Sunday, December 23, 2012

Countdown Starts For Pakistan's Failed Democracy

Our failed politicians were lucky to have an army chief like Kayani.

I have bad news to report to all the 'democrats' in Pakistan: Your days are numbered.

Pakistan's political elite is united in filth, corruption, and violence.

For a great Pakistani nation, this elite is a liability and is not suited to occupy any office in a nuclear-armed country and one of the largest nations of the world.

Any cleanup in Pakistan has to start with this failed political class.

But for all of their shrewdness, the biggest crime of our failed politicians this time is stupidity.

I apologize for being harsh but I have to convey the message.

This time, these failed politicians have blown it big time.

They were lucky to have an army chief like General Kayani.

This is a general officer who did everything he could to allow democracy to work and give a chance to every failed politician. In fact, he even let these failed parties fight over who gets to pocket the riches of extortion money in Karachi, the country's richest city.

Five full years for this failed political elite to get its act together.

But what they do?

They break all previous records in corruption and treason.

Yes, treason.

Today, if a Pakistani political party or politician is not connected to some foreign embassy or government then they're nobody.

This is not what Pakistan deserves. Pakistanis, from Karachi to Khyber and from Makran to Srinagar, are compassionate, smart and good people. They have enough honest and capable people to put at the top to run the country.

This doesn't necessarily mean a military-led government. That's a possibility but only as a last option. Hopefully we're not there yet.

What is for sure is that any effort to force failed politicians out of the way and prevent them from using force and violence to blackmail Pakistanis can succeed without the help and intervention of the country's armed forces and the judiciary.

The blackmail has started. A failed politician from a party in the ruling coalition openly threatened Pakistan of breakup [a repeat of the Indian invasion of East Pakistan in 1971] if his party's mafia-style control of Karachi was challenged.

More politicians are expected to use blackmail to challenge the State.

PPPP is expected to use the Sindh Card. PMLN is expected to use the Punjab Card, and possibly even the India Card.

The existing Pakistani political elite has gone too far in robbing the nation, and in compromising our economy and our security.

This elite is now violent and beyond control.

Most of the faces in this elite entered politics about 28 years ago, in the nonparty elections of 1985. Three decades is a lot of time for these tested, tried and failed politicians to stay in power.

Time to change faces and change the rules of the political game in Pakistan.

This is the only way to position Pakistan for the 21st century.

And Pakistan will be repositioned because this is our destiny. Patriotic Pakistanis must not allow the homeland to fail because of failed politics.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Pakistan Military Under Attack

[This column appeared in The News International today but an important paragraph was inadvertently dropped. Here is the full version.]

General Kayani's statement protesting the assault on the morale and reputation of Pakistan Armed Forces is a good move. But let us not kid ourselves. It’s too little, too late, and lacks legal punch.

Attacks on our military from inside and outside the country have become a thriving business since 2007. The inability of the State and the military to defend themselves is a matter of deep concern not only for our soldiers but also for the majority of patriotic Pakistanis. Blunt denigration of our military by domestic actors shot through the roof in this five-year period. Strangely, this unprecedented domestic military-bashing overlapped with a similar campaign originating in the United States against Pakistan Army and ISI. There is little evidence that a statement from the army chief would end the domestic part of the campaign, although there are signs the American-led external campaign has waned to some extent, but not ended.

The military in Pakistan is an easy target. Muhammad Shafqaat, a driver for the federal Interior Ministry, accused the ISI of kidnapping him along with his official car from a parking lot in Blue Area, Islamabad last month. It turns out the alleged kidnapping was staged as part of a plan to disrupt a probe into a four-billion rupees immigration fraud case. The spy agency had nothing to do with any of this but apparently Shafqaat thought mentioning ISI would make his story credible. In July, prominent journalist Najam Sethi accused our military of planning to kill him in an interview to a British newspaper. In June, political activist Asma Jehangir told a German broadcaster the ISI plotted her murder. In January, presidential adviser Farahnaz Ispahani was caught telling a British journalist in Washington with known links to her party that she flee Pakistan because she feared ISI was going to kidnap her. Ispahani denied she made the statement but the British journalist and her paper stood by the story.

The get-ISI campaign doesn’t end with these politically-motivated attacks. Afghanistan-based terrorist group BLA accused the ISI of jailing 6,000 Pakistani Baloch women. The group kidnapped a UN official from Quetta in 2009 and said it would exchange him for the Baloch women. Fortunately, the kidnapped UN official turned out to be an American citizen and the involvement of US government in the probe proved conclusively there was not a single Pakistani Baloch lady in any jail across Pakistan and there were no missing-person cases registered for any Baloch woman. One more lie against ISI stricken from the book.

A different kind of attack on Pakistani military emerged in 2010 when a British extremist group was found trying to recruit senior Pakistani officers. The group, Hizb Tahrir, is a British-origin and licensed religious extremist group. It uses gullible British Muslims to make inroads in countries in the Middle East and Central Asia. Saudi and Egyptian intelligence established the group’s links to British intelligence back in the 1990s and this led to some tense moments in Riyadh and Cairo’s relationship with London. The British group no longer operates in those countries. After 9/11, it apparently shifted operations to Pakistan and Central Asia. Unlike Cairo and Riyadh, Islamabad is yet to ask London to restrain British extremists.

The anti-military bias was also apparent in the case of retired general Javed Ashraf Qazi. A couple of unknown reporters misbehaved with him in clear violation of the norms of decency and professionalism, which led the general to lose temper and call them ‘idiots’. Almost all the media reports highlighted the remark and conveniently omitted the derogatory remarks made by the two unknown reporters that triggered the unfortunate incident.

Since 2007, the government and the military have allowed extreme forms of anti-military slander to pass as freedom of expression. American media commentaries abusing our military and leveling charges without evidence were reproduced by the media without objection from PEMRA or ISPR. The serious charges made by Sethi and Jahangir were met with a shy statement from Defense Ministry asking them to register a police complaint. As elections approach, some politicians will find it easier to make anti-military statements than answer voter questions about governance issues. We are also hearing rumors that some political parties and foreign media organizations are preparing for another round of military-bashing on the occasion of the release of the findings of the judicial commission into the American military incursion in Abbottabad.

If the government and the military are serious in containing military-bashing that is demoralizing our soldiers, they should start taking legal action against those who float conspiracy theories assailing the reputation of Pakistani military. Islamabad should also put a check on foreign meddling in our media where commentators have been recruited to promote a certain agenda serving foreign strategic purposes, including demonizing our military.

Friday, November 9, 2012

I Am Not Interested In US Elections. Here Is Why

I came out of PTV studios a few minutes ago where I said a few things about Obama and US elections. Here's what I said:

1. America has started producing weak presidents. Ronald Reagan was the last impressive president American had. With the exception maybe of George Bush Sr., every president has been a weakling, unimpressive and 'unstatemanly.' Both Obama and Romney are weak. Obama, for example, is unable to challenge US military and CIA on many things, like Gitmo, and the mess that CIA has created for America in Afghanistan.

2. I am not impressed by the exaggerated coverage of US elections in Pakistani media. Those elections don't matter much to us. Both Obama and Romney have agreed to continue to outsource America's entire relations with Pakistan and Pakistanis to CIA, which is destroying this relationship or already has.

3. Far more important to us Pakistanis is the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, which began on Nov. 5 and will conclude on Nov. 17. This is an event where China's new leadership formally takes charge of the country for the next ten years. Obama, whom we know very well, is going to be there for four years, but China's new leadership for the next decade. The transition in China is far more important to Pakistan than US elections but sadly NOT A SINGLE PAKISTANI media outlet is covering the important event in China.

4. Last, I got the chance again on the state-run TV channel to emphasize that Pakistan's failed political system is the biggest threat to this country's stability and well being. This failed system stifles the talent and creativity of Pakistanis, refuses to allow new blood into the system, practices violent, bloody politics, and can not be repaired even after 100 elections. It requires surgery, re-engineering a new system that favors ordinary patriotic hardworking Pakistanis and comes down hard on political thieves, failed politicians, and corrupt government officers.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Jews & Muslims: Mohammad Ali Attends His Grandson's Bar Mitzvah

Khalia, Mohammad Ali's Muslim daughter, her Jewish husband Spencer, and  Ali's
grandson, Jacob, in this undated photo. 

Yes. A Muslim grandfather's Jewish grandson's coming-of-age ceremony.

American boxing champion Mohammad Ali's daughter, Khalia Ali, married Spencer Wertheimer, a Jewish-American attorney. Their son, Jacob, turned 13 in April and was eligible for the ritual that marks puberty.

Mohammad Ali, now 70, traveled to Philadelphia especially to attend his grandson's special occasion.

Here's a quote from a report:

"Khaliah Ali-Wertheimer, Jacob’s mother, told Ali biographer Thomas Hauser that though her father raised his children Muslim, he was "supportive in every way. He followed everything and looked at the Torah very closely."
"It meant a lot to Jacob that he was there," she told Hauser, who reported on the bar mitzvah at

What interests me in this story is how closely it resembles relations between Muslims and Jews. I mean the normal relations for centuries before the rise of the State of Israel.

Do you know that Muslims and Jews never fought each other for more than 1,300 years? At all?

During a succession of Muslim empires, or caliphates, Jews and Muslims maintained a very close relationship.

A saying became famous in those times among Arab Muslims: If you're travelling, eat with a Jew because his food is halal, and sleep at the home of a Christian, because he will never betray you.

In one caliphate, a Jew rose through the ranks to become a prime minister under a Muslim caliph. Often Jewish citizens of Islamic caliphates were recruited as ministers in the government, often assuming the position of finance ministers. The caliphates of Umayyads, Abbasids and Ottomans followed this policy. And this did not violate the shariah law implemented throughout Muslim lands.

In fact, Jewish scholars, artists and scientists always found a seat in the courts of Muslim caliphs and kings.

Even today, Jews are members of parliament in Morocco, Bahrain and Iran. In Bahrain, the kingdom's ambassador to the United States was until recently a Bahraini Jewish Arab lady. I think she's still there.

It gets better. In 15th century when Christians expelled the Jews from Muslim Spain after defeating Muslims, where do you think the Jews preferred to go?

Europe? Not a chance. The elders of the Jewish community in Spain decided to go to the most powerful and rising Muslim nation at the time, the Ottoman Turkey, an Islamic caliphate and one of the most powerful nations on earth at the time.

Misunderstandings between Muslims and Jews rose only when Zionists, members of a political movement, decided to launch a war against the Arabs in Palestine under British protection. Jewish gangs were formed and instructed to bomb and kill the Arabs in the first two decades of the 20th century, producing enmities and hate.

Even then, most Jews and most Muslim did not see one another as enemies. It is safe to say the enmity was created by the members of a movement who called themselves Zionists. The Zionists wanted the Jews to fight Arabs for Palestine. To motivate the Jews for a fight, you had to create an enmity first.

Even today, hardcore Zionists continue to emphasize a policy of hating Arabs and Muslims in order to keep the Jews at war with their Muslim neighboring nations. Under this misguided policy, some Israeli officials even encourage the United States and Europe to fight Muslims under the false notion that Muslims are the archenemy.

Before Israel, there was no conflict between Jews and Muslims for over 1,300 years, almost since the birth of Islam.

The story of a Muslim grandfather attending his Jewish grandson's bar mitzvah is a reminder of how Jews and Muslims lived in peace for centuries. In fact, no one gave the Jews a better hone for centuries than Muslim caliphates ruled by shariah.

Can you believe that? It's true. But you won't read about this in mainstream American media because this knowledge does not serve the future war planners at Pentagon and CIA. 

Monday, May 14, 2012

Do I Hate Husain Haqqani?

A US-based Pakistani Aqil Nadeem is sympathetic to Husain Haqqani, the disgraced former ambassador of Pakistan to United States.  So he asked me a couple of questions on Facebook. My answers were brief and I'm sharing them here.

I am doing this because this is a subject I've written a lot about, professionally, since there's nothing personal at play.

Mr. Nadeem accused me of hating Mr. Haqqani. And then he accused the judicial commission probing Haqqani's role in writing a treasonous anti-Pakistan memo to US military of leaking the conclusions of forensic experts who believe Haqqani is guilty as charged.

I have no hatred or grudge against Mr. Husain Haqqani. Never met him or crossed path with him and so I have no personal agenda or feelings for him.  However, I do have very clear feelings and ideas on the need to curb the growing trend of Pakistanis being recruited to work for foreign governments. This has happened after 2002 with US invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and the subsequent destabilization of the region.  The United States and Israel have treated treason harshly and we should be no different. Those who do harm to this nation and people must be pursued and tried.

The alleged acts committed by Haqqani are very serious. See this following link if you want to get a clear idea about what Haqqani did wrong in this particular case: . I also have a very clear idea on what will happen to Pakistan if we don't get tough on treason, especially when we have seen massive covert operations and recruitment by CIA inside Pakistan, activities that have little to do with the war on terror and everything to do with other strategic American goals regarding Pakistan. See this link to understand this point better: .

On the second point.  Mr. Nadeem is partially right.  It is unusual that the Memo Commission is yet to make its conclusions public but a report quoting unnamed sources is already out claiming the commission's judicial experts are sure Haqqani is guilty of treason.

This leak is not unusual. But I am not sure there is deliberate leaking of information by Memo Commission.

If you live in Pakistan, you'd know there are hardly any secrets here. When GHQ and ISI requested closed-door meetings to brief the parliament last year, a lot of the info leaked out to TV and papers by evening and next day. When the forensic testing was taking place in London in Haqqani's case, there were diplomats and employees of the Pakistan High Commission in the building, their assistants, local Pakistani journalists, members of the commission, their support staffers, the forensic experts and their assisting teams. Anyone could have leaked the info.  It is incorrect to accuse the Memo Commission itself of doing this.

If the commission was leaking, it should have happened before too but didn't.

Then there are the diplomats in London. Haqqani doesn't have any allies or friends in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They hate him en masse over there. So anyone could have leaked this info about Haqqani's culpability in writing the anti-Pakistan memo. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

$5 Billion Or US Passport?

I don't understand what's the big deal about Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin renouncing his US citizenship to dodge tax on $5 billion dollars he stands to earn after facebook IPO. 

Talk about a smart tax move. 

If you stand to earn $5 billion without having done any real hardwork [except maybe a really smart investment decision at a very young age] and Uncle Sam will take half of it upfront, and you're living outside the US anyway, wouldn't you do what Saverin has done? 

Why sacrifice $2.5 billion for a passport that wasn't yours to start with? [Saverin is Brazilian-born.]

Isn't this the American Dream? 

Farhad Manjoo, a brilliant American journalist, wrote a piece criticizing Saverin's move, reminding him that he owes his money and fame to America and that his action proves he's ungrateful.

That may be true but Saverin has been smart enough to milk the American Dream like any smart American, even if it means easing himself out of the country's citizenship!

And this is, really, what makes America a great place.

Well done to Saverin for pursuing the American Dream it in its most crudest form!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Why Our Shia Citizens Are Suddenly Being Killed In Pakistan?

There is a sudden rise in sectarian attacks in Pakistan in recent weeks, especially focused on Karachi, Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan.

The question that all Pakistanis should ask is this:

Who benefits from inciting sectarian conflict in three strategic locations: in Pakistan's business hub, in the province where the Iran gas pipeline will pass, and near our only land link to China ?

The timing is interesting. It comes when Pakistan rebuffed desperate US calls to reopen the military supply route from Karachi to Afghanistan.

Some of the players behind this mess, like terror group BLA in Balochistan, and two militant Pakistani political parties in Karachi, have links to the United States and India. The TTP enjoys safe havens in US-controlled Afghanistan.

Washington continues to allow the Afghan territory it controls to host TTP terrorists responsible for suicide attacks inside out cities. The same is true for BLA, with the additional Indian involvement in this joint venture with CIA.

This is the kind of hostile environment that we face. It provides context to the violence in Karachi, Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan.

Pakistan faces one more thing: punishment for delaying the reopening of NATO supply route. This is where things get dirty.

As Pakistan continued to ignore US calls for a compromise after the deliberate US attack that killed 24 of our soldiers, pro-US Pakistani allies MQM and ANP, two militant parties that divide Pakistanis according to language, stepped up destabilization of Karachi. [President Zardari helped Asfandyar Wali, ANP leader, secretly meet then CIA director in Spring 2008 in Washington.]  In tandem with violence in Karachi, unknown elements launched assassinations of innocent Pakistani Hazara Shia citizens in Balochistan simultaneously with a similar campaign in Gilgit.

Make no mistake: Our enemies are using Pakistanis for this mayhem. So there is a foreign and a domestic element to this situation. But sectarian terror and groups were largely contained over the past decade. The sudden surge in sectarianism at three strategic Pakistani locations should raise alarm bells.


Internally, our state needs to come down with an iron fist on sectarian parties and militant political parties.

The Political Parties Act needs to be amended to ban any political group or party based on sectarian or linguistic agenda that seeks to divide Pakistanis and distract attention from real issues like prosperity, education and development.

Pakistan also needs to warn Iran against recruiting and financing Pakistani citizens of the Shia sect. The Shia-majority areas of Gilgit-Baltistan were peaceful until the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran which brought with it an Iranian policy of recruiting Shia citizens of neighboring countries. To be fair to Iran, it stopped this policy for more than a decade now but some hard-line elements in Iran continue to pump money and provide some training to extremist Shia groups in Pakistan. These extremist Shia groups do not represent all Pakistani Shia citizens but are better organized thanks to foreign backing.

Similarly, we should seek Saudi action against any private funding from Saudi sources to sectarian Sunni groups in Pakistan. Saudi Arabia ended that kind of support a decade ago but some Pakistani extremist Sunni groups could be receiving funding from private Saudi or other Gulf-based individuals and groups.

In short, both Tehran and Riyadh did limit their links to sectarianism in Pakistan over the past decade. But unfortunately some extremist elements in Iran and Saudi Arabia continue to fund Shia and Sunni extremists in Pakistan. If this is stopped, we can identify other terrorists, acting as Sunni or Shia, who are feeding sectarianism on orders from unknown elements in Afghanistan, a country where multiple countries are operating with different agendas. The Indians have a history of meddling in sectarianism during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. [The Americans are known to have used sectarianism as a policy tool in Iraq. Also, Israel appears to have links to a group called Jundullah, created as a Sunni group to hound Iran.]


Pakistan needs a strong federal government to deal with the external and domestic parts of this destabilization. Unfortunately, we are in the middle of a huge mess in our relations with a belligerent US, while a corrupt and discredited political elite is in power in Islamabad.

To put Pakistan on the right track, we need to get out of America's failed war [we can help them in all possible ways with their demands as they withdraw from Afghanistan on case-by-case basis but we should not be party to an American war of extermination against Afghan Taliban and Afghan Pashtuns.]

At the same time, Pakistan's federal and provincial structures need a revamp. The existing political parties are part of the problem and can't be part of a solution. Pakistan needs a break from general elections for a few years. The focus needs to shift from politics to moneymaking, education, arts. Parties need to be legally reorganized, by force if necessary, to allow new leaderships and new faces. We can reorganize Pakistan into smaller administrative units, each with its own elected chief executive and local parliament running local affairs, with a strong federal government in Islamabad. This would provide a good balance between local and federal governments, and forever end the politics of language and provincialism. Once this is done, we can embark on gradually reintroducing a new, stable and peaceful Pakistani politics and democracy in the country.

This kind of change is not possible through politics. It will need the cooperation of middle class patriotic Pakistanis, the judiciary and the armed forces. And whatever the reservations, we need the muscle of the armed forces to pull this through.

None of this should sound outlandish, not after the great transformations we have seen in places like Egypt and Tunisia. We have already wasted the first decade of the new century. We need to do something for our country and people before it is too late.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

From Mike Wallace To Judith Miller

One of the greats of television journalism is dead. He passed away Saturday night at a caring home in the United States. 

At 93, Mike Wallace leaves behind a tremendous legacy. There is little question that American ingenuity takes the credit for the rise of TV journalism in the world. Mr. Wallace belonged to a generation of American TV professionals who set the standards for what we recognize globally today as news television. 

That generation of American journalists set the bar very high. 

That's the reason why the US media became so influential in the world. It certainly didn't happen because America had a formidable military power. 

What is unfortunate is that influential parts of US media failed to maintain the standards set by Mr. Wallace's generation, of rigorous questioning of authority. And of maintaining a credible distance between journalism and authority. Certainly the media's relationship with government must not be confrontational. But it should not be prone to government manipulation at critical times, such as when the state decides to launch a war of choice characterized by deceit. 

That's what happened with Judith Miller who misled The New York Times, the American people and the world on Iraq and the links between terrorists and WMD.  But she was not alone. NYT editors helped her and the paper become a PR arm for the government. It took one of those editors eight years to come clean on this. 

It gets worse. In recent years, some American editors willingly provided accreditation to intelligence agents disguised as journalists. It happened in the case of Roxana Saberi, caught red handed in Tehran spying for Central Intelligence Agency. She was released under a deal whose terms remain secret but appear to include a commitment on her part never to speak to US media about what she was doing in Iran. She was not a journalist and yet an editor of an American newspaper issued her a press card as cover for spying for CIA in another country. 

After 2002, a new type of journalism invaded US media and we in Pakistan experienced it firsthand. All of a sudden there was a rush of 'news reports' and opinion pieces all seemingly coming from diverse outlets quoting unnamed sources but reading from the same talking points: Pakistan is evil, nukes are up for grab, and this is a place worse than Iraq and hence needs to be fixed. 

None of this has anything to do with Mr. Wallace's legacy. 

And yet his passing provides us an opportunity to remember what endeared America to the world. It is the pure American ingenuity personified by Mr. Wallace's creed. That's the real face of America that the world should see. Not the militaristic, deceitful and the warmongering one personified by Ms. Miller, Ms. Saberi and those who backed them. Recently, this Miller-Saberi side of America has turned hateful, with the near assassination of Gabrielle Gifford and the brutal murder of an Iraqi mother in an American suburb. 

It's been a long way from Mike Wallace to Judith Miller. But it is Wallace that represents what's good about America. Let's stick to that. 

Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Note-Taker In Pakistan, US Meetings

I like defense analyst Dr. Shireen M. Mazari for her blunt and direct style. But mostly I like her for her ability to offer Pakistani decision makers practical ideas to improve policy.

Take for example her advice to our politicians currently debating new terms of engagement with the United States. She suggests they add one more clause to their 30+ recommendations. This suggestion is simple: Ensure that a Pakistani note-taker is present in every meeting between Pakistani and American officials without exception.

This is a brilliant idea. Pakistan has suffered $70 billion dollars in losses, thousands killed and injured, and an unstable neighborhood thanks to helping an ungrateful Washington invade and occupy Afghanistan.

We got nothing in exchange for this help except headache. This happened because one general and several politicians failed to protect Pakistani interests while negotiating arrangements with the Americans. Former president and army chief Gen. Musharraf struck several verbal understandings with the Americans, and recently President Asif Zardari has been secretly meeting American emissaries at neutral locations like Dubai without informing the Pakistani government.

If a law is passed stipulating the presence of a note taker in all Pak-US interactions, this would help prevent the repeat of the disasters under presidents Musharraf and Zardari. This idea is standard practice in government-to-government relations. Unfortunately, it assumes an added importance in the context of our bad experience with untrustworthy allies like the Americans.

This idea is one of many that Dr. Mazari shares in her opinion piece on the story.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Pakistan's Biggest Enemy Is Its Failed Political Parties

Our failed political parties will destroy our country while we keep focusing on 'saving' democracy instead of 'reforming' it. Three parties have turned Karachi into Beirut in their fight for control over extortion money. Yet we still have people claiming things will be better with repeated elections. The only thing that will happen with repeated elections is these failed parties getting stronger to take over the country.

Today I've published a piece in The News International arguing that Pakistan's political parties are destroying the country and need to be fixed.

My solution is to have a strong civilian federal govt clipping the wings of these parties with the help of the armed forces. Naturally, such a strong civilian federal government can't come through elections. Our judiciary and the military can find other means to bring quality Pakistanis to the top.

Here's a quote:

"Where in Britain or Europe can parties do what we have allowed our parties to do here? Our parties can block major roads at will and forcibly shut down entire cities. Their ugly flags and graffiti blot the face of our cities and towns. They can brandish lethal weapons in public, confiscate and burn newspapers in Karachi, cut television cables and isolate Quetta from the rest of the country. Last year, one or two parties killed my colleague Wali Khan Babur, a young television reporter, in a sad attempt to ignite linguistic riots because that’s the only way these parties can flourish."

Read the full op-ed here.

UPDATE: Just to prove my point, reports are coming in that the leadership of MQM fled to Dubai as the city was brought to a standstill thanks to the gang wars between the armed wings of MQM, ANP and PPPP. The PKKH website reported that top leaders including Sindh governor Ishrat ul Ibad, Dr. Farooq Sattar, Babar Ghouri , Kamal Mustafa and others were spotted relaxing in the executive lounge of Avari Hotel in Dubai Tuesday night.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pakistan's Wrong Debate On US Ties

Today, The News International published an opinion I wrote on resetting Pakistan-US ties, appropriately titled, Re-Engaging US.

My argument on this debate is simple. The recommendations that the Parliamentary Committee on National Security proposed are good but not enough.

We are having the wrong debate.

We are discussing reopening the US and NATO supply road. We are talking about containers, trucks, drones and money.

The real issue is that the United States has taken over Pakistani presidency. It struck a deal in 2006 and 2007 that decided who will be the next Pakistani president. Washington is pumping money into Pakistani media. It refuses to blacklist BLA as a terror group and is shielding BLA and TTP terrorists in Switzerland and Afghanistan, respectively. Washington owes Pakistan close to a billion dollars for using our bases and facilities for the Afghan war. It has been using that money to blackmail us. It wants to bring India into Afghanistan, has granted India access to civil nuclear technology and continues to blackmail our nuclear program in Geneva.

Considering all of this, the least we can do is to be honest. All of the above has to be part of the agenda of resetting Pak-US ties. Simply talking about restoring the supply road is ridiculous.

And what about the aerial corridor? Are we going to tax the goods flying through our airspace to Afghanistan? How come there's no mention of this in the parliamentary recommendations?

Someone also needs to ask the Zardari government why he quietly decided to reopen the aerial corridor for Americans on 'humanitarian grounds'? And is it possible for his compassion to extend to the seven Pakistani widows and the sixteen Pakistani orphans left behind by the deliberate American attack on 26/11?

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Kandahar Massacre: Afghanistan's 3/11 & The Pakistani Young Man Who Coined It

Imagine this: a group of women and children are sound asleep in the dead of night in a village. Suddenly, a group of deranged men barge in, carrying machine guns. They spray bullets, pick surviving children and then shoot them on their foreheads. Then they burn the bodies. Then they walk out of the house and walk several kilometers for several minutes. They reach another house where they carry out a similar carnage.

A total of 16 Afghans, mostly women and children, are executed and burned.

Would this shake your conscience?

It did shake Tabish.

Tabish Qayyum is a young Pakistani from Karachi. He is one of the founders of a monthly magazine called The Fortress.

The tragedy in Kandahar moved him deeply. So he coined the term, 'Afghanistan's 3/11.'

He also wrote a great piece: Afghanistan's 3/11: We Will Never Forget.

One reason Qayyum's article is important is the eyewitness account. He wrote the following description of what happened from information given by multiple credible Afghan witnesses. Take this chilling sample:
"The houses attacked are at least two miles apart. It is not possible for a single gunman to kill and burn people in one house and then run several kilometers to do the same thing again without being resisted and overpowered. Eleven of the dead Afghans belonged to the same family and nine of the victims were children, including infants found soaked in blood close to the bodies of their mothers. Afghan sources in Pajwayi claim to have photographs of half-burned bodies of women and children. The media has already shown blood-spattered walls and floors of the two houses where American soldiers committed the massacre. Some local villagers have reported seeing two groups of soldiers. The Afghan defense ministry also believes in its initial assessment that there is a possibility of more than one soldier being involved. Afghan President Hamid Karzai believes in the possibility that more than one US soldier was involved. In his statement after the massacre, Karzai quotes a 15-year old survivor Rafiullah as telling him in a phone call that American ‘soldiers’ raided the house and woke up his family members before shooting them."
Qayyum is being farsighted when he tries to make this incident a watershed in America's occupation of Afghanistan, a 3/11 for the Afghans, equivalent to what 9/11 was to the Americans.

Why is this incident a watershed?

To get a brief and a stunning answer, read what the Afghanistan Analysis Team at PakNationalists PAC has written in a report titled, Are US Soldiers Turning Against Their Commanders In Afghanistan?

Here's a quote from this stunning report:
"The fact that US soldiers chose to kill Pashtun women and children in Kandahar is not accidental. This is happening because of irresponsible official American statements that blamed Pashtun Taliban ‘infiltrators’ for killing American military trainers. The truth is that Afghans from all backgrounds have participated in riots against occupying US army. The Afghan intelligence officer who killed a US Army colonel and major inside the secured interior ministry building in Kabul on Jan. 25 was not a Pashtun but a Tajik.  Despite this, US officials blamed the Pashtuns to hide the fact that the US-trained Afghan army, which is largely non-Pashtun, is now turning its weapons on American trainers."
While at it, you might want to see the video by AP at the top [or click here to see it]. It focuses on one of the largest US army bases inside the United States and why soldiers trained their often end up committing atrocities like the one in Kandahar on 3/11.

Our region has seen a lot of bloodshed. The American occupation of Afghanistan continues only because the CIA and US military's special-ops teams don't want to let go of this playground. Bad allies, like India, are advising the Americans not to leave so that India could continue using Afghan soil to foment terrorism inside Pakistan in the guise of religious terrorists. India is also linked to two fictional terrorist groups that it uses to carry out terrorism inside Pakistan. One is Balochistan Liberation Army and the other one is Sindh Liberation Army. The CIA is known to be helping the Indians with the first one, but the second one appears to be an exclusively Indian venture.

We, Pakistanis and Afghans, count on the good American people to counter the disinformation by Pentagon, CIA and their allies in mainstream media who are advising 'perseverance and patience' to camouflage their intention of never leaving Afghanistan.

An Afghanistan free of American, NATO and Indian occupation is good for the region and good for America and the world. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Me, Saleem Safi And One Indian

Let me share something interesting. Last night known columnist and TV personality Saleem Safi and I were part of a panel discussion on PTV's Moeed Pirzada show.

Today, an Indian tweeted: 'AQ showing his ignorance. Salim Safi chewed him up.'

Now I don't know if Saleem chewed me up or if we had an ice lolly together, but it was interesting to see an Indian monitoring Pakistani talk shows closely. And he's not alone. Twitter is infested with such Indians who don't have much of a life besides commenting on Pakistani affairs considering, of course, that India is God's paradise on Earth.

So I tell him to buzz off, get a life and mind his own business.

Saleem, by the way, is a dear friend of mine. Coincidentally, I bump into him today afternoon at an Islamabad restaurant. I tell him about this hateful Indian. Saleem had a good laugh. He's not on Twitter yet so he asks me to convey a message to the Indian hatemonger. I share the message here for the benefit of everyone. So here goes:

"Ahmed & I can disagree on our local politics but when it comes to Indian policy he & I are on the same page!' - From Saleem Safi.

I tweeted this message to the Indian stalker. No reply as usual. But one of the best responses came from @i_am_ahad who sent me the following tweet:

"Give them a break sir. They're just busy being absolutely NOT obsessed with Pakistan. Their main focus is chai, na? #NotChina !

Thanks Saleem and Ahad. You both made my Saturday night.

P.S. For more info about activities of Indian hatemongers on twitter, see

P.S. After Saleem Safi left with his guest, my wife & I discovered he paid our bill in advance without our knowledge. Thx Saleem. Had I known this, I'd have asked u to leave your credit card with us for the round of green tea after the meal!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Enjoy These Scenes From Hangover

Best of Zach Galifianakis as Alan/Allen/Allan in the Hangover Movie from HnGoVr on Vimeo.

Hangover. This has to be one of the best comedies in recent times. Depends on your sense of humor, of course. The fat guy, Zach Galifianakis, is funny just by being himself.

And although the comedy here is unbeatable, the produces and directors of this film did something new with Hangover II. A new concept in sequels. Instead of continuing the story, which is what sequels are about, part two of this film is really a re-take. It is like re-producing the film in different settings and with some changes in the script.

The reason why Hangover II wasn't as big a success probably has to do with the fact that people went to see it thinking it is going to be continuation of the story in part I.

Anyway, this is my two cents, or paisas. And I am not a film critic. 

Sunday, February 5, 2012

A Great Kashmir Day In 2012

The birthday of our Prophet, PBUH, coincided with Kashmir Solidarity Day this year. This is a blessing for one important reason: Kashmiris are on the rise again.

Yes, you might not read this in NYT, but for the first time since 1947, Kashmir is totally out of #Indian occupation army's control.

This is even better than 1989's intifada in Kashmir. Now, almost every segment of Kashmiris has risen against Indian occupation.

Similar good news are coming from Pakistan too.

After six years of the failed Composite Dialogue and the 4-point formula of Mr. Musharraf, Pakistan is back to where it was before 2004.

This means that Islamabad has quietly ditched the soft policy of the past several years. Now, Pakistan is back to the blunt support to Kashmiris. One small sign of this is that orders were issued in recent months to all federal and provincial government departments to show Kashmir as part of Pakistan on all maps. Pakistani media has been advised to do the same.

That's a small sign. As for bigger signs, well, let's just say that one reason India is trying to act friendly to Pakistan in recent months is that they are sure any Pakistani direct support to Kashmiri resistance now would create a real nightmare for occupation soldiers. Of course, Pakistan doesn't need to do that. Kashmiris are doing just that by themselves.

So, let's salute the brave people of Kashmir, the teenagers, the mothers, the sisters, the heroes who are fighting one of the most brutal occupations in the world today.


For a full coverage of Indian genocide in Kashmir, click here.
For the latest images from Kashmir Spring, click here

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Shireen Mazari Blasts America's Haqqani: Victory Of The Sleaze

Known Pakistani military expert Dr. Shireen Mazari has some harsh words today for our tainted ex-ambassador to Washington, his backers in Washington and its puppet Zardari government in Islamabad. And also the Pakistani military.

Her brief analysis, which she wrote today for, makes for an excellent read.

Let me quote:

The military leadership especially has once again come out looking bad with promotions and other such interests leading to what is a major national compromise of the most despicable kind given how it were Pakistan’s security interests that were being bargained with in the notorious Memo. Husain Haqqani himself has a record of selling out Pakistan’s national interests to the US in the past. For instance, when he was Pakistan’s High Commissioner in Sri Lanka, he revealed a highly sensitive piece of information to then US Ambassador to Sri Lanka Teresita Schaeffer regarding one of our covert operations. This almost destroyed Pakistan-Sri Lankan relations. 

Click here to read her column.

How Pakistan Protects Treason

We released a traitor back in 1969 despite strong evidence. Two years later he led an insurgency in support of an Indian invasion of Pakistan. Today we have released another traitor with a proven track record of working to blackmail Pakistan. I'd like every patriotic Pakistani to remember three things:

1. How our political parties, politicians and judiciary have worked together, passively, to protect and free a traitor. It’s as if the country’s security is the concern of ISI or the military and not the collective responsibility of politicians and others.

2. How the US worked overtime to get Husain Haqqani released, an American asset beyond a shadow of doubt. The way the US government issued a statement welcoming his escape from Pakistan is a telltale sign.

3. How a sitting Member of Parliament, Farahnaz Isphahani, and Haqqani’s spouse, landed in Washington to lobby against Pakistan, its military and its intelligence community. She privately told a British newspaper she escaped Pakistan because she was afraid the country’s military would kidnap her. Bad for her, the British journalist published this off-the-record comment, forcing her to issue a clarification. The statement shows deep malice against the country’s national security institutions. It proves how Haqqani and his boss, President Zardari, is every bit guilty of the contents of The Memo. [If you haven’t seen this brief, point-by-point reading into The Memo, please do. It is not every day that one sees a first-class evidence of what treason looks like. For Urdu version, click here.]

Last, the reluctance of our military establishment to take a decisive stand on this case and preferring instead to avoid a confrontation with the pro-US government is understandable but disturbing.

This attitude is part of the general ailment that afflicts our failed political system. It is not difficult to see how this country will get out of anyone’s control down the road. A big and drastic change is required. [Wait for new ideas in this regard, expected to be floated next month in a special ceremony in Islamabad. The event will use the platform of Project For Pakistan In 21st Century, an independent Islamabad-based think tank.]

Regarding The Memo, I will spare our military harsher criticism because I understand that it is busy trying to limit the damage of the 2002-2011 years. Good luck guys doing that. But remember: our homeland is beyond correction through installments. The state can be restructured top down. It requires good Pakistanis, civilians and uniformed, men and women of will more than anything else.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Pakistan And Israel

Pakistan maintains ties to Israel without having diplomatic relations. These are not full diplomatic ties but are meant to convey messages on critical issues to avoid misunderstandings. For example, Pakistan went on a high alert after our nuclear tests in 1998 when we received information India was considering allowing Israeli fighter jets to fly from Indian air bases to attack Pakistani nuclear installations. There was information that Israeli air force was present somewhere in India for that purpose. Pakistan conveyed to the US a warning: If Israelis participated in an Indian attack on Pakistan, then Pakistan will retaliate against both and not just India alone. This got the Americans worried and they arranged for a direct contact between the Pakistani and Israeli ambassadors in Washington. The Israelis gave the highest assurances they had no assets in India to be used against Pakistan. That contact diffused the immediate tensions.

Of course Pakistan was not imagining that Israel has a close military cooperation with India. Israel does have such cooperation.

In 1999, elite Israeli military units helped India avert a certain defeat in the Kargil heights of occupied Kashmir. The Israel military contribution in that small war was secret and largely remains so, but it was important enough to change the course of conflict. We are still not sure at what point Kashmiri and Pakistani fighters faced off with Israelis on the opposite side in Kargil in occupied Kashmir. Maybe Pakistani military would have more information on this. This Israeli participation in a Pakistani-Indian conflict would have remained a secret had not some Israeli diplomats in India alerted some Indian journalists, possibly as an attempt to show Indians how grateful they should be to Israeli assistance and, consequently, ensure more Indian orders for Israeli military hardware.

Israel is keen to have diplomatic relations with Pakistan. It is in Israel’s interest to win over a large Muslim nation. But whatever Pakistani contacts with Israel, Islamabad is not very keen on any immediate relations and can wait until Palestinians and Arabs sort out the dispute over Palestine and especially the question of Al-Quds, or Jerusalem, where Israelis want to control holy sites for Christians and Muslims.

A real Pakistani concern is how much Israel bolsters Indian military capabilities. In 2002, Pakistan Air Force shot down an Israeli-made unmanned Indian surveillance plane. So one can imagine Pakistani military planners are not happy with Israelis getting too much involved with the Indians.

We also need to be concerned about Israeli policy hawks who want an alliance with India because they believe the two countries can work together against Muslim nations. Many wiser Israelis and Indians understand such a policy would be suicidal for both. But such wise thinking is not enough unless it actually stops such an alliance from materializing. The verdict on this count is yet to come. One encouraging sign of this would be for Israel to hold back some technologies and weapons that India is sure to buy for one express purpose: to target Pakistan and fortify the brutal Indian military occupation in Kashmir. Let’s see how the Israelis balance this.

Overall, Israelis are keen to avoid talking or acting against Pakistan in public. They don’t want to see Pakistanis retaliating by helping Israel’s enemies. So you won’t see Israeli politicians or media condemning Pakistani nuclear program the way US officials and media do.

A little known fact: You can make telephone calls from Israel to almost all Arab and Muslim countries, possibly including Pakistan. But you can’t call Israel from Pakistan. Not that it really matters in the age of internet, but it gives you a clear idea where we and the Israelis stand in terms of policy red lines.

[Adapted from a note on Facebook where a young Pakistani politician asked about Israel’s interest in ties with Pakistan]

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

One Of The Best Comments On Bruce Riedel's Pakistan Theories

Bruce Riedel is a former CIA. He is trying to make a living perhaps by renting himself out to Indian lobbying machine in Washington. Otherwise why would any sane person advise Obama to start a confrontation with nuclear armed country of 170 million over a bunch of Islamists ranting on the streets. Isn’t it enough to show how sound his scholarship is?
Beyond the usual platitudes on military and Islamists, or smoldering hatred of a religion and a country, what is there that is new or thought provoking in this article? Any sane person, with the exception of Indians of course, would know that it is just puffed up sensationalist garbage. 
A comment left by a reader who identified himself as Polar Bear on an article written by Riedel titled, Pakistan's Jihadist Threat: Obama's Terrorism Challenge In 2012, in December 2011.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Hateful Indians At It, Again

Pakistan faces a political crisis, the result of a failed democracy and fake democrats. But who is more excited about this? It is the Indians, who surface like autumn frogs at every story concerning Pakistan. They offer themselves as top experts on anything Pakistani. And their arrogant refrain is becoming laughable to everyone: 'Since we're a democracy, we can lecture Pakistan as experts.'

Today there is a political crisis of sorts in Pakistan, where a pro-US government faces collapse thanks to an angry public opinion, corruption cases in courts, and decisions by this government that amount to serious national security breaches. 

You would think American news organizations would invite Pakistanis to speak about their country and explain it to the world. Not so. The purpose of most US officials, think tanks and media these days is to demonize Pakistan. So some of these anti-Pakistan Americans prefer to invite hateful Indians to do the job of explaining Pakistan to the world. 

The latest frog to leap, so to speak, is Mr. Sadanand Dhume, a self-styled Pakistan expert working for American Enterprise Institute. American think tanks receive a lot of funding from various US government departments. They have turned anti-Pakistan a decade ago as part of a plan to paint Islamabad as the enemy, ally US with India, contain China and occupy Russia's central Asian backyard. 

In fact, there is a consistent effort to put the US on a warpath with Pakistan.

In the last decade, the American academia and media has churned out more anti-Pakistan stories than India ever did. To solidify the new anti-Pakistanism in the United States and brainwash the good American people into hating one more country and people, a large number of hateful Indians have been recruited into the think tanks and media organizations. 

So there is a political crisis today in Pakistan, the result of a government working on protecting the interests of a foreign country, the United States, more than the interests of Pakistan. No wonder the vast majority of Pakistanis are up in arms against this government. A key aide in this government, a former envoy to Washington, faces possible treason charges for allowing hundreds of CIA operatives into Pakistan and turning this country into another American war zone and weaken it in favor of Indian strategic interests. Go to Pakistani online forums of every stripe and color and you will hear the worst things said about the government of President Zardari.

But the hateful Indians working in the US are up in arms defending this government.

Mr. Dhume appears today in the Wall Street Journal. This is a professional business paper. But its editors appear to have outsourced its Foreign Desk to CIA analysts, old and serving colleagues of leading independent thinkers like Bruce Riedel, for example. Tho Foreign Desk of this paper is anti-Pakistan and often acts as conduit for CIA planted stories on Pakistan, Russia, China and other countries. 

Pretending to be a Pakistan expert, Mr. Dhume begins his masterpiece today with this boring cliche:

'Who gets to decide when a democratically elected government's time is up? To the average Japanese, Indian or American, the answer is obvious: the same people who voted it into office in the first place. Not so for the average Pakistani.'

I have issue here with India's democracy, which I will explain shortly. 

The Indian writer claims that an elected government in Pakistan will not complete its term because the military will topple it. 

In all honesty, he is either lying or is a propagandist on an agenda.

Either Mr. Dhume lacks information and research skills, which brings into question his positions as researcher and columnist at AEI and WSJ. Or he is outrageously lying for disinformation purposes, which simply proves he's one of those seasonal Indian frogs that leap out on every Pakistani story. 

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan [HRCP] is often accused of being anti-military. I find many of their reports biased against the military and supportive of anyone working against Pakistani military, even if they are terrorist recruits into anti-Pakistan groups that enjoy refuge in US-controlled Afghanistan. 

But a senior director of HRCP, Mr. I. A. Rehman, concedes in an op-ed in The News International on Sunday that Pakistani military is abiding by the law in dealing with the pro-US government of President Zardari. 

Here is a quote:

'[Chief of Army Staff] General Kayani, the army chief, has given the country’s politicians a lesson in tactics. While politicians often opt for knee-jerk responses to serious matters or follow their staffers’ improvisations, the general has chosen to play by the book. He was prompt in answering the Supreme Court’s notice and thus distanced himself, in this case at least, from the politicians who are getting flak for avoiding compliance with the judiciary’s directives. He sent his statement to the Defense Ministry, as per rules. If the ministry did not follow the procedure laid down in the Rules of Business inscribed in a moth-eaten file of 1973, he cannot be blamed. That makes the PM angry at a time when he needs to be cooler than cucumber.'

This analysis is not unique. Most observers in Pakistan agree that the military has done the right thing. It has given its opinion to the government through proper channels on matters concerning national security. It refrained from destabilizing the government.

It is also a fact that, under the current Chairman Joint Chiefs, Army Chief, Air Force and Navy chiefs, the military as a whole has become apolitical more than ever. 

The current crisis in Pakistan is not about 'civil-military relations' or 'civilian authority over the military' as Indian propagandists like Mr. Dhume are trying to portray. 

This is a crisis about an incompetent government that has lost the trust of the people who voted for it.

Is the military trying to overthrow this government?

If anything, it is this failed democratic government that is doing everything it can to provoke the military into a coup. This government has gone as far as misleading a Chinese newspaper into publishing an interview with Zardari's prime minister attacking Pakistani military [The Chinese paper has withdrawn the interview since.] The military is trying to help this government complete its five-year term. The ruling PPPP can ensure this by removing tainted characters from its senior positions and replacing them with cleaner people. Let the tainted, corruption-ridden people face the courts without destabilizing democracy. But this is not happening because the party is firmly controlled by the tainted and the corrupt. 

Now I come to the Pakistan obsession of hateful Indians, like Wall Street Journal's Mr. Dhume.

India has the world's biggest concentration of poverty and disease. The world's biggest genocide against baby girls occurs in India every year. See India's Deadly Secret at . By virtue of the size of the poor, India faces a host of other gigantic problems related to public hygiene and health. The Indian government is rich, with up to $300 billion dollars in savings. But it won't share this money with the poor. Instead, the money is being spent on militarization because Americans [such as AEI that Mr. Dhume works for] are busy convincing India it is destined to be a superpower, crush Pakistan and take on China. Despite massive arms purchases, the Indian military is yet to deliver. See Indian Military Might Is Overplayed at .

The quality of Indian democracy is questionable. Low-caste Hindus are raped and murdered with impunity. Girls are buried alive. All non-Hindu minorities are persecuted. Most British and American news bureaus in New Delhi hide the truth from readers back home mainly because London and Washington want to see India continue to challenge China and act as an Anglo-rented soldier in Asia. That's cheaper than sending US and UK soldiers to die in faraway lands. 

All of this should have left serious academic men and women like Mr. Dhume busy for the next decade. But no. They are busy with Pakistan because they are working on an agenda. 

Nowhere is that agenda clearer than on Twitter, where hordes of Indians are busy with nothing else except Pakistan. See Twitter Is Infested With Indians Campaigning Against Pakistan at .

India saw the first genocide of 21st century, in 2002, when more than 2000 Indian citizens were butchered and burned alive in a single Indian city in the course of three days. Their mistake was believing in the wrong religion. Hindu extremist mobs have also burned alive an Australian missionary and his two under-ten boys as they slept in their car. Their crime? The father and sons used to distribute clothing and food to poor Indians. They were Christian. This crime occurred in 2000 and extremist Hindu groups that were involved continue to operate with impunity. 

In 2007, some 50 Pakistanis believed Indian claims of peace and booked seats on a 'peace train' traveling to New Delhi from Pakistan. They were burned alive midway and the attack was blamed by the Indians on Pakistani intelligence. It turned out that Hindu terrorist groups collaborated with serving Indian intelligence officers to kill the Pakistani visitors. India is yet to punish the culprits and the blood of 50 Pakistanis remains unaccountable with a pro-US government in power in Islamabad that refuses to pursue the case. 

The US is turning into an exporter of extremism. Last year activists had to force Harvard University to expel an Indian politician who used his teaching course to spread hate. See Harvard Drops Indian MP Subramanian Swamy's Courses at . Why would Harvard harbor a hatemonger like that? For the same reason that Wall Street Journal invites an Indian like Dhume to explain Pakistan.

The Norwegian massacre suspect Anders Behring Breivik said last year his hate ideology was influenced by American evangelists. 

Good Americans and Indians need to watch these promoters of hate and war and stop them. Mr. Sadanand Dhume can begin with getting busy with improving the lives of hundreds of millions of poor Indians instead of promoting war at his well-paid jobs at AEI and WSJ.