Archive for the ‘Interview’ Category

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How Military Nurseries Produced Pakistan’s ‘Democratic Warriors’

April 20, 2010

Ahmed Quraishi

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.

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Taliban’s Supreme Leader Signals Willingness To Talk Peace

April 18, 2010

Stephen Grey

The supreme leader of the Taliban, Mullah Mohammed Omar, has indicated that he and his followers may be willing to hold peace talks with western politicians.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, two of the movement’s senior Islamic scholars have relayed a message from the Quetta shura, the Taliban’s ruling council, that Mullah Omar no longer aims to rule Afghanistan. They said he was prepared to engage in “sincere and honest” talks.

A senior US military source said the remarks reflected a growing belief that a “breakthrough” was possible. “There is evidence from many intelligence sources [that] the Taliban are ready for some kind of peace process,” the source said.

At a meeting held at night deep inside Taliban-controlled territory, the Taliban leaders told this newspaper that their military campaign had only three objectives: the return of sharia (Islamic law), the expulsion of foreigners and the restoration of security.

“[Mullah Omar] is no longer interested in being involved in politics or government,” said Mullah “Abdul Rashid”, the elder of the two commanders, who used a pseudonym to protect his identity.

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Karzai Threatens To Join Taliban

April 6, 2010

KABUL: Afghan President Hamid Karzai threatened over the weekend to quit the political process and join the Taliban if he continued to come under outside pressure to reform, according to several members of parliament.

They said on Monday that Karzai made the unusual statement at a closed-door meeting on Saturday with selected lawmakers — just days after kicking up a diplomatic controversy with remarks alleging foreigners were behind fraud in last year’s disputed elections.

Lawmakers dismissed the latest comment as hyperbole, but it will add to the impression the president — who relies on tens of thousands of US and NATO forces to fight the insurgency and prop up his government — is growing increasingly erratic and unable to exert authority without attacking his foreign backers.

“He said that ‘if I come under foreign pressure, I might join the Taliban’,” said Farooq Marenai, who represents the eastern province of Nangarhar.

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Pakistan Has Secured Its Nukes, Says Obama

April 6, 2010

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama said he is confident that Pakistan has secured its nuclear weapons.

Obama, however, reiterated that he was concerned about global nuclear security, not just in Pakistan.

In an interview with the New York Times, President Obama said his new approach to nuclear non-proliferation is different from that of the Bush administration.

Obama is scheduled to announce the new US policy for non-proliferation later Tuesday.

When asked what he had done specifically to ensure Pakistan’s nuclear weapons’ safety, Obama said he was not going to divulge details about Pakistan’s nuclear programme.

Obama explained that his biggest concerns were about securing loose nuclear material, which the terrorists were more likely to obtain

A nuclear summit is scheduled to be held in the US capital on April 12 and 13, aimed at achieving a global consensus on limiting proliferation and preventing terrorists from acquiring nuclear technology.

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Ex-Pakistan Spy Chief Urges Talks With Mullah Omar

March 17, 2010

(CNN) — Talking to the Taliban leader in Afghanistan may help bring peace to the country, according to a former Pakistan spy chief once referred to as the “father of the Taliban.”

Retired Gen. Hamid Gul, a former head of the ISI spy agency, worked with the CIA through the 1980s to fund and train the Afghan Jihad against the Soviets.

Many of the Mujahedeen went on to govern Afghanistan as the Taliban, who are led by Mullah Omar.

“The best situation would be to talk to Mullah Omar,” Gul said. “But then, put up your own conditions where I would say it is legitimate … I think they will accept. I know their psychology.”

Face-to-face talks would work best, Gul added.

“You have to engage him. You have to talk to him,” Gul said. “There is no one else, for heaven sake, why beat around the bush?”

Last year, Gul said Omar was the only person who can improve U.S. interests in Afghanistan.

“Mullah Omar, nobody else,” Gul said.

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Obama’s Future Lies In Pak Help: Mushahid

March 17, 2010

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan Muslim League (Q) Secretary General, Mushahid Hussain Sayed on Tuesday said that Pakistan should not repeat its mistakes and must not have any favourite in Afghanistan.

The US needs Pakistan more than Pakistan needs the US; therefore, Pakistan should play its cards intelligently, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed stated this while speaking at a seminar on ‘Pakistan’s Geo-strategic Challenges and Response’, which was organised by the NUST Business School of the National University of Sciences & Technology (NUST). It was held in connection with a series of the talks to celebrate Pakistan Day.

Speaking on the subject, Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed stated that Pakistan had been facing crisis for the last three decades. He identified five major developments that took place in the region over the last three decades, which influenced the geo-strategic environment of Pakistan. Soviet’s invasion of Afghanistan made Pakistan a central point for the international diplomacy.

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Pakistan destined to defeat India: Nizami

March 17, 2010

LAHORE – Editor-in-Chief The Nation and Chairman of the Nazria Pakistan Trust (NPT) Majid Nizami has stated that freedom is the greatest blessing of the Almighty, Who may save us from dominance of Hindus, as our sworn enemy India is bent upon destroying Pakistan. However, if it did not refrain from committing aggression against us, then Pakistan is destined to defeat India because our horses in the form of atomic bombs and missiles are far better than Indian ‘donkeys’.

He was talking to a representative of the Punjab University (PU) television after inaugurating an exhibition of rare and historic photographs about the Freedom Movement, jointly organised by the NPT and Student Teaching Centre (STC), as part of celebrations of the Pakistan Day here at the New Campus on Wednesday.

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