Archive for the '01 – [ O P I N I O N S ]' Category

22
Sep
08

President goes West as COAS heads East

The Pakistani leadership have moved in opposite directions in the face of one of the most shocking and disastrous suicide attacks on its capital.

While President Zardari is currently en route to United States to attend the UN Assembly as well as have a talk with President George W Bush, Pakistan’s Chief Of Army Staff has gone East on a 5 day official trip to China.

This happens to be quite an interesting move in a sense that while our President is heading to United States to possibly ensure that Pakistan’s solidarity shall remain as staunch as ever, our COAS is going over to our long time friend, China where he will be meeting the Chinese President Hu Jintao as well as visiting three military regions namely Shenyang military region, Beijing military region and Chengdu military region. The two countries are building some of their most sophisticated war machinery through mutual cooperation in the Chengdu Region including the multi-role medium-tech J-17 fighter planes. The sources revealed that General Kiyani would also visit some exercise areas where he would be shown some of the most modern defense equipment and war machinery that China has recently developed through indigenous research. General Kiyani will extend invitation to General Chen Bingde to visit Pakistan.

Whether the purpose of these polar opposite visits is to give a message to the United States and the rest of the world regarding a massive shift in Pakistan’s anti-terrorism policies or something else, there are huge expectations from both these tours.

President Zardari will probably be facing one of the toughest situations in his political career so far as he will be indulging the President of the United States in talks over various issues of grave importance ranging from Washington allowing US forces to operate inside Pakistan to where the relations between the two countries stand. He has already been snubbed and criticized for canceling his visit to China in favor of UK and the US and he will have tough waters to tread in the West and back home.

The nation, still bleeding, awaits its leaders’ next stance – and it is about time we take one!

11
Sep
08

The Gloves Come Off!

I’m not convinced we are winning it in Afghanistan. I am convinced we can… We are looking at a new, more comprehensive strategy for the region that would cover both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. In my view, these two nations are inextricably linked in a common insurgency that crosses the border between them!

Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, USA

And so it has begun: the open, and unabashed attack on the sovereignty and freedom of Pakistan. The U.S. military, faced with rising insurgent violence in Afghanistan, will revise its strategy for the region to include militant safe havens in neighboring Pakistan. Within a span of 12 days, there have been 7 attacks launched by the United States from across the border on villages in Pakistan. The cup ran over when on September 3, the American Special Operation Forces conducted a full fledged raid inside Pakistan that resulted in the deaths of some 20-30 innocent Pakistanis. The attack for condemned by Pakistan, resolutions were passed in the United Nations but as always, United States paid no heed. Instead, they openly proclaimed the raid as their show and promised further operations on Pakistani soil. According to the NY TIMES, the authorization for this has come right from top: Bush himself! It was back in July when President Bush secretly approved ground assaults inside Pakistan. According to the orders issued, Pakistan is to ‘notified’ when limited ground assaults are conducted inside the country but a permission will not be asked for!

Let’s reconfirm for our understanding… The United States Armed Forces will now cross, jump, fly, or walk over the border to shoot, bomb, kill, take captive, and/or investigate nationals of one of their most important allies in the war against terrorism WITHOUT seeking the country’s approval?

You got that right!

Continue reading ‘The Gloves Come Off!’

09
Sep
08

The Fruit of ‘Pakistani’ Democracy: President Zardari

All so called patriotic rallies, all sit-ins, all strikes and damages incurred to public properties and buildings, all efforts to get rid of a dictator have paid off! Democracy has won in Pakistan, Ladies, Gentlemen, Politicians, and Laywers (yes, the politicians and the lawyers are a separate breed in Pakistan). So what has been the ultimate and most promising thing to emerge from this struggle to be ‘democratic’ again?

Answer: President Asif Ali Zardari!

Ain’t that ironic! *chuckles*

All hail the new ‘democratic’ and ‘legally elected’ President of Pakistan: The man who has as many cases against him across several continents as the wide spectrum of his assets! The ‘Mr. 10%’ who rose from being a mere Environment Minister to becoming a President! The President of the very same country he was jailed in for well over a decade! This is Pakistani democracy! The easiest and most convenient way to rise in power and stay put, no matter how corrupt or vile you maybe.

Continue reading ‘The Fruit of ‘Pakistani’ Democracy: President Zardari’

26
Aug
08

Lawyers: a terrorist organization we forgot to ban?

Law is not what it used to be in Pakistan. No question about that. Occasional strikes and snail pace legal proceedings were common practices from day 1 in this country anyways. A trip to any of the ‘kacheris‘ courts would entail for an unforgettable experience. All sorts of looting, plundering, bargaining, and deals take place to get a simple document signed. It was the norm and people were just used to it by now; the accommodating nation that we are!

Then a bunch of judges were suspended for things that did not fit the bill. Very few know the precise reasons for this move by the then President, Pervez Musharraf, because the summary of reasons presented to the public were as simple and stupid as one kid crying over a toy that was snatched away from him by another.  No denying that there definitely was something more than what meets the eyes. Unfortunately, in a country like ours, secrets will always remain secrets. We don’t have any laws that conform the governments to declassify any information after say 50 years or so.

Anyhow, so these judges got suspended. The lawyers erupted. Political parties from every nook and corner of Pakistan dug themselves out of the dirt holes they were buried in and walked hand in hands with the lawyers. The scene looked very much like those flimsy snails that you see wriggling every where on the earth when it rains. The media joined hands with the lawyers too. Promising their solidarity and complete, unabashed favoritism. They covered angry mobs who were being beaten back by security forces for destroying national properties but didn’t bother to focus on the mayhem the lawyers caused on the streets. Pakistan made a united front against an action, a united front that brought their very own country to a stand still.

That was last year!

Continue reading ‘Lawyers: a terrorist organization we forgot to ban?’

29
Jul
08

US assured of ongoing War on Terror. But is that enough?

On his first visit to the United States as the new Prime Minister of Pakistan, Yusuf Raza Gillani, is not only trying to promise a more defiant Pakistan in the face of the War on Terror but to also take Washington’s favorable hand off President Musharraf.

We are committed to fight against those extremists and terrorists who are destroying and making the world unsafe.

by Mr. Gilani after meeting George W. Bush in the Oval Office at the White House

With Pakistani stock markets falling low for weeks due to political instability, threats to national security, and an over all air of uncertainty, it was about time for the new representative of the democratic Islamabad to travel to US and try to prove that President Musharraf is not the only one worthy of US’s trust and support.

Nothing new in particular was brought to light in the press conference except the promise to stand tough against those who threaten Pakistan and to work on curbing cross border terrorism in particular. The recent bombing at the Indian embassy in Kabul had put ISI and Pakistan in the forefront with accusations flying from all around. Both Kabul and New Delhi were quick to pin the blame on the top Pakistani intelligence agency, a claim that was strongly denied by Pakistan.

But the bigger question is not what the Bush government plans to do with Pakistan. It’s the new president who needs to be considered too. Barack Obama is the most likely candidate to take over from Bush and while we assure US of our continued support, we need to plan for the future with Obama in the front too. On countless occasions now he has hinted at a possible US interference in Pakistan’s tribal areas while calling them a ‘safe haven for Al-Qaeda’.  According to Obama, this is a big problem and something must be done to find a working solution to this. So when Mr. Obama says that a more effective cooperation is needed from Pakistan, is he implying that we should understand why one day US forces will be invading our turf with the excuse to wipe out terrorism?

Obama is set to meet Mr. Gillani today and it goes without saying that this visit will not be a stroll through the Central Park for our Prime Minister.

08
Jul
08

Kaos in Karachi – A Disaster In The Making?

Seven bomb blasts rocked the city yesterday. Seven is quite a number!

Over 40 people have been injured and several killed. The intelligence sources claimed that the attacks were targeting a specific language speaking group and aimed to create unrest and rouse ethnic violence. For those who lost their loved ones or had to suffer through the turmoils, it doesn’t matter why this was done. They want those responsible brought down and made an example out of.

But where do we go from here?

Over in Islamabad, news has come in that they have found the head of the suicide bomber! Good for you Islamabad. What’s next?

You don’t know?

Oh wait ok… why am I not surprised? Perhaps because that is the end of our investigating capabilities? The head has been found… the case is closed!

Round of applause everyone… promote a few officers and let’s be done with it!

It’s an irony that in the face of such brutal and frequent terrorism, there is little that has ever come to light about these bomb blasts and suicide bombers themselves ever. If those behind the assassination of a prominent leader such as Benazir Bhutto can not be traced out, what to talk of these recent blasts in Islamabad and Karachi! We are at war with a cunning enemy who lives within our walls and we don’t have the means to counter his moves.

Pakistan WILL crumble from withing if this continues.

Already there are rumors circulating about a possible Pakistani hand in the Indian Embassy bombing in Kabul that killed 40 and left well over a 100 wounded. Is it sheer coincidence that the Karachi blasts came merely 10-15 hours after the Kabul attack? Was this a  back-lash by India or Afghanistan or is there a third group that staged the two bombings to create misunderstandings between the three countries?

The attacks in Islamabad, in Karachi and the one in Kabul must not be ruled out as separate incidents. The frequency and timing of these attacks are all too closely aligned to be dismissed as a potential lead. The seven bombs that ripped through Karachi yesterday clearly were a part of the plan that was put in a hurry. That is why it resulted in more wounded than dead. Here’s your biggest lead!

Try giving the nation something more than ‘look! We found the head!’

You can play football with it for all we care!

07
Jul
08

Leaving A Bad Taste In The Mouth!

CORRECTION: There were TWO suicide bomb blasts in Islamabad recently… not ONE!

Firstly, at Melody Chowk that resulted in 15 dead and over 50 injured. On the eve of the Red Mosque Operation’s first Anniversary, a suicide bomber decided to unleash yet another wave of terror that Islamabad in particular has suffered from countless times now.

Was this a vengeful ploy by the mullahs/suporters of the Red Mosque for what they believe was a illegal and wrongful act against presumably innocent clerics and students?

Was this a back lash by the Taliban over the recent Operation Sirat-e-Mustaqaeem in Khyber Agency? Surely it is not uncommon for the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)  to respond in such manner when their backs are against the wall.

Or perhaps there were foreign hands involved, bent upon destabilizing Pakistan and pitting the nation against each other by means of the ‘divide and conquer’ rule?

We might never know for sure. Some secrets, unfortunately, shall always remain so.

The second suicide bomb was triggered by the man we have all come to know as the father of Pakistan’s nuclear power: Dr. A Q Khan. Although he has already set off the bomb with his recent ‘spilling the beans’ interview to media (local/international). the echo and impact of this blast will be heard in due time. We all know you and Musharraf don’t see eye to eye. You have your versions and he has his. That is fine. But at the very sensitive moment in time when our so called friends and enemies alike are looking for every excuse they could find to build a case against Pakistan and its nuclear arsenal, you decided to further humiliate us. I’m sorry Dr. Khan but as much as we adore you, your actions have made us see you in a different light. You were once a man of vision and wisdom. Now, as age has taken its course on you, your vision has impaired and your wisdom has deteriorated. You are merely an angry old man who has vowed to go at any lengths possible to take back the eight or so years you spent in confinement. That is all that matters to you know. Not the future of Pakistan or its nuclear assets. Your disposition and your comments indicate that beyond any thing else.

Granted that ‘In The Line of Fire‘ raised quite a few eyebrows. There is also no denying the fact that the President made certain wild accusations and speculations in his book that amount to national secrets and should have remained secrets. Agreed. But was it really necessary to stoop down to the same level and put the nation at risk? The very nation that adored you is now at the mercy of those who will mould and bend your statements (or even you in days to come) to give an ugly shape to our nuclear program. Thanks to you, we’ll once again see our politicians being invited to Washington, pressurized and eventually sell out more of Pakistan. Bravo Dr. Khan!

The suicide bomber at Melody Chowk might have killed more than a dozen policemen. But yours has the potential to obliterate a nation.

I wonder, how do you sleep at night after knowing what you have set off Dr. A Q Khan?




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