Thursday, February 25, 2010
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
She identifies three threads: CIA organizing a conference in Thailand dedicated to Pakistan's disintegration, fresh attacks in the US media on Pakistan's judiciary to protect the pro-US government in Islamabad, and belittling Pakistani help in America's faltering war in Afghanistan.
Here's a quote:
"In the coming days we should gear up for a new nuclear related hype building up in the US media. Unfortunately, Dr Khan’s “letters” have been purchased by a leading US newspaper and will be used to target Iran. In the process Pakistan will also be targeted - killing two birds with one stone, so to speak. Would that our government undertake some proactive measures with the Iranians to deflect this new campaign but it hardly seems likely. So we need to brace ourselves once again for an onslaught against our nuclear capability and accusations of proliferation at a time when the US continues to proliferate to Israel and, post the 123 Agreement with India, to this South Asian aspiring hegemon."Click here to read the full column.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
As his first order of business, the gentleman, Mr. Aminullah Raisani, destroyed one of the finest English-language schools running in Damascus, owned by the Government of Pakistan. He fired the entire staff of the school, and 'imported' his family members from Pakistan, including brothers, sisters, sisters-in-law, etc., and appointed them for a collective MONTHLY salary of US $ 38,000, which translates into PKR 3.2 million.
Today's The News International published a report on this heist, with stunning details about how sisters and brothers-in-law of the Ambassador have been appointed against salaries reaching up to US $ 3,500 per month.
The school attracts children of the elite in the Syrian capital. Foreign diplomats also prefer the school because of its English and Arabic corriculum.
This kind of grand theft is not unual in Pakistan but it says a lot about why the governing structure in this country is collapsing and why the country is headed for a disaster in the coming years, leading to internal chaos along social fault lines.
Pakistan's ruling system is a British import. It is not suited to the country. Pakistan needs a tailored demcoratic system that would preserve media and social freedoms but also minimize instability and make use of the creativity of the Pakistani people.
Above all, Pakistan needs a system that would replace feudal and career politicians with creative decision makers.
What we have is a system monopolized by a feudal elite, which has grown stronger because the Pakistani military, the country's strongest institution, has been inadvertently strenghtening that elite and using it for decades. In today's Pakistan, Pakistanis from the middle and the lower middle classes have no opportunities to progress and achieve. Opportunities are reserved for the likes of Ambassador Raisani.
Read Ambassador Raisani's School of Thought:Plunder It All and Clueless, Careless Politicians Declare Their Peantuts. The two reports provide an insight into why Pakistan's governing system is leading the country to a national failure.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Until last month, Washington was hoping that India’s relatively cheaper soldiers will come handy where the Europeans won’t, and that a bungled Afghan project could be continued on, well, a leaner budget.
Washington is now in the process of correcting this mistake. And not because of any real change in heart. It’s just that Islamabad is reasserting itself.
This has sent alarm bells ringing in New Delhi. And within the pro-Indian media in Washington.
Exhibit A: an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Let India Train the Afghan Army, written by Indian analyst Sumit Ganguly on Feb. 14. The op-ed could have been written in the national security adviser’s office in New Delhi. The talking points might as well have originated there.
Mr. Ganguly basically begs Washington to consider the Indian army for a role in Afghanistan. Not doing that, he warns, would amount to ‘a grave strategic error’. The op-ed actually ends with these three words.
The Indian analyst sounded almost desperate with his pushy sales pitch [Example: India’s army enjoys ‘an optimal "teeth to tail" ratio, specifically trained in counterinsurgency operations’].
But there are genuine reasons why Mr. Ganguly’s idea is a bad one.
India is one of the reasons for the US debacle in Afghanistan. Back in 2002, self-styled Indian experts on Pakistan and Afghanistan convinced Washington that India can provide better intelligence on extremist groups than the double-dealing Pakistanis. Washington listened. The Bush White House and Pentagon were more than happy to buy Indian theories on who to deal with inside Afghanistan and how to keep Pakistan at bay.
Partly due to this (ill) advice, discredited Afghan warlords were brought on board. Indian intelligence agents were given a lot of space in Afghanistan. New Delhi used this space against Pakistan. Not all of the terrorism inside Pakistan over the past five years is the result of Taliban and al-Qaeda.
Indians misled the Americans not just on the ground in Afghanistan but also in the corridors of Washington’s think tanks. Indian experts offered provocative ideas on how Pakistan is ripe for a redrawing of borders along alleged linguistic and ethnic fault lines, a la Iraq. Bush-era Washington listened eagerly as Indian experts promoted the idea of using these fault lines as a negotiating card with Pakistan to secure its cooperation. This is how a separatist insurgency in Pakistan’s Balochistan province was born in 2005.
Needless to say, Indian involvement backfired. Spices are not good in every dish.
As the Indian fingerprints became clearer, a feeling grew among Pakistanis that Washington took Pakistan for a ride since 2002. Never before in the half-century of US-Pakistani relations has anti-Americanism been this high in Pakistan. It’s totally unheard of.
Now Washington is realizing its mistake and adjusting its Afghan policy accordingly. The United States must not be distracted again.
No one in Washington is really enthusiastic about the Pakistani offer to train the Afghan army. You will not see Wall Street Journal publishing an op-ed advocating Pakistan’s viewpoint anytime soon. But this festering anti-Pakistanism in the US media should give way to a new way of looking at Pakistan, America’s demonized ally.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
… But we are nowhere near that right now. Gen. Kayani certainly has no such thing in mind according to people who have met him.
By AHMED QURAISHI
Monday, 15 February 2010.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—"This was my first interaction with the soldier who commands the seventh largest military force on the face of the planet.”
With this catchy line, Dr. Farrukh Saleem began his brief and fascinating account of a meeting with General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.
On Feb. 10, 2010, Gen. Kayani met a group of Pakistani commentators and security analysts. The briefing was the third since the military began asserting Pakistan's legitimate security and strategic interests in Afghanistan and the region.
On January 28 and 29, Gen. Kayani told NATO commanders in Brussels that Pakistan’s legitimate security interests will have to be respected.
Earlier, he told Adm. Mike Mullen, Gen. David Petraeus, and Gen. Stanley McChrystal that instead of worrying about appeasing India, Washington better start paying attention to Pakistan.
This is a major development in the eight-year US-led war in Afghanistan.
At one point, Mr. Saleem makes an interesting observation about Gen. Kayani’s cool demeanor.
“Yes, he has the capacity for abstract thought, cold rationality and coarse creativity - all in one,” he says. “And yet he inhales reconstituted tobacco. Yes, he uses a filter and a cigarette holder. Yes, he never takes deep puffs and, yes, he only consumes half a cigarette at a time.”
At another point, Mr. Saleem makes an interesting use of pun. Talking about the general’s smoking habits, he says the following: ‘He knows that some of the things that he is doing are wrong, but still won't give them up.’
Probably it’s a polite reference to the conspiracy theories that fill the US and British media, or the Am-Brit media, about Pakistan, its military and its intelligence agencies. So some skepticism is natural.
But the best part of his column in The News International was this concluding paragraph:
“I can tell you that I came back both proud but with a painful realisation; proud knowing that our legions are being led by strategic minds and sad to have discovered the much too visible an intellectual gap between our top political brains in Islamabad and our strategic minds at work in Rawalpindi. And what does he think about our politicians? When it's breezy, hit it easy.
Could it be that the army rules not through the barrel of a gun but because of their intellectual superiority? Could it be that the army rules because our politicians have failed to institutionalize politics? Could it be that the army rules because our political parties do not transcend individual human intentions? Could it be that the army rules because it has structures, mechanisms of social order along with strategic thinking?”
In essence, Mr. Saleem hit at the core reason why the Pakistani military intervenes every time politicians lead the nation to a dead end.
Most importantly, the above reasoning answers even a more important question: Why the military mounts successful interventions and why the politicians can’t muster the moral authority to resist them.
Pakistani politicians remain a chaotic, undisciplined and shortsighted bunch. Their parties are messy and loose groupings of special interests in their crudest form. Almost all of them have lifetime leaders who never give way to fresh blood. And they are not public institutions but private, family-owned affairs.
Since the return to democracy in Pakistan in February 2008, hardly any of the parties in government or opposition devoted any high-level party meetings to education, health, culture and sports. None of them has plans in place for running the country. Worse, none has any vision.
The best place in Islamabad these days to see this mess in action is the National Defense University. Since 2002, the NDU has been holding the annual National Security Workshop. This is a unique 6-week course. It brings together politicians, military officers, businessmen, lawyers, social activists and journalists. The group is taken through a virtual tour into the corridors of strategic decision making in Pakistan. The course ends with a weeklong exercise that sees the class divided into a Pakistani government and a shadow government, complete with their own secretariat and staff. On the last day, the two governments frame and deliver a policy plan to deal with a hypothetical strategic crisis confronting Pakistan. The plan has domestic, military and foreign policy components. Often, senior commanders from Pakistani military’s General Headquarters attend the last day’s presentations.
NDU officials, both civilian and military, have one observation that has been constant during the past eight years of national security workshops: Military officers, businessmen, social activists and journalists often show the best performance. Politicians come last. Most can’t even draft a single-page policy brief, or work with a PowerPoint presentation.
In essence, middle class Pakistanis – military officers, businessmen, social activists and journalists – fair better than the politicians, mostly a feudal landowning elite.
This gets blurry sometimes, but you get the general idea.
And middle class Pakistanis can’t make it to political parties, let alone to the federal and regional parliaments and governments.
Elections might change this, but certainly not in the foreseeable future. And Pakistan may not have the luxury of time.
If the national deadlock continues with mounting domestic instability due to massive corruption and mismanagement by our politicians, the military may have to contend with one last intervention. It would be the last because if the military failed this time to help set Pakistan on the right track, it could be a free fall after that because Pakistanis are getting increasingly restless with the existing decay. Social turmoil simmers just beneath the surface.
If it comes to a military-led intervention, both military officers and politicians will have to stay out of actual power. The army chief may not become a chief executive. The military might have to look into a new concept called the ‘Smart Coup’, where the military can bring capable Pakistanis to power with a firm executable plan of reform over five years, or more, fully backed by the military. There may not be time to put the plan to vote. It will have to be implemented.
This would be the absolute last option. But we are nowhere near that right now. Gen. Kayani certainly has no such thing in mind according to people who have met him. He wants democracy to work for the time being and he has proven this by resisting several opportunities to intervene over the past two years.
Pakistan is full of resources and opportunities, but it lacks good leadership and clean management. Even the bare minimum of these two commodities is not available in today’s Pakistan.
Books on political science and theory in Washington and London can’t help with this. Pakistanis will have to do what’s best for their homeland.
Monday, February 15, 2010
|Jamim Shah: Latest media
victim of RAW
|The new media target of
RAW: Makhdoom Babar
In the year 2000, suspected Indian intelligence agents shot dead newspaper editor Jamim Shah in Kathmandu. Mr. Shah was known for his damning exposes on covert Indian meddling in Nepal.
A decade later, a Pakistani newspaper editor fears a similar fate.
Indian interior minister P. Chidambaram warned in September that the Islamabad-based The Daily Mail was creating problems for his ministry. That month the paper published a scoop on Indian plans to deploy a unit of female sex providers in some parts of Indian-occupied Kashmir targeting Indian soldiers who serve in the war zone for long periods of time away from their families.
After the Pakistani report, Mr. Chidambaram's ministry was inundated with calls from angry parents of female security trainees recruited from poor Indian villages. Indian media later confirmed the Daily Mail's report. Indian Interior Ministry officials tried to control the damage by spinning the story of the deployment of uniformed sex workers.
Last year, the Daily Mail published a report that revealed a list of Indian nuclear installations and the peculiar security threats that each one of them continues to face, especially those installations that are close to northwestern India where some two dozen separatist insurgencies are in full flare.
In January, the Pakistani newspaper broke the story of a tussle between Indian army chief Kapoor and one of his senior generals over land grab for personal gain. The Indian media picked up the story and pursued it, leading to the indictment of the Indian army chief in an internal probe.
Read the full details of threat received by the Daily Mail at this link.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa, teaching defense and strategy to Pakistani students, calls Pakistan's Founding Father and the national poet 'homosexuals'.
And Prof. A. H. Nayyar, an alumni of the largest university in Islamabad, is asking followers to fake evidence against Pakistan's founder in order to show him to young Pakistanis as someone who ate ham, which is prohibited for Muslims and Jews.
What's eating Prof. Nayyar and Dr. Siddiqa is that there is a revival taking place among young Pakistanis, the single largest group in a population of 170 million. The revival is unprecedented and seeks to renew faith in Pakistan. It is a reaction to anti-Pakistan reports and think-tank findings mainly in the United States over the past three years that sought to dismiss Pakistan as a nation on the verge of collapse. Pakistanis have also been galvanized by evidence showing Indians exporting terrorism into Pakistan from US-controlled Afghanistan.
The evidence against both teachers, presented here for the first time, indicates a major problem facing most Pakistani colleges and universities. A small but noisy group of professors is encouraging students to attack the very foundations of the Pakistani state.
This is alarming considering the timing and the regional instability resulting from America's Afghan war.
Both Dr. Siddiqa and Prof. Nayyar have access to one of the most influential Pakistani seats of learning, the Quaid-e-Azam University in the heart of the Pakistani capital. Both of them are also known to hold what many describe as views more sympathetic to Pakistan's regional detractors.
Dr. Siddiqa's statement was part of a discussion she had with an Indian journalist on Facebook on Feb. 10, 2010. A screen shot can be seen with this report. [Click here to see the actual conversation on Facebook].
Prof. Nayyar's statement came in a discussion on Feb. 8, 2010 by members of an Internet mailing list called Socialist Pakistan News. A screen shot is provided.
Bashing Pakistan, its history, the Pakistan Independence Movement, the Founding Fathers, and the country's military are common themes among some of these university professors. Coincidentally, most of them also happen to be very supportive of American and Indian criticism of Pakistan. In Dr. Siddiqa and Prof. Nayyar's cases, both of them are active members of so-called peace groups that explicitly embrace Indian hegemony in the region.
[If you are a student and have information about anti-Pakistan activities on your campus, please email details to PakNationalists@gmail.com . All emails will remain confidential.]
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
You will not believe this. But this happened in Pakistan. And two junior government officials might lose their jobs over this. But with a pro-US government in power in Islamabad, and former employees of Voice of America allowed to steer the nation’s media policy, it shouldn’t be surprising to see a Pakistani mouthpiece promoting Indian spin.
India's Central Reserve Police Force, used by India's government to suppress the Kashmiri struggle for freedom, killed a 16-year-old Kashmiri boy the other day.
Nothing new in that. Indians have done worse, like mass graves and genocide. What was unusual here is that Makhdoom Babar Sultan woke up one morning this week in his home in Islamabad to read a clarification in a major Pakistani newspaper issued by the chief of the Indian CRPF assuring readers that Indian occupation police in Kashmir had nothing to do with murdering the 16-year-old, who was last seen throwing stones at Indian soldiers.
Mr. Babar scrathced his head. He was shocked to see who hen he tried to see who wrote the story. It was APP, or the Associated Press of Pakistan, the official news agency.
'Wait a second', he said to himself, 'What is APP doing promoting the viewpoint of Indian occupation forces in Kashmir?'
Pakistanis already know that their government in Islamabad was basically tailored by the Americans and the Brits. No secret in that. The Am-Brits expect this government to push their agenda, which these days includes urgently patching up with India so that the Pakistani people and their military can be convinced to allow Indian soldiers into Afghanistan to help the Americans with their failed occupation there.
But peddling Indian propaganda? That’s going too far.
Unlike the rest of us, Makhdoom Babar is lucky to own a newspaper. So he rushed to his office in the morning to write a story on this, titled ‘APP Starts Promoting Indian Govt’s Kashmir Propaganda’.
Two APP journalists have been suspended and a probe is underway that might lead to some more job losses.
Earlier, two journalists from the state-run PTV were suspended for visiting the US embassy without permission.
When I contacted Makhdoom Babar to get his perspective, he replied with this E-mail note:
“Well, the Associated Press of Pakistan, the APP is the official news agency of the government of Pakistan. the aims and objectives behind running this State news agency is to project the Pakistan government's view point across the globe and throughout the country as well. The Tax Payers' money is spent on the functioning of this agency because it is supposed to promote and project national interests. Especially when it comes to the very sensitive issues like Occupation of Jammu and Kashmir by Indian Forces, the role of APP becomes very important and sensitive as well. it is supposed to confront the media propaganda of the Indian government that New Delhi continues to carry on with to cover up the gross Human Rights violations in the Occupied Kashmir by its brutal Forces. Now if APP releases a news item that actually contributes to the promotion of Indian view point over the Kashmir related matters, particularly the HR violations related matters, it is really alarming for every Pakistani and for me, as an Editor, it becomes even more worrying. That is why we published this as a major news so that such things should be taken care of in future and are not repeated. We have not been officially made known about any action taken by the APP over this issue however unofficial channels say that APP has suspended 2 of its workers over the matter and the Managing Director of APP is reported to have ordered a probe to dig out as to how it did happen. We appreciate the action taken by the the head of APP as a responsible head of an institution but at the same time we expect that no one should be made a scapegoat and only those should be warned or punished who were actually responsible for this blooper, deliberately or un-deliberately. It was very important for the head of the APP to have taken an action over the matter so that everyone stands warned and alarmed regarding such matters.”
At least two senior members of the incumbent Pakistani government are former VOA employees who served in Washington, D.C. Both are directly involved in how Pakistan's official media outlets operate. Informally, Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington is also considered to have a say in the government’s media strategy, according government officials.
India's capital city has been flooded with a new wave of migrant workers -- children.
Posted at ForeignPolicy.com
BY KAYVAN FARZANEH, ANDREW SWIFT
Bring Your Child to Work Day: In New Delhi there are upwards of 100 construction projects underway in preparation for the 2010 Commonwealth Games scheduled to take place from Oct. 4 to 13. These projects -- ranging from several new stadiums to a new international airport terminal -- are drawing vast numbers of migrant workers from all over India to provide the extra labor needed. Contractors, already behind schedule, are taking advantage of lax labor laws and coercing their employees to bring their children to work alongside them, promising payments of bread and milk. Above an Indian girl carries a brick at a construction site in front of the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Feb. 3.
India is spending billions on weapons and has given one billion dollars to Afghanistan in order to create an anti-Pakistan base there. But here's the real India, the world's largest concentration of poverty and health problems. But you won't see this on CNN because US needs cheap Indian soldiers to die in Afghanistan instead of Americans.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
The pictures, posted on Facebook by an American diplomat in December, were widely circulated on Pakistani websites, mainly because they showed several prominent TV journalists and talk show hosts dancing and having a good time.
PTV's management suspended senior producer Saghir Naqqash and an inquiry committee is contemplating similar action against Shakeel Awan, also a senior producer.
Government employees are not allowed to meet foreign diplomats without prior permission and only if their job descriptions justify such meetings. PTV is a state-owned television network. It is the only one so far to have taken action on the controversy over the leaked pictures. Other TV stations, including Aaj, ARYOne, Samaa News and Dawn News, all privately-owned, are not known to be contemplating similar action.
In May 2009, Pakistan Foreign Office warned government employees to avoid attending private gatherings at foreign diplomatic missions if they have no business being there and only after obtaining permission from their superiors. The order came after a US diplomat and an Indian diplomat arranged a private meeting with a group of senior Pakistani federal government bureaucrats at a private house. Critics accused the US diplomat of covertly facilitating contact between an Indian diplomat and Pakistanis working in important government positions, including one working as an administrator in the office of the Prime Minister of Pakistan. The episode had the word 'espionage' written all over it.
Apart from the two PTV journalists, who basically did nothing wrong except violate government rules of business, there was at least one Pakistani TV journalist at the party who is accused of peddling information provided to her by US diplomats.
Saima Mohsin [Left-in red] from Dawn News is accused of conducting at least one TV show where she blatanly sided with the US embassy against Dr. Shireen Mazari, a renowned defense analyst and longtime critic of US policies. Dr. Mazari was a victim of US embassy's bullying when Ambassador Patterson tried last year to block her widely-read newspaper columns.
While the pictures from the party were harmless, they raised concern about how impartial Pakistani journalists can be in covering the news of US interfernece in Pakistani politics, which is a hot issue here, especially when the US footprint has expanded in recent months thanks to the entry into the country of tens of private US defense contractors, similar to those active in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Last year, a senior independent journalist Syed Talat Hussain accused the US Embassy of recruiting "a motley crew of former diplomats, retired generals, socialites, slick civil society begums, self-styled analysts, businessmen, journalists, and now also lawyers" and said individuals in this group "are the darlings of the US embassy staff."
For more information on Ambassador Patterson's combative diplomacy, read this report. For a checklist of illegal activities of private US defense contractors in Pakistan under diplomtic cover of the US embassy, see this detailed report.
Monday, February 8, 2010
This is the same woman who claimed I was a fantasist when I gave a press conference with Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Imran Khan back in July 2008 revealing the plight of a female prisoner in Bagram called the Grey Lady.
She said I was talking nonsense and stated categorically that the prisoner I referred to as “650” did not exist.
By the end of the month she changed her story and said there had been a female prisoner but that she was most definitely not Dr Aafia Siddiqui.
By that time Aafia had been gunned down at virtually point blank range in an Afghan prison cell jammed full of more than a dozen US soldiers, FBI agents and Afghan police.
Her Excellency briefed the media that the prisoner had wrested an M4 gun from one soldier and fired off two rounds and had to be subdued. The fact these bullets failed to hit a single person in the cell and simply disappeared did not resonate with the diplomat.
In a letter dripping in untruths on August 16 2008 she decried the “erroneous and irresponsible media reports regarding the arrest of MsAafia Siddiqui”. She went on to say: “Unfortunately, there are some who have an interest in simply distorting the facts in an effort to manipulate and inflame public opinion. The truth is never served by sensationalism…”
When Jamaat Islami invited me on a national tour of Pakistan to address people about the continued abuse of Dr Aafia and the truth about her incarceration in Bagram, the US Ambassador continued to issue rebuttals.
She assured us all that Dr Aafia was being treated humanely had been given consular access as set out in international law … hmm. Well I have a challenge for Ms Patterson today. I challenge her to repeat every single word she said back then and swear it is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
As Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s trial got underway, the US Ambassador and some of her stooges from the intelligence world laid on a lavish party at the US Embassy in Islamabad for some hand-picked journalists where I’ve no doubt in between the dancing, drinks and music they were carefully briefed about the so-called facts of the case.
One astute Pakistani columnist wrote about her: “The respected lady seems to have forgotten the words of her own country’s 16th president Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865): “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time”.
The trust has gone, there is only a burning hatred and resentment towards a superpower which sends unmanned drones into villages to slaughter innocents.
It is fair to say that America’s goodwill and credibility is all but washed up with most honest, decent citizens of Pakistan.
And I think even Her Excellency Anne Patterson recognizes that fact which is why she is now keeping her mouth shut.
She should then pick up the phone to the US President and tell him to release Aafia and return Pakistan’s most loved, respected and famous daughter and reunite her with the two children who are still missing.”