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Friday, 20 March 2009

Who will lead a Long March against horse trading in Punjab?


An interesting op-ed by Asadullah Ghalib in which he appeals to the people of Punjab to start a Long March against the politics of horse trading in Punjab.

If Nawaz Sharif is a man of principles, he must not promote the culture of horse trading in Punjab by trying to break up as many members of the PML-Q as he neeeds to form his government in Punjab.


Horsetrading can cause PA dissolution

Punjab Governor has asked Pakistan Muslim League-N to lend a hand in abolition of governor's rule through forming a coalition with any other party and warned it against horse-trading.

It may be noted that no party has a majority in Punjab Assembly. The Governor has promised to end governor's rule within 24 hours when any two parties form such a coalition. However, the Governor said, the assembly could be dissolved if horse-trading continues.

If the PML-N wanted an end to governor's rule in Punjab, it must stop horse-trading as that was against the spirit of Charter of Democracy.

Salman Taseer congratulated entire nation and Nawaz Sharif for their efforts for the restoration of the judges. He appreciated Nawaz Sharif for his democratic approach and nationalist politics as he open heartedly announced that PPP government would be allowed to complete five years in rule. The governor said he considered this approach a great change in the larger national interest.

Salman Taseer said that a new era of conciliation at federal level has started as a result of restoration of deposed judges and PPP wanted to settle all issues in Punjab with mutual understanding.

He asked Nawaz Sharif to step forward and bring back the politics to assemblies instead of roads as people were sick of confrontation. He said that both parties had promised in the Charter of Democracy (CoD) to respect the mandate of other parties.

He stressed that Governor Rule could only abolish if any two political parties having strength in Punjab Assembly after a regular alliance presented a combined candidate. He said the parties which wanted to form a government just step forward and make an alliance immediately as it was the only way to end governor's rule.

He said PML-N could form alliance with any political party of its choice.

Responding to the queries of the media persons, he said making forward-blocs in opponent political parties and horse-trading was against democratic norms and the constitution.

He said no MPA has right to defy the faith of masses and could not vote against his party.

Regarding the security and imposition of Section-144 in the province during long march, Salman Taseer said that Punjab government had been advised by the Prime Minister and the President to handle the rallies for long march with a soft hand. That was the reason no rally was tortured or stopped; protesters and participants of the march were not baton charged any where and no detentions were made; and lawyers and political workers were given a free hand. He cited the example of Shahbaz Sharif's public congregation at Gujranwala despite imposition of Section-144. Regarding Lahore tear gas incident at The Mall, the governor said the protesters started pelting stones on Police and they had to fire tear gas in return. He claimed he knew about the movement of Shahbaz Sharif but under the instructions from Islamabad he did permit Shahbaz's free shifting to Islamabad. Salman Taseer asked media men to stop speculating as to his removal as there would be no change of governor in the province and if any such plan would be on cards he himself would inform them about it.



Also read:

PML-N engaged in horse-trading in Punjab, Maneka bribed


Aamir Mughal said...


Masood Sharif Khan Khattak in Jawab Deyh - P-1/5


Masood Sharif Khan Khattak in Jawab Deyh - P-2/5


Masood Sharif Khan Khattak in Jawab Deyh - P-3/5


Masood Sharif Khan Khattak in Jawab Deyh - P-4/5


Masood Sharif Khan Khattak in Jawab Deyh - P-5/5



Major Aamir's interview with Dr Shahid Masood


Mere Mutabiq - Major Aamir


Undercover Chaos – Role of Pakistani Armed Forces Intelligence Agencies in Domestic Arena


Civilian Rule 1988-1999

After Zia’s death Vice Chief of Army Staff, General Mirza Aslam Beg took command of the army and decided to work behind the civilian façade rather than direct rule. This was the time when General Head Quarter (GHQ) and intelligence agencies started blatant political maneuvers. In 1989, the newly elected Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto leery of ISI’s close association with her political rivals appointed a retired Lt. General Shamsu ur Rahman Kallu to head ISI (1989-90). This decision was made without taking army high command into confidence; therefore Kallu was blacked out by his own organization. In addition, army Chief Mirza Aslam Beg transferred the political role of ISI to MI (then headed by Major General Asad Durrani) which was directly under GHQ control. When Benazir government was dismissed in 1990, Durrani was given the task of running both MI and ISI for a while before he became Director General of ISI (August 1990-March 1992). After his departure from ISI, Durrani was serving as Commandant of National Defence College. However, he kept his channels open with politicians without informing his chief. He had unauthorized contacts with then opposition leader, Benazir Bhutto. Benazir was under the impression that Durrani was negotiating on behalf of GHQ. In May 1993, during her meeting with army Chief Abdul Waheed Kakar, she talked about issues discussed by Durrani. Although Kakar had some information about Durrani’s contacts but Benazir’s revelations stunned him. However he kept quite and got all details. Durrani was struck off Duty (SOD) and his dismissal orders were served to him when he landed after an overseas trip. (8) Later, during her second term (1993-96) Benazir rewarded Durrani by appointing him ambassador to Germany.

During his first term (1990-93), Nawaz Sharif picked Lt. General Javed Nasir to head ISI (March 1992-July 1993). Nasir was part of an informal link with Nawaz Sharif’s father Mian Muhammad Sharif through the non-political proselytizing religious organization, Tableeghi Jamaat. A retired judge Rafiq Ahmad Tarar (who gained notoriety for bribing judges of Baluchistan High Court to remove Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah and later rewarded with the Presidency of the country) was also part of this informal group. Sharif used ISI and IB as a cushion when his relations with new army chief General Asif Nawaz Janjua (1991-93) soured. Janjua’s sudden death set in motion a new cycle of intrigues and new army Chief General Abdul Waheed Kakar had his hands full from day one. After sending both Prime Minister and President home in 1993, Kakar sacked both the serving DG of ISI Nasir and a former DG of MI and ISI Durrani. New DG ISI Javed Ashraf Qazi was assigned the task of cleaning up ISI and he was followed by Lt. General Nasim Rana. During Benazir’s second term (1993-96), she tried not to stir the intelligence pot. At that time, both ISI and her own Afghan hand Major General ® Naseerullah Khan Babar were on the same page as far as Afghanistan was concerned which prevented any serious clash.

During his second term (1996-99), Nawaz Sharif was initially busy with his showdowns with opposition, President and Judiciary and cleverly kept working relations with army brass. Once securing his other bases, he confronted army Chief General Jehangir Karamat about a speech which Karamat gave suggesting establishment of a National Security Council consisting of civilian and military decision makers to tackle difficult issues. To the whole military’s astonishment and disgust, Karamat tendered resignation. On October 12, 1998, Sharif chose then Adjutant General (AG) of army, Lieutenant General Ziauddin Ahmad Butt to head ISI. Sharif didn’t take Mussharraf into confidence about this crucial appointment and moved Butt to ISI before the new Chief could get his team of confidants into place. Mussharraf countered this move by promoting Deputy Director General (DDG) of ISI Major General Muhammad Aziz (later General and Chairman JCOSC) and giving him the second most important job after Chief by appointing him Chief of General Staff (CGS). Aziz was in charge of Afghan affairs in ISI as DDG and he moved some of the Afghan Cell activities to MI, which is under GHQ control. It was a de ja vu of 1989, when Benazir had tried to bring her own man to head ISI. Over a decade, Afghan Cell activities have invariably expanded into domestic arena as a number of state and non-state actors of the country were actively involved. This re- shuffle helped Mussharraf to keep firm control over overall intelligence activities; however it set the stage for more intrigues.

Political leadership of Pakistan is essentially a family business and rather than following a political code of conduct, politicians have always looked for the shortest route to power which goes through the GHQ. Rather than fighting their battles at polling booths and in assemblies, civilian politicians hob knob with army to get to the positions of power and privilege. Without exception, all political parties and their leaders have worked with military brass in one or another capacity. Civilian leaders insecure in their own political arena and deeply suspicious of the army leadership have tried to play their own little games. When allowed to run the affairs of the country, they try to influence the appointment to intelligence agencies and cultivate sympathetic officers. Helpful officers are duly rewarded for their services. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s reliance on ISI increased as he was increasingly coming under pressure from domestic opposition. He would get regular briefing from DG ISI about domestic political scene. Benazir Bhutto during her first term (1988-90) appointed a retired Lt. General Shamsur Rahman Kallu as DG ISI. However, when Kallu was completely shut out by his own organization and GHQ, she relied more heavily on IB to counter military’s moves. Deputy Director of IB Masud Sharif Khattak was instrumental in laying the trap for ISI officers, Brigadier Imtiaz (by that time Imtiaz had left his powerful position in ISI and was posted in Risalpur) and Major Amir (he was in charge of Islamabad detachment of ISI). The scandal known as ‘Operation Midnight Jackals’ was about involvement of active duty military officers to bribe Benazir’s party members to switch loyalties and help in passing the no confidence motion against her. Nawaz Sharif during his first term (1990-93) tried to cover both bases by appointing Lt. General Javed Nasir to head ISI and Brigadier ® Imtiaz to head IB. However, when he created a constitutional crisis by directly confronting an equally stubborn President Ghulam Ishaque Khan, army Chief forced both of them to resign. Both Nasir and Imtiaz were removed immediately from their powerful positions after the ouster of Sharif. During his second term (1996-99), Sharif kept tabs on then army Chief Jehangir Karamat. A senior officer of ISI and some junior officers were assigned the task to track down the details of Ukraine tank deal. It is not clear whether then DG ISI Lt. General Nasim Rana had any information about this. There have been no allegations of any wrongdoing on part of Karamat in defense purchases; however, some sources suggest that when Sharif confronted Karamat and asked for his resignation, he had these files at his table. Sharif used the change of guard at army leadership in 1998 after resignation of Karamat to appoint his favorite Lt. General Ziauddin Ahmad Butt as DG ISI before new chief could bring in his own team of confidants. Both Sharif and Butt met their Waterloo in October 1999 when Sharif tried to appoint Butt as army Chief.

Civilian leaders reward those officers who help them in their political maneuvers. Sharif appointed the sacked DG ISI Nasir as his intelligence advisor and later Chairman of Evacuee Property Trust Board (EPTB). Two officers of ‘Operation Midnight Jackals’ fame who were sacked from the army were properly compensated by Sharif. Brigadier Imtiaz was given the coveted directorship of IB while Major Amir was made special advisor to N.W.F.P. Chief Minister and later given a job at Federal Investigation Agency (FIA). Benazir Bhutto rewarded former DG ISI Durrani with an ambassadorship to Germany. In addition, former DG IB Masud Sharif and a former head of Sindh detachment of ISI are now members of central committee of Pakistan Peoples Party. Many Colonel and Brigadier level intelligence officers have developed mutually beneficial relationships with political and business elites of the country. Such measures set a very bad precedent as sacked officers become more rich and influential after they shed their uniform giving the signal to future mavericks that intrigues may be quite rewarding. This mutually beneficial and sometimes corrupting influence created the instability which never allowed a smooth working relationship between highest decision makers of the country. Mutual mistrust and fear gave way to more intrigues and rumors ruining even any semblance of a well informed coordinated effort to tackle complex issues of the country.

The most damaging effect of mutual suspicion and manipulation of intelligence positions by civilian and military leaders was on the country’s image and severely jeopardized some important areas of national security and foreign policy. Adversaries were fully aware of these differences and used them to their advantage. One example will show the negative impact of such maneuvers. DG ISI Ziauddin Butt was close to Nawaz Sharif and not trusted by GHQ. Army chief was dealing with some crucial matters through his own intelligence officers. Taliban of Afghanistan were getting two sets of emissaries and they were fully aware where the real power centre was in Pakistan. Butt’s ISI emissaries were in contact with Taliban while representatives of army chief were telling Afghans not to listen to Ziauddin Butt. On October 07, 1999, Butt went to Qandahar and confronted Mullah Omar with the evidence of presence of training camps of some extremist religious organizations involved in sectarian killings in Pakistan. Mullah Omar gave Ziauddin cold shoulder telling him to go back to Pakistan to find the terrorist camps there, as Afghanistan had none. Normally ISI delegations were entertained with a feast but on this occasion Mullah Omar called in one of his boys and asked him what was on the menu of the ordinary kitchen and made his point by serving okra dish to Butt and his entourage. (9)

Raazi said...

Great opportunity or a historic failure?
Reality check

Friday, March 20, 2009
Shafqat Mahmood

Whatever the politics leading up to the long march, its successful conclusion provided a great opportunity to the political class to start afresh. A long-standing sore and cause of friction had been removed from our body politic. It was possible, with a degree of shamelessness in some cases, for all sides to claim victory. And, interested third parties such as the military and the United States, were ready to bridge the trust deficit and guarantee terms of rapprochement. Alas, in just a few days this grand opportunity seems to be slipping.

President Zardari is determined more than ever to carry forward the battle in Punjab. His meeting with the leadership of the PML-Q is an indication that he is not ready to recognise the PML-N's mandate in the province. There is also a growing suspicion among the lawyers' community that a sinister move is being made to thwart the restitution of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and other honourable judges sacked by a dictator. These are bad signs and omens of tough times ahead.

Let us be straight. If now something is done either by the president or by the Dogar Court to stop Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and his colleagues from assuming or remaining in office, there will be hell to pay. It is an unthinkable and only a wicked mind can consider of it, but there is no shortage of nasty people in this great land of ours. If indeed there is any such move, President Zardari must take the lead in quashing it. It has literally taken blood, sweat and tears for the nation to reach this point. A reversal is unimaginable.

Also, it needs to be understood that there is no possibility of moving forward on the political front if this issue surfaces again. The people will be outraged, and having been bitten twice by false promises, will not stop short of physically toppling the government. The political parties, sans people like Fazlur Rehman who with every passing day reveal their villainy, will be forced into an all-out confrontation, even if they realise the pitfalls inherent in it. It is best for Zardari to accept this reality and move forward on the political front.

It is difficult to fathom correctly the motives of the political players, but there is little doubt that opportunity still exists for a grand compromise. Mian Nawaz Sharif has been magnanimous in victory and actually congratulated President Zardari for conceding to the judges' restitution. Prime Minister Gilani, who has emerged as a leading player in the PPP and whose role in the recent crisis has been appreciated by all, strongly believes in national reconciliation. The country also desperately wants peace and stability. Then, why this intransigence?

Clearly, Mr Zardari, for all his tactical fast moves, is incapable of seeing the bigger picture. He does not realise that political reconciliation will secure not only his tenure in office but give the country stability. True, he is nursing the wound of a serious political setback, but this is a time to rise above personal hurt. A settlement can be secured only if he is ready to live with a lack of total power.

The terms on which this can be done are simple. The PPP should recognise the mandate of the PML-N in Punjab and continue with the coalition in the province. In any such arrangement there are irritants, but a frank dialogue can resolve them. Indeed, a power distribution formula can be worked out in detail, including touchy issues such as the authority of the coalition ministers, posting and transfers of civil servants, allocation of development funds. But all of this requires sincerity of intent.

It also requires keeping in check or getting rid of people who thrive on confrontation. In the context of Punjab, there is no bigger offender than the governor, Salmaan Taseer. From the day he assumed office, he has kept the political temperature boiling. He, also by all accounts, misled Zardari into thinking that the day the Shahbaz Sharif government is sacked he will produce a PPP majority. He was wrong then and is wrong now. He has also shown remarkable ineptitude in governing and, among other things, failed to thwart the long marchers. He must go.

Once the Punjab issue is resolved, the PPP should ask the PML-N to join the federal government. It happened in the past and with the resolution of the judicial issue, it can happen again. It may seem like clichés or mouthing of standard statements of pious intent, but the nation will greatly benefit from the coming together of the main political forces.

Let us recognise that we are virtually in a war situation. This war is visible in the tribal areas, Swat and other parts of the Frontier, but its covert appendage exists in all parts of the country. We are facing a serious challenge to our constitutional arrangement, our culture and our social fabric. Extremism in its various forms is everywhere and unless a concerted effort is not made, it will be impossible to tackle it. This requires the political forces to come together. A grand national coalition is a plus all around.

While these political moves are initiated, it is also important to clean the mess in the judiciary. Besides the judges who indemnified the murder of the judiciary by a dictator, there are others who are unfit to be inducted into its higher echelons. They have been by the dozen and their appointments have been widely questioned. Unless this matter is resolved, it will continue to remain a serious irritant.

There are reports that Prime Minister Gilani is keen to form a judicial commission to look into this matter. President Zardari should endorse this, and this should be made a part of the reconciliation process. It does not matter if some of the judges have been party people; the real question is their qualification. If they are qualified by recognised standards to be judges of the superior courts, they should be allowed to continue. But if they are not, and this should include those appointed by Musharraf, they should be asked to leave.

Lastly, the political order cannot hope to be stable if the leaders of a major political party are kept out. Mian Nawaz Sharif and Mian Shahbaz Sharif should come back into the political process. It was reckless of the apex court to disqualify them and amends should be made. The review petition supposed to be moved by the government should not be an eyewash. It must deliver.

The roadmap for a reconciliation process thus includes recognition of each other's mandate, inclusion of all political players and cleaning up the mess in the judiciary. It is not as difficult as it sounds, but it requires vision and that is a commodity in seriously short supply. Unfortunately, the more likely scenario is that it will not happen.

The Army and General Kayani have truly played a national role in resolving the judicial crisis. They deserve all the kudos being given to them. Let us not test their resolve by creating historic political failures.

Email: shafqatmd@gmail.com


Aamir Mughal said...

Brig Niaz: the man playing the informal go-between


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

By Tariq Butt

ISLAMABAD: Brig (retd) Niaz, a friend of President Pervez Musharraf, had more than once facilitated return of some female members of the Sharif family to Pakistan in the past to attend to family affairs.

He had no acquaintance with the Sharif family until he was approached by a common friend a few years ago, seeking his help in facilitating travel of female members of the Sharif family to Pakistan through his good offices with President Pervez Musharraf to attend marriages of their relatives. Sharifs were then in Jeddah.

"I was groomed in an environment that doesn't allow being discourteous with anybody expressing his desire to meet him," the former brigadier had told this correspondent before Nawaz made an abortive attempt to return to Pakistan on Sept 10 last year.

Niaz met the Sharifs in London where he had primarily gone for treatment. The soldier had sought that since he was an apolitical person he should be spared from being embroiled in any controversy. He did not agree to a record chat, but consented to tell the story about his contacts with Sharifs and how relations between Musharraf and him built up.

Before his failed attempt to return to Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif was thrashing Musharraf in his live news conferences in London. At that point, one clearly noticed that Niaz was greatly distressed by Sharifs' diatribe against Musharraf. But he was helpless and felt embarrassed. His last encounter with Sharifs in London had turned out to be a futile exercise when he failed to convince Nawaz Sharif to delay his return to Pakistan for some time.

However, when the common friend had urged Niaz to talk to the president, he was quick to say yes. He had met Musharraf and secured the requisite go-ahead for Sharifs to attend marriages in their family.

The six feet-plus tall former brigadier, originally hailing from Chakwal, one of the main recruiting areas of the Pakistan Army, faced no difficulty in obtaining the president's consent for Sharifs to come back, saying that female members should not suffer for the faults of their male elders.

During his meetings with Sharifs, Niaz had been urging them to show restraint towards the president, realising the grave situation in Pakistan. But the two brothers had never practically did that and kept on with their rhetoric.

Niaz again hit the headlines last week when Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) president Shahbaz Sharif met him at his Islamabad residence. This was basically meant to thank and show respect to the former brigadier for facilitating the Sharif family at the most difficult time for a private affair.

"This was basically a courtesy call from Shahbaz, who was meeting people that had come to their rescue during their time in exile," a PML-N leader told The News. "Like Niaz's previous encounters with Sharifs, this one, too, failed to moderate them. Niaz, however, did stress that Sharifs should lower their temperament," he said.

When one had met Niaz, the judicial crisis was at its peak and Musharraf had been pushed to the wall. The former brigadier was extremely distraught over the point where Musharraf had gone because of the immense public pressure. He was also displeased with what a set of judges of the Supreme Court and his detractors were doing against the president. Particularly, Sharifs unhealthy role in the whole situation disturbed him a lot. He gave the impression as if his mission miserably failed.

Cigar-smoking Niaz did not know Musharraf at all till a former colonel, who was his and the president's friend, arranged a meeting between them. This is how the two became friends. Niaz was penniless when he had to leave the Army in 1977 for his refusal to fire at protesters during the limited martial law in Lahore. He was extremely worried about how he and his children, including a blind daughter, would make both ends meet. He had no home, no other resources to fall back on.

It was the then Chief of the Army Staff Mirza Aslam Beg who, knowing Niaz since long, enquired after his plight and came to know about his condition. He pushed him to involve himself in defence purchases. Niaz was reluctant, saying he has no experience in the field and did not know complexities of the business.

Finally, he agreed and earned kudos. He later bought the present sprawling house in Islamabad. Wherever he went in army offices for business purpose, he found officers, who had been his students in the Army when he was an instructor. It turned out to be an easy sailing for him all around.

Niaz, around 80, has been seriously ill for the past few years. He was suffering from memory loss and other brain problems that also resulted in significant weight loss. He has to give up some of his old habits, including cigarette smoking, but sought permission from doctors to smoke cigar, which was less injurious. He visits Britain off and one for treatment.

Aamir Mughal said...


Osama offered to buy votes for Nawaz: Qazi


ISLAMABAD, March 18: Jamaat-i-Islami chief Qazi Hussain Ahmed has revealed that Osama bin Laden had offered to buy loyalties of legislators to see Mian Nawaz Sharif as prime minister. In an interview appearing in the magazine of an Urdu newspaper on
Sunday, Qazi Hussain Ahmed said that Osama had visited the JI headquarters Mansoora and wanted to strike an agreement with the Jamaat but the suggestion was declined by him. Excerpts of the interview were published by the newspaper on Saturday. Qazi said he had met Osama several times in the past.

However, the JI on Saturday clarified that meetings between the JI amir and Osama in Peshawar and Lahore were held in days when the Al Qaeda leader was staying in Peshawar. Recalling political events that took place when Mr Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League and JI were components of the then Islami Jamhoori Ittehad, Qazi said Osama was a big supporter of IJI and Nawaz Sharif and wanted to see him Pakistan’s prime minister.

“Bin Laden was prepared to pay for buying parliamentarians’ votes to achieve this objective,” said Qazi Hussain Ahmed, who also heads the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal. He said a delegation sent by Osama had visited him in Peshawar and conveyed that they wanted cooperation from JI but “we declined the request”. In a statement issued on Saturday, a JI spokesman said that excerpts from interview were published in the daily and presented on a private TV channel in such a manner that they were creating confusion in the minds of people.—PPI


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