Tag Archive | "ISI"

Mullah Omar now in Karachi: WT

LAHORE: Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar has fled Quetta and has found refuge from potential US attacks in Karachi, with assistance of the ISI.

Two senior US intelligence officials and a former senior CIA officer told The Washington Times that Omar traveled to Karachi last month, adding that he inaugurated a new senior leadership council in the city.

The officials were quoted as saying that the ISI helped the Taliban leaders move from Quetta, where they were exposed to attacks by unmanned US drones.

“The development reinforces suspicions that the ISI was working against US interests in Afghanistan as the Obama administration prepares to send more US troops to fight there,” the paper said. CIA veteran Bruce Riedel confirmed that Omar had been spotted in Karachi recently.

“Some sources claim the ISI decided to move him further from the battlefield to keep him safe from US drone attacks.”

The Washinton Times quoted a US counterterrorism official as saying neither Osama Bin Laden nor Al Qaeda No 2 Ayman al-Zawahri had been spotted in Karachi. He said the top two Al Qaeda figures were still thought to be in the Tribal Areas.

However, a spokesman for the Pakistani embassy in Washington, said the US had not provided Pakistan with any credible intelligence regarding Omar’s whereabouts. Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit also denied Omar’s presence in Karachi.

(News sourced from: Daily Times)

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Taliban claims some attacks, denies others in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Taliban leaders have claimed responsibility for a wave of suicide bombings that have battered the Pakistani city of Peshawar. The militants also vow to carry out more attacks in the future.

But a Taliban spokesman also denied responsibility for some of the deadliest suicide bombings in recent history, saying they were staged by Pakistani intelligence agencies to sap support for the militants.

On Monday morning, a suicide bomber in a car loaded with hundreds of kilograms of explosives self-detonated outside a police station in Peshawar, killing at least six people and wounding 25.

It was the sixth suicide bomb attack in and around the provincial capital in eight days.

“These are religiously legitimate targets,” Azam Tariq, the spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban (Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan), said in a videotaped statement released over the Internet this weekend.
“The targets of the Tehrik-i-Taliban have always been clear: those state organizations who at the behest of the Americans target the Tehrik-i-Taliban and have the blood of our martyrs on their hands.”

He went on to deny responsibility for the twin suicide bombings at the International Islamic University in Islamabad and for the October 28 car bombing of a crowded Peshawar market, which killed more then 100 people.

“I want to make it clear to the Muslim world, especially Pakistan, that the bomb blasts targeting civilians are not the work of the mujahedeen,” Tariq said. “Instead, it is the work of Pakistan’s sinister secret organizations and Blackwater.”

He was referring to the controversial American security company formerly known as Blackwater, now Xe Services LLC.

Reports about the alleged and often unsubstantiated activities of U.S. security contractors have become the focus of much speculation and anger in the Pakistani media in recent weeks.

In response to such claims, Xe spokeswoman Stacy DeLuke said last week, “We have no contracts in Pakistan. Our competitor holds that WPPS (worldwide personal protection services) contract.

“We’ve been blamed for all that has gone wrong in Peshawar, none of which is true, since we have absolutely no presence there.”

DeLuke added: “Just as Kleenex has become the generic name for all tissues, we’ve become the generic name for all private contractors, regardless of truth or validity.”

In making his claims, Tariq read his statement before the camera, seated with his back to a tree in a mountainous area.

IRAQ14_CARBOMB_KK_136.jpgIn recent days, Taliban officials have called news organizations to contradict battlefield claims by the Pakistani military. More then four weeks ago, the Pakistani army mounted an offensive against the remote Taliban stronghold of South Waziristan. The army says it has killed hundreds of militants, a claim that cannot be independently verified. Pakistani authorities have banned foreign observers from the conflict zone.

More then 160,000 civilians have fled the fighting.

In a call to CNN on Saturday, Qari Hussein, the man thought to have masterminded the Taliban’s suicide bombing campaign, said only 14 militants had been killed in the four-week operation.

He claimed responsibility for a massive car bombing last Friday, which destroyed the entrance to the Pakistan spy agency’s headquarters in Peshawar. Hussein also vowed to carry out more bomb attacks, and to add Pakistani political parties that criticize the Taliban to his list of targets.

“Only time will tell who the real ruler of Waziristan will be,” Hussein said. “The government, the army or the Taliban.”

(News Sourced from: CNN)

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No plan for Pakistan - By Rafia Zakaria

By Rafia Zakaria

Since the release of Gen Stanley McChrystal’s report on the US effort in Afghanistan a few weeks ago, pundits and policymakers in Washington D.C. have been waiting with bated breath for the outcome of the war room briefings that have been taking place in the White House.

It was rumoured that the much-awaited decision regarding the provision of an additional 40,000 troops requested by Gen McChrystal, who is the top US commander in Afghanistan, would come in the footsteps of Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s acquiescence to holding run-off elections in early November. Yet even as Mr Karzai announced his support for the run-off elections, there was no sign of a decision from President Barack Obama’s camp regarding an increase in troop levels in Afghanistan.

Yet while administration officials ponder the onerous decision of whether to commit thousands of more troops to Afghanistan, there is little sign that anyone in the Obama administration has even been charged with the task of coming up with a strategy for Pakistan. While there has been applause in Washington for the Pakistani military following its recent offensive in Waziristan, there seems to be scant consensus as to what sort of national security dividends the United States expects to reap from the offensive.

One central source of confusion and division in Washington pivots on whether security objectives in the region must be directed towards the Taliban or Al Qaeda. The confusion between the two and the consequent paralysis it has instigated among those constructing Obama’s policy harks back to the fateful campaign slogans that painted Al Qaeda and not the militants among the Iraqis or the Afghans as America’s ‘real’ enemy.

As the Pakistan Army continues its offensive against the Taliban, it is thus this lingering question that once again haunts both the White House and Congress. The perplexity of their dilemma was highlighted at a congressional hearing held last week where military analyst Frederick Kagan insisted that the war against Al Qaeda also meant a war against its allies and proxies (the Taliban) while across town White House press secretary Robert Gibbs played down the threat posed by the Taliban saying: “Their capability is somewhat different (from that of Al Qaeda) on the continuum of transnational threats.”

The uncertainty of how to proceed on Pakistan is compounded by the inability of US analysts to distinguish between its nation-building efforts in Afghanistan — a relatively desolate land that has been ravaged by 30 years of war — and Pakistan, an increasingly urban nation of nearly 170 million, which has elements openly scoffing at US aid. The theme of ‘inter-connection’ of ‘AfPak’ has often misled officials with little geographical or socio-cultural understanding of the difference between the two countries into believing that they are crude extensions of each other.

Hence the assumption that throwing aid towards Pakistan would accomplish similar nation-building goals as has been pursued in Afghanistan and simultaneously buy the goodwill of the people. The vacuity of this superficial recipe was exposed by the public outcry in Pakistan following the Kerry-Lugar bill, when the intractability of buying hearts and minds with aid disbursements came into sharp focus.

Strategic complexities in arriving at a plan for Pakistan are compounded by political complications that arise from President Obama’s core constituency: the American left. Traditionally anti-war, they spent the campaign revelling in the fact that Obama — their dream candidate — had never supported the Iraq war. They thus remain ambivalent regarding the troop build-up in Afghanistan and utterly confounded as to where they should stand on Pakistan.

While some have admittedly come out against the drone attacks in Pakistan that have killed civilians, others are vexed at the possibility that their anti-war president may be dragged to a third front. Their current paralysis and the possibility that they may vehemently oppose an increased troop presence in the region suggest untold political costs for the Obama administration in the upcoming mid-term elections and could lead to further indecision on Pakistan.

In essence, the ongoing military operation launched by the Pakistan Army against the Taliban has effectively exposed a gaping chasm in US policy towards the region. In the months leading up to the recent offensive US officials such as Defence Secretary Robert Gates and even Centcom chief Gen David Petraeus presented a series of cataclysmic pronouncements urging the Pakistan military to take the Taliban threat seriously.

Yet now that the Pakistan Army has done exactly that it seems unclear what the US expects as the end-game of this battle. Its dithering on the issue of whether or not it will choose to have a stronger troop presence in Afghanistan and the confusion regarding whether its efforts will be directed against the Taliban or Al Qaeda represent deepening divisions and unclear objectives.

The conundrum is exacerbated further by the diminishing influence of Obama’s special envoys to the region on policy discussions regarding Afghanistan and Pakistan. The sidelining of special envoy Richard Holbrooke from discussions with President Karzai on the issue of run-off elections is yet another example of the fact that those actually negotiating with players in the region are losing crucial ground.

Ultimately, the absence of a cohesive US strategy towards Pakistan beyond urgings

to take the threat of the Taliban seriously is reflective of an omission that is likely to impose both political and strategic costs on the United States. For Pakistan, the war against the Taliban is territorial and directed specifically at gaining back control of specific regions. For the US, the connections drawn between its national security concerns and fighting territorial wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan are far more complex.

The evasive logic of these connections has become especially problematic when US policy towards Pakistan is exposed as a lurid hodgepodge of drone attacks, aid packages and diplomatic urgings to fight the Taliban. Given the already fragile relationship between the US and Pakistan, the absence of a comprehensive and clear plan towards the region does little to reassure Pakistanis that their status as American allies will continue in the years to come.

- The writer is an attorney and director at Amnesty International, USA. [email protected]

{Source: Dawn}

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Suicide terror keeps Pakistanis at home

After summer’s paralysing heat, most Pakistanis look forward to autumn’s balmy weather as a traditional time for picnics, leisurely meals and going out.

But the recent wave of suicide attacks and terror alerts is making families and shopkeepers nervous that their next visit to a restaurant or market in Pakistan’s capital could end in carnage.

‘We don’t go anywhere, this is not a situation for moving around or going to markets and other public places,’ said Bushra Tayyeb, a housewife in Islamabad.

‘We can’t go out to eat, to the cinema or for a picnic. My kids are getting bored at home, we’re thinking of moving abroad,’ she said.

While her 12-year-old son Danish is attending classes again after schools closed for almost a week following the suicide attack on an Islamabad university, he has been upset by the disruption. Meanwhile, thousands of children at private schools are still at home.

‘I can’t study well. I can’t go watch a movie or play in the park, I don’t know what is happening with me and this country,’ Danish said.

‘I want to enjoy my life like before. I want to move freely. I can’t sit at home,’ he said, urging the government to provide protection.

Most Pakistanis mock Islamabad as an entertainment desert compared with Karachi, which never sleeps, and Lahore, feted for its cultural sophistication, and the fear has hit restaurant and shop staff with a new malaise.

‘We were busy working until 1:00 am a few weeks back, but now we hardly make our bread and butter because people are not going out these days,’ said Haseeb Abbasi, a waiter at a roadside burger stand.

The shopping complex over the road was once a crowded hangout for youngsters but, Abbasi says, few linger there now.

Western fast-food outlets in particular fear that their US connections make them more susceptible to attack by militants.

The military’s 12-day ground and air offensive against sanctuaries of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, which has claimed responsibility for most of the recent attacks, has only compounded fears.

‘We have lost 50 to 60 per cent of our customers in the last few days. It is all because of suicide attacks and the South Wazirstan operation,’ said Muhammad Shabbir, manager of Islamabad’s KFC.

Attacks are nothing new in Islamabad. The most spectacular — a truck bomb killed at least 60 people at the Marriott Hotel in September 2008 — led to an exodus of many foreigners.

Pakistanis have steered clear of fast-food chains for months and the metal scanners manned by guards at restaurant doors fail to reassure them.

‘We’re going to deploy more security guards and install hidden cameras but this doesn’t guarantee that nothing will happen. If a suicide bomber decides to strike here, nothing can stop him,’ Shabbir said.

Frightened shopkeepers say they feel like sitting ducks.

‘Not only are customers staying away due to security fears but we face the same threat. Anybody looking like a customer can come and explode inside our shop,’ said Mansoor Nazir, a salesman at a clothing store.

Anger is rising against the government and the security services who fail to provide adequate protection.

‘Their duty is to protect us but they can’t even place barriers and security pickets in the right places,’ said Nazir.

Policemen, who are poorly paid and lack training, liken their task to trying to find a needle in a haystack.

‘We’re here to search for terrorists and suicide bombers but it is hard to check thousands of passengers and their cars,’ said Muhammad Hamraz, a police constable in charge of a checkpoint on a major thoroughfare.

‘A suicide bomber can strike the middle of this queue, but we come to work fully prepared for death because there is no alternative,’ he said.

{Source: Dawn}

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‘ISI wants US to back Karzai’

The ISI is urging the US to continue to work with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, says a prominent Washington Post columnist who visited the agency’s headquarters in Islamabad last week.

The ISI believes that despite ‘all his imperfections, Mr Karzai has one essential quality that American strategists lack — he’s an Afghan,’ writes David Ignatius.

ISI officials suggest that Mr Karzai should capitalise on the post-election ferment by calling for a ceasefire so that he can form a broadly-based government that includes some Taliban representatives.

The ISI fears that a US military surge in Afghanistan would be counter-productive but it also believes that a US pullout would endanger Pakistan as well, writes Mr Ignatius.

He says the ISI is keenly debating a new US strategy for Afghanistan proposed by the top US and Nato commander in Kabul, Gen Stanley McChrystal.

‘The ISI leadership thinks the US can’t afford to lose in Afghanistan, and it worries that a security vacuum there would endanger Pakistan,’ Mr Ignatius writes. ‘But it also fears a big military surge could be counter-productive.’

According to him, ISI officials believe the US should be realistic about its war objectives. If victory is defined as obliteration of the Taliban, the US will never win. But the US can achieve the more limited aim of rough political stability, if it is patient.

In the ISI’s view, the US makes a mistake in thinking it must solve every problem on its own.

ISI officials say they want to help the US with political reconciliation in Afghanistan, but they argue that to achieve this goal, the US must change its posture — moving from ‘ruler mode’ to ‘support mode’ — so that Afghan voices can be heard.

‘The American suspicion that the ISI is withholding information about the Taliban, or is otherwise ‘hedging its bets,’ makes ISI leaders visibly angry,’ writes Mr Ignatius.

ISI officials argue that Pakistanis have the most to lose from a Taliban victory in Kabul, because it would inevitably strengthen the Taliban in Pakistan.

As for US suspicion that Pakistan secretly pulls the Taliban’s strings, ‘that is many years out of date,’ they say.

Mr Ignatius writes that talking with ISI leaders, he was reminded that these ‘people want to help the US more than Americans sometimes think. But they want to be treated with respect — as full partners, not as useful CIA assets. Trust is limited, but where the US and Pakistan share common interests, the opportunities are real.’

The ISI agreed to ‘open its protective curtain slightly’ for Mr Ignatius last week. This unusual outreach included a long conversation with Lieutenant General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the agency’s director-general, as well as a briefing from its counter-terrorism experts.

Mr Ignatius notes that at an operational level, the ISI is a close partner of the CIA. Officers of the two services ‘work together nearly every night’ on joint operations against Al Qaeda in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

‘But on the political level, there is mistrust on both sides. The US worries that the ISI is not sharing all it knows about Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan. The Pakistanis, meanwhile, view the US as an unreliable ally that starts fights it does not know how to finish.’

{Source: Dawn}

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ISI still protecting Mullah Omar: Report

Parts of ISI are supporting Taliban and protecting their chief Mullah Omar and other militant leaders in Pakistan’s Quetta city, where US officials have discussed sending commandos to capture or kill the terrorists, a media report said on Sunday.

The US is threatening to launch air strikes against Mullah Omar and the Taliban leadership in Quetta as frustration mounts about the ease with which they find sanctuary across the border from Afghanistan, ‘The Sunday Times’ reported.

The threat comes amid growing divisions in Washington about whether to deal with the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan by sending more troops or by reducing them and targeting the terrorists.

According to the report, US vice-president Joe Biden has suggested reducing the number of troops in Afghanistan and focusing on the Taliban and al-Qaida in Pakistan.

Quoting western intelligence officers, the report said Taliban leaders are being moved to the volatile city of Karachi, where it would be impossible to strike. It said US officials have even discussed sending commandos to Quetta to capture or kill the Taliban leaders before they are moved.

It said while the government of President Asif Ali Zardari is committed to wiping out terrorism, Pakistan’s powerful military does not entirely share the view.

There has been tacit cooperation over the use of US drones. Some are even stationed inside Pakistan, although publicly the government denounces their use, the report said.

{Source: Times of India}

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Shiv Sena activists burn Pakistan flag in Amritsar

PKonweb Monitor

Outraged over the rocket firing incident on Friday night in Attari Sector of Punjab’s Amritsar district, a group of Shiv Sena (Hindustan) activists on Sunday burnt Pakistan’s national flag in Amritsar, eastern Punjab.here.

A number of activists assembled at the Hathi Gate Chowk of Amritsar and burnt Pakistan’s national flag.

The protestors said that they burnt the Pakistan’s national flag to express their anguish and register protest against the rockets allegedly lobbed from the Pakistani soil into Indian territory.

Islamabad has denied being behind the incident and followed it up with a flag meeting with India to resolve the issue.

Carrying a banner in their hands, the Shiv Sena activists shouted anti-Pakistan slogans also.

Protestors demanded that the Government of India should force Pakistan to stop anti-India activities immediately.

Ajay Seth, President of the Shiv Sena (H), said that it is Pakistan’s nefarious designs always have an affect on the peace initiatives that it urges time and again to take with India.

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MERAY MUTABIQ with Dr. Shahid Masood SEP 13

Special episode with Mushahid Hussain Syed (Secy Gen PML-Q) on what consists of the establishment, how permanent it is, its past role, present and future role in the country, etc. A must watch!

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Political Islam and ISI

By Andre Gerolymatos

The crisis in the Middle East has inadvertently overshadowed the greater crisis in South Asia where the conflict between Pakistan and India can easily accelerate into a nuclear confrontation. Underlying the tensions that have plagued the relations of these two countries is religious zealotry and the ongoing territorial dispute over Kashmir.

In the case of Pakistan, religious militancy (as manifested by political Islam) will certainly aggravate the precarious truce between Pakistan and India. Currently, Pakistan is a thinly veiled democracy and for most of its existence it has been ruled by the military. However, unlike Turkey, in which the military has been the bulwark of secularism, in Pakistan the army is the medium by which political Islam is rapidly taking over the country.

The roots of this state of affairs reach back into the British Raj and are the byproduct of divide-and-rule policies of colonialism. It was British policy beginning in the late 19th century to enlist Indian soldiers from the so-called “martial races” of the Northwestern Frontier.

The British believed that the northern regions of India were populated by “warlike and hardy races,” while the south was composed of “effeminate peoples.” The British colonial authorities in India deliberately kept the northern areas un-industrialized and under-educated to protect their recruiting base and keep the “martial races” from engaging in other pursuits and occupations.

As a result of the ‘martial races’ recruitment policy, a disproportionate number of South Asian soldiers and officers were recruited from Muslim and Sikh tribes. After Pakistan’s creation in 1947, successive Pakistani governments continued to recruit from the same geographical regions, following the British policy of cultivating the “martial races.”

During the 1980s three-quarters of the Pakistan Army was recruited from three districts in the Punjab and two from the Northwest Frontier Province; areas that collectively represent only nine per cent of the population. These recruits also served in Pakistan’s intelligence service (the ISI) and the fact that they have family and tribal ties in the troubled northwest region of Pakistan has created a unique relationship for Pakistan’s intelligence establishment with the northwest frontier. In the early 1980s, for example, general Akhtar Abdur Rahman, the director of ISI was, like many Pakistani officers, a Pashtun from Peshawar on the Afghan frontier. In 1987, Gen. Hamid Gul, a devout Muslim from the Punjab with close ties to the Saudis, replaced him as head of the ISI. Both men owed their appointments to Mohammed Zia-ul-Haq, Pakistan’s dictator after 1977, who also came from the Punjab.

Zia’s regime was given legitimacy by the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. The ensuing jihad against the Soviets created the ideal environment for Pakistan to intervene directly in Afghanistan — with the connivance of the United States.

When the Americans decided to take on the Soviets in the region they also opted to work through Pakistan’s intelligence community. Under this arrange-ment, funding was channeled through the ISI to the mujahedeen. The ISI, in turn, used Pakistani Islamic organizations and parties to build up militant Islamist movements in Afghanistan.

The power and influence of the ISI within Pakistan has continued to grow after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan as well as its contacts with radical Islamic organizations. The triangular link between the Pakistan government, the ISI, and fundamentalist mujahedeen continued under Benazir Bhutto. Bhutto’s government was directly involved in infiltrating Taliban recruits into Afghanistan in the 1990s, while Bhutto claimed that Pakistan was merely returning Afghan refugees to their homeland.

The direct links between Pakistan’s government and the ISI continued after Bhutto. Several key members of Musharraf’s military regime, which came to power in 1999, including Musharraf himself, were also officers in the ISI.

The ISI has been directly involved with the formation and ongoing support of the Taliban. By 1993 the Taliban had become a formidable force with direct ties to the ISI and through it access to recruits from Pakistan’s religious schools.

The ISI’s deliberate entanglement with the Taliban and other extreme groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba has made political Islam a major factor in Pakistan. The ISI — created by the British, nurtured by the Americans and the Saudis — has become a serious impediment to Pakistan’s social and political evolution. The events in Mumbai in 2008 have demonstrated that parts of the ISI are now almost interchangeable with extreme Islamic organizations. (The Vancouver Sun)

Andre Gerolymatos is professor of Hellenic Studies at Simon Fraser University and blogs on The Vancouver Sun’s Community of Interest.

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MERAY MUTABIQ with Shahid Masood: SEP 12 ‘09

Guest: Shamshad Ahmed Khan who was foreign secretary at the time of Kargil conflict, May 1998 Nuclear Tests, Taliban coming into power and its recognition. Says decisions are still being made outside the country

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DO TOK with Mazhar Abbas on ARY: SEP 12

Gen (R) Asad Durrani gives a no-holds-barred and candid interview to Mazhar Abbas on the latest episode of Do Tok on ARY. Durrani said there never exisited in ISI any political wing nor was its involvement in politics or influencing country politics was ever part of its charter but it still did on the theory of managing and controlling or influencing “internal stability” issues by removing “difficulties” he said.

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Najam Sethi and Moeed Pirzada discuss President Zardari’s one year of performance including his political highs and lows, mistakes and achievements.

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Muslim Singles, Matrimonial, Shaadi and Marriage Introductions Online - SingleMuslim.com

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  • MERAY MUTABIQ with Dr. Shahid Masood: Nov 21
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    A MUST WATCH: Govt publishes NRO beneficiary list as Nov 28 approaches when NRO will expire. Guests: Roedad Khan (Ex-Bureaucrat), Ansar Abbasi (Analyst), Md Saleh Zafir (Analyst)

  • SAWAL YEH HAI with Dr. Danish: Nov 21
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  • DUNYA TODAY with Dr. Moeed Pirzada: Nov 21
    November 22, 2009 | 1:30 am

    A MUST WATCH: Dr Maleeha Lodhi’s interview on Gen James Jones (Natl Security Advisor to Obama) delivery of Obama’s special letter to President Zardari asking Pakistan to take on the Afghan Taliban who attack US forces inside Afghanistan from Pakistan’s tribal areas.

  • TONIGHT with Najam Sethi: Nov 21
    November 22, 2009 | 1:19 am

    A MUST WATCH: Najam Sethi holds a no-holds-barred discussion with Gen. (R) Rashid Qureshi (Ex-DG ISPR) who later became spokesman of Gen (R) Musharraf until the end.

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