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Archive for June, 2011

Future of Pakistan Economy Linked to Trade with China: FPCCI

Posted by yourpakistan on June 30, 2011

APP (Associated Press of Pakistan)

The future of Pakistan economyis linked with economic growth of China and trade between thetwo countries through Silk Route and Kashgar can have multipliereffect on socio-economic relations.

This was stated by Tariq Sayeed, Patron-in-chief of Pak-China Business Council and former President FPCCI atChina-Pakistan Business Forum, organized by Trade DevelopmentAuthority of Pakistan in collaboration with CCPIT, XinjiangSub-Council and prefactual administration of Kashgar city of China, says a press release issued here on Thursday.

The Forum was inaugurated by Tariq Iqbal Puri, CEO, Masood Khan, Ambassador of Pakistan to China, Akram Zaki,senator and CEO of Institute of Policy Study Pakistan andDeputy Commissioner of Kashgar Prefactual Administration and Chief Secretary Gilgit-Baltistan Saifullah Chattaaddressed the session, which was moderated by Dr.Naeem Khan,Commercial Counsellor of Pakistan in Beijing.

The forum was attended by Iqbal Tabish, Secretary GeneralSAARC CCI, Amman Ullah Khan, Chairman Pakistan China Business& Investment Promotion Council, Customs officials of Kashgarand large number of businessmen from Pakistan and China.

“Pakistan should take the advantage of being aneighbouring country of the world’s leading exporter and the 2nd largest economy of the World, which provides over $ 1.0trillion import market of the World,” said Tariq Sayeed and added that together with Kashgar, the private sector ofPakistan could foster the economic cooperation and helpachieve trade target of $ 45 billion by end of 2015.
He identified inefficient logistics, as the main hurdlesin promoting trade through land route. He invited businesscommunity of Kashgar to Pakistan and urged for investmentthrough joint ventures in mutually interested areas andrelocation of industries with transfer of technology toPakistan, which was instrumental to reduce chronic tradedeficit, faced by Pakistan.

Both sides shared a road-map to yield maximum benefitsfrom regional proximity and agreed upon proposals includingimprovement of infrastructure, connectivity through rail androad, operations of direct flights, concessions on items trade in small quantities.

The Kashgar Prefectural Administration offered duty freeimport of need-based agricultural products including cherriesfrom Pakistan and allocation of 1-2 square kilometres inKashgar Economic Zone for facilitation of trade goods.

Copyright APP (Associated Press of Pakistan), 2011

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Dangers in the Endgame

Posted by yourpakistan on June 29, 2011

US President Barack Obama’s announcement of a gradual troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and confirmation of overtures being made to the Taliban represent the formal beginning of the endgame. This should be a moment of joy to those Pakistanis who believed that much of the militancy and terrorism in Pakistan could be attributed to US military presence in Afghanistan. And yet, it may not be as simple as that.

By Tariq Fatemi

While Obama was not specific about US long-term plans for Afghanistan, what he said about Pakistan should be deeply worrying to us. In frighteningly candid terms, he made it clear that America would henceforth beam laser-like on Pakistan. Though willing to work with Pakistan “to root out the cancer of violent extremism”, he is no longer asking Pakistan to take out the militants — he is “insisting” that “it keep its commitments”. Pointing out that since Pakistan faced an existentialist threat, he said it was imperative for her to ensure that there are “no safe havens from which al Qaeda or its affiliates can launch attacks against our homeland or our allies”.

Obama’s announcement injects a note of urgency to our own policy assessment. For one, it does not signal an end to American involvement in the region. In fact, the US has already confirmed its interest in a long-term arrangement with Kabul for continuing control over some of its huge bases. This is likely to become a major bone of contention in the peace process with the Taliban and also arouse grave misgivings in neighbouring countries, particularly China, Iran and Russia, which are apprehensive that the US withdrawal could signal the start of another ‘Great Game’.

What exactly do these warnings mean for Pakistan? For one, they constitute grave challenges on both the political and military fronts. On the political, the US will demand that Pakistan ensure that the Taliban groups under its influence ‘play ball’ in the peace process, without taking us fully onboard. While US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has reiterated that the US wants us to be “part of the peace process”, she has also indicated that if Pakistan refuses to be cooperative, the option of ratcheting up pressure is always there. On the military front, the US has signalled its frustration with Pakistan’s failure to “address terrorist safe havens” in its territory. If this were to remain America’s perception about our policy, further arm-twisting, including delayed supply of arms, as already hinted at by Secretary Clinton, can be expected. We should also be in no doubt that at any hint of reluctance on our part, the US will not hesitate to increase the frequency and scope of drone attacks, if need be, deep inside Pakistan. In fact, if we were to reduce intelligence and security cooperation with the US, we could see greater US operations close to our frontiers, with all its concomitant consequences.

The risks for Pakistan are enormous. With an overwhelming majority of Pakistanis now viewing the US as an arch-enemy, any precipitate military operations in the country could push it towards civil war. Pakistan is also not sure of what the US intentions are in initiating dialogue with the Taliban. Rumours that the administration may have begun to look with favour at the so-called Blackwill formula, which calls for the partition of Afghanistan into the non-Pashtun north and the Pashtun south, could have disastrous consequences for the region.

The coming months will test both our resolve and our imagination, as we strive to promote our interests while protecting our assets. We cannot do so while in the current state of tension and mistrust with the US, nor can it be achieved by toeing the US line. The room for manoeuvre is narrow and the risks are great. Clarity at home and close consultations with allies abroad are essential if we are to remain relevant to the rapidly evolving developments.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 29th, 2011.

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State Terrorism USA Specialty

Posted by yourpakistan on June 28, 2011

“US qualifies to be called as a Zionist State or US of Zionism when its controled and manipulated by AIPAC. US has lost its sovereignty to Israel. Within the US, the government does not represent the people but the Zionist dominated corporate world.” Raja Mujtaba.
By Brig Asif Haroon Raja – Opinion Maker

America’s past and present testifies the fact that there is no country in the world matching its destructive oriented policies. The US is the sole country which annihilated millions of inhabitants of Nagasaki and Hiroshima by using hydrogen bombs. Even today no living being in the two affected cities are safe from the thermonuclear aftereffects. Large number of countries had to go through rigors of civil war on account of US intrigues. In its bid to bring down populist elected governments of targeted countries, CIA and FBI secretly provided arms and funds to rebel groups and converted democracy into dictatorship. After making full use of the selected dictator, when he outlived his utility and became a liability, he was branded a traitor and popular movement organized against him. After creating political and economic instability, spreading lawlessness and inducing a civil war like situation, the US forces were pushed in under the pretext of saving the people from the cruel clutches of dictator. Tunes of freedom and democracy were played up full blast. Afghanistan, Iraq and now Libya are cases in point where the people have been deprived of peace and independence.

In order to break-up USSR, CIA first fomented protests against Moscow in Eastern Europe in 1970s by overplaying prosperity and openness of Western Europe and then turned Afghanistan into a battleground. Osama bin Laden (OBL) and thousands of Muslim Jihadis were enticed from all over the Muslim world to promote culture of Jihad against godless communist super power. After accomplishing its objectives, the US abandoned the region in haste and got involved in renovation of Eastern Europe and expanding NATO towards the east. Afghan Mujahideen who had paid the heaviest price in pushing out Soviet troops and Pakistan that had led the proxy war had to go through a long period of trial and tribulation. Left at their own, both Afghanistan and Pakistan were unable to repair the badly bruised socio-economic fabric.

After 9/11, the blue-eyed boy OBL and his holy warriors who were profusely acclaimed by USA and entire western world were declared as most dangerous terrorists. After declaring OBL responsible for attacks on WTC in New York without furnishing any proof, the US destroyed Afghanistan in October-November 2001. Ever since, Afghanistan remains an occupied country and trigger-happy occupation forces have killed tens of thousands of Afghans. Vices that had been purged from the society by the Taliban during their 5-year rule (1996-2001) have resurfaced in a big way.

Iraq under Saddam Hussein was supplied with dangerous chemical weapons by USA for use against Iran in Iran-Iraq war (1980-88). Tens of thousands of Iraqis and Iranians perished in the war which ended without any side emerging as a victor. Later on, Saddam who was given full support for a decade was labeled as a ruthless dictator and falsely charged with storing weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) and having links with al-Qaeda. Under the pretext of locating WMDs, every nook and corner of Iraq was combed by UN inspectors for well over two years. Even though the inspectors gave clear report, Iraq was invaded and destroyed without obtaining UN approval and disregarding world protests.

A massive hunt was launched to locate fugitives Saddam and his sons. His two sons were brutally murdered and their photos splashed on internet. Saddam was eventually traced and after interrogating him and carrying out DNA, denture and medical tests to confirm he was the right person, he was put on trial in a kangaroo court and hanged to death on charges of using excessive force against the Kurds and Shias. Movie of his hanging was also shown on u-tube. 1.6 million Iraqis have died since March 2003 and bloodletting is still continuing.

After 9/11, Pakistan was coerced to become a coalition partner and to combat global terrorism. Pak Army was made to fight own tribesmen in FATA supposedly sheltering al-Qaeda operatives. The flames of war lit in Afghanistan were diverted towards Pakistan. USA pampered and encouraged India to indulge in covert war to destabilize Pakistan which on papers was US close ally and a frontline state. Tehrik-e-Taliban-Pakistan was CIA’s creation which is funded, equipped and guided by several foreign agencies.

Likewise, Baloch separatists are also supported by the same gang. Over 30000 Pakistani civilians and 5000 security personnel have died as a result of foreign sponsored terrorism. Pakistan has suffered an economic loss of $68 billion and its industrial and agriculture sectors and stock exchange have suffered grievously, while foreign investments have ceased. All this has resulted in high inflation, price spiral, and electricity, gas and food items shortages. Barbarity of America didn’t end here. Unending spate of drone strikes in tribal areas has added to the woes of Pakistanis.

CIA as a master planner and coordinator has been supervising the gory game from Kabul in concert with RAW, Mossad, MI-6 and RAAM and making Pakistan blood soaked. Bloody game has kept CIA’s drug business and defence industry of US war merchants running. India is now indulging in water terrorism to dry up Pakistan but US media and officials are mum over this flagrant violation of 1961 Indus Basin Treaty since it is part of the game to make Pakistan helpless. India mobilized its forces against Pakistan in 2002 and in 2009 with tacit blessing of USA.

The US has kept silent over unspeakable atrocities against hapless Kashmiris in occupied Kashmir since end 1988 killing over 100,000 in fake encounters, extra judicial killings, raids and indiscriminate firings on peaceful demonstrators. Gang rapes and molestation of women at the hands of security forces who have been give license to kill under draconian laws are routine. Ironically, the freedom fighters seeking a plebiscite as envisaged in UN resolutions have been branded as terrorists by USA at the behest of India. India has never been questioned over its defiance of UN resolutions.

The US which promptly labels Muslims as terrorists simply because they are anti-US, has for several decades been keeping its ears and eyes shut and lips sealed over barbarism of Israelis against Palestinians. Israel had attacked Lebanon in 2006 after getting a nod from Washington. It didn’t object to inhuman economic blockade of Gaza by Israel and didn’t condemn brutal invasion of Gaza in December 2008. Likewise, when the US remained tight lipped over cowardly attack of Israeli forces on Peace Flotilla carrying relief goods for stranded Gazans, it proved beyond doubt that Israel had full backing of USA.

Thousands of Iraqis, Afghans and al-Qaeda detainees were put in horrific Gitmo, Abu Gharib, Baghram jails as suspects involved in terrorism where they were subjected to most gruesome torture for years without trials and without anyone hearing their cries. Among several torture techniques, water boarding is the most dreadful. After years of detention and torture most were found innocent and released but they got mentally incapacitated for life.

The US desires security for Israel in Middle East and for India in South Asia. The US has succeeded in making Israel the unchallenged power in Middle East where all Muslim states are ruled by pro-American puppet-like regimes. Militarily strong Egypt is still tied to peace treaty with Israel, while defiant Iraq has been tamed. Libya is under attack to get rid of rebellious Qaddafi. Soon, another regime change will take place in Syria and possibly in Iran. It will then become easier to deal with Hamas and Hizbollah to remove all security fears of Israel. The US has yet to accomplish its mission in South Asia since it has been unable to extract nuclear teeth of Pakistan and reduce its warrior spirit. Concerted efforts are underway to steal or destroy nukes and delivery means which are under tight control of Strategic Force.

Going through the track record and conduct of USA, there is no doubt left in anyone’s mind that American foreign policy revolves around intrigues, lies, deceit, conspiracies, terrorism, false flag operations and use of force. Americans consider them to be most open minded and liberal in the world. The reality is quite opposite to their self-claimed belief. Blacks and whites communal riots are a routine affair in USA as in the case of Hindu-Muslim riots in India. There is no dearth of extremist Americans who remain on lookout how to injure the religious beliefs of others particularly Muslims, exactly the same way as in India.

We do not have to dig too deep in the past. The US court sentenced Dr Afia Siddiqui to 86 years jail term on account of uncommitted offences merely because of deep seated prejudice against Muslims. The extremist mindset of the US Pastor Terry Jones is also a glaring example of religious intolerance and bigotry prevalent in USA. He first announced his intentions to burn Holy Quran and then declared his intention to file a petition in court against use of Quran in USA. Later on he fulfilled his satanic plan by burning copies of Quran and got away with it.

Prejudice, fanaticism, extremism, intolerance and cruelty are some of the characteristics deeply ingrained into the minds of US officials and elites. With such hideous traits and black track record, on what basis the US is voicing its concerns about terrorism when it is the biggest terrorist state of the world? The huge network of CIA operatives secretly deployed in Pakistan is stoking flames of terrorism to create anarchic conditions. Pakistan has no moral justification to become an ally of biggest terrorist state and fight its war when it has been confirmed that it is fuelling rather than curbing terrorism to harm Pakistan.

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ISPR Spokesperson: ‘Sinister Drive’ Against Pakistan Army will be Foiled

Posted by yourpakistan on June 27, 2011


The military spokesperson on Sunday said that unwarranted criticism of the Pakistan Army by local and international media is causing serious harm to the country. Speaking to the state-run PTV, ISPR spokesperson Maj Gen Athar Abbas quoted a report in the New York Times and the Washington Post, and said: “The entire statement was fabricated with malicious intent, and COAS Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani never said that Pakistan had mortgaged itself to the US.”

The NYT published a story in the name of ISPR on June 15 headlined ‘Pakistan’s chief of army fights to keep his job’, wherein it claimed on the basis of notes of a participant of a session at the National Defence University addressed by Gen Kayani that the army chief had acknowledged that the country had mortgaged itself to the US.

The participant was not identified in the news report. “We have the recorded video proof and transcript of the whole address of General Ashfaq Kayani.”

He said that the ISPR with the help of ministry of information took up the case against the local correspondent for his irresponsible reporting and to cancel his visa but the resident editor and foreign correspondent editor of the newspaper in person came to Pakistan and apologised to the ISPR.

Maj-Gen Abbas said that these days the international and national media in particular, and local talk shows in general, were focusing on maligning the Pakistan Army as well as the law-enforcement agencies. Some voices have also been heard in the print section and on TV channels, and the end result seems to be a well-thought-out and skillfully designed sinister campaign to create a negative image of the Pakistan Army, which would save the motherland from any catastrophe.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 27th, 2011.

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ISI-Bashing: A US Battle Transferred To Pakistan

Posted by yourpakistan on June 26, 2011

Anti-ISI campaign in the US media must not be transferred inside Pakistan, where the US has groomed proxies working on an American political agenda. Even CIA was not demonized after its epic 9/11 failure the way ISI is today in the US and parts of Pakistani media and politics.


What is the right balance between a healthy skepticism of Pakistani military and ISI and between antagonism toward both? Pakistani media and politicians have to define this balance to avoid unnecessary divisions in Pakistan. These divisions serve to weaken a vital line of defense for the Pakistani state. The United States is orchestrating a get-ISI campaign in the US media. This campaign must not be transferred inside Pakistan, where a US-backed lobby groomed during the past eight years is acting as America’s B-team, mounting a Pakistani version of the American campaign against Pakistani military.

There have always been anti-military leftists and ex-communists in the Pakistani media, promoting extreme ideas such as disbanding the military. This lobby has been vocal but never too much. These days, this lobby has gained a new vigor thanks to the US propaganda against Pakistani military.

The brutal assassination of noted journalist and my friend Syed Saleem Shahzad has laid bare this decades-old feature of Pakistani politics.

The ISI is our principal tool for counterintelligence and information gathering. It is the eyes and ears of our strategic community as we navigate our way through a difficult neighborhood.

The antagonism toward ISI as seen in the past few weeks is not natural to the system but manufactured and sustained through a combination of lack of information, real mistakes, rumors, half-truths, and in some cases outright propaganda. Some of this antagonism is rooted in skepticism toward state power. That’s healthy for any vibrant society. But in Pakistan, the lines between skepticism and animosity have blurred over the years. Expressions of this animosity in some corners of our politics and media surpass anything seen in stable and mature democracies. After all, a democratic system needs a functioning state, including educated voters, independent media, judiciary, military and intelligence. A state could collapse without educated voters, or without a working military and intelligence. Choose your pick.

Shahzad’s brutal assassination brought the unhealthy anti-military antagonism within our system to the surface. It was stunning to watch some leading pundits in our media accuse ISI of killing Shahzad without evidence, and simultaneously ignore strong circumstantial evidence on the involvement of elements close to the terrorists of al-Qaeda and Pakistani Taliban. Shahzad maintained close contacts with sources in the two terror groups, as his scoops on numerous occasions indicate. You can’t blame the foreign media, especially media based in the United States, for giving a spin to any story where ISI is mentioned, since this Pakistani agency has become too independent for American taste. But at least at home we should question all angles and not simply ride the wave.

For example, western media saw in Shahzad’s article that purportedly led to his brutal death an embarrassment for Pakistani military and thus a motive for ISI to eliminate him. Many people in our media picked up this theory. That’s an angle worth probing, but so is the fact that the same article exposes al-Qaeda links to the attack on the naval base in Karachi. If it did it, Al-Qaeda didn’t claim responsibility. Late Shahzad did. Did he fell out with his terror informants? No one knows for sure. But it’s an angle worth probing.

The anti-military antagonism has probably blinded many of us to exploring other important angles. For example, ISI itself was badly burned when two of its ex-operatives were killed by Pakistani Taliban earlier this year while trying to create inroads within the terror group. Likewise, US journalist Daniel Pearl paid with his life for getting too close to unscrupulous elements.

A meeting between Shahzad and officers from the media management wing of ISI last year is cited as evidence that the spy agency was harassing him. The agency’s version is very straightforward: they met Shahzad at a registered government office about a story he did and asked him either to confirm his sources or retract the story because it damaged Pakistani interests. Shahzad declined both demands and that was it. One friend and acquaintance of Shahzad, Mr. Najm Sethi, said the meeting constituted a threat. Another friend of Shahzad, Mr. Ejaz Haider, wrote that his friend mentioned the meeting with ISI but didn’t characterize it as a threat.

It is fair to say that ISI, by virtue of the said meeting, should be included in Shahzad’s murder investigation. But that is quite different from saying ISI is the killer and ignore all evidence that points to other possibilities. That said, we do have a history in Pakistan of secret government agents kidnapping journalists, beating them up and then releasing them, alive. But most of us forget that this culture is not part of what our security agencies want to do. It was thrust on them by governments, often democratic ones. Security agents from various agencies of the government have at different times kidnapped and ‘sorted out’ journalists under orders from several democratic and non-democratic governments in Islamabad. In most of such cases journalists were harassed because powerful figures in government wanted to harass them and used state power for the purpose.

There is also the legacy of how state institutions were used to settle political differences. This burden of history should not be overblown and used to create a wedge between state institutions such as the ISI and ordinary Pakistanis.

 A version of this column appeared in The News on 6 June 2011.

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The United States and the Policy of Targeted Killing

Posted by yourpakistan on June 25, 2011

Yoram Schweitzer and Einav Yogev*, Institute for National Security Studies (INSS)

United States policy on targeted killings in the war on terror made headlines with the May 2011 raid by the Navy SEALs in the heart of Pakistan that killed al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden. The SEALs were previously involved in commando actions of this type against other senior al-Qaeda figures. In September 2009, a SEALs team killed Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, an al-Qaeda commander in Somalia, in a land operation that was carried out in Somalia. Nabhan was the partner of Fazul Abdullah Mohammed, who was killed two weeks ago by Somali security forces. Fazul was sought by the United States for his involvement in the 1998 al-Qaeda suicide attacks on the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania as the operational chief on the ground, and for his involvement as a commander, alongside Nabhan, in the coordinated al-Qaeda terror attack in Kenya in 2002. This attack included the attempted use of an anti-aircraft missile to shoot down an Arkia passenger plane departing from Kenya to Israel, at the same time that a suicide attack, which killed fifteen people, including three Israelis, was underway in the Mombasa Paradise Hotel. Another important object of US targeted killings was Ilyas Kashmiri, who was killed in early June in an aerial operation. Kashmiri was also in al-Qaeda’s external branch unit and was a senior operational commander in a Pakistani jihad organization. His name was tied to fatal terrorist attacks executed and planned in India, Pakistan, and Europe.

These targeted killings are part of an intensive campaign in the war against global terrorism begun by the United States immediately after September 11. In the course of this campaign the United States has become entangled in a conventional war and in other ongoing, expensive, and bloody sub-conventional battles in a number of states. Given the complexity and the prolonged nature of the war against al-Qaeda and its affiliates, public opinion has come to feel that the terrorists have succeeded in making a mockery of the world’s largest superpower and its allies.

However, a careful examination of the terror fighting strategy, and especially the operational conduct of the United States, indicates that the combination of technology and human resources, along with actions by armed unmanned aerial vehicles, has allowed the Americans to carry out effective targeted attacks within the territories in which their ground forces’ freedom of movement is limited. In this way, the United States and its allies have succeeded in killing or capturing the commanders of the special al-Qaeda unit that is responsible for carrying out terror attacks abroad. They have also been able to expel many additional senior military commanders and most of the senior activists of al-Qaeda and its main affiliates in the Taliban and other terrorist organizations and networks that operate in the Afghanistan-Pakistan sector. At the same time, the United States and its allies have succeeded in foiling most of the attempted terrorist attacks by al-Qaeda and global jihad activists.

In spite of the protests heard recently, mostly in Afghanistan and Pakistan, against the aerial killings because of the harm done to uninvolved civilians – harm caused both by the terrorist organizations’ deliberate custom of taking shelter among a civilian population, and by human error – the United States, which is leading the struggle against al-Qaeda and its affiliates, has unmistakably and publicly adopted this pattern of action and is in particular implementing it in the sub-conventional battles underway in these theaters. Furthermore, the Americans have also recently been preparing to step up the use of targeted killings from the air in politically unstable Yemen, which against the backdrop of the increased activity of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has been marked as another central theater of conflict. The United States, which about a decade ago had already used targeted killings sporadically in Yemen, recently began using them again when it attempted an aerial killing of Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical Muslim cleric and an official of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

The faint criticism of the intensive targeted killings campaign by the United States, which is heard only rarely around the world, is especially noteworthy in light of the serious condemnations Israel has received for the same conduct. For decades Israel has fought terrorism that threatened its citizens, and during this period it made sparing use of the tools of targeted killings against prominent terrorist leaders. The murderous large scale terrorism carried out against Israeli citizens during the second intifada, which was manifested largely in suicide terrorism, led to the government of Israel’s developing and expanding the use of this operational tool and aiming it at the most prominent and dangerous planners and perpetrators of terrorism. Targeted killings played a major though not exclusive role in Israel’s success in rooting out suicide terrorism and undermining the violence of the first years of the second intifada. Significantly, the use of targeted killings was regulated by Israel’s Supreme Court and was permitted only against those who beyond a doubt were actively engaged in terrorism aimed at harming the civilian population. Needless to say, there was no similar criticism of the United States following the killing of Bin Laden, or even after the killings of the rest of the officials of al-Qaeda, who were also perceived as a threat to the security and stability of the international community. Furthermore, the clear threat made by American officials that Ayman Zawahiri, whose official selection as Bin Laden’s successor was announced publicly by the organization on June 16, is a target for assassination, makes it clear that the United States and its allies do not intend to stop this policy.

The coordinated activity among many of the world’s security services, including from rival states that collaborate ad hoc, demonstrates that in spite of moral dilemmas and legal restrictions, the selective and precise use of targeted killings is deemed an effective and essential option, and therefore cannot be relinquished as one of the tools in democratic states’ arsenals. Nevertheless, it is clear that decision makers and public opinion in democratic countries must understand that the problem of worldwide terrorism cannot be solved by means of one operational tool, no matter how effective, because of the possible – albeit unintentional – collateral damage. Therefore, adoption of the tool of targeted killings always requires prudent and cautious implementation, subject to ongoing scrutiny and review by the attacking state. This scrutiny must consider the level of concrete threat from the objects of the targeted killings and the circumstances in which they are acting, with serious consideration given to the long and short term ramifications on the overall policy of the fight against terror.

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Hopeless Noora Kushti (Fake Battle) Begins Again

Posted by yourpakistan on June 24, 2011

Survival has been made difficult by successive military and civil regimes. The middle class has all but disappeared and there is an increasing gap between those who have and those who do not. The wretched and the poor are dispossessed to such an extent that they do not even have a consciousness of what they are dispossessed of; such is the scale of Pakistan’s tragic millions.

By Dr. Muzaffar Iqbal – Opinion Maker

As the two main political parties of Pakistan sharpen their teeth, dulled by greed and mutual bargaining, let it be said once again that it is too late to fool people; there have been noora kushtis one too many for people to take the current reciprocal diatribes anything but false. Let the lions of Punjab and Sindh be rest assured: they might be the only contenders in the ring, but those who watch them hopelessly cannot take their fight seriously. If the gallery is full, it is not because people are genuinely interested in their rotten politics; it is just because Pakistanis have not lost their hunger for superficial fun. Thus the entertainers can perform, but they must know that no one is taking them seriously.

Yet, even for fun, the performance of Nawaz Sharif, now on his first leg of tour in Azad Kashmir, is so poor that one cannot even be amused by it. As if one is listening to a broken record filled with self-pity, defeatism, self-constructed past glories, repeated apologies to the army (“I am not criticizing anyone”), repeated mention of what he thinks he achieved during his previous stints, and helpless pleas to be given a chance once again.

There is absolutely nothing solid that comes out of these speeches. There is no indication of any policy, foreign or domestic, that he will implement. There is no indication of how he would tackle huge problems of the country, such as power shortage, poverty, corruption, and so on. Nothing, in fact, except mere empty rhetoric filled with self-pity: my heart aches, my heart aches about Pakistan! Ache it may, but that is not what a politician is supposed to be telling his audience, gathered from here and there in busloads for the purpose of listening to him, who has controlled and contributed to one half of Pakistan’s political drama for a lifetime now.

Pity the nation which has nothing but these nauseating faces which have destroyed Pakistan through mismanagement and corruption for as long as one can remember. The ruling party has nothing different to offer. Now comfortably enjoying its secure position in the absence of any real opposition, it has no fear from anyone, at least not until the next general elections when unpredictable results may rock the boat. But until then, all is well. The Presidency has full grip on the party, the parliament, the senate and the sheepish elected members of the two houses. Those who could not stand the corruption and feudal control, have left and there is no immediate danger from any side. The smoothly oiled machinery is yielding what it was primed for.

The boss is happy as well, despite his little uproar over the May 2nd drama. Actually, Americans never had it so good: a political setup so fine tuned to the dictates of its wishes that it does not even need to send its emissaries on urgent missions, a military fully supportive of the idea of a long-term American presence in the region; a teeth-less judiciary which can make all the noise it wants to make but which cannot implement anything. Thus configured, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is rolling along at full speed toward its disastrous future: with every passing day adding to the miseries of its teaming millions, with no plan for curbing the increasing power deficit, hunger, lack of educational and health facilities, and poverty. Its politicians, with scant self-respect, sitting in the driver’s seat facing backwards, the engine rolling on its own on a steep incline, the whole train is destined to fall in some ravine.

Silence is better in these times of strife without an end, but one cannot remain silent when lives are taken out on regular basis through state violence. When children and women are killed in drone attacks and no one stands up for these devastating violations of Pakistan’s sovereignty. What future can there be for a nation for whom all the major decisions are made in another capital?

Pakistan’s foreign policy is made in Washington DC; its economic policy is determined in Brussels; even decisions about its educational institutions are made outside the country. All that the ruling party is interested in is an unending supply of lucrative deals and equally unending postings of its own cronies across the country.

One cannot find a ray of hope in this gloomy scenario. Carefully considered, the situation seems to be a direct result of lack of genuine leadership in Pakistan. This has been the case since 1948, a long and barren stretch of time which has shaped the present state of this country and which continues to shape its future. There is not even a process through which a new generation of leaders can come to the forefront. All avenues have been suffocated to death. The only possibility left for the country is a violent reawakening of masses through desperation, but even that scenario is only remotely possible since masses are struggling to merely survive.

Survival has been made difficult by successive military and civil regimes. The middle class has all but disappeared and there is an increasing gap between those who have and those who do not. The wretched and the poor are dispossessed to such an extent that they do not even have a consciousness of what they are dispossessed of; such is the scale of Pakistan’s tragic millions. There is not even a poet left to say, with dismay: this is not the dawn for which we had hoped for, as one from the previous generation was able to say. In the absence of even a poetic protest, one can only hope for miraculous resurrection and awakening, a possibility that keeps one’s hopes alive to some extent, even if it is not grounded in any rational consideration.

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CIA instigating mutiny in the Pakistani Army

Posted by yourpakistan on June 23, 2011

The unthinkable is happening. The United States is confronting the Pakistani military leadership of General Parvez Kayani. An extremely dangerous course to destabilise Pakistan is commencing. Can the outcome be any different than in Iran in 1979? But then, the Americans are like Bourbons; they never learn from their mistakes. 

By M K Bhadra kumar – Blogs.Rediff

The NYT report today is unprecedented. The report quotes US officials not less than 7 times <;pagewanted=print&gt; , which is extraordinary, including “an American military official involved with Pakistan for many years”; “a senior American official”, etc. The dispatch is cleverly drafted to convey the impression that a number of Pakistanis have been spoken to, but reading between the lines, conceivably, these could also probably have been indirect attribution by the American sources. A careful reading, in fact, suggests that the dispatch is almost entirely based on deep briefing by some top US intelligence official with great access to records relating to the most highly sensitive US interactions with the Pak army leadership and who was briefing on the basis of instructions from the highest level of the US intelligence apparatus.

The report no doubt underscores that the US intelligence penetration of the Pak defence forces goes very deep. It is no joke to get a Pakistani officer taking part in an exclusive briefing by Kayani at the National Defence University to share his notes with the US interlocutors – unless he is their “mole”. This is like a morality play for we Indians, too, where the US intelligence penetration is ever broadening and deepening. Quite obviously, the birds are coming to roost. Pakistani military is paying the price for the big access it provided to the US to interact with its officer corps within the framework of their so-called “strategic partnership”. The Americans are now literally holding the Pakistani army by its jugular veins. This should serve as a big warning for all militaries of developing countries like India (which is also developing intensive “mil-to-mil” ties with the US). In our country at least, it is even terribly unfashionable to speak anymore of CIA activities. The NYT story flags in no uncertain terms that although Cold War is over, history has not ended.

What are the objectives behind the NYT story? In sum, any whichever way we look at it, they all are highly diabolic. One, US is rubbishing army chief Parvez Kayani and ISI head Shuja Pasha who at one time were its own blue-eyed boys and whose successful careers and post-retirement extensions in service the Americans carefully choreographed fostered with a pliant civilian leadership in Islamabad, but now when the crunch time comes, the folks are not “delivering”. In American culture, as they say, there is nothing like free lunch. The Americans are livid that their hefty “investment” has turned out to be a waste in every sense. And. it was a very painstakingly arranged investment, too. In short, the Americans finally realise that they might have made a miscalculation “; about Kayani when they promoted his career.

Two, US intelligence estimation is that things can only go from bad to worse in US-Pakistan relations from now onward. All that is possible to slavage the relationship has been attempted. John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, Mike Mullen – the so-called “friends of Pakistan” in the Barack Obama administration – have all come to Islamabad and turned on the charm offensive. But nothing worked. Then came CIA boss Leon Panetta with a deal that like Marlon Brando said in the movie Godfather, Americans thought the Pakistanis cannot afford to say ‘No’ to, but to their utter dismay <; , Kayani showed him the door.

The Americans realise that Kayani is fighting for his own survival – and so is Pasha – and that makes him jettison his “pro-American” mindset and harmonise quickly with the overwhelming opinion within the army, which is that the Americans pose a danger to Pakistan’s national security and it is about time that the military leadership draws a red line. Put simply, Pakistan fears that the Americans are out to grab their nuclear stockpile. Pakistani people and the military expect Kayani to disengage from the US-led Afghan war and instead pursue an independent course in terms of the country’s perceived legitimate interests.

Three, there is a US attempt to exploit the growing indiscipline within the Pak army and, if possible, to trigger a mutiny, which will bog down the army leadership in a serious “domestic” crisis that leaves no time for them for the foreseeable future to play any forceful role in Afghanistan. In turn, it leaves the Americans a free hand to pursue their own agenda. Time is of the essence of the matter and the US desperately wants direct access to the Taliban leadership so as to strike a deal with them without the ISI or Hamid Karzai coming in between.

The prime US objective is that Taliban should somehow come to a compromise with them on the single most crucial issue of permanent US military bases in Afghanistan. The negotiations over the strategic partnership agreement with Karzai’s government are at a critical point. The Taliban leadership of Mullah Omar robustly opposes the US proposal to set up American and NATO bases on their country. The Americans are willing to take the Taliban off the UN’s sanctions list and allow them to be part of mainstream Afghan political life, including in the top echelons of leadership, provided Mullah Omar and the Quetta Shura agree to play ball.

The US tried its damnest to get Kayani to bring the Taliban to the reconciliation path. When these attempts failed, they tried to establish direct contact with the Taliban leadership. But ISI has been constantly frustrating the US intelligence activities in this direction and reminding the US to stick to earlier pledges that Pakistan would have a key role in the negotiations with the Taliban. The CIA and Pentagon have concluded that so long as the Pakistani military leadership remains stubborn, they cannot advance their agenda <; in Afghanistan.

Now, how do you get Kayani and the ISI to back off? The US knows the style of functioning of the Pakistani military. The army chief essentially works within a collegium of the 9 corps commanders. Thus, US has concluded that it also has to tackle the collegium <; . The only way is to set the army’s house on fire so that the generals get distracted by the fire-dousing and the massive repair work and housecleaning that they will be called upon to undertake as top priority for months if not years to come. To rebuild a national institution like the armed forces takes years and decades.

Four, the US won’t mind if Kayani is forced to step aside from his position and the Pakistani military leadership breaks up in disarray, as it opens up windows of opportunities to have Kayani and Pasha replaced by more “dependable” people – Uncle Sam’s own men. There is every possibility that the US has been grooming its favourites within the Pak army corps for all contingencies. Pakistan is too important as a “key non-NATO ally”. The CIA is greatly experienced in masterminding coup d-etat, including “in-house” coup d’etat. Almost all the best and the brightest Pak army officers have passed through the US military academies at one time or another. Given the sub-continent’s middle class mindset and post-modern cultural ethos, elites in civil or military life take it for granted that US backing is a useful asset for furthering career. The officers easily succumb to US intelligence entrapment. Many such “sleepers” should be existing there within the Pak army officer corps.

The big question remains: has someone in Washington thought through the game plan to tame the Pakistani military? The heart of the matter is that there is virulent “anti-Americanism” within the Pak armed forces. Very often it overlaps with Islamist sympathies. Old-style left wing “anti-Americanism” is almost non-existent in the Pakistani armed forces – as in Ayaz Amir’s time. These tendencies in the military are almost completely in sync with the overwhelming public opinion in the country as well.

Over the past 3 decades at least, Pakistani army officers have come to be recruited almost entirely from the lower middle class – as in our country – and not from the landed aristocracy as in the earlier decades up to the 1970s. These social strata are quintessentially right wing in their ideology, nationalistic, and steeped in religiosity that often becomes indistinguishable from militant religious faith.

Given the overall economic crisis in Pakistan and the utterly discredited Pakistani political class (as a whole) and countless other social inequities and tensions building up in an overall climate of cascading violence and great uncertainties about the future gnawing the mind of the average Pakistani today, a lurch toward extreme right wing Islamist path is quite possible. The ingredients in Pakistan are almost nearing those prevailing in Iran in the Shah’s era.

The major difference so far has been that Pakistan has an armed forces “rooted in the soil” as a national institution, which the public respected to the point of revering it, which on its part, sincerely or not, also claimed to be the Praetorian Guards of the Pakistani state. Now, in life, destroying comes very easy. Unless the Americans have some very bright ideas about how to go about nation-building in Pakistan, going by their track record in neighbouring Afghanistan, their present course to discredit the military and incite its disintegration or weakening at the present crisis point, is fraught with immense dangers.

The instability in the region may suit the US’ geo-strategy for consolidating its (and NATO’s) military presence in the region but it will be a highly self-centred, almost cynical, perspective to take on the problem, which has dangerous, almost explosive, potential for regional security. Also, who it is that is in charge of the Pakistan policy in Washington today, we do not know. To my mind, Obama administration doesn’t have a clue since Richard Holbrooke passed away as to how to handle <;hidecomments=yes&amp;page=full&gt; Pakistan. The disturbing news in recent weeks has been that all the old “Pakistan hands” in the USG have left the Obama administration. It seems there has been a steady exodus of officials who knew and understood how Pakistan works, and the depletion is almost one hundred percent. That leaves an open field for the CIA to set the policies.

The CIA boss Leon Panetta (who is tipped as defence secretary) is an experienced and ambitious politico who knows how to pull the wires in the Washington jungle – and, to boot it, he has an Italian name. He is unlikely to forgive and forget <; the humiliation he suffered in Rawalpindi last Friday. The NYT story suggests that it is not in his blood if he doesn’t settle scores with the Rawalpindi crowd. If Marlon Brando were around, he would agree.

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Applying International Law To Isolate Nuclear Pakistan

Posted by yourpakistan on June 22, 2011

Click here to open the Policy Brief     Applying International Law To Isolate Nuclear Pakistan in PDF format

Pakistani diplomacy made a sudden U-turn in September 2008 when Islamabad’s diplomats to the IAEA failed to oppose a waiver to India to conduct nuclear commerce despite it being a non-signatory country to NPT. This Pakistani position stunned strong anti-proliferation states such as Ireland and Norway who were counting on Pakistan to take a lead. China tried to raise questions on the Indian waiver but relented in the end. Pakistan must not repeat the mistake in 2011. The NSG has agreed to consider India’s membership in its plenary session in the third week of June 2011. Pakistan needs to bolster its diplomacy and sensitize the world public opinion as to how a handful of powerful countries are shifting power from nuclear nonproliferation conventions to ‘supplier cartels’ like the NSG that have no legal standing. These cartels are using a discriminatory approach in granting exemptions and waivers to select countries, such as India, while simultaneously ensuring profits from future nuclear trade.

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No to operation in North Waziristan Agency

Posted by yourpakistan on June 21, 2011

Should the Pakistan Army launch an operation in North Waziristan Agency (NWA)? Short answer: No. Is the so-called Haqqani network as deadly for US-Nato-Isaf troops as American official and media blitz suggests? No. Let’s consider these questions in reverse order.

 By Ejaz Haider 

Going by US and western intelligence and military accounts, the network operates in the velayats of Paktia, Paktika, Khost, Logar and Ghazni. Let’s also add Nangarhar to this list. Since 2001 to wit, according to The official US list of fatalities, the number killed in these areas from the combined US-Nato-Isaf troops are Paktia (1), Khost (39), Logar (37), Ghazni (74), Paktika (118) and Nangarhar (43). (NB: These statistics also include fatalities caused by non-hostile factors, including accidents involving road and helicopter crashes, weapons mishandling etc.

The total number of fatalities in these six velayats comes to 312. Compare this with Helmand (730), Kandahar (370), Kunar (153), Kabul (136), Zabul (99), Oruzgan (64), Parwan (54). If one adds up the numbers of fatalities, it should be clear that the fighting has been far more intense in the southern, central and north-eastern areas than where the network has been operating, with the exception of Paktika. Also, the eastern provinces combined have seen fewer fatalities this year than the average for one suicide attack in Pakistan.

Which brings us to the pressing issue of operational priorities: What groups should Pakistan operate against — those that are attacking Pakistani people and security forces or those that operate inside Afghanistan? Given limited resources and the stretch faced by the Pakistan Army, any commander would focus attention on the threat in his own area rather than pick up a fight with those who are not fighting his troops. As for the differential in resources, just one figure would be enough. So far, given US and other fatalities from improvised explosive devices (IEDs), the Joint IED Defeat Organisation (JIEDDO), a Pentagon agency, has spent $20 billion to develop techniques and equipment to counter the IED threat. Does this number sound familiar? Well, it equals the hyped figure of ‘aid’ that is supposed to have come to Pakistan since 2002 for the latter’s entire war effort, as well as under multiple other heads!

Pakistan is already facing a full-blown insurgency and urban terrorism by groups based in Fata and just across in Afghanistan. A recent development relates to well-staged and managed attacks from across the Durand Line on its posts in Lower Dir and Bajaur. The pattern of attacks and numbers employed show the attacking force is free to form up inside Afghanistan, has a secure line of communication to the base, can freely advance to the border, ingress, launch a surprise attack and exfiltrate. Surely, with all the radars, sensor-mounted balloons and unmanned drones, such movement should not go undetected. Apparently it does!

Pakistan’s experience also shows that no one area can be identified as the Centre of Gravity (COG) of this threat. The two US assumptions that NWA is the COG of Afghan insurgency and that once the Haqqani network is taken out, the backbone of the insurgency in Afghanistan will be broken, are wrong and self-serving.

As I wrote in The Friday Times in December 2010, the insurgency does not have a defined COG; there are multiple COGs and command lines are much more diffused than anyone is prepared to accept. There is already dispersal of the leadership and the fighters because of drone attacks. Dispersal and delegation of operations also provide the Taliban the flexibility they require to retain their asymmetric advantage.

The American idea that packing the punch against the Haqqani network — assuming that the network would offer itself as a concentrated target for the convenience of any superior force — would signal to others to come to the negotiating table is unlikely to happen.

In this game, Pakistan will be the loser. NWA does not just house the Haqqani network; it also has Haji Gul Bahadur, elements of the relocated Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), multiple Punjabi groups and remnants of al Qaeda. Currently, these groups are geographically confined. If Pakistan goes after them, it will have to face multiple negative consequences, including dislocating more of its population at a time when its build and transfer efforts in other areas have almost stalled and it is already bogged down in Mohmand and Kurram.

The network, currently no threat to Pakistan, would go for a link up with elements hostile to Pakistan and operating only against Pakistani interests. Elements hostile to Pakistan will get reinforced by such a link-up and, while use of force will make the various groups join hands, it will fail to translate into utility of force for the simple reason that the groups would disperse and spread out instead of offering themselves as a concentrated target to a superior force.

That makes eminent operational sense because, rather than losing too many men in pitched battles, the groups will disperse while retaining some fighters to engage advancing columns in combination with the use of area denial weapons like anti-personnel mines, anti-tank mines, ‘victim-operated’ IEDs and booby traps. This means that while they will try to slow down the advance and extract a heavy toll of advancing troops, they would not need to employ the bulk of their forces that are likely to extricate as the operation undergoes.

Pakistan would then be left with two negative fallouts: Future operational linkage between the Afghan Taliban and the TTP and other assorted hostile groups; and dispersal of these groups into other areas. An operation against the Haqqani network will also activate other Afghan Taliban groups against Pakistani security forces which are already battle-stressed, fighting the Pakistani groups affiliated with al Qaeda. That would open another front, currently dormant.

Meanwhile, what about the drones? Why should Pakistan commit ground troops if the drones are as effective as the US says they are and for which reason it is prepared to accept the cost of rising resentment inside Pakistan?

But let’s go higher up the ladder from the operational to the strategic and political. The UN Security Council (UNSC) has delinked the Taliban from its al Qaeda list, sending a signal to the Taliban that they can be talked to if they can prove that they are not linked to al Qaeda. Good move that, one which I have been insisting on before and since US President Barack Obama spoke at West Point. We also have, on the good authority of both Afghan President Hamid Karzai and outgoing US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates, that the US is in talks with the Taliban. This makes sense and shows why the UNSC has done what it has.

And why should Pakistan open up a front against the Afghan Taliban when they are now to be potential partners in peace talks?

Published in The Express Tribune, June 21st, 2011. 

The writer was a Ford Scholar at the Programme in Arms Control, Disarmament and International Security at UIUC (1997) and a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution’s Foreign Policy Studies Programe

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