Archive | October 21st, 2009

Phrases from the Quran appear ’spontaneously’ on baby’s skin

A baby is sparking a wave of speculation in Russia after phrases from the Quran began appearing on his skin.

Verses from the Quran – the Muslim holy book are said to appear on nine-month-old Ali Yakubov’s back, arms, legs and stomach – before apparently fading away and being replaced with new sayings.

Russian medics claimed they are puzzled over the cause of the marks on a baby’s skin, which started when the word Allah apparently appeared on his chin within weeks of his birth.

Medics deny that the marks are from someone writing on the child’s skin.

Complete story link: Phrases from the Quran appear ’spontaneously’ on baby’s skin

Posted in LifestyleComments (1)


A MUST WATCH: How intrusive are the conditions and clauses of the Kerry-Lugar Bill. Who will implement the reforms mandated in it? Guests: Imran Khan (Chairman PTI), Qamaruzzama Kaira (PPP), Maria Sultan (Defense Analyst), Ishaq Dar (PML-N)

Posted in Talk ShowsComments (0)

OFF THE RECORD with Kashif Abbasi on ARY: OCT 20

NRO and Transparency Intl’s latest report on Corruption in Pakistan which has increased by 600 pct. Guests: Syed Khurshid Shah (PPP), Javed Hashmi (PML-N) and Ahmad Bilal Mehboob (PILDAT)

Posted in Talk ShowsComments (0)


Runoff polls in Afghanistan; Af-PAk affairs; South Waziristan Operation; War on Terror and its toll on PAkistan. Guests: Rustam Shah (Ex-Amb to Afghanistan), Syed Saleem Shahzad (Asia Times Online Analyst) and Sadiq Al Farooq (PML-N)

Posted in Talk ShowsComments (0)

Haqqani on Pakistan, Islam, Saudis

Ambassador Haqqani has been appearing on many fora in the US before and after he became ambassador for Pakistan.

A study of his remarks reveals an interesting perspective he has on Pakistan and the Muslim World.

For instance, on April 1, 2005, Cleveland quoted Haqqani as having stated: “Muslim world’s problems are much bigger than antagonism to Israel, Jews and Militancy.” He went on to hold the Saudis responsible for almost every problem.

Given how Saudi Arabia is one of Pakistan’s most critical allies, apart from the deep emotive bond between the two Muslim nations, this statement would hardly have gone down well before either Pakistanis or Saudis. But this anti-Saudi theme has been a particular favourite of the ambassador’s. For instance, on an earlier occasion, on March 2, 2004, at the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs he declared that “ Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are two of the US’s most difficult allies … They are not allies at all … but sources of trouble … The fact that (an al Qaeda terrorist) feels so comfortable with Pakistani intelligence officers … is a source of worry in itself.”

Haqqani was also a frequent guest speaker at forums which have been set up by separatists in the US and Canada. His statements in such forums are interesting. For instance, at the Nov 6, 2006 meeting of the World Sindhi Institute, his remarks included his view that “Pakistan is not historical, like France or India, it is a constitutional state. Pakistan was created in hurry and its greatest support was from those areas which did not become part of Pakistan later. So the idea emerged that used Islam as a unifying bond.” Then he went on to add that “Sindhis have a liberal religion” as if somehow the attempt to use Islam as a symbol of unity was opposed by them!

Again, at the same meeting, he explained, “India has 23 national languages but Pakistan was pressing hard for Urdu. Pakistan’s elite decided Islam would be unifying and India an enemy.” He also went on to deride Pakistan further by declaring that “Pakistan is a rent seeking unit from the US, may it be Russia or terrorism, they are available as the most allied ally.” Finally, he attacked the settlers of Balochistan, now the target of killings in that province, by demanding that “Punjabis in Balochistan should learn to respect Balochis and should not side with the government. The way the Army did not help Biharis who took the wrong side and are still there at the mercy of Bengalis. Either you can come back on tanks or on trains as POWs.”

A month later, on December 5, 2006, at the CARR Center for Human rights Policy, Haqqani again gave his view that “Pakistan has become a rented state; it is benefiting from its geographic location. As per the declassified documents, Ayub Khan said, ‘Our army can be yours, if you pay the right price’. We perform certain services and in return get economic benefits.”

Much later, at the Asia Society, New York, on March 27, 2007, with reference to military aid to Pakistan, he expressed the view that “military aid, none of the arsenals, has any relevance to countering Al-Qaeda.” He did state the obvious when he said, on the same occasion, “US pressure is there to do more, which is being resented by people of Pakistan. They see it as American’s war.”

Now which of these quotable quotes of Haqqani’s made it apparent to the Zardari regime that he would be the ideal representative of Pakistan’s interests in the US?

(Sourced from: The Nation)

Posted in NewsComments (4)

Wasim Akram’s wife critical at Chennai hospital

PKonweb Monitor

Latest Report: Pray for my wife: Wasim Akram

EARLIER REPORT: Former cricket captain Wasim Akram’s wife is in a critical condition at a hospital in Chennai where she was rushed today after developing an “emergency situation” in an air ambulance during its scheduled refuelling at the Chennai airport in India.

Huma was admitted to Chennai’s Apollo Hospitals on advice from doctors on board the Singapore-bound air ambulance, hospital and airport sources said.

“She is receiving necessary intensive medical attention,” the hospital said in a statement.

Huma was being flown from Lahore to Singapore for neurosurgery to remove three tumors from her brain.

As the air ambulance was flying over India her condition worsened and the doctor accompanying the patient wanted her admitted in an emergency ward at the earliest since reaching Singapore would have taken another four hours, reported The Telegraph.

The pilot immediately contacted the Chennai air traffic control at 4pm and his request was relayed to the civil aviation authorities in Delhi since it was a Pakistani aircraft.

When the civil aviation and external affairs officers in India learnt about the identity of the patient and her condition they cleared the aircraft for emergency landing and also issued temporary visas to all eight persons aboard, media reports said.

Apollo Hospital sources said Huma suffered a multiple organ failure and she was put on ventilator support as soon as she was brought in but her condition remained critical.

Her pulse rate was picking up and vital parameters were better, but her condition continued to be critical, the sources said.

She was originally scheduled to receive treatment in Singapore.

Earlier, Indian airport officials had said that the flight made an unscheduled landing on a request from the pilot.

Former Indian cricketer Ravi Shastri, who was in Chennai to attend the wedding of the son of National Selection Committee Chairman K Srikkant, rushed to the hospital soon after hearing the news about Huma.

Shastri, a TV co-commentator with Akram, spent nearly two hours with him and his family at the hospital, sources added.

Posted in CricketComments (1)

Pak military suffers reverses in South Waziristan

Taliban guerrillas recaptured the birthplace of the Pakistani Taliban leader from the Pakistani army Tuesday, inflicting the heaviest military losses so far in Pakistan’s high-stakes offensive in South Waziristan, a refuge for Pakistani extremists, Afghan insurgents and al-Qaeda.

A government attempt to foment a tribal uprising against the Pakistani Taliban also failed Tuesday. In a meeting with the top Pakistani official for the tribal areas, elders of the area’s Mehsud clan refused a request to form a traditional militia, known as a lashkar, to battle the Taliban who’ve taken over their territory.

The Pakistani offensive appears to be first serious operation against extremists in South Waziristan since 2004, when the military entered the area for the first time. Pakistan has thrown some 30,000 soldiers into the fight against an estimated 10,000 Taliban, plus some 1,500 foreign jihadists closely liked to al-Qaeda.

However, Kotkai, a town surrounded by high mountains in the Sararogha area of South Waziristan, remained in Taliban hands late Tuesday after Pakistani forces were beaten back on the fourth day of the ground operation in South Waziristan.

The town is the birthplace of Hakimullah Mehsud, the head of the Pakistani Taliban. The group’s top trainer of suicide bombers, Qari Hussain, also comes from Kotkai, and he has a madrassa, or Islamic school, just outside the town in which hundreds of children and young men have been indoctrinated into suicide attacks.

Security officials, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak to journalists, said that Pakistani troops had thrust into Kotkai only to be hit by a determined counteroffensive that killed seven soldiers, including an army major, and wounded seven more.

There was no official announcement about the Kotkai clash. In a statement, the army reported that four soldiers had been killed and three wounded Tuesday in South Waziristan, but those casualties were sustained elsewhere, bringing the total to 13 soldiers killed since the operation began Saturday. Twelve “terrorists” also were killed Tuesday, the army statement said, bringing the official total to 90.

“We gave them a really tough time in Kotkai,” said Taliban spokesman Azam Tariq, claiming that 40 to 45 soldiers had died in the battle. He said three militants were killed and four wounded in the Kotkai battle.

Meanwhile, Owais Ghani, the governor of the North West Frontier Province, who’s in charge of the tribal area, which borders Afghanistan, called together Mehsud chiefs in the town of Tank on the edge of South Waziristan and asked them to join the fight.

In a letter dropped from a plane over the tribe’s territory, Pakistan’s army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, described the Mehsuds as courageous, loyal Pakistanis and urged them to “rise collectively” against the militants.

“The ongoing operation by the Pakistani army is not aimed at the patriotic Mehsud tribes,” he wrote. “Instead, the target is for the good riddance of the Mehsud tribes from the cruel clutches of terrorist elements who have ruined the law and order and peace of this area.”

However, the Taliban have cemented their hold on South Waziristan by killing hundreds of traditional tribal leaders, and the tribal chiefs told Ghani that, “In the current hazardous situation, it is not possible for us to support you,” an official who was present told McClatchy Newspapers special correspondent.

You can read this article by McClatchy Newspapers special correspondent Saeed Shah, reporting from Dera Ismail Khan, Pakistan, in context here:

Posted in NewsComments (0)

Only 15 percent Pakistanis support Kerry-Lugar Bill: Gallup Pakistan

Beggars can’t be choosers: US rejects demand to change terms of the Kerry-Lugar Bill

By Abdul Sattar Ghazali

Brushing aside concerns about the Kerry-Logar legislation as misinterpretation, Washington has rejected Pakistan’s popular demand to bring any change to the capitulating conditions attached to $7.5 billion aid to the beleaguered nation. Instead, Senator John Kerry, Senator Richard Lugar and Congressman Berman issued a five-page Explanatory Statement to facilitate, what it called, accurate interpretation of the text of the law that has fueled more hatred against Washington. President Barack Obama signed the controversial legislation - the Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009 - on Thursday without fanfare.

The explanatory note attached to the Kerry-Lugar legislation in the face of bitter criticism by the Army and all major Pakistani political parties except the ruling Pakistan People’s Party, does not change the contents of the legislation. Nor is it in any way binding because it cannot override the provisions of the US Federal Law. It is a sort of letter of intent which legally has no force of law behind it.

President Zardari’s government has accepted the Explanatory Statement amid a wide rift between the popular view against the Kerry-Lugar legislation and the Washington’s client government in Islamabad. While there is a widespread rejection of the Kerry-Lugar legislation within Pakistan as it is generally considered as anti-Pakistan, the Presidency has insisted that it has nothing against the national interests and sovereignty of the country.

On October 8, Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said that the President Asif Ali Zardari as well as the Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani did not consider the Kerry-Lugar Bill as being against Pakistan’s national interests. Babar justified the US legislation by saying: What the US Congress demanded was even part of the Charter of Democracy, which too asked for civilian control over the security institutions.

Offensive conditions of the so-called Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009

The Secretary of State has to issue a certificate on some sensitive subjects before each installment of the US aid is to be disbursed. Under Section 302, every 180 days through September 30, 2014, the Secretary of State, in consultation with the Secretary of Defense, shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report that describes the assistance provided under this Act during the preceding 180-day period. The report shall include an evaluation of efforts undertaken by the Government of Pakistan to:

(A) disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda, the Taliban, and other extremist and terrorist groups in the FATA and settled areas; (B) eliminate the safe havens of such forces in Pakistan; (C) close terrorist camps, including those of Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed; (D) cease all support for extremist and terrorist groups; (E) prevent attacks into neighboring countries; (F) increase oversight over curriculum in madrassas, including closing madrassas with direct links to the Taliban or other extremist and terrorist groups.

Under Section 302A (12) the report should also include a detailed description of Pakistan’s efforts to prevent proliferation of nuclear-related material and expertise. And Under Section 302A (13), an assessment of whether assistance provided to Pakistan has directly or indirectly aided the expansion of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program, whether by the diversion of United States assistance or the reallocation of Pakistan’s financial resources that would otherwise be spent for programs and activities unrelated to its nuclear weapons program;

Sub-clause (15) of the same section 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, the chain of command, the process of promotion for senior military leaders, civilian involvement in strategic guidance and planning, and military involvement in civil administration.

Regional security strategy issue is another offensive issue. Under section 301B (2), the President shall develop a comprehensive interagency regional security strategy “. by working with the Government of Pakistan and other relevant governments and organizations in the region and elsewhere. According to Member of Parliament Marvi Menon, it is exactly this kind of regional strategy that will be in conflict with Pakistan’s national security interests since it could include Indian intelligence agency RAW, Israeli spy agency MOSSAD and many other unfriendly groups and organizations.

Army expresses concern

On October 7, 2009, the Army high command expressed concern that the US law is highly intrusive in nature and will have serious implications on national security.

The main areas where army had expressed its reservations are the inclusion of a clause under which an assessment was required on whether assistance provided to Pakistan was going directly or indirectly to aid the expansion of its nuclear weapons’ program. The army says that the language used in the bill would amount to the capping of the nuclear program.

Concern has also been expressed over the requirement of certification that Pakistan has made progress in preventing cross-border attacks and whether it has dismantled the alleged terrorist basses in Quetta and Muridke.

And another serious reservation was on the clause related to civilian control of the military’s promotions and other related matters that were totally unacceptable to the military commanders.

The Army conveyed its concern to the United States when Commander of International Forces in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal met Army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani at the GHQ in Rawalpindi on October 6. General Kayani told General McChrystal that like the Pakistani people, the military and intelligence services were furious at the observations made on Pakistan’s security establishment in the Kerry-Lugar legislation.

Why the Pakistan Army-specific conditions in the Kerry-Lugar legislation?

The more direct language against military intervention in political and judicial processes has apparently been added by the US legislators on the insistence of the present government of President Zardari through his ambassador in Washington, Husain Haqqani, who has been critical of the army and ISI while staying in US since 2002.

One could find the details of all the Army-specific conditions, mentioned in the Kerry Lugar legislation, in Haqqani’s book “Pakistan between Mosque and Military” which was published in 2006 before his appointment as ambassador. “The United States must use its aid as a lever to influence Pakistan’s domestic policies.” Washington should no longer condone the Pakistani military’s support of Islamic militants, its use of its intelligence apparatus for controlling domestic politics, and its refusal to cede power to a constitutional democratic government,” the book states in one of its chapters.

“Unlike governments in other Muslim countries like Egypt and Turkey, Pakistan’s government - particularly its military - has encouraged political and radical Islam, which otherwise has a relatively narrow base of support,” Haqqani wrote.

The book also stresses on the fact that the United States can contain the Islamic influence by asking Pakistan for certain reforms with regard to the Army and other security forces. “The United States can help contain the Islamists’ influence by demanding reform of those aspects of Pakistan’s governance that involve the military and security services. Until now, the United States has harshly berated corrupt or ineffective Pakistani politicians but has only mildly criticized the military’s meddling.”

He says: “Washington should no longer condone the Pakistani military’s support of Islamic militants, its use of its intelligence apparatus for controlling domestic politics, and its refusal to cede power to a constitutional democratic government.”

At another place Haqqani says: “Because Washington has attached a few conditions to US aid, the spending patterns of Pakistan’s government have not changed significantly. The country’s military spending continues to increase…”

Not surprisingly, Husain Haqqani is in hot water as he remained the focus of speeches of members from opposition benches in Pakistan’s National Assembly and the Senate during the debate on the US law. A number of opposition parliamentarians have demanded his resignation. However, Foreign Policy magazine has reported that Haqqani is contemplating going public with embarrassing Pakistani official documents that he laid his hands on during his official capacity as ambassador if he is fired from his job for inserting anti-military and nuclear-related clauses in the Kerry-Lugar legislation.

Only 15 percent Pakistanis accept the US aid package

Tellingly, only 15 percent of Pakistanis support accepting the US aid package, according to a Gallup Pakistan survey released on Wednesday. Barely a quarter of the 2,500 Pakistanis polled believe the $7.5 billion US aid will improve the ordinary lives of the people.

According to Senator Tariq Aziz, given rapid inflation in Pakistan and the way huge chunks of foreign aid actually pass back to the United States through contractor salaries, the real purchasing power of the aid will diminish to roughly $200 million a year. Tellingly, under Section 101(2) of the legislation, up to $10 million will be spent every year to meet administrative expenses of civilian departments and agencies of the United States Government in connection with the provision of the assistance. At the same time $5 million will be provided to the Chief of US Mission in Pakistan to be spent on its discretion. $150 million has to be spent on training and equipping of the Pakistani police.

There is now a general popular impression in Pakistan that the ultimate U.S goals is to destroy Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons and to exert complete control over the military institutions of Pakistan. The United States remains antagonistic towards the Armed Forces and Intelligence Agencies of Pakistan, while spreading disinformation regarding the Nuclear Assets of Pakistan. It is also widely believed that the United States supports and funds separatist movements in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), parts of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Balochistan. The Kerry-Lugar legislation reinforces these apprehensions.

The author is the Executive Editor of American Muslim Perspective:

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Posted in Editor's ChoiceComments (1)


Twin suicide blasts at Islamic Univeristy in Islamabad. Guests: AVM (R) Shahzad Chaudhry (Analyst), Rauf Klasra (The News Journalist) and Abdul Hafeez Pirzada (Renowned Attorney and ex-PPP leader)

Posted in Talk ShowsComments (0)

India vs Pakistan MNA/MP Salaries & Perks

By Irshad Salim

While surfing the internet I came across some interesting (even startling) figures and data related both to Pakistan and India - two neighboring countries who have fought at least two declared wars and many skirmishes during their 62 years of neighborly relations.

Notwithstanding the dynamics behind such a blatant differential in the data I am presenting below, the presentation may be an eye opener for all Pakistanis - specially the youth.

We the second or third generation of Pakistan have by and large failed to push the national cart in the right direction and at the right trajectory. The next generation is and may very well face the cart wheeling down under gravity unless measures are taken to stop the climbdown.

The youth have to move and mobilize and do what it got to do. There are no quick fixes but a beginning can be made by at least studying and analyzing the faultlines, the discrepencies, the bias, the ignorance, the ambivilance, the arrogance, the denial and the mindset of the many as well as of the few - and using latest holistic, heuristic techniques, a few can move the world on which they stand.

Here are some data as food for thought to begin with. Hopefully, I will keep updating it.

Let this note of mine serve as a blackboard to focus and ponder upon and resolve issues. The West has more solutions than problems. We have more problems than solutions. We are therefore overwhelmed.

Let’s attempt to break the stalemate and to challenge the status quo.

Most overseas Pakistanis can play a singular role: By suggesting more than one way to look at a problem or a set of problems- something he has learnt at his pristine Western environment. It’s a payback time - we need to pay our dues!

Typics Salary and Perks of an Indian Member of Parliament
(Source: Outlook India)

Basic salary of an Indian MP:
Rs 16,000 per month
Rs 1,000 per day for attendance in Parliament
Constituency Allowance:
Rs 20,000 per month
Office Expenses:
Rs 20,000 per month
Furniture & Elect Appls:
Rs 2.5 lakh for cabinet minister. Rs 2 lakh for minister of state.
Govt accommodation for rent not exceeding Rs 650 per month
Air: Free executive air class travel for minister, along with his private secretary or assistant private secretary or a personal assistant. Can charter a plane, if required.
Can reserve a standard gauge saloon or an inspection carriage. If not, he can reserve a first class compartment. Can take along one relative, two personal servants and any amount of luggage
Free use of official vehicle in public interest or on duty
Water & Electricity:
Free water up to 2,000 kilolitres and free power up to 50,000 units on light meter per year
150,000 free local calls per year on two landlines and one cellphone given.
Free medical care for minister and members of his family.

NOTE: When Manmohan Singh took over as Indian PM, he also inherited not one but six bullet-proof, mine-resistant black BMWs, each worth over a crore rupees. For Manmohan, who used to drive a Maruti 800 till then, this was a quantum jump. Initially, he resisted the idea of using the BMWs but eventually, the Security Protocols persuaded him to keep two for his use. Two were given to Vajpayee as Leader of Opposition. But there were no takers for the remaining two: neither the president, vice-president nor Congress president Sonia Gandhi were willing to accept them.


Typics Salary and Perks of a Pakistani Member of National Assembly MNA
(Source: Pakistaniat)

Basic salary of a Pakistani MNA:
Rs. 120,000 to 200,000 per month
Expense for Constitution per mo:
Office expenditure per mo:
Traveling concession:
(Rs. 8 per km) (For a visit to ISLAMABAD & return: 6000 km) Rs.48,000
Daily BETA during Assembly meets
Charge for 1 class (A/C) in train
(All over PAKISTAN) Free Unlimited
Charge for Business Class in flights:
(With wife or P.A.) Free for 40
trips / year
Rent for Govt hostel any where:
Electricity costs:
Free up to 50,000 units
Local phone call charge Free up to 1,70,000 calls.

NOTE: Keep in mind that these numbers are only the official estimates. You can imagine for yourself the unofficial sums easily acquired by a man in such a position in Pakistan

Related links:


More facts to ponder:
Budget revenue: $126.7b
Exp: $202.6b (2008 est)
Population below poverty line: 25% (2007 est)
GDP PER CAPITA $2900 (2008 est)
GDP: $1.21 Trillion (2008 EST)
Population: 1,166,079,217 (July 2009 est)
Population Growth Rate: 1.548%
Birth Rate: 21.76 birth/1000 population (2009 est)
Death Rate: 6.23 deaths/1000 population (2009 est)
Sex Ratio: 1.06 male/female (2009 est)
Literacy: 61% of population; male 73.4% and female 47.8%  (2001 census)
Education Expenditure: 3.2% of GDP (2005 est)
Military Expenditure: 2.5% of GDP (2006)
Lok Sabha Members: 545 (Directly elected for 5 yrs Eqvlnt to Pak Natl Assy))
Rajya Sabha Mambers:  250 (Elected for 6 Years equal to Pak Senate)

In short, India spends only 545 (MPs) x 16,000 (Monthly basic salary) x 12 (Months) = Rs104.65 Millions yearly while its population is 1.166 billion. Comparatively, Pakistan spends 342 (MNAs) x 160,000 (Monthly avg basic salary) x 12 (Months) = Rs656.64 Millions yearly while its population is 176 Millions approx.

On a per capita basis the money given to a public figure in Pakistan to represent his constituency is abominal as compared to the same in India. A Pakistani pays at least Rs3.73 (RS656.64/176 Million population) per year for each MNA where as an Indian pays only Rs 0.09 per year for each MP (Rs104.65/1166 Million population)

Budget revenue: $22.3b
Exp: $32.35b (2008 est)
Population below poverty line: 24% (2005/2006 est)
GDP PER CAPITA $2500 (2008 est)
GDP: $167.6 billion (2008 EST)
Population: 176,242,949 (July 2009 est)
Population Growth Rate: 1.947% (2009 est)
Birth Rate: 27.62 birth/1000 population (2009 est)
Death Rate: 7.68 deaths/1000 population (2009 est)
Sex Ratio: 1.04 male/female (2009 est)
Literacy: 49.9% of population; male 63% and female 36% (2005 est)
Education Expenditure: 2.6% of GDP (2005 est)
Military Expenditure: 2.5% of GDP (2006)
Natl. Assy Members: 342 (Elected for 5 yrs eqvlnt to India’s Lok Sabha)
Senate Mambers: 100 (Elected for 6 Years eqvlnt to India’s Rajya Sabha)

Posted in Editor's ChoiceComments (2)

Where is Richard Holbrooke?

We’re in the midst of the biggest political crisis in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban government in 2001. Pakistan has launched a major offensive into the South Waziristan tribal area, a move that was preceded by a string of murderous terrorist attacks against Pakistani security forces. U.S.-Pakistani relations almost went thermonuclear over a U.S. aid bill that Pakistani military saw as a hammer against it.

Where then is Richard C. Holbrooke, the president’s Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan?

The hard-charging Holbrooke is hardly known as a shrinking violet, and he has a legendary reputation for working the news media, including special briefings for his favorite reporters. But his public profile has gone from hero to zero in recent weeks.

A quick check of the State Department web site shows that Holbrooke’s last public appearance before the media was nearly a month ago, during the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

Coincidence? We thought not. And after a couple of phone calls, Warren and Jon here at N&S figured out what’s up.

Three administration officials, who asked not to be identified by agency, told us that, while Holbrooke is laboring away hard behind the scenes, he’s received direct orders from the White House to cool it publicly while Washington desperately tries to unscramble the Afghan electoral mess between President Hamid Karzai and his main challenger, Abdullah Abdullah.

“This process is so sensitive. He’d love to deal with this. The White House thinks … it’s not the time for him” to be out front, one of the officials said of Holbrooke.

Perhaps it was that reported shouting match in Kabul a few weeks back between Karzai and Holbrooke?

Instead, it’s Sen. John Kerry - a man not known for shouting - who has been in the Afghan capital, dickering with Karzai in the hopes of getting him to accept a run-off, or a compromise with Abdullahx2.

To be fair — and we do try to be fair here at N&S, we’re told that the White House orders are not directed at Holbrooke alone. Everyone involved in Af/Pak policy has been told to keep a lid on it while President Obama deals with the difficult decision of how to keep the situation there from dropping into the abyss and whether to send more American servicemen and women to Afghanistan.

The orders followed remarks a few weeks back by Afghanistan commander Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal to the effect that a “counter-terrorism” strategy, relying on fewer troops and more Predator drone strikes, wouldn’t be effective. The remarks were widely seen as limiting the president’s options.

“McChrystal got ahead of the process and was pulled back,” said a second U.S. official. “In light of that, we have said to all of the people who are involved in the review process: your words should be directed to the president and the principals (senior advisers) and not to the public. This has not been directed at Richard, but to all of the officials involved in the process.”

“The idea here is to leave the prerogatives to the president. By accident, McChrystal was seen as jamming the commander in chief.”

“Nukes & Spooks” (N&S) is written by McClatchy correspondents Jonathan S. Landay (national security and intelligence), Warren P. Strobel (foreign affairs and the State Department), and Nancy Youssef (Pentagon).

Posted in NewsComments (1)


Twin suicide bombings in Islamic University in Islamabad and its repurcussions vis-a-vis South Waziristan operation. Guests: Tasneem Ahmed Qureshi (PPPP), Makhdoom Javed Hashmi (PML-N) and Sen Muhammad Ibrahim Khan (Jamaat Islami)

Posted in Talk ShowsComments (0)

Twin suicide blasts kill 7 at Islamic University

PKonweb Monitor

At least seven people , which include six students have been killed and as many as 24 injured as two suicide bomb blasts ripped through the International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) on Tuesday.

Four of the 14 injured girls are said to be in serious condition.

In a telephone call to the BBC, a senior Taliban commander has claimed his movement was behind the bombings.

Qari Hussain, the man reportedly responsible for training Pakistani Taliban suicide bombers, said his organization now considered all of Pakistan to now be a war zone.

Meanwhile, the Government of Punjab has decided to close all private and government educational institutes indefinitely without any further notice, Geo News reported today.

NWFP as well as Sindh govts also announced today to close all schools till Sunday.

One suspect was arrested near the campus where the suicide attacks took place, a private TV channel reported today.

According to initial reports one blast hit the Shariat Faculty and the other occurred at the entrance of the women cafeteria of the campus, where a large number of girl students and faculty members were present at the time the blast occurred.

Classes were going on at the time of the blasts.

Police and rescue squads reached the spot, and the injured were shifted to PIMS hospital for treatment.

Earlier in the day two bombs were defused at a girls school in Peshawar.

Many foreign students also study at the Islamic University in Islamabad.

Islamabad’s International Islamic University teaches Islamic jurisprudence and philosophy and is reckoned to be a centre of excellence in the Muslim world.

Renowned Muslim scholar and Al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden’s mentor, Abdullah Azzam, also worked as a lecturer at the university before the ‘mujahadeen’ began their fight against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in 1979.

Muslim countries like Saudi Arabia and Kuwait used to give generous donations to the university, AKI report said.

Are you in Islamabad? Have you been caught up in events? Send us your comments

Posted in NewsComments (1)


Media performance on twin suicide blasts at Islamic University in Islamabad. Rehman Malik’s unusual media-hogging appetite. Talat demands Malik be sacked.

Posted in Talk ShowsComments (0)


Greatest challenge being faced by the country; Lack of honest and visionary leadership; Impact of Kerry-Lugar Bill on the nation. Principle contradiction being faced by country is foreign aggression by USA; Guests: Senator Zafar Ali Shah (PML-N), Senator S M Zafar (PML-Q), Roedad Khan (Former Int Secy) and Mehreen Anwar Raja (PPP State Min. for Parliamentary Affairs)

Posted in Talk ShowsComments (0)


Twin suicide attacks at Islamic University in Islamabad today, South Waziristan operation and gainers and losers of these activities. Guests: Imran Khan (Chairman PTI) and Qamar Zaman Karia (PPPP)

Posted in Talk ShowsComments (0)

Muslim Singles, Matrimonial, Shaadi and Marriage Introductions Online -

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)

  • RSSArchive for Talk Shows »
PK Papers
Biz Recorder

Daily Times
The Nation
The News
Frontier Post
Daily Express
Daily Ibrat
Friday Times

Help Wanted

PHP Programmer in Pakistan to work for us from home; Cartoonist based in Pakistan; Photographers based in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad; Send Resume to: [email protected]

Daily Posts

October 2009
« Sep