A revolution?

By Marvi Memon

These days there is a lot of talk about revolution and a change of system. I see it as a control-alt-delete button on the keyboard. A clean up action of sorts where a new benchmark of what is acceptable in politics needs to be set up. The constitution is fine. So is parliamentary democracy. The problem is that no one sticks to the system. How does one ensure zero tolerance for wavering from the system? Simple — by ensuring that when there is a wavering from set rules, people are punished according to rules.

There is a common joke going around Islamabad these days: hang a few hundred politicians and this country will be fine. What this seems to suggest is that the politicians are the core problem. I feel that the responsibility lies on the politicians to govern since they are responsible for the fate of millions.

What should one expect from politicians? That they will make good laws and implement them. That they will create an Islamic, social welfare state. That they will rule in an egalitarian way. That if they have clean water to drink themselves, they won’t sleep until they have found a way to provide each Pakistani with clean drinking water too. That if they have access to education and basic health units, they will ensure that each Pakistani has the right to education and health facilities too. And until we don’t give the basic amenities to the poor, we have no business wasting each other’s time politicking.

There is a long list of revolts, rebellions, and revolutions in world history. They happen when people reach the peak of the minimum acceptable level of humiliation and are ready to turn out those responsible for their misery. Read more of this post

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Turkey will continue its unflinching support to Pakistan, says Abdullah Gul

  • Turkish president says Pakistan’s recent success in war on terror has made Turkey proud
  • Both countries must join hands to wipe out militancy, extremism

ISLAMABAD: Turkish President Abdullah Gul on Tuesday reiterated that his country will continue its unflinching support to Pakistan on various confronting issues, besides standing alongside the country in all trying times.

The Turkish president, during a call on a meeting by Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (JCSC) Chairman General Tariq Majeed, who is on an official visit to the brotherly country, said both the brotherly nations have deep-rooted and time-tested relations.

The Turkish president, recalling the lively and vivid memories of his visit to Pakistan, lauded the sacrifices rendered by the Pakistani nation and its armed forces in the war against terrorism, adding that the recent successes of Pakistan in the fight against terrorists has made them proud.

Besides discussing matters relating to enhancement of the relations between both countries, General Majeed said “both the countries have convergent perceptions on all regional and international issues and are facing common challenges”.

Join hands: He added, “Both brotherly countries must join hands to wipe out armed militancy and violent extremism from our societies.”

According to a message from Turkey, on arrival at the Turkish General Staff Headquarters, General Majeed was warmly welcomed and the Turkish Armed Forces gave him a guard of honour.

During his meeting with General Ilker Basbug, chief of the Turkish General Staff, the JCSC chairman thanked him for the warm hospitality and offered his condolences for the loss of precious lives of the Turkish soldiers and citizens in the recent terrorist attacks and the ‘Freedom Flotilla’ incident.

He appreciated Turkey’s unflinching support to Pakistan in its fight against terrorism, for the efforts to bring stability in Afghanistan and holding of the tripartite and regional summits.

General Majid emphasised the need to institutionalise the defence and security dialogue mechanism at the CDS level and training of officers at mid-career and junior levels to cultivate brotherhood amongst the young officers. Read more of this post

Pakistan condemns HR violations in Indian Occupied Kashmir

Islamabad—Pakistan has strongly condemned human rights violations by Indian forces in Occupied Kashmir.

Commenting on recent events of torture of innocent Kashmiris in Sopore and other areas in Occupied Kashmir. Foreign Office Spokesman Abdul Basit on Monday said, “We are concerned over the human rights situation in Jammu and Kashmir.”

He said,”Pakistan has consistently underlined the importance of respecting the rights of Kashmiris and will continue extending its full moral and diplomatic support to their legitimate cause and struggle.”

The spokesman said the international community should also take notice of this human rights violations by Indian forces in Occupied Kashmir.

Pakistan is seeking resumption of composite dialogue with India to resolve all outstanding issues including the core issue of Kashmir. The solution of Kashmir issue will ensure a durable peace in the region.

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Video: US/Pakistan Afghan Policy -Press TV

Former Chief of IB Brig. Imtiaz (Rtd) and renowned Pakistani defence analyst Syed Zaid Zaman Hamid in a candid discussion on the recent history of Afghanistan and why it lives up to its reputation of being a graveyard of empires. Must watch analysis.


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Dire need to counter RAW’s terrorism

by Brig Asif Haroon Raja

It is now an established fact that no South Asian state has ever indulged in covert operations or cross border terrorism against its neighbors. The only culprit is India which resorts to this evil practice against all its neighbors, be it Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives, Bhutan, China and Myanmar. It has dovetailed clandestine operations into its war strategy to apply it against its foes during peace time for harassment, intimidation and blackmailing purposes and for weakening them from within. Afghanistan has been used by Russia and India to raise the bogey of Pashtunistan, render support to Pakistani runaways and rebels and to launch covert operations against Pakistan. Karzai has belatedly assured Pakistan that it would not allow its soil against Pakistan. Hopefully he sticks to his commitment. Marching orders given by Karzai to his intelligence chief and interior minister, both venomously anti-Pakistan and favorites of Washington are positive signs though some more steps are needed to scatter away clouds of distrust built over nine years.

The US military has starting packing its bags to wind up its business in Afghanistan and go home starting July 2011. The US and Karzai’s tilt towards Islamabad are ominous developments for India vying to have complete sway over Afghan affairs after the departure of coalition forces. The entire Indian leadership is in a state of depression. Its spin doctors are at a loss but are still scratching their heads how to retrieve the situation. Indians are feeling out of place since they are akin to traits of a scorpion which stings compulsively.

Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao and Home Minister Chidambaram were here in Islamabad to renew talks. An Indo-Pak talk is a drama staged by India at the behest of USA. India loses all and gains nothing out of composite dialogue, which she had purposely stalled after Mumbai attacks. She stubbornly clung to her one-point agenda of no talks without Pakistan tackling India’s concerns about terrorism. After intense pressure from USA, stuck in Afghanistan and urgently requiring Pakistan’s services for a bailout, India has reluctantly relented and agreed to resume talks. However, the entire focus of talks was on terrorism. Chronic issues such as Kashmir dispute, Siachin and Sir Creek problems, water problem, RAW’s support to terrorists in Balochistan and in FATA were skipped. India wants solution to Kashmir as suggested by former President Gen Musharraf. It had been mutually decided to sideline UN resolutions on Kashmir, convert Line of Control (LoC) into soft border and to put the dispute in cold freezer as had been done during Simla Agreement in 1973.

But for lawyers movement which weakened Musharraf, the sellout plan would have been implemented in 2008. It is for this reason that Indian leaders fondly remember Musharraf and pray for his return. President Zardari was also in favor of this plan as was evident from several statements he had made on Kashmir and the so-called ‘good news’ he wanted to give to the nation. Had the Army under Gen Kayani not taken a firm stand and had Zardari not lost his reputation and credibility, he would have given a go ahead signal to the plan. Zardari’s inability to open up nuclear program for US and IAEA inspection, bring ISI under Interior Ministry and to implement Indian dictated Kashmir solution has disappointed USA and India. To twist his arm, he is off and on subjected to barrage of vilification campaign, most of which is based on facts.

Pakistan had been led up the garden path by India through much hyped composite dialogue in early 2004. It was pledged that all issues including Kashmir would be resolved through dialogue. Four rounds of talks were held but nothing concrete came out of the meetings. While Pakistan lost a lot, India gained a lot. Under the garb of friendship, India successfully completed fencing of LoC, defanged armed resistance in Held Kashmir, redirected all Jihadi outfits towards Pakistan, made Balochistan, FATA and large parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa restive, lowered the image of Pak Army and other institutions through propaganda campaign, consolidated tentacles of RAW within Pakistan, disturbed law and order situation, built several dams over rivers Chenab, Jhelum and Indus and reduced flow of water into Pakistan. India not only enhanced its presence in Afghanistan significantly but also spread hatred amongst Afghans against Pakistan to keep the two neighbors perpetually hostile to each other. Through these acts, it impoverished the economy of Pakistan.

While preaching friendship, Indian military feverishly built up its strength and former Indian chief Gen Kapoor hurled threats of Cold Start and limited war under a nuclear overhang. Pakistan quietly digested all the insults and harms inflicted upon the body of Pakistan under the skewed policy of appeasement and under a misperception that Kashmir issue would be resolved. In return, India didn’t budge an inch over any of the disputes and continued to maintain its pre-2004 rigid stance on all issues. It showed its ugly face after Mumbai carnage and reverted to its old policy of antagonism. Read more of this post

Abusing the living and dead

By Dr James Zogby

I am not easily shocked. I’ve been doing this work for too many years and I’ve seen too much to become outraged by the bad behaviour or acts of indecency or inhumanity. But two stories that recently came across my desk were so disgraceful, and in some ways dangerous, that I feel compelled to write about them. Both featured players in the Middle East crassly abusing the living and the dead.

The first of these involved Israel’s Mossad and a practice they used to secure a fraudulent passport for one of their agents who participated in the January 19, 2010, assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai.

Germany’s law offers citizenship and a passport to the descendants of pre-World War II, especially the German citizens of Jewish faith who were forced to flee the country to escape the horrors of the Holocaust. Taking advantage of this provision, a Mossad agent claiming to be Michael Bodenheimer, the grandson of a German Jewish survivor, secured a German passport which he later used to enter the UAE where he was involved in the murder of al Mabhouh.

A few weeks back the Jerusalem Post reported that the real Michael Bodenheimer, an Orthodox Rabbi who emigrated from the United States to Israel, claimed that his identity had been stolen by the Mossad agent, and that he had “never asked for a German passport…[and] never had one.” The real Michael Bodenheimer and his family were, of course, concerned that their name was implicated in an assassination. More than just this abuse of one innocent citizen, there is the concern with the Mossad’s cavalier abuse of the German citizenship provision. Israel’s behaviour in this regard is dangerous. It put the real Michael Bodenheimer at risk while casting suspicion on an entire class of people, Jews who have in the past, and who may in the future, seek German citizenship. As such, it callously exploits those who were murdered and the descendants of those who survived.

Then there are the recent revelations about the Iranian woman who was murdered in the demonstrations that erupted protesting last year’s Iranian elections. The woman, Neda Agha-Soltan, quickly became internationally recognised as a martyr and symbol of the “Green Revolution”. Her face was used on CNN and BBC and plastered on the front pages of newspapers around the world where it appeared with the tagline The Angel of Iran. This photo was picked up by the Voice of America and spread to Iran where it appeared on posters and T-shirts.

The story is true, Neda Agha-Soltan was murdered, but the picture that spread virally is not of her. Careless journalism, to be kind, picked up the Facebook photo of one, Neda Soltani, a quite lovely Iranian teaching assistant and student of English Literature at Tehran University. Despite the mistaken identity, the photo stuck.

A piece on Foreign Policy’s website last week carefully traces not just the carelessness that led to the mistaken identity, but more disturbingly the consequences for the living Neda who is the innocent victim of this error. As she sought to reclaim her identity and her face, the Iranian regime claimed that “Neda lives”, that no murder had been committed. When she went online demanding that her picture be taken down, she received threats and abusive responses from supporters of the revolt who argued that she was threatening to deny their cause the martyred Angel of Iran. Read more of this post

Hampering Pak-China nuclear deal

Dr Raja Muhammad Khan

In the wake of ongoing misperceptions, China has clarified that it will provide nuclear reactors to Pakistan under the years old nuclear deal. As clarified by Qin Gang, the spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, that the, “the nuclear cooperation between the two countries was for peaceful purposes and are “totally consistent” with its international obligations and safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency”. Under the deal, “China will export two nuclear power reactors to Pakistan in a USD 2.375-billion agreement.

New Delhi and Washington objects that this deal will breach the international protocol, regarding the trade of nuclear equipment and material. U.S also object that this deal will overstep “the guidelines of the 46-country Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), which bars nuclear commerce between Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) members like China and non-member states like Pakistan”. Indeed, Pak-China Nuclear Deal was concluded in 1986, when China was neither the member of NSG nor it had signed the NPT. China signed the NPT in 1992 and became the member of NSG in 2004. By 2004, almost ¾th progresses had already been made on the deal between Pakistan and China. Therefore, neither of the two is applicable in case of this deal. Furthermore, the ‘Indo-US Nuclear Deal-2005’ later finalized in 2008, provides the precedence, and actually has opened the door for any such like deal in the future. Indeed, after setting precedence by itself, U.S has no legal and moral grounds to object the Pak-China Nuclear Deal.

United States otherwise cannot afford to object this deal, as it has lot of stakes attached to China or Pakistan. Chinese consent is essential for imposing the enhanced sanctions on Iran, currently underway. The issue of North Korean nuclearization and security threats it is posing to other regional countries like South Korea cannot be resolved without the assistance from the China. On the economic fronts, US stakes are quite high. Economists’ view that the falling US economy has been sustained by China largely, as US is biggest trade partner of China at the global level. As regards Pakistan, United States cannot stay a day in Afghanistan without the active support of Pakistan. It is otherwise loosing the Afghan war and need Pakistani assistance more than earlier. Otherwise, on the issue of Indo-US Nuclear Deal, China did not oppose as a member of NSG. Now, once China is providing only a friction of that to Pakistan, why should US obstruct it?

Pakistani Foreign Office has rejected the Indo-US concerns over the Pak-China civil nuclear deal. The spokesperson said that, “Pakistan-China civil nuclear cooperation is going on for years. Our cooperation is under the relevant IAEA safeguards. Therefore concerns, if any, are misplaced”. While tracing the history of Pak-China Civil Nuclear, it is pertinent to note that, a Comprehensive Nuclear cooperation Agreement between Pakistan and then Foreign Minister Sahibzada Yaqub Khan and his Chinese counterpart in the presence of Chinese Premier and PAEC chairperson Dr. Munir A. Khan signed China on September 15, 1986 at Beijing. The salient clauses of the agreement include that, China would construct; four nuclear plants in Pakistan namely; Chasma 1, 2, 3 and 4 by 2011.

Regarding the mandate of and origin of NSG, it was created after the nuclear test of India in 1974, once India diverted the fuel meant for the atom for peace to its weapon programme. If India, the primary proliferators, could be given such a concession by the NSG, why Pakistan be deprived from it. Indeed, India got this by US to counter the China. About its legality of NSG, it was created in 1975 to regulate and standardize the nuclear trade, in reaction to Indian misuse of nuclear material. Its creation was not through an international treaty, but is an international cartel of nuclear technology suppliers.

US officials consider that countries that have not signed the NPT so far cannot be granted the facility. The super power is perhaps overlooking the aspects that India is also a non-signatory to NPT. US also consider that, “Additional nuclear cooperation with Pakistan beyond those specific projects that were grandfathered in 2004 would require consensus approval” However, Pakistan and China rejects these, since it is like, “the pot calling the kettle black”. Indeed, “US had not only violated the NPT, but had also violated the Hyde Act 2006, (by finalising a similar deal with India regarding cooperation on nuclear energy for peaceful purposes).” Since the Pak-China deal would be under the IAEA safeguards, therefore, there would be no legal hurdle in its finalization. In the mean time the Chinese Foreign Ministry has clarified that the deal is in accordance with the international law, therefore, rejects the Indian and American objections. Read more of this post

Nothing is going right for USA in final phase in Afghanistan


By Asif Haroon Raja

Washington and Kabul were marching in step till end 2009. As the final phase in Afghanistan drew nearer, the two fell out of steps and so far they have been unable to get back in steps. Major reason for this is Washington ’s unhappiness over Karzai’s performance and latter’s conflicting views on solving Afghan imbroglio. Obama’s straight talk with him advising him to improve and produce results caused heart burns to Karzai. He got miffed at the role of USA and UK in last presidential election and feels convinced that it had been purposely made controversial to weaken his position. He has become aggressive and has been off and on giving anti-US statements and even threatening to join the ranks of Taliban.

Karzai is not in favor of Kandahar operation and wants reconciliation with all without making a wedge between reconcilable and irreconcilable. In this respect he has been making repeated overtures to Pakistan which has been resented by several segments in Washington , India , Northern Alliance leaders and Israel . He suspects that rocket attack on the jirga he hosted at Kabul on 2 June was conducted either by intelligence chief Amrullah whom he subsequently sacked or Blackwater at the behest of USA . Sacking of Amrullah and interior minister by him was a major blow to USA in the given troubled times since the two were their loyalists. Seething with rage that he has been unseated at the behest of Pakistan , anti-Pakistan Amrullah organized an attack on an isolated post in Mohmand Agency held by paramilitary troops to cause embarrassment to Pakistan.

According to US Congressional subcommittee investigations led by John Tierney D-Mass, US military is paying millions of dollars to insurgents, Afghan warlords and corrupt government officials to ensure safe passage of supply of convoys. It is part of Pentagon’s $2.1 billion transport contract for food, water, fuel and ammunition to US troops serving at 200 forward bases. Reportedly Afghan security firms have been extorting as much as $4 million a week from contractors and then dishing out the booty to warlords and Taliban. Watan Risk Management Security firm under scrutiny contends it has to pay $1000 to $10000 in monthly bribes to every Afghan governor, police chief, local military unit whose territory is trespassed. Trucking companies maintain that for safe passage payments have to be made to local security firms with ties to Taliban, or warlords who control the roads. Such undesirable activities are undermining larger US objectives of curtailing corruption and strengthening effective governance in Afghanistan . Interestingly, in Pakistan instead of extorting money, militants torch supply convoys.

Another problem area is the flourishing drug trade which has doubled since 2005 and has helped finance insurgents and encouraged corruption. In Marjah , US troops stopped Afghan officials from destroying poppy fields. Read more of this post

Barbarity of Indian Army in Indian Occupied Kashmir

Indian atrocities in Indian Occupied Kashmir From Jan. 1989 to May 31, 2010

  • Total Killings* = 93,241
  • Custodial Killings = 6,969
  • Civilians Arrested = 117,117
  • Structures Arsoned/Destroyed = 105,845
  • Women Widowed = 22,726
  • Children Orphaned = 107,347
  • Women gang-raped / Molested = 9,912



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Is Karzai sincere in his overtures towards Pakistan?

Hamid Karzai in Pakistan with PM Yousaf Raza Gilani

By Asif Haroon Raja

Hamid Karzai is walking on a tight rope. Ever grateful to Washington for getting the prized post of president of Afghanistan , he has been pursuing American dictates faithfully. He agreed to give all the major portfolios to non-Pashtun Northern Alliance members in his government and to sideline his own Pashtun community enjoying distinct majority. He allowed Indian influence to expand in his country on American insistence and let Afghan soil to be used for subversive activities against Pakistan . Mossad was also allowed a firm toehold in Afghanistan . On the prompting of his mentors he has all along maintained a hostile stance towards Pakistan . By following pro-American policies he became highly unpopular in his country.

To make himself useful, he fed an idea to Washington that given the resources and backing, he would be able to win over majority of Taliban leaders through bribes and incentives and would affect an in-house coup within Taliban ranks after isolating Mullah Omar led hardliners. Once he was given a green signal in 2007, he began to establish contacts with former and current members of Taliban Shura and other resistance groups. By 2009 he was able to make good gains among former Taliban ministers, Hizb-e-Islami and others. Among present Shura, Mullah Ghani Baradar was his big catch. He had made secret contacts with him through his half brother Ahmad Wali Karzai but didn’t disclose this breakthrough to USA . His efforts got stalled because of unexpected successes achieved by Taliban against coalition forces in southern and eastern Afghanistan from June to September 2009 putting ISAF on the back foot.

The US leaders began to have second thoughts about Karzai when situation in Afghanistan began to slip out of their hands. He failed to muster requisite votes in August 2009 presidential election. Although he managed to get re-elected in November because of rigging he further lost his credibility. He however felt convinced that it was America ’s doing to weaken his political standing. He was warned by Obama to improve governance, get rid of corruption in various departments and to improve his standing among Pashtuns in particular and Afghans in general so as to become a bridge between Americans and Pashtuns. These unfriendly acts gave second thoughts to Karzai about US sincerity as well.

Once Obama announced withdrawal timeline of July 2011 and stuck to it despite strong opposition from Karzai , India and Israel , he realized that the US would again leave Afghanistan in a lurch and his fate will not be different to Babrak Karmal or Dr Najibullah. He also assessed that US-Nato had lost the will and was not in a position to defeat Taliban movement. It was in the backdrop of these lurking fears that he hurtled some anti-US and pro-Taliban statements to win the confidence of latter. He also tried hard to allay the heart burnings of Pakistan by making series of friendly statements. While throwing feelers of goodwill towards Taliban and Pakistan , he is still not ready to lose the goodwill of USA and India since the situation at the moment is highly fluid. While he has smelt that USA has lost the war, coming six months are crucial. In this period, it will be decided which side the balance tilts.

Arrest of Baradar, deputy of Mullah Omar, by Pak security forces in January at the pointing of CIA was a setback for him since Baradar’s participation in loya jirga scheduled at Kabul in April would have made a huge difference. When he failed to get him released, he went ahead with the jirga on 2 June which was attended by 1600 people from almost all strands of Afghan society. His plan of re-integration of Taliban through negotiations was endorsed by all. His plan is however not entirely in line with US plan which hinges on first defeating the Taliban on battlefield and then negotiating with them from a position of strength. Americans are sticking to this plan since they want to leave behind a regime of their choice which could safeguard their future interests and also agree to a sizeable military presence in Baghram and Kandahar air bases. Read more of this post

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