Will “PakMil” recognise the real foe?

By Dr Shireen M Mazari

It is ISI bashing time again and this comes easy for the Western and Indian media especially, but also for the media at home since the ISI has figured as a larger than life organisation since the US-led war against the Soviets in Afghanistan. And undoubtedly the ISI has at times been highly controversial in the activities it has undertaken especially domestically. Both during period of civilian democracy and military rule, the ISI has been used by those in power and even today the ruling party is not devoid of this temptation, unfortunately.

Of course, like all intelligence agencies with an external agenda, such as CIA and RAW, the ISI has its own external agenda. But it needs to also be understood that the ISI is not an independent entity and the decision-making hierarchy of the organisation comes on routine postings from the military, primarily the army. So its external activities reflect the policies of the government, but especially the military. Be that as it may, post-9/11, the ISI has had to pay for its past sins in seeing itself demonised by the US and India – even though the former is supposed to be an ally of this country. Every time the chips are down for the US in Afghanistan, somehow or the other the ISI is lambasted by “leaks” to the Western, especially the compliant US media. It would appear that the CIA’s failures, as well as the US and NATO military failures, are all a result solely of the ISI! Now if only the ISI was really so effective, efficient and powerful, India’s occupation of Kashmir would have ended and Afghanistan’s future would have been moulded according to its desires! Unfortunately, that is not the case and the ISI is as riddled with inefficiencies as any large bureaucratic organisation is, but undoubtedly, it has better ground intelligence in this region than the US and its CIA since the latter has a blunderbuss approach to human intelligence gathering and has no sensitivity to nuances of any kind.

Be that as it may, the latest round of ISI bashing rather obviously sponsored by the CIA to hide its own failures in Afghanistan, once again, has come with the WikiLeaks’ story. Apart from The Guardian newspaper which showed some healthy scepticism about the leaked information, for the biased US media like The New York Times this was a journalistic feast – enough to feed the deep-seated anti-Muslim and especially anti-Pakistan bias that now dominates the American media. But let us get some facts straightened first and one has to concede that WikiLeaks itself is credible anti-war site. But what the media has done in terms of factual distortions of even these unverifiable leaks is dangerous and cannot simply be ignored by Pakistan because we are once again the targets. First of all, the leaked documents are based entirely on field reports filed by a variety of operatives in Afghanistan, allegedly primarily belonging to the Northern Alliance. Second, out of the 92,000 leaked documents, only 180 contain ISI references and of these only 30 mention the ISI in negative terms regarding Taliban-supporting activities. Third, of these 180 documents with references to the ISI, most of these reports have a disclaimer by the author at the end where the source was referred to simply as an “informant” and it was stated that this source was either not reliable or working only for monetary gains for either the Afghan intelligence, Indians or Afghan warlords! Or else the source was referred to simply by initials! Interestingly where the ISI is mentioned, it also states in the disclaimer that the information cannot be verified and therefore cannot be “used to make policies” (all this is on the website). So where does that leave the actual content of these leaked reports?

Officials in Pakistan are convinced that the CIA, when it found out about the leaks, sought to divert the expansive details of its own failures in Afghanistan by shifting the focus on to the ISI – a favourite bete noir of the Western media. According to WikiLeaks the source for the leaked documents sought to prevent the publication of some of them for fear of sensitive information! There is also a feeling in some quarters that the CIA has deliberately chosen to once again target the ISI because of the rising anti-war tide within the US. Most observers in the know now recognise that the US and NATO have lost the war militarily in Afghanistan and bad intelligence is certainly one of the causes. So what better way to escape blame than to put everything on the ISI. The timing of the “leaks” is not without purpose.

Be that as it may, the fact is that it is time for Pakistan to sever its links and cooperation with the US. How can we have information and intelligence sharing with a country that has systematically done and continues to do a hatchet job on our premier intelligence agency, as well as the Pakistan military in general? From our nuclear programme to the ISI, there is a continuous ongoing war being waged on us by the US. It may not be a military war but it has economic, political, diplomatic and psychological components. What is simply absurd is why the “PakMil” – a term Mullen has coined to show his intimacy with General Kayani and is used only by him when he meets the COAS apparently – is not seeing the ground realities? Instead of the ISPR issuing press releases now suddenly condemning the drone attacks in an attempt to fool the Pakistani nation, when they know only too well that these are being carried out with the support of the Pakistan civil and military leadership, the military should take a long hard look at what the US is doing to Pakistan on all fronts. If the Pakistani government, including the military, sees the drones as doing more harm than good, why do they remain complicit in this policy? Should they not send a clear message to the US by downing one of these drones? Read more of this post

Pakistan-China Friendship 2010 Joint Military Exercise (pictures)
























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Pak Army ready to combat dangers with courage: Gen. Kayani

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani visited Sonmiani Ranges and witnessed firing of Anti-Aircraft Guns and Surface to Air Missiles.

This was announced in an ISPR press release issued here on Thursday.

It said that the COAS greatly appreciated the professionalism of the participating units and standards achieved in engaging aerial targets.

While interacting with the troops, COAS emphasized the need for total focus on professional competence and operational preparedness.

He said that the Army is making all out efforts to equip itself with the best available weapons and equipment.

The COAS also reiterated that the multidimensional security threats faced by the country required a high state of preparedness at all times.

“The army is being equipped with state-of-the-art technology and weapons keeping the current situation in view,” he told the gathering.

Earlier on arrival, the COAS was received by Lieut-Gen Muhammad Ashraf Saleem, Commander Army Air Defence Command, at the Ranges.

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No new operation for now, says ISPR

Pakistan Military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas

ISLAMABAD: The military said on Thursday during a visit by US Defence Secretary Robert Gates that it could not launch any new offensive against militants for six months to a year.

The announcement probably comes as a disappointment to the US, which has pushed Pakistan to expand its military operations to North Waziristan to target militants staging attacks against coalition troops in Afghanistan.

The comments by military spokesman Maj-Gen Athar Abbas clearly indicate Pakistan will not be pressurised in the near term to expand its fight beyond militants waging war against Pakistan.

The Pakistan army was overstretched and it was not in a position to open any new fronts. “Obviously, we will continue our present operations in Waziristan and Swat,” Maj-Gen Abbas told DawnNews TV channel.

It was not about years, he said. “It will take us between six months and a year to consolidate the gains in the areas taken back from the militants to make them completely secure and ensure safety of the returnees and stabilise the situation,” he said.

The country’s resources did not allow the army to open a new front. However, if at all it opened a new front it would do so in line with the country’s interests.

He rejected criticism that Pakistan had been slow to move against the Haqqani network that is quite active in Afghanistan and told journalists traveling with Mr Gates that the CIA had failed to provide “actionable intelligence” about the group.

The army launched a major ground offensive against the Pakistani Taliban’s main stronghold in South Waziristan in mid-October.

NCA shows confidence in Pak nuclear capability

A view of the National Command Authority (NCA) meeting held under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani at Rawalpindi on Wednesday. (13-01-2010) – Photo ISPR

ISLAMABAD: The National Command Authority (NCA) met, under the Chairmanship of Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, to review matters of strategic importance to Pakistan. This was the first NCA meeting which was chaired by democratically elected Prime Minister of Pakistan, Inter-Services Public Relations stated Wednesday.


The NCA expressed satisfaction on the safety and security of Pakistan’s strategic assets and the effectiveness of Pakistan’s strategic deterrence. It emphasized the importance of Pakistan’s policy of credible minimum deterrence and the maintaining of strategic stability in South Asia. It also reaffirmed Pakistan’s policy of restraint and responsibility and its resolve to continue efforts to promote peace and stability in South Asia. It underscored the need for prevention of conflict and avoidance of nuclear and conventional arms race in the region, ISPR added.


The NCA took note of the developments detrimental to the objectives of strategic stability in the region. It observed that instead of responding positively to Pakistan’s proposal for a Strategic Restraint Regime in South Asia, India continues to pursue an ambitious militarization programme and offensive military doctrines. Massive inductions of advanced weapon systems, including installation of ABMs, build-up of nuclear arsenal and delivery systems through ongoing and new programmes, assisted by some external quarters, offensive doctrines like ‘Cold Start’ and similar accumulations in the conventional realm, tend to destabilize the regional balance. This relentless pursuit of military preponderance will have severe consequences for peace and security in South Asia as well as for the Indian Ocean region. Pakistan cannot be oblivious to these developments, ISPR added.


The NCA took serious note of recent Indian statements about its capability to conduct conventional military strikes under a nuclear umbrella. Such irresponsible statements reflected a hegemonic mindset, oblivious of dangerous implications of adventurism in a nuclearized context, ISPR added.


The NCA further noted that the India-specific exemption made by the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and subsequent nuclear fuel supply agreements with several countries, would enable India to produce substantial quantities of fissile material for nuclear weapons by freeing up its domestic resources, ISPR added.


The NCA reiterated that, while continuing to act with responsibility and avoiding an arms race, Pakistan will not compromise on its security interests and the imperative of maintaining a credible minimum deterrence, ISPR added.


The meeting reviewed plans for civil nuclear power generation under IAEA safeguards as part of national energy security strategy to ensure sustained economic growth. It welcomed the renewed international interest in nuclear power generation to meet the challenge of climate change, ISPR dded.


As a country with advanced fuel cycle capability, Pakistan is in a position to provide nuclear fuel cycle services under IAEA safeguards, and to participate in any non-discriminatory nuclear fuel supply assurance mechanism, ISPR added.


It expressed satisfaction at the steps taken by Pakistan at the national level for nuclear safety and security, which continue to be important considerations in the context of national nuclear power development plans, ISPR stated.


The meeting reaffirmed that, as a nuclear weapon state, Pakistan is committed to work as an equal partner in international efforts for general and complete nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation. In this regard, it underscored the need for non-discriminatory policies and accommodation of the reality of Pakistan’s nuclear weapon status for promoting global non-proliferation goals, ISPR stated.


It emphasized that promotion of nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament objectives in South Asia are linked with regional security dynamics and the need to address existing asymmetries and resolution of outstanding disputes, ISPR stated.


The NCA stressed that, as the sole disarmament negotiating forum, the Conference on Disarmament (CD) in Geneva should play its due role in global nuclear disarmament, ISPR stated.


As far as the consideration of a Fissile Material Treaty (FMT) at the CD is concerned, Pakistan’s position will be determined by its national security interests and the objectives of strategic stability in South Asia. Selective and discriminatory measures that perpetuate regional instability, in any form and manner, derogate from the objectives of nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation and, therefore, cannot be accepted or endorsed. Pakistan will not support any approach or measure that is prejudicial to its legitimate national security interests, ISPR stated.

ISPR Documentary – Life of a Siachen Soldier (Pakistan Army)

Documentary is about life on Siachin Glacier, also known as the third Pole for the largest mass of ice outside of the North and South Poles. Siachin is among he most beautiful, enigmatic and spell-binding places on earth. It lies at more than 5,500m above sea level in the disputed region of Kashmir. This frozen stagnant Landscape is nothing short of Divine Art.

The tranquility of this beautiful place was disturbed in 1984 by an Indian incursion, transforming it into the highest battle field on earth. This war was unlike any other. The soldiers had to fight two enemies: the opposing Indian soldiers and the hostile weather. More soldiers on both sides have died from the extreme cold than from enemy fire. In spite of repeated discussions, the two sides have failed to overcome their differences on pulling back troops from the worlds highest battlefield.


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