Showing posts from September, 2006

America's Favorite Dictator

The Musharraf Exception
Commentary by Robert L. Pollock
The Wall Street Journal, September 29, 2006

Pervez Musharraf is America ’s favorite dictator. The Bush administration seems to consider the Pakistani general -- who took power in a 1999 military coup -- an indispensable ally, and has yet to publicly pressure him on the democracy front. Democrats and foreign policy thinkers of the "realist" school seem equally comfortable with the idea of Gen. Musharraf running Pakistan for the indefinite future. Indeed, if the purpose of the general’s new autobiography -- "In the Line of Fire" -- was to win American sympathy ahead of an attempt to fiddle with next year’s presidential election, he probably needn’t have bothered.

A recent meeting of the Musharraf fan club took place at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York , where Gen. Musharraf gave brief remarks and took questions as he launched his book tour on Monday night. He was treated to standing ovations that ex…

Amnesty International: Illegal Detensions in Pakistan

Amnesty International accuses Pakistan of illegal detentions for US rewards
The Associated Press
International Herald Tribune: September 29, 2006

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan Human rights watchdog Amnesty International has accused Pakistan's government of illegally detaining innocent people on suspicion of terrorism, secretly imprisoning them and transferring them to U.S. custody for money.

Hundreds of Pakistanis and foreigners have been rounded up on suspicion of links to terrorism since the U.S.-led war on terror started after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the United States, Amnesty International said in a report released Friday in Islamabad.

"The war on terror has added a new layer of human rights violations to the existing patterns of abuses (in Pakistan)," said Angelika Pathak, an Amnesty International researcher who helped prepare the report, titled "Human Rights Ignored in the War on Terror."

"The phenomenon of enforced disappearance was virtually unknown before…

Musharraf Book: An Indian Perspective

Musharraf: from facts to fantasy
By Praful Bidwai
The News: September 30, 2006

The writer, a former newspaper editor, is a researcher and peace and human-rights activist based in Delhi

If President Pervez Musharraf wanted to make waves globally through his memoir, he has succeeded spectacularly. An exceptionable combination of circumstances favoured him: a press conference with President Bush, former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage's denial of his claim that the United States threatened to bomb Pakistan "back to the stone age" if it didn't join the war on terrorism after 9/11; Musharraf's prime-time appearance on a channel that's part of the conglomerate that owns his publishing company; and his Council on Foreign Relations speech.

Yet, even Musharraf's detractors must admit, these were mere 'force multipliers'. The original force that drove the tsunami of publicity for the book came from its controversial content. The book's release wa…

Inside Afghanistan After the Taliban: An Informed Opinion

Sarah Chayes delivers Charles Francis Adams Lecture: “Inside Afghanistan After the Taliban”
From Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University September 27, 2006

In Afghanistan, the US had no plan after invasion beyond chopping off the hydra’s head and hoping that full democracy would emerge,” Sarah Chayes explained in her lecture at The Fletcher School on Tuesday evening, “Inside Afghanistan After the Taliban.” Illustrating the strong desire for rule of law in the country, she thought back to what an Afghan friend told her several months ago: “‘[In America,]You have such beautiful law.’ This rule of law is what the US had to offer Afghanistan, and the governance we have provided is so short of what Afghans were hoping for,” she explained. Chayes came to The Fletcher School on September 26 to describe her experiences and observations in Afghanistan as a journalist and advocate.

In the fall of 2001, award-winning National Public Radio (NPR) reporter Sarah Chayes arrived in Kand…

Military officer as a vice chancellor of a university: What is the message?

Dawn: September 29, 2006
Another army man as VC

THE appointment of a retired brigadier as the vice-chancellor of Bolan University by the Balochistan government is contrary to what FAPUASA and the HEC had expected. Barely a week ago, Dr Attaur Rahman, chairman of the Higher Education Commission, had assured a delegation of the Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association that no army person would now be appointed VC in any university. It is shocking that in total disregard of academic requirements, the governor of Balochistan has proceeded to break the rules to accommodate yet another retired military officer as VC. The prescribed procedure is pretty clear and straightforward. It calls for a ‘vice-chancellor search committee’ to be formed with the governor’s approval, followed by an announcement by the HEC for the position of vice-chancellor in all national dailies. The applicants are then short-listed and interviewed by the search committee after which it has to fo…

South Asia Peace Process: Why its not going forward?

VIEW: Jammu and Kashmir: where is the delay? —Mubashir Hasan
Daily Times, September 29, 2006

My peace seeking friends and I have had several opportunities during the last two years to interact with the people and leaders of Jammu and Kashmir on both sides of the Line of Control (LoC). However, we have not had any interaction with the leadership of the militants who are an important factor in the situation.

It is gratifying to conclude that the present is an auspicious time. The people and the political leadership of Jammu and Kashmir and the governments of Pakistan and India are keen that the issue is resolved without undue delay. No party is dragging its feet in moving towards an agreement.

A large majority of the people of the former state and their leadership seem to agree:

n The territory of the state includes the territories of the Pakistani and Indian Administered Jammu and Kashmir as well as Gilgit and Baltistan.

n The armies of Pakistan and India should stop coming to the aid of civ…

Not a banana republic?

Not a banana republic?
Reality check
By Shafqat Mahmood; The News - September 29, 2006

The writer is a former member of parliament and a freelance columnist based in Lahore

A general who takes over the country through a coup and rules by force says we are not a banana republic. This term was used to describe Latin American countries that grew bananas and were ruled by generals. We don't grow enough bananas but generals always seem to be ruling us. What is our category then?

Here are some facts. When a power outage affects large parts of the country, rumours emerge of a coup and expand like a tsunami. No one thinks of the constitution or the courts, no one worries about legality or the rule of law. The news seems so credible that federal ministers call journalists and journalist stand around TV stations waiting for the tanks to arrive.

Our ruling general says that these stories were the product of a sick mind. There must be an awful lot of sick minds in the country because no one ques…

British Report : Pakistan Intelligence arm ISI under tough scrutiny

BBC: September 28, 2006
Key quotes from the document
Key quotes from a leaked Ministry of Defence think-tank paper which alleges that Pakistan's intelligence service, the ISI, has indirectly helped the Taleban and al-Qaeda and should be dismantled. The research paper was written by a senior officer at the MoD-run Defence Academy. The Ministry of Defence have responded that the views contained in it do not reflect the views of the MOD or the government.


The wars in Afghanistan and particularly Iraq have not gone well and are progressing slowly towards an as yet unspecified and uncertain result.

The War in Iraq...has acted as a recruiting sergeant for extremists from across the Muslim world.

The Al Qaeda ideology has taken root within the Muslim world and Muslim populations within western countries. Iraq has served to radicalise an already disillusioned youth and Al Qaeda has given them the will, intent, purpose and ideology to act.

British Armed Forces are effec…

The many faces of faith

The many faces of faith
Hindustan times; September 2, 2006

If there was a public opinion poll conducted in the subcontinent (comprising Pakistan, India and Bangladesh) on who is the most deserving person for a Nobel Peace Prize, I have no doubt that Asma Jehangir of Lahore would emerge as the outright winner. And for good reasons. She is a Muslim living in a mullah-military-male-dominated country in a stifling atmosphere of suspicion and where hatred of India thrives; where Draconian laws are used to stamp out heresy and punish blasphemy with death. She has been speaking out against all these for many years; attempts have been even made to silence her.

Pakistan, India and Bangladesh face similar problems; the upsurge of religious fanaticism (kattarpan) which often turns to violence against people of other faiths. Pakistan and Bangladesh are Islamic states on either side of India, ostensibly secular and largely Hindu. If the Pakistanis ha…

Hot Topic: The Jihad and the West

The Jihad and the West – Part I
Jihad is ultimately political action that can be influenced by dialogue and negotiations

Riaz Hassan
YaleGlobal, 21 September 2006

White House blessings for Jihadis: President Ronald Reagan received Afghan Mujahideen fighters in the Oval Office in February 1983. Enlarged image

ADELAIDE: The need for a dialogue between Islam and the West has never been more acute than now, but Pope Benedict XVI’s recent description of Islam as “evil and inhuman” is clearly not the best approach. In his lecture on “Faith and Reason” at Regensburg University, the pope quoted the 14th century Byzantine Christian emperor Manuel II Palaeologus as saying, “Show me just what Mohammad brought was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by sword the faith he preached.” Notwithstanding the Vatican’s statement that the pope meant no offense and, in fact, desired dialogue, in the eye of many Muslims his remarks only reinforced a false and …

"In the Line of Fire": Response of Pakistan Press

BBC News: September 27, 2006
Pakistan press lukewarm on Musharraf book

Pakistan's press shows little enthusiasm for President Musharraf's autobiography - in which he sought to explain the reasons behind his decision to end support for the Taleban following the 11 September attacks in 2001 - with several papers questioning both the contents and the timing of its publication.

One Islamist daily accuses Gen Musharraf of deliberately embellishing parts of the book only to boost its sales. Elsewhere, fears are expressed that some of the president's remarks could provoke hatred in religious circles and play into the hands of Pakistan's "enemies".

A commentator in the country's most widely-read English-language paper argues that Gen Musharraf's revelations were "stunts" which can only add to the general "gloom" in the country.


President Musharraf has revealed in his book "In the Line of Fire" that the CIA gave Pakistan a re…

A view from America: By Shaheen Sehbai

Comment: Shaheen Sehbai is back in the media with a bang.

Friday club nausea: A view from America
By Shaheen Sehbai
The writer is a senior Washington-based Pakistani journalist

How should a Pakistani, living in a foreign land, away from the country for years, view, analyse and react to the mainstream press articles and website rants of a well-informed insider of the Pakistani establishment?

Is this frustration of an almost senile angry old man? Is this because he has been kept away from the corridors of power by military masters similar to those he has been serving for decades? Is this a belated feeling of guilt after enjoying, and mostly misusing, decades of unchecked and uninterrupted administrative and political power? Or are these the anguished cries of a genuinely concerned citizen who cannot see his country get buried into the dustbin of shame and ignominy?

Yes I am talking about the recent articles of Roedad Khan, the super-bureaucrat who proudly claims on his website that during hi…

Delicate Dance?

In Pakistan, the delicate dance of a key US ally
Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's deal with Islamists may weaken the broader war on terror.
By David Montero | The Christian Science Monitor: September 26, 2006

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN – His autobiography, "In the Line of Fire," went on sale Monday and is aptly titled. Since Sept. 11, Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf has survived three assassination attempts by Muslim extremists. Later this week, Mr. Musharraf meets with the US and Afghan presidents in Washington to discuss the war on terror.
When the US surveys the world, there are few more pivotal players in that war than Musharraf. But at home, Pakistan's moderate leader is embattled. To strengthen his position, he's recently struck deals with a hard-line Islamic political party that, analysts say, could undermine counterterrorism efforts.

A controversial peace accord with Taliban militants in early September effectively gives the fighters open mobility i…

Musharraf "In the Line of Fire"

‘In the Line of Fire’ launched AQ Khan may have leaked N-designs to India: Musharraf
Reveals CIA paid millions of dollars to Pakistan for handing over al-Qaeda terrorists
By Shaheen Sehbai; The NEws, September 25, 2006

WASHINGTON: President Pervez Musharraf launched his memoirs here on Monday revealing that before Kargil, India was about to attack Pakistan, Dr AQ Khan may have leaked Pakistan’s nuclear secrets to India, he (Musharraf) never conceded all demands to Secretary Colin Powell on his first phone call after 9/11 and CIA had paid millions of dollars to the government of Pakistan for handing over al-Qaeda terrorists.

Musharraf has also disclosed that another plot to kill him had been unearthed in April of 2005 which was aborted by the ISI when they arrested the main plotter in Islamabad, sleeping at the back of a bus with his cell phone on.

These startling revelations come in his book “In the Line of Fire” released by publishers Simon & Schuster throughout the world today with …

What happened between Musharraf & Mahmood after 9/11 attacks

Inside Story about Musharraf-Mahmood Tussle
Hassan Abbas: September 24, 2006

General Pervez Musharraf’s memoir In the Line of Fire is expected to generate a lot of debate and discussion in the days to come. Except some western journalists and Musharraf’s close friends (three ghost writers) hardly anyone has had a chance yet to read the book from cover to cover. The excerpts of the book leaked through Indian media and General Musharraf’s statements to some American media outlets however have already created some controversies. In the United States, controversy is considered a positive thing, so the book is bound to become a bestseller here, but in Pakistan probably the opposite is true.

This article is not a review of the book (as I haven’t got hold of a copy yet), but it endeavors to throw some light on the widely reported Musharraf comment about the Armitage threat conveyed through Lieutenant General Mahmood Ahmed, the then Director General of the ISI. I had done research on this speci…