Sunday, July 22, 2018
02:32 AM (GMT +5)

Go Back   CSS Forums > General > News & Articles > The News

Reply Share Thread: Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook     Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter     Submit Thread to Google+ Google+    
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Search this Thread
  #111  
Old Thursday, July 24, 2008
Last Island's Avatar
Royal Queen of Literature
Medal of Appreciation: Awarded to appreciate member's contribution on forum. (Academic and professional achievements do not make you eligible for this medal) - Issue reason: AppreciationBest Moderator Award: Awarded for censoring all swearing and keeping posts in order. - Issue reason: Best ModGold Medal: Awarded to those members with  maximum number of  reputation points. - Issue reason: For the year 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011Member of the Year: Awarded to those community members who have made invaluable contributions to the Community in the particular year - Issue reason: 2008Diligent Service Medal: Awarded upon completion of 5 years of dedicated services and contribution to the community. - Issue reason: More than 5 years of dedicated servicesModerator: Ribbon awarded to moderators of the forum - Issue reason:
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Forest of Fallen Stars
Posts: 7,539
Thanks: 2,408
Thanked 15,747 Times in 4,986 Posts
Last Island is headed toward stardomLast Island is headed toward stardomLast Island is headed toward stardomLast Island is headed toward stardomLast Island is headed toward stardomLast Island is headed toward stardomLast Island is headed toward stardomLast Island is headed toward stardomLast Island is headed toward stardomLast Island is headed toward stardomLast Island is headed toward stardom
Default

THE RULERS AND THE RULED

Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Shireen M Mazari

Pakistan faces three major threats at the present time: the threat posed by the growing power of the extremists resorting to terror tactics; state terrorism from the US across the international border with Afghanistan and in cahoots with India, with a long term agenda to undermine the state and its nuclear assets; and, the unchecked spiralling of prices and a growing anarchy. Faced with these major crises, any state would require a strong government with a clear vision and clearly enunciated long term policies. At the very least the government of the day would show some concern and responsiveness in confronting these issues but Pakistan has always been an exception to all norms of rational expectations.

Where else, at a time of economic crisis, would one find the leadership busy travelling the globe and worse still, often chartering planes rather than going on regular flights. But then today we have a unique situation in the country where there is a government but power is exercised from outside. The ridiculousness of the situation was exemplified by the whole black comedy of the prime minister's address to the nation, which had to be rescheduled to await Mr Zardari's arrival and then offered late night comic relief to a stressed out nation – there is little else to say about this prime ministerial venture. But the nation does not seek comedy from its leaders. Instead it seeks responsible and responsive government – at least in a democratic set-up.

That is not happening. The state continues drifting and it now seems that this is by design. So if there are complaints that there is not enough criticism of the extremists resorting to terrorism, the complainants should ask why these violent groups are gaining space in the first place. The answer is not very complicated. The lack of the writ of the state has created a vacuum which is now being filled by these groups. The local people, without the protection of the state, cannot resist the power of the terrorist gun. Certainly the majority of Pakistanis can declare "Hum wo naheen" ('We are not them' – i.e. terrorists), but if the state cannot protect us, we cannot resist "them". Additionally, the failure of successful 'liberal' and 'moderate' governments to deliver to their people has also increased the space for more intolerant and regressive groups. When the government is unable to offer basic protection and food to its people, even as the leaders continue their extravagant shenanigans, the nation becomes easy prey for its detractors in all forms.

Also, where the state seeks to assert itself, it is seen as doing so at the behest of the US. The reality today is that if the nation is to own the policies of the state, the latter will have to delink itself from the US at all levels – especially in combating terrorism. Without creating this space between itself and the US, none of its policies will gain credibility and ownership from the people of Pakistan.

Which brings one to the second threat facing us today – that from the US itself, with India being drawn in. As long as the US continues to attack targets within Pakistan, new supporters for the militants will be created. Also, the manner in which US politicians, including Barack Obama, talk of Pakistan reflects a mindset that is at the very least hostile to this country. In any case our long-term strategic interests in the region simply do not coincide with those of the US; be it in terms of Iran, China, India or nuclear weapons. Yet we continue to pay homage to America, and our new leadership, at the party or the state levels, wastes scarce resources trying to woo what is in reality becoming a hostile if not an enemy state. But then, as stated earlier, our rulers have always defied the rational. Or can one assume that there is a rational design in our drift to eventually allow external actors like the US to fulfil their negative Pakistan agendas?

As for India, nothing has displayed our sense of the absurd more than our new approach to India – which cannot yet be called a policy, given that it lacks an overarching cohesiveness but then perhaps that is the hallmark of all our so-called policies. While India continues to accuse us of the Kabul bomb blast outside its embassy and continues to contravene the Indus Water Treaty by not only filling the reservoir of the Baglihar hydropower project in Occupied Kashmir but also expanding it, our leaders formulate an India-specific trade policy and seek greater Pakistan-India interaction on all fronts! Perhaps the absurdity of our leaders is best reflected in the ridiculous statement by our minister of many hats, Ahmed Mukhtar, who declared that Pakistanis should get over their India phobia! He seems to be as clueless on this count as he is on defence matters – judging by his utterances in that field highlighted in earlier columns – because if any body is phobic about their neighbours it is India and one has only to see their hysterics against Pakistan over the Kabul blast as well as earlier acts of terrorism within India. So perhaps the minister should be telling the Indians to get over their Pakistan phobia.

As for our absurdities on the nuclear issue, I have already discussed the Dr Khan issue in earlier columns. However, our state continues to hold on to a bizarre notion that if they give explanations ad nauseum about our nuclear laws and safeguards, the US and its allies will stop targeting our nuclear assets. Does any other nuclear country lay its nuclear soul bare to the world as we have been doing? Is any other nuclear state "reaching out" with explanations by all and sundry about our safeguard systems? Little is achieved by such efforts – it would be far better to continue to comply with our international treaty obligations, be active in seeking criteria-based international norms and protect our interest in arms control and disarmament forums rather than giving explanations that are not required. If the state feels that we need to inform the world about our systems, publish the laws and other information in a cohesive book and be done with it so that unlimited resources do not continue to be wasted.

At the end of the day we all know that our nuclear status will sit uncomfortably with the US and its allies simply because we are a Muslim state – so they will eventually have to learn to live with this reality and we have to ensure they cannot alter this reality. The Islamabad High Court has silenced Dr Khan on the nuclear issue – but the state also needs to maintain a dignified silence on this count.

Finally, coming to perhaps the most serious internal threat in the immediate time frame – that of spiralling prices of basics and artificially created crises of essentials like wheat. The government has traumatised the people by a massive raise in POL prices – the pretext being that international prices have spiralled. However, the new price rise includes a hefty margin of profit for the government (through GST) and oil marketing companies combined – Rs21.55 per litre of petrol by one estimation. As another news item clarifies, the international market rate of petrol comes to around Rs53 per litre – far higher than what the federal government is asking its citizens to pay. Add to this the multiplier effect on other goods – from food to public transport – and one really has to wonder when the people will become desperate and come on to the streets. After all, economic hardships are being accompanied by rising crime across the land.

The government is obsessed by removal of subsidies to please international agencies dominated by the US like the IMF, but as usual our leaders are going beyond removal of the same and seeking state profits at the expense of the nation. But then as long as we follow US diktat, their Congress will pass aid and assistance bills. Is this what our state drift is finally all about or are the rulers living in a different world from that of the ruled?



The writer is a defence analyst. Email: callstr@ hotmail.com

http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=125686
__________________
The Me you have always known, the Me that's a stranger still.
Reply With Quote
  #112  
Old Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Last Island's Avatar
Royal Queen of Literature
Medal of Appreciation: Awarded to appreciate member's contribution on forum. (Academic and professional achievements do not make you eligible for this medal) - Issue reason: AppreciationBest Moderator Award: Awarded for censoring all swearing and keeping posts in order. - Issue reason: Best ModGold Medal: Awarded to those members with  maximum number of  reputation points. - Issue reason: For the year 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011Member of the Year: Awarded to those community members who have made invaluable contributions to the Community in the particular year - Issue reason: 2008Diligent Service Medal: Awarded upon completion of 5 years of dedicated services and contribution to the community. - Issue reason: More than 5 years of dedicated servicesModerator: Ribbon awarded to moderators of the forum - Issue reason:
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Forest of Fallen Stars
Posts: 7,539
Thanks: 2,408
Thanked 15,747 Times in 4,986 Posts
Last Island is headed toward stardomLast Island is headed toward stardomLast Island is headed toward stardomLast Island is headed toward stardomLast Island is headed toward stardomLast Island is headed toward stardomLast Island is headed toward stardomLast Island is headed toward stardomLast Island is headed toward stardomLast Island is headed toward stardomLast Island is headed toward stardom
Default

BUFFOONERY WITH A SINISTER INTENT?


Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Shireen M Mazari

Is the new political setup really so naïve and clumsy as we are being made to believe by absurd acts of bungling, such as those relating to the prime minister's broadcast on national television and the whole "control of the ISI-IB" episode? It simply cannot be so, which leads one to assume that such actions hide a more devious intent. For one, both these incidents show an undermining of the office of the prime minister – elected by the people and their representatives in Parliament. It is as if the unelected political string-pullers want to keep the prime minister weak and powerless.

The ISI-IB incident was bizarre, to say the least, given that the logic as explained by the PPP leadership held little ground. After all, the ISI and IB are already under civilian control and if it was simply an effort to deny future political stigma to the army, then all the prime minister had to do was to delink the "I" or internal wing of the ISI from its main body! After all, that is what has been a source of political contentiousness over the years. However, it seems the present unelected string-pullers sought to undermine the organisation itself by politicising it further by placing it under the unelected interior adviser! As for the claims that all stakeholders had been consulted and had given their consent to this new move, it soon became evident that that had not been the case. As usual, coalition partners and other stakeholders had simply been left out of the loop and soon they made this public.

So, has everything been restored to the status quo ante? Not quite, because this deliberate blundering move conceals a more sinister design. What remains covertly active is the ongoing attempt by the US-gifted National Security Adviser, Durrani, to bring the ISI and IB under his domain. This is part of a larger design to realign and reorient our external agendas and policies, and it is here that a more sinister design becomes clearer.

Seemingly random acts are, in reality, interconnected. Take, for example, the US effort to halt our diplomatic efforts to counter the Indo-US nuclear deal at the IAEA and within the Nuclear Suppliers' Group. Despite denials, sources within the Ministry of Foreign Affairs claim that Ambassador Haqqani sent a cable asking that such efforts be halted. How else does one explain the aborting of the Special Envoy's trip to China in this connection, midway? The next target of our national interest-based nuclear diplomacy will be to ensure that we give up our position and opposition to the US draft of a Fissile Material Cut-off Treaty that is presently in the Commission on Disarmament in Geneva and which the US and India are seeking to fast-track through using all sorts of political gambits.

It is now widely believed in Foreign Policy circles that Haqqani is the new instrument for the implementation of a new direction for Pakistan's foreign policy – a direction that is totally US-driven. Haqqani seems to have become the lead person in pushing a US agenda on Pakistan – some would say he is the de facto foreign minister. Perhaps that is why no one has bothered to inform the de jure foreign minister, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, that the US has consistently and publicly declared, ad nauseam, that the Indo-US nuclear deal is only for India and will never be given to Pakistan. Even more important, many in Pakistan feel it will have too many negative connotations for Pakistan's nuclear programme and therefore we should not be seeking it – especially not continuing to plead for it, as was the inclination of Qureshi's predecessor.

While the seeds of a major US tilt in our external policy may have been sown earlier, now the effort is to completely undermine our relations with our old ally China by ensuring that our priorities will be Washington-determined and the most important relationship will be with the US, not China. Presumably that is why PM Gilani broke away from the custom of new Pakistani leaders visiting China after performing Umra in Saudi Arabia before any other foreign visit.

As part of this new drive, at the micro level we are seeing the sudden halting of important postings for diplomats known to be critical of India and the US in terms of Pakistan's interests. Ambassador Akram's removal also needs to be understood in this context. It is also known in the corridors of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs that Haqqani was heard declaring that our diplomats should forget about China and focus on our new major allies – the US and India!

But it is at the macro level that we must see the sinister design of delinking us from our strategic relationship with China, since the US game plan in Asia is to sideline and eventually contain China. India is already part of this agenda at multiple levels – beginning with its partnership with the US in missile defence (which also poses a deterrence dilemma for Pakistan), its nuclear deal and its membership of what has been referred to as a "Concert of Democracies" and includes Australia and New Zealand as well as, ironically, Singapore, alongside the US. Now Pakistan is being drawn into this framework with disastrous consequences, especially in terms of jeopardising Pakistan's strategic cooperation with China – which is part of the US intent especially in terms of our nuclear programme, including nuclear power generation.

That there is a sinister design should have been clear much earlier on when Zardari declared, in an "Aaj TV" interview with Nasim Zehra, that Gwadar was a means of promoting trade with India – something contrary to our longstanding position that Gwadar was a means of accessing Central Asia and buttressing our economic ties to China. It is as part of this design that we also have to see the unilateral trade concessions to India in the new trade policy, as well as the new efforts to bring in India's multinational Mittal group into the Thar coal project – which means a deliberate pushing away of the Chinese companies who had been involved in negotiations over the last few years. Interestingly, in the previous government one of the lawyers arguing against the privatisation of the Steel Mill, in 2006, referred to Lakshmi Mittal's interest in purchasing the Steel Mill; this he could have done after three years, since the terms of privatisation only tied the purchaser to holding on to his shares for three years after, which he could sell to anyone.

So can one simply brush off recent actions as one-offs and mere acts of buffoonery? Or is the sinister design now becoming more overt as the new political dispensation, especially the unelected string-pullers from Zardari to the bunch of strategically-placed advisers, make their moves riding roughshod over whoever or whatever stands in their way? While Parliament remains sidelined and the people buckle under the growing economic burden and a receding access to basic utilities, the state priorities are being remoulded to finally give the US and India what they want: a compliant, strategically weak and dependent Pakistan. The compromises at the nuclear level will have devastating long-term effects, just as undermining our strategic partnership with China will leave us permanently weakened.

Pakistan's long-term cooperation with China has been a longstanding irritant for India and the US. After all, it allowed us strategic sustenance and even today, contrary to public perception, we are not dependent on US military hardware and spares which were denied for decades. Similarly, we managed to develop our nuclear capability and our civil nuclear power capabilities in spite of US efforts to undermine both. And we got developmental and economic assistance which allowed us to develop Gwadar, Saindak and many other projects for which there were no Western takers at the time and for which Chinese citizens paid for with their lives. Now we are in danger of finally succumbing to what we resisted all these years – US diktat. So let us not simply laugh off the buffoonery of the present political dispensation – there is a darker ominous side.



The writer is a defence analyst. Email: callstr@hotmail.com

http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=127172
__________________
The Me you have always known, the Me that's a stranger still.
Reply With Quote
  #113  
Old Wednesday, August 06, 2008
marwatone's Avatar
Perfectionist!!
Medal of Appreciation: Awarded to appreciate member's contribution on forum. (Academic and professional achievements do not make you eligible for this medal) - Issue reason: Best Moderator Award: Awarded for censoring all swearing and keeping posts in order. - Issue reason: 2011Moderator: Ribbon awarded to moderators of the forum - Issue reason:
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Eden
Posts: 1,501
Thanks: 539
Thanked 1,317 Times in 581 Posts
marwatone is a splendid one to beholdmarwatone is a splendid one to beholdmarwatone is a splendid one to beholdmarwatone is a splendid one to beholdmarwatone is a splendid one to beholdmarwatone is a splendid one to beholdmarwatone is a splendid one to behold
Default

A deliberate capitulation to the US

By Shireen M Mazari
Wednesday, August 06, 2008


Despite numerous hiccups and tactical errors such as the sending of our old centrifuges to the IAEA, successive governments of Pakistan stood their ground on the nuclear issue – especially in terms of protecting our nuclear capability's interests. For the first time we have now chosen to surrender on this count – for that is what happened on August 1, 2008, in the IAEA board of governors meeting where Pakistan showed its pusillanimity and abandoned its policy of at least seeking a vote in this body on the IAEA-India safeguards.

This is clearly a first in our soon to be many compromises on the nuclear issue. A similar surrender in the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva on the Fissile Material Cut off Treaty (FMCT) will be next. So far we have been holding out against the US draft, supported by India, which contravenes the international consensus on the FMCT (as discussed in earlier columns) reflected in the Shannon Report of March 1995 and in UN General Assembly Resolution 48/75L. But now we should brace ourselves for the inevitable compromise if the prevailing decision makers and their advisers continue on their path of making Pakistan a loyal satellite state of the US.

The game plan that some of us had been pointing to for some time now has become abundantly overt. This plan rests on a three-pronged strategy at the macro level, with many off shoots at the micro level: one, weakening key state institutions and keeping the subjugated ones in that position with perhaps a facade of compromise if required; two, of aggravating the law and order situation beyond the tribal belt; and, three, of gradually and piecemeal compromising on our nuclear capability so that eventually the stability and credibility of the deterrence is destroyed which would then make it easier to rollback the whole programme.

Some of these strategies were being operationalised before February 2008, but clearly the Americans felt a double game was going on by the Pakistanis to preserve their national interests and hence the search for more reliable political partners. Certainly, Ms Bhutto on her return, albeit via the NRO, sensed the national mood and was embracing it as reflected in her visit to the Judges Colony and her commitment to the restoration of the deposed Supreme Court judges. Her tragic assassination not only traumatised the whole nation regardless of their politics, but it inflicted on this hapless nation a design for its destruction – not so much physically, although that may happen also if the US plan for balkanisation comes through in this region, but in terms of it being handed over to the US as a loyal satellite.

So let us see how the three-pronged strategy of the present rulers is being worked out. On the judicial issue, we now have the official statement of the law minister asking the deposed judges to take a fresh oath if they wish to resume their duties alongside the PCO judges. So much for the nation's struggle for an independent judiciary. But that would be awkward for the rulers, both past and present, as well as the US, especially on the issue of the countless Pakistanis who have disappeared with many having been handed over to the US. Also, an independent judiciary offers protection against the ills of rulers and the NRO could also have become a point of judicial controversy. So, at best the judiciary can be allowed a veneer of independence – nothing robust or proactive.

As for weakening the existing strong state institutions, the case of the ISI is the most blatant one, although the army has been targeted also – despite the delinkage between the presidency and the military. Of course, the ISI has its share of negatives but if the rulers – one cannot use the word government here because one of the main rulers is outside of the government – really wanted to rectify the aberrations within this institution, they would have simply delinked the Internal Wing, which has been used by so many for internal political machinations. Instead, by seeking to put it under the Interior unelected adviser, more political fangs were being sought and, undoubtedly, as is happening elsewhere, the organisation would have been packed with "loyalists". Worse still, by now creating ambiguity of where the civilian control of the ISI rests – since the old order has not been formally rescinded – uncertainty is being created which will impact the external functioning of the ISI while its controversial internal functions will increase rather than abate. Interestingly, it should be recalled that Rehman Malik and his UK-based security setup had close links with British intelligence.

Why target the ISI at this time and in this particular fashion? Clearly, this is a well-planned campaign being conducted in collusion with the US and India, with Karzai offering ground support. The US has strong reasons for targeting the military in general and the ISI in particular since it has been evident for some time that they were not falling in line with US demands and policy imperatives. That the CIA and ISI worked together since the first Afghan venture is now history. It would appear that the CIA wanted to continue in that fashion but some of its policies were threatening Pakistan directly such as seeking to stir up trouble in the settled areas of Pukhtunkhwa province. A look at the Serena Hotel, Swat's guest book for the last two years will reveal interesting information especially regarding the Americans who visited there dressed as locals, speaking Pushto (a point that had been made in an earlier column), and were in touch with Fazlullah. According to official sources, militants in Swat even today are getting foreign funding and, even though foreign militants were eliminated during the first phase of the military operation in Swat, there is again a presence of foreign militants in the area.

It would seem the ISI was finally uncomfortable with some of the CIA goings on in Pakistan and was also up in arms against the new US ally in the region, India, so it had to be pilloried and undermined. Also, the increasing evidence that the US is using the Shamsi base against Iran, a friendly neighbour with whom we have no quarrel or conflict, could not be ignored. The ISI was also seeking to make more public the Indian ingresses into Balochistan and FATA and the continuing acceptance by the US and Karzai of terrorist groups operating in Balochistan from Kabul. So, all in all, the time was considered right to target the ISI – especially given the assumption that internally also some would welcome this given the disinformation and political history of this organisation. Of course, the fact that the ISI has a critical external role was not a concern for the rulers – in fact, that is the role that they along with the US were seeking to undermine in any case.

Perhaps it is time for the real US agenda within Pakistan to be revealed, especially their efforts to aid and abet extremism and militancy; and here the first and second prongs of their strategy coincide. We seem to have forgotten that the US first turned against the Taliban only when they rejected the UNOCAL oil deal in 1998, so if the ISI is guilty of having links with Taliban remnants, so is the CIA. Only the ISI won't play ball with the CIA anymore and that is not acceptable to the US!

Finally, in terms of a phased surrender on the nuclear issue, along with the external dynamics there is a policy to undermine the development of our technical capabilities. According to a recent news report (The News, August 3, 2008), the government has decided to cut down funds for defence-related organisations under the Strategic Plans Division. Specifically, the cuts will be imposed on scientific research and development organisations and their personnel, so that will directly hit our future R&D in sensitive hi tech areas. If the state is short of funds, surely more useful cuts could be made in the general bureaucracy – both civil and military – as well as in the spendings of the prime minister, ministers and the presidency. Why hire ambassadors at large, resuscitate old bureaucrats and hire private planes for ministers when austerity is so essential?

Undermining our strategic R&D, and making it less attractive for the best to enter this field in the future, is part of a sinister design. We are finally on the path of being delivered to the US as a defanged and loyal satellite.


The writer is a defence analyst. Email: callstr@hotmail.com

http://www.thenews.com.pk/editorial_....asp?id=128449
__________________
Marwatone.
Reply With Quote
  #114  
Old Wednesday, August 13, 2008
marwatone's Avatar
Perfectionist!!
Medal of Appreciation: Awarded to appreciate member's contribution on forum. (Academic and professional achievements do not make you eligible for this medal) - Issue reason: Best Moderator Award: Awarded for censoring all swearing and keeping posts in order. - Issue reason: 2011Moderator: Ribbon awarded to moderators of the forum - Issue reason:
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Eden
Posts: 1,501
Thanks: 539
Thanked 1,317 Times in 581 Posts
marwatone is a splendid one to beholdmarwatone is a splendid one to beholdmarwatone is a splendid one to beholdmarwatone is a splendid one to beholdmarwatone is a splendid one to beholdmarwatone is a splendid one to beholdmarwatone is a splendid one to behold
Default

The nation needs answers to move on



By Shireen M Mazari
Wednesday, August 13, 2008.



This 14th August comes at a defining moment for Pakistan’s future political direction and at the centre is the figure of an increasingly beleaguered President Musharraf. Why is it that rulers of developing states never understand the costs of looking to Washington for their political power and survival – despite the glaring examples of the Shah of Iran and Marcos? In the process the whole nation suffers the repercussions far beyond the leaders’ period in power. Had President Musharraf listened to the voice of the nation, the judicial crisis may have been turned around, if not averted, and democracy would have had a less wrenching restart. Perhaps even more critical, the hatred and polarisation that has undermined the nation may well have been avoided and, certainly, the heavy price for going the US way on its misguided war on terror could have been averted.

But such are the yearned for “could-have-beens”, as we confront the harsh realities of what has actually come to pass today. The president faces impeachment and there is a vengeful cry for blood – such is the hatred and polarisation prevalent within the nation today. Will Musharraf face up to the charges and respond, or will he be persuaded to resign and take the so-called “honourable” way out? The latter in fact would be an admission of guilt in the present circumstances and it would also deprive the nation of ever learning the truth of all the deals brokered with the US and other external and internal stake holders. Perhaps, equally critical, there would be no guarantee that such a route would ensure that there would be no prosecution in the future – the Pinochet case being a crucial example. Worse still, it will allow the present and future political rulers to continue to use the Musharraf regime as the source of all national ills.

On the other hand, if President Musharraf chooses to take on the impeachment charges and respond, perhaps the nation would finally know what were the quid pro quos in terms of US-Pakistan cooperation in the US-led war on terror; what compelled the NRO and what exactly it comprised; what led to the Saudi intervention in the political roadmap that begun unfurling after the NRO; and, whether the US was instrumental in bolstering Musharraf’s rigid and untenable stance on the judicial crisis? Perhaps the nation will also know what happened to all the “disappeared” people and why so many Pakistanis were condemned without any evidence, let alone a trial, to torture first at the hands of their own agencies and then at the hands of the Americans. Many returnees of Guantanamo continue to be hounded in Pakistan and are compelled to remain silent rather than reveal the sufferings at the hands of their tormentors. Is it any wonder that Dr Afia is not prepared to say anything to even our diplomats? It is these issues that need to be revealed to the people of Pakistan at a time when the present major coalition partner also has deep US links.

It is not without design that the Ron Suskind revelations have come about at this time, given the close link between Suskind and the CIA. Nor is it simply a coincidence that the CIA-US diatribes against the ISI have come now – probably as a result of the latter now finding it difficult to continue supporting some of the highly questionable US policy goals in this region – including the deliberate destabilisation of the settled areas of Pukhtunkhwa. If we can learn the deals the US made with the Musharraf regime, we may be able to recognise the hidden agenda the US has with the new set up, given the intensive links between the US and the Haqqani-Malik-Durrani trio. Even on the Dr Afia issue, where all political parties stood together in the National Assembly, the PPP stood alone in evading the real issue while Mrs Haqqani chose to show that as long as our diplomats, under Haqqani’s able guidance of course, provided Dr Afia with a Holy Quran and halal food, there should be no cause for concern!

Incidentally, if one thought the energy issue was relevant only to Iraq in terms of the US invasion, one should remember that there are major uranium deposits in the Afghan mountains as well as in Helmund province. Perhaps Pakistanis also need to know that there are suspected uranium deposits in Swat and Balochistan and undoubtedly US advanced satellite imagery would have given them that information. Perhaps that is why so many US commentators think and write, quite erroneously, that Pakistan’s major nuclear installations are in Pukhtunkhwa province! In any event, we should be aware of the reasons why the US wishes to see certain regions of Pakistan destabilised – but the question is why are our leaders taking the bait? If the US was serious about stopping the flow of militants from Pakistan into Afghanistan across the international border, then why was it so opposed to the fencing of that border – something the Pakistani state was keen on undertaking and a strategy the US itself has used to prevent infiltration of illegal migrants from Mexico along the US-Mexico border?

Unfortunately, the reality for Pakistan is that, at the end of the day, it is confronting a two-headed terrorism monster: the US and the Al Qaeda-extremist militancy. Only if we create space between ourselves and the US (since we cannot fight the super power directly) will our multi-pronged policy be successfully operationalised, and have national credibility, against the Al Qaeda-extremist militancy.

It is in the backdrop of the dangerous US-India agenda for the region – with Karzai simply a convenient mouthpiece – that we have to cope with the domestic political crisis and the impeachment issue. There are those who feel impeachment would leave a deep wound on the nation so the president should adopt a “dignified” retreat. However, the time for a dignified retreat was over a long time ago and the nation has a right to know whether the charges are valid or not, just as it is time to reveal the wheeling and dealing behind the NRO and with the US.

Equally, given the grave nature of allegations regarding the US Coalition Support Fund being levelled by Zardari – with little hard evidence but a lot of histrionics so far – President Musharraf must respond in a clear and unequivocal fashion. Earlier such allegations were being made against the institution of the army, with a clearly male fide intent, until it was clarified that the money went to the treasury not to the army directly!

For the first time the opportunity has been presented for the nation to be informed directly about how our rulers make decisions and deals. Especially knowing more about the notorious NRO would help us understand why certain institutions are being weakened today in Pakistan and why our relations with our steadfast ally China are being undermined. That is why a rational impeachment process will perhaps achieve a democratic culture for the nation that is truly accountable and responsive. To leave it halfway would mean allowing mud raking and blame games to continue on and on. This is what will be debilitating for the nation in the long run – especially since it will allow an increasingly enemy-like US to find enough space in our political contours to impose its agenda of eventual restructuring and denuclearisation of Pakistan. Let there be no mistake on that count at least.

Finally, let our new leaders not play into our external detractors’ hands unwittingly through internal preoccupations or ignorance – our foreign minister really needs to know that the Berlin Wall was an artificial construct put up by a post-war occupier of a defeated Germany which had already been split by the victors of World War II, and this has no relevancy for relations between the two sovereign states of Pakistan and India, both created in 1947. So far that is what is happening as witnessed by the increased violence by Indian forces in Occupied Kashmir, or calls by Karzai and NATO for more direct US/NATO military intervention into Pakistan. Or is there a design in this neglect?

The writer is a defence analyst. Email: callstr@hotmail.com


http://www.thenews.com.pk/editorial_....asp?id=129657
__________________
Marwatone.
Reply With Quote
  #115  
Old Wednesday, August 20, 2008
marwatone's Avatar
Perfectionist!!
Medal of Appreciation: Awarded to appreciate member's contribution on forum. (Academic and professional achievements do not make you eligible for this medal) - Issue reason: Best Moderator Award: Awarded for censoring all swearing and keeping posts in order. - Issue reason: 2011Moderator: Ribbon awarded to moderators of the forum - Issue reason:
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Eden
Posts: 1,501
Thanks: 539
Thanked 1,317 Times in 581 Posts
marwatone is a splendid one to beholdmarwatone is a splendid one to beholdmarwatone is a splendid one to beholdmarwatone is a splendid one to beholdmarwatone is a splendid one to beholdmarwatone is a splendid one to beholdmarwatone is a splendid one to behold
Default

Ending in a whimper with nothing revealed



By Shireen M Mazari
Wednesday, August 20, 2008



Musharraf finally called it a day, leaving almost in a whimper, and once again Pakistan's vulnerability to external interventions was highlighted. In the end it was the US and its allies Saudi Arabia and Britain that held sway over not only Musharraf's decision to exit but also on how the PPP-led government would allow this exit. Instead of past deals being revealed more deals were made. Certainly civil society and the internal factors isolated him domestically, so that he was no longer a valuable ally for these external actors, but the links between our present political elite and our external detractors and allies are a dominant feature of the polity today.

Once again Pakistanis came on to the streets dancing and distributing sweets, as we always do regardless of who has been removed from power – I recall similar reactions when the Musharraf coup also happened. Perhaps Pakistan would be better served by the nation expressing quiet relief at the end of a debilitating uncertainty and doing some soul searching as to why we are where we are today.

How will things change with no Musharraf to pillory anymore? To begin with, let no one be under any illusion regarding any dignified distancing from the US. That the US, in its traditional casting off of third world leaders when they become politically costly and expendable, has found even more loyal partners in the Zardari-led PPP and the Haqqani-Durrani-Malik troika is rooted in the linkages all three have had with the US Establishment for many years now. Mr Haqqani already had an information-sharing relationship with the US when he was our High Commissioner in Sri Lanka and Ms Teresita Schaffer was the US ambassador in Colombo. Pakistan paid a heavy cost for this linkage at the time also. General Durrani's links go back to the days when he was working for Shirin Tahir-Kheli of the US Establishment and this linkage continued with the formation of the Balusa Group ostensibly as a track-2 path between Pakistan and India. According to published data on the internet, Mr Malik had a security set up in the UK which worked closely with British Intelligence. So the US moved away from Musharraf only after it had its other surrogates in place as well as the NRO sealed.

Unfortunately, we are already on track of an agenda that undermines our most stable strategic relationship – the one with China. Not only did our Prime Minister ignore China and pay a visit to the US first, we have had no ambassador in Beijing now for months despite the fact that the Agreement for the new ambassador had been accepted by Beijing. Instead, through verbal orders only, the professional and highly articulate diplomat was stopped from going to take up his charge. The new government has also rid itself of Munir Akram who was disliked by India and the US for his successful outwitting of their efforts to undermine Pakistan's interests. This is just the tip of the iceberg with regard to what has been happening in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in recent months and some more shockers are in store for the nation in terms of diplomatic assignments – not to mention the growing horde of "ambassadors at large" at a time when financial constraints are being cited for cuts in our scientific R&D ventures relating to the nuclear field.

Is it merely a coincidence that immediately after Musharraf's departure a strange statement was shown on the national and international electronic media that the Pentagon was not immediately worried about Pakistan's nuclear weapons! Now what does our nuclear programme, which is under an institutional National Command Authority, have to do with Musharraf's resignation? But, as many of us have been pointing out for years, the US's eventual target in Pakistan is the country's nuclear assets so any situation is exploited in this connection. Linked to this are also US efforts to totally undermine our intelligence capabilities through a defanging of the ISI, rather than simply letting the political leadership fold its Internal wing. After all, the ISI knows too much about the CIA and at some point in time it cannot play ball with CIA goals. Why has the political leadership not closed the Internal wing of the ISI and why has it left the half-baked idea of putting the ISI under Interior ambivalent?

In any case, wrecking institutions is not a solution to ridding such institutions of their black sheep. Instead, what is desperately required is to build and strengthen institutions as well as their accountability processes. For that we have to once again develop a culture of institutionalised decision-making in which individual recorded inputs are there but decisions are not taken verbally with no record. Unless there is an institutional memory, how can any accusation be proven or dismissed with certainty? This disease that is rampant in the bureaucratic corridors of Pakistan is one major reason why we have had to suffer so many statements and confessions years after the event with no proof of their validity one way or another.

In this context it would have been illuminating for the nation to have had some light thrown on all the deals and compromises made by Pakistan with the US post-9/11, both at the military and political levels, including how and why the NRO was put in place – which is why there was a view that sought for Musharraf to respond to the charges of an impeachment and reveal the deal making that goes on amongst the leaders of this much-abused country. Also of course, at the end of the day, all leaders must be held accountable just as they must be allowed to respond to allegations made against them. But then the NRO itself – apart from its other legal absurdities – has gone against a basic principle of the Constitution: That of all citizens being equal before the law and entitled to equal protection "of law" (Article 25). Certainly now some are more equal than others.

Now that the blame game cannot be directed Musharraf's way, a lot of happenings in recent months are bound to surface and a newly invigorated civil society will raise questions, be it about the Sun TV issue or the dark stories of profiteering on the fall of the rupee, to cite just a few examples on which there are already rumblings. But the two immediate issues for the present rulers are the restoration of the judiciary and the election of the President. It is only when the political impasse is over can the nation move in a cohesive way to deal with the growing crisis of domestic terrorism that is spreading its tentacles from FATA into the settled areas across the country.

Yet, it seems even now differences remain between Zardari and the PML-N on the former issue so that yet another committee has been formed to seek ways of resolving this problem. On the new president, it seems the PPP would want its own person there and Bilawal Bhutto has presumably been brought for this purpose, especially in terms of giving an emotive legitimacy to PPP claims to the Presidency.

The PML-N stance is more rational and has a national appeal in that they would like to see a non-party person (not necessarily non-political) with national credibility, preferably from Balochistan. Ataullah Mengal certainly fits the bill. If this line is adopted it would be the most viable means of healing the national scars and winning over the Baloch people. It will also deny space to all external actors and their internal lackeys who are determined to keep Balochistan destabilised and underdeveloped

Equally important, now that an "undemocratic" president has made his exit, as demanded by all democratic and dynastic forces, one more step needs to be taken for there to be unfettered democracy in the country: the political decision makers must be part of the elected set up so that decisions are taken by elected representatives who are accountable to parliament. If uniformed presidents are an anathema to the development of a democratic tradition, so are civilian autocrats ruling from outside the bounds of democratic power and responsibility. Power without responsibility and accountability – regardless of the garb it shows up in – should never be acceptable, especially to a revitalised civil society and nation.


The writer is a defence analyst. Email: callstr@hotmail.com


http://www.thenews.com.pk/editorial_....asp?id=130866
__________________
Marwatone.
Reply With Quote
  #116  
Old Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Predator's Avatar
Senior Member
Medal of Appreciation: Awarded to appreciate member's contribution on forum. (Academic and professional achievements do not make you eligible for this medal) - Issue reason:
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Karachi
Posts: 2,572
Thanks: 813
Thanked 1,968 Times in 843 Posts
Predator is a splendid one to beholdPredator is a splendid one to beholdPredator is a splendid one to beholdPredator is a splendid one to beholdPredator is a splendid one to beholdPredator is a splendid one to behold
Post

In a growing political nightmare Sharif offers hope


Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Shireen M Mazari


With the PML-N breaking away from the ruling coalition in a most principled fashion, finally there is a chink of light in an increasingly nightmarish political scenario confronting Pakistan since the judicial crisis last March. Political wheeling and dealing, with our detractor the US holding sway, seemed to mark the major political actors – those holding power and those aspiring to power through the restoration of a civilian democratic architecture. So desperate were we for unadulterated democracy that we bought into promises and deals that kept being broken or postponed by the major players and with the departure of Musharraf the euphoria pushed the nightmare into the background for a while. But with the announcement of the Zardari candidature for the presidency the nightmare has returned, despite the love fest that many in the media seem to still be having with the gentleman who has reached political heights by sheer accident of marriage.

We are being told by the newly enrolled Zardari-admiring commentators that those who critique the man's candidature do a disservice to democracy but there surely is a distinction between democracy and the tyranny of the majority? Or at least the right to differ should be seen as an essential democratic principle. Even before becoming president, and even before the departure of Musharraf, Zardari's cohorts were being placed in lucrative positions regardless of competency, age, qualifications, experience or any other basic criteria for occupying a certain position. Our professional and highly skilled diplomats were being cast aside only to be replaced by cronies of varying ilk and in most other ministries a similar induction has been going on. Owing a major debt to the US in the form of the NRO, our relations with our longstanding strategic ally China are also being deliberately undermined, not least because we have not had an ambassador in Beijing for many months despite the completion of the Agreement process which was then abruptly and verbally halted by Zardari House!

Worse still, the whole nation was held hostage to the continuous farce of the restoration of the judges and the pre-November 3 judiciary. Although from the Zardari perspective, it made no sense to rollback the judicial clock to November 2, given the NRO, what was puzzling was why the PML-N continued to allow itself to be pulled by Zardari's strings.

With the whole drama staged for the Zardari candidature's announcement, the political nightmare resurfaced even as the ground realities of increasing terrorism and the growing numbers of internally displaced people rocked the polity. Even if one was to forget the past Zardari sins of commission and omission, how can one ignore the present shenanigans since the February 18 elections? With no regard for commitments, thereby demonstrating a major trust deficit, and with a desire to control every aspect of the state, a Zardari presidency is going to be a civilian dictatorship or a tyranny of the majority, rather than a reflection of a growing democratic culture. If many of us can be termed suspect in our criticism of Zardari, surely the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) cannot be held in suspicion by the PPP? And the HRCP has given a statement against the candidature of Zardari for president, citing critically valid reasons.

Already those suffering the fallout of the pre-presidential Zardari machinations can tell a tale or two, if they have not yet fled the country in terror. Of course, like so many leaders and governments before the present one, the shadow of the US continues to haunt the nation, which is now burdened by the twin terrorist threats emanating from the US on the one hand, and from the extremists and militants in our midst, on the other.

Coming back to our political nightmare. The Nawaz Sharif press conference of August 25 came like a speck of hope in this nightmarish environment. Not only did he take a principled stand, unlike his fellow coalition partners, in breaking off from the Zardari coalition, he showed a sobriety that has been missing from Zardari – whose smile is reflecting a growing "couldn't care less" arrogance of power. Sharif truly seems to have changed from his earlier heady days of power, especially in his steadfast support for the independence of the judiciary and his responsiveness to civil society. The nomination of

Saeduzzaman Siddiqui as the PML-N's presidential candidate also reflects the new PML-N which had committed to supporting a non-party candidate if the 17th Amendment was not revoked. This nomination of Siddiqui came despite the presence of highly venerable PML-N politicians such as Javed Hashmi, who would also have been excellent presidential candidates.

So somewhere in the politics of opportunism and the tyranny of the majority, there is now some hope that at least one of the mainstream parties can stand firm on principles. It is unfortunate that the traditionally non-feudal, left of centre ANP has altered its dynamics on many fronts, including on the US. As for the MQM-PPP marriage, clearly the latter has forgotten the bloodshed and carnage of May 12, 2007. Such are the political games of the Pakistani ruling elite.

There are those who feel the break up of the coalition is not in the "national" interest, but this is merely a short-sighted approach. If we want to see democracy strengthened, we must have a strong opposition and, for Pakistan even more essential, is to have an opposition that has stood by its principled positions. Democracy cannot be strengthened through a strong and opportunistic ruling coalition – that merely leads to a new type of authoritarianism or tyranny of the majority.

As for the PML-Q, their presidential nominee, Mushahid Hussain Syed, while controversial in many political circles, is certainly not tainted by accusations of financial corruption. Living modestly, he truly reflects professional middle class traditions and values even though his political choices and compromises have been debateable and he has many detractors. As a longstanding friend, I have often found myself on the other side of the fence but a tolerance for differences has seen the friendship continue. As for the issue of education, since it has become unfashionable since the February elections, there is no point in even talking of basic educational or professional qualifications.

But perhaps Mushahid can move his party, or what remains in tact within the Q League, towards a new coalition with PML-N to strengthen the hands of the opposition and fight the nightmarish tentacles of a Zardari-led civilian dictatorship resplendent with cronyism and intolerance and submissive to US diktat. Already the US-backed Haqqani-Durrani-Malik trio is ruling on crucial strategic issues and let us recall Foreign Minister Qureshi's link to the US-funded Balusa Group also. Now, according to the New York Times, Zardari is being advised by Zalmay Khalilzad, the American-Afghan who has a dubious political record, has been very critical of Pakistan after his family migrated to the US from a sojourn in Islamabad and may be a rival of Karzai in the coming Afghan presidential elections. Such is Khalilzad's contentious reputation that his own government has questioned his interaction with Zardari! But knowing Zalmay for some time, none of his advice can be good for Pakistan.

Incidentally, was it not ironic to hear Zardari, in response to a question on television soon after Dr Aafia Siddiqui's surfacing in US custody in New York, sing praises of the US justice system and how Dr Aafia will have this benefit? Obviously no one informed him of Guantanamo or Abu Ghraib or, closer to home, Bagram. This is also US justice – especially towards Muslim prisoners.

In this continuing political nightmare of broken promises, personalised rule and cronyism, it seems we are simply replacing a military uniform with a civilian tyranny. That is why Sharif's moving away from the Zardari-led coalition offers the only speck of democratic hope. And we are still clinging to straws.

http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=132153
__________________
No signature...
Reply With Quote
  #117  
Old Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Predator's Avatar
Senior Member
Medal of Appreciation: Awarded to appreciate member's contribution on forum. (Academic and professional achievements do not make you eligible for this medal) - Issue reason:
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Karachi
Posts: 2,572
Thanks: 813
Thanked 1,968 Times in 843 Posts
Predator is a splendid one to beholdPredator is a splendid one to beholdPredator is a splendid one to beholdPredator is a splendid one to beholdPredator is a splendid one to beholdPredator is a splendid one to behold
Post Caught in a whirlpool of darkness

Caught in a whirlpool of darkness


Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Shireen M Mazari


The column today was meant to highlight the strange silence and oblivion of our present rulers to critical events happening in our external environment. However, the vile murder of five Baloch women – who were shot and then buried alive – could not be ignored. It was simply revolting to hear a member of the Senate actually justify murder in the name of so-called Baloch tradition. As a Baloch and a woman, I cannot find words strong enough to condemn the murderous action by Baloch tumandars. Apart from anything else, such an act of cold blooded murder is against the law of the land and so far as one can tell, Balochistan is still a part of Pakistan and therefore all its citizens – in fact all those living within its territory – are subject to its laws. So Baloch tradition or whatever sick explanation being meted out for his dastardly act does not absolve the guilty of charges of murder under the law of the land of Pakistan.

Yet we have to witness rationalisations of such a criminal act by our elected political elite. Not that this is the first time such bizarre statements have been made. One still remembers another Baloch feudal, with his constituency in Sindh, seek to justify karo kari in the previous National Assembly and many politicians from a so-called left of centre "liberal" party of Pukhtunkhwa province also rose in defence of the killing of innocent women in the name of "honour". It seems that for women, the law of the land and the protection the state should offer is irrelevant in the face of murdering feudals. As for another leader's comment that people in Islamabad cannot comment on an event in Balochistan, that is nonsense. As a Pakistani, nay as a human being, I have all the right in the world to condemn murder anywhere and I do not need to be sensitised to the evil social norms that led to such a dastardly action.

In the present case, although the Senate finally passed a resolution condemning the murders, what has been sickening has been the silence of the present leadership especially the prime minister who visited Quetta after the revelation of the multiple murders and chose to keep quiet and behave as if nothing untoward had happened. Such is the price of presidential politics or is the feudal instinct stronger in the present ruling elite than respect for the law of the land? Now we are seeing efforts to have a "sanitised" official report of the murders presented to parliament – as if any explanation can condone what is simply murder. To state that the women were killed by being shot dead and then buried hardly makes the crime any less repulsive. But we know the real culprits – bigwigs in the PPP – will never be brought to justice. As for our new president waiting in the wings of PM House, perhaps his mental problems have produced a convenient amnesia which has prevented a strong condemnation of this brutal killing. All in all, this incident has once again revealed the decadent social systems that still govern the majority of the population living in the rural backwaters of the country.

Now coming to the strange silence and inaction of our leaders in the face of strategic developments around us. Is it not ironic that while the US-Haqqani-Malik-Durrani network halted our nuclear diplomacy, some European countries and New Zealand have taken a principled position against the Indo-US nuclear deal in the Nuclear Suppliers' Group – correctly viewing this agreement as undermining the existing non proliferation regime? Can we regain our courage and assert our interest on the nuclear issue? If our present subservience to US diktat continues God help this country's strategic assets under the new Zardari presidential dispensation. Of course now that the medical reports have become public, I suppose one can lay his continuous habit of reneging on commitments as a result of his fragile mental health. Or were the reports simply fake? Either way, it bodes ill for the nation. Especially if our enemies, including the US, use the medical card as a means of justifying the undermining or seeking control of our nuclear assets on grounds that the man with his trigger on the nuclear button is medically unreliable. This is something to seriously ponder over for the long term.

Perhaps the present leadership's silence on events in our eastern neighbour is more understandable after the Indian leadership's declaration that Zardari is friendly towards India. So our government has barely said anything on the latest uprising in Indian Occupied Kashmir despite the killings by Indian security forces and the attempt by the Indian state to create a communal conflict in Occupied Jammu and Kashmir. Why Pakistan's silence is bizarre is because we are a legitimate party to the Kashmir Dispute. But then when the 1989 Kashmiri indigenous uprising began, it took our government two months to make the first official comment – in February 1989. Is it any wonder that the Kashmiris struggling against Indian occupation have lost all faith in Pakistan? While Indian civil society, for the first time, is acknowledging the Kashmiris demand for azadi, and the Indian media is highlighting their government's brutalities against the Kashmiri people, in Pakistan there is an apathy and silence that is tragic.

It is the same silence that seems to have been unresponsive to the attack against Christians by Hindu extremists in Orissa. Thousands of Christians have been fleeing their homes in the face of violence and murder by Hindu extremists in the Indian state of Orissa and, barring a Papal rebuke, the international community has watched in silence as it did when the Hindu extremists led by Modi's state government, butchered Muslims in Gujarat a few years earlier. Surely Pakistan, which gets pilloried by the international community even if one church is torched – and it should be condemned for any such violence by extremists against its minorities – should be drawing the attention of the self-proclaimed defenders of human rights globally to the plight of the Christians in "secular" India.

But at present the Pakistani state seems incapable of doing anything substantive. A strange paralysis reigns across the land where the leadership is busy in "position-grabbing" at all levels and little else. Is it any wonder that no headway can be made against the problem of extremism and terrorism? Not only are we without a long term political policy to deal with this issue, we keep hopping from one short-term action to another, and we seem unable to comprehend that unless we can create the necessary space between the Pakistani state and the US, no policy to fight the menace of terrorism and extremism will have any credibility. But with the new links between the present political dispensation and the US, that hardly seems possible.

Ironically, after all the hue and cry over disappeared persons in Musharraf's time, the present government has kept silent on this issue also, after Musharraf's departure from the presidency. So the Pakistanis who have "disappeared" will seem to remain in that category till they resurface in US custody as Dr Aafia has done. Again, the government of Pakistan seems rather sanguine over a minor Pakistani being in the custody of a hostile Afghan government. But then if our leaders are accommodating to murderers of our own citizens in our own country, why should we expect them to show sensitivity to their citizens' plight abroad or at the hands of foreign elements. After all, many have been handed over by our own state. Clearly we are spinning in endless circles of darkness.

Tailpiece: Incidentally, the dubious Zalmay Khalilzad was ostensibly spotted at Dubai airport on the evening of August 31 disembarking from a Vienna flight. Will he slink into Pakistan or will his Pakistani friends in high places meet him in Dubai?



The writer is a defence analyst. Email: callstr@hotmail.com
http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=133497
__________________
No signature...
Reply With Quote
  #118  
Old Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Predator's Avatar
Senior Member
Medal of Appreciation: Awarded to appreciate member's contribution on forum. (Academic and professional achievements do not make you eligible for this medal) - Issue reason:
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Karachi
Posts: 2,572
Thanks: 813
Thanked 1,968 Times in 843 Posts
Predator is a splendid one to beholdPredator is a splendid one to beholdPredator is a splendid one to beholdPredator is a splendid one to beholdPredator is a splendid one to beholdPredator is a splendid one to behold
Post

The war on terror & President Zardari

Wednesday, September 10, 2008
by Shireen M Mazari
The writer is a defence analyst


Now that the presidential election is over, and "democracy" has been fully established according to so many analysts, commentators and, of course, ruling party supporters, one can certainly claim that nowhere but in Pakistan could one see such free elections – where questions of financial integrity, propriety and mental health never became issues at large. And, since the president is not duty-bound to declare assets, the moral factor hardly weighs in, in a system that allows horse-trading and deal-making like no other.

But, technically, to be fair to the new president, the elections were transparent and constitutional – other than the little incident of violation of Article 226 of the Constitution in the Pukhtunkhwa Assembly. But then as the ANP folk explained, this violation of the Constitution was "just for fun"! Where else but in this free wheeling state of ours would politicians proudly boast that they violated the Constitution "just for fun" and where else would the presiding officer, the chief justice of the same province, take no notice of such unconstitutional shenanigans! Clearly our politicians' desire for unbridled freedom in the name of democracy cannot be reigned in by a few Constitutional restraints.

Meanwhile, it seems our media pundits have decided that the new democracy in Pakistan means that no one must critique the ruling party and its leaders – or else one will be labelled "undemocratic", a supporter of the ubiquitous "Establishment", whatever that may mean especially now that our new all-powerful president is himself going to control all aspects of the state – which would also include the "Establishment". The "elite" is also being abused as being anti-democratic, which is interesting given that the electoral college for the president comprises primarily this very elite.

Mr Zardari too is from this so-called "elite" although he has conveniently referred to this group as emanating merely from the "region stretching between Lahore and Rawalpindi-Islamabad". Perhaps his earlier dementia made him forget about the brutal feudal elite of Balochistan that has just buried alive five women, or the equally decadent elite of Sindh which practices Quran marriages to control property and, like the feudal elite of Southern Punjab and the tribal elite of Pukhtunkhwa, indulges in and justifies the evil of karo kari and "honour" killings! With the nauseating political and media sycophancy, Anjum Niaz is like a breath of fresh and free air and has rightly made the point of the invasion of the carpetbaggers – something I had pointed to many months earlier and which is now taking over all state structures.

Anyhow, with Chief Justice Dogar administering the oath at the presidency, the actions of November 3 have received their final legitimacy from the democratic dispensation – the PML-N's continued whimpering notwithstanding. It is unfortunate that the lawyers and civil society movement that actually created the democratic space, was let down by its supportive but myopic political leadership that fell into the Zardari coalition trap and even now seems to be dithering somewhat.

Not only are the actions of November 3 now irrevocably legitimised politically, the growing kowtowing to the US continues unabated. The little glimmer of hope for national assertion that came with the so-called suspension of NATO supplies was misplaced as there really had been no suspension of these supplies in the assertive sense, and if there was any doubt, Malik and Mukhtar eagerly removed them by clarifying that the centre had not ordered any such suspension! The foreign minister's emotive speech to parliament and the subsequent resolution condemning the US ground military attack on Angoor Adda seemed to be just so much hot air, given the US's total disregard as reflected in an upping of attacks on Pakistani soil subsequently and given the Pakistani state's lack of any substantive response to the same – despite the JCSC chairman's statement. It seems we are now becoming adept at playing the game of duplicity with our own people – with words and deeds going in opposite directions. This has been the hallmark of the present rulers on all issues beginning with the restoration of the judiciary.

So we now have a qualitative upping of the military ante by the US with ground troops also coming into the attack on Pakistani soil. In face, after Angoor Adda, the US and ISAF/NATO have increased the frequency and intensity of attacks against Pakistan, mostly killing innocent Pakistanis, especially women and children. And, what does our minister of the interior have to say? Certainly no condemnation of the erosion of our sovereignty by the US, fast becoming a hostile state. Instead, he declares that all suicide bombers and their handlers are Pakistani as is the financing of the same. So effectively does that justify US military intervention into Pakistan? And what happened to the foreigners that had been identified in the FATA region? Are they innocent of acts of violence and terrorism?

Even more ridiculous is our defence minister, who seems to be functioning more as an apologist for the US. His latest contribution in this regard was to justify the Angoor Adda attack as justified on the grounds that something must have provoked it even while the foreign minister was telling parliament that the attack was unprovoked and targeted only innocent civilians. The dangerous new US-Pakistan nexus with its core the Haqqani-Durrani-Malik triad has to come to an end. I have always maintained that US long-term strategic goals will always be divergent from Pakistan's even though issue-specific cooperation can take place from time to time. It is the terms and conditions of this cooperation that have always been crucial for Pakistan.

Finally, as for the argument, that what can Pakistan do to counter the US destructive agenda for this country – and we are now going to witness the IMF coming here too later in the month, and already the western media has begun an attack against our nuclear assets by talking of terror groups developing "dirty bombs" in Pakistan – there are some options presently available as long as the war in Afghanistan continues.

One, we need to have our own viable policy to deal with extremism and terrorism and that has to have a politico-economic framework within which military action can be used as needed. Dialogue has to also be an essential part of this strategy and in earlier columns I had identified the need to differentiate between differing groups of people in the affected areas.

Two, the US has to be sent a clear message that no attack on our territory is acceptable since we can carry out the actions ourselves. Our air chief is reported to have said that if asked the PAF can retaliate against intruders into our air space. That should be made the official policy. Three, as a show of intent, we need to temporarily remove ourselves from the Trilateral Commission and other cooperative exercises to show our intent and our non-acceptance of US-NATO attacks on our territory.

Four, if our own policies are to succeed, they have to have national credibility and that can only come if we create some space between ourselves and the US. As a beginning, in view of the September 9 attack on Commander Haqqani's family home, which killed 26 people, primarily innocent women and children, since the commander himself was known to be in Afghanistan, we should recall our ambassador to the US for consultations. Whether US intelligence remains incorrect or whether the killing of the innocent was deliberate to send a lethal message to the Muslims of FATA in Ramazan, this should not be acceptable – especially, if, as we claim, we are now a stronger state because of unfettered "democracy".

Email: callstr@hotmail.com
http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=134804
__________________
No signature...
Reply With Quote
  #119  
Old Wednesday, September 17, 2008
NoToRi0uS's Avatar
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Italy
Posts: 5
Thanks: 16
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
NoToRi0uS is on a distinguished road
Default

Timidity abroad, feudal ferocity at home
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Shireen M Mazari

It would appear that the wimpish political leadership, in the wake of the no-nonsense statements of the army and air chiefs, has finally reconciled to the fact that the nation could not continue to accept the expanding US military intrusions into Pakistan. Of course, Prime Minister Gilani continued to show his timidity in the face of the US by declaring that we could only deal with the US diplomatically, and Zardari has yet to make a comment on the issue, but eventually the Pakistani security forces took action against US forces seeking intrusion into Pakistan and their non-lethal firing sent the proper message to the would-be invaders. Equally comforting was the fact that the Wazir tribesmen actively supported the security forces – showing once again that when the state is in consonance with its people rather than with hostile external players, the people will show their support.

This is just the beginning of a new threat Pakistani is now going to face, given the noises coming out of the US – especially from its aspiring leadership. The Republicans have now got a religious extremist as their vice-presidential candidate so God help the Muslim world if the McCain-Palin ticket is successful. After all, if Palin sees Iraq as "God's War", one can rest assured she will see other US invasions in a similar vein. As for Obama, he has been itching to have the US forces enter Pakistan since the time he began his campaign. So for Pakistan specifically, and for the Muslim world in general, the new US administration will offer no respite from the bigotry and extremism that dominates the American polity today.

Therefore, Pakistan has to be prepared to fight a dual terrorist threat – from the militants within our own polity and the state terrorism of the US that is now directly threatening Pakistan. That is why there has to be complete clarity and resoluteness on a rational national policy to combat these threats. The Information minister, Ms Rehman, has talked of a three-pronged strategy which totally leaves out any dialogue with militants. Perhaps this is mere ignorance, since wherever a militancy exists governments have had to seek dialogue to bring the militants round to a political settlement (a simple study of Ireland, Philippines and Sri Lanka, would help). After all, one cannot simply kill our own people. Instead, we have to show them the viability of dialogue and political accommodation – but the state must negotiate from a position of strength, which means those opposing militancy must be separated from the militants and given protection. But most important, the state has to be seen to be following national compulsions not US diktat. The US diktat is not restricted to the war on terror issues but intrudes into the domestic sphere as well. Only recently, the US State Department has intervened in a Rs8 billion Railways project which had been given to the Chinese. Seems the US is set to wreck Pakistan-China relations on many fronts.

The present NRO-scripted leadership seems to be going along with this US agenda, with President Zardari accepting the summons of the British prime minister – for that is what it sounded like from the British statement – and postponing his official trip to China. Despite all the efforts of this government to play the US game of distancing from China, the Chinese showed their commitment to Pakistan in the manner in which they dealt with the Indo-US nuclear deal in the Nuclear Suppliers' Group as well as in the statements made by the Chinese foreign minister while on a recent official visit to India.

One can trace the whole history of Pakistan-US relations and one will not find a similar supportive statement by the Americans for Pakistan's strategic interests. In contrast, of course, we can find a plethora of statements by our people, justifying what the US is doing to Pakistan. The present government's US-sponsored henchmen are doing a wonderful job in this regard, led from the front by supposedly our man in Washington, Haqqani, whose utterances are more as an apologist for the US. Take for example, his statement, at the time of the revelations that Bush had agreed to US forces going into Pakistan and in the immediate aftermath of the Angoor Adda attack – "No US orders of incursions" is what he declared in an interview with CNN! Makes one wonder whom he represents.

As for the terrorism issue, unfortunately, because of the massive accommodation of the US post-9/11, unless the Pakistani state can create space between it and the US, none of its anti-terrorism policies will have credibility. A beginning has been made by the proactive action taken against US forces in South Waziristan agency. It needs to be followed up with suspension of logistic supplies and withdrawal from the Trilateral Commission. Now that it is becoming evident that the actual agreements on paper between the US and Pakistan were not as extensive as has been given out since 9/11, it is time for the Pakistani state to reveal exactly what was committed to in terms of support for the US. Also, is it not time to reclaim all the bases that were handed over to the US, especially the sensitive Shamsi base in Balochistan?

It is the lack of clarity over government intent that has prevented a trust factor from developing between the state and civil society, so that only deeds can show intent. Belated correct noises on dealing with US military attacks, even though the president has yet to utter a definitive statement on this count, can only be believed by action on the ground. But the US is only one, albeit the most threatening, issue.

On the domestic front, the deceit over the judicial issue reflects an autocratic mindset that shows no concern for the voice of the people that actually created the space for democracy to revive itself again. Equally disturbing has been the active effort by the PPP leadership to conceal the truth of the Baloch women murdered and surreptitiously buried, simply to protect one of their own. Why have the voices of the PPP women also gone silent on this count? And it was unbelievable to find the respectable Raza Rabbani rudely objecting to the Senate Human Rights Committee taking up this most gross human rights abuse, and forcing the chairman to expunge the remarks of that brave human rights activist Tahira Abdullah, who was simply asking for the PPP senior hierarchy to take note of the investigation into the case.

Nor has any substantive action been taken against the death threat issued by Senator Zehri to Senator Yasmin Shah. Instead, we have had to witness the law and justice minister of Balochistan, a Baloch woman herself, actually defending this multiple murder of innocent Baloch women. Such is the power of decadent tribalism and feudalism in our "democracy". This is certainly not a case of "the people versus the expats, aunties and urbanites", but support to a struggle to end the illegal and decadent practices of the tumandars and to fight the repression of feudal and autocratic mindsets that still thrive in our political leadership – regardless of its urban or rural origins.

The fear that these traditions generate is reflected in the fact that only one defiant journalist, Rauf Klasra, has singlehandedly kept the issue alive for the public in the media – informing us of each new and ugly development in this case. Or is it vested interests that have silenced the self-proclaimed "liberal" media leaders on this issue?

Unfortunately, the present political leadership has shown a paucity for understanding the nation's will, electoral success notwithstanding. Its feudal approach where the state is being treated akin to a personal fiefdom is hardly the way to progress in the twenty first century.



The writer is a defence analyst. Email: callstr@hotmail.com

Source:
http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=136219
__________________
Un|)3|? Con57|?u(7ioN
Reply With Quote
  #120  
Old Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Predator's Avatar
Senior Member
Medal of Appreciation: Awarded to appreciate member's contribution on forum. (Academic and professional achievements do not make you eligible for this medal) - Issue reason:
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Location: Karachi
Posts: 2,572
Thanks: 813
Thanked 1,968 Times in 843 Posts
Predator is a splendid one to beholdPredator is a splendid one to beholdPredator is a splendid one to beholdPredator is a splendid one to beholdPredator is a splendid one to beholdPredator is a splendid one to behold
Post Pakistan: just so much collateral damage?

Pakistan: just so much collateral damage?


Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Shireen M Mazari




The Marriott devastation has traumatised Islamabad as never before, despite having seen violence and terrorism with regularity over the last few years – especially since last year. Perhaps it was the widespread damage far beyond the Marriott, which in itself was as tragic as it was horrific, or perhaps it was the live television coverage that took the horror to everyone’s home. Anger, rage, condemnation, fear and helplessness are certainly some of the emotions that have been brought to the fore.

Anger and rage over the act itself and the timing – the month of Ramazan and just when Muslims were ending their fast; anger and rage also at those who have the gall to call themselves Muslims and then kill their fellow Muslims, indeed their fellow human beings, through such barbaric acts of violence; anger and rage at the total failure of the security apparatus of the state, despite the hotel being in the Red Zone of high security; anger and rage at the continuing disconnect within the government, with even the prime minister and interior adviser at cross purposes in their pronouncements – even now the disconnect continues with the interior minister declaring that the official Iftar party was initially to be held at the Marriot while the hotel staff has categorically stated that there was no such arrangement. And, there is anger over the inadequacy of emergency response equipment and procedures, despite the capital having gone through an earthquake and earlier acts of terror. Some of us had always critiqued the CDA’s elitist focus under Lashari and once again Islamabad has paid a heavy price for this.

There is condemnation for the state leaving its citizenry at the mercy of the terrorists – both from within and from outside. The total focus of the state on the ruling elite was evident in the immediate aftermath of the Marriott attack when representatives of the official party came on television and pronounced that the security arrangements had saved the lives of the ruling elite safely ensconced in the Prime Minister House – what insensitivity at the devastation of the rest of Pakistan and its citizenry. Moreover if we are to believe the national security adviser that the official iftar party venue was changed at the last minute, did this justify a security lapse in terms of protecting the Marriott since the government seemed to have known of an impending attack? Certainly no condemnation can be too strong for the state looking merely to its own and leaving the rest of the population as cannon fodder for the terrorists.

The fear and helplessness have been growing within ordinary Pakistanis since our state went into the US war in Afghanistan. Fear that this war, if fought on US terms would extol a heavy price from Pakistan and helplessness in the face of our state’s non-responsiveness to the voice of its own people. As the US war has drawn Pakistan into a deathly vortex of a new home-grown terror of suicide bombings and Iraq-imported Improvised Exploding Devices (IEDs), more space is being created for extremists and terrorists from within us – as the state has yet to project credibility over its own war against terrorism.

If we in Islamabad feel all these intense emotions in the aftermath of the Marriott attack, can we not for one second step back and reflect on how the people of the FATA region have been feeling when confronted with death and destruction at the hands of foreign military power with their own state a seemingly helpless bystander? Is it any wonder that impressionable young youth have offered their lives in the face of the death and destruction of their families and homes – especially when they see their state do nothing? Can we not see that it takes little for the evil preachers of hate and nihilism to convert such people to taking their own lives along with many innocent others? Is there to be no rage, anger, condemnation, fear and helplessness amongst these local people when they see innocent families wiped out by US drones, missiles and now ground troops, as their own state does nothing? And, is it any wonder, that in the settled areas like Swat violence and militancy have flourished because the hapless locals are convinced the state offers no security against the hate teachings of the extremists?

The misguided and fearful people of these extremist-infested areas are the human shields for the terrorists and this phenomenon has now spread as the internally displaced people (IDPs) have moved far beyond their homes. Leaving aside our emotions, a reality check will show how our state has to create the space between itself and the US if it is to mobilise support for its own war against terrorists and extremists within the country. Yes, we do have a war on our hands but it is different from the US war which has its own agenda, and it has to be fought differently – within an overarching political strategy and economic and military tactical prongs. Effectiveness of such a war will depend on establishing credibility for it and that cannot come unless we create space from the US.

Over a year ago, in these columns I had written about strange American personnel going in the direction of Warsak and now we have a disturbing story of US marines with questionable baggage, which was not screened and one has to wonder why, on the fourth floor of the Marriott – where the fire first started. Were their some weapons or incendiary devices which the Marines had brought in? The time has come for the government to come clean on this and stop such covert US activities for the future. As for US "advisers" or "trainers" coming in, our people and leaders should recall that that is how the US began its military invasion in South Vietnam – advisers followed by troops!

If we can officially create space between the US and ourselves, and there can be no covert assent to US access in Pakistan as was the case with the previous government – something that was consistently criticised in these columns – at least the nation will rally around the state and allow it to make an effective beginning to a long term strategy to deal with extremism and violence. Such a strategy has to first recognise that terrorism in Pakistan has a number of differing origins: there is the most violent one that is rooted in distorted religious extremism and is linked to Al Qaeda and seeks indiscriminate destruction for impact. This is not about winning hearts and minds so much as creating fear in hearts and minds. But there is also the political sub-national violence and terrorism, such as in Balochistan, which is also abetted by external forces but has indigenous political roots, and discriminates in its targeting. This attempts to win hearts and minds and so targets are selective – security forces and strategic installations – and is susceptible to a political solution. Clearly an overarching strategy would need to make these distinctions.

In the context of FATA, any strategy would have to include, alongside a delinkage with the US, a genuine and immediate political and economic outreach to the people of FATA and other violence affected areas of Pakhtunkhwa, under the umbrella of military protection. People who do not support extremist militancy must be given protection and positive incentives to remain steadfast while the fence sitters must be shown benefits of coming over to the state’s side and costs for not doing so. Protect the locals so that they can shun the extremists without fear of retribution.

Beyond FATA, there is a need to seriously implement the much-touted but not enforced policy of madressah reform. In this context, all foreign funding for any form of educational or charitable project needs to be transparent and public. Similarly, local donations to schools and charities should be made public.

And, while we are seeking to fight our own terrorists, let us not forget that we also confront an equally menacing threat from the US which has already infiltrated our country at multiple levels. That is why winning over our own people and exposing the many-headed enemy has to be the starting point. Otherwise Pakistan is in danger of being reduced to just so much collateral damage!



The writer is a defence analyst. Email: callstr@hotmail.com
http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=137730
__________________
No signature...
Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
development of pakistan press since 1947 Janeeta Journalism & Mass Communication 14 Wednesday, November 11, 2015 11:03 AM
Pakistan's Lessons from its Kargil War 1999 Sumairs Pakistan Affairs 7 Saturday, December 11, 2010 11:00 AM
PAKISTAN Press, Media, TV, Radio, Newspapers MUKHTIAR ALI Journalism & Mass Communication 1 Friday, May 04, 2007 02:48 AM
indo-pak relations atifch Current Affairs 0 Monday, December 11, 2006 08:01 PM
international news agencies Muhammad Akmal Journalism & Mass Communication 0 Tuesday, June 06, 2006 11:33 PM


CSS Forum on Facebook Follow CSS Forum on Twitter

Disclaimer: All messages made available as part of this discussion group (including any bulletin boards and chat rooms) and any opinions, advice, statements or other information contained in any messages posted or transmitted by any third party are the responsibility of the author of that message and not of CSSForum.com.pk (unless CSSForum.com.pk is specifically identified as the author of the message). The fact that a particular message is posted on or transmitted using this web site does not mean that CSSForum has endorsed that message in any way or verified the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message. We encourage visitors to the forum to report any objectionable message in site feedback. This forum is not monitored 24/7.

Sponsors: ArgusVision   vBulletin, Copyright ©2000 - 2018, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.