Larkano: Arts Council of Larkano held a condolence reference in memory of Sirajul Haque Memon. It was presided over by Prof. Mukhtiar Samo who speaking on the occasion said that people of caliber of Siraj take birth in the centuries but during their stay in this world they leave indelible mark on it through their outstanding performance and valuable contribution in its reformation. He said Siraj was a committed Sindhi writer who did not come to terms with political and social injustice during whole of his lifetime. He refused to bow down before the negative forces and fought against them through the help of his pen. He will long be remembered for his undeterred struggle through his writings for the rights of the people of Sindh. Prof. Saleem Korai said that Siraj introduced new trends of reporting and editorial writing in Sindhi newspaper. His editorials and columns brought him closer to the masses who saw the true representation of their troubles and problems in his writings. Dr. Baduruddin Dhamrah said that the novels of Siraj were like a living commentary on the history of Sindh. He said that Argun and Tarkhan invaders erased the libraries and seats of leanings in Thatto so as to destroy the history of sindh but latter Siraj recorded their atrocious actions in his novels for the appraisal of coming generations.
Pakistan‘sobsession with extracting an apology from the U.S. for airstrikes that accidentally killed 24 Pakistani troops last year seems dubious considering its own questionable commitment in the fight against terrorism.
Instead of jeopardizing U.S. efforts in South Asia, the Pakistani government should instead show courage by owning up to its destructive policies and apologize for its mishaps.
Here are at least 10 reasons why Pakistan owes the U.S. its deepest apology:
1. Osama bin Laden: On May 2, 2011, Osama bin Laden was killed near the Pakistan Military Academy, the equivalent of West Point. Pakistan was receiving about $18 billion from the U.S. to dismantle al-Qaida, while bin Laden was living comfortably with his wives and children in Abbottabad. Instead of apologizing for its complicity or incompetence, Pakistan vigorously protested violation of its sovereignty by theU.S. military operation that killed bin Laden. In fact, Pakistan’s National Assembly offered religious prayers for bin Laden, and civilian protests across the country condemned the killing.
2. Doctor on trial: Last week, Dr. Shakil Afridi, a surgeon who helped the CIA locate bin Laden’s whereabouts under the cover of a vaccination campaign, was convicted of treason and sentenced to 33 years in prison and fined about $3,500. So, let’s get this straight. Pakistan publicly pledges to eliminate terrorism, yet punishes its citizens for helping to do so?
3. Embassy attack: On Sept. 13, 2011, well-equipped insurgents linked to the Pakistan-based Haqqani network, allied with al-Qaida and the Taliban, attacked the U.S. Embassy and NATO headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan. Adm. Mike Mullen, the then-Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, said the network is a “veritable arm” ofInter-Services Intelligence, the Pakistani spy agency. Instead of working to dismantle the terror network, Pakistan’s army chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani complained that his country was being “singled out,” and that it was “neither fair nor productive.” Hence, the network continues to undermine coalition efforts in Afghanistan.
Balochistan and its ‘jealous husband’
By Malik Siraj Akbar
Unfortunately, ours is a history marked with lies, distortions, exaggerations and false glorification. Can’t we at least pay attention to some bitter truths and grim reminders? For all the flak that US Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (Republican from California) is getting from Pakistan’s media and official circles, the fact is that he is gaining popularity by the day, especially among the young people of Balochistan, some of whom have already set up a Facebook fan pagefor him. At last count, he had over 3,000 fans and this number will only rise.
So, the news channels are fooling and misleading the country when they show a ‘patriotic Pakistani’ from Islamabad or Khyber-Pakhtunkhawa, instead of a talking to a Baloch from Gwadar, condemning the developments taking place in Washington DC. Why is there such reluctance to trust the Baloch and speak to them to learnwhat has alienated them and what they demand? When was the first (and probably the last) time when the whole country demonstrated unity to address what is happening in Balochistan? How many long marches, breaking news stories and parliamentary resolutions are going to happen before the government addresses the matter at hand?
Let’s stop the ‘internal affair’ drama and focus on some historical facts? Since Pakistan’s inception, Islamabad has spied on the Baloch. Perhaps the Baloch did not respond to the fact that they were treated unequally and disrespectfully but over time they became pained by being billed as Russian, Indian, Afghan and even Iraqi agents. Of course, now they are going to be treated as ‘CIA agents’! Did Islamabad ever embrace the Baloch as respectful and dependable citizens of the land who could be trusted and given ownership and responsibility?
Surely, we all remember what happened in 1973 when the first-ever elected Baloch government was dismissed. As if disregard for the Baloch mandate of provincial government was not enough, the people of the province were then subjected to a horrendous military operation on the charge of having ‘extra-marital affairs’ with foreign countries. In six decades, Islamabad has not been able to present undisputed proof of Balochistan’s unfaithfulness while there are countless accounts of the formers patriarchal arrogance towards the province.
An ardent pro-Pakistan leader like Nawab Akbar Bugti was killed on suspicion of getting ‘foreign assistance’. Former chief minister Akhtar Mengal was literally put into an iron cage because General Musharraf thought he was not sufficiently patriotic. Bramdagh Bugti was called an ‘Indian agent’, and his sister and niece were killed. Hundreds of young Baloch have been found dead in recent months, dumped along roads in the province.
While a troubled relationship between a mother-in-law and her daughter-in-law can endure despite all flaws, marriage between a quarrelling couple has a painful, yet, internationally and legally acceptable choice: divorce. The Pakistani ‘patriots’ should ask themselves that are their actions pushing Balochistan to the brink of divorce.
To read complete article » The Express Tribune, February 22nd, 2012.
“In the foreseeable future, Islam will remain a factor in Pakistan’s politics. Musharraf and his likely successors from the ranks of the military, promising reform, will continue to seek U.S. economic and military assistance; yet the power of such promises is tempered by the strong links between Pakistan’s military-intelligence apparatus and extremist Islamists”.
Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military— Husain Haqqani
By Karen DeYoung
The Obama administration has sharply warned Pakistan that it must cut ties with a leading Taliban group based in the tribal region along the Afghan border and help eliminate its leaders, according to officials from both countries.
In what amounts to an ultimatum, administration officials have indicated that the United States will act unilaterally if Pakistan does not comply. …
Read more » The Washington Post
By PIR ZUBAIR SHAH and CARLOTTA GALL
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and other senior administration officials visited Pakistan in October to demand that Pakistan’s spy agency either deliver the Haqqani network, a virulent part of the insurgency fighting American forces in Afghanistan, to the negotiating table or help fight them in their stronghold in Pakistan’s rugged tribal areas.
But there are any number of reasons why the Pakistanis may disappoint the Americans. Not least is that the Haqqani leadership — contrary to the American emphasis on drone strikes in the tribal areas — does not have to hide in Pakistan’s ungoverned fringes. So close are the Haqqanis’ ties to Pakistan’s military and intelligence service that one might just as well look for them around the capital, Islamabad, or in the closely guarded military quarters of Rawalpindi.
Osama bin Laden was thought to have been hiding in the tribal areas, too, said a tribal elder reached by telephone in the Haqqani stronghold of North Waziristan. Instead, Bin Laden was killed by American commandos in Abbottabad, a small city deep in Pakistan that is home to a top military academy. Whether he was there with the knowledge of Pakistan’s spy agency is still unclear.
“The Americans have taken the hell out of us through drones all these years trying to target O.B.L.,” said the elder, referring to Bin Laden, and not wanting to be named for fear of his safety. “But they found him in Abbottabad. The same will happen with the Haqqanis, too.”
The freedom of movement the Haqqanis enjoy in Pakistan could be witnessed on a sweltering July day last year at a graduation ceremony at one of Pakistan’s largest religious schools, Darul Uloom Haqqania, well known for producing the ranks of the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban.
Among the thousands who had gathered that day in Akora Khattak, just an hour from the capital, were top members of the Haqqani family. The family patriarch, Jalaluddin Haqqani, is a graduate of the school and draws his last name from it.
The Haqqanis stayed for several hours at the event, which was almost certainly monitored by Pakistani intelligence agents, and, after lunch, left in a car with Islamabad license plates.
The Haqqani family, which runs the network like a mafia, maintains several town houses, including in Islamabad and elsewhere, and they have been known to visit military facilities in Rawalpindi, attend tribal gatherings and even travel abroad on pilgrimages, say military and political analysts who follow militant activity in Pakistan.
Among those present at the ceremony was Khalil Haqqani, a brother of Jalaluddin, and an important fund-raiser for the network who travels frequently to the United Arab Emirates. In February he was added to the United Nations Security Council’s sanctions list for having links to Al Qaeda.
With him were two of Jalaluddin’s sons. One was Nasiruddin Haqqani, often described as the Haqqani network’s liaison with Pakistani intelligence and the person in charge of channeling money.
Senior leaders of the group concerned with political and financial affairs, like Khalil Haqqani and another of Jalaluddin’s brothers, Ibrahim Haqqani, have long resided in Islamabad, said Vahid Brown, a counterterrorism expert at Princeton who is researching a book on the Haqqani network.
“My impression is they mostly live in the cities,” Mr. Brown said. He cited news reports and a tribal legislator as saying that Ibrahim Haqqani had lived in Islamabad for the past 20 years. Diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks last year also revealed that the two Haqqanis often traveled to the United Arab Emirates from Pakistan, Mr. Brown said. Ibrahim Haqqani even met an American official there for exploratory negotiations in late August.
Sirajuddin Haqqani, who manages the network for his father — and is the undisputed boss — travels freely around Pakistan’s northwestern province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the tribal areas, according to two Western analysts with extensive experience of Pakistan and Afghanistan.
“The fact that he is able to drive around means he is protected,” one analyst said, speaking on the condition of anonymity to avoid angering the Pakistani government.
Kashmiri and Afghan militant groups have long been supported by the Pakistani military, and many of their members carry passes that allow them to go through any police checkpoint, he said.
As much as Mrs. Clinton and other American officials would like the Pakistani leadership to make a definitive break with the Haqqanis, such free movement reflects the symbiotic relationship between the network’s members and Pakistan’s military.
The Haqqanis need a haven to train fighters and receive financial and material support, which they get from Pakistan, especially in North Waziristan, part of the tribal areas. Pakistan’s military, for its part, needs a proxy to extend its influence in Afghanistan after the Americans leave; that is what the Haqqanis give them. …
Read more » The New York Times
by K. Alan Kronstadt, Specialist in South Asian Affairs
This report summarizes important recent developments in Pakistan and in Pakistan-U.S. relations. Obama Administration engagement with Pakistan has been seriously disrupted by recent events. A brief analysis of the current state of Pakistan-U.S. relations illuminates the main areas of contention and uncertainty. Vital U.S. interests related to links between Pakistan and indigenous American terrorism, Islamist militancy in Pakistan and Islamabad’s policies toward the Afghan insurgency, Pakistan’s relations with historic rival India, nuclear weapons proliferation and security, and the troubled status of Pakistan’s domestic setting are reviewed. Ongoing human rights concerns and U.S. foreign assistance programs for Pakistan are briefly summarized, and the report closes with an analysis of current U.S.-Pakistan relations.
In the post-9/11 period, assisting in the creation of a more stable, democratic, and prosperous Pakistan actively combating religious militancy has been among the most important U.S. foreign policy efforts. Global and South Asian regional terrorism, and a nearly decade-long effort to stabilize neighboring Afghanistan are viewed as top-tier concerns. Pakistan’s apparently accelerated nuclear weapons program and the long-standing dispute with India over Kashmir continue to threaten regional stability. Pakistan is identified as a base for numerous U.S.- designated terrorist groups and, by some accounts, most of the world’s jihadist terrorist plots have some connection to Pakistan-based elements.
While Obama Administration officials and most senior congressional leaders have continued to recognize Pakistan as a crucial partner in U.S.-led counterterrorism and counterinsurgency efforts, long-held doubts about Islamabad’s commitment to core U.S. interests have deepened considerably in 2011. Most independent analysts view the Pakistani military and intelligence services as too willing to distinguish among Islamist extremist groups, maintaining links to some as a means of forwarding Pakistani’s perceived security interests. Top U.S. officials have offered public expressions of acute concerns about Islamabad’s ongoing apparent tolerance of Afghan insurgent and anti-India militants operating from Pakistani territory. The May 2011 revelation that Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden had enjoyed apparently years-long and relatively comfortable refuge inside Pakistan led to intensive U.S. government scrutiny of the now deeply troubled bilateral relationship, and sparked much congressional questioning ….
Read more » Congressional Research Service (CRS)
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
BAAGHI: No clean hands in AmAfPak – by Marvi Sirmed
The fact that the Taliban and al Qaeda had sanctuaries and freedom in Pakistan is largely responsible for their present position in the strategic equation ….
Read more » Daily Times
Action against Haqqani network may not be in Pakistan’s interest: Musharraf
LONDON: Former president Pervez Musharraf said that Pakistan has “definite reasons” for not acting against the Haqqani Network, as such action may not be in Pakistan’s current interest.
The former President did not rule out future action against the Haqqanis, but said that he was not privy to any information in this regard.
Musharraf was speaking at a question and answer session organised at the University of London by the School of Oriental and African Studies and hosted by Express News host of Frontline, Kamran Shahid.
Musharraf faced an intense question and answer session in London, being grilled by an audience comprising both south asian and international students.
Answering a question on drone strikes and the attached collateral damage, the former President of Pakistan said it was a “catch 22″ situation, saying on the one hand, Pakistan wants to defeat al-Qaeda and Taliban since that they are terrorists trying to destabilize the region but at the same time they had to avoid talibanisation of Pakistan. He added that militants are being killed in drone strikes, but at the cost of collateral damage, which is why he never drone strikes during his term. He admitted that handling this situation was a problem area.
Answering a question from an Afghan student on Pakistan’s dual policy of initially backing the Taliban when they took over in Afghanistan and now talking about avoiding talibanisation of Pakistan ….
Read more » The Express Tribune
…. The way the war on terror is conducted by the Pakistan Army has left the tribal people oppressed and terrorised by both the army and the al Qaeda-led Taliban. They are under a double occupation of the army and the Taliban. Asking the tribal people to make lashkars against the Taliban is a brutality against them. The generals created the Taliban and their army must fight them, not the tribal people.
Read more » Daily Times
– Don’t Trust Musharraf
With Pakistan in the news following Hillary Clinton’s visit, Bruce Riedel argues that we can’t forget to hold Musharraf accountable for bin Laden.
by Bruce Riedel
Former Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf should be held accountable for his role in the search for Osama bin Laden who for some three years was hiding within earshot of the country’s premier military academy while Musharraf led the country and its army. Whether clueless (his answer) or complicit about bin Laden’s hideout, Musharraf failed to bring justice to the world’s most-wanted man for years. We should press him for answers about his ineptitude, not look to him for answers about his country’s future. ….
……. President Obama wisely decided we could not tell Kayani that we had tracked bin Laden to Abbottabad. He could not be trusted. Nor can we trust Musharraf. Americans and Pakistanis have every reason to ask Musharraf and his fellow generals hard questions …..
Read more » THE DAILY BEAST
– 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
KABUL: A major offensive is under way against Haqqani militants in eastern Afghanistan and Pakistan must act to remove safe havens on its side of the border, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday. …
Read more » DAWN.COM
– Clinton to give Pakistan diplomacy one more big push
By Josh Rogin
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is leading a very high-level delegation to Pakistan later this week to try one more time to set U.S.-Pakistan relations back on track, before they go off the rails altogether. ….
….. Overall, the Obama administration wants Pakistan to know it can’t accept Americans being killed because of what’s happening inside Pakistan. But there aren’t expected to be any grand, new initiatives or new proposals to lift bilateral relations from what all sides agree is the lowest point in years.
“The U.S.-Pakistani relationship has been deteriorating all year, from the Raymond Davis case to the Osama bin Laden raid to the attack on the American Embassy in Kabul,” said Riedel. “And there’s really no evidence the bottom is in sight; it may be getting worse and worse.”
Read more » ForeignPolicy
Suspected US Drone Strike Kills Senior Haqqani Militant
Pakistani intelligence officials say a U.S. drone strike in northwest Pakistan has killed a senior member of the militant Haqqani network.
Thursday’s attack in North Waziristan reportedly killed Jalil Haqqani, a logistics coordinator for the al-Qaida-linked group. At least three other militants were also killed when an unmanned aircraft fired missiles at a compound in the Dande Darpa Khel village near the region’s main town, Miran Shah.
Officials say Jalil was very close to Sirajuddin Haqqani, the leader of the militant network, which is reportedly based in North Waziristan.
Hours later, Pakistani officials say a second drone strike on Thursday killed six militants in the South Waziristan tribal region near the Afghan border.
The attacks occurred as the U.S. special representative to Pakistan and Afghanistan, Marc Grossman, held talks with Pakistani leaders in Islamabad.
Grossman told reporters that he and Pakistani Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar talked about the future and how to continue the ongoing dialogue between Pakistan and the United States. He said they agreed to continue to find “issues that we share with Pakistan – and there are many – and act jointly on them.” …
Read more » Voice of America
Tenth Anniversary of US Invasion of Afghanistan
Terror Networks Relocate to Pakistan
by Nafisa Hoodbhoy
As the US marks the tenth anniversary of its invasion of Afghanistan, pro Taliban terror networks – driven out of Kabul in October 2001 – have reinvented themselves inside Pakistan.
They are enabled by an inept foreign policy and absence of governance that allows the most brutal ideologues to consolidate themselves within failing states. ….
Read more » Aboard The Democracy Train
– Analysis » By Khaled Ahmed
The planned committee that will ensure that the APC statement is acted upon will have a tough time bringing the Haqqanis under control because in this instance the tail is wagging the dog
During the APC against America on 29 September 2011 in Islamabad, Maulana Samiul Haq said that the Haqqani network was ‘indigenous to Pakistan’. How could he say that except on the basis of the fact that both the founder of the Network, Jalaluddin Haqqani and his son the current commander Siraj, are graduates of his Madrassa Haqqania in Akora Khattak, Nowshehra, near Peshawar?
– By Huma Imtiaz
…. On allegations of the Haqqani Network being involved in attacks on the US Embassy in Afghanistan and support for the group by the IsI, the former General said that “Haqqani sahib”, alluding perhaps to Jalaluddin Haqqani, is an Afghan citizen and he “had no right to use Pakistani territory for wrong activities which would harm Pakistan”. Musharraf said that either Haqqani should leave Pakistan and go to Afghanistan. Or, said Musharraf, “if Haqqani is here, he should stop crossing back and forth (across the border). –[(meaning) — stay in safe house, and don’t go outside–]–” …..
Read more → The Express Tribune
Book Review: Inside the Pakistan Army: A Woman’s Experience on the Frontline of the War on Terror
by Aparna Pande, Research Fellow, Hudson Institute
…. For any embedded analysis, of the type attempted by Ms. Schofield, the researcher must know enough about the culture, language, history and politics of the country to distinguish plausible perspectives from mere propaganda. Otherwise you end up with simply portraying what the propaganda machine asks you to do, taking away any shred of credibility. It would be akin to writing on the Soviet army during the time of the Soviet Union but under the guidance of the Soviets. Interestingly, Carey Schofield has done that too, and with little impact. Her latest book is not an academic work on the Pakistani army, but a long press release written by a foreigner.
To read complete article → Huffingtonpost
KABUL (Reuters) – NATO-led forces said on Saturday that they had captured the senior commander for the Haqqani network in Afghanistan, Haji Mali Khan, during an operation in eastern Paktia province earlier in the week.
Khan is “the uncle of Siraj and Badruddin Haqqani … one of the highest ranking members of the Haqqani network and a revered elder of the Haqqani clan,” the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said in a statement.
NATO said Khan had managed bases and operations in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, and moved forces across the border for attacks, as well as transferring funds and sourcing supplies. The statement called him “the senior Haqqani commander in Afghanistan.”
Khan was captured on Tuesday in Jani Khel district of Paktia province along with his deputy and bodyguard, in an operation by Afghan and foreign forces, NATO said.
He was heavily armed but “submitted … without incident or resistance,” the force said. It did not detail how they had identified Khan.
The Taliban, to whom the Haqqani network have pledged allegiance, denied that Khan had been captured.
“I have just spoken with Haji Mali Khan, he is fine and is somewhere else and hasn’t been detained,” spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid told Reuters. “This is a baseless news and it has been released in order to weaken Mujahideen’s morale,” he said. ….
Read more → Reuters
– THE ROVING EYE
Pentagon aims at target Pakistan
By Pepe Escobar
Syria will have to wait. The next stop in the Pentagon-coined “long war” is bound to be Pakistan. True, a war is already on in what the Barack Obama administration named AfPak. But crunch time in Pak itself looms closer and closer. Call it the “no bomb left behind” campaign.
Al-Qaeda is a thing of the past; after all, al-Qaeda assets such as Abdelhakim Belhaj are now running Tripoli. The new Washington-manufactured mega-bogeyman is now the Haqqani network.
A relentless, Haqqani-targeted manufacture of consensus industry is already on overdrive, via a constellation of the usual neo-conservative suspects, assorted Republican warmongers, “Pentagon officials” and industrial-military complex shills in corporate media.
The Haqqani network, a force of 15,000 to 20,000 Pashtun fighters led by former anti-Soviet mujahideen figure Jalalludin Haqqani, is a key component of the Afghan insurgency from its bases in Pakistan’s North Waziristan tribal area.
For Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Haqqani network “acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence [ISI] agency”. It took Mullen no less than 10 years since Washington’s bombing of Afghanistan to figure this out. Somebody ought to give him a Nobel Peace Prize.
According to the US government narrative, it was the ISI that gave the go-ahead for the Haqqani network to attack the US Embassy in Kabul on September 13.
Pentagon head Leon Panetta has gone on record saying that in response, Washington might go unilateral. This means that the vast numbers of Pashtun farmers, including women and children, who have already been decimated for months by US drone attacks on the tribal areas should be considered as extras in a humanitarian operation. ….
Read more → ASIA TIMES ONLINE
– In Pakistani Media, the U.S. Is a Target for Acrimony
By SALMAN MASOOD
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The United States might still be weighing its options about how to deal with Pakistan, but many politicians, retired army generals and popular television talk show hosts here have already made up their minds that America is on the warpath with their country.
Such is the media frenzy and warmongering that popular talk show hosts have even begun discussing possible scenarios of how Pakistan should react if the United States attacks the country. One television news channel has even aired a war anthem.
Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani has called on a conference of opposition political parties and government’s allies for Thursday to discuss the crisis. The government is also enlisting allies.
Islamabad, the capital, has seen a flurry of diplomatic activity with the visits of Chinese and Saudi officials. The American ambassador, Cameron Munter, has also met with President Asif Ali Zardari and Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir.
After meeting with Vice Premier Meng Jianzhu of China on Tuesday, Mr. Gilani said that “China categorically supports Pakistan’s efforts to uphold its sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity,” an oblique reference aimed at the United States.
Earlier in an interview with Reuters, Mr. Gilani warned against any cross-border raids by American forces in Afghanistan. “We are a sovereign country,” Mr. Gilani was quoted as saying. “How can they come and raid in our country?”
Pakistan’s powerful army and intelligence chiefs, meanwhile, have conveyed their message through their posturing. Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the army chief, canceled his Monday visit to Britain, stoking a sense of crisis.
On Sunday, General Kayani led a meeting with his top military commanders. No press statement was issued, but leaks to local media outlets warned of a “stern response” to any attack on Pakistan by American forces from Afghanistan. ….
Read more → THE NEW YORK TIMES
– Time to say good bye to strategic assets
The time has come for Pakistan to take decisive steps and needs to change policy on terrorism. Pakistani citizens who are paying taxes for human security: Health, education, protection and quality life need it now, just like any other civilized country in the world, they want a clear cut uniform national policy against terrorism & extremism for human dignity, security and peaceful prosperous modern life.
The whole world would also like to welcome shift in Pakistan’s stance towards terror organisations whom it’s Army and its premier intelligence agency ISI considers being its ‘strategic asset’, as U.S. accuses Pakistan of exporting violence to Afghanistan
The White House is calling on Pakistan’s government to break any links it has with the militant Haqqani Network. Obama administration officials say Islamabad has not acted against those who attacked the U.S. Embassy and NATO headquarters in Kabul last week. ….
Read more → LUBP
– A different Haqqani approached to end tension over Haqqani network
by Sohaib Yayha
ISLAMABAD: The country’s top civilian and military leadership has tasked a different Haqqani to defuse the tensions with the United States over the Siraj Haqqani network – Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani.
Although Pakistanis have shown their resolve to face US aggression, Pakistani leadership agrees that there is no advantage to Pakistan in pursuing a path of confrontation. “This is a time for diplomacy,” said a highly placed source, adding: “Even if we can inflict some damage on the US, the damage to Pakistan for confronting the US will be much more. Rhetoric will have to make way for rationality quite soon”.
The leadership has directed the Pakistani ambassador in Washington to use his wide personal contacts in the US government, political system and media to bring temperatures down after the harsh statements by US officials that began with Admiral Mullen’s criticism directed at Pakistan’s military and ISI. ….
Read more → The News
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
The language of talk show is urdu (Hindi).
Courtesy: Geo TV (Aapas Ki Baat with Najam Sethi & Muneeb Farooq – 18th April 2011)
— — — — — — — —
‘The Pakistan ultimatum’
by Najam Sethi
Who could have imagined that a serving commander of the Pakistan Army in the Waziristan badlands would have consciously knocked the popular myth that American drone strikes in Fata are part of the problem and not part of the solution of terrorism? But that’s exactly what happened on March 8.
Maj Gen Ghayur Mehmud, GOC 7th Div North Waziristan, did not mince words in his printed brief ‘“Myths and Rumours about US Predator Strikes” handed out to journalists from his command post in the area. He made two main points: (1) A majority of those killed by drone strikes are “hardcore Taliban or Al Qaeda elements, especially foreigners,” while civilian casualties are “few”. (2) But by scaring local populations and compelling displacement through migration, drone attacks create social and political blowbacks for law enforcement agencies. Obviously, the first consequence is good and welcome as part of the national “solution” strategy and the second is problematic and should be minimised because it creates local “problems” of a tactical nature.
Gen Mehmud hasn’t been fired or reprimanded. This means he had the green signal from the GHQ to make his brief. His statement explains the consciously nurtured “duality” of official policy versus popular position on drone strikes and confirms the Wikileaks summary that both secret authorisation and popular criticism go hand in hand in Pakistan where both civilian and military leaders are on the same page.
To be sure, the tactical issues are not insignificant. The Pakistani military would dearly love to own some Predators or at least have a measure of command and control over them, so the demand is worth making publically all the time even though it routinely falls on deaf American ears – for obvious reasons, this devastating technology isn’t available to any state except Israel.
Similarly, the Pakistan military would like to have a critical advance say on the choice of drone targets so that “hardcore Al-Qaeda elements and foreigners” noted by Gen Ghayur are usefully targeted but some Pakistani “assets” among the Quetta Shura of Mullah Omer, Gulbudin Hekmatyar’s Hizbe Islami and Siraj Haqqani’s Taliban network are spared for long-term application in Afghanistan. Disagreement with the Americans over this particular issue compels military spokespersons to blow hot (in public) and cold (in front of the Americans) over all drone strikes.
Sometimes, when it gets uncomfortably hot under the collar, then General Ashfaq Kayani has to weigh in for public consumption – as he did recently when, the day after Raymond Davis was freed (courtesy ISI) amidst howls of protest from the media, a drone strike killed over 40 pro and anti-military tribesmen in a jirga for local conflict resolution in Fata.
Pakistan and America have some strategic interests in common, like eliminating Al-Qaeda from Waziristan. But there are disagreements about who is a “good” Taliban and who is not. This is not strange at all. The answer to this question will determine who will rule or share power in Afghanistan in the next five years and who will not. It will also have a bearing on Afghanistan’s strategic and tactical allies in the neighbourhood in the future – India or Pakistan. Therefore Pakistan’s military, which loves to hate India even as America is itching to embrace India, believes it cannot shrug away any openings or opportunities for leveraging its concerns and interests.
This perspective explains how the Raymond Davis case was handled (exploited) by the ISI and the import of DG-ISI’s recent dash to Washington for a meeting with the CIA chief. The ISI wants greater tactical input/output into CIA operations in Pakistan (to protect its strategic assets at home like the Lashkar-e-Tayba and the Haqqani network) even as it strategically allows the US to operate drones and run special agents freely from two bases in Pakistan where visas and landing rights are not an issue. Who knows how many Americans land or take off from these bases, how many carry weapons and what they do in their bulletproof SUVs when they cruise the length and breadth of Pakistan?
Under the circumstances, the DG-ISI’s “request” in Langley was about reposing “trust” in joint operations rather than any overt threat to deny existing facilities and rights. The US has responded with a drone strike in South Waziristan which is supposed to be strictly out of bounds. This signals its intention to remain focused on the Taliban and Al-Qaeda even as it “considers” Gen Pasha’s request for greater sensitivity to Pakistan’s needs and interests. No more, no less.
A recent editorial in The Wall Street Journal, a pro-US establishment paper, sums up the American position bluntly. It is titled: The Pakistan Ultimatum: choose whose side it is on. “Maybe the Obama Administration can inform its friends in Islamabad that, when it comes to this particular fight, the U.S. will continue to pursue its enemies wherever they may be, with or without Pakistan’s cooperation… Pakistan can choose to cooperate in that fight and reap the benefits of an American alliance. Or it can oppose the U.S. and reap the consequences, including the loss of military aid, special-ops and drone incursions into their frontier areas, and in particular a more robust U.S. military alliance with India… After 9/11 Pakistan had to choose whose side it was on. It’s time to present Pakistan with the same choice again.
So it’s time for Pakistan’s military leaders to make up their minds and deal with its consequences. They must be upfront with America – because it’s a greatly beneficial “friend” to have and a deadly “enemy” to make – and honest with Pakistanis – because they’re not stupid and can eventually see through duplicity, as they did in the Raymond Davis case.
The military cannot forever hunt with America and run with an anti-American Pakistani public they have helped to create. They cannot instruct the DG-ISPR in Islamabad to convey the impression of tough talking in Langley while asking the GOC 7 Division in Waziristan to give a realistic brief to the media about the critical benefits of drone strikes amidst all the “myths and rumours” of their negativity. This double-dealing confuses the public, annoys a strategic partner, and discredits the military all round when it is exposed.
More significantly, it makes it difficult for Pakistanis to swallow the hard realities and the harder decisions necessary to change them for the sake of the state’s survival and the nation’s growth.
The duality or contradiction in the military’s private and public position vis a vis its relationship with civilians in Pakistan and its relationship with America is a direct consequence of two inter-related factors: First, the military’s threat perception of India’s rising military capability, and second, its fear of losing control over India-centred national security policy to the civilians who are keen to start the process of building permanent peace in the region, thereby diluting the military’s pre-eminent role in Pakistan’s polity.
The military’s scheme of things requires a permanent state of relative hostility towards, and distrust of, India. That is why its national security doctrine is fashioned on the premise that it is India’s military capacity to harm Pakistan rather than its intentions to build a permanent peace that matter.
Of course, this is a perfect and unending rationalisation of its economic and political hold over Pakistan since India’s conventional weaponry is forecast to grow by leaps and bounds on the basis of a robust economy and nationalist unity. But Pakistan’s limping economy is groaning under the burden of the arms race engendered by this philosophy and its civilian polity is fracturing in the grab for diminishing resources. That is why its civilians are increasingly plucking up the courage to stare the army in the face for their political, provincial and economic rights.
The military’s policy of renting itself out to America for its own sake and also complaining about it at the same time for the sake of the Pakistani public is clearly bankrupt. Isn’t it time, therefore, to consider a different paradigm, one in which conflict resolution and peace with India deliver an economic dividend that can be reaped by all in an environment free from destabilising extremism and war in the neighbourhood? In pursuit of an untenable philosophy, what use are dubious non-state “assets” that can become extreme liabilities in an impending national meltdown?
Under the circumstances, General Kayani could do worse than go on the national hookup and defend the truth of the briefing given by his subordinate Maj Gen Ghuyur Mehmud. He will be surprised how quickly a majority of Pakhtuns in particular and Pakistanis in general will back him to the hilt and help change the national paradigm. This is more our war than it is America’s because we live and die here and not far away across two great oceans.
The writer is Jang Group/Geo adviser on political affairs.
Courtesy: The News.com.pk
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