Tag Archives: Pasha

Judicial circus on memo

Legal solution to a political question

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

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

By Maryam Khan

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

Continue reading Judicial circus on memo

Why not punish those who made Osama Bin Laden & his wives stay in Pakistan

Illegal stay: 45-day imprisonment, Rs50,000 fine for Bin Laden’s family

By Web Desk / AFP / Obaid Abbasi

ISLAMABAD: A senior civil judge indicted former al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s family on Monday for having resided illegally in Pakistan.

Senior Civil Judge Shahrukh Arjumand handed down 45-day imprisonment along with a fine of Rs10,000 each, to Bin Laden’s three widows and two daughters, after the investigative unit of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) informed that the family had been residing illegally in the country.

During the proceeding of the case which took place in a private house declared a sub-jail located in Sector G-6/4, Justice Arjumand handed the sentence to Bin Laden’s three widows, Amal Ahmad Abdul Fatheh, Silham Sharif, and Kharia Hussain Sabir, and two daughters, 17-year-old Maryam and 21-year-old Sumiya, said family’s lawyer Muhammad Aamir while talking to The Express Tribune.

Amal was also charged under section 419 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) for cheating and not providing her real identity, said Khalid Naeem assistant director (legal) FIA who appeared on the behalf of agency. ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

Via – Twitter

Political cases are wasting precious time of courts & embarrassing Pakistani state

Beyond the memo affair

By Raza Rumi

The memogate inquiry shows how political cases are wasting the precious time of the courts and creating one embarrassment after another for the Pakistani state. If media reports are to be believed, the military and the ISI have already backtracked on their earlier zeal to get this issue further explored. The architect of the memo controversy, General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, has retired and one hopes better sense will now prevail. At the same time, the principal character, Mansoor Ijaz, has been exposed as a vacillating, and an unreliable ‘witness’ during the proceedings. Yet, our Supreme Court wants to proceed with the case and the inquiry commission has been given additional time to investigate the unsigned memo. …

Read more » The Express Tribune

Turkey’s ex-army chief on trial for coup plot – When the Pakistani generals will meet the same fate?

Turkey’s ex-army chief on trial for coup plot

Ilker Basbug is among 29 accused of being part of shadowy group plotting to overthrow government.

Ilker Basbug, Turkey’s former army chief, has gone on trial on charges of leading a terrorist group accused of plotting to overthrow the government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the prime minister. ….

Read more » AlJazeera

Brig Ali approaches Abbottabad commission to record statement: Sources

By Sumera Khan

ISLAMABAD: Brigadier (retd) Ali Khan – who is accused of conspiring to overthrow the government and currently facing court martial proceedings – sent a request to the Abbottabad commission to record his testimony and to make revelations pertaining to the Kargil Operation and the 1999 military coup, sources have revealed.

Sources have said that Brig Ali has requested the Abbottabad commission to allow him to appear in a hearing as he has sensitive information pertaining to national security, which he think should be shared with them. He has, in his written request, stated that he is the one who was most affected by the May 2 raid in which Osama bin Laden was killed.

The application from Brig Ali had been sent though courier dispatch by his family.

Brig Ali, who is accused of having links with Hizb-ut-Tahrir (HuT), had earlier claimed that the court martial is to malign him because he had asked the military brass to fix responsibility for the May 2 raid. Charges of planning an air raid on the General Headquarters using F-16s had also earlier been dropped.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune

http://tribune.com.pk/story/354493/brig-ali-approaches-abbottabad-commission-to-record-statement/

Challenges for the new DG ISI – Dr Moeed Pirzada

Did General Pasha and his colleagues ever realise that their mid-20th century organisation, built on ‘paradigms of control and fear’ and buttressed through old fashioned notions of ‘national security’ and ‘patriotism’ needs a strategic rethink to face the challenges of a new interactive age? …

Read more » Daily Times

ISI has taken over GHQ – By Najam Sethi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Continue reading ISI has taken over GHQ – By Najam Sethi

Mehran Gate reveals ISI’s dirty role in Pakistani politics – by Saleem Safi and Hasan Nisar

Mehran Gate reveals ISI’s dirty role in Pakistani politics– by Saleem Safi and Hasan Nisar:  ہیں کواکب کچھ نظر آ

To read Saleem Safi’s column in urdu » CLICK HERE (ہیں کواکب کچھ نظر آتے ہیں کچھ)

To read Hasan Nisar’s column in urdu » CLICK HERE (ملکی نظام بے نقاب بذریعہ اصغر خان کیس)

http://jang.com.pk/jang/mar2012-daily/10-03-2012/col8.htm

Courtesy: Geo News Tv (Aaj Kamaran Khan Ke Saath) – Via Twitter

Read more » LUBP

http://criticalppp.com/archives/73945?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

The King, Gen Kiyani of Pakistan appoints new spy chief (Prime Minister)

Pakistan appoints new spy chief

By CHRIS BRUMMITT, Associated Press

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan appointed a new head of intelligence on Friday, injecting some uncertainty in America’s dealings with an agency crucial to its hopes of negotiating a peace deal with the Afghan Taliban and keeping pressure on al-Qaida.

Lt. Gen. Zaheerul Islam replaces Lt. Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha, who had been in the post since 2008 and was due to retire on March 18th. The scion of a military family who is currently army commander in the city of Karachi, Islam was considered a likely man for the job.

Islam, who between 2008 and 2010 was the deputy head of the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence, will be a major player in any Pakistani efforts to get the Afghan Taliban to enter peace negotiations to end the war. ISI agents helped build up the Afghan Taliban in the 1990s, and its leaders are believed to be based in Pakistan. The ISI is considered to have some influence over them.

While there remain doubts over its loyalty, the ISI also works closely with the CIA in tracking and capturing members of al-Qaida, which retains a global command and training center close to the Afghan border.

Relations between Washington and the United States have been strained since the U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden last year and have all but collapsed since November, when American troops mistakenly killed 24 Pakistani troops on the Afghan border. Intelligence cooperation between them has continued despite the tensions, officials from both nations have said. The ISI falls under the control of the army, which sets policy

Continue reading The King, Gen Kiyani of Pakistan appoints new spy chief (Prime Minister)

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

Extension in DG ISI tenure

Extension in DG ISI tenure would be a deal with government, says Nisar

ISLAMABAD: If the Pakistan Peoples Party-led government extends the contract of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt General Ahmad Shuja Pasha for a third term, then it would be considered as a “deal” with the government, said Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Friday.

Speaking at a press conference in Islamabad, Nisar said a possible extension would also make a case for government’s indictment.

In a press conference earlier, Nisar had said there are a lot of competent generals who are capable of filling this post, “and I hope that the army itself will devise a strategy to replace Pasha.”

He added: “During Pasha’s service, Pakistan witnessed massive intelligence failures such as the raid in Abbottabad; the Mumbai tragedy; the attack on Mehran Base Karachi; the Memogate scandal and Nato air strike on the Salala check post. It was unfortunate that despite all this, Pasha claims that the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani stopped him from resigning his post, which is strange for us.”

The Opposition Leader had earlier in a press conference on Thursday said that other, competent Generals, ought to be given a chance to run the agency.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune

Zardari and the Generals’ consensus

By Praveen Swami

Pakistan’s civilian rulers seem to have averted a possible coup with a little help from inside the army itself.

Eight weeks ago, as rumours of an imminent coup swirled around Islamabad, few seemed to doubt democratic rule in Pakistan would soon be marched before a firing squad.

Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s former Ambassador to the United States, had been recalled to face charges of conspiring to sack top military officials. There was even talk of a treason trial targeting President Asif Ali Zardari himself — with Mr. Haqqani as the Army’s star witness.

Events since, however, haven’t quite panned out as hardline Pakistani generals might have anticipated: instead of capturing power, the army has found itself in retreat.

Mr. Zardari, Pakistani media have reported, is almost certain to deny the Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, Lieutenant-General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, an extension to serve until 2013 — a blow directed at Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, and a sign of civilian confidence.

In November, Pakistan’s military had shut down the Shamsi airbase, used to stage United States drone attacks against Islamist insurgents: actions intended to distinguish them from political rulers too-willing to please the United States. Last month, though, drone strikes resumed — directed by United States intelligence officers located at the Shahbaz airbase near Abbottabad.

Politicians have become increasingly defiant of ISI authority: even Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, who has long shied away from controversy, warned against efforts to run “a state within a state”.

The Generals’ consensus

LONG held together by a Generals’ consensus on the direction Pakistan ought to head in, the army now seems divided as never before. Last month, at a January 13 meeting of the corps commanders conference, where Gen. Kayani briefed generals on the evolving political crisis , he ran into unexpected in-house resistance, leading to a 10-hour debate.

The toughest questioning, a Pakistani government source privy to the discussions told The Hindu, came from Lieutenant-General Tariq Khan — the commander of the Mangla-based 1 corps, and a veteran of counter-insurgency operations who is considered among the most competent of the army’s commanders

Gen. Khan, the source said, made clear the army was unprepared to take power, and demanded to know how the army chief intended to resolve the still-unfolding showdown with the civilian governments. He noted that the army had no coherent plan to address its increasingly-fragile relationship with the United States, too. Backed by other key officers, like Gujaranwala-based XXX corps commander Raheel Sharif, Gen. Khan pushed for the army to pull back from the brink.

Ever since the killing of military ruler Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq in 1998, the corps commanders conference has been a key instrument of what Mr. Haqqani once described as “military rule by other means”. The resistance faced by Gen. Kayani within the institution is, therefore, of great significance.

Ever since he took office, Pakistan’s army chief had worked to rebuild the army’s relationship with the jihadist groups it had patronised for decades. Terrorism in Pakistan, he argued, had come about because the country had become enmeshed in the United States’ war against jihadists in Afghanistan. Building peace, he argued, necessitated reviving this relationship — even at the cost of ties with the United States.

In 2008, Gen. Pasha delivered an off-the-record briefing to journalists, where he described Tehreek-e-Taliban commanders Baitullah Mehsud and Maulana Muhammad Fazlullah — responsible for hundreds of killings in Pakistanas “patriots”.

Following the raid that claimed Osama bin Laden last year, Mr. Pasha put the case for an aggressive anti-United States line to Pakistani legislators: “At every difficult moment in our history”, he said “the United States has let us down. This fear that we can’t live without the United States is wrong.

Gen. Kayani’s line, the government’s decision not to allow his spymaster to serve on suggests, no longer represents the army’s institutional consensus.

The path to peace he envisaged involved costs the army isn’t willing to pay.

Political resurgence?

Continue reading Zardari and the Generals’ consensus

Osama was in routine contact with ISI officials in Abbottabad: Report

LONDON: Osama bin Laden was in routine contact with senior members of Pakistan’s spy agency while hiding in his Abbottabad-safe house, secret intelligence documents have revealed.

E-mails from the private US security firm, Stratfor, which were published by WikiLeaks, revealed that up to 12 officials in Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency knew of the Al-Qaida leader’s safe house.

The internal email did not name the Pakistofficials involved, but said the US could use the information as a bargaining chip in post raid negotiations with Islamabad, The Telegraph reports.

“Mid to senior level ISI and Pak Mil with one retired Pak general that had knowledge of the OBL arrangements and safehouse,” the email said. ….

Read more » TOI

Toronto Sun – Pakistan’s the problem, not Taliban

National Defence Minister Peter MacKay speaks during Question Period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa February 7, 2012. (REUTERS/Blair Gable)

By Peter Worthington

Whatever one thinks of Defence Minister Peter MacKay’s penchant for taking military helicopters on fishing trips, the country should support him chiding elements in Pakistan for helping the Taliban.

While there’s nothing new in NATO leaks that elements of Pakistan’s intelligence service and military are helping co-ordinate Taliban attacks on coalition forces, the fact these reports keep surfacing has to be upsetting.

Pakistani denials ring hollow — nearly 10 years of denials.

Good on MacKay for not brushing the NATO leaks aside. He said if such reports are reliable, and if Pakistan wants western allies to continue working for “peace and security” throughout the region, then Pakistan’s co-operation is not only required, but is demanded. And “demand” is what MacKay is doing. But is anyone listening?

That’s fairly tough talk. Ever since Navy SEALs took out Osama bin Laden at his Pakistani retreat, there’s been substantial evidence Pakistan is playing a double game.

There are even suggestions China hopes to exploit a rift between western allies and Pakistan — a possibility that makes traditional diplomats shudder. But, if true, Pakistan and China cuddling each other seems destined to be an enormous headache for both these hypersensitive, paranoid, nuclear states.

U.S. Defence Secretary Leon Panetta has made the curious observation that after next year, U.S. policy in Afghanistan will be one of “advise and assist,” rather than actually fighting. What on earth does that mean? One supposes it means that by 2014, Panetta hopes the Afghan National Army and National Police being trained by coalition troops, including Canadians, will be able to handle Taliban incursions.

Don’t bet on it.

By having a safe haven in Pakistan, and a seemingly endless supply of fighters, the future has got to look encouraging for the Taliban. They can lose battles indefinitely against American forces — and win the war once the Americans have had a bellyful.

Time is on the Taliban’s side. And patience is their virtue.

There’s not much that can be done. Clearly, coalition countries don’t intend to stay in Afghanistan, and the U.S. especially wants out with an election looming in November.

When Barack Obama’s predecessor, George Bush, was president and flailing away in Iraq, Obama made Afghanistan (relatively quiet at the time) the war he’d prosecute. Well, Afghanistan has turned bad for Obama. So he wants out, and has fired those generals who thought they could win the damn thing.

MacKay says he doesn’t give much credence to the so-called secret NATO report that says the Taliban are gaining confidence and are sure they’ll win in the end.

He thinks that’s what the Taliban would say no matter what — “an overly optimistic view of what’s happening on the ground … in battlefield skirmishes they always lose.” But the Taliban leadership is not in disarray — although coalition leadership may be approaching that state.

If the U.S. were realistic, it would consider cutting aid to Pakistan — $12 billion in military aid, $7 billion in economic aid over the last 10 years.

That may be the only way to get the attention of those who rule Pakistan.

Like hitting a mule on the head with a two-by-four.

The problem is not the Taliban, but the Pakistan leadership which seems hell-bent on wrecking relations with western allies, and gambling we are too timid to do anything about it.

Courtesy: Toronto sun

http://www.torontosun.com/2012/02/10/pakistans-the-problem-not-taliban?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=recommend-button&utm_campaign=Pakistan%27s+the+problem%2C+not+Taliban

Ayesha Siddiqa : The Mullah Military Nexus is the mother of all evil – BBC urdu

Ayesha Siddiqua on the connection between Shia killings and the deep state. Here she speaks it all ! [ ہر حادثے پر گماں ہوتا ہے کہ شاید اب ہوش آ جائے انٹرویو ڈاکٹر عائشہ صدیقہ ]  The Mullah Military Nexus is the mother of all evil. [ شاید اب ہوش آجائے‘ ‏ فرقہ وارانہ واقعات پر بی بی سی اردو میں دفاعی امور کی ماہر ڈاکٹر عائشہ صدیقہ سے بات کی]The language of the interview is urdu (Hindi).

Courtesy: BBC urdu

http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/pakistan/2012/02/120228_interview_aiyshah_fz.shtml

Options matrix before Gen. Kayani for the appointment of Spy chief – Aabpara auditions

Aabpara auditions

By Wajahat S Khan

It’s appointment time at the Fortress on 7th Avenue. Pakistan’s premier intelligence arm, the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence, is transitioning through a change of the guard. After an unprecedented two extensions at the helm of the ISI, infantryman (or as he prefers it, Piffer) Lt. Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha is getting ready for golfing. Or is he?

The deadline for the switchover is March 18th, the day Pasha says goodbye to his Aabpara staff of at least six sub-directorates (‘Analysis’, ‘Counter’, ‘Internal’, ‘Media’, ‘Special’ & ‘Technical’) and goes packing. Assuming he will either not be offered an extension (which has to officially come from the office of the prime ninister), nor accept an extension if it is offered (which may be likely as it will make him look good and the PM/government seem thankful and happy), the DG-I (preferred again, for only civilians call him DG-ISI) will be replaced by a man who will have to be battle-ready without the luxury of any ‘settling in’ period. ….

Read more » The Friday Times

Government decides against Pasha extension

By Azaz Syed

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

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

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

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

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

Read more » DAWN.COM

Authored first draft of memo myself, says Ijaz

ISLAMABAD: The judicial commission probing the Memogate scandal continued recording US businessman Mansoor Ijaz’s testimony today at Pakistan’s High Commission in London, DawnNews reported on Thursday.

During his testimony today, Ijaz admitted that he had prepared the first draft of the controversial memo himself without former ambassador to US Husain Haqqani’s consent.

Former US General James Jones had asked for the message to be in written form, said Ijaz, adding that he had to author the first draft himself after he was unable to get hold of Haqqani.

Ijaz, who is testifying to the commission by video link, claimed he agreed on secret codes for the army and intelligence chiefs with Haqqani.

Ijaz told judges that the former wrote him a message on his Blackberry referring to the Pakistani government as “friend”, and army chief General Ashfaq Kayani and ISI chief Lieutenant General Ahmad Shuja Pasha as “bad boys”.

He also claimed that Ispahani, which is Haqqani’s wife’s second name, was their code word for the Americans.

Asked by the commission, what he meant by “bad boys”, Ijaz replied: “they are army chief and DG (director general) ISI (Pakistan’s intelligence service).” ….

Read more » DAWN.COM

kis kae baap ki majaal hamein rokey! Despite ban, JuD, ASWJ chiefs reach Rawalpindi for rally

By Asad Kharal / Web Desk / Azam Khan

ISLAMABAD: Despite being banned in the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) by the administration, Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Muhammad Saeed and Ahle Sunnat wal Jamat (ASWJ) chief Maulana Ahmed Ludhianwi reached Rawalpindi on Sunday to participate in the Sarbarahi Ijlas. ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

Via – Twitter » AS’s Tweet

The anchor (Wajahat Khan) who interviewed Hamed Gul facing death threats after exposing Hamid Gul’s lies about Malik Ishaq

Pakistan’s right-wing is questioned, and questioned hard, as former ISI Chief Lt. Gen (retd) Hameed Gul faces off against Wajahat S. Khan on the role of the controversial Difa-e-Pakistan Council. 32 minutes of a no-holds-barred debate on Aaj TV’s Ikhtilaf. The language of the interview is urdu (Hindi).

Courtesy: Aaj Tv ( Ikhtilaf with Wajahat S. Khan » YouTube

 

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

Mansoor Ijaz ordered to pay $1.4m to bank in fraud case

NEW YORK: The credibility of Mansoor Ijaz, the principal instigator of the memo scandal, came in for another hit with the surfacing of court documents that show a European Bank accusing him of running a one-man business operation and obtaining loans that he was later unable to pay back on time.

Documents show that the Supreme Court of the State of New York Judge Charles E Ramos issued a judgement against Mansoor Ijaz on September 25, 2010, after Banca Sammarinese di Investimento (BSI) of San Marino filed a suit for the recovery of a loan obtained by Ijaz.

The suggestions of financial impropriety follow the emergence last month of a video in which Mansoor Ijaz acted as a commentator on nude women’s wrestling. These scandals are in addition to his contradictory claims about the memo and his inability to produce any email or BBM message that directly links any Pakistani official to the memo he admits to have drafted and sent to US officials on May 9, 2011. ….

Read more » Daily Times

Bound by hatred of the US, Pakistan extremists and politicians join hands to shake government – Chicago Tribune

By: ASHRAF KHAN

Associated Press – KARACHI, Pakistan (AP) — Bound together by hatred of the United States and support for insurgents fighting in Afghanistan, a revived coalition of supposedly banned Islamist extremists and rightwing political parties is drawing large crowds across Pakistan.

The emergence of the “Defend Pakistan Council” movement has raised suspicions that the group has approval from elements in the powerful military and security establishment, aiming to bolster public support for a hardline position. The group’s rise comes as the military is trying to assert its position in renegotiating its troubled relationship with the United States and as Pakistan prepares for elections likely to take place later this year.

Some of the leading lights in the Defend Pakistan Council have traditionally been seen as close to the security establishment, which has a long history of propping up radicals to defend its domestic interests or fight in India and Afghanistan.

On Sunday, the group’s bandwagon rolled into Karachi, the country’s commercial heart.

Between 20,000 and 30,000 men gathered close to a monument to Pakistan’s founder, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, whose vision of a liberal, secular Pakistan is often contrasted to the rise of hardline, often violent groups in the country.

The star of the gathering was Hafiz Saeed, the head of Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a front group for Lashkar-e-Taiba, the militant group accused by India and the West of sending Pakistani militants by boat to Mumbai in 2008 where they killed 166 people in attacks on a hotel and other sites.

“We demand Pakistani rulers quit the alliance with America,” said Saeed, who was placed under house arrest after the Mumbai attacks but has slowly re-emerged in public, without a response from authorities. “There can be no compromise on the freedom and sovereignty of the country.”

Members of Dawa patrolled the rally, some armed with automatic weapons, others on horseback.

Also represented on stage and in the crowd were Sipah-e-Sahaba, a feared Sunni extremist group that has carried out scores of attacks on minority Shiites in recent years. Its members have reportedly formed alliances with al-Qaida operatives in Pakistan.

A large banner that hung over the stage read “Wake up, countrymen, break the shackles of American slavery.”

That anti-American message has been amplified by the Pakistani army since U.S. airstrikes along the Afghan border in late November killed 24 Pakistani soldiers. The Pakistani army accused the U.S. of deliberately targeting the outposts, rejecting American assertions it was mistake.

Pakistan retaliated by closing its western border to NATO and U.S military supplies into Afghanistan, a key supply line for the war. Saeed and other speakers threatened civil disobedience if Pakistan reopens it. Their stance could hamper American hopes that Islamabad will quietly reopen the route in the coming weeks.

“We vow that the NATO supply will never be restored,” he said.

The alliance groups many of the same parties and clerics that banded together after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, capitalizing on anti-American sentiment. It formed a political alliance that won 50 seats in elections that took place in 2002.

The current government, which is broadly pro-American and doesn’t espouse political Islam, is under pressure from the courts and opposition parties. Elections are now seen as likely later this year, and the revival of the “Defend Pakistan” group appears to be a push by politicians grouped within it to win votes among the legions of Pakistanis who subscribe to Islamist views.

It could also be attempt by the army to put pressure on the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, which has repeatedly clashed with the generals since taking power in 2008 and has tried to get closer ties with India. The group has organized large rallies in several Pakistan cities; next week it plans a gathering in the capital, Islamabad.

Many of the speakers in Karachi rallied the crowds with warnings that Pakistan was under threat, and Islam its only defense.

Do you swear to fight back with Islamic spirit, honor and dignity if anyone, whether American, NATO, Israel or India attack Pakistan?” asked Maulana Sami-ul-Haq, head of a hardline school that has sent thousands of people to fight in Afghanistan over the last 10 years.

Jihad! Jihad!” the crowd roared.

Speaker after speaker also touted the army line on India, saying the neighboring country represents an existential threat to Pakistan. This stance justifies the security state that has been established since the two nations broke apart from the British-ruled subcontinent in 1947.

Liberals, democrats and peace activists have been trying for years to bring India and Pakistan closer together. But in the past, the army has funded and trained Islamic militant groups and their umbrella organizations to battle Indian forces in Kashmir, the disputed territory at the heart of the rivalry between the two countries.

The security establishment of this country desires that ultra-radical parties should be brought into politics so that their doctrine against India, America or Israel could be infused to the masses,” said Tauseef Ahmed, the head of the Mass Communication department at the Federal Urdu University.

Also at the Karachi rally was Hamid Gul, a former general who headed the country’s spy agency in the late 1980s when Pakistan and the U.S. were supporting militants in their fight against the Soviets in Afghanistan. He has since become a leading voice in the media against America and in support of the Taliban. Documents released by the whistleblower site Wikileaks alleged he retained ties to the insurgency there, a charge he has denied.

Ejaz Haider, a security analyst, said the security establishment should be “checked for serious dementia if it was using the council for its own purposes, given that many of its members have been linked to terrorism that is taking a deadly toll inside Pakistan.

Continue reading Bound by hatred of the US, Pakistan extremists and politicians join hands to shake government – Chicago Tribune

Bruce Riedel – Pakistan’s Musharraf Has Been Accused of Knowing Osama bin Laden’s Hideout

Gen. Ziauddin Khawaja, an ex–security chief for Pakistan, accuses former president Pervez Musharraf of knowing where bin Laden was hiding and saying nothing.

By Bruce Riedel

Ever since the Navy SEALs found Osama bin Laden hiding in Abbottabad, Pakistan, less than a mile from the country’s national military academy, the question haunting American relations with Pakistan has been: who knew he was there? How did the most-wanted man in human history find a hideout in one of Pakistan’s most exclusive military cantonment cities and live there for five years without the Pakistani spy service finding him? Or did it know all along?

Now there is an explosive new charge. The former head of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence directorate (ISI) says former president Pervez Musharraf knew bin Laden was in Abbottabad. Gen. Ziauddin Khawaja, also known as Ziauddin Butt, was head of the ISI from 1997 to 1999. A four-star general, he fought in the 1965 and 1971 wars with India. He was the first head of the Army’s Strategic Plans Division, which controls the country’s nuclear weapons. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif made him director-general of the ISI in 1997 and promoted him to chief of Army staff on Oct. 12, 1999, when he fired Musharraf from the job. Musharraf refused to go and launched a coup that overthrew Sharif. Ziauddin spent the next two years in solitary confinement, was discharged from the Army, and had his property confiscated and his retirement benefits curtailed. So he has a motive to speak harshly about Musharraf.

Bearing that in mind, here is what the former spy chief claims. Ziauddin says that the safe house in Abbottabad was made to order for bin Laden by another Pakistani intelligence officer, Brig. Gen. Ijaz Shah, who was the ISI bureau head in Lahore when Musharraf staged his coup. Musharraf later made him head of the intelligence bureau, the ISI’s rival in Pakistan’s spy-versus-spy wars. Ziauddin says Ijaz Shah was responsible for setting up bin Laden in Abbottabad, ensuring his safety and keeping him hidden from the outside. And Ziauddin says Musharraf knew all about it.

Ijaz Shah is a colorful character. He has been closely linked to Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh, a British-born Kashmiri terrorist who was imprisoned in India in 1994 for kidnapping three British citizens and an American. Saeed was freed when Pakistani terrorists hijacked an Indian airliner to Kandahar, Afghanistan, in December 2000, a plot masterminded by bin Laden and assisted by the ISI and the Afghan Taliban. Saeed was part of the plot two years later to kidnap Daniel Pearl and turned himself in to Brigadier Shah. Musharraf nominated Shah to be ambassador to Australia, but Canberra said no thanks. So he got the intelligence-bureau job.

Former prime minister Benazir Bhutto accused Shah of being behind the attempt to murder her when she returned from exile in late 2007. She was, of course, killed in another attempt later that year. Shah fled to Australia for a time while the situation cooled off.

Ziauddin says Ijaz Shah was responsible for setting up bin Laden in Abbottabad and Musharraf knew all about it.

Without a doubt, Ziauddin has an ax to grind. But he is also well tied in to the Pakistani intelligence world. When he was DG/ISI, he set up a special commando team to find and capture bin Laden with U.S. help. Elite commandos from the Special Services Group, Pakistan’s SEALs, were put on the hunt. Musharraf disbanded the group after he took power. Ziauddin’s successor at the ISI, Gen. Mahmud Ahmad, refused American requests to go after bin Laden right up to 9/11. Then Musharraf had to fire him because, even after 9/11, he did not want to do anything to bring bin Laden to justice.

We don’t know who was helping hide bin Laden, but we need to track them down. If Mush, as many call him in Pakistan, knew, he should be questioned by the authorities the next time he sets foot in America. The explosive story about him, which was first reported in the must-read Militant Leadership Monitor, is more than an academic issue. If we can find who hid bin Laden, we will probably know who is hiding his successor, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and the rest of the al Qaeda gang.

Courtesy: The Daily Beast

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/02/13/pakistan-s-musharraf-has-been-accused-of-knowing-osama-bin-laden-s-hideout.html

Pakistan – Tears, cries as families see ‘missing’ detainees

 

Excerpts;

…. Visibly frail Abdul Majid was carrying a urine bag attached to the lower part of his stomach. He learnt only on Monday that one of his detained brothers, Abdul Saboor, had died long ago in imprisonment. …

… He was limping and needed assistance because he could not walk on his own. …

…. One thing is common among all. They are suffering from a common ailment of skin with the entire body covered with small blisters. ….

….. We were treated worse than animals. All during our confinement stretching over years we were given gram curry and dry bread,” Mazhar-ur-Haq said.

Dr Niaz complained: “We were kept blindfolded and given only two minutes time for toilets twice a day.”

Almost all of them said they had no idea why they had been picked and never interrogated. …

…. We have no right to live, we are not human beings,” said Murtaza in a choked voice …

To read full report » DAWN.COM

Mansoor Ijaz embarrasses ISI DG, SC with fresh claims: says he’s in constant contact with Pasha – Daily Times

Ijaz embarrasses ISI DG, SC with fresh claims

LAHORE: The instigator of the memo case, Musawwer Mansoor Ijaz, has claimed that he has been in contact with the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Lt General Ahmed Shuja Pasha in connection with “logistics and security arrangements” for his testimony before the inquiry commission created by the Supreme Court.

Talking to a private television channel last Friday, Ijaz said that he had been in touch with the ISI chief after his first meeting in London on October 22, 2011. Ijaz’s claim, if true, creates doubts about his being a disinterested party only seeking to reveal the truth and raises questions about why he maintains relations with the spy agency that he has described as “a cancer” in past writings.

Mansoor Ijaz also quoted text messages and emails he exchanged with General Pasha in the letter he sent to Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry on January 30, which was sealed by the chief justice in the custody of the Supreme Court Registrar.

Continue reading Mansoor Ijaz embarrasses ISI DG, SC with fresh claims: says he’s in constant contact with Pasha – Daily Times

Pakistan’s Supreme Court Vs. Everybody: But Most of All the Prime Minister

By Omar Waraich

Excerpts;

…. Despite the court’s apparent determination to press ahead with the high-profile case, there is little prospect of Zardari’s government falling. If the court finds Gilani guilty, legal experts say, it won’t be any time soon. The case could drag on for the next few weeks, averting any sudden crisis. And in the event that Gilani is convicted, the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) can name a replacement and hold on to its coalition government. …

…. For the government and its supporters, the Supreme Court’s actions amount to little more than a judicial coup in slow motion. Casting a withering eye at the court’s record, they say that the judges have concentrated their ire against the government while mostly sparing the military and the political opposition. The PPP also has a history of the hostility toward the judiciary, stretching back to party founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s hanging in 1979 on a trumped-up murder charge. ….

…. The government also appears to be girding itself for the worst outcome, casting itself as a political victim — something that could help rally the ruling party’s base at the next elections. They are determined not to incriminate Zardari by writing the letter to the Swiss authorities. If Gilani is no longer able to remain prime minister, the PPP is discussing the possibility of appointing Makhdoom Shahabuddin, another politician from southern Punjab. If Shahabuddin ends up being disqualified, too, the PPP may use that “victimization” to enhance its standing in the politically crucial battleground of southern Punjab.

In a landscape where the army still bears the stains of Musharraf’s dictatorship, and where politicians are perceived as inept, distant and venal, the Supreme Court can claim a rare source of much-prized “moral authority.” When the prominent politician Mushahid Hussain was asked during a lecture in Karachi who was ruling the country, he said that it was the Chief Justice.

At the same time, many independent legal experts still see the court as tilting the playing field. Last month, when rumors coursed through Islamabad suggesting that the government could sack the military chiefs, the court demanded confirmation that no move would be made against the army. The move challenged the government’s prerogative of appointing military chiefs.

“The Supreme Court in Pakistan is a completely new axis that has emerged,” says Vali Nasr, professor of international politics at Tufts University. However, despite its decisions that favored the military establishment …..

Read more: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2106725,00.html#ixzz1mHtDmFfW

Justice served

By Saad Hafiz

Excerpt;

…. It is probably an understatement to suggest that past SC judgments have not helped the cause of democracy and the rule of law in the country. The following examples come to mind. In 1954, the otherwise brilliant Chief Justice Munir invoked the ‘doctrine of necessity’, validating the dissolution of Pakistan’s first constituent assembly, which many feel set the precedent for future authoritarian intervention the country. To his credit, Justice Munir also wrote a thought-provoking book, From Jinnah to Zia, arguing that Mr. Jinnah stood for a tolerant and secular state where Muslims and non-Muslims had equal rights.

Later, Chief Justice CJ Anwarul Haq is ‘ill-famed’ for giving gave legitimacy to General Zia’s martial law and for upholding the decision of the Lahore High Court, which sentenced Mr ZA Bhutto to death for conspiring in the murder of a political opponent. Ironically, unlike incumbent Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, Justice Anwarul Haq became the first Justice and perhaps only chief justice to refuse taking the oath under the military imposed PCO and resigned on conscientious grounds in 1981.

Beyond the cases of the ‘disappeared’, the security establishment has always escaped accountability for causing great harm to country by fighting and losing needless wars, pursuing flawed national security policies and more recently for their incompetence in the bin Laden and Mehran episodes. It is not unreasonable to hope that the SC will show an even handed approach in dealing with an elected government and other powerful institutions like the armed forces who are in effect a law unto themselves.

Read more » Pak Tea House

http://networkedblogs.com/tUSfo

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

Memogate contradictions

By Kaiser Bengali

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

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

Read more » The Express Tribune