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Archive for November, 2009

Posted by yourpakistan on November 29, 2009


An interesting and thought provoking article from an Indian writer, Shivani Mohan, where she discusses the human side of soldiers and mentions a beautiful incident in 1965 when Pakistani soldiers had captured Indian territory and a whole village evacuated in face of advancing Pakistani troops, leaving behind 3 elderly Indian citizens. The two elderly men and a woman were well looked after by the Pakistani soldiers until ceasefire was declare and the three were joined by their families.


Shivani Mohan

The trilateral talks between the United States, Pakistan and Afghanistan in Washington recently ended with a renewed avowal to obliterate terror networks. Pakistan has shown concrete steps on ground destroying the Taleban headquarters in Swat, a move that should be lauded internationally. The Pakistani Army is fighting one of its toughest internal wars ever. Fighting one’s own people is in no way easier than fighting conventional wars.

There is the unseen specter of civilian casualties to be dealt with. The US drone attacks in many regions of Pakistan have killed more than 700 innocent civilians. Drone attacks bring about visions of a huge disinfectant pump, flying in the air, emotionless and sterile; ruthlessly eliminating colonies of ants and cockroaches below. But people are not insects. In Afghanistan almost 2000 people have perished due to US led attacks last year. The UNHCR has estimated that almost a million civilians are going to be displaced in this operation. To add to this humanitarian crisis, President Obama announced that 20,000 more troops are going to be deployed in Afghanistan. One wonders what happens to the power dynamics of an already disturbed region when such a large number of armed men are further pumped into it. China is one country that has categorically expressed concern over such a large American military presence in the region.

So what would these additional 20,000 troops bring to the region? More death and destruction. War after all is so ugly and sordid.

Imtiaz Dharker, a Pakistan born poet married to an Indian, puts it so beautifully in the poem ‘Battle-line’ from her book ‘Purdah.’ She speaks here of a marriage, though her imagery is that of a war. It could almost be evocative of the mis-marriage India and Pakistan have shared for years:

Did you expect dignity?
All you see is bodies
Crumpled carelessly, and thrown away
The arms and legs are never arranged
Heroically…..
….the body becomes a territory
shifting across uneasy sheet….
These two countries lie
Hunched against each other
distrustful lovers
who have fought bitterly
and turned their backs….

But has India tuned its back? Are we immune to what’s happening there? No. India may be preoccupied with the elections right now but we welcome the proactive measures taken by Pakistan. Better late than never. A safe Pakistan definitely means a safe India and the region. And even though our soldiers have mostly fought against each other, India appreciates what the Pakistani Army is doing today to rid the region and the world of its biggest threat. At the same time, no matter which country they belong to, soldiers are people-human and fallible. I have grown surrounded by soldiers all my life— my father, husband, father-in-law and a maternal uncle are all army officers — and have had the privilege of seeing their loving, nurturing sides. I have known army men who sing, dance and make merry, who cook a mean curry and start spewing poetry after the third drink. Men who are gallant and chivalrous, who open doors and offer chairs to ladies. Men who have cried over a break-up; and wept bitterly the day they got their first ‘kill.’

It is difficult for me to perceive how ruthless these men would have been in battle situations. I have known them as gentlemen. Would they be capable of cold-blooded killing? Would they cease to be chivalrous the moment they enter a ‘war zone?’ Could they gouge another human clinically, not flinching as he lay dead, oozing blood? Of course, a man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do. I am not saying that soldiers should give up their guns and become artists or poets. But I am sure being in touch with their feminine sides, makes better soldiers and gentlemen out of them. I know that ‘courage under fire’ is important. But so is ‘grace under fire.’

One of my most avid readers is Munir Ishrat, a retired Colonel from the Pakistani Army. Here’s something that he once wrote to me.

“I want to share a thought with you because you belong to a family that knows well the pros and cons of wars. I, too, have fought two wars – 1965 and 1971 – as an officer of the Pakistan Army. I would like to tell you that very few of the soldiers who have fought wars really like war. War is not a good thing. This is true. And I am sure even on your side of the fence the hatred against war will be no less. Soldiers fight wars because they have to respond to their call of duty. Defending their country’s honour and sovereignty is their primary job — irrespective of the nation or the country they belong to. But they are human beings, too.

Let me quote an incident of 1965 War. I was a young officer and part of a force that had captured some Indian territory on the night of 6th September following the Indian forces attack in Lahore Sector earlier in the day. We found on the next morning that everyone had left the nearby village, leaving behind three old inmates — two men and a woman. They had somehow survived the shelling and fighting of the previous night and had to stay back due to their old age. You may not believe it but our troops looked after the three old people very properly for the rest of the period of the War. I myself used to fill their buckets with water from a hand pump and carry it to their homes during the lull in shelling. They were to us fellow human beings and not just Indian citizens! No body thought of harming them. The feelings on their faces when they were being handed over to the Indian officials after the ceasefire told a lot about their gratitude.”

I know Munir is a thorough gentleman. I only wish that a majority of the troops deployed in the Afghanistan-Pakistan border are the kind of gentlemen that I have known army men to be. But drones are something else. They are not even in touch with their human sides. Drone attacks are not manned by fathers, brothers, sons and uncles. Drones would not know these things even in a million years.

Shivani Mohan is an India-based
writer. She can be reached at
smshivanimohan@gmail.com

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Be Warned, Manmohan Singh

Posted by yourpakistan on November 26, 2009


What is Indian prime minister’s business to question if the Pakistani military is under presidential control or not? India is worried because its eight-year old investment in fostering terror from the Afghan soil is coming out in the open. Pakistan has irrefutable evidence of Indian-sponsored terrorism in Afghanistan. Pakistan is also conducting a transparent probe into the Mumbai attacks in comparison to India’s confused investigations where it is trying to hide terror links that lead to a nexus of its own military intelligence and Hindu religious groups.

The Indian Prime Minister is setting new records for aggravating the already strained environment between Pakistan and India. He has now decided to hold forth on issues that have nothing to do with India, but everything to do with Pakistan’s internal and external relations.

Holding forth on an issue which is none of his business, he declares he is not sure whether the President of Pakistan is in control of the armed forces. He has also raised objections to the Pakistan-US relationship and asserted that Pakistan objectives may not be the same as US objectives in Afghanistan.

Maybe he knows something about US objectives that we in Pakistan do not. Otherwise how can the Pakistani objective of seeing a stable, democratic Afghanistan not be in line with US aims for that country?

And let us not forget the old Indian mantra of Pakistan “not doing enough” on Mumbai.  Clearly, the Indian leadership is hitting out at Pakistan because the Pakistani leadership is finally doing some plain talking regarding India’s role in fanning terrorism in Balochistan and FATA – with the apparent blessings of the US which is allowing India to conduct these covert operations from Afghan soil – a country presently occupied by the Americans and NATO.

Pakistan’s foreign minister has finally minced no words on this questionable Indian role in Pakistan in an interview to the German Press Agency (DPA). Given the central role of the Germans with NATO in Afghanistan, it is time the people of that country realized who is supporting the militants in Pakistan and by default in Afghanistan also. This is what India is afraid of: That soon there will be increasing pressure on the US to curb India’s clandestine activities through Afghanistan into Pakistan’s sensitive provinces of NWFP and Balochistan as well as in FATA. The evidence against India is mounting up with Indian-origin weapons now having been caught. So India is hitting out at Pakistan in all directions.

This is unfortunate because it cannot hide Indian culpability in acts of terror in Pakistan. Nor can its histrionics on Mumbai detract from the fact that Pakistan is not only progressing on the Mumbai case despite Indian non-cooperation in terms of hard evidence and delayed dossiers, it has adopted a fair degree of transparency on the investigations. This is in contrast to India’s refusal to act against the Hindu extremists known to have been involved in the Samjota Express terror carnage.

It is time the US informed its strategic partner’s leadership, the belligerent Manmohan Singh who is presently in Washington, that it simply cannot afford to continue its bellicosity towards Pakistan if it wants peace and progress in the region. The two nuclear states have to move towards dialogue and India must do a reality check unless it has a deliberate design to keep the region destabilized.

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No One Can Seperate Islam and Pakistan: General Kayani

Posted by yourpakistan on November 25, 2009


 

Pakistan Army Chief

Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has said that Pakistan was achieved in the name of Islam and the religion can never be expelled from the country. Addressing a gathering at Police Line Peshawar here, the COAS said that no one can separate Islam from Pakistan as the country was achieved in Islam’s name.

This comes after MQM, ANP and PPP said that they wanted to change the name of Pakistan from Islamic Republic of Pakistan to Peoples Republic of Pakistan. He said that Pakistan Army will succeed in its bid to root out extremism from the country in cooperation with the nation and the media. Announcing Rs 20 million for the martyrs of NWFP Police, Gen. Kayani said that the all kinds of needed weapons and ammunitions would be provided to police to make its progress better.

Earlier, Chief of Army Staff General was received by Corps Commander Lt. Gen. Muhammad Masood Aslam at Peshawar Airport when he arrived here on a day-long visit on Wednesday.  He will also visited Lady Reading Hospital to express solidarity with the bomb blast victims. The Army Chief is schedule to meet Governor NWFP Owais Ahmad Ghani, Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti, tribal elders and students later in the day.

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The Doctrine of Divide and Rule

Posted by yourpakistan on November 24, 2009


The Divide and Conquer Strategy enables one power to break another into smaller, more manageable pieces, and then take control of those pieces one by one. It generally takes a very strong power to implement divide and conquer strategy. In order to successfully break up another power or government, the conqueror must have access to strong political, military, and economic machines. In reality, it often refers to a strategy where small power groups are prevented from linking up and becoming more powerful, since it is difficult to break up existing power structures.

The use of this technique is meant to empower the sovereign to control subjects, populations, or factions of different interests, who collectively might be able to oppose his rule.

Typical elements of this technique are said to involve:

1. Creating or encouraging divisions among the subjects in order to forestall alliances that could
challenge the  sovereign.

2.  Aiding and promoting those who are willing to cooperate with the sovereign.

3.  Fostering distrust and enmity between local rulers.

4.  Encouraging frivolous expenditures that leave little money for political and military ends.

Roman, British and old French Republic are known to have used this technique to rule their vast empires. In the current world US deploys similar tactics. This strategy allows the sovereign power to maintain control of other territories with a minimal number of imperial forces. The British did so to gain control of the large territory of India by keeping its people divided along lines of religion, language, or caste.

In his historical survey Constantine’s Sword, James P. Carroll writes,

“Typically, imperial powers depend on the inability of oppressed local populations to muster a unified resistance, and the most successful occupiers are skilled at exploiting the differences among the occupied. Certainly that was the story of the British Empire‘s success, and its legacy of nurtured local hatreds can be seen wherever the Union Flag flew, from MuslimHindu hatred in Pakistan and India, to CatholicProtestant hatred in Ireland, to, yes, JewArab, hatred in modern Israel. [Ancient] Rome was as good at encouraging internecine resentments among the occupied as Britain ever was.”

The British Empire was a master of this strategy. In Sudan they neglected southern Sudan and purposefully left it under-developed and did not include southern Sudanese in governance. The disparity between the North and South helped lead to the First and Second Sudanese Civil Wars. In Nigeria, regions were frequently reclassified for administrative purposes. The British used conflict between “Igbo” and “Hausa” to consolide their own power in the region. Regional, ethnic, and religious splits remain a barrier to uniting Nigeria to-date.British also kept the Greek Cypriot majority and Turkish Cypriot minority of the island separate and discourage intermingling. By doing this, British hoped and succeeded to strengthen their hold on this strategically important colony. Today, two British Sovereign Base Areas are found in Cyprus and the divide et impera effects endure as the Cyprus dispute.

Germany and Belgium both ruled Rwanda and Burundi in a colonial capacity. Germany first put “Tutsi “minority in power over the “Hutu”. Belgium re- defined “Tutsi” as anyone with more than ten cows or a long nose, while “Hutu” meant someone with less than ten cows and a broad nose. The socioeconomic divide between Tutsis and Hutus continued after independence and was a major factor in the Rwandan Genocide.

Israel has supported Kurdish groups in Iraq, Syria, and Iran. The Israeli foreign-intelligence agency, Mossad, has allegedly conducted covert operations in Kurdish areas such as by training Kurdish guerrillas (or terrorists) to reduce the power of anti-Israeli governments. During Israel‘s occupation of southern Lebanon, Israel installed the South Lebanon Army, a Christian-led proxy militia, to manage a 12-mile wide occupied zone along the border. Israel supplied the SLA with arms and resources to fight Lebanese resistance forces led by Hizbullah. Israel also used the Phalange as a proxy militia to fight Shia Lebanese and the Palestine Liberation Organization. This partly resulted in the infamous Sabra and Shatila Massacre, in which hundreds, if not thousands, of Palestinian refugees and Lebanese Muslims were killed by Christian Phalangists, while the Israeli Defense Force surrounded the camps.

Education plays a vital role in intellectual upbringing of a nation. The educational system and the academic courses incorporated in syllubi play a  pivotal role in moulding the character, thought process and morals of a nation. British understood this well and deviced a master plan to demoralize their colony states by restructuring their educational systems and revising the syllubi taught in such instituitons to raise a generation of mental slaves who saw Britian as their rulers and idols. They invested heavily in the subcontinent on this project, the remains of which, we can still see in our country in shape of schools, colleges and universities built by the British. This massive and expensive campaign was carried out to enforce English doctrine into young Indian minds to achieve their ulterior motives. India was a rich country, the “Jewel of British crown”, and they did not intend to leave it the way they did. Their educational reforms were therefore not an unfruitful investment for them. Muslim scholars of that era saw through their evil intentions and resisted it, but, the forceful implementation of these plans renderred the muslim ulema helpless and muslims eventually surrendered to this system under Sir Syed’s leadership.

In 1835, Thomas Macaulay articulated the goals of British colonial imperialism most clearly:

“I have travelled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such caliber, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace the old and ancient education system, her culture, because if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native self-culture and they will become what we want them to be, a truly dominated nation.”

He explained his evil educational  reform design saying,

“We must do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern, a class of persons Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, words and intellect.”

As the architect of Colonial Britain’s Educational Policy in India, Thomas Macaulay was to set the tone for what educated Indians were going to learn about themselves, their civilization, and their view of Britain and the world around them. An arch-racist, Thomas Macaulay had nothing but scornful disdain for Indian history and civilization.

Islamic Radicalism was also supported and fueled by US against Communists on the same lines. But as judicial model of Islamic Shariah, implemented by Mullah Umer in Afghanistan gained popularity and started spreading like wild fire, the west started seeing it as a threat to their own democratic system and flawed judicial model. They thence, devised a plan to implement their succesful model of divide and rule to control the spread of islamic ideals in the now nuclear Pakistan. This was achieved by creating a divide within the muslim population of this region on ethnical and sectarian lines. US/Israel nexus sponsored the formation of now well-known tehreek-e-taliban Pakistan, named such to serve dual purpose of giving the jihadi afghan taliban a bad name and to create a communal hatred between the Pashtuns of Pakistan and their state. The divide and rule doctrine involves support of minority groups and oppressed classes against majority or the state. Israel sent Islamic literature and trained personnel to brainwash the religious Pashtuns of this region by providing twisted interpretations of quran and hadith and fueling their emotional vehemence by reminding them about the injustice and oppression of the state against them.

This is not the first time these rifts have been created and riots incited by foreign elements in Pakistan. MQM came into being by fueling the grude of the suppressed urdu speaking population of Karachi against the government. Foreign elements masterminded this movement and supplied them with arms and monatary support to start an armed resistance against the state. The Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) was also created and supported following similar agenda. BLA head office was incidentally found to be in Israel. (printed on their letterhead and their website and revealed by the media in recent past. )

Muslims are an extremely emotional nation, our enemy knows this and uses our sentiments to our disadvantage. We have to learn as a nation to channel this passion in the right direction and use wisdom to understand the enemy’s game and not be played with. For this, we have to identify our enemy, and not quarrel with our Muslim brethren whose grudges are being provoked to fury, and are being exploited by our foes. They incite hatred in the hearts of our Pashtun and Baloch brothers and fuel them with umbrage and revenge. The west has centuries old doctrine of “divide and rule” which they have successfully tested several times, and Muslims have an equally long history of falling for the same trap again and again. It is time that we accept our faults, recognize the injustice we might have perpetrated upon our disheartened friends and seek forgiveness for our acts. This is not the time to exhibit arrogance and power, instead it is time to share love and nurse the wounds of our Muslim brothers. We need to unite under the flag of Islam and defeat the enemy at its purpose. For this, we will have to use our acumen to make good judgment about our enemy’s next moves. We can achieve this by seeking guidance from quran and hadith. Our beloved prophet (SAW) has prophesized many of the events. We have to develop the wisdom to understand these prophecies and use them to our advantage.

[Komal Hashimi]

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Pakistan ‘Please Rise’

Posted by yourpakistan on November 24, 2009


 

We are in the middle of difficulties. These difficulties are of a gargantuan nature. Never has Pakistan experienced so acutely, a vacuum of leadership with an all encompassing lack of credibility and trust deficit. Never have the masses had such complete lack of faith in its leaders because of their scant respect for values. What was wrong yesterday has become correct today and worse, that which, until now was wrong is defended by those, who are expected to set examples for the future. This is not just about Terrorism and religious intolerance. It is about the hypocrisy of the leaders, the peak of which seems nowhere in sight. It is about the lack of political will to do the ‘One Right Thing’. What is lacking is the will to do what is accepted to be the norm in civilized countries; democracies or dictatorships alike.

All of this is, unfortunately happening at the same time. What we are facing now is unprecedented. ‘Are we a failed state? Is, on the mind of every ordinary person. Some one said, ‘In the Middle of difficulty lies opportunity’. Can this be true? Can it be made possible? Can Pakistan rebound from the depth of the moral and institutional decay? These are questions which should be on the mind of every thinking person and the leadership in particular. Are they?

But what is on the mind of the leadership 24 seven? Power distribution and power sharing. What do the discussions revolve around? Pick up any newspaper or tune in to any channel and the answer is self evident. Is there any effort to lift the nation out of its economic and social depression? Is there any effort to motivate a budding young generation towards constructive nation building? Is there any effort to enforce the rule of law? Are there any efforts to provide social and legal justice except to a few elite?

Why has our nation not come out of this circular game of musical chairs in which one power holder bequeaths to another; not institutions or moral foundations of a healthy society but downward spiraling decadence?

It is important to understand Pakistan’s current dilemma? This is a dilemma of deep contradictions. Does democracy come first or does governance come first? Some of these contradictions relate to values being sacrificed so as to save a democracy which has never existed. This democracy will never come into existence until we raise the bar of our moral standards and learn to do, the ‘One Right Thing’.

While expounding and propagating the slogan ‘Save democracy’ we have compromised values and imperceptibly, but surely, set standards, the bar of which has gone down. It has dropped to the level of those who are at the lowest rung of ethical and moral standards. What is sad , this is being accepted by our civil society.

It should never be so, if we aim to come out of this morass. The civil society and the nation must rise and say ‘NO’. A Big NO’ to everything which violates the fundamentals of what our religion lays down for high moral standards. We should do the right thing in circumstances favorable or not so congenial. Expediency has to be subordinated for upholding higher values even if it is at the cost of party or individual interest.

What is happening is quite the contrary. The leaders ‘Claim endlessly that the worst democracy is better than the best dictatorship’. Unfortunately, the price being paid to uphold this slogan and the sacrifices that they have to make to prove this acceptable to the people, seems to be of no concern to them. One compromise after the other is the norm of the day. This is a cloak which has been worn for years; to cover and protect corrupt governance.

The truth is that there can be no democracy unless there is good governance. Bad governance implies; back to any other form of Government which provides good governance. Rule of law and governance must address the needs of the people not just a few. No nation or individual can develop unless there is a self analysis and a corrective mechanism to set things right. Where does our nation stand today? Our nation did not raise a voice when it elected a President via the NRO route? It claimed democracy was strengthened.

1. Is it now, not a pity, that ‘Two years down the road it looks back and realizes NRO sets the moral clock back. Let us move the clock fast forward and get rid of the NRO’. Why was it not thought of in the first place asks a bewildered nation.

2. Is it not a Pity for our nation that its leaders negotiate a NRO in which corruption of the elite is condoned?

3. Is it not a pity for our nation that its leaders accept the NRO, so as to be pardoned under the NRO, knowing fully well, it would be honorable to be acquitted by the Courts. Notwithstanding the fact that the NRO, is rejected in totality by the Nation, they boast, they have accepted the NRO for democracy.

4. Is it not a pity that the Government stoutly defends Kerry Lugar Bill in which there are highly objectionable clauses. Coincidentally the same clauses are identical to a page in the book written by the nation’s Ambassador himself a beneficiary. Although this bill humiliates the people, the Government says ‘democracy will be strengthened’.

5. Is it not a Pity for the nation that the judiciary allows a General to make amendments to the Constitution and stay on as President in uniform?

6. Is it not a pity that they take oath on the PCO. When a reference is sent against ‘One’; the judiciary suddenly realizes there is no justice in the country, forgets about the reference and turns its back on the same President. Promises are made on oath about quick justice to the litigants ‘many of whom have died waiting’ for these “Golden Words’.

7. Pity the nation in which the ‘Big PCO kings’ issue contempt notices to ‘Small PCO princes’ who took oath on another PCO. It is now ‘PCO 1 versus PCO 2’.The battle of the powerful versus the powerless rages while the country fights a war on terror.

8. Is it not a pity that the nation fights a war on terror and extremism but many of its Madrassahs, spit hatred against other sects. The religious parties and the Government looks the other way.

9. Is it not a pity for our nation that its billionaire former PM’s/Presidents declare that they have taken loans from their family members to make a living. The people who have visited the palaces of these poor billionaires, are aghast.

10. Is it not a pity that the media asks Hillary Clinton to tell them if their ISI chief should be a civilian or from the Army. This media then seeks people’s votes on the ISI chief selection, through SMS.

11. Is it not a pity for our nation that the leaders who are now pursuing a war in Swat and Waziristan, were calling the same war a U Turn, when they were in opposition. They trumpeted fighting the extremists and Murderous Taliban, a U Turn but now they clarify, this is ‘To save Democracy and their way of life’.Is it not a pity for our nation that the media which demands action against terrorists and Lal Masjid operatives declares them innocent after the action and condemn the action.

12.Some so called popular leaders and the media idolize the extremists for a very long time. The leaders/courts release the arrested ring leaders from jail. They take a U turn when their own lives and property are attacked and Sufi Mohd, their erstwhile hero, attacks the Constitution, civil liberties and democracy. He is arrested and promptly released.

13. Is it not a pity that the leaders are unable to make basic commodities and utilities available but refrain from changing the lifestyles and do not visibly make any cuts in expenditures.

14. Is it not a pity those accused by Air Marshal Asghar Khan, in a corruption scandal case popularly known as the IJI scandal are not tried and the case remains pending and buried. He runs from pillar to post to get the case heard in the Supreme Court but to no avail.”

15. Is it not a pity that the nation re-elects the ruling elite which created the conditions, exploited by  and other hostile forces, to create Bangladesh.

16. Is it not a pity that the nation does not stand up’ even when, ‘ Ninety-eight per cent of the population is in a state of despair, frustration and has lost hope. The wealthy 2 per cent, armed with foreign passports and visas with huge wealth stashed abroad, are ready to leave the country any time’.

And as says ,Khalil Gibran

Pity the nation that welcomes its new ruler with trumpeting, and farewells him with hooting, only to welcome another with trumpeting again Pity the nation whose sages are dumb with years and whose strong men are yet in the cradle.Pity the nation divided into fragments, each fragment deeming itself a nation.

 

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Who Messed Up Afghanistan: Pakistan Or The United States?

Posted by yourpakistan on November 23, 2009


‘It is Pakistan that needs to complain, and complain loudly’

An Interview with Ahmed Quraishi, by Jason Miks

The Diplomat

The Diplomat speaks with Pakistani commentator Ahmed Quraishi about the country’s current military offensive in Waziristan, relations with the US and what America should do to improve its image in Pakistan.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was in Pakistan this month meeting key political leaders. What did you make of her comment that she finds it difficult to believe that nobody in the Pakistani government knows the whereabouts of top al-Qaeda members?

 

Ahmed Quraishi: It was very surprising to even the most hardened skeptics here in Pakistan to hear a US secretary of state saying this, because despite all we heard during the eight years of President [George W.] Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, no American official accused Pakistan or ‘rogue elements’ in the country of supporting or protecting al-Qaeda. If ever there were any grievances with Pakistan on this count, they were mostly focused on that Pakistan had done a very good job of cooperating with the Americans on al-Qaeda, but that progress was still lacking on the Afghan Taliban and its leadership. So in the entire eight years since September 11, no US official actually criticized Pakistan by saying Pakistan was somehow trying to protect al-Qaeda.

Second, the facts contradict what the secretary of state said. Everybody knows the vast number of al-Qaeda operatives that have been arrested have been arrested in Pakistan. And the big fish names, although there is close cooperation between the CIA and ISI [Inter-Services Intelligence], were arrested thanks to crucial information coming from Pakistani intelligence sources. This is, of course, natural seeing as it is our country, and it’s only to be expected that the ISI and other Pakistani government agencies should be at the forefront of finding these people. And they did.

And three, another crucial point is that if we’re going to throw blame at each other, then frankly speaking it is Pakistan that needs to complain–and complain loudly–at the failure of US intelligence and the US military back in late November and early December 2001 to corner and arrest Osama bin Laden. If you remember the battle in Tora Bora on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, that battle was instrumental at providing an escape route to the al-Qaeda chief and his liuetenanats. And the biggest blame for that actually goes to US intelligence, which relied on unreliable Afghan warlords on the ground who apparently took money, probably from al-Qaeda operatives, and let Osama bin Laden escape.

So if anyone should be complaining it should be the Pakistanis, who now have to deal with this country’s mess, basically because many of these people who should have been eliminated in Afghanistan were able to disperse and mostly head for Pakistan. And this is mostly because of the thin American presence in Afghanistan, the poorly secured military presence in that country and of course the poorly secured border.

One of the reasons Secretary Clinton was visiting was to try and improve the US image in Pakistan. How much of an image problem does the US have there?

Quraishi: In this whole debate about America’s image in Pakistan, and people talk of course about how America supported a military dictator [General Pervez Musharraf] and so forth, the reality is that the real grievances pertain to issues that are not really discussed very openly, especially in the American media, and which are not really known about by American public opinion. I’m talking about things like, for example, the fact that the US military and the Afghan army, which is being trained by the US army, suddenly removed all their posts from the Afghan side of the border when Pakistan began its military operation in South Waziristan.

This isn’t the figment of anyone’s imagination–it has been verified by people on the ground and was raised by the Pakistani chief with General Stanley McCrystal a couple of weeks back. This story was headline news on major Pakistani news channels and in newspapers, so it’s surprising that so little time has been given over to such grievances, which provide fodder to skeptics in Pakistan who question US motives in Afghanistan.

 

And of course we have a standing complaint that weapons and money that are sustaining terrorists are coming from Afghanistan. And it’s not just the factor of Afghan warlords and drug money and so forth. It’s beyond that. And we feel little time is given to this grievance in the US media. US officials know about it, and often discuss the issue with Pakistani officials, but they never talk about this openly. So I find it very funny when Secretary Clinton comes over here and says ‘you have some questions about our role, and we have some grievances about yours, but we need to reach some common ground.’ Sure. But this entire thing that is going on in the Af-Pak region is a result of US policy. And eight years on, this project is falling apart and isn’t showing any signs of being nearer a conclusion than it was, say, five years ago. So serious questions are arising about why in Pakistan we continue to be part of a project that shows every signs of failing, if it has not already failed.

 

What would you like to see the US doing differently to improve its image?

Quraishi: Two things. One is that in terms of foreign policy, on its policy on Afghanistan, it needs to take its Pakistani ally along as it moves on. What has happened over the past eight years is that Pakistan was not taken along in US planning on Afghanistan. A government was set up in Kabul that was decidedly full of anti-Pakistan elements, elements that are antagonistic to Pakistan. Now when I say this I don’t mean that the Afghan government should be pro-Paksitan. But they should not be antagonistic. So the United States and the different stakeholders in policy in Afghanistan, including the intelligence community and the military, will have to trust Pakistan and take it along as an ally, and not treat it as someone to be looked upon with suspicion, or to be used for logistical help it needs but to then not trust it on the long-term questions of what kind of government should be in Kabul and whether the Pashtuns need to be isolated from such a government or not.

Number two, the United States needs to understand that it is counter productive to try and interfere in the domestic politics of Pakistan. Very few observers in the United States discuss a very interesting thing that they have been doing in Pakistan, which is to try and micromanage that country. The very government we have in Pakistan right now, the elected government in Islamabad, wouldn’t have been in place without a deal that was discussed and tailored and finalized at the US State Department with the active participation of diplomats from the United States and United Kingdom. And, of course, with the full backing of Vice President Cheney at that time. That deal resulted in tailoring the political set up that you currently see in Pakistan, and it dealt with such minute issues as who would be the coalition partner, which parties could work with the United States,and which ones could not.

So this kind of micromanagement has really backfired–when the United States was tailoring this kind of deal with Musharraf, the anti-Americanism in Pakistan was not at a level it is at right now. So this tells you something at least about how the micromanagement has backfired and has produced possibly an exaggerated feeling of a threat among the ordinary Pakistani on the street.

 

As you mentioned, the Pakistani military recently embarked on a major offensive in Waziristan. What do you think the prospects for success are?

Quraishi: There’s no question that a ragtag army of mountain fighters who do not enjoy the full support of the people of the area they are based in–the people of that area are pouring into other parts of Pakistan where temporary camps have been set up for as long as this military operation goes on–that such a militia cannot sustain itself in the face of a large and well-organized army.

 

Of course, when the Pakistan army began the Swat operation in the spring of this year, there was a lot of skepticism–especially when almost 2 million people from that area poured into refugee camps, people were asking how that problem would be dealt with. But now, over 1.5 million people have been restored to their towns and villages in the Swat region, and that region is overwhelmingly secure now.

There’s no reason why this can’t be replicated in South Waziristan. It’s a small patch of land. The only uncertainty we really have is over the Afghan side of the border–there aren’t enough Afghan soldiers on that side, and there are no US military or ISAF on the other side. This is a constant problem and we know money and weapons are coming through from that side. The Mehsud terror militia is not sustaining itself from inside Pakistan. I understand that Pakistani officers have had assurances from General McCrystal that he will do what he can with the resources he has in Afghanistan to secure that area and ensure that such movement doesn’t occur backward and forward. But we’ll have to wait and see. At the momentthough, the prospects look good.

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ISI Confronts CIA With Evidence

Posted by yourpakistan on November 22, 2009


Serious differences are understood to have cropped up between Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency ISI and US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) over the latter’s dismal role in countering terrorism in Pakistan, TheNation reliably learnt on Friday.

cia_recruit

According to well-placed sources, the differences between the two strategic partners in war against terror cropped up when ISI Chief Lt. General Ahmed Shujja Pasha in a meeting expressed his disappointment to his US counterpart, the CIA chief spymaster Leon Panetta, over the US failure to help Pakistan in counter-terrorism efforts.

It has been confirmed by sources that both of them had thought provoking talks here in which General Pasha had presented to the CIA official a shocking evidence about Indian interference into Pakistan by using Afghanistan soil. General Pasha, the informed sources said, had presented the evidence about Indian efforts aiding terrorism in Balochistan and Waziristan.

The sources said that General Pasha was critical to the CIA’s counter-terrorism strategy in Afghanistan and CIA’s failure to provide concrete actionable information to Pakistan in containing flow of aid to terror networks operating from Afghanistan to destabilize Pakistan.

The sources said that the CIA chief is currently visiting Pakistan as a follow-up to the visit of US of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to address complains of Pakistan’s military establishment.

The CIA chief is to meet Army Chief General Ashfaq Pavez Kayani today and is likely to get the similar input from him, the sources said. He is also expected to visit Saudi Arabia before his return to USA.

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Zardari about to be dumped?

Posted by yourpakistan on November 21, 2009


Pamela Constable’s article ‘For Pakistani president, goodbye to goodwill’ by the pro-Israel daily The Washington Post (November 16, 2009) suggests that the US-Zardari romance seems to be over – while blaming the “extremists” for all the current mess in the country.

According to Pamela, “military officials are unhappy over Zardari’s compliant relationship with Washington – while the poor and working-class Pakistanis blame government for protracted shortage of gas, electricity and staple food. They also feel increasingly unprotected, as suicide bombing has killed more than 350 people in the last two months.”

However, Pamela shy away from mentioning the close relations Benazir Bhutto, Asif Ali Zardari and his interior minister Rehman Malik and Pakistan’s ambassador Haqqani has with the Jewish Lobby in the US.

The Pamela repeated the same old ‘democracy crap’, which has proved to be a sham after how Washington handled the democratic process in occupied Palestine, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Iran, Egypt, etc. “Zardari’s deepening unpopularity has put Washington in a bind because of its avowed commitment to bolster democratic in Pakistan after a decade of military rule. If he is forced from power, either on old corruption charges or through a collapse of the ruling coalition, analyst (belonging to CFR, S.I.T.E., or Daniel Pipes, etc.) said, Washington might have to deal with new leaders who are less friendly and no better able to solve Pakistan’s problems,” – which are created by Washington on the behest of Israel in the first place.

Pamela can be excused for not knowing that Pakistan’s all four military rulers (Ayub Khan, Zia-ul-Haq, Yahya Khan, and Pervez Musharraf) were supported and protected by Washington. She, like CNN and CFR dude, Fareed Zakaria, and Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington (known as US ambassador in Washington), Husain Haqqani, is an ‘Islamophobe’. Haqqani in his book ‘Pakistan Between Mosque and Military’, wrote: “From the point view of Islamists and their backers in ISI, Jihad is on hold but not yet over. Pakistan still have an agenda in Afghanistan and Kashmir.” I wonder why Haqqani forgot to mention India and Israel from his list? According to some government insiders, Haqqani is about to be replaced by (princess) Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, the former ambassador to Washington.

Fareed Zakria in an article for the Jewish Newsweek (May 2, 2009), titled ‘Change We Can’t Believe In’ (frankly, most Pakistanis would give a damn what the anti-Islam Zionist dude believe), had advised Washington: “If Washington hopes to change Pakistan’s world-view (through the eyes of Israel Lobby), it will have to take much tougher line with the military while supporting the country’s civilian leaders (Zardari aka Mr. 10%, and other corrupt secularist politicians), whose vision of Pakistan’s national interests(???) is broader and less paranoid, and envisioned more cooperation with its neighbors.” I hope Zakaria count Pakistan’s friendly Islamic Iran as Pakistan’s neighbor too!

With no leader of Dr. Ahmadinejad’s calibre, Pakistanis have no hope to be governed by some honest and nationalist leader. The people who make the list of future ‘USrael puppets’ to replace Asif Zardari include Gen. Kayani, Nawaz Sharif, and Gen. Musharraf or Washington might decide to send some US-Pakistan technocrat to become the third such prime minister of Pakistan.

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Democracy-The Elected Dictatorship

Posted by yourpakistan on November 19, 2009


Democracy is a political system in which government is either carried out by the people (direct democracy), or the power to govern is granted to elected representatives (republicanism). It has essentially two basic principles, equality and freedom. All citizens of a democratic state have equality before the law and equality in access to power, they also have certain legitimized freedoms and liberties, which are generally protected by a constitution. The majority rule is often described as a characteristic feature of democracy, but without a responsible government or constitutional protection of an individual’s liberties from democratic power, it is possible for dissenting individuals to be oppressed by the tyranny of the majority.

Unfortunately, present day elected democracies not only suppress dissent but also fail to provide and serve the majority they claim to represent. Television and press, created to be channels of  expression of public opinion have regressed to media of propoganda for the rulers, used and abused by the governing bodies and a group of elites who shape mass opinion by repetition of lies to such an extent that falsehood seems true while truth is bullied into oblivion. The skewed news and views presented through network and press obscure reality, providing selective information and omiting facts that donot support a particular political agenda. [Komal Hasmi]

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Pakistani Nation to Celebrate Eid with their Heroes at the Battlefield

Posted by yourpakistan on November 18, 2009


Our brave soldiers are shedding their blood, fighting fearlessly to protect our families and homes, leaving behind theirs, crushing our enemies who are now distraught against our invincible defense. Our soldiers are not only sacrificing their lives but also their salaries, and have reduced their rations willingly to send food to our displaced countrymen.

While they are at the forefront, we the Patriots of Pakistan are standing right behind them with prayers from our hearts and souls for their success. We assure unwavering support to our soldiers in this war against the terrorists, against those who have taken lives mercilessly and done extreme damage not only to the nation but to the image of Islam, the religion of peace and harmony.

On this Eid, we want to tell our brave heroes who are fighting for our honor that while they will be away from their homes, they will be in our thoughts and our prayers. Their sacrifices will bear fruit in the form of Pakistan’s prosperity and peace Insha’Allah. We stand by you, honor you, respect you and salute you for your courage and faith to protect the “Madina-e-Sani” of Muslim Ummah.

PKKH has coordinated with Pakistan Army to send gifts and cards of support to our troops on ground. Let’s join hands and show our sentiments and pride for them.

We request all Pakistanis to make gift packs (for easy handling) for soldiers with a note of love and solidarity to boost their morale and to assure them that they are not alone, we care for them; the nation is right behind them.

The gift packs can include eatables (factory packed/sealed) like dry fruits, biscuits, juices, candies, chocolates and items like flowers, small gifts, support letters, cards for our heroes. Please specify on your gift packs that these are for troops fighting under Division Headquarters in Waziristan, Swat, Khawazakhela, D.I. Khan.

Send your gifts via courier or registered post mentioning your name and address, on the following address:

C/o Col Nadeem,
PRO Headquarters,
11 Corps,
Peshawar, Pakistan.

Lets join the battle!

Pak Army Zindabad, Pakistan Paindabad

JazakAllah Khair,

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