was deported. This dangerous man, who produces independent, free-to-air programmes for public radio, has been visiting India for 40 years, doing such dangerous things as learning Urdu and playing the sitar.
Barsamian has published book-length interviews with public intellectuals such as Edward Said, Noam Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Ejaz Ahmed and Tariq Ali (he even makes an appearance as a young, bell-bottom-wearing interviewer in Peter Wintonick’s documentary film on Chomsky and Edward Herman’s book Manufacturing Consent).
On his more recent trips to India he has done a series of radio interviews with activists, academics, film-makers, journalists and writers (including me). Barsamian’s work has taken him to Turkey, Iran, Syria, Lebanon and Pakistan. He has never been deported from any of these countries. So why does the world’s largest democracy feel so threatened by this lone, sitar-playing, Urdu-speaking, left-leaning, radio producer? Here is how Barsamian himself explains it:
“It’s all about Kashmir. I’ve done work on Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Narmada dams, farmer suicides, the Gujarat pogrom, and the Binayak Sen case. But it’s Kashmir that is at the heart of the Indian state’s concerns. The official narrative must not be contested.” ….
Read more → guardian.co.uk
– Chidanand Rajghatta
Henderson, custodian of many of Khan’s secrets revealed to him as an “insurance” against harassment or worse by the Pakistani establishment, has periodically leaked them to the western media each time Islamabad has turned the screws on Khan, who has been under house detention and close watch ever since Pakistan’s proliferation activities were exposed early last decade.
In the latest such expose, Henderson last week provided Fox News with Khan’s letter to his wife in which the nuclear engineer reveals a stunning degree of proliferation between Islamabad and Beijing, evidently with government compliance. Pakistan has insisted that the proliferation was a rogue operation by Khan and the government or the military had nothing to do with it.
But in the letter Khans says “You know we had cooperation with China for 15 years. We put up a centrifuge plant at Hanzhong (km250 south-west of Xian). We sent 135 C-130 plane loads of machines, inverters, valves, flow meters, pressure gauges. Our teams stayed there for weeks to help and their teams stayed here for weeks at a time. Late minister Liu We, V. M. [vice minister] Li Chew, Vice Minister Jiang Shengjie used to visit us.”
The C-130 military transport planes were given to Pakistan by the United States under a military aid program; Washington has continued to lavish Islamabad with such aid even after reports of its misuse. In fact, documents relating to Pakistan’s proliferation through much of the 1990s suggest Washington was asleep on the watch through much of the nuclear exchanges involving Pakistan, China, North Korea, Iran, and Libya, or simply chose to close its eyes.
Khan also reveals that “the Chinese gave us drawings of the nuclear weapon, gave us kg50 enriched uranium, gave us 10 tons of UF6 (natural) and 5 tons of UF6 (3%). Chinese helped PAEC [Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, the rival organisation to the Khan Research Laboratories] in setting up UF6 plant, production reactor for plutonium and reprocessing plant.”
Further, Khan discloses that Gen Jehangir Karamat [chief of army staff 1996-8, sent by Musharraf as ambassador to US 2004-2006] “took $3 million through me from the N Koreans and asked me to give them some drawings and machines.” In a separate letter to Fox News, Karamat has denied the allegation.
Many of these disclosures are elaborated in detail during Khan’s “questioning,” under pressure from Washington, by the ISI, which put out a separate 17-page report to mollify the US and its allies when the extent of Pakistan’s proliferation was revealed through Libya in 2003.
Khan’s letter to his wife was evidently meant to warn the Pakistani establishment that no harm should come to him and his family even though the nuclear engineer had by then agreed to be the fall guy and agreed, under orders from them military ruler, Pervez Musharraf, to take the blame for government and military-initiated nuclear proliferation in order to save Pakistan from embarrassment and sanctions.
“They might try to get rid of me to cover up all the things (dirty) they got done by me in connection with Iran, Libya & N. Korea,” Khan writes to his wife. “This is just to forewarn you.”
He then instructs her to “Get out quickly to Dubai with Tanya [grand-daughter who lives with them] for a while or leave Tanya with Ayesha [daughter who lives in Islamabad],” signing off the letter with “Love you, Khantje” (diminutive name used between Khan and his wife).
Courtesy: → TOI
… The media houses either from Karachi, Lahore or elsewhere, rushed whenever a calamity hits the catchment area of the Establishment i.e certain part of KPK, Kashmir or Punjab, but unfortunately when 70% of Sindh is devastated or destroyed nobody bothered because these poor Sindhis don’t matter in decision making, and additionally negative campaign is started to stop the international help without which the loss can not be recovered. …
Read more → Indus Herald
– by Dexter Filkins
On May 30th, as the sun beat down on the plains of eastern Pakistan, a laborer named Muhammad Shafiq walked along the top of a dam on the Upper Jhelum Canal to begin his morning routine of clearing grass and trash that had drifted into the intake grates overnight. The water flow seemed normal, but when he started removing the debris with a crane the machinery seized up. He looked down and saw, trapped in the grates, a human form. ….
Read more → NewYorker
via → Wichaar
Senior journalist, writer, tv host, analyst and intellectual Sohail Waraich is popular for his non-partisan analysis. Sohail Waraich is the most respected name in Pakistani journalism. In his whole life, Sohial Waraich was known as a friend of Sindhis & Balochs and supporter of oppressed nations of Pakistan.
In his book Ghadaar Koun, he revealed many facts about the life and political career of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. He has conducted interviews with a number of high-profile celebrities and political figures.
Courtesy: Geo Tv News (Meray Mutabiq with Sohail Waraich – 30th July 2011)
Dr. Manzoor Ejaz of Washington DC, a very well known journalist and economist speaking at Sindhi Association of North America 27th Annual SANA CONVENTION in speakers forum. Dr. Manzoor Ejaz flanked by Kamran Shafi on the left and Mohammad Taqi on the right is talking on language, culture and politics.
After the Pakistani journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad was murdered in May, suspicion fell on Inter-Services Intelligence, the country’s powerful spy agency. Mr. Shahzad reported aggressively on the infiltration of militants into Pakistan’s military and had received repeated threats from ISI. Other journalists said they, too, have been threatened, even tortured, by security forces.
Now the Obama administration has evidence implicating the ISI in this brutal killing. According to The Times’s Jane Perlez and Eric Schmitt, American officials say new intelligence indicates that senior ISI officials ordered the attack on Mr. Shahzad to silence him. Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, confirmed on Thursday that Pakistan’s government “sanctioned” the killing, but he did not tie it directly to ISI. The murder will make journalists and other critics of the regime even more reluctant to expose politically sensitive news. The ISI is also proving to be an increasingly dangerous counterterrorism partner for the United States.
After Mr. Shahzad’s killing, ISI insisted it had no role, contending the death would be “used to target and malign” its reputation. The ISI and the army, which oversees the intelligence agency, were once considered Pakistan’s most respected institutions. Now they are sharply criticized at home for malfeasance and incompetence.
There is evidence that they were complicit in hiding Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad and that the ISI helped plan the Mumbai attack in 2008. They failed to prevent the recent attack on a naval base in Karachi. Mr. Shahzad disappeared two days after publishing an article suggesting the attack was retaliation for the navy’s attempt to crack down on Al Qaeda militants in the armed forces.
It’s not clear how high up the culpability for Mr. Shahzad’s murder goes — or whether there are any officials left in the ISI or the army who have the power and desire to reform the spy agency. President Asif Ali Zardari and his government, while not implicated in these heinous acts, have been a disappointment, largely letting the military go its own way. They need to find Mr. Shahzad’s murderers and hold them accountable. And they must find the courage to assert civilian control over security services that have too much power and are running amok.
Mr. Zardari needs to speak out firmly against abuses, insist on adherence to the rule of law and join his political rival, Nawaz Sharif, in pressing the security services to change. That can start by insisting on the retirement of Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the ISI chief, and the appointment of a more credible successor.
The United States needs to use its influence to hasten Mr. Pasha’s departure. It should tell Pakistan’s security leadership that if Washington identifies anyone in ISI or the army as abetting terrorists, those individuals will face sanctions like travel bans or other measures. The ISI has become inimical to Pakistani and American interests.
Courtesy: → The New York Times
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By ELISABETH BUMILLER
WASHINGTON — Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Thursday that he believed that the government of Pakistan had “sanctioned” the killing of a Pakistani journalist who had written scathing reports about the infiltration of Islamic militants into the country’s security services.
Admiral Mullen, who is due to retire at the end of September, is the first American official to publicly accuse Pakistan, an American ally, of the kidnapping, torture and death of the journalist, Saleem Shahzad, 40. His comments about a case that has intensified criticism of the government in Islamabad are certain to further aggravate the poisoned relationship between the United States and Pakistan, where Osama bin Laden was killed in an American raid in May.
Admiral Mullen said he could not specifically tie Mr. Shahzad’s death to Pakistan’s powerful spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, known as the ISI, although Obama administration officials believe that the ISI ordered the killing. But Admiral Mullen made clear that he thought Pakistani officials were complicit in Mr. Shahzad’s death. ….
Read more → THE NEW YORK TIMES
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More details → BBC urdu
By JANE PERLEZ and ERIC SCHMITT
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Obama administration officials believe that Pakistan’s powerful spy agency ordered the killing of a Pakistani journalist who had written scathing reports about the infiltration of militants in the country’s military, according to American officials.
New classified intelligence obtained before the May 29 disappearance of the journalist, Saleem Shahzad, 40, from the capital, Islamabad, and after the discovery of his mortally wounded body, showed that senior officials of the spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, directed the attack on him in an effort to silence criticism, two senior administration officials said.
The intelligence, which several administration officials said they believed was reliable and conclusive, showed that the actions of the ISI, as it is known, were “barbaric and unacceptable,” one of the officials said. They would not disclose further details about the intelligence.
But the disclosure of the information in itself could further aggravate the badly fractured relationship between the United States and Pakistan, which worsened significantly with the American commando raid two months ago that killed Osama bin Laden in a Pakistan safehouse and deeply embarrassed the Pakistani government, military and intelligence hierarchy. Obama administration officials will deliberate in the coming days how to present the information about Mr. Shahzad to the Pakistani government, an administration official said.
The disclosure of the intelligence was made in answer to questions about the possibility of its existence, and was reluctantly confirmed by the two officials. “There is a lot of high-level concern about the murder; no one is too busy not to look at this,” said one.
A third senior American official said there was enough other intelligence and indicators immediately after Mr. Shahzad’s death for the Americans to conclude that the ISI had ordered him killed.
“Every indication is that this was a deliberate, targeted killing that was most likely meant to send shock waves through Pakistan’s journalist community and civil society,” said the official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the delicate nature of the information.
A spokesman for the Pakistan intelligence agency said in Islamabad on Monday night that “I am not commenting on this.” George Little, a spokesman for the Central Intelligence Agency, declined to comment.
In a statement the day after Mr. Shahzad’s waterlogged body was retrieved from a canal 60 miles from Islamabad, the ISI publicly denied accusations in the Pakistani news media that it had been responsible, calling them “totally unfounded.”
The ISI said the journalist’s death was “unfortunate and tragic,” and should not be “used to target and malign the country’s security agency.” …
Read more → THE NEW YORK TIMES
More interesting than the small-scale event is the deliberate announcement of the same by the embassy. This, along with today’s “leak” that the US knows that the ISI killed Saleem Shahzad (an accusation almost universally believed in Pakistan’ s journalist community in any case) may indicate that the US (which taught these “skills” to the ISI in the first place) is ready for some aggressive psyops in this “transactional relationship”. …
Read more → BrownPundits
– The cold-blooded torture and murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad by “invisible agencies” roused the journalists of Pakistan to unite and demand an independent and credible commission of inquiry to unearth the facts and punish the perpetrators. A media “dharna” outside parliament in Islamabad was aimed at securing an independent supreme court judge to head the inquiry instead of Justice Agha Rafiq, the chief justice of the Federal Shariat Court, nominated by President Asif Zardari.
Two questions arose. First, why did the media unite in such an unprecedented manner in this case when it didn’t do so in the case of the sixteen journalists so far killed this year in Pakistan? What was so particularly frightening or significant about this murder that compelled the media to stand up and be counted? Second, why did President Zardari originally pick a “Zardari-loyalist” to head this commission? Was this aimed at shielding any slip up or criminality on the part of the PPP government? And if it wasn’t, who was President Zardari trying to shield and why?
The answers are straight forward enough. Saleem Shehzad had recorded his problems with the ISI and left a testament indicting it if he was harmed. He was writing a book exposing the inroads into the armed forces and ISI made by retired or serving officers sympathetic to Al Qaeda’s violent ideology. Such exposure was deemed irrevocably embarrassing to the national security establishment. It explained the lack of preparedness on the part of the military to defend and protect itself — as evidenced in Rawalpindi, Karachi and Abbottabad in recent times. It also confirmed the fears of the international community about the security of the nukes, triggering scenarios of pre-emptive action against them in the event of their seizure by rogues allied to Al Qaeda. When Saleem Shehzad went ahead and published his book, he had to be silenced.
That, at least, is the media’s perception of what happened to him and why. Thus the media banded together to demand accountability so that the same fate did not befall any other journalist. If this perception was wrong, an independent commission of inquiry should have been able to establish the innocence of the ISI and redeem its credibility. If it was right, the ISI had to be chastened and cleansed of such elements. What is wrong with this way of thinking? Indeed, when an attempt is made to hide the facts behind a stooge commission, such suspicions and perceptions take deep roots and protests are inclined to become more widespread and violent. If President Zardari hadn’t finally heeded the journalists’ threat and appointed Justice Saqib Nisar to head the commission instead of Mr Agha Rafiq, the media was all geared up to announce a blackout of all government news and military press statements and advice.
Much the same sort of trouble for the government and military may be forecast for another commission of inquiry pledged by parliament to uncover the truth behind the Abbottabad debacle. In this case, too, the military seems to have leaned on the weak PPP government to desist from seriously inquiring into the mishap because it would deeply embarrass the “national security establishment” and conceivably jeopardise its “strategic relationship” with its Pentagon counterpart in the United States.
In both instances, however, there is one critical factor that threatens to derail the unholy nexus between a weak government and an arrogant military that are clutching at each other for protection. That is the opposition lead by Nawaz Sharif. The PMLN stood solidly with the fearful media in the first instance and will back the outraged public in the second. No less significantly, the sympathies of the newly independent judiciary are with the media, opposition and public. This is an inherently unstable and precarious situation. Where do we go from here?
The military has no option but to press the strategic “Paradigm Reset” button. The media and judiciary have joined the stake holders’ club. The military must realize that it is no longer capable of “managing” or “manipulating” or “blackmailing” the twice-bitten opposition to do its bidding blindly. The media too has been empowered by a wave of “citizen-journalists” who cannot be repressed. There are 20 million internet users in Pakistan and 4 million Facebook freaks and Tweeters. This organic new species had defied the dictators of the Middle East and smashed their censors. It is destined to do the same in Pakistan.
The situation is fraught with dangers of unmanageable upheaval. The military must adjust its sights accordingly. If, for example, the US were to launch any new unilateral action that outraged the Pakistani media, opposition and public, the military would be caught in the eye of the storm. It won’t be able to resist the public pressure but it also wouldn’t like to be savaged by America. Thus it could be the biggest loser in the game. Forewarned is forearmed.
Courtesy: Friday Times
IFJ Backs Pakistani Journalists in Rejecting Terms for Murder Inquiry
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) supports the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) in rejecting of the Pakistan Government’s terms for appointing a judicial commission to investigate the abduction and murder in late May of journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad. …
The terrorist attacks on GHQ last year and the Mehran Naval Base last month were outrageous examples of terrorist efficiency and motivation as opposed to ISI incompetence and military ill-preparedness. The US Navy Seal raid to extract Osama bin Laden from a compound in Abbottabad was deeply humiliating as well. Heads should have rolled. But the military will not even consider an independent commission of inquiry to unearth the facts. No wonder its credibility and sacred-cow status have taken a mighty hit. Within the armed forces, officers are standing up to question and confront their superiors. Outside, an angry public wants to know why we are spending half our tax resources on equipping the military with F-16s and BMWs when it can’t even protect itself, let alone defend the nation. This questioning of Military Incorporated is unprecedented.
More significantly, the civilian opposition is up in arms. It is demanding an informed debate over the military’s national security doctrines – particularly with reference to the obsession with, and fear of, “arch-enemy India” – that have spawned such self-serving budgetary outlays and an arms race at the expense of the social welfare of Pakistanis for six decades. The indignant argument that criticism of the military is “unpatriotic” or serves the interests of the “enemy” doesn’t wash any more. Indeed, the term “establishment”, used hitherto to refer obliquely to the military so as not to offend it, is rapidly going out of fashion. People are not afraid to call a spade a spade.
Ominously, the ISI’s mythology of power is now being deconstructed and exposed as being undeserved. The “agencies” are out of fashion, the ISI is squarely in the spotlight. The premeditated abduction and torture of journalist Saleem Shehzad, which led to his death, has been bravely laid by the media and opposition at the door of the ISI and not some invisible “agency”. The government’s silence – in not establishing a credible commission of inquiry – has also compromised the ISI’s position. This is remarkable, not because of the pathetic response in self-defense elicited from unnamed spokesmen of the ISI but because a conviction has now taken root in the public imagination that the ISI should not be beyond the pale of the law and accountability. The opposition has gone so far in parliament as to demand an oversight of its functions, duties, responsibilities and budgets. This is a far cry from a demand by the media and opposition not so long ago to shield and protect the ISI and its DG from the “conspiratorial” tentacles of the PPP government and its ubiquitous interior minister, Rehman Malik, who sought to bring the ISI’s internal political wing dedicated to political machinations under civilian control.
All this has happened because of two new factors that are not sufficiently imagined or understood by the military and ISI. One is the rise of a fiercely competitive and free media that is rapidly coming of age and will not allow itself to be manipulated wholesale in the “patriotic national interest”, a term that is constantly being re-evaluated in light of changing realities. The other is the revival of a chief justice and supreme court that are acutely aware of the civil burden imposed by their historic and popular enthronement. Neither will countenance any political or military oversight of their own sense of freedom and function. So if the military cannot rely on the troika of army chief, president and prime minister for political leverage of government – because the president and prime minister are one now – it is even more problematic to try and manipulate the media and SC merely on the yardstick of “patriotism” and “national interest”. The military’s woes are compounded by the fact that, for the first time in history, a popular Punjabi “son of the soil” like Nawaz Sharif, whose PML is a veritable creature of the predominantly Punjabi-origin military itself, has turned around and openly challenged its supremacy, arrogance and lack of accountability. The “Punjabi establishment” – meaning the civil-military power combine that has ruled Pakistan since independence — is therefore openly divided. The irony of history is that it is a Sindhi politician (Asif Zardari) who is opportunistically lending his shoulder to the military as it braces for fresh buffetings at home.
But that is just the beginning of a new story. The international establishment – principally the USA and EU – that has nurtured and molly-coddled the Pakistani military for six decades with money and weapons is also at the end of its tether. The “strategic partnership” mantra is dead. Washington, like Islamabad, doesn’t trust Rawalpindi either as long-term partner or ally. It is only a matter of time before the civilians in Pakistan and those in DC or Brussels make common cause for mutual benefit. Indeed, if the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill were to be floated anew with clauses enjoining civilian supremacy over the military, there would not even be conscientious objectors today.
The Pakistan military should see the writing on the wall. It must hunker down and become subservient to civilian rule and persuasion instead of embarking on new misadventures in the region like the proverbial Pied Piper. The road to hell is always paved with self-serving intentions.
Courtesy: Friday Times