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Posts Tagged Taliban-Nawa Sharif

NAWAZ SHARIF AND PAKISTANI TALIBAN ALLIANCE: DANGER TO ASIAN & GLOBAL SECURITY

The Punjabi Taliban

Rana Sanullah and Muhammad Ahmed Ludhianvi of Sipah-e-Sabah

Punjab, with Lahore as its bustling capital, contains half of Pakistan’s population. The provincial government is in the hands of the conservative, mildly Islamist party of a former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif. In a speech in March his brother, Shahbaz Sharif, who is chief minister, pleaded with the Taliban to leave Punjab alone as his administration shared their ideology of keeping out “foreign dictation” (ie, Americans). Officials bristle at comparisons between Punjab, which is moderately well run, and the lawless tribal areas.

It is correct to say that there has been no territorial takeover by extremists in any part of the province, nor any enforcement of Islamic law. However, Punjab functions as an ideological nursery and recruiting ground for militants throughout the country. Distinctions between the Taliban in the north-west and older jihadi groups in Punjab have broken down. The federal government says Punjabi groups have been responsible for most of the big terrorist attacks in the province.

Punjab’s minister of law, Rana Sanaullah, went on the campaign trail in February with the reputed head of Sipah-e-Sahaba, for a by-election in the southern town of Jhang. The two rode through the streets in an open-top vehicle. The minister says that he was just trying to bring the group into the mainstream. Jhang is Sipah-e-Sahaba’s headquarters; the group makes little effort to hide its presence there.

Another outfit, Jaish-e-Mohammed, is based in Bahawalpur, also in southern Punjab, where it has a huge seminary. Former members of both organisations are integral parts of the Pakistani Taliban. Another group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, blamed for the devastating attack on Mumbai in 2008, also has Punjab as its home. “The Punjab government is not only complacent, there is a certain ambivalence in their attitude” towards extremists, says Arif Nizami, a political analyst based in Lahore. “They compete for the religious vote bank.”

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Punjab’s minister of law, Rana Sanaullah, went on the campaign trail in February with the reputed head of Sipah-e-Sahaba, for a by-election in the southern town of Jhang. The two rode through the streets in an open-top vehicle. The minister says that he was just trying to bring the group into the mainstream. Jhang is Sipah-e-Sahaba’s headquarters; the group makes little effort to hide its presence there.

Another outfit, Jaish-e-Mohammed, is based in Bahawalpur, also in southern Punjab, where it has a huge seminary. Former members of both organisations are integral parts of the Pakistani Taliban. Another group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, blamed for the devastating attack on Mumbai in 2008, also has Punjab as its home. “The Punjab government is not only complacent, there is a certain ambivalence in their attitude” towards extremists, says Arif Nizami, a political analyst based in Lahore. “They compete for the religious vote bank.”

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Jan

07
2011

Musharraf Terms Nawaz Sharif ‘Closet Taliban’

“I call Nawaz Sharif a closet Taliban. He’s a man who is — who has been — in contact with Taliban. He is a man who, today, appeases the clerics and mawlawis [Sunni Islamic scholars] — the extremists,” ‘Foreign Policy’ quoted Musharraf, as saying in an exclusive interview. “Moreover, he (Sharif) has tried [his hand at leadership as prime minister] twice in the past — and he has failed. Why are we giving him a third chance to destroy Pakistan”

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Mar
23
2010

Nawaz Sharif Brags About ‘Old Friendship’ With bin Laden

In a country of 175 million, replete with some 15 million politico-religious extremists, opportunities for a positive geopolitical paradigm shifts are rare. Punjab’s Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, brother of Pakistan’s principal opposition figure Nawaz Sharif, tried to wreck this one by suggesting Taliban work out a “separate peace” with Punjab province.

“Cease targeting Punjab,” he said and focus on the other three provinces. Mercifully, there was a nationwide outcry against the wacky suggestion. Kayani summoned him and upbraided him in language he won’t soon forget. But this didn’t deter Nawaz Sharif from bragging about his “old friendship” with Osama bin Laden.

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Mar
22
2010

Research: Nawaz Sharif’s ties to Bin Laden

 

Daily Times of Pakistan reports – Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ex-ISI official says he arranged 5 meetings between Nawaz, Osama

LAHORE: Former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) official Khalid Khawaja has claimed that he arranged five meetings in the past between former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden on separate occasions.

In a recent interview with a private TV channel, Khawaja said Nawaz asked the al Qaeda chief to provide financial support for “development projects”.

“I still remember that Osama provided me funds that I handed over to then Punjab chief minister Nawaz to topple Benazir Bhutto’s government,” said Khawaja, adding that Nawaz met Osama thrice in Saudi Arabia alone. “Nawaz insisted that I arrange a direct meeting with Osama, which I did in Saudi Arabia,” he said. “Nawaz was looking for a Rs 500 million grant from Osama. Although Osama provided a comparatively smaller sum … he secured for Nawaz a meeting with the Saudi royal family.”

The former ISI official also claimed that Nawaz had met leaders of Islamic movements around the world.

Khawaja said following a “forced retirement”, he went straight to Afghanistan in 1987 and fought against the Soviet forces alongside Osama.

Daily Times of Pakistan reports Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Osama introduced Nawaz Sharif to Saudi royals: ex-ISI chief

LAHORE: Osama Bin Laden introduced Nawaz Sharif to the Saudi royal family in the late 1980s, and – during a meeting – the former prime minister had asked the Al Qaeda chief to provide employment to Pakistanis in Saudi Arabia, claimed former ISI chief Khalid Khwaja on Sunday. According to the Times of India, Khwaja – who was close to Nawaz in the late 1980s and early 1990s – made the claim in an interview. “During his first visit to Saudi Arabia as chief minister of Punjab in the late 1980s, no one from the royal family gave Nawaz importance,” he said. “Thereafter, on Nawaz’s request, Osama introduced him to the royal family,” said Khwaja. “A close aide of the Sharif family and I arranged at least five meetings between Nawaz and Osama in Saudi Arabia.”

While this happens to be not something new or unknown. Nawaz Sharif’s ties to Osama Bin Laden always bothered former Priminister late Benazir Bhutto, for which she had contacted George Bush Sr. in 1989. President Asif Ali Zardari had mentioned this in his interview to an American channel’s show “Meet the Press”

Former ISI chief Khalid Khwaja has confessed on various occasions to playing the role of a mediator for several meetings between Mr. Nawaz Sharif and Osama Bin Laden. On September 8th 2009 he again mentioned this on Ary News channel’s show 11th Hour.

A comprehensive timeline of Nawaz Sharif’s history and links to Osama Bin Laden is also mentioned with many other proofs and articles in a non-profit organization’s websitewww.historycommons.org:

Spring 1989: ISI and Bin Laden Allegedly Plot to Kill Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto
Hamid Gul, Nawaz Sharif, and Osama bin Laden conspire to assassinate Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Husein Haqqani, a Pakistani journalist who claims to have been involved in the plot, will later say that ISI Director Hamid Gul contacted Osama bin Laden, who was then known to provide financial support to Afghan mujaheddin, to pay for a coup/assassination of Bhutto. Gul also brings Nawaz Sharif, then the governor of Punjab province and a rival of Bhutto, into the plot. Bin Laden agrees to provide $10 million on the condition that Sharif transforms Pakistan into a strict Islamic state, which Sharif accepts. [LEVY AND SCOTT-CLARK, 2007, PP. 193-194] Bhutto is not assassinated at this time, but bin Laden allegedly helps Sharif replace Bhutto one year later (see October 1990).

October 1990: Bin Laden Allegedly Helps Install Pakistani Leader Nawaz Sharif
In October 1990, Nawaz Sharif is running for election to replace Benazir Bhutto as the prime minister of Pakistan. According to a senior Pakistani intelligence source, bin Laden passes a considerable amount of money to Sharif and his party, since Sharif promises to introduce a hard-line Islamic government. Bin Laden has been supporting Sharif for several years. There is said to be a photograph of Sharif chatting with bin Laden. Sharif wins the election and while he does not introduce a hard-line Islamic government, his rule is more amenable to bin Laden’s interests than Bhutto’s had been. Sharif will stay in power until 1993, then will take over from Bhutto again in 1996 and rule for three more years. [REEVE, 1999, PP. 170-171] Former ISI official Khalid Khawaja, a self-proclaimed close friend of bin Laden, will later claim that Sharif and bin Laden had a relationship going back to when they first met face to face in the late 1980s. [ABC NEWS, 11/30/2007] There are also accounts of additional links between Sharif and bin Laden (see Spring 1989, Late 1996, and Between Late 1996 and Late 1998).

July 1993: Ramzi Yousef and KSM Attempt to Assassinate Pakistani Prime Minister
Ramzi Yousef and his uncle Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (KSM) unsuccessfully try to assassinate Behazir Bhutto, the leader of the opposition in Pakistan at the time. Yousef, with his friend Abdul Hakim Murad, plan to detonate a bomb near Bhutto’s home as she is leaving it. However, they are stopped by a police patrol. Yousef had hidden the bomb when the police approached, and after they left the bomb is accidentally set off, severely injuring him. [RESSA, 2003, PP. 25] KSM is in Pakistan at the time and will visit Yousef in the hospital, but his role in the bombing appears to be limited to funding it. [RESSA, 2003, PP. 25; GUARDIAN, 3/3/2003] Bhutto had been prime minister in Pakistan before and will return to power later in 1993 until 1996. She will later claim, “As a moderate, progressive, democratically elected woman prime minister of Pakistan, I was a threat to the fundamentalist zealots on multiple levels…” She claims they had “the support of sympathetic elements within Pakistan’s security apparatus,” a reference to the ISI intelligence agency. [SLATE, 9/21/2001] This same year, US agents uncover photographs showing KSM with close associates of previous Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Bhutto’s main political enemy at the time. Presumably, this failed assassination will later give KSM and Yousef some political connection and cover with the political factions opposed to Bhutto (see Spring 1993). Sharif will serve as prime minister again from 1997 to 1999. [FINANCIAL TIMES, 2/15/2003]

Late 1996: Bin Laden Influences Election in Pakistan
Not long after bin Laden moves back to Afghanistan (see After May 18, 1996-September 1996), he tries to influence an election in Pakistan. Benazir Bhutto, Prime Minister of Pakistan, is running for reelection against Nawaz Sharif, who had been prime minister earlier in the 1990s. (Bin Laden apparently helped Sharif win in 1990 (see October 1990).) “According to Pakistani and British intelligence sources, bin Laden traveled into Pakistan to renew old acquaintances within the ISI, and also allegedly met or talked with” Sharif. Sharif wins the election. Bhutto will later claim that bin Laden used a variety of means to ensure her defeat and undermine her. She will mention one instance where bin Laden allegedly gave $10 million to some of her opponents. Journalist Simon Reeve will later point out that while Bhutto claims could seem self-serving, “her claims are supported by other Pakistani and Western intelligence sources.” [REEVE, 1999, PP. 188-189] It will later be reported that double agent Ali Mohamed told the FBI in 1999 that bin Laden gave Sharif $1 million at some point while Sharif was prime minister (see Between Late 1996 and Late 1998). There are also reports that bin Laden helped Sharif become prime minister in 1990 (see October 1990). While Sharif will not support the radical Islamists as much as they had hoped, they will have less conflict with him that they did with Bhutto. For instance, she assisted in the arrest of Ramzi Yousef (see February 7, 1995), who had attempted to assassinate her (see July 1993).

Between Late 1996 and Late 1998: Bin Laden Allegedly Pays $1 Million to Pakistani Prime Minister
According to FBI agent Jack Cloonan, in 1999, imprisoned double agent Ali Mohamed will tell Cloonan that he helped arrange a meeting between bin Laden and representatives of Nawaz Sharif, who is prime minister of Pakistan from 1990 through 1993 and again from 1996 to 1999. Mohamed claims that after the meeting he delivered $1 million to Sharif’s representatives as a tribute to Sharif for “not cracking down on the Taliban as it flourished in Afghanistan and influenced the Northwest Frontier Province in Pakistan.” It is unknown when this took place, but it is likely between late 1996, when the Taliban gain control over much of Afghanistan and Sharif as prime minister would have been in a position to crack down against them or not, and late 1998, when Mohamed is arrested in the US (see September 10, 1998). Cloonan will later say that he believes the information from Mohamed is accurate. [ABC NEWS, 11/30/2007] There have been other allegations that Sharif met bin Laden in 1996 and used his help to win the election for prime minister (see Late 1996), and also allegations that bin Laden helped Sharif win the election for prime minister in 1990 (see Late 1996).

For full timeline visit http://www.historycommons.org/entity.jsp?entity=nawaz_sharif

Source: Let Us Build Pakistan

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Mar
17
2010

Musharraf terms Nawaz Sharif as ‘closet Taliban’

Sounding like a man hoping for a political comeback, former President Gen (r) Pervez Musharraf has said that he would return back to Pakistan if the people wanted him and if he believed he had enough support to make a contribution.

“If I have to just go there and join a political fray and be involved in accusations and counter-accusations … like most of the politicians are doing,” Musharraf said at news conference in Seattle on Sunday, adding, “I am not interested in that kind of politics.”Later, addressing an audience of several hundred largely Pakistani Americans in Bellevue, Musharraf termed Nawaz Sharif as ‘closet Taliban’, saying he would cause destruction of the country. But he denied the charges that corruption has make its way into the rank and file of Pak Army.

He said the Taliban brand of Islamic extremism posed a serious threat to the nation. “We need to ask ourselves, do we or don’t we want a Taliban/Al-Qaeda culture in Pakistan … because every action then flows from that decision.”

The Friends of Pakistan First sponsored Musharraf’s visit to Washington, and after the speech he answered wide-ranging questions on economy, India, feudalism and other topics. He also was asked about recent terrorist attacks that killed World Vision workers in Mansehra, to which he replied that the aid organisation should show resolve and not withdraw from Pakistan.

The visit came at a time when the Pakistani press has been speculating on whether he has a future political role in the country. In December, a Pakistan Muslim League leader, Sher Afgan Nizai, had said his party would welcome the former president’s return, which was likely to happen this winter. But later, an aide said Musharraf had no plans either to return or to rejoin the political fray. Musharraf, in his remarks at the news conference, boosted his governance. He called Pakistan a ‘failed state’ that was defaulting on debts when he came to power in 1999, and said he was able to increase freedom of the press, improve rights of minorities and stabilise the economy.

During his evening remarks, Musharraf said he lacked one thing – legitimacy domestically and internationally. He conceded he was labelled a dictator. He also spoke about the tense relationship between Pakistan and India.

At the news conference, Musharraf denied that Pakistan had supported terrorist activities in India, which he accused of ‘hyper reactions’ after the Mumbai attacks. He accused India of supporting terrorism in Pakistan, including Balochistan province.

But he said, “We must stop this confrontation between India and Pakistan,” and, “We must go for peace for the sake of the world, because the world considers us to be a nuclear flash point.”

Meanwhile, his visit prompted more than 70 protesters to gather early Sunday evening on a sidewalk outside the Westin Hotel in Bellevue where he spoke. One sign read “Dictator Not Welcome,” while others read, “Stand for Peace” and “Mister Commando is on the Run”.

Meanwhile, talking about Musharraf’s return, Ryan Crocker, former US ambassador to Pakistan, said, “Security would be a huge issue for Musharraf if he returns. So there would have to be some very solid understandings, backed up by the Army.”

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