Tag Archives: Prime

Geo News – Pakistan Army agreed to ‘do certain things (for me) they haven’t agreed to do for anyone else’, says Mansoor Ijaz

Mansoor Ijaz claims he has US support for Pakistan visit

By Murtaza Ali Shah

LONDON: Repeating his claims of receiving threats from Pakistani officials on a daily basis, US businessman Mansoor Ijaz, has said he had now been assured by the US government of its support during his forthcoming visit to Pakistan.

Ijaz, who claimed to have delivered a controversial memo against the army to US Admiral Mike Mullen in May last year and accused then ambassador Husain Haqqani of being involved in crafting it, also says he would travel to Pakistan but would not say when.

In an exclusive interview with Geo News, Ijaz said he offered Haqqani to stop “telling lies” about him (Ijaz) and he would stop telling “the truth” about him (Haqqani) but said the former ambassador did not “stop”.

“I had a conference call with the US State Department a couple of days ago. The US government will provide the support that they always do for US citizens,” Ijaz said in the interview in London.

“They (the US government) made their official position very clear and I made my reasons for going very clear. They understand it’s a high profile case and they understand I am a reasonably high-profile American citizen,” he added.

“And I think If, god forbid, anything goes wrong they will certainly be there to help my family make sure that things got sorted out. I am absolutely confident that the American government will do the right thing if something went wrong,” he said without elaborating what could possibly go wrong.

Ijaz has been summoned by a judicial commission in Islamabad on January 24 (Tuesday), which was set by the Supreme Court following petitions on the issue moved by the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leaders and others.

The American national of Pakistani-origin was issued a one-year multiple-entry visa by the Pakistan High Commission on Thursday evening. Ijaz said he would travel to Islamabad but would not reveal his travel plans.

Ijaz appeared seriously distrusting of Pakistan government claims about his security. “Part of the problem is that you have government officials that are threatening me on a daily basis and I find that a little bit strange that from one corner of their mouth they are saying that I’m secure and at the same time they are threatening me too,” he said.

He said it was not just his personal protection that worried him but rather he was more concerned about the security of his family, businesses, the entire infrastructure around his life.

“I have to make sure that all of these things are attended to. I can’t just get up and recklessly go and do whatever I want to do,” he said but added that he did not want to “put an overburden on the system in terms of my personal security while I’m there”.

Ijaz explained he was a family man with a lot of personal, business and social commitments and wanted to make sure that “certain things had been addressed” to give everyone “peace of mind” when he travelled to Pakistan.

Ijaz praised the memo commission for addressing his concerns. He also appreciated the Pakistan army, which he said, had agreed to “do certain things that they have not agreed to do for anybody else and I very much appreciate that. …

Read more » Geo Tv News

http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=31758

‘Haqqani coerced to confess that Zardari behind memo’

Pakistan’s former ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani said that the judicial commission investigating the memogate was trying to coerce him to confess that President Asif Ali Zardari had urged him to draft the memo to former chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee Admiral Mike Mullen.

This was revealed by Haqqani to Professor Christine Fair of Georgetown University, a South Asia expert, who has extensively researched the Pakistan army, the Inter-Serviced Intelligence and the terrorist organisations based in the country.

Haqqani was asked to step down as Pakistan’s envoy to the US over his suspected role in the secret memo, which said that the Pakistan government had sought help from the United States to stave off a military coup in the wake of the Abbottabad raid on May 2, which killed Osama bin Laden.

Fair, who was discussing the memogate affair at a conference at the Hudson Institute and arguing how the judicial process has been subverted and due process disregarded in the investigation of Haqqani, said she had met Haqqani last week. His interpretation of the investigation was “that they are trying to use these proceedings to put the fear of Allah in him to get him to give up the goods on Zardari to bring this government down,” she said. “This is a well-worn playbook that this military had in its disposal,” she added.

Fair said that this case “bears some similarity to what we saw with (former Pakistan prime minister) Benazir’s (Bhutto) father — Zulfikar Ali Bhutto — when they took the head of his security and coerced him into becoming what’s called an approver in Pakistani parlanace — I guess in our parlance it would be basically a witness for the state.”

Thus, she said, “While we all care about Husain Haqqani, I want to emphasise that this is not simply about the particular personal safety or lack thereof of Haqqani, but also about Pakistan’s democratic institutions.”

Fair said that what was currently taking place in Pakistan “in my view is a slow-moving coup.”

So, if we care about Pakistan’s democracy as well as Husain Haqqani, the United States government really needs to be much more vocal than it has been,” she said. “We have to work with our partners to send a very clear message that we recognise that this is a coup albeit via judicial hue.”

Lisa Curtis, who heads the South Asia programme at The Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington-based think tank, warned that “if the Zardari government is forced out, whether it be through the Supreme Court — and it looks like the army is working in tandem with the Supreme Court albeit behind the scenes — this is going to send a negative signal.”

Curtis, a former Central Intelligence Agency official, said the signal would be clear that “the Pakistan army still wields inappropriate control within the systems,” and that ‘civilian democracy has really not taken root in Pakistan“. She argued, “Even though the Zardari government may not be perfect, it’s an elected government and we need to keep that in mind.”

Courtesy: rediff.com

http://www.rediff.com/news/report/haqqani-coerced-to-confess-that-zardari-behind-memo/20120119.htm?sc_cid=twshare

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

Q&A – Ayesha Siddiqa, Political Commentator

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

Excerpts From An Interview

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

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

Read more » Tehelka

The unholy troika

By D. Asghar

Looking back at 2007, people were under the so-called impression, that there was a genuine momentum, seeking the supremacy of the law in Pakistan. Granted that it is a novel concept, a nation that fails to respect, its basic law, called its Constitution, it was a far cry. Some think, that it was more of a “Go Musharraf Go” campaign in reality. It was cleverly dubbed as “struggle for the freedom of judiciary”, for a rather obvious reason. The strategy was to really unseat the dictator, who very cunningly usurped powers from an elected Prime Minister and promptly dispatched him to a ten-year-long exile to the Holy Lands. One has to sit in amazement and wonder, how could a citizen of Pakistan, otherwise convicted for a supposedly heinous crime of “hijacking a plane”, be awarded a speedy pardon and placed on an equally speeding jet, bound to the brotherly kingdom.

The honorable judiciary did not take any “suo moto” notice of such a fundamental violation of justice. Nor did they take any notice, when many Khaki men of honor, trampled over the ‘Constitution of Pakistan’. Again, what a travesty that our Supreme judiciary not only did not live up to the oath of their office at such instances, but aided and abetted in an otherwise illegal act.

The common theme invoked to white wash this otherwise act of treason by the generals was always the ‘Doctrine of Necessity’. What a necessity and what a strange solution! At all such occasions, the Khakis were truly at fault. Whatever justification was provided, it was.

Many able commentators have opined on this unique situation and rightly termed it as a deliberate build up of the ‘Security State’. The ‘Security State’ is provided ideological façade through the Muslim League.

Each time Khakis take over, they reinvent the Muslim League. Add a suffix [Quaid, Conventional, Council, Pagara, Junejo, Nawaz, Chatta, and so on…], and then place their surrogates at the helm of the re-invented Muslim League. General Zia-ul-Haq brought a Lahori businessman named Nawaz Sharif to the fore. Needless to say, he came up with a version of Muslim League, denoted by his initial N, as well.

The N League has had made its two stints in the government. One was dismissed by a ‘presidential coup’ engineered by the Khakis while the other directly conducted by General Pervez Musharraf.

By the way, the N League also has the distinct honor of sending its goons to vandalize the apex court of this nation. All because Mr. Sharif was miffed with the judiciary at one point, while he was in this glorious assumption, that he was the “Ameer ul Momineen.”

Amazingly, the same Military that created him at one point, sent Mr. Sharif packing too. All because Mr. Sharif was getting two big for his shoes. He decided to replace General Musharraf. A guy who perhaps was responsible for the “misadventure” in Kargil. Mr. Sharif opted for a fellow Kashmiri, General Butt. Ordinarily, it was within Mr. Sharif’s constitutional authority to do so, but he just totally forgot one golden rule. Never bite the hand that once fed you. Hence Mr. Sharif was deposed and incarcerated for acting too smart for his notoriety.

Come to think of it, the N League is the mother of all parties to the right. The rest of the religious and fundamental parties, are just there for the noise value. In reality, none of the others matter much, nor they have the ability to form any government. But clearly present to sing the chorus, as needed.

One was under the impression that Nawaz Sharif would have learnt his lessons by now. But politics is indeed a strange game. Nawaz Sharif who supposedly credits himself, for the restoration of deposed judiciary, seems to be back in action, playing for his former king makers. Fact is that, Mr. Sharif has realized, that he has to sing the Khaki tune to be back in Islamabad.

Read more » View Point

Benazir Bhutto on Pakistan’s Military Establishment and how the Generals undermine Democracy

From Syed Ali Dayan Hasan in London

The security apparatus has run amok

In her most candid interview since 1988, Benazir Bhutto, twice elected prime minister of Pakistan, reveals the extent to which successive civilian governments have been held hostage, and destabilised, by the ‘securityapparatus’ of the military. Bhutto, chairperson of the PPP — the single largest political party of the country — explains the helplessness of civilian governments in the face of Intelligence-inspired disinformation on the one hand, and ideologically motivated illegal activities of ‘rogue elements’ of the army on the other. She argues that the security apparatus of the country is out of control and that no government can hope to function smoothly unless these elements are brought under a formalised command structure that prevents them from taking on the role of a state within a state. There is much evidence to support Bhutto’s claims, including that of her adversaries — General Aslam Beg, General Hameed Gul and General Asad Durrani — all of whom conspired against civilian governments and have repeatedly gone on record to admit as much. “Blaming politicians alone for tarnishing democracy is actually less than half the story,” argues Bhutto. Here, she explains why.

Q. What do you think is the basic problem with civil-military relations?

A. The inability of the military tobow before the people’s will.

Q. Why is that?

A. The military’s view on security and government is at variance with the popular will. Pakistan is a federation but the armed forces distrust provincial units. They are scared of giving up power.

Q. So, what is the solution to this impasse in civil-military relations?

A. Either we have democracy or dictatorship. The military seeks a dictatorship or a controlled democracy to continue with their security agenda. They need the centralised state and a diversion of resources for that security agenda. For the first time, they are realising the difficulty of running the ship of state. I believe the solution lies in democracy and devolution. We should return to the roots of the Quaid. He founded Pakistan on the principles of federalism, autonomy and freedom. If we revert to this dream, we might devolve more power but we will be more secure.

Q. How has the army managed to present a discredited image of political figures, including you?

A. I dispute that they have succeeded but I agree that they have tried. There are two factors that explain this. One, political institutions are weak and have financial resources and organisational ability. Also, they are unable to communicate freely with the masses. This is because genuine political forces have been continually hunted by the establishment, and when you are constantly hunted, you have little time to organise. Second, because the army does give power to some politicians, it has divided the civilian popular base by holding out to those who cannot win — the promise of power without legitimacy.

Q. You have presided twice over a controlled democracy.What have you learnt from the experience?

A. There is a tendency in Pakistan, due to military dictatorships and one-man rule, to think that one person can make allthe difference. But in a democratic system, it is not just one person that makes a difference. A democratic, such as myself, functions within the confines of the constitution. We need a civic consensus on what a constitution should be and what constitutes freedom and plurality. I had to work on the mandate I was given and that is why I say that we did not achieve much. I had to work with the 8th amendment and a president who could sack the prime minister. In other words, some elements in the intelligence agencies used the president when they felt I was becoming too powerful. They never allowed us enough time to elect members of the senate which would have made my partyand the democratic forces — stronger. The real solution lies not with any individual. I can only give a clarion call. Then it depends on the masses whether they rally around that call to say that they want a constitution based on the supremacy of the will of the people and that the prime minister and parliament must determine national security and not the military.

Q. But then, if you had commanded a two-thirds majority and could have amended the constitution, a coup would have taken place against you ….

Read more » Scribd

http://www.scribd.com/doc/78809888/Benazir-Bhutto-on-Pakistan-s-Military-Establishment-and-how-the-Generals-undermine-Democracy#source:facebook

A must watch speech – Aitezaz Ahsan, a senior Pakistani politician on the floor of the Parliament

The language of the speech is urdu.

» YouTube

Pakistan scandal’s latest twist: naked wrestling

To watch Mansoor Ijaz, Click here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B0QvR1eP2yg&ob=av3e

Pakistan scandal’s latest twist: naked wrestling

By CHRIS BRUMMITT

The Associated Press – ISLAMABAD : A scandal over a secret memo to Washington that could bring down the Pakistani president took a strange turn Wednesday when a music video surfaced featuring the chief accuser acting as a commentator for a naked female wrestling bout.

Opponents of Mansoor Ijaz, an American of Pakistani origin, said the clip damaged his credibility ahead of his scheduled appearance at a Supreme Court commission in this conservative Muslim country. The Florida-born businessman has pledged to provide damning evidence that the Pakistani government sent the note seeking U.S. help preventing a military coup in the aftermath of the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden on May 2, 2011.

Others were simply amused at the latest twist in an affair that has transfixed the media and raised tensions between the government and the powerful military to dangerous levels. Dubbed “memogate” in the Pakistani media, one Twitter user suggested it should now be renamed “booty-gate.”

Ijaz, who boasts of close friendships with the U.S. security establishment and past back-channel diplomatic roles in Sudan and Kashmir, claims the unsigned memo was authored by the then-Pakistan envoy to Washington, Husain Haqqani.

Ijaz says that at Haqqani’s request, he delivered the memo to Adm. Mike Mullen, the top U.S. military officer at the time. Mullen’s spokesman confirmed that his boss did receive the memo from Ijaz but that he did not find it credible and ignored it.

Haqqani denied any role in the memo but resigned last year amid pressure from the outraged military. Ijaz has said that he gave computer records implicating Haqqani to Pakistan’s spy chief, Lt. Gen. Shuja Pasha, who he says flew to London to meet with him in October. Pasha has told the court that he found the evidence credible.

The country’s top court is now probing the affair, which some believe could result in treason charges against Haqqani. President Asif Ali Zardari could also be vulnerable if — as Ijaz’s lawyer claims — it can be proven he also knew about the note. The investigation comes as Pakistani-U.S. relations are at an all-time low.

It was unclear why the wrestling video, which was made in 2004 and has been viewed for years on the Internet, came to light only now. Ijaz’s role was apparently spotted by a blogger late Tuesday and spread quickly through social media.

Ijaz told The Associated Press he thought the video’s emergence was part of an effort by Haqqani to discredit him ahead of his testimony but conceded he had no evidence of this. He confirmed that the video was not a hoax. ….

Read more » AJC.COM

http://www.ajc.com/news/nation-world/pakistan-scandals-latest-twist-1306699.html

Mr Prime Minister, I am proud of you

By Zainab Imam

After years of ambivalence towards him, I am now proud to call Yousaf Raza Gilani the prime minister of my country.

I admit that when he took oath, I was just as dismissive as anyone else. I thought he was another one of the pack — corrupt, incompetent and disloyal. And, on top of that, he seemed compliant.

And now, when the honourable Supreme Court has called him “dishonest”, I stand up and say that he is the prime minister and that he should not stand for this kind of treatment.

There is speculation that he will resign. Political uncertainty is such that between the time I take to write this and this comes into print, he may not be the prime minister. Who knows? And who cares?

After all, who cares that the world’s number one terrorist Osama bin Laden was in our midst for years, living a stone’s throw from the Pakistan Military Academy, where Army Chief General Kayani delivered a speech to graduating cadets weeks before Bin Laden was killed? Who cares that hundreds of terrorists who have killed and maimed thousands of Pakistanis are roaming free on the soil of this country? Who cares that another country, which calls itself our strategic partner in a long-drawn-out war that we’re losing, regularly kills our fellow countrymen, women and children in the tribal areas? And then some days, that same country kills our soldiers, too. Who cares?

Perhaps the honourable Chief Justice does. He who is correctly demanding that letters be written to the Swiss authorities and the money of the people is brought back to them. He who has held the prime minister responsible for failing to keep his oath but appears not to notice when the army and intelligence chiefs fail this country. He who takes suo motu notice over an individual carrying two bottles of alcohol in her travel bags but failed to do the same when Bin Laden was found and killed by foreign forces comfortably ensconced inside our territory, or when terrorists stormed the Pakistan Army’s headquarters in plain sight, or when American drones kill our own in our own backyard, or when hundreds go missing — and turn up dead — in Balochistan.

It took Prime Minister Gilani some time to find his voice. But now that he has, I stand by him. I do not know whether or not he will resign, but I know this that he does not need to until those whose job it is to secure Pakistan step down for failing to arrest the pervasive insecurity in this country; and until those whose job it is to be impartial conduct themselves in a manner that respects their oath.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune, January 18th, 2012.

ROVER’S DIARY: What’s the hurry to get the president out? – SDBabar Ayaz

The cost of intellectual dishonesty, dangerous foreign and national security policies and corruption done during the military governments has always been condoned retroactively

The game plan of the establishment — at the cost of the economy and people’s nerves — apparently is to get President Zardari out. They have a two-pronged strategy: one, playing on the prevailing perception that all the corruption starts and ends with the prime minister and president. So they should be declared corrupt by the courts and unfit to rule; and two, that he is a threat to national security if the commission declares that Husain Haqqani wrote or dictated the mysterious memorandum.

Removing the president constitutionally is difficult because a two-thirds majority is needed in parliament to impeach him. It is not possible at this stage in view of the interests of the coalition parties. Once the new members to the Senate would be elected on March 2, it would be more difficult as under Article 47, the constitution requires two-thirds majority of parliament — Senate and National Assembly — for impeachment. It says: “…the president may, in accordance with the provisions of this Article, be removed from office on the ground of physical or mental incapacity or impeached on a charge of violating the constitution or gross misconduct.”

Continue reading ROVER’S DIARY: What’s the hurry to get the president out? – SDBabar Ayaz

General Kayani’s extension as army chief: A bad decision – by Abdul Nishapuri

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani today (22 July 2010) extended the term of the country’s army chief General Ashfaq Kayani for three more years in a move to ensure continuity in the fight against extremist  militancy by the Taliban and Sipah-e-Sahaba.

“I have decided to extend tenure of army chief General Ashfaq Kayani for three years in consultations with President Asif Ali Zardari,” Gilani said in a brief televised address to the nation. He said the decision has been taken after relaxing the rules and keeping in view the active role played by Kayani in the war against terror.

The extension period will start from November 29. Kayani assumed command of the Pakistan army in November 2007 after his predecessor Pervez Musharraf relinquished command amid international pressure to end his eight years of military rule.

Effectively this means that after the apparent 8 years of General Musharraf’s military rule, Pakistan is currently (at the backstage) led by his successor, General Kayani, for at least six years.

There are some obvious concerns about this extension:

1. General Kayani is a proponent of the good Taliban theory. In other words, he is in favour of maintaining, protecting and supporting extremist networks of jihadi and sectarian groups, in particular the Haqqani group, the Quetta Shura, the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Sipah-e-Sahaba. One must not ignore the fact that Kayani led the ISI from 2004 to 2007, exactly the period when the Taliban staged their comeback in Afghanistan, allegedly with the agency’s support. Now Kayani is leading the Pakistan military’s efforts to cement a new regime in Kabul that is pro-Pakistan, which means including representatives of the (good) Taliban. (Source)

2. General Kayani personally made sure that a high power joint investigation into Benazir Bhutto’s murder in the light of the UN Commission Report remains ineffectual and inconclusive. He unduly used his powers to impede investigation of high ranking army officers involved in Benazir Bhutto’s murder.

3. General Kayani used his influence to restore a corrupt judge (Iftikhar Chaudhry) as Chief Justice of Pakistan’s apex court in order to gain cheap popularity and after taking an assurance that Justice Chaudhry will desist from taking further judicial action against the ISI (in the case of disappeared persons). (This is despite the fact that Kayani was present at the infamous March 2007 meeting that took place between Musharraf and Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, when the former military ruler informed the strong-willed top judge that he was suspended.)

4. General Kayani broke the rules and norms of parliamentary democracy by issuing a press release (after a corps commanders conference) forcing Pakistani generals’ terms and dictates on Pakistan’s civilian government’s negotiation with the USA on the Kerry-Lugar Bill. (It is the same army chief who slapped PM Gilani around when Gilani promised General Pasha would visit Mumbai after 26/11. It is the same army chief who sent President Zardari through the wringer for daring to put the ISI under civilian rule.)

5. General Kayani’s extension is also unfair from Pakistan Army’s organizational hierarchy perspective. Even though he might have done his job relatively well (compared to his predecessor General Musharraf), it is important to take into account that he is not pushed beyond retirement age as other Generals are waiting in line too, and their promotions are affected by such moves. (Source)

6. In Kamran Shafi’s words: Why should Kayani himself accept an extension even if it is handed to him on a silver platter? The Pakistan Army, we are told ad nauseam, is one of the best fighting forces in the world, commanded by some of the finest strategists in the universe. Is there no one who can replace Kayani then, when his tenure is over and he goes home like many generals before him, even some graceful Pakistani generals? More importantly, our generals should see how Indian army chiefs quietly go home every three years, handing over command to their replacements.

7. It may be noted that only a few months ago, in March 2010, General Kayani decided to extend the tenure of the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt.Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha, a decision which according to an editorial in daily Dawn indicated that the Pakistan Army is acting as a “law unto itself”. The editorial in The Dawn questioned General Kayani’s move to grant a one-year extension in service to Shuja bypassing all necessary guidelines. It also rejected explanations that the country’s security situation demanded ‘continuity’ in the highest office of the ISI, while pointing out that there has been no talk of ‘exemptions’ and ’special considerations’ for top US or British military offices in Afghanistan, where the situation is far more hostile than Pakistan. “Technically, the ISI chief, supposedly selected by the Prime Minister, can be a civilian but the army has traditionally not allowed anyone from outside the service to occupy that office,” the editorial said. (Source)

8. Kamran Shaif identifies a number of reasons why General Kayani must not be given (or himself must not accept) an extension:

Continue reading General Kayani’s extension as army chief: A bad decision – by Abdul Nishapuri

In Defense of Pakistan’s democracy – Zardari-Gilani government must be allowed to complete its five-year term

Pakistan at a Crossroads, Again

For democracy to take root, the Zardari government must be allowed to complete its five-year term.

BY SADANAND DHUME

Who gets to decide when a democratically elected government’s time is up? To the average Japanese, Indian or American, the answer is obvious: the same people who voted it into office in the first place. Not so for the average Pakistani.

In the country’s 64-year history, power has never changed hands purely by the ballot. The army, working alone or in tandem with sympathetic civilians, hasn’t let any elected leader finish his term, thanks to which democracy has failed to seep into the country’s foundations. Now, if a loose grouping of generals, judges and opposition politicians gets its way, this

Read more » The Wall Street Journal (wsj)

Is the Judiciary really Independent?

by Mahmood Adeel

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

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

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

Continue reading Is the Judiciary really Independent?

Setting the house in order

By Saroop Ijaz

The difficulty of maintaining a pretence of conducting a profound analysis in Pakistan is that nothing ever ends. So the event one seeks to comment on is always underway hence, exposing the commentator to the real possibility of indignity in misinterpreting the happenings. The mayhem of the last few days is not over yet. It does, however, point out the fragility and precariousness of this architecture of democracy. It is almost as if this period of democratic governance is a momentary armistice, a feebly vulnerable interruption to the continuous military rule. Another disturbingly striking thing is the complete abandonment of core principles on the first sight of attack. In all fairness, none of this is unprecedented but it manages to make one cringe every time.

The prime minister is empowered to terminate the contract of a federal secretary and to comment on the conduct of the army and intelligence chief and for this reason it is hardly news worthy enough of interrupting the nation in frenzied tones. There has been some feeing of triumphalism and jubilation on being able to thwart or possibly delay a coup. Perhaps rightly so, yet the most recent episode is unique in the public manner in which the whole episode was conducted. Gone are the days where out of the blue, one will see a pompous general creeping out of nowhere and saying ‘meray aziz humwatanon’ on national television. This time, the intimidation and bullying was deliberately done in the full view of the public eye, the ISPR press release cautioning of “dire consequences” had the unmistakable slant of blackmail. The utter absence of embarrassment was unbelievable. It was like being subjected to the ISPR version of O J Simpson’s, “If I did it.” The response by the media and the politicians failed to ask the most basic question; did the ISPR posses any justification, legal or moral to threaten an elected parliament. Toni Morrison, once writing about the progress of African Americans in the United States said, “The question is whether our walk is progress or merely movement.” All this coming after four years of democratic rule, ours seems to be an awkward stationary wiggle.

If one is compelled to identify a positive coming out of this fiasco, it will probably be the fact that most of the media and major political parties refused to welcome the khakis. I have a mild suspicion that many of them did it grudgingly; it was the sheer impracticality of a ‘direct’ military takeover which guided their comments as opposed to any meaningful commitment to democracy. In any event, they merit whatever small congratulation is due. Nevertheless, whereas, it is a ridiculously easy and even intuitive question when asked to choose between an elected parliament and the khakis, I believe the real test lies ahead and not so far ahead. It would be if the same demagoguery is garbed in an intervention obtained through a judicial order or some other permutation of what has been somewhat suggestively named, ‘soft coup’. I have a feeling, the response by those agreeing to the abstract notions of democracy in such an event would be more of a waffle and exposing — I certainly hope I am wrong.

The prime minister has already formed the undesirable habit of displaying almost schizophrenic alternating bouts of gallantry and meekness. The ostensible reason is to avoid institutional conflict. It is not a ‘conflict’, it is capitulation in the face of assault, certainly not self-preservation in any long-term meaning. A lot of ink has been spilled (or at least the word processor equivalent) on how to set the civil-military balance incrementally right by people having considerably more expertise on such matters than myself. Yet, the answer to me, at least, is fairly simple. The prime minister should sack the army chief and the director general ISI for gross misconduct and insubordination. To put it at its harshest, their performance records, especially recently have been humiliatingly ordinary. Even otherwise, they cannot claim to be not given a fair innings, they have served, perhaps more accurately commanded for a period reasonably exceeding the normal. In any event, they have considerably overstayed their welcome. I know this proposal seems incredibly naïve even reckless, but I am afraid that needs to be done, even if it means staking the government on it. To romanticise it a bit, “Conscientious Objector” is a beautiful poem by Edna St Vincent Millay, some of its verses go,” I shall die, but/ that is all I shall do for Death/ I hear him leading his horse out of the stall/ I hear the clatter on the barn-floor/ ….But I will not hold the bridle/While he clinches the girth/ And he may mount by himself / I will not give him a leg up.”

I do not in any way suggest a literal scenario as terminally grim as that in the poem but Mr Prime Minister, at least, do not give them a leg up. Trying to maintain a wobbly equilibrium, a false feeling of reconciliation and shallow coexistence will not work, it never has, never does. In terms of basic economics, it is the case of Gresham’s law, the bad would drive out the good, if it is overvalued long enough with a clear preference. Negotiating or plea bargaining the way in and out of situations where you are strong-armed is not survival or diplomacy. It has now become a question of modalities and timing, rather than “if”. Stories both in real life and fiction are remembered inordinately by the ending. Albert Camus ends his La Peste (The Plague) by observing that though the plague was over and the city had returned to normalcy, “the plague bacillus never dies … that it can lie dormant in furniture and linen chests… perhaps the day would come when,… it roused up its rats again and sent them forth to die in a happy city”. Fire the two generals and make a point, the bogus feeling of security is going to end soon anyways.

The writer is a lawyer and partner at Ijaz and Ijaz Co in Lahore saroop.ijaz@ tribune.com.pk

Courtesy:  The Express Tribune, January 15th, 2012.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/321514/setting-the-house-in-order/

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

By P. K. Upadhyay

Excerpt;

Some very strange developments seem to be unfolding in Pakistani politics. A political dogfight between the civilian and military leaderships has been unheard off in the country’s history so far. The generals never had to air their differences with the political masters in the public as they are doing at present. When faced with a ‘defiance’ of their writ at any stage, the generals have always taken over power after booting-out the civilian government. …..

…. Then why this time around is General Kayani not able to push out the President and Prime Minister ….

….. Nawaz Sharief’s efforts to fish in troubled waters as also to move closer to the Army’s position on ‘Memogate’ ….

….. It was clear that the Army was reluctant to assume power and, at the same time, also reluctant to let the Zardari-led PPP government continue. It appears to have chosen the judicial route to hound out the government. Apparently, a deal between the Army and the Chief Justice of Pakistan allowed not just a renewed focus on the old National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) cases against Zardari and others, but also the setting up of a four-judge judicial enquiry into Memogate ….

…. Why is this unprecedented and uncharacteristic spat between the Army and the civilian government continuing? Apparently, the United States is a factor. Although, for the record, the US Administration and Pentagon had dismissed the memo to Mullen, they seem to have quietly acted on it by heavily leaning on the Pakistan Army. Despite the recent breakdown in their relationship, the US military still has a considerable hold over the Pakistan Army …..

…. Why is this unprecedented and uncharacteristic spat between the Army and the civilian government continuing? Apparently, the United States is a factor. Although, for the record, the US Administration and Pentagon had dismissed the memo to Mullen, they seem to have quietly acted on it by heavily leaning on the Pakistan Army. Despite the recent breakdown in their relationship, the US military still has a considerable hold over the Pakistan Army in the form of continuing supply of spares and other vital equipment, apart from training and intelligence cooperation. The Americans could have conveyed to Kayani and company that ousting the civilian regime in a coup would mean a total break in links, including the supply of spares and other wherewithal. The Pakistan Army cannot resist this pressure, since without using US supplied armour and attack helicopters, it cannot continue its operations against the Taliban in FATA or the Baluchi rebels in Baluchistan. Another inhibiting factor for Kayani and his generals could be the extent of penetration of the Army by jehadi elements. For sometime now, there appears to be a lull in clashes between Islamic radicals and the Army. While a let-up in US drone strikes (after the handing over of the Shamsi airbase) appears to be a significant facilitating factor for this lull, it cannot be the key trigger for it. The possibility of a JUI (F) brokered truce between the Army and Taliban should not be ruled out. The Army wants to preserve this truce for the present and, therefore, is reluctant to rock the boat by staging a coup at this juncture. It possibly fears that in case it ousts the Zardari government and becomes all powerful, that may have some destabilizing impact on the current truce with the Taliban. Lastly, Kayani and other senior generals may still not be out of the shock they suffered from the violent outbursts of junior officers after the Abbottabad raid. They recognize that the younger lot of Pakistan Army Officers does not come from traditional sections of the society known for its contempt for ‘civilians’ and their ways. These officers are the off-spring of former JCOs/NCOs of the military, as also the urban middle and lower middle classes, and may be harbouring a strong antipathy towards the bourgeois attitudes of their superiors.

This, however, does not mean that Kayani and company are going to let the Zardari-Gilani combine continue to spite them. Army backed judicial action against the regime is a strong possibility. ….

To read complete article » Institute of Defence Studies & Analysis (idsa)

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

Must watch interview – Political activist, writer, and the author of “Chasing a Mirage” Tarek Fatah Blasts on the military-judicial establishment

Political activist, writer, broadcaster and the author of “Chasing a Mirage” Tarek Fatah Blasts on the military-judicial establishment in “Bilatakalluf TV” with Tahir Gora. The language of the interview is urdu (Hindi).

Courtesy: Rawal Tv (Bilatakalluf with Tahir Gora)

Shaikh Rasheed’s views about the top judge Iftikhar chaudhry

This interview was aired on Business Plus TV in 2008. Conducted by Syed Ammar Yasir Zaidi.The language of the interview  is urdu (Hindi).

Courtesy: Business Plus Tv » YouTube

Tehelka – Coup & Memo: In the battle of nerves between the civilian and the military establishment he who can stay the longest, wins

Round 1 to the Civilian Government

In the battle of nerves between the civilian and the military establishment in Pakistan, he who can stay the longest, wins

By Mohammad Taqi, Columnist, Daily Times

EVER SINCE the controversial Memo in October 2011, allegedly seeking American help in case of a military coup, trouble has been brewing in Pakistan. The latest is the sacking of Lt Gen (retd) Khalid Nadeem Lodhi as defence secretary on 11 January by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani. The civilian-military relationship in Pakistan is going through a churn. The military wants to get rid of President Asif Zardari. The Supreme Court allowed itself to be dragged into the situation through a PIL. But the elected Pakistani civilian government, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and its coalition partners are not going to give in without a fight. Under the circumstances, the sacking of Lodhi was inevitable. It sends a clear message in a long drawn out war of attrition that will ultimately decide which way the balance of civil-military relationship tilts.

The establishment has been speaking through press releases issued by the Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR). On 11 January, it issued a fourth statement criticising the government. Previously, the prime minister had retaliated by implying the army was trying to become a State within the State and had issued a visa to Osama bin Laden. That did not go down well. The civil-military relationship has not recovered from this blow, and relations are souring. The judiciary appears to be allied with the military establishment or at least feels that their interests are in confluence.

The army wants the current PPP dispensation to go, but a text-book coup d’état is not possible in the present day. With an active social media, a questioning press and Pakistan’s economic condition, it is not a feasible option. The army is frustrated and is making this public but with everyone harping on about democracy for so long, it’s not easy for anyone — not Kayani, not the top judge — to sack the present system. They might be facing allegations of corruption or bad governance, but you have to vote them out.

Gilani’s statement says the army chief and the DG, ISI, Shuja Pasha did not follow the protocol in the Memogate proceedings in court. The briefs the three filed with the court were diametrically opposed to the government’s position in the Memogate scandal. Constitutionally, the ISI is under the prime minister. The army chief reports to the president and also the PM via the defence ministry. The defence secretary made a statement in the court saying the government has administrative and not operational control over the army and the ISI.

Prior to that, Pasha met Pakistan-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz in London. The ISI is an intelligence-gathering and not an investigating agency. He brought back evidence that is now being made admissible in the civil court. Pasha went without the permission of the civilian leadership. The PM was informed through Kayani only after he returned.

Things would have been different a decade ago; the army would have toppled the government. Today, it’s a battle of nerves. Whoever blinks first, loses. So far, Gilani has not blinked, but his options are limited. Even if he fires Pasha and Kayani, he has to select from a pool of 200 generals, as he has no one in the PPP to replace him. Pasha’s head is certainly on the chopping block, but the PPP will not win this by a knockout, but on points. Taking it to the last round will mean they have won. As long as Zardari, Gilani and Hussain Haqqani — and the general public — stick together, the civilian government will prevail.

Courtesy: Tehelka.com

http://www.tehelka.com/story_main51.asp?filename=Op210112Round.asp

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

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

By Josh Rogin

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

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

Democracy or dictatorship?

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

By Qamar Zaman / Zia Khan

ISLAMABAD: Steady nerves and a pointed address.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more » The Express Tribune

Coup Coup hota hae wether it is military coup, technocratic coup, judicial coup or behind-the-scenes-coup

Why a Coup Is Unlikely in Pakistan

By Tom Wright

Is there a coup in the offing in Pakistan? Not likely, say former Pakistan military and intelligence officials.

There’s a lot of speculation of a military takeover amid rising tensions between army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani.

The tensions have their roots in the U.S. raid on a Pakistani garrison town in May, which lead to the death of Osama bin Laden. Pakistan’s army was not forewarned about the raid and was deeply embarrassed.

The emergence in October of a memo allegedly sent by Mr. Gilani’s Pakistan People’s Party-led administration to Washington in the wake of the raid, asking for U.S. help in forestalling a coup by an angered military, was the start of the current troubles.

Mr. Gilani, under army pressure, fired Pakistan’s ambassador to the U.S., Husain Haqqani, for his alleged involvement in the affair. Mr. Haqqani denies the allegations. His removal was supposed to be the end of the affair, Pakistani military and civilian officials say.

But Nawaz Sharif, leader of Pakistan’s main opposition party, demanded a Supreme Court investigation of the memo.

The court’s probe, which is underway, has escalated tensions between the civilian government and army. Mr. Gilani says the investigation is politically motivated, and has blamed the military for bypassing the government in answering the court’s questions.

Continue reading Coup Coup hota hae wether it is military coup, technocratic coup, judicial coup or behind-the-scenes-coup

Pakistan: a coup by other means

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

By guardian.co.uk, Editorial

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

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

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

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

Courtesy: guardian.co.uk

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

Pakistan army warns PM Gilani

Pakistan army warns PM Gilani over criticisms

Pakistan’s military has publicly rebuked Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani over an escalating row.

The army warned of “serious ramifications with potentially grievous consequences” after the PM criticised military leaders in a media interview.

Meanwhile, Mr Gilani has sacked his defence secretary, who is seen as having close ties to the military.

Tensions have been rising in recent months between Pakistan’s civilian government and military leaders.

The latest row is a serious source of instability in Pakistan, where the military has ruled for more than half the country’s history after seizing power in a series of coups.

Unconstitutional

On Monday Mr Gilani was quoted telling China’s People’s Daily Online that Pakistan’s army chief and head of intelligence acted unconstitutionally ….

Read more » BBC

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-16511826

Gilani removes Lodhi from Defence Secretary post

ISLAMABAD: Lt Gen (Retd) Naeem Khalid Lodhi was removed from the post of Defence Secretary by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Wednesday, a move that is likely to create further friction between the government and the military. “Prime minister has terminated the contract of defence secretary Naeem Khalid Lodhi for gross misconduct,” a senior government official told AFP.

Nargis Sethi has been given the additional charge of Defence Secretary. …

Read more » The Express Tribune

Pakistan – We will not accept any unconstitutional act, says Yasin Azad

According to reports, Supreme Court Bar Association President Yasin Azad says they will not accept any unconstitutional act.

via » Twitter

News Reports and Press Clippings about Zardari Specific Judiciary

Pakistani Judiciary is nowadays very fond of quoting Quran and Hadith in any Detailed Judgement particularly if the case is related with Elected Member of the Parliament specifically Pakistan Peoples Party and Asif Ali Zardari. The quotation from the same Quran and Hadith are conveniently “ignored” rather “avoided” while dealing with other cases. ….

Read more » ChagataiKhan

http://chagataikhan.blogspot.com/2010/03/zardari-specific-judiciaryaccountabilit.html

President Zardari asks parliament to review NRO verdict

Parliament to decide my fate: Zardari

By APP / Express

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari, after consulting all coalition partners, has announced the decision to table the National Reconciliation Ordinance verdict of the Supreme Court before the parliament, Express News reported on Tuesday evening.

(Read: NRO case: Supreme Court warns president, PM of disqualification)

Zardari met with heads of coalition parties, including Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain of Pakistan Muslim League -Quaid, Asfandyar Wali and Afrasiab Khattak of Awami National Party, Asadullah Zehri of Baloch National Party – Awami along with Muttahida Qumi Movement leaders Farooq Sattar and Babar Ghauri, at the presidency in Islamabad. The Prime Minister was also present in the meeting.

They discussed Supreme Court’s decision and the overall political situation in the country.

Zardari said that the parliament was a representative of the people and was the supreme most authority in the country. Hence, if he were to resign, it should be decided in the parliament.

Zardari has summoned an emergency session of the parliament for 4 pm on January 12.

Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said that the government could not be threatened with verdicts.

Zardari and Gilani are due to participate in a PPP core committee meeting as well.

Read more: nroverdict

Courtesy: The Express Tribune

http://tribune.com.pk/story/319582/parliament-to-decide-my-fate-zardari/

Kayani, Pasha acted illegally, says Gilani

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani once again on Monday took what appeared to be a potshot at the military when he said affidavits submitted to the Supreme Court by the Chief of Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and ISI chief Lt Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha on `memogate` were `unconstitutional and illegal`.

In an interview with the People`s Daily Online of China, which was released by the official Associated Press of Pakistan news agency, Mr Gilani said since the COAS and ISI DG had submitted their replies to the court without seeking approval of the competent authority under the rules of business, the statements carried no legal import.

`No summary seeking approval of the competent authority was initiated by the ministry of defence nor was any approval obtained fromthe defence minister,` the prime minister was quoted as saying by the APP.

The media wing of the prime minister`s secretariat confirmed the statement.

Soon after the APP released excerpts of the interview, it was picked by major news search engines and online editions of newspapers all over the world.

Some saw it as an obvious reference to the ongoing tension between the government and the military establishment. …

Read more » DAWN.COM

http://www.dawn.com/2012/01/10/army-isi-chief-statements-to-sc-not-approved-by-govt-pm.html

Charged lawyers shout down Gilani, Khosa, force retreat from LBA event

By Abdul Manan

Excerpt;

LAHORE: The Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, on Saturday was prepared to refute allegations that the incumbent Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) led coalition government did not respect all institutions. What he did not expect was that his stage, the annual dinner of the Lahore Bar Association (LBA), would be usurped by anti-government slogans from a charged lawyers community. …

…. Shortly after the announcement, Gilani vacated the podium and proceeded to exit the building. When Governor Khosa took the rostrum, the lawyers intensified their chants against him. Khosa tried his level best to deliver his speech despite the ruckus, but slogans of “Chief Tere Jaan Nisar Beshumar, Beshumar” (Chief Justice you have innumerable loyalists) forced him to cut short his speech.

The Lahore Bar Association, LBA President Shehzad Hassan Sheikh and Peoples Lawyers Forum Punjab President, Khurram Latif Khan Khosa were also present at the event.

At the end lawyers danced along with a hired dancer to melodies of Sheela Ke Jawani.

Read more » The Express Tribune

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