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Archive for category Wahabi Nawaz Sharif’s Censorship of Internet

Incompetence Worse Than Graft in Pakistan by Riaz Haq

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
SUNDAY, JANUARY 31, 2010

Incompetence Worse Than Graft in Pakistan

By 

Riaz Haq

It has been my experience that folks who have no vices have very few virtuesis a quote often attributed to Abraham Lincoln, also known as Honest Abe.

I do not entirely agree with Honest Abe, but what does it mean in Pakistan’s context, given the extraordinary and often hypocritical incessant demands for honesty by the nation’s TV talking heads? Is competence not as big or bigger virtue than honesty? Is it not Utopia to expect angels to rise to leadership positions in a nation that generally scores badly at all levels on corruption indexes? Is it not better to elect and expect greater competence from the leaders in Pakistan? The kind of competence that delivers good governance for the greater good of society?

Since the beginning of Pakistan’s existence as an independent nation in 1947, there has been constant repetition of slogans about piety and honesty by invoking the name of Islam, and its early legendary leaders, particularly great Caliphs like Omar. What is often overlooked is that Caliph Omar was not just impeccably honest; the key reason for his tremendous success as a great leader and highly respected ruler was his extraordinary competence in governance. Can we find a leader like Caliph Omar today? I think it’s highly unlikely. However, I do think it is possible to find people who are reasonably competent amongst Pakistanis to help lead the nation to a better future.

Looking around at the recent history of successful leaders in the Islamic world, likeMalaysia’s Mahathir Mohammad and Indonesia’s Suharto, there have been serious allegations of corruption and abuse of power against them. And yet, it is their sufficient competence in delivering good governance to their people that has brought great economic success and remarkable human development to their nations, and ultimately a greater measure of competent democratic governance to their highly literate electorates.

Beyond the Islamic world, there are various levels of corruption found in both developed and developing nations. But many of them have made significant strides in recent years, mainly because the leaders whom they have elected have been far more competent those in Pakistan. Even in Pakistan, whenever the military rulers have brought in technocrats and professionals to help develop and execute good policies, there have been periods of rapid growth. It is their competence, not their unassailable honesty, that has helped them deliver significant economic growth.

Pakistan’s average economic growth rate was 6.8% in the 60s (Gen. Ayub Khan), 4.5% in the 70s(Zulfikar Bhutto), 6.5% in the 80s (Gen. Zia ul-Haq), and 4.8% in the 90s (Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif). Growth picked up momentum in the 21st Century under General Musharraf, and from 2000-2007, Pakistan’s economy grew at an average 7.5%, making it the third fastest growing economy in Asia after China and India. There were 2-3 million new jobs created each year from 2000-2007, which significantly enlarged the middle class, and helped millions escape poverty.

 

Here is my incomplete wish list for the kind of competencies desirable in governing Pakistan at this critical juncture in its life:

1. Motivational Competency: The leadership needs to sell a vision of a secure, peaceful, stable and prosperous Pakistan, and motivate the people to work toward achieving it. It’s not going to be easy, but strong motivational skills can help inspire the nation, in spite of the deep skepticism and toxic cynicism that pervades the nation’s discourse today.

2. Security Competency: What the leadership needs is a comprehensive strategy using a mix of intelligence capability, political dialog, military force and close monitoring to isolate and defeat those who continue to perpetrate murder and mayhem on the streets of Pakistan. Such a policy must be developed, debated, sold to the people, and constantly refined to produce results.

3. Human Development Competency: No nation can achieve greatness unless its human resource potential is developed and utilized to the fullest. It is a challenge that will require a team of committed and competent professionals with the full backing and the resources of the state to build a public-private partnership for mass literacy campaigns and to provide access to food and health care. Beyond that, there will be a serious focus required to build great institutions of higher learning to develop knowledge based economy for the twenty-first century.

4. Economic Competency: There is a need to build a non-partisan economic leadership team with the best available talent and experience in Pakistan. Such a team should be chartered to come up with policies and programs to spur nation’s economic growth to create opportunities for the tens of millions of young people, and to generate the national resources for funding ambitious programs in human and economic development of the nation.

Can our current leadership do it? Their past record is not reassuring. However, if they make a serious effort toward it, and start to show some results, I am confident they will find real support for their efforts in Pakistan. Results from good governance by the politicians will be the best guarantee for the survival of democracy in Pakistan.

First Published :SUNDAY, JANUARY 31, 2010

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Propaganda against the Army and ISI was part of the US agenda

Gen Beg warns of Egypt-like change in Pakistan

Propaganda against the Army and ISI was part of the US agenda

Proposes three-point formula to normalise situation

April 22, 2014    ASHRAF MUMTAZ

  LAHORE  – Former Army chief Gen Mirza Aslam Beg on Monday proposed a three-point formula to normalise the tense civil-military relations, warning the government of an Egypt-like change in case urgent steps were not taken in accordance with his suggestions.

He proposed a three-point formula to normalise the situation

1. high treason case against Gen Pervez Musharraf should be dropped and he should be allowed to go abroad;

 2.Pemra should ensure that no TV channel telecasts programmes that undermine the prestige of the army; and

 3. ministers or other leaders should be barred from speaking against the people who defend the country even at the cost of their lives. 

Talking to The Nation, he said the civil setup would face no threat and the situation would normalise within no time if the government acted in the light of his suggestions. Otherwise, he said, a military general would take over, just like Gen El-Sisi did in Egypt, and the United States would support the change for its own interests.

Gen Beg was of the firm view that the Constitution would not be able to block a military intervention if the rulers did not give the army its due respect. “ZulifikarAli Bhutto had said the 1973 Constitution would bury martial laws, but it was the martial law that buried Bhutto”.

Critical of the flawed decision-making process of the present government, Gen Beg said the rulers did not properly calculate the likely negative fallout of their policies. According to him, the government takes decisions first and thinks later. As a result, its damage control measures don’t yield results. 

Gen Beg said the army was like a family and Gen Musharraf was its former head. The way he was insulted created unrest in the rank and file which forced Gen Raheel Sharif to issue a statement that army will defend its honour and dignity. Compared to the anger of the soldiers, Gen Raheel’s statement was ‘very soft’ however, he claimed.

He said it was after Gen Raheel’s statement all government functionaries had gone on defensive and they were offering explanations that they did not want to insult the army. Such people should have been careful before issuing derogatory statements, said Gen Beg.

The army, he said, would not tolerate the way Gen Musharraf was being singled out for trial. Similarly, he said, the former president-COAS could not be held responsible for ‘high treason’ as what he was accused of having done did not fall in this category. A treason charge on a former army chief was just not tolerable.

Making a strong plea for permission to Gen Musharraf to go out of Pakistan, Gen Beg said if a man like Hussain Haqqani could be allowed to leave the country despite a very serious charge against him, why the former president-COAS couldn’t be given a similar treatment.

Explaining his argument that the US would support a general in power in Pakistan at a time when it was leaving Afghanistan after 13 years’ stay in Afghanistan, Gen Beg said the US always felt more comfortable in dealing with one man rather than an elected parliament.

He said when the US interest called for a change in Pakistan because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, it got Zulfikar Ali Bhutto eliminated and brought Gen Zia to the fore. Likewise, the US supported Gen Musharraf when its interests in Afghanistan so demanded.

According to Gen Beg, had a political government been in power in Pakistan in 2001, the US would not have got the kind of ‘facilities’ in Pakistan that Gen Musharraf had allowed them. Replying to a question, the former COAS said the US had deep penetration in all departments of Pakistan and it could bring about a political change at any time of its choice.

“I don’t say that Gen Raheel Sharif is going to become Gen El-Sisi (by overthrowing the political government), but a lot can happen”. 

He alleged that the propaganda against the army and ISI was part of the US agenda as it was the most effective way of creating tensions between the civil and military leadership. “The higher the tension, the easier the change”, Gen Beg said.

 

Reference

 

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The US is after Haqqani network

The US is after Haqqani network

 

Asif Haroon Raja

 

It seems that the US has renewed its efforts to disrupt and dismantle Haqqani network (HN). After the suicide attack on Camp Chapman of CIA in Khost on December 30, 2009, CIA carried out aggressive drone campaign against HN under Jalaluddin Haqqani in Khost and his son Sirajuddin in North Waziristan (NW). HN was banned by USA since it was considered a big threat in Eastern Afghanistan and Kabul. Almost every day drone strike was launched to target HN leaders. From January 2010 onwards, the US began mounting pressure on Pakistan to launch a major operation in NW to eliminate safe havens of HN. Gen David Petraeus, Commander US-NATO forces in Afghanistan made his planned operation in Kandahar conditional to an operation in NW. The US ignored Pakistan’s pleas that Pak Army had undertaken three major operations in Swat, Bajaur and SW in 2009 and was over stretched and couldn’t afford to pullout additional forces from eastern border because of Indian threat.

In the wake of increased attacks in and around Kabul in 2011 including high profile targets inside highly fortified Kabul in September, the then CJCSC Admiral Mike Mullen declared HN as the veritable arm of ISI. In order to force Pakistan to launch an operation in NW, western border was heated up in April 2011 with the help of fugitive Fazlullah who had fled from Swat in July 2009. The US military is still obsessed with HN and has lately stepped up its efforts to incapacitate this outfit. Jalaluddin’s youngest son Omar Haqqani was killed in Khost in 2008 in a combat, while other two sons Badruddin and Mohammad were killed by drones in NW in 2009 and August 2013 respectively. Recently, the fourth son Dr. Naseeruddin Haqqani was murdered in Islamabad on November 11, 2013. Possible suspects are CIA, Afghan NDS and Fazlullah.

The reason why Fazlullah is one of the suspects is that in last October it was reported in the media that Fazlullah’s base of operation in Kunar had been uprooted by the Taliban after inflicting heavy casualties. The reason behind the attack in all probability was that Fazlullah controlled by foreign agencies was deliberately impeding peace process in Pakistan. It was reported that Fazlullah died in the attack. However it transpired later on that he survived. Being highly vindictive, he swore to take revenge from HN, which he suspected had attacked his base at the behest of ISI to avenge the death of Maj Gen Sanaullah Niazi, martyred in Upper Dir on September 15th. His patrons too encouraged him to avenge the deadly attack. Since it was not possible for him to harm HN in Khost or in NW, he planned to go for a soft target to convey a strong message to Jalaluddin to keep his hands off him. Fazlullah tasked his men in Swat region to keep Dr Naseeruddin under surveillance and kill him whenever opportunity came their way. Naseeruddin was not involved in militancy and was leading a quiet life with his family in Islamabad since long.

No sooner Sartaj Aziz gave good news to the nation on November 20 that the US has assured Pakistan that there will be no drone strikes while talks are in progress, a seminary in Thal Tehsil of Hangu District where young children were imparted religious training was struck by a drone on November 21. The missiles fired from a Reaper struck the two rooms of a nine-room Madrassa run by Afghan cleric Qari Nurullah. It was yet another blow delivered to HN, since one of its key leaders Maulana Hameedullah was among the six Afghan clerics killed. The US claimed that three members of HN including Sirajuddin were regular visitors of this seminary.  This admission was a clear indication that the US is after HN and may have been involved in Naseerudin’s murder as well. Latest strike was more dangerous than the previous ones since it took place in settled area of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). Interior Minister Nisar dubbed USA as untrustworthy since assurance had also been given to Nawaz Sharif when he met Obama in Washington on October 23, but was not honored.

CIA must have stepped up its efforts to locate and gun down the surviving son Sirajuddin based in NW to debilitate HN. The reason why the US has got after HN is its linkage with Pakistan. There is no denying the fact that of all the Afghan factions, HN is closest to Pakistan and farthest from Northern Alliance, Karzai, USA and India. Influence over HN enables Pakistan to have a say in Afghan conundrum and figure out prominently in the US calculations.         

Deaths of Hakimullah, Naseeruddin and Hameedullah and arrest of Latif Mehsud by US Special Forces in Afghanistan and appointment of Fazlullah as new chief of TTP are significant events which have impacted Pakistan’s position. Latif who was a close confidante and deputy of Hakeemullah is a valuable asset in the hands of USA. He was arrested at a time when TTP was sharply divided between pro-peace and anti-peace groups and Latif was among the latter group. Not only he must have divulged the program of visit of Hakeemullah to Dandey Darpakhel to hold peace talks which enabled CIA to kill him on November 1, he must have by now disclosed all the details concerning TTP’s command structure, logistic, communication and intelligence systems, hideouts, pro-and anti-US members of TTP Shura and Council, their alliances with local and foreign groups, sources of funding and procurement of weapons and explosives, factories producing IEDs and suicide jackets, aims and objectives and their system of motivation, recruitment and training. In addition, requisite information about HN must also have been extracted from him. That is the reason CIA is achieving rapid successes in targeting HN leading lights.         

Information accessed from Latif about Shura members deciding the selection of next chief must have helped CIA to influence them. Each one must have been warned that their fate would be no different than Hakeemullah if they had their own way. Changed circumstances have made it possible for CIA, NDS and RAW to further tighten their grip over TTP and its new leader residing in Kunar as well as on Faqir Muhammad and Khalid Khurasani, the two TTP leaders of Bajaur and Mehmand Agencies respectively who too are absconders and staying in Afghanistan. The three agencies are now in a better position to manipulate the working of TTP to their advantage and to the disadvantage of Pakistan.

Another possible change that seems to be in the offing is the centre of gravity of TTP shifting from FATA to settled areas of KP with depth resting in Kunar and Nuristan. Other than Bajaur and Mehmand tribal agencies, within Provincial Administered Tribal Area (PATA), areas that may become hotter could be Dir, Buner, Malakand, Swat, Shangla, Chitral and Swabi. Area up to Mardan and Nowshera may get affected. This shift in emphasis will be owing to the new Ameer hailing from Swat and his deputy Khalid belonging to Swabi. Increased militancy in settled areas would facilitate USA to employ drones in turbulent areas. Our nuclear facilities would therefore become more vulnerable.  

After successfully scuttling the peace process with the help of drones and terrorist attacks, the US can now bargain with Pakistan from a position of strength and can say that if Pakistan wants peace with TTP, it will have to play its role in ensuring peace in Afghanistan by bringing HN leaders on the negotiating table and convincing them to agree to US terms and conditions. The US will keep the cards of TTP and drones and continue playing them to keep Pakistan in line.

The situation has taken a slightly different turn after blockade of NATO supply routes in Peshawar by KP government led by Imran Khan on November 23 in protest against drone strike in Hangu. Imran has been the leading opponent of drones and has singled out drone as the major reason of terrorism in Pakistan and the main impediment in the way of peace. Last time supply routes were blocked in late November after Salala tragedy. The blockade remained enforced for about seven months but Pakistan couldn’t extract anything better from USA when new MoU was inked in July 2012. No apology was rendered, or an assurance given that repeat of 26 November like vandalism would not take place in future. Our demands of raising the transit fee to $5000 per container and stopping drone attacks were not met. It is to be seen how Pakistan government plays its cards now when the US posing as friend refuses to sheath the drone and is bent upon thwarting reconciliation process.  

The writer is a retired Brig, defence analyst and columnist. asifharoonraja@gmail.com

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