Language of the talk show is urdu (Hindi).
As the Supreme Court ups the ante against the new prime minister, the battle between various stakeholders in Pakistan is likely to get intense
By: Ayesha Siddiqa Independent Social Scientist
…. the most challenging act seems to be the case against Chief Justice Iftikhar’s son Arsalan Iftikhar. Allegedly, Arsalan blackmailed real estate tycoon Malik Riaz into paying him more than PKR 36 crore in bribe for getting favourable judgments in cases being heard in the Supreme Court. Although nothing has been definitely proven against him as yet, the glitterati of Lahore talk about Arsalan’s extravagant lifestyle, which comes as a surprise since he didn’t have a job three years ago. The Chief Justice comes from a humble background and claims to have no property, a statement that adds to the complexity of his son’s fortune. Riaz, who is considered as being close to both the military and Zardari, has continued to point fingers at Arsalan, his father and the entire family for extorting money and favours out of him.
The Arsalan-Riaz case is now being heard by the Supreme Court and probed independently by a Joint Investigation Team (JIT) comprising members from the country’s prime anti-fraud agency, the National Accountability Bureau, the Islamabad Police and the Federal Investigation Agency. Clearly, this is a card in the government’s hand that Chief Justice Iftikhar and his team of close aides seem to try to destroy by casting aspersions on the JIT’s credibility. It is not a coincidence that after every hearing by the JIT, there is an effort by the pro-Chief Justice wing of a certain media group to point fingers at the credibility of JIT. The effort increases around every hearing by the court or the investigating team.
The yet-to-be-proven case of extortion and the players involved in it make the head spin at the complexity of the case. According to sources, Riaz, who is reputed to be an “ISI asset”, could not have taken the risk of so brutally challenging the Chief Justice without taking the security establishment on board. The question is how does one juxtapose this assumption against another that the higher judiciary has the army’s support to destabilise the government?
Interview: senior Taliban commander admits insurgents must seek settlement with other political forces in Afghanistan
By: Julian Borger
One of the Taliban‘s most senior commanders has admitted the insurgents cannot win the war in Afghanistan and that capturing Kabul is “a very distant prospect”, obliging them to seek a settlement with other political forces in the country.
In a startlingly frank interview in Thursday’s New Statesman, the commander – described as a Taliban veteran, a confidant of the leadership, and a former Guantánamo inmate – also uses the strongest language yet from a senior figure to distance the Afghan rebels from al-Qaida.
“At least 70% of the Taliban are angry at al-Qaida. Our people consider al-Qaida to be a plague that was sent down to us by the heavens,” the commander says. “To tell the truth, I was relieved at the death of Osama [bin Laden]. Through his policies, he destroyed Afghanistan. If he really believed in jihad he should have gone to Saudi Arabia and done jihad there, rather than wrecking our country.”
The New Statesman does not identify the Taliban commander, referring to him only as Mawlvi but the interview was conducted by Michael Semple, a former UN envoy to Kabul during the Taliban era who has maintained contacts with members of its leadership, and served on occasion as a diplomatic back-channel to the insurgents. …
Read more » gardian.co.uk
Via – Twitter
By Muhammad Hanif
Pakistan’s judiciary is starting to care less for the rule of law than the sound of its own sermonising voice. Which suits the military
There are three groups of Pashtuns fighting the US/NATO and Afghan security forces in Afghanistan – the Peshawar Shura led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the North Waziristan based Haqqani Network led by Jalaluddin Haqqani, and the Quetta Shura led by Mullah Omar. All three of them are closely linked with the military establishment of Pakistan.
A section of Hekmatyar’s party has already given up violence and is part of the current Afghan government and parliament. Many of the remaining prominent party leaders are frustrated with Hekmatyar’s rigid stance and have privately said they are willing to give up violence for a peaceful political process.
By: Imtiaz Ali
Maulana Sami ul-Haq is the director and chancellor of Pakistan’s famous madrassa, Darul uloom Haqqania, Akora Khattak. He has served in this post since the death of his father, Maulana Abdul ul-Haq, the founder of the madrassa, in 1988. Darul uloom Haqqania is where many of the top Taliban leaders, including its fugitive chief, Mullah Omar, attended. It is widely believed that the madrassa was the launching pad for the Taliban movement in the early 1990s, which is why Sami ul-Haq is also called the “Father of the Taliban.” Besides running his madrassa, Maulana Sami has a long political history as a religious politician. He was among the founders of Pakistan’s Muttahida Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) coalition of six Islamic religious parties. He recently spoke with Jamestown analyst Imtiaz Ali.
Imtiaz Ali: During the Russian invasion, the students from your madrassa were traveling to Afghanistan to fight, after which most of them were eventually inducted as governors and administrators in the Taliban government. Is the same thing continuing today? Are you still sending people to Afghanistan for jihad?
When Omar Shaikh was arrested and sentenced to death in 2002 for the kidnapping and murder of the Wall Street Journal correspondent, Daniel Pearl, in Karachi, many Pakistanis were shocked. But what was there to be shocked about?
Shaikh had well-known links with a number of clandestine jihadist organisations and had already been jailed in 1993 by an Indian court for entering India and taking part in the kidnapping of a number of foreign tourists to raise money for the so-called ‘Kashmir jihad’.
The latest of ‘crusaders’ (read idiots with a cause) who has taken his ‘case’ to the courts is one Zaid Hamid, self-described as the “Founding President of an Internationally Recognised Threat Analysis Consultancy and Defence Think Tank.” On March 27, 2012, he announced triumphantly that he had filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking the death penalty for a number of journalists as well as the South Asian Free Media Association (SAFMA).
Mr Hamid’s basis for seeking the death penalty against eleven different people is his firm belief that they are involved in “nefarious activities”, hence guilty of treason and hence liable to be put to death.
Punditry without predictions is like a fish without a bicycle and who would ever want that? But if one does make predictions, one’s predictions can be checked. That, perhaps, is why no paid pundit makes too many predictions. But, with nothing at stake, I will not only make predictions, I will also recall predictions from 3 years ago for criticism. And dear socialist friends, please remember these are not prescriptions, they are predictions. I don’t like them much either.
In March of 2009 I took a road trip across the Eastern United States and asked several generally well informed Pakistani friends what they thought was likely to happen in Pakistan in the days to come. I am reproducing that article unchanged below; the first few theories are what my friends proposed would happen, followed by my own predictions from 2009. I consulted two of the same friends again this week and their current predictions and my own 2012 predictions follow. It is, of course, a very small and unrepresentative sample, biased towards liberals, infidels and leftists with no other input. And it is not expressed in University-Speak. So please, be gentle.
By Saeed Shah
Afghanistan’s president expresses frustration with the country he accuses of harbouring the Taliban during a visit to Islamabad
Afghanistan’s president, Hamid Karzai, confronted the Pakistani leadership on Thursday on a visit to Islamabad as his frustration with the country he accuses of harbouring the Taliban boiled over.
Karzai’s language and tone flared to such an extent that the Pakistani prime minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, intervened and called a halt to a meeting of the full delegations of the two countries, according to officials on both sides. After a break, a smaller meeting of just the top officials was held, on the first day of a two-day visit to Islamabad.
The Afghan president has long demanded that Pakistan bring the leadership of the Taliban to the negotiating table, including its chief, Mullah Mohammad Omar. ….
Read more » guardian.co.uk
– Classified document is said to warn that Pakistan is plotting to help reinstall Taliban once Nato-led forces depart
The Taliban have secured Pakistan’s support for a return to power in Afghanistan as well as toning down their severe brand of Islamism, according to reports citing a leaked US military assessment.
The Times described the report as secret and “highly classified”, saying it was put together last month by the US military at Bagram air base in Afghanistan for top Nato officers. The BBC also carried a report on the leaked document.
“Many Afghans are already bracing themselves for an eventual return of the Taliban,” the report was quoted as saying. “Once Isaf (Nato-led forces) is no longer a factor, Taliban consider their victory inevitable.”
The document stated that Pakistan’s security agency was helping the Taliban in directing attacks against foreign forces – a charge long denied by Islamabad.
The findings were based on interrogations of more than 4,000 Taliban and al-Qaida detainees, the Times said, adding the document was scarce on identifying individual insurgents.
A US state department spokesman and Britain’s Foreign Office both declined comment on the report. Nato and Pakistani officials could not be immediately reached for comment.
Despite the presence of more than 100,000 foreign troops, the UN has said violence in Afghanistan is at its worst since the Taliban were ousted by US-backed forces in 2001.
The Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) says levels of violence are falling.
Citing the same report, the BBC reported on its website that Pakistan and its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency knew the locations of senior Taliban leaders and supported the expulsion of “foreign invaders from Afghanistan”.
“Senior Taliban leaders meet regularly with ISI personnel, who advise on strategy and relay any pertinent concerns of the government of Pakistan.”
The rise and rise of Imran Khan.
By Omar Ali
A few quick thoughts:
1. The campaign is well thought out and professional. It would be interesting to find out who all wrote the script.
2. People are indeed waking up, and PTI is indeed giving hope, but every time the people wake up it doesnt lead to where they think they are going (think about the millenarian excitement at the time of partition). The problem in any case is not the people or IK’s plan. Both are essential steps (if only partially understood) in a modern third world capitalist framework, and eventually the people/nation will indeed get there (they may think they are going elsewhere, but so did the people of China and see where they are today) but GHQ will have to be defanged along the way and taught new tricks. And one cannot underestimate GHQ and their genuinely problematic attachments to ideas incompatible with the needs of capitalist Pakistan … not so much from malign intent as from genuine lack of understanding (pak studies level BS is not just BS to them). Khan sahib is sincere, his followers are more than sincere, but the framework right now is only haflway there. Dangerous aspects of nazria e pakistan will have to be removed (quietly and surreptitiously, not the way I am saying it, I know), various groups will have to be accommodated or ruthlessly crushed (think Balochis, MQM, FATA, Jihadis) … all of which is doable, but not in this cycle by THIS tsunami. .. and all of which will include steps that may horrify some members of the excited middle class… Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Jahangir Tareen will not bring home the bacon.
3. There is indeed a new class of rich people in Pakistan and they need a more efficient capitalist country. They want to get together with PTI and GHQ and they think they will make Pakistan a stable capitalist country where property rights are secure (now that THEY own the property, thank you Hindus and Sikhs, and thank you current round of looting of public property, among other things). Its a necessary next step, but one has to be careful..who is writing the script? Many people are, but whose script has the deepest level of planning and muscle? GHQ. They may still want to have their jihadi-nazria-e-Pakistan-irrational-anti-Indian cake and eat capitalism too….its tough to do that. They will have to kill some jihadis along the way and it wont be pleasant work. They will need much more Chinese money and that wont come without security for Chinese capitalists. Many eggs will have to be broken to make this omelette. And “resilient awam” will have to give some more “qurbani” (sacrifice) for the future greatness of Pakistani capitalists. Its true that our people are resilient, but not endlessly resilient.
4. I am NOT saying nothing good will come of this. People will get organized and get active. Many will get disappointed, but others will go on to new levels of effort and organization and understanding. How else do we learn? Just saying “this is not that dawn”…For various historical reasons, Chinese capitalism will be a bit more welcome than the Western brand, but its still capitalism and it has its own associated sacrifices…and the cultural and ethnic contradictions that have to be resolved will be resolved with very unpleasant tactics.
5. If you want a prediction, i think there is at least a 50% chance of IK being PM next year. And a 37% chance he could be assassinated some day to make way for Shah Mehmood Qureshi … in the best interests of the nation, mere aziz humwatno (my dear countrymen … standard refrain of martial law speeches in Pakistan).. and if PMLN and PPP are halfway capable, the job may turn out to be harder than today’s excitement makes it seem.
Courtesy » Brown Pundits
Washington: Pakistani military had harboured Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden with the knowledge of former president General Pervez Musharraf, ex-army chief General Ziauddin Butt has said.
An article on the Jamestown Foundation website, which cited Butt, said that despite denials, evidence is emerging that “elements within the Pakistani military harboured Osama with the knowledge of Musharraf and Kayani”. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani is the current army chief.
Ziauddin Butt, a former chief of the Pakistan army, told a conference on Pakistani-US ties in October that according to his knowledge, then director general of Intelligence Bureau, Brigadier (retd.) Ijaz Shah, had “kept Osama bin Laden in an Intelligence Bureau safe house in Abbottabad”.
Osama bin Laden was gunned down May 2 by US commandos who mounted a daring operation using stealth helicopters.
— o — o — o — o —
By Declan Walsh
Even before you reach Pakistan there’s reason to fret. “Ladies and gentlemen, we will be landing shortly, inshallah,” says the Pakistan International Airlines pilot, 10 minutes outside Islamabad. To the western ear this ancient invocation – literally “God willing” – can be disconcerting: you pray the crew are relying on more than divine providence to set down safety. But these days it’s about right – Pakistan, a country buffeted by mysterious if not entirely holy forces, seems to have surrendered to its fate.
Viewed from the outside, Pakistan looms as the Fukushima of fundamentalism: a volatile, treacherous place filled with frothing Islamists and double-dealing generals, leaking plutonium-grade terrorist trouble. Forget the “world’s most dangerous country” moniker, by now old hat. Look to recent coverage: “Hornet’s Nest” declares this week’s Economist; “The Ally from Hell” proclaims the Atlantic.
The parameters and paranoia of the bygone Cold War just refuses to evaporate from the psyche of Pakistan’s military-establishment. That war might have folded with the folding up of the Soviet Union in 1991, but it seems Pakistan’s military-establishment is still largely stuck (albeit willingly) in the thick muck that this war threw up in this region in the 1980s.
Researchers take a comprehensive look at the incidence of dandruff among Pakistani soldiers
By Marc Abrahams
Public knowledge about dandruff in Pakistan‘s army comes mainly from a study called Knowledge, Attitude and Practice Regarding Dandruff Among Soldiers, written by Naeem Raza, Amer Ejaz and Muhammad Khurram Ahmed, published in 2007 in the Journal of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Pakistan. …
Read more » Guardian.co.uk
via » [News adopted from Tarek Fatah’s facebook page]
…. The terrorists are fanatics who wish to destroy society and life as we have known it. The cliché “one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist” is overrated and in any event they are nobody’s freedom fighter. If all this sounds as dreary sentimental nonsense and hollow distant bravado to you, remember it is in our self-interest to fight and defeat them. Any capitulation or one-sided peace deal with them is by its nature doomed to fail and once it does, they will come back with a vengeance as they did after Swat. The precedent of negotiating and ceding to the edicts of people threatening to kill is one which is susceptible to permeate and will be applicable to your local gangster before you know it.
Read more » The Express Tribune, December 18th, 2011.
You have ruled us enough
You have ruined us enough
You have raped our beloved country enough
You have destroyed our future and shattered our dreams
Enough is enough.
Your concepts are weird, your plans are insane
You are devious and deceitful
You are cowards and timid
You are cruel and ruthless
You are cunning and conniving
You are criminals and corrupt
Enough is enough
We are no longer afraid of long boots
We have no fear of big guns
You can’t bully us any more
Enough is enough
You have found new shoulders to take away our freedoms
Bigwigs are on your side and fake journalists speak your lies
But you all should know it is enough, it is enough
No more insults, no more intrigues enough is enough
No more blackmail, no more intimidation enough is enough
We will not let the Justice spread injustice enough is enough
Go away, go away it is enough, it is enough
Stay away, stay away it is enough, it is enough
We will fight you till the end
Enough is enough
By Josh Rogin
Former National Security Advisor Jim Jones has submitted a confidential affidavit, obtained by The Cable, in which he swears that he has no reason to believe that former Pakistani Ambassador to Washington Husain Haqqani had any role in the scandal known as “memogate.”
Jones was the go-between in the transmission of a secret memo from Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz to then Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen in the days following the killing of Osama bin Laden in Abbotabad. The memo, purportedly from the Pakistani civilian leadership, asked for U.S. government help to avoid a pending military coup in Pakistan and pledged, in return, to reorient Pakistan’s foreign and national security policy to be more in line with U.S. interests. ….
Read more » Foreign Policy (FP)
ISLAMABAD: MNA from the ANP Bushra Gohar said on Thursday that DG ISI Shuja Pasha should resign in order to ensure a transparent investigation of memogate, Geo News reported.
Addressing the National Assembly, Gohar said Haqqani had resigned and presented himself for investigation in the case.
Replying to Gohar, Opposition leader Chaudhry Nisar said that it was the government’s job to take the resignation from DG ISI and he had brought this issue up repeatedly during the joint session of Parliament.
Courtesy: The News
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Courtesy: Geo Tv News » YouTube
An interesting moment, Lt. General (r) Orakzai gave interview but when he was questioned about his role in October 12th military coup he started running. The reporter chased him and at the end general asked the reporter to not to embarrass him. The language of the interview is urdu (Hindi).
Courtesy » DAWN News Tv » YouTube
The language of the interview of former DG ISI is urdu (Hindi).
Courtesy » DAWN News Tv – 11th Dec 2011 -p2
via » ZemTv
A state determined to kill – itself
By Khaled Ahmed
By creating just one point of view, Pakistan may entrench itself in dangerous isolation, and may find it difficult to do course-correction to save its already crippled economy from collapsing
A revisionist state called Pakistan is taking all measures possible to immolate itself. The Army finally ran is rival Husain Haqqani to the ground and was helped in this by internecine party politics with everyone mindlessly baying for each other’s blood as the only politics they know. The national economy is gradually crumbling, its infrastructure run down and people willing to attack and burn because the state is unable to run itself. On top of it all, the most fatal hubris of a weak state – ghairat or honour – rules the collective mind.
The Pakistan Army is the only popular institution in the country with processions now carrying portraits of General Kayani because he carries in him the promise of a war of honour, in other words, an honourable death, because living without honour is not living at all. On 26 November 2011, the NATO forces attacked a checkpost on the Pak-Afghan border and killed 24 Pak troops. No one knows what happened except Pakistan that says it was a pre-planned attack. Pakistan significantly got its TV cable operators to ban the BBC for showing its two-hour documentary Secret Pakistan whose facts cannot be denied or at least no one outside Pakistan will reject them. Pakistan should pause and reflect on these facts and then understand the November 26 attack in their light.
BBC said on its website: ‘Filmed largely in Pakistan and Afghanistan, this documentary explored how a supposed ally stands accused by top CIA officers and Western diplomats of causing the deaths of thousands of coalition soldiers in Afghanistan. It is a charge denied by Pakistan’s military establishment, but the documentary makers meet serving Taliban commanders who describe the support they get from Pakistan in terms of weapons, training and a place to hide’.
Pak Army is not willing to look at the non state actors despoiling the country from the inside. It defies the world asking that they be banned and brought to account and feels itself totally blameless for what happened in Mumbai in 2008 while it focuses on what has happened at Salala in 2011. If you kill others or get them killed by your non state actors, they are prone to make the kind of mistake that was made at Salala. But Pakistan welcomes war even though it has never won one and has been defeated again and again fighting India, the last one being the battle of Kargil. General Kayani has familiarly thrown the gauntlet to the US: do it again and see what happens. The world knows that nothing will happen, except that Pakistan, already in dire economic straits, will be crushed.
Nawaz Sharif has gone to the Supreme Court as the one forum where the PPP government can be pulled down as a corollary to defeating the United States. (Get the traitor for joining enemy America!) He wants to get at the root of the Memogate scandal and is sure that the PPP leader Zardari was trying to double-cross the Pak Army which Nawaz Sharif now wants to stand up for. He wants the PPP government gone in short order before its tenure is up.
It appears that the PMLN, with fresh warpaint on its face, the maximalist Supreme Court, intent on getting Zardari to commit hara-kiri in Switzerland, and a revengeful Army aspiring to defeat the US, are on the same page: Suspend efforts to free-trade with India, defeat the US as an obstacle to Pakistan getting its fair share of leverage in Afghanistan, and stop fighting the war against terrorists because it was never Pakistan’s war, slyly hoping that the Taliban will be on Pakistan’s side in the war against the US.
Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has pledged a crushing retaliation if the US-ISAF forces attacked inside Pakistani territory again, ‘regardless of consequences’ (sic!). He told his troops, ‘Be assured that we will not let the aggressor walk away easily; I have clearly directed that any act of aggression will be responded to with full force, regardless of the cost and consequences’. He wants the troops on the border with Afghanistan to take their own on-the-spot decision against any future NATO attacks without waiting for orders from the GHQ. Now they will fight the US-ISAF forces instead of the Taliban terrorists.
This is a very rash approach to the situation triggered by the November 26 incident, even if it is directed as a morale-booster at the troops and meant to be interpreted differently as strategy for civil society which is obviously not prepared for war on the western front. The Americans are offering regrets even before their formal inquiry into the Salala incident is completed on 21 December. President Obama too has expressed sorrow at the death of Pakistani troops while a formal apology pends till the inquiry reveals NATO’s guilt. There are however statements issuing from Washington saying the attack was unintended and that some fire had come from around the Salala checkpost.
The nation is of one mind, a kind of pre-war symptom that Pakistan experienced in 1965 and 1971 when the Army painted the country into a corner through the hubris of isolationism. It is not natural that the entire nation be of uniform thinking in favour of conflict, especially if this conflict is against an immeasurably stronger adversary. If after the anger felt in the GHQ subsides and more realistic decisions are required to be taken, the disappointment among the public will take the shape of an emotional boomerang of self-disgust. We have seen that happen in the Raymond Davis case after the CIA agent was let off on diyat instead of being publicly hanged. If the common man has succumbed to an attack of ‘ghairat’ and is spoiling for a fight with the US, the state cannot afford to indulge in the bravado of an unequal war.
If the pro-war mind is presuming that the Taliban will fight the NATO-US forces side by side with the Pak Army, putting an end to the problem of law and order in Pakistan, it is sadly deceived. It will in fact be a two-front war, one front being at the back of the Pakistani troops. The Taliban and their master al Qaeda have an agenda that will be fulfilled only by removing our brave Army Chief from his post and then using the Army to take over the country and its nuclear assets. Wisdom demands that we challenge the US realistically rather than rashly, compelling it to make amends for the Salala incident to the benefit of Pakistan.
A consensus of national self-damage can occur even in democracies and it has recently taken place in the US too but in Pakistan one institution of the state dominates all decision-making functions, and those who should be ruling and not allowing this domination are busy in a lethal war of self-diminution.
The fact is that there are two versions of the truth. Unfortunately the American version is what is credited at the international level while the Pakistani version can only hold if the news channels are prevented from puncturing it. Our asymmetric proxy war against India was rejected by the world while the Pakistanis were force-fed with justifiable jihad by non state actors. Its fallout was experienced by Pakistan’s neighbours whose fear of what Pakistan may do next has isolated Pakistan in the region too. ….
Read more » The Friday Times
By Josh Rogin
State Department officials say that they are considering whether to add Pakistan’s Haqqani network to their list of foreign terrorist organizations, and now Congress is moving to force them to show their work.
“We are continuing to review whether to designate the entire [Haqqani] organization,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters in September, only days after then Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen testified to Congress that the group was directly responsible for a deadly Sept. 13 attack on the U.S. embassy and NATO headquarters in Kabul that left nine dead and 23 injured.
Mullen also said that the Haqqani network was a “veritable arm” of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan’s premier spy agency. That accusation encapsulates the State Department’s conundrum over designating the Haqqani network as terrorists: If it does, it is only one short step away from being pressured into naming Pakistan as a State Sponsor of Terror, a move that would shatter whatever is left of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made a show out of naming and shaming the Haqqani network during her recent trip to Pakistan in October. But does she really intend to designate it as a foreign terrorist organization? Several senators moved on Wednesday to force her to say one way or the other.
Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) introduced on Wednesday the “Haqqani Network Terrorist Designation Act,” ….
Read more » Foreign Policy (FP)
One might have thought a new low for Pakistan’s reputation would have been a little difficult to achieve given the attention it gets on a daily basis for ‘strategic depth’-led support for criminal and extremist elements within and without the country, corruption, misgovernance, poverty, honour killings, state terrorism in Balochistan, energy and floods crises and what have you. However, never say never — the seemingly impossible has happened. With Afghan President Hamid Karzai accusing Pakistan’s Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), as well as the subsequent claims of responsibility by the LeJ of having carried out the massacre of over 55 Shias in Afghanistan on the 10th of Moharram, one of their holiest days, Pakistan does seem to have landed itself in very hot water.
It may be argued that the LeJ being a ‘non state actor’, flak for Pakistan is unjustified. However, it is also a known fact that the LeJ not only came into being with active support of the state years ago, but that it has enjoyed establishment patronage for creating sectarian strife in the country for decades. The flak, therefore, may not be as unjustified as it may appear superficially. With the level of impunity this virulently extremist and violent group, among others, operates at and wreaks havoc in Pakistan, complicity on the part of the state becomes implicit. This is not to insinuate that the group had the establishment’s blessings in this particular attack. That cannot be known easily. However, even if this particular act of barbarity was not supported or instigated by its backers, there is the concept of the Frankenstein’s monster. Simply by dint of the fact that the military/intelligence establishment has pursued an unrelenting policy of creating and utilising violent, criminal and extremist elements as a matter of strategy for domestic as well as foreign policy, Pakistan cannot profess innocence now that the chickens have come home to roost.
The LeJ is known to have developed links with the Taliban and al-Qaeda in recent years. And whilst it may have been involved in the senseless violence perpetrated by the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan previously, the Ashore attacks in Afghanistan were the first known incidents of sectarian violence in the country by a foreign group. The fact that the LeJ itself has claimed responsibility for the atrocity means that a well-known Pakistani outfit has for the first time been identified as resurrecting and stoking sectarian conflict on Afghan soil. This potentially adds a whole new dimension to the Afghan problem and Pakistan’s involvement in it. Now put this development in the context of the ever-deteriorating AfPak disaster, and you find yourself staring into an abyss. OBL and Shalala hardly make up a mitigating background, with a dangerously antagonistic relationship having developed between a client and a superpower. On the one hand it has seen a CIA chief’s name publicly disclosed in Pakistan, CIA operatives being literally kicked out of the country after the Raymond Davis affair, a denial of logistical support and use of Shamsi airbase to NATO and the Bonn boycott in the wake of Shalala. On the other, is the patience with Pakistan’s double game that has all but run out on the part of the west, on account of its mule-headed pursuit of strategic depth that is eating up not only Pakistan itself, but engulfing the entire region in an inferno.
Intransigence over abandoning and tackling the various strains of terrorism emanating from Pakistan are bound to cost it dearly. The country has already been publicly censured and condemned. Without meaningful and sincere efforts towards a change of trajectory, Pakistan may be set to face the music like never before. The country has withstood isolation and sanctions before — but the present state of its economy, governance, security situation and social unraveling may not be able to withstand the world’s fury this time round.
Courtesy » Daily Times
By Abubakar Siddique
As Afghanistan recovers from a deadly and unprecedented attack on a Shi’ite shrine in Kabul, the finger of blame is pointing directly at a Sunni extremist group with a long history of carrying out such attacks in neighboring Pakistan.
At least 55 people were killed and more than 160 wounded in the December 6 suicide attack, which occurred as Shi’ite worshippers were assembled outside the shrine to commemorate Ashura, a Shi’ite religious holiday. A separate attack near an Ashura procession in the northern city of Mazar-e Sharif killed at least four people.
Shortly after the midday attack in Kabul, a man claiming to be a spokesman for Lashkar-e Jhangvi al-Alami contacted RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal to claim responsibility on behalf of the Pakistan-based militant group.
It was impossible to independently verify the claim made by the man, who identified himself as Qari Abubakar Mansoor.
The man first contacted a Radio Mashaal correspondent in Pakistan who covers the western Kurram tribal district, where the group is believed to be headquartered. A man going by the name of Qari Abubakar had previously contacted Radio Mashaal to provide information regarding the Lashkar-e Jhangvi al-Alami. Following RFE/RL’s report tying the group to the attack in Afghanistan, various media reported receiving similar claims from the same spokesman.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who cut short a European trip and returned to the Afghan capital to deal with the crisis, appeared to accept that the attack was carried out by Lashkar-e Jhangvi al-Alami. While visiting survivors of the attack in the hospital, he was quoted as telling reporters that “we are investigating this issue and we are going to talk to the Pakistani government about it.”
Ties To Al-Qaeda, Taliban
Farzana Sheikh, a Pakistan specialist at the Chatham House think tank in London, says the group evolved from the Anjuman-e Sipahe Shaba Pakistan, an extremist political party intent on transforming Pakistan into a Sunni state. One of its splinter groups, Lashkar-e Jhangvi (LeJ) was considered the most deadly sectarian militia in the South Asian state in the 1990s.
Lashkar-e Jhangvi al-Alami is now considered a splinter group of the LeJ, which was banned in Pakistan in 2002 because of its role in the killing of thousands of Shi’a.
“Its roots really lie in southern Punjab [Province], in the district of Jhang, from where they have clearly spread to other parts of Pakistan,” Sheikh says, “but particularly the [southwestern province of] Balochistan, where they have been responsible, and indeed claimed responsibility, for a series of murderous attacks against Shi’a Hazaras.”
Sheikh says that the group once enjoyed close links to Pakistani intelligence agencies. This, she notes, enabled LeJ to maintain bases in Taliban-controlled Afghan regions because of Islamabad’s relationship with the Taliban regime. However, the LeJ’s Shi’a-killing campaign made it a prime security threat for Pakistan, according to observers.
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Security Council Press Statement on Afghanistan- SC/10474- Afg/380
The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Vitaly Churkin ( Russian Federation):
The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the abhorrent terrorist attacks on 6 December in Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif causing numerous death and injuries.
The members of the Security Council expressed their deep sympathy and sincere condolences to the victims of these heinous acts and to their families, and to the people and Government of Afghanistan.
The members of the Security Council called on the Government of Afghanistan to bring those responsible to justice.
The members of the Security Council reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security, and that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed.
The members of the Security Council reiterated their determination to combat all forms of terrorism, in accordance with its responsibilities under the Charter of the United Nations.
The members of the Security Council reminded States that they must ensure that measures taken to combat terrorism comply with all their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law.
The members of the Security Council reiterated their support for the people and the Government of Afghanistan.
The National Front Party on Thursday asked the UN to investigate the Kabul suicide attack which took place on Tuesday at Abul Fazl Shrine.
The National Front Leader Ahmad Zia Massoud said he welcomed and supported the decision made by Afghan government. He also stressed that investigation about the incident would be in the interest of Afghanistan.
“If the Afghan president is really intending to investigate about the issue and discuss it with Pakistan, a UN delegation should be assigned to investigate certain parts of the incident. The outcomes would be good, I think because Afghans have always had defensive strategy and have been silent towards all such incidents. This has caused Pakistani Generals to do whatever they want inside Afghanistan,” Mr Massoud said.
On Wednesday President Karzai said that he will investigate about the issue with the help of international community.
“Jhangvi is based in Pakistan. So, the Afghan government, with the support of the international community, will follow up on the issue. Afghanistan will never forgive the wounding of innocent children,” Mr Karzai said.
The deadly suicide attack at Abul Fazl Shrine in Kabul took the lives of more than 59 people and nearly 200 people were wounded in the incident.
Lashkari Jhangvi which is based in Pakistan has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Courtesy » ToloNews