Monday, May 30, 2011

Doctors in Khyber Pakthunkhwa announces end of strike

The Provincial Doctors Association (PDA) here on Monday announced end of strike in Khyber Pakthunkhwa public sector hospitals while medical practitioners and young doctors joined their duties.

President PDA Dr Shah Sawaar in presence of doctors and Special Health Secretary0020Noorul Eman announced the end of strike during a press conference here at Press Club.

The announcement was made after PDA office bearers held successful talks with KPK Health Department officials regarding implementation of their six point agenda.

Saudi Arabia thinks Pakistan controls Taliban: WikiLeaks

A cable sent by the American ambassador in Riyadh said that the Saudi officials made it clear to the United States that Pakistan would only accept the Afghan leadership which would accept Durand Line as an international border.

In January 2010, Saudi Interior Minister General Masoodi and special US envoy Barnett R Rubin met in Riyadh. Saudi officials were of the view that most of the warriors were grown up in Pakistan due to which Pakistan had control over them. However, most of Afghan Taliban want to end this control. Masoodi said that the Afghan Taliban group was weak at the moment and America should help it to make it strong because Pakistan and Iran were using most of the Taliban for their own benefit.

The Saudi general also told the US representative that there was a need to remove Pakistan’s reservations on Afghanistan, otherwise there would be grave consequences. He said that the presence of India in Afghanistan extremely displeased Pakistan. The Saudi general also said that there was no benefit of talks with Pakistani Taliban because they were dominated by Al Qaeda.

Britain trained Saudi troops used in Bahrain crackdown

Britain sends 20 military training teams a year to Saudi Arabia to train the kingdom’s national guard, the forces deployed in the recent crackdown on protests in neighbouring Bahrain, it was reported Sunday.

The country’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) admitted military personnel run courses in “weapons, fieldcraft and general military skills training, as well as incident handling, bomb disposal, search, public order and sniper training,” the UK’s Observer reported.

The courses are organised through the British Military Mission to the Saudi Arabian National Guard, a unit that consists of eleven British army personnel, the paper said. Saudi Arabia covers “all BMM personnel, as well as support costs such as accommodation and transport,” the MoD. “By providing training for countries to the same high standards used by UK armed forces we help to save lives and raise awareness of human rights.”

Bahrain, home of the US Fifth Fleet, faced a wave of Shi’ite-led protests in February and March that left at least 29 people dead, including four policemen, and dozens more injured.

Bahrain's rulers imposed emergency law and called in troops from neighbouring Gulf countries in March to quash the protests, including 1,200 Saudi soldiers.

Britain revoked dozens of licences for the export of weapons to Bahrain in February, amid fears weapons would be used to repress anti-government protests. In March, the country said it was “deeply concerned” over reports of human rights abuses in the Gulf island kingdom.

Human rights groups and opposition parties have spoken out over the news, questioning Britain’s military support for revolts in Libya and elsewhere, while indirectly aiding the suppression of protests in the Gulf.

“It is intensely hypocritical of our leadership in the UK – Labour or Conservative – to talk of supporting freedoms in the Middle East and elsewhere while at the same time training crack troops of dictatorships,” said British MP Jonathan Edwards. US-based New York-based Human Rights Watch this weekend asked the ruling body for Formula One to consider alleged human rights abuses in Bahrain when deciding whether to reinstate its Grand Prix this year.

Pakistan army more anti-American than radical

Dr. Stephen Philip Cohen, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, Washington DC, is a respected authority on the Pakistani army and the country’s politics. His book The Pakistan Army was published in 1998 and was translated into Urdu and Chinese. In 2004, he published another book The Idea of Pakistan. In an exclusive interview with, Dr. Cohen speaks about the Pakistan-US relationship and the future of South Asia after the Osama bin Laden crisis.

Q: Who do the Americans hold responsible for harbouring Osama bin Laden: The Pakistani civilian government or the army?

A: The US military respects the Pakistan army for its professionalism but they are angry with the Pakistani military for playing both sides against the middle. They are aware that if you’re an American soldier and the Afghan Taliban who are shooting at you are actually the ones being supported and trained in Pakistan. So, there is real anger with the Pakistan army over this double game. I can understand why they are playing this double game as the Taliban are an asset for Pakistan but the Americans do not like this. There is also deep resentment over some of the policies the army has imposed on the civilian government.

Q: How old is the history of collaboration in the Pakistan army with the Islamic radicals?

A: It dates back to the Bangladesh separatist movement when the army recruited people for al Badar and its death squads. It became more systematic during Zia’s government both in Kashmir and Afghanistan. Now, it is a full-fledged strategic alliance for the Pakistan military.

Q: The Pakistanis complain that dictatorship and Islamic radicalisation were actually gifted to them by the United States. What has compelled the US to support military rulers in Pakistan?

A: The US has needed Pakistan for strategic purposes. Our policies have done as much harm to Pakistan as they have helped the country. We could have supported them but put more pressure to liberalise and democratise the society. The Bush administration made a strategic mistake by supporting Pervez Musharraf and excluding the other politicians. We should have supported Benazir Bhutto or Nawaz Sharif. The US did support a deal between Musharraf and Bhutto but excluded Sharif. We should have come out and said publicly that we support all the legitimate politicians in Pakistan.

Q: Do you think the Pakistan army can ever overcome its obsession with India? How can the US help both the countries resolve this conflict?

A: I am writing a book about the India-Pakistan rivalry and calling it the “hundred-year old war”. My prediction is that the India-Pakistan conflict, which includes Kashmir besides many other problems, will last for one hundred years or even more.

I am very pessimistic about a solution between the two countries. They should cooperate over trade, for instance. Kashmir will eventually find its way. The United States should have only a silent role which should be limited to providing ideas and suggestions as we often do in the Middle East peace process.

Q: Does Osama bin Laden’s killing formally end the war on terror?

A: I don’t know if it was a murder or not but maybe it was an extrajudicial killing. Yet, it does not bring the war on terror to an end. Al Qaeda is a large global movement and it will continue to operate. It has diminished not only in terms of its organisational capability but also in terms of its symbolism. There will be major terrorist attacks on Pakistan, United States, India and other countries.

The notion of having a global Khalifat, where the whole world is united under one Khalifa is fanciful. That was not popular in Pakistan some years back. The anti-Americanism popular in Pakistan is based on the misunderstanding of American policies and some of the things that we have done in the past.

Q: Is it anti-Americanism or anti-Indianism that motivates radical elements in the Pakistan army?

A: I don’t have evidence of Pakistan army as radical in the extreme sense. However, it has become more anti-American. Some sections of the army are more anti-American than they are anti-India. The obsession with India, on the other hand, is weakening Pakistan rather than strengthening it. Pakistan has a huge list of reforms that it should have made.

In a talk at Quetta’s Staff College, I said Pakistan should take a lesson from South Korea and Japan which had their own way of taking revenge through economic productivity. Pakistan should struggle to beat India in the software industry, modern agriculture and exports.

Pakistan has had natural advantages over India in many areas but it has failed to capitalise on those advantages. I do not know if it is too late to reverse that process but if Pakistan continues to make India the center of its foreign policy, the country will go nowhere.

Q: There is a lot of resentment inside Pakistan over the drone strikes which many view as a violation of the country’s sovereignty. Can anti-Americanism subside if these attacks stop?

A: We know from the WikiLeaks that the Pakistanis themselves are helping us with the targets. It’s astonishing that the Pakistan government has not said this publicly. The government is too much of a coward to openly admit that some of the drone strikes have killed the enemies of Pakistan. If the Pakistani army and police had taken action against the terrorists, the drone strikes would probably not take place. Every state in the world has an obligation not to allow its territory to be used for terrorist attacks on other states. Pakistan has allowed groups to operate from its territory to launch attacks against the US, Afghanistan and of course India.

Q: How serious is the crisis in Pakistan and how can the world help Pakistan overcome this?

A: There are two things requiring attention: The State of Pakistan, which is mostly bureaucratic, and the idea of Pakistan. The United States can help the State of Pakistan in many ways by developing its organisational and budgetary procedures but we can’t do much about the idea of Pakistan. Pakistanis themselves have to discuss and debate what it means to be a Pakistani. If being anti-India is being a Pakistani then you are taking the crisis deeper but if you are looking for a modern Islamic state that rest of the world should look upon then that is a different definition of Pakistan.

Q: Do you think the Pakistan army will eventually move with another coup?

A: I don’t see a coup coming in Pakistan. There is this joke in America that when Obama got elected, some newspapers wrote: “Black man gets worst job in the US”. Who wants to be the president of Pakistan? Zardari is doing a mediocre job. I doubt if General Kayani can do a better job as the president. Pakistan is currently pressed and embarrassed with many issues. Another military coup will simply make things worse for that country.

Q: How do you predict the scenario once the US withdraws from Afghanistan?

A: The US will stay in Afghanistan to a limited degree to make sure that al Qaeda does not show up again. A significant development program is going on in Afghanistan which is more effective than our development work in Pakistan. There is no economic and strategic interest for the US in Afghanistan. It is important because it is having a contaminating effect on Pakistan.

Q: How serious is the tug of war between Pakistan and India to gain political and economic influence in Afghanistan?

A: The good news I have heard is that both the countries are going to talk about Afghanistan. If both the countries can work on an agreement as to what role they should play in Afghanistan to help the Afghan people then that will be a role model for the United States and Iran. The four countries — United States, Pakistan, Iran and India — are critical for the future of Afghanistan. They should agree to have a non-aligned democratic, but certainly not a radicalised, Afghanistan. I am optimistic that the Indians and Pakistanis will work together in Afghanistan.

Q: The right-wing opposition leaders are suggesting that Pakistan should stop getting aid from the United States. Is that going to help Pakistan attain more prosperity and self-reliance?

A: Pakistan should develop its own strategy to develop its industry and agriculture. It has to work out with India on the agreements over Indus waters and also work among its provinces. I want to see a business-like transactional relationship between the United States and Pakistan. The Pakistanis should tell the US what and why they need assistance in certain areas. Once we commit our aid, the US should work as if we are under a contract and if the Pakistanis perform effectively, we should provide them further aid on time.

Afghan Bank Commission Absolves President’s Brother in Fraud Case

A commission appointed by President Hamid Karzai to assess responsibility for the massive fraud at Kabul Bank issued its report on Sunday, absolving the president’s brother of any blame. The brother, Mahmoud Karzai, was among the bank’s politically connected shareholders and insiders who took out a total of $925 million in loans, often with no collateral or even documentation, the commission’s chairman, Azizullah Ludin, announced at a news conference here. Only $347 million of that amount is so far expected to be repaid, he said.

At the same time, the report suggested that loans to politically connected figures were even more widespread than previously known. Mr. Ludin said that 207 borrowers took out undocumented loans, including many members of Parliament and government ministers.

Mr. Ludin said “three or four” sitting cabinet members had received dubious loans. He did not identify them, but he did name Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, the military chief of staff to the president and a leading Northern Alliance member, as taking out about $100,000 in unsecured loans.

He said the president’s brother had paid off his loans, news welcomed by Mr. Karzai although the case remained murky. Abdul Qadir Fitrat, a Central Bank governor, recently told Parliament that Mahmoud Karzai still owed the bank $22 million, which Mr. Karzai denied.

Differences between the Central Bank and the presidential commission underpinned the report, which tried to shift the blame for the fiasco to the Central Bank, as well as to international auditors paid for by American aid programs, for what often amounted to looting of the bank’s deposits.

Mr. Ludin was particularly critical of Mr. Fitrat, the Central Bank governor.

“It’s very easy to be national hero in Afghanistan,” Mr. Ludin said Sunday, clearly referring to Mr. Fitrat. “Some officials of the Central Bank are involved in this issue, and those who were guilty in this case are now in charge of the affairs in Kabul Bank.”

After news of the scandal threatened to destroy the bank, Afghanistan’s largest, destabilize the country’s financial system and drive away foreign aid, President Karzai vowed last year that the government would stand by the bank and prevent it from failing. Last month, the government announced its plan to overhaul the bank, splitting it in two. One entity, the New Kabul Bank, would take over the bank’s branches, deposits and good loans, and the other would be a receivership office set up to try to collect on the bad loans.

Mr. Ludin did not release the text of the report, which he said was the president’s prerogative. He said the president would decide whether any criminal or other action would be taken based on its recommendations.

He did, however, quote liberally from the report, and took care to absolve the bank’s two most politically prominent borrowers, Mahmoud Karzai and Abdul Hassin Fahim, the brother of the powerful first vice president. Officials had previously said that Mr. Fahim’s loans totaled as much as $100 million, but Mr. Ludin said that his commission had been assured by him that he had agreed to pledge enough property to cover his obligations.

On Mr. Karzai, a businessman with dual Afghan-American nationality, the commission accepted his view that he had paid off all of his obligations to the bank, $4.2 million. “He is not guilty,” Mr. Ludin said. “He has no problem.” The other $18 million charged to Mr. Karzai comprised an $8 million loan to buy a villa on Palm Island in Dubai, a $6 million loan to buy shares in the bank, and accumulated interest of about $4 million.

Mr. Karzai maintains that the deed to that villa was in the name of the bank’s chairman, Sherkhan Farnood, and that he was only a tenant there. And he says that since the bank has been in effect taken over by the government, his obligations to pay for shares in the bank have been erased.

Reached by telephone, he reiterated his claim that he had paid off his Kabul Bank loans, and said the report had exonerated him. He said Mr. Fitrat, the Central Bank governor, had apologized to him for publicly saying he owed $22 million, and that Mr. Fitrat had accepted Mr. Karzai’s accounting. “He told me I’m clean,” Mr. Karzai said. But a spokesman for Mr. Fitrat denied that he had apologized. “It’s not true and we reject this allegation,” said the spokesman, Emal Ashur. As to whether Mr. Karzai still owed the bank money, Mr. Ashur referred questions to the bank’s Receivership Office.

A spokesman for that office, Nesar Ahmad Yousefzai, said the receivers were not yet able to divulge how much any individuals owed the bank.

Informed of Mr. Fitrat’s denial, Mahmoud Karzai lashed out. “The incompetency in this government is beyond comprehension, from my brother on down,” he said. “Basically my brother has licensed 600,000 people to rob the rest of the population,” he added, referring to the estimated number of government employees.

Mr. Ludin said the commission discovered that Kabul Bank had $925 million in questionable loans, including $338 million in accumulated interest. Of those loans, $467 million were made without any guarantees or even paperwork or documentation. Only $49 million of the bank’s loans were considered good loans that were properly performing.

The scandal, which led to a brief run on the bank last year, threatened to damage the entire economy and scared off the foreign aid that keeps the government running. Without that aid, Afghanistan has only $1 billion in annual revenues, so it was unclear how its government could cover the bank’s obligations.

International donors made it clear they were unwilling to bail out the bank, and the International Monetary Fund made addressing the bank’s problems a condition before foreign aid money could resume. No one has been charged or prosecuted in connection with the bank so far.

The State Department has canceled a contract with Deloitte, the international accounting firm, in Afghanistan, after the department’s inspector general reported that it had ignored signals of trouble at the bank for two years.

Mr. Ludin said the bank’s problems were caused by inadequacies in international accounting practices, as well as by the Central Bank’s failure to heed warnings made to it a year ago by Afghanistan’s intelligence service.

Mr. Ludin was previously appointed by Mr. Karzai to head the Independent Electoral Commission during the 2009 presidential race. Mr. Ludin was widely criticized for claiming that the race was free and fair, despite condemnation from the international community.

New details emerge in Abbottabad

Poverty survey in FATA to start in June

The government will start poverty survey in FATA from 1st week of June this year, for which tribal areas have been divided on seven parts to make it more authentic and productive, a senior official said on Sunday.

Talking to APP, Director General Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) for KPK and FATA Ikram Ghani said that arrangements in this regard have been completed and the poverty survey will start in FATA from 1st week of next month. The survey will start from Bajaur Agency because of its better security environment and later on it would kick off simultaneously throughout the six agencies.

Three-day training and capacity building programs for officials would be responsible for collecting data about poverty in FATA will start next week and officials showing good performance would be awarded. To a question, he said that delay in starting of the survey in FATA was due to security, law and order situation saying that it would be completed in two months and its contract has been awarded to two firms.

World Bank will provide technical and financial assistance to make the survey transparent; he said and added that local people have been hired for the task.

He informed that 68, 7196 persons have been registered in 20 districts of KPK while work on seven lakhs forms earns progress. Ghani informed that poverty survey continued in Shangla, Kohistan, Bannu and Upper Dir. He said that poverty has been increased due to devastated floods.

He informed that 43,625 deserved families of district Charsada affected by floods have been registered with BISP and it is assumed that it would jumped to 60,000 while in Peshawar 94,000 families have been registered. Likewise, 80,000 in Mardan and 24,000 families were registered in Nowshera. In FATA, tribal elders, elected representatives and Ulama to make the program transparent, he said.

Under Waseela Haq Program, the official said 520 persons were trained and 996 persons were paid, while 140 people would be given to 1st Installment of Rs. 3 lakh next week.

Musharraf declared PO in Benazir murder case

The Rawalpindi Anti-Terrorist Court (ATC) on Monday declared former military ruler Pervez Musharraf a Proclaimed Offender (PO) in the Benazir assassination case, DawnNews reported.

Taking notice of Federal Investigation Agency’s special public prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar’ request, Judge Rana Nisar Ahmed declared the former president a PO.

Earlier in April, Mr Zulfiqar had requested the court to start the process of declaring Musharraf proclaimed offender because his arrest warrants could not be served on him and that he was wilfully avoiding them.

According to legal experts, declaring the former army chief a proclaimed offender would enable the court to attach his immovable property in Pakistan and proceed with the trial of other accused in the case, leaving the authorities to seek other means for his arrest.

Mr Musharraf has been accused of failing to provide adequate security to Benazir Bhutto and conspiring to kill her.

Ex-navy commando, brother detained after Pakistan base attack

Pakistani security officials have detained a former navy commando and his brother in connection with the militant attack on a naval air base this month, intelligence officials and relatives said on Monday.
Last week's attack on the PNS Mehran base in Karachi, the headquarters of Pakistan's naval air wing, embarrassed the military and raised fresh doubts about its ability to protect its bases after a similar raid on the army headquarters in the city of Rawalpindi in 2009.
Kamran Ahmed, who was sacked from the navy about 10 years ago, and his younger brother, Zaman, were picked up from the eastern city of Lahore on Friday, five days after the attack that killed at least 10 military personnel.
"They have been detained in connection with the naval base attack and are under interrogation," one intelligence official said, without giving details. It was not immediately clear why Kamran Ahmed had been sacked.
Imran Ahmed, another brother who was not arrested, told Reuters the two were taken away by intelligence officials on Friday. He gave no details.
The Pakistani Taliban, which is allied to al Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the attack on the Mehran base, but many analysts believe they had inside help.
A group of between four and six militants besieged the base for 16 hours and destroyed two P-3C Orion aircraft from the Unites States, crucial for Pakistan's maritime surveillance capabilities.
Pakistan has faced a wave of assaults over the last few years, many of them claimed by the Pakistani Taliban and other al Qaeda-linked militant groups.
In October 2009, a small group of militants attacked the Army's General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, taking 42 people hostage, including several officers. By the end of the day-long siege, nine gunmen, 11 soldiers and three hostages were dead.
The Taliban have stepped up attacks since the killing of Osama bin Laden in a U.S. raid in a Pakistani garrison town earlier this month.
The raid embarrassed the military, which has been unable to explain how the al Qaeda chief hid in the country for years or how the Americans could launch the attack deep inside their territory.

Memorial Day comes as troops fight in Afghanistan

U.S. troops fighting in Afghanistan paused Monday to remember the fallen in Memorial Day services, as a war nearly a decade old trudges on.
Some prayed and held flag-raising ceremonies at dawn to recognize the more than 1,400 killed in combat here since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks that triggered the war.
"We reflect on those who have gone before us. We reflect on their service and their sacrifice on behalf of our great nation," said Brig. Gen. Lewis A. Craparotta, who commands a Marine division in Afghanistan's southern Helmand province. "We should also remember those serving today who embody that same commitment of service and sacrifice. They are committed to something greater than themselves and they muster the physical and moral courage to accomplish extraordinary feats in battle."
In Iraq, an estimated 46,000 U.S. troops remain stationed there though officials say combat operations are over in a nation that saw more than 4,400 American troops die in combat. Under an agreement between Washington and Baghdad, the troops still in Iraq must leave by Dec. 31.
Black Hawk helicopters churned through the night sky Sunday as a strong wind coming over Kabul's surrounding mountains blew against the flickering candles that cast an orange glow on those gathered for a remembrance ceremony at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' headquarters.
Earlier in the day, those working there enjoyed one of their five days off a year from building police stations, dams and other projects in a nation torn by decades of war. Col. Thomas Magness, 47, of Los Angeles, California urged the more than 100 corps employees and U.S. troops gathered there to remember the meaning of Memorial Day — advice that could carry home to America.
"While we were playing volleyball today, no doubt some soldier gave the ultimate sacrifice," the corps commander said.
Memorial Day, instituted to honor America's war dead, will be observed Monday with a public holiday. This Memorial Day comes before the 10-year anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks, which ultimately brought U.S. troops into Afghanistan to unseat the Taliban government and hunt terrorist leader Osama bin Laden.
"Our country got attacked, and we're here to fight the war on it," said Roger Nowicki of the corps.
While Navy SEALs shot and killed bin Laden earlier this month in neighboring Pakistan, the U.S.-led war here continues. President Barack Obama plans to draw down U.S. troops beginning in July, while NATO has committed to handing over control of security in the country to Afghans by 2014.
In the meantime, the war grinds on toward its 10th year. The sharp pangs of loss are visible on some attending the event, like Maj. Erica Iverson, 33, of Vermillion, South Dakota. She spoke of serving as a casualty assistance officer after the 2010 death of Staff Sgt. Adam Dickmyer of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, who once served as a sentinel at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington Cemetery.
Iverson's voice choked as she recounted how Dickmyer's mother fell off her chair in grief when her son's body returned to the U.S. His widow chased after the casket, screaming: "Don't leave me!"
"His wife has an empty house," Iverson said. "His entire unit came home today, and he didn't come with them."
Iverson said speechwriters for Obama called her in recent days, saying the president may honor Dickmyer in remarks on Memorial Day.
Increasingly skeptical American and Afghan publics question why U.S. and NATO forces remain there. The Taliban recently begun its spring offensive, as suicide bombings, roadside explosions and attacks in remote posts have returned with a frightening regularity.
"You don't get used to it because you're in a war zone," said civilian corps worker George S. Triggs, 54, of Louisville, Kentucky. "You learn to tolerate it and do the best you can."
Yet the worst stress, some acknowledged, is that of family members waiting at home for their loved ones to return. Lt. Col. Jon Chytka, 44, of Tabor, South Dakota recounted having to explain to his 5-year-old daughter why he had to leave.
He gave this answer: "I told her that before she was born, there were 19 people who killed 3,000."

Pakistan to launch offensive in N. Waziristan - report

Pakistan will launch a military offensive in North Waziristan, a newspaper reported on Monday, days after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reiterated a U.S. demand to tackle sanctuaries for al Qaeda and the Taliban on the Afghan border.

An understanding for an offensive in North Waziristan, the main sanctuary in Pakistan for militants fighting in Afghanistan, was reached when Clinton and Chairman of the Joints Chief of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen visited Pakistan last week, Pakistan's the News newspaper reported.

The United States has long demanded that Pakistan attack the region to eliminate the Haqqani network, one of the deadliest Afghan militant factions fighting U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Pakistan has been reluctant to do so, but it has come under more pressure and its performance in fighting militancy is under scrutiny again after it was discovered that Osama bin Laden had been living in the country.

The News quoted unidentified "highly placed sources" as saying Pakistan's air force would soften up militant targets under the "targeted military offensive" before ground operations were launched. There was no timetable given.

The newspaper cited the sources as saying that a strategy for action in North Waziristan had been drawn up some time ago and an "understanding for carrying out the operation was developed" during the Clinton visit.

The target of any North Waziristan operation would be the most violent factions of the Pakistani Taliban, which has strong ties to al Qaeda.

But the United States would almost certainly push for a move against Haqqani, too.

Pakistani officials were not immediately available for comment. A U.S. embassy official had no immediate comment.

The newspaper said a "joint operation" with allies had been discussed but no decision had been taken because of sensitivities.

"In case the two sides agreed to go for a joint action, it would be the first time in the present war (on militancy) that foreign boots will get a chance to be on Pakistani soil with the consent of the host country."

That could be highly risky for Pakistan's generals.


The military, long regarded as the most effective institution in a country with a history of corrupt, inept civilian governments, suffered a major blow to its image when U.S. special forces killed bin Laden deep inside Pakistan.

Some analysts say any joint U.S.-Pakistani operation would subject the army to even more public criticism in a country where anti-U.S. feeling runs deep.

"The reaction could be even more vociferous, just because everybody is so suspicious -- as well as dismissive -- of American interference," said Imtiaz Gul, author of "The Most Dangerous Place," a book about Pakistan's militant strongholds.

"People already feel so humiliated because of this Osama bin Laden thing and now they will have another reason to react."

But the South Asian nation, dependent on billions of dollars in U.S. aid, is under more pressure than ever to show it is serious about tackling militancy.

Attacking U.S. enemies in North Waziristan may be one way of repairing ties with Washington which were badly damaged by the bin Laden affair.

Pakistan maintains about 140,000 troops in the northwest, including about 34,000 in North Waziristan, but says they are too stretched fighting Pakistani Taliban insurgents in other parts of the region to tackle North Waziristan.

But analysts say Pakistan sees the Haqqani network as an asset to counter the growing influence of rival India in Afghanistan.

Aside from strategic concerns, an attack on the Haqqani network could further threaten Pakistan's security as it faces a new wave of attacks by the Pakistani Taliban to avenge the killing of bin Laden by U.S. special forces on May 2.

Pakistan could pay a heavy price if Haqqani's formidable fighters, believed to number in the thousands, and their militant allies, turn on Pakistani security forces.

Highlighting the dangers in North Waziristan, a blast at a restaurant in its main town Miranshah wounded 12 people on Monday, government officials and residents said.

Yemeni forces fire at protesters in Taiz

Yemeni forces loyal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh opened fire on protesters in the southern city of Taiz on Sunday, killing at least six people and wounding 120, hospital sources said.
A Reuters photographer at the scene said police fired live ammunition, tear gas and used water cannons to disperse demonstrators protesting outside a municipal building to demand the release of a fellow protester who was arrested on Saturday.
The clashes took place near Freedom Square where thousands of anti-government protesters have been camping since January to demand Saleh's overthrow. Police set two tents on fire in the square. Protesters hurled Molotov bombs and rocks at police.
In the capital Sanaa, seven explosions were heard on Sunday night in the district of Hasaba, the scene of week-long fighting between Saleh's forces and a rival tribe in which 115 people were killed, residents said.
There were no immediate details on the explosions, which appeared to have partially breached a truce between Saleh's forces and the powerful Hashed tribe led by Sadeq al-Ahmar in the bloodiest fighting since unrest erupted in January.
Ahmar condemned what he described as "Saleh's new massacre" against civilians in Taiz. Earlier on Sunday, his men handed back control of a government building to mediators as part of a ceasefire deal.
A breakaway military group called for other army units to join them in the fight to bring down Saleh, piling pressure on him to end his three-decade rule over the destitute country.
Despite global and regional powers demanding he step down, Saleh has refused to sign a deal, mediated by Gulf states, to start a transition of power aimed at averting civil war that could shake the region that supplies the world with oil.
"We call on you not to follow orders to confront other army units or the people," the breakaway units said in a statement read by General Abdullah Ali Aleiwa, a former defense minister.
Opposition leaders separately accused Saleh of allowing the city of Zinjibar, on the Gulf of Aden, to fall to al Qaeda and Islamists militants in order to raise alarm in the region that would in turn translate to support for the president.
Residents in Zinjibar, about 270 km (170 miles) southeast of the capital, said armed men likely from al Qaeda had control of the city in the flashpoint province of Abyan.
"About 300 Islamic militants and al Qaeda men came into Zinjibar and took over everything on Friday," a resident said.
Three militant gunmen and three civilians have been killed in fighting against locals, who have been joined by a few government soldiers, trying to take the city back from the al Qaeda group and Islamists, medical sources said.
Nearly 300 Yemenis have been killed over the past few months as the president has tried to stop pro-reform protests by force.
Generals and government officials began to abandon Saleh after deadly crackdowns on protesters started in force in March. There have been no major clashes yet between the breakaway military units and troops loyal to Saleh.
Opposition groups and diplomats have accused Saleh of using the al Qaeda threat to win aid and support from regional powers seeking his government's help in battling the militants.
Fears are growing that Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) will exploit such instability, analysts said. The United States and Saudi Arabia, both targets of attacks by AQAP, are worried that growing chaos is emboldening the group.
Yemen borders Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter, and sits along a shipping lane through which about 3 million barrels of oil pass daily.