Archive for February, 2009

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Ayesha Siddiqa’s MILITARY INC: A Deflective and Derogatory Book

February 23, 2009

Dr. Ayesha SiddiquaDr Ayesha Siddiqa’s ‘The Military Inc.’ is a book deflective of reality, highly derogatory and against the very notion of sovereignty.

Dr Ayesha Siddiqa launches the book by giving the impression that her intention is to cover the entrepreneurial activities of military worldwide. However, in depth reading reaffirms suspicions that her book massively targets the Pakistan Military and the top echelons of the Armed Forces, most of which are based upon self serving assumptions and intentional hoodwinking. A labyrinth of financial figures is presented to further obscure the ordinary reader’s intelligence.

The book sets forward four arguments. First, that MILBUS (Military Business) is military capital that perpetuates the military’s political predatory style; and is kept concealed and includes questionable transfer of resources from public sector to individuals connected with armed Forces. Second, the military’s economic greed increases in totalitarian systems. Third, Military convinces the citizens to bear additional costs for security on basis of conceived threats to the State. Fourth, the book considers the Pakistan Military the cause of all ills, social disparity and democratic fiasco.

Let’s start by setting the record straight. MILBUS in Pakistan – is the result of honest intentions and visionary policies – to raise independent resources, to self-finance the on-going national technological development, to modernize strategic assets, and most importantly, the determination to rely less on Foreign Aid. While at the same time, build facilities for retired military personnel and their families; and slowly withdrawing from National Defense budget allocation as a percentage of GDP.

MILBUS also exists in well developed countries like the USA, UK, France, China, Israel or even Turkey. The Milbus or the PMEs (Private Military Enterprises) are generally known as the Private Military Industry. Famous US PMEs include Halliburton, Black-water worldwide, Defensecurity, Titan Corporations, Kellogg Brown & Root, Air Scan, DynCorp’s, CACI International, etc. Famous UK PMEs include Black-Op’s and Aegis Defense Services. Most of these are active beneficiaries of the Iraq War. The worldwide PME industry is now worth over $100 billion a year. Thus, this is not just a Pakistan specific industry.

MILBUS in Pakistan is being criticized unnecessarily, with the sole intention to malign the Armed Forces. The Pakistan military has never intended to deliberately conceal their economic activities and they do not cause injustice by weighing heavily on civilian corporate sector or individual leaders.

The book ‘Military Inc’ is based upon a series of presumptions and false accusations. Throughout her book, the author obstinately insists that the growth of Military economy is the case of self interest and predatory acquisition by senior officers, in which it allow the Generals to seek benefit for themselves and their clients.

The author fails to provide, any concrete evidence that could confirm her allegations, that questionable transfer of wealth is made to individuals connected with armed forces. All she could give in example were the 500 sq yard official plots given to the Generals at the end of their service, as part of their benefits, and hence her assumption that a retired general is worth from Rs.150 million to Rs.400 million.

Rarely do critics mention, that nominal deduction from the pay of all military officers are made during their service, in return for a small apartment or a small housing, which is handed over at the time of their retirement. However, this facility is still not available to all retiring servicemen.

Next, the book alleges that the military’s economic greed increases in totalitarian systems, where the general public, private businessmen, civilian corporate sector and national business units are all oppressed to encourage and endorse military business units. Her book focuses largely on the four welfare projects managed by the Pakistan Military i.e. The Fauji Foundation (FF), the Army Welfare Trust (AWT), Shaheen Foundation (SF) and Bahria Foundation (BF), and in some places the Frontier Works Organization (FWO).

The author believes that “the profit earned by military is directly proportional to power and gives the armed forces a sense of being independent of the incompetent civilians” – which can only be considered as an extremely reckless comment.

There was great wisdom behind establishing these welfare projects. The visionary minds knew that “the profit earned by the military will be directly proportional to Sovereignty of the Country and the Institution”.

The Military established its first welfare foundation in 1954, with funds received from the British as part of Pakistan’s share of the Post War Services Reconstruction Fund. In India, those funds were distributed immediately amongst those who fought the Second World War. Unlike India, Pakistan’s wise military opted to use those funds to establish projects that would ensure the overall well-being, availability of jobs, and a decent pension for their armed forces.

The initial purpose of these welfare projects was to create employment opportunities for the honorable retired or disabled military personnel.  Servicemen – whose only obligation is defending the borders of Pakistan.

This one wise decision, not only raised the morals of the serving military men, but also gave the ordinary citizens a reason to join the Armed Forces of Pakistan and serve their country. Assured that their future is protected, the servicemen live their lives in testing times on borders, remote locations and a life away from family.

The Fauji Foundation, Shaheen Foundation and Bahria Foundation were all established under the Charitable Endowments Act 1890. The Army Welfare Trust was established under the Societies Registration Act 1860.

Then all these entities are registered Tax-paying Companies. The Army Welfare Trust and the Fauji Foundation pays tax at 20% of their profits. Shaheen Foundation and Bahria Foundation pay Taxes at 30% of their profits. Fair enough!

This limited industrial base that evolved over years added to the military’s credibility and resolves to contribute towards the Nation’s socio-economic development and Pakistan’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Like any ordinary successful businessmen or multi-national corporations (MNCs), the Pakistan Military utilized their available structure, nominal budget and dedicated their human resources for the welfare of the uniformed men and civilians working in those companies. While also pioneering technology, developing expertise and establishing quality control.

The book ‘Military Inc’ accuses the Pakistan Armed forces of running business (MILBUS) that are diverse in nature, ranging from small scale to large scale corporate enterprises. As examples, it quotes Schools, Banks, Insurance Company, Radio and TV, a Fertilizer company, Hospitals and Clinics, Cement plant, Universities and institutes, etc.

Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa left no opportunity to magnify and exaggerate the limited and partial presence of MILBUS competing in Pakistan’s broad based expanding economy.

Let’s analyze the limited magnitude and negligible worth of these Military run ventures, compared to similar mega business entities currently present in Pakistan.

According to State Bank of Pakistan, there are total 73 Banks in Pakistan. From which, there are 24 Limited banks, 11 Foreign Banks, 8 Financial Banks, 4 Specialized Banks, 13 Investment Banks, 7 Micro-finance Banks and 6 Islamic banks. Out of these total 73 banks – Dr Ayesha Siddiqa tends to be intolerable towards ONE ‘Askari Bank’ run by Military? In 2007, Askari Bank paid a Tax of Rs. 743 million.

According to Federal Bureau of Statistics, there are 24 Cement plants in Pakistan, and only ONE owned by ‘Fauji Cement Company Ltd’. A Tax-paying company listed on the Stock Exchange.

According to State Bank of Pakistan, there are total 59 Insurance companies in Pakistan. There are 4 in the Public sector, 50 companies in the private sector and 5 are incorporated abroad. Why should anyone be narrow-minded towards ONE owned by military – ‘Askari General Insurance Ltd’, which is listed on the Stock Exchange and pays Tax?

According to the Health Division and the P.M.D.C, there are around 924 Hospitals, 12,726 Medical Institutions, 560 Rural Health Centers and 4712 Dispensaries all over Pakistan. Out of these, if 10 Hospitals and 20 Medical Centers are being run by Fauji Foundation, what’s the hue & cry about? These Medical services are offered to the military and civilians alike. Even the prestigious Aga Khan Health Services (AGHS) own 7 Hospitals and 164 Medical Centers.

According to State Bank Pakistan, there are above 10 Fertilizer Plants in Pakistan from which 6 are State owned and the rest are private. Out of these, only ONE is military owned, the ‘Fauji Fertilizer Company Ltd’, which is listed on the Stock Exchange and audited by KPMG Taseer Hadi & Co, and pays Tax annually.

According to Higher Education Commission, there are 122 Universities in Pakistan. Out of which, 65 are in the Public sector and 57 in the private sector. Foundation University and Bahria University are the only two affiliated with Armed Forces providing quality education to all citizens alike.

Foundation Schools have 90 branches all over Pakistan; compared to the City School which has more than 150 branches and the Beacon-house School which has around 130 branches. We as a Nation should triumph the quality education being promoted by the Foundation schools and the model paradigm implemented.

The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has 50,125 companies registered with it. From these only 9 are MILBUS projects. Why can’t Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa accept these 9 MILBUS projects out of the 50,125 projects broadmindedly?

The author also alleges that Military’s Internal Economy is hampering the growth of Pakistan’s free market economy – which of course is not true. For her information, under this same system and era, and under the leadership of General Musharraf, Pakistan’s free market economy boomed from $75 billion in 1999 to become $160 billion in 2007.

In the last 6 years, the free market economy of Pakistan expanded by $85 billion. The expansion and growth the Civilian Corporate sector, National Business Units and Multi-National Corporations witnessed in these last 6 years remain unprecedented in Pakistan’s Economic History. Hence proven, that Military’s Internal Economy did not hamper Pakistan’s free market economy!

According to Dr Ayesha Siddiqa’s book, the worth of Fauji Foundation is $169m, the worth of Army Welfare trust is $862m, the worth of Shaheen Foundation is $34.4m and the worth of Bahria Foundation is $69m. Total worth of MILBUS entities in Pakistan arise to ONLY $1.135 billion.  

Hence, the presence of MILBUS companies, in Pakistan’s free economy of $160 billion, amongst these other sectors and enterprises arises to a negligible maximum 0.8%.

The Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) Market Capitalization in January 2008 stood at $75 billion. MILBUS worth as compared to KSE again arises to only 1.5%.

It’s amusing to note that Dr Ayesha Siddiqa wrote a whole book, to malign a system (MILBUS) whose worth does not exceed 0.8% of Pakistan’s free market economy.

Dr Ayesha Siddiqa’s desire to portray the Pakistan Military as a coercive and self serving breed aiming to consolidate their economic power at the expense of Pakistan, not only erodes her neutrality into bias, but the above economic comparisons also contradict all her presumptuous and sham claims. As MILBUS in Pakistan has been competing fairly in free market and contributing to today’s knowledge-based economy. It has played an active role to generate revenue for Pakistan and in contributing to overall GDP.

One of the greatest wisdom foreseen, behind establishing MILBUS was to liberate the Pakistan Armed Forces of international aid assistance and interference. Classified financial autonomy gives the Armed Forces a sense of self-respect and confidence of being independent of the dominating ‘International Coalition of the willing’ and their foreign aid.

The Pakistan Army has received a total of around $17 billion from the United States for arms, equipment and compensation since 1954, the year the United States entered into defense pacts with Pakistan. Much of it was uselessly spend during the 1980’s Afghan war and the wars Pakistan fought with India. After 9/11, the famous foreign assistance of $10 billion comprises 60% reimbursement costs for expenditure incurred by the Pakistani Military while patrolling on PAK-Afghan border, recorded in the ‘Coalition Support Funds’. These worthless assistances have not helped the Pakistan Army contrary to perception propagated in media reports.

Because, with these insignificant and worthless assistance, follows a series of humiliating articles and editorials composed in American print media. The clueless and prejudice Pakistani media ignorantly picks up the chanting and further plays an important role in distorting and altering the actual facts and figures. No relevant person is approached to clarify and set facts straight. Authors like Dr Ayesha Siddiqa bank on such distortion to further slander the admirable Pakistan Military.

After year 2000, the $85 billion expansion of Pakistan’s economy, decreased the ratio of US aid & assistance to Pakistan’s economy by around 100%. Now the U.S aid & assistance account to only 6.25% of Pakistan’s expanding economy. Pakistan is successfully wriggling out of foreign influence. Visionary MILBUS was the right step in the right direction at the right time!

Pakistan Military requires a proper platform utilized to clear the misperceptions being propagated against them and counter the sham allegations. In short, Pakistan military lacks the exposure to enhance their PR with the Public. Pakistani GHQ and ISPR should take up an active role similar to Pentagon and make their interactions more effective.

Next, the book ‘Military Inc’ considers Pakistan Military the root cause of social disparity and democratic fiasco. It alleges that socio-political fragmentation would result in strengthening the army’s control over politics. Throughout her book, Dr Ayesha Siddiqa lambasts and scoffs at the concept of MILBUS accusing the military of building assets and calling them as the ‘new land barons’.

In her desperation to smear the Army, she even fails to condemn the corruption practiced and coercive measures exercised by the inept political leaders. How these redundant leaders influence the bureaucracy, alter the constitution, plunder national institutions, stagnated the trade & exports, multiplied the foreign debts for the country, rob the country of the foreign reserves and accumulate their wealth in developed countries – is all together ignored by her conveniently.  

The truth is that the Armed forces are forced to intervene reluctantly and take control of the state to save it from the irresponsible and hopeless politicians, who drag the country towards brink of collapse, every time they come to power.

In short, Pakistan’s external debt rose from $18 billion in 1988 to become $38 billion by end of 1999. In 1999, Pakistan’s total debt (internal & external) was almost 90% of its GDP. External debt in ratio to foreign exchange earnings were 347%. Debt servicing allocated in 1999 budget was 61% of total revenue resources. According to the World Bank, in 1999-2000 Pakistan was amongst the highly indebted countries.

Despite the above mentioned debacle for Pakistan – the substantial expansion in the personal wealth, land and business interests of Mr. Zardari and Mr. Nawaz Sharif has earned them a place in the ‘Top 5 richest people’ of Pakistan in 2007. Not a single General or military servicemen made it to the list of ‘Top 40 Richest Pakistani’. Who should we consider a peril to Pakistan’s existence – these fraudulent politicians or the reserved military?

The Raiwind complex of Nawaz Sharif, build on an area of around 2000 acre, consist of palatial  residences, 300 acre farm, 500 bed hospital, a school, 200 acre dairy farm, etc – constructed at a cost of above Rs. 800 million. He personally owns Ittefaq foundries, three Sugar mills, numerous Textile mills, Steel Mills, Paper Mills, Spinning mills, Engineering companies, and numerous other business units. He owns several residential properties in Lahore and Muree. He owns vast acres of lands in Sheikhapura, Chunian, Raiwind, Multan and Bhopattian. These feudal turned politicians can easily be labeled as the ‘old Pakistani barons’.

Dr Ayesha Siddiqa also alleges that the military convinces the citizens to bear additional costs for security on basis of conceived threats to the State. She wants the public to believe that their taxes are being exploited at the expense of the notion ‘National Security’. This statement of hers is an attempt to ignore and snub the volatile situation Pakistan faces at its borders.

She also remains oblivious to the fact, that India allocates 5 times that of Pakistan’s defense spending.

However, under President Musharraf, the military spending DECREASED as percentage of GDP and National budget. It now stands at 3% of GDP and 15% of National budget. It strikes out though, how Dr Ayesha Siddiqa veils and ignores the bulk of the National budget of 85% that lies at the disposal of the manipulative hands of our shady politicians. The public has the right to know, what proper utilization has been brought about with that unaccountable 85% in the 1990’s?

This derogatory book ‘Military Inc’ intends to sow seeds of disenchantment amongst the general public against the modest and patriotic institution of the Armed forces of Pakistan, and lower its grace.  Those Armed Forces of Pakistan that run to protect and deliver relief, to ordinary Pakistanis in times of calamities, natural disasters, floods, train accidents, and earthquakes. Does Pakistan have any other force or institution which is as disciplined and effective in providing speedy help immediately? Shouldn’t we strengthen this only institution that we have?

The publication of Dr Ayesha Siddiqa’s own book ‘Military Inc’ in 2007, in President Musharraf’s era, repudiates her claims to term the military rule as manipulative and suppressive. It’s evident that no subtle or coercive measures were taken against her or any arm-twisting to curb the publication of this highly controversial book! Where would she find such boundless and gracious freedom? The book ‘Military Inc’ has become a checker of the chessboard being maneuvered by the unknown and ambiguous foreign powers interested in Balkanization of Pakistan.

The ultimate objective of the book ‘Military Inc’ is to perpetrate friction and cause dissent amongst the ranks of the disciplined Armed Forces. By deliberately triggering upheaval within the lower ranks, the intention appears to encourage internal revolt. As a consequence, the unity, discipline and allegiance of the Armed Forces of Pakistan can be destroyed.  

Thus, to protect the allegiance of the Armed Forces, the whole concept of visionary MILBUS is justified, as a set of activities for the development of Pakistan’s military might, meant to counter the rising regional threat convergence and decreasing dependence upon foreign aid – ultimately protecting the sovereignty of Pakistan and its savior Armed Forces!

Glory and Triumph to Pakistan Armed Forces!

Afreen Baig is an independent analyst majoring in International Relations and Economics. She can be reached at afreenbaig@gmail.com

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EXCLUSIVE-The Plan To Topple Pakistan Military

February 23, 2009

On Nov. 19, 2007, this column predicted either Pervez Musharraf or Benazir Bhutto would be assassinated [she was killed five weeks later] and warned in clear words: “This is not about Musharraf anymore. This is about clipping the wings of a strong Pakistani military, denying space for China in Pakistan, squashing the ISI, stirring ethnic unrest, and neutralizing Pakistan’s nuclear program. The first shot in this plan was fired in Pakistan’s Balochistan province in 2004. The last bullet will be toppling Musharraf, sidelining the military and installing a pliant government in Islamabad. Musharraf shares the blame for letting things come this far. But he is also trying to punch holes in Washington’s game plan. He needs to be supported.” Less than a year later, it is stunning how we never saw the signs. Patriot Pakistanis are worried about their homeland. I have no faith in Islamabad. Is anyone listening in Rawalpindi? [Ahmed Quraishi, Aug. 31, 2008.]

By AHMED QURAISHI

Monday, 19 November 2007.

WWW.AHMEDQURAISHI.COM

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—On the evening of Tuesday, 26 September, 2006, Pakistani strongman Pervez Musharraf walked into the studio of Comedy Central’s ‘Daily Show’ with Jon Stewart, the first sitting president anywhere to dare do this political satire show.

Stewart offered his guest some tea and cookies and played the perfect host by asking, “Is it good?” before springing a surprise: “Where’s Osama bin Laden?”

“I don’t know,” Musharraf replied, as the audience enjoyed the rare sight of a strong leader apparently cornered. “You know where he is?” Musharraf snapped back, “You lead on, we’ll follow you.”

What Gen. Musharraf didn’t know then is that he really was being cornered. Some of the smiles that greeted him in Washington and back home gave no hint of the betrayal that awaited him.

As he completed the remaining part of his U.S. visit, his allies in Washington and elsewhere, as all evidence suggests now, were plotting his downfall. They had decided to take a page from the book of successful ‘color revolutions’ where western governments covertly used money, private media, student unions, NGOs and international pressure to stage coups, basically overthrowing individuals not fitting well with Washington’s agenda.

This recipe proved its success in former Yugoslavia, and more recently in Georgia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.

In Pakistan, the target is a Pakistani president who refuses to play ball with the United States on Afghanistan, China, and Dr. A.Q. Khan.

To get rid of him, an impressive operation is underway:

A carefully crafted media blitzkrieg launched early this year assailing the Pakistani president from all sides, questioning his power, his role in Washington’s war on terror and predicting his downfall.
Money pumped into the country to pay for organized dissent.
Willing activists assigned to mobilize and organize accessible social groups.
A campaign waged on Internet where tens of mailing lists and ‘news agencies’ have sprung up from nowhere, all demonizing Musharraf and the Pakistani military.
European- and American-funded Pakistani NGOs taking a temporary leave from their real jobs to work as a makeshift anti-government mobilization machine.
U.S. government agencies directly funding some private Pakistani television networks; the channels go into an open anti-government mode, cashing in on some manufactured and other real public grievances regarding inflation and corruption.
Some of Musharraf’s shady and corrupt political allies feed this campaign, hoping to stay in power under a weakened president.
All this groundwork completed and chips in place when the judicial crisis breaks out in March 2007. Even Pakistani politicians surprised at a well-greased and well-organized lawyers campaign, complete with flyers, rented cars and buses, excellent event-management and media outreach.
Currently, students are being recruited and organized into a street movement. The work is ongoing and urban Pakistani students are being cultivated, especially using popular Internet Web sites and ‘online hangouts’. The people behind this effort are mostly unknown and faceless, limiting themselves to organizing sporadic, small student gatherings in Lahore and Islamabad, complete with banners, placards and little babies with arm bands for maximum media effect. No major student association has announced yet that it is behind these student protests, which is a very interesting fact glossed over by most journalists covering this story. Only a few students from affluent schools have responded so far and it’s not because the Pakistani government’s countermeasures are effective. They’re not. The reason is that social activism attracts people from affluent backgrounds, closely reflecting a uniquely Pakistani phenomenon where local NGOs are mostly founded and run by rich, westernized Pakistanis.

All of this may appear to be spur-of-the-moment and Musharraf-specific. But it all really began almost three years ago, when, out of the blue and recycling old political arguments, Mr. Akbar Bugti launched an armed rebellion against the Pakistani state, surprising security analysts by using rockets and other military equipment that shouldn’t normally be available to a smalltime village thug. Since then, Islamabad sits on a pile of evidence that links Mr. Bugti’s campaign to money and ammunition and logistical support from Afghanistan, directly aided by the Indians and the Karzai administration, with the Americans turning a blind eye.

For reasons not clear to our analysts yet, Islamabad has kept quiet on Washington’s involvement with anti-Pakistan elements in Afghanistan. But Pakistan did send an indirect public message to the Americans recently.

“We have indications of Indian involvement with anti-state elements in Pakistan,” declared the spokesman of the Pakistan Foreign Office in a regular briefing in October. The statement was terse and direct and the spokesman, Ms. Tasnim Aslam, quickly moved on to other issues.

This is how a Pakistani official explained Ms. Aslam’s statement: “What she was really saying is this: We know what the Indians are doing. They’ve sold the Americans on the idea that [the Indians] are an authority on Pakistan and can be helpful in Afghanistan. The Americans have bought the idea and are in on the plan, giving the Indians a free hand in Afghanistan. What the Americans don’t know is that we, too, know the Indians very well. Better still, we know Afghanistan very well. You can’t beat us at our own game.”

Mr. Bugti’s armed rebellion coincided with the Gwadar project entering its final stages. No coincidence here. Mr. Bugti’s real job was to scare the Chinese away and scuttle Chinese President Hu Jintao’s planned visit to Gwadar a few months later to formally launch the port city.

Gwadar is the pinnacle of Sino-Pakistani strategic cooperation. It’s a modern port city that is supposed to link Central Asia, western China, and Pakistan with markets in Mideast and Africa. It’s supposed to have roads stretching all the way to China. It’s no coincidence either that China has also earmarked millions of dollars to renovate the Karakoram Highway linking northern Pakistan to western China.

Some reports in the American media, however, have accused Pakistan and China of building a naval base in the guise of a commercial seaport directly overlooking international oil shipping lanes. The Indians and some other regional actors are also not comfortable with this project because they see it as commercial competition.

What Mr. Bugti’s regional and international supporters never expected is Pakistan moving firmly and strongly to nip his rebellion in the bud. Even Mr. Bugti himself probably never expected the Pakistani state to react in the way it did to his betrayal of the homeland. He was killed in a military operation where scores of his mercenaries surrendered to Pakistan army soldiers.

U.S. intelligence and their Indian advisors could not cultivate an immediate replacement for Mr. Bugti. So they moved to Plan B. They supported Abdullah Mehsud, a Pakistani Taliban fighter held for five years in Guantanamo Bay, and then handed over back to the Afghan government, only to return to his homeland, Pakistan, to kidnap two Chinese engineers working in Balochistan, one of whom was eventually killed during a rescue operation by the Pakistani government.

Islamabad could not tolerate this shadowy figure that was creating a following among ordinary Pakistanis masquerading as a Taliban while in reality toeing a vague agenda. He was rightly eliminated earlier this year by Pakistani security forces while secretly returning from Afghanistan after meeting his handlers there. Again, no surprises here.

SMELLING A RAT

This is where Pakistani political and military officials finally started smelling a rat. All of this was an indication of a bigger problem. There were growing indications that, ever since Islamabad joined Washington’s regional plans, Pakistan was gradually turning into a ‘besieged-nation’, heavily targeted by the American media while being subjected to strategic sabotage and espionage from Afghanistan.

Afghanistan, under America’s watch, has turned into a vast staging ground for sophisticated psychological and military operations to destabilize neighboring Pakistan.

During the past three years, the heat has gradually been turned up against Pakistan and its military along Pakistan’s western regions:

A shadowy group called the BLA, a Cold War relic, rose from the dead to restart a separatist war in southwestern Pakistan.
Bugti’s death was a blow to neo-BLA, but the shadowy group’s backers didn’t repent. His grandson, Brahmdagh Bugti, is currently enjoying a safe shelter in the Afghan capital, Kabul, where he continues to operate and remote-control his assets in Pakistan.
Saboteurs trained in Afghanistan have been inserted into Pakistan to aggravate extremist passions here, especially after the Red Mosque operation.
Chinese citizens continue to be targeted by individuals pretending to be Islamists, when no known Islamic group has claimed responsibility.
A succession of ‘religious rebels’ with suspicious foreign links have suddenly emerged in Pakistan over the past months claiming to be ‘Pakistani Taliban’. Some of the names include Abdul Rashid Ghazi, Baitullah Mehsud, and now the Maulana of Swat. Some of them have used and are using encrypted communication equipment far superior to what Pakistani military owns.
Money and weapons have been fed into the religious movements and al Qaeda remnants in the tribal areas.

Exploiting the situation, assets within the Pakistani media started promoting the idea that the Pakistani military was killing its own people. The rest of the unsuspecting media quickly picked up this message. Some botched American and Pakistani military operations against Al Qaeda that caused civilian deaths accidentally fed this media campaign.

This was the perfect timing for the launch of Military, Inc.: Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy, a book authored by Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa Agha, a columnist for a Pakistani English-language paper and a correspondent for ‘Jane’s Defence Weekly’, a private intelligence service founded by experts close to the British intelligence.

TARGET: PAK MILITARY

The book was launched in Pakistan in early 2007 by Oxford Press. And, contrary to most reports, it is openly available in Islamabad’s biggest bookshops. The book portrays the Pakistani military as an institution that is eating up whatever little resources Pakistan has.

Pakistani military’s successful financial management, creating alternate financial sources to spend on a vast military machine and build a conventional and nuclear near-match with a neighboring adversary five times larger – an impressive record for any nation by any standard – was distorted in the book and reduced to a mere attempt by the military to control the nation’s economy in the same way it was controlling its politics.

The timing was interesting. After all, it was hard to defend a military in the eyes of its own proud people when the chief of the military is ruling the country, the army is fighting insurgents and extremists who claim to be defending Islam, grumpy politicians are out of business, and the military’s side businesses, meant to feed the nation’s military machine, are doing well compared to the shabby state of the nation’s civilian departments.

Dr. Siddiqa and her book are not important. Worse things have been said about Pakistanis before. All of these details are insignificant if detached from the real issue at hand. And the issue is the demonization of the Pakistani military as an integral part of the media siege around Pakistan, with the American media leading the way in this campaign.

Some of the juicy details of this siege around Pakistan include:

The attempt by several American and British writers – and one Pakistani, Dr. Siddiqa – to pitch junior officers against senior officers in Pakistan Armed Forces by alleging discrimination in the distribution of benefits. Apart from being malicious and unfounded, her argument was carefully designed to generate frustration and demoralize Pakistani soldiers.
The American media insisting on handing Dr. A. Q. Khan to the United States so that a final conviction against the Pakistani military can be secured.
Mrs. Benazir Bhutto demanding after returning to Pakistan that the ISI be restructured; and in a press conference during her house arrest in Lahore in November she went as far as asking Pakistan army officers to revolt against the army chief, a damning attempt at destroying a professional army from within.

Some of this appears to be eerily similar to the campaign waged against the Pakistani military in 1999, when, in July that year, an unsigned full page advertisement appeared in major American newspapers with the following headline: “A Modern Rogue Army With Its Finger On The Nuclear Button.”

Until this day, it is not clear who exactly paid for such an expensive newspaper full-page advertisement. But one thing is clear: the agenda behind that advertisement is back in action.

Strangely, just a few days before Mrs. Bhutto’s statements about restructuring ISI and the need for army officers to stage a mutiny against their leadership, the American conservative magazine The Weekly Standard interviewed an American security expert with similar ideas:

“A large number of ISI agents who are responsible for helping the Taliban and al Qaeda should be thrown in jail or killed. What I think we should do in Pakistan is a parallel version of what Iran has run against us in Iraq: giving money [and] empowering actors. Some of this will involve working with some shady characters, but the alternative—sending U.S. forces into Pakistan for a sustained bombing campaign—is worse.” Steve Schippert, Weekly Standard, Nov. 2007.

In addition to these media attacks, which security experts call ‘psychological operations’, the American media and politicians have intensified over the past year their campaign to prepare the international public opinion to accept a western intervention in Pakistan along the lines of Iraq and Afghanistan:

Newsweek came up with an entire cover story with a single storyline: Pakistan is a more dangerous place than Iraq.
Senior American politicians, Republican and Democrat, have argued that Pakistan is more dangerous than Iran and merits similar treatment. On 20 October, Joe Biden told ABC News that Washington needs to put soldiers on ground in Pakistan and invite the international community to join in. “We should be in there,” he said. “We should be supplying tens of millions of dollars to build new schools to compete with the madrassas. We should be in there building democratic institutions. We should be in there, and get the rest of the world in there, giving some structure to the emergence of, hopefully, the reemergence of a democratic process.”
The International Crisis Group (ICG) has recommended gradual sanctions for Pakistan similar to those imposed on Iran, e.g. slapping travel bans on Pakistani military officers and seizing Pakistani military assets abroad.
The process of painting Pakistan’s nuclear assets as pure evil lying around waiting for some do-gooder to come in and ‘secure’ them has reached unprecedented levels, with the U.S. media again depicting Pakistan as a nation incapable of protecting its nuclear installations. On 22 October, Jane Harman from the U.S. House Intelligence panel gave the following statement: “I think the U.S. would be wise – and I trust we are doing this – to have contingency plans [to seize Pakistan’s nuclear assets], especially because should [Musharraf] fall, there are nuclear weapons there.”
The American media has now begun discussing the possibility of Pakistan breaking up and the possibility of new states of ‘Balochistan’ and ‘Pashtunistan’ being carved out of it. Interestingly, one of the first acts of the shady Maulana of Swat after capturing a few towns was to take down the Pakistani flag from the top of state buildings and replacing them with his own party flag.
The ‘chatter’ about President Musharraf’s eminent fall has also increased dramatically in the mainly American media, which has been very generous in marketing theories about how Musharraf might “disappear” or be “removed” from the scene. According to some Pakistani analysts, this could be an attempt to prepare the public opinion for a possible assassination of the Pakistani president.
Another worrying thing is how American officials are publicly signaling to the Pakistanis that Mrs. Benazir Bhutto has their backing as the next leader of the country. Such signals from Washington are not only a kiss of death for any public leader in Pakistan, but the Americans also know that their actions are inviting potential assassins to target Mrs. Bhutto. If she is killed in this way, there won’t be enough time to find the real culprit, but what’s certain is that unprecedented international pressure will be placed on Islamabad while everyone will use their local assets to create maximum internal chaos in the country. A dress rehearsal of this scenario has already taken place in October when no less than the U.N. Security Council itself intervened to ask the international community to “assist” in the investigations into the assassination attempt on Mrs. Bhutto on 18 October. This generous move was sponsored by the U.S. and, interestingly, had no input from Pakistan which did not ask for help in investigations in the first place.

Some Pakistani security analysts privately say that American ‘chatter’ about Musharraf or Bhutto getting killed is a serious matter that can’t be easily dismissed. Getting Bhutto killed can generate the kind of pressure that could result in permanently putting the Pakistani military on a back foot, giving Washington enough room to push for installing a new pliant leadership in Islamabad fully backed by the West.

Having Musharraf killed isn’t a bad option either. The unknown Islamists can always be blamed and the military will not be able to put another soldier at the top, and circumstances will be created to ensure that either Mrs. Bhutto or someone like her is eased into power.

The Americans are very serious this time. They cannot let Pakistan get out of their hands. They have been kicked out of Uzbekistan last year, where they were maintaining bases. They are in trouble in Afghanistan and Iraq. Iran continues to be a mess for them and Russia and China are not making it any easier. Pakistan must be ‘secured’ at all costs.

This is why most Pakistanis have never seen American diplomats in Pakistan active like this before. And it’s not just the current U.S. ambassador, who has added one more address to her other most-frequently-visited address in Karachi, Mrs. Bhutto’s house. The new address is the office of GEO, one of two news channels shut down by Islamabad for not signing the mandatory code-of-conduct. Thirty-eight other channels are operating and no one has censored the newspapers. But never mind this. The Americans have developed a ‘thing’ for GEO. No solace of course for ARY, the other banned channel.

Now there’s also one Bryan Hunt, the U.S. consul general in Lahore, who wears the national Pakistani dress, the long shirt and baggy trousers, and is moving around these days issuing tough warnings to Islamabad and to the Pakistani government and to President Musharraf to end emergency rule, resign as army chief and give Mrs. Bhutto access to power.

PAKISTAN’S OPTIONS

So what should Pakistan do in the face of such a structured campaign to bring Pakistan down on its knees and forcibly install a pro-Washington administration in Islamabad?

There is increasing talk in Islamabad these days about Pakistan’s new tough stand in the face of this malicious campaign.

As a starter, Islamabad blew the wind out of the visit of Mr. John Negroponte, the no. 2 man in the U.S. State Department, who came to Pakistan last week “to deliver a tough message” to the Pakistani president. Musharraf, to his credit, told him he won’t end emergency rule until all objectives are achieved.

These objectives include:

Cleaning up our northern and western parts of the country of all foreign operatives and their domestic pawns.
Ensuring that Washington’s plan for regime-change doesn’t succeed.
Purging the Pakistani media from all those elements that were willing or indirect accomplices in the plan to destabilize the country.

Musharraf has also told Washington publicly that “Pakistan is more important than democracy or the constitution.” This is a bold position. This kind of boldness would have served Musharraf a lot had it come a little earlier. And even now, his media management team is unable to make the most of it.

Washington will not stand by watching as its plan for regime change in Islamabad goes down the drain. In case the Americans insist on interfering in Pakistani affairs, Islamabad, according to my sources, is looking at some tough measures:

Cut off oil supplies to U.S. military in Afghanistan. Pakistani officials are already enraged at how Afghanistan has turned into a staging ground for sabotage in Pakistan. If Islamabad continues to see Washington acting as a bully, Pakistani officials are seriously considering an announcement where Pakistan, for the first time since October 2001, will deny the United States use of Pakistani soil and air space to transport fuel to Afghanistan.
Review Pakistan’s role in the war on terror. Islamabad needs to fight terrorists on its border with Afghanistan. But our methods need to be different to Washington’s when it comes to our domestic extremists. This is where Islamabad parts ways with and Washington.
Talk with the Afghan Taliban. Pakistan has no quarrel with Afghanistan’s Taliban. They are Kabul’s internal problem. But if reaching out to Afghan Taliban’s Mullah Omar can have a positive impact on rebellious Pakistani Taliban, then this step should be taken. The South Koreans can talk to the Taliban. Karzai has also called for talks with them. It is time that Islamabad does the same.

The Americans have been telling everyone in the world that they have paid Pakistan $10 billion dollars over the past five years. They might think this gives them the right to decide Pakistan’s destiny. What they don’t tell the world is how Pakistan’s help secured for them their biggest footprint ever in energy-rich Central Asia.

The author heads Project Pakistan, an independent research effort based in Islamabad.

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Plot to Assassinate General Pervez Musharraf Discovered

February 23, 2009

ISLAMABAD: The authorities have busted a clandestine terror network set up by jailed killer of Daniel Pearl inside the Hyderabad Jail and the Sindh government has suspended senior police and jail officials after a large number of cell phones, SIMs and other equipment were recovered.

Highly-placed Interior Ministry sources confided to English daily the jailed terrorist had also threatened Gen Pervez Musharraf on his personal cell phone in the second week of November and planned to get him eliminated by a suicide bomber.

The caller reportedly told the former president: “I am after you, get ready to die.” Subsequent investigations by the authorities revealed the threatening phone call was made by someone from the Hyderabad Central Jail. Being a suspect, Sheikh Omar was placed under observation before it transpired that he was the one who had threatened General Pervez Musharraf.

The authorities came to know that a plot had been hatched by Sheikh Omar to eliminate the then-president with the connivance of some Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) militants, with whom he had long been in touch over the phone.

As Omar’s death cell was thoroughly searched, three mobile phones, six batteries, 18 SIMS of almost every cellular company and chargers were seized from his possession.

Further scanning of the alleged terror mastermind’s telephone records revealed he had been making calls all over Pakistan to former Jihadi associates as well as relatives in Lahore, Karachi, Rawalpindi and Peshawar.

The LeJ militants had thus been monitoring Musharraf’s movements to target him while travelling between his Army House residence in Rawalpindi and his Chak Shehzad farmhouse on the 1-A Park Road on the quiet suburbs of Islamabad or to blow up the bridge on Shara-e-Faisal during his next visit to Karachi at the precise moment when his convoy would reach there from the Quaid-e-Azam International Airport.

It was after the unearthing of the assassination plot that Musharraf decided to leave for London on Nov 22, 2008 for a short trip — for the first time since his resignation as president in August 2008. Although, he has already returned home, Musharraf is still occupying the Army House due to grave security concerns.

Following the recovery of mobile phones and SIMs from Sheikh Omar, the Sindh Home Department took serious action and suspended (on Dec 1, 2008) Hyderabad Central Jail Superintendent Abdul Majid Siddiqui, his deputy Gul Mohammad Sheikh and four other jail officials on charges of showing criminal negligence.

According to the Sindh inspector general prisons, both had been suspended by the Home Department on complaints of corruption and maladministration.

(Source: http://www.musharraf.org)

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Actual Conversation Between Clinton And Nawaz, Word For Word

February 23, 2009

This is an excerpt from the book by Strobe Talbot, the former senior U.S. Department of State official, who was in the room with Bill Clinton when the U.S. president received Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, then the Pakistani prime minister, who came to see Clinton regarding the war in Kargil: “Kargil War between India and Pakistan took place between May and July 1999 in the Kargil district of Kashmir. According to India the cause of the war was the infiltration of Pakistani soldiers and Kashmiri militants into positions on the Indian side of the Line of Control, which serves as the de facto border between the two states. During and directly after the war, Pakistan blamed the fighting entirely on independent Kashmiri insurgents, but documents left behind by casualties and later statements by Pakistan‘s Prime Minister and Chief of Army Staff showed involvement of Pakistani paramilitary forces. The Indian Army, supported by the Indian Air Force, attacked the Pakistani positions and, with international diplomatic support, eventually forced a Pakistani withdrawal across the Line of Control (LoC). At the height of the Kargil conflict, former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is said to have told then US President Bill Clinton that he was prepared to help resolve the crisis if India committed to settle the ‘larger issue’ of Kashmir in a specific time-frame, but the American leader snubbed him saying it would amount to a ‘nuclear blackmail.’ When Sharif visited Washington in 1999 to discuss Kargil with Clinton, he insisted, ‘I am prepared to help resolve the current crisis in Kargil but India must commit to resolve the larger issue in a specific time-frame,’ former US deputy secretary of State Strobe Talbot writes in his new book Engaging India – Diplomacy, Democracy and the Bomb. ‘Clinton came as close as I had ever seen to blowing up in a meeting with a foreign leader,’ and told Sharif, ‘If I were the Indian Prime Minister, I would never do that. I would be crazy to do it. It would be nuclear blackmail. If you proceed with this line, I will have no leverage with them. If I tell you what you think you want me to say, I will be stripped of all influence with the Indians.’ ‘I am not – and the Indians are not – going to let you get away with blackmail, and I will not permit any characterization of this meeting that suggests I am giving in to blackmail,’ Talbot writes, adding, Clinton also refuted Sharif’s accusation that the Indians were the instigators of the crisis and intransigents in the ongoing standoff. When Sharif insisted he had to have something to show for his trip to the US beyond unconditional surrender over Kargil, Clinton pointed to the dangers of nuclear war if Pakistan did not return to its previous positions. Seeing they were getting nowhere, Clinton told Sharif he had a statement ready to release to press that would lay all the blame for the crisis on Pakistan . ‘Sharif was ashen.’ ‘Clinton had worked himself back into real anger – his face flushed, eyes narrowed, lips pursed, cheek muscles pulsing, fists clenched. He said it was crazy enough for Sharif to have let his military violate the Line of Control, start a border war with India, and now prepare nuclear forces (U.S. had received intelligence Pakistan was preparing nuclear forces for attack against India) for action,’ Talbot says in his book. ‘Sharif seemed beaten, physically and emotionally’ and denied he had given any order with regard to nuclear weaponry. Taking a break, Clinton spoke to then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee over phone and told him what had happened until then. ‘What do you want me to say?’ Vajpayee asked. ‘Nothing,’ Clinton replied, he just wanted to show he was holding.” Now Nawaz Sharif and his paid clients in Pakistani politics and media are blaming Musharraf for Kargil, claiming he had no idea about Kargil, when even Clinton knew that it was planned by Nawaz Sharif and the paid retired officers who are now singing the song of Noon League. The question is: If Nawaz Sharif didn’t know about Kargil, why was he negotiating on Kashmir in such a confident way with Clinton? It’s Nawaz’s word against Talbot’s, but we already know who is not telling the truth. With due respect to Mr. Sharif, if he can lie about not signing a deal to save himself from jail in 2000, he can lie about anything. Stop destabilizing Pakistan and showing the whole world our dirty laundry. Both you and your personal enmities are not more important than Pakistan, its people and its interest.

(http://www.pak1stanfirst.com/archive/516-actual-conversation-between-clinton-and-nawaz-word-for-word.html)

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A Plea for Enlightened Moderation

February 20, 2009

Muslims must raise themselves up through individual achievement and socioeconomic emancipation.

By Pervez Musharraf

Tuesday, June 1, 2004

The world has been going through a tumultuous period since the dawn of the 1990s, with no sign of relief in sight. The suffering of the innocents, particularly my brethren in faith — the Muslims — at the hands of militants, extremists and terrorists has made it all the more urgent to bring order to this troubled scene. In this spirit, I would like to set forth a strategy I call Enlightened Moderation.

The world has become an extremely dangerous place. The devastating power of plastic explosives, combined with high-tech remote-controlled devices, as well as a proliferation of suicide bombers, has created a lethal force that is all but impossible to counter. The unfortunate reality is that both the perpetrators of these crimes and most of the people who suffer from them are Muslims. This has caused many non-Muslims to believe wrongly that Islam is a religion of intolerance, militancy and terrorism. It has led increasing numbers of people to link Islam to fundamentalism; fundamentalism to extremism, and extremism to terrorism. Muslims can protest however vigorously they like against this kind of labeling, but the reality is that such arguments are not likely to prevail in the battle for minds. To make things even more difficult, Muslims are probably the poorest, most uneducated, most powerless and most disunited people in the world.

 

The stark challenge that faces anyone with compassion for the common heritage of mankind is determining what legacy we will leave for future generations. The special challenge that confronts Muslims is to drag ourselves out of the pit we find ourselves in, to raise ourselves up by individual achievement and collective socioeconomic emancipation. Something has to be done quickly to stop the carnage in the world and to stem the downward slide of Muslims.

My idea for untangling this knot is Enlightened Moderation, which I think is a win for all — for both the Muslim and non-Muslim worlds. It is a two-pronged strategy. The first part is for the Muslim world to shun militancy and extremism and adopt the path of socioeconomic uplift. The second is for the West, and the United States in particular, to seek to resolve all political disputes with justice and to aid in the socioeconomic betterment of the deprived Muslim world.

We need to understand that the root cause of extremism and militancy lies in political injustice, denial and deprivation. Political injustice to a nation or a people, when combined with stark poverty and illiteracy, makes for an explosive mix. It produces an acute sense of hopelessness and powerlessness. A nation suffering from these lethal ills is easily available for the propagation of militancy and the perpetration of extremist, terrorist acts. It is cannon fodder in a war of terrorism.

I would be remiss if, in defense of the people of my faith, I did not trace the genesis of the Muslims’ being labeled as extremists or terrorists. Before the anti-Soviet Afghan war, the sole cause of unrest and concern in the Muslim world was the Palestine dispute. It was this issue that led to a unity of Muslims — in favor of Palestinians and against Israel. The Afghan war of the 1980s, supported and facilitated by the West as a proxy war against the Soviet Union, saw the emergence and nurturing of pan-Islamic militancy. Islam as a religion was used to harness worldwide Muslim support. Subsequently the atrocities and ethnic cleansing against Muslims in Bosnia, the Chechen uprising, the Kashmir freedom struggle and the invigorated Palestinian intifada all erupted in the ’90s after the Soviet disintegration. To make matters worse, the militancy that was sparked in Afghanistan — which should have been defused after the Cold War — was instead allowed to fester for a decade.

During this time, hostility among fighters from the Muslim world turned multidirectional, seeking new conflict zones in places where Muslims were suffering. Enter the birth of al Qaeda. Meanwhile, the Palestinian intifada kept gathering momentum, uniting and angering Muslims across the globe. And then came the bombshell of Sept. 11, 2001, and the angry reaction of the United States against the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan. All subsequent reactions of the United States — its domestic responses against Muslims, its attitude toward Palestine and the operation in Iraq — led to total polarization of the Muslim masses against the United States. It is not Islam as a religion that has created militancy and extremism but rather political disputes that have led to antagonism among the Muslim masses.

This is all history now. What has been done cannot be undone. But this situation cannot be allowed to fester; a remedy must be found. I call on the West to help resolve these political disputes with justice, as part of a commitment to a strategy of Enlightened Moderation.

When I think of the role of Muslims in today’s world, my heart weeps. What we need is introspection. Who are we, what do we as Muslims stand for, where are we going, where should we be headed and how can we reach it? The answers to these questions are the Muslim part of Enlightened Moderation.

We have a glorious past. Islam exploded on the world scene as the flag bearer of a just, lawful, tolerant and value-oriented society. We had faith in human exaltation through knowledge and enlightenment. We exemplified tolerance within ourselves and toward people of other faiths. The armies of Islam did not march forward to convert people by the sword, despite what the perceptions may be, but to deliver them from the darkness through the visible example of their virtues. What better projection can be found of these deeper values of Islam than the personal example of our Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H.), who personified justice, compassion, tolerance of others, generosity of spirit, austerity with a spirit of sacrifice, and a burning desire to make a better world.

Today’s Muslim world is distant from all these values. We have been left far behind in social, moral and economic development. We have remained in our own shell and refused to learn or acquire from others. We have reached the depths of despair and despondency. We need to face stark reality. Is the way ahead one of confrontation and militancy? Could this path really lead us back to our past glory while also showing the light of progress and development to the world?

I say to my brother Muslims: The time for renaissance has come. The way forward is through enlightenment. We must concentrate on human resource development through the alleviation of poverty and through education, health care and social justice. If this is our direction, it cannot be achieved through confrontation. We must adopt a path of moderation and a conciliatory approach to fight the common belief that Islam is a religion of militancy in conflict with modernization, democracy and secularism. All this must be done with a realization that, in the world we live in, fairness does not always rule.

The Organization of Islamic Conferences (OIC) is our collective body. We need to infuse new life into it; it is now in a state of near impotence. The OIC must be restructured to meet the challenges of the 21st century, to fulfill the aspirations of the Muslim world and to take us toward emancipation. Forming a committee of luminaries to recommend a restructuring of the OIC is a big step in the right direction. We have to show resolve and rise above self-interest for our common good — in the very spirit that Islam teaches us.

The world at large and the powers that be must realize that confrontation and force will never bring peace. Justice must be done and be seen to be done. Let it not be said by future generations that we, the leaders of today, took humanity toward the apocalypse.

© 2004 The Washington Post Company

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Musharraf era was mush better as compared to present rule: Rashid Qureshi

February 20, 2009

ISLAMABAD: Former presidential spokesman Brig. (r) Rashid Qureshi has said that era of former President Pervez Musharraf was mush better as compared to the present rule.

While talking to private TV Channel he said that he said whatever former President Pervez Musharraf had said, had proved to be 100 per correct and he took each and every step in the greater National interest.

“The very people who were busy in criticizing Musharraf are now fearful of his popularity”, he maintained.

He said that Pervez Musharraf, in his press conference had clearly described all aspects of the conspiracy against Pakistan Army, ISI and Pakistan, which was 100 percent correct adding further that Musharraf did not deviate from his remarks.

“He is a straightforward and man of word. Musharraf wants to see Pakistan as strong and stable state,” he declared.

(http://www.onlinenews.com.pk/details.php?id=140981)

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Why CIA Is Engaged In Motivated Campaigns Against Pakistan’s ISI, Military?

February 18, 2009

The American CIA almost killed Musharraf.  The ISI is familiar with terrorism inside Pakistan by the spy agencies of many countries. Even Libya’s Gaddafi once ordered a couple of bombings here after the execution of his friend Mr. Bhutto. But this is the first time that the CIA is found directly involved in working against Pakistani interests. The U.S. spy organization is sponsoring the multibillion dollar Afghan drug trade, helped by the Indians. CIA’s latest trash is a statement by a U.S. congresswoman and a book by a third-rate American journalist both aimed at discrediting the ISI in the eyes of its own people. The million dollar question is this: Why is CIA sponsoring the campaign to tarnish Pakistani image worldwide, from the nuclear scare to the breakup scare to the ‘terrorist’ scare? The answer is astonishing.

 

By Sandra Johnson in Washington DC, Christina Palmer in New Delhi, Jamal Afghani in Kabul, Makhdoom Babar in Islamabad

Tuesday, 17 February 2009.

WWW.AHMEDQURAISHI.COM

 

ISLAMABADPakistan, —Coffee and aspirin, aspirin and coffee. This is what the Chief of Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency, the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt. General Ehsan-ul-Haque was repeating after he went through the news on the website of a U.S. newspaper in which a news report filed by a U.S. news agency claimed quoting “U.S. intelligence sources” that Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf survived the bomb attack on his motorcade because the President’s limousine was equipped with state-of-the-art jamming devices.

 

The news appeared on Dec. 18, 2003, shortly after former President Musharraf’s motorcade was attacked through a remote controlled device connected to a cell phone on a bridge in Rawalpindi.

 

“What the hell is this, we discussed this jamming device thing with them just a day before and they have leaked it to the media straight away? What are they up to? Are they helping us or al-Qaeda by telling them that President’s car cannot be bombed through a remote device? Are they trying to guide these killers so that they go for a suicide attack next time?” Gen. Ehsan asked his aides, sitting there to discuss the issue.

 

And true to his prediction, after a gap some 15 to 20 days, Musharraf’s motorcade was subjected to a high profile suicide attack on the same road a just a few yards away from the previous incident. However the Pakistani President survived again.

 

This has been the biggest dilemma of Pakistan’s ISI ever since IslamabadAmericaPakistanU.S.U.S.U.S.U.S. media had become a very big hardship for the continuation of anti-terror operations. was told in clear terms that this menace of constant leakages of classified material to the intelligence sources’ of intelligence reports and highly classified. The former President of the Islamic Republic, Pervez Musharraf, who was also the head of the country’s army, conveyed these reservations about intelligence leakages many times to U.S. officials and made it very clear to the former U.S. President George W. Bush that Pakistan and particularly the ISI were not comfortable at all with such a state of affairs. The media by ‘’s Foreign Office and the ISI sleuths have been complaining about the constant leaking in the ’s global war on terror. Right from day one, decided to be an ally in

 

Terrorism in nothing new to Pakistan, neither is its top security agency, the ISI, an alien to the operations of foreign intelligence services against Pakistan. Starting from 1960s, when neighboring India’s counterpart of ISI, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), commonly know as RAW, started small- scale sabotage activities in border towns like Sialkot, Shakar Garh and parts of Balochistan, the ISI and other security agencies of Pakistan have been through a lot of encounters to prevent and counter anti-Pakistan sabotage activities by  India’s RAW, former Soviet Union’s KGB, former communist Afghanistan’s Khaad, Iran’s former Savak, Israel’s Mosaad and even the Libyan MIF that carried out some sabotage operations after the hanging of the former Prime Minister of the country, Mr. Z. A. Bhutto, who was a very special friend of Libya’s Gaddafi.

 

In sharp contrast, the ISI or the country’s other security agencies never had a problem with the American CIA and in fact developed an amazing level of understanding and professional collaboration during the USSR’s invasion of neighboring AfghanistanAfghanistanIndiaAfghanistanAfghanistan. Both RAW and CIA are banking on the three trillion U.S. Dollars worth of drug money every year that is generated through heroin production and its subsequent sale across the world. , the CIA preferred to become hand in glove with RAW in ’s RAW in and with the growing influence of . It appears that suddenly, after the demise of the Taliban government in

 

According to The Daily Mail’s investigations, certain wings of both the RAW and CIA generate millions of dollars by providing or arranging safe passages for drug traffickers of Afghanistan and India at many points across the world. They generate these funds to carry out certain unapproved operations. It was the Pakistani Army and ISI that unfolded some proofs of the same in this direction after which the CIA got extremely annoyed and finally opted to launch motivated campaigns against Pakistan’s ISI and Pakistani Army with the generous collaboration of India’s RAW.

 

A former official of the UN office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) says that despite the fact that the cultivation of poppy crop across Afghanistan has risen dramatically after the Taliban era and dozens of heroin production factories have been established across the country, the CIA never showed any interest in recommending to the U.S. government to launch a crackdown on heroin factories across Afghanistan that feed and finance militants and warlords.  The annoyance of CIA with Pakistani ISI and Army, according to some reports, peaked when an Indian defense official posted at the Indian Embassy in Kabul, who was a lynchpin between the Indian and Afghan drug operations, was killed in a suicide attack last year. The said Indian official was killed in an attack carried out, according to our investigations, by Afghan President’s brother and the world’s biggest heroin producer Izzat Ullah Wasifi after he developed doubts that the Indian officer was betraying him to America’s DEA (Drugs Enforcement Agency). And despite leads in this direction, RAW convinced the CIA that the Indian officer was killed by attackers sent by ISI.

 

The recent blitzkrieg on Pakistan Army and the ISI are clear gifts of CIA. In the first attack, the Chairperson of the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Intelligence Diane Feinstein came up with a very ridiculous and rather childish ‘disclosure’ that U.S. Drones, named Predators, were flying from certain ISI air bases within Pakistan and that the USAF or U.S. Army had nothing to do with this activity. “Even a child knows that these Predators fly from the U.S. base in Bagram in Afghanistan and there are no air bases owned by the ISI as ISI is an intelligence agency that relies on Pakistan Air Force and its bases for any air space or avionic support. Coming out with such a ridiculous statement and that too, publicly, by the head of the U.S. Senate Intelligence committee is very surprising”, commented a senior defense analyst when contacted by The Daily Mail. He said this was nothing but a bid to generate feelings of hatred among Pakistanis against their own premier intelligence service, when the ISI is busy protecting the interests of the Pakistanis people.

 

In a second example, an ordinary U.S. journalist, working for the CIA-blessed U.S. daily The New York Times; named David E. Sanger, has come out with a book that can be described as nothing but a perfect piece of trash and a very mediocre work on intelligence. In the book, titled The Inheritance, Sanger claims, attributing to some highly classified files of the CIA and NSA that former Pakistani President Musharraf was playing a double game and making a double deal, on one side with America and on other side with the Taliban. This is not the start of the great Sanger-CIA trash but he claims a little down the road that the CIA had been bugging or tapping the telephones of top Pakistani Army Generals including the Chief of the Army Staff and head of the top spy agency, the ISI, and that during these tapped calls, it was revealed to the CIA and the National Security Agency (NSA) that top Generals of Pakistan were protecting the [Afghan] Taliban.

 

“This Sanger trash is nothing but a double bullshit with a cherry on top. First of all in the Pakistan Army establishment, the Generals and Commanders do not use the ordinary telephone lines or the cellular or satellite phones. The Armed forces have their own, secured and dedicated phone lines and most of the time, dedicated for person to person conversation and no one from the outside can, through any means, tape or bug these highly secured and sophisticated phone lines. Secondly, I must tell you that conversations of such a highly sensitive nature are never made on telephone lines anywhere in the world, a fact that makes this Sanger stuff a complete piece of trash and bullshit,” said a former Chief of  ISI, adding that in no intelligence set up across the world, such advanced warnings are issued to any ally, the way Sanger has narrated in his book while mentioning an advance warning by some ISI officials to Taliban before launching an attack on a school in  tribal areas of the country, where Pakistani Army and the ISI are battling militants.

 

According to certain Western intelligence observers and media commentators, if for a minute it is assumed that Sanger’s book was based on facts, this would raise alarming questions about the state of security and secrecy within CIA and NSA where a journalist like Sanger can lay his hands on information that supposedly cost the two organizations millions of dollars to attain and secure.

 

“In that case, the ISI’s complaints and Islamabad’s protests over the constant leakages of classified information to the media by U.S.Pakistan, the first thing the CIA does is to reach out straight away to the journalists of New York Times, Washington Post or CNN. How come the reporters of these media organizations get easy access to highly classified CIA reports in no time? intelligence authorities are one hundred percent accurate,” says David Smith, a senior journalist at a Washington-based news organization. Diplomatic analysts and intelligence observers say that it was surprising to see how that whenever it has something against

 

Taking exceptional note of the Sanger trash, former President Pervez Musharraf, for the first time after he left the Presidency, appeared before the media and brushed aside all the accusations made in the Sanger-CIA trash. He clearly stated that if the Pakistan Army and the ISI were not sincere in the global anti terror war, then it was a big intelligence lapse on part the U.S. spymasters who could not detect this alleged duplicity earlier. He also snubbed Sanger for his baseless accusations but said he would not press charges against the American journalist because the said journalist was that important and such mischief is not unusual. But Musharraf was clear about one thing: That there is a motivated campaign against Pakistan Army and ISI by U.S. quarters. He said the military and the ISI are custodians of Pakistan’s security and solidarity. He urged the Pakistani media to expose the hands behind this anti-ISI and anti-Pak Army campaign.

 

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