Monday, September 24, 2018
08:11 PM (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
  #131  
Old Wednesday, January 28, 2009
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: 7,540
Thanks: 2,408
Thanked 15,757 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

END THE U.S. ROMANCE BEFORE IT DESTROYS US

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Shireen M Mazari

Two drones fired on the same day soon after Obama's swearing in have made the new US administration's intentions towards Pakistan clear – there will be no respect for international law in this part of the world. This is the historic duality (recall the Monroe Doctrine) that prevails in the very foundations of the much-touted US values! So it is time for our leaders to accept certain ground realities and shape their policies accordingly.

Accept that Obama has nothing positive to offer Pakistan. On the contrary, following the drone attacks, he moved to name Holbrooke as Special Envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, and to cut off a major chunk of money owed to Pakistan for military services rendered. And what has our reaction been? Without looking at Holbrooke's record, we have welcomed his appointment, and in response to the cutting of money owed, we have declared that we will appeal to them again–as if this is part of a bargain hunt or a sale! Is this what a nuclear sovereign state does?

For heaven's sake, our military and civilian ruling elites need to salvage some national dignity. It is time the military stopped acting as a mercenary force for the Americans. The price we are paying is simply too high–not simply in money terms but in social and political terms. This is as good an opportunity as any to reclaim our bases and applaud the US in gaining a new route for NATO supplies (though that is not yet a done deal), which we should stop immediately. This supply route has been a major factor for violence and instability in Peshawar and beyond.

It is not simply the cutting off of payments that is a pointer to the new Obama-Biden policies. Biden, much touted as Pakistan's friend, has begun sounding a more strident tone vis-a-vis this hapless country with its bunch of servile leaders. This new aggressive tone on Pakistan was all too apparent in his Jan 25 interview on CBS where he reiterated Obama's election campaign viewpoint that if there is an actionable target in Pakistan the US would send its troops there.

And to clarify any doubts about what the US thinks of Pakistan's sovereignty, he refused to answer the question whether the US would notify the Pakistan before a potential US troops' cross-border movement. He also predicted increasing US casualties, which clearly means the US intends to up the military ante and in all probability send troops across the international Pakistani-Afghan border.

As for Holbrooke, it would do well to recall that the much-touted Dayton Accord was only put in place when NATO had replaced the UN in Bosnia, and the Bosnians had been militarily abused so much by the Serbs that they eventually accepted a truncated Bosnian state. I met Holbrooke at a conference in Kazakhstan a few years earlier alongside the arch-neocon Richard Perle. And I was surprised by the similarity of views they both held towards the Muslim world in general, and towards what the US was doing post-9/11 in Afghanistan. Also, if we remember that Holbrooke was Hillary Clinton's senior policy advisor, we will understand where he is really coming from. After all, Hillary Clinton supported the Iraq war till it became unpopular in the US!

Again, it was Holbrooke, as the US ambassador at the UN, who arranged for Israel to be admitted into a regional grouping of Western European and other nations–to allow Israel access to membership of crucial committees and other privileges. Interestingly, Scott Ritter, a UN Weapons' Inspector in Iraq (1991-1998), has recalled how, in a television discussion in October 2001, Holbrooke had rejected any form of diplomacy in Afghanistan and had favoured only military action. Hardly the sort of man who will be open to the sensitivities of Pakistan!

The hard reality is that the US is going to become an increasingly hostile state towards Pakistan under Obama. So it is time to alter course. We need to renegotiate the entire cooperation with this new US administration, keeping in mind the now-established Indo-US strategic partnership. We need to find our own means of countering the drone attacks–rather than helplessly waiting for US goodwill.

Our Air Chief had declared we have the technical capability, and we certainly do, including our cruise missiles. So use them to attack the drones in defence of our territory. If the military is too timid for this defence of our national soil, then at least stop the mercenary intelligence sharing, close the clandestine CIA stations and troop actions in FATA and our western border. Reclaim the bases and end access to NATO supplies. All these moves can be done incrementally and we will realise the limitations of US ability to move against us without damaging their own cause. The most painless beginning can be made by recalling our ambassador to the US "for consultations."

Meanwhile, it would be more relevant if we began focusing on national policies for Swat and FATA. The military needs to be withdrawn from both these areas and paramilitary forces under civilian command need to be put in place within an overarching political framework. We need to differentiate between Swat and FATA also, since the ground realities are different in the two areas. It would appear that in FATA the locals have coalesced with the militants and "foreigners" as a result of the erroneous policies of the Pakistani state, whose military is seen as fighting America's war, and also as a result of the drone attacks, which have increased the operational space and recruitment of the militants.

In Swat Fazlullah initially got support from the local people. However, with the bloodshed and attacks on schools and the horrific killings and mutilation of bodies, the present relationship between the locals and the militants in Swat is one based primarily on fear and on a distrust of the military. They see the military as having failed to protect them against a Taliban force that primarily comprises outsiders, local criminals, and the unemployed and war-affected–that is, those who have lost family as a result of military action.

Unless we seek truthful answers to some crucial questions, we will not be able to restore peace in Swat. Where is the funding for the militants coming from since it runs into tens of millions? Reports from people on the spot put the daily payment for Taliban fighters anywhere between Rs300 and Rs1,000. Add to this cost of food, arms and ammunition and transport. And if we accept that there are between 5,000-10,000 Taliban, this is a costly enterprise even if we calculate on averages. Secondly, where are the weapons coming from, along which supply routes? Why, when the media can access the militant leaders, the intelligence and military seemingly cannot act against them? Is it inability or unwillingness and, if it is the latter, then the crux question: Why?

The total failure of the state to protect its citizens and assert its writ has led to the present despicable situation where the most vulnerable are being targeted: women and girls in particular, and children in general. While the militants are blowing up schools, the military is using schools as their trenches, and thereby as targets for the militants. If one looks at the casualty figures one will see who is really suffering, who is losing and who is winning. Approximately 12,000 civilians have so far been killed in Swat–again, according to the local viewpoint, mainly by firing from security forces. Around 200 security forces (FC, army and police) have been killed while approximately 75 Taliban have been killed.

The biggest losers are the civilians caught in the middle and the military, which is not only suffering high casualty rates but is being undermined in the long term by a growing chasm between itself and the nation's civil society. This is what Pakistan's enemies want; why are we seeking the same?

Tailpiece: The hypocrisy of the BBC is truly legendary. They refuse to broadcast a humanitarian appeal for Gaza but BBC World was broadcasting ads for the Indian army immediately before and after their news services during the Kargil crisis.

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

http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=159412
__________________
The Me you have always known, the Me that's a stranger still.
Reply With Quote
The Following User Says Thank You to Last Island For This Useful Post:
kashif ali tipu (Saturday, January 31, 2009)
  #132  
Old Wednesday, February 04, 2009
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 Messieurs President, PM & COAS: put nation before the US

Messieurs President, PM & COAS: put nation before the US


Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Shireen M Mazari


So now President Zardari wants US money to fight terrorism! Clearly he still has not understood the hard realities beyond the money factor! There is a persistent inability within our ruling elite – both civilian and military – to accept the most obvious messages coming out of Washington, if they do not fit into our baseless euphoric expectations of our so-called ally the US. Look at our political leadership harping on how Obama's inauguration as president would halt the drone attacks and generally put the Pakistan-US relationship on a more sound footing. On what was this optimism based? Certainly no rhetoric coming from the Obama camp. Or was this simply a ploy by our political and military rulers to fool the hapless public when in reality they were hand in glove with the US in consenting to US attacks against Pakistani civilians?

Anyhow, the drone attacks that followed the Obama inaugural certainly left no room for doubt as to the aggressive US intent towards the Pakistani people. And with the statements made by Biden and Gates, we should be left in no doubt that the US will not only increase the drone attacks, it will send its forces into Pakistan also in the near future. And if the resuscitated chorus regarding our nuclear programme is anything to go by, then the US eventually targeting our nuclear assets should also be a given. Finally, our great financial expectations from the US have also been slammed since the Biden Lugar bill is effectively dead and a new bill will have to now be introduced – the Haqqani spin on this notwithstanding. So why are our rulers hell-bent on lying to and deceiving their people?

But worse than the lying, is the seeming inability of the Pakistani leadership to counter the US killing of Pakistani citizens in the tribal belt. If the Pakistani military, even after its huge budget, is unable to protect its borders, territory and citizens, then we may as well divert that budget elsewhere. President Zardari may think he can sweet-talk the nation and the military leadership – the latter through joint walks in the closed environment of the presidency where even the sewers have now been protected against "terrorist" access – but how can the military simply allow the sort of violations of our territory and the killings of the our people by the US?

The point simply put is this: We need to devise our own national strategy to deal with our multiple problems of terrorism and extremism, but the beginning has to be made by distancing ourselves from the US unless the latter changes policy direction. The military needs to be withdrawn from Swat and FATA, but there cannot be a void so a political framework is required alongside the use of paramilitary forces under civilian command (many suggestions have been floated in this regard also). The present military-centric approach is not only ineffective, it is simply resulting in death, destruction and a permanent civil-military cleavage within our society which will be extremely costly in the long run.

Our rulers are only succeeding in the confusion they are causing – but even if that is by design, it certainly undermines the state's credibility. We issue statements that we then withdraw on and backtrack as rapidly as we issued them! The whole post-Mumbai behaviour of the government reflected that syndrome and it continues to date as the real issues get swept under. So while the media focuses on our ageing rep in London's declarations and clarifications regarding where Mumbai was planned, the troubling issue of consular access to Kasab to discover what he is all about, the follow-up to the arrested Indian spies from Lahore and whether India had accepted at least one of them as a RAW agent, the bizarre allegations of Indian security personnel having killed two Pakistanis around New Delhi – all these issues which require answers from the government have been swept under. The question is "why"? Are we also now moving into such a compromising stance with the Indians that we are not prepared to be assertive when needed? After all, there are those within our elite who are actually declaring that Indian spies are harmless – clearly they have not seen what RAW did in Sri Lanka or Nepal or is doing in Bangladesh! But back to the issue, how can Pakistan even begin to respond properly to the Indian dossier without consular access to Kasab and DNA tests on him? Or will the present leadership simply accept US dikat on this issue also?

Coming to US diktat, anyone who has met the Iranians recently will know how upset they are over the presence of Jundullah in Balochistan and the protection the US is offering them on our soil as it uses them to create instability in Iran's Sistan province. Are we willing to destroy our relationship with a neighbour with whom we not only have no conflict but also have close cultural and historic linkages? And for what end? Simply one more dangerous compromise with the US? From what one has learned, it is not the issue of pricing that is actually delaying the IPI project but the Jundullah issue. So the US has succeeded in sabotaging the IPI through this and Pakistan will again be the great loser since Obama will begin talks with Iran and we will be left isolated on that front also!

As for our dialogue with the Obama administration – well we have already accepted the US framework that is being sent us through that great Zionist supporter Holbrooke. It is a success of the Indians that they have removed Kashmir from his brief. Now if only our leaders could tell him that without Kashmir, there was no possibility of talking substantive peace in the region – but will our president or prime minister suddenly show that backbone that they have not found so far to confront the US where our vital interests are concerned.

Instead, we have watched with anger and frustration as the leaders have continued to whine and plead helplessly to the US and its allies to stop the drone attacks – as if we cant do it ourselves if the political will is there – while secretly having consented to these attacks in the first place. It is sad to see the political elite least concerned about the country's future which they have compromised to the US, and more concerned about pointless and expensive trips abroad which achieve nothing. Davos was in the same vein where the prime minister's sizeable entourage stayed in a most expensive hotel and demeaned the office of the head of government by sitting on panels comprising the defence minister of Afghanistan and the foreign minister of another country. Is the desperation for foreign exposure so great that official dignity can simply be compromised?

But where is the dignity in focusing on government perks and privileges and political intrigues against rivals while the country begs for effective governance? With the Senate elections coming up, deal making and unholy compromises are at their peak just as those in opposition are being politically threatened to compromise on principles. That is all that seems to be concerning the rulers presently – which is why none of them have felt the need to go to Swat or FATA to see the fate of their people they have left unsecured against attacks by the US. And then they wonder why the space for extremists is increasing? Where is the military's advice against a military centric approach functioning in a political void; or has the military made its unholy compromises with the US and with the ruling elite? How costly will the civil-military walks in the presidency be for the hapless citizens of this country?

And, finally, where is the dialogue that is needed amongst all the Pakistani stakeholders? What a cruel joke on the nation for the political leadership to declare that they will not dialogue with those carrying arms! It is precisely with these people that the dialogue is needed. Ask the British government in the Irish context. Messieurs Zardari, Gilani and Kayani should realise that it is not US money or US drones that will solve our problem of terrorism and extremism, national consensus, dialogue with all stakeholders backed by state force, and effective governance based on rule of law and an independent judiciary where people feel they can get redress for their grievances peacefully.

A tall order, but at the very least, surely, before meeting with Holbrooke, our leadership should commence the dialogue (instead of seeking surreptitious compromises with individuals like Sufi Mohammad only) and also get a policy consensus from parliament – after all, if nothing else, it may provide the much needed backbone to the present set of decision makers.


The writer is a defence analyst. Email: callstr@hotmail.com
http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=160692
__________________
No signature...
Reply With Quote
  #133  
Old Wednesday, February 11, 2009
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 Uncle Sam's threats and packs of jokers

Uncle Sam's threats and packs of jokers



Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Shireen M Mazari


You have to hand it to our rulers: In times of grave crises, they can only offer black comic relief with a heavy cost to the nation. From the bizarre declarations of "technical fault" to the Indian air intrusions into Pakistan and the overall clumsy handling of the Mumbai terrorist saga; to the droning chorus of how all will be well once Obama comes to power (thereby once again shifting the onus of fixing things to others) since he would stop the drone attacks and give millions in aid to Pakistan; to numerous other lofty declarations that are just so much hot air; to the farce of Dr A Q Khan's release, our present rulers have reduced themselves to a bad joke. And through all these bizarre behavioural trends, the leaders stay locked up in their ivory castles, with the forays outside the capital merely reflecting moves from one secured palace to another. No visits to the troubled areas in the offing here. For all their absurdities the US and British leaders at least visited their people in lands they occupy – Iraq and Afghanistan and perhaps soon Pakistan! But a year has gone by since the last elections and the "elected" rulers have yet to reach out to their citizens in FATA and Swat – even though they have travelled across the globe in this time.

It is no wonder then that the US has managed to find a most loyal team of subservient Pakistani leaders through the NRO. Look at the track record. Drone attacks on the increase, especially since Obama took over; the joke of the Biden financial bill which has now died a natural death although vacuous promises have come forth again; the pressure for Pakistan to act against its own people without waiting for any substantive proof coming forth from India on the Mumbai blasts; the sending of Holbrooke as a special envoy to the area without Kashmir on his brief and with a record that reflects a hard stance towards Muslims (yes, we all know about the Dayton Accord but how many of us recall that the accord came after NATO took over from the UN in Bosnia and after the Bosnians were allowed to suffer the full force of Serbia's murderous onslaught so that they would accept a truncated Bosnian state); and finally the brazen and unwarranted interference on the Dr Khan release issue.

All these strands of US aggression and pressure towards Pakistan have now come together in what was a clear threat of aggression against this country by Obama in his press conference on Monday (February 9) where he declared that the US knew that Al Qaeda safe havens existed in FATA (I suppose just as US intelligence knew WMD existed in Iraq which warranted the US invasion) and would not be tolerated! This statement was preceded by US gunship intrusions into Pakistan along with drone attacks and missiles fired from across Afghanistan into the tribal belt. So the Obama threat of sending in US troops into Pakistan has been given presidential expression. And in the face of all this, Holbrooke has the gall to declare that he is in Pakistan to renew US "commitment and friendship with the people of Pakistan". Mr Holbrooke, the US has never had a commitment to the Pakistani nation – only to its own goals here and to its handpicked leaders, both in uniform and in civvies. As for friendship, only the US would define this in terms of killings, which is what they are doing to the Pakistani people.

If the US really wanted to show a positive commitment to the people of Pakistan, they would stop the drone attacks, allow our state to dialogue with all its stake holders, desist from strategic arrangements with India that have a direct fallout on Pakistan, stop destabilising Pakistan by using its territory to target the Iranian state, and accept our differing perspective on critical issues including proliferation and Dr Khan. In the case of the latter, given how the US and its European allies are proliferating with India and Israel in complete violation of their commitments to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, it is rather farcical to give us sermons on proliferation and try and undermine our already enfeebled judicial system by demanding the state incarcerate Dr Khan again.

However, it is our leadership, both military and civilian, that must take responsibility for its servility to the US – since they have covertly sanctioned US drone and probably other military attacks on Pakistan and its citizens. Look at the contradictions on the whole Mumbai investigations, which show why the government has no credibility at home and abroad. But then which other sovereign state would pay $1.5 million initially ($30 million in total) to the UN to investigate BB's murder where no outside power was involved? Why can we investigate Mumbai but not BB's murder?

Moving on, even if we were to forget the humiliating nonsense post-Mumbai that emanated from the presidency and the prime minister regarding the sending of the DG ISI to India and the "technical fault" that led to Indian air force intrusions into Pakistan, what about the premature "revelations" of where Mumbai was planned? And, now, the contradiction where, on the one hand, the government has demanded more substantive proof from India and, on the other hand, it has already begun arrests and so on! How can any investigation move substantively without Pakistan first getting access to Kasab and to the "evidence"? Or was the DCC under pressure to move, regardless of the paucity of evidence before Holbrooke landed?

Nor are the absurdities limited to the political leadership. How can those in sensitive positions give interviews where Pakistanis are labelled as "crazy"? Do we not realise the damage we do to this nation by such unwarranted exposure? Look at those in charge of our nuclear assets. They give all manner of access to foreigners who then churn out negative stories but locals are denied any substantive access. A colonial mindset sees only "goras" (as Ejaz Haider had put it) as credible commentators. Well, the latest result of the SPD's hospitality is the David E Sanger article (New York Times) for all to see!

There are countless more absurdities that show how our rulers are fast being reduced to a joke. Just one recent example will highlight this. Dr Khan was released after, in my view, an unjust and illegal detention, when the state reached an agreement with Dr Khan, who had petitioned the Islamabad High Court (IHC) for legal redress to his incarceration. Part of the agreement was that he would not discuss his work, but suddenly the government, under pressure from external forces, once again put such conditionalities on him that effectively his old incarceration status has been revived, de facto. How can any citizen of this country trust the state when it does such flip flops? Although one should have anticipated this when our foreign minister declared, in Munich, that the government could file an appeal against the IHC decision. Is he really that ignorant and did not realise that the IHC decision was premised on a signed deal between his government and Dr Khan in the first place? Or was he suffering from the US appeasement syndrome that afflicts all his peers in power?

One could simply laugh off the foibles of our ruling elite if there was not a more dangerous fallout to them. There are some ordinary but informed people from Swat who feel that peace will be restored in Swat by April since the state has realised the errors of its policies! What policies? Are our suspicions correct when we ask how the military, which had brought the area under control in 2007, has again allowed the situation to deteriorate to levels where the most vulnerable are being targeted by forces comprising those largely from outside of Swat? But what about the cost that has had to be paid by the people of Swat? Why has the political government removed all signs of its presence from this troubled area, where it is not the US drones that are the issue?

Clearly with jokers for rulers and with a state that lacks the confidence to distance itself from lethal US designs, governance has finally been reduced to the ridiculous. And with no rule of law and independent judicial structures, we are fated to continue down the dark abyss that we were pushed into post-9/11.


The writer is a defence analyst. Email: callstr@hotmail.com
http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=161926
__________________
No signature...
Reply With Quote
  #134  
Old Wednesday, February 18, 2009
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

Our rulers: erratic, fearful and full of deceit


Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Shireen M Mazari


Just when one was about to commend the President for finally seeing the light in terms of agreeing to the NWFP government signing a deal with the TNSM for peace in Swat, we witnessed the usual backtracking from the Presidency, if Ms Rehman the official propagandist is to be believed. That, in turn, led to the ANP government being pushed into a state of confusion over what exactly it had signed on to in the agreement it made in front of representatives of all the major political parties – barring the JI which refused to attend. This has marked all the negotiations and agreements made to end militancy and violence earlier also – not just in Swat but also in FATA where US drones always put paid to any peace through negotiations.

It is no wonder then that the government has no credibility on any issue – given its record of erratic behaviour. But we have also seen a chorus of protest from the westernised or, as they see themselves, 'the liberal" lobbies within the urban areas of the country regarding what they see as a fatal compromise before the religious lobbies and Shariah. Undoubtedly there is much substance in the question "whose shariah?" There are also many legal issues that will also arise including the issue of minorities although according to this latest Swat accord, minorities will not be subjected to the Shariah laws as is the case in the rest of the country in terms of personal laws. As for the issue of discrimination, this is a national blight against the minorities and needs to be tackled with at the national level.

The main point is that the people of Swat have been pushed against a wall and that is why they have accepted the news of this accord with a weary relief if not outright joy. Who are we in the cities to begrudge them this peace and let us not forget the history of the locals' demand for their earlier Qazi courts which they saw as dispensing credible justice? Mercifully some foreign elements like the Australian foreign minister have at least shown some understanding of the Swat situation as it seems has hapless Prime Minister Gilani.

The argument that you cannot have differing laws in different parts of the country is absurd given how we already have different laws for different categories of citizens in terms of personal laws. In any case, since we are so enamoured of the West, let us recall how in the US different states have different laws including bans on alcohol and gambling, not to mention the death penalty. If we seek decentralisation and autonomy for the provinces, then we must concede them the power to set their own houses in order with decentralised laws, including laws relating to taxation. So perhaps we should hope that peace will return to Swat and allow the displaced people to restart their lives. Already the Presidential delay in giving the nod for the negotiations added to the bloodshed and destruction.

The Nizam-i-Adl relates to Personal Law primarily and, according to some lawyers, while Islamic nomenclatures are being used, the law itself is not too far removed from such laws in the rest of the country. Also it has scope for arbitration. Of course one is not sure what the final form of the laws will be which the President will sign – if he does so at all, given the instability of decision-making in that quarter. What would be required would be monitoring and assessment of whether the re-establishment of what were the old Qazi courts would now come up to people's expectations and provide them with quick and credible justice.

For the rest of the country it is important to realise that if we do not want to create a situation akin to what has been happening in Swat, we need to push the government into establishing the rule of law and an independent judiciary as well as ensuring the safety and security of all its citizens – especially against foreign threats. It is in this context that Pakistan has to delink from the US and reclaim all our bases from them. Unless we create some space between ourselves and the US, there will never be any stability in this country.

If we do not want to see "fundamentalists" and "extremists" gain ground in other parts of Pakistan then we need to have a responsive state that is able to provide credible and cheap justice to all its citizens and is able to deliver social justice to its deprived citizenry. If it only looks to appeasing foreign powers, it will continue to weaken itself from within. The drone attacks may kill a few militants but they also destroy ordinary people's homes and lives and that has its costs for this country – especially in terms of more space being created for militants. It is not dialogue with the militants that will bring extremist Taliban ideology to Pakistan but ignoring the rising tide of disaffection amongst the people for the rulers, the military and the corrupt state institutions which have made a mockery of the rule of law and justice.

In the context of FATA, for those who think that tribal lashkars rising against the Taliban are a sign of the rejection of the latter, let us not fool ourselves. The tribals are being armed and paid to act as proxies for the US through our military and that is a dangerous development in an area where there are already too many arms floating around. Also, as we have seen so many times before, proxies develop a life of their own and cannot be controlled or reined in when required. As for those who feel the Pakistan Army is deliberately not crushing the militants in FATA, they should ask themselves why NATO and the US are unable to crush the Taliban in Afghanistan where they now control almost 70 % of that country! Another favourite cop out is to declare non-Pushtun Pakistanis as unable to understand the Pushtuns. This is ridiculous since as a Pakistani one understands the hopes and fears of fellow Pakistanis – be they Pukhtun, Baloch or any of the other groups that exist in this country and whose blood flows in a happy mix in so many of the citizens. It is the external powers who do not understand any Pakistani except the corrupt ruling elite and the latter who choose not to understand the obvious.

What is required in FATA is for a political framework to be created and implemented within which economic incentives can come to the area (not through US funded ROZs but indigenous enterprises) and negotiations can be initiated between all stake holders. We need to do what the British did finally in Northern Ireland after years of unsuccessful military operations, when they moved to unconditional talks and negotiations. We need to recall how violent the terrorist acts were in Northern Ireland, spreading to England also. Our state needs to begin dialogue and negotiations with all the Pakistani militants – so that the foreigners are isolated. All dialogue requires give and take and eventually hard line positions are abandoned. The success of the Good Friday Agreements is a case in point.

At the national level, the need of the hour is to move towards operationalising the consensual resolution of the Parliament and calling an APC to create a national political consensus on a dialogue and negotiation policy for the FATA region while extricating ourselves from all the commitments made by the Musharraf regime with the US. The costs of these commitments have been far greater and more long term than the gains which have been transitory at best in terms of money – which in itself is an issue of controversy. After all, we have reduced our state to a mercenary entity for the US – a country that neither understands Pakistan nor is interested in sensitising itself to this nation. This is once again apparent in the comments of Holbrooke in India.

As for the US and our successive governments, let us be under no illusion as to the US negative agenda towards Pakistan, especially its strategic nuclear assets. The drone attacks have now spread to Kurram Agency also and it is now verifiable on the internet that the drones are rolled out from a special drone base in Balochistan around Washuk or Shamsi, while control is from the US (Maps and actual coordinates are readily available on websites such as Dictatorship Watch). So it is time for the GoP to stop its lying and come clean to its people even as it must extricate itself from the killing of its citizens. Equally important, let us see some spine and resoluteness from our rulers, rather than the trembling fear that crops up at the least US whimper.


The writer is a defence analyst. Email: callstr@hotmail.com
http://www.thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=163188
__________________
No signature...
Reply With Quote
  #135  
Old Wednesday, February 25, 2009
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 1,318 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

How much sovereignty has Pakistan conceded?


By Shireen M Mazari
Wednesday, February 25, 2009

It certainly did not take Holbrooke long to reveal his arrogant ignorance about Pakistan. Hysterical over the Swat agreement – clearly it undermines the US efforts to expand the destabilisation of Pakistan and thereby seek a rationale for sending troops into Pakistan and eventually targeting the country’s nuclear assets – he made some absolutely absurd remarks. First he chose to declare the 9/11 perpetrators as being similar to the Swat militants and to the groups of militants in FATA. Only his arrogance would push him into displaying such ignorance since we all know that the perpetrators of 9/11 were well-off Saudis educated in Western institutions (not madrassahs) and living in the West. Unlike them, the Swat militants are a motley group comprising various shades of Pakistanis, primarily madrassah educated and certainly not from the financial elite of the country. As for FATA, the militants comprise several groups ranging from Al-Qaeda offshoots, religious zealots, Afghan Taliban, Pakistan Taliban, local groups and criminal elements. But for Holbrooke it would appear these crucial differences are irrelevant and all that is relevant is the religious identity! Talk about bigotry and prejudice. As for his understanding of the security situation in the NWFP, it was defined in terms of people not “being able to walk their dogs!” Now how many ordinary citizens of Pakistan actually keep dogs as pets and walk them every evening a la New York style? And this is the best Obama could muster as a Special Envoy!

But for us Holbrooke is a secondary issue. Far more critical is the lying and cheating the governments of Pakistan have been indulging in with their own people as they have gradually conceded more and more sovereignty to the USA. We now know that the drone attacks have not only been done with the complicity of the Pakistan government (with both the military and civilian components giving their assent) but also with the provision of a special drone airbase at Bandari, about 87 kilometres from Kharan in Balochistan. There has been a deliberate effort to confuse the issue by citing the Shamsi base close to the Iranian border, built by an expansion of the old Juzzak airport, which is actually primarily being used by the US to destabilise Iran. The drone airfield is a separate clandestine one that does not figure even in the international list of the 22 restricted areas identified in Pakistan – because the drone base is not controlled at all by the Pakistan military – it has simply been handed over to the US to do with as they please. Even more pathetic is the news that our air defence personnel are now embedded in the US embassy in Islamabad to ensure the safety of the drones as they go about killing fellow Pakistanis.

As for our Defence Minister declaring that the US drones have been given rights to land only after they have killed Pakistanis; this is so ridiculous a claim one cannot waste time critiquing its irrationality. In any case, the Foreign Minister declared that the statement was based on a misperception – such is the dysfunctional nature of the state. But then when lies and cover ups are to be maintained this is what happens!

Nor is the drone issue the only major relinquishing of state sovereignty by Pakistan. The New York Times has revealed what many of us had been writing about for some time now, that the US has around 70 military advisers and technical specialists who are training our military to fight Al Qaeda. That is comical given the lack of success the US is having fighting this beast in Afghanistan! Apparently this secret task force has been in Pakistan since summer 2008 – although there have been sightings of the odd foreigner much earlier in the area around Warsak!

Then there is the access given to the FBI to accompany our security forces as they make their arrests. Why? Is it because the US does not trust our security forces? There are also revelations coming in of how the British were part of the torture machinery of Pakistani prisoners alongside our agencies. Now where will all this go? Will we soon simply hand over our nuclear assets to the US also for “security” reasons – if we have not already done so! After all, with all the duplicity going on, who can trust the state anymore to tell the truth?

Meanwhile we continue to hear statements that external sources are funding the militants in parts of Pakistan and now the ISPR head, General Athar Abbas has declared that the military cannot control the “external elements” being funded by hostile sources. But the point is why is no one in the state identifying these elements and sources of funding? Why is it being kept so vague? What is the pressure and where is it coming from?

As the deceit by the state continues, the peace in Swat seems to be holding for the present and the nine points for maintaining this peace that have been given by Sufi Mohammad are interesting because they make demands from both sides. Incidentally, the Taliban have also declared a unilateral ceasefire in Bajaur. Since our rulers look up to the West for almost everything, perhaps they should study the Good Friday Agreement which ended the Northern Ireland conflict and in which concessions were made by all parties. Just to inform some judgemental but ignorant critics, the British Army was also unable to go into areas of Northern Ireland controlled by the armed IRA – the many “no-go” areas but eventually control by the state came through dialogue, not military force! And many prisoners were also released as part of the deal.

Coming back to the issue of the Pakistani state’s deception of its own people, the net result is that there is no credibility left. That is why interlocutors like Sufi Mohammed become necessary. If the credibility of the government and the establishment is to be re-established, they must first come clean on the extent of the sovereignty already surrendered to the US. Then they must delink from the US and claim back the lost sovereignty before it is too late. Whether one likes it or not, unless Pakistan creates space between itself and the US, there will be no peace and security and the space for moderates will continue to shrink.

Study the history of US-backed regimes – be it in Iran, Vietnam, or the many examples of Latin America. US leaders like Obama will not alter the strategic vision the US has of itself – and Obama’s first moves vis-à-vis Pakistan have hardly been encouraging. So let us break our leadership’s psychological dependency on Washington. The rest will follow. Otherwise, the threat our ruling and miniscule westernised elites are seeking to avert will surely become a reality.

Tailpiece: It is sad that Farhat Taj has had to resort to using my columns out of context to counter my arguments but then since she is giving me so much time, I feel my writings must be hurting in the right quarters! Just to clarify some points: the sectarian problem in Pakistan was there much before there were any Pakistan Taliban. Secondly, since I have always made a distinction between the situation in Swat and FATA, I am well aware that there are no drones in Swat – though the US could move in that direction if it felt threatened by the peace and stability being re-established there! But that does not mean our leaders should not visit the area instead of remaining barricaded in their ivory tower residences. Not wanting to waste space on the diatribes of Ms Taj, let me simply say that if she is as intolerant of opposing viewpoints what is the difference between her and the Taliban that she accuses of intolerance – just the weapons? But if she wants to devote her columns to critiquing my writings, I have no complaints. It seems it is not just the Taliban and the US that have intolerance endemic in them!



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

http://www.thenews.com.pk/editorial_....asp?id=164407
__________________
Marwatone.
Reply With Quote
  #136  
Old Wednesday, March 04, 2009
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

Lahore terror: blow to friends, opportunity for foes


Shireen M Mazari
Wednesday, March 04, 2009


There can be nothing but condemnation for the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore. Both Pakistanis and Sri Lankans have been living with the effects of terrorism in their countries and perhaps that is why only the Sri Lankans had the magnanimity to come and play cricket in Pakistan at a time when no other cricketing team was willing to take the risk. And to the eternal shame of all Pakistanis, we failed to protect them. In the process we have gone back to square one and it is unlikely that any international sporting event will take place in Pakistan in the near future.

But there are disturbing questions that arise in the immediate aftermath. The first is the targeting of the Sri Lankans – a nation that has been close to Pakistan and a state that has had a quiet but firmly entrenched relationship with us. Like the attacks on the Chinese working here, who has the most to gain by targeting the Sri Lankans? Certainly no Pakistani. But India and our other enemies certainly will make political gains. Interestingly, the incident has come soon after the Naval Chief's statement casting doubts on the Rehman Malik investigation dossier on Mumbai, which upset the Indians. So is this attack a mere coincidence in terms of timing?

The second issue is the absurd response of the Governor Punjab who immediately declared that this act of terrorism was also carried out by the perpetrators of Mumbai. Now how could he have had this information in such a definitive form in the immediate aftermath of the attack? This is almost the same behaviour he showed earlier when he declared that the Punjab government would go and three days later it went! Is he simply prone to premonitions?

The more disturbing issue is the security lapse even though Taseer declared that was not the case. But given the way he was transferring security officials and focusing the local intelligence gathering solely on political opponents, this was a clear security breach and intelligence lapse. When you stack state institutions, especially security organisations, with political and often inept favourites, this is what will happen – especially when every security organisation is without clear and responsible leadership.

The question that must be examined honestly is whether this is a natural follow-on from the terrorism linked to FATA and Swat, or is it a continuation of Mumbai or is it something new that is conveniently being linked to the former two? It is too early to give a definitive answer but it does not seem to have any linkage or bearing to FATA or Swat – otherwise why was the first match not targeted? In connection with Mumbai, the only connection is the role of RAW given the timing of the attack and the setback to Pakistan's image recovery after Mumbai.

This act of terrorism also gives more opportunities to the US to conduct more direct military operations within Pakistan on the pretext that the Pakistani government is unable to deal with the terrorist menace. Of course, their role in exacerbating the terrorist problem in the first place is never touched upon.

But even more disturbing is the suspicion that apart from our enemies outside, who could possibly benefit from this action? Again the timing is interesting given that only a day earlier PNL-N supporters in the spectators, who chose to raise political slogans were targeted by the police. Link this up to the whole design of thwarting the long march through administrative changes in Punjab and Taseer's interview on Monday with the press where he stated that there is no two-month limitation on governor's rule. Add to this the presentation before the terrorist court of the Rawalpindi political demonstrators and the Mobile Courts Ordinance ("gashti courts" as one TV analyst aptly translated) and one can see where the government seems to be headed. While surely no government can use such murderous means to clamp down on political protest, certainly such an incident gives a government hell-bent on brooking no political dissent ample opportunity now to place curbs on political protest and democratic rights. Ironically, that too, at the end of the day, benefits the enemies of Pakistan and they are bound to have their own fifth columnists here.

Before this shameful act of terrorism hit Lahore and killed the wonderful Sri Lankan gesture towards the beleaguered people of Pakistan, it had been a week of Pakistan's political tradition on display in all its sordid glory and there seemed to be no let up for the coming days. From "decision foretold" of the Supreme Court regarding the Sharif brothers; to the murder of the democratic (albeit full of feudal decadence) mandate of the people of Punjab; to the lies and revelations of deals being offered, made and rejected; to the accusations flying across the political divides; to the brazen declarations of dictatorial defiance and a humiliating slap in the face of all democratic norms by that lethal combo of Zardari and Taseer; to the mobile or kangaroo courts; there has been simply no end to the reckless and nationally debilitating behaviour of our rulers – and the Taseer statement in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attack at Gaddafi stadium shows that even such a crisis cannot bring them to a level of sanity.

In the face of serious threats of terrorism (both state terrorism from the US and the threat from non-state actors), the growing financial burden on the ordinary people and the increasing law and order deficit, the Zardari-Taseer duo are more interested in pushing through party instead of national agendas, even at the cost of provincial stability.

That is why there is a free-for-all going on, on all fronts – from the political chaos to the economic hardships being meted out to the people on a daily basis to the complete destruction of all state institutions. Once again a Citibanker is causing havoc with the people. Utility prices have risen with gas bills simply doubling since January and now we are being told that electricity prices will also rise. If there is such a shortage of funds, where are the luxury cars and facilities for officialdom coming from and where is the money for the UN probe into Ms Bhutto's murder coming from? If our state can probe Mumbai why not the brutal murder of the ruling party's leader especially since we already know the limited mandate of the UN probe? Certainly cancelling the 23 March Parade is a sensible austerity move but not in isolation surely? Perhaps Shaukat Tareen should move out of his cosy socialising in the Serena and touch base with the people of this country.

Meanwhile, with all attention diverted to Punjab and the political chaos, who is noting the continuing killings of Pakistanis by the US through increased drone attacks and missiles fired from Afghanistan? While everyone correctly linked the Supreme Court decision to the long march, no one seemed to recall that only recently Shahbaz Sharif had categorically refused to allow NATO supply depots to be established in Punjab? Does that help to explain why the US has accepted this attack on democracy in Pakistan, or even that the move had US blessings? So Zardari targets the long march and the US gets its NATO depots in Punjab!

Clearly, the repression of the people has only just begun. It was ridiculous to see Zardari apologists accusing Nawaz Sharif of treasonable statements while a leading PPP ally, despite his public incitement to provincial hatred, was not censured at all. Now the ante has been upped and the stakes have become, literally murderous in the wake of the latest act of terror in Lahore. The long march to restoration of an independent judiciary and rule of law has just moved on to a road paved with violence, state repression and terrorism. As our hearts go out to the brave Sri Lankans who extended their hand of friendship to the Pakistani nation in their hour of trial, we hang our heads in shame as once again we see our friends suffer for their support to this nation. Through it all, there is a sense of dire foreboding that now prevails as we confront the growing shadows of a ruthless civilian authoritarianism.

The writer is a defence analyst. Email: callstr@hotmail.com
__________________
No signature...
Reply With Quote
  #137  
Old Wednesday, March 18, 2009
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

A victory for the nation and for justice


Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Shireen M Mazari


The direct nation-state confrontation that began with the start of the Pakistani people's long march for the restoration of the constitutional Chief Justice and an independent judiciary ended in a state of national jubilation on March 16 as the prime minister announced the use of his executive authority to restore Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry. The nation had cause to celebrate since it defied all pressures from within the country and from our external so-called allies. The US especially had sought to push the defiant political leaders into accepting unacceptable compromises and trusting the tried, tested and found wanting leadership of the country. Now the US may put any spin on the issue it wants but the fact of the matter is that the people of Pakistan led by the lawyers and critically supported by some of the main political parties defied the state and its foreign detractors to secure a victory for justice.

There is much talk of the army leadership compelling the political leaders to move in the right direction as well as the US and Britain goading the politicians into compromising their zero-sum postures. But what seems to have been forgotten is why were these centres of power pushing the government especially into "doing the right thing" once the defiance of the PML-N leadership had become clear – that was the power of the people who refused to back down from their long march and dharna despite the impending use of force that was put on show. So let us see March 16 as a victory of the people of Pakistan.

However, efforts to undermine that victory have not stopped. The notification that was expected on March 16 for the restoration of the deposed judges had still to come out by the morning of March 17. Some questions were also being asked about the restoration of the chief justice and other judges without restoration of the November 2 judiciary. A dampener was also the legitimation of Dogar's chief justice-ship by restoring CJ Iftikhar Chaudhry only after the former's retirement. As Aqil Sajjad put it, "the attempt is being made to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory". Even more sickening is the present PPP leadership's claims to having lived up to its signed commitments to restore the CJP! Clearly the nation is being regarded as almost imbecilic since it is being told in all seriousness that President Zardari actually intended to restore Iftikhar Chaudhry all along! If the people were prepared to fight the state to have their long march and dharna they are certainly not fooled by the nauseating statements coming forth from the president and his minions. But the nation is busy celebrating the success of its determination against all odds and can afford to ignore the shenanigans of the presidential apologists.

However, once the euphoria dies down and life confronts reality again, the contradictions will surface. But this time there is the hope of knocking at the doors of the superior judiciary and actually expecting to get justice. That is why the long-suffering but indefatigable Amina Janjua had a broad smile on her weary face on March 16 and that is why so many ordinary Pakistanis had made their way from across the land to the capital for what was to be a dharna but turned into a national celebration. There were the people from South Waziristan who were brimming with tales of horror and death at the hands of the US drones and there were people from southern Punjab whose lives had become hell as a result of the "thana-kutchery" culture that envelops rural Punjab and there were always the families of the "disappeared" Pakistanis – all these dispossessed people saw a hope of a new beginning in the restoration of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry.

Of course, it is a heavy burden for one man to shoulder but it is not really a question of an individual but of the symbol that he has become. What will make the difference is that under his leadership the judiciary can find the strength to assert its independence at all levels – especially at the grassroots where effectively there is no provision of justice by the state. If the people of Swat sought the return of the Qazi courts, it was not without reason. If we are to avoid repeats of Swat then the state had better deliver.

Meanwhile, let our foreign detractors realise that at the end of the day there is no standing in the way of a people determined to fight for what it believes in. While the nation was focused on the judiciary, the US was busy killing more Pakistanis in FATA as well as trying to sabotage the peace deal in Bajaur. The nation needs to deal with these foreign elements seeking to write foreign blueprints for our state and society. While the nation was showing its strength, the foreign media and foreign governments saw Pakistani people power as a sign of Pakistan on the brink or of actually collapsing. Wishful thinking on their parts given that the long march was a resurgence of this nation.

What chaos there was, was created by the government itself with efforts to deny the people their democratic expression of dissent. If one is to believe the unbelievable – that Zardari and his PPP intended to restore the chief justice all along, why was the need felt to cause chaos and misery to the people through confiscation of containers and sealing off of the cities, not to mention the use of teargas, stones, and batons by the police against an unarmed populace? But it really does not matter for the rulers stand exposed and the nation has discovered its own strength if it is determined to fight for what it believes in.

There are still many challenges confronting this nation – not only in the judicial context but also on many fronts. We still have to fight the continuing destabilisation of the country by the US with its killings in FATA. We still have a problem of terrorism that has changed qualitatively as a direct result of our state's alliance with the US in its military agenda in Pakistan and Afghanistan. There is the evil of religious extremism that is eroding at the tolerant Islamic ethos of traditional Pakistan on the one hand, and the growing extremism of the westernised elite on the other, both reducing the space for moderates and acceptance of "the other". We continue to have the threat of an ever more belligerent Indian state on our eastern border, now with a covert presence on our western border also. The issue of our nuclear assets continues to crop up conveniently in the west every time there is political protest in Pakistan. And, amid all these problems, there is the growing misery of the ordinary Pakistani in the face of rising costs of mere existence.

But the first battle has been won and we can seek to address some of these issues through judicial redress. As for the coming battles, the democratic political space for dissension has been secured by the people. Another ray of hope is the new political awareness amongst the youth who joined the long marchers and brought with them an unbridled fervour oblivious to the hazards of fighting state power. Perhaps the most heartening factor has been the recognition by the people that they can assert their agenda even if the state and external powers resist or try to undermine this assertion. Now perhaps the State can learn from this and evolve the ability to say "no" to foreign powers like the US who are killing our people using our territory and our military resources and thereby destabilising our polity. Or perhaps the people will have to take a lead on that count also especially with the judicial hope that is now rekindled.

Finally, after witnessing the container-communication blockage drama of the government, we should now accept that our leadership may be suffering from a collective case of Akrasia – which is a recognised psychological condition defined as "the state of acting against one's better judgement". There is a debate that has been going on since the time of Plato as to what causes this – whether it is a weakness of will or the reverse. Whatever the cause, we need to find a cure before such akratic behaviour destroys this nation.

The writer is a defence analyst. Email: callstr@hotmail.com
__________________
No signature...
Reply With Quote
  #138  
Old Wednesday, March 25, 2009
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
Default

Pakistan's major threat: US ignorance


Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Shireen M Mazari


US ignorance regarding the ground realities of Pakistan is a source of major threat to Pakistan, both in terms of its internal dynamics and external security concerns. Taking the internal dynamics first, there were the crude US interventions during the nation's reassertion of its self in the context of the long march and the demand for the restoration of the constitutional chief justice – with members of the US Administration trying to bulldoze the opposition political leaders into abandoning the march to Islamabad and into making unholy compromises with their present favourite Pakistani – President Zardari. It is a testimony to the Pakistani people that the US failed in its nefarious designs and at the end of the day had to make conciliatory statements regarding the restoration of Chief Justice Chaudhry. But imperial hubris could not resist sending the CIA chief to Islamabad to coincide with the CJP's date of restoration of office.

But these were only the most recent examples of US ignorance muscling itself into Pakistan's domestic domain. Not to be left behind, the Brits through their rather brash Miliband also hopped on the US bandwagon (and we thought that was only Tony Blair's problem!) and gave bizarre statements about Pakistan's imminent descent to chaos as a result of the long march. Given how millions took to the streets of London to protest the Iraq war, why should the Brits assume that the Pakistani nation's march for justice would cause a descent into chaos? On the contrary, it showed the growing vitality of the Pakistani nation to seek its own destiny against the machinations of its rulers and their foreign sponsors. Of course, being rather tiny now, the British can be and were chastised severely by different Pakistani quarters but the US seems to send fear into the hearts of our ruling elites. Not so our masses mercifully!

Coming back to how US ignorance poses a threat to our internal dynamics, there is the issue of Dr A Q Khan who seems to have sent the US Establishment into a permanent trauma. So once again we heard the mantra of linking aid to Pakistan with access to Dr Khan. Only this time, the "threat" was the withholding of military assistance. Now the US knows that there is no reason, even legally, to let them have access to Dr Khan but they still do not realise that even the most obliging of Pakistani leaders will not be able to do the needful on this count and survive in power. Dr Khan, rightfully, is a national hero and as we in Pakistan know only too well, he has never contravened any of Pakistan's international legal obligations since we are neither members of the Non-Proliferation Treaty or the Nuclear Suppliers' Group.

But the threat should have shown the Pakistan military the futility of seeking US military assistance – which we have done well without for many decades. In fact, the army's offensive weapon systems have no US linkage or dependency at all, so why create it now? In any case, this absurd demand of the US does expose US intent and the military would do well to do a major rethink of its present close collaboration with the US.

The most recent ignorant remark relating to Pakistan has come from an Australian consultant to Centcom commander General Petraeus, David Kilcullen, that Pakistan could collapse in six months. Clearly wishful thinking by our detractors as the nation now stands revitalised after the successful challenge to dictatorial state authority on the judiciary issue. But what is of concern in Kilcullen's remarks is his claim that the military, intelligence agencies and the police (this last category is a new addition to the diatribes coming from the US and its allies) did not follow the civilian government but were a "rogue state" within a state. Honestly, talk about a total lack of comprehension of how the police force and the civilian intelligence agencies work in Pakistan! They are certainly inefficient and corrupt but that is another issue all together! Of course, we also know that since the ISI and the CIA fell out about a year ago, there has been an insidious campaign against the ISI and the Pakistan military but now it seems the police and FIA and so on are also on the hit list. In other words, all security and law and order forces must be scrapped, if Kilcullen is to be believed – and presumably reconstituted with US loyalists or what the US would term "secularists". Clearly, in the case of the US relationship with Pakistan, ignorance is certainly not blissful for the latter.

But for their ignorance, the US would realise that while most Muslim Pakistanis see themselves as easy-going, tolerant – also referred to as "moderate" – Muslims, very few regard themselves as "secular" in the US context. Which brings one to the constant mantra from the US and its allies about how Pakistan is about to be taken over by the Taliban. If this was to be true it would certainly be the fault of the Pakistani rulers, their image as US surrogates and their inability to deliver to the people on all counts – especially justice, equity and a dignified existence. But if one looks at the electoral patterns, one can see the standing of religious parties within mainstream Pakistan. However, it is true that the inability of the Pakistani state to deliver may well allow the more extreme religious groups to make inroads – after all, there are a phenomenal amount of madressahs across the country if my date collection for southern Punjab is any guide. And we do know that the Taliban have begun a peaceful campaign to make inroads into crucial cities in Punjab like Lahore and Faisalabad. In the latter city they have passed pamphlets to the trader community asking them to close their shops at prayer times, shun television and DVDs, ask their ladies to observe purdah and take their conflicts to the ulema rather than the civil courts. Has the state taken any action against these pamphlets or sought to provide quick justice and security for the population at large?

Add to this the US insistence on the killing of Pakistani citizens – whether as "collateral damage" or deliberate targeting – through drone attacks, and the perception of a corrupt and US-driven Pakistani state becomes ever more widespread. This is where the US ignorance impacts both our external security dynamics and internal processes. Our external security becomes aggravated as the military loses credibility within its own people, especially in FATA. Now the US is threatening drone attacks in Balochistan which will offer new space for the religious militants in that province. The provincial leadership has wisely already condemned this policy pre-emptively. Perhaps it can actually move to close the Bandari drone base about 87 kilometres from Kharan southeastward – since the federal government seems unable or unwilling to do so.

Certainly nothing has impacted the Pakistani populace against the US as the drone attacks have, and US ignorance about the functioning of our society has made them continue with this negative policy. So a few militants may have been killed in the process – look at the number of future militants these attacks create!

In terms of Pakistan's external security, the US using Jundullah through Balochistan to destabilise Iran undermines the socio-historical, cultural and political Pakistan-Iran relationship and creates its own destabilising dynamics within Pakistani society. Perhaps the absurdity of the US ignorance is reflected most clearly now in the statements coming from Obama's Special Envoy for this region, Richard Holbrooke. He showed it after his visit to Pakistan when he talked about people not being able to walk their dogs in Peshawar. More recently he declared, with his usual arrogance, that the 9/11 terrorists, the killers of Ms Bhutto, the Mumbai attackers and the perpetrators of the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team were all one and the same lot.

What a lethal mix of arrogance and ignorance! After all the 9/11 perpetrators were rich Arabs educated in the west and living there; we do not yet know who killed Ms Bhutto; the Mumbai trail spreads across many countries; and, our foreign minister has also now referred to a "foreign hand", probably India's RAW, in the attack on the Sri Lankan cricketers. So while it may comfort the Americans to forget such distinctions, it will not resolve the global terrorism problem – especially when in all probability the threat of terrorism across the US and or Europe will tend to come from the marginalised Muslims of Europe rather than our madressah-bred extremists. That is, for better or worse, our problem for which we have to find our own solutions. In this context, US ignorance has a lethal cost which we cannot afford.

The writer is a defence analyst. Email: callstr@hotmail.com
__________________
No signature...
Reply With Quote
  #139  
Old Wednesday, April 01, 2009
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
Default

A Pakistani-centric understanding of militancy


Wednesday, April 01, 2009
Shireen M Mazari



One was still recovering from the absurdity of referring to the much-touted Obama policy on Pakistan as "new" when his speech was simply a worn-out, scratched record we in Pakistan are being made to hear ad nauseam, when the ground realities of terrorism in Pakistan struck once again. This time it was the terrifying attack against the Police Training School in Manawa, a few kilometres from the border with India at Wagah. Certainly the target's location has a certain significance, but that seems to have been totally ignored, especially by officialdom.

However, by now it should be abundantly clear to anyone with an iota of rationality that it is not US money that will solve our indigenous terrorist problem, though such money may well line a few rulers' pockets. Also, as Obama made clear, the money is going to come with the usual absurd conditionalities which will involve yet more US intrusion in and distortion of our domestic polity. The hard fact is that the whole issue is not about money, despite the whining of President Zardari that he has seen no dollars yet. In fact, the US and its money have become a major part of the problem of terrorism in Pakistan.

After all, when our rulers take US largesse and allow the Pakistan army to go in and kill Pakistani citizens, more space is created for violent extremists using terror as a strategy. When the Pakistani state allows its territory to be used for drones that kill Pakistanis – and it is irrelevant whether they are killed deliberately or as "collateral damage" – more space is created for future recruits who want to fight the US and its collaborators. In addition to this, when the Pakistani state is unable to establish its writ within its own territories and also unable to provide the basics of social welfare and justice to its people, space is created for those who seemingly offer these basics even if at a ruthlessly stifling price.

And when the professionalism of its security and intelligence institutions is undermined by political inductions, it is unable to undertake timely assessments of threat and evolve proactive responses. To make matters worse, once again, in the latter context, US interventions in this domain, both official and non-official, are proving to be counter-productive.

Ever since the falling out between the ISI and the CIA, the US mantra against not only the ISI but also the police and other intelligence agencies has undermined trust between these organisations, the government and the people and demoralised them to a dangerous level. The results have been before us for the last year in the terrorist attacks across the country. It may suit US long-term interests of putting our nuclear assets under their control to continue to target our security and intelligence institutions, but it is extremely harmful for Pakistan. The irony is that the "jihadis" the ISI supported, along with the CIA and the Saudis, are either long dead or too old to be active – just as their institutional handlers have left office decades ago.

There is the present reality of a new generation of militants that have evolved especially as a result of US military killings in this region post-9/11. So to blame Pakistani institutions for the failure of US military and intelligence outfits is not only irrational but also churlish, given how many Pakistani lives have been sacrificed for the United States' misdirected strategy in this region.

So what is our terrorism issue today? We have three identifiable strands of militants who use terrorism as a strategy and all three have been compounded by a fourth type of terrorism: the state terrorism unleashed by US military attacks against our people. The first are the sub-nationalists operating primarily in Balochistan, who feed on the genuine grievances of the Baloch people – deprived of their own resources and neglected by the state. Their issues are purely political and can easily be resolved by a responsive state. But the centre's sluggishness is allowing foreign detractors to fund, supply weapons and offer refuge to the militants, thereby aggravating the problem. The issue has become further complicated because the US, in cahoots with the terrorist outfit Jundullah, is being allowed to use the area around Juzuk and Shamsi base to destabilise Iran and to use the Bandari airfield south of Kharan to fly its drones for killing Pakistanis in FATA. To deal with this militancy, a national strategy is required focusing on provincial autonomy and economic development – and ejection of the US and other foreign presences.

The second batch of militants are the religious extremists, primarily centring on the Taliban who really came into their own post-9/11 in Pakistan. The pre-9/11 problem of sectarian violence has therefore become exacerbated as it has become enmeshed with the US military action in this region and its occupation of Afghanistan. Here the challenge to the Pakistani state lies in its inability to provide security, access to effective and quick justice and economic and political stakes to the people. As the state abdicates its role and presence, the vacuum is filled by these militants. Sending the military into FATA, instead of using the Frontier Corps, was one major strategy error but we continue to compound this by failing to revert to alternative strategies like socio-economic development and political mainstreaming through operationalising of the Political Parties Act in FATA and removal of the imperial Frontier Crimes Regulations.

This is not just an issue for the tribal areas anymore, but for the whole country, where the state machinery is becoming increasingly corrupt and ineffective. And, if the number of madrassahs are anything to go by, there is a silent but disgruntled, poverty-stricken youth that are "sleeper" Taliban. Again, in this context, the US is seen as an enemy and a major reason why militants continue to find space when the state should be focusing on space denial. External detractors also find easy prey here in terms of funding and weapons' supplies, although funding also comes from within the country from sympathisers. It is this lot which provides suicide bombers, although the young age of most of these bombers reveals subjugation to physical brain washing rather than cause indoctrination alone. This category poses the greatest threat to the state because it is deceptive in the politico-religious alternatives it seems to be offering but to counter this group the state has to be seen to be acting in the national interest and has to provide justice and economic opportunities to all its citizens. Linkages to the US are not only counterproductive in dealing with this category of militants but provide more space for new militants.

The third group of militants now clearly arises from the growing army of the dispossessed, the poverty stricken and those who see no hope for the future. They are prepared to send their youth to die in a suicide attack if the family is provided substantive financial remuneration – the dreaded phenomenon of the suicide bomber for hire that we saw recently in Bhakkar. These marginalised people are fair game for all takers and any strategy to deal with these people has to focus on a fast track approach to poverty alleviation and again, provision of justice. It is not the US military or its grand NGO-funded designs that are needed, but the perception of a responsive state and leadership that is there for its people and that will end the brutality of the "thana-kutchery" millstone around the necks of the ordinary Pakistani citizen.

Yet again the wheat harvest looks bountiful but like the sugar barons and the wheat smugglers, all in high places, will succeed in depriving this nation of its bounties. As long as the rulers follow US and IMF diktat and make spiralling prices put basic food out of the reach of the ordinary Pakistani, militancy and violence will gain more space. Grassroots justice must move in through indigenously devised plans rather than NGO-devised solutions not grounded in Pakistani realities.

Also, if our rulers could resist trappings of grandeur, including wasteful travels abroad, the resources could be diverted to the nation. President Zardari's ridiculous explanation of his last visit to China – that he went to buy anti-terrorism equipment – makes a mockery of this nation's plight. How many heads of state go on such shopping sprees – which is what he made it out to be? Now, as the nation mourns its dead after Manawan, he is off again – this time to Turkey!

It is not an issue of liberals versus rightwingers, but of status quo versus change; of the rulers' reliance on external support versus reliance on the people; of corrupt and weak institutions versus strong and responsive state structures; and, finally, of a US-centric state agenda versus a strong nationalist people-centric agenda. As history has shown, the people will always win in the end but a rational leadership can make this victory less bitter and costly.

The writer is a defence analyst. Email: callstr@hotmail.com
__________________
No signature...
Reply With Quote
  #140  
Old Wednesday, April 08, 2009
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 Barbarism and a desensitised leadership

Barbarism and a desensitised leadership


Wednesday, April 08, 2009
Shireen M Mazari


Despite our shock-weariness, the past week has been a traumatic one for Pakistan. In a curtain-raiser to the visit of members of the MPH (Mullen, Petreaus and Holbrooke) team, Pakistan has been ripped asunder with acts of terrorism and barbarity – across the land. Following from the horrors of Manawan, we saw the almost helpless personnel of the Frontier Constabulary targeted in Islamabad, US drones killing more women and children in FATA and the gruesome spectre of sectarian terrorism raising its head once again with an attack in Chakwal.

As if all that was not enough, we were confronted with the abhorrent video of the flogging of a teenage girl in Swat. Tragically, the whole debate seems to have been reduced to the timing of the event – as if that makes the crime, for that is what it is even under the Shariah laws of this country, any less horrific – and to the authenticity or otherwise of the video itself. The fact of the matter is that regardless of these issues, such inhuman acts against women have been taking place across the land, not only at the hands of the Taliban.

Which brings up the real issue – that is, of the state showing tolerance for such brutalities against women. Apart from the Taliban, many others are guilty of such barbarism in Pakistan. We have seen the tribal leaders of Balochistan and the feudals of Sindh and Punjab, as well as the elite of the Frontier, conduct equally horrendous brutalities, and only the lack of a video prevented us from literally hearing the screams of the hapless women and girl victims, either buried alive or killed by dogs or shot by their own parents – to name just a few of the ways women are abused in this country, because the state is unable to show zero tolerance.

On the contrary, male politicians from across party lines defend such crimes on grounds of tradition and "culture," while the Taliban use a distortion of religion to defend the indefensible. Can one forget the so-called secular ANP refusing to raise its voice against honour killings because of "tradition" a few years back? Now, once again, we have seen the cowardly position taken by the ANP's provincial minister of information, Iftikhar Hussain, in targeting a dedicated Samar Minallah, instead of those who may actually be guilty of taking the law into their own hands in the now apparently sub judice case of the flogging incident. Of course, the fact that President Zardari is still sitting on the Adl Ordinance means that there is no clarity of actual law prevailing in Swat and Malakand, but then who will get the president to behave in a rational fashion – one way or another?

Unless the state shows zero tolerance for crimes against women – there are ample laws existing in Pakistan protecting women – and effectively exercises its writ, all elements of barbarism under many guises will violate women at will. We, as citizens, are also guilty of a selective approach to dealing with crimes against women. After all, the elite's and human-rights activists' consciences awaken to the barbarity of the Taliban but remain muted in so many other cases – after an initial hue and cry. That is why the present government has been able to have as cabinet members those who have been identified as perpetrators of abuse and violence against women no less repugnant than the flogging of the young teenager in Swat. And what of the physical and mental abuse of Dr Aafia from the time of her arrest to her surfacing in New York? Under what law and which state's political jurisdiction was she violated and remains incarcerated? And what of the elite businessman who shot his daughter in Asma Jehangir's office in Lahore? Either we show zero tolerance for all crimes against all women or we will continue to lose space to the extremists – be they religious, feudal, tribal or urban elitist.

In the present context the issue is not one of supporting or opposing the Taliban. The issue is one of establishing the writ of the state while negotiating peace deals. Unfortunately, the writ of the state is nowhere to be seen because the rulers seem scantly interested. They travel across the globe but will not visit the tribal belt or Swat or any other area where there is a need to show the presence of the state. Instead, in the increasingly windowless ivory towers of Islamabad, they negotiate dangerous deals with the US which has its own negative agenda towards Pakistan.

Obama's declarations that he is not at war with Islam may be correct in form but he is certainly at war with Muslims in this part of the world; and the new NATO chief, ex-Danish prime minister Rasmussen, has only now discovered his tolerant side towards Muslims, while earlier he defended the blasphemous cartoons despite Article 10 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms.

Apart from the detrimental and intrusive US agenda for Pakistan, the reason why it is critical for us to create space between ourselves and the US is to alter the environment in our favour in which we have to tackle our issues of extremism and militancy. Let us also recall that the US in Vietnam destabilised three countries – Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. It was only when the US fled Vietnam that the region stabilised. For Pakistan the US threat is even more acute because the growing spate of terrorism will move the US one step closer to seeking control of our nuclear assets.

Of course, if we do this distancing from the US, claim our airbases back and stop acting as a conduit for NATO military supplies, there will be no immediate halt to militancy and extremism. But, and this is the crucial point, the situation on the ground will alter in the state's favour, creating a more enabling operational environment in which to deal with extremism and the militancy that it is breeding.

There are many fronts on which this problem has to be resolved. A beginning has to be made with exerting the writ of the state, including through dialogue and negotiations. All forces that are prepared to vie for the hearts and minds of Pakistanis through the legitimate political process cannot and should not be denied space. Now that the army has opened up FATA, with all its pros and cons, it is time to bring FATA into the mainstream through the removal of the colonial Frontier Crimes Regulations and the implementation of the Political Parties Act.

A beginning that needs to be made immediately is to deny space to future militant/terrorist recruits by isolating the diehard criminal and militant elements from the vulnerable segments of society. Who are these vulnerable elements? The poverty stricken who inhabit our madressahs – the sleepers for future militancy unless they are weaned away. The suicide bomber of Pakistan, from the available data, ranges in age between 15 and 26 years and is not well-versed in any ideological commitment but is brainwashed, or simply purchased from his family, as happened in the Bhakkar case. So the focus has to be on the madressahs and a new approach has to be tried, rather than the old one of trying to register them and introduce some mainstream teaching.

Just the sheer numbers of madressahs/students (e.g. ,218/25,395 in Rahimyar Khan; 185/20,780 in Dera Ghani Khan; 105/8,502 in Rajanpur) show the enormity of the task ahead – even though not all the madressahs are "jihadi" in type, according to a detailed ground survey I conducted through a local field worker in three districts of southern Punjab: Dera Ghazi Khan, Rahimyar Khan and Rajanpur. But the background of poverty is rampant and even non-jihadi madressahs can in future produce militants.

Three issues need to be tackled in relation to madressahs: the educational aspect; the mainstreaming of the marginalised students; the funding issue, since revealed sources of funding include identified foreign funding which needs to be controlled and made transparent. Solutions have to be found from our own resources recognising the financial paucity of the state. Keeping all this in mind, a start can be made by our private, semi-autonomous sector, educational trusts and so on adopting or taking over different madressahs – especially those in the area of their operations. This will provide normal education to the children, plus religious education (as happens in religious schools abroad), healthier physical environment, including better food, and more transparent supervision of funding. While religious examinations can be those set by the different sects' madrasa boards, the state should back this Pakistani private sector madrasa "adoption" plan through legislation and enforcement so that they can be brought effectively in line with normal schools while not detracting from their legitimate religious education. Such a plan costs the state nothing in money terms and involves the nation as a whole in looking after the marginalised youth. Linked to this should be a job employment scheme again involving the private sector with tax benefits.

Undoubtedly, vested interests will object to such a scheme but at the micro level, small local madressahs, and there are many in these three districts with 50 or less students, could be persuaded individually. Tackling the madressahs and their poverty-ridden students has to be central to any indigenous strategy to deal with militancy in the immediate and long term. Sheer killing through military action, both US and local, is only aggravating the problem as we are seeing in Pakistan.



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