As North Korea issues increasingly over-the-top threats, officials in Washington have sought to reassure the public and U.S. allies. But the risk of nuclear war on the Korean Peninsula is far from remote–and the United States should adjust its military planning accordingly. ….
Context: The talk about the military operation in North Waziristan has picked up feverish pace. This is not the first time, in the last decade, and historically, Waziristan has been the bone of contention several times before.
The attempt here is not, as many other assessments are doing, to name different locations along with the Taliban and Al-Qaeda leaders who may have been killed in Waziristan. Nor is the emphasis on presenting the best tactical approach to conduct the operation. Rather the focus is on the less talked about dimension: how does the operation fit in the larger vision and strategy?
Analysis- Vision, Strategy And Tactics
Obviously, tactics and strategies are two different things, and are suppose to be connected to the larger vision. A vision is an ideal future state that an entity may be striving for. On the other hand, strategy lays out the best approach to accomplish the vision. Different tactics may be deployed in support of a selected strategy. However, too much emphasis on tactics, without consideration for the strategy and the grand vision is a sure recipe for failure. At the same time, the vision and strategy cannot be set in stone, as the reality is quite dynamic. Thus, to be successful, any shrewd strategist has to constantly adjust lofty goals to the ground reality.
Delhi: If Pakistan doesn`t stop backing terrorists acting against India, New Delhi must pay back Islamabad in the same coin, says a scholarly book on Indian counterterrorism strategy.
“Indian policymakers need to critically evaluate whether in fact a `strong and stable Pakistan` is in India`s interest,” says Prem Mahadevan in “The Politics of Counterterrorism in India” (I.B. Tauris).
Suggesting that the entire basis of Indian counterterrorist policy might need to be re-examined, the 297-page book says that New Delhi should take a unilateral two-pronged approach against pan-Islamist jehad.
While implementing domestic security reforms, the book says, the “more productive approach could be to take the counterterrorist offensive inside Pakistan itself“.
“This would be a daring move, requiring considerable political courage to initially be implemented.
“Once started, however, it has the potential to exert a strong deterrent effect upon the ISI (Inter Services Intelligence agency) and Pakistani jehadists.”
According to the author, a senior researcher at the Centre for Security Studies in Zurich, India`s failure to declare Pakistan a long-term adversary, “whose covert operations need to be reciprocated, has left Indian citizens vulnerable to further terrorist attacks”.
Mahadevan quoted former RAW chief K. Sankaran Nair as saying: “If what Pakistan does within our borders exceeds our capacity to control it, then we must take the fight to their doorstep. There is no question.”
The Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) is India`s external intelligence agency.
The book says: “Strikes against terrorist masterminds, including `rogue` or `freelance` ISI officials, would thus be an integral component of an ideal Indian counterterrorist policy.”
Zardari bowls out opponents once again
by Omar Derawal
Asif Ali Zardari has been underestimated from day one. The shrewd businessman has proved not only to be a master of the boardroom, but of political strategy as well. Nominating Raja Pervaiz Ashraf as Prime Minister after losing successive wickets appears his latest triumph. And, as with his previous deliveries, this one too seems to have outwitted the opposition.
Nawaz Sharif termed Raja Pervaiz’s election as ‘tragedy’, but perhaps the PML-N chief was thinking of his own political fortunes. After all, Raja Pervaiz was born in Sindh and speaks Sindhi, but he was elected in Punjab. Even the carefully staged energy riots look a little bit awkward with a new Prime Minister who, as Minister of Water and Power, added more Megawatts to the national grid than anyone since the government of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.
Imran Khan too seems to have been outplayed in this innings as he finds himself with a Vice-Chairman from a feudal family while Asif Zardari has a Prime Minister who rose through party ranks from a middle class background. By nominating Raja Pervaiz, Zardari has also neutralised Khan’s nationalistic appeals to security hawks. Though a liberal himself, Raja Pervaiz is strong on national security. In his first speech as PM, he declared that there can be no peace in Pakistan without peace in Afghanistan, sending a clear signal that the government continues to be united on defending Pakistan’s priorities.
Qamar Zaman Kaira’s stellar performances on talk shows had many PPP supports hoping he would pull off a surprise win, but it’s Kaira’s unmatched ability to silence the chattering heads that made him indispensable as Information Minister. Some suggested the name of Hina Rabbani Khar, too – but her deft handling of foreign affairs means that she too is more needed where she is. What is impressive about this debate among PPP supporters is that despite losing such figures as Benazir Bhutto, Salmaan Taseer, Shahbaz Bhatti, Husain Haqqani, Yousaf Gilani, and Makhdoom Shahabuddin, PPP still has such a deep line-up from which to draw new players.
Politics is a test match – not T20. You have to play a long term strategy if you want to win. Zardari’s opposition thought they could force him to retire early, but he proved too skilled for that. Now they are praying for a draw. But with this latest innings, Zardari has shown once again it’s the opposition who is still chasing.
Courtesy: new Pakistan
As Grossman arrives, high-level huddle finalises strategy
By Kamran Yousaf
ISLAMABAD: The country’s top civil and military leadership finalised on Wednesday their strategy for re-engagement with the United States in light of new recommendations approved by parliament, as President Barack Obama’s point-man for the region landed in the capital for crucial talks.
Ahead of interactions between Pakistani and American officials, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani chaired a high-powered meeting, which was attended by key ministers as well as Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and ISI chief Lt-Gen Zaheerul Islam.
“The meeting took stock of the recent developments in the region. They discussed matters related to Afghan peace and reconciliation and new terms of re-engagement with US/Nato/Isaf in accordance with the recommendations of parliament,” said a statement issued by the Prime Minister House.
This was the second gathering of civil and military leadership in less than 10-days and was aimed at evolving a consensus on how to move forward after the US voiced reservations over some of the demands made by parliament.
All issues will figure in the talks when US Special Representative for Pakistan and Afghanistan Marc Grossman, who is leading a delegation of senior officials, meets the country’s top leadership.
Grossman is the first senior American official to travel to Islamabad after parliament passed a new foreign policy framework that seeks to redefine the country’s relationship with Washington.
Grossman will hold formal talks with Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar and Foreign Secretary Jalil Abbas Jilani. He will also meet Prime Minister Gilani and Army Chief Gen Kayani.
Ahead of Grossman’s visit, US Ambassador Cameron Munter dashed to Karachi on Wednesday and held an important meeting with President Zardari.
By Gulf News Report
Dubai: The Muslim Brotherhood, the main Islamist force that emerged after the Arab Spring, is plotting to take over Gulf states, Dubai’s police chief said in remarks reported on Sunday. ….
Read more » Gulf News
The Baloch nation will not allow IPI gas pipeline to pass through Balochistan: Hyrbyair Marri
….Mr Marri said “we would like to make it clear to all international companies that we consider Pakistan as an occupying state that is why until regaining their independence the Baloch will not accept any agreement made with Pakistan about the fate of Balochistan. Neither can the Baloch give any guarantee for the protection of anyone’s wealth in the occupied land of Balochistan that helps make Pakistan and Iran’s strategy stronger but weakens the Baloch liberation struggle.” However, after freedom the Baloch state, for the Baloch interest, will be willing to allow and guarantee all International Companies in a competitive environment to spend their wealth in Balochistan, he added.
Hyrbyair Marri said that Pakistan cannot hoist it’s flag in Balochistan and the so called national anthem of Pakistan is not played in schools, in these circumstances how Pakistan can guarantee the protection of the wealth of other countries. He has also categorically rejected Pakistan’s claim that Pakistani top officials had contacted the Baloch pro-freedom leaders to join the so called mainstream Pakistani politics. Mr Marri said “Our stance is crystal clear to the world and to the Baloch Nation that we have no historical, linguistic and cultural ties with this state [Pakistan]. We have not accepted this state since its coming into being, similarly the state by its violent actions have proved that Balochistan is an occupied territory.” ….
Read more » BALOCHWARNA
The army was constitutionally mandated to be an arm of the Pakistan state with elected civilians in control of the executive. But it has seized the commanding heights and subordinated the other organs of the state to its own unaccountable purposes.
In recent times, however, something even more sinister has been happening. This is the creeping growth of the ISI from a small arms-length intelligence directorate or department of the military (Inter Services Intelligence Directorate) in the initial decades of independent Pakistan to an omnipotent and invisible “deep state within the state” that now controls both military strategy and civilian policy.
General Pervez Musharraf’s unprecedented appointment of General Ashfaq Kayani, a former DG-ISI, as COAS was the first step in this direction. The second was General Kayani’s own decision to routinely rotate senior and serving ISI officers to positions of command and control in the army and vice-versa, coupled with his insistence on handpicking the DGISI and extending his service. Together, these decisions reflect a harsh new reality. The ISI has walked into GHQ and seized command and control of the armed forces.
This is a deeply troubling development because it violates the established norm-policy of all militaries in democratic societies – intelligence services must consciously be kept at arms length from GHQ because “field commanders must not get contaminated” or tainted by cloak and dagger operations in grey zones. That is why COAS Gen Zia ul Haq kicked Gen Akhtar Abdul Rehman, DGISI, upstairs to CJOSC rather than give him troops to command. That is why COAS Gen Asif Nawaz sidelined DGISI Gen Asad Durrani as IG Training and Evaluation. That is why COAS Gen Waheed Kakar prematurely retired Gen Durrani from service for playing politics in GHQ and then recommended Gen Jehangir Karamat as his successor rather than his close confidante and former DGISI Gen Javed Ashraf Qazi. Indeed, that is why the CIA, RAW, MI6, KGB, MOSSAD etc remain under full civilian operations and control even though soldiers may be seconded to them or head them occasionally.
The ISI’s meteoric rise in the 1980s is well documented. It became the official conduit for tens of billions of dollars of arms and slush funds from the US and Saudi Arabia to the Mujahideen against the Soviets in Afghanistan. Three serving generals of the time were billed as “the richest and most powerful generals in the world” by Time magazine in 1986. Two of them, Gen Akhtar Abdul Rehman and Gen Hameed Gul were in turn DGs-ISI while the third, General Fazle Haq, was the Peshawar gatekeeper to Afghanistan.
Three Prime Ministers have fallen victim to the ISI. PM Junejo ran afoul of DGs ISI Gen Hameed Gul and Gen Akhtar Abdul Rehman over the Ojhri Camp disaster. Benazir Bhutto was undermined by DGs ISI Gen Gul and General Asad Durrani. And Nawaz Sharif by DG ISI Gen Javed Ashraf Qazi and COAS Gen Waheed Kakar. Indeed, Mr Sharif might have survived in 1999 if Gen Musharraf had not earlier cunningly moved Gen Mohammad Aziz from the ISI to GHQ as CGS because it was the latter who nudged Corps Commander Pindi Gen Mahmood Ahmed to execute the coup in the absence of Gen Musharraf.
The ISI’s creeping coup – ISI officers returning to command positions in the army – against GHQ is fraught with problems. It has eroded the credibility and capacity of both the current DG ISI and COAS within the military and civil society. The ISI’s spectacular failures (BB’s assassination, Mumbai, Raymond Davis case, missing persons, Memogate, Mehrangate, Abbotabad, Saleem Shehzad, Get-Zardari, etc) can all be laid at GHQ’s door just as the ISI’s anti-terrorist policy failures are responsible for the loss of over 3000 soldiers to the Pakistan Taliban and the terrorist attacks on GHQ and Mehran Navy Base. The fact that both the COAS and DG ISI have taken extensions in service has also undermined their credibility far and wide.
By Omar Ali
I wrote this comment on the SWJ site and I just thought it would be interesting to see what people here think of the American “strategy” (or lack of one) in Afghanistan.
The killings today, while tragic and awful, are themselves indicative of nothing new beyond one soldier going nuts…could and does happen in most wars and more likely when a war has stretched on for a while and more likely with soldier and locals being different people (not necessarily different nationalities..pakistani soldiers in Bangladesh or even some Indian soldiers in Kashmir could feel equally surrounded by aliens). It will have a huge propaganda effect though. Anyway, my comment is more about the US strategy: what is it? what should it be? What would it be if you were president?
By Yunas Samad
Balochistan has been burning in the background for sometime, but what made Congress — to the embarrassment of the State Department and the Government of Pakistan — take up this issue now? Some say this was just a stunt but there is a growing frustration in Washington that Pakistan is double-dealing with the US; taking substantial aid dollars and then pursuing a strategy in Afghanistan which is costing lives of US soldiers. American troops have now been in Afghanistan longer than the Vietnam War, and there is considerable unhappiness with Pakistan for the grief it has caused them and an increasing desire, in some quarters, to hit back.
What is interesting is that for the first time, the international community is now reflecting on the possibility of an independent Balochistan, is being sold to them as a package, which would break-up Iran and Pakistan and give over Gwadar as a facility for the US fleet. Let’s be clear that this is a minority view; it is more of an attempt to embarrass Pakistan, but such developments can generate their own momentum and with time become a reality. Who would have thought that South Sudan or East Timor would become independent states? But those who live by the sword die by the sword and, this could easily be applied to countries.
Pakistan of all countries should be familiar with this theme after resorting to military force to deny the Bangladeshi people their democratic rights. Military solutions to political problems results in disaster and invite foreign intervention and we are repeating these mistakes again in Balochistan. Failure to resolve the human rights situation is creating opportunities for foreign intervention. From the extrajudicial execution of Akbar Bugti to the deaths of activists (1,100 according to Human Rights Watch and 10,000 according to Baloch activists) and their torture and disappearances are — in eyes of those critical of Pakistan, evidence of — crimes against humanity. Pakistani generals were fortunate that they weren’t dragged into an international court and prosecuted for war crimes after the Bangladesh civil war, mainly because such bodies could not function during the Cold War. However, in the unipolar world of today, we have seen Ratko Mladic of the former Republic of Yugoslavia, President of Liberia, Charles Taylor and Nuon Chea, of the Khmer Rouge all end up in court to get their comeuppance.
Our political leaders are in a huddle, trying to figure out how to respond to the crisis in Balochistan; idle resolutions condemning foreign interference are being passed but our judiciary remains inactive and silent on this issue. It is tragic that our activist judges have not seen the abuse of fundamental rights in Balochistan to be given priority, particularly since the Baloch disappearance case was an important reason for the clash between former General Pervez Musharraf and Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. Why cases about presidential corruption are considered more important than cases of extrajudicial killings, torture and disappearances beats me? It only resonates with the Baloch nationalist argument that they are not treated like Pakistani citizens and hence, want independence, even if it means becoming a satellite of the US. The best possible response to the Congressional hearing is for the judiciary to demonstrate that it actively safeguards the fundamental rights of all the citizens of Pakistan.
The judiciary needs to investigate the killing of Akbar Bugti and if necessary charge Musharraf, reopen the case on disappearances and threaten contempt charges against the agencies for ignoring their orders. The Supreme Court cannot sit idle and ignore these issues by risking greater foreign interference in the matter. It needs to demonstrate to the Baloch people and the world that they are, in fact, citizens of Pakistan and their rights are protected.
Courtesy: The Express Tribune, March 8th, 2012.
GIVEN the scale of radicalisation across Pakistan, it is clear that methods other than military strategy must be brought into play to quell it. The Pakistan Army set up de-radicalisation centres to provide interventions to those deemed ‘radicals’ – mainly persons detained in conflict zones. But, as editorialised by this newspaper last month, there are a number of points of concern, including the fact that the public has no idea about the details of the programmes. What do they entail, what process is followed or expertise offered – and how are ‘radicals’ delineated from ordinary citizens? For example, has it been conclusively proved that those in de-radicalisation centres were involved in militant or extremist activities? Now, it has come to light that the programmes have not been working. On Thursday, an official of the Pakistan Army’s judge advocate general branch told the Peshawar High Court that despite having been through the de-radicalisation process, several militants from Swat had rejoined militant groups.
Radicalisation is an ideological state of mind, and not something empirical of which a person can reliably be said to have been cleansed. No doubt there are people who were absorbed by militant outfits involuntarily and would welcome rehabilitation. But militancy in Pakistan is linked to a peculiar set of ideologies that have a lasting hold on the minds of its subscribers. For militants who have vowed to fight the very nature of the state and federation, a de-radicalisation programme may be the softer option whilst in detention.
For Pakistan to control radicalisation, it must counter the growing extremism evident in society as a whole. This is emerging as a greater threat to the country than terrorism, as was pointed out at the launch of a related report in Islamabad on Thursday. Extremism cannot be eliminated by the gun; the task requires methods of long-term persuasion and extensive societal change. Concurrently, the state must face up to the fact that it has for decades followed a duplicitous policy towards militancy. Cosmetic measures, such as banning certain outfits but allowing them to operate under other names, were bound to prove insufficient. The ideological underpinnings of militancy in Pakistan, which were endorsed by elements within the state during the ’80s and after, have never been honestly or fully rejected. That mindset has not just become more entrenched, it is fast gaining new subscribers. If Pakistan is to be saved, this mindset must change. That requires formulating a definitive state policy on the factors that pro- vide militancy with its moorings.
Intellectual and historian Dr Mubarak Ali is a prolific and versatile writer who has produced around fifty books on issues ranging from the Age of Reason in Europe to the women’s movement and the history of South Asia.
The objective of this seminar series is to understand the roots and dynamics of religious extremism within the context of Pakistani society, which could be referenced to evolve a strategy for de-radicalization of youth. Scholars will be invited to deliver talks in Urdu (Hindi). The talks will involve a small audience with the key purpose to record and disseminate the lecture widely among the youth.
For further details, visit the related link at IPSS website:
By Michael McAuliff
WASHINGTON — President Obama is losing the war in Afghanistan to the Taliban, argued Rep. Louie Gohmert after listening to Tuesday’s State of the Union address. So he proposed one way to win: create a new, friendly state within the borders of neighboring Pakistan.
The Texas Republican took issue with Obama’s assertion that “the Taliban’s momentum has been broken.” He said he had just visited Afghanistan and came away with a very different sense from talking to members of the Northern Alliance, a multiethnic confederation of warlords and other forces who led the U.S.-backed ouster of the Taliban in 2001.
Gohmert argued that, far from being broken, the Taliban are feeling powerful enough to demand that members of the Northern Alliance apologize before the United States leaves in 2013. “If you look at the objective facts … they’re not on the run,” Gohmert said.
His solution was first to supply more arms to the Northern Alliance. But then, he said, the Afghan border with Pakistan needs to be shored up.
“Let’s talk about creating a Balochistan in the southern part of Pakistan,” Gohmert told The Huffington Post, referring to a region of Pakistan that constitutes nearly half that vital if troublesome ally.
“They love us. They’ll stop the IEDs [improvised explosive devices] and all the weaponry coming into Afghanistan, and we got a shot to win over there,” said Gohmert, who accused Obama’s national security advisers of giving the president bad intel on Afghanistan.
“His strategy of working from ignorance and thinking we have them on the run is no way to go through life, son,” Gohmert said. “I’m about to borrow from an ‘Animal House’ line, but anyway, that’s no way to go through life when you’re that ignorant of what’s really going on.”
The White House did not answer a request for comment, and Gohmert’s office did not elaborate on how the United States could even discuss carving off Balochistan from a country that is both an ally and a nuclear power.
The United States recently has been talking about a truce with the Taliban. Gohmert, a member of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, characterized such efforts as begging, backed by an offer to “let all these Taliban murderers” go free.
Courtesy: Huffington Post
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
Combat Jihad By Destroying Its Conceptual Roots
by Farzana Hassan
Osama Bin Laden’s lethal legacy continues into the second decade of the 9/11 attacks. Like a hydra, terrorist cells sprout in various corners of the world, promoting their hate-filled agenda and its deadly consequences for unsuspecting victims. The strategies of the terrorists have changed considerably, but their goal remains the same—to replace pluralism, democracy, and peaceful coexistence — with intolerance, demagoguery and violence. …
Read more » propagandistmag
– By Asif Ali Zardari
Democracy always favors dialogue over confrontation. So, too, in Pakistan, where the terrorists who threaten both our country and the United States have gained the most from the recent verbal assaults some in America have made against Pakistan. This strategy is damaging the relationship between Pakistan and the United States and compromising common goals in defeating terrorism, extremism and fanaticism. ….
Read more → The Washington Post
– Rapprochement is possible
By Abrar Kazi & Zulfiqar Halepoto
ONCE again, differences between the PPP and MQM have translated into a Sindhi-Mohajir confrontation. In fact, the reasons for this are inherent in the politics of both parties.
The politics of PPP which it calls ‘the politics of reconciliation’ is in fact politics without principles that negates its manifesto. For example, the party promised to undo the Musharraf-era division of Hyderabad district and the clubbing together of Karachi’s five districts, which Benazir Bhutto criticised as an administrative division imposed by a dictator. But the promise was never fulfilled.
The PPP’s major fault is, however, to take the support of Sindhis for granted. It has failed to recognise that the Sindhi people’s love for their motherland transcends party lines, all sacrifices rendered by the PPP or any other party notwithstanding, and that their unity of thought on major issues is phenomenal.
The MQM’s politics appears to be based on the ethnic sentiments of its voters, which when exploited, have the damaging effect of causing dislike for those who do not speak Urdu. The journey from ‘Mohajir’ to ‘Muttahida’ was considered a policy shift towards the integration of MQM supporters with the rest of Sindh. But it turned out to be more a change of strategy than of heart.
Such politics tend to paint all Urdu-speaking people with the same brush although most are progressive and liberal and desire peace and integration. Pakistan’s security establishment, the guardians of the ‘ideological and geographical frontiers’ of the country, have contributed their own bit to this confrontation so that the province has reached its present status of seemingly insurmountable problems.
Consciously or unconsciously, a large segment of the Urdu-speaking intelligentsia, civil society and media have either kept quiet or are perceived as supporting such an ethnic viewpoint thereby increasing the rift. Pervez Musharraf’s dictatorship further widened the gulf through deliberate design to give control of Sindh’s urban centres to the MQM as independent administrative units through the district government system. The LGO 2001 appeared to dovetail with the thinking of those who supported the idea of a Mohajir province in Sindh. This resulted in causing suspicion among Sindhis, who despite the numerous merits of the local government system, rejected the change as an attempt to divide Sindh.
Sindhis voted for the PPP and its manifesto which promised to undo all Musharraf’s actions including the local government system of 2001. Since then, there have been incessant demands for the promised actions.
One point must be noted here. Since 1988, the MQM and the PPP have shared power in Sindh three times. Without going into the deeper factors, the general acceptance of the power-sharing by the masses is indicative that by and large the voters and also the people are fundamentally in favour of coexistence between the Sindh- and Urdu-speaking-sindhis of the province.
Another point worth noting is that the ‘Sindh card’ often played by the PPP whenever it has been in trouble is in effect dead from this point on.
Rather than acting on people’s aspirations, the PPP government has resorted to unprincipled politics, refusing to understand the larger issues involved in the present controversy and thus further aggravating the Sindhi-Urdu (Mohajir) divide.
The angry reaction of Sindhis against the PPP and MQM must be seen against this backdrop. It is not about a few nationalist leaders, intellectuals and members of civil society agitating the people. Neither is it about the present district government controversy. It is the pent-up frustration and anger of many decades of authoritarian and military rule in Pakistan, especially in Sindh. It is about what is seen as the plunder of Sindh’s resources without corresponding benefits to Sindh.
It is about the ownership of two prosperous cities of Sindh, established and developed by a competent and dedicated mercantile and cosmopolitan Sindhi Hindu and Muslim class that flourished much before Pakistan came into existence. It is about the humiliation of seeing a provincial assembly passing a resolution to in effect put a ban on Sindhis getting admission in public-sector professional institutions and employment in the multinational companies. It is also about the frustration at the unending cycle of blood on the streets.This constant confrontation between Sindhis and Mohajirs (urdu-speaking-sindhis0 is a source of great loss to Pakistan and still greater loss to Sindh. Despite being secular and progressive, Sindh lags behind in terms of economic and social development because of the albatross of PPP and MQM policies. Sindh is a prosperous and resource-rich province. It is also a land of secular and liberal people who have given strong political leadership to Pakistan from Jinnah to Benazir Bhutto.
It presented the incumbent PPP government an unmatched opportunity to correct all the wrongs done to the country by the civil and military establishment of Pakistan. A strong democratic and plural society, could have been created to tackle terrorism, the sectarian and ethnic divide and violence in politics but the opportunity was lost by the PPP. The MQM’s alignment with the security establishment further damaged the cause.
There is still hope though. The present revolt against the PPP indicates that Sindhis can reject their own elected government if they fear a division of the province. This raises the opportunity for progressive Urdu-speaking Sindhis to join hands with the Sindhis to make the province an ideal homeland setting an example of peaceful coexistence and democracy.
Karachi – Sindh (Press release) : Seven parties of left and nationalist leaning met in Karachi to discuss the prevailing political situation in Sindh and evolve joint strategy to cope with the situation. The meeting was attended by the representatives of Workers Party Pakistan (WPP), Labour Party (LPP), Communist party of Pakistan (CPP), National Party (NP), Jeay Sindh Mahaz(JSM), Awami Party Pakistan (APP) and Watan Dost Inqlabi party(WIP).
The one day meeting was hosted by Labour Party Sindh and presided over by veteran leftist leader Yusuf Masti Khan. The participants discuss in detail and brief about party position on the situation. The parties have unanimously approved the following points
· No compromise on the historic national integrity and oneness of Sindh
· Sindh is home land of different ethnic, lingual groups and they are part and parcel Sindhi nation, any move to divide the people on ethnic and lingual basis will be resisted.
· Condemn the interferences of foreign diplomats and emissaries in the affairs of Sindh and their backup and support to armed ethnic outfits instigate them to divide the Sindh on ethnic lines.
· Condemn the demand to declare the capital of Sindh, Karachi as the Federal capital and consider it the deep rooted conspiracy to separate the city from Sindh again. No to Nazmmen system, considers it breach on provincial autonomy, vehicle to control the district directly from center. No to commissioner system which put all the power in the hand of hand full of bureaucrats, a local bodies system should be evolved catering the needs of masses on grass roots scale and within the parameter of national autonomy.
· It was reiterated again that Pakistan is a multinational state and each nation have full-fledged right on their resources and to run their affairs. Right of Self determination is an indisputable right of every nation.
· Pakistan is in the clutches of chronic feudal system, to unleash the democratic norms and for the emancipation of vast majority of poor masses abolish feudal system and introduce revolutionary land reforms.
· Condemn military operation against Baloch nation and demand to end army operation in Baluchistan, release all arrested and missing Baloch activists.
· Condemn the scheme to create new provinces on administrative bases and demand to creation provinces on nationhood and historical grounds.
A 14 member Working Group, two members from each party was also formed in the meeting to discuss in detail the possibilities of joint program and points for the struggle and the committee meeting will be held on Sunday 21 August in Karachi, Sindh.
The meeting was attended by Akhter Hussain Advocate, A.R. Arif and salahudin Gandapur (Workers Party), Comrade Latif leghari, Comrade Bakshal Thalho and Nasir Mansoor (Labour party), Abdul Khaliq Junejo and Ayaz Hakro (Jeay Sindh Mahaz), Ramzan Memon, Ghulam Mohammad Jadoon Advocate and Yusuf Khatak (Awami Party), Jan Mohammad Buledi (National Party), Imdad Qazi, Dr Nisar Ali Shah (Communist Party) and Dost Mohammed Channa, Mohammad Khan Ahmdani and Dasgir Uqaili ( Watan Dost Inqalabi Party).
Courtesy: → Sindhi + Pakistani lists/ e-groups, August 20, 2011.
– Brigadier F.B. Ali (Retd.), who fought in the ’71 war, gives his account of the events that resulted in the dismemberment of Pakistan and left behind a legacy of shame. The Supplementary Report of the 1971 War Inquiry Commission (headed by Chief Justice Hamoodur Rahman) has recently been published in the magazine India Today. There is little doubt that this is a genuine document. It is unfortunate that, even though 30 years have passed, the Commission’s report has not been made public in Pakistan, and we are forced to depend on foreign sources to learn of its contents in dribs and drabs.
By ZALMAY KHALILZAD
SINCE the 9/11 attacks, Pakistan has behaved toward the United States as both friend and adversary — and gotten away with it. The latest evidence of its duplicity is the revelation that Osama bin Laden lived for years in a house near Pakistan’s national military academy and a local branch of its intelligence service without any evident interference.
Even before the American raid last week on Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan had a huge credibility problem. It provides arms and safe haven for Afghan insurgent groups and pays their commanders to carry out attacks, but denies doing so. …
…. The killing of Bin Laden only 60 miles from Islamabad, its capital, has put Pakistan on the defensive, and the nature of our strike capability is not lost on Pakistani leaders and their terrorist and insurgent clients. ….
First, the United States should reduce its dependence on supply lines running through Pakistan to Afghanistan. We should expand alternative supply routes through Azerbaijan and other countries in Central Asia. Also, as we draw down forces in Afghanistan, our logistical requirements will diminish; this will give the United States more leeway to consider unilateral attacks against terrorists and insurgents in Pakistan.
Second, the United States should stay on the course set by President Obama to build, train and support Afghan security forces and reduce our own military presence while retaining the capacity to provide air support, intelligence collection and other capabilities that the Afghans currently lack. Such a posture can strengthen Afghanistan against Pakistani interference and help persuade Pakistan to embrace a settlement.
Third, the United States should conclude a longer-term agreement with Afghanistan to maintain a small, enduring military presence that would give us the capability to conduct counterterrorism operations and respond to possibilities like Pakistani nuclear weapons falling into the hands of extremists.
Fourth, the United States could consider seeking a United Nations Security Council resolution to authorize an investigation into how Bin Laden managed to hide in plain view. The inquiry should examine the presence of Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations in Pakistan. ….
…. It is in neither America’s interest nor Pakistan’s for relations to become more adversarial. But Pakistan’s strategy of being both friend and adversary is no longer acceptable. ….
To read complete article → THE NEW YORK TIMES
Pakistan is blocking food and water from reaching a remote base used by the US for its secret drones programme, severely hampering counter terrorism strategy, according to a senior American official.
By Rob Crilly, Islamabad
Both sides are now briefing against the other as hostility between the two countries grows more intense – and more open – day by day.
Pakistan’s military has not recovered from the humiliation of failing to detect an American raid last month that killed Osama bin Laden and has reduced or halted co-operation with the US in protest.
A senior American official told The New York Times that supplies had been choked off to the airbase and that they were gradually “strangling the alliance” by making things difficult for the Americans in Pakistan. …
Read more: Telegraph.co.uk
By the Egyptian Socialist Party
May 11, 2011 — After the Egyptian Revolution broke out on January 25, 2011, and successfully achieved its first goal of ousting the president and continued in its demand of toppling the whole corrupt regime, it was clear there was an urgent need to bring together all those who had the conviction that our country really needed transformation into a socialist society. A transition that would help improve the social and economic conditions of the toiling masses, and reverse the trend of the old regime to subject the country to the dictates of the Imperialist led International Financial Institutions. This meant there was an urgent need to create the Egyptian Socialist Party to bring together all those who had taken part in the revolution on an individual basis so as to unite their efforts, and crystalise their political and social perspective into a coherent strategy that would guide the people in the right direction. ….
Read more: Links International
Something has changed
By: Huma Yusuf
TWO weeks after Abbottabad, the jury’s still out on Pakistan. Who knew? Who didn’t? And does anyone at all feel bad about the whole thing?
While international journalists and US lawmakers continue to ask these questions, Pakistan observers are at pains to point out that the answers matter little given that nothing has changed — the status quo has been maintained.
By ZALMAY KHALILZAD
SINCE the 9/11 attacks, Pakistan has behaved toward the United States as both friend and adversary — and gotten away with it. The latest evidence of its duplicity is the revelation that Osama bin Laden lived for years in a house near Pakistan’s national military academy and a local branch of its intelligence service without any evident interference.
Even before the American raid last week on Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan had a huge credibility problem. It provides arms and safe haven for Afghan insurgent groups and pays their commanders to carry out attacks, but denies doing so.
– Nawaz Answered Government’s SOS & Rushed Back to the Country; Osama’s Death & Civil-Military Row; Who Asked Mark Siegel to Publish Write Up by Zardari?
By Aijaz Ahmed
Islamabad: The May 2 Abbottabad operation, which resulted in the discovery and murder of world’s most wanted terrorist, Osama Bin Laden at the hands of US Navy SEALs has brought the civil-military relationship in Pakistan to a new low. The mistrust between the two has increased manifold. It is feared that the imbroglio may end up in the pack up of another democratic dispensation.
Observers are unanimous that the country’s civilian leadership was stunned at the news and couldn’t respond quickly to it but they are really surprised at the response or the lack of it by the military leadership. They feel that the military hierarchy’s behavior was quite perplexing. They were remarkably silent and seemed quite oblivious in the first few days after the US operation as if nothing had happened. Later they mishandled the issue in the media and attempted to undermine the political leadership. That raises concerns of the people about junta’s intentions towards the democratic government.
Sources in the power corridors have confided to this scribe that the civilian leadership is taking many questions into account so as to regroup and formulate a counter strategy. Every single move by the army chief and other military top men is being minutely watched and analyzed. The civilian leadership is quite unhappy over the recent statement of top ranking military leadership regarding the government in its post Osama briefing to media and anchorpersons. The address of Army Chief General Kayani to Garrison Officers at three top cantonments has also caused concern amongst the civilian leadership through which an impression was given that the civilians are ineffective and it is they who are making damage control efforts despite a huge understanding on the issue between the President, Prime Minister and the Army Chief, sources maintained.
The civilian leadership sincerely intends to control the damage but for many reasons it is clueless and directionless, sources observed adding that every effort of independent inquiry was thwarted and blocked by the military, thus an inquiry under Adjutant General has been constituted. How come a serving subordinate will be able to conduct an independent inquiry against his immediate bosses, asked a sitting minister however adding that everybody will have to wait for the outcome of the inquiry being conducted by army itself.
On the other hand civilians are trying to get answers of many questions including the one that whether or not they have been ditched by the intelligence networks. The people also want an answer to the question if OBL’s presence in Abbottabad was in the knowledge of the relevant agencies and military leadership.
Meanwhile, sources observed that a sizeable number of the civilians seriously believed that they have been ditched. A serious question is being raised in view of the recent statements by some neighbors pointing out that when they heard the blast after the helicopter crash, they tried to approach OBL’s compound but they were stopped by some guards speaking Urdu.
These statements, in view of some sources, clearly indicate that an earlier report carried by Indus Herald that some soldiers were provided for outer cordon was correct. This also indicates that a section of Pakistani establishment knew about a US strike, but they might not be privy to the details of the proceedings.
A section of media and politicians are also looking for an answer to the question that if the operation was done in total dark and without a prior information of Pakistan, then how come the people who have been arrested after the operation from the compound did not escape although they got at least 15 minutes before the arrival of any Pakistani security personnel? Hamza bin Laden is believed to have taken the advantage of the time gap and ran away from the scene as reported by the British media is quite a good evidence in support of the above argument.
The president and the other PPP leaders wanted an independent inquiry to be held, but they had to accept the decision by military leadership as desired by Army Chief sources said adding that the powers that be asked civilians to stay away from the damage control efforts and they will be the ones who will be responsible to take on the situation and control the damage, but the situation deteriorated with every passing day. However, the military leadership was not happy with the way some TV channels sparked debate and took them to task with strong words and allegations of incompetence and negligence.
It is also said that the president has been advised that besides the inquiry announced by the military leadership, an independent parliamentary inquiry commission with presence of opposition leader Ch. Nisar, and some of the top retired judges must be set up. However, the sources observed that the government would be packed up if such an inquiry were established. It is also believed that the president is willing to set up such an inquiry with Army Chief and other military leadership on board.
Meanwhile, a section of media is probing an allegation that the officers in KPK were asked not to leave their station and stay in before the operation and all mobile phones of the uniformed officers were blocked on May 01. However this story has not been confirmed by any reliable source.
On the other hand, sources in the PML-N have confided to this scribe that Mian Nawaz Sharif responded to a May-Day call by the government through unconventional means and rushed to Pakistan. The government wanted to block Ch. Nisar’s cynical criticism. Mian Nawaz Sharif on the first day of his top leadership meeting strongly supported the idea of a demand of resignation of both Army Chief and the ISI Chief, a demand that didn’t get much response earlier. He according to the sources has assured the PPP that any attempt to subvert the Constitution and dislodge the civilian rule will be resisted with full force. At a press conference after the two-day PML-N meeting Mian Nawaz Sharif rejected the inquiry set up by military and demanded a Judicial Commission to look in the matter. He severely criticized the military establishment. ….
Read more : Indus Herald
By Rasul Bakhsh Rais
The passage of the 18th Amendment has set into motion, a remarkable, though slow, political revolution in restructuring Pakistan’s polity. This is far more momentous than restoring the parliamentary character of the constitution, or even granting provincial autonomy. The word autonomy cannot capture the true letter and spirit of the new federalism that is unfolding before us. Rather, it is about remodelling Pakistan’s political system according to a new principle of distribution of power, with the provinces as new centres of authority, power and resources.
Thinking of provinces as new centres of power and laying something down into the constitution to make them powerful, runs counter to both, the colonial tradition of supervising political evolution, and the centralised state and nation-building strategy followed for the past six decades. It goes to the credit of political parties and their leadership that they have realised that the old ways of governing Pakistan have failed and they needed to give a greater part of the power and resources of the centre, which had grown arrogant, paternalistic and insensitive to the provinces.
This structural change in the political order has created new conditions in which some groups and sections are bound to lose, while others will make gains. Who loses and who gains is an issue that will greatly impact the ongoing process of shifting power to the provinces, as the old, deeply entrenched political and bureaucratic groups fight to the last to save their little turfs and fiefdoms. In our case, the federal bureaucracy is the loser, as it cannot hope to rule the provinces under the guise of national integration, solidarity and security anymore. It will take a great deal of internal reflection on the part of the federal bureaucracy, as well as time, to adjust to the power shift. …
Read more : The Express Tribune
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
– Britain is spending millions bolstering Pakistan, but it is a nation in thrall to radical Islam and is using its instability to blackmail the West
by Christina Lamb
When David Cameron announced £650m in education aid for Pakistan last week, I guess the same thought occurred to many British people as it did to me: why are we doing this?
While we are slashing our social services and making our children pay hefty university fees, why should we be giving all this money to a country that has reduced its education budget to 1.5% of GDP while spending several times as much on defence? A country where only 1.7m of a population of 180m pay tax? A country that is stepping up its production of nuclear weapons so much that its arsenal will soon outnumber Britain’s? A country so corrupt that when its embassy in Washington held an auction to raise money for flood victims, and a phone rang, one Pakistani said loudly: “That’s the president calling for his cut”? A country which has so alienated powerful friends in America that they now want to abandon it?
As someone who has spent almost as much time in Pakistan as in Britain over the past 24 years, I feel particularly conflicted, as I have long argued we should be investing more in education there.
That there is a crisis in Pakistan’s education system is beyond doubt. A report out last month by the Pakistan education taskforce, a non-partisan body, shows that at least 7m children are not in school. Indeed, one-tenth of the world’s children not in school are in Pakistan. The first time I went to Pakistan in 1987 I was astonished to see that while billions of pounds’ worth of weapons from the West were going to Pakistan’s intelligence service to distribute to the Afghan mujaheddin, there was nothing for schools.
The Saudis filled the gap by opening religious schools, some of which became breeding grounds for militants and trained the Taliban. Cameron hopes that investing in secular education will provide Pakistan’s children with an alternative to radicalism and reduce the flow of young men who want to come and bomb the West.
“I would struggle to find a country that it is more in Britain’s interests to see progress and succeed than Pakistan,” he said. “If Pakistan is a success, we will have a good friend to trade with and deal with in the future … If we fail, we will have all the problems of migration and extremism that we don’t want to see.”
As the sixth most populous country, with an arsenal of between 100 and 120 nuclear weapons, as the base of both Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban leadership, and as homeland to a large population in Britain, Pakistan is far more important to our security than Afghanistan. But after spending two weeks travelling in Pakistan last month, I feel the situation has gone far beyond anything that a long-term strategy of building schools and training teachers can hope to restrain.
The Pakistani crisis has reached the point where Washington — its paymaster to the tune of billions of dollars over the past 10 years — is being urged to tear up the strategic alliance underpinning the war in Afghanistan.
Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican congressman from California who sits on the House foreign affairs committee and has been dealing with Pakistan since working in the Reagan White House, says he now realises “they were playing us for suckers all along”.
“I used to be Pakistan’s best friend on the Hill but I now consider Pakistan to be an unfriendly country to the US,” he said. “Pakistan has literally been getting away with murder and when you tie that with the realisation that they went ahead and used their scarce resources to build nuclear weapons, it is perhaps the most frightening of all the things that have been going on over the last few years.
“We were snookered. For a long time we bought into this vision that Pakistan’s military was a moderate force and we were supporting moderates by supporting the military. In fact the military is in alliance with radical militants. Just because they shave their beards and look western they fooled a lot of people.”
Christine Fair, assistant professor at the centre for peace and security studies at Georgetown University in Washington, is equally scathing. “Pakistan’s development strategy is to rent out its strategic scariness and not pay taxes itself,” she said. “We should let them fail.”The Pakistani crisis has reached the point where Washington is being urged to tear up the strategic alliance underpinning the war in Afghanistan
Pakistan’s prime minister, Yousuf Gilani, comes from one of Punjab’s largest land-owning families. Watching Cameron sign over the £650m, he said: “I think the root cause of terrorism and extremism is illiteracy. Therefore we are giving a lot of importance to education.”
If that were the case one might expect Lahore University of Management Sciences, one of the most elite universities in the country, to be a bastion of liberalism. Yet in the physics department Pervez Hoodbhoy, professor of nuclear physics, sits with his head in his hands staring out at a sea of burqas. “People used to imagine there was only a lunatic fringe in Pakistan society of these ultra-religious people,” he said. “Now we’re learning that this is not a fringe but a majority.”
What brought this home to him was the murder earlier this year of Salman Taseer, the half-British governor of Punjab who had called for the pardoning of a Christian woman sentenced to death under the blasphemy law. The woman, Aasia Bibi, had been convicted after a mullah had accused her of impugning Islam when she shouted at two girls who refused to drink water after she had touched it because they said it was unclean.
Taseer had been a key figure in Pakistan’s politics for decades and had suffered prison and torture, yet when he said the Aasia case showed the law needed reforming, he was vilified by the mullahs and the media. In January he was shot 27 times by one of his own guards. His murderer, Mumtaz Qadri, became a hero, showered with rose petals by lawyers when he appeared in public.
After the killing, Hoodbhoy was asked to take part in a televised debate at the Islamabad Press Club in front of students. His fellow panellists were Farid Piracha, spokesman for the country’s biggest religious party, Jamaat-e-Islami, and Maulana Sialvi, a supposed moderate mullah from the Barelvi sect. Both began by saying that the governor brought the killing on himself, as “he who blasphemes his prophet shall be killed”. The students clapped.
Hoodbhoy then took the microphone. “Even as the mullahs frothed and screamed I managed to say that the culture of religious extremism was resulting in a bloodbath in which the majority of victims were Muslims; that non-Muslims were fleeing Pakistan. I said I’m not an Islamic scholar but I know there are Muslim countries that don’t think the Koran says blasphemy carries the death sentence, such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Egypt.
“I didn’t get a single clap. When I directly addressed Sialvi and said you have Salman Taseer’s blood on your hands, he looked at them and exclaimed: how I wish I had done it! He got thunderous applause.”
Afterwards, “I came back and wanted to dig a hole in the ground,” he said. “I can’t figure out why this country has gone so mad. I’ve seen my department change and change and change. There wasn’t one burqa-clad woman in the 1980s but today the non-hijabi, non-burqa student is an exception. As for the male students, they all come in turbans and beards with these fierce looks on their faces.”
Yet, he points out, these students are the super-elite, paying high fees to attend the university: “It’s nothing to do with causes normally associated with radicalism; it’s that the mullah is allowed complete freedom to spread the message of hate and liberals are bunkering down. Those who speak out are gone and the government has abdicated its responsibility and doesn’t even pretend to protect life and property.”
Raza Rumi, a young development worker and artist who blogs regularly, agrees. As we sat in a lively coffee bar in Lahore that could have been in the West until the lights went off in one of the frequent power cuts, he said: “Radicalism in Pakistan isn’t equated with poverty and backwardness — we’re seeing more radicalisation of the urban middle and upper class. I look at my own extended family. When I was growing up, maybe one or two people had a beard. Last time I went to a family wedding I was shell-shocked. All these uncles and aunts who were regular Pakistanis watching cricket and Indian movies now all have beards or are in hijabs.
“I think we’re in an existential crisis. The moderate political parties have taken a back seat and chickened out as they just want to protect their positions. What is Pakistan’s identity? Is it an Islamist identity as defined by Salman Taseer’s murder, ISI [the intelligence service], the jihadists? Is that really what we want to be?”
He does not know how much longer he will write about such things. “I’ve been getting repeated emails that I should leave the country or shut up,” he said.
When I left the cafe I was followed for the rest of the day by a small yellow car.
– Tables are Turned in Islamabad: Shujaat Officially Meets Zardari. Final Showdown Between PPP, SC & PML-N Imminent?
By: Aijaz Ahmed
Islamabad: It was a day of President Asif Ali Zardari in the Federal Capital of Pakistan today as he threw surprise after a surprise at his opponents, indicating that the PPP has finally decided to play its cards and a final battle between PPP, Supreme Court and PML-N is now imminent. The indication was given by a surprise meeting, which was officially admitted by Aiwan-e-Saddr (presidency) itself between the President and Co-Chairperson PPP Asif Ali Zardari and a delegation of PML (Q) headed by Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain Friday night. …
…. ‘The party is ready to take on the judicial activism, and the political strategy of PML-N’, he said. ‘The meeting of PML (Q) and PPP leadership will open venues for future cooperation and joint political strategy against Mian brothers and the judiciary, he added. …
…. Chess Board is laid, and field is open for all political and allied forces. Every player is playing its moves, but the clever player will win in the end. And who will be the cleverest of all, only time holds the answer, just wait for few weeks.
Read more : Indus Herald
Gene Sharp: Author of the nonviolent revolution rulebook
By Ruaridh Arrow Director of Gene Sharp – How to Start a Revolution
This is Dr Gene Sharp the man now credited with the strategy behind the toppling of the Egyptian government.
Gene Sharp is the world’s foremost expert on non-violent revolution. His work has been translated into more than 30 languages, …
Read more : BBC