ATHENS, Greece (AP) — A 24-hour strike by civil servants disrupted public services in Greece on Wednesday as the government struggled to hammer out a deal on further austerity measures with international creditors.
Thousands of protesters attended rallies in Athens and other cities, while civil servants penciled in another 48-hour strike on March 19-20.
In central Athens, cleaning staff fired by the finance ministry marched holding up buckets and mops, and a group of school teachers chained themselves to railings in front of parliament.
“I feel like I’ve been dumped in the trash,” said Nikos Kikakis, a suspended 59-year-old high school headmaster who is due to be laid off this month and joined the protest at the parliament. “I have worked for 26 years in public service, and have no hope of finding a job now.”
KARACHI – Frequent incidents of violence and the consequent sense of paranoia in the country’s financial hub have seriously jeopardized businesses, and put a majority of the traders and businessmen under heavy debts during recent years.
The traders claim to have become insolvent due to violence, such as politically-motivated targeted killings, and frequent strikes that partially or completely cease the businesses activity in the port city. “Almost 80 percent of the traders in the city are breathing hard under heavy debts which they owe to the goods’ suppliers,” said Muhammad Atiq Mir, chairman of the All Karachi Tajir Ittehad (AKTI), a body representing around 400 city markets. This, he said, was because of the politically and religiously motivated violence, which is now the order of the day.
Mir said most of the traders’ shops were filled with suppliers’ goods. “Due to consistently increasing inflation and violence, the traders’ income has been going down,” he said. “Irrespective of the reasons, each day of suspended businesses activity costs the city traders at least Rs 2.5 to Rs 3 billion,” he said, adding that this amount reflected the revenues only. “Daily trading activity can roughly be estimated at over a trillion rupees,” said Mir, who also chairs the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (FPCCI) standing committee on small traders and cottage industries.
President Barack Obama has ordered a sharp increase in drone strikes against suspected terrorists in Pakistan in recent months, anticipating the CIA may soon need to halt such operations in Pakistan’s territory, two U.S. officials said.
His decision reflects mounting U.S. frustration with Pakistan over a growing list of disputes — mirrored by Pakistani grievances with the U.S. — that have soured relations and weakened security cooperation. The U.S. is withholding at least $3 billion in reimbursements for counterinsurgency operations and security-related funding, according to congressional aides and Pakistani officials.
“We are reaching the limits of our patience, and for that reason it’s extremely important that Pakistan take action” to crack down on armed groups based there that attack American and coalition forces in Afghanistan, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said yesterday in Kabul. ….
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Tuesday summoned the US charge d’affaires to the foreign ministry to convey its “serious concerns” over drone strikes, a ministry statement said, a move that could further escalate tensions between the allies.
It was General Kayani’s strong warnings that prevented Nato strikes into Pakistani territory, claims the military. This is a cause for celebration. For it seems that the western forces in Afghanistan take heed to the Pakistani military chief’s warnings. This would, in turn, present a solution to the drone strikes, the latest of which we saw in the Datakhel area in North Waziristan on Monday. All the army chief has to do to stop them is to protest. Taking credit for one development means taking responsibility and blame for another.
There is, clearly, a lack of objective standards with which the military’s performance is to be evaluated. A pick-and-choose approach doesn’t hold water in any other government department, why should it here?
Much confusion persists, as always, on the role of the military. The military’s top spymaster, for instance, reportedly, met with former president Pervez Musharraf in Dubai the other day. Under what mandate did this meeting take place? The chief of an organisation that is tasked with counter-intelligence should not be going about liaising with political figures. If he can meet with the latter, then nothing much could be found wrong with the spy chief’s meeting with US national Mansoor Ijaz in London. It seems that the agency’s penchant for “political management” (as a former spy chief called it) has not ended.
Some very strange developments seem to be unfolding in Pakistani politics. A political dogfight between the civilian and military leaderships has been unheard off in the country’s history so far. The generals never had to air their differences with the political masters in the public as they are doing at present. When faced with a ‘defiance’ of their writ at any stage, the generals have always taken over power after booting-out the civilian government. …..
…. Then why this time around is General Kayani not able to push out the President and Prime Minister ….
….. Nawaz Sharief’s efforts to fish in troubled waters as also to move closer to the Army’s position on ‘Memogate’ ….
….. It was clear that the Army was reluctant to assume power and, at the same time, also reluctant to let the Zardari-led PPP government continue. It appears to have chosen the judicial route to hound out the government. Apparently, a deal between the Army and the Chief Justice of Pakistan allowed not just a renewed focus on the old National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) cases against Zardari and others, but also the setting up of a four-judge judicial enquiry into Memogate ….
…. Why is this unprecedented and uncharacteristic spat between the Army and the civilian government continuing? Apparently, the United States is a factor. Although, for the record, the US Administration and Pentagon had dismissed the memo to Mullen, they seem to have quietly acted on it by heavily leaning on the Pakistan Army. Despite the recent breakdown in their relationship, the US military still has a considerable hold over the Pakistan Army …..
…. Why is this unprecedented and uncharacteristic spat between the Army and the civilian government continuing? Apparently, the United States is a factor. Although, for the record, the US Administration and Pentagon had dismissed the memo to Mullen, they seem to have quietly acted on it by heavily leaning on the Pakistan Army. Despite the recent breakdown in their relationship, the US military still has a considerable hold over the Pakistan Army in the form of continuing supply of spares and other vital equipment, apart from training and intelligence cooperation. The Americans could have conveyed to Kayani and company that ousting the civilian regime in a coup would mean a total break in links, including the supply of spares and other wherewithal. The Pakistan Army cannot resist this pressure, since without using US supplied armour and attack helicopters, it cannot continue its operations against the Taliban in FATA or the Baluchi rebels in Baluchistan. Another inhibiting factor for Kayani and his generals could be the extent of penetration of the Army by jehadi elements. For sometime now, there appears to be a lull in clashes between Islamic radicals and the Army. While a let-up in US drone strikes (after the handing over of the Shamsi airbase) appears to be a significant facilitating factor for this lull, it cannot be the key trigger for it. The possibility of a JUI (F) brokered truce between the Army and Taliban should not be ruled out. The Army wants to preserve this truce for the present and, therefore, is reluctant to rock the boat by staging a coup at this juncture. It possibly fears that in case it ousts the Zardari government and becomes all powerful, that may have some destabilizing impact on the current truce with the Taliban. Lastly, Kayani and other senior generals may still not be out of the shock they suffered from the violent outbursts of junior officers after the Abbottabad raid. They recognize that the younger lot of Pakistan Army Officers does not come from traditional sections of the society known for its contempt for ‘civilians’ and their ways. These officers are the off-spring of former JCOs/NCOs of the military, as also the urban middle and lower middle classes, and may be harbouring a strong antipathy towards the bourgeois attitudes of their superiors.
This, however, does not mean that Kayani and company are going to let the Zardari-Gilani combine continue to spite them. Army backed judicial action against the regime is a strong possibility. ….
– NATO says Pakistan has resumed some cooperation with U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan following NATO strikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.
A NATO spokesman, German Brigadier General Carsten Jacobson, said Islamabad communicated with the alliance to prevent an exchange of fire over the border late on November 29 from turning into another international incident.
Jacobson also expressed hope that Pakistan’s cooperation in resolving the incident in eastern Afghanistan’s Paktia Province signaled the two sides could recover from the recent tragedy.
Earlier, a senior Pakistani Army official was quoted as saying the cross-border air attack by NATO forces in Afghanistan that killed the Pakistani soldiers was a “deliberate” act of aggression against Pakistani forces.
The remarks by Major General Ashfaq Nadeem, director-general of military operations, were quoted in Pakistani newspapers. ….
(Nov 27, 2011) The commander of the Pakistan’s army has ordered the country’s military to firmly respond to ‘irresponsible’ NATO attacks on the country’s territory.
On Saturday, Pakistan’s Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani condemned the US-led NATO helicopter strikes on two military checkpoints in the country’s northwest, which killed 28 soldiers earlier in the day, English-language domestic daily the Nation reported.
General Kayani ordered that the Pakistani forces make necessary arrangements for retaliatory measures, should the Western military alliance repeat such offensives. ….
Pakistan is a nuclear power — unlike Afghanistan or Iraq — and the US would have to think “10 times” before it begins unilateral action in North Waziristan, Pak army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has told parliament, media reports said ….
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 ….
WASHINGTON / ISLAMABAD: The US is rejecting demands from Pakistan that American personnel abandon a military base used by the CIA to stage drone strikes against militants, US officials told Reuters.
US personnel have not left the Shamsi air base and there is no plan for them to do so, said a US official familiar with the matter. “That base is neither vacated nor being vacated,” the official said. The information was confirmed by a second US official.
On Wednesday, federal Minister for Defence Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar said that US had been asked to stop using the base for drone strikes and vacate it. ….
Afghan President Hamid Karzai warns NATO about Air Strikes: Terrorists Should be Fought outside Afghan Borders. Karzai said “After Osama death, the world should now realise that his country was ‘not the place of terrorism’. He urged NATO-led troops to chase terrorists out of Afghanistan.
NEW DELHI: Pakistan’s former foreign secretary Shaharyar Khan has acknowledged that ISI might have been involved in the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai — in the first-ever confession of its kind by a member of Pakistani establishment.
In an interview to an Indian TV channel on Saturday, Khan said that “low-level” ISI personnel may have been involved in the terrorist attack on Mumbai. Speaking against the backdrop of the disclosures made by David Coleman Headley about serving ISI officers — Major Iqbal and Major Sameer — Khan told the Indian channel, “I think there is no doubt that whosoever is this Major Iqbal is, was in touch with this man (David Headley),” he said. “I think I would certainly accept that,” he added.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Senior Vice President following the policy of Imran Khan to support Taliban and extremist organizations justifying Suicide attacks and attack on Mehran Naval Base in Karachi in GEO News Program Lakin arguing with Sana Baucha. Leader of PTI linking suicide attacks with Drone attacks, where as a matter of fact suicide attack history is older than 911 attacks on US.
KARACHI, May 12: Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf announced on Thursday that it would stage a sit-in at the Native Jetty, near the sea port, on May 21 and 22 against military supplies to Nato forces in Afghanistan and the US drone attacks on Pakistani soil.
PTI Sindh president Naeem-ul-Haq told a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Thursday that PTI chairman Imran Khan and leaders of other parties would address the sit-in participants.—PPI
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.
WASHINGTON — The United States and Pakistan are veering toward a deeper clash, with Pakistan’s Parliament demanding a permanent halt to all drone strikes just as the most senior American official since the killing of Osama bin Laden is to arrive with a stern message that the country has only months to show it is committed to rooting out Al Qaeda and associated groups. ….
Islamabad: Shireen Mazari of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) says Army Chief Kayani, ISI chief Pasha and other officials should resign on this security failure. Army gets the biggest chunk of the budget and if in the end they have such performance then why they should not be accountable for their incompetence? She was talking in Pakistani political talk show “Kal Talk with Javed Choudhry” on 5th May 2011. The other participants of the talk show were Air Vice Marshal (Retd) Shahid Lateef and Gen. Rtd. Rashid Qureshi. The language of the talk show is urdu (Hindi).
Courtesy: The Express News TV (Kal Tak with Javed Choudhry – 5th May 2011 – Shahid Lateef, Gen Rtd Rashid Qureshi & Sherein Mazari)
Vocal as they are about being bombed from the sky, most Pakistanis – including many on the Left – suddenly lose their voice when it comes to the human (Muslim/ [Suicide bomber]) drone.
A drone – of the kind discussed here – is a programmed killing machine. By definition it is self-propelled, semi-autonomous, and capable of negotiating difficult local environments. Remote handlers guide it towards an assigned target. A drone does not need to know why it must kill, only who and how. They have drenched Pakistan in blood, both of fighters and non-combatants. …
The fact remains that Imran Khan has always been the establishment’s twelfth man — called upon to field as needed. He claims that the establishment cannot buy him, but do they need to? He has always volunteered for them and it is no different this time.
The citizens of Hayatabad, Peshawar, have finally breathed a sigh of relief after the two-day long sit-in organised by the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) has ended. Whether NATO supplies were halted because of this so-called protest remains moot, but life in one of Peshawar’s largest residential districts was certainly brought to a grinding halt by the chapli kabab-fed 5,000 people herded from outside the city by the PTI and various sectarian and religio-political parties allied with it. The idea, ostensibly, was to block one of the delivery routes through which the NATO forces in Afghanistan are supplied, thus forcing the US to halt its drone attacks. ….
…. To this end the deep state is trying to stir up hysteria against the US, through Imran Khan and his ilk and, in the process, build pressure on the PPP and ANP et al to fall in line as well. By letting the twelfth man warm up now, the establishment wants to elbow out Mian Nawaz Sharif — whom they mistrust deeply — as potentially the next premier. They know that a savvy politician like Mian sahib may actually play ball with the US, against their diktat.
While milking the Saudis for funds, and allowing mercenaries to be recruited for the Gulf, the establishment is getting its domestic ducks in a row, in preparation for a showdown with the US over its Af-Pak endgame. What can serve them better in this than a conglomerate of the martial law’s perennial B team like the Jamaat-e-Islami, pro-jihadists like Sami-ul-Haq and assorted opportunists? The twelfth man has always hoped that the establishment will grant him the political test cap one day. His hypocrisy may actually earn him the captaincy of the junta’s ‘B’ team this time.
Peshawar : Imran Khan the chief of the Tehrik-e-Insaf party said in TV program “Policy Matter with Nasim Zehra” at Hayatabad, Peshawar during sit-in-protest (Dharna) to block NATO supply line route against the drone strikes, that Maj. Gen. Ghayur Mehmud, GOC, 7th Div. North Waziristan is a liar when he (Maj. Gen. Ghayur Mehmud) says, “majority of those killed by drone strikes are hardcore Taliban or al-Qaeda elements, especially foreigners, while civilian casualties are few”.
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.
– Most of those killed in drone attacks were terrorists: military
General Officer Commanding 7-Division Maj-Gen Ghayur Mehmood said in a briefing here: “Myths and rumours about US predator strikes and the casualty figures are many, but it’s a reality that many of those being killed in these strikes are hardcore elements, a sizeable number of them foreigners.
By Zahir Shah Sherazi
MIRANSHAH: In a rather rare move, the Pakistan military for the first time gave the official version of US drone attacks in the tribal region and said that most of those killed were hardcore Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists and a fairly large number of them were of foreign origin.
General Officer Commanding 7-Division Maj-Gen Ghayur Mehmood said in a briefing here: “Myths and rumours about US predator strikes and the casualty figures are many, but it’s a reality that many of those being killed in these strikes are hardcore elements, a sizeable number of them foreigners. …
PAKISTAN: A student leader abducted and four bodies of disappeared persons are found
Case: AHRC-UAC-032-2011 – The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information that a student leader from Balochistan was abducted from the check post of the Frontier Corps in Quetta while he was returning from an interview for internship at Pakistan Telecommunications, a public sector company. In the campaign of killings of disappeared persons four more bodies of disappeared were found with bullet and torture marks. No a day goes by in Balochistan province without agitation and ‘shutter-down’ strikes in protest of killings and abductions allegedly by the law enforcement agencies. …
…. Despite a wave of public protests, Egypt is unlikely to emulate Tunisia, due to factors also present in Pakistan. Egypt has a sharp religious divide between Coptics and Muslims as well as numerous Islamic groups pitted against each other. Arab analysts cite low levels of literacy and a general feeling of apathy and defeatism in the population as further reasons that Egypt will continue to fester rather than revolt. Pakistan has these and additional factors which militate against a revolution: deep and multiple ethnic, linguistic, tribal and sectarian fault lines; a paucity of alternative intellectual narratives, radical leaders or strong unions; and an elected government and freedom of speech. Ironically, democratic elections and free speech help perpetuate the corrupt, unjust stranglehold of the feudal-industrial power elite. Revolutionary forces require a moral impetus that illegitimate dictatorship provides but elected government does not. Secondly, frustration needs to simmer under a repressive regime until it reaches the temperature for mass revolt. Pakistan’s free media allows an outlet for public dissatisfaction. The often harsh treatment of politicians and police officials at the hands of journalists and judges ameliorates public anger. Vocal opposition parties, unhindered street protests and strikes allow a regular release of fury, draining the momentum necessary for the emotional surge that revolutionary zeal requires. …
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’. ….
Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) — Several people have been seized in a plot to kill Pakistan’s prime minister, and the suspects claim they were getting orders from a militant in the country’s volatile tribal region, police said.
Police official Babar Bakhat Qureshi told CNN that officers arrested several suspects who were plotting to attack the compound of Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.
Shabir Anwar, Gilani’s press secretary, had no comment on the alleged plot because it is a security matter.
The plot to strike the compound, located in the Punjab provincial city of Multan, was in its “final planning stages,” Qureshi said. The location is about 395 kilometers, or 245 miles, southeast of the nation’s capital, Islamabad.
The suspects were planning to use a car bomb for the attack, and that they had acquired large amounts of fertilizer to manufacture an improvised explosive device, since confiscated by police, he said.
A vehicle for the attack had not been acquired yet.
The police confiscated one kilogram of gold and and two and a half kilograms of silver, which the men were going to sell to fund the plot, the official said.
Qureshi said the suspects have confessed that they were getting their orders and instructions from Kari Imram, a leader of a Taliban offshoot group from Miran Shah in North Waziristan. Drone strikes said to be conducted by the United States have targeted militants in North Waziristan, one of seven of the county’s tribal districts.
Following the 9/11 terror strikes, when the US had made up its mind to bombard Afghanistan, Pakistan”s Inter-Services Intelligence and then President Pervez Musharraf made full efforts to save the Taliban and tried to persuade a red-faced Bush administration to hold a dialogue with the Taliban, as the Inter-Services-Intelligence always regarded it as one of its strategic assets.
According to recently released documents “On September 13, 2001, US Ambassador Wendy Chamberlin “bluntly” told Pakistani President Musharraf that there was “absolutely no inclination in Washington to enter into a dialogue with the Taliban. The time for dialogue was finished as of September 11.”
“Pakistan, as the Taliban’s primary sponsor, disagreed. Documents show “Pakistani Intelligence (ISI) Chief Mahmoud told the ambassador “not to act in anger. Real victory will come in negotiations If the Taliban are eliminated… Afghanistan will revert to warlordism.”
Pakistan not only made attempts to save its Taliban brethren from US wrath, but also tried to protect dreaded Al Qaeda supremo Osama Bin Laden.
The document states ” Regarding the apprehension of Osama bin Laden, the ISI chief said it was “better for the Afghans to do it. We could avoid the fallout.”
Mahmoud traveled to Afghanistan twice, on September 17, aboard an American plane, and again on September 24, 2001 to discuss the seriousness of the situation with Taliban leader Mullah Omar.
Ambassador Chamberlin said negotiations were pointless since Mullah Omar “had so far refused to meet even one US demand.”
Chamberlin told Mahmoud his meetings with Omar were fine, but they “could not delay military planning.” …