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Posts Tagged Gen.Kayani

Pakistan’s response to Indian Cold Start doctrine

Pakistan’s response to Indian Cold Start doctrine
January 14, 2011

 The Pakistan-specific Indian Cold Start doctrine has the potential to put the entire region into a quagmire of volatility and dismay. The threat of deterrence failure would increase if India operationalised its Cold Start Doctrine (CSD). The analyses of the level of funding allocated for the modernization of Indian armed forces and its endeavor to overcome its deficiencies show that India may operationalise CSD in next five to 10 years.

The Pakistan-specific Indian Cold Start doctrine has the potential to put the entire region into a quagmire of volatility and dismay. The threat of deterrence failure would increase if India operationalised its Cold Start Doctrine (CSD). The analyses of the level of funding allocated for the modernization of Indian armed forces and its endeavor to overcome its deficiencies show that India may operationalise CSD in next five to 10 years. Pakistan has responded strongly to the Indian Army chief’s rhetoric of facing Pakistan and China at the same time. 

In response to the Indian Army chief’s statement, Pakistan’s former Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (JCSC) Chairman General Tariq Majid said: “Leave alone China, General Deepak Kapoor knows very well what the Indian Army cannot and the Pakistan Army can pull off militarily…the Indian Army chief could not be so outlandish in strategic postulations to fix India on a self-destruct mechanism.” Pakistan’s rejection of Indian CSD is based on its military capabilities and its strategy of an offensive defence to counter such an aggressive attack. 

Pakistan has an active force of 620,000 men, with 5,28,000 reservists, and 1, 50,000 paramilitary troops. Pakistan armed forces are the seventh largest in the world. Its military strategy is based on geographical compulsions. Due to the lack of strategic depth, Pakistan military planners have to compete with this dilemma. Most of the population and industrial centers are close to the border with India. Lahore, the most important city and Karachi the port city and financial hub are at a distance of approximately 20 km and 160 km respectively from the Indian border making them vulnerable to Indian penetration. 

General Mirza Aslam Beg is accredited with the offensive defence concept, which was demonstrated in the exercise Zarb-e-Momin (Blow of the Believer), held in 1989. It involved almost three corps, two armoured brigades, two artillery divisions, one air defense division and Pakistan Air Force. General Beg said, “The exercise…made a radical departure from stereotype maneuvers and self-defeating concept of holding formations. Now our armed forces are fully tuned to fighting an offensive defence, with well-tested concepts and strategies, even in an environment where they may be outnumbered.” 

This concept provides quick preemptive strikes once a war begins in order to disrupt an enemy advance and inflict heavy damages. In addition, such actions are designed to gain strategically important enemy areas, which could be used as a bargaining chip after the ceasefire. To implement this concept, two strike corps backed by one defensive corps are to be used. It could be analysed that the concept of offensive defense is still there in Pakistan Army. 

From 1989, it has carried out many exercises to test and validate this concept. The recent war games by Pakistan Army and Pakistan Air Force are also a step forward towards articulating their abilities and capabilities to contradict any intrusion from air or land. To counter threats from India, Pakistan conducted Azm-I-Noh (New Resolve) military exercises and these are Pakistan’s biggest drills in 20 years. These exercises involved almost 50,000 troops. These war games were carried out in the Punjab and Sindh near the Indian border. These military exercises were a display of Pakistan Army’s preparedness to face the challenges in future. Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani claimed, “Pakistan Army cannot be caught unawares and is capable of responding to the challenge of India’s CSD…our army is fully prepared to give a “befitting response” to any “misadventure” from the eastern border.” 

istan air defense system can provide timely information about the movement of Indian aircraft and its army. There are two air defense commands in Pakistan – the PAF Air Defence Command and the Army Air Defence Command. The task of the PAF Air Defence Command is to defend and shield Pakistan’s air space and the Army Air Defence Command is assigned to defend selected army formations during the war. Pakistan Air Force has an advanced air defence system. 

Its main components are high and low looking mobile radars, integrated radar detection systems designed for high and low level interceptions using fighter aircraft, surface to air missiles (SAMs), radar operated automatic firing anti-aircraft guns and shoulder fired infra-red SAMs. At the Command and Control Centres, air defence controllers and their commanders maintain a round the clock vigil scanning the air space for possible air intruders. After detection and identification of intruder, jet fighters are scrambled within minutes and directed to intercept or destroy it as necessary.


In recent times, Pakistan has inducted Spada 2000 air defense system to the Pakistan Air Force. The deal for 10 batteries was worth $656.56 million over five years. Spada 2000 has 60 kilometer range radar and two firing sections, each containing two missile launchers with six Aspide 2000 missiles each. The missiles have an intercept range of more than 20 kilometers. This system has enhanced Pakistan’s air defense capabilities and it can counter any aggressive air attack by the enemy. Pakistan also produces unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for surveillance and reconnaissance purposes. Pakistan Air Force has two UAV squadrons and is looking to build up to six. Pakistan can use such UAVs in the sensitive areas near the border with India to keep check on any movement by the Indian forces.


This capability will provide Pakistan with more space and time to counter the Indian CSD. In 2009, Pakistan inducted Saab-2000 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) Aircraft into its fleet. This system has enabled the PAF to detect all aircraft taking off from and landing at all forward Indian airbases adjacent to Pakistan and also to identify the type of aircraft, their weapons systems, vector and altitude. In addition to that, the radar capabilities and range of the system enable the operator to receive an early warning in case of pre-emptive attacks from across the border.


PAF would get three more AEW&C aircraft in 2010 under $866 million deal. This deal will make air defence more effective and bring about a major change in its operational concept and employment. Pakistan military used its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance assets i.e. UAVs, aerial imageries and early warnings in the Azm-I-Noh exercise to have transparency in the battlefield. Strategic surprise is the essence of CSD. The prior information of the enemy movement will offset Indian military’s element of surprise and its proactive maneuvers. It will also help field commanders of Pakistan Army to take decisions accordingly with changing situation on ground. These types of capabilities can hamper an Indian offensive against Pakistan. Pakistan Army and Pakistan Air Force practiced these components of air defense in the recent exercises. These exercises are an assertion by the Pakistan military that it has the capability to counter any threat from India.


The main purpose of these exercises was to convey a message to the Indian decision makers that Pakistan has the capability to defend itself from any unprovoked intrusion. PAF conducted “Exercise High Mark” in 2010 to demonstrate its firepower and capabilities. It has also tested its joint operations with Pakistan Army. In this exercise, Pakistan Air Force provided air cover to ground troops that highlighted the forces’ potency to fight integrated battles to counter CSD-based operations. Such capability is essential to meet future threats on the eastern border.


Additionally, PAF fighter pilots displayed their abilities to maneuver and hit enemy targets with missiles, bombs and other live ammunition with utmost precision. JF-17 Thunder, F-16s, F-7 PG Aircraft and helicopters were also used in the display of firepower skills aimed at targeting enemy installations while dodging radars. Force multipliers such as the Saab-2000 Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) aircraft and air-to-air re-fueller aircraft were also utilised in this exercise. Special features of the military exercises included PAF’s capability to launch a sensor missile and hit a target from 60 kilometers away.


Midair refueling and air-to-land targeting, using missiles and bombs were also tested. The exercises also included a search-and-relief operation, use of spy planes, expeditious supply of heavy apparatus using transport planes and a ground operation backed by the PAF. High Mark 2010 exercise was aimed at conducting operations in a near-realistic strategic environment while integrating new inductions and providing role-oriented training to combat and support elements of the PAF. All of PAF’s main operating bases and forward operating bases participated in the exercises. These exercises show Pakistan’s vigilance and alertness towards the defense of the country. The capabilities manifested in these exercises would work as force multipliers. It would help to offset enemy’s strategic surprise and reduce the reaction time for Pakistan Army to respond to any challenge. Still a lot needs to be done to improve the overall capabilities of the armed forces.


Indian CSD has wide range of implications for South Asia. If Pakistan failed to counter CSD based assault on its soil then it may reconsider its nuclear policy of recessed deterrence and deploy its strategic assets at high alert status. Threat of a nuclear war would take the region into its grip. Indian aggressive policies would provoke an arms race in the region. It would hamper the economic and social development of the region and poverty, hunger, un-employment and uncertainty will aggravate in both countries. Most importantly, CSD will seriously impede Pakistan’s efforts against war on terrorism. Pakistan has deployed a major chunk of its armed forces in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and on the Afghan border. In case of any threat from India, Pakistan would move its forces from western to eastern borders. Such a move would hinder its efforts against terrorism and militancy.


At present, it may not be possible for India to put into practice CSD against Pakistan due to shortage in military weaponry and equipment but in future acquisition of latest weapons and equipment along with NCW and EW capabilities would enhance Indian military’s capabilities. It would give confidence to Indian military to carry out a limited war against Pakistan in the nuclear shadow. To meet any likely intimidation from the Indian military, it is imperative for Pakistan to take some concrete steps to perk up its overall military capabilities to offset any future coercion.


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Farewell To General Kayani



General Kayani at kakul

Overview of Gen Kayani’s six years stint 

By Brig Asif Haroon Raja 

Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani took the baton from Gen Musharraf on November 29, 2007. As a result of three years extension given to him by the PPP government in November 2010, his second stint will expire on November 29, 2013. During his six years tenure he came across formidable challenges. Having served as GOC 12 Division, DGMO, Commander 10 Corps and DG ISI, he was well attuned to geo-political and operational environments and challenges faced by Pakistan and the Army. War on terror was in its sixth year and things were becoming increasingly difficult for the security forces to contain the rising militancy. Several untoward incidents had occurred which had impacted the morale and image of the Army. At the outset he called back all Army officers employed in civilian departments to put to rest the unwanted cribbing by certain quarters that the Army was monopolizing all organizations in Pakistan. The next thing he did was to forbid Army and its affiliated institutions like Military Intelligence, Rangers and Anti-Narcotics Force from meddling in elections and in political affairs as had happened in 2002 elections and afterwards.

He then made a strategic change in the training system of Army units by changing the normal training cycles imparting conventional training to low intensity conflict training so as to train the soldiers to confront the challenges of guerrilla war. Knowing that no amount of training and sermons would make a real change, he extended a highly loaded welfare package to the lower ranks in order to raise their morale, prestige and honor. His initiative was in contrast to the welfare measures of previous Army chiefs that were mostly confined to the officers only. 2008 was announced as the ‘Year of Soldiers’. By taking care of the uniform, administration, pay scale, pension, security and housing of soldiers, Kayani instilled new life into them and by the time they were pushed into the inferno of Swat they were fully charged up. His next move was to promote only those officers to senior ranks who excelled in leadership qualities, were professionally sound, bold and strong in character and enjoyed clean reputation. He delayed the promotion board scheduled in January 2008 by one year to be able to personally judge the ones in the race. He made sure that the units sent to the combat zone were fully trained, acclimatized and ably led. Realizing that Musharraf and Lt Gen Mahmood were not in good books of PAF senior officers, Kayani took extra pains to forge special ties with PAF and ACM Rao became his close friend.

Setting aside the poor tradition set by his predecessor, he undertook frequent visits to forward areas particularly where things were hot. He tasked DG ISI Gen Shuja Pasha and DG MI to recover the lost ground in FATA and strengthen the first line of defence that had been sufficiently weakened during the reign of Musharraf because of full liberty of action given to CIA and FBI. Efforts to dismantle CIA network were redoubled in the aftermath of Raymond Davis incident in January 2011. Kayani didn’t lose sight of the importance of media and posted well reputed Maj Gen Salim Bajwa and professional officers to ISPR who are working hard to confront the media challenges. Retired senior officers selected as heads of Army welfare institutions were chosen with care to ensure optimum commercial results.

Areas recaptured from the militants are being rebuilt and people rehabilitated systematically. Army has put in sustained efforts to win the hearts and minds of the people of Swat, FATA and Balochistan and have achieved pleasing results. These efforts have jeopardized the nefarious designs of enemies of Pakistan. Not only Kayani and his team have tackled the internal threats astutely, massive external threats posed by six intelligence agencies and belligerence of India and Afghanistan have been taken care of spiritedly. Series of three-service integrated Azm-e-Nau exercises together with successful test firing of variety of missiles are strong reminders to India that it’s much touted Cold Start doctrine if executed would prove highly costly.

On the political front, the first challenge he faced was in August 2008 when PM Yusaf Raza Gilani issued an executive order placing the ISI under Ministry of Interior headed by infamous Rahman Malik reputed to be US and UK choice man. This move was made in response to long held demand of the US and India to bridle ISI. Gilani had been told to complete this act before embarking upon his journey to Washington to meet President Obama. Kayani put his foot down and convinced Gilani to take back his decision. The next difficult situation emerged in the aftermath of Mumbai attacks on November 26, 2008. Both Zardari and Gilani buckled under fuming Indian pressure and consented to dispatch DG ISI Lt Gen Shuja Pasha to New Delhi to give first hand explanation that the ISI was not involved in the episode. Kayani once again intervened and made sure that the flawed decision was reversed.

When the Army was asked in end April 2009 to clear Swat of Fazlullah led militants and restore writ of the State after Fazlullah backtracked from the peace agreement signed in February 2009, Kayani devised a brilliant offensive plan and within a month freed Swat, Shangla, Buner, Dir, Malakand and Bajaur from the clutches of militants. While holding the captured areas firmly, the Army provided security to the locals. All out efforts were made to rehabilitate 1.7 displaced persons and to rebuild destroyed houses, schools, roads, culverts and bridges. Rehabilitation centres were established to cure teenagers brainwashed to become suicide bombers. Hustle and bustle and glamour of Swat was restored and business activities and tourism in the picturesque town recommenced. The people of Swat whose minds had been poisoned against the Army now respect and love the soldiers and don’t want them to abandon Swat.

The creator and commander of TTP, Baitullah Mehsud was killed by a drone in August 2009. He was replaced by Hakimullah Mehsud. In order to avenge the death of Baitullah, series of attacks were launched in October 2009 including an attack on GHQ on October 10, 2009. Gen Kayani was sitting in his office when ten militants stormed one of the gates of GHQ and some managed to slip inside. Within 18 hours all the militants were either killed or arrested but the shocking incident spurred Kayani to take the battle into the heartland of TTP in South Waziristan (SW). A three-pronged offensive was conceived and launched on October 17, 2009. All the prongs headed towards the nerve centre resting within the critical triangle of Srarogha-Ladha-Makin within SW inhabited by Mehsuds. The myth that SW had never been overwhelmed by foreign forces was broken by the Pak Army.

Like in Swat where the militants armory was filled to the brim by foreign agencies based in Kabul, TTP in SW had also been furnished sophisticated weapons and equipment in huge quantity. Despite the advantage of fighting guerrilla war on home ground, the militants were uprooted in a month’s time and order was restored. These major operations broke the back of TTP and it remained in disarray for next one year. Hard hitting operations were also launched in Mehmand, Kurram and Orakzai Agencies in 2010. Fazlullah, Maulvi Faqir Muhammad commanding TTP Bajaur chapter and Omar Khalid Khurasani heading TTP Mehmand chapter along with their men slipped into neighboring Kunar and Nuristan. Hakimullah Mehsud took refuge in Paktika, while the militants fled to neighboring tribal agencies. After failing to convert upper Orakzai Agency into main base for the TTP, Hakimullah regrouped TTP with the help of his patrons in Kabul and converted Miranshah in North Waziristan (NW) into main base of TTP. Knowing that he was a marked man, he kept changing his abodes and never spent more than six hours at one place.

While Fazlullah and Khurasani are still based in Kunar and are involved in cross border terrorism in Bajaur, Mehmand, Dir and Chitral, Faqir is in Kabul. Fazlullah and Khurasani are fully supported by Afghan intelligence and RAW. Western front is purposely kept heated up by Afghanistan to force Pakistan to mount an operation in NW, declared as the safe haven of anti-US militants led by Haqqani network. The US stealth raid in Abbottabad on May 2, 2011 followed by attack on Salala border post in Mehmand Agency on November 26, 2011, in which 24 soldiers died was a sequel to Kayani’s refusal to pull out additional troops from eastern border and to further stretch out particularly after he had to deploy additional regular troops in Mehmand and Bajaur agencies for the first time in September 2011 to counter the threat from across the western border.

Kayani was instrumental in convincing PM Gilani to close down Shamsi airbase, block NATO supply lines, repatriate US-UK military trainers, cancel all military related meetings, visits and courses, stay out of Bonn conference, ask for an unconditional apology and an assurance that such a blatant act would not be repeated. It was under such adverse circumstances that Kayani was given three year extension. Kayani reluctantly accepted extension, but he made sure that the government agreed to promote and post the senior most Lt Gen serving as his CGS, Gen Shameem Wyne as CJSC. In 2013, the TTP in alliance with Lashkar-e-Islam opened another formidable front in Tirah where the Army took several months to clear the position in June.

Besides internal and external threats, Gen Kayani had to put up with a highly corrupt coalition government whose loyalty to the State was often questioned. While PPP and MQM was NRO cleansed, ANP leader Azam Hoti has recently disclosed that ANP’s leader Asfandyar Wali had accepted bribe from the US in June 2008 to toe its line. MQM leader Altaf Hussain had written a letter to British PM Tony Blair in September 2001 that his party’s services were at his disposal. Hussain Haqqani, ambassador to USA was involved in memo scandal and it is assumed that he couldn’t have sent the anti-Pakistan memo to Admiral Mullen without the blessing of top leadership of PPP. On one hand the soldiers fought the anti-State militants resolutely and over 5000 sacrificed their lives to safeguard the integrity of the motherland, on the other hand the politicians and bureaucrats kept filling their coffers with ill-gotten wealth and chipped the foundations of the country.

To make matters worse for the Army, foreign media in league with segment of Pakistani media left no stone unturned to soil the image of the Army and to discredit Kayani. Some said as to why he accepted extension in service; others coaxed and provoked him to throw out the gang of thieves destroying the country and capture power to save the country from drowning. Extensive pressure was built on him from mid 2012 onwards and when he refused to oblige them despite several lucrative opportunities coming his way, he was belittled for being a sissy. He remained committed to his pledge of supporting democracy even when PM Gilani sacked Secretary Defence Lt Gen Lodhi and passed strong remarks against the Army in reaction to affidavits submitted by Kayani and Pasha concerning memo scandal. The Army extended full support in holding elections in May 2013 and in smooth transition of power for the first time. Kayani has a hand in enabling the PPP government to complete its full tenure.

Hoping that third-time elected Nawaz would live up to his reputation of locking horns with Army chiefs, when nothing of the sort happened, stories were spread that Kayani was seeking yet another extension or wanted to become CJDS with extended powers. In the wake of Kayani’s opinion that the biggest threat to integrity of Pakistan was internal threat, when Nawaz started lobbying for dialogue with militants and APC gave a unanimous decision to hold talks unconditionally, Kayani backed the peace process. Chirping tongues stopped cheeping only when Kayani gave a categorical statement last month that he would retire at the appointed date. Bitten many times by the generals, Nawaz Sharif realizes that Kayani is time-tested and dependable. He is seriously thinking how to make good use of Kayani’s services.

Amidst ongoing controversy whether Hakimullah Mehsud killed by a drone on October 31 was a martyr or otherwise, JI leader Munawar Hassan further heated up the political temperature by giving an irrational and unethical statement on November 10th that Hakimullah Mehsud and militants who were killed by drones or by security forces were all martyrs and soldiers who had died in combat were not Shuhuda. His utterance has hurt Kayani, all ranks of Army and next of kin of Shuhuda. An unconditional apology has rightly been sought by the Army from him. Hassan’s effort to please the TTP should not be at the cost of Army which has stood like a rock between the ruthless killers and people of Pakistan and has rendered huge sacrifices for the defence of the motherland. Earlier he renders an apology or corrects himself better will it be for him and his party since overwhelming majority has denounced his unpalatable statement.

General Kayani would be well remembered for his cool and cigarettes for he is a chain smoker. His farewell to arms has come at a very crucial time in Pakistan’s history.

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Brig(Retd) Asif Haroon Raja : Hullabaloo on leaked Abbottabad Commission Report

Hullabaloo on leaked Abbottabad Commission Report

Asif Haroon Raja

The leaked Abbottabad Commission Report is the ongoing hot topic. It has reopened the wounds that had begun to heal. A little over two years ago the US Navy SEALs mounted in four Blackhawk stealth helicopters had secretly intruded into Pakistan airspace on late night of May 1/2, 2011. After killing Osama bin Laden (OBL) in his compound in Abbottabad the raiders took away his body and later dumped it in the sea. When the people got up in the morning, to their horror they learnt that the most wanted man was residing in Abbottabad for the last six years and that the US raiding team after accomplishing its mission had got away unnoticed and uncontested.

It was the blackest day for Pakistan and everyone felt deeply hurt that Pakistan’s so-called ally had stabbed Pakistan in the back by grossly violating Pakistan’s sovereignty. People were equally angry with our security forces for failing to strike down the raiding helicopters. The startling news was highly agonizing for those in Pakistan who idolized OBL. To rub salt in the wounded pride of the shocked nation, President Zardari and PM Gilani instead of condemning the unilateral US act and terming it as an act of war, eulogized it. It was puzzling as to how Zardari managed to get his article in praise of the US action published in Washington Post on 2 May.

Our media too got fixated on failure of military and intelligence agencies and underplayed the aggressive act of the US. It promoted the US theme that the military establishment was either complicit or incompetent. Paid writers suggested that OBL was actively involved in guiding al-Qaeda terrorist activities. Role of a foreign NGO ‘Save the Children’ patronized by CIA and its utilization of Dr Shakil Afridi to carryout fake polio vaccination program to ascertain presence of OBL in Abbottabad and existence of CIA network came to light.

The way OBL was hastily buried under mysterious circumstances gave rise to speculations that it was a false flag operation to undermine Pak Army, Air Force and ISI and to defame Pakistan. To assuage the anger of the public, PM Gilani held a joint session of the Parliament on May 12 in which DG ISI Lt Gen Pasha was asked to explain about the security lapse. Army chief Gen Kayani attended the rowdy session, in which the opposition wanted to roll the heads of Army, Air Force and ISI chiefs.

Setting up four-member Commission headed by retired Justice Javed Iqbal in July 2011 was another step to mollify the temper of the people. The Commission was mandated to determine why OBL’s presence couldn’t be discovered, why the US raid couldn’t be detected and to apportion blame. It took the Commission two years to complete the investigations. Presumably, the draft prepared by one of the members Jahangir Ashraf Qazi in October 2012 was objected to by another member Lt Gen Nadeem Ahmad for being too vindictive. Final draft was watered down and submitted to former PM Raja Ashraf on January 2, 2013 which including the dissenting note of Qazi. Instead of sharing it with the public, a Parliamentary Committee was formed. Al-Jazeera TV leaked the draft of Qazi and not the final version approved by Chairman Justice Iqbal.    

It may be recalled that Pakistan’s sovereignty was violated by the US on 2 May at a time when Pakistan’s sovereignty had already been compromised because of total subservience to the US dictates. The reins of the country were in the hands of NRO cleansed and US installed government. It had broken all previous records of corruption, poor governance and incompetence, had sunk all economic indicators in negative and brought economy at the brink of collapse. Zardari by virtue of holding two portfolios of presidency and co-chairmanship of PPP had become the most powerful president and had reduced the parliament into a dummy. He blunted the process of accountability to give a free hand to his corrupt and inefficient cronies holding important posts to empty the national kitty and to destroy state corporations. Under the skewed policy of selective national reconciliation, corruption, crime and lawlessness thrived.

The corrupt were protected and the honest officials sidelined while the police was politicized and mostly employed on VIP duties, and complicit with terrorist groups and mafias. Civil agencies had taken up a backseat and had shifted the whole burden of internal and external security on ISI and MI. Dysfunctional government and ineffective state organs forced ISI and MI to take on onerous job of counterterrorism outside its realm of responsibilities. There was no coordination and cooperation between military and civil agencies.

Gen Musharraf had initially opened the doors for CIA, FBI and US officials to scan Pakistan at will. On September 26, 2001, Altaf Hussain had sought ISI’s disbandment and in return offered the services of MQM to do the bidding of Britain. Zardari led team in which MQM was again the coalition partner went two steps ahead in granting the US liberty to micro manage Pakistan’s internal and external policies. ANP chief Asfandyar Wali had secretly visited Washington in June 2008 and reportedly had given his commitment to do its bidding.

Rahman Malik and Hussain Haqqani were instrumental in facilitating entry of Blackwater and establishment of countrywide CIA network in Pakistan to compromise the overall security apparatus. CIA worked in unison with TTP and other terrorist groups to achieve its ends. When the ISI started to re-assert its authority from 2008 onwards, an effort was made to put ISI under Ministry of Interior and cut it to size.

By forcing the Army to launch major operations in Swat, Shangla, Buner, Dir, Bajaur and South Waziristan in 2009, 147000 troops got tied down in the northwest. To keep Washington placated, security forces were pushed to keep complying with its orders. Kerry Lugar Bill with harmful clauses for Pakistan’s security was gladly accepted, which paved the way for entry of hundreds of US paid NGOs filled with CIA spies in the garb of aid coordinators and security contractors. It led to Raymond Davis incident in January 2011.

Lava of Balochistan under apathetic, corrupt and inefficient government had reached a boiling point. While police mostly linked with criminals was ineffective, the FC and ISI were purposely lambasted on account of missing persons and mutilated bodies of Baloch nationalists. Segment of media was entirely focused on maligning the image of military and civil-military relations were tense. The US was unhappy with Gen Kayani for refusing to undertake a major operation in North Waziristan and was exerting all sorts of pressures. Raid in Abbottabad, acceleration in drone attacks and stoppage of CSF were link of the same chain.

When the ISI started to dismantle the CIA network after 2 May incident, attack on Mehran naval base on May 22, 2011 destroying three PC-3 Orion aircraft followed by Salala incident on November 26, 2011 took place. When the air force took defensive measures to guard against violation of airspace from the western front by placing mobile radars and positioning its Swedish AWACs, CIA planned Kamra airbase terrorist attack in 2012 to destroy three non-offensive AWACs parked in foreign built hangers. Attack on Peshawar airbase was again foreign sponsored. Daredevilry of a lone Army soldier on guard duty thwarted the attack. Such attacks may occur again since Pakistan doesn’t have the wherewithal to tackle US technology and satellite communication.  

While efforts should be made to analyze the recommendations made by the Abbottabad Commission and correct the mistakes so that suchlike debacles may not occur again, a lobby in Pakistan in concert with foreign agencies is engaged in targeting the Army, Air Force and ISI. It wants rolling of heads and not rectification. This anti-military establishment lobby is unhappy with the submitted report in which the Commission has mentioned ‘collective failure’ and has not blamed individuals and institutions. It infers that the Chairman, Lt Gen Nadeem and Abbas Khan didn’t perform their duty honestly and conjectures that military establishment might have exerted its authority to influence the Commission to tone down the report.                        

The initial draft prepared by Qazi was intentionally leaked since it was highly critical of armed forces and ISI and is being played up by vested interests. This suspicion gets further reinforced with the appearance of another scandalizing story framed by notorious Umar Cheema. He has made a calculated effort to smear the reputation of Justice Iqbal and Lt Gen Nadeem by suggesting that the two collaborated to defeat Qazi’s report. He also casts aspersion on another member Abbas Khan saying that he feigned illness and prolonged his stay in USA to avoid signing the report or putting his dissenting note.

Cheema obliquely hints that Nadeem is GHQ and ISI man mandated to cover up their failings. His suggestion that Nadeem was successfully cultivated by ‘Save the Children’ NGO and he passed over progress of investigation of the Commission on regular basis to the Director David Wright and Deputy Director M. Hassan Noor Saadi of this NGO is insensitive. He claims that all four reports were also handed over. Purpose behind this character assassination is to discredit Khakis by disgracing Lt Gen Nadeem and to spoil civil-military relations.

Personally knowing Nadeem, he can be safely counted among few noble and upright Generals. None can doubt his honesty and integrity. This unholy practice of demeaning the Khakis on false pretext must end. PEMRA should weed out the black sheep in media solely interested in material gains.

The writer is a retired Brig and a defence analyst[email protected]

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INDIAN PRESS: US-Taliban peace talks: Pakistan’s political fortunes set to revive, India concerned


US-Taliban peace talks: Pakistan’s political fortunes set to revive, India concerned


Indrani Bagchi, TNN, Jun 20, 2013


0,,6626012_4,00NEW DELHI: A prospective Afghan political deal crafted by Kerry and Kayani threatens to sink Karzai. As the Taliban set up an office in Doha to start peace talks with the US dressed up in their old flag and named the Islamic emirate of Afghanistan, in one fell swoop, the gesture has marginalized Hamid Karzai, presaged a future Taliban role in the Afghan government and revived Pakistan’s political fortunes with the US.

The new situation has profoundly negative implications for India’s security, particularly if the Haqqani network is added to the talks as Pakistan desires. India has promised to take up the issue with US secretary of state John Kerryduring the strategic dialogue to be held here next week. In Baghdad, foreign minister Salman Khurshid said, “We have from time to time reminded all stakeholders about the red lines that was drawn by the world community and certainly by the participants should not be touched, should not be erased and should not be violated.” The “red lines” included a renunciation of Taliban’s links with al Qaida and an acceptance of the Afghan constitution. However, its been a couple of years that the US has abandoned all preconditions for talks with the Taliban.

India is one of the largest donors to Afghanistan’s stabilization, but India has a minimal role in the political chess-game currently under way, which will minimize India’s security concerns in the larger transition. Officials in Kabul said, despite repeated assurances to Karzai by the US, the Taliban went ahead to set themselves up almost as a government in exile. Their initial statement said, as an afterthought, that they could even talk to “Afghans”, but not the government. With the Taliban also opening talks with Iran as well as with the former Northern Alliance, the US, helped by Pakistan, could be preparing the way to bring the Taliban back into government in Kabul, a decade after they were removed from power by the US invasion.

For the present, the Taliban in Doha, with the blessings of the US and Qatar, is more than an Afghan insurgent group. Just by the very fact that they are not in Afghanistan, its very easy for them to scale up their international profile to position themselves as a challenger or alternative Afghan government. Its clear the Taliban are sitting at the table because Pakistan has played a key role in getting them there. While Mullah Omar is believed to have agreed to the talks, the fact is that all the Taliban leaders in Doha have a strong Pakistan connection, with their families all living in Pakistan.

According to Pakistani media reports, the deal came about largely because of a personal relationship between Kerry and Kayani. Quoting unnamed Pakistan military officials, a report in Pakistan’s Express Tribune said, “The hardliners among the Taliban ranks did not want to give any space to US forces. They had realised that by stalemating international forces they had actually won militarily. It was Pakistan’s turn to use its influence even though everyone in Washington had deep doubts about the Taliban showing flexibility. Our pitch to the Taliban was that by becoming part of the dialogue process they could gain international sanction, end conflict peacefully and achieve their goals of foreign forces exiting their country much more swiftly than through perpetual conflict.”

Karzai angrily suspended security talks with the US, as Washington scrambled to save the Doha talks by getting the Taliban to take down the offending banner. No peace talks started between the US and Taliban on Thursday, and a visit by the Afghan High Peace Council to Qatar on Friday too was cancelled. In Kabul, Karzai called in envoys from Russia and China and India to brief them on his position, even as Kerry tried to pacify him about the talks.

While the US takes some time to pacify Karzai, sources said the first deals the US would be looking for includes the release of a US soldier, Bowe Bergdahl, in Taliban custody. On Thursday, Taliban spokesmen said he could be released in return for five Taliban prisoners from Guantanamo Bay. The US has not yet agreed to that though there may be some offer of keeping the prisoners in Bagram rather than Cuba.

Second, the US will seek safe passage from the Taliban for their equipment and weapons as they prepare to leave Afghanistan. The Taliban may have entered peace talks but only on Wednesdaythey carried out an attack for which they even claimed responsibility. It’s clear the forthcoming negotiations will be arduous, where the Taliban have the advantage of waiting for their demands to be met, while the US is heading for the exits.

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