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Showing posts from July, 2007

India-Iran Relations

India said to have intelligence posts in Iran: report
By Khalid Hasan: Daily Times, August 1, 2007

WASHINGTON: India has developed intelligence outposts in Iran, including the Indian consulate in Zahedan and a relatively new consulate in Bandar Abbas, which provides India significant power-projection advantages in any future conflict with Pakistan, according to Christine Fair of the US Institute of Peace.

She writes in the current issue of Washington Quarterly “in the past, India helped Iran develop submarine batteries that were more effective in the warm-weather Persian Gulf waters than its Russian-manufactured batteries and is planning to sell Iran the Konkurs anti-tank missile.”

The South Asia scholar is quoted in an article by Bret Stephens appearing in the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday. He is unimpressed by US undersecretary of state Nicholas Burns’ defence of the 123-Agreement recently concluded between the Indian and US government. Burns argued, “Unlike Iran...India has not violat…

Is India, or Will it Be, a Responsible International Stakeholder?

Is India, or Will it Be, a Responsible International Stakeholder?
Xenia Dormandy; Washington Quarterly, Summer 2007, Volume 30, No. 3

Xenia Dormandy is executive director for research at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard University and former director for South Asia at the National Security Council.

It has become a cliché that the key strategic challenges facing Washington and the wider international community, such as energy, water, terrorism, economic development, and nonproliferation, cannot be solved by the United States alone. Although the United States unarguably retains its post–Cold War preeminent position, events since the September 11 attacks have shown the limitations of Washington’s hard and soft power. Meanwhile, the power of Europe and Japan are waning as they face internal distractions that limit their influence, while China’s is rising globally and in Asia, arguably the most important region to the United States strategically. China’s incr…

A US Alliance With One Man: Paula Newberg

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A US Alliance With One Man
Turmoil in Pakistan’s government may make a change in leadership inevitable
Paula R. Newberg; YaleGlobal, 31 July 2007

WASHINGTON: Trouble, we're told, comes in threes. But for Pakistan,this year has brought twice this number of problems - with more, no doubt, to come. Rising border instabilities with Afghanistan, renegade Islamic militancy in the heart of the capital, and a resurgent Taliban - the bread and butter of Pakistan's relationship with the US - have been overshadowed by the deepening problems of Pakistan's failing governance. General Pervez Musharraf's claimed prerogative has already provoked the judiciary to crisis. Rising civic opposition to the militarized executive branch exposed deep cracks in the army's edifice, and the mangled political system is ill- repared to accommodate the return of civilian politics.

Indeed, until the Supreme Court reversed his dismissal of the chief justice, Musharraf appeared to believe that constit…

Elections, Democracy and Stability in Pakistan: ICG Report

Elections, Democracy and Stability in Pakistan
International Crisis Group; Asia Report N°137, 31 July 2007

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS

President Musharraf faces the most serious challenge to almost eight years of military rule. Opposition has gathered momentum following his failed attempt to remove the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Moderate political parties, all segments of civil society and the public at large are vociferously demanding restoration of democracy and rule of law and the military’s withdrawal from politics. The choice is not whether a transition will come but whether it will be peaceful and orderly, through free and fair elections, or violent. Musharraf and the high command are tempted to retain their power at all costs. Several of their options – particularly emergency – could portend disaster. Rigged or stalled elections would destabilise Pakistan, with serious international security consequences. Especially the U.S., needs to recognise its …

Inside the booming madressah economy

Inside the booming madressah economy
By M Ismail Khan: The News, July 31, 2007

Take this with a pinch of salt, but let us admit that two weeks from its 60th birthday, Pakistan is ticking at a point where the question of who runs the country means little in relation to how it can be run. The gender of the next prime minister is of little importance, nor does it make a difference if the next president puts on a shirwani or a burqa, what really matters for the people is that they have a leader who is wise enough to understand the difficult challenges and strong enough to overcome them. One such impossible task at hand is to put the genie of the madressahs back into its original bottle.

Neutrally speaking, President Musharraf's eight-year rule, like the earlier two military governments of the 60s and 80s, turned out to be a period of decent economic growth. I do not mean to say that military governments are better economic managers and therefore there is no need for the country to retur…

A Sino-American Turf Battle In Pakistan: A Different Perspective

A Sino-American Turf Battle In Pakistan?
Ahmed Quraishi - 7/30/2007: Global Politician

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—An anti-American Islamic fanatic is arrested in Afghanistan, flown to Guantanamo Bay and then released back to Afghan authorities. He’s supposedly seething with anti-Americanism. But after crossing the border and returning to Pakistan, his first mission is to kidnap and kill a Chinese engineer.

In doing so, Abdullah Mehsud also becomes the first Pakistani to kill a Chinese citizen on Pakistani soil in a high profile case, creating an unfortunate precedent in the sixty-year long history of close Sino-Pak ties.

Mehsud was anti-American. Or was he? We haven’t seen him target any high or low profile American assets since the famous 2004 kidnappings. But he has single handedly done what others failed to do: he effectively scuttled Chinese help in a major Pakistani development project.

His sick explanation for this was, “I wanted to embarrass the government of President Pervez Musharraf.”

Th…

Muslims Speak Out By Tariq Ramadan

Muslims Speak Out By Tariq Ramadan
Washington Post Blo - July 25, 2007

1 . WHAT IS JIHAD? UNDER WHAT CONDITIONS DOES ISLAM SANCTION THE USE OF VIOLENCE? WHAT WOULD YOU TELL SUICIDE BOMBERS WHO INVOKE ISLAM TO JUSTIFY THEIR ACTIONS?


The concept of "jihad" has different meanings and a scholar such as Jalal ad-Dîn as-Suyutî (15th century), while studying its scope, highlighted 80 different dimensions, uses and objectives related to its place in Islamic teachings. Its root "ja-ha-da" means "making an effort", "exerting oneself" in order to promote good or to resist wrongdoing, evil or oppression. Every individual trying to resist her/his own negative temptations is engaged in "jihad" and the first time the word is used in the Qur'an (25:52), it refers to an intellectual and spiritual resistance by the means of the Qur'an itself.


In all its dimensions, the essence of "jihad" is "to resist" in the name of justice a…

The Reality about BB-Musharraf Deal?

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BBC: Bhutto lays down Pakistan terms: July 29, 2007

Bhutto ready to share power if Musharraf drops military role
· Joint rule seen as best way to beat extremists
· Deal could rescue beleaguered general
Declan Walsh; July 30, 2007, The Guardian

Pakistan's exiled opposition leader, Benazir Bhutto, has said she can share power with President Pervez Musharraf, but only if he quits as army chief.
Ms Bhutto's comments, in a television interview, followed a secret meeting with General Musharraf on Friday in the United Arab Emirates. Confirmation of the encounter by a cabinet minister intensified media speculation on the future of Pakistan's troubled government. "Deal done, sealed," said one newspaper headline.

But there was little hard information about what transpired in the meeting, which followed months of quiet negotiations. The sticking point appears to be whether Gen Musharraf can retain his dual role as president and head of the army. In an interview with the local K…

Consequences of Abdullah Mehsud's Death

Pakistan: The Implications of a Jihadist Commander's Death
STRATFOR; July 28, 2007
Summary

One of the most senior Pakistani Taliban commanders active in the
country's tribal belt, Abdullah Mehsud, killed himself July 24
during a raid in the province of Balochistan. Mehsud's rank, along
with the timing and location of his death, provide several insights
into the problems that thwart effective counterjihadist efforts. In
the past, the elimination of a high-value target helped Pakistan
satisfy U.S. concerns; however, Mehsud's death will increase the
pressure on Islamabad to show more progress.

Analysis

Perhaps the most publicly renowned Pakistani Taliban commander,
Abdullah Mehsud , killed himself July 24 by detonating a hand
grenade in order to avoid capture from a house in the town of Zhob
in Balochistan province. Mehsud's two brothers and a third Taliban
leader were arrested in the raid provincial police conducted on the
house, which allegedly belongs to a senior le…

US Congress Jolts Musharraf

Editorial: US Congress jolts General Musharraf
Daily Times, July 29, 2007

There is much disturbance in the dovecotes of Islamabad after the announcement that the White House has agreed to sign into law a counter-terrorism bill passed by the US Congress that also proposes new conditionalities on US assistance to Pakistan. Already, some retired Pakistani diplomats have appeared on TV channels to advise the government to “break off” with the United States and go its own way, which means listening to the “voice of the people” condemning the US as a “crusader against Islam”. The parliamentary Foreign Affairs Committee, too, has welcomed a similar briefing from an ex-foreign secretary.

The contents of the overwhelmingly bilaterally supported bill — which looks and sounds like the dreaded Pressler Amendment of 1985 — require Pakistan to make “demonstrated, significant and sustained progress towards eliminating terrorist safe havens from Pakistan”. One provision, which has got lost in the anti-…

Another Red Mosque in the Making

Another Lal Masjid surfaces
Daily Times, July 29, 2007

GHALANAI: Masked Taliban gunmen occupied the tomb of freedom fighter Haji Sahib Turangzai and a nearby mosque – and named it Lal Masjid – at Ghazi Abad in Lakrou Tehsil, some 40 kilometres north of Mohmand Agency headquarters Ghalani. Taliban leader Umar Khalid told reporters that they had named the mosque Lal Masjid and that the place was the centre of the jihad launched by Haji Sahib Turangzai against the British rulers. “We want to take forward the missions of Haji Turangzai and Lal Masjid’s slain khateeb Ghazi Abdul Rashid,” he added. Khalid also said they were setting up two madrassas, one each for boys and girls, and added that the boys’ madrasa would be named after Haji Sahib and the girls school would be named Jamia Hafsa Umm-e-Hassan. The Taliban leader said any govt effort against them would be resisted. He claimed around 3,000 men in Mohmand Agency were ready to sacrifice their lives for Shariah. staff report

Judges, Lawyers and Civil Society Ready to sacrifice everything for rule of law: CJ

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Picture: AP (From NDTV)
Bench, bar ready to do all for rule of law: CJP
Daily Times, July 28, 2007

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has said that Pakistan’s judges, lawyers and civil society are now prepared to “sacrifice everything” to ensure rule of law and the Constitution.

“The last four months in our national history have changed something forever. I feel proud to say that not only the judiciary and 90,000-plus black-coated fraternity, but the entire civil society is ready to sacrifice everything to uphold the Constitution and achieve rule of law,” the chief justice said at the inaugural session of the Access to Justice Development Fund (AJDF) workshop organised by the Law and Justice Commission.

“We should draw lessons from our past history. Let us seize this defining moment in our history, wherein not only has the holder of a constitutional post been restored to his office, but the hope of a better future for the entire country stands revived,” he said…

Table for Two?

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VIEW: Table for two? — Dr Hasan-Askari Rizvi
Daily Times, July 28, 2007

The reported meeting between Benazir Bhutto and General Pervez Musharraf in Abu Dhabi on July 27 is the latest effort by the two leaders to cultivate a working relationship. Benazir Bhutto said in an interview given a week ago that her past dialogues with the presidency did not result in any understanding on the President’s re-election and her return to Pakistan. She maintained that such an understanding might no longer serve the interest of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), as the Supreme Court’s rejection of the presidential reference against the chief justice has made Musharraf’s credibility crisis more acute.

Despite this, it seems that Benazir Bhutto has not given up the idea of cultivating a political understanding with Pervez Musharraf. She has claimed to pursue the off-again, on-again interaction for the sake of achieving the twin objectives of guaranteeing fair and free elections and returning the military …

Research on Pakistan's Nuclear Program

Book on Pakistan’s nuclear programme: SPD facilitating researchers’ access to scholars and scientists
By Azaz Syed: Daily Times, July 28, 2007

ISLAMABAD: The Strategic Plans Division (SPD) has helped two researchers from an American think tank who are writing the first ever comprehensive account of the country’s nuclear programme, by facilitating access to Pakistani scholars and former nuclear scientists, Daily Times has learnt.

The researchers – Dr Peter R Lavoy and former Pakistan Army Brigadier Feroz Khan from the Centre for Contemporary Conflicts (CCC) affiliated with the Naval Postgraduate School’s Department of National Security Affairs, California, US – are writing a book from a historical perspective. The California-based Centre for Contemporary Conflicts conducts research on different security issues and conveys its findings to US and allied policy-makers and military forces.

The Strategic Plans Division confirmed to Daily Times that it was facilitating the two researchers. “Ye…

"600 Suicide Bombers" trained in Red Mosque and Hafsa Madrassa

600 ‘suicide bombers’ lurking in twin cities
* ‘Walking bombs’ left Lal Masjid before final military operation
By Sharif Khan; The News, July 28, 2007

ISLAMABAD: The federal capital is likely to suffer from more suicide bombings as around 600 suicide bombers are hiding in madrassas and mosques within and around the limits of Islamabad and Rawalpindi, sources told Daily Times on Saturday.

“Around 600 students of Jamia Hafsa and Jamia Fareedia have not returned to their homes after the Lal Masjid operation. These are the people called ‘missing students’ and they are hiding in madrassas and mosques in and around the two cities. These are walking bombs and are determined to blow themselves up any time, anywhere,” said a source directly involved in the ongoing investigation of suicide blasts in the country.

“During interrogation, former Lal Masjid prayer leader Maulana Abdul Aziz said that five to six hundred students of the two madrassas had been trained, equipped and brainwashed to carry ou…

Aitzaz Ahsan: A Lawyer who turned a Judge into a National Cause

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A Lawyer Who Turned a Judge Into a National Cause
By SOMINI SENGUPTA; New York; July 28, 2007

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, July 25 — In the hands of a lesser political bloodhound, the matter might have been simply a court case to decide the fate of the chief justice of Pakistan.

In the hands of Aitzaz Ahsan, one of the country’s best known lawyer-politicians, the case of the chief justice was rendered a case of justice under military rule. What could have been no more than a polite exchange of arcane constitutional arguments became over the last four months a political finger in the eye of the Pakistani president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

The chief justice, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, was removed by the president in March on charges of misconduct. Mr. Chaudhry appealed to the Supreme Court, which ruled a week ago that General Musharraf’s action was illegal, and restored him to the post.

As the principal counsel for the chief justice, Mr. Ahsan not only led the legal challenge but also saw to it tha…

Pakistan's Pashtun 'problem'?

SPEAKING FREELY
Pakistan's Pashtun 'problem'
By Haroun Mir Jul 26, 2007; Asia Times

At least since September 11, 2001, most of the perpetrators of terrorist actions in the West have been Arabs or Pakistanis, yet the victims of the West's military reactions have been Afghans and the Pashtun tribes living in Pakistan.

The majority of Pashtuns have fallen prey to Arab and Pakistani propaganda against the West. The continued insurgency in Afghanistan and the sudden deterioration of the situation in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province make the Pashtun tribes the prime target in the "war against terror".


They have lived in poverty and become the proxy soldiers in the confrontation between the West and the Islamic extremists. The radicalization of young Pashtuns in madrassas (seminaries), generously financed by Saudi Arabia, menaces the cohesion of Pashtun tribal structure.

About 30 million to 35 million Pashtuns live in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, but the…