Tag Archives: UN

U.N. doctor shot in Pakistan

UN doctor shot in Karachi

By Hasan Mansoor (AFP)

KARACHI — Gunmen opened fire on a UN vehicle in Pakistan’s volatile city of Karachi Tuesday, wounding a foreign doctor working on a polio immunisation campaign and a local driver, officials said.

The shooting, which happened in the low-income eastern neighbourhood of Soharb Ghoth, highlighted resistance to a widely publicised three-day vaccination campaign, which began Monday.

The Taliban have banned immunisations in the northwest, condemning the campaign as a cover for espionage since a Pakistani doctor was jailed after helping the CIA find Osama bin Laden using a hepatitis vaccination programme.

“A WHO vehicle was fired upon with gunshots. One international staff and one local driver were injured in the incident,” Maryam Yunus, spokeswoman for the United Nations’ World Health Organization, told AFP. ….

Read more » Google

http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5iNmS0p6vLI8eya_Vxz0ASksivlhQ?docId=CNG.677603afc5efb606df47df0f86a41039.141

[US Congress] House panel cuts foreign aid, UN and military aid to Pakistan

House panel cuts foreign aid, UN and military aid to Pakistan

By Associated Press

WASHINGTON — A House panel on Wednesday moved to cut the foreign aid budget by some 9 percent, targeting economic aid and contributions to the United Nations and the World Bank.

Despite the cuts, the legislation won bipartisan backing from the Appropriations foreign aid panel, though it’s sure to draw a White House veto threat because it’s in line with a broader GOP spending plan that breaks faith with last summer’s budget and debt pact with President Barack Obama.

The panel maintains aid to Israel and Egypt at the administration’s requests but denies $800 million that was requested for a special fund for training and equipping Pakistan’s military in counterinsurgency tactics. The move appears to reflect wariness on the part of lawmakers toward the government of Pakistan, which failed to find Osama bin Laden for years until the U.S. military killed him a year ago.

Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., D-Ill., accused Pakistan of “harboring a fugitive” and likened the U.S.-Pakistan relationship to a “bad marriage.”

Given the animosity toward Pakistan, the $800 million request for counterinsurgency efforts was an easy target, though the measure would permit transfers from other accounts to make up for some or all of the shortfall. …

Read more » The Washington Post

Via – Wichaar.com

US puts $10 million bounty on Lashkar-e-Taiba’s Hafiz Saeed Jamaat-ud-Dawa group

By AFP

ISLAMABAD — A man with a $10 million US government bounty on him might be expected to have gone into hiding, but Hafiz Mohammad Saeed is one of Pakistan’s most high-profile and outspoken Islamists. ….

Read more » google

Pakistani U.N. peacekeepers sentenced in Haiti rape case

By Joseph Guyler Delva

PORT-AU-PRINCE – (Reuters) – Two U.N. peacekeepers from Pakistan have been sentenced to a year in prison for raping a 14-year-old Haitian boy after being convicted in a Pakistani military trial in Haiti, authorities said on Monday. ….

Read more » Reuters

Shia Pashtuns of Parachinar may invite foreign intervention to get themselves rid of a brutal military state

Editor’s note: Departing from collective silence in Pakistan’s mainstream media, Daily Times is the only outlet in English and Urdu media which has published at least two articles highlighting the 17 Feb 2012 Shia massacre in Parachinar in which 47 Shias Muslims were massacred; at least 12 of them were killed by live firing by Pakistan’s paramilitary forces (FC) deployed in Kurram Agency. In the following op-ed Farhat Taj notes that what is phenomenal is that so many Shia tribesmen have managed to stay cool-minded despite the trauma they have to live with as shown by the Shias who rescued the Sunnis. Taj also notes that Kurram Shias have a stronger case to invite a foreign power (United Nations, Afghanistan, NATO etc) to get themselves rid of Pakistan’s military state and society that places no worth on their blood and sufferings.

***********

Pushing Kurram to invite foreign intervention — Farhat Taj

Read more » LUBP

Dr Shakil Afridi – By Farhat Taj

Dr Afridi’s act could not be hidden from the world because the US is directly involved in it. Therefore, a smear campaign has been launched. It depicts the doctor as a dishonest person and a traitor. The aim, it seems, is to absolve the military of any responsibility for bin Laden’s presence in Pakistan for years

A native of Khyber Agency in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Dr Shakil Afridi has been arrested by the military authorities in Pakistan. He faces charges of treason for his role in locating and killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. Reportedly, he ran a vaccination campaign for the US intelligence agency the CIA in Abbottabad to collect blood samples of the children of Osama bin Laden. The DNA test from the blood samples established the presence of bin Laden in a military area in Abbottabad and subsequently he was killed in the US commando raid in the house where the al Qaeda leader had lived with his family for many years.

Capturing or killing of al Qaeda terrorists is the aim of the UN-mandated US-led war on terror. Pakistan is supposedly a partner in this war. The Pakistani military authorities have not only been killing, capturing and handing al Qaeda militants based in Pakistan to the US but have also been taking pride in doing so. Former dictator Musharraf admits in his book (In the Line of Fire, pg 237) that his government captured and handed over 369 al Qaeda militants to the US. He also writes that Pakistanis received ‘millions of dollars’ as prize money from the CIA for capturing those militants. But none of those Pakistanis ever faced the treason charges that Dr Afridi does today. The reason is not what some people are underscoring in internet blogs and newspapers in Pakistan — that because Dr Afridi’s cooperation with the US led to, what they call, an ‘invasion’ of Pakistan, so he must be tried for treason.

The reason is that his act has torn apart the strategic depth narrative internalised by many in Pakistan due to a constant state-backed propaganda based on outright lies or at best distortion of facts. According to this narrative, the people of FATA are fanatically religious. They have given refuge to al Qaeda militants following their escape from the US bombing in Afghanistan. They have given their daughters and sisters in marriage to foreign al Qaeda militants, who enjoy comfortable hospitality in the area not only under the code of tribal Pashtunwali but also as sons-in-law and brothers-in-law. According to this narrative, Osama bin Laden was never supposed to be discovered in a military area in Pakistan, but in FATA. The tribes in the area were supposed to rise in rage in the event of any harm to Osama bin Laden by the US. Dr Afridi, himself a tribesman from the area, proved exactly the opposite.

Dr Afridi, however, is not the first person from FATA who has exposed the Pakistani military’s control over the Taliban or al Qaeda terrorists, whereby they are used for terrorism in Afghanistan and the ‘unwanted’ among them handed over to the US to prove Pakistan’s ‘performance’ in the war on terror as well as to win the head money placed by the US on terrorists. There are countless more people in the area who have done so before him. But their contributions have never made it to the wider world because there is a strict state control over the flow of information from FATA coupled with a systemic state-sponsored propaganda that distorts facts as well as attributes outright lies to the area, its culture and people. More importantly, many of those who exposed the military control over the militants were eliminated through targeted killings, which had scared the others into silence. …

Read more » Daily Times

US express concern over Hafiz Saeed’s public appearances

By Huma Imtiaz / Web Desk

WASHINGTON: The US State Department has raised concerns about Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed’s public appearances, including at the Difa-e-Pakistan Council (DPC) rally held in Karachi earlier this week.

The State Department issued a brief press release on Thursday, In response to a question submitted earlier in the week, which said that, “Lashkar-e-Taiba and its front group Jamaatud Dawa, is internationally sanctioned because of its associations with al Qaeda. We have and continue to urge the Government of Pakistan to uphold its obligations in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 1267/1989.”

The release further stated that the UN resolution “calls for all countries to freeze assets of sanctioned groups, prevent the transfer of arms to them, and prevent sanctioned individuals from entering or transiting their territories.”

JuD has been functioning in the country as a religious and charity organisation. Post Mumbai attacks in 2008, the organisation was declared a terrorist organisation by the West, UN and India. ….

Read more » The Express Tribune

Pakistan’s rush for more bombs – why?

By Pervez Hoodbhoy

Excerpts;

….. In the military’s mind, the Americans are now a threat, equal to or larger than India. They are also considered more of an adversary than even the TTP jihadists who have killed thousands of Pakistani troops and civilians. While the Salala incident was allowed to inflame public opinion, the gory video-taped executions of Pakistani soldiers by the TTP were played down. A further indication is that the LeT/JuD is back in favor (with a mammoth anti-US and anti-India rally scheduled in Karachi next month). Pakistani animosity rises as it sees America tightly embracing India, and standing in the way of a Pakistan-friendly government in Kabul. Once again “strategic defiance” is gaining ground, albeit not through the regional compact suggested by General Mirza Aslam Beg in the early 1990s.

This attitudinal shift has created two strong non-India reasons that favour ramping up bomb production.

First, Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are seen to be threatened by America. This perception has been reinforced by the large amount of attention given to the issue in the US mainstream press, and by war-gaming exercises in US military institutes. Thus, redundancy is considered desirable — an American attempt to seize or destroy all warheads would have smaller chances of success if Pakistan had more.

But such an attack is improbable. It is difficult to imagine any circumstances — except possibly the most extreme — in which the US would risk going to war against another nuclear state. Even if Pakistan had just a handful of weapons, no outside power could accurately know the coordinates of the mobile units on which they are located. It is said that an extensive network of underground tunnels exists within which they can be freely moved. Additionally, overground ones are moved from place to place periodically in unmarked trucks. Mobile dummies and decoys can hugely compound difficulties. Moreover, even if a nuclear location was exactly known, it would surely be heavily guarded. This implies many casualties when intruding troops are engaged, thus making a secret bin-Laden type operation impossible.

The second – and perhaps more important — reason for the accelerated nuclear development is left unstated: nukes act as insurance against things going too far wrong. Like North Korea, Pakistan knows that, no matter what, international financial donors will feel compelled to keep pumping in funds. Else a collapsing system may be unable to prevent some of its hundred-plus Hiroshima-sized nukes from disappearing into the darkness.

This insurance could become increasingly important as Pakistan moves deeper into political isolation and economic difficulties mount. Even today, load-shedding and fuel shortages routinely shut down industries and transport for long stretches, imports far exceed exports, inflation is at the double-digit level, foreign direct investment is negligible because of concerns over physical security, tax collection remains minimal, and corruption remains unchecked. An African country like Somalia or Congo would have sunk under this weight long ago.

To conclude: throwing a spanner in the works at the CD (Geneva) may well be popular as an act of defiance. Indeed, many in Pakistan — like Hamid Gul and Imran Khan — derive delicious satisfaction from spiting the world in such ways. But this is not wise for a state that perpetually hovers at the edge of bankruptcy, and which derives most of its worker remittances and export earnings from the very countries it delights in mocking.

To read complete article »  The Express Tribune, January 30th, 2012.

http://tribune.com.pk/story/328922/pakistans-rush-for-more-bombs–why/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy » ToloNews

It is about 4 years since the PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in Pak Army town, Rawalpindi. No action on UN commission report yet?

27th December: Get Ready For Another Zardari-Rehman Malik Drama

By Aziz Narejo

27th December is almost upon us. Get ready for another Zardari-Rehman Malik drama about “catching” & “punishing” the “killers of Shaheed BB”. It is about 4 years since the PPP chairperson was assassinated in Pak Army town, Rawalpindi. Her party, led by her widower & son, has been in power for 3 years & 9 months since then. First they delayed any meaningful investigation in the name of UN probe. When UN commission submitted its report, they rejected it & refused to act on it. Then they said they would hold their own inquiry. Now their hand-maiden report is ready since more than a year but they won’t publish or disclose it in full. Last year, they delayed the arrival of the ‘son’ in Garhi Khuda Bux for a day & issued an statement afterwards that since he couldn’t attend the party CEC meeting, the report could not be announced on BB’s 3rd death anniversary. ….

Read more » Indus Herald

Jamaat on trial

by Farooq Sulehria

Excerpt;

Delawar Hossain Sayedee, leader of the Jamat-e-Islami in Bangladesh, has been indicted with 20 counts, including 3,000 killings, rape and arson, during Bangladesh’s nine-month-long war of liberation.

If proven guilty, Sayedee could face the death sentence. He has denied all charges against him. Sayedee will now be tried by the International Crimes Tribunal, a domestic tribunal with no United Nations role, which was set up last year to investigate war crimes in 1971. The trial begins on Oct 30.

While the role of the Pakistani military has drawn some media criticism, the Jamaat’s role in East Pakistan in 1971 has gone largely unnoticed. …..

….. The Jamaat later on began to pay lip service to East Pakistanis’ concerns, like the language issue, or their under-representation in the military.

However, as the Jamaat saw it, the real problem was East Pakistan’s Hindus, who dominated the trade, and the communists. Maulana Maudoodi urged the ulema to rid the East Pakistani masses of what he called their ignorance of Islam, because “the influence of Hindu culture over their language, dress, habits and way of thinking is so big that they have lost all sense of its being an extraneous element in their life.”

The problem, so to say, was not exploitation at the hands of West Pakistan but what the Jamaat considered East Pakistan’s lack of Islamisation.

The Jamaat contended that Bengali literature was pervaded by Hindu ideas since Tagore was the major influence on it, while the similes and proverbs of Bengali reflected Hindu thought and social way of life. Besides, Bengali literature lacked what the Jamaat called Islamic politics, economics and way of life. ….

…. The pattern in both countries has been similar. In Bangladesh the Jamaat allied itself with the military junta when Gen Ziaur Rehman came to power. Gen Zia, like his Pakistani namesake and counterpart, began to revise history and textbooks. His purpose was to minimise the role played by Sheikh Mujib in the movement and project his own imagined role in it. A revision of history equally suited the Jamaat.

The Awami League and the left forces, however, kept campaigning for a trial regarding atrocities in the 1971 war. In the last general elections, such a trial became an election issue. The Jamaat stood exposed and lost the elections.

A similar process is necessary everywhere including Pakistan to correct distortions of history. A ‘Truth Commission’ investigating not just the 1971 war but all the wars including the “Afghan jihad” and the “War on Terror”, perhaps?

To read complete article » The News

350 deaths, 700,000 in Refuge camps, 1.5 million homes destroyed, 2.4 millions are severely affected by food insecurity in Sindh

– Pakistanis at risk over world inaction on floods: WFP

byAFP

ISLAMABAD: The United Nations warned on Monday that the international community had failed to respond to the latest flooding crisis in Pakistan, leaving three million people in urgent need of food handouts.

The nuclear-armed Muslim state has suffered two consecutive years of floods but has been at increasing risk of international isolation since US troops found and killed Osama bin Laden near the capital in May.

“Somehow the present flooding and the humanitarian impact of the present flooding has not yet picked the interest, the focus of the world,” said Ramiro Lopes da Silva, deputy executive director of the World Food Programme (WFP).

“If we have no resources, we have no response,” he told a news conference in Islamabad after visiting the flood-hit southern province of Sindh.

On September 18, the United Nations led an appeal for dollar 357 million in emergency funding to shore up rescue and relief efforts for millions of people suffering after floods swept away homes and farm land in southern Pakistan.

“The funding is not coming as swiftly and as fast at the levels it came to the response of the floods of last year,” said Lopes da Silva.

“Donors are being challenged by the level of resources required to address similar needs of humanitarian situations across the world,” he added.

Last month, the United Nations said only the Japanese government had pledged dollar 10 million in response to the appeal. ….

Read more → DAWN.COM

Sluggish Response to Sindh Flood Victims – Oxfam Warns of Second Disaster

– Sluggish donor response to Pakistan floods is another disaster in the making: Oxfam

Islamabad – International aid agency Oxfam expressed alarm over the floods in Sindh and Balochistan provinces, as only $1.30 has been committed per person by international donors in the first 10 days of the UN appeal as opposed to $3.20 committed in the same period during last year’s floods.

Oxfam calls on the Government of Pakistan and the international donor community to dig deep into their resources and rapidly increase their funding to prevent the disaster from deteriorating further. The agency warns that the situation of millions of people in Sindh and Balochistan will worsen unless more aid arrives.

According to the latest figures, more than 8.8 million people in Sindh and 14,000 people in Balochistan so far have been affected by the 2011 monsoon rains. The human impact of this disaster in terms of the number of people affected is more than the combined impact of the Haiti earthquake and the Pakistan earthquake of 2005. Reported losses are being estimated at $215 million, and that number is likely to increase as some areas are inaccessible, and the impact of the floods cannot be assessed. ….

Read more → Aboard the Democracy Train

Sindh in malnutrition hotspots, says report

– ISLAMABAD – The National Nutrition Survey (NNS 2011), which was launched on Saturday, showed that Sindh had one of the highest rates of malnutrition in the country.

In Sindh 17.5 per cent of children under five years suffer from acute malnutrition, nearly seven per cent being severely malnourished. These results are way above WHO’s emergency threshold of 15 per cent, which indicates a critical nutrition situation. In addition, half of all children are stunted, a sign of long-term malnutrition.

The NNS 2011 also reports Sindh as the province with the highest proportion of food insecure people. Nearly 72 per cent of the population is food insecure and do not have access to enough food.

The situation can only be expected to get worse with the onset of current floods and the resulting loss of property, food stocks and the damage to standing crops. Last year’s post-flood nutrition survey had reported acute malnutrition rates as high as 23.1 per cent in the affected areas of Sindh. ….

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has started distribution of food in the flood-affected areas of lower Sindh and is scaling up its efforts rapidly. “The WFP is taking practical steps to stabilise and improve the nutritional levels of the affected population. …

Read more → The Nation
http://nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Regional/Islamabad/18-Sep-2011/Sindh-in-malnutrition-hotspots-says-report

Protest rally held against the human rights violations in Balochistan at the 18th session of UN Human Rights Council in Geneva

– PRESS RELEASE: A peaceful demonstration was held at the 18th session of the UN Human Rights Council by the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation (UNPO) and the Baloch Human Rights Council (BHRC), on Thursday 15 September 2011 in Geneva , Plais des Nations ‘ Broken Chair Square’ to protest against the increasing number of human rights violations in Balochistan.

The demonstration was aimed to raise awareness of alarming number of enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings and arbitrary detentions that have been reported by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and the Human Rights commission of Pakistan and prompt the international community to act. Baloch delegates from London, Europe and Scandinavia and other human rights activists took part in the event.

A parallel event took place entitled ‘Climate of Fear: Enforced Disappearances, Extrajudicial Killings & Arbitrary Detention in Balochistan’ between 12 to 2 pm at Plais des Nations in Room 23.

SINDH: MONSOON RAINS AFFECT MILLIONS OF PEOPLE, UN LAUNCHES HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE

– PAKISTAN: MONSOON RAINS AFFECT MILLIONS OF PEOPLE, UN LAUNCHES HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE

Press release – (Islamabad/Geneva/New York: 10 September 2011): Torrential monsoon rains have pounded southern Pakistan, triggering serious flooding affecting more than 5 million people, among them communities still recovering from last year’s extraordinary floods. The disaster has reportedly taken the lives of 199 people, and destroyed or damaged nearly one million houses, and flooded 4.2 million acres of land, prompting the Government of Pakistan to call for support from the United Nations.

The situation for those impacted by recent monsoons and subsequent floods is critical, with thousands of people in need of life-saving assistance due to the lack of food and safe drinking water and the loss of livelihoods and homes. In response the United Nations and the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) undertook a joint field mission to see first hand the devastation and damage caused by fresh flooding. The NDMA Chairman and UN Humanitarian Coordinator held discussions with the Sindh Governor and Chief Minister. The joint mission team visited Thatta, Badin, T.M. Khan and Hyderabad districts, where they met with district officials and families displaced by floods. During the visit the Chairman and the UN Humanitarian Coordinator gained first hand information about the impact of the floods, which has made possible a rapid launch of the relief effort by the United Nations and other humanitarian partners to support the ongoing national relief efforts.

Continue reading SINDH: MONSOON RAINS AFFECT MILLIONS OF PEOPLE, UN LAUNCHES HUMANITARIAN RESPONSE

Drinking liqour is not Haram – Federal Shariat Court

by Wichaar Desk

The Federal Shariat Court (FSC) has declared whipping for the offence of drinking as un-Islamic and directed the government to amend the law to make the offence bailable.

A full-bench of the FSC comprising Chief Justice Haziqul Khairi, Justice Salahuddin Mirza and Justice Fida Mohammad Khan gave the ruling on Thursday after hearing the arguments that the Holy Quran asks Muslims to stay away from liquor but does not specifically declares it Haram, or prohibited. ….

Read more → WICHAAR.COM

More details → defence.pk

Demanding Answers From Pakistan

By ZALMAY KHALILZAD

Excerpt;

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The self-centred beggar

by Dr Manzur Ejaz

It is only in the Pakistani media that violation of sovereignty is the focus of discussion rather than Osama’s comfortable living arrangement near an elite military academy. The rest of the world is focusing on Osama rather than the legality of the American operation in Abbottabad.

Probably it is a matter of taste that Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani wanted to hear the same translated lecture from Chinese leaders that Senator John Kerry had given in Islamabad. Maybe it was easier in Beijing because Chinese lectures were (hopefully) directly translated into Urdu or Seraiki. President Asif Ali Zardari may have been given a similar dose in Moscow though the details of his achievements have yet to come out. Both had rushed to the Chinese and Russian capitals to prove their utility to the military brass after the embarrassing US operation in Abbottabad.

It is clear from the published reports that China has flatly told PM Gilani that it does not give budgetary support or cash transfers to countries. They promised some loans on favourable conditions, but this was then sent for approval to the Politburo of the Communist Party. This is an atypical Chinese diplomatic way of saying ‘no’ because such a loan could have been cleared quickly if need be. This simply shows that salvaging Pakistan’s economy is not a Chinese priority or that they take it as a waste of money.

The plan to rush to Beijing was as sane as not knowing that Osama bin Laden was living in Abbottabad near a military academy for the last five years. Probably, there is no method in Pakistan’s madness of decision-making processes. Idealising Pakistan’s strategic worth in global politics, Pakistan’s ruling elite is bereft of common sense. They thought once they announce to the Chinese and Russians that they are getting a legal divorce from the US, Beijing and Moscow would jump all around and shower Yuan and Roubles upon them. No one paused for a moment to think that both China and Russia, victims of jihadi terrorism, agree with the US on the point that terrorist networks must be rooted out of Pakistan. But we have become like street-beggars who develop a habit of asking every passerby for money.

Before PM Gilani had reached Beijing, a senior leader of the Chinese military had declared that his country will not confront the US over Pakistan. And why would China confront the US over Pakistan while its economic interests are heavily vested in the US? Moreover, has China ever confronted the US on any policy other than American policy regarding Taiwan? China has proved to be the wisest nation when it comes to its economic interests. They have economic interests in Pakistan as well but cannot lose the US market, which is their bread and butter. In addition, why would China confront the US for something which, ultimately, safeguards al Qaeda, the Taliban and other jihadi terrorist groups? It is only in the Pakistani media that violation of sovereignty is the focus of discussion rather than Osama’s comfortable living arrangement near an elite military academy. The rest of the world is focusing on Osama rather than the legality of the American operation in Abbottabad.

The Chinese know what the world is saying and are afraid to run into an embarrassing position if the US decides to bring its case against Pakistan harbouring terrorists to the UN. This is the reason that they told Mr Gilani:

One: Pakistan should normalise its relations with India, the US and the rest of the world. The Chinese were telling Pakistan that it is awfully lonely and cannot be supported just by Beijing if the rest of the world stands against it.

Two: the Chinese subtly chided Pakistan for not eliminating the madrassa networks that are producing terrorists. Privately, China has been asking Pakistan to take action against jihadi nurseries but this time they went public on this point.

Three: the Chinese told Gilani that the situation in Afghanistan is improving and Pakistan should not do anything that can stall it.

The Chinese have told Pakistan that they are on the same page as the US as far as the issue of terrorism is concerned and Pakistan should lower its obsession with India. Furthermore, the Chinese have advised that the US is going to be the only source of funds needed for budgetary support for Pakistan. China can invest in infrastructure projects but no cash transfers. Recent assignment of hydro projects to Chinese companies show that China is using its leverage to get better deals from Pakistan than it could if international bids were invited.

Continue reading The self-centred beggar

Pakistan and the US: beyond the tailspin – Dr Mohammad Taqi

Excerpt:

The military events surrounding Senator Kerry’s Pak-Afghan visits suggest that the US is not about to blink first. The question remains whether the Pakistani establishment will pull back from the brink

So, he surrendered to parliament. Or did he? The Pakistani government’s minister for information would have one believe that he did. But General Ahmed Shuja Pasha may actually be recalling Julius Caesar’s words: veni, vidi, vici! The only difference is that when Caesar claimed ‘I came, I saw, I conquered’, he was reporting to the Roman Senate about his swift military victory over Pharnaces II of Pontus. However, for all practical purposes, General Pasha and the security establishment’s triumph is on the domestic front. For now, they seem to have vanquished parliament quite successfully. Like Molly Bloom in James Joyce’s Ulysses, the PPP, PML-Q and the MQM threw themselves into the military’s arms with a fervent “…and yes I said yes I will Yes”. The PML-N’s chiding notwithstanding, Generals Pasha and Ashfaq Kayani had their cake and got to eat it too.

The well-choreographed Pasha tamasha in parliament and the events preceding and after it has left the Pakistani parliament weaker than ever before. Many of us never had any illusions about the security establishment’s tall tale that the civilians should take charge of foreign and security affairs. But anyone who still had a doubt about the ones calling the shots need not look any further than the US Senator John Kerry’s very first stop on his visit to Pakistan this week. Despite his recent tame requests for the prime minister to convene parliament to discuss the Osama bin Laden fiasco, General Kayani did not find anything wrong with Senator Kerry seeing him before meeting the civilian leadership. A simple change in the visiting senator’s itinerary could have been requested — and very likely accepted by the guest — but it was not. Well, so much for the military’s newfound love for parliament’s supremacy. But one must give credit where it is due. A bakery-running enterprise may not be a fighting force but it could be pretty deft at politics.  ….

…. No matter how Pakistan spins it, the tailspin in its relationship with the US and the world at large cannot be reversed by returning the stealth H-60 Blackhawk’s tail. The Pakistani brass is way too familiar with the words “peanuts” when describing a disproportionately minuscule response to tectonic shifts in geopolitics. Osama bin Laden’s lair, less than a mile away from the Pakistan Military Academy, Kakul, is not a pinprick that the world, let alone the US, would forget so easily. The Pakistani parliament may have been duped with it, but there is every indication that the US Congress and the White House consider the ‘intelligence failure’ excuse an insult to their intelligence.

Senator Kerry’s soft but measured tone indicates that the Pakistani brass still has some time, perhaps through July, to make serious amends but all options, including moving the UN, remain on the table. The senator also seems to have spelt out some of the bare-minimum metrics for any rapprochement. Pakistan’s position vis-à-vis Mullah Omar and his Quetta Shura on the one hand and the Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT) and its various incarnations on the other, will certainly determine the future relationship between Pakistan and the world at large. But if the senator’s visit to Khost — across from North Waziristan — is any indication, the dismantling of the Haqqani network is at the top of the confidence-building agenda. The military events surrounding Senator Kerry’s Pak-Afghan visits suggest that the US is not about to blink first. The question remains whether the Pakistani establishment will pull back from the brink. Unlike the Pakistani parliament, the UN Security Council may actually be difficult to conquer.

To read complete article: Daily Tiems

Sovereignty: rights and responsibilities

by Dr Manzur Ejaz

Excerpt:

Having been embarrassed by the Abbottabad operation, the military’s position was seemingly weaker and they wanted to regain their previous status by using the media to spread anti-American sentiments amongst the people and parliament.

Nawaz Sharif torpedoed the sovereignty ship that the Pakistan military had launched under the stewardship of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief, Lieutenant-General Shuja Pasha. ….

…. However, Pakistan lives on a different planet by allowing or tolerating the Taliban and other jihadi groups that are involved in harmful activities against many other nations, including Afghanistan, the US, and Pakistan itself. A television talk-show host on one of the most watched programmes listed all the violent suicide bombings of a decade in the world. He pointed out that all the perpetrators of these violent acts were nabbed from Pakistan. Pakistan may boast about having handed over these criminals to the world but why were these terrorists found in Pakistan, instead of war-torn Afghanistan?

That is what makes the world suspicious about our state’s security policy run by the military and the ISI. If you look at the data from an outsider’s eye that every bomber is found in Pakistan, what will you conclude? Therefore, if Pakistan takes its case of breach of its sovereignty by the US to the UN, who will listen to it? Conversely, if Afghanistan, the US, Europe, India, Indonesia and many other countries take a similar case to the world forums, what would be the outcome? You can well imagine.

The military, backed by the weak PPP-PML-Q government, can create an illusion of sovereignty in Pakistani minds but the world is much larger than Pakistan and every outsider that counts is suspicious. If the US stops drone attacks and forgets about Mullah Omar or Ayman al-Zawahiri, can Pakistan assure the world that it can cleanse its territory of religious crusaders? And, unless that is done, the world is not going to respect Pakistan’s sovereignty. Probably, it can be done only if the military accepts the supremacy of civilian democratic governments as demanded by Nawaz Sharif. Yes, of course, the democratic governments have to be strong, but that is only a sufficient condition; the necessary condition is that the military gets out of foreign policy-making and other pivotal decisions of the state.

To read complete article : Wichaar

The Long Overdue Palestinian State

By MAHMOUD ABBAS

Ramallah, West Bank:SIXTY-THREE years ago, a 13-year-old Palestinian boy was forced to leave his home in the Galilean city of Safed and flee with his family to Syria. He took up shelter in a canvas tent provided to all the arriving refugees. Though he and his family wished for decades to return to their home and homeland, they were denied that most basic of human rights. That child’s story, like that of so many other Palestinians, is mine.

This month, however, as we commemorate another year of our expulsion — which we call the nakba, or catastrophe — the Palestinian people have cause for hope: this September, at the United Nations General Assembly, we will request international recognition of the State of Palestine on the 1967 border and that our state be admitted as a full member of the United Nations.

Many are questioning what value there is to such recognition while the Israeli occupation continues. Others have accused us of imperiling the peace process. We believe, however, that there is tremendous value for all Palestinians — those living in the homeland, in exile and under occupation. …

Read more : The New York Times

Demanding Answers From Pakistan

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.

Continue reading Demanding Answers From Pakistan

Looks like noose is being tighten around the establishment

US brands Haqqani network commander as terrorist

By Arun Kumar, IANS

Washington, May 11 (IANS) In a crackdown on terrorists operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the US has designated the commander of a Pakistan-based insurgent group as a terrorist and banned Americans from doing business with him.

The State and Treasury departments said Wednesday that they had added Badruddin Haqqani to their list of ‘specially designated global terrorists’, a step that will freeze any assets he may have in US jurisdictions.

Badruddin Haqqani is the senior military commander of the Haqqani group and a son of the group’s founder, Jalaluddin Haqqani, who had previously been designated as a terrorist by the US.

The Taliban-affiliated group operates from North Waziristan, a tribal area in Pakistan, and conducts attacks on US troops in Afghanistan, the State Department said.

The step will help stem the flow of financial assistance to a dangerous individual, it said.

The United Nations has also added Badruddin Haqqani to its list of Al Qaeda and Taliban terrorists, a step that requires all UN member states to implement an assets freeze, a travel ban, and an arms embargo against him.

Badruddin Haqqani took responsibility in November 2008 for the kidnapping of New York Times reporter David Rohde. The reporter escaped in June 2009.

Courtesy: Yahoo News

Baluchs present their Case To US Policy Advisors

By: Khalid Hashmani

The Balochistan Society of North America (BSO-NA) organized a conference titled Balochistan Conference 2011 at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on Saturday, August 30, 2011. The conference focused on key issues faced Baluch including “Balochistan’s Case and Prospects”, “Human Rights Violations in Balochistan”, “Baloch Target Killings and Genocide”, and “Geo-strategic Importance of Balochistan for Peace and Security in South Asia”.

Continue reading Baluchs present their Case To US Policy Advisors

LeT holds prayers for bin Laden in Pakistan

By Reuters

ISLAMABAD: The founder one of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) told his followers to be heartened by the death of Osama bin Laden, as his “martyrdom” would not be in vain, a spokesman for the group said on Tuesday.

LeT has been holding special prayers for bin Laden in several cities and towns since he was killed in an operation by U.S. forces in Abbottabad on Monday.

A spokesman for LeT founder Hafiz Mohammad Saeed said he had told followers in Lahore that the “great person” of Osama bin Laden would continue to be a source of strength and encouragement for Muslims around the world.

“Osama bin Laden was a great person who awakened the Muslim world,” Saeed’s spokesman Yahya Mujahid quoted him as saying during prayers at the headquarters of the LeT’s charity in Lahore on Monday.

“Martyrdoms are not losses, but are a matter of pride for Muslims”, Saeed said. “Osama bin Laden has rendered great sacrifices for Islam and Muslims, and these will always be remembered.”

Amidst shouts of “Down with America” and “Down with Obama”, around 1,000 of Saeed’s followers held prayers in Karachi.

“May Allah accept the sacrifice of Osama bin Laden,” local leader of Let’s charity, Naveed Qamar, said at the prayers.

LeT, one of the largest and best-funded militant organisations in South Asia, is blamed for the November 2008 assault on Mumbai, which killed 166 people in India’s commercial hub. Its founder, Saeed, now heads a charity, a group the United Nations says is a front for the militant group.

Western security analysts believe that LeT is linked to al Qaeda, though LeT officials deny this.

Mujahid said thousands of Saeed’s followers, many of them often in tears, took part in the prayers. ….

Read more : The Express Tribune

Where did money go, received from all over the world?

by Dr. Ahmed Makhdoom, Singapore

“Pakistan received $23.4 billion of foreign aid in the last decade.”

Where did this money and other billions of dollars that this country has received from all over the world GO?

Has been spent on schools, education – NO! Has it been spent on alleviating the miseries, deprivations and poverty of millions of poor people – NO! Has the money been spent to provide decent Health Care – certainly, NOT! So, where is the money going?

WB and IMF are gladly dishing out billions to these culprits, thieves, robbers, and leeches who rule this country – just for their own benefits and carrying forward their own nefarious, selfish, self-seeking Agenda!

They show the photographs of Sindh, where there is chronic poverty and desease to beg money from WB and IMF.

Once received this money goes to the security establishment and the ugly animals in the Governments! The photograph shows Sindhi innocent infants, toddlers and children crying for food and milk! Height of Inhumanity! Height of Injustice!

Civilised world should take cognizance of thwart is happening in this country. The Security establishment, the Government and tyrants should be taken to the International Criminal Court and tried for crimes against humanity!

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, April 19, 2011.

The ‘wealthy’ Pakistani generals

Pakistan has had a turbulent history. And it remains in turmoil with growing internal instability and rising conflicts with its neighbours. Despite the return to civilian rule, the politics of the country has remained closely linked to the military, one of Pakistan’s most powerful institutions. The generals while projecting their utility are virtually in control. Interestingly, while Pakistan suffers economic difficulties, frequent political crises and issues like unemployment, illiteracy and malnutrition, the top brass of the army is making huge amounts of money through the corporate sector and controls large tracts of real estate. The Auditor General of Pakistan revealed that the army is using government land falling in A-1 category worth 1.4 billion USD (Rs. 120.767 billion) for commercial purposes.

The one & only political party of Pakistan which has almost 7 Lacs (seven hundered thousands) armed & trained members paid by govt from tax payers money. “Army forcibly takes its resources from civilians”. It will tell you why politicians are weak in this country.  un ki koi sunta hi nahi.

Courtesy: via- Siasat.pkSouth Asia News – You Tube