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Posts Tagged Kayani

Zardari in WikiLeaks – Nawaz Sharif is worst than Asfandyar Wali Khan for the GHQ?

images-54Nuclear Fuel Memos Expose Wary Dance With Pakistan

 

….. “Kayani will want to hear that the United States has turned the page on past ISI operations,” it said. General Kayani was probably referring to the peace accords with the Taliban from 2004 to 2007 that resulted in the strengthening of the militants.

If the general seems confidently in charge, the cables portray Mr. Zardari as a man not fully aware of his weakness.

At one point he said he would not object if Abdul Qadeer Khan, revered in Pakistan as the father of its nuclear weapons program, were interviewed by the International Atomic Energy Agency but tacitly acknowledged that he was powerless to make that happen.

Mr. Zardari, who spent 11 years in prison on ultimately unproved corruption charges, feared for his position and possibly — the wording is ambiguous — his life: the cables reveal that Vice President Biden told Prime Minister Gordon Brownof Britain in March 2009 that Mr. Zardari had told him that the “ISI director and Kayani will take me out.”

His suspicions were not groundless. In March 2009, a period of political turmoil, General Kayani told the ambassador that he “might, however reluctantly,” pressure Mr. Zardari to resign and, the cable added, presumably leave Pakistan. He mentioned the leader of a third political party, Asfandyar Wali Khan, as a possible replacement.

“Kayani made it clear regardless how much he disliked Zardari he distrusted Nawaz even more,” the ambassador wrote, a reference to Nawaz Sharif, a former prime minister.

By 2010, after many sessions with Mr. Zardari, Ms. Patterson had revised the guarded optimism that characterized her early cables about Mr. Zardari.

“Pakistan’s civilian government remains weak, ineffectual and corrupt,” she wrote on Feb. 22, 2010, the eve of a visit by the F.B.I. director, Robert S. Mueller III. “Domestic politics is dominated by uncertainty about the fate of President Zardari.”

That assessment holds more than eight months later, even as Mr. Obama in October extended an invitation to the Mr. Zardari leader to visit the White House next year, as the leader of a nation that holds a key to peace in Afghanistan but appears too divided and mistrustful to turn it for the Americans.

 

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FINANCIAL TIMES : Pakistan: A fragile transition

Pakistan: A fragile transition
 
 
December 19, 2012
 
The country is forging a stronger democratic foothold despite the threat of political, religious and economic unrest
 
image001The Islamic Republic of Pakistan is not a place where visitors expect to see billboards advertising “Liposuction, Tummy Tuck, Breast Reshaping” for middle-class women, let alone brothels to entertain middle-class men in a red-light district near the main mosque. They are both there in the sprawling commercial city of Lahore.
 
Nor is Pakistan a country where foreigners wary of Islamic extremism would necessarily envisage a politically correct gender studies centre such as the one at Quaid-i-Azam University in the capital Islamabad – where students, male and female, discuss everything from honour killings to reproductive rights.
 
To say that Pakistan has an image problem in the west is an understatement. A new Global Terrorism Index published by the Institute for Economics and Peace shows that Pakistan comes second only to Iraq in terms of terrorist violence because of “significant and widespread” attacks, mostly bombings and shootings. (Pakistan’s neighbours, Afghanistan and India, come third and fourth.)
 
Yet Pakistan is more diverse than outsiders tend to think and the beliefs of its 180m people are more heterogeneous than in many other nations that profess themselves Islamic. Women hold positions of power in politics, business and academia; mystical Muslims worship at Sufi shrines that are anathema to puritan Sunnis in the Saudi mould; and those who might be categorised as Islamic extremists have never won more than 12 per cent of the vote in a general election.
 
And now the country is preparing for a political event hailed by Pakistanis and their foreign allies alike as a democratic coming-of-age: for the first time since partition from India in 1947, an elected government is expected to complete a full term in office and make way for a new administration, also democratically elected.
 
The hope is that the armed forces will not intervene directly or indirectly as they have so often in the past. That would allow a fairly conventional democratic process to unfold, which would contribute to the stability not only of nuclear-armed Pakistan – the world’s sixth most populous nation – but also of the rest of south and central Asia just as western forces prepare to leave Afghanistan.
 
“It really doesn’t matter what the outcome of this election is, as long as it’s held in a credible, democratic manner,” says Samina Ahmed, south Asia project director for the International Crisis Group, an organisation that studies and seeks to resolve conflicts around the world. “These past four and a half years have been the first phase of a very fragile democratic transition.
 
“You already see a change, not necessarily in the balance of power between the civilians and the military,    but in a questioning of the military … This is now a public debate, and it’s taking place within parliament and outside parliament.”
 
No Pakistani, or foreign observer in Islamabad, suggests that it will be easy to build a credible democracy in such a violent, unstable and overpopulated country. Successive governments – including the present one under Asif Ali Zardari, the president whose wife Benazir Bhutto was assassinated five years ago – have become notorious for a combination of untrammelled corruption and economic mismanagement.
 
The army and the intelligence services, meanwhile, are accused either of complicity in Islamic terrorism (especially across the border in Afghanistan), or of incompetence in combating extremists, or both – a set of accusations only strengthened by the killing of Osama bin Laden by US special forces north of Islamabad last year.
 
“Today, we are living through the decisive moments of our history,” Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, head of the    Pakistani army, said in a gloomy speech in August to mark the 65th anniversary of independence. “Disillusionment, desperation, religious bigotry, political disharmony and discord seem to permeate our lives.”
 
A successful election – the vote is expected between mid-March and mid-May – might help to dispel that sense of foreboding. Ms Ahmed compares Pakistan’s situation after years of violence to Latin American countries such as Argentina as they emerged from military rule in the 1980s. “Where we’re at is the earliest phase of a Chile,” she says, meaning when the rule of law was weak and the armed forces still powerful.
 
Democracy in Pakistan – according to one western diplomat who draws comparisons not with South America but with the Middle East – is far from perfect but more developed than it is in Egypt. “At a time when democracy in other parts of the Muslim world is running into problems … there is something consolidating here against all the odds,” the diplomat says. “Something quite significant is happening here.”
 
The mere fact of a government finishing its allotted term and facing new elections is important, says another Pakistan-based diplomat. “It’s very hard for the outside world to understand how important that’s going to be … It changes intangibly the calculations of politicians and the military.”
 
Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, Mr Zardari’s prime minister, boasts that the imminent completion of its term by the government of the Pakistan People’s party (PPP) is a “great achievement”. Flanked by photographs of the party’s martyrs – the slain Ms Bhutto and of her father Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the prime minister executed by Gen Mohammad Zia ul-Haq in 1979 – he says: “This the first time in history that the media is independent, the judiciary is independent, democracy is taking root, and elections are around the corner.”
 
Wishful thinking? Commentators argue that tentative optimism is well-founded because the cautious Gen Kayani does not want to intervene, the politicians out of power are not keen to invite him and the judges have been discouraged from lending legal support to any coup d’état by changes to the constitution since Mr Zardari won the election in 2008.
 
“There’s no room for a military takeover, none whatsoever,” says Shahbaz Sharif of the opposition Pakistan    Muslim League (Nawaz). He is younger brother of PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif and chief minister of Punjab, the country’s most populous and economically dominant state. Pakistanis are eager to oust the PPP government through democratic means, he says, and the armed forces know in any case that a military takeover is no solution.
 
One sign of Pakistan’s maturing democracy is the political rise in recent years of Imran Khan, the successful Pakistani cricketer who has entered politics to challenge the dominant duo of the PPP and the PML-N. “Pakistan is passing through its worst time,” he said recently on a visit to India. “But I also see this as the best of times, because when we see such crises, there’s a desire for change … We represent change. People are fed up with the old political parties.”
 
Mr Khan has campaigned against US drone attacks aimed at militants on the Pakistani border with Afghanistan, not only because they kill civilians but also because they promote rather than prevent extremism in Pakistan. His moderate party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI – Movement for Justice) is popular among young, middle-class voters, and although support seems to have waned over recent months, it could hold the balance of power after the next election.
 
Any analysis of Pakistani politics needs two important qualifications. First, the way government functions – or fails to function – is barely comparable with the genteel democracy practised today in the west. As Anatol Lieven remarks in his book Pakistan: A Hard Country the system revolves around patronage and clan loyalties, and there has been surprisingly little difference between Pakistan’s civilian regimes and its military ones.
 
The second point to emphasise is that democratisation is constantly threatened by the sheer scale of the domestic political, religious and economic difficulties, not to mention the risk of further instability in neighbouring Afghanistan and Iran. Extremists – often, but not always, Saudi-influenced Sunnis – have with impunity attacked Shias, Christians, Hindus and other Sunnis, in a country where tolerant, middle-aged Muslims recall childhoods when they neither knew nor cared which sect their friends and neighbours belonged to.
 
An attempt in October by the Pakistani Taliban to murder Malala Yousafzai, the schoolgirl who campaigned for girls’ education, did provoke a series of outraged public protests against extremists, but the popular backlash shows no sign of bringing such violence to an end. The murder of eight health workers administering polio vaccines this week has also drawn international attention to the virulence of extremists in Pakistan.
 
“The Malala incident is an eye-opener,” says P.J. Mir, a prominent television presenter. “Everybody hates terrorism in this country. Everybody despises the brutality of these people. [But] the Supreme Court of this country, has it convicted even one terrorist?” Judges, he says, are too frightened to act, the Pakistani economy is in “meltdown” and politics is about money and family rather than real democracy. As for elections: “It won’t make any difference. It will be the same people, the status quo, and then the military will move in. There has to be a coup.”
 
Pakistan: A fragile transition
“But,” he adds, “I don’t back this policy of the military stepping in every now and then. I feel it’s better to go through this democratic process – even with the setbacks and the ups and downs.” Millions of Pakistanis agree. The question now is whether the three groups who wield most power – the politicians, the generals and the Islamic extremists – will allow those hopes to be fulfilled.

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Wikileaks: Kayani wanted more drone strikes in Pakistan:Zardari, Gilani, Kayani, and Rehman Malik are vulnerable to a future war crimes tribunal

I don’t care if they do it as long as they get the right people. We’ll protest in the National Assembly and then ignore it. Yousuf Raza Gilani, PM

 

Cables obtained state that Kayani was requesting the US for greater drone back-up.

Newly released Wikileaks cables revealed that the US military’s drone strikes programme within Pakistan had more than just tacit acceptance of the country’s top military brass, despite public posturing to the contrary. The cables state that the country’s military was requesting the US for greater drone back-up for its own military operations as long ago as January 2008.

According to cables , the US account of Kayani’s request for “Predator coverage” does not make clear if mere air surveillance were being requested or missile-armed drones were being sought.

According to the report of the meeting sent back to Washington by Patterson, Admiral Fallon “regretted that he did not have the assets to support this request” but offered trained US Marines (known as JTACs) to coordinate air strikes for Pakistani infantry forces on ground. General Kayani “demurred” on the offer, pointing out that having US soldiers on ground “would not be politically acceptable.”

As reported earlier in The Express Tribune, WikiLeaks cables revealed that Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani allowed drone strikes in the tribal areas of Pakistan, saying they would protest the attacks in the National Assembly and then ignore them.

When Interior Minister Rehman Malik advised the US to hold off “alleged Predator attacks until after the Bajaur operation”, Gilani brushed off the remarks saying:

I don’t care if they do it as long as they get the right people. We’ll protest in the National Assembly and then ignore it.

According to a leaked cable published on NDTV, in an earlier meeting on January 9, 2008 with Codel Lieberman, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Kayani agreed that increased training and exercises with the US would be of great value, but urged that US-Pakistan military engagement remain low-key for domestic political reasons. Lieberman underscored need for Pakistan to hold free, fair elections in February.

They also discussed the need to add a humanitarian aspect to Pakistan’s counterinsurgency strategy. Kayani noted four areas in which the Army was requesting technical assistance.

Kayani's War Crimes

General Kayani leaves himself open to a future War Crimes Trial for Allowing Drone Attacks on Non-combatants.

 cable dated February 19, 2009 sates:

The strikes have put increasing political pressure on the Pakistani government, which has struggled to explain why it is allowing an ally to violate its sovereignty. The GOP so far has denied recent media reports alleging that the U.S. is launching the strikes from bases in Pakistan. Kayani knows full well that the strikes have been precise (creating few civilian casualties) and targeted primarily at foreign fighters in the Waziristans. He will argue, however, that they undermine his campaign plan, which is to keep the Waziristans quiet until the Army is capable of attacking Baitullah Mehsud and other militants entrenched there.

The cable states that Anne Patterson remarks that “Kayani is often direct, frank, and thoughtful. .. is an avid golfer, he is President of the Pakistan Golf Association. He smokes heavily and can be difficult to understand as he tends to mumble.

 

The full text of the cables can be read on Dawn.comThe Hindu and NDTV. WikiLeaks has previously released cables to other media organisations including Guardian and the New York Times.

 

 

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