Archive for March, 2009

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Lawyers’ Movement-The other side of story (Must Read)

March 17, 2009

(By Afaq)

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – On one hand, terrorism and extremism is getting their roots deep in society, while on the other, the country is suffering a worst form of financial meltdown. On one side, armed forces and intelligence agencies are getting maligned through international campaign, and on the other, an environment is getting set that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are not in safe hands.

This time when nation needs to be united to face and defeat the challenges, there is a cat and mouse game in play among the political parties and a vast majority is considering Lawyers’ Movement as the only solution to the problems of Pakistan.

When a Long March and sit in (Dharna) for indefinite period was announced by the lawyers’ leaderships, and when a worst form of law and order crisis was emerging on the streets, embarrassing Pakistan in the international community, the government of Pakistan surrendered to the demands of lawyers, and announced the restoration of Mr. Iftikhar Chaudhry. This is a right moment to take another look at the so-called lawyers’ Movement.

This movement is based on the perceptions that Mr. Iftikhar Chaudhry is the symbol of an independent and free judiciary, and that all the mess is created by President Musharraf, who was not happy by him over his suo moto actions, and that the reference against the judge was forwarded by the Prime Minister Shoukat Aziz due to his personal grudges with Chief Justice, over the decision against Steels Mills issue. The reality, through information that is revealed here for the first time, is a little different.

Steels Mills Issue-Unspoken facts:

A day before the judgment of Steels Mills, Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry rang the military secretary of President Musharraf and asked for a sitting with him at Army House to discuss the details of the judgment. President allowed him to come and also did call Attorney General of Pakistan. When all three sat together, President said, “I don’t know the legalities, but all what I would like to say is that you took suo-moto action against the privatisation of Steels Mills. I believe in the dignity and honour of the Supreme Court. So, whatever be the judgment, it must not lower your dignity and honour, but remember government is doing a good job for privatisation. Please don’t try to hamper this process.”

Then both the attorney General and Chief Justice discussed the legalities and came out with a mid way solution. Chief Justice himself told President Musharraf that a good via media is brought out and he is going to give this as a decision the next day. Then Chief justice went to the bench and told that President himself has decided to cancel the privatisation of Steels Mills. So, without any idea of betrayal, 12 member bench of Supreme Court gave exactly the opposite decision to what expected by the government.

In 1985, soon after being established, it was planned to increase the productive capacity of Pakistan Steels Mills Corporation (PSMC) to 2.2 million tons annually to make it economically feasible. Unfortunately, the successive governments did not take personal interests and concerns in this project and finally the debt over Steels Mills reached to 19 billion rupees till year 2000 and the amount required for increasing its productive capability reached more than 200 billion rupees. The biggest challenge after 12th October 1999 coup was to bring Economic stability in the country. Musharraf did manage to convince Shoukat Aziz to resign from City Bank and to come back to Pakistan and serve the homeland. The economic situation was like a nightmare. Foreign reserves were remained only 0.7 billion dollars and sanctions were upon Pakistan due to nuclear explosions. No one was willing to take ‘risk’ of investing in Pakistan. After military coup, the situation was even more difficult. It worried Shoukat Aziz, but he accepted the challenge. He made a win-win policy for economic revival. The core of the policy was deregulation, liberalisation and privatisation. It worked well, and a confidence of investors recovered in Pakistan. Even during those months after 9/11, when Pakistan and Indian armed forces were alert stand by on borders with eye to eye balls contact, investment did not stop coming in Pakistan and Stock Markets shown good trends. Things were going fine and in the positive direction, but the suo moto action by Chief Justice hampered the overall process by shaking the confidence of the investors.

The day when decision came out was surely very shocking for the government. President Musharraf himself had visited China and Saudi Arabia to convince them to invest on PSMC. Finally after many years, his efforts bore fruits and he got able to convince Saudi Arabia based Al Tawairqi Group of Companies to invest in PSMC. In May 2006, an open auction held in Islamabad and Al Tuwairqi Group submitted a winning bid of $362 million for a 75 per cent stake in PSMC. It was being privatized in the profit of $ 13 million (without solding the land of Steels Mills). Due to the opposite decision of Supreme Court, hundred million of dollars which were lying in our banks by Mr. Tuwairqi to invest on PSMC and to establish another steels mills were brought out of Pakistan. Disappointed by the decision, Mr. Tuwairqi told everyone to wind up and went out, as investing in this country is not safe. This was again a great shock for Pakistan’s Economy. Without wasting a single moment, President Musharraf rung up Mr. Tuwairqi and requested him not to change his mind for investing in PSMC. Unfortunately, after having a bitter experience of Supreme Court’s decision, Mr. Tuwairqi excused to invest on PSMC. This was what Mr. Iftikhar Chaudhry did with the Economy of Pakistan, but his ‘media managers’ applaud his decision as his national achievement.

Presidential Reference against Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP):

Print and electronic media in Pakistan is used to remain very active and in search of any thrilling story soon after its independence given by President Musharraf. Mr. Ansar Abbasi (The News) investigated about the Chief justice and found that always a favour was given to his son Dr. Arsalan Chaudhry, directly by the orders of CJP himself, which were mostly not on merit at all. Due to unknown reasons, he did not public this story. However, he slipped his tongue in Geo’s famous ‘Capital Talk’ in early 2007. Kamran Khan, from Geo, also brought Dr. Arsalan on telephone call in early 2007, asking about the news against him. Dr. Arsalan, the son of CJP denied the news and told media that he is going to Court to defend these allegations. CJP anxious about media reports raised this matter to President Musharraf in his meeting with him on 13th February 2007. President instructed the investigation agencies to explore the realities behind these reports. The famous letter from Naeem Bukhari stimulated the issue even more. When the investigation completed, the findings were very shocking for President. They all were going against CJP. It revealed that not even the allegations of media about his son are true but also more serious findings were brought into notice of President Musharraf, including his personal corruption and greed for protocol, for which he was not entitled for. It all worried President. CJP had been used to visit President in his office and house many times, even with his family. There was nothing wrong in the personal terms and relations between the both. President Musharraf, at this moment, however had to decide what to select. Either he had to prefer personal relations or to follow the legal course of actions.

On 7th march 2007, Prime Minister Shoukat Aziz advised him to send the findings to Supreme Judicial Council (SJC) in the form of reference to decide for the fate of CJP. Justice Jehanzeb Rahim of Peshawar High Court also filed a reference against CJP in his letter to President. This was the time, when CJP highly informed about this progress, rung DG MI, Major General Mian Nadeem Ijaz on 7th March 2007, and requested him to get the copy of reference and to hand over it to him. Next day, CJP called Abdullah Yousaf, Chairman CBR in his chamber at Supreme Court to discuss the same issue of reference being filed by Justice Jehanzeb. CJP asked Chairman CBR to favour him by making clarification to President that he was not at fault over the allegations written by Justice Jehanzeb. On the same 8th march, CJP also rang military secretary (MS) of President Musharraf to arrange an urgent meeting with President the next day. Although President was due to leave for Karachi on 9th March, to participate in the Pakistan Navy exercise “Aman 2007”, but MS rescheduled the program and asked CJP to visit by 1130 hours on 9th March at camp office of the President’s secretariat. The same night, CJP rang DG MI to be present in camp office to assist him. On 9th March, during meeting, President informed CJP about all the findings of investigations, and asked for the clarification of his position. President told CJP that he is going to forward the findings to Supreme judicial Council. Realising that the findings are embarrassing for CJP, he gave him a way out as a courtesy move, saying, “If you find the hearings of SJC below your dignity and honour, then you can resign to avoid the case.” CJP said that he would face the allegations in SJC and would defend himself. President then signed the reference and officially it was sent to SJC for hearings.

This was what happened. Unfortunately, the media and political parties developed strange perceptions and vicious hype was created all around the country. No one on media ever read and present the material filed in reference. There were serious allegations against the CJP. Question is whether CJP above law? Should there be no forum for his accountability? Even President is not above law. There is a procedure written clear in constitution regarding his impeachment. The media and the lawyers of CJP escaped themselves out of hearings of SJC, by using the political and media fronts, making false perceptions. By claiming that a ’dictator’ sitting in ‘Army House’ has ‘summoned’ CJP and ‘threat’ him to resign, totally wrong environment developed, which hijacked the minds of public, and a civil disobedience sort of movement sponsored in streets and roads of Pakistan, labelled under ‘lawyers Movement’, powered by political parties and media.

Let us check whether President Musharraf had followed the constitutional path or not.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Article 48

(1) – In the exercise of his functions, the President shall act in accordance with the advice of the Cabinet (or the Prime Minister).

………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

Article 209

(1) There shall be a Supreme Judicial Council of Pakistan, in this Chapter referred to as the Council.

(5) If, on information [from any source, the Council or] the President is of the opinion that a Judge of the Supreme Court or of a High Court,

(a) May be incapable of properly performing the duties of his office be reason of physical or mental incapacity; or

(b) May have been guilty of misconduct,

The President shall direct the Council to [or the Council may, on its own motion] inquire into the matter.

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Article 180

At any time when-

(a)The office of Chief justice is vacant; or

(b)The Chief justice of Pakistan is absent or unable to perform the functions of his office due to any other cause,

The President shall appoint [the most senior of the other judges of the Supreme Court] to act as Chief justice of Pakistan.

………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

So, what President Musharraf did was simply the constitutional route followed. There were media allegations about the misconduct of CJP. CJP even himself asked President to make enquiry about them. The investigations were being made. Prime Minister advised Mr. President to send the findings to Supreme Judicial Council. Under article 48 of constitution, President was bound to act upon the advice of Prime Minister. Meanwhile CJP himself asked to visit President at CampOffice of President’s Secretariat. CJP was informed about the findings. He was willing to face the charges in SJC. Under the article 209, it was mandatory for President to send the reference to SJC, which he did.

What was unconstitutional in all that? Is Chief Justice above law? Or constitution can be hijacked by the rallies and public movements.

Unfortunately, what happened next made the social fabric of our society turned towards the worst and more worst. Supreme Judicial Council started hearings. CJP and his lawyers escaped the hearings by few excuses. They claimed that the judges of SJC are biased against CJP, and hence they must be changed. Media started campaign that President has nominated his own judges in SJC which was clearly wrong and false perceptions. The SJC was composed exactly according to the constitution, including the acting Chief Justice, two next most senior judges of High Court and two next most senior judges of Supreme Court. Then highly politicised and vocalised Aitzaz Ahsan, being invited frequently on the media channels used every tactics to provoke the feelings of public against President Musharraf and turning public in favour of CJP. The issue was sub judice and it was the contempt of court to speak about such issues live on TV channels, but everyone utilised the media forum to stimulate the public sentiments towards the movement of civil disobedience. There happened a chaos and anarchy everywhere in Pakistan. President Musharraf said hundreds of times, that whatever be the decision, would be acceptable to the government. Taking this as a weakness of him, the highly politicised lawyers of CJP made such an environment that the hearings of SJC paused and the petition to stop its hearing was brought into the Supreme Court. Finally, after much mess, Supreme Court gave a verdict in the favour of CJP and he was reinstated on 20th July. Everyone applaud it well, not mentioning that Supreme Court had not given any importance to the charges filed under the reference. It was not fair at all, but being a verdict of Supreme Court, President Musharraf welcomed the decision.

Besides the ‘victory’ of reinstating CJP, the track record of so called ‘Lawyers Movement’ is so embarrassing. Let us have a brief over view how this ‘victory’ is being made and how throughout, lawyers have behaved;

1-Lawyers hijacked the accountability of CJP in SJC bypassing the Article 209.

2-Contempt of Court, being made every day by speaking live on TV channels against a sub judice issue.

3-Making allegations on the brother judges of biasness and personal interests just to escape the hearings of SJC.

4-Climbing at and breaking the gates of Supreme Court, just to pressurize the government and creating law and order situation by fighting with security forces and police.

5-President Supreme Court Bar Association Muneer A. Mailk forced the lawyers to join the so called Lawyers’ Movement by starting cancelling the membership of Bar Association of those lawyers who were not joining this brigade.

6-Attack on Khalid Ranjha (Government’s counsel) by lawyers when he was stepping out of hearing of SJC.

7-Attack on the car of Waseem Sajjad (Government’s counsel) by the lawyers when he was on his way to attend SJC hearing.

8-Attacking and beating a journalist ‘Khalil Malik’ by lawyers in the square of Supreme Court, just because he had published some material against the CJP.

9-Attacking and beating Advocate Naeem Bukhari in the quad of Supreme Court by lawyers, just because he exposed the ‘corruption’ of CJP in his letter.

10-When Prime Minister Shoukat Aziz went to submit the nomination papers of President Musharraf in Election Commission for Presidential elections 2007, lawyers surrounded the election commission, and Prime Minister remained under siege by these lawyers’ brigade for hours.

11-Throwing black poisonous acid on the face of Mr. Ahmed Raza Qasuri (Government’s Council) by a lawyer in the premises of Supreme Court. If he had no eye glasses on face, God willing, he might lose his sightedness.

12-Attack of hundreds of lawyers on Sher Afgan Niazi. God saved his life in this horrible incident.

13-Strikes by the lawyers of the courts. Common people suffered by much inconvenience waiting for judges and lawyers to entertain their cases.

14-Long rallies (extending even to 40 hours) by CJP and lawyers turning a sub judice issue to highly politicised campaign.

After few days of apparent silence, the restored CJP again started making personal bravado against President Musharraf, security agencies and intelligence agencies. A long list of suo moto actions were made every day to paralyse the functioning of executive, legislative and law enforcement agencies. Knowing that people and media of Pakistan were supporting the actions of CJP, he did every possible thing to embarrass the government. Suo-moto action against the traffic jam in Karachi is just an example of the attitude of a person who has nothing to care about the ills growing in own judicial system. He did nothing for making improvement in the courts. Cases still are going for 20, 20 years but he did not take any steps for betterment. Once, Geo TV’s famous show “Gumnaam” showed a spy camera video of the case of bribery by one judge, but CJP did not take any action against this judge. On the other hand, the channel was charged by the contempt of court and asked to make open apologies. CJP did not take any notice of any of the illegal activities of lawyers, like beating and attacking on Naeem Bokhari or spraying of acid on Ahmed Raza Qasuri’s face. He did nothing to stop the illegal activities of Qabza mafia or No. 2 drugs etc. He never took suo moto actions against those militants who were threatening the barber shops or Cds shops. He never did care of those extremists who were blasting girls’ schools. Not caring of his own rallies, which even extended over 40 hours, he however did take suo moto actions of traffic jams. Then, he started embarrassing the chiefs of intelligence agencies in courts. Once he said, “Not only you, I would even bring General [Musharraf] in my court.” He released first so called missing person after being reinstated, named Qari Abdul Basit, who was charged of the assassination attempt on General Musharraf. Supreme Court took suo moto action against Red Mosque operation. CJP in open and strong words spoke against President of this operation. Government, law enforcement forces and intelligence agencies were highly demoralised. Supreme Court started hearing the petition against the eligibility of President Musharraf to be a candidate for next term of President. Earlier, Supreme Court rejected the petition but later again started hearing the same like petition. Then, Supreme Court allowed President to be a candidate for Presidency, but bound the election commission not to announce the result. The sword of uncertainty remained hanging over the heads of the nation. After Presidential elections, Supreme Court tried to extend the decision by all possible excuses. It seems a mockery with the nation, that the hearing of petition against president’s eligibility was announced to be pending for even 10 days, just because one of the judges of the bench was going to attend the wedding of his daughter. Not only this, three times, CJP changed the compositions of bench listening the case of eligibility. It all was self evident that Supreme Court was simply planning not to allow President Musharraf to continue holding his office any more. Supreme Court was just delaying the decision against him till 15th November 2007, till the term of National assembly get completed and President Musharraf then had remained by no chance of making any amendment in constitution by the assembly. It all was nerve stressing and alarming for President. He had waited long for the full decision regarding the reinstatement of CJP to be announced by Supreme Court. Supreme Court was bound legally to release full decision in 90 days, but this period also passed without having the issuance of the full decision. Moreover, constitutionally Supreme Court was even not given by the mandate to entertain any petition against the President’s elections.

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Article 41 (Clause 6)

The validity of election of the President shall not be called in question by or before any court or other authority.

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Making the clear violation of constitution, Supreme Court was entertaining the petitions against President and was trying much to delay the decision till 15th November. Meanwhile, a bloody campaign of suicide attacks stimulated with so much acceleration in settled districts of Pakistan. Intelligence agencies and law enforcement forces were cornered by Supreme Court and all the fragments of the society. A form of civil war was going to develop in Pakistan. Government was in the state of semi paralysis. The general elections were near in few months. All the self exiled politicians were returning back to Pakistan with having strong lobbies behind in West. Under such state of affairs, ISI reported something very important and alarming. It was about the secret meeting of Aitzaz Ahsan with Mr. Khalil ur Rehman Ramday in the Geneva, Switzerland. This meeting was very meaningful in understanding what Supreme Court was planning to do with Musharraf. The case of eligibility of President was in court. Khalil Ramday was heading the bench. Aitzaz Ahsan was representing himself in court against the eligibility of Musharraf. It was legally very undesirable to set secret meetings between the judge and a lawyer. There were also various indications and reports about the foreign money involved to promote all that lawyers’ campaign. Reportedly this money was going to Aitzaz Ahsan through various channels, mostly including few NGOs and human rights’ activists. There were also the reports of Aitzaz’s undisclosed visits to India during all that campaign. Justice Rana Bhahwandas’ famous statement in very start of all that reference’s episode, “Soon, we would give good news to nation” was also something important to read between the lines.

All of a sudden, suspicions against the role of Pakistan in war against terror were being floated in international media. International community started speaking against Pakistan and starting asking for restoration of Democracy in Pakistan. To promote the dangerous agenda against Pakistan, ‘Newsweek’ magazine came out with a title story, “Most dangerous nation in the world is not Iraq or Afghanistan. It’s Pakistan”. Pakistan’s nuclear status was under a deadly threat. Ground field was well set to announce by world powers that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are not safe and that terrorists could take control of them. Although IAEA had already announced that chapter of nuclear proliferation is closed for Pakistan, but Benazir Bhutto coined a strange statement that she could allow the access of international agencies to Dr. A.Q. Khan and that she could allow American forces to operate in Pakistan’s tribal areas. On one side, a well planned campaign was going on, and on the other hand Economy of Pakistan started suffering negative trends for the first time in last many years.

President Musharraf tolerated all that but finally when he found that things are slipping away from the hands of Pakistan, and that inaction at that time would lead to total chaos and destruction and the irrecoverable damage to Pakistan, he finally decided to impose the state of emergency on 3rd November 2007. Judges were offered to take oath under new PCO. Many judges accepted this offer and many refused. Those who refused, including Iftikhar Chaudhry, started a new version of Lawyers’ movement.

Let us see what constitution allowed President Musharraf at that time.

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Article 232 (1)

If the President is satisfied that a grave emergency exists in which the security of Pakistan, or any part thereof, is threatened by war or external aggression, or by internal disturbance beyond the power of a Provincial Government to control, he may issue a Proclamation of Emergency.

Article 236 (2)

The vailidity of any proclamation issued or order made under this part shall not be called in question in any court.

Article 270 AA (3)

All proclamations, President’s orders, Ordinances, Chief Executive’s orders, laws, regulations, enactments, including amendments in the Constitution, notifications, rules, orders or bye-laws enforce immediately before the date on the date which this Article comes into force shall continue in force until altered, repealed or altered by the competent authority.

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What more to be lost?

We must see what Pakistan has achieved so far and what has been lost after the campaign of lawyers. Unfortunately, it seems that we have lost everything, and achieved nothing. Pakistan’s Economy is out of business now. Pakistan is now on the list of most insecure countries. Pakistan’s institutions are breaking up. Rotten politicians are back on stage. Most corrupt and incompetent leadership is on the charge of government. Pakistan’s armed forces and intelligence services are maligned nationally and internationally. Pakistan’s nuclear status is at stake. What more wrong and what more horrible can be expected.

So far no movement or strong demonstration is made against the extremists and terrorists. Civil society and human rights activists are used to speak against them in very soft words, usually on TV screens, but not on roads. All the focus is to speak against former President, armed forces and intelligence services, which indirectly is meant to strengthen the anti-state elements. The duality of Pakistani media  is well exposed since 2007. First, it was said that General Musharraf is not going to remove his military uniform etc, but he appointed new army chief. Then, was said that he is not going to lift state of emergency, but he lifted it up. Then, was said that general elections would be rigged for favourable results, but the entire world observed that elections were the most free, fair and peaceful. Media broke much news that former President is going to fly away from Pakistan in 48 hours, but all was bogus. Then it was said that President is going to dissolve the assemblies, but even it did not happen. On the other hand, political parties are well naked as well. The same PPP, which supported Lawyers’ Movement with full energy, started speaking against this movement after being elected. Mr. Zardari signed thrice the agreements for restoration of judges, but then refused it. The time, when Lawyers’ Movement was having last breaths, the decision of Supreme Court regarding the disqualification of Sharif brothers, ignited it again. Things are crystal clear. Lawyers used the politicians and later PML-N used the lawyers for their vested interests.

All patriotic Pakistanis must open their eyes and must smell the conspiracy behind. CIA and RAW are fully active and involved behind all that mess. They had set well their assets in media to promote anarchy and disinformation in Pakistan. Media has done nothing in discouraging the extremism and terrorism. Media has promoted the international campaign more than them. The focus and concern is shifted from the issues of national interests. No one cares of the economic fall down. No one asked where the foreign reserve of 16.7 Billion dollars has gone down to 5 billion dollars in few months under democratic government. No one asks for the reason why we are forced to beg IMF. No one asks why Dr. Samar Mubarik had been forced to leave his seat. No one cares of the funds of Nuclear and missile research program being cut by more than 50 %. No one cares from where Baitullah Mehsud of Waziristan is getting satellite information and weapons and suicide jackets. No one is caring of the separatist organisations in Baluchistan. Media is not telling us that for 7 months, the funds of paramilitary and police of NWFP are stopped by the government and that Pakistan armed forces are supplying weapons to them. Media would never tell about the holiday being announced by Chief Minister Balochistan, Aslam Raeesani on 15th August 2008 to synchronise it with Indian Independence Day. Media is not focussing about the drones attacks on tribal areas. What media is speaking for is just about the lawyers’ movement. So that Pakistani nation never get able to think of any other issues, which are far important for the sovereignty of Pakistan.

It’s all a psychological war. Nation must open their eyes. We must not been misguided by the propagandas and perceptions. Our enemies have played a dangerous double game. We must not give them any impression that Pakistan is going through a situation of civil war and disintegration. We must not suffer paralysis through analysis. We must stand for Pakistan armed forces in such state of affairs. Pakistan is not ready for British form of democracy. Pakistan is more important than democracy or constitution. Human rights, civil liberties, democracy and constitution are just the part of nation. Nation is not the part of them. We must safeguard Pakistan. Pakistan comes first.

Mr. Iftikhar Chaudhry is back in his office as a chief justice. PML-N’s pressure tactics win. Army Chief again has shown patience and resolution to avoid playing any role in politics. But game is not ended. It’s just a start. Time not always remain the same. Future would decide about it and about the role of Mr. Iftikhar Chaudhry. There still are many constitutional and legal issues. What would be the fate of those judges who have taken fresh oath under PCO? Would he give the favour to those, who supported him or would he demonstrate the neutrality? Would he take the notice over NRO, when the case against it would re-start in Supreme Court? Would he take actions against those judges who took oath under PCO on 3rd November 2007? Would he like to reform the session courts, high courts and Supreme Court? Above all, would he like to proof that the findings in Presidential reference were not correct and that he is not guilty of anything wrong. What if the disqualification of Sharif brothers remain hold? Would PML-N again start the violent campaign? What about those countries and the guarantees, which made reconciliation just before sit in (Dharna), instead of possible Martial Law.

Let us end this article by the last words of letter of Naeem Bukhari to CJP,

My Lord, we all live in the womb of time and are judged, both by the present and by history. The judgment about you, being rendered in the present, is adverse in the extreme.”

(www.geocities.com/nayyarafaq)

(1) A Proclamation issued under this part may be varied or revoked by a subsequent Proclamation.
(2) The validity of any Proclamation issued or Order made under this Part shall not be called in question in any court.
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Transcript of Pervez Musharraf’s talk at a media event in Delhi

March 9, 2009

Arun Poorie: You are here as a messenger of peace. What did you do about it in the nine years when you were in power?

 

Musharraf: Let’s stop the blame game. We need to look at the reality, forget the past and look ahead. I don’t know what I did wrong, but I can tell you I tried my best for peace between India and Pakistan. I was never negative when the opportunity for peace came to me.

 

Arun Poorie: What plans do you have about the future?

 

Musharraf: To me, the core issue is building confidence by greater people-to-people affinity. Once the confidence is there, we should move towards resolving the core issues, and stop meddling with the internal affairs of each other’s country.

 

Arun Poorie: What do you have to say about what happened on 26/11 in Mumbai?

 

Musharraf: Let’s stop the war hysteria. Just a day into the investigations, the Pakistani army and the ISI was blamed for it. I am for a considered and matured response to these issues. As far as the investigations are concerned, the Pakistani government should fully cooperate and the guilty should be punished.

 

Arun Poorie: Are there any terrorist camps in Pakistan?

 

Musharraf: See we have done damage to each other. I am aware of what the Indian embassy is doing in Jalalabad and Kandahar. A terrorist from Kabul has been received by Indian intelligence agencies in India and looked after. I have documents to show this. Let us stop the blame game. India is a big country. You try to do damage to us, we will do damage to you. We should address the trust deficit between the two countries. The ISI does the same thing as the RAW does. There is no distinction.

 

Ravi Shankar Prasad: In the face of the present situation, do you see Taliban taking over Pakistan?

 

Musharraf: Areas in the North West Frontier [Province] where the problem is, account for less then one percent of the population. There is no danger of Taliban taking over Pakistan politically.

 

Arun Poorie: What specific confidence-building measures do you have for the future?

 

Musharraf: We need to look at strategic issues. We will have to address the water issue which would develop into a new conflict between the nations. We have to stick to the Indus Valley treaty.

 

Soli Sorabjee: Will you hand over Dawood Ibrahim to us as a confidence building measure?

 

Musharraf: This is a small issue. I do not know if he is there. I too have a long list of people that India needs to give us. The role of Indian embassy in Afghanistan in Jalalabad and Kandahar is not good either.

 

Individuals are a small issue. We need to look at strategic issues. I do not think handing over Dawood will change anything. I know it will not help in easing tensions between the two nations, if that happens then you will have to hand over Dawood back to Pakistan (laughs).

 

Rahul Kanwal: A conversation of Gen Kayani, the army chief who succeeded you, has been intercepted where he said Taliban is a ‘strategic asset’?

 

Musharraf: This is a lie. He cannot say that. I challenge them to show me the proof. It is a lie.

 

Amar Singh: When our (then) PM Vajpayee travelled to Lahore by bus to Lahore for friendship, Kargil happened. Now you say you are for peace?

 

Musharraf: I would not like to comment on this issue. I have dealt with this matter in my book.

 

Shekhar Gupta: Compare your years in power with that of Ziaul Haq.

 

Musharraf: The comparison cannot be done as the situation and ground realities were very different in both times. You must understand that Pakistan is not the perpetuator of terror but a victim of terror in the last 30 years.

 

Question: How is it to live in Pakistan and not be in charge?

 

Musharraf: It’s good. I am relaxed. The most difficult job was to take decisions in highly complex situations. Now I read about them in the papers.

 

General VP Malik: What are the chances of the army taking over Pakistan again? How can India help Pakistan in its problems?

 

Musharraf: It is the internal matter of Pakistan. The political leadership can deal with the situation. I would not like to comment on that. India can help Pakistan by not maligning Pakistani army and the ISI in the world.

(http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2009%5C03%5C09%5Cstory_9-3-2009_pg7_35)

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Pakistan was safer under Musharraf: Former CIA official

March 6, 2009

LONDON: A former CIA official, who headed its Bin Laden unit, says the Lahore terrorist attack on Sri Lankan cricketers is a direct result of the West’s insistence on replacing Pervez Musharraf with a democratically-elected president in Pakistan.  

 

Michael Scheuer, who headed the (CIA) Central Intelligence Agency’s counter-terrorism unit dedicated to tracking down al Qaida head Osama bin Laden, also said President Asif Ali Zardari’s recent ceasefire deal with the Taliban in parts of the Northwest province was to blame.

 

He said the state of Pakistan “is approaching failure, and we really have ourselves to blame for this. Much of the problem that Pakistan has had in the last year is the result of our insisting that democracy return to the country.”

 

“The result of democracy was putting in Zardari… It is a very tenuous situation and a very bad government to be in charge in that situation,” Scheuer told BBC on Tuesday.

 

The former CIA agent said the Zardari government was “making various kinds of deals with the tribes in the hope that they will turn west towards Afghanistan and stop bringing their violence to Pakistan proper”.

 

“This is just another step on the road toward hell if you will.”

 

Scheuer added: “We are getting to the point [where] unless the Pakistani generals intervene again, you really could have a failed state.”

 

His comments came after International Cricket Council (ICC) Chief Executive Haroon Lorgat revealed Tuesday that ICC security advisers had warned of the risks of playing cricket in post-Musharraf Pakistan.

 

“I know for a fact that post the regime change in Pakistan, once Musharraf went”, the advice the ICC got from its security advisers was that they had more confidence under the previous regime, Lorgat said.

 

“And that’s one of the reasons why we were not confident about holding the Champions Trophy” in Pakistan, he added.

 

The Champions Trophy was moved away from Pakistan in a January meeting of the ICC.

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Economic way forward for Pakistan: Shaukat Aziz, ex-Prime Minister of Pakistan

March 4, 2009

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz in World Economic orumWhen I was asked to write a piece on the economic way forward, I hesitated at first because I felt that with a new government in place it is better that we leave the way forward to the new economic  managers, rather than play the role of back seat drivers and provide unsolicited advice. But the  mountain of criticism of the previous government policies from all sorts of arm chair critics, ranging from retired bureaucrats and economists of the cold war era, who still  believe in the supremacy of state management of the economy and for whom Venezuela and Bolivia are the new role models, to Islamists who  feel that the entire western global economic system is doomed and we need to chalk out a new paradigm – convinced me that perhaps the time  had come to analyze the past and set the record straight, assess the current situation and contribute to the debate on the way forward.

Now that we have the political parties of the nineties back in power it can be instructive to examine a few economic indicators of the nineties with the past eight years and draw inferences. Since the economic growth numbers have been challenged by the critics.  I will use numbers that are not subject to disagreement. So for example, if the GDP growth numbers are being challenged, than other growth indicators that the public can understand can show the reality. The official GDP growth from around US $ 65 billion in 1999-2000 to US$ 165 billion in 2007-08 (a factor of 2.5 times) is challenged as being fudged, but growth of credit to the private sector over the same time period from Rs 1 trillion to Rs 2.5 trillion, again a factor of 2.5 times, cannot be challenged. 

The data shows that while electricity consumption grew by 1300 Gwh per year in the decade of the nineties it grew by 3750 Gwh per year from 2000 to 2008 a factor of 2.8 times. Gas consumption grew by 20 billion cft per year in the nineties compared with 80 billion cft per year from 2000 to 2007 a factor of four times. The revenue collection by FBR increased from Rs 300 billion in 1999 to over one trillion in 2008. Foreign investment that averaged around $ 500 million per year in the nineties touched over $ 8 billion in 2008 alone. Remittances that were around one billion in 1999 have crossed six billion in 2008.

Development spending that was US$ 1.5 billion in 1999 touched $7.5 billion in 2007. Exports that were $7.5 billion in 1999 reached $18 billion in 2007.  Foreign exchange reserves that were around a billion dollars in 1999 reached over 16 billion in 2007. Stock market index that was around 1300 in 1999 touched its highest level of 15700 in April 2008 a factor of 12 times that placed the KSE as one of the best performing stock markets of the world. The exchange rate showed remarkable stability over the past eight years. Credit rating improved from selective default in 1999 to B+ and B1 by 2007.

Since the February elections, and the advent of the new government economic indicators have sharply deteriorated. The Currency has fallen by 25 percent against the Dollar, the stock market index has fallen by 6700 points from its peak in April leading to an asset value loss of 43 percent amounting to loss of market capitalization of around US $ 40 billion; the largest loss in the history of Pakistan. This loss of confidence in the economy of Pakistan has been unprecedented. We can trace the loss of confidence by the foreign investor by examining the spread on the US dollar global bonds that we issued in May 2007. These bonds were issued at the start of the lawyers movement and its associated turmoil. The bond was a huge success with over subscription; of seven times amounting to $ 3.5 billion while we were seeking only $500 million. The spread was 180 basis points above US government ten year securities. As the lawyers movement continued to gain strength in mid 2007, the spread on the bonds jumped to 300 basis points in July and 400 basis points by November when the emergency was imposed.

In December when BB was assassinated the spread jumped to 600 basis points. However, after the elections, the investor community welcomed the peaceful transition by pushing the spread down to 500 points. The stock market also reacted favorably and reached its highest point of 15700 in our history in April, 2008. Since then our chaotic politics and lack of focus on economic issues has led to the collapse of the stock market to 9000 points and the spread has jumped to almost a 1000 points. So what events produced these results, between April and now.

In the previous government, we had been highly successful in crafting a very positive brand image of Pakistan as one of the fastest growing emerging economies in Asia. After our exit from the IMF program and successful reforms, investors favorably compared Pakistan to India, China and Vietnam. Every time we did a road show, we were highly successful in our endeavors whether it was the OGDC flotation or UBL GDR or Euro bonds or large privatizations, investors flocked to our offerings. We were a success story in the international financial markets and most of our issues became benchmark issues.

Unfortunately, this Government has not been able to maintain Pakistan Brand rather it has eroded considerably. In this erosion the first stone was foolishly cast by our erstwhile finance minister Mr. Ishaq Dar who displayed incredible irresponsibility and immaturity in lambasting the Pakistani economy in front of the global media; at a time when the global investment community was looking towards the new government for its economic vision and future strategy the new finance minister harangued them on how bad the Pakistan economy was. In spite of this onslaught, the rating agencies maintained their ratings until as in their words the new government comes up with its economic game plan. The new government was at this time caught up in utter confusion on the economic direction of the country with rapid changes in the finance setup and revolving finance ministers.

This lack of focus was disastrous for us as against this back ground our financing plan included a number of financial market transactions totaling around $ 4 billion that were ready for the road shows. These included the National Bank, Habib Bank, and KAPCO. The exchangeable bond issue of OGDC, and the strategic sale of PSO shares along with management control. With the stock market at an all time high the transactions would have been a great success and the road shows would have generated tremendous good will for the new government and would have highlighted the smooth transition that happened in Pakistan. It would have been a great opportunity to showcase Pakistan in front of the international investment community. Instead, in an inexplicable move the Government cancelled all the transactions. Pakistan directly lost desperately needed inflows of $ 4 billion and with the rising oil import bill, this loss placed a huge pressure on the reserves and the currency. Indirectly the loss was probably twice as much as foreign investors withdrew to the sidelines and domestic investors moved their investments overseas. It might be mentioned that while the government failed to take advantage of the window of opportunity, The MCB bank taking advantage of the great valuations on the stock market in April 2008 privately placed some 20% of their equity with a Malaysian bank for a cool sum of $ 850 million.

 If the Government had acted similarly, it could have generated sufficient flows to prevent the meltdown which ensued. Reserves drawdown would have been avoided, the spread on our international bonds would have narrowed down to May 2007 levels, borrowing from the State Bank would have been halved and the government would have had a stable environment for tackling the oil import bill and food inflation. Our current predicament is clearly a creation of our current economic miss-management. A few heads should have rolled because of this incredible lapse.

What could have been done in April/May 2008 with the market at 15700 points cannot be done in September/ October 2008 with the market at 9100 points. The international markets are closed to us. We have to wait until our markets get back to their historical levels and investor confidence is restored. How will this be achieved? The biggest challenge for President Zardari is to restore the eroded Pakistan Brand; back to its original luster and in the process revive the investment flows that can sustain our growth going forward.

First, while we should be on the right side of the world in the war on terror, the world should seriously help us in our endeavor to build a better economic & future for our people. The new president has to focus on the economic issues facing the country. His international trips to China, Saudi Arabia, Gulf, USA, UK, should promote Pakistan economic interests as a pivotal objective. He should not only promote government to government economic cooperation but also promote private sector to private sector interaction with these countries. We need strong, immediate and implement able commitments of around $5 billion balance of payment support from these countries. In addition, their leadership at the highest levels should support international moves to promote our economic growth and stability. Better and preferential access to EU and USA markets, greater quotas for labor and deferred payments for oil in Saudi Arabia and Gulf region. A full calendar of investment conferences and single country exhibitions need to be carried out under the direction of the president. The promotion of exports and investments has to be the major focus and objective of the President. If we can generate foreign investments greater than last year level of $ 8 billion and export growth is revived to healthy double digit levels we would start coming out of the current malaise.

Second, it is clear that Pakistan growing trade and current account deficit is being driven by ever escalating oil prices. With the oil bill crossing $12 billion a year there is no option other than passing the full prices to the consumers and eliminate the burden on the budget. This will also help in promoting conservation and improving energy efficiency. Unfortunately, the transition to a new government took place at a time of unprecedented increase in global fuel prices.

For example at the time of elections, oil prices were around $80 a bbl whereas by July 2008 it had reached $140 a bbl. While we had planned to limit the fiscal deficit to be under 6 percent and largely financing it from non state bank sources, including commercial bank borrowing and non debt sources. The new government ended up with a much higher deficit level and financed it totally from the state bank. We have now reached a stage where the issue is no longer energy availability rather it is energy affordability. We have almost 20000 MW of power generation capacity but we are only using 12000 MW because the Furnace oil used for thermal generation has become extremely expensive and beyond the ability of Pepco to pay for. As a result, available capacity is not being used leading to load shedding.

 The exorbitant power price increase can only be avoided in the short run if transmission and distribution losses are dramatically curtailed and in the medium term we substitute imported fuel with domestic sources. Thermal power based on imported oil costs around Rs 16 per unit (Kwh) whereas hydel power from Kalabagh would cost Rs 2 per unit. The power from Thar coal will cost around Rs 8 per unit. While Kalabagh can be completed in five years, Technical problems with Thar coal can delay its availability indefinitely. If the mega Kalabagh Dam is launched in 2008 it will not only jump start the economy; it will also be seen as President Zardari’s gift of Hydel Power to Pakistan just like PM Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Gift of Nuclear Power to Pakistan thirty five years ago.

Third, as far as inflation is concerned it will start coming under control as global oil and food prices filter through the economy. Our Inflation index is heavily weighted in favor of food energy and commodity prices. So it is highly sensitive to these prices. Since global energy and food prices are easing the same should be felt in Pakistan in the days to come. Pakistan’s inflation is a supply side and cost push phenomenon and further monetary tightening would not help. Instead, a tighter fiscal policy with a lower deficit target and phasing out of borrowing from the state bank will help. At the same time in this period of great change we should ensure that the poor of the poorest are able to cope with the changes particularly higher food prices and social safety nets are made fool proof so that nobody in Pakistan stays hungry.

Fourth, for the first time after 2nd world war agriculture commodity prices have moved in favor of the farmers. We have to ensure that we pass on this benefit of higher global prices to our farmers by deregulating agriculture prices. The only other incentive our farmers need is predictable water supply. This can be ensured by building more water reservoirs and better water management so that farmers can move from unpredictable subsistence agriculture to commercial agriculture. Study after study in the sub-continent has shown that large multi-purpose dams are the quickest way out of poverty. With oil prices at $100 per barrel and destined to double over the next decade there is no way, other than developing our full hydel potential quickly to usher in a new green revolution and providing sustainable global advantage to our economy of cheap hydel power.

Fifth, we should stop cribbing about the Consumer economy. Pakistan is a large country with 160 million people and 100 million under the age of 25. With dependency, ratios going down we can reap a demographic dividend over the next several decades. While these youngster have to be prepared for the work force they are already becoming a huge engine of growth for our markets that are growing at fabulous rates to meet the demands of these Pakistani baby boomers, Just like in Europe and South Korea after the 2nd world war, our baby boomers will be the back bone of our middle class and will determine the growth of our economy over the next 40 years until they start to retire. This gives our businesses an historic opportunity to grow and produce the goods and services the population needs. In an era when world is facing a crisis of aging populations we are blessed with opportunities of a young and dynamic population. In this regard consumer financing which has become a butt of criticism has just scratched the surface.

In our country, consumer finance is around 5 % of GDP whereas in the developed world it is over 100% of GDP. Consumer financing has a long way to go and along the way it will continue to be one of the engines of growth for us. Any ill founded moves to curtail the consumer economy will hamper the growth of our businesses. We are now going beyond textiles into engineering, electronics, chemicals, food processing, construction materials, real estate and many other sectors based on our domestic markets as these markets continue to expand we will reach economies of scale that will make our producers and the large associated vendor industry competitive on a global scale and the same producers will be the base for diversifying our exports into more sophisticated and fast growing sectors of the world. Ultimately, if our law and order permits and our national psyche adopts rules of globalization, and globalization as our road to prosperity we will become one of the workshops of the world along with India and China.

Sixth, there are hundreds of infrastructure projects at various stages of implementation including the National trade corridor, Neelum Jhelum hydro power project, KKH upgradation, Urban renewal in Karachi and Lahore, mass transport projects, airports, Baluchistan road network, Gawadar port, industrial parks etc., these projects have to be completed on time and scope. The last government also created an Infrastructure project development facility (IPDF) that needs to be fully utilized so that we can bump up (almost double ) our expenditure on infrastructure particularly hydel projects through public private partnerships.

Seventh, the FBR has to continue generating revenues for the government to carry out the nation building programs. Last year a target of over 4 trillion rupees was set for FBR within the next ten years, four times the current levels reaching about 16 % of GDP. Along with a target of 4 percent of GDP for education expenditures with 1.5 % allocated to university education. The education strategy was based on providing universal access to primary education, retaining enrollments into secondary education and technical and vocational training and improving standards at the college and university levels. Nine new engineering universities in collaboration with European, Korean and Chinese universities were in the pipeline. Going forward we should focus on quality improvement through a big push forward in teacher training, curriculum development and public private partnerships at the primary and secondary schools level and continued efforts to upgrade the universities and hopefully achieving the setup of the new engineering schools. The national vocational and technical education commission (NAVTEC), has gone through its learning curve, and can now be used to upscale its programs to give technical and vocational training a quantum jump.

Eighth, in the financial sector we have created a world class banking system with our banks featuring amongst the leaders in Asia. The Quality of our bankers is second to none and can work in any global setting. The challenge is to further increase the reach and competitiveness of the financial sector with Microfinance playing a much greater role. Our microfinance frameworks are the best in the world and a strong base has been established which can grow manifold to bring financial services to the masses. The growth of the financial sector will continue at a sizzling rate as the financial sector expands into consumer and housing finance, rural and agriculture finance and development of debt and bond markets, growth of mutual funds, pension funds and other savings instruments.

Ninth, in the competitiveness area we must continue to deregulate and privatize the economy to create a vibrant and competitive economy. Second generation reforms in economic management have to be continued. An essential pillar of a private sector led market economy, the Competition Commission has to be given financial independence and allowed to work unhindered. The competitiveness support fund, business support fund, agriculture support fund, Khushal Pakistan fund, smeda etc. have to be used to implement reforms that help the market economy become more productive and competitive from the grass roots level up to the corporate level.

Finally, Pakistan needs to continue to grow at 7 to 8 percent to create the 3 to 4 million new jobs per year needed to accommodate our youth and create a dent in poverty in our lifetime. We cannot embrace isolationism, jihadism or any other form of global confrontationist movements. Instead, we have to build on our successes, unleash the potential of our people, exploit our competitive advantages, take advantage of global finance, integrate with global markets, and continue building a dynamic market economy with world class infrastructure to achieve our growth objectives. This is the recipe for the future and the way forward for Pakistan.

(Source: www.PakistanFirst.com)

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Long live Pakistan-Sri Lanka Friendship

March 4, 2009

Sri Lankan Cricket Team with Pervez Musharraf3rd March 2009-Liberty (Lahore) – A cowardly attack on the cricket team of Sri Lanka has turned whole Pakistani Nation sad and shocked. Pakistan and Sri Lanka has developed strong bond of friendship and cooperation over decades. We both are dignified nations. The harmony and unison between us is tested over the period of years. Its self evident that the evil attack was planned to sabotage the relationships between both nations. Pakistan condemns this attack. It’s our resolve to stand together. Nothing can break us apart.

 

Pakistani Nation salutes Sri Lankan team for the Great Spirit, with which they visited Pakistan and entertain cricket lovers. Pakistani Nation salutes those Jawaans from Police, who sacrificed their lives for the honor of the homeland, ensuring the security of Sri Lankan players. Above all, we salute Mr. Mehr Khalil, the driver of the bus, who has written a new chapter of courage and bravery under the most nerve stressing moments. We demand government for swift actions and quick investigation to bring the culprits to justice.

 

Long live sportsmen spirit.

Long live Pakistan-Sri Lanka friendship.

 

~Nayyar Afaq

www.geocities.com/nayyarafaq

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Pakistani Military Torpedoes Pro-U.S. Govt.’s Case On Mumbai

March 3, 2009

Two public officials – the Navy chief and a deputy attorney general – together have destroyed Rehman Malik’s case of ‘admission of guilt’ in Mumbai attacks.  The government has fired the deputy attorney general for taking a stand, but no one in the Pakistani media noticed since it is busy in the latest Pakistani political circus. But it is this story that could unravel this staunchly pro-U.S. setup.

 

By AHMED QURAISHI

Saturday, 28 February 2009.

WWW.AHMEDQURAISHI.COM

 

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—Two developments in Pakistan have thwarted the deliberate effort of Pakistan’s pro-U.S. government to take the Mumbai investigations on a path that leads to placing the blame on the Pakistani military and intelligence.

 

The two developments, one by a public prosecutor and the other by the Pakistani military, confirms that the Zardari government, and especially his confidant and interior adviser Rehman Malik, deliberately led Pakistan into acquiescence to American and Indian demands by accepting partial responsibility for Mumbai attacks without verifiable evidence. It also raises questions about the motives of this government.

 

The first development took place on Feb. 18, when Zardari government’s special public prosecutor in the Mumbai attacks Sardar Mohammad Ghazi issued a statement saying Islamabad is formally requesting India to extradite Ajmal Kassab, the alleged lone survivor of the Mumbai attacks.  This was a surprising statement considering how the Zardari government unilaterally accepted – on behalf of Pakistan – every single piece of questionable Indian and American ‘evidence’ linking the attacks to elements with past links to Pakistani intelligence.

 

Sardar’s statement shook the Indians and the Americans, who lobbied hard to ensure Pakistan accepted some responsibility for the attacks as a prelude to implicating Pakistan’s ISI.

 

Pakistani investigators have yet to independently confirm that Kassab is indeed a Pakistani citizen, or that the person in Indian custody is indeed Ajmal Kassab.

 

Taking advantage of the political turmoil inside the country, President Zardari on Friday, Feb. 27, quietly fired Sardar from his job as the Deputy Attorney General. Zardari’s move was shrewd. No one in the Pakistani media paid attention.

 

Sardar created a hole in the investigations led by Rehman Malik, the de facto interior minister. But the Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Noman Bashir, bulldozed Malik’s case in its entirety, coming out on the same day when the special prosecutor was fired to say that he has seen no evidence that shows Kassab went to Indian from Pakistan in a boat, as India says and as the Zardari government says.

 

Rehman Keeps ISI Out

 

Malik had ensured that the ISI stayed away from the investigations. He assigned a civilian department, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), to conduct the probe. On Jan. 16, an excited Malik came to a press conference and with broad smiles flashed a photograph of a boat he said that Kassab and his colleagues used to travel from Karachi to Mumbai. This was supposed to be the smoking gun that confirmed that Pakistanis did use Pakistani soil to attack India. The indirect message was supposed to be this: that the country’s military or intelligence is involved, since Pakistan has been supporting anti-India groups in Kashmir.

 

Malik’s revelations were stunning because he couldn’t show any progress in 12 months in resolving the murder mystery of Benazir Bhutto but here he was ‘successfully’ resolving in a few days a complex case that transcends borders.

 

Adm. Bashir’s salvo came on the same day that President Zardari quietly fired the public prosecutor who challenged his government’s admission of guilt on Mumbai.

 

Adm. Bashir said he has seen no evidence that Kassab traveled by boat from Karachi to India. He said there was no way anyone could escape Pakistani naval intelligence. And even if it happened, he added, where was the Indian navy that claims to be preparing itself for a global role?

 

The Navy chief’s statement basically confirmed that, unlike Mr. Malik’s admission of guilt and acceptance of Indian ‘evidence’ without challenge, Pakistani investigators want to confirm how Kassab reached Indian soil by sea penetrating the security parameters of the Indian navy. This breach is ironic considering how the Indian navy never ceases to boast that its readiness matches its ‘mission’ to police the entire Indian Ocean along with U.S., Britain and Australia.

 

Pakistani suspicions are also legitimate because India’s own investigations leave many important questions unanswered, especially regarding the inside help that Mumbai terrorists received to achieve their objective. Pakistanis have reason to believe that India’s intelligence services posing as diplomats in countries surrounding India have been reported to have kidnapped unassuming Pakistani citizens to use them to stage terrorist acts and blame them on Pakistan.

 

Why Elected Govt. Keen To Capitulate?

 

This brings us to the question: Why is the Zardari government so keen on seeing Pakistan take responsibility for Mumbai attacks?

 

The Zardari government is an elected government. But its election and the arrangement to bring it to power were manipulated by Washington, which weakened the previous military government through terrorism from Afghanistan and through direct secret contacts with Pakistani politicians, forcing a beleaguered Pervez Musharraf to cut a deal brokered by U.S. State Department to ease Benazir Bhutto, ANP and MQM into power.

 

Zardari’s corruption cases and those of other politicians in power were withdrawn thanks to this U.S.-brokered deal. Not to mention that the personal wealth and assets of President Zardari, Mr. Rehman Malik, Ambassador Haqqani and other stalwarts of his government, are based in either the United States or Britain. They have no interest in antagonizing Washington or London.

 

But why is Washington so keen to see Islamabad accept responsibility for Mumbai attacks?

 

Why U.S. Wants To Target Pak Military?

 

At a time when U.S. is in trouble in Afghanistan and wants to put more pressure on Pakistan, the Mumbai attacks are a blessing. The attacks allow Washington to exert pressure on Pakistani military, and especially blackmail ISI.  If Pakistan accepts that Kashmiri groups were behind the attacks, it would mean that Pakistani military bears some responsibility and its case of supporting Kashmiri freedom groups in Indian occupied Kashmir is discredited. Overall, Mumbai attacks provide a perfect opportunity to threaten the Pakistani military and intelligence from Pakistan’s eastern borders even as U.S. keep the pressure from the west, through U.S.-inspired insurgencies emanating from Afghanistan. Washington wants an emasculated Pakistani military, capable of holding Pakistan together but without the ability to defend Pakistani national security interests.

 

How Pakistan Benefits From Adm. Bashir’s Statement?

 

A fickle and shortsighted Pakistani media was busy in the local political circus to take note of the internal revolt against Zardari government’s Mumbai investigations. This is the time to highlight these discrepancies and discredit the positions of the Zardari and the Indian governments.

 

The firing of the deputy attorney general by President Zardari must be highlighted in the media. And both Mr. Zardari and his interior minister Mr. Malik must not be allowed to get away with their soft position on India’s failure so far to answer the list of 30 questions that Pakistani investigators posed to Indian authorities regarding Mumbai attacks. New Delhi is procrastinating on this request. Mr. Zardari and Mr. Malik must not be allowed to provide India a safe exit.

 

The opening salvos by the Pakistani naval chief and the ex-public prosecutor are a good start.

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