Archive | October 19th, 2009

Younus Khan to remain captain till 2011 World Cup: PCB

The Pakistan Cricket Board has rejected Younus Khan’’s resignation, hoping that the batsman will lead the side in the 2011 World Cup.

The Dawn quoted PCB chairman Ijaz Butt Butt as saying that he had never accepted Khan’s resignation and if remains fit, he would lead the Pakistan team at the next World Cup.

Younus tendered his resignation last week in protest at match-fixing allegations against the team. Sources close to Younus said he had told the board he would only withdraw his resignation if certain conditions were accepted, while the player himself said he had not closed the door on the captaincy.

“Obviously every captain needs to have some assurance of his tenure and Younus will continue to captain the side until the next World Cup,” PCB Chairman Ejaz Butt told a news conference in Lahore on Monday.

Younus led Pakistan to victory in the Twenty20 World Cup in July and a host of former test players urged him to withdraw his resignation.

Younus submitted his resignation during a hearing of the National Assembly standing committee on sports in Islamabad.

The hearing was convened after committee chairman Jamshed Dasti said he would investigate reports that Pakistan had deliberately under-performed against Australia and New Zealand in the Champions Trophy which ended on Oct. 5.

Dasti later denied making match-fixing allegations and said his remarks had been misunderstood.

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No Time to Exhale 
for Pakistan Yet — Faryal Leghari

By Faryal Leghari

These are critical times for Pakistan. Days before the launch of a massive ground operation in the epicentre of Pakistan’s Taleban insurgency, the rugged and indomitable Waziristan agency adjoining the Afghan border, terror attacks have been unleashed across the country.

From the military headquarters in Rawalpindi to the UN World Food Programme offices in Islamabad, from the Frontier — where a series of suicide attacks and bombings have wreaked havoc in Peshawar, Bannu, Kohat and Swat — to Punjab’s capital Lahore, these attacks have targeted the security establishment including the military and police institutions and personnel.

While terror is not a new phenomenon in Pakistan given the series of extremist attacks over the past few years, these recent attacks are notable in their nature and pattern. Especially, since these attacks occurred after the killing of Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of Tehrik-e-Taleban Pakistan considered responsible for the spiralling violence and suicide attacks, including Benazir Bhutto’s assassination in December 2007.

The TTP, having claimed responsibility for the recent attacks had been issuing warnings against the Waziristan operation, and now seems to be delivering on its word. In retrospect, it was wrong to presume that the insurgency would lose its lethal capability after Baitullah.

So far these attacks have not targeted soft (civilian) targets, though this may change sooner than supposed. The main purpose behind the attacks is to trigger adverse public opinion against the Waziristan operation and to deter political backing for the military strategy. Though the government has vowed not to back down, its determination to continue the military initiative will depend on its ability to cope with the rapidly unravelling security situation.

With the army poised to launch a full-scale operation in the already besieged Waziristan and air strikes already targeting suspected hideouts and insurgent strongholds, the operation critically needs public support, just as in Swat. The reason for success of the last operation in Swat was because of concurrence of political and military strategy and popular support. The military plans to wedge Waziristan and dry outside support has obviously irked the insurgents. Drawing on their ties with extremist groups in Punjab, the TTP has successfully initiated a pre Waziristan-launch terror campaign.

A few distinguishing features of these recent attacks throw light on the evolving doctrine of terror. First is the involvement of women. The reported involvement of at least three women in the multiple coordinated attacks on police training centres in Lahore on October 15 is very disturbing. A day later a woman in burqa reportedly carried out one of the two coordinated suicide attacks targeting a police investigation cell in Peshawar that killed at least 
13 people. More disturbing is the news that a 13-year old boy was used to carry out last week’s lethal suicide attack in Shangla, Swat that killed more than 
40 people.

The use of teenagers in carrying out terror attacks, though not new, is extremely abhorrent and is obviously continuing. Second is the choice of targets; in choosing the high profile and high security targets—the Federal Investigation Agency’s regional headquarters in Lahore, the Manawa and the elite police training centres on Bedian road— the terrorists have made a significant point.

As for the October 10 attack on the GHQ, the attackers have demonstrated their capability, successfully infiltrating the high security area and holding more than 40 people hostage in a 22-hour siege. In the process, scores of army personnel including two high-ranking officers were killed.

The attackers, of whom nine were killed, are believed to have received direct training from Al Qaeda. The involvement of Al Qaeda in high calibre terror attack is not new as it has been previously involved in several major attacks but does speak volumes for the terrorist group’s strong ties with local terror outfits.

The fact that sympathisers within the military may have facilitated the attackers has only fed the hawkish lobbies in the West that have been clamouring for control of Pakistan’s strategic assets under the pretext of these falling in hands of extremists.

While US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was quick to arrest a rekindling of the above debate and expressed confidence in the security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, the episode is bound to generate embarrassment for the country’s security agencies. The big question being asked by just about everyone is how such unacceptable security lapse occurred?

This brings us to a third factor, that is, the failure of the intelligence agencies in preventing these attacks. Apparently, the GHQ attackers had been residing in a house nearby for some time from where they finalised the operation. Similarly, the attacks in Lahore against previously hit high level targets only further undermine public confidence in the state’s security apparatus. These attacks have undermined the human intelligence factor that is left reeling under the onslaught of systematic and well-coordinated attacks.

While suicide attacks are extremely difficult to prevent even in places barricaded with the highest level of security, the issue here is why intelligence and security were not beefed up? Especially when the state has seen disproportionate violence in recent past and has been warned of such attacks on the brink of a massive counterinsurgency operation.

The security threat is bad enough with the fallout from the war in Afghanistan and the ensuing internal militancy that poses a huge challenge. For this reason Pakistan’s security forces need unhindered internal and external support. Undermining the confidence of the security forces by exploiting differences with the political establishment will only deteriorate the situation and perpetuate instability.

This is only going to hinder international efforts in fighting terrorism. As for Pakistan’s security establishment, efforts to boost its intelligence capabilities and deploying immediate deterrence measures should be the top priority right now, for it would impact the looming challenge of flushing out the insurgents from Waziristan and other restive areas.

- Faryal Leghari is KT’s Assistant Editor and can be reached at [email protected]

{Source: Khaleej Times}

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Pakistan aid bill has explosive impact - Jim Lobe

By Jim Lobe

After 10 days of raging controversy centered in Islamabad, United States President Barack Obama on Thursday signed a major aid bill for Pakistan authorizing some US$7.5 billion in non-military assistance for the increasingly beleaguered country over the next five years.

The bill, which will more than triple the current level of non-military aid the US provides to Pakistan, had been designed as a dramatic show of support for the country whose full cooperation is seen as crucial to US hopes of defeating the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan and destroying al-Qaeda, whose leadership is believed to be based in Pakistan’s rugged frontier region.

“This law is the tangible manifestation of broad support for Pakistan in the US, as evidenced by its bipartisan, bicameral, unanimous passage in congress,” the White House said, adding that Washington hoped to establish a “strategic partnership” with Islamabad “grounded in support for Pakistan’s democratic institutions and the Pakistani people”.

But, contrary to its intent, congressional passage of the bill on October 5 unleashed a major political crisis in Pakistan itself where the opposition and the country’s powerful army rejected several of the conditions written into the bill as violating the country’s sovereignty and dignity, whipping up already widespread anti-US sentiment in the process.

In an extraordinary “joint explanatory statement” aimed at appeasing that sentiment and annexed to the bill before Obama signed it, the new law’s two main Democratic sponsors, Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman John Kerry and his House counterpart, Howard Berman, insisted that “the legislation does not seek in any way to compromise Pakistan’s sovereignty, impinge on Pakistan’s national security interests, or micro-manage any aspect of Pakistani military or civilian operations”.

“This whole thing backfired badly,” rued one administration official, who asked not to be identified. “It’s left a very sour taste in everyone’s mouth, here and in Pakistan.”

The bill’s signing came on the same day that the Pakistani Taliban mounted the latest in a 10-day series of devastating multiple attacks on key army and police facilities that highlighted Washington’s longstanding concerns about the threat posed by the militants, who are regarded as closer to al-Qaeda than their counterparts in Afghanistan.

More than 30 people, including at least 19 police officers, were reportedly killed in several attacks, including one on an elite counter-terrorism training facility, in Lahore, the capital of Punjab. Those attacks came five days after Taliban guerrillas breached the security perimeter of the army’s headquarters in Rawalpindi. Twenty-three people were killed in that raid, during which the assailants seized dozens of hostages.

The attacks, which were initially billed as retaliation for the August 5 killing, apparently by a US Predator drone strike, of the Pakistani Taliban leader, Baitullah Mehsud, are increasingly seen as designed to ward off a long-promised army ground offensive in the Taliban’s and al-Qaeda’s main stronghold of South Waziristan in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

The military cordoned off the area two months ago, and its air force has recently carried out bombing runs against targets there. The delay in launching the offensive, however, has frustrated officials here who regard it as a major test of the army’s willingness to provide the kind of counter-terrorist cooperation Washington has long sought.

“If South Waziristan is indeed next, that would be a significant development,” said Bruce Riedel, a South Asia specialist and former senior Central Intelligence Agency analyst, at the Brookings Institution earlier this month. Riedel chaired the White House’s review on Afghanistan and Pakistan after Obama came to office.

Since the September 11, 2001, attacks, the US has provided Pakistan some $11 billion in aid, only a fraction of which, however, was devoted to non-military assistance, such as development assistance and support for political and economic reforms.

The Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan was designed in major part to better balance military and non-military aid, particularly in the wake of Islamabad’s return to civilian rule in early 2008, by offering significantly greater support for democratic institutions and civil society. Washington continues to provide about one billion dollars a year to the army.

While the senate version of the bill set a number of general conditions for disbursement of the aid, including a requirement that Pakistan is making “tangible progress in governance”, such as gaining civilian control over the military and the intelligence agencies, the house version was both more specific and more demanding.

Under its terms, Pakistan could receive military aid only if the secretary of state certified that the civilian government exercised “effective civilian control over the military” and “demonstrated a sustained commitment” by “ceasing support” to terrorist groups and “dismantling terrorist bases”.

This last reference focused on Quetta - where the Afghan Taliban leadership is believed to be based - and in Muridke - where a number of anti-Indian groups, including Lashkar-e-Taiba, which carried out last year’s attack in Mumbai, are believed to run operations. These provisions, which could be waived by the president if it served the national interest, were incorporated into the final bill.

They nonetheless were seized on by the military high command in Pakistan which, in a formal communique directed at President Asif Ali Zardari, charged that the bill violated Pakistani sovereignty, an accusation echoed in parliament by the opposition leader, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, leaders of other parties, and the media.

Taken by surprise, Zardari, who had initially celebrated the final bill’s passage as a major achievement of his administration, dispatched his foreign minister to Washington, apparently to try to work out a face-saving solution which came in the form of the two-page “joint explanatory statement” issued by Kerry and Berman.

“Any interpretation of this act which suggests that the United States does not fully recognize and respect the sovereignty of Pakistan would be directly contrary to congressional intent,” asserted the statement.

In an editorial published on Thursday, the Wall Street Journal laid blame for the house version primarily on the 152-member congressional caucus on India and Indian Americans, which includes a number of influential Democratic and Republican lawmakers, for insisting on the offending language.

At the same time, Washington Post columnist David Ignatius complained that the administration, like Zardari, had been taken by surprise by the explosive impact of the bill.

“Richard Holbrooke, the administration’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, should have seen this one coming,” he wrote, noting also that the Pakistani army had also manipulated the crisis to its advantage.

“The only benefit I can see here is a perverse one,” he noted. “It may actually be easier for the Pakistani military to battle the Taliban and al-Qaeda if it’s seen by the public as standing up defiantly to American pressure.”

- Jim Lobe’s blog on US foreign policy can be read at

{Source: Asia Times Online}

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A long march for social change - Sarwar Bari

By Sarwar Bari

“This is a stronghold of Bijarani, Somroo, Jhakhrani, Oghai and Taighani sardars,” answered a handsome Sindhi villager who was sitting next to me on a charpai at a roadside restaurant on the Super Indus Highway, where we had stopped to have tea. My peculiar appearance (white beard, moustache and a ponytail) and interest in their issues caught the attention of others, who wanted to share their thoughts. In order to trigger a debate, I asked about the role of these tribal sardars in local development and their well being. No one had anything good to say about the sardars and the successive governments in which the former have played a major role. Almost everyone complained about their tyranny, and the lack of educational and health facilities. Among them was a teacher who said that it had been many years since a school was opened or upgraded in his taluka. In fact, most schools had become non-functional despite the swelling population.

One man said that in his area, 100 people have been killed over the theft of a buffalo and the sardars have been playing a huge role in the perpetuation of the feud. Since most rural populations are organised on primordial lineages, very often in the case of a conflict, the feuding parties would approach different local factional leaders for help. In return, they would have to vote for him or his nominee in elections. They blamed their sardars for the perpetuation of feuds as it allows them to have control and exert power over the population. According to them, the local police, revenue officials and lower judiciary collaborate with the sardars in this nefarious game. The government officials are bound to serve the sardars, as they are the peoples’ representatives and the law makers too. “Why did you vote for such candidates?” I asked them. Their answer was crisp and sharp. “Our choice is restricted between one feudal sardar or the other.”

They also complained that most mainstream political parties issue tickets to those candidates who were wealthy and have their own vote bank which means “bonded haris,” according to the teacher. He also said that these “sardars are the gatekeepers of our areas — they don’t allow anybody to unite the people.” An old man said that “be it military dictators or civilian governments, these sardars have remained in power as a class.”

However, the gatekeepers were challenged a few days ago when the Awami Tehrik launched a long march from Kandh Kot — the hub of the sardari system of Sindh. The march was kick-started by Rasool Buksh Palijo and his party workers on October 8. Thousands of Awami Tehrik workers – both men and women – were at the venue. The people were chanting slogans against the jirga and sardari system, condemning the practice of karo kari, asking for educational and health facilities and demanding opportunities for employment.

The issues that are being raised through the long march reflect the true aspirations of the people. Throughout the three days that I spent with the people at the long march, I saw men, women and children of goths along the Super Highway waiting to welcome us. Some were holding traditional snacks; others had set up sabeels of cold water for us. Most of them joined us in sloganeering. I was curious to know who and what had motivated them to welcome the marchers. Most said the local influential sardars had in fact instructed them not to welcome the marchers. They dared to defy the orders of their sardars. Moreover, many passersby would show gestures of solidarity.

The marchers covered about 20kms on day one. We spent the first night in Ghauspur – a small town on the highway. Next morning, we walked for another 20kms and finished the day at Karampur another small town on the same highway. We spent the second night at village Pirbux Shujra. Hassan Ali, a local leader of the Awami Tehrik, was our host. The area we covered in two days is a stronghold of Mir Hazar Khan Bijarani, the Federal Minister for Education. I was curious to know what changes in education had come about since he became the minister. The villagers told me that there had not been any improvement and that they did not expect much in the future. They said out of the 20 odd schools only four were functional in their union council.

In order to verify the claim of the villagers, I spoke to some independent people of the area who repeated what I had already heard. I then visited various websites. The data I found about Human Development Index (HDI) ranking of, and allocation of budget for, education in these districts proved what the people had told me. According to the National Development Report 2003-UNDP, Shikarpur and Jacobabad fall at the bottom of the HDI ranking list. According to a recent survey conducted by the Sindh government, these districts have one of the highest numbers of ghost schools and have high absenteeism among teachers and health officials. The overall literacy rate in these districts is much lower than the national average (30 per cent). The national average is 54 per cent. In comparison to other districts, the budget allocation for educational development has been less than three per cent; the rest goes to recurring costs, that is, to cover salaries of the absentee teachers and ghost schools.

The area is infamous for crimes against women; that is, karokari, wanni etc. The role of tribal chiefs is shameful in this regard. They have been using the jirga as a tool to please men in order to keep the women in complete subjugation.

Therefore, the decision to start the long march from Kandhkot was significant. It was like throwing the first stone against the tribal-feudal chiefs who have been kept in power for decades, now by an unholy alliance of the PPP and MQM and before by uniformed politicians. The MQM, whose rhetoric against the feudal elite is revolutionary, has actually been helping feudal sardars to maintain status quo.

Coming back to the long march, I was pleasantly surprised that despite fear of retaliation from the local feudal lords, dacoits and terrorists, nobody carried any weapons. Nobody was scared. The marchers were peaceful and highly disciplined. They walked on the left of the highway, which helped the traffic move smoothly — a rare occurrence during processions. The girls and boys, and men and women strode towards their destination. They sang revolutionary songs, shouted slogans and were proud of being part of the march. Despite harsh weather, poor facilities and unsuitable walking shoes nobody wanted to give up. I told Palijo this should have been called a walk of endurance.

The route of the march will cover the length and breadth of Sindh. The total distance from Kandhkot to the Karachi Press Club (KPC), where it will end, is about 1,000kms. The distance will be covered in 46 days. This is perhaps a historic and unique event in the history of social movements in Pakistan. Yet, the mainstream media finds little news worthiness in it. All over the world, the media tends to give coverage to elitist, glamorous and bloody events. The Pakistani media is no different. Marginalising peaceful and democratic demonstrations can push people towards extreme steps. We can’t afford to let this happen any longer. A man in the roadside hotel said: ‘the long march is good but not enough; we need to take up arms against the oppressors.” I tried to convince him otherwise by giving him a comparison of the Swat Taliban, Lal Masjid militants and the lawyers’ movement. One was bloody and the other was peaceful. Who won, I asked him. He kept quiet. He did not want to argue, perhaps out of courtesy. The writing on the wall is clear — the people of Pakistan are fed up with the existing leadership and prepared to play their role. Social movements across all four provinces and FATA must join hands in order to transform social base of our polity. We know very well only social movements have brought meaningful social change and democratic development in history.

-The writer is a civil society activist. Email: [email protected]

{Source: The News}

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Obama’s Irrefutable Afghan Predicament — Dr Muqtedar Khan

By Dr Muqtedar Khan

The US is reviewing its Afghan policy after the US commander in Afghanistan, General McChrystal lobbied for 40,000 additional troops, arguing that US was facing failure without them in Afghanistan. This is the second review of Afghan policy by this administration and if the General’s request is honoured it will be the second surge in Afghanistan under Obama’s command.

General McChrystal, who is widely rumoured, to have captured Saddam Hussein and killed Al Qaeda leader Musab al-Zarqawi in Iraq is a former back-ops commander. Now in Afghanistan he has reported that the 100,000 plus foreign troops cannot deal with the rising power of the Taleban and risk being defeated.

The situation in Afghanistan is indeed very serious. There is no doubt about it. The Taleban have, in the last one year, nearly quadrupled their numbers, going from 7000 to over 25000, according to US intelligence. The Taleban fighters have also become more aggressive and effective in their ability to engage 
Western forces.

While their numbers have increased four times, their military activities have increased hundred times. British sources reveal that now British forces have to fight the Taleban seven times a day! Additionally the project of national building lies in tatters. The rigged elections have undermined the credibility of US sponsored democracy and the developmental projects have been very slow in implementation. The deaths of civilians by US attacks have increased and so has anti-Americanism, giving a boost to the Taleban.

The enemy, to make matters worse is proving to be very resolute, cunning, resourceful and brazen. In the past few weeks, they have attacked the Pakistani army’s national head quarters, they have staged an attack outside the Indian mission in Kabul, attacked an Italian Patrol, attacked NATO headquarters in Kabul, and attacked a US military base in Kamdesh causing heavy casualties and eventual closure of the base. They have killed hundreds of soldiers and civilians on both sides of the borders. The year 2009 has become the deadliest for US and its allies.

To compound the problem, the US now faces dwindling support for the war at home (only 40 per cent of Americans support it) and the appetite for war is declining in NATO allies, especially in Britain and Italy. Italian leader Berlusconi has promised that Italian and Western troops will soon be out of Afghanistan. All of this means that Obama will have to fight an increasingly unpopular war — that he has repeatedly labeled as necessary — with less public and ally support and against a progressively stronger enemy.

The decision that Obama faces is very difficult. His options are few and none of them is promising. If he expands the war by sending another 40,000 US troops into Afghanistan, the chances of alienating Afghans and exacerbating anti-Americanism across the region — something that he has struggled against since becoming President — will increase. Nothing acts more effectively as a recruiting tool for Al Qaeda and the Taleban than the sight of US soldiers. It is also not clear that this will be the final surge. If he decides to shrink the war; withdraw from Afghanistan and only focus on Al Qaeda in Pakistan as suggested by Vice President Biden, Afghanistan will be surely lost to the Taleban. Once again it will become a safe haven for extremism, anti-Americanism and Al Qaeda. We will be back in October 2001.

If he opts for a middle way, no withdrawal and no major surge, but some escalation, then this strategy can only be defined as half measures. It will send a signal to the US military that the President does not value the advice of their commanders and it will convince the Taleban that the US is rapidly losing the stomach for a prolonged battle. 
This will only inspire them to escalate their efforts.

What the President needs to do is to think outside the box. He needs to understand that the Taleban is a regional force that seeks regional goals and may never become a global force. America is not and has never been the Taleban’s target. Al Qaeda on the other hand is a global organisation that targets the US and exists solely to undermine what it sees as US imperial designs in the 
Muslim World.

My suggestion is that for now US make truce with the Taleban and focus on Al Qaeda. If Obama can defeat them in Pakistan, reform health care at home, reduce unemployment, bring peace to the Middle East, save the environment, survive Rush Limbaugh and retain the White House in 2012, then perhaps he can try to achieve what Alexander the great, the British Empire, The Soviet Empire and the American Empire under Bush failed to achieve — subdue 
the Afghans.

- Dr Muqtedar Khan is Director of Islamic Studies at the University of Delaware and Fellow of the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding

{Source: Khaleej Times}

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View from US: Inglorious acts - Anjum Niaz

By Anjum Niaz

One will never understand the American mind, the weather and the laws! First the weather: one day it’s hot enough to up the air-conditioning and shed as much clothing as the law will permit without being hauled up for nudity. The next day the mercury drops by 20 degrees spreading shivers all around bundling one with layers and layers of flannel and hitting the heat button on the wall. Now to the American mind: it too blows hot and cold.

Let’s start with the American establishment. One day Pakistan is threatened with sanctions because of its alleged links with the terrorists and the next day Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, honey-tongued and sweet-smiles, says Pakistan is an indispensable ally against terrorism. Make up your mind, you people! Last but not the least are the laws that govern this great country.

While Letterman can get away with sexual harassment of subordinates and shamelessly turn it into a big (dirty?) joke before his audience, the Oscar-winning film director Roman Polanski, 73, is hauled over in Zurich and wanted by the US for having had sex with a 13-year-old 30 years ago. The fellow (another sleaze ball) has already paid $500,000 to his victim Samantha Geimer. She has forgiven him; but not the US law. Underage sex has a zero tolerance in the US.

Did the heavens fall on Letterman? Are you kidding? His ratings of ‘The Late Show’ jumped up and continue to climb every night. His employers don’t see any indiscretion by Letterman; nor do a bevy of women rights activists who have been condoning his behaviour saying that if it was all ‘consensual’ between him and his several female staffers, who the devil cares?

Nevada Senator John Ensign’s affair with a campaign aide is hot news. It’s alleged that Ensign misused his influence to find a job for the husband of a woman with whom he was having an affair, then pressured his campaign donors to sign up with the husband’s firm as clients. The affair hit the headlines after the cuckolded husband went public. A decision from the Congressional ethics committee is awaited.

Now to another shocking revelation! This bombshell concerns the army general much in the news these days. Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal is Obama’s point man in Afghanistan. He wants the US president to send another 40,000 troops in the region or else the Taliban will have the last laugh! As a counter-terrorism expert who has launched the military’s most elite capture-or-kill units, McChrystal’s role following the death of Pat Tillman in Afghanistan immediately after 9/11 has raised many questions. Tillman was a national football hero who spurned millions of dollars to go fight in Afghanistan. Tillman was a ‘loner, truth seeker, adventurer and physical marvel.’ He was accidentally killed by his own soldiers. Author Jon Krakauer has written a book called Where men win glory, the odyssey of Pat Tillman. He has exposed General McChrystal for converting Tillman’s death into a PR exercise for President George Bush. ‘The president’s popularity ratings were falling drastically, something had to be done.

Tillman’s death provided the ideal platform to turn the tragic incident into a heroic feat. Gen McChrystal, the American commander in Afghanistan laid the plans and recommended that Tillman be awarded the Silver Star’ Krakauer told a TV anchor. Re-tracing the incidents to the day Tillman died a senseless death and the preceding events evoke a sense of outrage. He says the soldiers who killed Tillman in a friendly fire were told to lie and cover-up the incident. They were instructed to say that Tillman was killed by the Taliban. ‘The disrespectful manner in which his (Tillman’s) naked remains were sent home and the deliberate lies presented both to the family of Tillman and to the American public’ writes the New York Times spurred the Jon Krakauer to document the ‘anger and frustration shared by those who knew what happened to Mr. Tillman but were under orders to conceal the truth.’

But today, Krakauer is out there with his book and his TV appearances implicating Gen. McChrystal in the Tillman cover-up. He quotes from a McChrystal e-mail message written to other high-ranking military personnel, ‘in order to preclude any unknowing statements by our country’s leaders which might cause public embarrassment if the circumstances of Corporal Tillman’s death become public.’

At his senate confirmation hearing as commander for US forces in Afghanistan 4 months ago, General McChrystal acknowledged that the Army had failed the Tillman family. ‘I was a part of that,’ he said, ‘and I apologise for it.’ But McChrystal also said he didn’t see any activities by anyone to deceive and that Pat Tillman absolutely earned the Silver Star.

The truth, like Tillman, is once again the casualty.

{Source: Dawn}

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The Kerry-Lugar fiasco - Shamshad Ahmad Khan

By Shamshad Ahmad Khan

The Kerry-Lugar Bill was supposed to bring a “larger conceptual framework” and mutuality content to the “transactional” US-Pakistan relationship. It has done just the opposite. There has been a serious backlash in Pakistan over the intrusive conditionalities attached to US military aid which are seen by the people at large and major civil and military stakeholders in the country’s power structure as compromising national sovereignty.

The bill does no good to the US-Pakistan relationship which already has had a troubled history. Its original author, Joe Biden, while running for president in November 2007, had envisioned a new policy for Pakistan advocating the need for new dynamics in the US-Pakistan relationship with greater mutuality content and people-centred socio-economic development. His strategy envisaged moving from an issue-specific relationship to a normal, functional relationship with Pakistan.

Last year in July, Senator Joe Biden presented a bipartisan bill in the Senate involving an annual aid package of $1.5 billion for five years renewable for another five years, with an additional $1 billion as “democracy dividend,” and an appropriate “performance-based” military assistance which was to be subjected to rigorous oversight and accountability. It was a well-meaning initiative designed to strengthen democracy in Pakistan.

After the US presidential election last year, the Biden-Lugar bill became the Kerry-Lugar Bill with several changes in its content and wording. The provision on non-security assistance remained the same but the idea of a democracy dividend disappeared. Obviously the democratic credentials of the post-Musharraf NRO-based government in Islamabad were known to the US Congress. Under Section 203, some badly worded certification conditionalities were attached to the provision for military assistance to Pakistan.

There is nothing unusual with aid-related conditionalities. In fact, the very concept of foreign aid is predicated on mutually convergent obligations of donor and recipient countries inherent in their political, economic, military, moral, social and now strategic priorities. Even the famous Marshall Plan had its conditionalities to ensure the requisite oversight and accountability. But even in term of conditionalities, the donor and recipient always do lot of homework to evolve the needed convergence of mutual obligations.

In this particular case, it seems, no such homework was done. The bill became a crisis for both the PPP government and US policy makers. It was a classic example of flawed decision-making on both sides. On the Pakistani side, it was a matter of poor judgment of its own national mood and country’s vital interests. The major civilian and military stakeholders in the country, including the parliament, opposition and the army were either kept in the dark or were misinformed about the contents of the bill.

On the American side, it was yet another blatant example of closing their eyes to history, playing games with Pakistan’s weak and crumbling democracy, exploiting its vulnerable leadership, and extremely poor public diplomacy in the face of growing anti-Americanism. Joe Biden’s realistic approach for a new policy towards Pakistan was woefully distorted and once again circumscribed to Washington’s narrowly based and vaguely defined issue-specific priorities.

The major problem with the Kerry-Lugar Bill, now formally known as the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009, is in its provisions on security-related assistance involving pre-disbursement certifications by the US Secretary of State. The first and perhaps the most ominously sensitive certification clause is the one warranting Pakistan’s continued cooperation “on the dismantling of nuclear weapon-related supplier networks and providing relevant information from or direct access to Pakistani nationals associated with such networks.”

The other certification pertained to Pakistan’s commitment to “combating terrorist groups, ceasing support, including by any elements within Pakistan military or its intelligence agency to extremists and terrorist groups, preventing Al Qaeda, the Taliban and associated terrorist groups from operating in its territory or launching cross-border attacks into neighbouring countries and dismantling of terrorist operation bases on its soil including Quetta and Muridke.” Ironically, Pakistan is already doing all these things and daily paying a heavy price.

Perhaps the most incredulous certification requirement is the one to assure the Congress that Pakistan’s “security forces are not materially and substantially subverting the political or judicial processes of the country.” This is a joke of the highest order and perhaps an opportunity for agonising soul-searching in Washington to find who has really been “subverting the constitutional, political or judicial processes” in this benighted country.

Ironically, Section 302 (the murderous section 302 in Pakistan’s legal parlance) on semi-annual “monitoring reports” also calls for “an assessment of the extent to which the Government of Pakistan exercises effective civilian control of the military, including a description of the extent to which civilian executive leaders and parliament exercise oversight, and approval of military budgets, chain of command, process of promotion for senior military leaders, civilian involvement in strategic guidance and planning, and military involvement in civil administration.”

This assessment, if carried out objectively, would eventually be an indictment of our civilian leadership itself for lacking the “credibility and competence” in exercising the purported “civilian control” over the military and for ineffective and poor “strategic guidance and planning.” The assessment will hopefully not omit the extent to which our elected rulers and entities are observing the sanctity of constitutional supremacy and upholding political or judicial processes in the country.

Unfortunately, in our political realm, it happens to be our current civilian leadership which is now flouting democratic norms by holding on to a dictator’s legacy, the notorious the Seventeenth Amendment. The military after Musharraf’s ouster is playing by the rules. We now have an independent judiciary. If the civilian leadership remains truthful to the Constitution, the military will have no excuse to come back. The final onus thus now rests with our civilian rulers and representatives.

The very first instance of the commitment of our rulers to democratic norms is the contempt shown to the parliament on the question of building a “national response” to the issues of our legitimate concern in the Kerry-Lugar Bill. Foreign Minister Qureshi rushed post-haste to Washington without taking the parliament into confidence and reached an understanding based on a clarification from the co-authors of the bill, which has no legal status or effect.

All this notwithstanding, the amount involved in this aid package is not really big money. We can do without it. A little more efficient management of our government can easily save us twice this amount in reduced government spending and giving up of the Marco Polo culture by our leaders. The best thing would have been to thank the US for its generosity and concern for Pakistan’s democracy and development, and tell them that our people are not ready to accept any conditional aid.

Instead of giving our country as ransom, we should be fixing the fundamentals of our governance and choosing to live our own lives as an independent and self-reliant nation, free from want and ignorance and raising our children with honour and dignity, free from the fear of violence, oppression and injustice. Let us focus on domestic resource mobilization and reduce government spending. We are a food-growing country. Let’s grow food for our own people. Give up the Marco Polo culture. No more blind faith in the friends of Pakistan – let us be our own friends.

This warrants us to come out of the denial mode and agree that like India, we can also be self-reliant. Yes, we can do it, remember? After all, Obama in his inaugural address, speaking of the daunting challenges to his administration, had also said: “Yes, we can do it.

- The writer is a former foreign secretary

{Source: The News}

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The price of success in Afghanistan — Nushin Arbabzadah

By Nushin Arbabzadah

This month marks the eighth anniversary of the military intervention in Afghanistan, and media organisations are asking Afghans if they have seen any improvement in their lives since 2001. The answers range from an enthusiastic “yes” to claims that they were better off under the Taliban.

The question, of course, makes the dubious assumption that five years of Taliban rule is an appropriate benchmark against which to measure success. After all, the Taliban period was hardly typical of governance in Afghanistan: it was an exception to the traditional patterns of political leadership in which legitimacy is hereditary and restricted to members of tribes of royal ancestry.

Mullah Omar, a village preacher from an obscure tribe, would have had little chance of leading the country under normal circumstances. His rise to power was a direct consequence of the jihad against the Soviets, which resulted in the Afghan state’s loss of an already tenuous monopoly of violence over its citizens and the political empowerment of ethnic minorities, minor tribes and lesser-known political figures.

Between the pre-war system of tribal aristocracy and the wartime anarchistic opening of the franchise to the easier qualifications of weaponry and piety, the rest is Afghan history as we know it: a central government struggling to gain a monopoly of violence in the face of armed irregulars, of whom the Taliban is merely the best known.

While the convenient label of “Taliban” suggests a coherent dichotomy of players, the real picture is more confused. Mullah Omar is only one example of the rise to power of ambitious men of obscure backgrounds from historically neglected regions. The ruthlessness of such strongmen has earned them many critics, but the diffusion of power that they embody represents a democratisation of sorts, albeit of an anarchistic rather than parliamentary kind. In an officialisation of the de facto empowerment of such figures, many have been co-opted into the present administration as a direct result of the 2001 invasion. This legitimised the strongmen’s place in society, ensuring that the wartime diffusion of power has carried on until today. In spite of the exclusion of Mullah Omar himself, the gun-and-scripture politics he represented has made the transition into “democratic” power, for better or worse.

Be that as it may, the 2001 military mission was to topple the Taliban, so the question the media asked on the anniversary related to that period: the news does, after all, has a short memory.

The answers given in blogs, editorials and BBC Farsi’s Your Voice programme revealed Afghans to bedeeply divided when it came to measuring the mission’s success. The views expressed ranged from, “at least we have a degree of freedom of expression and can decide whether or not to sport a beard”, to “this government is so corrupt that people seek refuge in Taliban judges because they are known for refusing to accept bribes”.

Omid, a caller from Kabul, put it bluntly: “Let’s be fair. The military occupation has created jobs and there are Afghans who are doing well, buying homes in Kabul and Dubai. Besides, if the foreign troops were to leave, there would be a civil war.”

The military mission has created economic opportunities, from cooks and taxi drivers to consultants, interpreters and advisers. Those Afghans who have carved themselves a niche in the current economy are doing well. Those involved in illegal activities, from the drugs trade to taking bribes, are building themselves “opium palaces” in Kabul. The money in circulation might be regarded as haraam by some but the fact that reversal of the situation is hardly likely to lead to a more moral society or a better economy makes it easier to live with unethical side-effects of an invasion economy.

The fact remains that not all Afghans would want to see the back of the foreign troops. But there’s a general consensus that the money poured into the country has not been distributed evenly and the gap between the rich and the poor, urban and rural Afghanistan, is a fundamental trigger of the present violence.

Afghan blogger Abdul Hakim Tamana shares this view. In his Notes from the Villages blog, Tamana describes a trip he recently made to the remote province of Farah, which has become notorious for criminality and security incidents. There he met a community leader, Malek Afghan, and asked him a simple question: “How can we improve the living conditions of the local people?” The community leader’s answer sent a shiver down Tamana’s spine. “The people here are not very demanding. Just a loaf of bread is enough to make them happy.”

Put yourself in the shoes of a farmer in Farah, said Tamana in his blog. Imagine you lose your harvest to drought and your animals to disease. Wouldn’t you pick up a gun and demand your share in society’s wealth by stopping travellers and asking for ransom? Wouldn’t you disguise your criminal activity as political opposition and support for the Taliban? After all, who is the bigger criminal? A farmer committing petty crimes together with the Taliban or the minister in Kabul who asks for a share in bribe for construction projects costing millions? Tamana concluded that for many Afghans the present war is not about ideology but “a loaf of bread”, which is to say an internal struggle for limited resources.

The small well-to-do middle class of Afghans and their criminal/insurgent counterparts respectively represent the success and the failure of the 2001 invasion. The mission has created job opportunities for some and an excuse to carry on fighting for others. If Tamana’s interpretation is correct, it all depends on the flow of cash and opportunity through the mountains and valleys of a fractured society.


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Pappu Shah of PML-Q arrested from Karachi

Former MPA and provincial misiter for population wlefare belonging to Pakistan Muslim League (PML-Q) Pappu Shah, has been arrested in Karachi, and brought to Badin, where he would be presented to a Tando Bago Court, Geo News reported Monday.

Pappu Shah aka Papu Shaha was arrested for attacking the election camp of existing PPP Sindh Home Minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza and carrying away the ballot boxes from the Somra Polling Station Tando Bago. The incident took place during February 2008 polls.

Mirza, a close personal friend and aide of President Asif Zardari had filed a case against Papu Shah for redressal of his grievances.

According to police sources, former MPA Syed Ali Bux alias Papu Shah went missing from Karachi’s posh residential area of Defense Housing Society. Police later found his car near the Saudi embassy in the area.

His wife former Senator Bibi Yasmeen Shah, during a press conference at Karachi Press Club, appealed to the authorities to bring her husband to the fore, alluding to his having been abducted by authorities.

According to news reports, Papu Shah was facing multiple charges of corruption.

His family alleged that the Badin police had arrested him from near Khayaban-e-Momin in the limits of the Gizri police station.

The local police, however, denied these claims.

Bux’s family said that he left his bungalow in Khayaban-e-Shamsheer at 7:30am on Sunday, and his abandoned Mercedes (AHL-200) was found later.

The Gizri police said that they found Bux’s car and handed it over to his family. They said earlier that they have no clue about his whereabouts.

Daily Times reported on Sunday that : The fact that the ex-provincial minister was missing came to light when his Mercedes car, bearing registration number AHL-200, was found abandoned near the Defence Graveyard, Khayaban-e-Momin within the limits of Gizri police station.

The family said that Bux was coming home, which is located at Khayaban-e-Shamsher, when at 7:30 am he was intercepted by the Badin police and was taken away to an unknown destination.

“We have been investigating Bux’s disappearance and our investigation reveals that the Badin police, in collaboration with the Karachi police, have illegally detained him,” said the ex-minister’s personal secretary Sajjad Ali Shah. “As the police has still not accepted that they have arrested Bux, we will register a kidnapping case against Badin DPO Pir Fareed Jan Sarhandi and the policemen involved in the kidnapping,” he went on to add. The strategy in this regard has been finalised and Bux’s wife Yasmin Shah, an ex-Senator, was scheduled to hold a press conference, Shah said.

However, the Badin and Karachi police have denied the allegations made by the ex-minister’s family saying that they do not know anything about Bux’s disappearance.

Thatta DPO, who has an additional charge of being the Badin DPO, while refuting the arrest of the former minister said that it is true that about four to five FIRs have been registered against the ex-minister but the Badin police did not arrest him. “Why is Bux’s family accusing me? I think it is a conspiracy against me,” said DPO Sarhandi.

When the Karachi police was questioned SHO Safdar Mashwani of the Gizri police said, “We do not know anything about the case. We only found the car and immediately handed it over to his family.” He added “We tried to contact the family but they were not cooperating with the police.”

It should be noted here that Bux left his party unofficially, which the PML-Q also confirmed. “Actually, Bux was not in contact with the party since the last one-and-a-half-year,” said PML-Q Provincial General Secretary Aleem Adil Sheikh.

PML-Q provincial general secretary also said that his party also did not have any report in this regard as they also heard in the news that Bux was missing.

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60 Taliban leaders escaped to Middle East via Karachi?

Around 60 of the Taliban’s second-cadre leaders – who fled Swat during the army’s ‘Operation Rah-e-Rast’ – used Karachi as a transit route to head out to Middle East countries, Daily Times has learnt.

When armed activists of Sindh’s nationalist parties blocked roads on the Punjab-Sindh border in a bid to stop the influx of internally displaced persons – fearing that several of them could be Taliban in disguise – the Taliban’s second-cadre leadership travelled to the provincial capital by trains and then flew to Middle Eastern states via Karachi airport.

Reliable sources told Daily Times that sleeper cells of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in Karachi facilitated at least 60 leaders of the Taliban and arranged for tickets to the Middle East.

Some of those who travelled to the Middle East were close to Taliban leaders Muslim Khan and Maulana Fazlullah and were part of the TTP’s decision-making processes because of their influence.

A major chunk of the population of Malakand work as labourers in the Middle East. Early in the 1990s when Sufi Muhammad organised the Tehreek-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammadi (TNSM), several people joined his organisation. After the 9/11 attacks, Sufi Muhammad took around 10,000 TNSM activists to fight American forces in Afghanistan. He was arrested on his return from Afghanistan. The TNSM lost its hold, and several of its activists left for the Middle East to find work.

However, after the Taliban resurgence, most of the leaders – some of whom were close aides of Sufi Muhammad – came back and joined hands with the Taliban to pursue a “pious cause”, collecting funds for the TTP and fighting for the extremist group.

However, when the military launched an operation in Swat to flush out the Taliban this year, the group became disorganised, and those had arrived from the Middle East initially shifted to IDP camps in Peshawar.

Fearing they would be caught, they then travelled in small groups to Karachi by train along with their visas and other documents, said the sources, adding that they later fled to Gulf states. The Karachi wing of the TTP – an entity said to be well organised – facilitated all of them.

According to the sources, the Karachi TTP hosts Taliban from other provinces, and provides logistics support and recruits new members. However, the Karachi TTP has no operational wing, meaning it does not have permission to carry out any attacks.

In an interview with Daily Times, Abu Talha – name changed on request – sitting in a mud house, surrounded by five people, two of them clean-shaven, introduced himself as the leader of the Taliban in Karachi, and said that it was “the duty of every Muslim to facilitate other Muslims”.

He claimed that the Taliban in Karachi were “as organised as anywhere else”.

Agreeing with the ideology of Hakeemullah Mehsud, he said his group would launch a struggle for Sharia even at the cost of thousands of lives. He said that the Karachi Taliban were not allowed to carry out operations.

Professor Khadim Hussain, who has been researching issues of related to Taliban and militarisation, strongly believes that Karachi is the hub of Taliban activities and in the existence of sleeper cells in the city.

“Most of the Taliban leaders in Malakand and Southern Punjab come from seminaries in Karachi,” claimed Hussain.

“After a research, we found that a major chunk of the leaders and foot soldiers in Malakand migrated to Karachi in a systematic manner after the military launched an operation,” he said. “We found that the commander of Pir Baba in Buner, Shahid, migrated to Karachi along with his accomplices after the operation,” he said. Law enforcement and security agencies in the city also admit that Taliban sleeping cells exist in the city.

{Source: Daily Times}

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Fatima Bhutto: Negotiating Nobility

Perhaps there is nobility in saying no. Discussing US President Barack Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize and her rising political stardom in Pakistan, Fatima Bhutto, the niece of assassinated Pakistani prime minister Benazir, suggested prematurity on both fronts.

With the nomination coinciding with the anniversary of the US invasion of Afghanistan, where the US president has pledged to send 40,000 more troops, and with American drones continuing to fly over the heads of Pakistanis, Fatima is clearly not impressed.

“I think it would have been the right thing [for Obama] to say no, not yet,” she says.

The journalist and writer was in town (Jakarta) to speak at the Ubud Writer’s and Readers Festival, and caused a stir at every event.

“It is a shame that a country, which as a nation is not linked with peace, seems to keep producing Nobel Peace Prize winners. Jimmy Carter, Henry Kissinger – who is the personification of all evil – and now Obama,” reels Fatima in disgust.

Resistance and politics are in her blood, but it is a lineage that has been marred by a string of bloody political assassinations.

Her grandfather, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, formed the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and was elected prime minister in 1973. Following a political crisis, Zulfiqar was imprisoned by General Zia-ul-Haq who imposed martial law on the country. Zulfiqar was hanged in 1979, after the High Court found him guilty of murdering the father of a dissident PPP politician.

Her father, Murtaza, formed Al Zulfikar, an armed revolutionary movement in the late 1970s, which sought to overthrow Zia’s military dictatorship.

Fatima was born in Afghanistan, where her father fled in exile, and spent her childhood in Syria. A family feud erupted after her father’s return to Pakistan 16 years later, where his sister Benazir had just been elected prime minister for the second time running.

Murtaza was seeking a powerful position in her party, but Benazir resisted her brother’s grab for a prominent role in the party founded by their father. He formed an opposition party in response, but it lacked popularity and more blood was shed when he was suspiciously killed in a gunfight with police in 1996.

Fatima publicly speculated that her aunt Benazir was involved in her father’s death. Just over a decade later, in 2007, Benazir was murdered at an election rally when a gunman shot her in the neck and set off a bomb. The current prime minister, Asif Ali Zadari, is the widower of Benazir and is widely accused of rampant corruption.

For decades, Pakistani politics has been plagued by instability, corruption and violence, and in some way Fatima has always been in the wings.

After completing her masters at London’s School of African and Oriental Studies, and writing her thesis on the resistance to Zia’s dictatorship, 27-year-old Fatima has established herself as a well-respected voice on Pakistani politics, both at home and abroad.

Her writing is polemic, unforgiving and brutal about the hypocrisy of Western governments and their continued support of the corrupt Pakistani regime. In a sarcastic mock letter addressed to British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, published on an online blog in January, Fatima writes:

“It was such a lovely surprise to have you over. It warmed our hearts, really it did. I especially enjoyed your faith in our new government (you know, the one headed by two former ex-cons?).

The CIA and NATO have both praised Pakistan’s new regime for its enthusiastic assistance in the war on terror, and now you’ve chimed in. I find it’s always nice to have supportive friends when you’re at war with your own citizens.”

Fatima’s writing is always labelled “controversial”, but she says, “I never think about that when I write”. Although she denies she is frightened about what she writes, she does say that what she writes is frightening. Pakistan has recently passed an ambiguous and draconian cyber crimes law that can sentence people to death for “cyber terrorism”.

“There are so many horror stories,” she sighs, “you don’t even have to look for them anymore.”

For Fatima, it is not the country but the government that has failed.

“Bucket-loads of billions of dollars” in loans from the US and the IMF have perpetuated government and military corruption, impunity and healthy Swiss bank accounts for the Pakistani elite, she says.

Between 2001 and 2008, Pakistan received more than US$10 billion in aid that was never accounted for by then president Pervez Musharraf’s administration.

In the lush surroundings of Ubud — talking about the Taliban in the Swat valley and middle-class Pakistanis in Karachi that adopted out their children because they couldn’t afford to feed them during last year’s food crisis — the failed state seems a world away.

“The History of Love and The Great Gatsby are my favorite books,” she tells me, “because they were so powerful and seem to follow their own rules.”

That’s not surprising because she seems to set her own rules too. It is these fiercely independent opinions that characterize her columns in Pakistani papers, The New Statemen and The Guardian, railing against a country she describes as beautiful but dispossessed.

It is clear why Pakistan has become beguiled by her beauty and bolshie-ness. Fans dedicated to Fatima have been pleading for her to lead the country; on Facebook thousands of Pakistanis have asked for her to restore justice and become Pakistan’s next prime minister.

But Fatima says she has no plans to enter the messy world of Pakistan’s government any time soon, preferring instead to contribute to political resistance through her writing. She is currently working on a third book, a history of the Bhutto family, set to be published in 2010.

“I have always been a Bhutto, and this pressure is new,” she says.

“My name precedes anyone being interested in me. I never sought power with my name. I think it

is positive to have this name, and say no.”

Fatima’s writing is always labelled “controversial”, but she says, “I never think about that when I write”. {Source: The Jakarta Post}

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Going down the road to meet South Asia? - Iftikhar Gilani

By Iftikhar Gilani

On a weekend evening in Bangkok’s upmarket Nanauna area, a few Pakistani expatriates toasting scotch in a corner of Akbar Restaurant fiercely debate the future of their native country.

A long bearded Pakistani supporting a skullcap – who could have been dismissed as a ‘maulana’ or a rector of a ‘madrassa’ but for the choicest whisky on his table – blames former president Pervez Musharraf for Pakistan’s ills. The debate gets shriller, with some siding with Musharraf, others charging President Asif Ali Zardari and some even going further into the past to target Gen Yahya Khan. But the owner of the restaurant – Muhammad Akbar, now a Thai national who recently visited his native city of Sialkot – ends the fiercely contested argument, blaming the Americans for the tribulations. All, highly inebriated heads nod in agreement.

Asked if Muslims face discrimination, Akbar Ahmed – a resident of Bangkok for the last 40 years – says the 2002 Bali bombings in nearby Indonesia and the 9/11 attacks in America have changed their lives. “We feel piercing eyes looking at us with suspicion even after having spent the major part of our lives here,” he says.

Another expatriate, Shahid, also agrees that things have changed for Muslims and Pakistanis the world over. However, he says that news of instability and terrorist attacks back home are even more disturbing.

In the other, far end corner of the city, more than 30 Muslim activists and representatives from Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Cambodia have gathered at the Bangkok Islamic Centre to discuss “military campaigns” against Muslims in Southeast Asia.

The region may seem composed in comparison to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kashmir and Iraq, but Muslim-dominated provinces in three countries – Arakan in Myanmar, Mindanao in the Philippines and the southern provinces of Yala, Narathiwat, Patani and Satun in Thailand – are reeling from insurgencies and daily rounds of gunbattles and bombings.

In all three conflict zones, millions have been killed, displaced and made refugees either in their own countries or other countries. Generations of Rohingyas, Moros and South Thai Malays have been witness to violence, deprivation and tragedy.

Like India, these governments – exploiting the war on terror – have, of late, sold these conflicts as part of terrorism and hardline Islamism, seeking sympathies and aid from the West.

Speaker after speaker at the Bangkok Islamic Centre conference dismiss this analogy, saying all three conflicts stem from local grievances embedded in social, economic, political and civic dimensions.

The executive director of Penag-based Citizens’ International, Mohideen Abdul Kader, told Daily Times that these conflicts – raging on for several years without any resolution – involve the right of self-determination to indigenous communities. He also pointed out that unless the conflicts are tackled and redressed effectively and justly, the worsening spread of their impact could spill over national borders.

These groups at the conference, in a “Bangkok Declaration”, called on ASEAN governments to engage with the governments of Myanmar, Thailand and the Philippines to end human rights abuses and find peaceful solutions to the problems.

Last Monday, 200 Thai security personnel raided an Islamic school in the southern part of the country, detaining 60 students and religious teachers for questioning. At least 4,000 killings have been reported in the region since 2004. The emergency laws imposed in the region in July 2005 authorise military to detain suspects for interrogation for 30 days without charge. The raid came two days after a group of suspected Muslim insurgents opened fire on a high-ranking civil servant’s motorcade in the area.

But in these areas too, insurgents have killed more fellow Muslims than rival Buddhists or security forces. They killed a 49-year-old Muslim cattle raiser and a butcher on suspicion of being informers. A tailor’s shop was bombed for selling police uniforms.

Recently, insurgents killed a former 60-year old guerrilla leader, Waedolah Wae-u-Seng, along with his daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren. The teacher-turned-leader had abandoned guns and mellowed down as a politician.

As I leave Thailand, reports from Southern Yala provinces say soldiers have take up position in a marsh in a joint operation with police to flush out suspected insurgent leader Nurisan Wani along with his group hiding near Batan Mountain in Muang district. The news sounds familiar. We have it in abundance in Kashmir, Afghanistan and now in Pakistan.

{Source: Daily Times}

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Indo-US ambitions in the region — Afshain Afzal

By Afshain Afzal

When Indian politicians issue statements that it faces a greater threat from China than Pakistan, it is not because New Delhi actually is blind about Beijing’s combat capabilities but it is due to Indian fears of natural bondage between Pakistanis and Chinese. Chief of Indian Air Force, Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major in an interview to Hindustan Times said that the world’s two most populous nations fought a brief but brutal war over their 3,500 km (2,200 mile) Himalayan border in 1962, and both sides claim the other is occupying big but largely uninhabited chunks of their territory. He said: “We know very little about the actual capabilities of China, their combat edge or how professional their military is.” He added: “They are certainly a greater threat.” In fact India is playing to the tunes of US and Israel to disturb the balance of power in the regions that existed since centuries.

It is an established fact that China is not even threat to the region what to talk about the world at large. On the contrary, it is India which is creating difficulties for all the smaller countries of the region by directly interfering in their internal affairs on the behest of US. India is trying to pursue closer relations with the US and other western states, presuming that these countries would help India against China and Pakistan India and the US, in order to flex their joint muscles to impress upon China and other adversaries launched one of largest-ever ground combat joint exercises codenamed ‘Yudh Abhyas’ in Indian city of Babina in Jhansi district of Uttar Pradesh in Southern Army Command.

Basically a counter-insurgency exercise, its duration is from 12 to 29th October 2009. At least 625 personnel from the US would be participating in the exercises. Mechanized Infantry Battalion of the Indian Army and Second Squadron of 14th Cavalry Regiment of 25 Stryker Brigade Combat Team have moved in the exercise area. It is being claimed that the purpose of the joint exercise is to share experience in peacekeeping operations and humanitarian work during disaster relief situations. In the middle of the exercise another exercise codenamed ‘Cope India-09′ would begin between Air Forces of US and India at Agra October 19. The war games would concentrate on peacekeeping operations to include military coordination, military decision-making process and rules of engagement.

The exercise would also concentrate on the aspects of stability during operations to include mounting of rules of engagements, counter mines and Improvised Explosive Devices operations and patrolling. Another important feature of the exercise would be practice of military operations in civilian areas including road opening, convoy protection and humanitarian assistance. This is not the first Indo-US joint exercise but it bears a lot of significance due to clash of time table with Chinese largest ever tactical exercise codenamed ‘Stride-2009.’ On the Chinese side, at least 50,000 Chinese troops moved to the exercise area under the cover of Chinese Air Force.

The Infantry troops along with Air Force, after crossing five provinces would take 13 days to reach Northeast China. The current exercise which would last for two months is focused on improving mobility over long distances by using both military and civilian resources. It is pertinent to mention here that India and China are also scheduled to hold joint military exercise in the year 2010, which was decided at the conclusion of their last joint exercise.

India and China held the first joint counter-terrorism exercise, named ‘Hand-in-Hand,’ in December 2007 in Kunming province of China. This was followed by the second joint exercise at the Belgaum Commando School in Karnataka in December 2008. Both the countries have so far not confirmed about their third joint exercise. However, due to recent Chinese incursions and claim over Arnuchal Pradesh, the exercise in year 2010 seems to be in doldrums. In exercise ‘Yudh Abhyas,’ the Indian and US armies and Air Forces will simultaneously conduct exercise that will feature a variety of armoured vehicles, medium and heavy lift aircraft and helicopters. The elements from armies will conduct exercise at Babina while the Air Forces will engage each other at Agra.

Fleet eight-wheeled Stryker armoured combat vehicles have reached exercise area from its Pacific Command Headquarters in Hawaii via Mumbai, against which Indian Army’s T-72 main battle tanks of the 31 Armoured Division would be deployed. The Stryker Brigade Combat Teams will serve as mobile land components. From the Indian Air Force side, IL-76, AN-32 and MI-17 helicopters would participate while US Air Force will engage C-17 Globemasters, C-130 J Super Hercules and C-130 H transport aircraft. Around 200 personnel of Indian Air Force and 160 US Air Force will participate in the exercise. An Indian Air Force spokesman disclosed that the exercise is aimed at evaluating the efficacy of joint operations in the realm of tactics, aero-medical aspects and Combat Search and Rescue (CSAR) missions involving medium and heavy lift transport aircraft. Whatever is the theme of the exercise or there is so hidden agenda, India needs to be careful that escalation with China would mean another endless cold war, this time between US and China. The role of Indians in this new war would be mere wholesale contractor of disposable mercenaries. India must guard the greater interests in the region so that peace and tranquility prevails and each country in this region gets a chance to develop and flourish.

{Source: The Frontier Post}

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On whose side is US anyway?

PKonweb Monitor

The US-led Nato forces vacated more than half a dozen key security checkposts on the Afghan side of the Pak-Afghan border just ahead of the major Pakistan Army ground offensive (code named: Rahe Nijaat) against Taliban-led militants in the volatile tribal area of South Waziristan, The News correspondent Qudssia Akhlaque reported today.

Citing unnamed sources, the report said it is feared that the American decision will facilitate Afghan Taliban in crossing over to Pakistan and support militants in striking back at the Pakistani security forces in the troubled tribal area.

The US Central Command (CENTCOM) chief General David Petraeus arrived in Islamabad Sunday and is expected to meet the military high command and discuss the military operation in South Waziristan. Observers believe this serious matter may well be taken up between the two allies’ military chiefs.

Despite several attempts on Sunday the newspaper said it was unable to get an official version from the Pakistan Army Spokesman Major-General Athar Abbas on this alarming development. However, when the US Embassy Spokesman Richard Snelsire was contacted by its correspondent and his attention was drawn to the question of vacated checkposts he remained non-committal. When a confirmation was sought and he was asked what had prompted this move, Snelsire said he had no clue about it. “I do not have information on that, and that is outside our purview,” he noted, adding that he had not seen any reporting on that.

Sources close to the NWFP government and military strategists involved in the planning of South Waziristan operation told the paper over the weekend that the Americans vacated eight security checkposts on the Afghan side of the border just five days before the Army operation. Four of these close to South Waziristan including one each at Zambali and at Nurkha, and four in the north in the area of Nuristan where American forces recently came under violent attacks by the militants.

Latest reports indicate that the Americans have also removed some posts close to North Waziristan, which could encourage even more Afghan Taliban fighters to cross over to the Pakistan side. This has raised many eyebrows in government and military circles with points being made about “conflicting interests” and dubious American designs, the paper commented.

Some observers see it as a tactical move by the US to ward off pressure from its own forces in Afghanistan that have been under severe attacks by the Afghan Taliban. Hence they want to provide them unhindered passage to Pakistan side, as it would help shift the main theatre of war from Afghanistan to inside Pakistan. Americans themselves have been saying that 70 per cent of area in Afghanistan is out of their control.

The NWFP government, civilian and military officials in the provincial capital have been astonished by this American move and more so intrigued by its timing.

Alarmed and concerned about its likely adverse affect on the military operation in South Waziristan where the Pakistani troops reportedly comprising 30,000 soldiers are expected to face fierce resistance from the heavily armed Taliban-led militants, the NWFP government recently alerted the relevant authorities in Islamabad about it.

Pakistan has now taken up this matter with the Americans and conveyed its serious concern about vacating the checkposts at this crucial juncture. Notably the security checkposts on the Afghan side of the border are already almost a third of what Pakistan has on its side.

Experts believe the American move of vacating security checkposts on the Afghan side close to Pakistan’s border could undermine the military action by Pakistan Army. While on one hand it could offer an easy escape route to some militants, it is believed that this would facilitate movement of Afghan Taliban into Pakistan side to join hands with the al-Qaeda-backed local Taliban and other locals as well as foreign militant groups against the military action there.

Whatever the outcome, observers believe that operation in the Taliban stronghold of South Waziristan became inevitable. “It became imperative to go for a military operation in South Waziristan to regain the lost space that has been used as training ground for planning and executing attacks targeting key security installations of Pakistan including the GHQ,” the Army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said earlier shortly after the launch of the operation.

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Pakistan Joins the American Raj

By Eric S Margolis

Official Washington watches in mounting alarm and confusion as Pakistan spins out of control. The US-led war in Afghanistan has now poured over into Pakistan, bringing that strategic nation of 167 million close to all-out civil war.

Bombings and shootings are rocking the Pakistan’s northwest regions, including a brazen attack on army HQ in Rawalpindi and repeated bombings of Lahore and Peshawar. Pakistan’s army is readying a major offensive against rebellious Pashtun tribes in South Waziristan.

Meanwhile, the weak, deeply unpopular government of President Asif Ali Zardari that was engineered into power by the US faces an increasingly rancorous confrontation with 
its own military.

Like the proverbial bull in the China shop, the Obama administration and US Congress chose this explosive time to try to impose yet another layer of American control over Pakistan—just as Nobel Peace prize winner Barack Obama appears likely to send thousands of more US troops to Afghanistan.

Tragically, US policy in the Muslim world continues to be driven by imperial arrogance, profound ignorance, and special interest groups. 
The current Kerry-Lugar-Berman Bill is ham-fisted dollar diplomacy at its worst. Pakistan, bankrupted by corruption and feudal landlords, is being offered $7.5 billion over five years. Washington claims there are no 
strings attached.

Except, of course, that the US wants to build a mammoth new embassy for 1,000 personnel in Islamabad, the second largest after its giant fortress-embassy in Baghdad. New diplomatic personnel are needed, claims Washington, to monitor the $7.5 billion in aid. So a small army of US mercenaries is being brought in to protect US ‘interests.’ New US military bases will open. Most of the billions in new aid will go right into the pockets of the pro-Western ruling establishment, about 1 per cent of the population.

Washington has been also demanding veto power over promotions in Pakistan’s armed forces and intelligence agency, ISI. This crude attempt to take control of Pakistan’s proud, 617,000-man military and intelligence service has enraged its armed forces.

It’s all part of Washington’s ‘Afpak’ strategy to clamp tighter control over restive Pakistan and make use of its armed forces and intelligence agents in Afghanistan. The other key US objective is seizing control of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, the cornerstone of its national defense against much more powerful India. Welcome, Pakistan, to the American Raj.

However, 90 per cent of Pakistanis oppose the US-led war in Afghanistan, and see Taleban and its allies as national resistance to Western occupation.

Alarmingly, violent attacks on Pakistan’s government are coming not only from once autonomous Pashtun tribes (wrongly called ‘Taleban’) in Northwest Frontier Province, but, increasingly, in the biggest province, Punjab.

Recently, the US ambassador in Islamabad, in a fit of imperial arrogance, actually called for air attacks on Pashtun leaders in Quetta, capital of Pakistan’s restive Balochistan province.

Washington does not even bother to ask Islamabad’s permission to launch air attacks inside Pakistan, only informing it afterward.

The Kerry-Lugar-Berman Big Bribe comes as many irate Pakistanis accuse President Zardari’s government of being American hirelings. Zardari, widower of Benazir Bhutto, has been dogged for decades by corruption charges.

Washington seems unaware of the fury its crude, counter-productive policies have whipped up in Pakistan. The Obama administration keeps listening to Washington-based pro-Israel neoconservatives, military hawks, and ‘experts’ like Ahmed Rashid who tell it just what it wants to hear, not 
the facts.

Pakistan’s military, the nation’s premier institution, is being pushed to the point of revolt. Against the backdrop of bombings and shootings come rumours the heads of Pakistan’s armed forces and intelligence may be replaced.

Pakistanis are calling for the removal of the Zardari regime’s strongman, Interior Minister Rehman Malik. Many clamour for the head of Pakistan’s ambassador in Washington, my old friend Hussain Haqqani, who is seen as too close to the Americans.

I’ve long suspected that Washington has its eye on the very intelligent, wily Haqqani as a possible candidate for Pakistan’s next president.

The possibility of a military coup against the discredited Zardari regime grows. But Pakistan is dependent on US money, and fears India. Can its generals afford to break with 
patron Washington?

(Eric S Margolis is a veteran US journalist who has reported from the Middle East, Pakistan and Afghanistan for several years)

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Microsoft joins hands with PASHA

In line with its objective to promote development in the ICT sector of Pakistan, Microsoft has joined hands with Pakistan Software Houses Association (PASHA) by sponsoring PASHA ICT Awards 2009. The awards ceremony was held at a local hotel. By recognizing the cutting edge innovative products developed by software houses in Pakistan, Microsoft celebrated innovation in the local ICT sector. Country General Manager, Microsoft Pakistan, Kamal Ahmed said, “We are thrilled to sponsor the leading awards in the ICT sector of Pakistan.

I congratulate PASHA on organising a highly successful event. These awards go a long way in encouraging IT professionals to come up with latest solutions in communications technology. This gives a much needed boost to the local IT sector and in turn to the economy of Pakistan. We at Microsoft are extremely pleased and excited to be a part of such an event.” Commenting on Microsoft’s strong support, President PASHA, Jehan Ara said, “This is the sixth year of PASHA’s ICT Awards and I am happy to note that we are now associated with a name like Microsoft – the global leader in innovative software solutions.”

{Source: Regional Times}

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PML-N welcomes MQM foray into Punjab politics

Country’s second largest party, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), has welcomed Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s (MQM) decision to launch the party in Punjab and termed it a positive step.

“PML-N welcomes MQM’s decision to make its presence felt in the Punjab. It is a step in the right direction which could change people’s minds towards party’s present status as an ethnic-based party confined to Karachi and Hyderabad,” said Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan.

Nisar, who arrived here in the early hours of Saturday, dispelled the notion that PML-N was against MQM’s plan to take active part in Punjab’s political arena. “I once again reiterate that PML-N in no way is against MQM playing its due role in Punjab. It has every right to campaign in the province as the other parties,” he said.

Nisar’s arrival in the city was marred by alleged unruly attitude of PML-N activists at Karachi Airport which resulted in manhandling of some of the members of the media. Later the majority of the city journalists boycotted Nisar’s Press briefing in protest. A bitter critic of the present Pakistan People’s Party-led coalition government, Nisar said PML-N was against the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) in the past and the party’s stance remains unchanged today.

“The party will never endorse such a black law. Passing such a law will mean legalisation of corruption. Our party will vote against it and will never compromise on such an evil legislation,” he added. Nisar also blasted the government for its all-out support to Kerry-Luger Bill which he claimed was rejected by the people of Pakistan who regard it as humiliating and a surrender of the country’s sovereignty.

PML-N leader, who recently met Chief of the Army Staff along with Punjab Chief Minister, Shahbaz Sharif, said there was nothing sinister in the meeting and “we never discussed politics”.

{Source: Khaleej Times}

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Kerry-Lugar Bill: myths and facts —Shahzad Chaudhry

The Bill and its language in certain clauses are a manifest failure of Pakistani institutions to protect their vital interests. What the foreign minister and the Pakistani Embassy in Washington seem to be doing now should have been done over the last six months

At a recent US-Pakistan dialogue, the Kerry-Lugar Bill surfaced with all its contentions. While the Pakistanis expounded on the various negative implications — of which there are a few, and disturbing ones at that — the Americans were equally sensitive to the colour that the Bill took on with Pakistan’s reaction to what they believe was a genuine American effort to assuage Pakistan’s on-going plight in all spheres, economic, social and security related.

What takes centre stage in this ongoing debate within Pakistan is a repeated referral to clauses of the Bill that have to do with the nuclear dimension of Pakistan’s capabilities. How much of it is a lack of understanding on the part of the Pakistanis and what falls in the category of political grandstanding has befuddled Pakistanis’ sensibilities.

The clause on access to Pakistan’s nuclear proliferation agents is an old one, and Pakistan has responded to it in no uncertain way already. Non-proliferation is sacrosanct, and Pakistan’s strategic institutions have come down very hard to obviate any intended or unintended consequences. To be fair, the clause is not binding at all; it in fact is an either-or statement that seeks direct or indirect information if ever a further inquiry is required of the main players — read AQ Khan. Pakistan has defended against any related insinuation with poise and educated and informed responses, not through emotive sensationalism. Some political actors need to be better educated on this count.

We need to keep in mind that Pakistan has already in the past few years solicited answers from AQ Khan and handed those over to the IAEA as part of their inquiry into any past efforts of his network. Non-proliferation is in Pakistan’s interest, as it does not wish to see the capability expanding beyond its current ownership, only to complicate the regional and global security environment. A key to resolving the existing security dilemma plaguing this entire region is to keep the security dynamics contained within their current domains and not cause further complication through an unintended display of defiance against this global sensitivity even if it is proffered as a symbol of national pride and dignity.

Nuclear nations are expected to be stable in their conduct and environment, and exhibit a greater sense of responsibility in owning nuclear prowess. The days of flaunting the nuclear bomb as the biggest weapon in the arsenal of a hooligan are long over. When you have power you need to also carry the demeanour and poise to manage it sensibly, else one can be trashed as an upshot settling old scores.

What, however, should be of greater concern in this regard are any restrictive clauses that may impinge on Pakistan’s ability to develop her programme further in line with her evolutionary phases. That is where the information that any international agency may seek of Pakistan on suppliers of nuclear materials may become intrusive to Pakistan’s nuclear programme. While the captioned Nuclear Suppliers Group is bound by various instruments, any violation of the treaty, or an implicit definition of a dual-use capability can seriously limit Pakistan’s options. This is not so explicitly stated in the Bill, but through extension of the implied manifestations becomes a spanner of sorts in the works. If at all, that is what Pakistan needs to be most worried about and must take up in earnest with the US to amplify further the latent implications.

The answer to the above likely impasse is for the US to offer Pakistan a similar treaty as with India, ensuring an accountable mechanism of support through verifiable usage of nuclear related supplies. This is what parliamentarians should be most concerned with, not the generic ‘lethality’ that they tend to flag around.

There is another interesting clause too on the nuclear side that perhaps is too loosely worded. The US Secretary of State is required to certify in her routine reports that US assistance to Pakistan does not aid in the expansion of the Pakistani programme, and that Pakistan is not diverting resources off its own budgetary allocations to the programme from those non-nuclear activities that will be resourced through US assistance in the Bill. While there clearly is no threat of the former, the latter will have many finance experts scratching their heads for a long time. American interlocutors at the dialogue were at a loss to explain the intended process of verification.

Many analysts, following the furore in Pakistan, have wondered about the sagacity and the relevance of the language used in the Bill. Certainly Pakistan cannot be expected to open her budget ledgers to American auditors to certify allocations from within Pakistan’s own budgetary resources. The Americans understand that well. What they intended to achieve by inserting this clause, then, is anyone’s guess; perhaps a palliative to some legislators’ acute sensibilities? Or, importantly, another noose to tighten at an opportune moment and strangle Pakistan; or yet again, another exit instrument a la 1990, when all is done in pursuit of America’s own interests in the region? We will be better served to seek some clarifications on the looseness of the language used, enabling unhindered flexibility of interpretation to the US.

I, for one, do not subscribe to the notion that Pakistan can be defanged. It is a popular emotion, but hardly anchored in reality. If, and ever, Pakistan was to be dispossessed of her nuclear capability, it would only be possible with Pakistan’s own clear, free will. Once having achieved nuclear status, it is now beyond any nation to even remotely contemplate the possibility of physical neutralisation or control of this capability; Blackwater or any water not-withstanding. This notion too has the Americans at a loss, given our national proclivity to consider an American takeover of our nuclear arsenal as imminent. Sometimes, the force of emotion is too strong to be thwarted by logic and reason.

Yes, the Bill and its language in certain clauses are a manifest failure of Pakistani institutions to protect their vital interests. What the foreign minister and the Pakistani Embassy in Washington seem to be doing now should have been done over the last six months. But, true to our track record, we were gung-ho about the $1.5 billion without sparing a moment for what the detailed clauses might entail.

Representative Howard Berman, the originator of some of the harshest language in the Bill, roamed our lands a few months ago, seeking input and responses on the proposed clauses; we, again true to our unblemished record, never considered him important enough to be given a hearing. He finally got to meet with Mushahid Hussain of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, the chief of the army staff, ending with a courtesy call on the prime minister. The foreign secretary could not spare time to meet him, perhaps delegating the responsibility of an audience to his additional secretary; the Foreign Minister was away and was not available to listen to Howard Berman on what the American legislator would ultimately include in the Bill. The Senate is less of a problem, it is the House where lobbying and influence and caucuses tend to have their impact. And, that is where Pakistan may find her biggest obstacles to a more conciliatory language.

The Mission in Washington is another story. In the plight of Pakistan, our veritable Foreign Office finds yet another opportunity to bring home the point that political appointees as envoys tend to be unmitigated failures. Nothing is farther from truth, but there is a deliberate defiance within the Foreign Office that comes into play by severing its linkage with any political appointee and becoming a bystander on any issue of even the greatest consequence.

Without institutional support or guidance, the ambassador, bereft of any significant support from within the mission itself, is left to pursue a personal effort in line with what may be expected of him. If he is known to carry personal proclivities of thought and belief, those get reflected in the end-state. This is what seems to have happened in the case of the Kerry-Lugar Bill. The weaknesses in the mission’s efforts stand exposed; this the Foreign Office applauds with a hope that the ambassadorship may finally revert to their next man in line.

It is learnt, very reliably, though with some apparent generalisation, that every third employee in US State Department is an Indian-American; most of them along with their native colleagues are enjoined the task to draft these Bills. Any surprise, then, on what we get as an end product? Perhaps the only question left to ask is: are the Pakistanis too encouraged or tracked to make their mark in US institutions? That can be done at the Mission without institutional support.

And then, we wonder, what ails this land.

(The writer is a retired air vice marshal and political appointee ambassador)

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Talk Shows

  • A MUST WATCH - ISLAMABAD TONIGHT with Nadeem Malik: Oct 22
    October 23, 2009 | 1:32 am

    A MUST WATCH: Gallup poll results on Kerry-Lugar Bill; South Waziristan Ops; Targeted killing of an army Brigadier and two soldiers in the capital, suspected suicide bomber in Court. Guests: Gen. (R) Asad Durrani (Ex-DG ISI & IB), Gen. (R) Mirza Aslam Baig (Ex-COAS)and Ijaz Shafi Gillani (GALLUP PAK)

    October 23, 2009 | 1:14 am

    South Waziristan Operation and stakeholders in it. Talat discusses with Imran Khan (Chairman PTI)

    October 23, 2009 | 12:44 am

    NRO and beyond: Accountability of Politicians, Beuracrats and Generals now and in future. Guests: Kh Md Asif (PML-N), Qamaruzzama Kaira (PPP)

    October 23, 2009 | 12:26 am

    Part 2 of discussion on Balochistan crisis and its solutions. Guests: Sen Nawabzada Lashkari Raisani (PPPP), Sen Dr. Abdul Malik Baloch (Pres NP), Sen Mir Mohabbat Khan Marri (PML-Q), Mohiuddin Baloch (Chairman BSO) and Muhammad Usman (Baloch Advocate)

  • KAL TAK with JAVED CHOUDHRY on Express Tv: OCT 21
    October 22, 2009 | 4:00 am

    Security threats from all sides viz Iran, India, Afghanistan. Guests: Ch.Imtiaz Safdar Warriach (PPP), Engr Amir Muqam (MPL-Q), Sen (R) Iqbal Zafar Jhagra (PMl-N)

    October 22, 2009 | 3:31 am

    Four unsuccessful military operations in Balochistan province since 1948. Five Ws (Why, When, What, Whom, Where) of Balochistan crisis. Guests: Dr. Ayatullah Durrani (PPP), Senator Dr. Abdul Malik Baloch (Pres NP), Mohiuddin Baloch, Muhammad Usman (Advocate) and Ahmedan Bugti (MNA PML-Q)

    October 22, 2009 | 2:06 am

    NRO and level of corruption among political leaders specially PPP and PML-N leaders. Guests: Syed Talat Hussain (Anchorman), Shahid Khaqan Abbasi (PML-N) and Fouzia Wahab (PPP)

    October 22, 2009 | 1:26 am

    A MUST WATCH: Attack on Islamic University in Islamabad; Was Indo-Israeli axis behind it?; Guests: Qazi Hussain Ahmed (Ex-Ameer JI), Sardar Asif Ahmed Ali (PPP), Sen Zahid Khan (ANP)

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