Trying to reduce us to nothingness

By Dr. Shireen M Mazari
The present rulers have certainly tried to reduce Pakistan to a joke in the eyes of the world. Here we are confronting one of the largest natural disasters of the world, as even the UN has conceded, and our President has been busy frolicking in Europe with his team of loyalists who are giving out lies, half-truths and propaganda – in fact anything to conceal the truth. Take for instance, the claim that the President’s trip to the UK was an official trip. After being asked through an email from a Pakistani journalist, whether this was the case, the British Foreign Office spokesperson, Natasha Khan, responded (August 6th) with this one-liner: “President Zardari is not on an official state visit.”

President Zardari himself claimed that he was in the UK to develop trade links with the international community but ended up having only one official meeting – and that to with PM Cameron, not any trade delegation. As for the Marshall Plan he claims he got the UK to agree to, only he seems to be aware of it as there has been nothing coming out from the British government and apparently all that has happened is that we once again pleaded with the Brits to take up the case of access for Pakistani exports to the EU markets with Brussels.

Meanwhile, costs aside – and those too are substantial given the nightly rate at the London five star hotel the President and his entourage stayed at, plus the costs of the chartered flight to Birmingham, plus the costs of the dozen or so luxury limos that were hired and thousands of pounds paid for the hiring of the International Convention Centre in Birmingham and so on – it is what was said and left unsaid that was truly damaging for Pakistan. The first issue is of course the most critical – the unsubstantiated accusations uttered by UK Prime Minister Cameron in India against Pakistan, and his refusal to retract or even modify them. One had expected that at the very least President Zardari would take this issue up since he not only refused to cancel his trip, but also refused to cancel his meeting with Cameron. Unfortunately, in his meeting with Cameron, no protest was registered. To make matters worse, President Zardari actually seemed to be in agreement with Cameron’s remarks because in an interview given later to The Telegraph (August 7th), he made a reference to rogue spies when talking of the ISI whom he said were a thing of the past. So effectively he was echoing what Cameron had said, but to show how he was making the difference he added that he had full control over the intelligence agencies and only now “everybody is completely accountable!” So if the Pakistan nation or any state institution was expecting a strong defence against the Cameron remarks they were not going to get it from the Presidency! In fact, President Zardari did not even take up the issue of the Pakistani students who were arrested on alleged terrorist charges and then found not to be guilty but were still deported – thereby having their future all but destroyed. Yet, we heard nothing on this count either from President Zardari. If he saw the ISI guilty as charged by Cameron, surely he could have pleaded the cause of these innocent Pakistani youth at least?

It is no wonder, then, that the British political elite can ride roughshod over Pakistan and the British media can go to town ridiculing and lampooning the Pakistani head of state. Even someone who is considered a friend of Pakistan like Baroness Wasti made a strange defence of Prime Minister Cameron’s remarks in an article by declaring that friendship “is meaningless unless you can be honest with each other!” That is true but does honesty demand that you publicly level unsubstantiated allegations against your friend in the territory of the foe of that friend? Where was the mutual respect Wasti talked about in Cameron’s remarks and subsequent reiteration of that position? However, given President Zardari’s absurd remarks about the UK-Pakistan historical relationship – and one only has to go throw the history of Partition to realise this – obviously even Baroness Wasti feels she can pull a fast one on Pakistan while defending her Party leader and Prime Minister!

President Zardari’s tragedy is that no one is Pakistan, save his own loyal band, was in a mood to take the cudgels up in his defence or at least against the manner in which he was treated in the UK. After all, he defied his suffering nation to go on this jaunt at a time when he should have been offering succour and support to his flood-ravaged people. It is our tragedy that our leaders are in no mood to defend Pakistan, its people or its institutions against the negative agendas of external foes posing as friends. In fact, since successive governments have allowed the US to kill our people while violating our sovereignty at will, one can conclude that neither the previous uniformed dispensation nor the present civilian democratic dispensation is prepared to take up the cudgels for the Pakistani nation against the US and the agenda of the Indo-US nexus. As for the UK, it never befriended Pakistan, especially on the issue of Kashmir and if our leaders are not well-versed in our history, they need to get rid of this critical deficit. That is the only way they will finally realise who has truly been Pakistan’s friend in our times of need. Read more of this post

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Zardari shoe-hurling game introduced on Internet


ISLAMABAD – A day after the incident of shoe hurling at President Asif Ali Zardari in UK on August 7, an Internet game ‘Zardari Shoe Game’ has been introduced.

“Play Asif Ali Zardari Game….! Hit Shoes. Throw the shoe at Asif Ali Zardari – see how many times you can hit him!”, written in the introduction of the game. The game has apparently been launched on DecentSMS.com, which is an Entertainment & Information portal of Mobile Phones containing huge archive of sms text messages shared by millions of users worldwide. There are three different stages in the game.

On hitting the shoe at the right target, which is the animation of Asif Ali Zardari, the user or player gets scores. Moreover, the game also sh-ows the animation of former Minister for Information and Broadcasting Sherry Rehman sitting with the animated President. In the third and last stage, a building labelled ‘ 9 zero’ is also shown.

It is to be mentioned here that the incident of hurling sho-es at President Asif Ali Zardari took place on August 7, 2010, when he was addressing a rally in UK. Almost all the national and international media reported the incident. However the Government of Pakistan has been denying any such incident.

Earlier the former US President Bush had also to face such embarrassment, when a shoe-hurling incident took place with him in Iraq during his visit. At that time a similar game was launched on the Internet in which the player was supposed to hurl a shoe towards animated US president while the animated kept from right to left.

Click here to play Zardari Shoe Game

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Tiff continues: India Gets Nowhere

With Iran on Afghanistan or anything else; India makes no headway!

By Moin Ansari

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Strategy and long term policy matters are discussed at the Presidential, and Prime Minister’s level. They are never discussed at the Deputy Foreign Minister level. The Bharati press is portraying Deputy Foreign Minister level talks as policy or strategy talks. The minister’s statements suggest that despite India’s attempts, Iran is a long way from supporting India. The LNG project put on ice by Tehran after the Indo-Israeli deals has not been resurrected.

Even these low level Indo-Iran talks failed. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad Ali Fathollahi drove the final nail in the coffin, when he tersely informed his hosts that the Afghan Constitution would be the “basis and pillar for any action,”. In other words be emphasized the unity of Afghanistan and what the Afghan Jirga has already proposed–and “Pan Afghan solution” based upon talks with the Afghan National Resistance (aka Taliban Haqqanirs, Hikmatyar etc.). As if this wasn’t enough Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister clearly told the Bharatis that “in our regional strategy we believe in cooperation with Pakistan.”

This is what the Times of India says. Even as Fathollahi claimed that India and Iran had “close viewpoints” on Afghanistan, he said enough to suggest that the two nations may not be on the same page over the issue. “We are suspicious about the motive behind what has been revealed by Wikileaks because the issues raised are not new ones. We believe there are special objectives behind this leakage which has come at a time when things in Afghanistan are moving towards more stability and more constructive role for the Afghan government,” Fathollahi said.

To confirm our reporting, The Indian Daily Telegraph reports:

“But Iran does not share India’s concern that the Pakistani army and ISI might foist themselves on Afghanistan once the international security forces leave the region by 2014. Unlike New Delhi, Tehran wants the forces to leave Afghanistan as soon as possible.

However, the Iranian foreign minister said his government considered Pakistan an integral constituent of any regional strategy, including on Afghanistan, and has always believed in co-operating with Islamabad.”

The minister was asked specifically about ISI links with Taliban as brought out by the Wikileaks documents. When asked about Pakistan’s role in Afghanistan, the minister said only Pakistan could talk about that and “Iran always believes in cooperation with Pakistan”.

The minister’s remarks, coupled with Iran’s constant demand for immediate withdrawal of international troops from the region, are a complete antithesis of India’s stand on Afghanistan. One of the reasons for India stepping up engagement with Iran in the recent past has been the fact that, like India, Tehran too has shunned the idea of good Taliban.

“The heavy presence of military can’t be a solution to the problem. The Afghanistan government should be trusted and we must believe in its capabilities,” Fathollahi said. Times of India.

There has been much speculation about Chahbahar and Bharati desires to build a land link to Afghanistan via Iran. Mr. Fathollahi seemed to have have poured water on the Bharati wishes by stating in clear terms that this not possible under the present circumstances and this remains only a possibility—”In future there will be fundamental developments regarding the position of Chabar,” .

The Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister also threw cold water on resurrecting the Northern Alliance or dividing Afghanistan–”Northern Alliance is not separated from other parts of Afghanistan”. Read more of this post

Zardari Faced Shoe Attack in Birmingham


A demonstrator holds a shoe up to to a manipulated photograph of President Zardari of Pakistan outside of the International Convention Centre in central Birmingham on August 7, 2010 as the Zardari speaks to supporters during a visit to England. President Zardari has faced criticism for leaving Pakistan to promote his son's political campaign while the country faces a national crisis due to severe flooding. AFP PHOTO/Leon Neal

BIRMINGHAM, England — A protestor threw a shoe at President Zardari in protest at his decision to visit UK despite PM Cameron’s insulting comments and the floods crisis in Pakistan. More information to follow on this, including video.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari was to attend a rally here Saturday as protesters demonstrated against his presence in Britain during the flooding disaster back home.

Zardari was due to speak at a political event in Birmingham, central England, for Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) members and leading figures in the Pakistani community in Britain.

Hundreds of demonstrators from various standpoints gathered outside the International Convention Centre venue in Britain’s second city, chanting and waving placards.

It comes the day after Zardari held talks with British Prime Minister David Cameron, when the pair agreed to step up their anti-terror cooperation following Cameron’s controversial claims about Pakistani attitudes towards terrorism.

With the flooding disaster affecting up to 15 million people in Pakistan, Zardari has come under fire from some quarters in Pakistan and Britain for continuing with his trip to Europe during the crisis.

Some demonstrators held up shoes to pictures of Zardari, while others held placards reading “1000s dying, president is holidaying”, “Thousands killed, millions homeless, what president is laughing for?” and “Are the Zardaris enjoying England while Pakistan drowns?”.

Mohammed Khalil, a local official from the Tehreek-e-Insaf party headed by former Pakistan cricket captain Imran Khan, was among those protesting against Zardari.

“His own people are dying for food, there’s calamity there,” he told.

“He should be there organising for his own people. Instead he’s here with so many people. The government is paying all the expense for that. That money should be spent on the people of Pakistan, not on himself.”Taji Mustafa, from the Hizb-ut-Tahrir organisation, said Pakistanis were outraged.

“There is no self-respecting leader in the world who in this time of dire national crisis, while people are drowning, he is drowning in enjoyment, he is drowning having lavish dinners in the company of his die-hard supporters,” he said.

Wajid Ali Burkey, a PPP business forums coordinator in Britain, defended Zardari as he went into the event. “In the last 70 years we have not had such a disaster. But I don’t think the president being there or not being there would have made any difference,” he said. The demonstrators “have a right of opinion to believe he should not have come, but I personally believe it is very important.”

The PPP is co-chaired by Zardari and his son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.

A PPP spokesman had said Bhutto Zardari would attend the Birmingham event and might speak at it but the 21-year-old on Saturday denied the rally was meant to launch his political career as he opened a donation point at the Pakistani High Commission in London.

The Oxford University history graduate vehemently defended his father’s visit to Europe. “He’s doing the best he can and what he thinks is best to help the people of Pakistan” he said.

One protestor threw a shoe at President Zardari during his address to the conventionin in protest at his decision to visit UK, despite PM Cameron’s insulting comments and the floods crisis in Pakistan.

Must see:

– Zardari shoe-hurling game introduced on Internet

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Leaders they better would have not

But isn’t it expecting too much from an Islamabad hierarchy that has demonstrated itself such a spineless pack of self-styled leaders who the nation would better have not and would certainly be much better off without.

A hubristically arrogant British Prime Minister David Cameron chimes cheekily that Pakistan is exporting terrorism and then picks up thunderous cheers from his Indian audience and a purchase order for dozens of trainer jets worth over whopping $one billion from the Indian government. A disputed Afghan President Hamid Karzai whose authority has stayed confined throughout his nine-year rule to his presidential palace’s outer gate and his government’s writ to Kabul municipality leaps up to the Wikileaks’ leaks of US military files and screams for taking out Afghan Taliban’s “sanctuaries” in Pakistan. And what is the response of a cringing and servile hierarchy of Islamabad to these audacious outpourings of Cameron and Karzai? That this would impact negatively the “war on terror”, bleats the whole ruling clan of Islamabad sheepishly. President Zardari mumbles it; so does prime minister Gilani; foreign minister Qureshi too. And so do all the rest.

But who will tell these ignoramuses the street gives a damn if this war is affected or not or even if it goes all haywire when it has become such a sore wound on our body politic? It has cost the nation dearly in blood and treasure, without drawing it any honest gratitude from anywhere and getting it only pillory and abuse from everywhere. For this war, over 3,000 of our soldiers have sacrificed their precious lives. In this war, thousands of our civilian compatriots, including children and women, have been slaughtered in US drone attacks and terrorist strikes of thugs bred, nurtured, funded and armed by the CIA-led evil axis of Indian RAW and Afghan NDS intelligence agencies. For this war, our economy is tottering cripplingly with losses amounting to some $40 billion or more it has inflicted on it. For the insecurity that proxies and agents of this evil axis of alien agencies has spawned with their thuggery in the country, domestic investments are fleeing out and foreign investment dread coming in. For this war, our sovereignty stands rubbished and our national solidarity in tatters.

Given this, one thought reaction to Cameron’s and Karzai’s audacities would be severe, strong and manly in Islamabad . It is not, appallingly. The response is effeminate, befitting a woman and decidedly not a man. It appears Islamabad’s hierarchs are not even aware how the street is boiling with anger over impudence of Cameron as also of Karzai, a staunchly loyalist CIA asset who did its bidding so blindly slavishly, even to anoint Indians as his own senior advisors and his governors’, themselves CIA appointees. People had hoped President Zardari would at least postpone, if not cancel, his London visit to register his nation’s outrage at Cameron’s filthy inanity. He has not.

Perhaps, to him coronation of a prince regent, who he is touting up as the nation’s upcoming ruler, counts for more than does his people’s popular sentiment. Yet if he is so loath to crown his prince at home among the people he intends foisting on to rule, he could have done the coronation ceremony in France , which too he is visiting at the Pakistani taxpayer’s expense. But if he so resolved staging this regal coronation in London under the shadows of tall palaces of kings and queens at any rate, he may have this pleasure.

But in his meeting with Cameron will he pluck up the guts and ask a few relevant questions? Will he ask Cameron that Britain had taken upon it the responsibility of freeing occupied Afghanistan from drugs? Instead, it has become the world’s biggest drugs producer and supplier. Why? Will he ask him that the occupiers had pledged pacifying the post-Taliban Afghanistan , yet British troops stayed put for years in their secured bases in Kabul and Bagram. Why? Will he tell him that when finally the British troops ventured moving out, in 2006, to Helmand , the then British defence secretary squawked they would wrest it from Taliban without firing a shot? Yet four years on, they failed to capture even a mentionable portion of it, and the American marines in thousands had to be deployed, although they too have spectacularly failed in the task. Will he ask Cameron why American soldiers ridicule British troops’ fighting mettle playfully, calling them derisively chickens? And why even British troops’ command has been taken away from the British commander and given to American officers, amid report that the British contingent had been bribing local Taliban not to attack it.

But isn’t it expecting too much from an Islamabad hierarchy that has demonstrated itself such a spineless pack of self-styled leaders who the nation would better have not and would certainly be much better off without. They are worse than dictator Pervez Musharraf who danced like a red-light area dancing girl before his American patrons and threw this poor nation in such a demeaning condition.

– The Frontier Post

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Video: Al-Qaeda Does not Exist

Al Qaeda Doesn’t Exist is the forthcoming documentary by The Corbett Report. It interrogates the theory that Al Qaeda is a centrally-operated terrorist organization run by Osama Bin Laden that perpetrated the attacks of 9/11. The documentary looks at Al Qaeda’s roots, its ties to western intelligence agencies and the fictions that have been created to enhance its myth in the corporate-controlled media.

Al Qaeda — the Database

Shortly before his untimely death, former British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook told the House of Commons that “Al Qaeda” is not really a terrorist group but a database of international mujaheddin and arms smugglers used by the CIA and Saudis to funnel guerrillas, arms, and money into Soviet-occupied Afghanistan. Courtesy of World Affairs, a journal based in New Delhi, WMR can bring you an important excerpt from an Apr.-Jun. 2004 article by Pierre-Henry Bunel, a former agent for French military intelligence.

Wayne Madsen Report

“I first heard about Al-Qaida while I was attending the Command and Staff course in Jordan. I was a French officer at that time and the French Armed Forces had close contacts and cooperation with Jordan . . .

“Two of my Jordanian colleagues were experts in computers. They were air defense officers. Using computer science slang, they introduced a series of jokes about students’ punishment.

“For example, when one of us was late at the bus stop to leave the Staff College, the two officers used to tell us: ‘You’ll be noted in ‘Q eidat il-Maaloomaat’ which meant ‘You’ll be logged in the information database.’ Meaning ‘You will receive a warning . . .’ If the case was more severe, they would used to talk about ‘Q eidat i-Taaleemaat.’ Meaning ‘the decision database.’ It meant ‘you will be punished.’ For the worst cases they used to speak of logging in ‘Al Qaida.’

“In the early 1980s the Islamic Bank for Development, which is located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, like the Permanent Secretariat of the Islamic Conference Organization, bought a new computerized system to cope with its accounting and communication requirements. At the time the system was more sophisticated than necessary for their actual needs.

“It was decided to use a part of the system’s memory to host the Islamic Conference’s database. It was possible for the countries attending to access the database by telephone: an Intranet, in modern language. The governments of the member-countries as well as some of their embassies in the world were connected to that network.

“[According to a Pakistani major] the database was divided into two parts, the information file where the participants in the meetings could pick up and send information they needed, and the decision file where the decisions made during the previous sessions were recorded and stored. In Arabic, the files were called, ‘Q eidat il-Maaloomaat’ and ‘Q eidat i-Taaleemaat.’ Those two files were kept in one file called in Arabic ‘Q eidat ilmu’ti’aat’ which is the exact translation of the English word database. But the Arabs commonly used the short word Al Qaida which is the Arabic word for “base.” The military air base of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia is called ‘q eidat ‘riyadh al ‘askariya.’ Q eida means “a base” and “Al Qaida” means “the base.”

“In the mid-1980s, Al Qaida was a database located in computer and dedicated to the communications of the Islamic Conference’s secretariat.

“In the early 1990s, I was a military intelligence officer in the Headquarters of the French Rapid Action Force. Because of my skills in Arabic my job was also to translate a lot of faxes and letters seized or intercepted by our intelligence services . . . We often got intercepted material sent by Islamic networks operating from the UK or from Belgium.

“These documents contained directions sent to Islamic armed groups in Algeria or in France. The messages quoted the sources of statements to be exploited in the redaction of the tracts or leaflets, or to be introduced in video or tapes to be sent to the media. The most commonly quoted sources were the United Nations, the non-aligned countries, the UNHCR and . . . Al Qaida.

“Al Qaida remained the data base of the Islamic Conference. Not all member countries of the Islamic Conference are ‘rogue states’ and many Islamic groups could pick up information from the databases. It was but natural for Osama Bin Laden to be connected to this network. He is a member of an important family in the banking and business world.

“Because of the presence of ‘rogue states,’ it became easy for terrorist groups to use the email of the database. Hence, the email of Al Qaida was used, with some interface system, providing secrecy, for the families of the mujaheddin to keep links with their children undergoing training in Afghanistan, or in Libya or in the Beqaa valley, Lebanon. Or in action anywhere in the battlefields where the extremists sponsored by all the ‘rogue states’ used to fight. And the ‘rogue states’ included Saudi Arabia. When Osama bin Laden was an American agent in Afghanistan, the Al Qaida Intranet was a good communication system through coded or covert messages. Read more of this post

Why Afghanistan?

There are other reasons for the US to be involved in Afghanistan,al Qaeda not being the most important.Control of Afghanistan give the United States access to Iran to the north are many of the ” Stans” Afghanistan is a very Strategic area.

__________________________________________
By Timothy V. Gatto

Lately, I’ve been listening to folks like Rachel Maddow and Richard Holbrooke talk about the situation in Afghanistan. I’ve been hearing that the rate of illiteracy in that country runs in the area of 70 to 80%. The government is having a hard time enforcing the law because in cities like Kandahar, there are only 9 magistrates to hear court cases. I’ve also heard about the government, along with the military forces from NATO, have seemingly stopped cutting down Afghan poppy and marijuana fields so that farmers can stay afloat selling these crops.

I’ve heard that the primary mission of the NATO forces is to prevent “collateral damage” to civilians as they relentlessly hunt down the Taliban. It’s been reported that the Taliban gave al Qaeda a free hand to operate in this poor, backwards country which led to the September 11th attacks on the United States in 2001, and that this is the primary reason that the United States and NATO operate on the premise that if we don’t develop a strong central government in Kabul, that more attacks will surely hit the United states “Homeland” after being planned in Afghanistan.

During an interview with Rachel Maddow, Special Envoy to the nations of Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard C. Holbrooke remarked that NATO must create a strong central government in order to get the majority of the populace to align themselves with the government in Kabul. This supposedly, would break the grip that the Taliban holds over the people that live in the rural areas. Since a hefty majority or the Afghan population live in the rural areas, this becomes a very tall order.

While listening to Holbrooke pontificate on the problems that the central government faces in winning “the hearts and minds” of the Afghan people, I couldn’t help but remember the rhetoric that came out of Vietnam over 40 years ago. There too, we were involved in winning “the hearts and minds” of the Vietnamese people and there too, Richard C. Holbrooke was involved in that strategy.

Listening to Holbrooke discuss the reasons we are in Afghanistan made me think about what a wonderful nation the United States truly is. Even though we are experiencing a recession that is akin to the Great Depression of the 1930’s, with official unemployment figures running about 9 percent on average (while the true figures are obscured because so many have come off the unemployment rolls due to these people no longer being eligible for unemployment benefits due to the length of time they have been unemployed and many have ceased looking for work, while some economists claim the real figures are between 20 and 25%), we valiantly spend our nation’s treasure to “help” these unfortunate Afghan people to build a nation free from corruption and rule by tribal warlords.

Holbrooke claims that we are making substantial progress in opening schools while training the Afghan Army and police forces to bring about a nation run by law. Even though the main cash crop in that country is opium that accounts for something like 95% of Europe’s heroin supply and most of its hashish, we are asked to believe that soon Afghanistan will be a major supplier of corn and other foodstuffs after the central government “rehabilitates” the farmers that make their livings off of narco-agriculture. After all, why would farmers willingly grow poppies and marijuana when they could grow eggplants, melons and corn?

Listening to government officials like General Ben Hodges describe the Taliban’s way of settling disputes in Kandahar made me wonder if the military leadership over there are sampling the hashish being grown by the farmers. (). The truth as I see it, there is so much corruption and so little support from the government in Kabul, the idea of bringing Afghanistan into the twenty-first century could take decades.

The true nature of our involvement in Afghanistan is something that has yet to be defined. The obvious question is why are we there? What makes this nation (and I use the term loosely), so important that we need 150,000 troops from the U.S. (and almost as many mercenaries), and tens of thousands of troops from NATO as well as Mongolia, South Korea and other non-NATO countries, to perform the task of “nation-building”? Is it because of the TAPI petroleum pipeline that will run from the Caucuses to ports in India, thus bringing oil from the Caucuses without having to go through Russia, and insuring petroleum to Western Europe without the inconvenience of having it controlled by Russia and thus holding Western Europe hostage? Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia on the pipeline;

“The new deal on the pipeline was signed on 27 December 2002 by the leaders of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan. In 2005, the Asian Development Bank submitted the final version of a feasibility study designed by British company Penspen. ‘Since the US-led offensive that ousted the Taliban from power,’ reported Forbes in 2005, “the project has been revived and drawn strong US support” as it would allow the Central Asian republics to export energy to Western markets “without relying on Russian routes”. Then-US Ambassador to Turkmenistan Ann Jacobsen noted that: “We are seriously looking at the project, and it is quite possible that American companies will join it.”[5] Due to increasing instability, the project has essentially stalled; construction of the Turkmen part was supposed to start in 2006, but the overall feasibility is questionable since the southern part of the Afghan section runs through territory which continues to be under de facto Taliban control.”

There are other reasons for the U.S. to be involved in Afghanistan, al Qaeda not being the most important. Control of Afghanistan gives the United States access to Iran to the west and China to the east whiles to the north are many of the “Stans”. Afghanistan is a very strategic area. Read more of this post

Infocus (PRESS TV): India Pakistan relations and current political situation of the region

Zaid Hamid and General (R) Hamid Gul on Press TV discuss the current political situation of the region.



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India Blind To New Realities

New Dynamics Are In Place
India cannot fathom the new ground realities

By Moin Ansari

As Tomas Kunh said a long time ago “The paradigm has shifted, and when the paradigm shifts, everything goes back to zero”. The world watched (pun intended) aghast as the Swiss watch making industry was decimated by an electronic watch marketed by TI and Casio. Ironically the electronic watch was invented by the Swiss themselves. Within years 60% of the Swiss labor force had to scramble to find non-existent jobs.

In another paradigm shift the books on international relations had to be rewritten and map makers had to work overtime to paint the new realities. The planet watched the demise of the USSR and the liberation of Central Asia Republics and the unity of Germany.   The profound change dissolved the dreams of Catherine the Great of reaching the warm waters of the Arabian Sea. Pakistan as a new custodian of those waters breathed a sigh of relief.

The impending US withdrawal and its “coopetition” with China is another paradigm shift which transforms South and Central Asia. Pakistan has been building its relationship with China for decades. It was a gift born out of the blunders of Nehru in Kashmir and Tibet. If Nehru had not triggered belligerency with Pakistan and China in 1948, the world would have been different. However he and other politicians in Delhi had an opportunity to build Asia–they tried to build Akhand Bharat–aggravating each and every one of their neighbors. Today Bharat faces a foreign policy Armageddon–but it is one of its own making. It cannot see Pakistan. It wants to devour Bangladesh, Sikkim and Bhutan. It wants to colonize Afghanistan. It wants to step on Lanka. It wants to bamboozle Nepal. The chickens have come home to roost. In an opportunistic move to please Israel and America it betrayed Iran, and that betrayal will cost it Afghanistan. All have teamed up and want nothing to do with Bharat. Even Afghans in the Kabul palaces want Delhi out. The sad thing is in instigating trouble in all its neighbors, it has rocked the boat internally. Bharat faces colossal issues within its boundaries.

The Times of India is one of the most vocal critics of anything Pakistani. This week the chagrin has been more vitriolic than usual. Perhaps it is chagrined by the Pakistani deftness in Afghanistan, or it is pure hatred of anything to do with Islamabad–one can never tell. This much is certain, the entire Bharati (aka India) media is in a tizzy fit about Bharat’s diminished role and imminent eviction from Pakistan. South block and the entire Bharati diplomatic corps are seeing the world change in front of them, and they can’t seem to do anything about it. Mad dashes to Riyadh, Tehran, and Beijing have come to naught.

Delhi seems to represent a rejectionist front all on its own. No other country has joined the “stay the course in Afghanistan”. The world seems to have rejected the Delhi notion of “no compromise in Afghanistan”, no “talks with Pakistan”, and no “Nuclear deals with China”.

The Planet wants a Pan-Afghan solution, certainly the Afghans want it. The neighbors want it, and Pakistan desires it. Pakistan and Afghanistan are natural partners with a built in mechanisms to unite. What’s more important is that the US, the UK and Europe have bought into it and just want a face saving exit from Kabul.

Delhi’s think tanks are beyond panic on the NSGs silence, and the American wink wink nod nod whispered acquiescence of China’s policy of helping Pakistan. Many analysts have actually said that President Obama has asked China to help Pakistan in energy and other fields. Some international think tanks also say that the US and China have held a “Malta” type of conference and allocated areas of influence–and Asia and Africa falls in the Chinese lap, while Europe and the Americas fall under American influences. In other words Bernard Lewis’s map of the Confucian power is being implemented.

The Bharati media is stung not by the Nuclear deal, but by the fact that the NSG simply ignored Delhi. Delhi pulled all the stops in its opposition to the Pakistan-China deal–and ended up in knots. Neither the US, nor any of the European countries seem to be concerned about the Pakistani-China deal. Only Delhi is jumping up and down antagonizing Beijing, irritating the US, and pouring water on the peace process with Pakistan. Bharat’s stance in front of the NSG is comical–it goes something like this “make an exception for us, but not for anyone else, be it Pakistan or Iran”.  In Psychiatric terms, Delhi’s self image differs dramatically from the image others have of it–when the images are very different, it is a true sign of lunacy. Bharat sees itself special. Other powers see it as a bully, a paper tiger, and a spoilt brat—a naked penury strken one with a distended stomach. Bharat sees itself as a huge powerful elephant. These two images cannot be reconciled by a $42 billion Call Center industry–which affects 6 million Bharatis only. Its the other billion that overwhlems the world–its the other billion which are not shown on Bollywood and which doesn’t seem to exist for the Delhi politicians. The Delhi politicians are busy projecting power when huge cavities in Kashmir, Assam and Naxal control area sap the strenght of any argument that emanates from Bharat.

The TOI report had a horrid headline. However the roundup of the news from Pakistan is a true representation of the level of consternation in Delhi. The Bharati media was championing Incredible India which would rule the world. Egged on by the religious right, the sensational newspapers reported the Neocon nonsense and the naive Bharati population lapped it up.

When the rubber hit the road, Bharat discovered that Condaleeza Rice could coronate Bharat as a super power, even if she wanted to. Slumdog pured water on the dreams and the aspirations of the irredentist and revanchist media weaned on the Indian National Congress propaganda machine which projects a hyperbolic version of the future of Bharat. Foreign Leaders know what the Bharati media wants to hear. They say the right words and then laugh their way to the bank.

Meager success in the past decade has given the media a false sense of security. The hubris and arrogance is unfathomable and very nonsensical. No America president or European Prime Minster is as arrogant an ordinary two-bit Bharati bureaucrat.

The TOI report below is a treat to read, because it gives a real vignette of what Bharati’s are thinking. Mr. Zardari has a strong government supported by a friendly opposition, by the army and by the international media. Calling Mr. Zardari names simply informs us that the TOI is frustrated at the success of the Zardari government in dismantling Delhi’s designs in the neighborhood.

The China National Nuclear Corporation recently announced that China would set up two power reactors in Pakistan. It was a move that raised India’s hackles.

Iran and China forge stronger relationship with Pakistan

TOI, the Bharati media and the Delhi establishment seem to have discovered the C-3, and C-4 Nuclear plants  as “new deals”. Rupee News has been reporting on them for years. Mr. Zardari’s trip to China has little to do with C-3 and C-4, that was already presented by China to the NSG as a fait accomplii. Mr. Zardari’s trip was multifaceted and profound in many ways. It has engaged China in economic, industrial, housing,  and transit ventures which will literally transform all of Asia. The Trans-Korakoram rail link will be an engineering feat and will connect Xinjiang, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan etc to the warm waters of the Arabian sea. This was the dream of Catherine the Great and one of the visions of Mao Zedung.

The rail and road links will enhance trade, and commerce along the silk route. While the Bharati media discusses the 150 km road in Afghanistan day in and day out–it cannot appreciate or fathom the engineering marvels that are going on in the Karakorums.  The trip now allows two additional points of contact between China and Paksitan. These three links have colossal potential and will help China in getting its goods to the sea quickly and rapidly.

The TOI articles are myopic only about the Nuclear deal which was signed a decade ago–before the Indo-US deal. Bharat’s brouhaha about the Sino-Pakistani deal is an acknowledgement of Pakistan’s Nuclear status and the growing Sino-Pakistani relationship.  Noise from Delhi has highlighted Pakistan’s civilian nuclear deal which will encourage other countries to follow suit. The US is on the fence–and has moved from a “solid no” to a “maybe” to a “soon” to a “OK” stance. It needs a little more encouragement, and will award Pakistan parity—just like the NSG has done. Read more of this post

The Golden Period

By Prof Dr Wolfgang Voelter

Prof Dr Atta-ur-Rahman

For weeks now, I have followed the strange and mean campaigns of some Pakistani scientists and politicians against the efforts of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and its former Chairman Prof Dr Atta-ur-Rahman. The accusations are based on such meanness, malice or incompetence that as a friend of Pakistan and being involved for almost 35 years in the higher education of this country and having had the privilege of being one of the very few foreign scientists honoured by the Government of Pakistan with Civil Awards, I feel obliged to break my silence.

In 1974, when I was sent to Pakistan on an identification trip by the German Government to look for a cooperation partner, I visited about 15 heads of research institutions throughout Pakistan, and, strongly disappointed, I found a vast scientific desert in the country: sophisticated instruments, donations from abroad, out of order, empty libraries, laboratories lacking chemicals and frustrated professors.

But there was one exception, the so-called Postgraduate Institute of Chemistry, Karachi University, founded by Prof Salimuzzaman Siddiqui and developed later by Dr Atta, and I could only confirm the impressions of the journalist, late Azim Kidwai, who wrote in Dawn: “One has to visit to believe it. There is at least one scientific institution in Pakistan that is comparable to any of that breed in the most-advanced countries; not only the way it is equipped and maintained, but also the way, people work in it. There appears no element of lousiness. Dedication, hard work, excellence pour into test tubes.” These experiences made the selection of my cooperation partner easy. Based on my 700-page expert report, finally five million DM were granted by the German government for the KarachiTuebingen Project. The overwhelming success of the HEJ Research Institute in Karachi, Dr Atta’s intellectual capacity, dedication and enthusiasm about science and his keenness to eliminate lousiness and ineptitude were the reasons for Prof Atta’s merit-based nomination as minister of Science and Technology and later on as federal minister and chairman of the HEC.

And a miracle happened. The scenario of education, science and technology in Pakistan changed dramatically after Prof Atta’s nomination as never before in the history of Pakistan. The chairperson of the Senate Standing Committee on Education recently announced it as “Pakistan’s golden period in higher education.” Due to Dr Atta’s efforts in a short period of two years, between 2000 to 2002, Pakistan made spectacular progress in Information Technology and became the first in the entire region to have its own education satellite — Paksat 1 — in space.

In a short period of five years, university enrolment almost tripled and efforts to promote research have resulted in a 400 per cent increase in international publications and a 600 per cent increase in foreign citations of the work of Pakistani authors. During 1947-2003, not a single university in Pakistan could be ranked among the top 600 of the world, but today three Pakistani universities belong to this prestigious group, with the National University of Science and Technology at No 376 (Times, Higher Education, UK rankings).

I remember visiting a number of libraries in universities in Pakistan in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s and one did not find even half a dozen of the latest journals there. Today, under the HEC digital library initiative, every public sector university has free access to over 25,000 of the latest international journals, 45,000 text books and research monographs from 220 international publishers.

It is not an ordinary thinking to bring the world’s top universities within the boundaries of Pakistan. I hope the visionary initiative of Dr Atta to establish foreign technical universities in partnership with Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, Austria, and China, will be enthusiastically implemented by the new government and not shelved.

One of Dr Atta’s most important achievements is the excitement that he has been able to create in Pakistan’s brightest youth to opt for careers in education and research. Almost three thousand students have been sent abroad for PhD to top universities in the world through the HEC scholarship scheme. Dr Hoodbhoy is com pletely wrong when he criticises the selection process for foreign scholarships and claims that the students sent abroad were weak.

Almost half a dozen HEC PhD students worked under my guidance at our university in Tuebingen. And so far none of them failed or left our university without publishing work in journals of high repute. The HEC selection process was completely transparent and merit-based with the final selection being made by teams of eminent foreign professors who specially came to Pakistan and personally had face to face interviews with potential candidates. Read more of this post

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