Tag Archives: safe

Solar Roadways! This Invention Can Change The World. Just Watch.

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Read more at http://blog.petflow.com/this-invention/#Hjpf4pDeUaFai4tM.99

Pot calls Kettle Black – Pakistan lodged a protest with NATO and Afghan forces, accusing them of failing to act against militant safe havens in Afghanistan after a cross-border attack killed 13 Pakistani troops

Pakistan military protests with NATO and Afghan forces over cross-border attack

By Jibran Ahmad

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) – Pakistan lodged a protest with NATO and Afghan forces on Monday, accusing them of failing to act against militant safe havens in Afghanistan after a cross-border attack killed 13 Pakistani troops, a military official said.

The move is likely to intensify tensions between troubled allies Islamabad and Washington, currently involved in difficult talks to repair ties.

More than 100 militants based in Afghanistan’s Kunar province entered Pakistan and attacked a military patrol on Sunday, the military official said. Fourteen militants and six soldiers were killed in the skirmish.

Seven Pakistani soldiers were beheaded by militants after the clash and four were still missing, the official said.

Pakistan’s Foreign Ministry said the Afghan deputy head of mission in Islamabad was summoned and presented with a “strong protest”.

The Malakand faction of the Pakistan Taliban claimed responsibility, and threatened more attacks.

“Our fight will continue until the establishment of sharia law in Pakistan … We will fight whoever tries to stand in our way,” Sirajuddin Ahmad, the faction’s spokesman, told Reuters.

Ahmad claimed the group had killed 17 Pakistani soldiers.

The NATO-led International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan said it was aware of the report, but had no information.

Fazlullah Wahidi, governor of Kumar province, said militants were based in Pakistan, not Afghanistan. “We don’t have any information about militants crossing the border from Afghanistan to attack troops in Pakistan,” he told Reuters.

The Malakand, or Swat, Taliban are led by Maulvi Fazlullah, who was the Pakistan Taliban leader in the Swat Valley, about 100 miles northwest of Islamabad, before a 2009 army offensive forced him to flee.

Also known as FM Mullah for his fiery radio broadcasts, he regrouped in Afghanistan and established strongholds, according to the Pakistan military.

Fazlullah re-emerged as a threat last year, when his fighters conducted cross-border raids that killed around 100 Pakistani security forces, angering Pakistan, which faces threats from multiple militant groups.

Continue reading Pot calls Kettle Black – Pakistan lodged a protest with NATO and Afghan forces, accusing them of failing to act against militant safe havens in Afghanistan after a cross-border attack killed 13 Pakistani troops

JamaatuDawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed feels safe in Pakistan

JuD chief appreciates freedom in Pakistan

By Rana Tanveer

LAHORE: Jamaatud Dawa chief Hafiz Saeed has appreciated the freedom in Pakistan to spread the message of Islam.

“No other territory in the world can match Pakistan. The country is a blessing from Allah Almighty and we should understand conspiracies [against it] by non-Muslims,” Saeed said in a statement issued on Sunday.

He said that the JuD did not believe in modern nationalism. “Pakistan’s security is based on the Kalma Tayyaba only,” he asserted. “The internal and external threats that Pakistan is facing can only be tackled through the methodology of the State of Madina.”

Reiterating the JuD’s stringent anti-India and anti-America stance, he said that the people of Pakistan were not ready to accept the Most Favoured Nation trading status for India and the terrorist attacks of Nato. “It is a matter of great regret that our rulers are afraid of severing their relationships with Europe and America.”

Saeed said that American forces are facing a humiliating defeat in Afghanistan. “Islam will emerge as a great power in the near future,” he said.

Criticising the government, he said that the rulers are trying to avert the war instead of taking counter-measures on conspiracies against Pakistan. “They must take national solidarity and sovereignty seriously and bravely defend Pakistan.”

Read more about : jamaatuddawa

Courtesy: The Express Tribune

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

Former Pakistan Army Chief Reveals Intelligence Bureau Harbored Bin Laden in Abbottabad

By: Arif Jamal

In spite of denials by the Pakistani military, evidence is emerging that elements within the Pakistani military harbored Osama bin Laden with the knowledge of former army chief General Pervez Musharraf and possibly current Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani. Former Pakistani Army Chief General Ziauddin Butt (a.k.a. General Ziauddin Khawaja) revealed at a conference on Pakistani-U.S. relations in October 2011 that according to his knowledge the then former Director-General of Intelligence Bureau of Pakistan (2004 – 2008), Brigadier Ijaz Shah (Retd.), had kept Osama bin Laden in an Intelligence Bureau safe house in Abbottabad. In the same address, he revealed that the ISI had helped the CIA to track him down and kill on May 1. The revelation remained unreported for some time because some intelligence officers had asked journalists to refrain from publishing General Butt’s remarks. [1] No mention of the charges appeared until right-wing columnist Altaf Hassan Qureshi referred to them in an Urdu-language article that appeared on December 8. [2]

In a subsequent and revealing Urdu-language interview with TV channel Dawn News, General Butt repeated the allegation on December 11, saying he fully believed that “[Brigadier] Ijaz Shah had kept this man [Bin Laden in the Abbottabad compound] with the full knowledge of General Pervez Musharraf… Ijaz Shah was an all-powerful official in the government of General Musharraf.” [3] Asked whether General Kayani knew of this, he first said yes, but later reconsidered: “[Kayani] may have known – I do not know – he might not have known.” [4] The general’s remarks appeared to confirm investigations by this author in May 2011 that showed that the Abbottabad compound where bin Laden was captured and killed was being used by a Pakistani intelligence agency (see Terrorism Monitor, May 5). However, General Butt failed to explain why Bin Laden was not discovered even after Brigadier Shah and General Musharraf had left the government.

General Butt was the first head of the Strategic Plans Division of the Pakistan army and the Director General of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) under Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan from 1990 to 1993, and again from 1997 to 1999. Sharif promoted General Ziauddin Butt to COAS after forcibly retiring General Pervez Musharraf on October 12, 1999, but the army’s top brass revolted against the decision and arrested both Prime Minister Sharif and General Butt while installing Musharraf as the nation’s new chief executive, a post he kept as a chief U.S. ally until resigning in 2008 in the face of an impending impeachment procedure.

Brigadier Shah has been known or is alleged to have been involved in several high profile cases of terrorism. The Brigadier was heading the ISI bureau in Lahore when General Musharraf overthrew Prime Minister Sharif in October 1999. Later, General Musharraf appointed Shah as Home Secretary in Punjab. As an ISI officer he was also the handler for Omar Saeed Sheikh, who was involved in the kidnapping of Wall Street Journal journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002. [5] Omar Saeed Sheikh surrendered to Brigadier Shah who hid him for several weeks before turning him over to authorities. In February 2004, Musharraf appointed Shah as the new Director of the Intelligence Bureau, a post he kept until March 2008 (Daily Times [Lahore] February 26, 2004; Dawn [Karachi] March 18, 2008). The late Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto accused Brigadier Shah, among others, of hatching a conspiracy to assassinate her (The Friday Times [Lahore], February 18-24).

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the Pakistani top military brass had serious differences on several issues. One of the most serious of these concerned Pakistan’s relations with Osama bin Laden. However, the disastrous1999 Kargil conflict in Kashmir overshadowed all of these. General Butt says that Prime Minister Sharif had decided to cooperate with the United States and track down Bin Laden in 1999. [6] According to a senior adviser to the Prime Minister, the general staff ousted Sharif to scuttle the “get-Osama” plan, among other reasons: “The evidence is that the military regime abandoned that plan.” [7] General Butt corroborates this. In his latest interview, he says that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had constituted a special task force of 90 American-trained commandos to track down Bin Laden in Afghanistan. If the Sharif government had continued on this course, this force would likely have caught Bin Laden by December 2001, but the plan was aborted by Ziauddin Butt’s successor as ISI general director, Lieutenant General Mahmud Ahmed. [8]

Arif Jamal is an independent security and terrorism expert and author of “Shadow War – The Untold Story of Jihad in Kashmir.”

Courtesy » TheJamesTown.Org

http://www.jamestown.org/programs/gta/single/?tx_ttnews[tt_news]=38819&cHash=b3da5dd4a1af2664ec4821b405dae77b

On the run with Pakistan’s Taliban

By AFP

BANNU: Nothing terrifies Pakistani Taliban fighter Tariq Wazir more than US drones, a harbinger of instant death invisible to the naked eye and proof of America’s mastery of the skies.

Each time he hears the low hum reminiscent of a bumble bee, fear clutches his heart and he remembers how 20 of his comrades were pulverised by missiles they never saw coming in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

Gone are the days of communicating by phone and travelling freely. Instead he spends his days praying or reading newspapers in safe houses, moving under the cover of darkness, trying to keep one step ahead and stay alive.

An AFP reporter was this week given a tantalising glimpse of the day-to-day life of a group of Pakistani Taliban, travelling with them for four days between safe houses in North Waziristan.

He and three other journalists were invited to interview the head of the faction, Hakimullah Mehsud, or “another top Taliban leader” but the interview never materialised, due to what the Taliban said were “security reasons”.

Instead, they spent each night on the move, resting by day in relatively comfortable mud-brick homes with kitchens, running water and toilets, offered freshly cooked meals and fizzy drinks.

It was a relatively sophisticated logistics operation that shows how embedded the Taliban are in North Waziristan, where the Pakistani military has resisted US pressure to launch a sweeping offensive. …

Read more » The Express Tribune

Pak nukes not safe, former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi says

Pak atomic program not safe in Zardari presence: Qureshi

GHOTKI: Former foreign minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi Sunday alleged that Pakistan’s atomic program was not safe as long as Asif Ali Zardari was the President of the country.

Addressing a large public gathering here, Qureshi said: “Pakistan’s atomic program was not safe in the presence of Zardari …. I would make more disclosures on the threat posed by Zardari to the atomic program at Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s rally in Karachi (on Dec 25).”

Earlier, Shah Mehmood Qureshi formally announced joining Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf in the presence of its Chairman Imran Khan.

He claimed that government’s rhetoric of reconciliation is nothing but a programme to save their term, calling it a ‘kursi bachao program’.

Qureshi regretted that the successors of Benazir Bhutto buried her legacy and vision. ….

Read more » The News

http://www.thenews.com.pk/NewsDetail.aspx?ID=27407&title=Pak-atomic-program-not-safe-in-Zardari-presence:-Qureshi

Insurgents in Pakistan are now the biggest threat to NATO – Pentagon

Insurgent safe havens in Pakistan big threat: U.S.

by Eric Beech

(Reuters) – Insurgent safe havens in Pakistan are now the biggest threat to NATO forces in Afghanistan, the Pentagon said on Friday.

Overall, enemy attacks in Afghanistan in recent months were 5 percent lower than the same period a year ago, the Pentagon said in a report to Congress. But high-profile attacks were up in Afghanistan, and the enemy remains resilient, it said.

Courtesy: » Reuters

via → Siasat.pk

Pak society is “effectively cannibalizing itself” due to dehumanization of Ahmadis

Ahmadis: The lightning rod that attracts the most hatred

Pakistani Ahmadis today live in constant fear and humiliation. So much so, the hatred has permeated into each and every slice of society and the oppressors have become more vocal and aggressive.– Illutration by Faraz Aamer Khan

By Zofeen T. Ebrahim, DAWN.COM

A month after ten Ahmadi students were expelled from two schools in the village of Dharinwala, in Faisalabad district, all have been put back to school, not in there old ones, but in two schools in Hafizabad, thanks to Khalil Ahmad, father and grandfather of four students who were among those expelled.

“I managed to get all of them enrolled in two schools in the nearby city of Hafizabad,” he said talking to Dawn.com over phone from his village.

But it’s not been easy. Most parents of the expelled children are too poor, so Ahmed volunteered to pay for their admissions, their books and stationery. And that is not all. He, with the help of his two sons, makes sure they drop and pick all of them on a motorbike, doing turns.

In one school, the principal knows he has given admission to Ahmadi students but the educator believes faith should not come in the way of those seeking education. “In the other the principal has not been told,” Ahmed revealed.

Sadly, all during this episode, the government has remained a quiet bystander, as always.

It is not the first time that students have been expelled from an educational institution in Punjab because of their religious affiliations, remarked Bushra Gohar, a parliamentarian belonging to the secular Awami National Party.  According to Gohar, her party members had condemned the expulsion of students belonging to the Ahmadiyya community each time on the floor of the house. “However, a protest or condemnation from the parties leading in the Punjab has not been forthcoming,” she said.

For far too long, Pakistani students belonging to this minority community have been facing various forms of discrimination based on their faith.

“This tidal wave against the Ahmadiyya education shows no sign of ebbing,” Saleemuddin, the spokesperson of the Ahmaddiya Jammat, told Dawn.com.

He said after 1984, when the government promulgated the anti Ahmadiyya ordinance, both the government and the clerics have been trying their utmost to punish them in various ways.

“Ahmadi lecturers were posted away to distant locations and some were not allowed to teach. Ahmadi principals and headmasters were replaced. Ahmadi students were deprived admission in professional colleges. They were refused accommodation in attached hostels. They suffered attacks by extremist elements on campuses.”

According to the Asian Human Rights Commission, the Islami Jamiat Talaba, the student wing of the Islami Jamiat has been tasked to cleanse the educational institutions, including universities and professional colleges of Ahmadi students.

Hasan Ahmed, who was among the 23 students who were expelled from Punjab Medical College, in Faisalabad, back in 2008, can never forget the stressful event and how “night after night, for over a month” he kept stressing over the events that turned his settled student life all topsy-turvy.

“I knew it happened to others, so was not completely caught unawares,” Hasan acknowledged. He is at present completing his house job in Lahore, keeping an “ultra busy schedule”.

Eventually all were re-instated in some college or another. “After months of waiting, just before exam, my friend was sent to Bahawalpur while I went off to a distant place of Rahimyar Khan in a college of lower merit,” narrated Hasan.

After a gargantuan effort, he was finally allowed to appear in exams from Lahore and then got admitted to Allama Iqbal Medical College, in Lahore.

“To be in a state of flux was the worst part of this episode specially since exams were approaching and I didn’t know which place I was to appear from,” said Hasan.

He expressed that till the identity of an Ahmadi remains undisclosed “he remains safe”.

But that is sadly not the case if you are living in Pakistan. People are culturally nosy and want to know your cast and sect. “Eventually they end up finding that you are an Ahmadi. Once they know, you can feel a change of attitude and it just takes a mischief maker to exploit others’ feelings against you,” said Hasan.

Till Hina Akram’s faith remained unknown to her teacher in Faislabad’s National Textile University, she was considered a star student. But after it became known she belonged to the Ahmadiyya community, she faced so much faith-based harassment that she had to quit studies.

“I was told to convert to Islam,” said Hina, who was studying in the sixth semester of her BSc.

“I was handed some anti-Ahmadiyya literature to read, offered a refuge in Muslim home. But when she told the teacher she was an Ahmadi by choice he called her an infidel and warned her of severe consequences.

“You will face such a fire of animosity in the campus that not even the vice chancellor will be able to help you,” he threatened her.

True to his word, a hate campaign was initiated and a social boycott began. Out of college, she is desperately trying to go abroad. Her fate remains in balance.

But it’s not just the education aspect where the anti-Ahmadiyya lobby is hitting, said Saleemuddin. Since 1984, some 208 faith-based killings have taken place. The persecution against the community has surged following the May 28, 2010 massacre of 94 members of the community in Lahore.

After the four million Ahmadis were officially declared non-Muslims in 1984 by the state, they cannot call themselves Muslims or go to mosques. They cannot be overheard praising Prophet Mohammad. To add insult to injury, every Pakistani who claims to be a Muslim and owns a passport has declared that he or she considers them to be non-Muslims and their leader an imposter prophet.

Pakistani Ahmadis today live in constant fear and humiliation. So much so, the hatred has permeated into each and every slice of society and the oppressors have become more vocal and aggressive.

“The extremist elements are getting more and more powerful because of Saudi-US influence and the government’s policy of appeasement,” said I.A. Rehman, General Secretary Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

“The Ahmadis are already the worst persecuted minority in our country – and things for them appear to be growing worse as hatred and intolerance spread,” Kamila Hyat, a journalist and a rights activist echoed the same sentiments. “The lack of enforcement of laws to prevent the preaching of hatred adds to the problem,” she added.

Saleemuddin said by allowing the extremist clerics to hold anti-Ahmadiyya rallies and conferences, the government is adding fuel to this venom. “People are openly instigated to kill us in the name of Islam,” he said.

“Violence and the advance of bigotry, prejudice and hate against minorities have never really been met with the resolve needed to remove impunity from the social equation in Pakistan,” Sherry Rehman, a legislator belonging to the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, agreed.
Instead, she told Dawn.com what is seen is an “expansion in the space for religious and sectarian apartheids, which has led now to heinous acts of brutality and exclusion of many, particularly Ahmadis.”

She warned: “This is a dangerous trend that conflates national identity with religion.”

Perhaps that is one reason why Pervez Hoodbhoy expresses: “Today, when religion has become so central in matters of the state, they [Ahmadis] do not stand a chance in Pakistan of getting rights, respect, and dignity. The overdose of religion given to young Pakistanis in their schools and homes means that nothing matters more than which religion and sect you belong to. Ahmadis are the lightning rod that attracts more hatred than any other sect.”

For its part rights groups like the Human Rights Watch (HRW) and the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) say they have “repeatedly” raised the issue of “state tolerated persecution”.

“We are urging authorities to intervene in each case,” said Rehman. “But the situation is getting worse day by day.

Terming it “abhorrent and self defeating” when society allows “for the dehumanization of Ahmadis or Christians or the Shia for that matter, it is effectively cannibalizing itself,” said Ali Dayan Hasan, Pakistan director of HRW.

“The federal government expresses regret at incidents but has made clear its unwillingness to repeal or amend discriminatory laws,” said HRW spokesperson.

Given the current intolerance, the fate of the new generation of Pakistani Ahmadis looks “quite bleak” said Rehman.

Even Hoodbhoy said: “For years, Ahmadis, Hindus, and Christians have been desperately seeking to flee Pakistan. They would be foolish to want to stay,” said Hoodbhoy.

This fails to dampen young Hasan’s spirits. He thinks the future looks “brighter than ever before”.

“Even if the situation is made worse in Pakistan, this does not mean the future is not bright. It’s a matter of time before we start getting equal rights in this country.

Often when they get together, the young Ahmadis discuss the “bitter realities” they have to face as Pakistanis.

“But we don’t want to leave our country at the juncture that it is at,” said a patriotic Hasan. This is because the contribution of the Ahmadi community towards building of Pakistan has been immense,” he said with conviction.

He said recently their leader urged all Ahmadis of the world to “fast once a week and pray” especially for the prosperity of Pakistan.”

Zofeen T. Ebrahim is a freelance journalist.

Courtesy » DAWN.COM

U.S. Officials Deliver Warning in Pakistan Over Extremists

– By STEVEN LEE MYERS

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — An unusually powerful American delegation arrived here on Thursday to deliver the starkest warning yet to Pakistan, according to a senior American official: that the United States would act unilaterally if necessary to attack extremist groups that use the country as a haven to kill Americans. …

Read more » The New York Times

Clinton warns Pakistan on insurgent havens

By Joby Warrick and Karin Brulliard

ISLAMABAD — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned Pakistan on Thursday to eradicate terrorist safe havens within its borders, saying there would be a “very big price” for inaction against militant groups staging attacks in Afghanistan.

Clinton’s tough words for Pakistani leaders came as an unusually large delegation of U.S. officials, led by Clinton, converged on the capital to urge Pakistani officials to take on the Haqqani network, a Pakistan-based Afghan militant group blamed for assassinations of Afghan leaders and an attack last month on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.

“We will be delivering a very clear message to the government of Pakistan and to the people of Pakistan,” Clinton told reporters during an earlier stopover in Afghanistan for meetings with President Hamid Karzai. “There should be no support, and no safe havens, for terrorists anywhere who kill innocent women and children.” U.S. officials have accused Pakistan ….

Read more » The Washington Post

U.S. pegs Haqqani as most lethal foe

– Network operates in Afghan shadows

By Rowan Scarborough

The family criminal enterprise known as the Haqqani Network conducts terrorist attacks inside Afghanistan by keeping in constant phone contact with its suicide bombers before and during attacks.

This level of sophistication, coupled with hands-on terrorist operations, is one reason the U.S. now considers Haqqani its most lethal enemy, even more so than al Qaeda and the Taliban.

The network is operating out of a safe haven across the border in the town of Miran Shah, Pakistan, with near impunity and little to fear from NATO troops or Islamabad. ….

Read more » Washington Times

Rs30m demanded for Taseer’s son release

– By: Jam Sajjad Hussain

LAHORE – Commander Arif of Tehrik Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is holding the fate of Shahbaz Taseer, son of slain Governor Punjab Salman Taseer, demanding Rs 30 million as ransom money for his safe return, The Nation has learnt reliably.

Shahbaz Taseer, has been hidden somewhere in the provincial capital since his abduction, whereas his cell phone is being used by his abductors from Razmak, which is one of the three sub-divisions of North Waziristan Agency. ….

Read more → The Nation

Obama’s Af-Pak strategy: tossing away the COIN – Dr Mohammad Taqi

– The Pakistani planners apparently lauded the UN separation of the Taliban and al Qaeda on the sanctions blacklist. This distinction does not necessarily mean lifting the sanctions; it in fact sets the stage for further sanctions against al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists, especially the India-oriented Punjabi jihadist groups based in Pakistan’s heartland

In his speech on June 22, 2011, Barack Obama outlined the drawdown of the US forces from Afghanistan. He declared his plans to pull out 10,000 troops from Afghanistan at the year’s end and another 23,000 by mid-2012, essentially withdrawing all troops inducted during the 2009 surge. Obama pledged the drawdown at a steady pace until the transition of security to the Afghan authorities by 2014.

The deliberations leading to his decision, including the stance of his various advisors, congressional hearings after the speech and indeed sections of the speech itself hint towards what lies ahead in the Pak-Afghan region, not only in the next two years but also after 2014. When it came to selling Obama’s plan to the congressional leaders, the Defence Secretary, Robert Gates, ‘excused’ himself and was represented by the Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen, who conceded before the House Armed Services Committee that he had hoped for a slower pace of withdrawal. Mullen had described the plan as more aggressive and riskier than he was originally prepared to accept.

Similarly, General David Petraeus and the man set to replace him as head of coalition forces in Afghanistan, Lieutenant General John Allen, have stated that Obama’s final plan was not one of the options proposed to the president by General Petraeus. Except for Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden, most officials have placed their dissenting note on record. Nonetheless, the US brass has closed ranks behind Obama and seem to have taken ownership of the task he has assigned them.

From the Pakistani perspective, there are multiple indicators pointing towards things heating up for them in the near future. Most importantly, Obama stated in his speech: “Of course, our efforts must also address terrorist safe havens in Pakistan. No country is more endangered by the presence of violent extremists, which is why we will continue to press Pakistan to expand its participation in securing a more peaceful future for this war torn region. We will work with the Pakistani government to root out the cancer of violent extremism, and we will insist that it keep its commitments. For there should be no doubt that so long as I am president, the US will never tolerate a safe haven for those who aim to kill us. They cannot elude us, nor escape the justice they deserve.” While the US military commanders may have differed on the pace of drawdown from Afghanistan, it is this aspect of his plan that they totally concur with.

On June 28, 2011, at the US Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, General Allen and Vice Admiral William McRaven — the Obama nominee to head US Special Operations Command — were quite candid, not just about Obama’s overall plan, but the aspects of it that deal directly with Pakistan. In response to Senator Carl Levin’s question about Pakistan’s attitude vis-à-vis the militants, especially the Haqqani network, Admiral McRaven bluntly noted that he did not expect any change in Pakistan’s approach towards these proxies because it was “both a capacity issue for the Pakistanis and…a willingness issue”. More ominously, when asked by Senator Bob Graham: “Do we believe Mullah Omar is there with the knowledge of the ISI and the upper echelons of the army?” McRaven responded, “Sir, I believe the Pakistanis know he is in Pakistan.”

Where does this leave us, or more importantly, lead us? As much as Obama has a visceral dislike for war and, unlike George W Bush, is not trigger-happy, he has made up his mind that he will not be gun shy when it comes to enforcing the key elements of his plan to end the war in Afghanistan, which means tossing away the counterinsurgency (COIN) in Afghanistan, in favour of a counter-terrorism effort along the Durand Line. Buoyed by the results of the hunt for Osama bin Laden, Obama will not reinvent the wheel and intends to apply the same model for both the Haqqani network and the ‘irreconcilable’ Afghan Taliban. The primary US focus will now be on the Pakistan-supported insurgents.

Continue reading Obama’s Af-Pak strategy: tossing away the COIN – Dr Mohammad Taqi

Pakistan’s spymaster Hamid Gul: angel of jihad or windbag provocateur?

Osama bin Laden’s death presents retired general with new opportunities for intrigue

by Declan Walsh in Rawalpindi

Of the many dramas to grip Pakistan since the death of Osama bin Laden on 2 May, a cameo appearance by the country’s most notorious spymaster had to be among the most intriguing.

Last week Afghan intelligence put out a story that General Hamid Gul, a retired chief of the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate (ISI), had been caught shunting the one-eyed Taliban leader, Mullah Muhammad Omar, between safe houses in Pakistan’s border badlands.

It seemed to make sense. The ISI, which on Tuesday faced angry questions over the death of a journalist who allegedly died in its custody, has long been accused of covertly aiding the Taliban. Gul is Pakistan’s guardian angel of jihad – an outspoken Islamist who supports the Taliban and spends much of his time peddling lurid conspiracy theories on television.

Continue reading Pakistan’s spymaster Hamid Gul: angel of jihad or windbag provocateur?

U.S. Presses Pakistan to Go After Specific Militant Leaders

by NICK SCHIFRIN (@nickschifrin)

ISLAMABAD: The United States has drawn up a list of five militant Islamic leaders it expects Pakistan to provide intelligence about immediately and possibly target in joint operations, including Osama bin Laden deputy Ayman al Zawahiri and Taliban commander Mullah Omar, according to a U.S. official and a Pakistani official.

The list also includes Siraj Haqqani, the operational commander of the Haqqani network, the most violent group in the Afghan Taliban and believed to be run out of the Pakistani tribal areas; Ilyas Kashmiri, a senior member of al Qaeda once dubbed “the next Osama bin Laden”; and Atiya Abdel Rahman, the Libyan operations chief of al Qaeda who had emerged as a key intermediary between bin Laden and al Qaeda’s affiliate networks across the world.

The list was discussed during three separate meetings between senior Pakistani and U.S. officials in the past two weeks, including today in Islamabad with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, according to a U.S. official, a Pakistani government official and a Pakistani intelligence official.

The United States views the list as a test of whether Pakistan is serious about fighting terrorists who have long enjoyed safe havens within its borders. …

Read more : ABC News

via Wichaar

CIA to search bin Laden compound

By Greg Miller and Karen DeYoung

Pakistan has agreed to allow the CIA to send a forensics team to examine the compound where Osama bin Laden was killed, giving the agency permission to use sophisticated equipment in a search for al-Qaeda materials that may have been hidden inside walls or buried at the site, U.S. officials said.

The arrangement would allow the CIA for the first time to enter a complex that it had previously scrutinized only from a distance, using satellites, stealth drones and spies operating from a nearby safe house that was shuttered when bin Laden was killed.

U.S. officials said that a CIA team is expected to arrive at the compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, within days and that the objective is to scrub the site for items that were not recovered by American commandos during the raid early this month or by Pakistani security forces who secured the facility afterward. …

Read more : Washington Post

Via Wichaar

Pakistan nuclear security ‘of concern’: NATO

KABUL: The head of Nato said Tuesday he was confident Pakistan’s nuclear weapons were safe, but admitted it was a matter of concern, the day after the worst assault on a Pakistani military base in two years.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen was in Afghanistan on a one-day visit and met President Hamid Karzai to discuss the transition of security from Nato-led troops to Afghan security forces, which is due to begin in July.

Rasmussen was asked if Nato was concerned about Pakistan’s nuclear weapons after it took Pakistani forces 17 hours to reclaim control of a naval air base from Taliban attackers and following the death of Osama bin Laden.

“I feel confident that Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal is safe and well protected,” said Rasmussen. “But of course it is a matter of concern and we follow the situation closely.”

The attack in Karachi, the worst on a base since the army headquarters was besieged in October 2009, piled further embarrassment on Pakistan three weeks after the al Qaeda leader was found living in the city of Abbottabad, close to the country’s military academy.

Rasmussen was scheduled to wind up his Afghan visit on Tuesday after spending a night and a full day in Afghanistan.

Courtesy: DAWN

The Economic Times report: ISI hand in Taliban’s free-run in Pakistan’s Baluchistan

NEW YORK: Taliban has been given a free-run in Pakistan’s southwestern Baluchistan province bordering Afghanistan and its hardscrabble capital city of Quetta, which has been declared off-limits by Pakistani military to US predator strikes.

The outfit’s military chief Mulla Abdul Qayyum Zakir , ranked number two after Mullah Omar, and his men are operating with impunity in the high-desert landscape and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence ( ISI )) seems to be giving them a free hand, ‘Newsweek’ reported.

“They are coming and going in groups without end,” says a senior Quetta politician, an ethnic Pashtun.

“Whatever the Taliban is doing is supervised and monitored by the [Pakistani] intelligence agencies”, he said.

Old hands among the insurgents say it reminds them of 1980s Peshawar, where anti-Soviet mujahedin operated openly with the ISI’s blessing and backing, the magazine reported.

The free rein to the Taliban fighters, the magazine said comes at a time when the terror outfit is planning its biggest surge- Operation Badr, the spring offensive in Afghanistan, where it is hoping to push in every single cadre.

The magazine however said that the Taliban preparations were overshadowed by the America’s commando assault which felled the al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden.

The assault has left Taliban cadres and commanders stunned, despondent and uncharacteristically worried, ‘Newsweek’ quoted Zabihullah, a senior Taliban adviser. “It conveys a message to all Taliban leaders that no one is safe”.

The new Taliban military chief 38-year-old Zakir, a former Guantanamo inmate who was released to Afghan authorities holds eight to ten meetings a day in Quetta’s teeming, impoverished ethnic-Pashtun neighbourhood trailed by half-a-dozen aides on motorcycles.

‘Newsweek’ said, thousands of Taliban slogans cover the walls in and around the dusty frontier town of Kuchlak, some 14 kilometres northwest of Quetta. “The Only Solution Is Jihad Against the Invaders,” says one. “Mullah Omar Is a Dagger Raised to Strike Each Occupier,” says another.

A local government councillor says the area’s mosques and madrassas are packed with insurgents in need of temporary lodging as they head back to Afghanistan. Way stations have been set up all over the region in rented houses, he says, and swarms of Taliban pass through town on motorbikes every day. Most carry Pakistani national identity cards. “They’re enjoying the hospitality of the ‘black legs’ [derogatory slang for the ISI],” he says. He worries that the local culture is being Talibanized.

At least 20 local madrassa students have disappeared, most likely to join the fight in Afghanistan, he says, and Taliban backers are even trying to stop the traditional music and dancing at weddings. “‘How can you sing and dance when we’re dying?’ they tell us.”

A senior intelligence officer says he’s heard that Mullah Omar considers this year an important test for Zakir. “Our emir is giving Zakir a chance to prove himself,” he says. “If he does well, he stays; if not, there are others who can take over.”

Of course, no one has seen Omar since he fled into the mountains on the back of Baradar’s motorcycle nearly 10 years ago. And Zakir might do well to remember what happened to Osama bin Laden.

Courtesy: The Economic Times

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

Mullah Omer in Karachi?

Osama bin Laden death: Afghanistan ‘had Abbottabad lead four years ago’

Afghanistan’s former intelligence chief says Pakistan’s then president Pervez Musharraf angrily rejected Osama hideout tip

by Jon Boone in Kabul

Excerpt:

…. Afghanistan’s former top spy – who has long been a hate figure in Islamabad among officials who believed he was implacably anti-Pakistani – also said he had no doubts that Mullah Omar, the leader of the Taliban movement, was hiding in a safe house owned by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the Pakistani spy agency, in the city of Karachi.

“He is protected by ISI, General Pasha [Lieutenant-General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, director-general of the ISI] knows as I am talking to you where is Mullah Omar and he keeps daily briefs from his officers about the location of senior Taliban leaders, simple,” he said.

Saleh was speaking to the Guardian soon after addressing a rally of several thousand Afghans in Kabul organised as a show of strength of what he called Afghanistan’s “anti-Taliban constituency” who are alarmed at the prospect of peace talks with insurgents. …

Read more : guardian.co.uk

Pakistan a Safe Heaven for Terrorists – Now Nation Have To Make Decision

Pakistan: Now or Never – Stop supporting terrorism as policy and terrorists as strategic assets. If people of Pakistan don’t wake up now, when will they?

Courtesy: Geo TV News (Aaj Kamran Khan Ke Sath – 4th May 2011)

via Siasat.pk, ZemTVYou Tube

Afghan insurgents have lifeline in Pak: Pentagon

WASHINGTON: Nato-led forces are making “tangible progress” in the Afghanistan war, with Taliban insurgents under pressure and forced out of key southern strongholds, the Pentagon said on Friday.

Although, the US military acknowledged battlefield gains over the past six months were tentative and “fragile”, it painted a more positive picture than the Pentagon’s previous reports to Congress.

The findings come at a crucial moment in the nine-year-old war as the United States prepares to begin a drawdown in July of its 100,000-strong force and as the Afghan government plans to take over security in some districts.

The Pentagon, however, warned that the insurgents still enjoyed a crucial lifeline through safe havens in neighbouring Pakistan, that the Afghan government was plagued by corruption and that a shortage of trainers for Afghan forces could hold back efforts to hand over security.

“Insurgent capacity continues to be supported by sanctuaries and logistical support originating in Pakistan, and insurgents will likely retain operational momentum in areas where these support structures exist,” it said. To consolidate progress in security, Pakistan needed to do more to eliminate the sanctuaries, the Pentagon said.

The presence of the safe havens threatens to undermine the war effort and has strained relations between Washington and Islamabad, with US officials frustrated at the Pakistan Army’s reluctance to crack down on militants based in North Waziristan. …

Read more : The News.com.pk

Losing the battle for Pakistan

by Sher Ali Khan

A few days ago, the progressive-leaning parliamentarian Shabaz Bhatti was shot down in cold blood for advocating a moderated stance against a draconian law in Pakistan. The changing societal dynamics comes in the backdrop of a struggling democratic government, which is failing to assert itself for Pakistan’s survival.

It was almost a month ago when I wrote a report for the Express Tribune about the Christian community yearning for a ‘more tolerant’ Lahore. After exploring various pockets of the society, it was sad to see that the community had become insolent and rather afraid to even interact with general population.

If one spoke to historians regarding the character of Lahore say not sixty but thirty years ago, one would have found a completely different social structure in Lahore. Though Islam had rapidly become a majority entity, communal activities were not exclusive rather they were inclusive.

The story of Pakistan’s road down the conception of Islamic state has only hardened differences between various communities to the point Pakistanis cannot be considered Pakistanis without obeying to a certain brands of Islam.

For years, the army and the ISI have provided safe havens for militant groups as part of a greater plan to maintain a strategic and military presence in Kashmir and Afghanistan. It is clear with the confirmed death of Colonel Imam, the so-called father of the Taliban that the dynamics of these relationships have changed over time. Increasingly these militant groups have become rouge thus functioning beyond the scope of the state. …

Read more : View Point

Sindhi Gathering in Washington

By Khalid Hashmani

A Sindhi Sham with focus on Sindhi Rights was graciously hosted by Mrs. Nasreen and Mr. Iqbal Tareen at their residence on Sunday, January 9, 2011. The main purpose of the get-together was to meet a visiting young Sindhi leader Mr. Nizam Nizamani and exchange views on Sindhi affairs. However, the discussion soon turned into taking a candid look at the state of Sindhi Rights and potential solutions for resolving issues faced by Sindhis. The discussion group included Mr. Sohail Ansari, Mrs. Ayesha Babar, Mr. Aleem Brohi, Mr. Khalid Hashmani, Mr. Nizam Nizamani, Mr. Zahid Makhdoom, Mr. Ali Nawaz Memon, Mrs. Nazli Siddiki, Mr. Shafique Siddiki, Mrs. Nasreen Tareen and Mr. Iqbal Tareen. The session lasted several hours and resulted in some tangible recommendations – mainly that all Sindhi groups and political parties should formulate a minimum tangible agenda on which every one is in agreement and diligently work together until those goals are achieved. A synopsis of the meeting, organized by the main topics discussed at the meeting is shared below with the hope that Sindhis all over the world will have similar sessions in the cities, towns, and villages where they live so that a unified campaign can emerge to further the cause of Sindhi Rights. …

Strengths and Weaknesses of Sindhis

Some of the participants were of the views that Sindhis are a much stronger and organized nation than perceived by some. They gave the example of total shut-down of Sindh for several days after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto as an evidence that Sindhis are much stronger and willing to show force. Another example provided was that Sindhi political parties were able to organize large gatherings attended by hundreds of thousands of people in Karachi, Sindh was a sign of emerging organization and strength of Sindhis. The fact that there were six (6) Sindhi television channels, several FM radio stations broadcasting in Sindhi, and scores of Sindhi newspapers and magazines demonstrates clearly that Sindhis are successfully protecting and advancing their culture and heritage.

The counter point of view was that the Sindhis were not organized and had neither leadership nor direction. The strong reaction of Sindhis after the state murder of Benazir Bhutto was rather an exception prompted by emotions, and not an evidence that the reaction was well-calculated, well-articulated. … They gave an example that in spite of hundreds of thousands of Sindhis living in the core central areas of Karachi, Sindhis do not have a single Sindhi-medium school. … Another example they gave was that many leaders of key political parties live in Qasimabad area of Hyderabad and yet the area has no civic services. There is no sanitation system. All garbage is simply piled up in front of houses on the main streets of Qasimabad. How are these leaders going to help us to achieve Sindhi Rights when they cannot even organize people of one small area to create a rudimentary system that keeps streets of Qasimabad clean and safe?

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, January 15, 2011.

After WikiLeaks the jokers of Pakistani ruling elite are clueless!

WikiLeaks throws tons of dirt, shame on Pak players

WASHINGTON: The massive deluge of WikiLeaks disclosures hit the Pakistani political scene on Wednesday when stunning details of secret, behind the door conversations, assessments, invectives and decisions were released, gunning down almost every big political player in the country.

The major bombshells revealed are:

* General Kayani thought of removing and sending Zardari into exile during the Long March days;

* Asif Ali Zardari disclosed that Benazir Bhutto had come to Pakistan after getting “clearance” from the US;

* Zardari had promised immunity and safe passage to Musharraf before becoming the president;

* Musharraf wanted to sack Kayani because he was not helping; Faryal Talpur has been named as Zardari’s successor and the next President of Pakistan;

* General Kayani says Faryal will be a better president than Zardari.

* Zardari showed Benazir’s will to Anne Patterson to convince her that he was the genuine heir;

* PM Gilani approved the drone attacks; Gen Kayani wanted to remove Zardari and elevate Asfandyar Wali as president;

* ISI chief tells the Americans Zardari is corrupt;

* Maulana Fazlur Rehman asks Anne Patterson to support his PM candidacy;

* JUI chief hinted his votes in NA are up for sale

* Asfandyar Wali asks for US help to convince Nawaz Sharif and Zardari;

* Kayani tells Patterson he dislikes Nawaz more than Zardari;

* Zardari says Amin Fahim had spent most of the 2008 election campaign in Dubai with his latest 22 year-old wife and was simply too lazy to be prime minister;

* UK Air Force Chief, Marshal Sir Jock Stirrup called Zardari a numbskull who knows nothing about running a country;

* US Embassy says Zardari government is weak, ineffectual and corrupt;

* Bureaucracy is settling into third-world mediocrity;

* Nawaz assured the US he supported them; militants driving agenda in Pakistan’s war on terror;

* Nawaz wanted to bring Dr AQ Khan into politics

* Mumbai attacks closed the door on Kashmir discussions between India and Pakistan;

And many more. ….

Read more : Daily Times

Siraj Haqqani moved to ‘secure safe house’ outside FATA

By Ali K. Chishti

Daily Times can confirm that Siraj Haqqani, the operational commander of the Haqqani Network, who had earlier been moved from Miranshah, North Waziristan to Kurram Agency, has been moved to a secure “safe house” outside FATA. The decision was taken after the September 27 NATO incursion near the village of Mata Sanger, which left two Pakistani FC guards dead.

“Apparently, Siraj Haqqani was pretty close at a safe-house when the NATO incursion at Kurram took place,” confirmed a top Western diplomat. It should be noted that Siraj Haqqani was earlier moved to Kurram Agency from Miranshah in North Waziristan after his brother, Mohammed, was killed in a US predator strike and another military commander, Saifullah Haqqani, was killed earlier this year.

The Haqqani network, which is considered as a ‘strategic asset’ by the Pakistani security establishment due to their considerable influence in Afghanistan, had first been moved to Kurram Agency where a new operation centre had been set up to intensify attacks in Afghanistan in co-ordination with a break away section of the Lakhkar-e-Tayyaba and other groups. It is now reported that the Shia tribes that make up most of the base for the Frontier Corps, who had earlier given most of the resistance to Gubuddin Hekmatyar’s Hizb-e-Islami in Spina Shaga, have turned against the Haqqani network, who they see as an ideological threat to their existence. While most of the Pakistani mainstream media reported the recent clashes in Kurram Agency as ‘water wars’ between various tribal groups where more than 70 militants had been killed in strikes, it was in reality a section of the security establishment’s supporting pro-government tribal killings to pave a way for the Haqqanis. Daily Times can now confirm that it was a story to cover and allow the military to intervene on behalf of the Haqqanis, who are viewed as ‘strategic assets’ and ‘good Talibans’. ….

Read more : Daily Times

CIA Escalates in Pakistan

By ADAM ENTOUS, JULIAN E. BARNES And SIOBHAN GORMAN

WASHINGTON—The U.S. military is secretly diverting aerial drones and weaponry from the Afghan battlefront to significantly expand the CIA’s campaign against militants in their Pakistani havens.

The shift in strategic focus reflects the U.S. view that, with Pakistan’s military unable or unwilling to do the job, more U.S. force against terrorist sanctuaries in Pakistan is now needed to turn around the struggling Afghan war effort across the border. …

Read more >> WALL STREET JOURNAL