Tag Archives: Naval

Chinese takeover of Gwadar port

President Zardari announces Chinese takeover of Gwadar port

By:

ISLAMABAD: China took control of Pakistan’s Gwadar port on Monday as part of its drive to secure energy and maritime routes that also gives it a potential Arabian Sea naval base, sparking Indian concern. ….

Read more » DAWN

Link – http://dawn.com/2013/02/18/president-zardari-announces-chinese-takeover-of-gwadar-port/

Militants storm Kamra Airbase

ATTOCK: Unknown militants launched an armed attack on Kamrah airbase in the wee hours of Thursday where fierce gun-battle is underway while blasts are also being heard intermittently at the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) facility, Geo News reported.

There is a report of loss of life from both sides in the incident but it still remains unconfirmed.

According to Geo News correspondent, Saleh Zafir the army has been called out while the Pak army’s 111-brigade has already made it to the site of the incident to take part in the operation.

Sources told Geo News that the militants stormed the base from Pind Salman Makhan at 2:30 AM Thursday.

The sound of loud blasts at the base suggests that the militants are making use of the hand grenades they had on them as they made their way into the facility.

Sources also said that the security forces have managed to stop further advancement of the assailants into the base and presently an armed encounter between the two sides is underway.

The possible aim of the attack could be to cause damage to the parked aircraft of Pakistan Air Force or to hold the personnel present at the base hostage.

The attack is similar to that of Karachi Naval Base, PNS Mehran which took place on May 22, 2011. The militants had killed several Naval personnel besides destroying two P-3C Orion aircraft.

Continue reading Militants storm Kamra Airbase

The Legacy of Pasha

By Carl Prine

Lt. Gen. Shuja Pasha, the Director General for Inter Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI), is expected to retire from active duty on March 18th after serving five years as the chief of country’s most powerful intelligence agency.

The big question remains: What’s Pasha’s legacy?

Continue reading The Legacy of Pasha

Pakistani Pleads Guilty in Key Guantanamo Case

By AFP

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.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

 

Pakistan’s army should go back to the barracks

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.

Continue reading Pakistan’s army should go back to the barracks

Turkish warships to escort any Gaza aid vessels: Erdogan

CAIRO: Turkey said on Thursday it would escort aid ships to Gaza and would not allow a repetition of last year’s Israeli raid that killed nine Turks, setting the stage for a potential naval confrontation with its former ally.

Raising the stakes in Turkey’s row with Israel over its refusal to apologise for the killings, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Al Jazeera television that Turkey had taken steps to stop Israel from unilaterally exploiting natural resources in the Mediterranean.

“Turkish warships, in the first place, are authorised to protect our ships that carry humanitarian aid to Gaza,” Erdogan said in the interview, broadcast by Al Jazeera with an Arabic translation.

“From now on, we will not let these ships to be attacked by Israel, as what happened with the Freedom Flotilla,” Erdogan said.

Referring to Erdogan’s comments, Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor said: “This is a statement well-worth not commenting on.”

Relations between Turkey and Israel, two close US allies in the region, have soured since Israeli forces boarded the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara aid ship in May 2010.

Ankara downgraded ties and vowed to boost naval patrols in the eastern Mediterranean in the escalating row. …

Read more → DAWN.COM

Turkey’s military chiefs forced to ‘quit’

Turkey’s military chiefs ‘quit’

New Turkish land force chief appointed after Isik Kosaner and top commanders quit over rift with government.

General Isik Kosaner, the head of the Turkish armed forces, has quit along with the heads of the ground, naval and air forces.

The country’s state-run Anatolia news agency said on Friday that the military chiefs wanted to retire because of tensions with Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the recently re-elected prime minister. Anatolia reported Kosaner as resigning “as he saw it as necessary” ….

Read more → aljazeera

More details → BBC urdu

Pasha should go – New York Times Editorial

– A Pakistani Journalist’s Murder

After the Pakistani journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad was murdered in May, suspicion fell on Inter-Services Intelligence, the country’s powerful spy agency. Mr. Shahzad reported aggressively on the infiltration of militants into Pakistan’s military and had received repeated threats from ISI. Other journalists said they, too, have been threatened, even tortured, by security forces.

Now the Obama administration has evidence implicating the ISI in this brutal killing. According to The Times’s Jane Perlez and Eric Schmitt, American officials say new intelligence indicates that senior ISI officials ordered the attack on Mr. Shahzad to silence him. Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, confirmed on Thursday that Pakistan’s government “sanctioned” the killing, but he did not tie it directly to ISI. The murder will make journalists and other critics of the regime even more reluctant to expose politically sensitive news. The ISI is also proving to be an increasingly dangerous counterterrorism partner for the United States.

After Mr. Shahzad’s killing, ISI insisted it had no role, contending the death would be “used to target and malign” its reputation. The ISI and the army, which oversees the intelligence agency, were once considered Pakistan’s most respected institutions. Now they are sharply criticized at home for malfeasance and incompetence.

There is evidence that they were complicit in hiding Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad and that the ISI helped plan the Mumbai attack in 2008. They failed to prevent the recent attack on a naval base in Karachi. Mr. Shahzad disappeared two days after publishing an article suggesting the attack was retaliation for the navy’s attempt to crack down on Al Qaeda militants in the armed forces.

It’s not clear how high up the culpability for Mr. Shahzad’s murder goes — or whether there are any officials left in the ISI or the army who have the power and desire to reform the spy agency. President Asif Ali Zardari and his government, while not implicated in these heinous acts, have been a disappointment, largely letting the military go its own way. They need to find Mr. Shahzad’s murderers and hold them accountable. And they must find the courage to assert civilian control over security services that have too much power and are running amok.

Mr. Zardari needs to speak out firmly against abuses, insist on adherence to the rule of law and join his political rival, Nawaz Sharif, in pressing the security services to change. That can start by insisting on the retirement of Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the ISI chief, and the appointment of a more credible successor.

The United States needs to use its influence to hasten Mr. Pasha’s departure. It should tell Pakistan’s security leadership that if Washington identifies anyone in ISI or the army as abetting terrorists, those individuals will face sanctions like travel bans or other measures. The ISI has become inimical to Pakistani and American interests.

Courtesy: → The New York Times

Source → http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/08/opinion/08fri2.html?_r=1

– – – – – – – –

[For more details → DAWN.COM → NYT asks Pak Govt to remove ISI Chief. – U.S. conforms evidence of ISI ordering the killing of Saleem Shehzad.]

Saleem Shahzad, Al Qaeda and ISI

By Khaled Ahmed

Murdered journalist’s findings show Al Qaeda is winning in nuclear Pakistan more effectively than in Somalia and Yemen

Anyone who has read Inside Al Qaeda and the Taliban: Beyond Bin Laden and 9/11 by Saleem Shahzad (Pluto Press 2011) will come to the following conclusions:

1) It is Al Qaeda rather than the Taliban who plan militant attacks in Pakistan and that the Taliban execute no operations without the permission of Al Qaeda; 2) Jihadi organisations are subservient to Al Qaeda at the same time as some are also extensions of the Pakistan Army; 3) TTP was shaped by Al Qaeda through Uzbek warlord Tahir Yuldashev after the 2007 Lal Masjid affair; 4) ‘Retired’ army officers earlier handling proxy jihad defected to Al Qaeda but continued to use contacts within the military on behalf of Al Qaeda; 5) Benazir was killed by Al Qaeda and not Baitullah Mehsud; he was merely an instrument; 6) Mumbai was done by Al Qaeda through former Pakistan Army officers with help from Lashkar-e-Tayba (LeT) without the knowledge of the ISI despite the fact that LeT was on ISI’s leash; 7) Army officers or freedom fighters trained by army for Kashmir jihad spearheaded Al Qaeda’s war against Pakistan Army; 8) Islamic radicalisation of Pakistani society and media mixed with fear of being assassinated by Al Qaeda agents – who include ex-army officers – have tilted the balance of power away from the state of Pakistan to Al Qaeda; 9) Punjabi Taliban are under Haqqani Network which is supposed to be aligned with Pakistan Army; 10) Pakistan Army has ex-officers in Al Qaeda as well as serving officers collaborating with these ex-officers. …

Read more: → The Friday Times

Pakistan: the situation inside

The natives getting restless – by Mujahid Hussain

The anti-Army feelings among the influential political parties, religious and jihadist parties and outfits are increasing in the traditionally pro-Army province of Punjab. The failure of the Army and the Central Government in Balochistan is calamitous. The extremism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has not been beaten

Recent events have caused the army and its intelligence wing to be exposed to criticism in a manner never seen before in this country. This estrangement does not apply to the religious right alone anymore, who were already angry because of their one dimensional view on the war on terror. Both the religious and the left wing parties have felt emotions of betrayal and anger towards the army for different reasons. The liberal intellectuals who support the army in the war on terror, have expressed concerns about the duplicity and the modus operandi of the intelligence agencies.

Usama Bin Ladin’s death in Abbottabad, Mehran Base Attack, successive drone attacks, and now the killing of a youth by the Rangers in Karachi in public, has caused the decibel levels to rise as never before.

The less than complimentary views about the army expressed by Asma Jahangir, President of the Supreme Court Bar Association and the torch bearer of Human Rights, has created a new situation. The reaction of the military top brass has been to rely on its carefully nurtured constituency in journalism, politics, establishment and other vocal segments of the society, to stick to the well rehearsed standard narrative, offering the usual rewards in return.

On the other hand, Nawaz Sharif intends to exploit this situation, for he knows full well that his rivals are weak and that internal and external factors may allow him to gain political ascendancy. There is no evidence coming to the fore that the army has grasped the significance of the change in the public mood and increasing disillusionment among its traditional supporters.

It does not seem that the army has yet decided to curtail its role in politics. History, however, is full of ironies. The coziness with the Army that was the preserve of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Group [PML-N] is now enjoyed by the Pakistan Peoples’ Party [PPP], given expression through the statements of Rahman Malik, Babar Awan, and Firdous Ashiq Awan. All three are new PPP faces whereas the traditional party leaders have lost their pre-eminence. On the other hand, the PML-N members are moving towards the role played by the PPP workers during and following the Zia regime. Jamaat-e-Islami [JI] has lost favour and Imran Khan has stepped into its shoes.

Whereas the brittleness of the state has become obvious in these circumstance, its only stable institution, the Army, is also facing retreat and uncertainty. The situation in the tribal regions is a stalemate. The anti-Army feelings among the influential political parties, religious and jihadist parties and outfits are increasing in the traditionally pro-Army province of Punjab. The failure of the Army and the Central Government in Balochistan is calamitous. The extremism in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has not been beaten. In Sindh, the increasing unrest in cities is not a good omen for all unitary forces including the Army even though there is no prominent movement in the rural Sindh. …

Read more: ViewPoint

Worth Watching

The language of the program is urdu (Hindi).

Courtesy: News 1 (Bang-e-Dara 23 May 2011 with Faisal Qureshi)

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Accountability of Military Inc

by Najam Sethi

The terrorist attacks on GHQ last year and the Mehran Naval Base last month were outrageous examples of terrorist efficiency and motivation as opposed to ISI incompetence and military ill-preparedness. The US Navy Seal raid to extract Osama bin Laden from a compound in Abbottabad was deeply humiliating as well. Heads should have rolled. But the military will not even consider an independent commission of inquiry to unearth the facts. No wonder its credibility and sacred-cow status have taken a mighty hit. Within the armed forces, officers are standing up to question and confront their superiors. Outside, an angry public wants to know why we are spending half our tax resources on equipping the military with F-16s and BMWs when it can’t even protect itself, let alone defend the nation. This questioning of Military Incorporated is unprecedented.

More significantly, the civilian opposition is up in arms. It is demanding an informed debate over the military’s national security doctrines – particularly with reference to the obsession with, and fear of, “arch-enemy India” – that have spawned such self-serving budgetary outlays and an arms race at the expense of the social welfare of Pakistanis for six decades. The indignant argument that criticism of the military is “unpatriotic” or serves the interests of the “enemy” doesn’t wash any more. Indeed, the term “establishment”, used hitherto to refer obliquely to the military so as not to offend it, is rapidly going out of fashion. People are not afraid to call a spade a spade.

Ominously, the ISI’s mythology of power is now being deconstructed and exposed as being undeserved. The “agencies” are out of fashion, the ISI is squarely in the spotlight. The premeditated abduction and torture of journalist Saleem Shehzad, which led to his death, has been bravely laid by the media and opposition at the door of the ISI and not some invisible “agency”. The government’s silence – in not establishing a credible commission of inquiry – has also compromised the ISI’s position. This is remarkable, not because of the pathetic response in self-defense elicited from unnamed spokesmen of the ISI but because a conviction has now taken root in the public imagination that the ISI should not be beyond the pale of the law and accountability. The opposition has gone so far in parliament as to demand an oversight of its functions, duties, responsibilities and budgets. This is a far cry from a demand by the media and opposition not so long ago to shield and protect the ISI and its DG from the “conspiratorial” tentacles of the PPP government and its ubiquitous interior minister, Rehman Malik, who sought to bring the ISI’s internal political wing dedicated to political machinations under civilian control.

All this has happened because of two new factors that are not sufficiently imagined or understood by the military and ISI. One is the rise of a fiercely competitive and free media that is rapidly coming of age and will not allow itself to be manipulated wholesale in the “patriotic national interest”, a term that is constantly being re-evaluated in light of changing realities. The other is the revival of a chief justice and supreme court that are acutely aware of the civil burden imposed by their historic and popular enthronement. Neither will countenance any political or military oversight of their own sense of freedom and function. So if the military cannot rely on the troika of army chief, president and prime minister for political leverage of government – because the president and prime minister are one now – it is even more problematic to try and manipulate the media and SC merely on the yardstick of “patriotism” and “national interest”. The military’s woes are compounded by the fact that, for the first time in history, a popular Punjabi “son of the soil” like Nawaz Sharif, whose PML is a veritable creature of the predominantly Punjabi-origin military itself, has turned around and openly challenged its supremacy, arrogance and lack of accountability. The “Punjabi establishment” – meaning the civil-military power combine that has ruled Pakistan since independence — is therefore openly divided. The irony of history is that it is a Sindhi politician (Asif Zardari) who is opportunistically lending his shoulder to the military as it braces for fresh buffetings at home.

But that is just the beginning of a new story. The international establishment – principally the USA and EU – that has nurtured and molly-coddled the Pakistani military for six decades with money and weapons is also at the end of its tether. The “strategic partnership” mantra is dead. Washington, like Islamabad, doesn’t trust Rawalpindi either as long-term partner or ally. It is only a matter of time before the civilians in Pakistan and those in DC or Brussels make common cause for mutual benefit. Indeed, if the Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill were to be floated anew with clauses enjoining civilian supremacy over the military, there would not even be conscientious objectors today.

The Pakistan military should see the writing on the wall. It must hunker down and become subservient to civilian rule and persuasion instead of embarking on new misadventures in the region like the proverbial Pied Piper. The road to hell is always paved with self-serving intentions.

Courtesy: Friday Times

via Wichaar

Dying to Tell the Story

By UMAR CHEEMA

Islamabad, Pakistan: WE have buried another journalist. Syed Saleem Shahzad, an investigative reporter for Asia Times Online, has paid the ultimate price for telling truths that the authorities didn’t want people to hear. He disappeared a few days after writing an article alleging that Al Qaeda elements had penetrated Pakistan’s navy and that a military crackdown on them had precipitated the May 22 terrorist attack on a Karachi naval base. His death has left Pakistani journalists shaken and filled with despair.

I couldn’t sleep the night that Saleem’s death was confirmed. The fact that he was tortured sent me back to a chilly night last September, when I was abducted by government agents. During Saleem’s funeral service, a thought kept haunting me: “It could have been me.”

Mourning journalists lined up after the service to console me, saying I was lucky to get a lease on life that Saleem was denied. But luck is a relative term.

Adil, my 2-year-old son, was the first person in my thoughts after I was abducted. Journalists in Pakistan don’t have any institutionalized social security system; those killed in the line of duty leave their families at the mercy of a weak economy.

When my attackers came, impersonating policemen arresting me on a fabricated charge of murder, I felt helpless. My mouth muzzled and hands cuffed, I couldn’t inform anybody of my whereabouts, not even the friends I’d dropped off just 15 minutes before. My cellphone was taken away and switched off. Despite the many threats I’d received, I never expected this to happen to me.

Sure, I had written many stories exposing the corrupt practices of high-ranking officials and pieces criticizing the army and the intelligence agencies. After they were published, Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan’s prime security agency, always contacted me. I was first advised not to write too much about them and later sent messages laced with subtle threats. But I never imagined action was imminent.

On Sept. 4, I was driven to an abandoned house instead of a police station, where I was stripped naked and tortured with a whip and a wooden rod. While a man flogged me, I asked what crime had brought me this punishment. Another man told me: “Your reporting has upset the government.” It was not a crime, and therefore I did not apologize.

Instead, I kept praying, “Oh God, why am I being punished?” The answer came from the ringleader: “If you can’t avoid rape, enjoy it.” He would employ abusive language whenever he addressed me.

“Have you ever been tortured before?” he asked.

“No,” I said.

“These marks will stay with you forever, offering you a reminder never to defy the authorities,” he replied.

They tortured me for 25 minutes, shaved my head, eyebrows and moustache and then filmed and photographed my naked body. I was dumped nearly 100 miles outside Islamabad with a warning not to speak up or face the consequences.

The following months were dreadful. I suffered from a sleep disorder. I would wake up fearing that someone was beating my back. I wouldn’t go jogging, afraid that somebody would pick me up again and I’d never return. Self-imposed house arrest is the life I live today; I don’t go outside unless I have serious business. I have been chased a number of times after the incident. Now my son asks me questions about my attackers that I don’t answer. I don’t want to sow the seeds of hatred in his heart.

When Saleem disappeared, I wondered if he had been thinking about his children, as I had. He had left Karachi, his hometown, after receiving death threats, and settled with his wife and three children in Islamabad. From there, he often went on reporting trips to the tribal areas along the Afghan border. Tahir Ali, a mutual friend, would ask him: “Don’t you feel scared in the tribal areas?” Saleem would smile and say: “Death could come even in Islamabad.” His words were chilling, and prescient.

The killing of Syed Saleem Shahzad is yet another terrifying reminder to Pakistani journalists. He is the fifth to die in the first five months of 2011. Journalists are shot like stray dogs in Pakistan — easily killed because their assassins sit at the pinnacle of power.

When Daniel Pearl was brutally murdered by militants in Karachi in 2002, his case was prosecuted and four accomplices to the crime were sentenced. This happened only because Mr. Pearl was an American journalist. Had he been a Pakistani, there would have been no justice.

Today, impunity reigns and no organization is powerful enough to pressure the government to bring Saleem’s killers to justice. Journalists have shown resilience, but it is hard to persevere when the state itself becomes complicit in the crime. Now those speaking up for Saleem are doing so at a price: they are being intimidated and harassed.

Pakistan is at a crossroads and so is its news media. In a situation of doom and gloom, Pakistani journalists offer a ray of hope to their fellow citizens and they have earned the people’s trust. Even the former prime minister Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain has admitted that people who once went to the police with complaints now go to the press.

But this trust will be eroded if journalists continue to be bullied into walking away from the truth. News organizations throughout the world must join hands in seeking justice for Saleem and ending the intelligence agencies’ culture of impunity. An award for investigative journalists should be created in his honor, as was done for Daniel Pearl. No stronger message could be delivered to his killers than making him immortal.

Umar Cheema is an investigative reporter at The News International, Pakistan’s largest English-language daily. He was a Daniel Pearl Fellow at The Times in 2008.

Courtesy: The New York Times

The behavior of the Pakistani security establishment towards its nation is, as if it be the medieval rulers and the people are be its subject slaves

The obnoxious most, Military Apartheidism in Pakistan .

Issued by the Central Secretariat CPP:  (10.06.2011) The behavior of the Pakistani military towards its nation, is, as if it be the medieval rulers and the peoples are be its subject slaves . It is always above the established constitutional mandate, and that’s why it does not allow any civilian dispensation to function in peace . Whenever it suits, it would send even an elected prime minister to the gallows, or would forced him into exile.

Under this belligerent mind set, it has unleashed a holocaust on the people of Baluchistan, where dozens of the deformed and mutilated corpuses of the Balochi youth and progressive intellectuals and political workers shall be found all over the Baloch land, every day .

The Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa’s Swat, Dir Districts and its adjacent tribal area is made a paradise for the Jihadists and Al-Qaida terrorists, and no go area for its own inhabitants and a grave yard for the progressive political workers and law abiding peaceful innocent ancestral citizens. At the pretext of operation, will bombard and level whole towns and villages , where later on the innocent peoples dead bodies will be produced in front of the media, being terrorists and Taliban, where the captured terrorists are set scot free on pretext of lack of evidences to prove them guilty in the courts of law.

Innocents people including pregnant women are gunned down at the security check post in Kharotabad, Balochistan, progressive political leaders are shoot down at point blank and then their corpuses are sprinkled with Petrol and set to ablaze, in Sangarh, Sindh, is for now, no more unusual matter of the day.

Or Salim Shehzad’s like journalists are torchered to death. In a similar, one among the dozens of daily brutalities meted out to the poor people of Pakistan, is this heart wrenching and blood curdling shooting of Sarfarz Shah, a Karachi city’s resident’s most audacious and highly condemnable cold blood murder at point blank by the Security forces of Pakistan in a broad day light ,where the unfortunate victim succumbed to death due to bleeding, while pledging for medical aid after he was shoot on legs, was to no avail of human compassion. This heinous atrocity has no match, even to the Hulagu and Genghis Khan’s horrors against humanity .

Please watch the link to this brutality :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=0mCbWIEk8qI

The Communist Party of Pakistan condemns this act of brutality in the strongest most possible terms and demands the Government of Pakistan for immediate and harshest punishment to the culprit scoundrels of this heart breaking barbaric incident.

Continue reading The behavior of the Pakistani security establishment towards its nation is, as if it be the medieval rulers and the people are be its subject slaves

An open letter to General Pasha – by Ejaz Haider

Dear General Pasha,

I write this letter to you in the wake of the gruesome and gratuitous murder of Syed Saleem Shahzad, friend to many, including myself.

The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Directorate, the agency you head, is being accused of Saleem’s murder. You must also know that the ISI is widely reviled and dreaded at home. For an agency that was set up primarily for strategic intelligence, this is quite an achievement. It is accused of driving in its own lane, monitoring the media, kidnapping, torturing and sometimes killing dissenters, political and otherwise, determining, arbitrarily, what Pakistan’s national interest is and how best we should go about pursuing it.

You must also know that some former officers have not only admitted to electoral fraud, rigging, making and breaking of political alliances, buying people through a mix of carrots and sticks, and browbeating the media, but consider having done so as part of their remit and in the best national interest. Perish the thought that any one of them would say peccavi, since some actually boast about it.

Whispers there always have been. But now much is being said aloud. The ISI is not accountable to anyone; it is all-powerful; it can kill mercilessly and, in this case, it has killed Saleem, so go these whispers. What would you say to this? Shrug and move on, as if it makes no difference, that this is about a few flies buzzing around, a minor nuisance at worst? The man, who now lies buried after being tortured to death, leaves behind three children and a wife. To me this does not look like anything minor.

And what has the agency you head done so far? ….

Read more: The Express Tribune

Then they came for me – by Babar Sattar

The pall of gloom, anger and despondency in Pakistan has deepened with Saleem Shahzad’s gruesome murder. If the past is any guide, we will neither discover verifiable facts about his murder, nor will his killers be brought to justice. But let us revisit what we do know. Saleem Shahzad was called in by the ISI in October last year to discuss a story that he had filed for Asia Times Online and felt that he had received a muffled threat. He shared the details with his family, employers and some friends, including Human Rights Watch. Shahzad had written the first part of a story this past week suggesting that Al-Qaeda/Taliban had infiltrated the navy and the attack on PNS Mehran was a consequence of efforts to weed them out. Shahzad was abducted from a high-security zone in Islamabad while he was on his way to participation in a TV talk show. He was tortured to death and his body dumped in the canal close to Rasool Barrage a couple of days later.

Who could have abducted a journalist from one of the most fortified areas of Islamabad? If all this was the handiwork of Al-Qaeda/Taliban, why did they not make demands in return for his release, as they often do? If they didn’t abduct him for ransom or barter, why did they not claim credit for his assassination? Why did they not hold him out as an example for others they see as enemies or double agents, rather than silently dumping his tortured body, followed by an anonymous burial in Mandi Bahhauddin? Was the local representative of Human Rights Watch conspiring with Al-Qaeda and their “foreign” patrons when (according to reported conversations with interlocutors) he disclosed that Shahzad was being held by the ISI and would be released soon? Shahzad feared for his life and had pointed fingers. Should we simply disregard his account now that he is dead?

No terror group has claimed responsibility for Shahzad’s murder. But the ISI has denied involvement in his torture and killing, and resolved “to leave no stone unturned in helping bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice.” Let us assume that the ISI is being truthful here. How did we come to this pass where our leading intelligence agency is the prime suspect in the brutal murder of a journalist and, conscious of such a perception, feels obliged to issue a contradiction? Was Umar Cheema of The News really tortured by spooks or did he just imagine security personnel shaving his head? Was Kamran Shafi’s house never attacked? Is there some bright line rule that people will be roughed up but not killed? Or are the countless reported episodes of intelligence personnel intimidating journalists all lies? Has the US-Indian-Israeli nexus successfully manipulated the minds of our media and intelligentsia? Is this the best explanation for the suspicion that segments of our national security apparatus arouse?

Back in January 2010, I wrote about “reforming khakis.” I had endeavoured to identify multiple facets of the khaki mindset, as I understood them. “The first is an undaunted sense of righteousness,” I had argued. “This indoctrinates the military with the belief that its vision and definition of national security and national interest is the perennial manifestation of wisdom and truth. Any involvement of civilians with matters deemed to fall within the domain of national security is seen as unwarranted interference and an affront to its interests. This protective sense encourages the military to guard its proclaimed territory as a fief. The second facet of the khaki mindset is the military’s saviour instinct. Despite being a non-representative institution, the military has assigned to itself the role of deciphering aspirations of Pakistanis and protecting them. And the most insidious facet of this mindset is the unstated sense of being above the law that binds ordinary citizens.”

Consequently, I was “invited” to the ISI headquarter to meet with a brigadier who looked after internal security. I was offered a “tea break” while being informed that people within the GHQ had taken offence at my article. The brigadier read out “objectionable” excerpts from my article back to me and read from hand scribbled notes that spread over half-a-dozen pages to educate me on how I was wrong. He spoke for about 45 minutes before I sought permission to interrupt his speech and engage in a dialogue. At some point in this conversation he told me quite categorically that the army was more patriotic than the rest of us!

I wasn’t directly threatened at any point. However, I was informed, as a matter of historical record, that there was a time when the agency dealt with people only with the stick; but now things were different. During the meeting I felt obliged to reiterate my fidelity and loyalty to my country and was later ashamed and angry with myself for doing so.

I did not walk away from the ISI headquarters with a sense that this was another free exchange of ideas with a state official who disagreed with my opinion on how best to secure our national interest. In what is hard to describe accurately, I felt an eerie sense of anxiety and a need to protect my back. Not from the Taliban or terror groups but from the same security apparatus that is mandated by law to protect and defend my constitutional right to life, liberty and physical security. …..

Read more: The News

Chali hai rasm ke koi na sar utha ke chale!

Pakistan Journalist Vanishes: Is the ISI Involved?

By Omar Waraich / Islamabad

Excerpt:

Pakistan’s main news channels are reporting that Shahzad’s dead body has been found. One news channel broadcast what appeared to be a black and white image of Shahzad’s face. There were visible signs of torture..

While the ISI was said to have bristled at previous reports by Shahzad, his disappearance happened two days after he wrote a story for Asia Times Online that said that al-Qaeda had attacked a naval base in the port city of Karachi on May 22 after talks had broken down between the Pakistan navy and the global terrorist organization. In his report, Shahzad claimed that al-Qaeda had carried out the attack in retaliation for the arrest of naval officials suspected of links with the terrorist group.

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2074800,00.html#ixzz1NwRiJriN
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More details: The News, BBC urdu

Journalist Saleem Shahzad goes missing – Days before his disappearance, Shahzad had authored an article that alleged links between navy officials and al Qaeda.

ISLAMABAD: Syed Saleem Shahzad, the Pakistan bureau chief of Asia Times Online, went missing Sunday evening, DawnNews reported.

Days before his disappearance, Shahzad had authored an article that alleged links between navy officials and al Qaeda.

Ali Imran, a Coordinator at the South Asia Free Media Association (Safma) in an email stated that Mr Shahbaz had left his house in Islamabad to participate in a television program but that he did not reach the TV station.

He did not contact his family and friends either, Mr Imran said, adding that Mr Shahzad’s mobile phone and car had not been traced yet.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

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Missing journalist in ISI custody, says HRW

By Afnan Khan

LAHORE: The Human Rights Watch (HRW) has, through credible sources, learnt that journalist Saleem Shahzad is in custody of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), HRW’s Pakistan representative Ali Dayan Hasan told Daily Times on Monday.

Dayan remarked that the ISI remained a major human rights abuser in Pakistan and it frequently kept abusing and torturing those journalists it disagreed with. He further said the HRW had previously documented similar cases of abduction and torture on journalists by security agencies.

People close to Shahzad told Daily Times that he was picked up by officers of an intelligence agency who have promised through anonymous calls to release him soon. Shahzad, who was working as bureau chief of the Asia Times Online in Islamabad, was whisked away by unidentified people on Sunday evening when he left his F-8 Sector residence to participate in a television talk show. His mobile phone remained switched off and his car could not be traced.

People close to Shahzad stated that he had received numerous warnings from security agencies for his reporting in the past, adding that his recent reporting on the issue of terrorist attack on PNS Mehran might have become the reason of his abduction.

Meanwhile, a case has been registered against the unidentified kidnappers in the F-8 Sector Police Station.

Courtesy: DAILYTIMES.COM

http://dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=20115\31\story_31-5-2011_pg1_2

PTI of Imran Khan justifying Suicide attacks and attack on Naval Base

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senior Vice President following the policy of Imran Khan to support Taliban and extremist organizations justifying Suicide attacks and attack on Mehran Naval Base in Karachi in GEO News Program Lakin arguing with Sana Baucha. Leader of PTI linking suicide attacks with Drone attacks, where as a matter of fact suicide attack history is older than 911 attacks on US.

Courtesy: Geo TV News (Lakin with Sana Bacha)

via Siasat.pk, YouTube

Pakistan army generals are dangerously duffer, says Asima Jahangir, President Supreme Court Bar Association

Pakistan army generals are dangerously duffer, says Asima Jahangir, a leading Pakistani lawyer, advocate of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, President Supreme Court Bar Association of Pakistan and human rights activist, who works both in Pakistan and internationally to prevent the persecution of religious minorities, women, and exploitation of children.

Courtesy: SAMAA TV (In program Awaaz with Kamran Shahid, Asima Jahangir, Imtiaz Alam & Akram Sehgal, 29tth May 2011)

via Siasat.pk, YouTube

 

Sindh known a Center of Peace and Tolerance is now ruled by Armed Gangs

by Khalid Hashmani, McLean

Although every one is shocked by the daring attack by Taliban on a Naval Air base in Karachi, an article in DAWN titled “Armed gangs outnumber police in Karachi” provides eye-opening statistics about other armed groups (http://www.dawn.com/2011/05/23/armed-gangs-outnumber-police-in-karachi.html in the same city.  According to the newspaper this assessment is by an American official. The article The following are some key data quoted in the article:

1. Sunni Tehreek (ST), organized itself on the lines of MQM and created a very strong armed group that is organized in small teams with commanders in many parts of Karachi. The article says that “it is disproportionately powerful because of the influx of MQM-H gunmen.”

2. There are several areas in Karachi where police would not enter and ISI folks show reluctance to go to those areas.

3. MQM is the largest such armed group with 10,000 active armed personnel and another 25,000 organized as a reserve force.

4. MQM-H has very strong armed presence in Landhi and Korangi.

5. The report says that although traditional PPP has avoided having any armed wing in Karachi, a significant number of licensed and unlicensed licenses are being being obtained by PPP workers and its armed presence in Karachi will soon rival to that of MQM.

6. The Awami National Party (ANP) has a large cache of personal weapons and soon Karachi will become the “the largest Pashtun city in the world.” The report further says that the “hard-line’ Pashtuns in the Sohrab Goth neighborhood.”

It is a very dark assessment that if true does not bode well for the future of  Sindh and it’s capital city of Karachi.

Is Imran supporting the Taliban? – by Naeem Tahir

Excerpt:

…. His political stance needs a careful and serious analysis. The main point of concern is that he has never taken a clear stand against the activities of the Taliban. Instead, he has been pleading for a ‘negotiated’ settlement, knowing full well that all negotiations and ‘peace’ agreements have been used by the Taliban for the purpose of consolidating and then continuing terror activity. He should have offered to negotiate himself if he was confident of this course of action. The failure of the infamous Swat agreements must still be fresh in the public memory. Imran has never supported the army action. This includes army action in Swat and in South Waziristan. He has not even condemned the attacks on army General Headquarters (GHQ) and, more recently, the attack on the Pakistan Navy Station (PNS) Mehran base.

On the other hand, he is prominent in demanding the blocking of supplies to NATO forces through Pakistan — a step which would help the Taliban. He is against drone attacks. It is true that the drones cause regrettable collateral damage but they also target the al Qaeda and its supporters. The Taliban also demand an end to drones. Imran is prominently part of anti-US campaigns. True that many American policies have been self-serving, but then it is our responsibility to protect Pakistan’s interests against any foreign country, not just the US. Just being against the US and the war on terror is again an indirect help to the Taliban. Most significantly, his calling the war on terror as an American war is the standard Taliban slogan. Over 30,000 Pakistanis have been killed due to the Taliban’s terror attacks. Is it still not our war?

Looking at these factors, one is forced to question: what side is Imran on?

He is agitating in Karachi against the supplies to NATO forces, and the drone attacks. He was active with the extreme Right in protesting against Raymond Davis’ release. He has been doing sit-in protests in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In fact, the PTI has been doing so many protests that it may be aptly called Tehreek-e-Ehtijaj. Imran’s group seems to be joining every protest and playing to the gallery.

This strategy has also given certain advantages to Imran Khan. Consistent ‘exposure’ is one of these. Perhaps more significant is the fact that he has won over a sizeable portion of the supporters of Nawaz Sharif. This support primarily comes from the Taliban or their sympathisers. So Imran Khan is obliged to toe their line. As a politician he realised that the white collar will not win him an election but the rightists may. They get together, provide street power as well as loud noises, and this works to collect crowds. Imran is the preferred choice of extreme Right also because of his energetic style, which is more convincing than that of Nawaz Sharif; his eloquence is impressive against Nawaz Sharif’s limited capability, and indeed Imran is a ‘fresh’ image as compared to the repeatedly tried image of Nawaz Sharif. He may find it very hard to risk alienating himself from this segment. He also likes to have them because it is quieting down the critics of his flamboyance and flirtations of youth.

Soon there will be the final stage when Imran may need to do some soul searching once again, and decide if he is going to flow with the tide of extremist groups or stand on his own and refuse to be their cover politician.

To read complete article: Daily Times

Kitnay aadmi thay? — Char

by Waseem Altaf

Commodore Irfan-ul-Haq said that since they came at night hence they could not be effectively countered. Earlier on, the Air Chief complained that during Abbotabad operation the US choppers entered our airspace at night, hence could not be engaged. Well our armed forces should issue a communiqué to all our possible adversaries that all enemy incursions should take place during daytime so that they can be effectively intercepted.

One of the most memorable dialogues of the 1975 blockbuster Sholay was “kitnay aadmi thay” and in reply the bandit ashamedly says “do aadmi thay”, this response turns Gabbar Singh the gang leader, in a fit of rage, who then shoots the three cowardly dacoits.

The outlaws of “Sholay” faced two; the lead pair Veeru and Jai, while the fantastic four who conducted the Rambo Class operation on the night of 22nd May 2011, at Mahran air base were facing elements of 25th mechanized infantry division, navy commandos (SSGN), navy marines, Zarrar battalion of the SSG, rangers, elite force and the police, both deployed and in reserve.

The ground forces also enjoyed support of choppers from above. However those four guys whose average age was 20 mocked a brigade plus strength of the sixth largest army of the world for a good 16 hours. The planning, determination, execution and the level of motivation was simply superb. Two of them fought till death while the other two blew themselves up. None tried to flee and none surrendered. However before being liquidated they had transformed two P-3C Orion surveillance aircraft into pulp. The two machines cost rupees six billion while 10 personnel of the security forces were eliminated. Damage to any other installations is still being kept a secret. This was at the tactical level.

Read more : ViewPoint

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YouTube

Tuzk e Jahangiri

by Hakim Hazik

I am very sad today. I am crying. They have tacked the Suzuki Mehran Base and killed innocent innocent peepal and destroyed the Orions we loved so much, on which we had spent so much money. With this money the Shriek Chairman could have baught at least ten thousand Qingchis and opened at least three counts in Sweezerland.

Shriek Chairman has gan to Mascow. He has seen the Sukhois. He has ridden in the Ladas. Shahsab has gan to Peeking. He has seen the janyan madels of Qingchis and given the Cheeni brathers the punkha which they are going to change into the helicapter once again. Our determination as a nation should nat be underestimated. Democracy is the best revenge.

We will protect our ideology even if we have to eat grass. Feez Shaikh has pramised that the grass will be free of the (reformed) journal sales tax. However the IMF has opposed gornamint subsidies on grass as it can lead to distortions in the Free Market and add to the already huge current account deficit. Strauss-Kahn Sab has said that he will look sympathetically into the matter, as soon he receives his bail.

The Field Marshall has been quiet. I think so, he is depressed. He sent Pashasab to taak to the parliyament. He was not pleased when Choinisar started shouting mother sister. When the Field Marshall is depressed, Nawab Din Halwai says we should store bread and water. He thinks any thing can happen such as Kargil or 5th of July. May Allah (SWT) protect the bottom of the Ummah from the floggings of illegal dictators and innocent Secty Journals fram the dungeons of the Shahi Qila. Ameen.

There has been an outcry fram the free and independent media anchors, driven by a sense of selfless devotion to the freedom of press and a madest stipend fram the ISPR, that that we should provide spoat to our armed forces. I fully spoat this spoat. I gree that this is nat the time to put the ISI under the control of Malik Sab. This would lead to anarchy, chaos and disintegration and will shake the foundations of our ideology. It is our duty as a nation to accept the sovereignty of God and the ISI over every walk of life. Only then we can succeed in this world and the next.

I think so, we need a regional slooshan to the prablem of Fghanistan. We can sit down with our brathers in Central Asia, Roos, Cheen and Araan and ask the Mreecans to get out. That way we can keep our strategic depth without loosing our Strategic Deterrent. We can keep Hafiz Sab with Lashkar, Qani Sab with network, Headly Sab in Chicago, Mullah Sahib with Shura, and Maulana Sab with Jaish. In this way, my brathers and sisters, we can have our falooda and eat it too. …

Read more : ViewPoint

China’s Port in Pakistan?

China’s dream of Indian Ocean ports — the so-called string of pearls — is heightening geopolitical tensions in a rough neighborhood.

BY ROBERT D. KAPLAN

Pakistani officials have announced that the Chinese look favorably on taking over the operation of the Arabian Sea port of Gwadar close to the entrance of the Strait of Hormuz, and perhaps building a naval base for the Pakistanis there as well. The Chinese have apparently contradicted these claims, indicating that they have made no such decisions on these matters.

The fact that Pakistan should want deeper Chinese involvement with this strategically located port, even as the Chinese are hesitant to do just that, should surprise no one. Gwadar is where dreams clash with reality. …

Read more : ForeignPolicy

Al-Qaeda had warned of Pakistan strike

By Syed Saleem Shahzad

ISLAMABAD – Al-Qaeda carried out the brazen attack on PNS Mehran naval air station in Karachi on May 22 after talks failed between the navy and al-Qaeda over the release of naval officials arrested on suspicion of al-Qaeda links, an Asia Times Online investigation reveals.

Pakistani security forces battled for 15 hours to clear the naval base after it had been stormed by a handful of well-armed militants.

At least 10 people were killed and two United States-made P3-C …..

Read more : ASIA TIMES

via Wichaar

CARTE BLANCHE: Horror, of which I am dying – Mehmal Sarfraz

Excerpt:

It would not be wrong to say that the military is holding our nation hostage to its vested interests. Our country’s survival is at stake but there seems to be no visible shift in the military’s posture. ….

…. There are many reasons why most people in Pakistan continue to live in denial but the main one is our security paradigm. For decades we have been fed lies by our military. The military has overtly and covertly supported terrorist networks. A large chunk of our budget goes to defence without anyone questioning our armed forces on where it is spent. Between loan repayments and the defence budget, hardly any money is left to be spent on education, healthcare, development, etc. India is made out to be enemy number one. To counter the ‘Indian threat’, we need the vile Taliban on our side in Afghanistan since they are our “strategic assets”; we nurture terrorist organisations like the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) to carry out militant jihad in Indian Kashmir and cross-border attacks inside India; we are soon going to be “the world’s fifth largest nuclear weapons power” as per some reports. Lest we forget, we have lost all official and unofficial wars against India (most of which, by the way, were started by Pakistan). An atomic bomb and stockpiles of nuclear weapons is no guarantee that we can win in the unlikely event of another war. The only reason why our military has kept this threat perception alive is because it is hard for them to part with the moolah that keeps coming their way and the power they wield over this country. It would not be wrong to say that the military is holding our nation hostage to its vested interests. Our country’s survival is at stake but there seems to be no visible shift in the military’s posture.

The Pakistan military’s double game in the war on terror was never a secret yet the US kept pouring in billions of dollars in military aid to secure our help in the war on terror. Young soldiers continue to sacrifice their lives in combat and terrorist attacks because of the flawed policies of the military establishment.

The day Osama bin Laden was killed in Abbottabad by the US, the world’s suspicions were confirmed. Our intelligence agencies claimed incompetence, but not many buy this excuse, given how bin Laden was living in such close proximity to the Pakistan Military Academy. The world turned on our military and intelligence agencies but our government chose to give them a clean chit. Mian Nawaz Sharif, for whatever reasons, was the only one who took a principled stance as far as civil-military relations were concerned but he found no takers in the current democratic set-up who stood by him. After decades our civilian leadership had a golden opportunity to take the military to task but in order to pursue their political interests, the government and its allies let them off scot-free.

The problem is that, however much we try to hide our flaws, the world is not blind. Our security establishment cannot keep on harbouring terrorists. It is time to wake up to the reality that we cannot go on like this forever because it is a sure-shot recipe for self-destruction.

Pakistan’s name has been tarnished by those who claim to be our ‘guardians’ and ‘protectors’. As Pakistanis, we must vow not to let anyone wreak havoc in the name of ‘strategic depth’. Victor Jara, a Chilean political activist and revolutionary poet, was arrested and taken to the Chile Stadium in September 1973 following a military coup. He wrote a poem — ‘Estadio Chile’ — which spoke of the horror in front of him. His words, though written in a different context, haunt me every time a terrorist attack takes place:

“How hard it is to sing,

When I must sing of horror.

Horror which I am living,

Horror which I am dying.”

Pakistanis are living and dying a horror of which we must all sing. Let’s stop this horror now. It may take years but we must break our silence and speak the truth for once.

To read complete article: Daily Times

via Wichaar

Pakistan’s Military Faces New Questions After Raid

By SALMAN MASOOD

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Battered by the fallout of the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden, Pakistan’s army and navy chiefs came under fire again from analysts and raucous political talk shows for lapses in security that allowed militants to storm Karachi’s naval base, leading to a 16-hour standoff that ended Monday.

Journalists and retired service members repeatedly questioned how the militants could have breached the security of the naval base. The Navy chief, Admiral Nauman Bashir, was particularly pilloried for denying there was any security lapse when he spoke to journalists in Karachi after the attack.

The frenzied questioning on all of Pakistan’s news channels was an indication of the shock that the attack on Karachi’s naval base has caused around the country, still reeling from the scandal of the killing of Bin Laden on May 2, and the questions it further raises about the ability of Pakistan’s military establishment to safeguard its vital assets and nuclear installations.

The Pakistani military has come under unusual criticism for allowing Bin Laden to live for five years near the top military academy in Abbottabad, a small city about 70 miles from the capital, Islamabad, and the latest attack was seen as yet more proof of the parlous state of Pakistan’s armed forces.

“The repeated failure of the Pakistani security forces to preempt terrorist activity has demoralized not only the Pakistani soldiers, sailors, and airmen, but has also severely dented the reputation of the three services in the eyes of the people they are expected to defend” wrote Javed Husain, a security analyst on the website of DAWN daily newspaper. “Worse still, the servicemen and the people have begun to see the terrorists as ten feet tall.”

The attack would have serious repercussions not only for the military but also for the security and unity of the country, Arif Nizami, editor of Pakistan Today, a Lahore based daily, warned on another show. The Pakistan Navy was a relatively weak flank and could be easily targeted, he said.

Hamid Mir, the influential host of Capital Talk on GEO TV, even dared criticize the military for its handling of previous attacks by militants. The attack in Karachi was similar in scale and seriousness to the 2009 storming by militants on the army general headquarters in Rawalpindi, and could have been avoided if there had been a public enquiry into the earlier attack, he said.

Mr. Mir said he feared an inquiry could be initiated against him or anyone else who raised this question. He has long advocated that Pakistan should not side with the United States, but he has also denounced the Taliban.

The attack in Karachi comes as the Chief of the Army Staff, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, has been indicating in private meetings with senior editors and defense analysts over recent days that he wanted to improve morale and dispel the impression of incompetence of the armed forces by redoubling efforts against terrorism and insurgency.

Reflecting the overriding concern the Pakistan military has about its nuclear weapons program, General Kayani repeatedly emphasized that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons were safe from any attack or foreign intervention, according to one analyst who was present at one of the meetings.

The general added that Senator John Kerry gave him assurances during his visit to Pakistan last week that the United States is not interested in seizing Pakistan’s nuclear weapon. Senator Kerry told him he was ready to write down with his own blood that America was not interested in Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, he said.

In an indication of the divide in Pakistani society, commentators differed in their reactions to the 16-hour battle, with some urging political and military leaders to come together on a united counterterrorism policy to combat militancy, while others repeated familiar anti-American, anti-Indian theories, calling for a change in foreign policy and relations with the United States as the way to end the violence.

The conflicting narratives were evident in a talk show on DUNYA TV Monday afternoon with the hosts repeating conspiracy theories but some of their guests speaking more plainly.

Much of the reaction to the attack on its southern port, Karachi, also revealed Pakistan’s deep seated insecurity and sense of vulnerability regarding its longtime rival, India.

“This is a security failure,” Shehzad Chaudhry, a retired air vice marshal, said on the show. The need of the hour was to focus on the security forces and their capability, instead of focusing on the question that who could possibly be behind those Taliban, who are attacking Pakistani military, he said. “There is a need to develop national counterterrorism policy and bring our own house in order first.”

Talat Masood, a retired Lt. Gen and defense analyst, said on the same show: “We should not go into self denial. This insurgency is against you. They want to destabilize the state of Pakistan.”

Yet many commentators remain reluctant to criticize the powerful military establishment in Pakistan and tend to fall back on repeating conspiracies that the world is out to destabilize Pakistan and remove its nuclear weapons by force.

Pakistanis, on the whole, are unwilling to accept the idea that their own Muslim brothers based in the tribal areas are responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Pakistanis since 9/11,” said Arif Rafiq, a political analyst based in Washington in an interview. …..

Read more : The New York Tiems

Air force and Navy base attacked in Pakistan by terrorists

Militants storm Pakistani navy base

By ADIL JAWAD, Associated Press

KARACHI, Pakistan – Islamist militants stormed a naval base in the Pakistani city of Karachi late Sunday, destroying a U.S.-supplied surveillance aircraft, firing rockets and battling commandos sent to subdue them in one of the most brazen attacks in years, officials said.

At least four navy personnel were killed and nine wounded in fighting at the Naval Station Mehran that was going on more than four hours after the strike began, said navy spokesman Irfan ul Haq. He did not know how many militants had been killed or wounded.

Between 10 and 15 attackers entered the high-security facility before splitting up into smaller groups, setting off explosions and hiding in the sprawling facility, he said.

“We are receiving fire from different directions,” said another spokesman, Salman Ali.

The coordinated strike rocked the country’s largest city just under three weeks after the death of Osama bin Laden in an American raid on the northwestern garrison city of Abbottabad, an event al-Qaida allied extremists here have vowed to avenge. ….

Read more : Yahoo News

More details: BBC urdu

Pakistan looks towards China for building naval base in Gwadar

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan said on Saturday it wanted China to build it a naval base, in the latest sign of moves to strengthen ties with Beijing as relations with Washington falter.

The announcement from Pakistan’s defence minister came a day after Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani returned from a four-day visit to China, Islamabad’s biggest arms supplier.

“We would be … grateful to the Chinese government if a naval base is … constructed at the site of Gwadar for Pakistan,” Defence Minister Ahmad Mukhtar said in a statement, referring to the deep-water port in Pakistan’s southwest.

The statement did not say whether Pakistan had asked China to build the base at the port in Balochistan province.

Islamabad is trying to deepen ties with Beijing as relations with the United States have strained following the killing of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan earlier this month.

Many in Washington have called for a review of billions of dollars of US aid to Pakistan after discovering bin Laden had been hiding for years in a Pakistani garrison town.

China invested $200 million in the first phase of the construction of the port, which was inaugurated in 2007.

The development, 70 km east of the Iranian border and on the doorstep of Gulf shipping lanes, was designed to handle transhipment traffic for the Gulf. ….

Read more: The Express Tribune