Tag Archives: Shura

Friday Times : Taliban are Pak Army proxies, not Pashtun nationalists – VI – By: Farhat Taj

There are three groups of Pashtuns fighting the US/NATO and Afghan security forces in Afghanistan – the Peshawar Shura led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the North Waziristan based Haqqani Network led by Jalaluddin Haqqani, and the Quetta Shura led by Mullah Omar. All three of them are closely linked with the military establishment of Pakistan.

A section of Hekmatyar’s party has already given up violence and is part of the current Afghan government and parliament. Many of the remaining prominent party leaders are frustrated with Hekmatyar’s rigid stance and have privately said they are willing to give up violence for a peaceful political process.

Continue reading Friday Times : Taliban are Pak Army proxies, not Pashtun nationalists – VI – By: Farhat Taj

Pakistan Taliban ‘number two sacked

By AFP

PESHAWAR: The number two commander in Pakistan’s nebulous, umbrella Taliban movement has been sacked as deputy chief but will remain within the organisation, a spokesman said Monday.

Maulvi Faqir Mohammad is the Taliban’s commander in Bajaur, one of Pakistan’s seven districts in the tribal belt on the Afghan border and one that has seen a recent lull in fighting between the Taliban and Pakistani soldiers.

He was sacked on Sunday at a meeting presided over by Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief Hakimullah Mehsud at a secret location in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal belt, spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told AFP by telephone.

“A shura (council) meeting was held on Sunday and it decided to remove Maulvi Faqir Mohammad from the position of deputy chief of TTP,” he said, adding that Mohammad would continue to serve the group as an ordinary member.

Ehsan gave no reason for the removal. Neither was a successor announced.

The TTP is a loose confederation of militant commanders founded and run by Baitullah Mehsud until his death in a US drone strike in August 2009. His killing sparked a bitter succession battle won by Hakimullah Mehsud.

A source close to the Taliban told AFP on condition of anonymity that the Bajaur commander fell out of favour with Mehsud over his alleged support for peace talks with the Pakistani government.

Mohammad also had sympathies with Mehsud’s biggest rival within the TTP, Wali-ur Rehman, the source added.

Northwestern Pakistan, particularly the main city of Peshawar, has seen a recent increase in suicide and gun attacks blamed on Taliban.

Mullah Omar, the supreme leader of the Afghan Taliban, reportedly asked his Pakistani counterparts to stop attacks within Pakistan, considered vital in any peace process in Afghanistan.

The only TTP commander who refused to comply was Mehsud, an Afghan Taliban member recently told AFP. Young and impetuous, the TTP leader has reputedly said there will be no end to attacks until Washington stops drone strikes.

Courtesy: DAWN

Taliban will rule Afghanistan again, says leaked US military report – The Guardian

Classified document is said to warn that Pakistan is plotting to help reinstall Taliban once Nato-led forces depart

By Reuters

The Taliban have secured Pakistan’s support for a return to power in Afghanistan as well as toning down their severe brand of Islamism, according to reports citing a leaked US military assessment.

The Taliban, backed by Pakistan, are set to retake control of Afghanistan after Nato-led forces withdraw from the country, according to reports citing a classifed assessment by US forces.

The Times described the report as secret and “highly classified”, saying it was put together last month by the US military at Bagram air base in Afghanistan for top Nato officers. The BBC also carried a report on the leaked document.

“Many Afghans are already bracing themselves for an eventual return of the Taliban,” the report was quoted as saying. “Once Isaf (Nato-led forces) is no longer a factor, Taliban consider their victory inevitable.”

The document stated that Pakistan’s security agency was helping the Taliban in directing attacks against foreign forces – a charge long denied by Islamabad.

The findings were based on interrogations of more than 4,000 Taliban and al-Qaida detainees, the Times said, adding the document was scarce on identifying individual insurgents.

A US state department spokesman and Britain’s Foreign Office both declined comment on the report. Nato and Pakistani officials could not be immediately reached for comment.

Despite the presence of more than 100,000 foreign troops, the UN has said violence in Afghanistan is at its worst since the Taliban were ousted by US-backed forces in 2001.

The Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (Isaf) says levels of violence are falling.

Citing the same report, the BBC reported on its website that Pakistan and its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency knew the locations of senior Taliban leaders and supported the expulsion of “foreign invaders from Afghanistan”.

“Senior Taliban leaders meet regularly with ISI personnel, who advise on strategy and relay any pertinent concerns of the government of Pakistan.”

Continue reading Taliban will rule Afghanistan again, says leaked US military report – The Guardian

In Unstable Fields

Comment by Omar Ali

The writer is a former Secretary of the Indian intelligence agency RAW (an agency no more capable than other arms of the Indian government, but thought in Pakistan to possess superhuman powers and very beautiful female agents who trap Pakistani patriots, or so we hope).  His views on things to come..

To read the article » In unstable fields by Vikram Sood » CLICK HERE

Via » Brown Pundits

Must read article – Imran Khan Jalsa in Karachi

The rise and rise of Imran Khan.

By Omar Ali

A few quick thoughts:

1. The campaign is well thought out and professional. It would be interesting to find out who all wrote the script.

2. People are indeed waking up, and PTI is indeed giving hope, but every time the people wake up it doesnt lead to where they think they are going (think about the millenarian excitement at the time of partition). The problem in any case is not the people or IK’s plan. Both are essential steps (if only partially understood) in a modern third world capitalist framework, and eventually the people/nation will indeed get there (they may think they are going elsewhere, but so did the people of China and see where they are today) but GHQ will have to be defanged along the way and taught new tricks. And one cannot underestimate GHQ and their genuinely problematic attachments to ideas incompatible with the needs of capitalist Pakistan … not so much from malign intent as from genuine lack of understanding (pak studies level BS is not just BS to them). Khan sahib is sincere, his followers are more than sincere, but the framework right now is only haflway there. Dangerous aspects of nazria e pakistan will have to be removed (quietly and surreptitiously, not the way I am saying it, I know), various groups will have to be accommodated or ruthlessly crushed (think Balochis, MQM, FATA, Jihadis) … all of which is doable, but not in this cycle by THIS tsunami. .. and all of which will include steps that may horrify some members of the excited middle class… Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Jahangir Tareen will not bring home the bacon.

3. There is indeed a new class of rich people in Pakistan and they need a more efficient capitalist country. They want to get together with PTI and GHQ and they think they will make Pakistan a stable capitalist country where property rights are secure (now that THEY own the property, thank you Hindus and Sikhs, and thank you current round of looting of public property, among other things). Its a necessary next step, but one has to be careful..who is writing the script? Many people are, but whose script has the deepest level of planning and muscle? GHQ.  They may still want to have their jihadi-nazria-e-Pakistan-irrational-anti-Indian cake and eat capitalism too….its tough to do that. They will have to kill some jihadis along the way and it wont be pleasant work. They will need much more Chinese money and that wont come without security for Chinese capitalists. Many eggs will have to be broken to make this omelette. And “resilient awam” will have to give some more “qurbani” (sacrifice) for the future greatness of Pakistani capitalists. Its true that our people are resilient, but not endlessly resilient.

4. I am NOT saying nothing good will come of this. People will get organized and get active. Many will get disappointed, but others will go on to new levels of effort and organization and understanding. How else do we learn? Just saying “this is not that dawn”…For various historical reasons, Chinese capitalism will be a bit more welcome than the Western brand, but its still capitalism and it has its own associated sacrifices…and the cultural and ethnic contradictions that have to be resolved will be resolved with very unpleasant tactics.

5. If you want a prediction, i think there is at least a 50% chance of IK being PM next year. And a 37% chance he could be assassinated some day to make way for Shah Mehmood Qureshi … in the best interests of the nation, mere aziz humwatno (my dear countrymen … standard refrain of martial law speeches in Pakistan).. and if PMLN and PPP are halfway capable, the job may turn out to be harder than today’s excitement makes it seem.

Courtesy » Brown Pundits

NDTV – Musharraf, Kayani knew about Osama’s whereabouts: Ex-Pak army chief

Washington: Pakistani military had harboured Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden with the knowledge of former president General Pervez Musharraf, ex-army chief General Ziauddin Butt has said.

An article on the Jamestown Foundation website, which cited Butt, said that despite denials, evidence is emerging that “elements within the Pakistani military harboured Osama with the knowledge of Musharraf and Kayani”. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani is the current army chief.

Ziauddin Butt, a former chief of the Pakistan army, told a conference on Pakistani-US ties in October that according to his knowledge, then director general of Intelligence Bureau, Brigadier (retd.) Ijaz Shah, had “kept Osama bin Laden in an Intelligence Bureau safe house in Abbottabad”.

Osama bin Laden was gunned down May 2 by US commandos who mounted a daring operation using stealth helicopters.

Read more at: http://www.ndtv.com/article/world/musharraf-kayani-knew-about-osama-s-whereabouts-ex-pak-army-chief-160512&cp

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» YouTube

Pakistan: bombs, spies and wild parties

By Declan Walsh

Even before you reach Pakistan there’s reason to fret. “Ladies and gentlemen, we will be landing shortly, inshallah,” says the Pakistan International Airlines pilot, 10 minutes outside Islamabad. To the western ear this ancient invocation – literally “God willing” – can be disconcerting: you pray the crew are relying on more than divine providence to set down safety. But these days it’s about right – Pakistan, a country buffeted by mysterious if not entirely holy forces, seems to have surrendered to its fate.

Viewed from the outside, Pakistan looms as the Fukushima of fundamentalism: a volatile, treacherous place filled with frothing Islamists and double-dealing generals, leaking plutonium-grade terrorist trouble. Forget the “world’s most dangerous country” moniker, by now old hat. Look to recent coverage: “Hornet’s Nest” declares this week’s Economist; “The Ally from Hell” proclaims the Atlantic.

Continue reading Pakistan: bombs, spies and wild parties

If you wondered why the Pakistan Army is only good at killing Pakistanis, toppling democratically elected government and losing every war they ever fought, here might be the reason – they’ve got dandruff!

Dandruff: does it afflict Pakistan’s army?

Researchers take a comprehensive look at the incidence of dandruff among Pakistani soldiers

By Marc Abrahams

Public knowledge about dandruff in Pakistan‘s army comes mainly from a study called Knowledge, Attitude and Practice Regarding Dandruff Among Soldiers, written by Naeem Raza, Amer Ejaz and Muhammad Khurram Ahmed, published in 2007 in the Journal of the College of Physicians and Surgeons, Pakistan. …

Read more » Guardian.co.uk

via » [News adopted from Tarek Fatah’s facebook page]

Dirty talk

By Saroop Ijaz

Excerpt;

…. The terrorists are fanatics who wish to destroy society and life as we have known it. The cliché “one man’s freedom fighter is another man’s terrorist” is overrated and in any event they are nobody’s freedom fighter. If all this sounds as dreary sentimental nonsense and hollow distant bravado to you, remember it is in our self-interest to fight and defeat them. Any capitulation or one-sided peace deal with them is by its nature doomed to fail and once it does, they will come back with a vengeance as they did after Swat. The precedent of negotiating and ceding to the edicts of people threatening to kill is one which is susceptible to permeate and will be applicable to your local gangster before you know it.

Read more » The Express Tribune, December 18th, 2011.

Jim Jones: Amb. Haqqani was not involved in memogate

By Josh Rogin

Former National Security Advisor Jim Jones has submitted a confidential affidavit, obtained by The Cable, in which he swears that he has no reason to believe that former Pakistani Ambassador to Washington Husain Haqqani had any role in the scandal known as “memogate.”

Jones was the go-between in the transmission of a secret memo from Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz to then Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen in the days following the killing of Osama bin Laden in Abbotabad. The memo, purportedly from the Pakistani civilian leadership, asked for U.S. government help to avoid a pending military coup in Pakistan and pledged, in return, to reorient Pakistan’s foreign and national security policy to be more in line with U.S. interests. ….

Read more » Foreign Policy (FP)

BBC – Bangladesh war: The article that changed history

By Mark Dummett

On 13 June 1971, an article in the UK’s Sunday Times exposed the brutality of Pakistan’s suppression of the Bangladeshi uprising. It forced the reporter’s family into hiding and changed history.

Abdul Bari had run out of luck. Like thousands of other people in East Bengal, he had made the mistake – the fatal mistake – of running within sight of a Pakistani patrol. He was 24 years old, a slight man surrounded by soldiers. He was trembling because he was about to be shot.

So starts one of the most influential pieces of South Asian journalism of the past half century.

Written by Anthony Mascarenhas, a Pakistani reporter, and printed in the UK’s Sunday Times, it exposed for the first time the scale of the Pakistan army’s brutal campaign to suppress its breakaway eastern province in 1971.

Nobody knows exactly how many people were killed, but certainly a huge number of people lost their lives. Independent researchers think that between 300,000 and 500,000 died. The Bangladesh government puts the figure at three million.

The strategy failed, and Bangladeshis are now celebrating the 40th anniversary of the birth of their country. Meanwhile, the first trial of those accused of committing war crimes has recently begun in Dhaka. ….

Read more » BBC

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-16207201

Military coup charges: ISI chief Shuja Pasha should resign, face inquiry, says Bushra Gohar

ISLAMABAD: MNA from the ANP Bushra Gohar said on Thursday that DG ISI Shuja Pasha should resign in order to ensure a transparent investigation of memogate, Geo News reported.

Addressing the National Assembly, Gohar said Haqqani had resigned and presented himself for investigation in the case.

Replying to Gohar, Opposition leader Chaudhry Nisar said that it was the government’s job to take the resignation from DG ISI and he had brought this issue up repeatedly during the joint session of Parliament.

Courtesy: The News

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Courtesy: Geo Tv News » YouTube

Former DG ISI Gen retd Ziauddin Butt has said Musharraf provided sanctuary to Osama bin Laden in Pakistan. DAWN TV

The language of the interview of former DG ISI is urdu (Hindi).

Courtesy » DAWN News Tv – 11th Dec 2011 -p2

via » ZemTv

Pakistan – A state determined to kill – itself

A state determined to kill – itself

By Khaled Ahmed

By creating just one point of view, Pakistan may entrench itself in dangerous isolation, and may find it difficult to do course-correction to save its already crippled economy from collapsing

A revisionist state called Pakistan is taking all measures possible to immolate itself. The Army finally ran is rival Husain Haqqani to the ground and was helped in this by internecine party politics with everyone mindlessly baying for each other’s blood as the only politics they know. The national economy is gradually crumbling, its infrastructure run down and people willing to attack and burn because the state is unable to run itself. On top of it all, the most fatal hubris of a weak state – ghairat or honour – rules the collective mind.

The Pakistan Army is the only popular institution in the country with processions now carrying portraits of General Kayani because he carries in him the promise of a war of honour, in other words, an honourable death, because living without honour is not living at all. On 26 November 2011, the NATO forces attacked a checkpost on the Pak-Afghan border and killed 24 Pak troops. No one knows what happened except Pakistan that says it was a pre-planned attack. Pakistan significantly got its TV cable operators to ban the BBC for showing its two-hour documentary Secret Pakistan whose facts cannot be denied or at least no one outside Pakistan will reject them. Pakistan should pause and reflect on these facts and then understand the November 26 attack in their light.

BBC said on its website: ‘Filmed largely in Pakistan and Afghanistan, this documentary explored how a supposed ally stands accused by top CIA officers and Western diplomats of causing the deaths of thousands of coalition soldiers in Afghanistan. It is a charge denied by Pakistan’s military establishment, but the documentary makers meet serving Taliban commanders who describe the support they get from Pakistan in terms of weapons, training and a place to hide’.

Pak Army is not willing to look at the non state actors despoiling the country from the inside. It defies the world asking that they be banned and brought to account and feels itself totally blameless for what happened in Mumbai in 2008 while it focuses on what has happened at Salala in 2011. If you kill others or get them killed by your non state actors, they are prone to make the kind of mistake that was made at Salala. But Pakistan welcomes war even though it has never won one and has been defeated again and again fighting India, the last one being the battle of Kargil. General Kayani has familiarly thrown the gauntlet to the US: do it again and see what happens. The world knows that nothing will happen, except that Pakistan, already in dire economic straits, will be crushed.

Nawaz Sharif has gone to the Supreme Court as the one forum where the PPP government can be pulled down as a corollary to defeating the United States. (Get the traitor for joining enemy America!) He wants to get at the root of the Memogate scandal and is sure that the PPP leader Zardari was trying to double-cross the Pak Army which Nawaz Sharif now wants to stand up for. He wants the PPP government gone in short order before its tenure is up.

It appears that the PMLN, with fresh warpaint on its face, the maximalist Supreme Court, intent on getting Zardari to commit hara-kiri in Switzerland, and a revengeful Army aspiring to defeat the US, are on the same page: Suspend efforts to free-trade with India, defeat the US as an obstacle to Pakistan getting its fair share of leverage in Afghanistan, and stop fighting the war against terrorists because it was never Pakistan’s war, slyly hoping that the Taliban will be on Pakistan’s side in the war against the US.

Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has pledged a crushing retaliation if the US-ISAF forces attacked inside Pakistani territory again, ‘regardless of consequences’ (sic!). He told his troops, ‘Be assured that we will not let the aggressor walk away easily; I have clearly directed that any act of aggression will be responded to with full force, regardless of the cost and consequences’. He wants the troops on the border with Afghanistan to take their own on-the-spot decision against any future NATO attacks without waiting for orders from the GHQ. Now they will fight the US-ISAF forces instead of the Taliban terrorists.

This is a very rash approach to the situation triggered by the November 26 incident, even if it is directed as a morale-booster at the troops and meant to be interpreted differently as strategy for civil society which is obviously not prepared for war on the western front. The Americans are offering regrets even before their formal inquiry into the Salala incident is completed on 21 December. President Obama too has expressed sorrow at the death of Pakistani troops while a formal apology pends till the inquiry reveals NATO’s guilt. There are however statements issuing from Washington saying the attack was unintended and that some fire had come from around the Salala checkpost.

The nation is of one mind, a kind of pre-war symptom that Pakistan experienced in 1965 and 1971 when the Army painted the country into a corner through the hubris of isolationism. It is not natural that the entire nation be of uniform thinking in favour of conflict, especially if this conflict is against an immeasurably stronger adversary. If after the anger felt in the GHQ subsides and more realistic decisions are required to be taken, the disappointment among the public will take the shape of an emotional boomerang of self-disgust. We have seen that happen in the Raymond Davis case after the CIA agent was let off on diyat instead of being publicly hanged. If the common man has succumbed to an attack of ‘ghairat’ and is spoiling for a fight with the US, the state cannot afford to indulge in the bravado of an unequal war.

If the pro-war mind is presuming that the Taliban will fight the NATO-US forces side by side with the Pak Army, putting an end to the problem of law and order in Pakistan, it is sadly deceived. It will in fact be a two-front war, one front being at the back of the Pakistani troops. The Taliban and their master al Qaeda have an agenda that will be fulfilled only by removing our brave Army Chief from his post and then using the Army to take over the country and its nuclear assets. Wisdom demands that we challenge the US realistically rather than rashly, compelling it to make amends for the Salala incident to the benefit of Pakistan.

A consensus of national self-damage can occur even in democracies and it has recently taken place in the US too but in Pakistan one institution of the state dominates all decision-making functions, and those who should be ruling and not allowing this domination are busy in a lethal war of self-diminution.

The fact is that there are two versions of the truth. Unfortunately the American version is what is credited at the international level while the Pakistani version can only hold if the news channels are prevented from puncturing it. Our asymmetric proxy war against India was rejected by the world while the Pakistanis were force-fed with justifiable jihad by non state actors. Its fallout was experienced by Pakistan’s neighbours whose fear of what Pakistan may do next has isolated Pakistan in the region too. ….

Read more » The Friday Times

http://www.thefridaytimes.com/beta2/tft/article.php?issue=20111209&page=2

A new low for Pakistan

EDITORIAL: New low

One might have thought a new low for Pakistan’s reputation would have been a little difficult to achieve given the attention it gets on a daily basis for ‘strategic depth’-led support for criminal and extremist elements within and without the country, corruption, misgovernance, poverty, honour killings, state terrorism in Balochistan, energy and floods crises and what have you. However, never say never — the seemingly impossible has happened. With Afghan President Hamid Karzai accusing Pakistan’s Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), as well as the subsequent claims of responsibility by the LeJ of having carried out the massacre of over 55 Shias in Afghanistan on the 10th of Moharram, one of their holiest days, Pakistan does seem to have landed itself in very hot water.

It may be argued that the LeJ being a ‘non state actor’, flak for Pakistan is unjustified. However, it is also a known fact that the LeJ not only came into being with active support of the state years ago, but that it has enjoyed establishment patronage for creating sectarian strife in the country for decades. The flak, therefore, may not be as unjustified as it may appear superficially. With the level of impunity this virulently extremist and violent group, among others, operates at and wreaks havoc in Pakistan, complicity on the part of the state becomes implicit. This is not to insinuate that the group had the establishment’s blessings in this particular attack. That cannot be known easily. However, even if this particular act of barbarity was not supported or instigated by its backers, there is the concept of the Frankenstein’s monster. Simply by dint of the fact that the military/intelligence establishment has pursued an unrelenting policy of creating and utilising violent, criminal and extremist elements as a matter of strategy for domestic as well as foreign policy, Pakistan cannot profess innocence now that the chickens have come home to roost.

The LeJ is known to have developed links with the Taliban and al-Qaeda in recent years. And whilst it may have been involved in the senseless violence perpetrated by the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan previously, the Ashore attacks in Afghanistan were the first known incidents of sectarian violence in the country by a foreign group. The fact that the LeJ itself has claimed responsibility for the atrocity means that a well-known Pakistani outfit has for the first time been identified as resurrecting and stoking sectarian conflict on Afghan soil. This potentially adds a whole new dimension to the Afghan problem and Pakistan’s involvement in it. Now put this development in the context of the ever-deteriorating AfPak disaster, and you find yourself staring into an abyss. OBL and Shalala hardly make up a mitigating background, with a dangerously antagonistic relationship having developed between a client and a superpower. On the one hand it has seen a CIA chief’s name publicly disclosed in Pakistan, CIA operatives being literally kicked out of the country after the Raymond Davis affair, a denial of logistical support and use of Shamsi airbase to NATO and the Bonn boycott in the wake of Shalala. On the other, is the patience with Pakistan’s double game that has all but run out on the part of the west, on account of its mule-headed pursuit of strategic depth that is eating up not only Pakistan itself, but engulfing the entire region in an inferno.

Intransigence over abandoning and tackling the various strains of terrorism emanating from Pakistan are bound to cost it dearly. The country has already been publicly censured and condemned. Without meaningful and sincere efforts towards a change of trajectory, Pakistan may be set to face the music like never before. The country has withstood isolation and sanctions before — but the present state of its economy, governance, security situation and social unraveling may not be able to withstand the world’s fury this time round.

Courtesy » Daily Times

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2011\129\story_9-12-2011_pg3_1

Afghanistan: Pakistani Extremist Group In Focus After Unprecedented Attack On Afghan Shi’a

By Abubakar Siddique

As Afghanistan recovers from a deadly and unprecedented attack on a Shi’ite shrine in Kabul, the finger of blame is pointing directly at a Sunni extremist group with a long history of carrying out such attacks in neighboring Pakistan.

At least 55 people were killed and more than 160 wounded in the December 6 suicide attack, which occurred as Shi’ite worshippers were assembled outside the shrine to commemorate Ashura, a Shi’ite religious holiday. A separate attack near an Ashura procession in the northern city of Mazar-e Sharif killed at least four people.

Shortly after the midday attack in Kabul, a man claiming to be a spokesman for Lashkar-e Jhangvi al-Alami contacted RFE/RL’s Radio Mashaal to claim responsibility on behalf of the Pakistan-based militant group.

It was impossible to independently verify the claim made by the man, who identified himself as Qari Abubakar Mansoor.

The man first contacted a Radio Mashaal correspondent in Pakistan who covers the western Kurram tribal district, where the group is believed to be headquartered. A man going by the name of Qari Abubakar had previously contacted Radio Mashaal to provide information regarding the Lashkar-e Jhangvi al-Alami. Following RFE/RL’s report tying the group to the attack in Afghanistan, various media reported receiving similar claims from the same spokesman.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who cut short a European trip and returned to the Afghan capital to deal with the crisis, appeared to accept that the attack was carried out by Lashkar-e Jhangvi al-Alami. While visiting survivors of the attack in the hospital, he was quoted as telling reporters that “we are investigating this issue and we are going to talk to the Pakistani government about it.”

Ties To Al-Qaeda, Taliban

Farzana Sheikh, a Pakistan specialist at the Chatham House think tank in London, says the group evolved from the Anjuman-e Sipahe Shaba Pakistan, an extremist political party intent on transforming Pakistan into a Sunni state. One of its splinter groups, Lashkar-e Jhangvi (LeJ) was considered the most deadly sectarian militia in the South Asian state in the 1990s.

Lashkar-e Jhangvi al-Alami is now considered a splinter group of the LeJ, which was banned in Pakistan in 2002 because of its role in the killing of thousands of Shi’a.

“Its roots really lie in southern Punjab [Province], in the district of Jhang, from where they have clearly spread to other parts of Pakistan,” Sheikh says, “but particularly the [southwestern province of] Balochistan, where they have been responsible, and indeed claimed responsibility, for a series of murderous attacks against Shi’a Hazaras.”

Sheikh says that the group once enjoyed close links to Pakistani intelligence agencies. This, she notes, enabled LeJ to maintain bases in Taliban-controlled Afghan regions because of Islamabad’s relationship with the Taliban regime. However, the LeJ’s Shi’a-killing campaign made it a prime security threat for Pakistan, according to observers.

Read more » Radio Free Europe Radio Liberty (rferl)

http://www.rferl.org/content/pakistani_extremist_group_in_focus_after_afghan_sectarian_attack/24415027.html

UN Security Council condemns Ashura attacks in Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif reminded “States” to combat terrorism comply with all their obligations under international law

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Security Council Press Statement on Afghanistan- SC/10474- Afg/380

The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Vitaly Churkin ( Russian Federation):

The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the abhorrent terrorist attacks on 6 December in Kabul and Mazar-i-Sharif causing numerous death and injuries.

The members of the Security Council expressed their deep sympathy and sincere condolences to the victims of these heinous acts and to their families, and to the people and Government of Afghanistan.

The members of the Security Council called on the Government of Afghanistan to bring those responsible to justice.

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security, and that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed.

The members of the Security Council reiterated their determination to combat all forms of terrorism, in accordance with its responsibilities under the Charter of the United Nations.

The members of the Security Council reminded States that they must ensure that measures taken to combat terrorism comply with all their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law.

The members of the Security Council reiterated their support for the people and the Government of Afghanistan.

Courtesy » http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2011/sc10474.doc.htm

News – Afghanistan: National Front Asks UN to Investigate Kabul Attack

The National Front Party on Thursday asked the UN to investigate the Kabul suicide attack which took place on Tuesday at Abul Fazl Shrine.

The National Front Leader Ahmad Zia Massoud said he welcomed and supported the decision made by Afghan government. He also stressed that investigation about the incident would be in the interest of Afghanistan.

“If the Afghan president is really intending to investigate about the issue and discuss it with Pakistan, a UN delegation should be assigned to investigate certain parts of the incident. The outcomes would be good, I think because Afghans have always had defensive strategy and have been silent towards all such incidents. This has caused Pakistani Generals to do whatever they want inside Afghanistan,” Mr Massoud said.

On Wednesday President Karzai said that he will investigate about the issue with the help of international community.

“Jhangvi is based in Pakistan. So, the Afghan government, with the support of the international community, will follow up on the issue. Afghanistan will never forgive the wounding of innocent children,” Mr Karzai said.

The deadly suicide attack at Abul Fazl Shrine in Kabul took the lives of more than 59 people and nearly 200 people were wounded in the incident.

Lashkari Jhangvi which is based in Pakistan has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Courtesy » ToloNews

Attack on NATO oil tankers in Quetta. Big Fire – More then 40 tankers burnt to ashes.

Courtesy: Geo Tv News » YouTube

More details » DAWN.COM

Kabul shrine bomber was Pakistani, affiliated with LeJ: Afghan official

Karzai blames Lashkar-e-Jhangvi for Kabul blast

By AFP

KABUL: Afghan President Hamid Karzai Wednesday blamed the the sectarian militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) for a bomb at a Kabul shrine which killed 55 people, demanding justice from Pakistan, his spokesman said.

The comments are likely to antagonise further already tense relations with Islamabad, which boycotted Monday’s Bonn conference on the future of Afghanistan following NATO air strikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

“The president said he blamed the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi,” said Aimal Faizi following reports of a purported claim from the faction, blamed for scores of similar attacks on Shia Muslims in Pakistan.

“The president said that he will demand Pakistan take executive measures in this regard since this group is based in Pakistan so that justice can be done,” Faizi added.

Karzai’s comments came as he visited victims of the Kabul blast in hospital. He returned to Kabul earlier Wednesday after cutting short a trip to Europe to deal with the fallout of the unprecedented attack on Afghan Shias.

Afghan victims buried as fingers point to Pakistan

An Afghan official had earlier claimed that the bomber who attacked the shrine in Kabul was a Pakistani, affiliated with the sectarian militant group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ). ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

‘Pakistani army is installing a dictatorship, without a coup’: Bruce Riedel

According to Bruce Riedel, “the Pakistani army is gradually installing a new military dictatorship, without even needing to resort to a coup”. Mr. Bruce Riedel says that “The new military dictatorship that is emerging in Pakistan will be very different from its predecessors.” He added “The facade of civilian government is likely to continue to go on… with very little real power. The media will continue to be very active and alive, except when they criticize the military.” ….

Read more » RUPEE NEWS

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

STATEMENT BY SENATORS McCAIN AND GRAHAM ON PAKISTAN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Criticized at home, Pakistan army defends its lack of air response during deadly NATO attack

By Associated Press

ISLAMABAD — Confusion and a communication breakdown prevented Pakistan’s airforce from scrambling to defend troops on the ground during the deadly NATO bombing last weekend of two border outposts, the military said Friday, responding to rare domestic criticism of the powerful institution.

The attack killed 24 Pakistani troops and pushed already strained ties between Washington and Islamabad over the future of Afghanistan close to rupture. Islamabad has closed its eastern border to NATO supplies traveling into landlocked Afghanistan and said it is reviewing its cooperation with Washington.

Thousands of Islamist extremists took to the streets across the country after Friday prayers, some shouting they would join the army in a battle with the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan. The chants were a worrying sign for the West, reflecting how the anger over the incident is uniting hard-liners and the military.

Others rallied against the country’s already weak government for its alliance with Washington.

The Pakistani military, which eats up most of the country’s budget and is accountable to no one, has said Saturday’s border attack was an “act of deliberate aggression” that went on for close two hours. It has also said that Pakistani commanders contacted and pleaded with coalition commanders to stop firing.

NATO and U.S. officials have disputed that account, which has triggered uncomfortable questions in this South Asian country over why Pakistan’s own fighter jets and helicopters stationed close to the border did not take off to defend the ground troops during the attack.

The military has said troops did fire back at the NATO choppers when they attacked.

A Pakistani military statement on Friday said the response could have been more “effective” if the airforce had been called in, but this was not possible because of a “breakdown of communication” and confusion at “various levels” within the organization. …

Read more » The Washington Post

Source – http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia-pacific/criticized-at-home-pakistan-army-defends-its-lack-of-air-response-during-deadly-nato-attack/2011/12/02/gIQAkQaYJO_story.html

via » Siasat.pk

Zakaria: Pakistan – friends without benefits

By Fareed Zakaria, CNN

You wouldn’t have thought anti-Americanism in Pakistan could get any worse, but last week NATO attacked a Pakistani army post, killing 24 Pakistani soldiers. Even before this episode, for which NATO expressed deep regret, it would be difficult to find a country on the planet that was more anti-American than Pakistan. In a Pew survey this year, only 12% of Pakistanis expressed a favorable view of the United States. Populist rage and official duplicity have built up even though Washington has lavished Islamabad with aid totaling $20 billion over the last decade.

I think it’s time to recognize that the America’s Pakistan policy is just not working. I write this as someone who has consistently supported engaging with the Pakistani government as the best of bad options. But the evidence that this engagement is working is thin – and gets thinner with every passing month.

Supporting Islamabad has been premised on two arguments. The first is that if we don’t, the Pakistani government could collapse and the country’s nuclear weapons could fall into the wrong hands, perhaps even ending up with al Qaeda. This misunderstands the problem. Pakistan is not Somalia. It has been ruled by a professional military for most of its independent existence, even when there has been a nominally civilian government in charge – as there is today. There have been no Gaddafiesque colonels’ coups in Pakistan; instead, the entire military, with its command chain intact, has moved to replace the civilian government.

Read more » CNN

John McCain, the presidential candidate in 2008 election says, ISI support to Haqqani network and other terrorist groups that are killing US forces in Afghanistan, angered U.S.

ISI support to Haqqani network angered US: McCain

Washington: Adopting a tough stance against Pakistan, a top Republican Senator has charged its intelligence agency with continuing to support the Haqqani network and other terrorist groups.

Pakistan’s intelligence agency continues to support the Haqqani Network and other terrorist groups that are killing US and Afghan forces in Afghanistan, and the vast majority of the material used to make improvised explosive devices originates from two fertilizer factories in Pakistan,” Senator John McCain said. ….

Read more » IBN » Siasat.pk

Courtesy: Geo Tv News » YouTube

Pakistan Resumes Some Cooperation With NATO

– NATO says Pakistan has resumed some cooperation with U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan following NATO strikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

A NATO spokesman, German Brigadier General Carsten Jacobson, said Islamabad communicated with the alliance to prevent an exchange of fire over the border late on November 29 from turning into another international incident.

Jacobson also expressed hope that Pakistan’s cooperation in resolving the incident in eastern Afghanistan’s Paktia Province signaled the two sides could recover from the recent tragedy.

Earlier, a senior Pakistani Army official was quoted as saying the cross-border air attack by NATO forces in Afghanistan that killed the Pakistani soldiers was a “deliberate” act of aggression against Pakistani forces.

The remarks by Major General Ashfaq Nadeem, director-general of military operations, were quoted in Pakistani newspapers. ….

Read more » RFERL

Afghan officials voice scant remorse to Pakistan

By Joshua Partlow and Karin Brulliard

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more » The Washington Post

The Generals Have No Clothes

Islamabad’s generals have been sponsoring the deaths of Americans for years, and yet Obama does nothing. Why?

BY KAPIL KOMIREDDI

Pakistan is indignant about the killing of 25 of its troops in a NATO air raid on Saturday. The circumstances that led to the assault are still unknown, but Washington and Europe have expressed contrition and promised an investigation. Pakistan has every reason to feel angry. But after a suitable period of mourning, shouldn’t the United States, in the interests of fairness if nothing else, ask the Pakistani army if it plans ever to apologize for — or, at bare minimum, acknowledge — its role in the deaths of hundreds of coalition forces and many more Afghan civilians?

At the start of the 21st century, the United States offered Pakistan a very straightforward ultimatum: Join us in the war against terrorism inaugurated by al Qaeda’s attacks on 9/11 — or find yourself bombed to the Stone Age. In the decade since, Pakistan has arguably been responsible for more American deaths than any other state on earth. Yet Pakistan has not only evaded prosecution for its crimes. In a staggering turn of events, its army has found its program of sponsoring the slaughter of American troops in Afghanistan by the Taliban and al Qaeda amply subsidized by Washington. ….

Read more » Foreign Policy

What next for Pakistan’s army? By Sadanand Dhume

Excerpt;

…. On November 30 we’ll host a panel discussion at AEI to discuss the situation in Pakistan and what it means for the United States. Our focus will be on the Pakistani army, the country’s most powerful institution by a long measure. If the United States and Pakistan are to avoid the recurrence of incidents like this weekend’s, their armies will need to work out clearer ways of communicating along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. At the same time, if Pakistan’s fledgling democracy is to have a chance of flowering, its generals will have to give up their virtual monopoly on their country’s policies toward Afghanistan and India, and also develop a keener appreciation for the idea of civil supremacy than they have managed thus far.

To read complete article » http://blog.american.com/2011/11/what-next-for-pakistans-army/

Shamsi Air base – By Air Marshal Ayaz A Khan (R)

The disused Bhandari airstrip 200 miles south of Quetta in Balochistan was gifted to Shiekh Zahid Al-Nahyan the ruler of Abu Dhabi by the government of Pakistan in the 1990’s. The airstrip called Shamsi was developed by Emirates Shieks into a jet capable airfield , and was used for falcon hunting of rare Bustards in Balochistan. It was leased out to US Central Intelligence Agency in 2001 by UAE with President Musharraf’s approval, and was developed by the United States Air Force as a military air base in great secrecy for bombing of Afghanistan. CIA occupation of the base clearly had his approval. General Pervez Musharraf as President should have comprehended the long time strategic implications of handing over Shamsi air base to Washington! Development of of Shamsi for clandestine operations was kept a highly guarded secret, and Chief Minister Magsi and even Corps Commander were not allowed to visit it, when it was being developed for Drone operations and construction of the required infrastructure for this purpose was taking place. There is no evidence on record that the UAE government handed over Shamsi to the CIA for Drone operations. I was general Musharraf who handed over Shamsi and allowed US Air Force operations against Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants from some other PAF bases including the Shahbaz Air Base. ….

Read more » Defence Journal

http://www.defencejournal.com/2011-7/index.asp