Tag Archives: relationship

US should dump Islamabad, Pakistan diplomat says

WASHINGTON: Washington and Islamabad should give up the fiction of being allies and acknowledge that their interests simply do not converge enough to make them strong partners, Pakistan’s recent envoy to the US, who is now a hunted man in his home country, has advised both sides in a searing examination of tortured relationship between the two countries.

Instead, says Hussain Haqqani, till recently Pakistan’s ambassador to the US, Washington should leave Pakistan to its own devices so that it can discover for itself how weak it is without American aid and support, eventually enabling it to return to the mainstream suitably chastened about its limitations.

“By coming to terms with this reality, Washington would be freer to explore new ways of pressuring Pakistan and achieving its own goals in the region. Islamabad, meanwhile, could finally pursue its regional ambitions, which would either succeed once and for all or, more likely, teach Pakistani officials the limitations of their country’s power,” Haqqani writes about the broken relationship in the latest issue of Foreign Affairs journal.

“Once Pakistan’s national security elites recognize the limits of their power, the country might eventually seek a renewed partnership with the United States — but this time with greater humility and an awareness of what it can and cannot get,” says Haqqani who was ousted by Pakistan’s security establishment because he was seen to be working with Washington to contain the overarching influence of the military on Pakistan.

Taking a distinctly dim view of Pakistan’s prospects without US support, Haqqani acknowledges that “it is also possible, although less likely,” that Pakistani leaders could decide that they are able to do quite well on their own, without relying heavily on the United States, as they have come to do over the last several decades. In that case, too, the mutual frustrations resulting from Pakistan’s reluctant dependency on the United States would come to an end.

“Even if the breakup of the alliance did not lead to such a dramatic denouement, it would still leave both countries free to make the tough strategic decisions about dealing with the other that each has been avoiding,” Haqqani writes. “Pakistan could find out whether its regional policy objectives of competing with and containing India are attainable without US support. The United States would be able to deal with issues such as terrorism and nuclear proliferation without the burden of Pakistani allegations of betrayal.”

Continue reading US should dump Islamabad, Pakistan diplomat says

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Pakistan, Russia Intensify Contacts to Improve Ties

By: Ayaz Gul

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan and Russia have held high-level discussions focusing on how to expand their political, economic and military relationship. But analysts believe Afghanistan is at the center of the intensified diplomacy as both countries are positioning themselves in anticipation of expected withdrawal of most U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan by 2014.

Pakistani military chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani traveled to Moscow this week while Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited Islamabad.

The high-level exchanges took place just days after President Vladimir Putin cancelled his much anticipated trip to Pakistan, which would have been the first visit by a Russian head of the state. He was supposed to be in the Pakistani capital this week to attend a summit involving Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Russia, which was also postponed. The cancellation is seen by many as a setback for efforts to improve ties.

Continue reading Pakistan, Russia Intensify Contacts to Improve Ties

The combination of no apology and no meeting, Mr. Nasr said, “will send a powerfully humiliating message back to Pakistan.

Supply Lines Cast Shadow at NATO Meeting on Afghan War

By HELENE COOPER and MATTHEW ROSENBERG

CHICAGO — President Obama was struggling to balance the United States’ relationship with two crucial but difficult allies on Sunday, after a deal to reopen supply lines through Pakistan to Afghanistan fell apart just as Mr. Obama began talks on ending the NATO alliance’s combat role in the Afghan war.

As a two-day NATO summit meeting opened in Chicago, Mr. Obama remained at loggerheads with President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan, refusing even to meet with him without an agreement on the supply routes, which officials in both countries acknowledged would not be coming soon.

Mr. Zardari, who flew to Chicago with hopes of lifting his stature with a meeting with Mr. Obama, was preparing to leave empty-handed as the two countries continued to feel the repercussions of a fatal American airstrike last November, for which Mr. Obama has offered condolences but no apology. Mr. Zardari did, however, meet with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to discuss the supply routes.

Pakistan closed the routes into Afghanistan after the strike, heightening tensions with Pakistani officials who say that the United States has repeatedly infringed on their sovereignty with drone strikes and other activities.

“This whole breakdown in the relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan has come down to a fixation of this apology issue,” said Vali Nasr, a former State Department adviser on Pakistan. The combination of no apology and no meeting, Mr. Nasr said, “will send a powerfully humiliating message back to Pakistan.” …

Read more » The New York Times

Pak-China ties changing? By Zafar Hilaly

One constant in our foreign relations since the early 1960s has been our singularly positive relationship with China, unlike our ties with other countries, which have had their highs and lows. But how well we manage this relationship will determine whether it proves to be an all weather highway or something more mundane.

While our geostrategic value to China is self-evident, especially our ocean frontage, which would give them commercial access to the sprawling Indian Ocean and the countries on its rim, yet there are challenges to be met before that can be turned into a reality.

The problems are numerous, like religious extremism that has made us particularly inhospitable to foreigners; congenital political infighting; gross economic mismanagement and a serious erosion of state authority and state coherence. Another problem has been the mediocrity of our leaders who are totally unschooled in foreign affairs. If these problems persist, China may conclude that we are too big a risk for them to make grandiose long-term investments.

And that’s not all. Our international isolation is another risk that might make China cautious about strategic investments which would increase its dependence on us while exposing them to danger and uncertainty. All of this may cause China to revise its thinking and adopt a much less ambitious approach – not withstanding all the gibberish about our friendship being ‘higher than K-2 and deep than the Indian Ocean’.

Hence, there was alarm when the Chinese foreign ministry spokesman praised Zardari’s trip to India. Not just that. He also accused ‘a country in South Asia’, for providing sanctuary to six Muslim Uighur leaders of the East Turkestan Islamic Movement who ‘not only threaten China’s national security’ but, according to the official Xinhua news agency, ‘poses the most direct and real safety threat that China faces.’ Xinhua also made brief references to how important India-Pakistan normalisation is for China today because Beijing sees subcontinental stability to be in its strategic interest.

Continue reading Pak-China ties changing? By Zafar Hilaly

Time to get rid of ‘strategic depth’ hangover: Khar

By Baqir Sajjad Syed

ISLAMABAD, March 2: Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar has said she hopes for a relationship with Afghanistan based on trust and called for leaving behind the past associated with interference in that country and support for Taliban.

“Recognise what we are doing now without overshadowing it with whatever has been Pakistan’s historical baggage. We are moving out of that hangover,” Ms Khar said at a meeting with a group of journalists at her office a week after Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani launched an appeal for all Afghan groups to join an intra-Afghan process for peace and reconciliation. ….

Read more » DAWN

Zardari and the Generals’ consensus

By Praveen Swami

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Generals’ consensus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Political resurgence?

Continue reading Zardari and the Generals’ consensus

U.S. resolution for independent Balochistan

A US resolution for independent Balochistan

Baloch are divided between Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan: Rohrabacher

They had the right to self-determination and to their own sovereign country, says resolution

A US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher has introduced in his country’s Congress a resolution seeking the right of self-determination for Baloch in Pakistan.

The resolution called as the House Concurrent Resolution in the US House of Representatives and co-sponsored by Representatives Louie Gohmert and Steve King calls for sovereign country for the people of Balochistan.

A week ago, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher had also chaired a Congressional committee’s hearing on Balochistan. His move is likely to affect Pakistan’s relations with the US. Both the countries are already sharing difficult relationship after the NATO attack on Pakistani post. Pakistan in reaction had suspended NATO supplies to Afghanistan.

The resolution says hat revolts in 1958, 1973 and 2005 indicate continued popular discontent against rule by Islamabad, and the plunder of its vast natural wealth while Baluchistan remains the poorest province in Pakistan.

The resolution further adds there is also an insurgency in Sistan-Balochistan, which is being repressed by Iran. The people of Balochistan, it said were divided between Pakistan, Iran, and Afghanistan and they had the right to self-determination and to their own sovereign country and they should be afforded the opportunity to choose their own status among the community of nations, living in peace and harmony, without external coercion.

Media reports said Rohrabacher, who is also the Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations also issued a statement from his office which said, “The Baluchi, like other nations of people, have an innate right to self-determination. The political and ethnic discrimination they suffer is tragic and made more so because America is financing and selling arms to their oppressors in Islamabad.”

The press release further added that Balochistan is “rich in natural resources but has been subjugated and exploited by Punjabi and Pashtun elites in Islamabad, leaving Baluchistan the country’s poorest province.”

WASHINGTON: TP MD, Feb 17, 2012

Courtesy » The Point – Voice of Sindh & Balochistan

http://www.thepoint.com.pk/world97.php

Pakistan’s army should go back to the barracks

By Najam Sethi

The Pakistan army’s vaulting mission to remain the most powerful actor in Pakistani politics has received irreparable setbacks in the last few years.

On the one hand, this is due to the onset of several new factors in the body politic determining the direction of political change in the future.

On the other, it reflects poorly on the ability and willingness of the army’s leadership to understand the far-reaching nature of this change and adapt to it seamlessly.

Pakistan’s future as a viable nation-state now depends on how the generals read the writing on the wall and quickly come to terms with it. Here is a checklist of recent failures that have downgraded the Pak army’s rating with Pakistanis.

(1) The army’s policy of nurturing anti- Americanism in Pakistan for leveraging its strategic relationship with the US has backfired and left it stranded in no-man’s land. It can’t let go of the US privately for purposes of economic rent and military aid extraction but it can’t embrace it publicly because of the rampant ‘Ghairat’ brigade of extremist Islamic nationalists that it has brainwashed.

(2) The army’s policy of nurturing the Afghan Taliban in private while appeasing the Pakistan Taliban in public has also backfired.

The Afghan Taliban are now negotiating directly with America while the Pakistan Taliban are waging an ‘existential’ war against the Pak army and civil society. PAK army’s relationship with the government, opposition, and media is at an all-time low.

The government has meekly folded before the army on every issue; but the army’s arrogant, intrusive and relentlessly anti government propaganda and behaviour is deeply resented.

The media is also wiser and critical about its manipulation by the army and ISI viz its Drone policy, the Raymond Davis affair and Memogate.

Question marks remain over its incompetence or complicity in the OBL affair, especially following recent revelations by former DG-ISI Ziauddin Butt that General Pervez Musharraf ‘hid’ Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad.

The murder of journalist Saleem Shahzad, followed by running threats to a clutch of independent journalists, is laid at the ISI’s door.

The ease with which terrorists have breached military security, as in the attacks on GHQ, ISI offices, military Messes, Mehran Naval Base, etc also rankle deeply.

Finally, the media is now speaking up and asking disturbing questions about the role of MI in the disappearances and torture of Baloch activists. Consequently, the media is loath to blindly follow the army’s ‘line’ on any issue any more. The PMLN, meanwhile, has gone the whole hog, openly demanding that the intrusion of the military in politics must be curtailed and the army’s overweening power cut to size.

If its ratings are falling, the army’s ability to manipulate politics to its ends is also diminishing. In the old days, the army chief was the most powerful member of the ruling troika that included the president and prime minister. Now the office of the president has lost its clout and there are two new and powerful contenders for say.

The first is the judiciary under Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudry that has unprecedentedly pushed politicians into a corner for corrupt practices and the military on the defensive for being unaccountable (the Mehrangate affair of 1990, disappearances and murder of Baloch and Taliban extremists in captivity).

The second is the electronic media that is reaching tens of millions of Pakistanis and courageously raising their consciousness. Neither will countenance any direct or indirect military intervention in politics. Recently, in a bid to salvage some wounded pride, the army chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, said that defense expenditure is a mere 18 per cent of the budget and not over 50 per cent as alleged by critics like Maulana Fazlur Rahman. But the truth is that defense expenditure is about 25 per cent of the budget after hidden ‘defense’ items in government expenditures like the military’s salaries and pensions, special project allocations, etc are unveiled and supplementary grants in any budgetary year are accounted for.

More to the point, it is about 50 per cent of all tax revenues in any year, which puts a big burden on the fiscal deficit. Gen Kayani also insists that the army is not involved in quelling unrest in Balochistan. But the fact remains that the Rangers and Frontier Corps who are in charge of ‘law and order’ in the province are directly commanded by army officers who report to GHQ even though they are formally under the interior ministry.

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

DAWN – US Congressional hearing may spell trouble for Pakistan

By Malik Siraj Akbar

The United States (US) Committee on Foreign Affairs is set to convene a congressional hearing on Wednesday (February 8), for an exclusive discussion on Balochistan.

The extraordinary event has generated great interest among followers of Pakistan-US relations, as the allies’ mutual relationship seems to be deteriorating. The powerful House of Representatives committee oversees America’s foreign assistance programs and experts believe it can recommend halting US assistance to Pakistan over human rights violation in Balochistan.

Calls for ‘independence’
While Islamabad has strictly treated Balochistan as an internal matter, the debate on such a divisive topic by the powerful committee has highlighted the level of American interest in Balochistan and its support, if any, for the nationalist movement. On its part, Pakistan has kept Washington at arm’s length on the Balochistan issue, by refusing to grant it permission to open a consulate in Quetta.

A Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, who recently co-authored an article with Congressman Louie Gohmert expressing support for an independent Balochistan, will chair the hearing.

Continue reading DAWN – US Congressional hearing may spell trouble for Pakistan

Husain Haqqani’s wife parliamentarian Farahnaz Isphani talks to Wolf Blitzer

Farahnaz Isphani discusses the status of memogate hearing and threats being made while making an emotional appeal for justice in the case.

Courtesy: CNN » Wolf Blitzer

Sen. John McCain and Graham warn Pakistan about killing US troops

STATEMENT BY SENATORS McCAIN AND GRAHAM ON PAKISTAN

December 5, 2011 – Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) today released the following statement on Pakistan:

“We fully appreciate the importance of U.S. relations with Pakistan, which we believe can serve U.S. national security interests. The cross-border air action that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers was unfortunate and unintentional, and we are confident that the investigation being conducted by NATO and the U.S. military will clarify the circumstances of this terrible tragedy. We join the President and our colleagues in once again expressing our deep condolences to those who lost loved ones.

The Pakistani government’s response to these events, however, has been deeply troubling and has added to the continued deterioration of our relationship. In recent days, the government has prevented NATO supplies from entering Afghanistan through Pakistan. It has ordered U.S. intelligence officers to leave the country and disrupted their work on important national security matters. And it has boycotted an international conference in Bonn, Germany that supports peace in Afghanistan.

“If these actions were not concerning enough, there were reports just this morning that the Pakistani government has allegedly decided to suspend all bilateral agreements related to counterterrorism, as part of a broader review of Pakistan’s political, diplomatic, and military relations with the United States. Such steps by the Pakistani government would mark a new low for our relationship.

“The United States has been incredibly patient with Pakistan. And we have been so despite certain undeniable and deeply disturbing facts. Most importantly, Pakistani army and intelligence officials continue to support the Haqqani Network and other terrorist groups in Pakistan that are killing U.S. troops in Afghanistan, and the vast majority of the material used to make improvised explosive devices used against U.S. forces in Afghanistan originates from two fertilizer factories inside Pakistan.

“The time has come for the United States to fully review its relations with Pakistan. We must assess the nature and levels of our support for Pakistan. In particular, all options regarding U.S. security and economic assistance to Pakistan must be on the table, including substantial reductions and stricter standards for performance. Most of all, U.S. policy toward Pakistan must proceed from the realistic understanding that certain actions of Pakistan’s military are contributing to the death and injury of our men and women in the military and jeopardizing our national security interests.

“In light of what could be an entirely new relationship with Pakistan, the United States and our allies must develop contingency plans to ensure the continued logistical support necessary for our military operations in Afghanistan.”

Courtesy » http://mccain.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=PressOffice.PressReleases&ContentRecord_id=10974d5c-9375-faca-6f92-4026304d9334

Afghan officials voice scant remorse to Pakistan

By Joshua Partlow and Karin Brulliard

A former Afghan official said Karzai is regularly frustrated by what he sees as the United States’ failure to take stronger action against Taliban sanctuaries in Pakistan or pressure Pakistan’s military or intelligence agency to address the problem.

“We put all our eggs in the American basket,” he said. “The problem is, that basket has a huge hole in it, and it’s called Pakistan.”

KABUL — The Afghan police general watched on television as Pakistani soldiers solemnly saluted the coffins of 24 of their comrades who were killed in a U.S. military airstrike Saturday.

The general stood up in disgust. “That’s the best thing America has done in 10 years here,” he said.

While U.S. officials from the war zone to the White House offered contrite condolences to the families of the dead and scrambled to repair the tattered relationship with Pakistan, Afghan officials have taken a tougher line. Frustrated by a Taliban insurgency they are convinced is supervised by and based in Pakistan, they have expressed little remorse, even accusing Pakistan of exaggerating the gravity of the situation to deflect attention from its own meddling in Afghanistan.

Afghan officials said the strike — which followed an operation by U.S. Special Operations forces and Afghan army commandos — was justified because the troops came under fire first from a Pakistani border post. “We have absolutely nothing to apologize for,” a senior official said.

Read more » The Washington Post

Jamaat Leader Gave Fatwa Authorising raping Hindu women

Sayedee gave fatwa ‘legalising war booty including women’

The chief prosecutor on Monday told the International Crimes Tribunal that accused Delwar Hossain Sayedee during the liberation war had pronounced ‘fatwa’ (Islamic religious edict) legalising war booty, including goods, chattels and women, captured from the ‘enemies’ terming those ‘mal-e-ganimat (war boaty),’ reports UNB.

Closing the opening statement, chief prosecutor Golam Arif Tipu said accused Sayedee as an armed Razakar commander was a party to it.

People saw Sayedee wearing white panjabi tucked with his lungi like loin cloth carrying on his head and hands the war booty of goods and chattels, the chief prosecutor said, adding that the war booty were dumped in his father-in-law’s house.

About the captured women during the war of Liberation especially of the Hindu community, the chief prosecutor said the women war booty were kept reserved to be sexually enjoyed by the Pakistan occupation forces at Parerhat makeshift camp in Pirojpur.

At one stage, Sayedee had developed illicit relationship with a young girl, Bhanu Saha, daughter of Bipod Saha at Parerhat and regularly went to her house to have sex with her under duress, the chief prosecutor said.

The chief prosecutor further stated that ravished Bhanu left for India from her motherland and never returned to Bangladesh. Later, Bhanu got married there and now leads a family life, he added.

The chief prosecutor also stated that after the emergence of Bangladesh, Sayedee, had gone into hiding for long and reappeared at his locality after one-and-half-decades in 1986. Later, Sayedee started lecturing on religious subjects as ‘fake’ maulana, he said.

Earlier, the chief prosecutor, in a nutshell, gave horrendous descriptions of atrocities perpetrated by the Pakistan Army and its cohorts killing innocent freedom-loving people, including then Pirojpur Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) Fayezur Rahman Ahmed, father of writer-brothers Humayun Ahmed and Zafar Iqbal, SDO-in charge Abdur Razzaq and district magistrate Saif Mizanur Rahman. They were captured from their workplaces and later gunned down. Their bodies were thrown into the Baleshwar River.

Sayedee had also helped recruit Razakars, an auxiliary force of the occupation army, and invited the army by establishing makeshift camps in Pirojpur for committing crimes against humanity, the chief prosecutor mentioned.

Nayeb-e-ameer of Jamaat-e-Islami Sayedee (71), was charged with crimes against humanity, including genocide, rape, arson attacks, looting, and forcibly converting Hindus into Muslims during the liberation war in collaboration with the Pakistani occupation forces. The charges fall under section 3 (2) and its sub-sections of the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act 1973.

The recording of evidence of the prosecution witnesses before the tribunal will start on December 7.

Courtesy » The Financial Express

http://www.thefinancialexpress-bd.com/more.php?news_id=156854&date=2011-11-22

Pakistan and America – To the bitter end

Growing concerns about a difficult relationship

THOUGH America’s relations with Pakistan grow ever more wretched, it remains hard to imagine either side daring to break them off. Military types, diplomats, analysts and politicians in Islamabad describe a mood more poisonous than at any time for a generation. Links between the intelligence agencies, the core of bilateral relations for six decades, are worst of all, notably since America caught Osama bin Laden hiding amid Pakistan’s apron strings. Pakistan felt humiliated too by the way the al-Qaeda leader was killed.

Yet the ties still bind, amid fears of far worse. Last month, America’s departing chief of staff, Mike Mullen, said Pakistan’s army spies ran the Haqqani network, a militant outfit that has killed American men in Afghanistan and attacked the embassy in Kabul in September. The chatter in Pakistan was of frenzied preparation for military confrontation.

Many Pakistanis seemed jubilant at the idea, with polls suggesting over 80% of them are hostile to their ally, and chat shows competing to pour scorn on America as the root of all evil. Instead relations have been patched up. Last week Barack Obama said mildly that the outside world must “constantly evaluate” Pakistan’s behaviour. In what may signal a conciliation of sorts, a new CIA chief has been installed in Islamabad, the third in a year after Pakistani spies outed his predecessors.

American policy is contradictory. On the one side are defence types, eager to fight jihadists and angry at Pakistani meddling in southern and eastern Afghanistan. On the other side are diplomats, anxious about losing tabs on Pakistani nukes or having to do without Pakistani assistance in stopping terror attacks in the West. Many also fear the spreading failure of the Pakistani state (see article). A senior American official in Islamabad starkly describes how the relationship seemed lost last month, with “huge numbers of people trying not to let it go over the edge”.

For the moment ties persist, though they are loosened. America has suspended military aid, supposedly worth hundreds of millions of dollars (Pakistanis say Americans inflate the figures). It has not paid its agreed dues to Pakistan’s army for several months, nor have its trainers returned. America is also readier than before to back things that Pakistan despises, such as India’s blossoming relations with Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, who last week swept through Delhi to laud India’s growing role as a donor.

Pakistan’s army has responded by giving a little ground. It still refuses America’s call for a war on militants in the border area of North Waziristan—“it’s bad strategy to ignite everything at once” sniffs a gloomy Pakistani official—but it has, apparently, nudged Haqqani leaders from their hiding places over the border into Afghanistan. At the same time Pakistanis complain of impossible American demands over jihadists: they say Mr Obama’s strategy of “fight and talk” in Afghanistan requires Pakistan’s army to handle insurgent fighters by killing, capturing and bringing them into negotiations all at the same time.

Afghanistan, where the two countries fumble and fail to accommodate each other, will remain the crux of Pakistan’s relations with America. Pakistan’s leaders long derided what they saw as America’s vain “transformative” struggle to make Afghanistan modern, democratic and united—perhaps they also feared a similar push to refashion the role of the army in Pakistan. The head of Pakistan’s armed forces, General Ashfaq Kayani, in particular, is said to dismiss America’s understanding of the fractured country next door as naive and simplistic, a doomed effort to make Afghanistan into something it is not.

But as America’s ambitions there have shrunk to little more than extracting its soldiers fast and leaving behind a minimally stable territory that is not dominated by Pushtuns, concerns in Pakistan have grown anew. It now fears being abandoned, losing aid and relevance, and becoming encircled by forces allied with its old foe, India. Several commentators in Islamabad suggest that, sooner than have a united neighbour that is pro-India, Pakistan would prefer more war and division in Afghanistan—“let Afghanistan cook its own goose” says an ex-general.

A crunch could come in the next few months, as foreigners gather for a pair of summits on Afghanistan, first in Istanbul in November, then in Bonn in December. What should have been a chance to back domestic peace talks (which have not happened) could instead be a moment for recrimination, with Pakistanis to take the blame. Worse yet for Pakistan would be if its ill-starred performance as an ally becomes a prominent issue in Mr Obama’s presidential re-election campaign. Afghanistan is sure to dominate a NATO summit to be held in Chicago in May.

Afghanistan may, or may not, recede in importance after 2014, when America is due to cut the number of soldiers it has in the region. Yet even without the thorn of Afghanistan, a list of divisive, unattended issues infects Pakistan’s relations with America. On their own they would be more than enough to shake relations between most countries.

Pakistan is a known proliferator, and is more hostile than almost any other country to America’s global efforts to cut nuclear arsenals and prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction. America is fast expanding its economic and military ties with Pakistan’s great rival, India. And Pakistan’s domestic rule would set most American diplomats’ hair on end—venal civilian leaders; army men hankering for the next coup and having pesky journalists killed off; Islamists who shoot opponents for being liberal. With a friend like Pakistan, who needs enemies?

Courtesy: The Economist

http://www.economist.com/node/21532322

Wake up Pakistan! – By Najam Sethi

– US-Pak relations have broken down. The United States has “suspended” military aid and all but closed the Kerry-Lugar-Berman tap of funds for the civilians. Proud Pakistanis have puffed up their chests and vowed to eat grass, if necessary, in order to defend the “sovereignty” of their country. What’s the big deal, they aver, US aid was peanuts anyway, and our traditional friends like China and Saudi Arabia are at hand to bail us out of our problems.

Continue reading Wake up Pakistan! – By Najam Sethi

Congressional Briefing: The importance of Sindh in the U.S./Pakistani relationship

Congressional Briefing: The importance of Sindh in the U.S./Pakistani relationship: How flood aid is of humanitarian and U.S. national security interest

Washington, D.C., Oct. 7, 2011 – The Sindhi American Political Action Committee in conjunction with the Congressional Sindh Caucus will host a congressional briefing at the Capitol Hill in room HC-5 on October 13, from 2:00 p.m. – 4:00p.m. The topics for discussion at the briefing will be the current floods in Sindh, the U.S. – Pakistan relationship, and U.S. aid and assistance in the Sindh Province in regards to the floods.

Heavy monsoon rains in early August have devastated the Sindh region of Pakistan. Sixteen of the 23 districts in Sindh have been affected with over 1.7 million acres of standing crops, the Sindhis main source of livelihood, destroyed. More than 270 deaths have been reported and more than 6 million people have been displaced or directly affected by flood waters. Currently, there are 700,000 people living in temporary sites and 280,000 have been relocated to 1,800 relief camps within Sindh. There have been 120,000 pregnant women and 500,000 children who have been directly affected by the floods and more than 2 million people are suffering from flood-related diseases. Thousands of flood victims need relief and aid, but the slow and limited response of the Pakistani government and the international community has left a gap that is being filled by Islamist terrorist organizations like Jamaat-ud-dawa.

As the Sindhi people are a peaceful people, wanting a region that is accepting of religions and cultures, they stand as a crucial ally to the United States in this vulnerable region in the world. The briefing will bring to light the importance of maintaining a good relationship between the United States and the Sindhis and the Sindh region and how flood relief is of importance in this endeavor.

Speakers at the briefing will include Dr. Haider K. Nizamani, teaches Political Science at the University of British Columbia, Dr. Louis Flam, professor of archaeology, paleoecology, geo-archaeology and South Asian Studies at the City University of New York, Dr. Geeta Chainani, President and co-founder of Life Bridge US, and Dr. Gul Agha, professor of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Courtesy: » Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, October 8, 2011.

China is not eager to jump in Afpak conflict

– Analysis: China to keep Pakistan embrace at arm’s length

By Sui-Lee Wee

BEIJING: (Reuters) – Pakistan, facing a crisis with the United States, has leaned closely to longtime partner China, offering its “all-weather friendship” with Beijing as an alternative to Washington.

But Pakistan will be disappointed if it hopes to replace American patronage with the same from China.

While China does not welcome the U.S. presence near its border, it wants stability on its western flank and believes an abrupt withdrawal of Washington’s support for Pakistan could imperil that. It also does not want to upset warming relations with India by getting mired in subcontinent security tension.

Maintaining that delicate balance, China will continue supporting economic cooperation with Pakistan but go slow on defense cooperation. While outwardly all smiles and warm pledges of friendship, China will quietly keep things at arms length.

“I think they see what’s going on in the U.S.-Pakistan front at the moment as reason to tread very carefully,” said Andrew Small, a researcher at the German Marshall Fund think-tank in Brussels who studies China-Pakistan ties and often visits both countries.

“They are taking extra care to make sure that what’s going on in the relationship is correctly understood, not reflecting any willingness to rush in or fill the gap or exploit differences.”

Pakistan’s brittle relationship with the United States, its major donor, has turned openly rancorous. Washington accused Pakistan’s powerful ISI spy agency of directly backing the Afghan Taliban-allied Haqqani network and of providing support for a September 13 attack on the U.S. mission in Kabul. ….

Read more → Reuters

Talk to, not at, Pakistan

– By Asif Ali Zardari

Democracy always favors dialogue over confrontation. So, too, in Pakistan, where the terrorists who threaten both our country and the United States have gained the most from the recent verbal assaults some in America have made against Pakistan. This strategy is damaging the relationship between Pakistan and the United States and compromising common goals in defeating terrorism, extremism and fanaticism. ….

Read more → The Washington Post

Aatish Taseer, the son of an assassinated Pakistani leader, explains the history and hysteria behind a deadly relationship

– Why My Father Hated India

By AATISH TASEER

Ten days before he was assassinated in January, my father, Salman Taseer, sent out a tweet about an Indian rocket that had come down over the Bay of Bengal: “Why does India make fools of themselves messing in space technology? Stick 2 bollywood my advice.”

My father was the governor of Punjab, Pakistan’s largest province, and his tweet, with its taunt at India’s misfortune, would have delighted his many thousands of followers. It fed straight into Pakistan’s unhealthy obsession with India, the country from which it was carved in 1947. …

Read more → THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

800 million dollar question?

by D Asghar

Excerpt;

Many scream off the top of their lungs about our honor and sovereignty, but very rarely can come up with a solution, which hits a bull’s eye to our economic woes

The moment that dreaded news of the US government suspending its $850 Million aid to the Pakistani Military, hit the wires, there was this flurry of various experts. All weighed in, with their expert comments to exacerbate the already stretched and strained relationship between Pakistan and US. This was of course followed by all sorts of other explanations along with jingoistic comments.

The ongoing love-hate (mostly hate) relationship with America, begs some serious introspection. The gist of the matter is that any and all relationships, whether personal or national are dependent on vested self interest. To exploit a situation to maximize the self benefit is considered sound diplomacy. To say that we are lagging in that art of international politics would be a major understatement.

Ever since the event of May 02, we have been going through various debacles and till this date, we have not come to the realization of what challenges we face as a nation. We are surrounded by not so friendly nations around us. It is hard to admit, but it is due to our doing as well. From the get go, we seem to be in a “la Shaheen” mode. If it all boils down to the “strategic depth”, then make no mistake, we have dug a deep one for ourselves. ….

…. So as I said earlier, it all boils down to sound diplomacy. Diplomacy certainly does not mean laying down flat and let people run all over you. I think that it’s about time that we look around and learn a lesson or two from our neighbors. The $800 million question is what are we willing to apply, our rarely used head or our hyper inflated ego?

To read complete article → ViewPoint

US Suspends $800 Million in Military Aid to Pakistan‎

– U.S. Suspends $800 Million in Pakistan Aid

WASHINGTON— (Associated Press) – President Barack Obama’s chief of staff confirmed that the U.S. is suspending $800 million in military aid to Pakistan.

William Daley said the U.S. relationship with Pakistan is “difficult” and must be made “to work over time.” But he told ABC television’s “This Week” that until “we get through that difficulty, we’ll hold back some of the money that the American taxpayers are committed to give” the U.S. ally.

Mr. Daley says the countries are trying to work through issues that have strained ties.

The New York Times reported that the U.S. is upset with Pakistan for expelling American military trainers and wants tougher action against the Taliban and others fighting American soldiers in Afghanistan.

Tensions between the countries have surged since U.S. forces killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan in May.

Courtesy: → THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

“Cultural Terrorism” in Pakistan

By Omar

Pakistani Islamist Groups Call Pro-LGBT Event “Cultural Terrorism” | Care2 Causes.

More interesting than the small-scale event is the deliberate announcement of the same by the embassy. This, along with today’s “leak” that the US knows that the ISI killed Saleem Shahzad (an accusation almost universally believed in Pakistan’ s journalist community in any case) may indicate that the US (which taught these “skills” to the ISI in the first place) is ready for some aggressive psyops in this “transactional relationship”. …

Read more → BrownPundits

Pakistan-U.S. security relationship at lowest point since 2001, officials say

By Karen DeYoung and Griff Witte

The security relationship between the United States and Pakistan has sunk to its lowest level since the two countries agreed to cooperate after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, endangering counterterrorism programs that depend on the partnership, according to U.S. and Pakistani officials.

Both sides say further deterioration is likely as Pakistan’s military leadership comes under unprecedented pressure from within its ranks to reduce ties with the United States. The army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, was jeered last month by fellow officers who demanded in a town-hall-style meeting that he explain why Pakistan supports U.S. policy.

Kayani “is fighting to survive,” said one U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of current sensitivities. “His corps commanders are very strongly anti-U.S. right now, so he has to appease them.” …

Read more: The Washington Post

Pakistan Arrests C.I.A. Informants in Bin Laden Raid

By ERIC SCHMITT and MARK MAZZETTI

WASHINGTON — Pakistan’s top military spy agency has arrested some of the Pakistani informants who fed information to the Central Intelligence Agency in the months leading up to the raid that led to the death of Osama bin Laden, according to American officials.
Pakistan’s detention of five C.I.A. informants, including a Pakistani Army major who officials said copied the license plates of cars visiting Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in the weeks before the raid, is the latest evidence of the fractured relationship between the United States and Pakistan. It comes at a time when the Obama administration is seeking Pakistan’s support in brokering an endgame in the war in neighboring Afghanistan.

Read more: The New York Times

Sethi: US-Pakistan Relationship ‘Riddled With Ambiguities’

NEW YORK: May 19, 2011 — The Friday Times editor Najam Sethi, who appeared at Asia Society’s Pakistan 2020 launch, discusses the complexities of the US-Pakistan relationship and why Pakistan is “rushing toward” China.

via Wichaar, YouTube

The cost of Pakistan’s double game

By Daud Khattak

Excerpt:

…. Yet even after militants were allowed to settle in the tribal areas with little resistance from the Pakistani state, the tribesmen were (and are still) told that it was because of U.S. drone strikes that these “holy warriors” fled to their areas. Hence, each missile against foreign militants or their Pakistani counterparts increased the potential number of militants flowing in and fueled rising anti-Americanism in Pakistan, serving the short-term political interests of pro-Taliban elements in the country’s security establishment, while allowing the army to play on anti-American sentiment domestically while still occasionally offering militants to the United States, either for arrest or targeting by drones, as a sign of good faith and in order to maintain a steady flow of military aid.

Recent history provides ample room for suspicion that the relationship between militants and the Pakistani military or intelligence agencies continues. Some key points should lead informed observers, for instance, to suspect some knowledge of slain al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s presence in the highly-secured cantonment town of Abbottabad among Pakistani intelligence officials. For instance, the structure of the house is very different from the rest of the buildings in the area, and that plus the barbed wires atop its 18 to 20 feet high boundary walls would have likely drawn some suspicion to the compound’s residents.

The compound is located less than a kilometer from Pakistan’s Kakul Military Academy. Security officials, who keep a strict watch on anyone entering and living in a cantonment zone, somehow managed to miss the compound, which sticks out from the others around it. The Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kayani even visited the Kakul Academy less than 10 days before the May 2 raid, something that was undoubtedly preceded by security officials combing the nearby areas for any suspicious people or activities, as is the standard practice for such visits. Additionally, locals told the writer that three gas connections were provided to the house within a few days after its construction, which otherwise takes weeks if not months. But again, no alarm was raised.

Additionally, groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Sipah-e-Sihaba Pakistan (SSP) continue to operate openly despite being nominally banned. Indeed, locals I have spoken with in Kurram agency blame Pakistani intelligence for bringing the Sunnis against the Shi’a there, simply to show the world that Pakistan is heading towards de-stabilization and only U.S. and international support can save the society from becoming radical (not to mention the benefit accrued by the Haqqani network, who now have space to operate if their North Waziristan sanctuary is compromised). And a brief look at some of the militants operating in Pakistan currently raises questions about how they have been able to implant themselves and continue operating.

For instance, is it believable that Khyber agency-based militant and former bus driver Mangal Bagh, a warlord with no more than 500 volunteers, can operate just 15 kilometers away from Pakistan’s 11 Corps headquarters in the town of Bara, kidnapping people from Peshawar and other parts of the country, attacking powerful tribal elders, ministers, and journalists from Khyber agency, attacking NATO supply convoys, and carrying out public attacks and executions? Maulana Fazlullah, a leading warlord in the Swat Valley, a man who was once a chair-lift operator on the Swat River, became the most powerful commander in the area in a span of two years, with little government opposition. When the military conducted an operation in Swat upon the request of the secular Pashtun nationalist Awami National Party (ANP) government in Khyber-Puktunkhwa, Fazlullah somehow managed to break a cordon of 20,000 soldiers backed by helicopters and jets to escape. And in Bajaur, Taliban commander Faqir Muhammad’s forces were “cleared” in 2008, but though hundreds of thousands of locals were displaced, their houses destroyed, their crops burnt and their cattle killed, Faqir Muhammad continues to leave peacefully in the agency.

And those who rose up to confront the Taliban received little protection from the government. When the ANP, after coming into power in Khyber-Puktunkhwa, raised its voice against the Taliban, party leader Asfandyar Wali Khan was attacked by a suicide bomber inside his house in his hometown of Charsadda. Since then, the party leadership has lived in Islamabad. The party’s spokesman and Information Minister Mian Iftikhar’s son was killed by armed men close to his house last July. Mian Iftikhar and another outspoken minister of the KP government, Bashir Bilour, escaped several attempts on their lives; Asfandyar Wali Khan’s sister Dr. Gulalay, who is not involved with party politics, was attacked in Peshawar, and ANP lawmaker Alam Zeb Khan was killed in a bomb attack in the same city, before finally the party leadership and members were forced to stop their vocal opposition to the militants.

To read complete article: Foreign Policy

via Wichaar

US-Pakistan relations and bin Laden’s demise

Bin Laden’s capture has not told us anything new about the dysfunctional US-Pakistan relationship.

by Robert Grenier

The past three weeks have not been easy for a self-professed – one might say “confessed” – friend of Pakistan, at least not for one who makes his address in Washington, DC.

No sooner had President Obama announced the death of Osama bin Laden in a covert raid by US commandos on a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, home of the Pakistan Military Academy, than a monumental media firestorm was set loose, making rational dialogue concerning the situation next to impossible. All manner of ill-informed stories shot up like high-order detonations, quickly accompanied by dubious “expert commentary”, much of which was highly misleading.

Just to cite one of the more unfortunate examples, initial, breathless accounts of the bin Laden compound described it as a huge mansion, heavily fortified with 18-foot (5.5m) walls – some eight times bigger than anything surrounding it – thus conveying the mental picture of a cross between the Taj Mahal and the US gold vault at Fort Knox. Pakistani officials, it was alleged, “had” to have known that this was an extraordinary location. Not to have investigated it was the equivalent of willful ignorance, it was said, if not a clear indication of outright official collusion with bin Laden and his hosts. ….

Read more: Aljazeera

via Wichaar

Obama administration is divided over future of U.S.-Pakistan relationship

By Karen DeYoung and Karin Brulliard

Two weeks after the death of Osama bin Laden, the Obama administration remains uncertain and divided over the future of its relationship with Pakistan, according to senior U.S. officials.

The discovery of the al-Qaeda leader in a city near Pakistan’s capital has pushed many in the administration beyond any willingness to tolerate Pakistan’s ambiguous connections with extremist groups. After years of ineffective American warnings, many U.S. officials are concluding that a change in policy is long overdue.

Those warnings are detailed in a series of contemporaneous written accounts, obtained by The Washington Post, chronicling three years of often-contentious meetings involving top officials of both countries. Confirmed by U.S. and Pakistani participants, the exchanges portray a circular debate in which the United States repeatedly said it had irrefutable proof of ties between Pakistani military and intelligence officials and the Afghan Taliban and other insurgents, and warned that Pakistani refusal to act against them would exact a cost.

U.S. officials have said they have no evidence top Pakistani military or civilian leaders were aware of bin Laden’s location or authorized any official support, but his residence within shouting distance of Pakistani military installations has brought relations to a crisis point.

Some officials, particularly in the White House, have advocated strong reprisals, especially if Pakistan continues to refuse access to materials left behind by U.S. commandos who scooped up all the paper and computer drives they could carry during their deadly 40-minute raid on bin Laden’s compound.

“You can’t continue business as usual,” said one of several senior administration officials who discussed the sensitive issue only on the condition of anonymity. “You have to somehow convey to the Pakistanis that they’ve arrived at a big choice.”

“People who were prepared to listen to [Pakistan’s] story for a long time are no longer prepared to listen,” the official said.

But few officials are eager to contemplate the alternatives if Pakistan makes the wrong choice. No one inside the administration, the official said, “wants to make a fast, wrong decision.”

Every available option — from limiting U.S. aid and official contacts, to unleashing more unilateral ground attacks against terrorist targets — jeopardizes existing Pakistani help, however undependable, in keeping U.S. enemies at bay. Military success and an eventual negotiated settlement of the Afghanistan war are seen as virtually impossible without some level of Pakistani buy-in.

“The fact of the matter is that we’ve been able to kill more terrorists on Pakistani soil than just about anyplace else,” President Obama said last week on CBS’s “60 Minutes.” “We could not have done that without Pakistani cooperation.”

For now, the administration is in limbo, awaiting Pakistan’s response to immediate questions about bin Laden and hoping it will engage in a more solid counterterrorism partnership in the future.

That outcome seems increasingly in doubt. In Pakistan, officials’ pledges following the bin Laden raid that Pakistan would never let its territory be used for terrorist strikes against another country have turned to heated accusations of betrayal by the United States. ….

Read more : Washington Post

THIS ARTICLE SHOWS NO HOPE FOR POOR PEOPLE OF PAKISTAN IN NEAR FUTURE

Something has changed

By: Huma Yusuf

TWO weeks after Abbottabad, the jury’s still out on Pakistan. Who knew? Who didn’t? And does anyone at all feel bad about the whole thing?

While international journalists and US lawmakers continue to ask these questions, Pakistan observers are at pains to point out that the answers matter little given that nothing has changed — the status quo has been maintained.

Continue reading THIS ARTICLE SHOWS NO HOPE FOR POOR PEOPLE OF PAKISTAN IN NEAR FUTURE