Archive for April, 2009

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Musharraf blames USA for Trust Deficit

April 27, 2009

Pervez Musharraf with David FrostApril 24, 2009: FORMER Pakistani President, Pervez Musharraf, blames the United States for what he believes is a ‘trust deficit’ between the two countries.

He says that President Obama has not helped change the US attitude towards Pakistan and that there are very few differences between President Obama and his predecessor. He has also called for Pakistan to take control of the US drones and argued that the Swat Valley must remain in the Pakistani legal system.

Speaking exclusively to Sir David Frost for “Frost Over The World” on Al Jazeera English, he was asked if there was a healthy relationship between Pakistan and the US. “No,” he replied.

“There is, unfortunately, a trust deficit … the worst part of the whole situation is there’s a trust deficit in the United States against the ISI; and in many quarters against the army… These are the two institutions which are the guarantors of stability of Pakistan… Now if you are to fight terrorism and extremism, and these two institutions are to be mistrusted, who in Pakistan is going to fight terrorism and extremism?”

When asked if he thought things had changed for the better under President Obama, he said: “I don’t see any change really. I mean, what are the changes as far as terrorism and extremism is concerned, and as far as our region and Afghanistan is concerned? There is no change. Force is required. He has taken the decision to send more force. So what was happening in the past? There was force requirement and he is following exactly the same strategy.”

Former President Musharraf’s comments came as US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned Pakistan for allowing extremists to control the Swat Valley in north-western Pakistan, resulting in a “mortal threat” to world security.

When asked by Sir David Frost whether he agreed with the current Pakistani government conceding to the Taliban in allowing Sharia law in the Swat Valley, Musharraf said: “Any compromise on a position of strength when you are dealing with them is the wrong way. We must deal politically, but from a position of strength… If it is outside that legal structure you cannot have a challenge to the writ of the Government… Speedy, cheap justice must be ensured within the legal ambit of Pakistan, and the constitution of Pakistan. Denying the constitution of Pakistan, and bringing laws which are different from Pakistan, must not be allowed. “

He also claimed that the Taliban was a greater threat than Al Qaeda, saying: “They get their strength from the population. Al Qaeda doesn’t get strength from the population.”

Musharraf also called for the US drones that patrol Pakistan to be brought under the control of the Pakistani government, arguing that Pakistan does not have the technology available to fight terrorism.

“We cannot allow any foreign force to attack on our side of the border. We must use our own forces. And whatever resources are lacking, Pakistan must be given those resources. What these drones see are obviously much more than we have through human intelligence. We bank on human intelligence, and also some technical intelligence.”

The former President did not dismiss the possibility of returning to power, saying: “Pakistan comes first. I hope and pray that the government that handles Pakistan does well for Pakistan. Progress and development of the state, the welfare and wellbeing of its people.

“If they can ensure this, I’ll be the happiest man. But if this is not ensured, and Pakistan is on a nosedive or a self-destruct mechanism is on… then if I can contribute something to rectify the situation, certainly I will. My life is for the country; for Pakistan.”

Musharraf also spoke of two secret meetings he had held with Benazir Bhutto in Abu Dhabi, in which he claims he warned her twice not to return to Pakistan for fear of assassination.

“She was not supposed to return before the elections… And I told her personally that there were threats. Very, very important threats… She ignored all that… And unfortunately they made a lot of hue and cry against me that I was not allowing her political activity. But it was simply a threat to her life! The next time then she ignored all that. I said, ‘Okay, if she wants to go, let her go! She’s not understanding.’ And then you know what happened.”

Source: http://www.theasiannews.co.uk

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Musharraf farmhouse: the architect responds

April 21, 2009

By HAMMAD HUSSAIN

Islamabad – A lot has been written in the forign and local press lately about Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s farmhouse in Chak Shahzad, Islamabad. Journalists have (mis)reported and commented on the plot, the house design, cost, size and any aspect of the house that would make news. There has been a debate whether he will be able to live in his farmhouse or not.

As the architect of this farmhouse, I would like to clarify some facts:

The farmhouse has a very modest and functional design with minimalist and simple finishes. It is anything but ostentatious or palatial. It is made in accordance with the bye-laws of the Capital Development Authority (CDA).

Last year there was a controversy about the Chak Shahzad farms, including Gen Musharraf’s plot. After Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry was reinstated on 20th July, he took suo moto notice of the ‘violations’ of law, claiming that the farms were ‘allotted’ to the present owners for growing vegetables and were not meant for residential use. He sought to cancel all the 499 plots in Chak Shahzad.

None of these charges was correct and this move by Justice Chaudhry seemed nothing more than an attempt to settle personal scores with Gen Musharraf. The reality is that these plots had originally been allotted as compensation to those locals who were evicted from their properties in the 1970s and 80s when CDA was in the process of developing sectors in Islamabad. Most of these allottees eventually sold these farms at prevailing market rates. Later, CDA legalized construction of residences in Chak Shahzad.

Gen Musharraf bought his plot at market price and it was officially transferred in his name by CDA, which also stamped and approved the drawings for construction of the house according to their bye-laws. Reports by some journalists that he was allotted the plot “at a throwaway price” and that the construction is illegal are false and malicious.

There is nothing controversial about Gen Musharraf’s plot or the house. It has just been blown out of proportion by sensational reporters.

(taken from http://nailainayat.blogspot.com with zillions of thanks)

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Blackmail In Balochistan-Exclusive

April 16, 2009

The truth is that the three murdered Pakistani Baloch politicians had become a political liability and a security risk for Brahamdagh Bugti and a threat to his entire infrastructure of terror inside Pakistan. The three had developed a good working relationship with Pakistani security officials during hostage negotiations. Brahamdagh and his handlers knew that the three were in direct contact with Pakistani security officials and could compromise the security of the terrorist activity and the routes of secret funding from across the border and the terrorist hideouts inside Pakistan. The inside story of five days that changed Balochistan, a story of deception, intrigue and espionage.

 

By AHMED QURAISHI

Tuesday, 14 April 2009.

WWW.AHMEDQURAISHI.COM

 

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—Two distinct sketches are emerging of what happened in Pakistan’s largest province –Balochistan— over the past ten days.

 

Balochistan insurgencyThe three murdered Pakistani Baloch political activists were in contact with Pakistani security and intelligence officials during the negotiations to release John Solecki, an American citizen and U.N. official. The three were also in contact with U.S. diplomats, U.N. officials, and with the kidnappers.  In fact, the three politicians were considered to be part of the political front of the terrorist-insurgent movement that has its logistical, financial, and military bases in Afghanistan, built with generous funding over the past five years after the American occupation of that country.

 

So there is no question that Pakistan’s security agencies were in direct contact with the three politicians.  Before their murder, the terrorists-separatists did not dare publicize their presence and actions and relied on sporadic violence to spread terror and create media impact.  The triple murder changed everything. It gave these separatist and terrorist elements an opportunity for the first time to publicly display their anti-Pakistan activities. In a tribal society like that of the Pakistani Baloch, controlled by a handful of tribal bosses through intimidation, brutality and economic control, the majority succumbed to the terror.

 

But who murdered the three local politicians?

 

The following report is based on firsthand information of what transpired between April 4 and April 9, five days that give the clearest insight yet into the wider battle in and around Pakistan.

 

THE CAPTORS

 

What is beyond doubt is that Mr. Solecki was kidnapped by terrorists trained and financed by Brahamdagh Bugti, a grandson of the late politician-turned-terrorist Akbar Bugti. [Mr. Bugti was a smalltime village thug who murdered his cousins and relatives, stole their lands and exiled them to other parts of Pakistan. He got lucky when huge reservoirs of natural gas were found in the lands under his forced control. Mr. Bugti received a fortune every year from the federal government as ‘royalty’ for selling the gas. For three decades, his village lived in abject poverty as Mr. Bugti refused to allow the government to build schools or allow the poor villagers to improve their lifestyles. Mr. Bugti spent the money on building and maintaining a small army, a chain of underground prisons and on defending himself against his numerous enemies. After the occupation of Afghanistan, it is believed that the Indians and the Americans sold him on the idea that he could launch a war for an independent country. He apparently received strong guarantees that he will be supported and protected by the United States and India in case of an angry Pakistani reaction, which encouraged him to go to extremes. An advanced insurgency infrastructure complete with printed material in Urdu and English, audio and video tapes and propaganda in local dialects was prepared inside Afghanistan and smuggled to Pakistan. Mr. Bugti launched the war in January 2005, with massive supply of weapons and money. He died almost two years later when his own cousins backed by the Pakistani government stormed into his stronghold and seized their lands and forced him to flee to the mountains.]

 

Brahamdagh was last sighted in Kabul. Indian intelligence agents posing as diplomats in the Afghan capital are some of his most frequent visitors.  The Indian diplomacy and intelligence have been keen since 2002 on finding ways to drive a wedge between Washington and Islamabad.   India’s diplomatic actions in this regard are well known but the British and the American media have been silent on growing evidence of Indian covert activities in Afghanistan under an American nod.

 

One of the earliest Indian actions in Afghanistan after 2002 included acting as a spoiler, poisoning the minds of U.S. military commanders on the ground regarding Pakistan. One of the most common tactics has been to identify and penetrate groups of Afghan resistance fighters and then indirectly goad them into attacking the Americans and leaving behind evidence pointing the finger at Pakistan. Similarly, there have been attacks inside Pakistan where evidence was left behind implicating U.S. intelligence operatives to mislead Pakistani investigators. 

 

BRAHAMDAGH’S FRIENDS

 

One line of thinking in the current Pakistani investigation into the murder of the three politicians is that there is a high probability that the Indians initially encouraged Brahamdagh to kidnap Solecki to add new tensions to the frail Pak-American relationship. That was the original plan. The U.S. media would jump on the story as another example of anti-Americanism in Pakistan and embarrass the Pakistani government and military. The upshot for Brahamdagh would be more international news coverage.

 

That was apparently the original plan. What Brahamdagh and his handlers did not expect is that the kidnapping would backfire and blow the cover of the terrorists and their links all the way inside Afghanistan.

 

Immediately after Solecki’s kidnap, the Pakistani authorities wasted no time in reminding the Americans of the information that Pakistan shared at the highest levels with the United States in July 2008 about Indian activities inside Afghanistan.  Adm. Mullen and Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Stephen R. Kappes were shown irrefutable evidence on how the Indians were using Brahamdagh right under the nose of the U.S. military in Afghanistan.

 

In February 2009, after kidnapping Solecki, Brahamdagh’s men and his backers tried to create the impression that there are many separatist groups backing his cause. The first demand made by the kidnappers was to release Pakistani Baloch women detained by security forces. This turned out to be an outright lie. Prisons in the entire province and other parts of Pakistan were checked and it was confirmed there was not a single Pakistani Baloch woman in jail or detention. No one had registered any case of missing Pakistani Baloch women as the separatist propaganda from Afghanistan alleged.  The elected provincial government of Balochistan, which is considered to be sympathetic to the separatist tribal chiefs including Brahamdagh, was allowed access to all parts of the Pakistani security establishment – civilian and military – to ascertain this fact.  This proved a blessing in disguise. One of the most lethal propaganda tools exploited by Brahamdagh Bugti and his backers was proven false.

 

In the initial days after Solecki’s kidnapping, some of the Baloch tribal chieftains sympathetic to Brahamdagh and his grandfather [and equally corrupt and tyrannical like him] tried to mislead Washington and the U.N. against Pakistan by suggesting that Pakistani intelligence agencies were behind the kidnapping of Solecki.

 

But the Pakistani government moved quickly to turn the tables on the terrorists and their Afghan-based masters.

 

On Feb. 27, 2009, Frontier Corps Chief Maj. Gen. Saleem Nawaz told reporters in Quetta that all the four major separatist groups that release statements to the media don’t even exist. “Organizations like the Balochistan Liberation United Front, the Baloch Liberation Army, the Baloch Republican Party, and the Baloch Republican Army are one and the same. Brahamdagh Bugti is behind these organizations,” he said.  “Brahamdagh is involved in a series of kidnappings, targeted killings, sabotage and attacks on forces and installations in different parts of the province.”

 

None of these groups existed before the Americans came to Afghanistan in 2001.

 

So the writing was clear on the wall for the Pakistanis, the United Nations and the United States that the Indians at some level were involved in kidnapping Mr. Solecki through Brahamdagh Bugti and their recruits inside Pakistan and that individuals based in U.S.-run Afghanistan issued the orders for the kidnap.

 

But did Pakistani intelligence agencies kill the three politicians who helped release Solecki?

 

Why The Three Were Killed

 

The timeline here is very important:

 

  1. 4 April 2009: Mr. Solecki is released by the terrorists after receiving a huge payment worth several million dollars.  
  2. 6-7 April 2009: Mr. Richard Holbrooke receives the biggest cold shoulder any senior U.S. official has received on Pakistani soil since 9/11. 
  3. 9 April 2009: The mutilated bodies of the three politicians are found dumped in a public area.

Pakistani police, security and intelligence organizations are not beginners in their fields. Even if any one of them were to kill the three activists, no one would have dumped the bodies in full public view and certainly never after a high profile hostage negotiation involving the three murdered activists where they also interacted with U.N. and U.S. officials.

 

 

The truth is that the three murdered Paksitani Baloch politicians had become a political liability and a security risk for Brahamdagh Bugti and a threta to his entire infrastructure of terror inside Pakistan. The three had developed a good working relationship with Pakistani security officials during hostage negotiations. Brahamdagh and his handlers knew that the three were in direct contact with Pakistani security officials and could compromise the security of the terrorist activity and the routes of secret funding from across the border and the terrorist hideouts inside Pakistan.

Mounting evidence indicates that Brahamdagh or his handlers in Afghanistan ordered the elimination of the three Baloch politicians. The triple murder has clearly served the interest of the separatists-terrorists and their backers. The Pakistani state has been a net loser.

 

THE AMERICAN CONNECTION

 

After Mr. Holbrooke’s failed visit to Pakistan on April 6 and 7, three things happened in fast succession.

 

One, Britain discovered a “very big” terrorist plot, as a British police officer described it, involving 12 Pakistani students. The British Prime Minister immediately telephoned President Zardari and threw his usual line about Pakistan needing to do more in the war against terror. The interesting part is that the Brits failed to offer any evidence to support the existence of the “very big” terrorist plot. Knowing that the charge won’t stick in the courts, London announced it was arbitrarily deporting the students.

 

At the same time, Indian prime minister made the startling announcement that the Afghan Taliban, who have never operated outside their country, were planning to bomb Indian elections. Again, no evidence whatsoever.

 

Pakistani officials smelled a rat in both of these statements coming from two close allies of the United States.

 

These statements, and the dramatic terrorism in Pakistan’s Balochistan province, came immediately after the dressing down that Mr. Holbrooke received in Pakistan. 

 

Could there be an American connection to the disturbances in Balochistan in addition to the Indian connection? The answer, in my view, is yes. Balochistan has U.S. military bases dating back to 2001. Washington has been opposed to China constructing the Gwadar sea port in the province overlooking the Gulf oil supply lines. And CIA is using Pakistani Balochistan to infiltrate the Iranian province of Sistan-Balochistan and ignite a Sunni rebellion there against Iran’s religious Shia regime.

 

Within hours of the news that the bodies of the three Pakistani politicians were found near the Iran border, and while separatists and terrorists exploited the story to ignite violence and destroy public property, the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad released a press statement that appeared to pour fuel on fire and give the impression that Pakistan was somehow responsible for killing its own three politicians. The statement was also a blatant interference in an internal Pakistani issue where the U.S. diplomats had no business sticking their noses.

 

Encouraged by this unexpected support from the U.S. Embassy, some of the opportunist tribal chiefs in Balochistan who are supporting terrorism were emboldened to demand a U.N. probe, scoring a cheap point against Pakistan and implying that the state was involved in the murders.

 

WHAT PAKISTAN SHOULD DO

 

Feudal chiefs in Pakistan, whether in Balochistan or Punjab, Sindh, and NWFP, have traditionally been protégés of the British colonial rule. While there are bright exceptions of Pakistani nationalism by some of the feudal gentry, the majority damaged the interests of Pakistan over the longer run and has generally shown little commitment or a sense of nationalism and destiny with regards to the homeland.

 

For the short term, Pakistan needs to register murder cases against Brahamdagh Bugti and other terrorists. They should be charged of murdering the poor Pakistani Baloch driver who accompanied Mr. John Solecki’s. The driver was killed in cold blood by Brahamdagh’s terrorists.

 

The issue of Balochistan is part of a wider problem facing a failed Pakistani political system led by failed feudal politicians. This system needs to be changed and de-politicized to focus on economic development and providing opportunities to Pakistani citizens.

 

Ethnic-based provinces need to be abolished and existing districts converted into provinces with their own directly elected governors and local parliaments and development budgets. This way Pakistani politics will be localized and prevented from becoming a source of constant headache and destabilization for the state.

 

This change cannot come through democracy and requires a period of technocratic government backed by the military in the background and tasked with strictly executing a list of urgent political and administrative reforms.

 

The U.S. is clearly working against Pakistan’s vital security and economic interests in the region. Islamabad should declare Washington’s occupation of Afghanistan as illegal and advise the U.S. to desist from using Afghan soil to destabilize neighboring countries. Pakistan needs to immediately distance itself from the messy American agenda in Afghanistan that is fast turning Pakistan into a war zone. Islamabad should also confront the Americans and the Indians with the evidence that both are exporting terrorism into Pakistan and fostering insurgencies using the Afghan soil. Let the world know what the Americans and their Anglo-Indian poodles are doing in the region.

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Musharraf To China: Play A More Proactive Role (EXCLUSIVE)

April 13, 2009

Pakistan’s Friends roll out the Red Carpet for a Pakistani Nationalist Statesman-Pervez Musharraf

 

Pervez Musharraf in ChinaThroughout his trip in China, former President Musharraf was accorded head of state protocol and extensive security. In-between lectures, he was invited to several banquets by various provincial governors and senior Chinese Communist Party officials. He continues to be very popular among the Chinese younger generation.

 

   Says Obama’s Af-Pak policy is incomplete without resolving Kashmir dispute

   Calls for linking Pakistan with China through fiber optic, rail, oil, gas pipelines; through Karakoram Highway

   Floats the idea of a Iran-Pakistan-China (IPC) pipeline

  

An AhmedQuraishi.com REPORT

Saturday, 11 April 2009.

WWW.AHMEDQURAISHI.COM

 

Beijing, China—Former President of Pakistan, Gen. (R) Pervez Musharraf continued his international lecture tour with several engagements in key Chinese cities.  [For pictures, click Pic1, Pic2, Pic3]

 

For this tour in China, the former President was invited by the government of China, through the Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs (CPIFA).

 

His first lecture was in Beijing to CPIFA, attended by many Chinese Ambassadors, experts on South Asia, and graduate students. The former President’s lecture focused on the deep relationship between Pakistan and China, and an in-depth analysis of regional issues including Afghanistan, India, terrorism and extremism. The former President stressed the need for closer global cooperation to defeat terrorism and extremism, and a more proactive role for China.

 

His next lecture was in Shanghai, with the prestigious Shanghai Institute for International Studies. The President addressed Chinese experts on South Asia, Asia Pacific, and the United States. This exclusive lecture was to the top intellectuals and think tank strategists from China. The discussion following the lecture focused on Pak-China relationship, terrorism and extremism, and the potential to increase the Sino-Pak economic cooperation. In the question and answer session, the Chinese intellectuals were keen to know the former President’s view on the new American ‘AfPak’ strategy. The President broadly endorsed the strategy, as it is the continuation of the past. However, he said this new strategy remains incomplete without India, and the resolution of the Kashmir dispute. India was excluded by President Obama from this new strategy after heavy lobbying from the Indian-American community.

 

The former President’s final stop was at Sichuan University in Chengdu where he addressed several hundred students and faculty. His speech was an overview of the historic relationship between Pakistan and China, an overview of the Pakistan-Afghanistan region, and the impact of the global economic crisis on the developing world. After the speech there was an exciting interaction between the students and the former President. To one student’s question on deepening the Pakistan-China relationship, the former President spoke of his vision to expand the Karakorum Highway (KKH) to include rail links, oil and gas pipelines, and a new fiber optic cable link. He suggested that not only should Pakistan do the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline (IPI), but also an ‘IPC’, Iran-Pakistan-China pipeline for gas and oil.

 

The students were also very interested to learn from the President his insights into developing moral character and leadership skills.

 

Throughout his trip in China, former President Musharraf was accorded head of state protocol and extensive security. In-between lectures, he was invited to several banquets by various provincial governors and senior Chinese Communist Party officials. At each venue the former President expressed his appreciation for the warm reception, and the sense of admiration shown by all strata of Chinese, whether it was in meetings at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, or in the streets of Shanghai.

 

The former President has a relatively full schedule of speaking engagements for the rest of the year, most likely taking him to Europe and North America in the coming months.

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