Tag Archives: Pakistan

IS PAKISTAN HEADING TOWARDS ANOTHER ECONOMIC DISASTER?

BY AKHTAR MALIK: 6 DEC 2013.
7900_383727198395858_1703794330_nWhen the govt of Gen Pervez Musharaf came to an end in 2008 the foreign exchange reserves in the country were $ 16.4 billion. The Zardari-led PPP government played its destructive part and within 5 years the foreign currency reserves were reduced by about $ 5 billion. In May 2013 The reserves stood at $ 11.457 billion.

The PML-N govt came to power with a claim of thumping majority votes in May 2013. Many people considered NS as an experienced PM who knew the rules of rules of business and economics very well. They thought that he will make Pakistan economically as strong as his own business empire has become within a few years. But what this poor nation has witnessed is a horrible display of incompetency. The foreign currency reserves have dipped to around $ 8.4 billion in just 6 months! This means that the feat which was performed by PPP govt in 5 years have been accomplished by NS govt within just 6 months. The amount in hand is just sufficient to make only one payment of our import bill. It is horrifying to note that the foreign currency reserves are depleting at an astonishing rate of $ 550 million per week. With this rate the national exchequer is be totally empty before April 2014.

The performance of NS govt in this field is not unusual. In 1999 when the NS govt was toppled over by Gen Pervez Musharaf there were only $ 300 million left in the country as the foreign reserves. Many supporters of Noon league would say that since the dictator (Mush) was acting on the commands of America so he was getting lot of dollars. But how different the present govt is doing? Same policies of Mush and Zardari still continue, we are still fighting America’s war on terror and still suffering from drone attacks. So there is no reason why the dollars should not be coming to NS now.

I fear that under the govt of NS we are fast heading towards an economic disaster. Begging bowl has become our ‘national symbol’ and myth of ‘standing on own feet’ is far from sight. The NS doesn’t seem to be in any mood to recover the looted money from the corrupt people or to bring the illegal money hoarded by them in foreign banks. In this state of affairs any dream of making Pakistan as a respectful member of international comity of nations will remain elusive.

ISI Should Monitor and Supervise Pakistan’s Political System

Pakistan-ISI-Rally

I am a staunch proponent of true democracy in Pakistan. I am against interference in politics from any outside agency. Whenever I discuss the shortfalls and weaknesses of our politicians, they come up with funny arguments. They try to justify their faults and misdeed by saying that our politics and democracy is not yet mature and is still passing through transitional phase. Some people may buy their argument whereas others may differ. But one thing about which I am fully convinced that our politics is not secure from outside interference. Our political paradigm is intensely influenced by foreign intelligence agencies, international media and even by governments of many foreign countries.

With the demise of Gen Ziaul Haq the Army had been gradually distancing itself from politics. By the close of decade of 90’s it was becoming clear that the era of martial law was a matter of the past and seemed to be buried forever. But an inept handling of Army Chief issue by the then PM Nawaz Sharif again brought the Army into politics. However Army and the ISI have effectively kept themselves away from politics since 2008. Should we say that now our politics is free from outer interference and our politicians are at liberty to do whatever they deem good for the country? Unfortunately the answer is NO.

The worst kind of interference in our domestic affairs comes from abroad. CIA/ RAW/ MOSSAD have penetrated deeply in all our state organs. Foreign agents are controlling our politics, economy, media, judiciary and bureaucracy. They are trying to make their inroads even in the armed forces. These foreign agents are heavily paid by their mentors and sponsors for their services to spoil damage and destroy Pakistan. A 4th Generation War has been effectively imposed on Pakistan over the past one decade. There always a hectic effort going on by the agents of our enemies to purchase, intimidate, blackmail and harass the leadership of our political parties without any discrimination so that as and when they come to power through the electoral process (which is already corrupt and flawed) they do not hesitate to bow down before the will of their masters. Some politicians give irresponsible statements in the media and pretend to be very soft on our potential enemies just to earn goodwill and ‘Shabash’ from their foreign masters. But they are not aware of the fact that how much damage they are doing to their own country.

Under these circumstances there is a dire need that we should empower our ISI to keep an eye on the political activities in the country. If we keep ISI totally aloof and indifferent from what all is happening, it will be an act criminal negligence. ISI is well trained, staffed and equipped to counter the nefarious designs of our enemies. I recommend that ISI should be tasked to strictly monitor the political spectrum in Pakistan. They should watch out for any foreign interference and take immediate actions to neutralize it. ISI should look for the foreign connections of our politicians, sources of foreign funding to political parties and duel faces of political figures in which they pretend to be patriots but have linkages with anti Pakistan elements within and outside Pakistan. ISI should also take note of the anti Pakistan and anti Islam propaganda going in media and get hold of the black sheep among the journalists, NGOs and so-called human rights organizations / peace forums.

This arrangement should have the backing of highest appointments of the country whereby a close cooperation / coordination among ISI, President, Prime Minister, Army Chief and Chief Justice of Pakistan is vital. In short ISI should ensure that politics in Pakistan is conducted strictly in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution. This is how we can ensure a fair and free political paradigm in Pakistan.

By this arrangement I do not mean any interference of ISI in politics. There should be no make and break operations in politics by ISI on the lines of IJI etc. A level field should be provided to all politicians to present and implement their manifesto. The basic aim is to protect our political system from foreign and outside interference, which is potentially detrimental for sovereignty / integrity of Pakistan and Islamic ideology of Pakistan. This should be essentially a temporary measure till the time our politicians become mature and capable enough to shoulder their responsibilities with confidence and dexterity.

When I say monitoring by ISI it does not at all mean meddling in politics. ISI will see for any foreign interferences, funds, connections, personal business interests abroad, connections with foreign agents etc. It will report to the highest forum comprising President, PM, CJP, COAS and Chief Election Commissioner. The concerned office will take action according to law. CJ can take suo moto notice, CEC can revisit the eligibility as a parliamentarian and OM can take admin action.

ISI will be concerned with integrity and security of Pakistan and Islamic Ideology only. ISI will have no mandate to interfere in routine governance and issues like corruption, policy making etc. All these will be dealt with by concerned institutions like NAB etc.

ISI is the only institution which is least politicized hence most suited for this task. During military rule it also becomes a part, hence it can perform this task in civilian rule at the best

As FBI and CIA had been looking after the national interests of USA during cold war era, Pakistani interests can also be guarded by ISI. Paksitan is facing much more serious threat than USA was facing at that time, so all the more need for ISI monitoring.

Some of my friends have suggested that people are the correct forum to carry out accountability of politicians through vote. No sir, they cannot. They are there to vote their favorite candidates only. If people had this ability the corrupt ruling mafia comprising PPP, PML-N and others would have been wiped out by now. Altaf Hussain gives statement in India that creating Pakistan was a mistake, but he is given heavy mandate at home. Maulana FuR states that struggle of Kashmiris is terrorism but he keeps getting votes, PPP knocks hell out of Sindhi haris through feudal exploitation, victimizing flood effectees and ‘dakoo raj’, but get more votes than previous elections. So accountability through ballot is a dream that may come true after 200 years. Pakistan cannot sustain this burden for a long time now, so some unconventional measures required.I feel that with the proposed arrangement Pakistan progress at a faster pace.

PAKISTAN FACES 4TH GENERATION WAR ON ITS SOIL

PAKISTAN FACES 4TH GENERATION WAR ON ITS SOIL
By Akhtar Malik. 14 August 2013

Pakistan%20amry%20soldiers%20praying%20at%20siachen%20glaciarThe fateful events of 9/11 placed Pakistan under immense pressure. Though no Pakistani was involved in any act of terror across the globe the whole world was made to believe that Pakistan is the actual source of terrorism. America’s war on terror pushed Pakistan in real terrific situation and has damaged us only next to Iraq and Afghanistan. It was not our war but when Pakistan became an ally of America the whole garbage of war was transferred to Pakistan. Pakistan Army as usual was on the forefront of this war and had bore the major brunt of its consequences. Despite all odds Army has fared well in this war also. Whatever task was given to Army it completed it with professional dexterity and devotion. May it be the cleansing of Swat from the occupation of the Taliban or campaign in South Waziristan to liberate this rugged country from terrorists Army has never disappointed the nation.

The question arises; why after all the Army has always been condemned is still the target of criticism? The Army had already distanced itself clearly from the politics and has suffered the worst kind of attrition while saving the nation from terrorists. But still Army and ISI remain the major scapegoat for all the ills that the nation is facing. Talk of any segment of society- the electronic media, the politicians, the civil society organizations, the NGOs, the human rights organizations, you will find them unanimous in criticizing and condemning Army on one pretext or the other. To find reasons we will have to slightly go back in history.

David Ben Gurion, the first Israeli Prime Minister commented on Pakistan as follows:

“The world Zionist movement should not be neglectful of the dangers of Pakistan to it. And Pakistan now should be its first target, for this ideological State is a threat to our existence. And Pakistan, the whole of it, hates the Jews and loves the Arabs. This lover of Arabs is more dangerous to us than the Arabs themselves. For that matter, it is most essential for the world Zionism that it should now take immediate steps against Pakistan. Whereas the inhabitants of the Indian peninsula are Hindus whose hearts have been full of hatred towards Muslims, therefore India is the most important base for us to work there from against Pakistan. It is essential that we exploit this base and strike and crush Pakistanis, the enemies of Jews and Zionism, by all disguised and secret plans”.
(David Ben Gurion, the first Israeli Prime Minister Jewish Chronicle, 09 August 1967)

The shocking statement of the founder Prime Minister of Israel has some cardinal points. One, Pakistan is an ideological state. Two, Pakistan is more dangerous for Israel than even the Arabs. Three, the world Zionist movement has been told to take action against Pakistan and four, India will be the base to used by Zionists to crush Pakistan.

The world in general is in the grip of Zionism. The Zionists control the economy, business, finances, media, journalism and even the politic of the world. The ruling political elite of most of the countries is being controlled by Zionists. The war and peace is also made in the world by this organization. So when the Zionist movement is told to fight against and crush Pakistan one can imagine how all the concerned actors across the globe would be operating.

1173849_565866110142425_2077566256_nA strong and stable Pakistan armed with nuclear weapons is just not acceptable by the Zionists. With the help of sole super power, the US, its allies the NATO and even its pawn in the Middle East, the Zionists have launched a well planned, well coordinated and well executed campaign against Pakistan which is called ‘Fourth Generation War’. America attacked Iraq on the pretext of locating and destroying weapons of mass destruction in Iraq which they didn’t possess. Pakistan possesses nuclear weapons and has declared it as such. So America could not possibly attack Pakistan the way they did in Iraq because of the fear of any unexpected reaction from Pakistan. Fourth Generation War was the only effective tool to deal with Pakistan. The sole aim is to neutralize the nuclear assents and render Pakistan as an insignificant country in the region.

Pakistan Faces Fourth Generation War on its Soil

Fourth Generation War is essentially a civilian (non-military) doctrine which is characterized by attack on ideology, culture and social values, small combat actions by non state actors, media and information warfare and psychological operations. In such warfare the media persons and journalists are purchased for propagating a set pattern of information and the target nation is broken into various segments on racial, sectarian and linguistic grounds. The target country is isolated on diplomatic forums and incapacitated in economic fields. The corrupt and compromised journalists, political analysts, media owners, TV anchors, advertising companies, sold out religious scholars / teachers and the fifth columnists form the frontline soldiers in this kind of warfare. The terrorist organizations are created, paid and trained to carry out sabotage activities in the country, the main targets are the military installations, defense and security personnel and intelligence setups, with an aim to demoralize/ incapacitate the fighting machinery of the country. Such war may not see a full fledge operation of conventional forces like army, navy and air force of the attacker but the enemy keeps its combatant forces in ready position for bringing them into action at short notice.

4th generation war started on Pakistani soil when America attacked Afghanistan in 2001 in order to topple the Taliban regime who was allegedly providing safe heavens to Al Qaeda leadership and Osama Ben Laden. It seems that real aim of America was not to eliminate terrorism while it attacked Afghanistan but was to create a foothold from where they could control the politics and economy of the whole region.

Before 9/11 the Taliban were not the enemies of America. Despite of their myopic view about Islam and crude way of governance they never attempted to carry out any terrorist activity against the West. It was a well known fact that after being attacked by American forces the Taliban will spill over to Pakistan territory for taking refuge. The restive tribal areas provided excellent sanctuaries to them both from geographical and social point of view. It was beyond the capability of Pakistan security forces either to stop the infiltration of Taliban or to evict them after they had infused with local population. America’s policy was to entangle Pakistani forces in a fight against Taliban in tribal area which they knew, was a mechanism of total disaster for Pakistan. They also knew that once Pakistan Army got involved in tribal area it will not be possible for them to extricate.

On the Afghan side the situation of war was that despite mustering forces from the whole world under the flag of NATO, America could not subdue the Taliban. Throughout the decade of war the Taliban had been controlling about 40 % of Afghanistan’s territory. They had been levying toll tax on NATO containers, holding press conferences and punishing offenders through ‘Sharia’ courts. The growth of poppy continued unabated right under the nose of NATO forces. The conclusion can be drawn that the US and allies never wanted to eliminate the Taliban. They just put that much effort which was necessary to maintain a semblance of conflict going on in the area. They had other agenda in their minds.

Nurturing of Militant and Terrorist Groups in Pakistan

ttp1When Pakistan Army got fully involved in tribal areas as per their plans, they created Tehreek e Taliban Pakistan (TTP). This group was funded, trained and given intelligence / logistic support by CIA, Mossad and later by Indian RAW. Other banned outfits from Pakistan like Lashkar e Jhangwi (LeJ) also assembled under their umbrella. This was the enemy which was ‘invented’ for us. Our new enemy wore Islamic attire, kept beards, carried flags having ‘Kalima’ on them and shouted slogans of ‘Allah o Akbar’. No doubt our nation was totally confused on this issue. Some consider them enemies and others call them ‘Mujahideen’. The population in tribal areas was the worst hit by this confusion. Not surprising that the nation has paid the price of 40000 lives including 5000 troops.

Pakistan was never allowed to make peace in tribal areas. All its efforts to negotiate with militants were thwarted by America by killing people like Mulla Nazeer. The drone attacks, the CIA /Blackwater operations on Pakistani soil, provision of safe heavens to our terrorists like Mulla Fazlullah, Brahmdakh Bugti, Harbiyar Marri and TTP leadership, all resulted in a planned attrition of our Army.

In Baluchistan BLA has been resuscitated by CIA with the help of Indian RAW and Russian ex KGB agents in 2002 which had gone dormant after the withdrawal of Soviet Union from Afghanistan in 1988. The aim is put pressure on Pakistan Army by involving it in counter insurgency and to weaken the hold of Pakistan government on Baluchistan so that it can be separated from Pakistan at an appropriate time. Baluchistan has some 45 to 55 training camps, with each camp accommodating from 300 to 550 militants. Based on the geographic spread of training camps there is a triangle of extreme instability in Baluchistan with Barkhan, Bibi Nani (Sibi) and Kashmore as three cardinal points. The terrorist leaders like Barahmdagh Bugti and Harbiyar Marri are on self imposed exile where they frequently get in touch with officials of CIA, RAW and get necessary funds / intelligence from them.

In Karachi the instability has been ensured through terrorism. Target killing, ‘Bhatta’ mafia, land grabbing mafia, kidnapping for ransom have been initiated and maintained through militant wings of various political parties who are being provided protection through politicization of police and inept / corrupt judicial system. These elements have now been reinforced by terrorists from banned outfits and underground crime gangs. The aim is to weaken the writ of Pakistan government in Karachi so that it can be separated from rest of Pakistan at an opportune moment.

Achievements of Army in War against Terror

Pakistan Army was plunged into American war on terror by Pervez Musharaf with a total disregard to our own security concerns. It was well known fact that Army was neither trained / equipped nor was prepared to undertake an unconventional war like this. But once Army was put into such a strenuous test it came out victorious. The terrorists had occupied Sawt by 2009 and were threatening to march on to Islamabad. It was sheer brilliance of military leadership and enormous courage of the officers and men of the security forces who turned the tables on our enemies once threatening to occupy Islamabad. No Army of the world can match the achievement of our security forces who in the Malakand / Swat Operation took so short a time to dislodge the militants who were entrenched on the heights in such a vast mountainous terrain and were in effective control of the area for some years.

The Army, whenever launched to undertake operations, has delivered beyond expectations surprising our enemies. The details of Swat operation are not likely to be known because of our apathy to accurately record events and making analytical studies of such operations. The results of this operation are however so obvious that one can confidently assert that no Army of the world today could have achieved such success in such a short time in so vast a mountainous terrain. No helicopter pilot in any other Army of the world could start his day at 4 a.m. and switch off by 11 p.m. ferrying troops to be placed on heights, drawing hostile fire in the process. This was a routine with Pakistan Army’s helicopter pilots during those operations.

Same was true for South Waziristan where Pakistan government had totally lost its writ. The Army not only restored the writ but also started developmental projects which the local population had seen for the first time in their lives. However it is unfortunate that no civilian government has ever been able to enforce its writ though Army had provided enough space for the civilian leadership in Swat, S. Waziristan and other parts of tribal areas. These areas are still under control of the Army and civilian administration is shy of taking responsibility anywhere.

Anti Army Role of Pakistani Media and Journalists

Despite immense sacrifices the Army bashing continues from different quarters. They are still blamed on the TV channels by media personnel, journalists and politicians for interfering in civil affairs ‘from behind the curtains’. They are held responsible for missing persons in Baluchistan and mutilated bodies. Not a single criminal / terrorist who were arrested for attacking GHQ, Mehran Naval Base, Kamra PAF Base has been punished by our judiciary. The irony is that Zain Bugti is caught red handed while transporting illegal lethal weapons and he is set free by the courts, but same courts are quick to order registration of FIR against Army personnel for the ‘murder’ of Nawab Akbar Bugti!

One will be astonished to see that many diverse segments of society are on the same page as far as Army bashing is concerned. People like Asma Jahangir who are known to be so-called ‘liberals’ are on the one side of extreme while TTP is on the other side of the extreme. But both are one and the same as far as hostility towards Pakistan Army is concerned. Asma Jahangir always blames Army and the ISI for missing persons, meddling in politics, hatching conspiracies against democracy etc. TTP along with its auxiliary outfits physically attacks Army and takes ‘revenge’ against America. How funny that a TTP leader is killed in American drone attack and the revenge is taken from Pakistan Army!

Electronic media is on the forefront in terms of Army bashing. Just listen to the talk shows and discussions conducted by anchors and journalists like Hamid Mir, Kamran Shafi and you will find how they spit venom against Army. They are performing their duties very well according to instructions issued by their masters. They will not miss a smallest chance to punch the Army and the ISI. They will ask embarrassing and leading questions from the guests and will only highlight the weak points of the Army. Have you ever heard them appreciating the role of Army in assisting people in natural calamities like floods, earthquakes? Has the Army ever been valued for their policies of non interference in politics for the last five years? So much so, that the coverage of the heroic deeds of our ‘Shaheeds’ and ‘Mujahids’ in the past and recent wars has been drastically cut down on the media. You will hardly find any commemorative programs on Defense Day (6 Sep) in praise of our defense forces. But you have to be very observant and have a keen eye and ears to feel their hatred against Army and Pakistan. The anti Army propaganda is so strong that even some ex Army persons – turned- intellectuals also do not remain behind anyone else to bash and criticize Army.

imagesMedia is an important tool in opinion building and creating awareness but you will hardly find any meaningful discussion on media that would address our security concerns. They will never highlight the colossal increase in Indian defense budget, rather will always be obsessed with even a slight increase in our defense budget. While sitting in front of Pakistani TV channels at times we have a dismal feeling as if we are watching Indian channels instead. Have you seen any TV programs which highlights Two-nation Theory and Ideology of Pakistan, particularly in the month of August? You will mostly find those guest speakers on TV channels who give their logic against the ideology of Pakistan. No one would focus on the need of promoting our ideology which draws its strength from injunctions of Islam. This deficiency was badly felt in the ongoing month of August which is marked by our ‘Youm e Azadi’. It was so obvious to see that no TV anchor wore the insignia of a Pakistani flag on the onset of August as was the practice in previous years. Moreover it was astonishing to learn that not a single national song (milli naghma) has been composed and sung in Pakistan in the last 10 years. Is this the way the ‘living nations’ survive?

The war against Ideology of Pakistan and Army is going on unabated on all fronts. The media persons, journalists and anchor persons have been purchased to propagate anti Pakistan, anti Army and anti Islam concepts. Judiciary has been instructed not to take any action against terrorists and black sheep in media unless ‘concrete proof’ is available, and government of the day has been ‘briefed’ not to take drastic steps against terrorists of TTP, BLA and Karachi gang war. This is the reason why the government has not yet declared BLA as traitors and has refrained from dealing with them accordingly. On diplomatic front the governments have been told not to pursue a policy that goes against the interests of India, America and some Arab countries, may it be at the peril of Pakistan. The government has been stopped from raising any question about TTP and BLA terrorists who are residing in safe heavens in Afghanistan, UK and Europe. In order to further squeeze Pakistan Army, India has been prompted to carry out violations on LoC so that further pressure is put on the Army to stretch its already depleted and meager resources.

International Zionist lobby is active against Pakistan in the light of the statement of Israel’s founding PM that Pakistan must be crushed by using India as a base. So it is not surprising that a close nexus exists between India and Israel. Army bashing in Pakistan must be seen in the backdrop of this scenario.

Akhtar Malik is a freelance writer and can be reached at akhterhayatmalik@yahoo.com

What is the Future of Gen Pervez Musharaf in Pakistan

August 4, 2013

What Can Happen to Musharraf!

By Saeed Qureshi

16706-mush-1364625706-852-640x480“Musharraf was lucky because instead of being removed as Army head, arrested or even blown off in the air, he became, in matter of hours, the chief executive of Pakistan or in simple word a powerful sovereign. This was mind boggling phenomenon on October 9 1999 when Nawaz Sharif and Musharraf’s fortunes were diametrically swapped.

He is goofy and imprudent because despite all prior warnings and dire indications he decided to return to Pakistan. Now confined to his palatial mansion in Pakistan, Musharraf faces three mammoth criminal cases. Over his head are dangling the trials under clause 6 of the constitution for treason and the involvement in assassination of Benazir Bhutto and Akbar Bugti, the Baloch renegade leader.

He was bewitched and misled by half a million face book entries deluding him to return to Pakistan as the redeemer of a chaotic Pakistan. Thus he out of sheer miscalculation got himself trapped in a stranglehold from which he cannot be liberated.

As if adding to his miseries, the government in power is inveterately hostile to him and for good reasons. It is a situation that reflects quid-pro-quo or a kind of unforeseen nemesis. The plight of beleaguered former Pakistan’s president is blatantly reversed as the tormentor of the past is a condemned and hapless captive and the victim of the past is now in full power regalia as the prime minister of Pakistan.

 Such are the tricky pitfalls and thorny paths in politics more specifically manifest in third world unstable societies. The MQM, a political surrogate for Musharraf has climbed down the political ladder and its influence is considerably dwindled as a result of the general elections. The chief of MQM Altaf Hussain himself is locked in a maze of criminal cases that could finally land him in jail if proven.

So it is a kind of double jeopardy for General and erstwhile president in that he faces a hostile government and there is no group and party to stand beside him. These are indeed bad omens for him. He perhaps thought that the PPP would win the elections and he would be immune from any judicial or political backlash. But as ill luck would have it, a party won whose chief whatsoever, cannot have any soft corner for him.

There was a glorious past of Pervez Musharraf and there is a complete bleak future staring right in his face. The process of prosecution is going to be excruciating and protracted and at the end who knows what comes out. But to hope and predict that he can walk out of judicial rigmarole unscathed would be to watch the sun rising from the west.

Musharraf took some bizarre decisions like declaring the emergency rule on November 3, 2007, suspending the constitution, firing the Supreme Court chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, arresting the judges and confining them to their houses, deployment of troops on state run Television and radio stations. Yet he was still a lot better than other similar military rulers and civilian dictators. He did some good deeds also one of which was to give a modicum of freedom to the media and press. The economy looked better during his tenure.

On one hand he was hard pressed and caught up between the radical Islamic militants and the overbearing dictation of the United States for Pakistan’s support against the former. Practically and logically he had no choice or guts to defy the United States that was hell-bent against the militants especially al-Qaida in the aftermath of 9/11 catastrophe. He cannot be squarely blamed for towing the bandwagon of United States and her allies with regard to the so called war on terror. Not even a most liberal or conservative government in Pakistan could have refused the American stern call for the support.

The role of a submissive ally for the United States was not exclusive to Musharraf alone. It was initiated by a former Military dictator Gen. Ziaul Haq when in December 1979; America started a proxy war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan through the Islamic warriors. That proved to be the first lethal step towards an un-mitigating disaster in the region.

It led to the continual involvement of Pakistan in American war in Afghanistan, later spilling over to the territories of Pakistan during the Taliban era. While American forces would leave war-torn Afghanistan next year, Pakistan will continue to suffer as the victim of the resurgent Islamic radicals, particularly Taliban and Al-Qaida.

Musharraf being the proponent and initiator of enlightened moderation wanted Pakistan to not turn into a haven for the radical Islamic forces. But that mission and thrust could have been most repugnant to the radicals who saw in Pakistan as a ripe land for enforcing a rigid and fundamentalist version of Islam.

The enforcement of the Islamic Sharia started in Islamabad when Burqa-clad women started beating and dragging in the streets and markets, the women without veils. The students from the religious school affiliated with Lal Masjid, forced the shopkeepers to throw away music and movies’ filled videos and other electronic appliances.

Now Pakistan is not a Mauritania, Somalia, Mali or Yemen that the state would submit before the reactionary elements, bent upon imposing upon the people, their decadent and mutually controversial creeds and beliefs. The state had to retaliate to stop that dangerous onslaught that in due course, could have engulfed Pakistan.

That is what Musharraf did and I believe he was doing it for the national cohesion and saving Pakistan from falling into the hands of hardcore fanatics, who could trigger a sectarian mayhem in Pakistan. He should rather be applauded rather than condemned or maligned.

Before opting to come back to Pakistan, Musharraf might have believed that people would pour out all over the country to greet and support him. He should have pondered that if it could not be done for a highly populist leader Bhutto, how it could happen for a non-political minion, who by sheer accident, rose to power.

 Perhaps he became delusional in assessing his popularity and the hell he was going to fall in. He might have concluded that the army would not allow his trial. But he failed to comprehend that Army itself was under enormous pressure in the changing pro-democratic times to come to his rescue.

Moreover he belonged to a middle or lower middle class family and was not blue eyed member of an elite or aristocratic family who could garner support for his rescue behind the doors.

As for perceived support and backing from MQM, PMLQ and his own faction APML, these were non-entities on national political spectrum.

The PMLQ and MQM received a severe thrashing and colossal setback in the recent elections turning them into political dwarfs. Even otherwise the strident judicial activism would not have allowed or entertained any attempt at influencing the judicial decisions that would be forthcoming sooner or later.

So these were the probable murky scenarios that must have crossed the mind of Pervez Musharraf before embarking upon a return odyssey to Pakistan for retaking the power and grafting his watershed vision of making Pakistan an enlightened, modern secular and democratic state. Per say and supposedly, if by a miracle, he would have come into power and formed the government, would his religious adversaries allow him to proceed unchallenged and uninhibited?

The liberal lobby in Pakistan that could lend him support is also aloof in his affliction because of his permitting drone attacks as well as assuming the role of a bounty hunter. He cannot be absolved of the stigma of taking bounty money in return for catching the suspicious Pakistanis branded as terrorists and handing them over to the United States.

So Musharraf, as the metaphor goes is “in thick soup”. And one may shudder to speculate that in order to prevent future military chauvinism, the present government as prosecutor and the judiciary as upholder of justice may make him a dreadful example by sending him to gallows or long prison term.”

The writer is a senior journalist, former editor of Diplomatic Times and a former diplomat

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Is It True That Muslims Are Their Own Worst Enemies

What kind of holy war is this that drives people to turn on fellow believers and what divine goals do these holy warriors hope to achieve?

By AIJAZ ZAKA SYED

Sunday 23 June 2013

Last Update 23 June 2013 3:23 am

“Some of my Pakistani friends had been offended when some time ago in an emotional piece I had the temerity to suggest that some of the greatest crimes against Islam and its followers have been committed in the land that was earned in the name of the faith. It was a situation of, in Parveen Shakir’s words, “Baat toe sach hai magar baat hai ruswai ki” (although this is the truth, it’s not good for our reputation).

Friday’s attack on a Shiite mosque in Peshawar, killing at least 15 people, is the third major suicide bombing in the country in the past six days. With these terror strikes in Pakistan last week, more senseless, totally absurd atrocities have been added to the long roll of crimes perpetrated in the name of Islam against the Muslims by fellow Muslims.

On June 18, a suicide bomber detonated his explosives at a funeral in Mardan in northwestern Pakistan. A member of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa provincial assembly was among 35 people killed in the deadly blast.

On June 16, at least 25 people, including 14 female university students, four nurses, a medical officer and the deputy commissioner of Quetta, were killed when a bomb tore through a bus, followed by a suicide attack and a bloody gun battle in the Bolan Medical College hospital, where the injured students were taken for treatment. The authorities reveal that the first attack targeting the students of the region’s only all-women university was carried out by a female suicide bomber and has proudly been claimed by the banned Lashkar-i-Jhangvi,.

The Quetta terror strike was apparently aimed at strengthening the hands of Pakistan’s new leader, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who has gone against the established traditions to confront the United States and his own army, warning in no uncertain terms that the dance of death in Pakistan’s skies must end.

With all those Lashkars, Jaishes and defenders of faith though, Pakistan hardly needs the services of Uncle Sam or assorted Indian and Zionist conspirators and saboteurs. Of course, this isn’t the first such attack and, rest assured, it will not be the last one. This conflict has already claimed more than 48,000 lives in the past few years, suggests a report by South Asia Terrorism Portal and Institute for Conflict Management.

In the past few years Pakistan has witnessed so much of mindless violence and splurging of innocent blood in its streets, mosques, schools and hospitals that the issue now evokes little more than helpless resignation and revulsion. After a point, death becomes a dull, daily routine and lost lives mere statistics.

But indifference and aversion cannot wish away this menace, this deep sickness that has crept into Muslim lands in the past few years. Convenient and convoluted interpretations and spin cannot treat this deadly disease.

What sort of people send a young woman to blow herself up with other totally innocent, unsuspecting fellow women on the way to college with stars and dreams in their eyes? What kind of religion do they believe in and where and how they came up with this morbid, sick interpretation of the faith? No religion sanctions killing of innocent people, especially women and children, least of all Islam. The faith I know and believe in along with more than 1.6 billion people sternly warns its followers against targeting of innocents including animals and plants even during a conflict.

What kind of holy war is this that drives people to turn on fellow believers and what divine goals do these holy warriors hope to achieve? Do they really think God will reward them for snuffing out the beautiful lives that He created? Would He shower His blessings on them for spilling the blood and guts of His children in the prime of life? Can there be a greater atrocity and outrage against the faith that so many believers led by the Prophet himself, peace be upon him, sacrificed so much to spread and strengthen?

Islam was sent down as a blessing for the whole of humanity, demolishing all false distinctions of birth, color, gender and social status. Who would have thought that Muslims would be killed for believing in it by fellow Muslims? According to a much quoted Hadith, the Prophet is said to have warned of a period when his followers notwithstanding their extraordinary numbers would find themselves under siege everywhere. Who would have known that the Muslims would end up their own worst enemies and of their own kind?

And this isn’t a problem that is confined to Pakistan. From the killing fields of Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen to the battlefronts of Syria, Lebanon and Turkey, it is the same sickening story of the faithful being slaughtered at the hands of fellow travelers.

Groups like Al-Qaeda and Tahreek-e-Taleban that seemingly came into being to avenge the Western crimes and injustices against the faithful have killed more of their own people — an infinite number more — than their intended enemy. Indeed, more believers have died at the hands of their brethren than all the recent Western wars put together may have.

Remember the decade-long disastrous war between Iran and Iraq at the turn of the last century? Millions perished in the pointless clash, not to mention the mutual destruction of the two oil-producing nations under the benign gaze of the West and the rest. In Syria, what began as a people’s uprising against the long night of the Bathist tyranny has turned into a bitter, endless civil war claiming nearly 100,000 lives.

Clearly, we have a serious problem in our midst and the sooner we confronted it the better for everyone. We can go on deluding ourselves that all is well and that this is all part of a grand conspiracy to malign Islam and Muslims and do nothing. We can stand and stare while the world around us unravels and more and more impressionable minds are claimed by violent extremism with fingers inevitably being pointed at our faith.

Alternately, we could start fighting back confronting the dark forces in our midst. The enemy within now threatens our very identity and the sweet name of the faith that continues to conquer hearts and minds against all odds. This is the only way forward if we believe in Islam’s humane teachings and care for the future of our succeeding generations.

This is not a tiny fringe that we confront anymore. What we are staring at is an extraordinary ideological and existential challenge, the kind Muslim societies have never encountered in their eventful history. This calls for an equally extraordinary response from governments, Muslim scholars, intellectuals and everyone who is concerned over this mayhem and murder in our name. Mere condemnations and denouncements from the pulpit will not do. It is time for more effective measures to fight the scourge and present the real face and spirit of Islam — not just before the world but for the sake of our own. This is the real jihad right now”.

Aijaz Z. Syed is a Gulf based commentator. Email: aijaz.syed@hotmail.com

http://arabnews.com/news/455877

Some Old and Memorable Photographs of Pakistan Before Partition

 

 

SOME OLD & MEMORABLE PHOTOGRAPHS OF PAKISTAN BEFORE PARTITION
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Bazaar street at Shikarpur in Sindh, taken by an unknown photographer in the 1890s.

The mud daub roof, supported on a wooden framework, is largely collapsed. The historic town of Shikarpur, founded in

the 17th century, was once an important trading centre.

Due to its strategic location on the caravan routes of the 17th century, Shikarpur became the greatest commercial city

in Sindh. Its merchants and bankers held commercial relations with all the principal markets of Central Asia,
including Khorasan, Bukhara and Samarkand. Commercial cities of the Muslim world were known for their central
covered bazaars and Shikarpur was no exception, its bazaar, lined with shops mostly run by Hindu merchants,
ran through the centre of the old city, which is now much decayed.
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The bridge of boats across the Indus and the Attock fort, seen from Khairabad, taken by John Burke in 1878.
John Burke accompanied the Peshawar Valley Field Force, one of three British Anglo-Indian army columns deployed in the
Second Afghan War [1878-80], despite being rejected for the role of official photographer.
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Shrine of Zind Pir at Sukkur in the Shikarpur District of Sindh in Pakistan, taken by Henry Cousens in 1896-7.
This view looks across the causeway towards the entrance to the tomb.

Cousens wrote in the Progress Report of the Archaeological Survey of Sindh, 1897, “Upon the upper side of Bukkur,

and joined to it at low water, is the compact little island upon which, under the cool shade of some large trees,
is the famous shrine of Zinda or ‘Jind’ Pir. The island has been raised and protected against the corrosion of
the river by retaining walls of strong rubble masonry all around. The great gateway facing Rohri is a far more
imposing structure than the mean little domed shrine itself. The latter occupies the centre of the island, and
is a remarkable plain small square building surmounted by a low dome…”
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Photograph with a view looking over the houses of the town towards the Baluch Lines of the Karachi Cantonment, taken by
an unknown photographer, c.1900, from an album of 46 prints titled ‘Karachi Views’.

Karachi – one of the world’s largest metropolises.

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View on approaching Lahore from West – 1908
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Sukkur 1860’s
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Lawrence and Montgomery Halls, Lahore. Two large Halls for public meetings built by subscription in honour of Sir John Lawrence and Sir Robert Montgomery.

India financed problems for Pakistan from Afghanistan: Chuck Hagel

The unconditional participation of Pakistan in America’s war on terror in Afghanistan has rendered the country vulnerable to various kinds of security threats. Pakistan has suffered from this war to an extent that is unprecedented in world. India has been exploiting this situation to her advantage, knowing fully well that Pakistan will not be able to stop her interference. The statement of Chuck Hagel has removed all doubts about this bitter fact and is an eye opener for the policy-makers in Pakistan.

(Akhtar Malik)

 
‘India financed problems for Pakistan’ from Afghanistan: Chuck Hagel
February 26, 2013
 

2-26-2013_89847_lWhile some in Pakistan have for long been crying hoarse over growing Indian subversive activities in Pakistan through Afghanistan, the latest confirmation of this came from US defense secretary nominee Senator Chuck Hagel who in a previously unreleased video suggested that India has over the years “financed problems for Pakistan on that side of the border.”

Hagel in a talk on Afghanistan at the Cameron University in Oklahoma in 2011 said that India has been using Afghanistan as a second front against Pakistan. “India has over the years financed problems for Pakistan on that side of the border, and you can carry that into many dimensions.” The 2011 video had not been released previously, and only came to light after it was uploaded on to video sharing website by Washington Free Beacon. Hagel was nominated by President Barack Obama in January to replace US defence secretary Leon Panetta. He is due to hear a verdict on on his confirmation by the US Senate on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Indian Embassy in Washington has decried Hagel’s statement. An Indian embassy spokesperson told the Washington Free Beacon that Hagel’s statement was not grounded in “reality”. “Such comments attributed to Senator Hagel, who has been a long-standing friend of India and a prominent votary of close India-US relations, are contrary to the reality of India’s unbounded dedication to the welfare of the Afghan people,” the spokesperson said.

“India’s commitment to a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan is unwavering, and this is reflected in our significant assistance to Afghanistan in developing its economy, infrastructure and institutional capacities.” The spokesperson, seeking to dispel the notion that India may have sponsored terrorism, added that “India’s development assistance has been deeply appreciated by the people and the Government of Afghanistan, and by our friends around the world, including the United States,” and that “We [India] do not view our engagement with Afghanistan as a zero sum game.”

“India and the United States have a shared perspective and a deep convergence of interests for ensuring peace and stability in Afghanistan,” the spokesperson added. “We will continue to work to help the Afghan people build a peaceful, prosperous, democratic and inclusive future for themselves in an environment free from terror and intimidation.” ”Our opposition to terrorism and its safe havens in our neighborhood is firm and unshakeable,” the statement added.

 
India financed problems for Pak in Afghanistan: Chuck Hagel
 
PTI | 3 hours 39 min ago
 
Washington: In a sharp contrast to US view on India’s role in Afghanistan, President Barack Obama’s Defence Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel has alleged that India has over the years ‘financed problems’ for Pakistan in the war-torn country.
 
A video containing these remarks from an unreleased speech of Hagel at Oklahoma’s Cameron University in 2011 was uploaded by Washington Free Beacon, sparking a strong reaction from India which said such comments are ‘contrary to the reality’ of its unbounded dedication to the welfare of Afghans. Hagel, during the speech said, ‘India for some time has always used Afghanistan as a second front, and India has over the years financed problems for Pakistan on that side of the border’.
 
“And you can carry that into many dimensions, the point being [that] the tense, fragmented relationship between Pakistan and Afghanistan has been there for many, many years,” Hagel said. Reacting to this, the Indian Embassy here said, ‘Such comments attributed to Senator Hagel, who has been a long-standing friend of India and a prominent votary of close India-US relations are contrary to the reality of India’s unbounded dedication to the welfare of Afghan people’.
 
It added that India’s commitment to a peaceful, stable and prosperous Afghanistan is unwavering, ‘and this is reflected in our significant assistance to Afghanistan in developing its economy, infrastructure and institutional capacities’. ‘Our opposition to terrorism and its safe havens in our neighborhood is firm and unshakable’. “India’s development assistance has been deeply appreciated by the people and the Government of Afghanistan, and by our friends around the world including the US. We do not view our engagement with Afghanistan as a zero sum game,” the Embassy said.
 
Contradicts Obama govt’s view
 
Hagel’s remarks are in sharp contrast to viewpoint of Obama Administration that has always been in praise of India’s developmental role in Afghanistan and in fact has been pressing New Delhi to do more in Afghanistan. Significantly, a deeply divided Senate is in the process of voting on US President’s contentious nominee to head the Defense Department. The Embassy said India and the US have a shared perspective and a deep convergence of interests for ensuring peace and stability in Afghanistan.
 
“We will continue to work to help the Afghan people build a peaceful, prosperous, democratic and inclusive future for themselves in an environment free from terror and intimidation,” the statement said. The unearthing of anti-India comment by Hagel provided another ammunition to the Republican Senators to oppose his confirmation which is slated to come up today. Once published, the news item was sent by the office of powerful Republican Senator John Cornyn, who is among the leading opponent of twice wounded Vietnam veteran’s confirmation.
 
“In light of our shared interest in the US-India relationship, thought you would want to see this,” said the email sent by Cornyn’s office to top Indian American community leaders. Cornyn is Co-Chair of the Senate India Caucus. “I am surprised and shocked. We did not know the story and background of Senator Hagel on India, Afghanistan and Pakistan. I think Indian Community needs to work on to see how we can help to stop his nomination for the post of Secretary of Defense.
 
“We will definitely follow up with our Senators and impress on them on the folly of such a nomination,” Republican Sampat Shivangi (an unmistajably Indian sounding name), national president of Indian American Forum for Political Education, said.
 
Split in Senate
 
As Nebraska Senator for two terms from 1997 to 2009, Hagel was member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, frequently travelled to South Asia and voted in favour of the historic India-US civilian nuclear dealDuring his trip to Pakistan he told the then Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf that a similar agreement was not on cards with Islamabad, because of the proliferation issues with his country. Hagel’s nomination has bitterly split the Senate, with Republicans turning on their former colleague and Democrats standing by Obama’s nominee.
 
Republican lawmakers excoriated Hagel over his past statements and votes. They argued that he was too critical of Israel and too compromising with Iran. They cast the Nebraskan as a radical far out of the mainstream. Meanwhile, official sources in New Delhi said India has close and frequent discussions with the US “on all issues of mutual interest including on Afghanistan, and we have consistently received support and encouragement from our US partners for our constructive role in Afghanistan”.