Courtesy: Daily Motion
Politicians challenged to secure Pakistan’s global economic future
Mark Lowcock said:“Pakistan has everything it takes to be a successful, thriving, prosperous Islamic democracy.’
Pakistan has potential to become a global economic player. It’s a powerful vision which can be realised if there is a focus on economic growth and implementing the vital reforms needed to stimulate and underpin growth a representative for the UK Government signalled yesterday.
Speaking at the Karachi School of Business and Leadership Mark Lowcock, the UK government’s most senior aid official, told business leaders and students that countries succeeding in today’s global race are those reforming the fastest to generate growth and reduce poverty.
Mark Lowcock said:
“Pakistan has everything it takes to be a successful, thriving, prosperous Islamic democracy.”
“If you develop a clear and shared vision, sustain a long term commitment to travelling the long road of reform, and refuse to be deterred by the problems that will inevitably arise, then you can transform your country within a generation.”
Citing examples from across Asia and Africa, Mark Lowcock pressed that Pakistan’s stake in the global economy, and future investment potential, could be transformed. It has enormous potential for trade. Population dynamics mean that over the coming decades it could reap a demographic dividend, if the economy develops in a way that creates jobs for all young people.
Mr Lowcock stressed elections as an important watershed in embedding an inclusive political system, emphasised the importance of greater transparency in public operations, and highlighted the need to broaden the national dialogue on economic reform.
Mark Lowcock said:
“Pakistan cannot sustain high rates of economic growth without a sufficient, reliable supply of energy…. The sector needs to be put on a more commercial footing, including a regulatory and tariff structure that is attractive to investors.”
“A tax system that collects less than 10% of GDP is unsustainable for any modern country. Without agreement and tangible progress on broader and fairer taxation, Pakistan will be unable to invest in a more prosperous future.”
“Pakistan needs to invest in its best asset, which is your own people, especially in health and education to build human capital. It is also critical to promote women’s participation in the economy. This is an issue of fairness and good governance. But it is also crucially an economic issue.”
In his statement Dr. Taimur Rahman, General Secretary of the Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party Pakistan (CMKP) opposes the recent judicial coup against the elected Prime Minister of Pakistan. This decision by the SC, which is completely outside of the power of the Supreme Court, is simply one more coup in a series of coups that have been organized time and time again in the history of Pakistan against elected governments. These successive coups have destroyed the democratic process in Pakistan, destroyed any chance of the development of a mature political leadership. And finally contribute to nothing except to further fragment politics along reactionary right wing lines.
We would have been the first to support a change in government if it was the product of a mass movement of workers and peasants fighting for their rights. But nothing of the sort is taking place. In fact, the elected government and the right wing judiciary have been trading punches only within the framework of their own narrow class interests for the last four years.
When little over a week ago the moral authority of the judiciary was questioned in a fundamental manner over serious charges of corruption, the judiciary decided to act immediately before its own corruption was completely exposed to the public. Today all those allegations of corruption of the judiciary have been buried in an avalanche of right wing propaganda hailing the decision of the Supreme Court as a great step against corruption. Nothing of the sort has been achieved. In fact, a new PM will be elected very soon. The same case of writing a letter to the Swiss authorities to open cases against the President will be opened against the new Prime Minister. And the musical chairs will continue.
ISLAMABAD: Differences in Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) party cadres have reportedly led chairman Imran Khan to indefinitely delay intra-party elections, according to some sources.
To justify his decision, the PTI chairman has extended the party’s ongoing membership campaign, without setting a clear deadline for its conclusion.
“Imran assented to the point of view of two party leaders, who had asked the PTI chief to first prepare for the general elections,” said a party leader while talking to The Express Tribune.
According to sources, party president Javed Hashmi and Additional Secretary General Saifullah Niazi, as well as some influential members of the steering committee, had recommended ‘putting off party elections’ for now.
Earlier, Imran had dissolved all regional bodies by constituting regional steering committees in all the provinces, a move that aimed to pave way for holding party elections.
However, the party’s top leadership held many meetings to resolve all outstanding issues but failed to generate an agreement to hold intra-party polls before the next general elections. …
Courtesy: The Express Tribune
By Haider Nizamani
….. The lone source Ajmal sahib has cited is not a thoroughly researched book but a ‘polemical brochure’ written by the then-secretary of the Sindh Assembly Congress Party, PV Tahalramani, in November 1947 to persuade the Indian state to intervene in Sindh. Let’s look at the role the Sindhi leadership in the days immediately following Partition and compare it with the role of some key figures of the central government on the matter of anti-Hindu riots. Because of space constraints I will only briefly refer to the political leanings and the role of the Sindhi Hindu leadership of that time in facilitating the migration of Hindus from Sindh. The exodus of Hindus from Sindh cannot be seen in isolation from the influx of refugees in Sindh and the setting up of the central government of the newly-founded state of Pakistan in Karachi, Sindh.
Sindh’s governor, Francis Mundie, described Sindh in the days leading up to Partition as a place which “characteristically carries on almost as if nothing had happened or was about to happen”. It changed when, according to Hamida Khuhro, Karachi rapidly became “a vast refugee camp”, making Jinnah “extremely worried about the mass exchange of population which was taking place and the bloodshed that accompanied it…. In fact Jinnah told Ayub Khuhro, premier of Sindh, categorically that he expected to retain the minority communities in Pakistan. Khuhro fully agreed with Jinnah. Hindus, he felt, ‘were an essential part of the society and economy of the province’. The events took an ugly turn in Karachi and Hyderabad (where) the new arrivals were entering and occupying houses where the owners, particularly Hindus, were still living, and throwing out the owners”.
Congress leaders advised Hindus to leave Sindh which was viewed by the Sindhi Muslim leadership as a ploy to deprive Sindh of its merchants, bankers, and sanitation workers. According to Brown University’s associate professor of history Vazira Zamindar’s book The Long Partition and the Making of Modern South Asia (Columbia University Press, 2007): “Ayub Khuhro, the premier of Sindh, and other Sindhi leaders also attempted to retain Sindh’s minorities, for they also feared a loss of cultural identity with the Hindu exodus.” The Sindh government “attempted to use force to stem” the exodus “by passing the Sindh Maintenance of Public Safety Ordinance” in September 1947. On September 4, 1947 curfew had to be imposed in Nawabshah because of communal violence. It turned out that the policies of a local collector resulted in the exodus of a large Sikh community of Nawabshah to make room for an overflow of refugees from East Punjab. The Sindh government took stern action to suppress the violence.
The Sindh government set up a Peace Board comprising Hindu and Muslim members to maintain order in the troubled province. PV Tahilramani was secretary of the Peace Board. He is the one who rushed to Khuhro’s office on January 6, 1948, at around 11 am to inform the chief minister that the Sikhs in Guru Mandir areas of Karachi were being killed. According to Khuhro, senior bureaucrats and police officials were nowhere to be found and he rushed to the scene at around 12.30 pm where he saw “mobs of refugees armed with knives and sticks storming the temples”. Khuhro tried to stem the violence and Jinnah was pleased with his efforts.
The prime minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, was angry with Khuhro when he went to see him on January 9 or 10. Liaquat said to Khuhro: “What sort of Muslim are you that you protect Hindus here when Muslims are being killed in India. Aren’t you ashamed of yourself!” In the third week of January 1948, Liaquat Ali Khan said the Sindh government must move out of Karachi and told Khuhro to “go make your capital in Hyderabad or somewhere else”. Liaquat said this during a cabinet meeting while Jinnah quietly listened. The Sindh Assembly passed a resolution on February 10, 1948, against the Centre’s impending move to annex Karachi. The central government had already taken over the power to allotment houses in Karachi. Khuhro was forced to quit and Karachi was handed over to the Centre in April 1948.
The above facts made me write that the violence against Sindhi Hindus and their mass migration to India was a tragic loss scripted, orchestrated and implemented by non-Sindhis in Sindh. I will happily withdraw my claim when furnished with the evidence to the contrary.
Courtesy: The Express Tribune, June 5th, 2012.
LAHORE – Jamaat-e-Islami chief Munawar Hasan has described Osama bin Laden as the greatest martyr and President Asif Ali Zardari as the biggest traitor.
Addressing a public meeting at a Chakwal village on Sunday, Hasan said bin Laden had refused to obey the Satan upon which the US was so much upset and ashamed that it could not release any photograph or video of his after his “martyrdom”.
Hasan said Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, who had challenged the Supreme Court’s dignity should have been handcuffed and chained because not only had he violated his oath but had also committed contempt by refusing to write to the Swiss Banks only to save Zardari.
He impressed upon the chief justice to not be impressed by the holders of the highest offices and treat all equally. “Whosoever challenged the dignity of the court should be handed down deterrent punishment,” he said, adding that had people like Babar Awan and Rehman Malik been jailed for contempt, the prime minister could not have the courage to disobey the court orders.
Hasan said the nation was in the grip of “beasts” as a gang of exploiters was ruling the country under the garb of democracy while the common man was unable to make both ends meet. He said the nation should realise that the corrupt could not control corruption and the masses would have to rise against the oppressive political system.
The JI chief said Zardari had showered praises on Gilani whose only achievement was to hide Zardari’s corruption.
He said parliament that was keen to restore NATO supplies to facilitate the enemy in the killing of innocent Pakistanis was not the representative of this nation.
Despite parliament’s decision, the rulers had continued NATO supplies by lying to the nation.
Hasan accused the rulers of following US policy on Balochistan, and said if Balochistan was to be retained as a part of the country, the Baloch should not be pushed to the wall.
He said the PPP leadership would also have to account for the MQM’s crimes.
Courtesy: Pakistan Today
By Saeed Shah
Afghanistan’s president expresses frustration with the country he accuses of harbouring the Taliban during a visit to Islamabad
Afghanistan’s president, Hamid Karzai, confronted the Pakistani leadership on Thursday on a visit to Islamabad as his frustration with the country he accuses of harbouring the Taliban boiled over.
Karzai’s language and tone flared to such an extent that the Pakistani prime minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, intervened and called a halt to a meeting of the full delegations of the two countries, according to officials on both sides. After a break, a smaller meeting of just the top officials was held, on the first day of a two-day visit to Islamabad.
The Afghan president has long demanded that Pakistan bring the leadership of the Taliban to the negotiating table, including its chief, Mullah Mohammad Omar. ….
Read more » guardian.co.uk
By P. K. Upadhyay
Some very strange developments seem to be unfolding in Pakistani politics. A political dogfight between the civilian and military leaderships has been unheard off in the country’s history so far. The generals never had to air their differences with the political masters in the public as they are doing at present. When faced with a ‘defiance’ of their writ at any stage, the generals have always taken over power after booting-out the civilian government. …..
…. Then why this time around is General Kayani not able to push out the President and Prime Minister ….
….. Nawaz Sharief’s efforts to fish in troubled waters as also to move closer to the Army’s position on ‘Memogate’ ….
….. It was clear that the Army was reluctant to assume power and, at the same time, also reluctant to let the Zardari-led PPP government continue. It appears to have chosen the judicial route to hound out the government. Apparently, a deal between the Army and the Chief Justice of Pakistan allowed not just a renewed focus on the old National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) cases against Zardari and others, but also the setting up of a four-judge judicial enquiry into Memogate ….
…. Why is this unprecedented and uncharacteristic spat between the Army and the civilian government continuing? Apparently, the United States is a factor. Although, for the record, the US Administration and Pentagon had dismissed the memo to Mullen, they seem to have quietly acted on it by heavily leaning on the Pakistan Army. Despite the recent breakdown in their relationship, the US military still has a considerable hold over the Pakistan Army …..
…. Why is this unprecedented and uncharacteristic spat between the Army and the civilian government continuing? Apparently, the United States is a factor. Although, for the record, the US Administration and Pentagon had dismissed the memo to Mullen, they seem to have quietly acted on it by heavily leaning on the Pakistan Army. Despite the recent breakdown in their relationship, the US military still has a considerable hold over the Pakistan Army in the form of continuing supply of spares and other vital equipment, apart from training and intelligence cooperation. The Americans could have conveyed to Kayani and company that ousting the civilian regime in a coup would mean a total break in links, including the supply of spares and other wherewithal. The Pakistan Army cannot resist this pressure, since without using US supplied armour and attack helicopters, it cannot continue its operations against the Taliban in FATA or the Baluchi rebels in Baluchistan. Another inhibiting factor for Kayani and his generals could be the extent of penetration of the Army by jehadi elements. For sometime now, there appears to be a lull in clashes between Islamic radicals and the Army. While a let-up in US drone strikes (after the handing over of the Shamsi airbase) appears to be a significant facilitating factor for this lull, it cannot be the key trigger for it. The possibility of a JUI (F) brokered truce between the Army and Taliban should not be ruled out. The Army wants to preserve this truce for the present and, therefore, is reluctant to rock the boat by staging a coup at this juncture. It possibly fears that in case it ousts the Zardari government and becomes all powerful, that may have some destabilizing impact on the current truce with the Taliban. Lastly, Kayani and other senior generals may still not be out of the shock they suffered from the violent outbursts of junior officers after the Abbottabad raid. They recognize that the younger lot of Pakistan Army Officers does not come from traditional sections of the society known for its contempt for ‘civilians’ and their ways. These officers are the off-spring of former JCOs/NCOs of the military, as also the urban middle and lower middle classes, and may be harbouring a strong antipathy towards the bourgeois attitudes of their superiors.
This, however, does not mean that Kayani and company are going to let the Zardari-Gilani combine continue to spite them. Army backed judicial action against the regime is a strong possibility. ….
To read complete article » Institute of Defence Studies & Analysis (idsa)
– Top military brass’ absence from Prez event sparks speculation
Islamabad, November 15, 2011 – Pakistan’s top four military officials, including powerful army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, were absent from a state banquet hosted by President Asif Ali Zardari, triggering speculation about unease in ties between the government and the military. The three service chiefs and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee were not among the guests at the reception and banquet hosted by Zardari for his Turkmen counterpart Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov at the presidency yesterday.
The presence or absence of the top military leadership at events organised by the civilian government is closely tracked by the media and political circles, as it is considered a reflection of the state of relations between the military and the government.
The absence of the military leaders at the banquet was reported by several TV news channels on Tuesday.
One channel quoted its sources as saying that an inquiry had been ordered to ascertain why the service chiefs did not attend the reception hosted by the President. ….
via » News adopted from Facebook (above news is circulating at Facebook)
by Louisa Lim
What goes on inside China’s leadership is usually played out behind the closed oxblood doors of the compound where the top leaders live. This year, though, a political debate has sprung out in the open — and it has leaders and constituents considering how to move forward politically.
This ideological debate comes as China gears up for a once-in-a-decade political transition. The country’s future top leaders seem almost certain, with Xi Jinping in line for president and Li Keqiang on track for premier. Horse-trading is under way for other leadership positions, however, sparking a debate that could define China’s future.
The Chongqing Model: Equal Slices
In recent months, the streets of the city of Chongqing have been ringing with song. These are not spontaneous outbreaks; they’re government-mandated sessions, requiring employees to “sing the red,” patriotic songs praising China.
This is a leftist vision of China’s future, with powerful echoes of its Maoist past.
It’s the brainchild of Bo Xilai, Chongqing’s party secretary and the son of a revolutionary elder, Bo Yibo, one of the “eight immortals” of Communist China. Bo Xilai has taken a three-pronged approach by “smashing the black,” or attacking corruption and organized crime, with what some say is a disregard for the rule of law. His approach also includes putting in place measures to help those left behind by China’s economic boom.
“The government intervenes to correct the shortcomings of the market economy,” says Yang Fan, a conservative-leaning scholar at China University of Political Science and Law and co-author of a book about the Chongqing model.
“There are projects to improve people’s livelihood by letting migrant workers come to the city, by building them cheap rental places and allowing them to sell their land to come to the city,” he says.
This is where it comes to what’s been dubbed “cake theory.” If the cake is China’s economy, the Chongqing model concentrates on dividing the cake more equally.
The Market-Driven Guangdong Model
The competing vision, based in the province of Guangdong, focuses on making the cake bigger first, not dividing it. In economic terms, the Guangdong model is a more market-driven approach, pushing forward development ahead of addressing inequality.
“The Guangdong model aims to solve the concerns of the middle class,” says Qiu Feng, a liberal academic from the Unirule Institute of Economics. “It’s about building society and rule of law. It wants to give the middle class institutionalized channels to take part in the political process. Its basic thought is co-opting the middle class.”
He says the “Happy Guangdong” approach is aimed not at those left behind, but at those who have profited from the economic boom.
Guangdong’s party secretary, Wang Yang, has criticized the Chongqing model, saying people need to study and review Communist Party history, “rather than just singing of its brilliance.” In political terms, he’s throwing down the gauntlet at his rival, Bo Xilai.
Finding A Way Forward
Both these politicians are fighting for a place — and influence — inside the holiest of holies: the Politburo Standing Committee. This comes against a background of criticism of the current leadership from a surprising quarter.
“The bureaucracy is corrupt. Power has been marketized. Governance has been industrialized,” says Zhang Musheng, a consummate insider. “Local governments are becoming riddled with gangsters.”
Zhang’s father was secretary to China’s Premier Zhou Enlai. This makes him what’s known as a “princeling.” He’s attended a number of meetings held by children of former leaders, where criticism of the current leadership has been aired.
Despite their grievances, they came to one conclusion.
“China’s such a complicated society. Right now, it can’t leave the Communist Party. So the Communist Party must reform and improve,” Zhang says. “Although it’s criticized, right now there is no social force which can replace the Communist Party.”
Those are the key questions: how to reform or even if the Communist Party can reach consensus over which model it follows. ….
Read more » NPR
US General Fired From Afghan Training Job
by The Associated Press
WASHINGTON (AP) — The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan has fired a senior officer from his job as the No. 2 general in charge of training for making inappropriate public remarks about Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his government.
Gen. John Allen issued a statement Friday saying that Maj. Gen. Peter Fuller has been relieved of his duties as deputy commander for the Afghan training mission.
In a recent interview with the website Politico, Fuller characterized Afghan leaders as erratic, ungrateful and isolated from reality. The interview quotes him as saying Afghan leaders don’t fully recognize America’s sacrifices on their country’s behalf. …
Read more » NPR
By Shahab Usto
It is the poor who suffer for state and government failures. They have hardly any political platforms of their own to protect and promote their interests, thanks to the long established authoritarian traditions and pro-elitist state policies
Though Pakistan has hardly ever seen normal times, these are supposedly the most dreadful and tragic times. …
Read more » Daily Times
– We Promise Democratic Culture, Elected Leadership & Progressive Pakistan. A new political party emerging from Pakistan Tehrik Insaf
(PTI) – Awami Tehrik Insaf, Imran Khan.
Read more » Awami Tehrik Insaf
via – Twitter.
A sad story of Pakistan’s military, bureaucratic, judicial, political, and religious leadership has been nothing but a sorry account of power abuse, corruption, conspiracies, hatred, and betrayals. Faisla Aap Ka is a socio-political show hosted by Asma Shirazi which aims to highlight issues faced by the common people. The program is designed as an outdoor based talk show which emphasizes and showcases issues and concerns of people. The anchor seeks street opinion and comments of the public. … The language of the program is urdu (Hindi).
Courtesy: → SAMAA TV News (Faisla Aap ka with Asma Shirazi – 9th July 2011)
– By Dr. Muzaffar Iqbal
Pakistan has a strange history of strongly directed, self-centered, military rule followed by a democratic drift into an abyss; it is, once again, in the midst of a drift, like a ship without a captain. If logic dictates historical necessity, then the next military coup should not be too far. This is not a forecast, just a possible outcome of the current so-called democratic experiment, which is perhaps the greatest watershed in the political history of this unfortunate nation where genuine leadership has been as rare as the legendary huma bird.
One does not need to fortune tellers to see where the country is going; the drift itself is so obviously toward a certain chaos which will leave nothing in tact in an already fragmented polity. One can understand how the ruling party has led the country into this state, but it is hard to understand the impotency of the official as well as unofficial opposition. In more concrete terms, all that the country has is empty bombast, being issued from the frothy mouths of the entire spectrum of those who constitute “opposition”. …
Read more: REBELNEWS
– In post-bin Laden Pakistan, a unique prospect exists for the civilian leadership to neutralise the establishment and literally reverse the power equation. Such a constellation of events does not happen often and the agents of the status quo are hard at work to quickly close this small window of opportunity
Wherever and whenever nation-states make the transition towards a democratic form of government, the question about civilian supremacy over the military is bound to come up. In stable western democracies, such as the US and Japan, both convention and the constitution provide well-established safeguards against the military’s encroachment on the civilian power to oversee and control it. But in budding democracies, and especially countries like Pakistan that go through praetorian autocracy and democracy in a cyclical fashion, the issue of civil-military balance of power remains highly complex, unresolved and pernicious.
It was this struggle for power that Samuel Adams — one of the US’s founding fathers — had warned against, in a letter to James Warren: “A standing army, however necessary it may be at some times, is always dangerous to the liberties of the people. Soldiers are apt to consider themselves as a body distinct from the rest of the citizens. They have their arms always in their hands…Such a power should be watched with a jealous eye.”
Standing armies have nonetheless become a norm and the citizens’ militias, looked upon favourably by Adams and the legendary Baloch leader Sher Muhammad Marri, as a bulwark against martial law, have survived just in theory. Since the Portuguese Carnation revolution of 1974, ironically led by the military, a series of new democratic dispensations — the so-called third wave democracies — have continued to grapple with the issue of consolidating civilian control over the military, as part of the overall cementing of democratic change. The quest for fledgling democracies has been not only to oust the military from power but also to prevent it from staging another outright coup d’état as well as an indirect intervention in or competition with civilian power.
In the political scenario evolving in Pakistan after the US took out Osama bin Laden, the security establishment has found its chokehold on power to be in mortal danger. The façade of the military’s organisation and invincibility, nay infallibility, has been lifted, tilting the balance of power against it internationally, but more importantly, domestically. It is this exposed domestic flank that is really worrisome for the establishment, as a potential civilian compact could emerge and dislodge it from the direct and indirect role of control over the state that it is accustomed to exercising. The Latin American and Southeast Asian models of the juntas defanged and sent packing by the united political elite are not completely lost on the Pakistani deep state. …
Read more: Daily Times
It was embarrassing enough for the people of Pakistan to find out that Osama bin Laden was living in their midst for years. Even more shameful was the realization that their politicians are incapable of questioning the security apparatus of the country. The masses rallied and protested and faced hardships for months to kick General Pervez Musharraf out of power. They voted the Pakistan People’s Party, the most widely-based and allegedly liberal party to power, believing that democracy has been restored.
Though the leader of the government, President Asif Ali Zardari has been blamed for everything going wrong in the country and is regarded as a corrupt individual, until now there has been a perceived upside that Pakistan is being led by an elected government and not a military dictatorship.
This illusion of so-called civilian supremacy silently burst like a bubble when the head of the ISI, General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, and the Chief of Army Staff Ashfaq Parvez Kiyani were called before the parliament to answer for their incompetence related to the May 2 raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound. The agenda was to inquire about the U.S. attack and why the state security apparatus was unaware of Osama bin Laden’s presence.
But what happened during the closed door meeting revealed once again that the real power in Pakistan still lies with the army and the ISI, not the politicians.
It had been suggested that heads would roll, the foreign aid and the big chunk of national budget that the army receives would be scrutinized. The parliamentarians dropped the ball again and lost another opportunity to exert their authority over other institutions of the state. Once again it became clear who really runs Pakistan.
The last time a civilian government had an opportunity to put the army in its place was in 1971, following the Pakistan army’s defeat in the war that led to the loss of East Pakistan, which became Bangladesh. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Pakistan’s then-president and founder of the Pakistan People’s Party, got off to a promising start by placing former dictator General Yahya Khan under house arrest. He re-organized the Pakistan Armed Forces and boosted the military’s morale. But Bhutto also restored their hubris. Years later, his own appointed Army Chief, General Zia ul-Haq, would overthrow Bhutto’s government and send him to the gallows.
During Zia’s 11 year rule, the Russians invaded Afghanistan and withdrew. The army grew so strong that even after Zia’s death in a plane crash, the new chief of the military did not allow the democratically elected Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto, to tour the country’s nuclear facility. She was labelled anti-Pakistan and an American agent.
It is ironic to witness that the opposition party, the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), which was created with the support of the army to counter the PPP’s popularity, is now asking the tough questions about covert operations and the finances of the military.
By snatching defeat from the jaws of victory, Pakistan’s ruling party, Bhutto’s PPP, is losing its chance to demonstrate leadership and moral authority. They failed to hold the army accountable for the thousands of civilians and security officers killed in the war on terror in Pakistan. They did not press the chief of the generously-funded army to explain how OBL could have lived in a military garrison town for six years.
These are the same parliamentarians who extended General Kiyani’s tenure. The same parliamentarians who extended ISI Chief General Pasha’s tenure. The boastful parliamentarians who had promised to leave no stone unturned roared like lions for the cameras but behaved like lambs behind closed doors.
It was reported that opposition leader Chaudhry Nisar tried to deliver a speech during the question and answer session, only to be snubbed by General Pasha in front of a full house. Pasha claimed that he ‘knew’ why he was being targeted by the opposition leader, alleging that Nisar had asked him for a personal favor, which he, as DG ISI, refused to extend. An embarrassed Chaudhry Nisar was said to have been taken aback as Pasha continued with his ‘counter-attack’.
Then the tail furiously wagged the dog. General Pasha reportedly offered to resign. Rather than demanding that the ISI chief step down immediately, apparently the parliamentarians did not accept his resignation.
The state run television channel could have returned to its heyday of running prime time programming that kept the country glued to their sets by recording that “closed door” meeting to broadcast later as a drama — or farce.
Some idealistic Pakistanis hoped that the U.S. would finally question the secretly played “double game.” After all, the U.S. supported extensions of Kiyani’s and Pasha’s tenures, claiming that keeping the chiefs in their positions would help to continue the war on terror in an orderly fashion. The U.S. abandoned the people of Pakistan by siding with the army once again, pledging support and failing to attach any strings or conditions to the military aid it provides.
Cowed by Kiyani’s and Pasha’s brazen displays, Pakistan’s parliament passed a resolution that drone attacks should be stopped and that the operations like the one carried out on May 2nd won’t be tolerated in future.
The parliament has an obligation to explain to the public not only how and why Osama bin Laden was living in Abbottabad, but why the Taliban continues to carry out its bloody operations, and why al Qaeda leaders have been given safe haven. The risk of allowing these questions to remain unanswered is that the military will gain more strength over the civilian government.
The parliamentarians who are supposed to represent the people of Pakistan abrogated their responsibility for the sake of staying in office for few more months, while at the same time making it clear who the country’s rulers truly are.
ISLAMABAD: PML-N Chief Nawaz Sharif refused to attend Friday’s in-camera joint session of the parliament in protest against the increasing role of the ISI and army in politics.
During Friday’s in-house session,the army chief is due to brief the legislators on the U.S. strike in the Garrison city of Abbottabad and answer their questions.
The military command is said to be taking this parliamentary briefing a lot more seriously than the one it had given about the Swat operation two years ago.
Although Sharif is not a legislator, he was especially invited by the Prime Minister to attend Friday’s briefing. However, the PML-N chief said he declined the invitation, adding that Pakistan will not be able to progress unless the role of the ISI and Army is restricted.
As mentioned in a previous report published in The Express Tribune, the military command is expecting a barrage of sharp questions from the political leadership, most notably the opposition led by PML-N’s Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, during the course of the briefing.
Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan gave a fiery speech this Tuesday, accusing both the military and civilian leaders of incompetence and deceiving the Pakistani people, demanding an independent national commission to investigate the events of May 2, when a US special forces unit killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in a ‘black’ operation in Abbottabad.
The PML-N chief, who demanded a judicial inquiry into the Abbottabad security failure, said he is ready to extend his three-day deadline if the government agrees to consider his demand.
Nawaz Sharif, who came under attack after his brother Shahbaz Sharif secretly, met the army chief, assured that there will no more be such secret meetings in the future.
Courtesy: The Express Tribune
– Nawaz Answered Government’s SOS & Rushed Back to the Country; Osama’s Death & Civil-Military Row; Who Asked Mark Siegel to Publish Write Up by Zardari?
By Aijaz Ahmed
Islamabad: The May 2 Abbottabad operation, which resulted in the discovery and murder of world’s most wanted terrorist, Osama Bin Laden at the hands of US Navy SEALs has brought the civil-military relationship in Pakistan to a new low. The mistrust between the two has increased manifold. It is feared that the imbroglio may end up in the pack up of another democratic dispensation.
Observers are unanimous that the country’s civilian leadership was stunned at the news and couldn’t respond quickly to it but they are really surprised at the response or the lack of it by the military leadership. They feel that the military hierarchy’s behavior was quite perplexing. They were remarkably silent and seemed quite oblivious in the first few days after the US operation as if nothing had happened. Later they mishandled the issue in the media and attempted to undermine the political leadership. That raises concerns of the people about junta’s intentions towards the democratic government.
Sources in the power corridors have confided to this scribe that the civilian leadership is taking many questions into account so as to regroup and formulate a counter strategy. Every single move by the army chief and other military top men is being minutely watched and analyzed. The civilian leadership is quite unhappy over the recent statement of top ranking military leadership regarding the government in its post Osama briefing to media and anchorpersons. The address of Army Chief General Kayani to Garrison Officers at three top cantonments has also caused concern amongst the civilian leadership through which an impression was given that the civilians are ineffective and it is they who are making damage control efforts despite a huge understanding on the issue between the President, Prime Minister and the Army Chief, sources maintained.
The civilian leadership sincerely intends to control the damage but for many reasons it is clueless and directionless, sources observed adding that every effort of independent inquiry was thwarted and blocked by the military, thus an inquiry under Adjutant General has been constituted. How come a serving subordinate will be able to conduct an independent inquiry against his immediate bosses, asked a sitting minister however adding that everybody will have to wait for the outcome of the inquiry being conducted by army itself.
On the other hand civilians are trying to get answers of many questions including the one that whether or not they have been ditched by the intelligence networks. The people also want an answer to the question if OBL’s presence in Abbottabad was in the knowledge of the relevant agencies and military leadership.
Meanwhile, sources observed that a sizeable number of the civilians seriously believed that they have been ditched. A serious question is being raised in view of the recent statements by some neighbors pointing out that when they heard the blast after the helicopter crash, they tried to approach OBL’s compound but they were stopped by some guards speaking Urdu.
These statements, in view of some sources, clearly indicate that an earlier report carried by Indus Herald that some soldiers were provided for outer cordon was correct. This also indicates that a section of Pakistani establishment knew about a US strike, but they might not be privy to the details of the proceedings.
A section of media and politicians are also looking for an answer to the question that if the operation was done in total dark and without a prior information of Pakistan, then how come the people who have been arrested after the operation from the compound did not escape although they got at least 15 minutes before the arrival of any Pakistani security personnel? Hamza bin Laden is believed to have taken the advantage of the time gap and ran away from the scene as reported by the British media is quite a good evidence in support of the above argument.
The president and the other PPP leaders wanted an independent inquiry to be held, but they had to accept the decision by military leadership as desired by Army Chief sources said adding that the powers that be asked civilians to stay away from the damage control efforts and they will be the ones who will be responsible to take on the situation and control the damage, but the situation deteriorated with every passing day. However, the military leadership was not happy with the way some TV channels sparked debate and took them to task with strong words and allegations of incompetence and negligence.
It is also said that the president has been advised that besides the inquiry announced by the military leadership, an independent parliamentary inquiry commission with presence of opposition leader Ch. Nisar, and some of the top retired judges must be set up. However, the sources observed that the government would be packed up if such an inquiry were established. It is also believed that the president is willing to set up such an inquiry with Army Chief and other military leadership on board.
Meanwhile, a section of media is probing an allegation that the officers in KPK were asked not to leave their station and stay in before the operation and all mobile phones of the uniformed officers were blocked on May 01. However this story has not been confirmed by any reliable source.
On the other hand, sources in the PML-N have confided to this scribe that Mian Nawaz Sharif responded to a May-Day call by the government through unconventional means and rushed to Pakistan. The government wanted to block Ch. Nisar’s cynical criticism. Mian Nawaz Sharif on the first day of his top leadership meeting strongly supported the idea of a demand of resignation of both Army Chief and the ISI Chief, a demand that didn’t get much response earlier. He according to the sources has assured the PPP that any attempt to subvert the Constitution and dislodge the civilian rule will be resisted with full force. At a press conference after the two-day PML-N meeting Mian Nawaz Sharif rejected the inquiry set up by military and demanded a Judicial Commission to look in the matter. He severely criticized the military establishment. ….
Read more : Indus Herald
By JANE PERLEZ and ERIC SCHMITT
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The appointment of Gen. David H. Petraeus as director of the Central Intelligence Agency puts him more squarely than ever in conflict with Pakistan, whose military leadership does not regard him as a friend and where he will now have direct control over the armed drone campaign that the Pakistani military says it wants stopped.
Pakistani and American officials said that General Petraeus’s selection could further inflame relations between the two nations, which are already at one of their lowest points, with recriminations over myriad issues aired publicly like never before.
The usually secretive leader of the Pakistani Army, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, has made little secret of his distaste for General Petraeus, calling him a political general. General Petraeus has privately expressed outrage at what American officials say is the Pakistani main spy agency’s most blatant support yet for fighters based in Pakistan who are carrying out attacks against American troops in Afghanistan.
Officials on both sides say they expect the two nations’ relationship to become increasingly adversarial as they maneuver the endgame in Afghanistan, where Pakistan and the United States have deep — and conflicting — security interests.
Repairing the frayed ties between the C.I.A. and Pakistan’s primary spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, will be difficult, American officials say. “In its current form, the relationship is almost unworkable,” said Dennis C. Blair, a former American director of national intelligence. “There has to be a major restructuring. The ISI jams the C.I.A. all it wants and pays no penalties.” ….
Read more : The New York Times
The US and the allies may call the military campaign what they want but the no-fly zone, for all practical purposes, is an act of war and the fact of the matter is that Qaddafi himself is the endpoint in this war that cannot be circumvented
Geostrategic planning and global leadership has been likened by the old grandmasters of US foreign policy to a grand chessboard, where the strategy is contemplated several moves in advance, with an eye on the endgame. But the knee-jerk responses of Barack Obama’s administration to the rapidly unravelling situation in the Middle East and North Africa give an impression that he and his team are playing chequers, albeit in a manner as erratic as Colonel Muammar Qaddafi, if not more. From dithering on the US role in Egypt to weeks of waffling about Libya before actually jumping on the no-fly zone bandwagon, it seems like the White House is literally an on-the-fly zone, making up policy as it goes along.
As the western intervention in Libya entered its fourth day, it appears that President Obama may have allowed himself and the US to get sucked into a very messy situation in yet another Muslim country. Mr Obama had stated a couple of weeks ago that Qaddafi must “step down from power and leave”. Just when the Tomahawk missiles were being unleashed on Libya, Vice Admiral William E Gortney said at the Pentagon that Qaddafi himself is not a target, but his safety could not be guaranteed. Speaking on Sunday morning talk shows, Admiral Mike Mullen took the line that the Libyan dictator must “make decisions regarding his future in the country” but reiterated that the goal of the attacks was not to oust him. Taken at face value, these comments appear somewhat innocuous and are designed to placate the war-weary American public but they also reflect the confusion and bickering within the various factions of the Obama administration. …
Read more : Daily Times
With the Middle East roiling, the alarming news about Pakistan’s nuclear weapons buildup has gotten far too little attention. The Times recently reported that American intelligence agencies believe Pakistan has between 95 and more than 110 deployed nuclear weapons, up from the mid-to-high 70s just two years ago.
Pakistan can’t feed its people, educate its children, or defeat insurgents without billions of dollars in foreign aid. Yet, with China’s help, it is now building a fourth nuclear reactor to produce more weapons fuel.
Even without that reactor, experts say, it has already manufactured enough fuel for 40 to 100 additional weapons. That means Pakistan — which claims to want a minimal credible deterrent — could soon possess the world’s fifth-largest arsenal, behind the United States, Russia, France and China but ahead of Britain and India. Washington and Moscow, with thousands of nuclear weapons each, still have the most weapons by far, but at least they are making serious reductions.
Washington could threaten to suspend billions of dollars of American aid if Islamabad does not restrain its nuclear appetites. But that would hugely complicate efforts in Afghanistan and could destabilize Pakistan.
The truth is there is no easy way to stop the buildup, or that of India and China. Slowing and reversing that arms race is essential for regional and global security. Washington must look for points of leverage and make this one of its strategic priorities.
The ultimate nightmare, of course, is that the extremists will topple Pakistan’s government and get their hands on the nuclear weapons. We also don’t rest easy contemplating the weakness of Pakistan’s civilian leadership, the power of its army and the bitterness of the country’s rivalry with nuclear-armed India.
The army claims to need more nuclear weapons to deter India’s superior conventional arsenal. It seems incapable of understanding that the real threat comes from the Taliban and other extremists. …
Read more : The New York Times
Fanaticism’s coup d’etat
by Farooq Sulehria
It is not the murder of Salman Taseer that has shocked-and-scared urban majority in Pakistan into either an apparent silence or a plain indifference. It is not even the assassin’s maliciously triumphant smile that has left many speechless. It is ceaselessly mediatised threats and heartless puritan celebrations by a freemasonry of fiery anchorpersons, jingoist columnists and rejected bearded politicians that have created an atmosphere of fear-and-eerie-silence. For the first time, PPP’s fearless workers, the idiomatic Jiyalas, have been scared into political-hibernation. Even if thousands attended Taseer’s funeral and Jiyalas in Lahore initially took to streets in a defiant mood, chanting anti-mullah slogans, the PPP government capitulated, unsurprisingly. The PPP leadership has given up struggle since long. It keeps striking deals and wrap up shameless compromises. …
Read more : ViewPoint
[Please take the time to listen to this incredible speech by PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari. This speech in many ways demonstrates the future of the PPP and you can see his vision, leadership and direction. His courageous message challenging terrorists and violent extremists who are misusing and misinterpreting Islam for their own benefit gives us hope that Pakistan will yet be able to rid itself of violence and those who dishonor Islam and our nation.]
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Bilawal breaks silence
By Eraj Zakaria
In one single stride, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the chairperson of the Pakistan People’s Party, has clinched the issue and made it abundantly clear that the young and upcoming leadership of the PPP will bear no truck with forces of obscurantism and bigotry. He emphatically points out that the supporters of Mumtaz Qadri were in fact blasphemers and not the slain Salmaan Taseer, whose body had been pumped with 27 bullets and consequently left to die in a pool of blood. Young Bilawal has single mindedly emphasised upon the entire West about the direction and bearing the PPP leadership intends to take in the immediate future. Bilawal’s statement has come at a time when eyebrows had begun to be raised regarding the PPP’s silence on the vital issue of Taseer’s assassination. He breaks the silence not only at an appropriate time, but also in an ambiance where his life and personal security could be at stake. Bilawal aptly diagnoses that Taseer’s assassins are the very forces who killed his mother, Benazir Bhutto, and later did not spare Taseer’s life. Bilawal rightly points out that Taseer’s murder is symptomatic of a typical mindset. It is not the act of an individual, but the collective disposition and fanaticism of a certain section of society. Bilawal’s resolve that the blood of the outspoken Salmaan Taseer would not go in vain, must be a matter of solace for the West which views Pakistan’s future as uncertain and rocky, though Bilawal emphasises his viewpoint at peril to his life. As it is, there is no dearth of hotheaded bigots. Regardless of one’s political disposition about Bilawal and irrespective of the fact whether one is at tangent or even diametrically opposed to his views, one has to grudgingly concede to Bilawal’s gumption and gusto. While Asif Ali Zardari has condemned Taseer’s assassination, he left it to Bilawal to take the lead in this matter, since he is the future torchbearer of the party. …
Read more : Daily Times
– Slavoj Žižek
The Party: The Secret World of China’s Communist Rulers by Richard McGregor ….
Khrushchev’s speech in 1956 denouncing Stalin’s crimes was a political act from which, as his biographer William Taubman put it, ‘the Soviet regime never fully recovered, and neither did he.’ Although it was plainly opportunistic, there was just as plainly more to it than that, a kind of reckless excess that cannot be accounted for in terms of political strategy. The speech so undermined the dogma of infallible leadership that the entire nomenklatura sank into temporary paralysis. A dozen or so delegates collapsed during the speech, and had to be carried out and given medical help; one of them, Boleslaw Bierut, the hardline general secretary of the Polish Communist Party, died of a heart attack. The model Stalinist writer Alexander Fadeyev actually shot himself a few days later. The point is not that they were ‘honest Communists’: most of them were brutal manipulators without any illusions about the Soviet regime. What broke down was their ‘objective’ illusion, the figure of the ‘big Other’ as a background against which they could exert their ruthlessness and drive for power. They had displaced their belief onto this Other, which, as it were, believed on their behalf. Now their proxy had disintegrated. ….
Read more : London Review of Books
“The whole crisis of history has summed up with crisis of leadership.” – Leon Trotsky
“If you really do put a small value upon yourself, rest assured that the world will not raise your price.” – Anonymous
“Democracy is the worst system but it is the best system we have.” – Churchill