KARACHI, March 21: Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Patron-In-Chief, Pakistan Peoples Party has strongly condemned the brutal killings of Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) leader Maqsood Qureshi and a worker in Naushehro Feroz.
In a press statement, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said inhuman act of burning the bodies of JSQM leader was the most heinous crime stressing that those committed it must not go scot-free at any cost.
He asked for thorough probe into the incident and fact-finding as PPP, being a democratic party, would never allow such incidents under any circumstances.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari expressed sympathy to the family of JSQM leader and workers and asked the people to remain calm and assured full support to the bereaved family.
Gruesome Murders of Sindhi Nationalists
Comment by Shahab Usto
Is another ‘Baluchistan’ being enacted in Sindh?
Aren’t they content with the amount of existing violence?
Don’t they realize the strategic significance of Sindh to the cross-country trade, commerce, logistics and physical connectivity between the length and breath of the country?
Don’t they see that Sindh is the only island of hope and stability in these tumultuous times when the violence, insurrections and extremism have beset the other parts of country?
Can’t they understand that Sindh is already sitting at the edge of a volcano, pushed by the successive corrupt and inefficient rulers and all it needs is a nudge to descend into violence and chaos?
Is the assassinations of Maqsood Qureshi and Suleman Wadho the required ‘nudge’ to push Sindh into the volcano?
If that is so, then may God help us and Pakistan!!
Courtesy: via Facebook
LONDON: In a major breakthrough, Metropolitan Police’s Counter Terrorism Command detectives investigating the murder of Dr Imran Farooq arrested a man on suspicion of conspiracy to murder the Pakistani politician on Thursday 16 September 2010.
The 52-year-old British Citizen of Pakistani origin was arrested at London’s Heathrow Airport at approx 10:10 AM on Monday morning after landing at the airport on a flight from Canada. The detectives lay in waiting for the man whose travel trail was being monitored for a long time. The detectives were interviewing him on Monday at a West London Police station where he was in custody.
Dr Farooq was on his way home from work when he was attacked outside his home in Green Lane, Edgware, by a group of Pakistani looking men who killed him using a kitchen knife and bricks. A post-mortem gave his cause of death as multiple stab wounds and blunt trauma to the head.
A five and a half inch-bladed kitchen knife and a house brick used in the attack were recovered at the scene. A spokesman at the Metropolitan Police told that detectives from “the Met Police Counter Terrorism Command remain committed to finding those responsible”.
The detectives believe that Dr Imran Farooq’s murder would have required careful planning and would have required help from other people, some of whom may have provided assistance or information unwittingly.
On the evening of May 13, an assassin stepped out of a car that had just driven to the doorstep of Sardar Arif Shahid’s residence in Rawalpindi.
He waited for the 62-year-old Kashmiri leader to arrive. After pumping four bullets into him, the killer calmly got back into the car and was whisked away.
A major Kashmiri nationalist leader, chairman of the All Parties National Alliance (APNA) and president of the Jammu Kashmir National Liberation Conference (JKNLC), had just been silenced. Mysteriously, a press that thrives on crime reporting was mum the next day. The murder still remains unreported.
My first meeting with Arif Shahid was just a few days after the October 8, 2005 earthquake. It had nothing to do with the politics of Kashmir. A team of teachers and students from Quaid-e-Azam University, using money raised by the Eqbal Ahmad Foundation, were engaged in a relief operation that was to last many months.
There were already 90,000 dead, and thousands of houses had been reduced to rubble. Winter was around the corner and countless more people would die unless they could be protected from the snow and bitter cold nights to come.
For our team, Arif Shahid was a gift from heaven because of his close familiarity with the villages around the earthquake devastated towns of Rawalakot, Bagh and Muzzafarabad. The number of shelterless families in dire need was staggering.
But how could strangers like us separate the needy from the scores of hucksters swarming around? We had enough wherewithal to construct 2,000 corrugated tin-roof shelters — a drop in the bucket, perhaps, but still significant if apportioned properly.
With perspicacity and determination, Arif Shahid set about the task of separating the needy from the greedy and patiently walked us around the worst-hit areas.
Gruff only in appearance, he was warm, caring and friendly. We noted with some amusement that, although Islamabad was just a few tens of miles away, he would invariably introduce us to groups of survivors as honourable guests from Pakistan!
Who killed him? As in the case of Saleem Shahzad, fingers will inevitably be pointed but there will be no closure. At the same time, the mystery is not impossible to fathom.
Family members, and others close to Arif Shahid, say that he had long been under observation and books that he had authored were seized.
As one who had successfully brought together fractious groups from both sides of Kashmir, he was considered especially effective as a mediator. In 2009, he had therefore been placed on the Exit Control List (ECL) and his passport had been confiscated. It was later returned after he won a court battle.
Speakers at a small protest meeting that I attended in Rawalpindi a few days after the murder said that he had received threats that, for now, he had decided to ignore.
Significantly, this appears to be the first instance where a major Kashmiri nationalist leader was actually eliminated. Arousing suspicion is that there has been no condemnation of the murder by Pakistani political and military leaders, nor a demand that an investigation be launched. Instead, Amer Shahid, Arif Shahid’s son, has been threatened with dire consequences if he attempts to place the blame on any agency. He has been instructed to attribute the murder to a family feud.
Yesterday I called upon the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police to arrest a British citizen for incitement to murder. It is an open and shut case. You can watch his lips move on television, broadcast from London, in the wake of the controversial election count in the giant port city of Karachi, Pakistan. Hussain openly threatened the young democracy protesters agitating for a re-run of the election there that he would have them cut them down with swords.
No-one should think this mere rhetoric, Hussain is already convicted in Pakistan for multiple murder extortion organised crime and terrorist offences. That’s why he lives in Edgware. In fact he is chief suspect in over 100 murder cases, including in England in the murder of one of his own leading comrades.
Five years ago I gave a speech in Parliament asking why the then New Labour government was not only tolerating the presence in this country of a mafia style chief making regular broadcasts from London ordering crimes to be committed in a friendly country, but had actually given the Don a British passport!
The previous, Conservative, government had, I believed, refused citizenship to Altaf Hussain. New Labour as just one of many crimes against the people of the Muslim world thought differently and conveyed upon a convicted murderer all the rights of citizen upon him.
By MARC SANTORA
A 31-year-old woman was arrested on Saturday and charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime in connection with the death of a man who was pushed onto the tracks of an elevated subway station in Queens and crushed by an oncoming train.
The woman, Erika Menendez, selected her victim because she believed him to be a Muslim or a Hindu, Richard A. Brown, the Queens district attorney, said.
“The defendant is accused of committing what is every subway commuter’s nightmare: Being suddenly and senselessly pushed into the path of an oncoming train,” Mr. Brown said in an interview.
In a statement, Mr. Brown quoted Ms. Menendez, “in sum and substance,” as having told the police: “I pushed a Muslim off the train tracks because I hate Hindus and Muslims ever since 2001 when they put down the twin towers I’ve been beating them up.” Ms. Menendez conflated the Muslim and Hindu faiths in her comments to the police and in her target for attack, officials said.
The victim, Sunando Sen, was born in India and, according to a roommate, was raised Hindu. …..
Imran Farooq murder case ‘Business office’ raided in London
LONDON: Personnel of the Scotland Yard raided a business office in London in connection with MQM leader Imran Farooq’s murder and took some important documents into their custody, a private news channel said on Thursday.
The channel quoted a spokesman for the London police as saying the action had been taken by the Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism command unit in Edgware area.
The search of the office continued for about 10 hours during which several people were also interrogated but no one was taken into custody.
The spokesman said the unit’s raid was not related to terrorism and the action was taken under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act, according to the channel.
The spokesman said the police were determined to arrest the murderers of Dr Imran Farooq and that a team had been investigating the matter.
The Scotland Yard sources claimed that they had found some new and important clues into the case, said the news channel.—Dawn Monitor
LONDON: In an important development in MQM leader Dr. Imran Farooq’s murder case, the Scotland Yard conducted a raid at a business address on Edgware road and carried out a search of an office for 10 hours, Geo News reported Thursday.
According to sources, the UK police conducted a search of an office and also carried out interrogation but no arrests were made.
The Scotland Yard sources have claimed that the UK police got important evidences in Imran Farooq Murder Case.
The police official said that the raid was conducted by Counter Terrorism Command Unit of Scotland Yard under police and criminal evidence act.
The police officials said that they were committed to unearthing the murderers of Dr. Imran Farooq. A police team tasked with the arrest of the assassins of Dr. Farooq is steadily at work to solve the high-profile murder case, they added.
The MQM leader Dr. Imran Farooq was stabbed to death by an unknown assailant outside his house in central London on September 16, 2010.
What was supposed to be a day for Pakistanis to show their love, respect and reverence of the Holy Prophet (pbuh), instead turned out to be a day of murder, arson, looting and much mayhem. The government may have thought that by declaring September 21 “Youm-e-Ishq-e-Rasool”, it may have grabbed the initiative from the religious and conservative elements and that the protests and outrage may perhaps have channelled into one single day. However, the events of the past two days, in particular Friday, suggest that this was a grave miscalculation. The decision seems to have only galvanised and emboldened those elements in society who believe that by burning public and private property, destroying cars and injuring and killing innocent passers-by, they are somehow expressing their love for the Holy Prophet (pbuh). To many of those who we saw burning public and private property on our television screens on Friday, the government’s holiday announcement translated into a licence to do as they saw fit, and in most cases, this was to damage and destroy whatever they could find at arm’s reach.
My Lords of the Supreme Court,
With due respect, I write for the second time in two weeks about a most horrific matter: that of a former member of our National Assembly and many times minister, calling upon My Lord the Chief Justice of Pakistan to commit murder.
I know we have plumbed the depths in this God-given but now surely God-forsaken country over the 66 years of its existence: from the unjust and cruel way in which we treated our East Pakistani brethren; to the killing of innocents by the ‘bad’ Taliban and the genocide of minorities by self-same Taliban and their cohorts that we see every single, tortuous day; to the fact that we are now an international pariah, the mere sight of our green passport sending immigration agents across the world into an almighty tizzy.
We have seen generals and politicians and bureaucrats violate the Constitution and misrule and steal; we have seen some of our great national treasures like the railways and PIA steadily driven into the ground; our archaeological treasures and rare books stolen and sold abroad for a pittance by members of our so-called ‘elite’. We have literally seen this country rent asunder by adventurists and carpet-baggers. Indeed, we have seen a senior retired air force chief-turned-politician say that he would personally hang an elected prime minister from the Kohala Bridge.
We have seen, too, a prime minister shot in broad daylight and his assassin conveniently shot dead by a police officer who ‘happened’ to be standing by him; an elected prime minister hanged in what the world believes was a complete miscarriage of justice, nay cold-blooded judicial murder; and another jailed in Attock Fort by a usurper general and then exiled.
By: Anwar Iqbal
They do not have a word for ‘ghairat’ in English,” said Khadim. He paused, looked at his audience and asked: “Do you know why?”
Without waiting for a response, he added: “Because they do not have ‘ghairat’ in the West.” His remarks, as he had expected, pleased this audience of South Asian Muslims, Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis. “Not true,” said Farhan, one of the few liberals in the crowd. “They do have a word for ‘ghairat,’ honour.”
“Incorrect,” declared Khadim, “honour is a very light word. It does not have the intensity of ‘ghairat.’”
Many in the audience understood this ‘intensity’ well. They had grown-up daughters. And every time their daughters went out, in jeans or shalwar-kameez, they felt this intensity. The intensity increases, if the jeans are a bit too tight or the headscarves do not cover the head properly.
LAHORE: The authorities investigating the murder of Maj-Gen (retd) Amir Faisal Alvi, former General Officer Commanding (GOC) of the elite Special Services Group (SSG), by two unidentified gunmen in Rawalpindi do not rule out the possibility of involvement of some pro-Taliban militants in the assassination.
Once considered close to former president Pervez Musharraf, Maj-Gen Faisal Alvi was the first General Officer Commanding of the elite Special Services Group, and had also commanded the elite group as a brigadier. The first Pakistani major-general to have captained the Armed Forces Skydiving Team (AFST), Alvi was forcibly retired from the Army on disciplinary grounds ‘for conduct unbecoming’ by Gen Musharraf in August 2005.
The authorities suspect the involvement of a sectarian organisation linked to Taliban and the al-Qaeda in the murder, as Maj-Gen Alvi had been involved in several major military operations conducted by the SSG commandos in the restive Waziristan region.
The authorities believe the murder has symbolic significance as Alvi used to be a high-profile officer of the Special Services Group — an independent commando division of the Pakistan Army, which had carried out the high-profile Lal Masjid operation in Islamabad against the fanatic Ghazi brothers and their followers …..
Read more » The News
Via – Twitter
By Zeeshan Mujahid
KARACHI: The contempt of court case against former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani proves that every individual, irrespective of his position, is subject to the law, said Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry while addressing a lawyers’ ceremony at the Supreme Court Karachi registry on Saturday.
The chief justice added that action was taken against Gilani under the contempt of court law because the chief executive of the country defied court orders, and added that the implementation of court orders is the duty of the executive, which has been explained adequately in Article 190 of the Constitution.
Addressing the issue of immunity provided to the elected representatives, the chief justice said that if a person elected by the people violates the Constitution, then it is the duty of the courts to stop him.
By: Adnan Farooq
It goes without saying that the first thing which the Supreme Court will ask the next PM to do is to write the letter to the Swiss authorities. He will refuse too and the game continues
The Supreme Court’s verdict to disqualify Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gillani “is not a routine democratic change”, according to Ayesha Siddiqa. “In fact, it represents the new tactics of the military and its agencies,” she says.
Author of ‘Military Inc’, Ayesha Siddiqa is internationally known analyst on military and political affairs.
Commenting on the latest political developments in the country in an interview with the Viewpoint, she says: “Instead of ousting the entire Parliament, the military gets rid of prime ministers which has the same effect meaning a weak democracy. The judges seem to have become party to this”. Read on:
The opinion on Supreme Court’s verdict on Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gillani’s disqualification is divided. In general, the Opposition is hailing the verdict while the PPP and liberal circles are presenting it as a coup by other means. How do you assess the situation?
This is an intense political battle in which the Supreme Court is not neutral but a party as well. Look at the Supreme Court’s comparative behavior. There are times when it bails out murderers and looters but does not spare the ruling party in particular. Its wrath is mainly for the PPP and the chief judge seems to be making sure that he can ensure the PPP government’s ouster especially since he is now worried about his son being investigated.
After my article about the constitutional misbehaviour of the Pakistan Supreme Court was published in The Hindu (June 21), I received several queries and objections regarding it. Hence an explanation is called for, which I am giving below:
The first objection is that the British Constitutional principle, “The King can do no wrong” applies to a monarchy, not a republic. My answer is that I am well aware that Pakistan, like India is a republic. However, in both these countries, total immunity from criminal prosecution is granted to the President. Thus, Section 248(2) of the Pakistan Constitution states: “No criminal proceedings whatsoever shall be instituted or continued against the President or Governor in any Court during his term of office.” Article 361(2) of the Indian Constitution is identically worded.
By Iftikhar A. Khan
The judgment appeared to be based on newspaper headlines and talk shows of private TV channels: Ali Ahmed Kurd.—Photo by APP
ISLAMABAD Ali Ahmed Kurd, the firebrand leader of the lawyers` movement and former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, who has been keeping quiet for quite some time, surprised a lot of people on Tuesday with his blunt criticism of the way the Supreme Court was behaving. Judges should “behave like judges”, he said.
The past few weeks have been been a tumultuous time for Pakistani democracy. Even Deputy US Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Hoagland Tweeted last week that, “it’s getting confusing”. But as people try to make sense of rapidly changing events, it’s important not to miss the forest for the trees. Despite what seem like inscrutable events taking place, it’s what isn’t happening that points to democratic progress in Pakistan.
By George Bruno
As the NATO military offensive against the revitalized Taliban progresses in Afghanistan, the political situation in neighboring Pakistan remains tense in a way that can directly impact U.S. military and political objectives in the region.
I have long believed that the pacification of the extremist threat in South Asia and around the world can only be accomplished in an environment of democracy and the rule of law. Any assault on these values fuels the fires of fanaticism.
. Why go through this gradual decay of democracy, why not make Ayman al-Zawahiri the Khalifa of Pakistan and be done with it.
The Army is playing with the judiciary and democracy in Pakistan.
It is a shameful day for democratic traditions in Pakistan. As soon as the nomination papers for Makhdoom Shahbuddin for Prime Minister are filed by the largest democratically elected group (PPP) in Pakistan, the Army through Anti Narcotics Force (ANF) http://www.anf.gov.pk/ issues non-bailable warrant for arrest of the nominee.
According to the rules of election now the contest will be between Raja Pervez Ashraf (derogatory termed as Raja Rental by his opponents) and Molana Fazlur-Rehman (derogatory title: Molana Diesel). The original nominee of the people could be either in jail or hiding under a rock from the ANF warrant.
Here is a comment on social media:
“ANF is run by Army. A major general heads it. It is a open secret that Army is in charge of the drug trade in Pakistan/Afghanistan. This is how they fund their minions of terror groups.
So you don’t think it even slightly coincidental as far as the timing of these warrants are concerned.
Army is playing its card, media and Judiciary are enabling them.”
Some think that the PPP made a mistake by having Gilani stay on after he had been held in contempt by the Supreme Court http://criticalppp.com/archives/79330. The Supreme Court was clearly on the wrong side of history with this decision . However, once the decision had been made PPP could have shown political savvy and exited their PM with a glorious concession speech.
Now there is too much water under the bridge. Army has a lot of cards, they, through their sympathizers carefully placed in Urdu and English press, have successfully painted PPP as a band of thieves with the biggest thief at the top i.e. Zardari. Perception as they say matters more than the reality. I am not trying to defend PPP, I am not a Jiyla and have never been one. What I am concerned about is the continued weakening of democratic traditions.
Nowhere in the world other than Pakistan a Prime Minister is sent home by the Supreme Court. No where in the world warrants for arrest of the next nominee are issued on the very day nomination papers are filed.
The media in Pakistan will just fall in line and play the corruption tune to cover up the bigger crime, i.e., the MURDER OF DEMOCRACY by the usual suspects.
via – Twitter
The Supreme Court’s (SC’s) verdict on the petitions challenging the ruling of the Speaker of the National Assembly (NA) that rejected the argument that Prime Minister (PM) Yousaf Raza Gilani stood disqualified after being convicted and sentenced for contempt of court has pronounced that he does stand disqualified, not only from the premiership, but from membership of parliament as well. Not just that, the SC in its short order has laid down that he cannot stand for election for five years. To that end, the SC has sent instructions to the Election Commission (EC) to issue a notification to that effect. Meantime the PPP’s Central Executive Committee (CEC), which happened to be meeting when the verdict was announced, revealed its decisions on the crisis through a press conference by PPP leaders. The gist of the CEC’s decisions was that despite having reservations about the SC’s verdict, they had accepted the court’s finding that the conviction and sentencing till the rising of the court of Gilani for contempt on April 26 meant that he was no longer the PM, and with retrospective effect, had been removed on and since that date. The PPP has appealed to its workers and supporters to remain calm and restrained, despite the fact that the verdict is bound to inflame opinion in the PPP and allied camp. The CEC has empowered party Co-chairperson President Asif Ali Zardari to take whatever decisions he thinks fit regarding a replacement for Gilani. The intriguing question of course is whether the new PM will suffer the same pressure from the SC to write the letter to the Swiss authorities regarding President Asif Ali Zardari that the court was insisting on Gilani writing, and refusal to comply with which had attracted the contempt conviction for the former PM. In that case, the looming confrontation between state institutions, which began as a confrontation between the judiciary and the executive, could expand to now a confrontation between the judiciary and parliament as well. After all, the SC’s verdict overruling the Speaker of the NA too has set an unprecedented example, one that will reverberate in our jurisprudence for a long time to come. Questions have also been raised whether all the decisions and acts of the former PM since April 26 to date stand. The most important of these acts was the passing of the budget. It is possible that the detailed judgement may throw more light on this matter. Normally, courts are mindful that retrospective judgements should not disrupt things done and transactions closed to an extent that causes greater difficulties.
The courageous aid workers who fear no evil
He’d already been kidnapped and tortured – so what drove murdered aid worker Khalil Dale back to the danger zone?
By Sarah Rainey
Asked to describe his job as an aid worker for the Red Cross in some of the world’s most dangerous locations, Khalil Rasjed Dale compared it to a Mad Max film. “You’ve got people driving around in cars with machine guns,” he said in an interview in 1998. “There’s no government infrastructure, no law and order and we were trying to help vulnerable people nobody else seemed to care for… You just didn’t know what was going to happen next.”
Two days ago, Dale was found dead. Stationed abroad for more than 30 years, he had been taken hostage by suspected pro-Taliban terrorists on January 5. His decapitated body, wrapped in a plastic bag, was dumped by the side of a road in Quetta, the capital of the Baluchistan province, one of the most troubled regions of Pakistan.
Dale’s murder left many stunned by the brutality inflicted on such a gentle-mannered man. But as his family grieves, his death has brought into the spotlight the role of British aid workers, stationed in some of the world’s most volatile countries. His loss is not the first, nor will it be the last.
Read more » telegraph.co.uk
Who killed Murtaza Malik?
By Khaled Ahmed, Urdu Press Review
Murtaza Malik’s ability as an orator never earned him the respect he deserved. He is still a popular speaker on Islamic TV channels. His money was made in Saudi Arabia and later by selling Islamic books to the army. Why didn’t he earn respect and why was he killed quite needlessly?
If Pakistan needs a strong civil government, it will need a strong leader. If it looks for a heroic voice, someone who is courageous enough to take on a Justice system that has proven itself to be pro-Jihadi and anti-female, pro-rape, run by a Pro-Establishment, Chief Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry- this hero may well be Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s recent speech, covered in two stories in LUBP, deserves another look. He reflected his mother’s bravery, Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, and her intelligent and fearless tone, unafraid to speak plain truth and stand up to injustice. His voice sounds like the voice of the people, and has a grassroots type manner of appeal. Unlike manufactured politicians like Imran Khan, Bilawal is not afraid to say the unpopular things. When Imran Khan vaciliated in his condemnation of the murder of PPP governor, Salman Taseer, it was PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari who condemned it unequivocally.
…. Citizens have a right to ask why three serving chief justices of high courts are investing huge amounts of their precious time in handling the bizarre claims (and counter-claims) made by Mr Ijaz, when they should be attending to their core mandates of managing the high courts and thousands of subordinate courts. There are roughly 1.2 million cases pending in Pakistani courts and the cost of litigation is soaring due to a virtually unaccountable legal profession and corruption in lower courts. The Supreme Court has time and again reminded us that it is representing the people’s will and is answerable to the people only. Perhaps, nothing is as pressing for the ‘people’ than the denial of justice they are facing.
The Urdu media and internet forums are full of edicts against Mr Haqqani and sections of the establishment feel betrayed by his critical book on the Pakistan military. The least we can do is not to expose a man of his intellect to the rogue elements in the country. For the record, I have never met Mr Haqqani and hold no brief for his past adventures with the intelligence agencies. All I know is that he deserves a fair deal by a country he has tried to serve and defend in difficult times when everyone and his aunt have been wanting to ‘punish’ Pakistan.
Read more: The Express Tribune, April 2nd, 2012.
We expect the Supreme Court to apologise for the role it played, says PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari
We expect SC to apologise for role it played in murder of ZAB: Bilawal
NAUDERO: “We expect the Supreme Court to apologise for the role it played in the judicial murder of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto,” were the words with which Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari summed up the case of righting his dead grandfather’s name in history, on the eve of the PPP founder’s 33rd death anniversary being observed in Naudero.
With his father, the President of Pakistan and co-chairman of PPP, Asif Ali Zardari watching, along with the PPP central executive committee, hundreds of thousands of loyal party workers which had gathered in Ghari Khuda Bux, and around the country, Bilawal exhorted, “the restoration of these judges by our Prime Minister was a truly historic milestone for our country. Now it is up to the courts to redeem their institutions sullied reputation in the eyes of history.” ….
Read more » The Express Tribune
US NAVAL BASE AT GUANTANAMO BAY: Pakistani national Majid Khan pleaded guilty Wednesday at a Guantanamo military tribunal in a landmark case that could speed the trials of September 11 suspects.
Majid Khan, 32, a protege of September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, pleaded guilty to conspiracy, murder and attempted murder in violation of the laws of war, and to material support for terrorism and espionage.
Dressed in a dark suit and pink tie, he spoke in English without an interpreter in delivering his plea.
Khan, who has spent the last nine years behind bars, faced possible life in prison but is expected to receive a reduced sentence as part of a plea agreement.
In exchange for the lighter sentence, he will testify against other “high value” detainees, including Mohammed and four others alleged to have taken part in the 2001 attacks.
Many of the terms of the plea agreement remain classified. The Washington Post reported that the military plans to delay Khan’s sentencing for four years to ensure he complies with the agreement.
“It’s part of a strategy of building more solid cases against the handful of defendants that the government plans to try before the commissions,” said Jonathan Hafetz, a lawyer who has represented other Guantanamo detainees.
More than 10 years after the September 11 attacks, Mohammed and four co-defendants accused of plotting them are still awaiting trial at the prison, part of a US naval base in Cuba.
By Saroop Ijaz
Suppose one were to break a rule of a lifetime and take Rehman Malik seriously when he announced his intention of granting amnesty to Baloch nationalist leaders and went so far as saying that he will personally receive them on arrival. It is hard to miss the condescension and arrogance of the statement since it evidently fails to recognise the very basics of the conflict and treat this as a petty quarrel which can be muffled with assurances to a few individuals and attempts to rectify it with what comes across as some cheap pillow talk. More significantly, there is a clear implication in the statement which I am not sure Mr Malik completely grasps. To guarantee the end of violence and hostilities in future, has embedded in it the assumption that the guarantor would perhaps have a semblance of control over them. So, Rehman Malik has with one statement, used as a desperate measure, has attempted to take the blood and the guilt of decades of murder upon his hands. Hence, Rehman Malik cannot be taken seriously in this case, even if one does not mention Nauroz Khan Zehri.
‘Security establishment’ is becoming too hazy a term to ascribe direct culpability. It has become an oblique way of saying that the Pakistan armed forces and their subordinate agencies are using intense, non-stop and lethal violence upon the Baloch. Remaining on imprecise terms, ‘missing person’ is a case in point. It is a seemingly innocuous term summoning to mind the image of somebody absent from dinner or someone forgetting to pick someone up. Quite to the contrary, somebody did pick them up with the intention of torture and probably murder; it is abduction or kidnapping at the very least.
The apology and the assurance will have to come from the Army Chief, the DG ISI and the IG FC. And for it to mean anything, those kidnapped have to return ……
Read more » The Express Tribune
By Aqil Shah
WHAT is a human life worth in Pakistan? Guessing from the impunity with which the intelligence agencies engage in the alleged torture and extrajudicial murder of its own people, apparently not much.
The gruesome deaths of four terror suspects in ISI custody, and the visibly brutal treatment of seven others, has belatedly caught the attention of the Supreme Court, which otherwise seemed to many observers to be obsessed with serving instant ‘justice’ to the ruling PPP leadership.
How far the SC is willing to pursue this and other missing persons’ cases will be a litmus test for the rule of law in Pakistan which is under constant attack from a security establishment hiding behind the armour of national security.
The renowned sociologist Charles Tilly once compared modern states to organised crime rackets. For Tilly, states essentially function as protection rackets because they foment danger and then offer protection against it, usually for a high price. ….
Read more » DAWN.COM
Malik says 27 terrorist groups involved in Benazir’s murder
…. Malik shared this and other details of the investigation of the former prime minister and Pakistan People’s Party chairperson’s murder case while briefing the Sindh Assembly session.
He blamed Baitullah Mehsud, the Haqqani network and the banned Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) for planning the murder and said 27 terrorist groups helped in executing the plan. ….
Read more » DAWN.COM
Mother of all cases?
A testimony of the slim, short, veteran businessman-cum-banker, Yunus Habib, may come in handy when the Supreme Court starts hearing the almost decade-old petition of Air Marshal Asghar Khan on Feb 29, 2012. Habib hit the headlines in the 1990s for his key role in the release of Rs14 million (or maybe more) from his own Mehran Bank to defeat the Benazir Bhutto’s PPP in the next elections.
The affidavit submitted by the then ISI chief, Lt. Gen. Asad Durrani, is the first ever confession by any official of Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency of the role it played in pre-poll rigging and its direct involvement in political matters. But there is much more to it and all facts must come to the surface.
Though there was an unusual delay in the case being taken up for hearing, one hopes it will proceed as fast as other petitions like the ones dealing with NRO, NICL, the infamous Memo Case or the Haj scam.
By Najam Sethi
The Pakistan army’s vaulting mission to remain the most powerful actor in Pakistani politics has received irreparable setbacks in the last few years.
On the one hand, this is due to the onset of several new factors in the body politic determining the direction of political change in the future.
On the other, it reflects poorly on the ability and willingness of the army’s leadership to understand the far-reaching nature of this change and adapt to it seamlessly.
Pakistan’s future as a viable nation-state now depends on how the generals read the writing on the wall and quickly come to terms with it. Here is a checklist of recent failures that have downgraded the Pak army’s rating with Pakistanis.
(1) The army’s policy of nurturing anti- Americanism in Pakistan for leveraging its strategic relationship with the US has backfired and left it stranded in no-man’s land. It can’t let go of the US privately for purposes of economic rent and military aid extraction but it can’t embrace it publicly because of the rampant ‘Ghairat’ brigade of extremist Islamic nationalists that it has brainwashed.
(2) The army’s policy of nurturing the Afghan Taliban in private while appeasing the Pakistan Taliban in public has also backfired.
The Afghan Taliban are now negotiating directly with America while the Pakistan Taliban are waging an ‘existential’ war against the Pak army and civil society. PAK army’s relationship with the government, opposition, and media is at an all-time low.
The government has meekly folded before the army on every issue; but the army’s arrogant, intrusive and relentlessly anti government propaganda and behaviour is deeply resented.
The media is also wiser and critical about its manipulation by the army and ISI viz its Drone policy, the Raymond Davis affair and Memogate.
Question marks remain over its incompetence or complicity in the OBL affair, especially following recent revelations by former DG-ISI Ziauddin Butt that General Pervez Musharraf ‘hid’ Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad.
The murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad, followed by running threats to a clutch of independent journalists, is laid at the ISI’s door.
The ease with which terrorists have breached military security, as in the attacks on GHQ, ISI offices, military Messes, Mehran Naval Base, etc also rankle deeply.
Finally, the media is now speaking up and asking disturbing questions about the role of MI in the disappearances and torture of Baloch activists. Consequently, the media is loath to blindly follow the army’s ‘line’ on any issue any more. The PMLN, meanwhile, has gone the whole hog, openly demanding that the intrusion of the military in politics must be curtailed and the army’s overweening power cut to size.
If its ratings are falling, the army’s ability to manipulate politics to its ends is also diminishing. In the old days, the army chief was the most powerful member of the ruling troika that included the president and prime minister. Now the office of the president has lost its clout and there are two new and powerful contenders for say.
The first is the judiciary under Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudry that has unprecedentedly pushed politicians into a corner for corrupt practices and the military on the defensive for being unaccountable (the Mehrangate affair of 1990, disappearances and murder of Baloch and Taliban extremists in captivity).
The second is the electronic media that is reaching tens of millions of Pakistanis and courageously raising their consciousness. Neither will countenance any direct or indirect military intervention in politics. Recently, in a bid to salvage some wounded pride, the army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, said that defense expenditure is a mere 18 per cent of the budget and not over 50 per cent as alleged by critics like Maulana Fazlur Rahman. But the truth is that defense expenditure is about 25 per cent of the budget after hidden ‘defense’ items in government expenditures like the military’s salaries and pensions, special project allocations, etc are unveiled and supplementary grants in any budgetary year are accounted for.
More to the point, it is about 50 per cent of all tax revenues in any year, which puts a big burden on the fiscal deficit. Gen Kayani also insists that the army is not involved in quelling unrest in Balochistan. But the fact remains that the Rangers and Frontier Corps who are in charge of ‘law and order’ in the province are directly commanded by army officers who report to GHQ even though they are formally under the interior ministry.