Archive for April, 2010
Would you like an atheist American as Chairman of WAPDA? A white City Nazim for Karachi or for that matter a British Director General of FIA in Punjab? Would you encourage wine shops and dance bars across Karachi, Lahore, Rawalpindi and Islamabad? How would you react to roving half-naked girls at Constitutional Avenue in Islamabad and at Millennium Mall in Karachi? Just as you don’t want significant titles in your country given to westerners and your way of life swayed by secular thoughts, same is the case in United States, Europe and India. They don’t want their culture altered under the shadow of Islamic civilization.
Suman K. Chakrabarti and Omar Warraich
“At 53, she was bored, alone and attractive. Single, but definitely one step ahead to mingle.” That’s how the man who led the operation to bust Madhuri Gupta, the first Indian diplomat to be found spying for Pakistan, described her. For most of her two years in espionage, Gupta was a lone-wolf, conducting a classic spy operation from her base in Islamabad. Old-school “dead drops,” in which she passed off information without even meeting her Pakistani handlers, were her signature style. Yet it was a silly indiscretion — sending e-mails to her spy bosses from her office computer — that finally led to her arrest.
Gupta has not exactly been near the center of Indian decision-making, posted as a second secretary in the media section of India’s high commission in Pakistan’s capital, where her job had been to provide English and Hindi summaries of Pakistan’s Urdu-language newspapers. On April 22, the 53-year-old was summoned back to New Delhi ostensibly to help colleagues prepare for the ongoing South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) summit in Bhutan. After landing at Indira Gandhi International Airport, she was whisked away by officials of the Subsidiary Intelligence Bureau (IB), India’s internal intelligence agency, straight to an interrogation chamber in an undisclosed location. Twenty-four hours later, she was handed over to Delhi police, charged with treason and accessing confidential documents under India’s Official Secrets Act.
Before President Hamid Karzai arrives in Washington next month, President Obama has to make clear key decisions on the course of war and peacemaking in Afghanistan.
Neighboring countries and most Afghans believe that the endgame has begun for a post-U.S. Afghanistan. There are just 14 months for the U.S. military surge to show results while Washington simultaneously prepares to begin its July 2011 troop withdrawal and handover to the Afghan government. Already, efforts to jockey for future control of Afghanistan have been seen among Pakistan, India, Iran and even Russia. Several NATO countries eager to withdraw forces are frustrated. It is clear in the region that someone will have to mediate with the Taliban, but in the absence of U.S. leadership, a tug of war is taking place over who will do it, when, how and where.
KABUL — Across Afghanistan, behind the obvious battles fought for this country’s soul, a shadow war is being quietly waged. It’s being fought with spies and proxies, with hundreds of millions of dollars in aid money and ominous diplomatic threats.
The fight pits nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan against one another in a battle for influence that will almost certainly gain traction as the clock ticks down toward America’s military withdrawal, which President Barack Obama has announced will begin next year.
The clash has already sparked bloody militant attacks, and American officials fear the region could become further destabilized. With Pakistani intelligence maintaining ties to Afghanistan’s Taliban militants, India has threatened to draw Iran, Russia and other nations into the competition if an anti-Indian government comes to power in Kabul.
By allowing foreign militaries a free reign in our tribal belt to kill hundreds of innocent Pakistanis, Pakistan is committing the same mistake as Putin’s, who initially did well a decade ago by crushing the rebellion in Chechnya but now is creating more rebels because of highhandedness. Also, Pakistan has no business eliminating the Afghan Taliban, who survived the 2001 war thanks to US mismanagement. The problem should be solved inside Afghanistan, not Waziristan.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—It was brave on the part of Pakistan army chief to publicly apologize for mistakenly bombing and killing tens of innocent Pakistanis in a Khyber Agency village. In a similar incident in 2006 during the reign of his predecessor, where a US missile killed up to 80 children in a school, the action was not only defended but the Pakistani military was forced to own it, giving the first signal to everyone that innocent Pakistanis can be killed with impunity as part of the war on terror. Since then, more than a thousand innocent Pakistanis have lost their lives as collateral damage in these ‘successful’ drone attacks. This would remain one of the darkest spots in our history where our rulers shirked their responsibility for the protection of every Pakistani citizen on our soil.
The silver colored material spewing gamma radiation that slipped into a scrap dealer’s shops causing at least six persons to fall ill has exposed gaps in India’s mechanisms to preserve radiological safety.
Department of atomic energy official said that the scrap dealer and five workers have fallen ill with symptoms of radiation exposure after they tried to work with scrap that contained a highly radioactive element called cobalt 60.
Cobalt 60 is used as a source of radiation in cancer radiotherapy and in industrial inspection equipment, but scientists investigating the incident said the origin of the material found in the scrap dealer’s shops was still unknown.
‘India’s evidence against Saeed not admissible under our law’
Times of India
NEW DELHI: Pakistan has contended that the Indian evidence against LeT founder Hafiz Saeed of his involvement in Mumbai terror attack is not admissible under their laws for prosecution.
In a dossier given to India in which it asked for handing over of Ajmal Amir Kasab, Islamabad has also asked New Delhi to give all additional evidence related to 26/11 to it by the middle of next month, sources said.
Washington: Arguing that some tactical successes will not defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan, a top US thing tank has sought opening of talks with the militant group but said India should not be included in any such parleys as it would antagonise Pakistan, in particular its Army.
“The negotiating framework should be determined during a secret contact phase mediated by the Pakistani Army prior to the strictly diplomatic phase conducted under UN auspices,” the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said in a report yesterday.
While you were glued to your flat screen, with your eyeballs popping out every time the ball was hit for a six, in a dark corner of India – in a Haryana village very close to the national capital – a dog was barking. Since it was a Dalit dog (in India, even dogs have caste), the upper caste Jaats were getting all riled up. So they decided to teach the dog a lesson. A bunch of them surrounded a Dalit house and set it on fire. Inside the house were trapped an 18-year-old girl and her old father. Since the girl was physically challenged and could not move out of the burning house, she and her father were engulfed and consumed by the fire. This is how people teach a lesson to dogs in New India: by making the poor, lower castes die like dogs.
Even as you were glued to TV, watching the IPL drama – both on the field and off field – a few more things happened. Highly dangerous radioactive material affected several people in a scrap market of Delhi; more than 100 people died in the cow-belt areas as mercury touched 43 degree mark; more people died of hunger and starvation across the country; new figures revealed that the number of poor in India stands at 800 million and not 327 million as claimed by the government; and it was reported that the government was tapping the phones of important political leaders. It may also be tapping the phones of ordinary citizens.
- Disappeared on March 25th alongwith Colonel Imam.
- Never-heard-before outfit called ‘Asian Tigers’ demand US$ 10m and Mullah Baradar in exchange for release.
- Afghan Taliban distance themselves from kidnapping; Spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid says they are working for release of Colonel Imam and Khalid Khwaja
The following are five video clips sent to Asia Times Online featuring Khalid Khawaja, who is speaking in Urdu. Video files are approximately 2.5Mb each in MOV format. Please click here to download the clips: 1 2 3 4 5 [Right Click > Save As]
ISLAMABAD – Retired squadron leader Khalid Khawaja, a former Inter-Services Intelligence official and a close friend of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden during the resistance in Afghanistan against the Soviets in the 1980s, has explained in videos sent to Asia Times Online how he was on a mission to broker a deal between militants and the army when he was captured by militants, and how he played a double game by deceiving a radical cleric into being arrested.
Zainulabedin Ameer | PKKH Editorial
India and its allies have put tremendous pressure on Pakistan ever since the Mumbai Carnage on 26/11. Pakistan has been a recipient of repeated allegations; we are accused of harboring terrorists, and our rickety leadership has even succumbed to pressure to crack down on some religious groups. The unfortunate part is that none of the evidence furnished could be termed credible. Ironically, there was ample evidence that pointed towards the 26/11 drama being orchestrated and directed on Indian soil; it had become increasingly obvious that India’s RAW and the Israeli Mossad staged the entire showdown. In view of recent developments in terms of security threats in India, it seems apparent that this very nexus plans to carryout another Mumbai style drama, and blame it on Pakistan. Even most skeptics cannot deny the likelihood of another carnage like the Mumbai 26/11 drama, as it seems fairly obvious that the stage is being set for yet another excuse to pressurize Pakistan; the recent attacks at an IPL venue [Chinnaswamy Stadium] has already gotten most people worried about October’s Commonwealth Games. Indian sports authorities and organizers appear to be scrambling to bolster security to make sure the games are played while the United States has already issued a warning to its citizens traveling to or residing in India .
ISLAMABAD: Islamabad asked Delhi on Saturday to facilitate the transfer of Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving Mumbai attacker, to Pakistan for recording his statement in the trial of the suspects here.
The request was conveyed by Interior Minister Rehman Malik in a meeting with Indian High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal.
SHANGHAI: It is easy to keep Pakistan out of the IPL. But when it comes to attracting eyeballs of Chinese visitors and international businesses, Pakistan has beaten Indian hands down at the World Expo in Shanghai.
The Pakistani pavilion is attracting thousands of people by the hour for the past week while the Indian pavilion is far from complete.
What Was Rehman Malik Doing At Regent Plaza Hotel Karachi Late Night On 27th December After Benazir’s Murder?April 24, 2010
Benazir non-investigation: the cover-up continues even after the UN report:
One fact that the UN investigators did not know or could not get to is what was Rehman Malik doing around the mid night of the evening Benazir was assassinated. The mystery has deepened after an eyewitness has revealed that Rehman Malik was seen in the Regent’s Hotel Karachi (at Shahra-e-Faisal) around mid-night. While there is no doubt about that, it is speculated that he had brought Khalid Shahenshah with him. Would Rehman Malik explain his conduct and whereabouts on the 27th and 28th of December?
This report by the News is an indication that the present government’s top leadership including Zardari, Gilani, and Rehman Malik are part of the cover-up of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. Rehman Malik still has to answer the questions raised in the report about leaving Benazir without a back-up car. Until and unless, the government moves against the big wigs, the people will be justified in believing that they all were involved, one way or the other.
Syed Fawad Ali Shah
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan–Private US defense contractors held Pakistani and Afghan citizens kidnapped from Pakistani tribal territory inside the building of the US Consulate in Peshawar when it was attacked by armed men on April 5.
Immediately after the attack, US diplomats and employees in the consulate were shifted to the American-run Khyber Club in the University Town suburb of Peshawar. US military and intelligence personnel moved the detained Pakistanis and Afghans to Islamabad, either to the US Embassy building or to one of its several safe houses in the Pakistani capital.
The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack. The group has been attacking Chinese, Sri Lankan and Pakistani citizens during the past five years. This was a rare attack against US interests by the group.
Sources in several Pakistani security agencies in Peshawar knew of US activities and considered them part of US help to Pakistan to fight terrorists. But it is not clear if US personnel had the authority to nab Pakistani citizens or any other nationals on Pakistani soil.
ISLAMABAD – The controversial LNG contract awarded to a Dutch company, a suo moto application against which was moved in Supreme Court of Pakistan on Wednesday, was tendered despite opposition from the relevant quarters, its is credibly learnt.
According to the details, the lucrative contract for re-gasification and terminal installation at Port Qasim Authority (PQA) Karachi awarded to 4Gas in January this year. It was handed over to the company by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet despite opposition from some members during the meeting. TheNation on April 17 had published a news story quoting media reports carried by some sections of foreign media exposing direct links between CIA and Carlyle Group that owns 4Gas.
Further probe into the matter reveals that in the January’s meeting of ECC, two government officials had expressed their reservations regarding the award of particular contract to 4Gas on the grounds that the company was owned by Carlyle Group and its notorious reputation and affiliation with CIA might drew resentment and opposition in Pakistani public and media.
United States, Britain, Canada and Australia warned their citizens of serious security risk and terror threat in India. The current situation raises serious concerns over Indian hosting of Commonwealth Games 2010 and the Cricket World Cup.
New Delhi – Australia and Britain on Thursday warned tourists of the increased risk of militant attacks in New Delhi, joining Canada and the US, which have urged foreigners to avoid parts of the Indian capital.
The new alerts updated long-standing general advice for Western visitors to India that they should exercise caution and underlined security risks in the city as it gears up to host the Commonwealth Games in October.
The US said on Wednesday it had information of a “specific” threat to half-a-dozen of the city’s shopping areas and markets which it described as “especially attractive targets”. It advised Americans traveling or residing in India to maintain “a high level of vigilance” and watch out for unattended packages.
The Canadian government said on its website that an attack could be carried out “in the following days or weeks in market areas” of Delhi frequented by foreigners, specifically in the Chandni Chowk area in Old Delhi.
Following this new advice, the Australian High Commission in New Delhi said on Thursday it “strongly” advised Australians “to minimise their presence in market areas of New Delhi”.
India is home to a wide range of separatists and insurgents. A growing Maoist insurgency, so far concentrated in remote rural areas of northern and eastern India, also threatens to spread to urban areas, with the eastern city of Kolkata seen as particularly at risk.
NEW DELHI: India now has 100 million more people living below the poverty line than in 2004, according to official estimates released on Sunday.
The poverty rate has risen to 37.2 percent of the population from 27.5 percent in 2004, a change that will require the Congress-ruled government to spend more money on the poor.
Elizabeth A. Kennedy
KABUL — Taliban fighters swarmed over a mountaintop base abandoned last week by the U.S. military following some of the toughest fighting of the Afghan war, according to footage aired Monday by a major satellite television station.
The video by Al-Jazeera is a morale booster for Taliban fighters, though the U.S. insists the decision to withdraw from the base in the Korengal Valley was sound and the area has no strategic value.
The footage showed armed men walking through the former U.S. base, which was strewn with litter and empty bottles, and sitting atop sandbagged gun positions overlooking the steep hillsides and craggy landscape. Fighters said they recovered fuel and ammunition. But a U.S. spokesman said ammunition had been evacuated and the fuel handed over to local residents.
Read how a veteran of a military government in Pakistan [1977-1988] explains the democratic credentials of Pakistan’s democratic warriors.
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—Military-led governments in Pakistan have failed in creating long term stability and fostering national identity, like the ruling party did in China. This failure is well known. But Pakistan’s destructive politics can’t end without understanding another major failure: How Pakistan’s democratic elite is really not democratic at all.
Forget about building a great country and a healthy and prosperous people, Pakistan’s political elite divides Pakistanis by language, sect and violent politics because it has nothing else to offer in exchange for getting elected. And with the new amendments to the Pakistani constitution, which strengthen family-run dictatorships within parties, there is hardly any chance that the able and the willing among 170 million Pakistanis will ever get a chance to lead their homeland.
In 2008, these politicians got themselves elected in the name of democracy. But even that credential is questionable.
Retired Lieutenant General Faiz Ali Chishti, who played a major role during the military-led government of former President Gen. Zia-ul-Haq between 1977 and 1988, gave an interesting insight earlier this week in Lahore into the relationship between failed politicians and military coups.
The Global Nuclear Security Summit, which concluded in Washington yesterday, was remarkable for its revelation that India cannot hope to be a global power of any significance unless it gets over its petty obsession, as a nation, with Pakistan. At the press conference that the foreign secretary gave immediately after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s meeting with the president of the United States of America, Barack Obama, on Monday, there were as many as 30 direct or indirect references to Pakistan.
Nirupama Rao is free of any blame for this predicament. Of the 13 questions that she took at the press conference, 11 were on Pakistan. If she had refused to answer any questions on Pakistan because the subject of her press conference was the highest level Indo-US meeting, there would have been only her opening statement and two questions: one about Obama’s forthcoming visit to India and another about the sanctions Obama wants to impose on Iran soon.
Read the rest of this entry ?
ISLAMABAD: Videos of two former ISI officers, who went missing last month, were released by unknown militants in the tribal areas of Pakistan on Monday.
Col (retd) Amir Sultan, widely known as Col. Imam and Squadron Leader (retd) Khalid Khawaja went missing in the tribal areas last month while they were accompanying a journalist to assist him with a documentary on militants.
In the video, both hostages introduced themselves as former ISI officers.
Watch video here