Showing posts from May, 2006

Law abiding India: Lessons for Pakistan

The News, May 31, 2006
Law-abiding India: model for Pakistan to follow
By Rauf Klasra

ISLAMABAD: Members of the Subcommittee of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) observed here on Tuesday that Pakistanis should at least learn some good lessons from the Indians as how to respect the law, where even a chief minister cannot dare violate an order issued by an ordinary city mayor of his province.

“The Indians are becoming a big democratic nation because they respect the law,” observed the PAC members while lamenting over sorry attitude of both the masses and civil, military bureaucracy to violate the laws without any fear.

The PAC members also conceded that in the past they had failed to hold powerful officials accountable during scrutiny of audit objections despite the fact they were present in the committee meeting.

The subcommittee met here with MNA Kunwar Khalid Younis in the chair, Ch Nisar Ali Khan and Rai Mansab Ali Khan as members to discuss audit objection regarding the Pakistan Post …

David Albright's Testimony on Dr. AQ Khan

A. Q Khan Network: The Case Is Not Closed
Prepared Testimony of David Albright
President, Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS)
before the Subcommittee on International Terrorism & Nonproliferation Committee on International Relations
May 25, 2006

With the mounting confrontation over Iran’s nuclear weapons program, the Middle East could be standing at the brink of war once again. An American decision to attack Iran to prevent Ayatollah Ali Khamenei from acquiring nuclear weapons would not only risk engulfing the region in conflict but would also dramatically increase the chances of Iranian-supported terrorists striking the United States at home and its interests abroad.
President George W. Bush would not be facing this terrible quandary if an international smuggling ring, headquartered in Pakistan, had not helped Iran’s nuclear program for over a decade. At the head of the criminal syndicate was the Pakistani Abdul Qadeer Khan, known as the father of his country’…

Frustration mounts between US, Pakistan

May 31, 2006
Frustration mounts between US, Pakistan
Congress pressures Pakistan to give more information about possible proliferation, upsetting already-delicate ties.
By David Montero | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN - One of the central relationships forged after 9/11 has hit a rough patch. The latest irritant between Washington and Islamabad came last week as US lawmakers urged Pakistan to wring more information from disgraced nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, alleging that he may yet hold the blueprint to some of Iran's nuclear secrets.

Earlier this month, Islamabad officially closed its investigation. While Mr. Khan remains under house arrest, Pakistani officials say they've given Washington all the details they could get out of him - though that information has never been made public.

"Some question whether the A.Q. Khan network is truly out of business, asking if it's not merely hibernating. We'd be foolish to rule out tha…

Bengali Anomalies

Daily Times, May 31, 2006
COMMENT: Bengali anomalies —William B Milam

This Zia was challenged by something like 23 military mutinies in his early years as the country’s leader. He put them down, sometimes ruthlessly. Perhaps because of that experience Zia slowly moved the military out of politics. Whether he knew it or not, intended it or not, Zia ur Rahman set Bangladesh on a glide path to a civilian dominance of politics

While I was in Pakistan in March, a friend gave me the book East Pakistan — The End Game: An Onlooker’s Journal, 1969-1971 by Brigadier (r) AR Siddiqi. Written in a matter-of-fact, non-emotive style, it is a riveting but disturbing read. Those readers who are still puzzled as to how the disaster of 1971 could have happened will understand it better after reading Brigadier Siddiqi’s candid descriptions of the feckless and ethnocentric attitudes that informed the policies of the day. The author clearly had a front-row centre view of events, and appears to have recorded …

The AQ Khan "factor"

Daily Times, May 28, 2006
EDITORIAL: The AQ Khan ‘factor’ again!

A US Congress subcommittee on international terrorism and non-proliferation has heard the testimony of an expert who said that the case of nuclear proliferation against Dr AQ Khan of Pakistan was “far from closed” and that the Pakistani nuclear scientist should be exposed to further inquiry by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) so that the real extent of his “help” in the development of Iran’s covert nuclear programme could be determined. Some people see this development as a pressure tactic against the Pakistan government to get it to cooperate some “more”.

Pakistan’s response — with an eye to its impact at home — will be predictable: it will not submit to any pressure from the Bush administration and it will not expose Dr AQ Khan to any external inquiry. That raises another question: will the “pressure tactic” be followed by an official demarche from Washington? We doubt that very much, given the trouble that …

Nawaz Sharif's Claim

The Hindu, May 29, 2006

Pakistan establishment reacts angrily to Sharif claim
Islamabad, May 29 (PTI): Pakistani establishment today reacted angrily to the claim by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that he had come to know about Kargil invasion by his Army from his Indian counterpart Atal Bihari Vajpayee and accused him of distorting the facts.

The ex-premier had been continuously informed regarding the Kargil operation and he himself had inspected the forward bases in the northern areas during the Kargil incident, Information Minister Mohammed Ali Durrani said reacting to Sharif's claim in an interview to PTI in London, which was widely carried by the Pakistani media.

"Nawaz Sharif was fully aware of the whole scenario but now his allegations are reflection of his petty personal motives. He is trying to falsify the truth," the minister said in a statement.

He said Sharif, in his interview, has not only distorted the facts regarding the Kargil issue but also violated th…

Inside Iran: Two insightful articles from NYT

New York Times, May 25, 2006
Op-Ed: The Persian Complex
New Haven

IT is easy to label Iran's quest for nuclear energy a dangerous adventure with grave regional and international repercussions. It is also comforting to heap scorn on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for his earlier denial of the Holocaust and his odious call for the obliteration of the state of Israel. The rambling intransigence expressed in his recent letter to President Bush offers ample insight into this twisted mindset. Yet there is something deeper in Iran's story than the extremist utterances of a messianic president and the calculated maneuvering of the hard-line clerical leadership that stands behind him.

We tend to forget that Iran's insistence on its sovereign right to develop nuclear power is in effect a national pursuit for empowerment, a pursuit informed by at least two centuries of military aggression, domestic meddling, skullduggery and, not least, technological denial by the West. E…

"A Plea for Open Borders"

The News, May 26, 2006
A plea for open borders
By Kanak Mani Dixit

Flying back into South Asia in the middle of the night, it becomes a ritual to look down at the India-Pakistan border nearly 40,000 ft below. And before long, the lights of Lahore become visible in the north, even as the pilot of Air India flight 112 comes on the intercom to announce the arrival of the frontier. Far south of Lahore and southwest of Amritsar, the border is a lit-up fine line in the darkness of the desert and one can imagine the concertina wire, the service road, the watchtowers and the gun-toting border guards. The calamity that this border represents is so heart-rending that this columnist cannot but repeat the refrain every time he flies over it.

It should not be the task of romantic peaceniks alone to bemoan the rigidity of this border, but that is how it is for now. Economists, political analysts, professors and editors, not only of India and Pakistan but of the larger South Asia, should be continuous…

History of Al-Qaeda in Pakistan: Some Anecdotes

Daily Times, May 26, 2006
SECOND OPINION: Who tried to kill Benazir Bhutto? —Khaled Ahmed’s Review of the Urdu press

Osama bin Laden wanted concessions in Peshawar and Nawaz Sharif wanted funds. Osama paid for services rendered. But somewhere in all this, Benazir Bhutto too became a target. She says Nawaz Sharif got money from Osama to oust her. There are reports that terrorist Ramzi Yusuf did try to kill her. Who put him up to it? Ramzi had a free run of Islamabad, staying at the Islamic University where Al Qaeda’s founding philosopher Abdullah Azzam had taught.

Columnist Hamid Mir wrote in Jang (March 27, 2006) that ex-ISI operative Khalid Khwaja had recently revealed that Osama bin Laden had paid Nawaz Sharif money to get rid of Ms Bhutto’s government in 1989 and that he himself had carried the money to Mr Sharif. The truth was that Osama was not interested in bringing a no-confidence vote against Ms Bhutto, he was more interested in getting his Arab friends out of trouble in Peshawar…

A Taliban comeback: Myth or reality?

Daily Times, May 25, 2006
VIEW: A Taliban comeback? — Ahmed Rashid

Musharraf is between a rock and a hard place. A fair election would most likely result in a parliament hostile to continued army rule. A rigged election endangers his grip on power and the army’s prestige. However, military rule has run its course in Pakistan. It is deeply unpopular and no longer has the credibility to resist Islamic fundamentalists

As unprecedented Taliban violence sweeps across southern Afghanistan, four players in the region — Afghanistan, Pakistan, the US and NATO — are locked in a tense standoff rather than cooperating to defeat the terrorists. At stake is the future survival of Afghanistan’s moderate government and stability in Pakistan.

To prop up Afghanistan and combat the Taliban, the US and NATO may have to make major concessions to Pakistan’s military regime, but any concessions would anger the Afghans, encourage the extremists and allow the unpopular military to dominate Pakistan’s political …

"Roadmap for Democracy": A must for Pakistan

Gulf News , Oman Tribune, The Nation ( Pakistan ) May 24, 2006
A Roadmap for Democracy
Husain Haqqani

Recent developments in Nepal and Nigeria serve as examples for how nations can overcome entrenched authoritarian structures through popular mobilization and thoughtful political action. Nepal ’s parliament, restored by King Gyanendra after massive street protests, has voted to strip the King of all substantive powers. That paves the way for Nepal ’s transition, hopefully on a more stable basis, towards constitutional democracy under a titular monarch. King Gyanendra’s effort to use his nation’s difficulties, including the brutal Maoist insurgency that plagues the countryside, to concentrate power in his own hands appears to have been thwarted. It took a combination of international pressure, manifestation of the people’s opposition to the King in the streets of Katmandu and cooperation among Nepal ’s various political parties to ensure the diminution of the King’s authority. Nepal sti…

No positive development on Siachen issue

India, Pakistan fail to break ice on Siachen
Rediff India Abroad
May 24, 2006

With Islamabad refusing to agree on authentication of present troop positions on Siachen glacier, talks between India and Pakistan on demilitarisation of the world's highest battlefield -- Siachen -- failed to yield any breakthrough in New Delhi on Wednesday.

The new India-Pakistan battleground

However, concluding the two-day defence secretary-level talks, the two countries issued a joint statement in which they agreed to continue their negotiations to resolve the vexed 22-year-old issue in a peaceful manner. The two sides also reaffirmed their commitment to continue the ceasefire in Siachen in place since November 2003.

"In this round of discussions, we could not make a breakthrough," Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee said.

"Pakistani is not agreeing to the proposal for authentication of positions (held by the Indian and Pakistani forces) for quite some time and this is the area of difference…

Debate on Hudood Ordinance: A Commendable Effort of GEO TV

Does the Hudood Ordinance completely conform to the injunctions of the Quran and Sunnah?: Views of 26 important and influential Islamic leaders in Pakistan

Click the title above for details.

Oil Refinery in Gwadar & Oil pipeline to China: A crucial move from Pakistan

Daily Times, Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Pakistan, China considering oil pipeline from Gwadar

* Aziz says oil refinery at Gwadar, pipeline to Western China, would quicken oil import for Beijing
* Says nuclear energy technology cooperation expanding

By Irfan Ghauri

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and China are considering a feasibility study for an oil pipeline from Gwadar port to Western China to transport China’s oil imports from the Gulf, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said on Tuesday.

The Gwadar and Karachi ports offer the shortest access to the Arabian Sea for Western China, as well as Central Asia, Aziz said at a seminar on 55 years of Pakistan-China relations, organised by the Institute of Strategic Studies.

An oil pipeline from Gwadar to Western China would greatly reduce the time and distance for oil transport from the Gulf to China, he said. A major oil refinery at Gwadar would further facilitate China’s oil imports.

Pakistan is now in a position to exploit its strategic location at the crossroads of S…

"Pakistan arming Taliban": Views of an important Pakistani political leader

Daily Times, May 23, 2006
Pakistan arming Taliban, says Asfandyar

ISLAMABAD: Awami National Party (ANP) chief Asfandyar Wali Khan on Tuesday accused Pakistan of arming Taliban militants and stirring trouble in Afghanistan.

“Insurgency is rampant only in areas of Afghanistan adjoining Pakistan,” Asfandyar told an Afghan news agency. Afghan provinces away from Pakistan’s borders are calm, Asfandyar added. “Pakistani authorities and agencies are involved in the ongoing war and lawlessness in areas on both sides of the Durand Line.”

The ANP chief pondered where the Taliban were getting their weapons if not from Pakistan. He condemned the ongoing tension between Pakistan and Afghanistan and urged both the governments to resolve all disputes through negotiations.

He asked the government of Pakistan to review its foreign policy, saying, “Pakhtuns in Pakistan and Afghanistan are suffering because of international politics.” sana

"How Can We Live Together?"

Prince Hassan bin Talal: "How Can We Live Together?"
Brandeis University Commencement: 21st May 2006, United States of America

President Reinharz,
Chairman Kay,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you. It is a fantastic honour for me to be invited here to Brandeis, a university well known for its academic excellence, unique cultural perspective and commitment to social justice. I am delighted to join you today on what is for you a window onto a successful and fulfilling future. If John F. Kennedy was right that this nation's first great leaders were its first great scholars, then I have no doubt that your studies here have prepared you to be part of a new generation of visionary leaders. So it is only right that I start by offering my warmest congratulations to all of you as you complete your formal education.

My question today is a simple one: "How Can We Live Together?" At a time when political and cultural conflicts threaten us like never before, with dangerous fr…