Posts Tagged ‘India’

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Lt. General Shahid Aziz – a hypocrite and a liar

February 5, 2013

(Written by Zahid Hussain)

The recently-published memoirs of Lt. General (Retd) Shahid Aziz is more of an apology than an honest documentation of his life and time in the Army. At best, he comes across as a self-righteous retired general.  The voluminous and somewhat elegiac memoirs, titled  ‘Yeh Khamoshi Kaha Tak, Ek Spy Ki Dastan-e-Ishaq-o-Janoon,’ gives some insight into a twisted mindset of a man who was until recently a part of the highest echelon of the country’s national security establishment.

Shahid AzizHis narrative brings out a deeply conflicted and hypocritical worldview, though not uncommon among many of our retired senior military officers. It is all about self-aggrandizement of his religiosity and   uprightness that sounds a bit hollow, given the general’s past. His sympathy for the militants fighting the Army and who are found beheading Pakistani soldiers raises questions about his allegiance.

The general opposes the military campaign against insurgents in the tribal areas. Yet there is no criticism of militants who orchestrate the violence and suicide bombings that have killed thousands of innocent Pakistanis. He attributes terrorist violence entirely to the US and Western conspiracy to destabilize Pakistan.

The apologists of the Taliban often present such conspiracy theories, but this coming from a man who held important national security responsibilities is quite chilling.  The paranoia and the weird discourse that he puts across should give little confidence to Pakistanis about their national security apparatus.

He presents his own vision of an Islamic system devoid of democracy where pious and religious men will run the country. He brags a lot about his love for Islam and his piety. But he was not known to be as pious as he pretends to be in the Army. I recall seeing him in early 1999, soon after he joined the ISI, at a top businessman’s party in Islamabad whose salon was frequented by top military officials. He was obviously intoxicated—and believe me not by a soft drink. He was a regular guest at such parties.

The General sees most of Pakistan’s problems caused by its alliance with the US. But it was intriguing that many Western diplomats who I met in 2004 were anxious to see him promoted to the position of Vice Chief of the Army Staff. Coming from a military-family background, General Shahid Aziz held some pivotal positions during his career in the army spanning over 37 years. His rise to the top came after the 1999 military coup in which he played a critical role as Director General Military Operations (DGMO). He shows no remorse for the part he played in ousting an elected government. He considers democracy “a corrupt and un-Islamic system.”

The general’s contempt for the civilian rule was so strong that he considered resigning from the Army in mid-1990s because he felt humiliated that he saluted to the country’s elected Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. That says a lot about the mindset of a born-again Islamist general.  Such attitude towards the civilian leaders is not uncommon among other senior military officers. That also explains his role in the plot to overthrow an elected government a few years later. Shahid Aziz was appointed to the powerful position of the Chief of General Staff (CGS) soon after 9/11. It was the time when Pakistan was forced to abandon its longstanding support for the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and align with the US in the war on terror.

Several senior army commanders who opposed the turnaround in Pakistan’s policy were purged out by General Musharraf and the Army high- command was overhauled. Shahid Aziz benefitted from the reshuffle and was elevated as the CGS. This made him a critical cog in Pakistan military’s support to the US war in Afghanistan. It is obvious that he had the full confidence of General Musharraf who, by the way, is related to him. The pious general now wails over what he describes as Pakistan’s “betrayal of Taliban and support for infidels in spilling the blood of Muslims.”  He spends “restless nights and prays for forgiveness of Allah for his sins.” Obviously, he could not have stayed as the CGS for long if he had been critical of Pakistan’s cooperation with US.

The question is: why did he accept to become the CGS in the first place if he did not agree with the policy? Why was he not purged out as many did because they showed dissent to the policy? It sounds ludicrous that as the CGS he did not know about the bases that Pakistan had given to the US forces for logistical support. It seems bizarre when he narrates, quite dramatically, how he felt when a junior army officer told him about the US troops landing near Gwadar. If he was so piqued by it why did not he resign, one may ask. Not only did the ‘upright’ general stay on, but he also got the prized posting of the Corps Commander, Lahore. He remained part of the military hierarchy when the Pakistani troops were sent to the tribal areas. The operation was launched after Al Qaeda and other militant groups made the tribal areas as their base for attacks in Afghanistan. But the general now believes that the operation against the insurgents was part of the US conspiracy to pit “Muslims against Muslims.”

He fails to show any remorse for the terrorist attacks on innocent citizens and his former colleagues in uniform. The General reserves the most scathing attack for his former patron, General Musharraf. He accuses him of taking away Pakistan from the path of Islam and encouraging an “immoral Western culture.” He sees Musharraf’s enlightened moderation as part of a US conspiracy to subjugate Muslims culturally.  The paranoid general believes the media freedom in Pakistan serves US interests. Of course, it does not prevent him from frequently appearing on TV channels to air his twisted worldview. The writer is a senior journalist and author of two books on security and terrorism.

The author is a senior journalist and author and writes regularly for DAWN.

Source: http://bit.ly/TE18bG

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Pervez Musharraf With Jasmeen on Shahid Aziz & Kargil Issue

January 31, 2013

Musharraf on “Tonight with Jasmeen” further discussing how a military victory in Kargil was converted in to a political defeat by Nawaz Sharif.

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Pervez Musharraf with Javed Chaudhry on Shahid Aziz & Kargil Issue

January 30, 2013

Pervez Musharraf on “Kal Tak with Javed Chaudhry” rejecting the claims of Gen. Shahid Aziz regarding the Kargil operation and character assassination of the Pakistan Military.

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Pervez Musharraf’s interview with Waseem Badami on the Kargil

January 30, 2013

Musharraf with Waseem Badami of the talk show “11th Hour” revealing how a military victory in Kargil was converted in to a political defeat by Nawaz Sharif.

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Manmohan Singh, Musharraf came close to striking Kashmir’s solution: WikiLeaks

September 3, 2011

NEW DELHI: India and Pakistan had through “back channels” agreed to a non-territorial solution to Kashmir under Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and then Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, reveals a latest WikiLeaks cable. According to the US embassy cable – dated April 21, 2009 – Singh confirmed this to a visiting US delegation, led by then House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman Howard Berman in April, 2009, saying that the solution included free trade and movement across LoC.

Singh told the US delegation that Delhi and Islamabad had made great progress prior to February 2007, when President Musharraf ran into trouble. “We had reached an understanding in back channels,” he related, says the cable, in which Musharraf had agreed to a non-territorial solution to Kashmir. Singh went on to add that India wanted a strong, stable, peaceful, democratic Pakistan and makes no claim on “even an inch” of Pakistani territory.

Singh’s comments authenticate Musharraf’s assertions last year that India and Pakistan had reached that stage, where they were preparing the final draft for the resolution. He had said the two sides shared drafts through “back channels”, and these were in keeping with the four-point template which he had envisaged to resolve the issue. Singh, too, mentions in the cable that the two sides had arrived at the solution through back channels.

Musharraf’s four points included demilitarization, maximum autonomy, making border irrelevant and joint management of the area. Later, however, Pakistani government rejected the formula, saying that it was Musharraf’s personal line of thinking that lacked endorsement either by Pakistani parliament or cabinet. Singh, though, does not make any direct reference to Musharraf’s template in the WikiLeak cable. Musharraf had said, unlike in the case with PM Vajpayee, it was actually with Singh that Pakistan moved towards an agreement over the issue.

Reminding Berman and other US delegates that India had lost more than 150 of its citizens in the Mumbai attacks, Singh said it would be possible to resume dialogue only if Pakistan would “behave as a civilized country and bring the perpetrators to justice”. “Now, Pakistani leaders had to stick by commitments made to PM Vajpayee and repeated to PM Singh in 2005 that they would not permit attacks on India launched from Pakistani soil. If so, huge trade opportunities awaited, according to the Prime Minister, who added that a strong Indian constituency favoured normalized relations,” the cable says.

Recalling the July, 2008, attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul, Singh asserted that it had been carried out “with the active encouragement” of Pakistan’s ISI and that he had raised the issue with President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani.

Source: Times of India

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What should be done in Afghanistan

December 19, 2010

Written by Pervez Musharraf – former President of Pakistan

Historical background: Events in Afghanistan took a turn in 1979 with the invasion of the country by the Soviet Union. The Soviets were challenged through a jihad, launched by the Afghans supported by America and Pakistan. The jihad was strongly reinforced by mujahideen, encouraged and brought from all over the Muslim world and also by the Taliban from the madrassas of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. It was spearheaded by various religious militant groups and, thus, we saw the introduction of religious militancy in the region which continued for ten long years. The year 1989 saw the defeat of the Soviet Union and its eviction from Afghanistan.

The fruits of this victory all went to the West, with the Cold War ending in the West’s victory, dismemberment of the Soviet Union, liberation of East Europe and the reunification of Germany. Unfortunately, what Afghanistan and Pakistan got after 1989 were a series of three short-sighted blunders leading to complications and perhaps, avoidable turmoil in the region. The rehabilitation and resettlement of the mujahideen brought into Afghanistan was totally ignored.

The first blunder was the abandonment of Afghanistan and Pakistan by the US in 1989. The chaos that followed for the entire decade of the 90s gave birth to al Qaeda and later the Taliban.

The second was the non-recognition of the Taliban government which ruled 90 per cent of Afghanistan after 1997. My idea of the entire world recognising the Taliban government and opening diplomatic missions in Kabul which would be managed from within, was not paid any heed to. Had it been done, maybe we could have saved the Bamiyan Buddha statues and even untangled the Osama bin Laden dispute.

The third blunder was committed after 9/11 when the Taliban, who were all Pashtuns, were defeated with the help of the Northern Alliance composed of three minority ethnic groups (Uzbeks, Hazaras and Tajiks). The Taliban and al Qaeda were dispersed and they ran into the mountains and the cities of Pakistan. Their organisational and command structure was totally dismantled. The military achieved its objective of getting into a dominant position. The logical course of action after this was to change strategy and place a legitimate government in Afghanistan, This implies a government dominated by the Pashtun majority (half of the Afghan population), because historically nobody other than Pashtuns have governed Afghanistan. Not doing this and persisting with a government dominated by a Tajik minority, still in place, was and still is a great blunder.

The Taliban resurgence started in late 2003, mainly, because of the third blunder of not weaning away the Pashtun from the Taliban. My view has always been that all Taliban are Pashtun, but all Pashtun are not Taliban; therefore, we can wean them away from the Taliban. Now, after eight years we are talking of parleys with moderate Taliban, or even Taliban, but from a position of weakness, when we have declared our intention to quit.

The present situation: The terrorist situation has transformed or visibly developed in the region and in the world, in the last few years. Let us see its contours in various countries.

Pakistan faces four menaces from terrorism. Each one requires an in-depth understanding and a different strategy to tackle: The first is al Qaeda which has a presence in the mountains of Fata, though in small numbers, and needs to be evicted. The second is the Taliban presence in Fata, especially in South and North Waziristan, and in Bajaur agency. However, they are our own people and have to be handled with acumen. We need to follow a triple strategy of force accompanied by a political and a socio-economic component. Deals must be struck with the tribal Pashtuns to wean them away from the Taliban and thus isolate the latter, who can then be dealt with militarily. Then there is the Talibanisation in the settled districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and even beyond. This has to be contained with force. The last is extremism and extremist organisations in some pockets of Pakistani society, which are primarily a fallout of Taliban activity in Afghanistan and mujahideen activity in Indian-held Kashmir.

Moderation has to be brought into society through a five-pronged strategy of stopping misuse of mosques for preaching militancy; banning militant organisations and not allowing them to resurface with different titles; ensuring that the curriculum/ syllabus in schools has no content of religious or sectarian extremism and mainstreaming students in madrassas

There is also the issue of mujahideen activity in Indian-held Kashmir against the Indian Army. This is supported by mujahideen groups in Pakistan and has tremendous public sympathy. Furthermore, extremism is on the rise in Muslim youth in India because of alienation of Muslims due to a sense of deprivation and suppression. The situation becomes more alarming due to the nexus emerging between extremists in India and the mujahideen in Kashmir on one hand, and extremists and the Taliban and al Qaeda in Pakistan and Afghanistan on the other.

The menace deepens with the emergence of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghrib centered around Algeria and Mali and, in the Arabian peninsula, centred around Yemen and Somalia. The centre of gravity of all this extremism and terrorism, however, lies in Afghanistan and the tribal areas of Pakistan.

The future course: Losing at the centre of gravity means losing everywhere. Quitting from Afghanistan without getting into a dominant military position and placing a legitimate Pashtun-dominated government in Afghanistan could spell disaster for the region and also endanger the world.

So what is the winning strategy? In Afghanistan we are still diluted in space but since we cannot send additional Nato/Isaf forces we must increase the strength of the Afghan National Army. However, the correct ethnic balance must also be ensured. Then, we need to identify Pashtun tribes and tribal Maliks who have no ideological affinity with the Taliban and arm them to create lashkars to fight the Taliban and al Qaeda. With such a strategy in place, the drawdown of troops from the area should be effect-related rather than time-related. The effect that we would want to achieve is to be in a dominant force position and have in place a legitimate Pashtun-dominated government in Kabul.

Source: Published in The Express Tribune, December 15th, 2010

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“Front Line” with President Musharraf

October 6, 2010

Click on the given links to watch the latest interview of President Musharraf for the program “Front Line” at Express News.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

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