Tag Archives: role

Why hardline Hindutva is a national security issue

Right wing Hindu groups have been blamed for their role in the 2006 Malegaon blasts. Reuters

by Praveen Swami

“The country should be taken over by the army”, railed Hindutva leader BL Sharma ‘Prem’ at a 26 January, 2008 meeting in Faridabad, near New Delhi.

“It has been a year since I sent some three lakh letters, distributed 20,000 maps of Akhand Bharat on 26 January, but these Brahmins and traders have never done anything and neither will they do. I do not talk of casteism. It’s just that they don’t have the potential; they don’t have the aptitude for this kind of feelings”.

“It is not that physical power is the only way to make a difference, but it will awaken people mentally”, Sharma concluded. “I believe that you have to light a fire in society, at least a spark”.

Read more » FirstPost
http://m.firstpost.com/india/why-hardline-hindutva-is-a-national-security-issue-682339.html

Pakistan’s ruinous political farce

By M Ilyas Khan

The political pantomime played out in Pakistan over the past few years is degenerating into farce.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court terminated the career of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani – disqualifying him from office on the basis of a contempt of court conviction linked to his refusal to reopen corruption cases against President Zardari.

Two days later, a lower court issued a warrant for the arrest of Makhdoom Shahabuddin, a member of Mr Gilani’s party, just hours after he was nominated as his possible successor. Uncanny timing, some might say.

Late on Thursday night Mr Shahabuddin was still closeted with senior colleagues at the president’s house – but whether he will be a free man come morning remains to be seen.

Many in Pakistan see these developments as signs that the skirmishes between the judiciary, the military and the civilian government are now erupting into all-out war.

This is all happening at a time when the country can least afford it – relations with the West are at an all-time low, the economy is heading for disaster and people are battling severe power and fuel shortages.

To compound matters, nuclear-armed Pakistan – which is known to have promoted armed militant groups over the past two decades – has steadily been losing territory to these groups in recent years. That’s a major issue for its neighbours and the wider world.

But instead of dealing with the big problems, Pakistan’s power elite have other fish to fry.

Military role

A major part of the problem lies in the traditional domination of the military in Pakistan, and the fact that the judiciary has supported successive attempts by the generals to cut the politicians down to size.

The civilians have rarely held the reins of power, and when they have, they have always had the military establishment to contend with.

Accusations of corruption are a time-tested tool to beat the civilians with, and corruption cases lodged against them during the country’s 64-year history literally run into the hundreds. Few of those cases have ever been resolved.

But they have been successfully used to bring every single civilian government down well before the end of its constitutional five-year term.

The present administration is the longest-serving civilian government Pakistan has ever had – it is just over six months short of reaching the finish line.

If it does, it will set a new precedent – and this is an unsavoury proposition for the establishment for two reasons.

First, prolonged civilian rule is likely to permanently dent the political influence of the military, and thereby the massive business and real estate empires it has acquired.

Second, while Pakistan’s military and civil bureaucracy are dominated by Punjab province, the country’s largest vote-bank, the ruling Pakistan People’s Party has its roots in the southern province of Sindh, the country’s main source of revenue and home to a distinct linguistic group that detests Punjab’s domination. So while the establishment is generally sceptical of politicians, it has been almost intolerant towards the PPP.

Judicial activism

The military is widely accused by Western powers of playing a double game in Afghanistan and lost credit in the eyes of many Pakistanis when US forces killed Osama Bin Laden in a secret raid on Pakistan’s soil.

But its diminishing ability to openly control Pakistan’s politicians has been more than offset by what some analysts describe as the judiciary’s increased ability to encroach on the administrative sphere.

This has led to a number of fierce battles between state institutions in recent years which are a distraction from the main challenges.

Since 2009, when judges sacked by the Musharraf regime were reinstated by the present government, they have shown an appetite for pursuing long-standing corruption cases against President Zardari.

Mr Zardari spent eight years in jail because of them, without being convicted in a single case.

That led to the Supreme Court’s dogged pursuit of Prime Minister Gilani and his conviction in April.

The Supreme Court also responded with alacrity late last year in investigating a controversial memo which invited the US to help avert a possible coup in Pakistan after Bin Laden’s death.

The “memogate” affair had the potential to drag in President Zardari but has led only to the dismissal of Pakistan’s then ambassador to the US, Husain Haqqani. Top military leaders showed a keen interest in the case and participated in initial hearings, but gradually pulled out when questions were raised over their own political role.

Most recently, the country was stunned to find its bulwark against corruption – Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry himself – implicated in allegations of bribe-taking levelled against his son. They both deny any wrongdoing and an investigation has been ordered.

Continue reading Pakistan’s ruinous political farce

Political Instability Rises as Pakistani Court Ousts Premier

By DECLAN WALSH

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The Supreme Court dismissed Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on Tuesday, drastically escalating a confrontation between the government and the judiciary and plunging the political system into turmoil.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry declared that Mr. Gilani’s office had been effectively vacant since April 26 when the court convicted him on contempt charges because he refused to pursue a corruption case against President Asif Ali Zardari, his superior.

Although the decision is unlikely to topple the government, many viewed it as the product of a grudge-driven tussle between Mr. Zardari and Justice Chaudhry, with the prime minister caught in the middle.

“The court has been gunning for the prime minister for a long time,” said Najam Sethi, a veteran political analyst. “Clearly there is a lot of politics in this.”

The order left Pakistan in a state of constitutional uncertainty, with the cabinet effectively dismissed. The court instructed Mr. Zardari to “ensure continuation of the democratic process” — words widely interpreted as an order to arrange the election of a new prime minister.

Legal experts said Mr. Gilani cannot appeal the decision but he may continue in an interim role until his successor is chosen. ….

Read more » The New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/20/world/asia/political-instability-rises-as-pakistani-court-dismisses-prime-minister.html?_r=2

Pakistan’s Kangaroo Court calls itself “Supreme Court,” but in fact is another front for the Mullah-Military complex

Pakistan’s puppet Court – By Shiraz Paracha

The Supreme Court’s controversial detailed verdict against the elected Prime Minister of Pakistan is one more bad decision by a Court that has a dark history of collaboration with the military in depriving the people of Pakistan of their fundamental rights.

The Supreme Court has been transcending its legal boundaries and constitutional role. Its decisions are biased, unfair and politicized. The Court is not a neutral and objective defender of law and judges have been acting as puppets.

The Judiciary is not independent and appears to be playing someone’s game. Indeed the Supreme Court is acting as a proxy for imposing a controlled democracy in Pakistan. It seems that characters such as Imran Khan and Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan are part of this game. The former ISI chief Lt. General Shuja Pasha was an architect of the latest effort to introduce ‘clean democracy’ in Pakistan. General Pasha was not alone in military’s one more political adventure.

Actually, the military considers itself the sole defender of Pakistan and generals have been trying to shape and control the Pakistani politics. In fact, the military never felt comfortable with parliamentary form of democracy. For this reason every few years new campaigns are launched to ‘clean’ the system.

Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan’s recent calls for the establishment of a technocrat government and Imran Khan’s Tsunami are reflections of military’s new efforts to bring a setup that ‘suits’ Pakistan. The Judiciary and media are means to complete that agenda. As the Parliament is about to complete its term, Imran Khan is threatening that he would not accept results of the new elections. Dr. Qadeer, dubbed by some as the future president, has joined hands with Imran Khan. The media and the Judiciary are taking cue from some in the military to pressurize the present government. All these actors want to maintain the status quo by imposing a controlled democracy.

Continue reading Pakistan’s Kangaroo Court calls itself “Supreme Court,” but in fact is another front for the Mullah-Military complex

Is this Justice???

Pakistan Peoples Party Washington DC condemns the decision made by Supreme Court against elected prime minister of Pakistan Syed Yousaf Raza Gillani.

In their statement PPP said that PM was just following the constitution of Pakistan.

It also noted with disappointment that while no dictator had been punished for suspension and abrogation of the Constitution a democratically and terorist like Malik Ishaq had been granted bail but an elected Prime Minister had been sentenced for upholding the Constitution. They also criticize media’s role in being a cheer leader of right-wing, Islamist politicians and populist judges is an unfortunate departure from its often stated role of being a “fair and balanced” presenter of the news and of informing the public.

PPP demands Supreme Court to invest time in issues which are concern to Pakistan and its people such as Younas Habib case instead of becoming a tool to destabilize democracy in country.

The participants of meeting said that Mr. Nawaz Shrif must remember his past actions before suggesting PM to resign as it is not PPP who attacked Supreme Court but was Mr. Shrif and his party members. The participants also noted that it is about time for Sharif brothers to support democracy in Pakistan as federation and stop beating provincial band.

The meeting of the PPPUSA congratulated the Prime Minister over his stance in defending the Constitution.

Meeting was attended by:

Senator Mohammad Akbar Khawja, Ali Nawaz Memon, Sr.Vice President PPP USA, Syed Iftikhar Zaidi, Sr.Vice President PPP USA, Masood Zakria Ch., Additional Sec Gen PPP USA, Dr. Javed Manzoor President PPP USA, Jawad Shirazi, Sr.,Vice President PPP Washington DC, Mansoor Qureshi, Sec. General PPP Washington DC, Munirullah Butt, Syed Imran Zaidi, Sec. Information PPP Washington DC, Junaid M Choudhary, Ali Awan, Junaid Chudhry, Haider Asghar, Jaffer Shah, Nawazish Shah

We expect the Supreme Court to apologise for the role it played, says PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari

We expect SC to apologise for role it played in murder of ZAB: Bilawal

By APP

NAUDERO: “We expect the Supreme Court to apologise for the role it played in the judicial murder of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto,” were the words with which Pakistan Peoples Party Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari summed up the case of righting his dead grandfather’s name in history, on the eve of the PPP founder’s 33rd death anniversary being observed in Naudero.

With his father, the President of Pakistan and co-chairman of PPP, Asif Ali Zardari watching, along with the PPP central executive committee, hundreds of thousands of loyal party workers which had gathered in Ghari Khuda Bux, and around the country, Bilawal exhorted, “the restoration of these judges by our Prime Minister was a truly historic milestone for our country. Now it is up to the courts to redeem their institutions sullied reputation in the eyes of history.” ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

http://tribune.com.pk/story/359398/we-expect-the-sc-to-appologise-for-the-role-it-played-in-the-murder-of-zab-bilawal/

General Kayani has also begun getting upset with TV talk shows – Pak generals (holy cows) love to be above the public scrutiny. They have things, they want to push under the rug.

Kayani takes exception to public discussion on agencies

ISLAMABAD – Tacitly registering his concern over the debate in the media on the role of the army and the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Kayani on Wednesday said “the national institutions should not be undermined”.

Continue reading General Kayani has also begun getting upset with TV talk shows – Pak generals (holy cows) love to be above the public scrutiny. They have things, they want to push under the rug.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more » LUBP

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

No justification to detain Dr Shakil: Clinton

WASHINGTON: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that Pakistan has no justification for holding Dr Shakil Afridi, who had a role in the CIA operation to hunt down Osama bin Laden in Abbotabad.

This she said while addressing US Congress Committee. Hillary Clinton said Dr Shakil Afridi provided key information to US before the Abbotabad operation, adding that he served for the interest of both Pakistan and the US.

Clinton said Pakistan has no basis for detaining Dr Shakil.

Courtesy: The News

http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-37643-No-justification-to-detain-Dr-Shakil–

Role of security establishment

By Aqil Shah

WHAT is a human life worth in Pakistan? Guessing from the impunity with which the intelligence agencies engage in the alleged torture and extrajudicial murder of its own people, apparently not much.

The gruesome deaths of four terror suspects in ISI custody, and the visibly brutal treatment of seven others, has belatedly caught the attention of the Supreme Court, which otherwise seemed to many observers to be obsessed with serving instant ‘justice’ to the ruling PPP leadership.

How far the SC is willing to pursue this and other missing persons’ cases will be a litmus test for the rule of law in Pakistan which is under constant attack from a security establishment hiding behind the armour of national security.

The renowned sociologist Charles Tilly once compared modern states to organised crime rackets. For Tilly, states essentially function as protection rackets because they foment danger and then offer protection against it, usually for a high price. ….

Read more » DAWN.COM

Mother of all scams? Will justice be done by the Supreme court that called itself “Aazad Adliya”!?

Mother of all cases?

A testimony of the slim, short, veteran businessman-cum-banker, Yunus Habib, may come in handy when the Supreme Court starts hearing the almost decade-old petition of Air Marshal Asghar Khan on Feb 29, 2012. Habib hit the headlines in the 1990s for his key role in the release of Rs14 million (or maybe more) from his own Mehran Bank to defeat the Benazir Bhutto’s PPP in the next elections.

The affidavit submitted by the then ISI chief, Lt. Gen. Asad Durrani, is the first ever confession by any official of Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency of the role it played in pre-poll rigging and its direct involvement in political matters. But there is much more to it and all facts must come to the surface.

Though there was an unusual delay in the case being taken up for hearing, one hopes it will proceed as fast as other petitions like the ones dealing with NRO, NICL, the infamous Memo Case or the Haj scam.

Continue reading Mother of all scams? Will justice be done by the Supreme court that called itself “Aazad Adliya”!?

Geo News – ISI distributes money to political parties: Imran Khan

KARACHI: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran khan said the case about ISI’s alleged role in distributing money among political parties is already in the Supreme Court, and as the proceedings will move ahead, things will become clear, Geo News reported Saturday.

While talking to the media at Karachi Airport, Imran Khan said that corruption is Pakistan’s biggest problem and urged the nation to stand united on the issue. ….

Read more » http://www.geo.tv/GeoDetail.aspx?ID=34900

Criticising the role of the ISI does not mean Pak Army-bashing

Balochistan: the ISI and the media – By: Dr Qaisar Rashid

Gradually, the relationship between the media and the ISI turned symbiotic and some quarters of the media took upon themselves the job of defending publicly every act of the ISI

Perhaps the world would have been a better place to dwell in if military solutions to political issues had been successful. In that case, there would have been no need of long-drawn political dialogues and negotiations since they consume time. If the Pakistan Army had solved the Bangladesh problem, its standing on Balochistan would have been valued. ….

Read more » Daily Times

Army, not a mafia! – Chaudhry Nisar, the leader of the opposition, fiercely criticized the killing of missing citizens in the custody of a spy agency asked Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Kayani to protect the honour and goodwill of the Pakistan Army

Ch. Nisar

Rein in agencies, Nisar asks Gilani, Kayani

ISLAMABAD – Strongly criticising the role of agencies in the missing persons’ case, Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on Thursday asked Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and Army chief Gen Ashfaq Kayani to rein-in the intelligence agencies.

Responding to Nisar’s fierce criticism of the killing of four people who were in the custody of a spy agency and his demand of constitution of a court of inquiry by the government, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said a committee of the House could be constituted to look into the matter, but he proposed that as the matter was sub-judice, the court’s verdict should be awaited.

Gilani said all state institutions should work under their constitutional ambit and all institutions were answerable to parliament. He said the government would respect the Supreme Court’s order in the missing persons’ case. Speaking on a point of order earlier, Nisar announced that he would go to the Supreme Court on the next hearing of the missing persons’ case to express solidarity with the families whose relatives had been illegally abducted and killed by spy agencies.

He said a secret agency had dumped the tortured corpses of four people who it had abducted upon their acquittal from a court of law. Nisar also asked Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Kayani to protect the honour and goodwill of the Pakistan Army and take notice of such incidents.

“This is a national army, not a mafiaGeneral Kayani must stop such things which tarnish the army’s image,” he said.

PML-N MNAs chanted slogans ofshame, shame” over the killing of missing persons. Nisar added that it was a moral and constitutional obligation of all members of the parliament to raise voice in parliament for missing persons and against the atrocities of secret agencies and to appear in the Supreme Court to express solidarity with the families of the missing persons. “Whenever the government feels threats from agencies, the prime minister wastes no time in pointing out a state within the state, but in this case no government functionary has come forward to speak in favour of common citizens,” he said, asking the prime minister to rein in secret agencies and bring their heads before parliament so that lawmakers could hold them accountable.

Courtesy: Pakistan Today

http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2012/02/rein-in-agencies-nisar-asks-gilani-kayani/

New York Times – Can Egypt Avoid Pakistan’s Fate?

By MICHELE DUNNE and SHUJA NAWAZ

ONE year after the revolution that ousted President Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian military is closing down civil society organizations and trying to manipulate the constitution-writing process to serve its narrow interests. Meanwhile, in Pakistan, where the military has also held sway for more than half the country’s existence – for much of that time, with America’s blessing – a new civil-military crisis is brewing.

For the United States, the parallels are clear and painful. Egypt and Pakistan are populous Muslim-majority nations in conflict-ridden regions, and both have long been allies and recipients of extensive military and economic aid.

Historically, American aid tapers off in Pakistan whenever civilians come to power. And in Egypt, Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama both resisted pressure from Congress to cut aid to Mr. Mubarak despite his repression of peaceful dissidents.

It is no wonder that both Egyptians and Pakistanis express more anger than appreciation toward the United States. They have seen Washington turn a blind eye to human-rights abuses and antidemocratic practices because of a desire to pursue regional objectives – Israeli security in the case of Egypt, and fighting Al Qaeda in the case of Pakistan.

The question now is whether the United States will, a year after the Egyptian revolution, stand by and allow the Pakistani model of military dominance and a hobbled civilian government to be replicated on the Nile.

Pakistan and Egypt each have powerful intelligence and internal security agencies that have acquired extra-legal powers they will not relinquish easily. Pakistan’s history of fomenting insurgencies in neighboring countries has caused serious problems for the United States. And Egypt’s internal security forces have been accused of involvement in domestic terrorist attacks and sectarian violence. (However, Washington has long seen Egypt’s military as a stabilizing force that keeps the peace with Israel.)

The danger is that in the future, without accountability to elected civilian authorities, the Egyptian military and security services will seek to increase their power by manipulating Islamic extremist organizations in volatile and strategically sensitive areas like the Sinai Peninsula.

Despite the security forces’ constant meddling in politics, Pakistan at least has a Constitution that establishes civilian supremacy over the military. Alarmingly, Egypt’s army is seeking even greater influence than what Pakistan’s top brass now enjoys: an explicit political role, and freedom from civilian oversight enshrined in law.

Continue reading New York Times – Can Egypt Avoid Pakistan’s Fate?

The Next Indo Pak Conflict – Major Amin’s prophesies? Is he right?

The Next Indo Pak Conflict

By Agha H. Amin

A brother human being Mr Giani 240 was a catalyst for this reflection on an IndoPak conflict.

At some stage historical forces, greater than main or key decision makers takeover and take states to war. This has already happened! no one can reverse the tide! how it happens and how many major cities may be destroyed is the question?

Mad men on both sides! Extreme suspicion and paranoia! Situation compounded by fear and ambiguity! The Pakistani military an army with a state versus India a state with an army makes the role of Indian army more limited than the Pakistani military who also control foreign policy and internal politics! The Pakistani military is not really qualified foreign policy nor are they statesman! But they think that they are both! This makes it far more dangerous! The Indian state is at a loss to decipher Pakistani intentions! Ambiguity leads to confusion and as the adage goes ” Fear made men believe in the worst “! The use of non state actors initiated by the Pakistani military and now in full use by both countries has already gone out of control!Non state actors now have many masters, both state and non state and this complicates apportioning of blame in any incident! Above all population, limited resources, a human psyche deforming rapidly into collective neurosis as well as psychosis is complicating the situation. With man basically irrational, decisions military and political are not made with rational reasons.This was discovered by Freud long ago and discussed in detail in his classic ” The Future of an Illusion“. As a historian with a unique insight based on personal contact with many key decision makers on the Pakistani side and some interaction with Indians as a contractor in Afghanistan convinces me that a major Indo Pak conflict is not far away. Now the process is in hands of a remote and unknown pilot. Even the major and the key decision makers on both sides cannot reverse it. Although they may decide on the time and space and choice of targets. Why states go to war? A detailed study of history proves that it is for reasons more irrational than rational but nevertheless compelling reason. All is understood if we start from the premise that man is irrational! One thing I know .The Indian and Pakistani nukes will not be wasted and rusted in secret storages! God help us all!

Courtesy: Scribd

http://www.scribd.com/doc/28060478/The-Next-Indo-Pak-Conflict-Agha-H-Amin

Via » Twitter

Panetta Sets End to Afghan Combat Role for U.S. in 2013

By ELISABETH BUMILLER

BRUSSELS — In a major milestone toward ending a decade of war in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said on Wednesday that American forces would step back from a combat role there as early as mid-2013, more than a year before all American troops are scheduled to come home.

Mr. Panetta cast the decision as an orderly step in a withdrawal process long planned by the United States and its allies, but his comments were the first time that the United States had put a date on stepping back from its central role in the war. The defense secretary’s words reflected the Obama administration’s eagerness to bring to a close the second of two grinding ground wars it inherited from the Bush administration.

Promising the end of the American combat mission in Afghanistan next year would also give Mr. Obama a certain applause line in his re-election stump speech this year. ….

Read more » The New York Times

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

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

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

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

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

There are some obvious concerns about this extension:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) Vice chairman (VC) Latif Afridi has backed noted lawyer and human rights activist Asma Jahangir’s stance regarding court’s judgement in the controversial memo scandal

PBC backs Asma’s stance on memogate

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Bar Council (PBC) Vice chairman (VC) Latif Afridi has backed Asma Jahangir’s stance regarding court’s judgement in the controversial memo scandal, saying that the superior judiciary cannot play the role of an investigator in any matter. Talking to Daily Times, the PBC vice chairman endorsed Asma Jahangir’s stance that the Supreme Court has wrongly assumed its jurisdiction in the memo scandal. Regarding the memo probe commission, consisting of three high courts chief justices, Afridi said that ordinary litigants would face difficulties in this situation. “The nation is already divided politically, ethnically and economically… it cannot be allowed to further divide on judicial consideration,” he added. The VC hoped the judiciary would not become a source of conflict and things would proceed in accordance with the constitutional division of powers. “Pakistan needs coherence, unification and support of all the federation units and democratic forces, minus those who make hay while the sun shines,” Afirdi said. He urged the SC not to adopt dual standards, and take notice of Mansoor Ijaz’s other statement regarding the ISI director general’s visits to the Arab countries for the removal of President Asif Ali Zardari. The PBC VC urged the court to adopt the policy of judicial restraint, and refrain from entertaining political cases, as the move could make the SC prone to allegations of favouritism. On the other hand, he urged the chief justice of Pakistan to take up the Asghar Khan case. Concerning Pervaiz Musharraf’s return, he said the lawyers would agitate against the former dictator upon his arrival. hasnaat malik

Courtesy: Daily Times

Pakistani politicians start shivering at what ASMA JAHANGIR, the Iron Lady, can say about sacred cows

Beyond the mandate

ASMA Jahangir, legal counsel of Husain Haqqani in the memo hearings in the Supreme Court, may have had in mind a robust defence of her client while making strong statements about the political role of the ISI but her remarks in Courtroom No 1 on Tuesday are worth reflecting on in a wider context. Also, while ‘memogate’ may have pitched the elected government against the powerful army, the hearings in the Supreme Court could become a way of addressing hitherto taboo subjects, such as the responsibilities of the ISI, official and otherwise. The rub of the present matter is that the ISI appears to have ‘investigated’ its own political leadership and determined that the political leadership has grave charges to answer. In fact, from the statements of ISI chief Lt Gen Pasha filed in the Supreme Court, it would appear that the army prima facie believes the allegations of Mansoor Ijaz regarding the role of Husain Haqqani, and someone more senior to him on the civilian side, in the drafting of the now-infamous memo.

Did the ISI itself transgress official boundaries in the present instance? Also, what is the ISI’s legal mandate: is it a counter-intelligence and external-oriented organisation or does it have a more expansive domestic role? Part of the problem is historical. While there is some irony that the PPP’s founder, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, is believed to have given the ISI a larger role and ingress into domestic politics, the real boost for the organisation proved to be the Afghan war in the 1980s. Organising and equipping the Afghan jihadis while serving the domestic needs of dictator Ziaul Haq, the ISI was an infinitely more fearsome institution at the end of the ’80s than it was at the start. By the time the so-called decade of democracy rolled around, the ISI was confident and capable enough to aggressively intervene in the democratic process. As the self-appointed custodians of the national interest, the army and the ISI established their own rules that only as a matter of convenience appeared to fit into the scheme of a constitutional democracy. For the civilians to assert their control over the country’s armed forces and its intelligence apparatus, many years, much sophistication in approach and honesty of purpose will be required. Sadly, none of that has been evident to date on the civilian side.

Inevitably, perhaps, the courts also must shoulder some of the blame. Had the verdict in the Asghar Khan case, which looked into the manipulation of elections by the ISI in the 1990s, been handed down, the hearings into the memo affair may not have become necessary. Having said that, the present hearing could be used to try and establish the mandate and parameters of the ISI.

Courtesy: DAWN.COM

http://www.dawn.com/2011/12/29/beyond-the-mandate.html

Geo Tv – Kamran Khan on the failure of Pakistan Army & ISI

The language of the program is urdu (Hindi).

Courtesy: Geo TV (Aaj Kamran Khan Ke Sath), YouTube

via WICHAAR.COM

Who Controls Pakistan’s Security Forces?

By Shuja Nawaz

Internal militancy and insurgency are the immediate threats to Pakistan’s security.

Pakistan’s polity is fractured and dysfunctional, allowing the military to assert greater control over Pakistan’s response to this growing internal threat.

Civilian authorities have missed numerous opportunities to assert control over security matters. Miscalculation by the current civilian government in its attempt in 2008 to exert control over the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) directorate soured civil-military relations at a time when the new army chief favored keeping the army out of politics.

The military’s interests are expanding to newer sectors, including economic policymaking, since a shrinking economy could hurt military interests and lifestyles.

An opportunity to improve security sector governance exists in the proposed National Counter Terrorism Authority, which the government has unduly delayed.

This report reflects the views expressed during a conference entitled “Who Controls Pakistan’s Security Forces?” hosted by the U.S. Institute of Peace’s Security Sector Governance Center on April 19, 2011. Speakers at the event included the author, Professor Hassan Abbas of Columbia University, and Moeed Yusuf of the U.S. Institute of Peace. The report discusses the complex political landscape in which Pakistan’s civilian and military authorities operate, often vying for power and supremacy; identifies the challenges facing Pakistan’s civilian government in the face of the military’s expanding role; and suggests a realignment of roles, increased expertise for civilian officials in security matters, and better civilian-military coordination. …

Read more » U.S. Institute of Peace

Memogate: an attempt to thwart democracy, and threatening the representative system is an attack on sovereignty of the people of Pakistan

Civil Society of Pakistan’s stand on So-called Memogate

Civil society terms memogate scandal an attempt to thwart democracy; Says threatening the representative system tantamount to attack on sovereignty of people.

Karachi, Sindh – 17 December 2011: We, the representatives of the Civil Society including non governmental organisations, labour organisations, academia, women’s rights bodies, and media persons express deep concern over the current political situation in the country where a crisis is being manufactured on frivolous grounds, and is being referred as the so-called Memogate. This has the potential of subverting democratically elected Parliament and the Constitution.

It is time all conspirators against democracy and the sovereignty of the people be called to account. Sovereignty belongs to the people who have agreed to exercise it through their representatives in a federal, parliamentary, and a democratic system. Any attempt at arbitrarily altering this arrangement is tantamount to an attack on the sovereignty of the people. Various institutions of the state are supposed to function within their defined constitutional parameters and complement each other but they seem to be working at cross-purposes, to the determent of public interest.

We emphasise that the role of political parties and political leaders is to represent their constituents’ interests and arrive at negotiated agreements to differences in agreed political forums.

The role of state’s security organizations is to serve the people through stipulated constitutional arrangements, under the command of the executive, and not to define what is or is not in the national interest.

The role of the judiciary is to protect the rights of the citizens from arbitrary abuse of executive power, and not to itself become a source of arbitrary executive power.

The role of the mass media is to help citizens hold powerful interests groups within and outside the state to promote their legitimate interests and hold violators of rights accountable, and not to itself act as an unaccountable interest group.

In our opinion, parliament is the appropriate forum to discuss and investigate this issue and come up with findings.

We believe that any attack on the sovereignty of the people will be unjust. It will necessarily lead to conflict and must be resisted.

We appeal to the people of Pakistan to stand united and firm in support of democracy and to resist all attempts aimed at its subversion. The people of Pakistan have made great many sacrifices for the cause of democracy and they should not let any vested interests trample their right to have a democratic and an elected representative system run the country.

Continue reading Memogate: an attempt to thwart democracy, and threatening the representative system is an attack on sovereignty of the people of Pakistan

International Sindhi Women Organisation (ISWO)- Endeavour to Empower Sindhi Women

Press Release: London, 14TH Dec 2011 – A first meeting of International Sindhi Women Organisation (ISWO) was organised in London on 11th Dec 2011. ISWO has been recently setup in UK and aiming to be set up in other places such as USA, Canada, Australia and Sindh in forthcoming years. ISWO endeavours to empower Sindhi women around the world through capacity building and leadership. ISWO is committed to promoting Sindhi women’s human, civil and political rights at local, national and international platforms. ISWO is also dedicated to advance Sindhi women’s role in policy and decision making processes in all spheres of society including:

Continue reading International Sindhi Women Organisation (ISWO)- Endeavour to Empower Sindhi Women

Pakistan: The State of Human Rights in 2011

The year 2011 was started with the killings of hundreds of persons including the killings of high profile personalities, the governor of a province and a federal minister of minority affairs, by the extremist religious groups who seeped in to the law enforcement agencies. The arrest of one Christian lady, Aasia Bibi, on Blasphemy’s baseless charges from some mosque leaders leads to the religious intolerance and fanaticism at its highest peak. The state played a dubious role to appease the religious extremism. state remained as silent spectator in the country and killings of Mr. Salman Taseer, former governor of Punjab province and former federal minister of minority affairs, a Christian minister in cabinet. The government’s ineptness to stop the religious and sectarian intolerance has strengthened the banned militant religious groups to organize and collect their funds in the streets and hold big rallies. This ineptness of the government has helped the forced conversion to Islam of girls from religious minority groups. In total thorough out the country during the year 1800 women from Hindu and Christian groups were forced to convert to Islam by different methods particularly though abduction and rape.

Read more » Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

Is the military establishment of Pakistan thinking to sack the elected civilian government?

The language of the analysis is urdu (Hindi).

Courtesy » Geo Tv (Khabarnaak with Aftab Iqbal – 19th november 2011, part 2)

via » ZemTv » YouTube

Imran Khan is playing in the hands of the military establishment – by Ali Aftab (Beygairat Brigade)

Lead singer of Beygairat Brigade, Ali Aftab, asks some tough questions about Imran Khan and the sinister role of Pakistani establishment behind his PTI. …

Read more » LUBP

Pakistan: Surrender to fanaticism

– Surrender to fanaticism

Today the orthodox clerics are supporting their quaint theory of private justice and denying a person’s accountability under the law on the ground that his action is not an offence under the Islamic code. How has this about-turn taken place?

By I.A. Rehman

Nobody should be surprised at the wave of protest unleashed by religio-political groups against the award of death sentence to the self-confessed assassin of Salmaan Taseer.

Continue reading Pakistan: Surrender to fanaticism

Split in Sindh PPP Imminent; Nawaz-Mirza under Pressure for Alliance; Fahmida Mirza Offers to Resign

– Split in Sindh PPP Imminent; President Offers Aitzaz An Important Position, May Play Prominent Role in Future; Nawaz-Mirza under Pressure for Alliance; Fahmida Mirza Offers to Resign

Aitzaz May Play Prominent Role in Future; How Fasih Bokhari Was Nominated as Chairman NAB?

By Aijaz Ahmed

Islamabad: There seldom comes a cooling off interval in Pakistani politics – at least not these days. With every passing moment, the temperature gets higher and the hectic moves and counter moves by the stakeholders create more and more confusion. Amidst all that, the moves by one of the players, Zulfikar Mirza may soon result in split within his own party.

On his return from Malaysia, Zulfikar Mirza dropped another bombshell; he addressed a press conference along with the leaders of the Peoples Amn Committee and announced that following in the footsteps of Imran Khan, he would carry three suitcases to London, UK, filled with evidence against Altaf Hussain of MQM. The statement of Mirza created another storm in the troubled city of Karachi, Sindh and prompted MQM demands for his arrest. The rampant political crisis is destined to lead towards a final showdown within the PPP ranks as well as between the PPP and its love-hate partner the MQM.

A group of PPP dissidents from Sindh is getting united with a resolve to fight against any effort for passing the proposed Local Government Ordinance, which was first introduced by military dictator Musharraf and then reintroduced by Babar Awan known as Mr. Tughral in the political circles of Islamabad.

The move is not only to oppose the local government ordinance bill, but the built in opposition to the government-MQM alliance is also coming to the fore. The group emerging around Mirza in Sindh will ultimately gain strength, and the people in the province having sympathies with PPP will by and large go with Mirza team, says a PPP leader from the political team of the president, Zardari.

The central leadership of the party is trying its best to control the damage caused by Mirza, but for the first time in the history of the party, it appears that all the efforts by the leadership are going in vain as dissent in the party is visibly increasing.

The game does not end there; rather another innings of the long and tiring game of politics is being started again, and the umpires of the game have become, as always, the main players of the innings now. There are clear indications that the behind-the-scene players who ‘encouraged’ Mirza to go up in the arms to such an extent where he put his relationship with the president at stake are trying to bring Mirza and Nawaz Sharif closer on some point of mutual interests and that is the opposition of MQM and elimination of corruption, sources in the power circle of Islamabad have revealed. ….

Read more » Indus Herald

Conference on Sindh and Sindhi Music Concert in London

– On Saturday October 8th, 2011 there are three events scheduled in London by World Sindhi Congress. All events of 23rd International Conference on Sindh are free.

Floods and Rehabilitation in Sindh, Saturday, 8th October 2011, 9:00 AM – 21:00 PM,  Kingsley Hall, Powis Road, London E3 3HJ UK (Near Bromley by Bow Tube Station of District Line). Moderated by Ali Memon, Report from Sindh, Kadir Jatoi, Mr Sadiq Bhanbhro, Impacts of 2011 Floods in Sindh, Dr Sanjay Ahuja, Situation of minorities During Sindh Floods, Floods and Rehabilitation – Fund Raising, Gul Sanai and Team.

Session II: Rising Extremism in Pakistan – Implications for International Peace and Role of Sindhi People. Moderated by Dr Lakhu Lohana.