Language of the talk show is urdu (Hindi).
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By Sidrah Moiz Khan
Abidi held Justice Chaudhry responsible for the alleged financial impropriety done by his son, Dr Arsalan Iftikhar
While hurling fiery allegations at Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Faisal Raza Abidi on Sunday demanded a resignation from him and other judges who were reinstated under the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO).
During a press conference in Islamabad, Abidi held Justice Chaudhry responsible for the alleged financial impropriety done by his son, Dr Arsalan Iftikhar.
The senator said that if the chief justice does not tender a resignation, then he will “force him out from the same way he had been restored as a judge.”
“He [Justice Chaudhry] says that he did not have any idea where his son got all that money from…I ask, when the case emerged, did you ask him where he got Rs900 million from?”
The senator produced bank account statements of Dr Arsalan and said that the person who used to “work under somebody else” now owns billions of rupees. He also showed that the billing address mentioned was that of the Chief Justice House in Islamabad.
“You [Justice Chaudhry] are to be blamed for this. This happened right in front of you. You cannot pretend to not know anything. Who gave Dr Arsalan the right to use government’s property for running his own businesses? Could he not rent out an office in some other area?
Abdul Qadir Gilani wins by-poll from father’s constituency
MULTAN: The by-poll for the National Assmebly’s seat NA-151 (Multan-IV), vacated by former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani after being disqualified by the Supreme Court, has been won by his son Abdul Qadir Gilani, DawnNews reported on Thursday.
The main candidate, beside Gilani, who was contesting on Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) ticket, was independent candidate Shaukat Hayat Khan Bosan, who had informal support of both Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf (PTI), [– & Jamaat-e-Islami–].
Read more » DAWN.COM
The Supreme Court of Pakistan removed the Prime Minister in what is known as a “short order” – essentially a court order lacking a full explanation. These orders often begin, “For reasons to be recorded later…” – a practice that seems the beg for abuse and controversy – and then proceed directly to ordering some specific action on the part of an individual or institution. In this case, though, the specific action was not given until almost two months later – and made retroactive.
On April 26, the Supreme Court issued an order “for the reasons to be recorded later” that found then Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani “guilty of and convicted for contempt of court.” The Supreme Court did not declare the Prime Minister disqualified from office and sentenced him to a symbolic detention of about 30 seconds.
The Supreme Court having chosen not to disqualify the Prime Minister, the issue was then taken up by the Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr. Fehmida Mirza, who ruled that Mr. Gilani was not disqualified. That was last month.
Today, nearly two months after the Supreme Court issued its controversial conviction, a new short order, “for reasons to be recorded later,” was issued by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry – this time declaring that “Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani has become disqualified from being a Member of the Majlis-e-Shoora (Parliament)…on and from the date and time of pronouncement of the judgement of this Court dated 26.4.2012…”
This raises several very interesting questions. If the Prime Minister was disqualified pursuant to the Supreme Court’s order on April 26, why did they wait until June 19 to say so? Some have suggested that the Supreme Court was giving the Prime Minister the opportunity for appeal, but this is doubtful for a number of reasons: One, the Supreme Court could have declared the Prime Minister disqualified and then stayed the order pending appeal. But more to the point, to whom would the Prime Minister have appealed? The original order was given by a 7 member bench of the Supreme Court – there was no higher authority to appeal to.
Then there is the matter of the ruling by the Speaker of the National Assembly. If the Supreme Court had determined that Mr. Gilani was disqualified as of April 26, why did they allow Dr. Mirza to proceed with deliberations and a ruling on Mr. Gilani’s status as parliamentarian? If the Supreme Court believed that Dr. Mirza did not have the authority as Speaker of the National Assembly to issue such a ruling, why did they not issue an injunction stopping the Speaker from carrying out the act?
While these questions remain unanswered, at least until the Supreme Court delivers more than the two pages made available today, they suggest very troubling possibilities. By allowing Mr. Gilani to continue serving as Prime Minister for months, the Supreme Court has created a policy nightmare for Pakistan. Making the disqualification retroactive to April 26 means that any decisions made by the government since are effectively nullified. Pakistan has, essentially, been operating without a government for over 8 weeks.
Moreover, by allowing the Speaker of the National Assembly to deliberate and issue a ruling without comment, only to nullify that decision weeks later, the Supreme Court has undermined the authority of parliament and created confusion about fundamental issues of separation of powers and constitutional authority. What government official can now carry out their duties without the fear of Supreme Court action if the Chief Justice does not like the outcome.
This gets to what is perhaps the most troubling question of all – would the Supreme have issued this new order had the Speaker of the National Assembly herself disqualified Mr. Gilani? In other words, is Pakistan’s Supreme Court acting pursuant to due process or desired outcomes?
Via – Twitter
PPP leader removed as Karachi division president
SINDH – KARACHI: Pakistan Peoples Party leader Faisal Raza Abidi has been removed from his official position as the party’s Karachi division president, DawnNews reported.
Southern District president Khalil and Secretary Taimur Sayal have also been removed from their positions.
According to PPP sources, President Asif Ali Zaradri has met with disgruntled colleagues to work out grievances.
In replacement of the removed figures, Qasim Baloch has been made Southern District president, while Karamallah Waqas Batoor has been made secretary.
Sources said that Faisal Raza Abidi has sent a request for a three month leave from the Senate.
Via – Siasat.pk
ON the anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s death last week, Pakistan was the only Muslim country in which hundreds of demonstrators gathered to show solidarity with the dead terrorist figurehead.
Yet rather than asking tough questions about how Bin Laden had managed to live unmolested in Pakistan for years, the Pakistani Supreme Court instead chose to punish the prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, by charging him with contempt for failing to carry out the court’s own partisan agenda – in this case, pressuring the Swiss government to reopen a decades-old corruption investigation of President Asif Ali Zardari. (Never mind that Swiss officials say they are unlikely to revisit the charges.)
In handing down the decision, one justice chose to paraphrase the Lebanese poet Khalil Gibran. He held forth in a long appeal to religious-nationalist sentiment that began with the line, “Pity the nation that achieves nationhood in the name of a religion but pays little heed to truth, righteousness and accountability, which are the essence of every religion.”
That a Supreme Court justice would cite poetry instead of law while sentencing an elected leader on questionable charges reflects Pakistan’s deep state of denial about its true national priorities at a time when the country is threatened by religious extremism and terrorism.
Today, Pakistan is polarized between those who envision a modern, pluralist country and those who condone violence against minorities and terrorism in the name of Islam. Many are caught in the middle; they support the pluralist vision but dislike the politicians espousing it.
Meanwhile, an elephant in the room remains. We still don’t know who enabled Bin Laden to live freely in Pakistan. Documents found on computers in his compound offer no direct evidence of support from Pakistan’s government, army or intelligence services. But even if Bin Laden relied on a private support network, our courts should be focused on identifying, arresting and prosecuting the individuals who helped him. Unfortunately, their priorities seem to lie elsewhere.
In Pakistan, most of the debate about Bin Laden has centered on how and why America violated Pakistan’s sovereignty by unilaterally carrying out an operation to kill him. There has been little discussion about whether the presence of the world’s most-wanted terrorist in a garrison town filled with army officers was itself a threat to the sovereignty and security of Pakistan.
Pakistanis are right to see themselves as victims of terrorism and to be offended by American unilateralism in dealing with it. Last year alone, 4,447 people were killed in 476 major terrorist attacks. Over the last decade, thousands of soldiers and law enforcement officers have died fighting terrorists – both homegrown, and those inspired by Al Qaeda’s nihilist ideology.
But if anything, the reaction should be to gear up and fight jihadist ideology and those who perpetrate terrorist acts in its name; they remain the gravest threat to Pakistan’s stability. Instead, our national discourse has been hijacked by those seeking to deflect attention from militant Islamic extremism.
The national mind-set that condones this sort of extremism was cultivated and encouraged under the military dictatorships of Gen. Mohammad Zia ul-Haq from 1977 to 1988 and Gen. Pervez Musharraf from 1999 to 2008. A whole generation of Pakistanis has grown up with textbooks that conflate Pakistani nationalism with Islamist exclusivism.
Anti-Western sentiment and a sense of collective victimhood were cultivated as a substitute for serious debate on social or economic policy. Militant groups were given free rein, originally with American support, to resist the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, and later became an instrument of Pakistani regional influence there and in Indian-occupied Kashmir.
Pakistan’s return to democracy, after the elections of 2008, offered hope. But the elected government has since been hobbled by domestic political infighting and judicial activism on every issue except extremism and terrorism.
Before Mr. Musharraf was ousted, a populist lawyers’ movement successfully challenged his firing of Supreme Court justices. The lawyers’ willingness to confront Mr. Musharraf in his last days raised hopes of a new era. But over the last four years, the Court has spent most of its energy trying to dislodge the government by insisting on reopening cases of alleged corruption from the 1990s. During the same period, no significant terrorist leader has been convicted, and many have been set free by judges who overtly sympathize with their ideology.
This has happened because the lawyers’ movement split into two factions after Mr. Musharraf’s fall: those emphasizing the rule of law and those seeking to use the judiciary as a rival to elected leaders.
Asma Jahangir, who helped lead the lawyers’ movement, has become a critic of the courts, accusing them of overstepping their constitutional mandate and falling under the influence of the security establishment. And Aitzaz Ahsan, who represented the Supreme Court’s chief justice during the lawyers’ showdown with Mr. Musharraf, is now Prime Minister Gilani’s lawyer in the contempt-of-court case – a clear indication of the political realignment that has taken place.
Meanwhile, Pakistan’s raucous media, whose hard-won freedom is crucial for the success of democracy, has done little to help generate support for eliminating extremism and fighting terrorism. The Supreme Court, conservative opposition parties and the news media insist that confronting alleged incompetence and corruption in the current government is more important than turning Pakistan away from Islamist radicalism.
By: Farhan Bokhari
(CBS News) ISLAMABAD – Pakistan’s pro-U.S. ruling coalition was thrown in turmoil Thursday after Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was convicted on a contempt-of-court charge by the country’s Supreme Court.
Gilani was given a symbolic jail term lasting for less than a minute, but the verdict made it possible for him to lose his job as prime minister, according to analysts and legal experts.
“For reasons to be recorded later, the prime minister is found guilty of contempt for willfully flouting the direction of the Supreme Court,” said Supreme Court Justice Nasir-ul-Mulk in announcing the verdict. The judge ordered Gilani to serve time “till rising of the court” – a term which means for the duration of the brief court hearing.
Western diplomats however warned that depending on the direction of future political events, fresh turmoil in Pakistan could further strain the country’s already troubled relations with the United States.
“As Pakistan’s political temperature rises, there are new dangers for Pakistan’s relations with the U.S.,” a senior western diplomat in Islamabad told CBS News after Thursday’s verdict on condition of anonymity because he is not allowed to speak to journalists. “As turmoil grows in Pakistan, it will be increasingly difficult for the government to be seen becoming more friendly towards the U.S.”
Targeted killings of Shias this time is not business-as-usual. It follows the pattern that is evident countrywide and it is linked to the Taliban finding new havens and areas of control
By Raza Rumi
It seems that Pakistan is heading towards another purge — this time a violent process of cleansing the Shia population. There is a mysterious wave of terrorism that is killing Hazara population on a daily basis in Balochistan, Shias in Gilgit-Baltistan, Kurram Agency and elsewhere.
In the last one-month, dozens of Shias have been targeted and killed as if Pakistan was a medieval land, practicing witch-hunting. The ‘banned’ organisations have taken responsibility for most of the attacks in Balochistan.
The case of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB), on the other hand, has faced a virtual media blackout. Not long ago, GB was touted as the fifth province but when it comes to the vital question to protecting its population, the state is miserably failing.
The most gruesome incident took place when 15 passengers of the Shia community were taken off the buses in Chilas, Diamer district, and shot. People from the region say that GB is under attack by the Taliban insurgents from Malakand division and Waziristan. The Darel and Chilas Valleys provide them refuge. The stronghold of Salafis and Wahabis on Pakistan’s Afghan and, consequently, Taliban policy cannot be delinked from the ongoing massacre.
My father told me that when he was growing up in a remote village in Pakistan, his community wholeheartedly believed in jinn (genies), and he would see them often as a child. He left his village at a young age to attend school in the city, where he was able to interact with people outside his small native community and develop independent ideas.
Upon his return to the village, all the jinn of his childhood vanished, even though the people of his community who spent their lives in the village still saw them. This is the story of Pakistan’s Courts, which are viewed by average citizens as genies that magically appear to solve unsolvable problems. However, those who have “ventured outside the village” know that there are no judicial genies, just human judges who are liable to make mistakes. This means that the Court must create standards to limit its own powers, lest it become a jinn the people can’t put back in the lamp.
Jinn are described as “smokeless fire,” possessing superhuman powers including the ability to travel expansive distances unimaginable by man. In some stories, the jinn grants three wishes to an individual, allowing the wisher to accrue untold power and wealth. These supernatural abilities distinguish jinn from humans, as jinn possess a greater power to control their environment or reality.
Lately, the media has depicted politicians as weak humans, while assigning a mystic ability to the Court to unilaterally “do justice” in the country.
LAHORE: Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was annoyed over delay in the Lahore High Court’s decision in President Asif Ali Zardari’s case during his tenure, according to a transcript of conversation between Justice (r) Abdul Qayyum and National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) former chairman Saifur Rehman, aired on a private news channel. The audiotape was provided by Senator Faisal Raza Abdi. The channel also aired a conversation between Pervez Elahi, Shahbaz and Justice Qayyum. Following is the transcript of the conversation. Justice (r) Abdul Qayyum: Your task will be done in a day or two. I had to request an adviser (Peerzada) for you. I told him that I am very ill and I have to leave abroad and I have asked him to end up the matter for my sake. Peerzada has told me that he will do it and it will be done. He told me that he would compensate for all the mistakes I have, adding that Mian Sahib (Nawaz Sharif) would be happy as well. REFERENCE: Audiotape reveals Sharifs manipulated verdict in Zardari’s case Daily Times Monitor Sunday, November 21, 2010 http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\11\21\story_21-11-2010_pg7_21 UK paper’s report on Benazir’s conviction M Ziauddin DAWN WIRE SERVICE Week Ending: 10 February 2001 Issue:07/06 http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/SouthAsia/SAserials/Dawn/2001/feb100… In this hammaam who is covered? Ayaz Amir DAWN WIRE SERVICE Week Ending: 10 February 2001 Issue : 07/06 http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/SouthAsia/SAserials/Dawn/2001/feb100… Rush to judgment Irfan Husain DAWN WIRE SERVICE Week Ending:10 February 2001 Issue : 07/06 http://www.lib.virginia.edu/area-studies/SouthAsia/SAserials/Dawn/2001/feb100…
Courtesy: Duniaya News Tv Arshad Sharif with 13 Feb 2012
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.
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
A Statement from the Asian Human Rights Commission
AHRC-STM-213-2011 (12-23-2011): The Prime Minister has accused the Pakistan army of hatching conspiracies against the elected parliament and government. The PM, in an address to the National Assembly session, has hinted that conspiracies are being hatched to ‘pack up the elected government’ pointing at the army and making a strong assertion that parliament is the highest of all the state organs. He declared that all the state organs, including the military, are answerable to the parliament and the government would not allow anyone to claim to be state within a state.
Prime Minister Gillani’s speech was the outcome of the statements submitted in the Supreme Court by the Chief of Army Staff and the chief of the ISI, the inter services intelligence agency, in the case of the ‘Memo Gate Scandal’ wherein the former Ambassador to the US was implicated by a Pakistani-American businessman for writing a memo to former chief of the US army to use his offices to stop the Pakistani Army and ISI making a coup against the civilian government. Through the memo the Pakistani-American businessman was also accusing that President of Pakistan, Mr. Asif Zardari, being a boss of the Ambassador was involved in writing a letter against his own military top brass.
There should be no room for confusion. Nor should we put blinders on our eyes. The Memo (with a capital M) has not endangered our nukes or lowered army morale. This last is really absurd. If army morale is to be lowered by a forgotten piece of paper, no matter what was inscribed on it, we are in more danger than we think.
Of all the sacred altars at which the Islamic Republic has allowed itself to be ravaged since 1947, none has been more hallowed than that of national security. The adventures undertaken, the follies perpetrated, in its name. So can we please keep this bogey out of the way?
The Memo is just a handy means to a passionately-desired end: regime change. Getting rid of Asif Zardari and installing a compliant interim setup, leading, at some point in the future, to elections which guarantee “positive results.” Students of Pakistani history would remember that it was Gen Zia who gave currency to the term “positive results.” There is no shortage of retired and serving military men who, in today’s circumstances, translate positive results to mean Imran Khan.
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani Thursday said conspiracies were being hatched to oust the elected government, but vowed to fight for the rights of the people.
Addressing a gathering at the launch of an exhibition of rare photographs of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Pakistan Movement at Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA), Gilani said he is here to serve the people of Pakistan.
The prime minister said, “conspiracies are being hatched to pack-up an elected government. We remain in the government or in opposition, we will continue to protect the rights of the people”.
Gilani categorically stated, “there cannot be a State within a State. Nobody can say that he is not under the government.”
“Every institution of this country including the Ministry of Defence is under the Prime Minister of Pakistan”, he added.
He said there should be no ambiguity about it and nobody should claim himself as an independent. “They are being paid from the State Exchequer, from your revenue and from your taxes.”
“If somebody thinks that they are not under the government, they are mistaken. They are under the government and they remain under the government, because we are the elected representatives of the people of Pakistan.” …. …
…. “But I want to ask how was (bin Laden) living here for the past six years? On what type of visa was he living here? Why was security not taken care of, if he entered in Pakistan without a visa?”
Read more » The News
ISLAMABAD – Pakistan’s embattled Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani on Thursday said conspirators were plotting to bring down his government and delivered an unprecedented tirade against the powerful military.
In astonishing confirmation that he fears being ousted, he angrily denied the government was subservient to the army, long considered the chief arbiter of power in Pakistan as his administration grapples with a damaging scandal.
Pressures are at boiling point over a memo, allegedly written with approval from the president, asking for US help to prevent a feared military coup after Osama bin Laden was killed in May.
Rampant speculation that President Asif Ali Zardari could be forced out of office over the scandal and illness has refused to ease, despite his return to the capital following two weeks of medical treatment in Dubai.
“I want to make it clear today that conspiracies are being hatched here to pack up the elected government,” Gilani told a gathering at the National Arts Gallery, without naming anyone.
“But we will continue to fight for the rights of people of Pakistan whether or not we remain in the government,” Gilani said, declaring himself the country’s longest serving premier, with 45 months on the job. ….
Read more » One Pakistan
– US raid on Haqqanis violation of sovereignty: Gilani
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani warned Washington on Tuesday that continued accusations of playing a double game in the war on militancy only risked fanning anti-Americanism in Pakistan.
Gilani, speaking in an interview, also said any unilateral military action by the United States to hunt down Haqqani network inside Pakistan would be a violation of his country’s sovereignty.
Read more: → The News
Courtesy: → PTV → YouTube
The killing of Osama bin Laden has produced new waves of commentary on the problem of Pakistan. We could all discuss again its selective policy toward terrorists, its complicated relationship with the United States and its mounting dysfunctions. But there is more to this opportunity than an opening for analysis. This is a time for action, to finally push the country toward moderation and genuine democracy.
So far, Pakistan’s military has approached this crisis as it has every one in the past, using its old tricks and hoping to ride out the storm. It is leaking stories to favored journalists, unleashing activists and politicians, all with the aim of stoking anti-Americanism. Having been caught in a situation that suggests either complicity with al-Qaeda or gross incompetence — and the reality is probably a bit of both — it is furiously trying to change the subject. Senior generals angrily denounce America for entering the country. “It’s like a person, caught in bed with another man’s wife, who is indignant that someone entered his house,” one Pakistani scholar, who preferred not to be named for fear of repercussions, told me.
This strategy has worked in the past. In 2009, the Obama administration joined forces with Sens. Richard Lugar and John Kerry to triple American aid to Pakistan’s civilian government and civil society — to $7.5 billion over five years — but with measures designed to strengthen democracy and civilian control over the military. The military reacted by unleashing an anti-American campaign, using its proxies in the media and parliament to denounce “violations of Pakistan’s sovereignty” — the same phrase that’s being hurled about now. The result was that the United States backed off and has conceded that, in practice, none of the strictures in the Lugar-Kerry bill will be implemented.
The military has also, once again, been able to cow the civilian government. According to Pakistani sources, the speech that Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani gave at a recent news conference was drafted by the military. President Asif Ali Zardari continues to appease the military rather than confront the generals. Having come to power hoping to clip the military’s wings, Pakistan’s democratically elected government has been reduced to mouthing talking points written for it by the intelligence services.
There have been almost no marches to protest bin Laden’s death or the American operation, although one 500-person march in Lahore was replayed endlessly on television. The fundamental issue for Pakistan is surely not how America entered the country. The United States has been involved in counterterrorism operations in Pakistan for years, using drones and people. Rather, the fundamental question is, how was it that the world’s leading terrorist was living in Pakistan, with some kind of support network that must have included elements of the Pakistani government? How is it that every major al-Qaeda official who has been captured since 2002 has been comfortably ensconced in a Pakistani city? And how is it that any time these issues are raised, they get drowned out by an organized campaign of anti-Americanism or religious fanaticism?
Washington has given in to the Pakistani military time and again, on the theory that we need the generals badly and that they could go elsewhere for support — to the Chinese, for instance. In fact, the United States has considerable leverage with Islamabad. The Pakistanis need American aid, arms and training to sustain their army. If they are going to receive those benefits, they must become part of Pakistan’s solution and not its problem. With some urgency, Washington should:
l Demand a major national commission in Pakistan — headed by a Supreme Court justice, not an army apparatchik — to investigate whether bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders have been supported and sustained by elements of the Pakistani state.
l Demand that the provisions of the Lugar-Kerry bill on civilian control of the military be strictly followed or aid will be withheld.
l Develop a plan to go after the major untouched terror networks in Pakistan, such as the Haqqani faction, the Quetta Shura and Lashkar-i-Taiba.
In the longer run, as the United States scales back its military presence in Afghanistan, it will need the Pakistani military less and less to supply its troops in theater.
Pakistan’s civilian government, business class and intellectuals have an ever-larger role in this struggle. They should not get distracted by empty anti-American slogans or hypernationalism. This is Pakistan’s moment of truth, its chance to break with its dysfunctions and become a normal, modern country. The opportunity might not come again.
Courtesy: The Washington Post
The key issue is that the security establishment has shown no signs of course correction so far. From the bluster about a befitting response to a future Abbottabad-style attack to the attempted outing of the CIA’s Islamabad station chief, everything points towards a top brass set in its ways and unwilling to let go of its jihadist proxies.
The events of the last ten days have been as much amusing as they have been distressing. The Pakistani establishment has been running like a chicken with its head cut off. From an initial reaction that mixed denial with a desire to claim some credit for the death of the US’s enemy number one, the response has morphed into a wrangling within the ruling classes as well as posturing and digging in vis-à-vis the US.
While the establishment, and now the political government, has determined that there, ostensibly, is enough blame to go around the whole world and the intelligence agencies therein, the primary finger pointing continues between the military and the political elite. It reminds me of the game called ‘hot potato’ in which the kids pass around the hot potato — usually a ball — to the fast pace of music. The person holding the hot potato when the music stops, is out of the game. Apparently, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has been ‘volunteered’ to hold the hot potato of the Osama bin Laden (OBL) fiasco for now.
In a complete about-turn from his statements of less than a month ago, the Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has suddenly discovered the importance of the civilians leading the charge on security issues. Asking the civvies to lead in the national security and foreign policy matters — really? Something is not right with this picture. This never happens unless the top brass is in thick soup. The 1965 Operation Gibraltar, the 1971 Dacca debacle, 1989 Jalalabad misadventure, and the 1999 Kargil disaster: as Yogi Berra would have said, it’s like déjà vu all over again!
In several addresses, including the one last month on the Martyrs’ Day (Yawm-e-Shuhada), General Kayani had made no mention whatsoever of the civilian government. And he was not just talking past them. He had been talking of a bond directly between the people and the army, with the political forces conveniently left out of the equation. Is it not interesting then that the army chief now “believes that the people of Pakistan need to be taken into confidence through their honorable elected representatives”? He has further “requested that strength of democracy must be put into effect to develop a consensus on important security issues, including war on terror. Articulation of a national response through parliament, under the circumstances, is the most effective way to let the world know the historic achievements of Pakistan against al Qaeda and its terror affiliates.” And in the vintage Pakistani Army style, the millstone will be finally put around parliament’s neck, as the general has also requested the “honorable prime minister, Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, to kindly consider convening of a joint session of parliament for briefing on security issues as related to Abbottabad incident”.
In February 1989, the security establishment through the then ISI director, General Hamid Gul, gave an in-camera briefing to parliament. The nascent Benazir Bhutto government had been under severe pressure to steer clear of any interference in the foreign policy agenda set out by the establishment. The domestic pressure brought to bear on BB through a hostile provincial government in Punjab was intensified to get her to comply. The closed-doors briefing informed parliament that the ISI was about to unleash the Afghan mujahideen mercenaries on Jalalabad in March 1989 — a battle that ended in the rout of the jihadists. One of BB’s close lieutenants and perhaps her most powerful minister then, told me: “We decided to step aside and let the khakis have their way … to get them off our backs.” Unfortunately for the Pakistan People’s Party, neither could it shake the khakis off its back then, nor would it be able to do it now. And Pakistan continues to reap the whirlwind for the wind that Hamid Gul et al sowed in Afghanistan.
The civilian government is being blamed now for not taking interest in national security matters. The public memory may be short but we have not yet gone into collective amnesia to not remember the ruckus raised by the establishment and its media stooges to successfully block the placement of the ISI under civilian control in 2008. Similarly, the civilian government and Ambassador Hussain Haqqani were much maligned for ‘engineering’ the clauses in the Kerry-Lugar-Berman Act, which called for civilian oversight of the US funding to the military. And lest we forget, the ambassador neither invited nor granted visas to OBL, Ayman al-Zawahri, Mullah Omar, Tahir Yuldeshev, the Haqqani network and thousands of jihadists roaming in Pakistan.
The question however is not just whether the civilian leadership should extend a lifeline to a junta on the ropes for reasons over which the politicians never had any control. The key issue is that the security establishment has shown no signs of course correction so far. From the bluster about a befitting response to a future Abbottabad-style attack to the attempted outing of the CIA’s Islamabad station chief, everything points towards a top brass set in its ways and unwilling to let go of its jihadist proxies. The embarrassment does not appear to be about lying but about getting caught lying. All indications are that the wiggle room left by the world powers is being squandered through misplaced swagger.
At minimum, the public deserves to know that there has been an undeclared policy of pursuing foreign policy objectives through the jihadist proxies. If the people of Pakistan agree to this adventurism, then at least everyone will be on the same page and brace for whatever consequences it entails. If the PPP and its coalition partners wish to be a party to a jingoistic consensus, more power to them. But such public consensus can never be developed through in-camera briefings and passing on the buck.
While the politicians are rightly accused of dodging accountability, the security establishment has not done any better. In fact, the opposite has been true in many cases. Professor Hassan Abbas records in his book Pakistan’s Drift into Extremism that in Operation Gibraltar, the highly competent General Akhtar Malik was replaced mid-battle with the inept General Yahya Khan, resulting in disaster, but Yahya was never held accountable. But it is better late than never to begin. If OBL indeed moved into his Abbottabad hideout five or six years ago, that implies that General Kayani himself was in charge of the ISI at the time. The buck therefore stops at his desk, not parliament.
The writer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Courtesy: Daily Times
Dar resigns as deputy chief of commission
By Amir Wasim
ISLAMABAD: In what appears to be a face-saving move, Senator Ishaq Dar of the opposition Pakistan Muslim League-N resigned on Wednesday as deputy chairman of the Parliamentary Commission on Implementation of 18th Amendment.
In a five-page letter to Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, Senator Dar cited differences over the devolution of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and transfer of assets and services of federal employees to the provinces as the main reasons for his decision.
Last week, the PML-N senator found himself in a difficult situation when reporters took him on during a news conference with the chairman of the commission, Senator Raza Rabbani, for defending the planned HEC devolution which was against the stance of his party. “I am not responsible for everybody in the party,” he said at the time. …
Read more : DAWN
HEC ‘storm in a teacup’ spills over in NA
By Raja Asghar
ISLAMABAD: Pre-emptive politics. Conspiracy against provincial autonomy. Attempt to degrade parliament.
Such angry comments came from lawmakers as what Senator Raza Rabbani saw as only “a storm in a teacup” over mainly the financial devolution of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) to provinces spilled over in the National Assembly on Tuesday.
And when he received an apparently incomplete information during his speech in the lower house that the Supreme Court had issued a stay order against the planned devolution, Mr Rabbani, Minister for Inter-Provincial Coordination and Chairman of the Parliamentary Commission for the Implementation of the Eighteenth Amendment, remarked: “Probably we are writing a new history to stop parliament from legislation.” …
Read more : DAWN
By Aijaz Ahmed
Islamabad: Director General Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) gets another two years extension in his service, thus all four civilian and the uniformed top brass will remain in the office till 2013, sources in the power corridors revealed to Indus Herald today. However, whether the extension will be taken as a violation of the Supreme Court orders or the extension will bring the political stability in the country is yet to be determined.
Sources placed in the government have confirmed that Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani sent a summary along with his advice for the two years extension in the service of DG ISI Lieutenant General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, which is duly accepted by the president yesterday and thus his present tenure is again extended.
The second extension will start at the end of his first extension tenure that was awarded last year when he was about to retire, but first extension under the law was given for one year.
It may be mentioned that general Kayani, the COAS was also given an extension in his service and also in his tenure as army Chief, ….
…. However, the critical aspect of the extension will be reaction of the Supreme Court on the decision as it has already terminated number of high-ranking police officers including DG FIA, Waseem Ahmed whom the government of the day considers critical in the war on terror. ‘In fact every institution shall work within its limits, and should not intervene in the jurisdiction of any other institution’, said Faisal Raza Abidi.
‘We follow double standards as the registrar Supreme Court is already given two years’ extension by the CJ himself, while army chief is also enjoying an extension, but the civilian government is not allowed to give extension to any civilian officer because of certain other reasons’, commented a senior PPP leader. ‘It is the time now for the Supreme Court to take notice of this extension and set an example’, he added.
Read more : Indus Herald
by Imtiaz Ahmad,
While Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani announced a national mourning for the slain minister for minorities, Shahbaz Bhatti, many politicians and political parties in the country have chosen to remain silent on the issue. In the country’s parliament, a joint statement also could not be iss ued as many MPs refused to condemn the killing.
The main opposition parties, headed by the PML-N party of Nawaz Sharif, has remained strangely silent. Religious parties, which include the Jamaat-e-Islami party have termed the murder a plot to malign Pakistan.
A similar silence was seen when Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer was shot earlier this year. After that killing, most political figures including Nawaz Sharif, and his brother Shahbaz Sharif, who is the chief minister of Punjab, stayed away from the funeral prayers of the slain governor.
“This silence is seen as an endorsement for the murder,” MP Asia Nasir, a Christian, said in parliament. Nasir also pointed to the picture of Muhammad Ali Jinnah hanging on one wall in parliament and told the assembly that it was a sad day for minorities.
Read more : Hindustan Times
Courtesy: Express TV (Kamran Shahid)
Russian Model: Team Leadership, Sovereign Democracy, National Champions
by Shiraz Paracha
Russia has become a leading world power because of its leader Vladimir Putin’s vision and political strategy. Prime Minister Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev have introduced new concepts of team leadership and ‘Sovereign Democracy’ in Russia’s political system.
The relationship between Prime Minister Putin and President Medvedev is harmonious, they speak with one voice. The West is looking for fault lines in Putin-Medvedev relationship but, till date, the Western media and policy makers have not been able to create misunderstandings between Putin and Medvedev. Both leaders stand shoulder to shoulder to defend Russia. …
Read more >> criticalppp
KARACHI: MQM Sindh Assembly MPA Raza Haider has been shot dead on Monday. He was attending funeral procession in Nazimabad when he killed…
Read more >> Dawn