Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Obama's Visit to India--Hype reduces by Rhetoric

The immense hype of Obama’s visit to India is reduced to some rhetoric, especially in the Indian parliament, and some good dances of both The President and First Lady Michelle Obama, at some selected spots. Obama launched his maiden trip to India , by staying at the terrorism- hit Taj Mehal Hotel at Bombay. He termed it as a symbol of his commitment to send “ strong message” to the terrorists .While Obama made no mention of Pakistani-sponsored terrorism, he demanded that the perpetrators of the 26/11 attack be brought to justice. "Mumbai is a symbol of energy and optimism," he said, adding that the Taj and its staff were "symbols of the strength and resilience of Indian people".

Obama maintained, "In our determination to give our people a future of security and prosperity, the United States and India stand united." Stating that the world will never forget the images of 26/11, including those of portions of the Taj set ablaze, he said, "Indeed, today, the United States and India are working together more closely than ever to keep our people safe. And I look forward to deepening our counter-terrorism cooperation even further when I meet with Prime Minister Singh in New Delhi. We go forward with confidence, knowing that history is on our side... And that is the shared determination of India and the United States, two partners that will never waver in our defence of our people or the democratic values that we share." Against the expectations, Obama did not mention the name of Pakistan, directly involved in the Taj attacks.

Even the Visitor’s book placed at Taj , personified formal ‘diplomatic’ and generalised remarks , “The US stands in solidarity with all of Mumbai and all of India in working to eradicate the scourge of terrorism and we offer our love and friendship," he wrote in the guest-book.

During his visit , Indian and US companies have discussed and signed over $14.9 billion in deals around President Obama’s trip that will support 53,670 US jobs, the White House said. The US export deals, estimated at $9.5 billion, won’t go far to settle America’s trade deficit, which was $46.3 billion in August alone, but the numbers are testament to India’s growing importance as a global market and have provoked a swell of pride here. The primary objective, clearly orchestrated , the weakening Obama at home, in his reply to a question , “I want to be able to say to the American people when they ask me, well, why are you spending time with India, aren’t they taking our jobs?’’ “I want to be able to say, actually, you know what, they just created 50,000 jobs. And that’s why we shouldn’t be resorting to protectionist measures. We shouldn’t be thinking that it’s just a one-way street.’’

The executive director of KPMG India, Pradeep Udhas, who is also president of the Indo-US Chamber of Commerce, said the 'deals' are significant less for their absolute value than their message. “A two-way street between the US and India has started,’’ he said. “It’s important in terms of sending out a message to US constituencies that India is not just some Third World country. It’s actually a huge market.’’India is also a growing investor in the United States. From 2004-2009, Indian companies invested over $26 billion in the United States, creating more than 55,000 jobs, according to KMPG sources.

Indian Media maintained that “For five decades after Independence, Indians looked up to the rest of the world for aid, technology, and capital. Now, the world looks upon India as a dynamic creator of jobs and income opportunities”. There is a faction of Media and analysts, who maintained, that Obama shows the weakening economic infrastructure of USA, whose title to be a “sole super power” is threatened , as more economic Super powers , like China and Japan are already capturing the world trade. The economic marriage between India and USA , is not apparently aimed at facilitating the “ the Rising India” , with latest weaponry against Pakistan, but to reduce the economic recession , prevailing in USA at various tiers, which is personified in the results of recent mid-term elections. Obama is visibly perturbed over the out-sourcing of US IT firms to India, where labor can be achieved at much lesser rates.

Though American and certain factions of Indian media observe President Barack Obama’s ‘single support’ for a permanent seat for India in an expanded UN Security Council as “a powerful endorsement” and “a major policy shift” that could aggravate China.The reports, however, point out that it may be several years before any agreement is reached on United Nations reforms, notably the overhaul of the Security Council. However the international observer are of the view that Obama’s oratory does reveal any time frame for when India would secure a permanent Security Council seat, nor does it offer any guarantee that India would secure such a seat, in the given future scenario. .” The LA Times stated, Obama’s statement signified “a dramatic show of respect to the powerful nation he hopes will play a key role in support of US interests around the world.” But it also said that the United States is backing its addition only as part of a series of UNSC reforms that could be years in the making. So far the reaction of China or Japan is not reported .According to Ashley J Tellis, the South Asia expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, the US endorsement of India is stronger than the one extended to Japan some years ago.

It is pertinent to note that India remained herself away from security Council in a bid to contest the permanent seat in the SC for last 15 years . But the hurdles , as personified By foreign minister SM Krishna said recently , "There are obstacles and roadblocks. These cannot be wished away. So we have to keep pursuing relentlessly,". India is therefore aparantly convinced that it is very hard to get permanent set in UNSC, so she accepted temporary membership of UNSC , which is being commenced from 1st Jan 2011.

Since last 2o years or so. Japan has had its hopes set on a permanent UNSC President Clinton endorsed the idea of Japan and Germany joining the Council’s five permanent and veto-endowed members: the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, and France. A decade later, in 2005, the Bush administration made supporting Japan’s accession to a permanent Council seat . But time and again Japan has seen its hopes dashed, as a global security body that largely retains a configuration dating from its post-World War II creation finds reform bids stymied by regional suspicions, geopolitical calculations, and plain old power-mongering.

There is a debate going on ,for ceratin reforms to be brought in the Security Counci,l needs to change to reflect a 21st century of diffused power and new global players. It last saw reform in 1965, when the number of nonpermanent, non-veto-wielding seats was expanded to reflect the UN’s expanding membership in the postcolonial era. This is bound to be a very difficult process and it’s bound to take a significant amount of time. Brazil is another country which is desirous to get UNSC seat.
Obama’s speech in the Indian parliament . did not present any charge sheet against Pakistan, as expected by Indian Intelligentsia . “As we work to advance our shared prosperity, we can partner to address a second priority-our shared security”. The political and strategic analysts believed that Indians wont like the appreciation of Obama for Pakistan’s role in combating terrorism “Our strategy to disrupt, dismantle and defeat al Qaeda and its affiliates has to succeed on both sides of the border. That is why we have worked with the Pakistani government to address the threat of terrorist networks in the border region. The Pakistani government increasingly recognizes that these networks are not just a threat outside of Pakistan-they are a threat to the Pakistani people, who have suffered greatly at the hands of violent extremists”.
Obama’s dedicative statement for Pakistan, “we will continue to insist to Pakistan's leaders that terrorist safe-havens within their borders are unacceptable, and that the terrorists behind the Mumbai attacks be brought to justice. We must also recognize that all of us have and interest in both an Afghanistan and a Pakistan that is stable, prosperous and democratic-and none more so than India.”, highlighted a reserved and balanced point of view in the region, which orchestrates, Americans realize this very fact , that without the help of Pakistan , USA will never get safe exit from Afghanistan .

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Funds Shortage for Pakistani Students in UK- Journalists For International Peace expresses Concern

Press Statement

Journalists For International Peace strongly reacted to the news of non-availability of funds to Pakistani students, who were admitted on government scholarship to various universities of UK. Earlier, Dr Pirzada Qasim, the Vice Chancellor of Karachi University (KU), has revealed on Wednesday, that the “ students, who were selected for foreign studies in UK on scholarships of Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan , are being humiliated enough to raise donations for meeting their educational expenses on account of lack of funds were to be provided by the commission.

“ It is pathetic and deplorable that government of Pakistan has totally ignored the “brains and future’ of the Country , Mr Iftikhar Chaudri, President of JIP , reiterated here in Islamabad. He feared the government-run HEC may have to face judicial case if it failed to pay off on time the dues meant for educational development plans.

When Dr Javed Leghari , Chairman HEC was approached , he maintained “The government of Pakistan slashed HEC’s budget from 22.50 billion rupees to 18.50 billion rupees for fiscal year 2010 in March this year but despite mounting directives issued from Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani, HEC has been provided mere 11 billion rupees during period from July to December 2009”Not a single penny has been released to HEC in last quarter for 2009 fiscal year, he revealed. Earlier HEC chairman, Mr Javed Leghari was subjected to severe criticism due to exposing fake degree holder parliamentarians. Most of them are facing threats of quitting the parliament.

JIP demands that that High Commissioner of Pakistan in UK, Mr Wajid Shamsul Hassan , must immediately intervene into the situation and develop a contact with the affected students and provide immediate financial relief to them. The news of collecting donations during Friday prayers at London, to continue their studies, is highly deplorable and inhumane.

Iftikhar Chaudri
Journalists For International Peace
Islamabad, Pakistan

Journalists For International Peace hailed visit of Mega Star Angelina Jolie to Pakistan

The heart-throb of millions Hollywood movie mega star Angelina Jolie met flood victims in northwestern Pakistan on Tuesday(7 Sep) and appealed to the international community to provide aid needed to help the country recover from its worst natural disaster.

Journalists For International Peace appreciated the humanitarian visit of Mega Star Angelina Julie to Pakistan . JIP believes that her visit will give spur to the international Aid Money to help the wretched humanity in flood-hit areas of Pakistan , the second worst flood after Strom of Noah. “ Angelina Jolie has set a glaring example, for the people , who are bestowed with fame, glory and money from Almighty, by personifying her goodwill gesture and tender heart- Millions of heart throb for her and her heart throbs for millions wretched people and humanity.

The 35-year-old Mega Star , maintained that she interacted with many people whose lives have been devastated by the floods, including mothers who lost their children and an elderly Pakistani couple who feared they would never be able to rebuild the home they lost.
"I am very moved by them and I hope that I am able to, today and tomorrow, be able to do something to help bring attention to the situation for all of the people in need in Pakistan," Jolie told reporters after visiting a refugee camp in the Jalozai area.

She visited the area wearing a long black robe and a black headscarf adorned with a thin red stripe — the kind of conservative clothing worn by many Muslim women in Pakistan.

Recent floods and torrential rains devastated the millions of acres lands , killing more than 2000 people, washed out 20 million houses, and financial loss to billions of US$.

Journalists For International Peace also appealed to international community to help the homeless people to rehabilitate them in near future,, as chilly winter may put their lives at stake.

JIP proposed to develop a strong infrastructure of international and local NGOs for supervising and monitoring the habitat process, to dispel the credibility crisis with the government, as it appeared in the national and international media “ If certain circles do not repose confidence to the government of Pakistan, in fair utilization of ‘ aid money’ , then respective NGOs , with the fair monitoring of respective countries, may come forward to serve the wretched humanity, for rehabilitation process’, Iftikhar Chaudri President of JIP viewed , here today.

Iftikhar Chaudri
Journalists For International Peace
Islamabad, Pakistan

Monday, September 6, 2010

JIP Letter to the President and the PM -- State Torture to Journalist condemned

Mr Asif Ali Zardari Most Urgent

President of Islamic Republic of Pakistan
President’s Secritariat
Islamabad, Pakistan

Syed Yusuf Raza Gillani
Prime Minister of Islamic Republic of Pakistan
Prime Minister’s Secretariat
Islamabad, Pakistan

NO: 786/A-2/OPS
Dated: 5 Sep 2010

Subject: Kidnapping and torture to Journalist Omer Cheema


I hope that letter of mine will find you in the best of health and prosperity. I expressed with grave concern that an investigative journalist , Omer Cheema was, reportedly, kidnapped by some personnel of intelligence agency from I/8 sector , Islamabad. He was allegedly taken a secret place. Cheema was resorted to severe torture and third degree methods were applied on him. It Is believed that some of Omer Cheema’s blatant reports , have infuriated and attracted the anger of some state institution. Journalists For International Peace strongly condemned the kidnapping and severe torture to the working journalist of Daily The News.

Mr President and Mr Prime Minister , Journalists For International appreciated the prompt reaction of the government , especially Federal Minister for Information,Mr Qamar uz Zaman Kaira, in which he pledged to identify the criminals and ensure exemplary punishment , as a “TEST CASE’.Pakistan is considered as one of the most dangerous country for the working journalists , more than 40 journalists are killed in the recent past years. The alleged involvement of any state agency in kidnapping and torture of media people , tarnishes the image of that country in the international circles. The countries , where Freedom of expression is curtailed by force, can never grow economically and their progress is checked. It is observed that intolerance against Media and journalists in the present government is increased manifold . Media has strong reservations about federal and provincial governments. Such incident of harassment and torture may remain unchecked , if any practical step is not undertaken to curb the menace.

I think that Parliament may take stern action against the culprits. Three chiefs :ISI, MI and IB may be called infront of the parliament under the aegis of the Chief of Army Staff , General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kiyani. They may be directed to identify the criminals from their ranks, if the torture is conducted by the intelligence personnel. It is also believed that such torture incident is aimed at tarnish the positive role of Pak Army, which is deployed in flood affected areas to rescue and provide immediate relief to wretched people of Pakistan. The whole nation supported General Kiyani in the war against the terrorists , in Swat and Waziristan .

To open war against own journalists, by a state or segment of state machinery, may always prove counter productive. Omer Cheema maintained that there is a possibility that the incident is provoke by his news report on Military Commandos, who refused to attack Lal Masjid and subjected to be court-marshaled , without giving any right of appeal. It is in the national interest, to take immediate action against the culprits, to avoid a permanent tussle between state institutions.

It is also proposed that respective intelligence agencies or their spokesman, may start briefing sessions for the journalists on variety of such matters which are taken as secret under the garb of national security. I hope that both the leaders may take strict punitive action against the culprits, to save the sanctity of Freedom of Expression, which is a constitutional obligation too.


Iftikhar Chaudri
Journalists For International Peace
Islamabad, Pakistan

Monday, August 23, 2010

Credibility Crisis in Natural Disaster

Cholera, typhoid, paratyphoid, dysentery, diarrhea, weil’s disease (leptospirosis) have surfaced among survivors and aid workers warn that the waterborne disease could add to the death toll of about 2000 people if allowed to spread. Mostly children in relief camps are in precarious conditions due to acute shortage of drinkable water. There were reports that Sindhi feudal lords influenced the local authorities and managed to break dams from the angles and places , which might save their own crops. A tussle between former Prime Minsiter Mir Zafar Ullah Jamali and present Federal Minister Mir Aijaz Hussain Jakhrani erupted on breaking a dam , the former PM castigated serious allegations on the latter.
A fresh surge of floodwater swelled the Indus River near Kotri Barrage, threatening previously spared cities and towns in the south.

The crisis has battered Pakistan's economy and undermined its political stability at a time when the United States and NATO need its steadfast cooperation against Islamist extremism. The U.N. has appealed for an initial $500 million to provide relief to Pakistan but has said the country will need billions to rebuild once the floodwaters recede. Ban KI MOON’s low key visit to flood-devastated areas, did not spark off the relief activities at the behest of international community .

The United States has so far donated the most to the relief effort, at least $100 million, and has sent military helicopters to rescue stranded people and drop off food and water. Washington hopes the assistance will help improve its image in the country — however marginally — as it seeks its support in the battle against the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan.
"So far, if anyone has practically given us maximum help, it is America," Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said Saturday when a Pakistani reporter suggested the U.S. has done little since the crisis started. Operating in partnership with the Pakistan military, the U.S. aircraft have since Aug. 5 rescued more than 3,500 people and transported more than 412,000 pounds (186,000 kilograms) of emergency supplies, the State Department said.
Cholera can lead to severe dehydration and death without prompt treatment, and containing cholera outbreaks is considered a high priority following floods.

The Pakistani crisis began in late July, when unusually heavy monsoon rains tore through the country from its mountainous northwest. Hundreds of thousands of homes have been destroyed. Agriculture has been severely hit, with an estimated 1.7 million acres (nearly 700,000 hectares) of farmland wiped out. It is reported that Pakistan suffered 400 Billion rupees loss , though exact figures will be estimated after the end of catastrophic floods.

There is a serious trust deficit between government of Pakistan and international community, which attracted heated correspondence between European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and French President. EU president underscored in a letter to Sarkozy that Brussels was “the first to react” on July 30 by providing aid to Pakistan, which totals 40 million euros (51.5 million dollars).“But beyond the 40 million euros which you mentioned, my services have worked tirelessly in order to ensure that this money is spent on the ground as quickly as possible,” Barroso wrote.

The commission chief said his team was once more “demonstrating its professionalism and efficiency in responding to great humanitarian crises.”In a letter to Barroso on Sunday, Sarkozy said Brussels should “do more”than what had been offered so far.
“I count on you for the EU to show its unity and determination,” the French president wrote. Sarkozy said France would soon make proposals to the EU in order to give the 27-nation bloc a “reaction capacity for this type of crisis.”But Barroso noted that he has already begun an “action plan” aimed at ensuring “the best possible mobilisation and coherence” of aid. Humanitarian aid commissioner Kristalina Georgieva will “very soon” propose new policies for the EU's response to crises abroad, he said. Barroso also said that Pakistan would likely need more aid and that the EU would decide how much more to provide before the end of August.

Torrential monsoon rain triggered catastrophic floods which have affected a fifth of Pakistan, wiping out villages, rich farm land, infrastructure and killing an estimated 2000 people in the nation's worst natural disaster. The willingness among Germans to donate to aid organisations helping the victims of Pakistan’s devastating floods has slowly begun to grow after a sluggish start, the German Red Cross (DRK). As the disaster began unfolding in late July, Germans were hesitant to contribute at first. But as the situation there becomes more desperate, there is increased motivation to help the flood victims, DRK president Rudolf Seiters told daily Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung.

There is an acute credibility crisis on Pakistani government’s part, as far as the distribution of donations and funds for affected people of Floods in Pakistan . The matter was earlier reported in the press that during earthquake of 2005, more than 80000 people were killed in the tragedy . The world community donated generously. I was spokesman/member of Action Committee of Margalla Towers Residents Committee; Tower was destroyed and more than 80 residents were killed in the quake . We fought the a legal and administrative fight in the streets and in the Supreme Court for three years, during these years many world leaders visited ill-fated Towers and announced aid for help and rehabilitation- that aid was also meant for wretched people of Kashmir. A department ERRA (ERRA : Earthquake Reconstruction & Rehabilitation Authority (http://www.erra.pk/) was established and Billions of Pakistani rupees were deposited by World Community to ERRA through Pak Government.

It was believed that with such money, the whole Kashmir and Margalla Towers would be re-built on new Building Codes, as Chief Justice, Justice Iftikhar Chaudhary ordered to the previous government (President Musharaf and PM Shoukat Aziz) in our case of Margalla Towers Tragedy. The affected people of Kashmir areas are still staging demonstration against the governments (previous and present) that there is only 5 % rehabilitation work has been done. Reportedly, Zardari Government decided to take 600 bn Pak rupees, out of 900 Bn rupees from ERRA’s account to some other unknown projects. In the eyes of some political observers, it is a glaring example of mal-practice in the rehabilitation process, which was started almost 4 and half years ago.

In the present circumstances, the Zardari government is accused of massive corruption and misappropriation of the funds. The fellow citizens and international Community did not repose confidence to donate directly to Pakistani government’s exchequer, which slowed down the rescue and relief operations in Flood affected areas. The most undesirable visit of President Zardari to France and UK added fuel to the injury to the already frustrated people of Pakistan, while overseas Pakistani protested outside the edifice in UK, where Zardari stayed. Even he was humiliated by a “ shoe throwing’ incident in his PPPP party meeting at London; which was widely reported by vibrant Pakistani Media, attracted the wrath of the government to shut down major TV Channels and setting ablaze the newspapers, mostly in interior Sindh?

The opposition leader , Mr Nawaz Sharif ( Former two time Prime Minister of Pakistan), decided to join hands with the government , with the desire to establish an independent Flood Relief Commission to dispel , severe national and international criticism of alleged mistrust on Pakistan. Nawaz Sharif and PM Yusuf Raza Gillani held a mutual press conference and announced a joint strategy for proposed Commission. They also announced few names, as members for the said Commission, which included, some very respectable former judges of superior courts, which include, Rana Bhagwandas, Fakhruddin G Ibrahim and Nasir Zahid.. After five days , Zardari Government turned down the proposed commission, without any justification and plausible reasons. The sudden U-turn of the government aroused the suspicions that the members of the proposed Independent Flood Commission may not tilt to their political whims or PPPP government will have no access to the money to ‘utilize’ for some other purposes.. Not only Germany but other countries of Europe, USA and even Islamic countries are reluctant to donate generously as orchestrated in the previous times of Natural calamities.

However Journalists For International Peace appealed to Ban Ki Moon, Secretary General UNO, and other world leaders to come forward and establish a bridge to assist the Flood affected people directly. JIP proposed that there must be a robust infrastructure of NGOs of respective countries with the support of local field experts and volunteers, having own monitoring system of funds’ utilization in the relief and rehabilitation process. In this regard the wretched people will get direct access to the funds meant for them in the shape of medicine, food and re-building of infrastructure. The proposal contains that it will also attract indigenous employment opportunities for the locals under administrative control of the NGOs of the respected countries. As far the aid of international donations and funds are concerned – it is the same red-tapism of alleged corrupt bureaucracy, which still did not distribute the donations/funds to the affected people of Earthquake 2005. The hue and cry of the affected people are quite obvious and natural. At present Media of Pakistan and some saner elements, TV Channels and few political representatives have started campaigns at their own, which is picking up the momentum. However, the role of Pakistan Army, in the rescue and relief operations, is considered as marvelous.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

More Statesmanship Lessons for David Cameron

The Childish and irresponsible statement spark off a new debate that British office of Prime Minister is rapidly deteriorated in terms of handling the foreign policy towards major issues like that of Terrorism and its possible remedy . British government realized this fact, now very well, that pseudo ‘War on Terror’ attracted public wrath and discontentment, which damaged the very fabric of the multi-cultural society. The death of four British servicemen in Afghanistan at the weekend takes the toll of UK troops in the war against terror past 500.

There is a growing frustration in British Society due to the killings of British soldiers in Afghanistan, as Allied Forces are losing the ground , exposing an imminent defeat is in the offing. ‘Military Families Against The War’ is an organisation comprised of the families of the soldiers, who foresee a major set-back to the strategic interests in the continuation of the War in Afghanistan, besides massive causalities. The organization has already filed a petition with the British government against the war and amassing public support in the favor of its objective, ‘ To bring Troops Home’. The petition orchestrates, “Noting the deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, and the destabilisation of Pakistan arising from the NATO military intervention in the region and believing that only the Afghan people themselves can generate a political solution to their country’s problems, therefore demand that the government commence the withdrawal of all British military forces from Afghanistan.”

David Cameron is apparently continued to follow the conspiracy theory of the ‘sponsored’ WikiLeaks War Logs .The independent political analysts believe that he is made victim in getting maximum ‘output’ from Britain . He offended Islamabad with comments made on Wednesday in India. Speaking to an audience in the city of Bangalore, Cameron said: "We cannot tolerate in any sense the idea that this country is … able, in any way, to promote the export of terror whether to India, whether to Afghanistan or to anywhere else in the world."

Cameron later told the BBC that he had chosen his words carefully. "It is unacceptable for anything to happen within Pakistan that is supporting terrorism elsewhere," he said, adding: "It is well-documented that that has been the case in the past, and we have to make sure that the Pakistan authorities are not looking two ways. They must only look one way, and that is to a democratic and stable Pakistan." Earlier, Cameron was also accused of his ‘plain speaking’, during his recent tour to Turkey.

Reacting to Cameron’s statement, former British foreign Secretary, David Miliband has criticized Prime Minister David Cameron, accusing him of being a "cuttlefish squirting out ink" over his remarks about Pakistan's record on terrorism.
"Cameron has used the past two weeks to make a verbal splash on foreign policy. Like a cuttlefish squirting out ink, his words were copious and created a mess. The cancellation by the Pakistani intelligence agency, the ISI, of a security meeting with our services shows that, in foreign policy, words can be our most powerful tool," Miliband wrote in an article for The Independent. "But the Prime Minister's have been destructive. The mindsets in Israel, Pakistan and Britain have all been given the once-over. But making a splash is not the same as making a difference." "Cameron either has a loose tongue - his comments about Gaza, terrorism and the Second World War were made off the cuff at press conferences or in interviews - or he is desperate for headlines. Neither is encouraging," he added.

Pakistani foreign office spokesperson maintained that one could never draw right conclusions from baseless and skewed reports. The spokesperson also asked journalists to abstain from highlighting such baseless reports. “I would say that it is important that we do not create unnecessary hype around these reports and get distracted. The world knows very well how Pakistan is contributing in the ongoing fight against terrorism and we will continue doing that because it is also in our interest”.When asked to comment on Pakistan’s double standard as it was seeking a clarification from Afghanistan against Karzai’s remarks but not from Cameron for his remarks, the spokesperson replied there were no double standards. “We have seen remarks made by the British Prime Minister and we see the context in the sense that those were based on WikiLeaks reports. Hence, we have expressed our sadness over these remarks, which have been made in India. As far as the reported remarks by President Karzai and the earlier remarks by Spanta are concerned, we found these incomprehensible given the fact that we all know well that during the last two years Pakistan and Afghanistan have been cooperating very closely with each other against terrorism and we do not see any reason as to why these remarks should have been made”, he said.

Pakistani Intelligence Chief , Lt General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, cancelled his visit to Britain in lieu of the present ‘ situation’. The cancellation of the visit of ISI chief, who was supposed to have meetings with his counterparts in MI-5 and MI-6, is another setback for the ‘security planning’ opportunity for British Defense intelligentsia.

Cameron’s controversial statement is surfaced, just days after the publication of leaked U.S. military documents relating to the war in Afghanistan on the Internet platform WikiLeaks and in three media outlets, including Spiegel. According to the so-called war logs, the U.S. suspects that Pakistan is providing terrorists with a haven and that the Pakistani intelligence agency ISI is training insurgents and supplying them with weapons. According to one memo, the ISI was even involved in a plot to assassinate the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai.

His words have created a stir in the Pakistani society , a country that is officially Britain's ally in the war on terror and lost more than 30 thousand Pakistani civilians and armed forces personnel have been killed or injured since the global war on terror began in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, while over 17,000 terrorists have been killed or captured. According to data released by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) in Feb 2010, from 9/11 till now, 30,452 people have been killed or injured. These include 21,672 civilians and 8,785 military personnel.

The co-chairperson of Britain’s ruling Conservative party, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, visited Pakistan recently called on President Asif Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani in Islamabad and discussed a host of issues, particularly bilateral relations and Islamabad’s role in fighting terrorism. During her visit, both Islamabad and Pakistani-born British national found similarities in their views that terrorism is the common enemy for both Pakistan and Britain and that cooperation between the two countries must continue to fight the war against this scourge. Sayeeda Warsi realized the sufferings of Pakistan in fighting militancy. Sayeeda Warsi and the British high commissioner appreciated Islamabad’s efforts against militancy and reiterated their country’s support to the democratic government in Pakistan in fighting militancy. The present statement of Cameron is not a policy shift towards Pakistan, as Britain realized this fact , in the losing war of Afghanistan , Pakistan is the only state in the region which can be helpful in an ‘ honorable retreat’ from the region.

Britain is confronting with growing extremism and fanaticism, prevailing in British youth especially after 9/11 and 7/7 incidents of terrorism. The British intelligence agencies are exercising a constant vigil on ‘ suspects’, even on the price of curtailing ‘ Civil Liberties’. The British society is robustly influenced by the Islamic culture, which is the prominent part of British Multi Culture, atleast after three generations. The Muslim immigrants are mostly migrated from Pakistan and they have developed a bridge between Pakistan and UK. There participation in local politics and in both houses, is quite obvious.

In the present circumstances and scenario, Pakistani communities can play a very vital role in reducing the indigenous reactionary wave of extremism in British youth . The interfaith dialogues , though on equal footings , between Pakistani and British societies can pay a positive dividend for the progress of peaceful and sustainable atmosphere, especially in Britain. In the present circumstances , the visit of president Asif Ali Zardari, is predicted to be a ineffective , it will further be criticized, if media may continue to focus on lavish expenditures from public expense on a large entourage.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Extension of COAS, General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kiani

In a surprise move, to compel the rumors of “ Abdul Waheed Kaker Formula”, Prime Minister of Pakistan, Syed Yusuf Raza Gillani, during a short address to the nation, announced three years extension to the Chief of the Army Staff , General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kiani, with effect from 20th Nov 2010. Earlier, the capital, Islamabad was in a grip of rumors due to the calculated leakage of subject information to the vibrant media.

General Kiani was the second Army Chief, after General Ayub Khan, to whom a civilian government reposed her confidence, though General Ayub was the principal protagonist of introducing worst kind of dictatorship in the country by imposing Martial law , which proved to damage the very fabric of the federation and became the ultimate cause of break-up of Pakistan in 1971.

The extension of General Kiani, will have the far-reaching , national and international , implications , as he is supposed to continue the present military policy in combating the terrorism and extremism in country and bordering areas; while , in the eyes of USA and NATO, he assumed a robust role in providing any ‘safe exit’ to the evidently defeating ‘foreign forces’ in Afghanistan.

In the recent past, reportedly, Gen Kayani was not convinced by US pressures, or at least he demonstrated diplomatic constraints, though militarily, to hold massive operation in North Waziristan, which has extensive possible internal connotations. Meanwhile, Pakistani government felt embarrassed by the statement of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’, who adopted a threatening stance by maintaining, that, “ if Pakistan-based militants succeeded in bombing the United States, it would have “very, very severe” consequences for Islamabad”. The sustainability of US pressures and threats was masterly defused or lessened by the government of Pakistan, as strategized by GHQ. The unceremonious removal of General McChrystal from the command, being critic of President Obama and his colleagues posed a severe damage to the US policy and ongoing ‘ War against Terror’ in Afghanistan, The damage is not only a matter of disobedience to Civil lawful command, but also it orchestrates growing frustration in the top US military brass, combating ‘terrorists’ in Afghanistan. During the recent visit to Islamabad, Hillary Clinton expected the extension of the COAS, as she felt comfortable with him and desired a better working relationship of General Kiani with new Commander David Petraeus, in Afghanistan.

On 1st Feb, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, in a rare press briefing, said that the success of military operations in the tribal regions have caused substantial decline in cross-border attacks on NATO forces in Afghanistan and warned that it was essential to address Pakistan’s long-term strategic concerns for stability in the region. General Kayani said it would be a cause of worry for Pakistan if Afghanistan’s projected army developed the potential to take on Pakistan. “We want a strategic depth in Afghanistan but do not want to control it,” the general said while talking to a group of journalists at the Army General Headquarters. “A peaceful and friendly Afghanistan can provide Pakistan a strategic depth.” He asked the US and NATO to come out with a clear strategy on Afghanistan.

General Kayani participated in NATO commanders’ conference in Brussels (Jan 2010) maintained Pakistan was prepared to train the Afghan National Army which would help improve relations between the two nations. He hoped ‘the offer’ would get a positive response. “If we get more involved with the ANA (Afghan National Army) there’s more interaction and better understanding,” General Kayani said. “We have opened all doors ... It’s a win-win for Afghanistan, the United States, Isaf and Pakistan,” he said, referring to NATO’s International Security Assistance Force. Keeping in view ‘the visionary strategist’ of General Kiani , especially on future of Afghanistan, as US and NATO generals personified , US authorities feel that the services of General Kiani is still required to combat the terrorism, formation of future Afghan set-up even by ‘ sudden withdrawal of foreign troops, though US ‘ repeated demands of Do More’ will continue unabated, including arrest of , now fictional characters, Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omer , who are supposedly present in Pakistani bordering areas.

Indian Media is not convinced with the high profile vibrant role of General Kiani in tackling the Afghan Issue, prompted it to make General Kiani as controversial figure. Sumit Ganguly in his article General Kayani – A Musharaf in the Making?, illustrates, “Given this infelicitous past, General Kayani’s increasing assertiveness is entirely unsurprising. In the wake of the London conference which gave Pakistan a disproportionate role in shaping Afghanistan’s future, the Pakistani military apparatus believes that it enjoys the imprimatur of the international community to play a more overt role in shaping Pakistan’s critical foreign and security policy choices. Quite frankly, all that has really changed is that it no longer feels it must quietly manipulate its civilian marionettes from the shadows. Now General Kayani and his associates can stand tall and determine the moves of their pliant charges with the skill of master ventriloquists and puppeteers.” The similar behavior of certain faction of Indian Media will remain intact against General Kiani in the coming years of his extended tenure.

Earlier, Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, extended the tenure of the corps commander, Peshawar, has now granted a one-year extension to another lieutenant general, as the DG ISI is the third in a row who is likely to be its recipient, all in a space of six months. The primary focus of these extensions are more or less , stitched to Military operations against the terrorism . The extension in lieutenant general’s service was made the prerogative of the Army chief during Gen Zia-ul-Haq’s time when he was COAS-president.

Coming to the national political scenario, the extension of any COAS is not considered as a well-admired act in a democratic set-up, at least in the normal circumstances. There will be certain political parties or factions, who will disapprove his extension on this pretext.Unfortunately, the present federal and provincial governments have miserably failed to confront the both national and international issues as per the aspirations of the common masses . There were at least two major occasions when COAS was forced to intervene directly , one, during the charged Long March for the restoration of the Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhary and secondly , Kerry Lugar Bill controversy. In both occasions , GHQ kept restraint in meddling into the affairs of the government for unlimited time. There were also rumors, that President Musharaf also suggested President Zardari , through a back door channel , to remove General Kiani , when the Co-Chairman of PPPP, felt threatened during Long March. The rumours about the ‘ adoption of the ‘Abdul Waheed Kakar formula’ was first surfaced, during Long March impasse in 2009. The similar strong rumours, are, again resurfaced in the present days, when federal government is rapidly losing the confidence of the common masses due to massive corruption allegations in various ministries and divisions, besides failing to comply with the directives of Supreme Court on reopening of NRO cases and interaction with Swiss Government in this regard. The then COAS, General Abdul Waheed Kaker ‘resolved’ the political grinding standstill , when Ghulam Ishaq Khan , the then President of Pakistan, refused to accept Mian Nawaz Sharif as the PM , when the Supreme Court, headed by Justice Naseem Hassan Shah, ordered to restore the sacked PM Nawaz Sharif. General Kaker intervened and Nawaz Sharif convinced General Kaker that he would tender his resignation, only if GIK would also be sent home, so the formula materialized and new elections were conducted under the aegis of the caretaker PM. Moeen Qureshi.

It is interesting to note, that both COAS General Kiani and present Chief Justice of Supreme Court , Mr Justice Iftikhar Chaudhary will conduct the Next General Election in 2013, if the present democratic set-up remained intact till that time. In the meanwhile, both government and opposition public representatives received a severe set-up on fake degrees issue. The credibility of assemblies, filled with fake degree holders, aversely shaken which is being ridiculed by foreign media too. Though, the federal government has, apparently, tamed Chairman HEC, Javed Leghari, but fake degrees issue is not a finished story. PML-N and other political parties in opposition will sacrifice their elected legislators for the sake of exercising pressure on the federal government.

Political pandits in Islamabad believe , that , PPPP government is facing a threat of No Confidence Motion against PM Gillani , if Election Commission or Apex Court, declares fake-degree holders as ‘disqualified’ for the parliament. PM Gillani, at the moment, as visualized by some analysts, is marginally short of simple majority votes in the National Assembly . In the given circumstances, PM has to look towards , either PML-N or PML-Q, to get expected ‘No Confidence Motion’, in his favor . The question of the time is, “In resolving the present political perplexity and its future outcome, how present government tackles the political issues at her own or again force GHQ to intervene’?.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Democracy in Uniform-----A Review on Pakistan political Scenario (2004)

Articles : Democracy in Uniform-----A Review on Pakistan political Scenario
by Iftikhar Chaudri on 29-Oct-2004 8:39pm

Democracy in Uniform

By Iftikhar Chaudri

In the backdrop of recent reshuffles within the top brass of Pakistan Army orchestrates a new debate on the continuity of General Musharaf 's rule in the country, with or without uniform. The mystery of constitutional provision to retain the top slot of the country in uniform still unresolved which gives birth to a speculation of a Proposed Referendum, as expected MMA at least, to contract direct opinion from the people of the country on this particular constitutional jig-saw-puzzle. The case of politico-military relations in Pakistan has to be viewed in the overall spectrum of the nations inheriting similar socio-economic constraints, failure of civilian leadership to deliver the democratic governance, which precipitate military intervention in domestic politics.

Threats of disobedience or obedience to civil authority at least in colonial system were a relative term. By tradition, the Armed Forces would submit to civilian supremacy and Pakistan Army had of course inherited a great tradition of loyalty, sense of duty, patriotism and complete subordination to civilian authority. But the tradition was flexible. When the Indian troops started the occupation of Kashmir, Quaid-e-Azam flew to Lahore in October 1947, and, as the supreme civil authority in Pakistan, ordered the Pakistan Army to enter Kashmir, these orders were disobeyed. Hector Bolitho maintains " Field Marshal Sir Claude Auckinleck flew to Lahore at one hour's notice and reasoned with Quaid-e-Azam, he explained to Quaid that the presence of Indian troops in Kashmir is justified, since Mahraja had acceded, any action by Pakistan Armed Forces would force him to withdraw all the British officers, including Commander-in-chiefs of both India and Pakistan. What infact had happened as that Quaid had ordered the acting Commander-in-chief General Sir Douglas Gracy, to send Pakistani troops to Kashmir. Gracy instead of obeying the civil authority, told Auckinleck, ho flew to Lahore from New Dehli and held a gun, in the form a threat to withdraw British officers, at Quaid. . Now Quaid realised that disobedience for British soldier under colonial system to supreme civil authority. , was a variable factor .

In the absence of democratic institutions, undue delay in framing the Federal Constitution and other related factors prompted the early bureaucrats-turned-politicians to look for extra-Constitutional Forces to give strength to extend their rules. After the dissolution of the first Constituent Assembly in 1954, the then Governor General Ghulam Muhammad invited General Ayub Khan to join the Federal Cabinet as Defence Minister under Muhammad Ali Bogra. This unholy marriage of mismatched spouses was proved to be short-lived, yet it introduced the Army to the annals of the power corridors.

The politicians found the generals too competent to accomplish the politico-military assignments admirably well and thus save them from political ruination. On every occasion approaching a crisis, the Armed Forces were freely involved and saddled with tasks outside their profession. Such an expectation and involvement had its own ramifications when 1951 the military was found involved in its first abortive coup d'etat. The coup leaders had singled out the civilian government's failure to find any political solution of highly emotive Kashmir problem, to justify their action. Burt only after two years, in March 1953, when in response to distress call of Punjab Government during Volcanic Eruption of sectarian riots, the Army imposed Martial Law in Lahore, which was welcomed by almost every segment of the society. Although limited in time and space, this happening in Lahore made a far-reaching impact on Pakistan's political history. The opportunities of this kind of civil requested interventions do not arise at random except for the ones occasioned by external circumstances. But opportunities occasioned by domestic conditions as in Punjab, significantly illustrated the reality that under weaker politicians, the political processes in Pakistan had not gained sufficient strength, simultaneously it demonstrated the ability of the Army to succeed physically where the civilian government had not been able to suppress a popular upsurge.

The coalition government of Muslim League and United Front, headed by Chaudhary Muhammad Ali, continued to be in power, when constitution was enforced. He pledged to conduct fair and free elections under the constitution but failed to fulfill its promise and resigned on 8 Sep 1958 because of political differences within the Muslim League. The new Awami League Cabinet under the premier-ship Mr Shurawardy also demonstrated its decreased role of the civil service in politics since the ascendancy of Governor General Ghulam Muhammad and his coterie. But Shurawardy Cabinet made no progress towards general election. There were many Charges of corruption and mal-practices against the Cabinet. Neither Mr Shurawardy nor his Cabinet showed any enthusiasm for implementing the Islamic provisions of the Constitution: the enhanced provincial autonomy was not utilized and the National Finance Commission, which was expected to recommend larger financial resources to the provinces, was not even constituted. On the issue of One Unit in West Pakistan, he developed differences with his political coalition partners and was forced to resign on 11 Oct 1957.

The next cabinet change constituted under the aegis of Mr I I Chundrigar, the leader of opposition, which did not last, however , more than a few weeks and Mr Chundrigar resigned as the Republican Party went back on their pledges and promises on the electoral issue. Mr Chundrigar was , however , commissioned again by the president to form a new cabinet. This evoked clearly a new question, as to how , if Mr Shurawardy's request was unacceptable because he had lost the confidence of the majority, could Mr I I Chundrigar be commissioned to form a new Cabinet when surely he had no majority. It might easily be interpreted as due to president's unwillingness to allow the Republicans to come to power. It was perhaps something, which a constitutional head of the State might hesitate to perform in a parliamentary system supposed to have been based on British system.

Mr Chundrigar was not successful and the Republican Party came to power under Malik Feroz Khan Noon . . The date of elections was postponed more than once; although tentatively fixed for Feb 1959, yet there were fears of a possible further postponement. The conflicts and tussles between indigenous landlords and refugee merchant industrialists determined the course of Pakistan Society.

Pakistan was in grip of severe economic crisis in 1958. The scarcity of consumer goods , the rising prices , the shortage of food . Large scale deficit financing by the government and financial in-discipline, were all unmistakable indications of declining economy. The impotence of political leadership and general corruption in the society, as compared with the well integrated and disciplined Armed Forces and their to maintain the law and order led to a perception amongst the higher military command that it was they who had to maintain law and order and keep the state intact. General Ayub Khan was under constant pressure from different circles of the Army to do something to check the political turmoil in the country The politicians were aware of the fact that the Armed Forces were the only institution free from the intrigues, which had characterized political system in Pakistan. They had started contacts with the officers and issuing statements to bring Armed Forces into political arena. The Government issued an ordinance to deal with the actions and statements tending to impair the discipline of the Armed Forces to check the attempts of the politicians to in the support in the Armed Forces.

From its birth , Pakistan has sought to reconcile an authoritarian political culture with a plural society . The superior courts have played a legitimising function, at times using the doctrine of state necessity to declare legal , and have often handed down decisions they later refused , for political reasons , to uphold., as Kamal Azfar observes.

A revolution that has succeeded is thus legalised illegality. Since no Constitution is known to contain a provision for its own overthrow by violence, a revolution in its inception and conception is an avowed illegality. The Army takeover in 1958 was never a spontaneous action, but the result of a cool-minded and patient analysis of the situation ever since 1947. General Ayub did not hesitate to acknowledge that his authority lay ultimately in the power of the Armed Forces. Even when the military was relegated to background and the background and other sources of legitimacy were established through the "Basic Democracies and Constitution". Ayub repeatedly used threat of a bloody Revolution to counter serious challenges to his rule. During the periods of crisis, military personnel were brought into key positions to demonstrate their continued support of the regime. Ayub on his part , continually shifted and balance his potential rivals in the military. Civilian Control over Armed Forces was abolished. But, the military was more of support base of the regime in the policy-making, which was left mainly to the civil bureaucracy.

General Ayub managed to introduce a new political system with the collaboration of civil- military bureaucracy. But the political stability given by this regime was personalised rather than institutionalised. The 1965 Indo-Pak war had ended in a stalemate with Pakistan failing to Liberate Kashmir and India failing to subdue Pakistan.. It was Tashkent Declaration without providing a solution of the Kashmir problem, came as a shock.
Ayub Khan tendered his resignation on 25 March 1969. General Yahya Khan, the C-in-C took over as the President of Pakistan He announced and promulgated Legal framework Order (LFO). And made the eventual transfer of power conditional on the ability of the elected representatives to frame a constitution within 120 days of the first meeting of National Assembly. He conducted elections in 1970. Awami League and Peoples Party were emerged as main political parties. Unfortunately, a debate about the sharing of power ensued between the leaders of Awami League and PPP. The politicians demonstrated a remarkable incapacity for mutual understanding and accommodation even in their common interest to eradicate martial law regime. Once again, the craving for power blurred their vision to larger interest of the nation to restore the democracy in the country. Both Mujib ur Rehman and Z A Bhutto starting compelling each other. Z A Bhutto announced a boycott of NA Session at Dacca on 3 March 1971.
General Yahya Khan postponed the National Assembly session, which proved to be counter productive. Mujib ur Rehman took off Civil Disobedience, which brought about complete closure of government departments and private sector. The image of a united country faded into an illusion. The de-facto government of Sheikh Mujib decided to defy the Generals and made a unilateral decision to withdraw martial law from the country on 25 March 1971. The Armed Forces were now left alone to face the volatile situation while the politicians went to background. No concerted efforts, from politicians were made to help Army to pull back from the path of impending disaster.
With better politicians and stronger political institutions, perhaps, the Armed Forces could be either deterred from crack down or stopped half way through it to seek a political solution. General Yahya blundered from one crisis into another. Consequently the eventful story of Pakistan's dismemberment darkens our history. Z A Bhutto became first civilian Martial Law administrator at time of worst crisis in the history of Pakistan. In order to consolidate its position, the PPP leadership condemned Army generals time and again. PPP sowed seeds of hatred among the military ranks from the very beginning of civilian rule. Z A Bhutto fixed the tenure of COAS at 3 years, the post of Chairman of JCSC was created, and the Constitution of Pakistan passed the National Assembly on 10 April 1973. The Armed Forces on their part had accepted the inevitability of the situation and had reverted to its previous professional role. Z A Bhutto's rule was marked by authoritarian civilian command on the Armed Forces. He called Army on April 1977 to suppress opposition's agitation against the rigging allegations. It was the beginning of the end, martial law was imposed in Karachi, Hyderabad and Lahore. Now the Armed Forces torn between their Constitutional duty to the government and their real duty to the nation and the people. Early in May 1977, Army had to open fire outside a mosque in Lahore, killing number of demonstrators and hundreds injured. There was lot of stress and strain on Armed Forces, re-think about their new role. Despite the complete chaos, Bhutto believed that he was still enjoying the support of Armed Forces.

General Zia ul Haq took over as Chief Martial Law administrator on 5 July 1977. The Martial Law was challenged in the Supreme Court. After a long arguments the court came to conclusion that the declaration of Martial Law was justified by "state necessity" and by the requirement s and welfare of the people. The Court once again exercised a legitimising function, but it overstepped the principle of state necessity by conferring power upon the Chief Martial Administrator to amend the constitution.
General Zia ul Haq had the sense to retain command over the Army throughout hid eleven years at the helm, realising where the source of his power lay. But he did not rule by force alone. In his philosophy of statecraft, guile occupied a prominent place. Moderate politicians were handled with kid gloves. An Iron Fist was reserved for the leadership of PPP, mortal enemies in Zia's eyes, and for assorted leftists for whom Zia felt an ideological anathema. He was also careful to build up a civilian constituency of his own . The constant outgoing of religious rhetoric from the founts of the regimes had its appeal for a sizeable segment of population. Just as there is a PPP vote bank, there is also a vote-bank of rightists, which looks upon the PPP with hatred that has not dimmed over the years.

Zia's most malignant legacy is the fundamentalism that seems to have taken firm roots in Pakistan. The virulent militancy in the name religion, which we see all around us today, is a virtual offspring of his religious rhetoric. The worst kind of intolerant behaviour started prevailing in the society, which incurred irreparable loss to fabric of our society.
Immediately after the death of General Zia ul Haq and members of his legacy in an air crash , the political scenario of Pakistan has changed its colours . The arch rival of General Zia, PPP chairperson Benazir Bhutto became the Prime Minister of Pakistan. The introduction of democracy could not attract the powerful Establishment. The mal-governance , political victimisation , alleged corruption of her spouse and few ministers was the hall mark of her realm, which added negative marks to her performance report.. Civilian President Ghulam Ishaq was the principal protagonist in the melodrama who twisted the tug of war at the behest of Army , consequently she was removed from the premier-ship. The removal of Benazir attracted to main reasons; general apprehension about PPP's anti-Establishment stance; civilian supremacy was not acceptable to the Establishment, which developed robust roots in the mainstream politics of the country.

The brainchild of the Establishment, a business tycoon Mian Nawaz Sharif was the next choice of General Jillani the then DG ISI and later Governor of Punjab. A hung parliament came into being with thin majority of PML. From the very first day Mian Nawaz Sharif has to face acute hurdles of the opposition. His self style of the governance creates many questions. Ghulam Ishaq Khan always had his reservations about the government's competence , but the reports of attempts to curtail his powers , or to try and ease him out of office after repealing 58-2b of the Constitution, made G I K a revengeful personality . Benazir Bhutto picked up signals of the growing discord at the top and framed her strategy accordingly. Entering into alliance with some known loyalists of Ghulam Ishaq Khan, targeting Mian Nawaz Sharif and his government in a series of rallies and long marches.

Benazir, the two-time Prime Minister, undoubtedly gifted with charisma, but given to a compulsive proclivity for corruption and a well manifested incompetence, came out with regular pilgrimages to Washington get its Asheerbad . On one of her numerous visit to the State Department in Washington, she had asserted that she was "the only leader who could save Pakistan in the prevalent crisis." However she found very difficult to prove her worth better than Musharraf.

. More so, the financial bungling as orchestrated by Pakistani newspapers that they keep mentioning the $1 billion of public money , she had stolen during her inglorious two-term rules. She keeps claiming that Nawaz Sharif's hatchet men and spin doctors have pinned this false label on her, although she and her husband are innocent like newly born babies. Her conviction for corruption in a High Court was simply an aberration of justice, she contends, maneuvered by Nawaz Sharif.
The history is full of instances of rule of Armed Forces' intervention in civilian rule and acquired legitimacy either by blaming for previous regimes for inept and inefficient handling of national affairs, or through court verdicts. But in no case, Army rule was legitimised in the Constitution. Turkey is perhaps only country where Armed Forces enjoy a Constitutional backing to intervene under the circumstances. The National Security Council, joint civil-military body decides all-important issues. This body meets once a month under the aegis of the President, which ensures constant consultants and liaison between the political leadership and Armed Forces ranks. Pakistan and its allies can not wish in democracy with a magic wand when for the last 57 years it has pursued a path of Shariah , religious intolerance, authoritarian regimes and violence .The Constitution-1973 can not provide a solid ground for the true civil democracy , at least , the people witnessed for last 21 years. Islam as understood and practiced in most Muslim countries is incompatible with the concept of democracy as understood in the West and India . Even Turkey's democracy , after modernisation and reforms during the last Ottoman century and 70 years since Ataturk's sweeping reforms , with a secular constitution since 1923, gets wobbly from time to time. Its moderate Islamic parties have to be banned time and again. Its Armed Forces, a bastion of secularism , expel every year officers suspected of any Islamic proclivities. In stark contrast, Pakistan's Armed Forces and its establishment have been islamised.

Confronted with a much more difficult task than faced by either Ayub or Zia, Musharraf has not done too badly. He had inherited an economically collapsed state because of huge defence expenditure and civilian misrule hostage to partisan corruption , with rich refusing to pay taxes , power and other state dues . He is confronted with Wana extremist elements and resultant law and order situation in the country. It is Musharaf's success as political tycoon that a considerable segment of the intellectuals still believe that MMA is the brainchild of his legacy. Democracy in uniform can not be acceptable as far as true system of the government is concerned. Musharaf also realised that his uniform is the main hindrance in restoring the true Constitution-bound democracy in the country.

Despite all the criticism, anti-Musharraf elements failed to respond positively as he highlighted the corruption during Benazir -Nawaz rule as a reason to keep them out of politics. It also inhibited foreign investment in Pakistan .Of course the West and Pakistan's rich Gulf friends would not let Pakistan fail. China continues to support on missile technology and defence matters. Still, in spite of many infractions, Pakistan media enjoys fair amount of freedom. So far opposition has failed to unearth any major financial bungling of the government. The fast changing global scenario needs to consolidate the political institution in the country, but the state can not afford to hand over to typical corrupt political elements that endanger the very existence of the country. Two deputies; the economy expert Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and political manager Chaudhary Shujaat Hussain are running the country. It is witnessed that Pakistan Army has always retained certain reservations on the issue of handling nuclear assets, Kashmir policy and internal de-stablising factors including the issue of Kalabagh Dam & acute fanaticism. The two-timed civilian rulers , Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif apparently failed to cope up with the situation . The development of political institution and its consolidation, at the surface possible under a centralised command with support of the Establishment. The similar suggestion was made, when Nawaz Sharif was removed during his first tenure. The proposal highlighted that Pakistan Army must continue rule for few years to stabilise the economy and purge political ills from the country. The proposal could not take roots due to certain reasons and Moin Qureshi became the Caretaker PM. However, it is the greatest ever responsibility of the Establishment to nourish the political institution of the country.

The writer is extensive contributor for US Washington Post and New York Times and remained consultant for Continental arts and culture and young dynamic research fellow

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Taming the Media

Sanaullah Mastikhel syndrome , in the provincial assembly of Punjab at Lahore, exposed the hidden flame of discontentment among the ranks of PML-N. The rousing welcome of the mover of the resolution, who is under a notice of expulsion from the party chief Nawaz Sharif, stunned the parliamentarians and analysts. Infact the fellow MPs also raised the slogans and termed Mastikhel as the new Chief Minister of Punjab.

Political analysts believed that the anti-Media resolution was jointly consented to be drafted by 18 MPs of almost all the political parties , representing the provincial assembly, but guns are masterly turned towards the ruling PML-N , by the opposition legislators . Insiders believed that Chief Minister Punjab , personally approved the draft of the resolution and Mastikhel had been chosen to move the same at the floor of the house. The PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif , vehemently condemned the act of Sanaullah Mastikhel, and declared him an ‘outsider creating rifts in PML-N ranks’, he out-rightly directed the leadership ( Shahbaz Sharif) “to throw him out of the parliament”

The fake degree disorder is continued to damage the credibility of the parliamentarians, mostly those of PPPP and PML-N, the two major political parties of the country. The second ‘pro- Media’ reso;ution did not appease the journalists’ bodies, who vociferously rejected the same, as it failed to tender any apology to Media , nor the house expunged the anti-media remarks from the earlier resolution. Earlier it was promised, the withdrawal of the previous resolution and scrapping the offensive remarks uttered by some MPAs in their speeches against the media during a week-long standoff. “ The previous resolution can’t be taken back, in accordance with constitutional law, however, the second resolution is just an eye-wash which does not reduce intensity of vilification nature of the previous resolution,” journalists observed.

PML-N has also apparently backed out of its declared intent to dismiss MPA Sanaullah Mastikhel, expecting the party chief would reconsider the issue after going through the complete record of the formal and informal meetings of an 18-member all-party MPAs’ panel that had drafted the resolution against media. Some political circles believe that it clearly personified that Shahbaz Sharif was backing Mastikhel for moving the resolution, and now, Mastikhel threatened to disclose the facts in the media, if he is forced to tender the resignation. Some sympathizers of Mian brothers advised them to avoid cooking up controversies, with their ill planned practical theories to pacify Media by sacking Mastikhel..

The process of verification of parliamentarians’ degrees by different local as well as foreign educational institutions on the request of the Higher Education Commission is near completion. So far 25 degrees are declared as fake while the status of other 33 degrees are still grey.

The PML-N has already announced it will not re-award tickets to fake degree holders. However, under a pledge, the PML-Q forward bloc MPAs in Punjab have been exempted from the ‘rule’ as they had stood by the PML-N during the governor’s rule. In the presence of inflexible attitude of Mian Nawaz Sharif and adoption of his dual standards, reportedly, fake degree holders are seeking help of Makhdoom Javed Hashmi, who is visibly a critic of some policies of Mian brothers, now a days. However, Hashmi did not feel comfortable to tackle the issue in support of fake degree holders. While, the fake degree holders, mostly PPP MNAs, tried to convince their leadership to move bill in the National Assembly to award them a ‘clean chit’, under the patronage of ‘ a democratic action’. The most vocal law minister, ‘Dr’ Babar Awan got a setback from the disclosure of US authorities that his degree of Doctorate of Criminology is fake as the University had a non-Charter status, which was forced to be closed by USA after levying heavy fine.

Fake degrees of the parliamentarians, exposed their intent to get the honorable seats of the parliament, by hook and crook . It attracted international media to ridicule the ‘fake’ legislators, who are not aimed at serving the people, but some other designs to quest for.

Media is getting vibrant day by day, though apparently wayward in direction, but it has adopted a role of equal stake-holder in the daily affairs of the government, which is not synonymous to the disposition of the feudalistic- dominated parliament, both National Assembly and provincial assemblies. Mostly the journalist’s class represent the middle class of the society, which is naturally opposed to the whims of a feudal mind set. They are not all angels, but recent history orchestrated that journalists who were following the foot steps of yellow journalism , where rejected by the public, forced the owners of the respective media houses to sack them. Public perception changed the themes of some top TV talk shows.

The revolt of the provincial parliament, through a joint resolution, is the personification of the non-acceptance of Media as a stake-holder, was turned down with a robust counter-coup by journalists, which would have far-reaching political and social implications in the near future .

Media is the mirror of the society, in which all segments of society have to see their real faces, including journalists and the parliamentarians. One can’t criticize on one’s own face if it looks disfigured in the ‘social’ mirror .