Friday, October 21, 2011

Abandoned children Of dubious patronage and indubitable hypocrisy

Once upon a time a man called America enticed a woman called Pakistan, promising all kinds of things that Lotharios always do. The giddy girl fell for it. America fathered many children with her. A woman called Saudi Arabia the midwife every time. One child was named ‘Mujahideen al Amreeka’ and later renamed ‘Taliban bin CIA al ISI’. Another, conceived with ova supplied by the midwife, was named ‘Al Qaeda bin Amreeka’. A third was named ‘Haqqani bin Amreeka al Jaal’. There were many others. America fathered them for a purpose.

After the children had served their purpose, the father abandoned them. Naturally, they turned against him and became his enemies. Ever since, he has been doing everything to kill them. The children are killing him back. The children are winning. The father is desperate. He has gone bankrupt. His political system is paralysed. He cannot think logically. He hypocritically blames the mother and the donor-midwife for having fathered them too like self-procreating organisms and also turned on them. But he never blames himself for abandonment as callous fathers do. So he is paying the price, as are the mother and the midwife.

Lacking logical answers, America scoffs at those that question it by trying to portray them as inferior life forms: “That was history. This is now. Forget the past”. Pseudo ‘intellectuals’, themselves looking to help America father more illegitimate children, say, “Right on. Look to the future.” Problem is: the past never allows you to forget itself. If you try, the future becomes bleak. That is America’s prime hypocrisy in this region.

Hypocrisy: There were times when Ronald Reagan likened the Haqqani Network’s founder Jalaluddin Haqqani and America’s other children to the “moral equivalent of America’s founding fathers” who were freedom fighters against the British. America’s children then were freedom fighters against the Soviet Union. Today, they have become the “moral equivalent” of freedom fighters against American occupation. That’s the only difference – just a detail.

Hypocrisy: Retiring Admiral Mike Mullen’s assertion that the ‘Haqqani Network’ is “a veritable arm of the ISI” is a parting-kick of desperate petulance. He forgets that the Mujahideen-Taliban, Al-Qaeda and the Haqqanis started life as “veritable arms of the CIA”. If America’s callous, hypocritical and irresponsible personality hadn’t caused it to become an abandoning father, they would never have turned against it. America forsook its strategic and moral responsibility of looking after its children and is now reaping the harvest.

Hypocrisy: What would you do if someone broke into your house and tried to occupy it? You would bring out your gun and shoot him, wouldn’t you? Well, that is exactly what the Haqqanis and Taliban are doing. Contrarily, America wants Pakistan to wage war on the Afghan Haqqanis on its behalf because they are killing Americans in Afghanistan. That begs the question: what are you doing in Afghanistan in the first place? It is not your country. It belongs to the Afghans. They are fighting to free it. They have every right to do so. Wasn’t that the logic when the Soviet Union was the occupier? Or does logic change with occupier?

Hypocrisy: While America wants Pakistan to wage war against the Haqqanis, it itself wants to negotiate with them. What sense does that make? Talk of being two-faced.

Hypocrisy: America allows its unstable drug lord stooge Karzai to cozy up to India, giving it undue entry and influence in Afghanistan. India should be careful. History shows that whoever befriends America eventually comes a cropper, and not just in the Third World. Europe followed crazy American economic nostrums cooked up by bankers who by definition are limited of living on more and more credit. Today their economies have flatlined. Afghanistan has been totalled. Pakistan followed America slavishly virtually from the beginning and today its very existence is being wondered about. Learn lessons from our pathetic histories, my dear neighbours, learn lessons. Don’t commit suicide in an effort to do Pakistan down. Keep pestering us if it pleases you, but for your own sakes don’t do it by getting into bed with America, else you will get an unmentionable disease. We have.

Hypocrisy: The events of 9/11 started it all. Ten years on and America has still not provided incontrovertible proof that it was Al-Qaeda that did it. Oh, I forget, I’m a ‘conspiracy theorist’.

Hypocrisy: On May 2 this year America claims to have killed Osama Bin Laden in a decrepit house in Abbottabad, while many important Americans say that he died in late 2001. But they are ignored as – you guessed it – ‘conspiracy theorists’. No one was shown the body, not even their own media. They claim to have done a DNA test in 24 hours, which experts say is impossible. They quickly dumped his body in the Arabian Sea. They don’t even show us the photographs because they are too gruesome. Since when did ‘gruesome’ bother America? Since they saw the bodies of cooked Japanese in Hiroshima and Nagasaki? There goes the ‘conspiracy theorist’ again. When people don’t have cogent answers to what you are saying, their defense is to discredit you by labeling you a ‘conspiracy theorist’. Their puppets parrot them. When the ‘conspiracy theorist’ abuse is hurled at me, I’m convinced that there is something to what I am saying. Yes, I am a ‘conspiracy theorist’ and proud of the label. You keep hatching conspiracies; I will keep questioning them. When you cannot answer rationally and in a civilised manner, you have lost and I have won.

Hypocrisy: America keeps moaning about the growing heroin addiction in its country. Having ‘successfully’ occupied Afghanistan and installing its satrap Karzai there, couldn’t it have prevented the growth and refinement of poppy? The Taliban government made poppy cultivation history. But if America did it too, how could it assert that the drugs trade is financing its abandoned children, when actually it is financing America’s war: enough has been written about how America part-financed its wars in Latin America, Indo-China and Afghanistan through drugs as a matter of policy. As you sow so shall you reap: there was a time when America and Britain deliberately exported so much opium to China that it turned it into a country of addicts. Today, China is an audacious world climber and America is a pathetic world descender. Too many Americans are drug (and credit) addicts. Which is worse? Such is the bitter fruit of perfidy and hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is the product of stupidity.

So, my two-faced ‘friend’, let’s forget history and talk of today. European economies are finished. America’s economy is in terminal decline. The dollar isn’t dead yet not only because China keeps it on life support to save its loans to America, its investments in America and America’s investments in China.

It is more because the dollar still remains the reserve currency till an alternative is found, which it will be. When people buy dollars (or US bonds), they don’t do so because they think that, “it is as good as gold”. They do so because with all other dollar-pegged currencies also in decline, stock markets in turmoil, equities unstable and real estate falling, they might as well go with the reserve currency until they have something more solid and stable to park their money in. With America’s political system too incompetent to throw up quality leadership to solve its myriad problems, confidence is zero. That, my dear America, is today.

If America doesn’t see sense, stop its hypocrisy and get out of the many messes that it has got into, I wouldn’t bet on it surviving as the global bully much longer. But that is how empires fall: hubris, strategic and intellectual decadence, and imperial overreach.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Yamaha to set up a Motorcycle plant in Pakistan

Finally some good news coming out of Pakistan !

Japanese motorcycle manufacturer Yamaha, will invest $150 million to establish a manufacturing plant in Pakistan. This was revealed at a meeting by the visiting three-member delegation of Yamaha, who called on the Chairman Board of Investment, Saleem H Mandviwalla on Tuesday.
Mandviwalla later told journalists that Yamaha Japan approached BOI through the commission in Japan with the proposal to manufacture motorcycles in Pakistan. He said that Yamaha will establish their manufacturing facility in National Industrial Park, Bin Qasim, Karachi, by acquiring 50 acre of land.
The motorcycle will have EFI engine, automatic transmission, water cool & environment friendly exhaust system, meeting European standards, in this plant. This will not only meet the demand of Pakistani market but will also enable them to export their models to various Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries.
Mandviwalla said that keeping in view the current fuel and energy situation in Pakistan, Yamaha will produce state of the art motorcycles with less fuel consumption of Rs10 per 30min drive which covers a distance of 40-50km. He stated that President Zardari, during his visit to Japan in February 2011, also met Yamaha officials and ensured that government has framed the rules and procedure for the foreign investors in the auto sector.
The Board of Investment is working to frame a policy that rests on the production of high technology products with environment friendly and consumer satisfying features.
The board, being the facilitator of investments in the country, strongly feels that the New Entrant Policy of automobiles should focus on important international auto manufacturers in Pakistani market and meet the local demand and supply gap of various sectors.
Yamaha Executive Officer Sumioka Ryouichi that the investment in Pakistan will create 45,000 jobs and with the transfer of technology in manufacturing of motorcycle, vendor skill capability and capacity will also be developed with exclusive training institutes being run by the company.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Why Karachi is held on ransom by Zardari !

Asif Zardari owned Abraaj Capital now owns KESC ! Why Zardari will never let KESC run smoothly !

Nationalize KESC or Karachi is doomed !

Karachi must be one of the unluckiest places on earth and its people are victims of absolute greed and nepotism that is displayed overtly by the President of Pakistan and his cohorts. KESC is a shining example in our president’s list of achievements to undo the Pakistan society as his personal greed and the nepotism of his close associates is about to finish off the Karachi Electric Supply Corporate (KESC) as we know it. In Karachi, a 3 hour daily load-shedding based outage is now considered normal by Karachites who must be by far the most patient (read helpless) community in the world.

KESC was recently acquired by the Abraaj capital , a UAE based firm which is staffed primarily by Zardari’s relatives and associates. The deal itself is a complex and creative acquisition where Abraaj Capital itself does not own any shares of KESC, which are still held by the previous owners Al Jomaih Group (KES Power) and the Government of Pakistan. From the onset the new and very expensive executive management team from Abraaj, required the resignation of all existing Executive Management and replaced them with their own in-experienced and non technical management teams which included new graduates, bankers and career accountants to run the operations of an electric supply utility for one of biggest cities in the world (Well it could be worst as Zardari appointed a night club manager to run the national insurance company).

Next, a detailed asset inventory was taken including all hardware and land assets owned by the KESC Group in Karachi and its surroundings. These included prime properties and very expensive copper wire surplus and stock held by the KESC. These were sold at rock bottom prices to more of Zardari's cohorts. In the public imagination KESC’s biggest problem is the generation of power, the truth of the matter is that KESC is perfectly capable of generating power for its regional customers. It is in-fact the availability of furnace oil and gas that is the main issue. In 2008, KESC owed 80 Billion Rupees to its main suppliers which are WAPDA and Sui Southern Gas(SSGC). By the end of 2010, KESC now owes 350 Billion rupees to WAPDA and Sui Southern Gas. Zardari has been using his presidential powers to pressure WAPDA and SSGC to continue to provide the required furnace oil and gas to KESC without getting the bills paid for the last few years which results in this unprecedented debt. This off-course involves both government pressure on the suppliers and also large bribes paid to the senior executives at WAPDA and SSGC. In the meanwhile KESC continues to collect sizable cash from its regional consumers and that Cash is disappearing in the Black Hole of Zardari and Co’s well of greed. It is said that already Abraaj capital has gotten 50 times the return on its original investment. All the stakeholders are now awaiting is the imminent fall of the Zardari government and then all hell breaks loose.

The future will look something like this. Fast and timely exits of all key players from Abraaj capital from the country before their names are put on the infamous exit control list. A suspension of furnace Oil and Gas supplies to KESC, resulting in ceasure of all power generation by KESC. Potential social havoc in Karachi due to complete daily outages with only limited hourly power supply during the day. Mass social unrest as hospital, schools and the general social structure is deeply affected by complete and limitless power outages. In case of a Sharif Government coming in (as it would be technically their turn to rip the country off) a hard-line approach is expected towards Karachi which would result in political upheaval and further violence in the city. In short, this would be by far the worst affecting corruption scandal in our history rife with massive and overt corruption scandals. And all this is happening as I write these words.

How did Abraaj take control of KESC !

According to the detailed answer regarding ownership of shares, this is the exact explanation provided to The News by Mr Farrukh Abbas. It is reproduced in toto so that experts can decipher the real situation.

The question sent to Abraaj was the following: Has the transfer of 51 per cent shares between Al-Jomaih Group (KES Power) and Abraaj Capital been completed. If so when was it done?

The answer: It is important to note that there is no transfer of shares taking place in the transaction. Abraaj will subscribe for new shares in KES Group, the holding company that currently owns 71.5 per cent of KESC. As a result of this subscription for new shares, Abraaj will end up owning 50 per cent of the issued share capital of KES Power, and therefore will indirectly own 35.75 per cent of KESC. All of the capital (i.e. funds) used for the purchase of KES Power Shares will remain in KES Power and will then be injected into KESC (this is what is meant by capital injection). The total amount to be injected equals US$361 million, all of which will go directly into the business of KESC. This exactly equal the amount that has been invested in KESC by the existing shareholders Al Jomaih Group and NIG, who will continue to hold the same number of shares as before in KES Power, but will be diluted down to 30 per cent and 20 per cent ownership respectively in KES Power. As part of the agreement between Al-Jomiah and Abraaj, Abraaj will have full management control of KESC.

These top level connections to the political leadership of the country apart, the Abraaj management has already acquired the reputation of an arrogant, no-nonsense set up which does not care about the consumers of KESC or the Karachi political leadership, an attitude never seen before in any management, not even run by the army.

Mystery ::
The mystery surrounding the new owners of KESC, Karachi’s beleaguered power supply utility, has finally been unraveled. In a rare show of plain speaking, the top boss of Abraaj Capital with his 40 expensive executives, has made startling written confessions which may stun the nation.
In response to 35-questions sent to Abraaj/KESC’s new management, Mr Farrukh Abbas, the Chief Executive Officer of Abraaj Capital (Pak) and Mr. Naveed Ismail the Chief Executive Officer of KESC, have sent a 28-page document answering all the questions sent by The News, explaining and confirming what has so far remained part of a vicious whispering campaign in cool and cozy drawing rooms.
For instance these top executives admit that Mr Farrukh Abbas is a relative of President Asif Ali Zardari. “Mr Abbas is not directly related to the Zardari family, but is indeed through marriage,” his written response to The News states, but quickly adds: “At no time has any personal relationship played a part in Abraaj’s involvement in KESC….Abraaj spent six months doing due diligence of this deal and no favours were sought by Abraaj during the course of its negotiations with the Government of Pakistan and none were granted outside the normal course of commercial discussions aimed at reviving KESC for the benefit of all stakeholders.”
Another frank admission is that the Group marketing and Communication Head of Abraaj/KESC, Mr Qashif Effendi, is also related to the Zardari family. Is this correct, Mr Abbas was asked. “They are distantly related but that relationship has no impact on the business, nor has it played any role in Mr Effendi’s known career growth,” the written response says.
Yet another shocker comes when the company chief admits that the new Chief Financial Officer of KESC, Mr Jalil Tareen, is a distant cousin and a good friend of Mr Shaukat Tareen, Prime Minister’s Adviser on Finance but adds: “He has obviously been hired entirely on his own merits as he also happens to have a superb track record as a highly seasoned UK-qualified chartered Accountant and senior manager in Pakistani local and multi-national businesses.”
Abraaj is a middle-east based company with over US$7.5 billionin management funds and has been operating in several countries. Its investors are predominantly from the Gulf and wider Middle East and increasingly from markets as wide as US, Asia and Europe and its management says it has an clean track record of transparent and self-regulatory conduct.
Yet the manner in which the Abraaj Group has taken over the control of KESC is highly complicated and it would take some real experts to determine how they have been allowed to run a company with 17,000 employees when they do not own one share, either of KES Power or KESC, as of today.
According to the detailed answer regarding ownership of shares, this is the exact explanation provided to The News by Mr Farrukh Abbas. It is reproduced in toto so that experts can decipher the real situation.
The question sent to Abraaj was the following: Has the transfer of 51 per cent shares between Al-Jomaih Group (KES Power) and Abraaj Capital been completed. If so when was it done?
The answer: It is important to note that there is no transfer of shares taking place in the transaction. Abraaj will subscribe for new shares in KES Group, the holding company that currently owns 71.5 per cent of KESC. As a result of this subscription for new shares, Abraaj will end up owning 50 per cent of the issued share capital of KES Power, and therefore will indirectly own 35.75 per cent of KESC. All of the capital (i.e. funds) used for the purchase of KES Power Shares will remain in KES Power and will then be injected into KESC (this is what is meant by capital injection). The total amount to be injected equals US$361 million, all of which will go directly into the business of KESC. This exactly equal the amount that has been invested in KESC by the existing shareholders Al Jomaih Group and NIG, who will continue to hold the same number of shares as before in KES Power, but will be diluted down to 30 per cent and 20 per cent ownership respectively in KES Power. As part of the agreement between Al-Jomiah and Abraaj, Abraaj will have full management control of KESC.
These top level connections to the political leadership of the country apart, the Abraaj management has already acquired the reputation of an arrogant, no-nonsense set up which does not care about the consumers of KESC or the Karachi political leadership, an attitude never seen before in any management, not even run by the army.
This became evident last week when a top Jamaat Islami delegation led by Mr Mehnti, tried to meet the top managers at the KESC office but they were not allowed on the 7th floor and security guards were called to shoo them out. A notice has been posted at the 7th floor that prior appointments are required to meet anyone.
Yet while the Abraaj management claims that these top level relationships with the political class have played no role in acquiring KESC or running it, the 28-page document submitted to The News denies these claims of not being a ‘most favoured company’, even before it has acquired the stakes.
For instance Abraaj has confirmed the following special favours given to the company in the last few months, eversince Abraaj started the due diligence process to acquire KESC. These statements of fact were made in answers to various questions in different contexts:
* While Abraaj has already taken over KESC and started running the show, the document says: “Management control of KESC will transfer fully to Abraaj once the transaction has been completed. “The Consortium agreement has been signed between Abraaj and KES Power (Al Jomaih Group, the previous owners) and there are a number of conditions precedents that need to be satisfied before the subscription of shares can take place.” So factually Abraaj has no shares in KESC as of now but has been handed over the management.
* “KES Power and the Government of Pakistan, as the existing shareholders of KESC, requested that Abraaj make its new management team available to the company prior to transaction completion”. Why the GOP was so interested in an Abraaj takeover even before the formalities and transfer of shares was completed has not been explained.
* The new senior management team was appointed and empowered by the existing Board of Directors, including the Government, through circulation without any formal Board meeting.
* “Abraaj’s entry into KESC will occur once the GOP approves a waiver to the Sales-Purchase agreement signed between the Privatisation Commission and KES Power in November 2005. The GoP has to approve the transaction and sale of new shares by KES Power to Abraaj by Nov 28, 2008 after which the shares would be available for transfer to Abraaj.”
* Although Abraaj has yet to acquire the shares, Government of Pakistan has already approved a petition awarding Disco Status to KESC which means buying Wapda electricity at 25 to 30 per cent of the current rates. This concession was denied to all previous managements of KESC for years, not given even by General Pervez Musharraf to army generals running KESC. Yet Abraaj is so influential it says: “Following consultations with the GOP, and after filing a detailed petition with NEPRA, Abraaj and KESC were able to convince the Government and NEPRA that this discriminatory treatment must be reversed and KESC must be treated on par with all the other Discos (distribution companies) in the country. NEPRA issued a determination in this regard following full consultations and hearings….It is important to note that key beneficiaries of this decision are the consumer of Karachi.” This decision would save KESC Rs30 billion in money it owes to Pepco and in future it will get electricity cheaper from Wapda.
* Regarding new concessions from the Zardari Government, Abraaj says:: “All that has been done is address actual problems and issues faced by KESC and to try and find solutions to these problems,” and significantly admits: “Some of these problems that were addressed had been lingering for years, without adequate focus from either the management of KESC or the Government….With active effort many of these problems have been solved, or at least begun to be solved..”
* In a significant claim, the Abraaj statement says: “Without active involvement from Abraaj and the new management team, many of these issues would have remained unresolved.”
* Government of Pakistan has already settled the dispute of pending payments between KESC and Wapda/Pepco on KESC’s terms. Besides the above fast track concessions, this is a major achievement as this was a lingering issue since 2004 but was resolved even before Abraaj has acquired the KESC shares. Abraaj, however, maintains that “Its (the Wapda dues) elimination does not alter KESC’s financial position and does not, in any sense, amount to a write off.”
* Abraaj and Government of Pakistan have already agreed on amendments in the Implementation Agreement which was originally signed between KESC and the Government when KESC was privatised to Al-Jomiah Group in Nov 2005. The Abraaj statement claims these amendments will “bring the agreement up to date and to clarify the support which the Government will provide (to KESC under Abraaj).”
All these decisions and agreements have been possible not because the top managers are relatives of President Zardari but because they are so smart and competent, within days and weeks they have moved the mountains and forced the bureaucratic machine to move in their favour at top speed, so that when they take over the company fully, nothing is left to decide and they can concentrate on providing electricity to the people of Karachi now burning KESC bills and shouting slogans on Karachi streets.
This smart management is being paid a huge price for this job. According to KESC insiders the total bill of Mr Abbas and his 40 executives is the same US$ 8 million which was paid to Siemens for operation and maintenance contract by the Al-Jomaih Group. But Siemens was an operations company with engineers and equipment, while these 40 executives are managers with a few engineers but no equipment.
When Abraaj was asked about this huge monthly salary tabs, ranging from Rs 1 million at the lowest level to Rs 5 million for the chief executive, plus the perks, Abraaj’s written response was: “Compensation for the new management team has been approved by the Board of Directors of KESC and is paid by the company. The Government of Pakistan’s Directors have also approved the compensation to be paid to the CEO.”
But Abraaj refused to confirm or deny the figures saying: “Being a public company, the total salary costs for the CEO and the management team will be disclosed in the annual audited accounts but at this stage it is sufficient to say that they are competitive and commensurate with comparables available in the corporate sector of Pakistan.”
The statement, however said: “The numbers quoted by you are incorrect,” yet at another point in the statement, Abraaj says: “These individuals did not join KESC for salary inducements, rather they left lucrative professional careers elsewhere in order to be able to turnaround KESC and participate in a story that hopefully will have a beneficial impact on the lives of millions of people.”
This last statement is amusing as nowhere in the world any corporate executive leaves a lucrative job to “participate in a story” to impact millions of lives. That basically is politics.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Pew Institute : 2/3 of Pakistanis and Indians have an unfavorable view of each other !

Pakistanis consider India and the Murtids - al Qaeda and Taliban- a major threat to Pakistan.

WASHINGTON: A PEW research says that most Pakistani disapproved of the US operation that killed Osama bin Laden, even though the terror leader was not a crowd favourite, a majority considered it a bad thing. However views about the US and Obama did not get any worse after bin Laden’s killing.
With the relations between the two war on terror allies moving towards breaking point, the research found that 63 per cent of the people did not approve of bin Laden’s killing while 55 per cent believed it to be a bad thing. A mere 37 per cent believed in using army to combat extremists in Khyber Pakhtookhwa and FATA areas.
The comprehensive report is broken down in six chapters, views on national conditions, ratings of political leaders and government institutions, death of bin Laden and the continuing efforts against terrorists, opinion about US and Obama, on extremism and how Pakistanis and Indians view each other.
Views on national conditions
With regards to national condition, the PEW research said that “Pakistanis continue to be highly dissatisfied with conditions in their country. Roughly nine-in-ten (92 per cent) are dissatisfied with the country’s direction. Almost as many (85 per cent) say the economic situation in Pakistan is bad. And optimism is scarce – 60 per cent think the economy will worsen in the next 12 months; only 13 per cent believe it will improve.”
Ratings of political leaders and government institutions
Ratings for President Zardari dropped from 20 per cent a year ago to mere 11 per cent. While ratings for the Prime Minister Gillani fared better, with 39 per cent, despite dropping from 59 per cent from a year ago.
In contrast, political rivals such as Imran Khan and Nawaz Sharif saw their popularity soar with Khan getting 69 per cent and Sharif 63 per cent.
Chief of Army Staff, Ashfaque Pervaiz Kayani came in third with 52 per cent. However, the institution he represents, the armed forces were viewed positively with 79 per cent approval. The ratings for the army have fallen only four points after the OBL incident.
Death of bin Laden and the continuing efforts against terrorists
After the bin Laden operation, criticism of the army was rising home and abroad. According to the PEW research data “although Osama bin Laden was not well-regarded in recent
years, few Pakistanis approve of the military operation that killed him, and most say it is a bad thing that the al Qaeda leader is dead. Looking forward, many think the killing of bin
Laden will create even greater tensions between the US and their country.”
As criticism about drone strikes increase, more and more people seemed to be getting knowledgeable about what the hue and cry about it. In addition to that, almost 61 per cent of the people disagreed that they were necessary while 89 per cent thought that they killed too many innocent people.
Support for the fight against extremism using Pakistani forces to conduct operations in the troubled FATA and Khyber Pakhtoonkhw areas of Pakistan has also waned with only 37 per cent of the people supporting an Army operation.
Opinion about US and Obama
Pakistanis are ranked second in viewing the US as unfavourable to their cause. The PEW report suggested that percentage of people who viewed America as friendly slipped from 17 per cent in 2010 to 12 per cent in 2011. Only in Turkey was America viewed less favourably with only 10 per cent viewing the country in positive light.
According to the PEW research, the views about Islmaic extremism slipped slightly in 2011 compared with 2010. However, with 63 per cent still worried about the extremism in the country, most Pakistanis continue to see it as a problem facing their nation. Many worry that extremists could take control of their country, and pluralities see al Qaeda and the Taliban as serious threats.
How Pakistanis and Indians view each other
Pakistanis continue to see India in a bad light, with the PEW research saying that views have gotten more negative about their arch rivals over the past five years. According to the research,

ONly 14 per cent of Pakistanis view India in a favourable light.
54 per cent consider India to be a serious threat to Pakistan. Pakistanis also consider Taliban and Al Qaeda (Murtids) a huge threat to Pakistan -Taliban is (34 per cent) and al Qaeda (29 per cent).
On the flip side, Indians do not view Pakistan as any more favourable as Pakistanis view Indians.
However, 65 per cent of Indians see Pakistan in a negative light compared to 75 per cent for Pakistanis.
Interestingly, despite the visible hostility between the neighbouring countries, a large majority of people on both sides of the border want to improve relations.

The full research report can be read on the PEW research website.

Pakistan Army Uncovers a cell of Murtids in the Army !

"Murtids" caught in the Army with contacts with a militant oganization. Serving Bearded army officer by the name of Brig. Ali Khan arrested.

A spokesman for Pakistan’s military confirmed on Tuesday that a senior officer had been detained and was under investigation for suspected ties to militants.

The BBC’s Urdu-language news service first reported that the officer, Brigadier Ali Khan, who was serving in the general headquarters of Pakistan’s military in Rawalpindi, was taken into custody last month.

Dawn, a leading Pakistani newspaper, added that the military’s chief spokesman, Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas, “confirmed that the officer had been arrested, but released no further details on which groups he was alleged to have been in contact with.”

General Abbas told Agence France-Presse that Brigadier Khan had been detained because of contacts with a “defunct” militant organization. He added, “The investigation is on and we follow a zero tolerance policy of any such activity within the army.”

General Abbas later told Reuters that Brigadier Khan was linked to Hizb-ul-Tahrir, a radical Islamist group.

Omar Waraich, a Pakistan correspondent for Time magazine, noted on Twitter that Hizb-ul-Tahrir “clandestinely dropped pamphlets in military cantonments” after the American raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, “calling for officers to establish an Islamic caliphate.”

A Karachi newspaper, The Express Tribune, reported that “sources close to Khan’s family revealed he had not returned home on May 6.”

“Senior military officers had told the family that he had been held back to answer some questions and that he would return soon,” the newspaper said.

A Pakistani journalist, Abbas Nasir, pointed out on Twitter, Brigadier Khan seems to have been detained just four days after the Abbottabad raid.

The Express Tribune said Brigadier Khan came from a military family. “Khan’s father was a junior-commissioned officer in the army and his brother is a serving colonel posted with an intelligence agency,” the paper reported. “His son-in-law and son are both captains in the army.” The Tribune added that a senior military source said that the possible radicalization of a senior officer “with loyalty to the army stretching to three generations” was “a worrisome issue for the army.”

After militants penetrated security at a naval base in Karachi earlier this month, Newsweek asked Rehman Malik, Pakistan’s interior minister, if “rogue elements within the military” might give radicals access to Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. The minister assured the magazine, “Our nuclear weapons are 200 percent safe.”

Monday, June 20, 2011

Pakistani Police and Army confused who are the "Good" and "Bad" Terrorists !

There is “massive confusion” in the police department about whether they can take action against certain banned groups such as the active Jamaatud Dawa unless they get the go-ahead from ‘big brother’.
These groups differ from clearly marked ones such as the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi or Tehreek-i-Taliban, who are fair game. In any given month, the police arrest at least a dozen of their operatives, who are paraded in front of the media, albeit under blankets to protect their identity. The proud officers rachet up the number of suspects and everyone goes home happy.
But what about the groups that fall in a grey area? In background interviews, senior police and civilian intelligence officials reveal to The Express Tribune that the confusion begins when they come across suspects who operate under groups with an “untouchable status”.
Take, for example, certain outfits such as the Jamaatud Dawa (JuD) whose members were “sashaying around” [Dhandanatay huey phir rahey they] in a massive rally to openly mourn the death of Osama bin Laden, as one senior police official put it. It was ironic that the force had to offer them “protection” for their rally, he remarked. They even openly offered funeral prayers in absentia for the al Qaeda leader.
“Today, if [Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan’s general secretary] Maulana Aurangzeb Farooqi comes to the city and holds a rally, nobody in the police force would know whether he should be allowed to make a speech or not,” said this officer, who has vast experience and specialises in terrorism cases. To make matters worse, the police have the complaint that the intelligence agencies are usually arrogant about these matters and tell the police force that they should be consulted first before any action is taken.
“Without a doubt, there’s massive confusion in the police force today about what to do with certain people belonging to some banned militant groups,” said a senior civilian intelligence official, who corroborated the police official’s claim. He stressed there was a dire need to set up a platform where police, civil and military security agencies can coordinate and work out what is kosher.
This confusion and its fallout has been noted and discussed not just inside the force, but by observers too. It should hardly come as a surprise that the police in Karachi, as those elsewhere in the country, don’t know what to do, said Zahid Hussain, who is the new Pakistan scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Centre and the author of The Scorpion’s Tale: The Relentless Rise of Islamic Militants in Pakistan. “Despite numerous terrorism incidents, Pakistan lacks a national policy on how to deal with terrorism,” he said. In fact, some of our security agencies engaged in counter-terrorism are still not clear in their heads whether militancy and all militant groups are a threat to the country.
Hussain blamed the government for failing to come up with a national policy and warned that the longer we wait, the more difficult it would become to craft one. For him, it was a shame that the national counter-terrorism authority that was supposedly established to deal with exactly these questions, remains ineffective. “They’re still bickering over whether this body should come under the interior minister or prime minister,” he said.
But why should there even be kosher and non-kosher groups at all, argue others. These categories for militant groups are “mere excuses” being made by the police, in the opinion of former Inspector-General of Police for Sindh Afzal Shigri. It was the duty of a police official and every law enforcement authority to arrest all terrorists. A policeman works under the law and if he catches a suspect according to the law, no one can stop him from doing so. “It is ridiculous, in my opinion, to say that they can’t act unless Big Brother winks at them,” he said, adding that it’s highly unfortunate that today the police was playing second fiddle to the agencies. “Police have the powers to arrest and interrogate. They have all the powers, while intelligence agencies technically have no such powers.”
The truth is that the police has its own national police management board which can be approached for all such conundrums and from whom legal opinion can be solicited.
For Shigri, it’s the policeman’s job to withstand pressure from all internal and external players, even if it comes from the intelligence agencies. “Worst comes to worst, the influential [people] can have an officer transferred. So why be afraid of that?” he asked. In his view, the current situation also indicates a lack of leadership within the police. “An officer who is earning just his salary, [about] Rs20,000, wouldn’t care for such things,” he explained. “It is those who are earning two million rupees a month who worry about transfers and Big Brother pressures.”

Pakistani politicians in Total Denial on Terrorism !

Taleban should be declared "Murtids" if we are to win the hearts and minds of the illiterate majority of Pakistan. Innocent people of the villages are brainwashed and then made to believe that the Taliban's agenda is the truth and Pakistan is on the wrong side of the war.

Circumvention, hypocrisy and narrow-mindedness describe best the behaviour of clergy and politicians when it comes to condemning terrorists and extremism. Fearing electoral losses, the politicians and ulema have chosen to either remain mum or side with the rising tide of bigotry and fanaticism.

Nawaz Sharif and company::
The Sharifs of Punjab are playing the most dangerous game with the fate of Punjab vis-à-vis terrorism which has become entrenched in the province due to denial of the threat’s existence. There have been allegations of them being in arms with various extremist elements for petty political gains. Earlier, Punjab’s senior minister Rana Sanaullah was photographed with the chief of defunct Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan during the by elections in south Punjab. Following this, Shahbaz Sharif and Interior Minister Rehman Malik exchanged endless salvos of claims for and against the existence of Punjabi Taliban.

Imran Khan ::
Imran Khan is another politician of the same ilk who wants us to think that terrorists are only after Pakistan because we are fighting a “US war” and not a war for our own survival. He conveniently ignores the terrorists’ proclamation of “fighting to create an Islamic system in Pakistan”. However, ANP is an exception which bravely and boldly took the case of the militants on, wrestled free Swat and South Waziristan and suffered several casualties in its ranks and file.

Parliament ::
Shrinking from its duty, the Parliament has failed to take ownership of the counter terrorism action. They have not amended the 1997 Anti Terrorism Ordinance which lapsed and has not been re-promulgated ever since.

Politicians ::
The politicians share the mindset with the clergy who otherwise issue infidelity verdicts at the drop of hat, like their cousins in the pre-Protestant Movement’s clergy, but refuse to educate people to exorcise the genie. Most share the perverted ‘jihad’ mindset of imposing a system based on blood and gore.

One would question their quest for Islamising Pakistan. The preamble to our Constitution says no unIslamic law can be passed in the country. A republic with majority Muslims has never passed anything even remotely unIslamic. But constitution matters little to them which they consider based on “munkirat”.

Sectarian ::
Barring the argument, the roots of intolerance go back to the ’50s at times of movement against the Ahmadis. Later, the country bore witness to the blood curdling Shia -Sunni violence at the behest of the Saudis and the Iranians. This progressed into internecine intra-sunni conflict. And now fundamentalist insurgency. They are waging their “jihad” in clear violation of the Holy Quran and Hadith. As Javed Ahmad Ghamdi points out ” Jihad can only be launched by the state and not independent actors otherwise it turns into chaos.”

Deoband ::
Unfortunately, all the followers of Pakistan’s chapter of Deoband school approve of terrorism, whereas scholars running the Deoband Institution in India have rejected and denounced terrorism as unIslamic.

Qazi Hussain Ahmad of Jamaat-e-Islami refuses to denounce the Taliban offensive and terms it justified. His party, now led by Munawwar Hassan, is up in arms over action against feared terrorist and mastermind Ilyas Kashmiri. Jamaat-e-Isami’s Karachi chief Merajul Huda Siddiqui says Kashmiri’s death is being celebrated by India.

JUI (F)::

A departure from this trend is Maulana Fazlur Rehman. Albeit too little too late, Fazl’s reaction coincided after two life attempts on him. Stopping short of categorical rejection, he criticised terrorism, saying “violence has no parallel in Islam.”

Who is on Board against the Taliban/Al Qaeda/The Right::
But there were some religious luminaries who acted like “light at the end of the tunnel”.

Maulana Hassan Jan ::
They lost their lives in opposing Taliban and al Qaeda’s brand of Islam. Foremost among them was Maulana Hassan Jan who was a Taliban ideologue and tried to convince the latter of the wrongdoing. He received several warnings but he didn’t budge from opposing the macabre deeds and was gunned down.

Other Maulanas who should declare the Taliban Murtids ::
Dr Ghulam Murtaza, Dr M Farooq, vice chancellor of International Islamic University, Swat, Mufti Naeemi, and Maulana Hassan Turabi slammed the violence perpetrated by the fringe elements openly and boldly but had to pay with their blood for sticking to their conviction. Another critic, noted scholar Javed Ahmad Ghamdi has to leave the country following persistent life threats.

Ulema ::
The ulema as a whole should have taken the lead role in explaining and defining terrorism as a vice which only sows more confusion and chaos. Their effort should have been directed at reformation and education. Let’s see how long it takes for sanity to prevail.

Political Parties who are on Board ::

Political Parties who are NOT on Board ::

This tells us that major political parties are on board with the rest of Pakistan. PML(N) has basically lost all track to what way they are headed.

Imran Khan thinks this is all Americas fault and there is no enemy within.

I rest my case with both of these parties. PML(N) will perhaps get another drubbing at the hands of the the major parties in 2013 with no major coalition partners siding with them.