Thursday, October 27, 2011

Suicidal despair of Pakistani father

It is perhaps the bleakest time in Pakistan's history. A hungry, unemployed man burns himself to death in front of the parliament in Islamabad and nothing changes.

Apathy runs supreme in Pakistan.

BBC News - Suicidal despair of Pakistani father

Time to take on Pakistan’s jihadist spies -

Time to take on Pakistan’s jihadist spies -

October 10, 2011 7:58 pm

Time to take on Pakistan’s jihadist spies

Early on May 9, a week after US Special Forces stormed the hideout of Osama bin Laden and killed him, a senior Pakistani diplomat telephoned me with an urgent request. Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan’s president, needed to communicate a message to White House national security officials that would bypass Pakistan’s military and intelligence channels. The embarrassment of bin Laden being found on Pakistani soil had humiliated Mr Zardari’s weak civilian government to such an extent that the president feared a military takeover was imminent. He needed an American fist on his army chief’s desk to end any misguided notions of a coup – and fast.
Gen Ashfaq Kayani, the army chief, and his troops were demoralised by the embarrassing ease with which US special forces had violated Pakistani sovereignty. Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan’s feared spy service, was charged by virtually the entire international community with complicity in hiding bin Laden for almost six years. Both camps were looking for a scapegoat; Mr Zardari was their most convenient target.
The diplomat made clear that the civilian government’s preferred channel to receive Mr Zardari’s message was Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US joint chiefs of staff. He was a time-tested friend of Pakistan and could convey the necessary message with force not only to President Barack Obama, but also to Gen Kayani. In a flurry of phone calls and emails over two days a memorandum was crafted that included a critical offer from the Pakistani president to the Obama administration: “The new national security team will eliminate Section S of the ISI charged with maintaining relations to the Taliban, Haqqani network, etc. This will dramatically improve relations with Afghanistan.”
The memo was delivered to Admiral Mullen at 14.00 hours on May 10. A meeting between him and Pakistani national security officials took place the next day at the White House. Pakistan’s military and intelligence chiefs, it seems, neither heeded the warning, nor acted on the admiral’s advice.
On September 22, in his farewell testimony to the Senate armed services committee, Admiral Mullen said he had “credible intelligence” that a bombing on September 11 that wounded 77 US and Nato troops and an attack on the US embassy in Kabul on September 13 were done “with ISI support.”Essentially he was indicting Pakistan’s intelligence services for carrying out a covert war against the US – perhaps in retaliation for the raid on bin Laden’s compound, perhaps out of strategic national interest to put Taliban forces back in power in Afghanistan so that Pakistan would once again have the “strategic depth” its paranoid security policies against India always envisioned.
Questions about the ISI’s role in Pakistan have intensified in recent months. The finger of responsibility in many otherwise inexplicable attacks has often pointed to a shadowy outfit of ISI dubbed “S-Wing”, which is said to be dedicated to promoting the dubious agenda of a narrow group of nationalists who believe only they can protect Pakistan’s territorial integrity.
The time has come for the state department to declare the S-Wing a sponsor of terrorism under the designation of “foreign governmental organisations”. Plans by the Obama administration to blacklist the Haqqani network are toothless and will have no material impact on the group’s military support and intelligence logistics; it is S-Wing that allegedly provides all of this in the first place. It no longer matters whether ISI is wilfully blind, complicit or incompetent in the attacks its S-Wing is carrying out. S-Wing must be stopped.
ISI embodies the scourge of radicalism that has become a cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy. The time has come for America to take the lead in shutting down the political and financial support that sustains an organ of the Pakistani state that undermines global antiterrorism efforts at every turn. Measures such as stopping aid to Pakistan, as a bill now moving through Congress aims to do, are not the solution. More precise policies are needed to remove the cancer that ISI and its rogue wings have become on the Pakistani state.
Pakistanis are not America’s enemies. Neither is their incompetent and toothless civilian government – the one Admiral Mullen was asked to help that May morning. The enemy is a state organ that breeds hatred among Pakistan’s Islamist masses and then uses their thirst for jihad against Pakistan’s neighbours and allies to sate its hunger for power. Taking steps to reduce its influence over Pakistan’s state affairs is a critical measure of the world’s willingness to stop the terror masters at their very roots."
The writer is an American of Pakistani ancestry. In 1997 he negotiated Sudan’s offer of counter-terrorism assistance to the Clinton administration

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Musharraf hires US lobbyist for $25,000 a month

Kudos to the Dawn's correspondent in Washington, DC, for revealing the $175,000 PR services retained by General Musharraf.

WASHINGTON: Former chief of the army staff Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf, currently visiting North America, has hired a firm for $25,000 a month to lobby for him in the US capital.

A copy of the contract obtained by Dawn shows that a formal agreement between Mr Musharraf and the Advantage Associates International Ltd. was signed on Sept 1.

The contract letter identifies the firm as a specialist in “helping clients with governmental, political and international matters.” Raza Bokhari, a prominent member of Mr Musharraf’s party in the US, will work as “point of contact”.

“For purposes of this agreement, Mr Bokhari and the office of Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf shall retain joint rights,” the letter says.

The Advantage Ltd will work with Mr Bokhari to “develop a strategy to represent the interest of Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf in the US” and the firm will assist Mr Bokhari “in any other area that would be of benefit to Gen (retd) Musharraf”.

The agreement, which began on Sept 1, 2011, ends on March 30, 2012.

The parties “acknowledge awareness and stated preference that this is an agreement for services as an independent contractor. The parties will exert all manner of good faith and take all reasonable efforts to ensure performance and prevent repudiation by other parties connected with its activities which could affect its performance under this agreement”.

The total fee for the services to be provided to by Advantage is $175,000.00. A monthly payment in the amount of $25,000.00 will be made to Advantage for a period of seven months beginning on Sept 1, 2011. All monthly payments must be made on the first of each month. However, for the last two months and the first month, $75,000.00 was paid upon the signing of this agreement.

Mr Bokhari also agreed to reimburse Advantage for all reasonable expenses arising out of this agreement, with any expenses over $250.00 approved in advance.

Meanwhile, Mr Musharraf’s office in the US issued a statement on Friday, noting that the relationship between Pakistan and the US was on a declining trend due to many reasons.

To explain Pakistan’s position, Mr Musharraf met a number of senior US lawmakers in Washington, the statement said.

“As a member of diaspora community, we all feel compelled to play our roles in improving the bilateral relationship between
the two countries,” the statement said.

He was scheduled to meet the former speaker, and a senior member of the US Congress, Nancy Pelosi, on Friday.

Musharraf hires US lobbyist for $25,000 a month | Pakistan | DAWN.COM

Pakistan contacts Saudi Arabia, Yemen to repatriate Bin Laden’s wives: Report – The Express Tribune

The real question about OBL's hideout is how 10 children were convinced to stay silent about their dad for over so many years. It simply can't be.

Pakistan has contacted the governments of Saudi Arabia and Yemen for the repatriation of the three wives of Osama bin Laden, CNN has reported.

According to the report, officials confirmed that Pakistan had decided to send the wives back to their home countries.

The Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) had taken custody of Bin Laden’s widows, two Saudis and one Yemeni, and around 10 of their children after the May 2 US operation in Abbottabad and the commission had barred authorities from handing them over to any other country without its permission.

Initial efforts to repatriate the women and children ran aground when the commission in July ordered them to remain in Pakistan until further notice, indicating that it wanted to question them in relation to its inquiries.

The Abbottabad commission investigating the raid lifted travel restrictions after recording their statements.

Pakistan contacts Saudi Arabia, Yemen to repatriate Bin Laden’s wives: Report – The Express Tribune