Tag Archives: Memogate

Bangladesh model » By Najam Sethi

As expected, the Supreme Court has sent PM Yousaf Raza Gillani packing. As expected, too, the decision has been hailed and decried by the opposition and government respectively. But independent opinion at home and abroad is uniformly critical of the court’s unprecedented political activism that has relentlessly targeted the PPP – the decision has been variously described as a judicial “soft-coup“, “vendetta-judgment” and “political victimization“.

Certainly, some of the SC’s recent judgments have dampened our enthusiasm for its “populism”. In the contempt case against Mr Gilani, for example, the 7-member court which convicted him with a 30 second punishment did not expressly disqualify him in its detailed judgment on April 26th, yet a 3-member bench did so summarily in a short order on 19th June on the basis of a highly dubious clause of the constitution which has never been used before according to which Mr Gilani has been deemed not to be a good Muslim or Amin! It is significant that the two petitioners in the case were PMLN and PTI leaders and the SC blithely entertained and adjudged their prayers directly instead of forwarding them to the election commission as expressly ordained by the constitution.

Earlier, the SC’s approach in the case of Arsalan Chaudhry, son of the Chief Justice, had raised many sober eyebrows. The CJ took suo motu note of it, chaired a two judge bench, put a copy of the Holy Quran on his desk and declared that justice would be done in an Islamic fashion a la Hazrat Umar, disregarding the very code of conduct for judges that he had personally helped to formulate in 2009 in which a judge may not sit in judgment in matters such as the one before him. Then he gagged the media and accuser, hauling up both for contempt. No less disquieting was his decision not to set up a neutral commission of inquiry of either the bar or bench as demanded by many, instead passing the buck to the controversial Attorney General, a clear deviation from his decision to set up a judicial commission to investigate Memogate. Under the circumstances, if the AG’s Joint Investigation Team comprising the FIA and NAB holds against Arsalan Chaudhry and or the CJP and his family, it will be denounced as a vindictive attempt by the government to hurt the CJP and SC. The decision against the PM comes on the heels of the Arsalan case and has swiftly diverted public attention from it. What next?

Continue reading Bangladesh model » By Najam Sethi

Barbaric attitude of Karachi Bar Association – Zahid Bukhari, Aitzaz Ahsan barred from law bars

Zahid Bukhari, Aitzaz Ahsan barred from Sindh law bars

Excerpts;

KARACHI: Advocate Zahid Bukhari and Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan have been banned from entering all law bar associations …

The decision to bar the entries of Bukhari – the counsel for Malik Riaz – and Aitzaz was taken during a meeting of Sindh lawyers, organised by the Karachi Bar Association.

The Karachi Bar Association president, while announcing the decision, said that the step was taken to express support for the Supreme Court. ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

Treason charges on Husain Haqqani reflect Pakistan’s isolation.

My real ‘crime’: Standing up for U.S.-Pakistan relations

By Husain Haqqani

Husain Haqqani, a professor of international relations at Boston University and a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, served as Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States from 2008 to 2011.

I am saddened but not surprised that a Pakistani judicial inquiry commission has accused me of being disloyal while serving as my country’s ambassador to the United States. The tide of anti-Americanism has been rising in Pakistan for almost a decade. An overwhelming majority of Pakistanis consider the United States an enemy, notwithstanding the nominal alliance that has existed between our countries for six decades. Americans, frustrated by what they see as Pakistani intransigence in fighting terrorism in Afghanistan, are becoming less willing to accept Pakistani demands even though Pakistan has suffered heavily at the hands of terrorists.

Continue reading Treason charges on Husain Haqqani reflect Pakistan’s isolation.

Brown Pundits – Pakistan; the sausage factory is getting exposed

Pakistan: the sausage factory is becoming dangerously transparent

By Omar

The latest scandal in Pakistan involves the leading business tycoon of the country spending (he claims) 340 million rupees on the son of the chief justice of Pakistan. Said tycoon Riaz Malik used to be a struggling contractor who hit paydirt with high-end housing colonies named “Bahria colony” (the name means “navy”…and some admirals are said to have sold him access to that name and the authority of Pakistan’s smallest armed force). Now one of the richest men in the country, Malik Riaz has been profiled in this documentary by TV anchor Sohail Warraich.

Suggested names for this scandal include “bahriagate”, “familygate” and, more originally (from lawyer Feisal Naqvi) “liti-gate”! Conspiracy theorists are busy trying to figure out if this whole thing was orchestrated by the army (unhappy over the chief justice’s asking questions about missing persons in Balochistan) or by Zardari or by the CIA and Mossad and RAW.

But whatever the details, one thing is clear to an outside observer. The walls of the sausage factory are becoming dangerously transparent. 11 retired generals work for Malik Riaz. Many admirals and generals smoothed his path to wealth. Many journalists are being accused of being on his payroll. And its not just this scandal. The son of the prime minister is accused of smuggling controlled substances. The brother of the almighty army chief is being targeted in a whispering campaign. Secret agencies, hidden camera videos, trips to Monte Carlo with mysterious women…its all out in the open or threatening to come out. All this has happened in other countries (well, maybe some of it has). but times are tough, the economy may tank, the security establishment has got itself into a fight with its traditional American patrons. There was never a real national ideology behind the claptrap taught in 6th grade. What will hold the center? These things can get out of hand.

Continue reading Brown Pundits – Pakistan; the sausage factory is getting exposed

Judicial circus on memo

Legal solution to a political question

Whichever way one looks at it, the beginning and end of the ‘memogate’ controversy is political, as there is no constitutional issue to be resolved.

Ultimately, Asma Jahangir’s stance on the Supreme Court Order is exactly right

By Maryam Khan

The ‘memogate’ controversy is a political question, which means it is a question for political resolution between the political branches of government (the executive and the legislature) and other State institutions, like the military and the intelligence, which are subordinate to the government. The controversy requires political resolution because it has a direct nexus with structural issues relating to civil-military relations. To put it bluntly, the Supreme Court, in principle, has no role to play in this controversy. Let us see why.

Continue reading Judicial circus on memo

ISI has taken over GHQ – By Najam Sethi

The army was constitutionally mandated to be an arm of the Pakistan state with elected civilians in control of the executive. But it has seized the commanding heights and subordinated the other organs of the state to its own unaccountable purposes.

In recent times, however, something even more sinister has been happening. This is the creeping growth of the ISI from a small arms-length intelligence directorate or department of the military (Inter Services Intelligence Directorate) in the initial decades of independent Pakistan to an omnipotent and invisible “deep state within the state” that now controls both military strategy and civilian policy.

General Pervez Musharraf’s unprecedented appointment of General Ashfaq Kayani, a former DG-ISI, as COAS was the first step in this direction. The second was General Kayani’s own decision to routinely rotate senior and serving ISI officers to positions of command and control in the army and vice-versa, coupled with his insistence on handpicking the DGISI and extending his service. Together, these decisions reflect a harsh new reality. The ISI has walked into GHQ and seized command and control of the armed forces.

This is a deeply troubling development because it violates the established norm-policy of all militaries in democratic societies – intelligence services must consciously be kept at arms length from GHQ because “field commanders must not get contaminated” or tainted by cloak and dagger operations in grey zones. That is why COAS Gen Zia ul Haq kicked Gen Akhtar Abdul Rehman, DGISI, upstairs to CJOSC rather than give him troops to command. That is why COAS Gen Asif Nawaz sidelined DGISI Gen Asad Durrani as IG Training and Evaluation. That is why COAS Gen Waheed Kakar prematurely retired Gen Durrani from service for playing politics in GHQ and then recommended Gen Jehangir Karamat as his successor rather than his close confidante and former DGISI Gen Javed Ashraf Qazi. Indeed, that is why the CIA, RAW, MI6, KGB, MOSSAD etc remain under full civilian operations and control even though soldiers may be seconded to them or head them occasionally.

The ISI’s meteoric rise in the 1980s is well documented. It became the official conduit for tens of billions of dollars of arms and slush funds from the US and Saudi Arabia to the Mujahideen against the Soviets in Afghanistan. Three serving generals of the time were billed as “the richest and most powerful generals in the world” by Time magazine in 1986. Two of them, Gen Akhtar Abdul Rehman and Gen Hameed Gul were in turn DGs-ISI while the third, General Fazle Haq, was the Peshawar gatekeeper to Afghanistan.

Three Prime Ministers have fallen victim to the ISI. PM Junejo ran afoul of DGs ISI Gen Hameed Gul and Gen Akhtar Abdul Rehman over the Ojhri Camp disaster. Benazir Bhutto was undermined by DGs ISI Gen Gul and General Asad Durrani. And Nawaz Sharif by DG ISI Gen Javed Ashraf Qazi and COAS Gen Waheed Kakar. Indeed, Mr Sharif might have survived in 1999 if Gen Musharraf had not earlier cunningly moved Gen Mohammad Aziz from the ISI to GHQ as CGS because it was the latter who nudged Corps Commander Pindi Gen Mahmood Ahmed to execute the coup in the absence of Gen Musharraf.

The ISI’s creeping coup – ISI officers returning to command positions in the army – against GHQ is fraught with problems. It has eroded the credibility and capacity of both the current DG ISI and COAS within the military and civil society. The ISI’s spectacular failures (BB’s assassination, Mumbai, Raymond Davis case, missing persons, Memogate, Mehrangate, Abbotabad, Saleem Shehzad, Get-Zardari, etc) can all be laid at GHQ’s door just as the ISI’s anti-terrorist policy failures are responsible for the loss of over 3000 soldiers to the Pakistan Taliban and the terrorist attacks on GHQ and Mehran Navy Base. The fact that both the COAS and DG ISI have taken extensions in service has also undermined their credibility far and wide.

Continue reading ISI has taken over GHQ – By Najam Sethi

Government decides against Pasha extension

By Azaz Syed

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s government has reportedly decided against extending the tenure of the chief of its spy agency, DawnNews reported late Saturday.

Lieutenant General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, who has been the Director General (DG) of the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) agency for the last three-and-a-half years, will reportedly be transferred to the Strategic Plans Division (SPD) as its head.

Pasha was handed a one-year extension as chief of the premier spy agency last March. However, following his alleged role in the Memogate scandal, it was being reported that Pasha will not be given another extension.

According to sources quoted by DawnNews, the government is keeping mum on this issue for now. “Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani will take the final decision after his one-on-one meeting with the President Asif Ali Zardari,” sources told DawnNews.

In what may come as a surprising development, the government may appoint a non-military official or a retired military officer as the new chief of the ISI. ….

Read more » DAWN.COM

Pakistan’s Supreme Court placed the concept of national security above that of fundamental rights.

Memogate contradictions

By Kaiser Bengali

The political crisis rages on, with the Supreme Court leading the charge. The battle lines were sharpened when Asma Jahangir withdrew from the memogate case, citing lack of confidence in the impartiality of the judiciary. She was of the view that the Supreme Court placed the concept of national security above that of fundamental rights. These grave developments and Ms Jahangir’s assertions need to be addressed with all the seriousness they deserve.

The so-called memo is a spurious and worthless piece of paper, whose authorship no one is claiming, and which has been tossed in the trash can by the person for whom it was intended, ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

‘Institutions in Pak are on a head-on collision’

Q&A – Ayesha Siddiqa, Political Commentator

PAKISTAN IS in a political crisis, again. Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani is openly targeting the army. The army and ISI are digging up dirt against the prime minister on Memogate and are angry with his statements. The judiciary is adamant on pursuing corruption cases against President Asif Ali Zardari and is charging the prime minister for contempt. Amidst all this chaos, talks of a possible coup are doing the rounds. Gilani has been summoned to appear before the Supreme Court. Controversial Pak-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz, the man who claimed to have delivered the controversial memo to the Americans, is to visit Pakistan on 24 January. Kunal Majumder spoke to Ayesha Siddiqa, Pakistan’s leading authority on civil-military relations, about her assessment of the changing equations between the army, judiciary and the government.

Excerpts From An Interview

A lot of commentators are suggesting that a coup is not possible in Pakistan anymore. Do you agree with this assessment?

I wouldn’t agree that it is impossible, but at this moment, it doesn’t seem likely. A coup will happen only when the army runs out of options. Now, the military has other options available. It has a fiery judiciary ….

Read more » Tehelka

Mansoor Ijaz claimed Chief Justice ‘owes’ Nawaz Sharif – Daily Times

Mansoor Ijaz claimed CJ ‘owes’ Nawaz Sharif

RAWALPINDI: Although his guns are currently focused on former ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani, the creator of the Memogate controversy, US citizen Mansoor Ijaz, has vilified or denigrated virtually every individual and institution in Pakistan at some point in time. Research into the writings of the controversial figure reveal that once he described the most respected Chief Justice in Pakistan’s recent history, Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, as someone who “sadly, owes his return to power to Mr Sharif” –a reference to the PML (N) leader.

Mansoor Ijaz’s derogatory remarks about the honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan were slipped into an article titled, ‘A game changer for Pakistan-US relations’ published on the website of the International Center for Peace & Democracy-ICFPD in October 2010. In that article, Mansoor Ijaz claimed that “President Barack Obama had characterised Pakistan as the ‘cancer’ inhibiting US progress in Afghanistan. He went on to criticise the army, President Zardari, Mian Nawaz Sharif and the Chief Justice to conclude that American intervention was the only way things would change in Pakistan.

“The army, Pakistan’s only viable institution of governance, can’t decide whether it wants to nurture the Taliban so it can maintain strategic depth in Afghanistan or kill them so the money spigot continues to flow from Washington,” Mr Ijaz wrote. He added, “Pakistan’s vaunted intelligence services stand accused of harbouring America’s No. 1 enemy, Osama bin Laden, in northwest frontier border areas in the relative luxury of homes, not caves, by the very NATO officials they are supposed to be assisting in tracking down the terror master and his key aides.” (This was well before the US secret mission in Pakistan in May 2011 that resulted in the killing of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad).

Continue reading Mansoor Ijaz claimed Chief Justice ‘owes’ Nawaz Sharif – Daily Times

People must stop pro-dictatorship forces from destroying democracy in Pakistan

By Khalid Hashmani

Multi-dimensional Tragedy

The non-democratic forces in Pakistan that include elements from military, judiciary and some their protege political parties are fast moving to take over Pakistan. The goal of their unholy alliance is to bring back dictatorship and impose their twisted views on the people of Pakistan. It is time for all those who wish to democracy to prevail and Pakistan to move towards the vision of 1940 resolution to fight back and prevent undemocratic forces to succeed in their evil designs.

Plot of deadly Consequences

The conspiracies to find a way of least resistance with minimal political backlash have been going on for some time. First, one of their operatives implements a set-up to lure former ambassador of Pakistan in USA (Husain Haqqani) into a plot to write a fake memo on the behalf of civilian government to the US government. The memo asks for help in case of a military attempt to topple the elected civilian government and help it to reduce the control of military over Pakistan’s decision-making process. In return, the civilian government allegedly promises USA to nominate international members of a commission and reduce the role of ISI in protection of nuclear arsenal of Pakistan. The writer of that memo (Mansoor Ijaz) then turns around and writes a story in a newspaper that he wrote and sent a letter to a US official on behest of the Pakistani ambassador. Immediately thereafter, the head of the Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency (General Pasha) flies to meet Mansoor Ijaz to London and takes his statement without securing any authorization from the civilian government of Pakistan. After returning to Pakistan, the ISI General files that statement with the Supreme Court against the civilian government. The Supreme Court which has already hostile to the Civilian Government for the delay in restoring the former Chief Justice who was fired by former dictator General Musharaaf shows more than eagerness to move against the civilian government.

Mr Ijaz also alleged in an interview in December that soon after the Bin Laden raid, the Chief of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency (General Pasha) visited several Arab capitals in an attempt to secure their support for toppling of the civilian government.

In a move that many call as violation of constitution, the Supreme Court has appointed a commission for further investigation and actions. Many fear that it just a matter of few days when the biased court will give verdict against the democratically elected civilian government. This verdict that will be implemented by the military which appears to have developed the dislike for the present government for its attempts to secure control of foreign affairs and country’s security matters from the military.

Many Pakistanis strongly suspect that this plot is thinly veiled attempt by the hostile Supreme Court and present military leaders to push the current government from power. One commentator is quoted as saying You could say what we’re seeing is a slow and gradual coup taking place, eating into the moral authority of the civilian government.” Another Pakistani said “A national political crisis has been engineered on the basis of an unsigned memo, the contents of which are exceedingly unrealistic but have somehow compromised national security.”

The consequence if this deadly plot succeed would be that both President Zardari and former US ambassador, Husain Haqqani could face treason charges. The history of Pakistan’s high courts provides ample evidence that Sindhi politicians never receive justice from them. Like President Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, this President Asif Zardari too could end-up in gallows.

Continue reading People must stop pro-dictatorship forces from destroying democracy in Pakistan

Is the Judiciary really Independent?

by Mahmood Adeel

One of the bedrocks of a democracy is the existence of an independent judiciary. Article 25 of the Constitution guarantees that “All citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law”. But is this actually the case? Or are some citizens given special preference, while others are treated as suspect before they are ever even charged with a crime? Unfortunately, several recent events point to a troubling possibility – that not all citizens are equal before the law, and even if the judiciary is independent of the elected government, it is not independent of certain unelected institutions.

When Mansoor Ijaz’s revealed his famous memo back in October, the nation understandably wanted to know the facts of the case. Parliament initiated an inquiry, but the judiciary stepped in and set up their own commission claiming to be an independent institution. When Asma Jahangir appeared before the Supreme Court in defence of Husain Haqqani, however, she received a reprimand from the Chief Justice for daring to present evidence that contradicted the opinions of military generals.

The chief justice said: “Instead of giving importance to our own people (COAS and ISI DG) why should we consider the James’ affidavit more credible. Asma said army chief’s team brought the memo issue to his knowledge and on that basis he submitted his affidavit. The chief justice said armed forces have rendered lot of sacrifices for the defence of the country and they have respect for Chief of Army Staff (COAS).

Continue reading Is the Judiciary really Independent?

Institute for Defence Studies & Analysis (idsa) – Pakistan Military’s Desire to Slip Into The Driving Seat Once Again

By P. K. Upadhyay

Excerpt;

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)

http://www.idsa.in/idsacomments/PakistanMilitaryDesiretoSlipIntoTheDrivingSeatOnceAgain_PKUpadhyay_130112

Who prepared the Memo, Mansoor Ijaz now implicates Gen Jehangir Karamat & Gen Mahmud Durrani also

Exclusive: Ijaz told Jones three people prepared the “Memogate” document

By Josh Rogin

Mansoor Ijaz, the main figure in the “Memogate” scandal that is rocking the highest levels of the Pakistani political establishment, told his U.S. go-between Gen. Jim Jones in a private e-mail that there were three people who “prepared” the now-infamous memo, not just former Pakistani Ambassador to Washington Husain Haqqani.

Continue reading Who prepared the Memo, Mansoor Ijaz now implicates Gen Jehangir Karamat & Gen Mahmud Durrani also

Democracy or dictatorship?

Democracy or dictatorship?: Resolute Gilani paves way for govt resolution

By Qamar Zaman / Zia Khan

ISLAMABAD: Steady nerves and a pointed address.

The premier remained composed on Friday, despite a raring opposition and potentially wavering allies in the face of a deepening row with the military and the judiciary – and the government also managed to introduce a highly-anticipated resolution in the house.

The resolution was moved, symbolically enough, by the PPP’s thus far most steadfast ally, Awami National Party (ANP) chief Asfandyar Wali Khan, amid a protest from opposition benches.

Before the resolution, addressing a special session of the National Assembly, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said he would prefer going to the people over begging for the opposition’s support for a fresh vote of confidence in parliament.

“I do not need a vote of confidence,” Gilani said, adding that he was elected prime minister unanimously.

The session, it was widely believed, had been convened in the wake of the Supreme Court warning President Asif Ali Zardari and the prime minister of disqualification over the non-implementation of the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) verdict.

But the prime minister snubbed the notion that his government was afraid of the NRO at the get-go.

“We have not come for the NRO. We do not need your support to be saved from the military and have not come for a clash of institutions. We have also not come to be shaheeds (martyrs),” the premier said, responding to the leader of the opposition’s query seeking a justification for the ‘emergency session.’

“Somebody should tell us the reason for convening this session and what you are afraid of,” the leader of the opposition, Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, had said earlier.

We have to decide whether there should be democracy or dictatorship in the country … democracy should not be punished for our mistakes”. ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

Zardari sub pey bhari..

By Omar Ali

Asif Ali Zardari’s astounding survival as President of Pakistan is captured well in this poem by Mohammed Ayub (Punjabi, with English translation).

A friend’s comment on this topic:

In an established liberal democracy, Zardari would never have come to power and probably would have been convicted. But so would be Nawaz Sharif. So would many associates of Musharraf and of Zia ul Haq. But I think one should give credit to Zardari where it is due. He was an accidental president but the way he handled himself and led his party after Benazir was killed was impressive. He tried hard to make a coalition with Sharifs and respected other political parties’ sphere. This tolerance of dissent was unprecedented in Pakistani politics. His biggest mistake was that he frittered away the good will by opposing the lawyers movement. His biggest achievement is the 18th amendment which if implemented fully will demolish the unitary centralised state. His failures are many but there are many others who bear MORE responsibility for those failures. If the economy has tanked, this should be laid at the door of our asinine generals who are responsible for the civil war that their trainees have started and the grandstanding they never tire off. I will sympathetic to Zardari because he is being singled out for failures that are not of his making in addition to his own. failures.
My own comments: I have a soft spot for budnaam Zardari. I wish he was just one shade less corrupt and his team was one shade more competent (and I REALLY wish he didnt have a team led by Babar Awan and Rahman Malik), but he is not the root of all evil. He has compromised with everyone including the army and does not deserve the endless invective against him….its like every corrupt and incompetent person in Pakistan (a nation built on corruption, like so many others) likes to think all problems will be solved if THIS incompetent and corrupt person leaves….and his foreign policy is orders of magnitude superior to the BS that flows out of GHQ. In fact, for decades GHQ has managed its domestic dominance by staying in a state of near-war and kidnapping and killing people for trying to undermine that narrative and here is someone who says let us trade and do business and just give me my cut…I think that is not ideal, but its superior to GHQ’s version of maintaining control… I am sure there are many many stories of projects shelved because capitalists dont want to meet his demands for money and prefer to wait till Uncle Jimmy and his friends in GHQ are back in full power…When the person in charge is from outside the main elite circle, his demands for an excessive cut do look painfully unfair …and maybe he IS too greedy and asks for more than Uncle Jimmy.. but his (President Asif Zardari’s) survival would be better for Pakistan than another coup or “behind-the-scenes-coup”..
And of course, the obligatory comment from Khalid Ahmed.
Courtesy » Brown Pundits

Pro-democracy protest: Protestors threaten civilian unrest if govt toppled

LAHORE: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Civil Society Network and Center for Peace protested against the judiciary and army on Thursday, warning the two institutions of civilian unrest if they tried to topple the PPP led coalition government.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Abdullah Malik, advisor to the Punjab governor, said that “The participants sensing the current democratic to be in danger have decided to come out on the roads to show their solidarity with the democracy.”

He added that only people had the right to change the government through their vote in a democracy and not the judge or the generals.

PPP members along with prominent representatives of civil society demonstrated in favour of the current democratic government at the Liberty roundabout.

Participants warned the judiciary and army that if it tried to topple the PPP led coalition government by using the Memogate affair as an excuse, then the civil society will protest on the streets.

Civil Society Network and Center for Peace members, including IA Rehman, Hussain Naqi, Shah Taj Qizilbash, Abdullah Malik along with South Asia Free Media Association’s (SAFMA) Anjum Rashid, Imtiazul Haq, Shoaib Adil and Amina Malik participated in the demonstration.

Other PPP members at the protest included Deputy Parliamentary Leader in the Punjab Assembly, Azma Bukhari and Altaf Qureshi. …

Read more » The Express Tribune

Generals & Judges waiting for their savior Mansoor Ijaz a Memogate Millionaire – Kab Awaogae, Kab Awogae – Aaja Meri barbad Mohabat ke

» Anmol Ghari » YouTube

— O — O — O — O —

Security will be provided to Mansoor Ijaz: Army

ISLAMABAD: The meeting of corps commanders headed by the Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani on Thursday decided to provide Mansoor Ijaz with security upon his arrival in the country for the hearing of memogate case, DawnNews reported.

Pakistan’s military chief met top commanders amid a widening rift between the powerful armed forces and the civilian government.

The meeting at GHQ lasted for 10 hours which was not only attended by the corps commanders but by the Principle Staff Officers of Pakistan Army as well.

According to sources, it was decided not to compromise on national security.

Memogate hearing on January 16, by the commission formed by Supreme Court, also came under discussion at the meeting.

It was decided that the central character of controversial memogate issue Mansoor Ijaz would be provided security by the army upon his arrival in the country.

Statements issued by military and the government on memogate issue also came under discussion in the meeting.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

http://www.dawn.com/2012/01/12/security-will-be-provided-to-mansoor-ijaz-army.html

via » twitter

Pakistan’s Generals & Judges beg Memogate Millionaire to come

– Mansoor Ijaz’s visa application not yet received: Foreign Office

By APP

ISLAMABAD: The Foreign Office on Thursday said its High Commission in London or any other consulate has not yet received a visa application from Mansoor Ijaz, a key character in the memogate scandal.

“We have not received a visa application by Mansoor Ijaz either at the High Commission in London or any other consulate,” said Foreign Office Spokesperson Abdul Basit in his weekly press briefing here at the Foreign Office Thursday.

During the proceedings of the investigative commission probing the memo scandal, Mansoor Ijaz’s lawyer, Akram Shaikh said that his client was not being issued a visa for Pakistan.

The commission directed the embassies in Switzerland and United Kingdom to issue a multiple visa to Mansoor Ijaz upon the receipt of his passport and application without other conditions.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

via » Twitter » TF’s Tweet

Pakistan: a coup by other means

– Tensions between the army and Pakistan’s civilian government have boiled over into open conflict

By guardian.co.uk, Editorial

Messages were delivered in Islamabad on Wednesday. Through a megaphone. Minutes after the prime minister sacked the defence secretary, a retired general who acted as the army’s representative in government, the Pakistan army replaced the commander of the Triple One Brigade in Rawalpindi. This happens when a coup is about to be launched. The army chief General Ashfaq Kayani has called an emergency meeting of his principal staff officers for Thursday.

Simmering tensions between the army and Pakistan’s civilian government have boiled over into open conflict in the latest episode of a scandal dubbed memogate. A former ambassador to Washington was accused of having dictated, or solicited, a memo written by a Pakistani American businessmen to Admiral Mike Mullen, requesting his help in preventing a coup. The ambassador, Husain Haqqani, who denies knowledge of the memo, has been recalled and is effectively under house arrest in the prime minister’s heavily guarded residence, fearing for his life. Kayani and the head of the military’s spy agency, Lieutenant-General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, pressed the supreme court in affidavits to investigate the allegations against Haqqani that could lead to treason charges. The prime minister said that these affidavits were “unconstitutional and illegal”. The military responded with a statement that darkly hinted at “potentially grievous consequences”.

What is happening is a coup by other means. The army has staged four coups in the past, but this time, its instrument is a blatantly partisan supreme court, which is attempting to force an elected government to resign. The timing of the traitor tag is not accidental. In March the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) could win control over the upper house of parliament and then – whatever happens to President Asif Ali Zardari and the PPP in the next election – the next government could not change the constitution.

Mr Zardari and the PPP government can be faulted for many things. The political charge sheet is long: incompetence, weakness, venality. They reacted terribly to the worst floods in living memory. They have pandered to fundamentalism over the blasphemy law rather than facing it down. A weak state has grown steadily weaker under their civilian control. Mr Zardari carries much personal baggage, which is almost certainly worthy of further investigation, but while president, he enjoys immunity from prosecution and he is right to face down the military. The place to oust an administration enjoying a two-thirds majority is at an election, and the people to do so are voters, not judges, generals or intelligence chiefs. Anyone who allows generals to remove politicians must be aware that the same could happen to them.

Courtesy: guardian.co.uk

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jan/11/pakistan-a-coup-by-other-means?newsfeed=true

A letter to Secretary of State, Ms. Clinton to show deep concern over the safety of former Pakistani Ambassador to the U.S. Husain Haqqani

The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton

Secretary of State, U.S. Department of State, 2201 C Street, NW, Washington, DC 20520

Dear Madame Secretary:

We are writing today to express our deep concern over the safety and well-being of former Pakistani Ambassador to the U.S. Husain Haqqani. It has come to our attention that Ambassador Haqqani is under intense pressure in Pakistan, including possibly threats to his life, over the so-called “Memogate” affair.

Questions have been raised about the manner in which this case is proceeding against Ambassador Haqqani and whether due process of law is being followed. Internationally recognized human rights defender Ms. Asma Jehangir recently quit as Haqqani’s lawyer, citing her lack of confidence in the judicial commission established by the Pakistani Supreme Court to investigate the case. Because of her doubts about the commission’s impartiality, Ms. Jehangir refused to appear before it.

Ms. Jehangir described the Supreme Court decision to admit the memo petitions as a “black chapter” in the judiciary’s history and further noted her concern that Ambassador Haqqani could be picked up by Pakistan’s intelligence services and intimidated, and even possibly tortured, into providing a statement that suits their interests. In this context, the fact that Haqqani was forced to surrender his passport, despite returning to Pakistan voluntarily to face the charges, is particularly troubling.

The case against Haqqani follows an ominous trend in Pakistan. The assassinations of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer, Minister for Minority Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti, and journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad this past year have created a culture of intimidation and fear that is stifling efforts to promote a more tolerant and democratic society. Significant segments of the Pakistani media have already judged Haqqani to be guilty of treason, which could inspire religious extremists to take the law into their own hands as they did with Taseer and Bhatti.

While we, as individuals, may not have always agreed with Ambassador Haqqani’s views, we regarded him as an effective presenter of Pakistani positions in the Washington context. In keeping with its traditional support for human rights and its deep interest in a firmly democratic Pakistan, the U.S. government should do all it can to ensure Haqqani receives due process without any threat of physical harm.

We commend the State Department for its statement on Friday calling for fair and transparent treatment of Ambassador Haqqani in accordance with Pakistani law and international legal standards. We would urge the U.S. government to continue to weigh in with key Pakistani leaders and to make appropriate public statements to ensure that Husain Haqqani is not physically harmed and that due process of law is followed.

With High Regards,

Dr. Stephen P. Cohen, Brookings Institution

Ms. Lisa Curtis, Heritage Foundation

Mr. Sadanand Dhume, American Enterprise Institute

Mr. Toby Dalton, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Dr. C. Christine Fair, Georgetown University

Dr. Robert M. Hathaway, Woodrow Wilson International Center

Mr. Michael Krepon, Stimson Center

Ambassador Dennis Kux, Woodrow Wilson International Center

Ambassador William B. Milam, Woodrow Wilson International Center

Dr. Aparna Pande, Hudson Institute

Dr. George Perkovich, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Mr. Bruce Riedel, Brookings Institution

Ambassador Howard B. Schaffer, Georgetown University

Ambassador Teresita C. Schaffer, Brookings Institution

Dr. Ashley J. Tellis, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Dr. Marvin G. Weinbaum, Middle East Institute

cc.

The Honorable U.S. Vice President Joseph R. Biden

The Honorable U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta

The Honorable U.S. National Security Advisor Thomas E. Donilon

The Honorable Director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency David H. Petraeus

January 7, 2012

Courtesy: http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/282550/letter-to-secretary-of-state-hillary-rodham.pdf

News adopted from Bolta Pakistan Facebook page.

Of memogate and precedence – By Waris Husain

As Habib Jalib said, “How can this desert be called a rose garden? How can I write a silver lining of this cloud? We have inherited this grief from the past, how can I write this grief anew?”

Critics argue that the Supreme Court’s decision to continue its probe of Memogate is a replay of past judgments which legitimised the will of the military over the people’s civilian government. Others contend that the will of the people demands that Zardari and his cohorts be punished in any manner for corruption, and the Supreme Court’s decision is one step in that political fight.

Though the Supreme Court judges and the Lawyer’s Movement acted as a political force to remove Musharraf, they should reexamine their roles in the battle for constitutional supremacy today. The Court has a valid interest in applying the rule of law equally to all, including Presidents and former Ambassadors, but they must also recognise the context of that judgment. The law, unlike politics, is powerful only when it follows precedent, and the precedent being set by the court today is quite a dangerous one for the future of civilian-military relations.

The Supreme Court’s order calls for a three judge panel to collect evidence and present findings within one month. In the Order, the Supreme Court stated that it was protecting fundamental rights recognised in Articles 9, 14, and 19A of the Constitution. These articles protect the right to due process, dignity of man, right to information of matters of public importance.

Continue reading Of memogate and precedence – By Waris Husain

Turkey’s former military chief arrested over alleged anti-government plot

By Associated Press

ISTANBUL — A former Turkish military chief suspected of leading an Internet campaign to stir revolt was jailed Friday in a sweeping investigation of alleged conspiracies to topple a civilian government that has stripped the armed forces of political clout.

Gen. Ilker Basbug, 68, was the most senior officer to face trial in the anti-terror probes that began years ago, netting hundreds of suspects, many of them retired and active-duty military officers. The government casts the inquiries as a triumph for the rule of law and democracy, but suspicions of score-settling, long imprisonments without verdicts and other lapses have tainted the legal process.

The investigations serve as a pivotal test for Turkey’s ability to put its own house in order even as it seeks a higher profile in a turbulent region where the Turkish brand of electoral politics and Islam-inspired government is viewed by some as worthy of emulation.

Perhaps most notable about Basbug’s arrest was the muted public response in a country where civilian leaders were once beholden to the generals, and any hint of conflict stirred fears of a coup. The power balance shifted in the past decade as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan undermined the premise that the military brass were the untouchable guardians of secularism, as enshrined in the constitution. …

Read more » The Washington Post

Permanent coup d’état?

By Aqil Shah

FORMER French president François Mitterrand used to deride Charles de Gaulle`s Fifth Republic as a “permanent coup d`état”.

He might as well have been talking about Pakistan, the only country in the world that seems almost permanently trapped between military coups. The spectre of the next putsch continuously haunts elected governments. The question is not if there will be a coup, but when. The most recent `near` coup over the memo scandal is only the latest example of how deeply entrenched coup politics is in our political process.

From the ISI chief`s autonomous investigation into the mysterious memo to the army chief`s politically insubordinate affidavit in the Supreme Court, the generals have clearly revealed their utter disregard for democratic norms. …

Read more » DAWN.COM

Senators: Stop harassing former Pakistan envoy

By Karen DeYoung

Three U.S. senators Thursday expressed concern about what they called the “ongoing harassment and mistreatment” of Pakistan’s former ambassador to the United States, Husain Haqqani, by authorities in his own country.

“We are increasingly troubled by Ambassador Haqqani’s treatment since he returned home to Pakistan, including the travel ban imposed on him,” said a statement by Republican Sens. John McCain (Ariz.) and Mark Kirk (Ill.), and Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.). They urged Pakistani authorities “to resolve this matter swiftly,” consistent with the rule of law, and to prevent the investigation of Haqqani “from becoming a political tool for revenge against an honorable man.” ….

Read more » The Washington Post

Video (Urdu): Pakistani “security consultant” Zaid Hamid implicitly warns memogate judges not to acquit Husain Haqqani.

» YouTube

Statement of concern – U.S. senators demand fair treatment for former Amb. Haqqani

By Josh Rogin

Three U.S. senators are calling on the Pakistani government and judiciary to protect former Pakistani Ambassador to Washington Husain Haqqani, who they say has been the victim of “ongoing harassment and mistreatment” since resigning late last year due to the Memogate scandal.

“We are increasingly troubled by Ambassador Haqqani’s treatment since he returned home to Pakistan, including the travel ban imposed on him,” said Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), and Mark Kirk (R-IL) in a Thursday statement. “Like many in Washington, we are closely following Ambassador Haqqani’s case. We urge Pakistani authorities to resolve this matter swiftly and consistent with civilian rule of law and to prevent the judicial commission investigating Ambassador Haqqani from becoming a political tool for revenge against an honorable man.” ….

Read more » Foreign Policy (FP)

RIM Asked to Hand Over Memogate Data to Pakistan Court

By Tarek Fatah

this involves the private messages between two individuals and as such RIM is unlikely to share this data — if it exists — with Pakistan’s Supreme Court

Research in Motion (RIM) and the Canadian High Commission in Islamabad have become the latest actors in the so-called “memogate affairthat observers believe is a slow-motion palace coup by Pakistan’s military aimed at unseating the civilian administration of President Zardari.

In a decision on Friday, the Supreme Court of Pakistan ordered the country’s attorney general to demand RIM hand over BBM messages allegedly exchanged between the former Pakistan ambassador to the U.S., Husain Haqqani, and American businessman Mansoor Ijaz. The exchanges involve an unsigned memo handed over to to former American Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, requesting U.S. intervention to stave off a military coup in Islamabad.

The latest tug of war between the government of President Zardari and his generals erupted on Oct. 11, 2011 when the Financial Times ran an op-ed titled “Time to take on Pakistan’s Jihadis.”

In the article, Mansoor Ijaz, a Pakistani-American businessman, claimed he was contacted by a Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S., Husain Haqqani, and asked to contact Admiral Mullen to prevent a military coup from taking place in Pakistan. The military was outraged and wanted heads to roll. Ijaz wrote:

Early on May 9, a week after U.S. Special Forces stormed the hideout of Osama bin Laden and killed him, a senior Pakistani diplomat telephoned me with an urgent request. Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan’s president, needed to communicate a message to White House national security officials that would bypass Pakistan’s military and intelligence channels.

As evidence, the American businessman handed over copies of his alleged BlackBerry message exchanges with Haqqani to Pakistan’s feared military intelligence force, the ISI. On his part, Haqqani categorically denied that he had asked Ijaz to draft any message and dismissed the messages cited by Ijaz as a fabrication.

As a result of the controversy, Ambassador Haqqani — a man not liked by his country’s jihadis, whether civilian or military — was forced to resign his post and ordered back to Pakistan, where he was placed under security watch and barred by the military from leaving the country.

The country’s parliament set up a commission to get to the depth of the matter, but this inquiry was upstaged by opposition politician Nawaz Sharif who took the matter to the country’s Supreme Court that is closely allied to the country’s military generals.

Pakistan Supreme Court

Last Friday, the Supreme Court ruled that there was merit in the complaint against Haqqani and set up a three-member judicial commission that will report back in four weeks to determine the guilt or innocence of the former Boston University professor and Pakistan’s most prominent diplomat in the last four years.

At the crux of the matter is the authenticity of of the BlackBerry messages that were allegedly exchanged between the two men.

In its decision on Friday, the Pakistani Supreme Court ordered the country’s attorney general to get in touch with Research In Motion in Waterloo, Ontario to secure from RIM the data verifying the validity of the alleged BlackBerry conversation between Haqqani and Ijaz.

In an unprecedented move, the Pakistani Supreme Court stepped beyond its jurisdiction to direct the Canadian High Commissioner in Islamabad, ordering it to facilitate in the securing the data from RIM.

In August 2010, Research In Motion was pressured by the Indian government to allow it access to data exchanged on its BBM messenger service. RIM resisted that pressure and the two parties came to a resolution. However, that involved BlackBerry messages within India, not overseas.

RIM ended up ready to compromise on the privacy of corporate customers to placate Indian regulators. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates too threatened to shut off BlackBerry services unless RIM opened its encrypted client data for the sake of national security.

However, in this case, the alleged exchanges between the Pakistani Ambassador and the American businessman were conducted in the United States, not Pakistan. Unlike the Indian request, this involves the private messages between two individuals and as such RIM is unlikely to share this data — if it exists — with Pakistan’s Supreme Court.

In addition, the Supreme Court ordered former ambassador Husain Haqqani to not leave the country, thus placing him in virtual house arrest. Haqqani, fearing for his life at the hands of the military and jihadis, has now taken refuge inside the Prime Minister’s residence in Islamabad.

Dark day for Pakistan

Haqqani’s counsel in the case, prominent human rights lawyer Asma Jahangir reacted with shock at the Supreme Court decision, labelling it a “dark day” for the country’s judiciary.

Ms. Jahangir a former president of the country’s Supreme Court Bar Association and the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Religion, said the decision was evidence Pakistan’s civilian government had for all practical purposes come under the thumb of the army.

Speaking to the media outside the Supreme Court on Friday, Ms. Jehangir said that the court’s judgment in the “memogate scandal” had forced her to wonder whether Pakistan’s judiciary represented the people of Pakistan or the country’s (military) establishment.

Two days later Jahangir announced that in protest at the high-handedness of the Pakistan Supreme Court, she was stepping down as counsel for Husain Haqqani. She alleged the judges of the Supreme Court were acting “under the influence of the [Military] establishment” and not in the cause of justice or due process.

A noose around Haqqani’s neck

She told Karachi’s DAWN Television she was stepping down because the only outcome left was a noose around Haqqani’s neck. She said:

“If nine judges of the Supreme Court can be under their [military] influence, then I am sorry to say I cannot have any expectations from three judges, who are subordinate to the same Supreme Court judges.””Should we close our eyes? Should we allow ourselves to be fooled?… I have told my client [Haqqani] he can appear before the commission if he wishes to — and he will go–but I have no confidence at all in the [judicial] commission.”

Continue reading RIM Asked to Hand Over Memogate Data to Pakistan Court

PAKISTAN: Killers are waiting for me, says Zardari aide

By Dean Nelson

Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s embattled former ambassador to Washington, fears he will be murdered if he leaves his sanctuary in the official residence of the country’s prime minister, Yusuf Raza Gilani.

In an exclusive interview with The Daily Telegraph yesterday (Tuesday), he said he had been branded a traitor and a “Washington lackey” by “powerful quarters”: a reference to the country’s powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency.

He said that he feared he would be murdered like his friend Salman Taseer, the late governor of Punjab, who was shot dead by one of his own security guards last year after being branded a “blasphemer”. Mr Haqqani was forced to resign last year after a Pakistani-American businessman claimed to have been asked by the then ambassador to pass on a memo to the American government calling for help to oust Islamabad’s military leadership. ….

Read more » http://www.theaustralianeye.com/news/killers-are-waiting-for-me-says-zardari-aide-aoi35814190.html