Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Bribery & Corruption Worsening Worldwide, Survey Shows

Corruption and bribery are perceived to be getting worse in many countries, and trust in governments is falling worldwide, according to a survey by the group Transparency International. The Global Corruption Barometer 2013 paints a bleak picture. One in every four people paid a bribe in the last 12 months when accessing public institutions and services, according to Transparency International's report. Robert Barrington is Executive Director. “In terms of bribe paying, there are a couple of countries where three in four people say they have had to pay bribes in the past year. That’s Sierra Leone and Liberia," said Barrington.Transparency International interviewed 114,000 people in 107 countries and found that more than half believe corruption and bribery has worsened in the last two years. Again, Robert Barrington: “Ultimately our target has to be policymakers because leadership from the top is critical in this. And when you look at the countries that have improved, perhaps Georgia and Rwanda compared to past surveys, it’s generally been politically-driven governments that want to do something about corruption that’s made the change," he said. All too often a leader's drive to tackle corruption fades, says Bertrand de Speville who heads an anticorruption consulting firm that has advised more than 50 governments. “It suddenly dawns on him that that might affect colleagues, friends, political allies, family, maybe even himself. And time and again I’ve seen the light of that political will die while you’re talking to him," said de Speville. In India in 2011, social activist Anna Hazare gained worldwide fame after leading a hunger strike against corruption. “I want the poor to get justice. I want the money back that we have lost to corruption," said Hazare. Hundreds of supporters joined him in the hunger strike, and the government agreed to introduce anti-corruption legislation. But the so-called Lokpal Bill has yet to be passed. De Speville says the poor suffer the most - and bribery must be tackled on every level. “You only have to think of the fields of security or public health to realize the truth of that. One small bribe can have disastrous consequences," he said. But, says de Speville, advice on tackling corruption by institutions such as the World Bank have had little effect. “Given the amount of resources that have been devoted to the problem, in my view, it is little short of scandalous. I don’t believe it is that difficult. And indeed, places like Hong Kong and Singapore have demonstrated that it’s not that difficult," he said. Transparency International says those surveyed appeared eager to take on corruption themselves - with more than half of respondents saying they would be willing to report an incident of bribery.

EGYPT: Analysis: Why was Tamarod successful?

The Tamarod campaign has achieved considerable success in lobbying groups across the political spectrum in opposition against toppled President Mohamed Morsy through the signatures it collected to withdraw confidence from the now deposed leader. The campaign had managed to collect nearly 22 million signatures in less than the two months since its launch on 22 April. This achievement was the driving force behind its call for protests against the president on the first anniversary of his inauguration on 30 June. The crowds responded immediately, and Morsy was forced out of office on 3 July 2013. The campaign’s success recalls the question of the feasibility of popular action in Egypt in comparison to more traditional political groups. It represents a continuation of non-partisan youth and popular actions carried out since - and after - the revolution. Recently, a number of factors have exacerbated the success of popular mobilization in Egypt - particularly Tamarod. That success has played out against the backdrop of the declining influence of more traditional political elites. The first factor was the widespread public anger with governmental failures in the post-revolutionary period. This frustration persisted even after the election of Mohamed Morsy, and the public felt the need for change to achieve a better Egyptian future and the fulfilment of the revolution's founding goals. The second factor lies in the weakness of Egypt’s political parties, especially those that existed prior to the revolution. These parties had not enjoyed popular bases and failed to position themselves as alternatives in the political scene. The absence of nuance between party platforms and slogans also played a part. Their platforms suffered from a common want of offering alternatives or finding solutions to problems facing Egyptian society. Parties even failed to separate themselves on the grounds of platforms, slogans and policies, lacking a connection with social forces on the ground. The old regimes worked to politically neutralize Egypt's traditional parties, turning them into hollow shells unable to compete for power. Consequently, those parties lost the public's confidence, sustained a widening gap with the street, and, therefore, paved the way for emerging popular movements to take their place. Thirdly, Tamarod relied on a set of simple, smooth methods of operation that enabled its members to effectively reach the public and thus gain their confidence and support. The campaign took to the street and engaged with citizens directly, encouraged by earlier successes by youth movements that followed the January 2011 revolution. Tamarod embarked on using paper and online forms to collect signatures demanding a withdrawal of confidence in the president and calling for early presidential elections. As the demand for early elections tied in with the goals of the political opposition, the campaign gained in political clout. In addition, the campaign was able to avoid the mistakes committed by other popular initiatives in the past, choosing the right timing for its action and leaning on the mobilization of the youth, who are unaffected by the media limelight or attempts to defame them and are not engaged in any activities viewed unfavorably by a wide margin of society. Instead, Tamarod depended on grassroots initiatives and personal donations, giving it immunity against suspicions of shady financing. Lastly, unlike other popular mobilization groups like the Black Bloc, Tamarod, since its founding, adopted peaceful methods, enabling it to gain a favorable view among a wide spectrum of society. Tamarod has taught us that peaceful popular action will be a tool of change in the future. Traditional political movements, on the other hand, often result in bloody revolts, military coups, or foreign intervention. To conclude, the success of Tamarod and earlier youth movements has proved that changes in the Egyptian political arena are no longer brought about by the traditional elite, but rather by new political forces that operate outside of partisan boundaries and engage more effectively with the masses. This reflects the feebleness and erosion of Egypt’s partisan system, the political parties of which must evolve in order to regain the public’s confidence. This is particularly important given that many people will rely on the legislature – whose members belong to these political parties – to advance democratization in the coming months and years.

Gezi forums showcasing struggles of the oppressed in Turkey

Turkey’s nationwide Gezi protests have evolved from frequent, direct confrontation with the state’s heavy-handed police forces to local forums in various parks in Ankara, Istanbul and Anatolia, providing a platform for once-invisible and still-marginalized communities the chance to speak out. One particular aspect of the assemblies, as epitomized in Ancient Greece’s direct democracy where the floor belongs to everyone to speak their mind to steer where the Gezi will go from here is that there is a chance to revolutionize perceptions of society by speaking the unspoken. The prominence of Kurds, Alevis, members of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans (LGBT) community and women in the protests can well be considered an extension of the “Gezi spirit,” assuring that nobody will ever walk alone. Starting July 5, LGBT individuals organized under the Kaos GL association joined forums in Güven, İzci, Anıt and Ethem Sarısülük parks under their rainbow flag for the first time. It may be the first time they carried a flag, but definitely not the first time they were present. They were there for the funeral of Ethem Sarısülük, a protester who was shot dead by the police in Ankara; they were there when the police brutality hit its peak; and they were there in their tents sleeping over in Kuğulu Park. Until now, they protested individually, even “undercover.” “People realized that it is not something to be done alone. This is the chance for the minorities to come together,” said Ömer Akgüner, a forum participant from the Kaos GL. While another participant, Aslı Demir: “I think people understood this: The LGBTs took the squares with similar worries, fears. They struggled. There is no difference. I think this is a step taken forward by society to address the problems of the LGBT.” With the Gezi protests, the LGBT community is now able to draw the attention of those who were previously oblivious to them. “The feedback was this: We did not know until now,” Demir said. ‘Where are you, darling? Here I am, darling’ Many people learned to empathize with Kurds and how state-biased reporting has misrepresented their decades-old struggle after witnessing the mainstream media’s insufficient coverage of the Gezi protests. After all, struggling for the same cause is not built on being alike, but standing side by side. The time to root merely for one’s rights has passed. The Gezi protests instigated a synergy among minorities, or in its most generic form, whoever feels degraded, bashed or impaired by societal norms or state policies. Therefore, it is not serendipity that this year’s Pride March drew thousands, gay and straight. “Those who would not touch one another have realized that there is nothing to be afraid of once they ran into each other in the squares,” Demir said. And yes, as Akgüner puts it: “Maybe not everyone there embraces them [the LGBTs], but they face their own prejudices there.” For the first time this year, thousands chanted, “Where are you, darling? Here I am, darling”; – a signature slogan long used by the LGBT community in Pride Marches that is now being used out of context and without the fear of stigmatization. Homophobic slogans are being replaced as people are made aware of their scornful implications. For the first time, LGBT individuals, once declared to be persona non grata, have found the courage to unite under their rainbow flag and come down to squares to exchange opinions. They have arrived to share what they have been exposed to – hate crimes at most, prejudices at least. “The Gezi spirit” has indeed magnified people’s scope for struggling for their rights, meaning the increasing visibility of LGBT individuals is just one in a multitude of colors from the full spectrum of the oppressed.

Russian inquiry to UN: Rebels, not Army, behind Syria Aleppo sarin attack

Samples taken at the site where the chemical weapons were allegedly used indicate that it was rebels - not the Syrian army - behind the attack, Russia’s UN envoy Vitaly Churkin has said. Russia has handed over the analyzed samples to the UN, he added. “I have just passed the analysis of samples taken at the site of the chemical attack to the UN Secretary General (Ban Ki-moon),” Churkin said on Tuesday. Evidence studied by Russian scientists indicates that a projectile carrying the deadly nerve agent sarin was most likely fired at Khan al-Assal by the rebels, Churkin pointed out. “It was determined that on March 19 the rebels fired an unguided missile Bashair-3 at the town of Khan al-Assal, which has been under government control. The results of the analysis clearly show that the shell used in Khan al-Assal was not factory made and that it contained sarin,” he said. Churkin added that the contents of the shell “didn’t contain chemical stabilizers in the toxic substance,” and therefore “is not a standard chemical charge.” The RDX - an explosive nitroamine commonly used for industrial and military applications - found in the warhead was not consistent with what the armed forces use. According to Moscow, the manufacture of the ‘Bashair-3’ warheads started in February, and is the work of Bashair al-Nasr, a brigade with close ties to the Free Syrian Army. Churkin stressed that unlike other reports which have been handed to the UN, the samples were taken by Russian experts at the scene, without any third party involvement. More than 30 people died in the Khan al-Assal incident in the northern province of Aleppo in March. Damascus was the first to ask for the UN investigation, accusing opposition fighters of launching a chemical weapon attack. Syrian rebel groups denied the accusations, in turn blaming government forces. However, the UN investigation has largely become stalled after a group of Western nations insisted on launching an inquiry into a separate case of alleged chemical weapons use in Homs in December 2012. The inquiry requires access to military objects, which Damascus has been unwilling to give. The UN has also decided to exclude Russian and Chinese experts from the investigation team, with Syria protesting this decision. So far, the UN commission of inquiry for Syria has not found any conclusive evidence proving that either side of the conflict used chemical weapons. This is despite several reports submitted by the US, UK and France, which claim to show that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s forces used such weapons. Syria finds enough chemicals to ‘destroy the whole country’ The Syrian government invited chief UN chemical weapons investigator Ake Sellstrom and UN disarmament chief Angela Kane for talks in Damascus on Monday, announcing that a rebels-linked storage site containing piles of dangerous chemicals had been discovered. “The Syrian authorities have discovered yesterday in the city of Banias 281 barrels filled with dangerous, hazardous chemical materials,” Syrian UN Ambassador Bashar Ja’afari said, adding that the chemicals were “capable of destroying a whole city, if not the whole country.” The chemicals, which included monoethylene glycol and polyethylene glycol, were found in a storage site used by “armed terrorist groups,” Ja’afari explained. He said that Syria has started an investigation into the discovery. The Syrian envoy expressed Damascus’ confidence that there will be “constructive negotiations with the Syrian officials in order to reach an agreement,” particularly in terms of “reference, mechanism, and time frame” of the UN mission. Ja’afari added, however, that one should not “jump to the conclusion” that the Monday invitation means that Syria would consider allowing the UN team access to sites beyond Aleppo. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s spokesman, Martin Nesirky, reacted by calling the invitation “a move in the right direction,” but did not say whether UN investigators would accept it. The UN has been demanding that Sellstrom’s team be granted access across Syria “without further delay and without conditions,” ordering the Aleppo investigation not to begin until those demands were reached. ‘No credible reporting that rebels used chemical weapons’? Following Churkin’s announcement, both US and UK officials voiced their disbelief over any evidence suggesting that Syrian rebels used chemical weapons, stating they have yet been unable to see the whole report of Russia’s UN envoy. The US has “yet to see any evidence that backs up the assertion that anybody besides the Syrian government has the ability to use chemical weapons, has used chemical weapons,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said. When asked whether Washington had seen the Russian report, Carney replied that it had not. The UK also voiced its skepticism regarding the report, stating that it didn’t believe the opposition could have obtained chemical weapons. “We will examine whatever is presented to us, but to date we have seen no credible reporting of chemical weapons use by the Syrian opposition, or that the opposition have obtained chemical weapons,” BBC quoted a UK government spokesman as saying.

Afghan Refugees in Pakistan Welcomed to Stay Until End of 2015

The Pakistani government is expected to extend the stay of Afghan refugees living in Pakistan to the end of 2015. Officials indicated that the decision came out of a tripartite meeting between representatives from the Afghan and Pakistani governments, and the United Nations High Council for Refugees (UNHCR). An official from the Ministry of Refugee Repatriation in the Pakistani province of Khaibar Pakhtunkha, where many of the refugees that fled the most recent conflict in Afghanistan reside, said that the Pakistani Cabinet will soon announce its decision. Pakistan is also home to Afghan refugees from before 2001, those who fled the country under Taliban rule as well as those who left during the civil war period before that. News of the new lease on asylum in Pakistan was received warmly by the community of Afghan refugees there. "An extension of our refugee status is very important for us," said an Afghan refugee living in Khaibar Pakhtunkha. Other refugees criticized the Afghan government for not doing enough for them. "The government in Afghanistan has done nothing to settle the difficulties confronted by Afghan asylum seekers in Pakistan," another refugee told TOLOnews. "For the last 34 years, Afghan officials have done nothing for the betterment of refugees living in Pakistan," said another refugee. UNHCR has identified civil wars as one of the important factors that have increased the number of asylum seekers worldwide, leaving like Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq, Syria and Sudan with nearly 50% of the world's total refugee population.

No more secrecy: Abbottabad Commission report

IT was, perhaps, inevitable: a high-profile report on a hugely damaging, and embarrassing, episode in the country’s history was unlikely to remain shrouded in secrecy forever. After this newspaper reported on some of the Abbottabad Commission’s findings and recommendations yesterday, Al Jazeera published the report last evening — and the report appears to pack quite a punch. Did it have to turn out this way, though? Where once the Hamoodur Rehman Commission’s report on the events leading up to the secession of East Pakistan could be suppressed for decades, today there is no such luxury. In the era of WikiLeaks and Edward Snowden and other whistleblowers who can use the global megaphone of a semi-regulated internet, the age of excessive secrecy and the suppression of information that is of legitimate public interest has passed. Indeed, the Hamoodur Rehman Commission’s ultimate fate underlined the changing times — when an Indian publication began to serialise extracts from the report, Pakistani authorities were forced to do what they long avoided, ie publish the report. Why was the Abbottabad Commission report, handed over to prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf in January, not made public? It is fair assumption that responsibility for the secrecy lay with the military leadership. An institutional culture that focuses more on the embarrassment that will be caused nationally and internationally by a comprehensive official account of any episode that is deemed to undermine national security ends up compounding the original errors. Whether it is Ojhri camp or Kargil or militant attacks on military bases in recent years, the approach is always the same: spill no secrets and promise that the necessary corrective measures have been taken, with no proof of whether that is the case or not. A high-stakes version of ‘trust us, guys’. But ‘trust us, guys’ has only led to bigger mistakes and the fact that Osama bin Laden spent years in Pakistan undetected and that US troops were able to kill him on Pakistani soil and leave undetected is surely one of the more staggering national-security lapses in the country’s history. Now that the report is out and will be pored over nationally and internationally, there is still time for the government, and the army leadership in particular, to get at least one thing right. A leaked report cannot be the basis of accountability or any prosecutions deemed necessary. The government must — yes, must — officially release the report. Only then can the official narrative begin to be set right.

Pakistan: A counter-terrorism strategy that was never made

daily times
BY Hussain Nadim
The nation has developed such 'critical skills' that despite the TTP's acceptance of terrorist attacks, it has turned a blind eye, and instead blames the United States for the attacks Well over 90 percent of the university-going students in Lahore and Islamabad cannot differentiate between the Afghan Taliban and Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). And 67 percent believe that the TTP is the enemy of the United States, and working in the interest of Pakistan. While 76 percent see the Baloch grievances as unjustified, and blame the Baloch people for supporting their corrupt Sardars (tribal chiefs), only 12 percent blame the Pakistan military for the current crisis in the country. These are the unfortunate highlights of the study “Perception of militancy amongst urban youth” that I conducted in December 2012 at three top universities in Lahore and Islamabad. The study brings out the deep-rooted contradictions in Pakistan and suggest how miserably Pakistan’s security establishment has failed to develop an effective counterterrorism strategy. The ‘educated’ Pakistan as the study shows is pro-Taliban in geo-political terms, but would not want Taliban-style Sharia to disrupt their ‘liberal’ lifestyle. At the same time, educated Pakistan views the United States as an enemy, but would pay millions to live the American dream. Over 11 years into the war on terror, having lost thousands of lives, and nearly destroyed our economy, the people in the cities and on the media still debate over who the real enemy is: Taliban? TTP? Or the Americans? The nation has developed such ‘critical skills’ that despite the TTP’s acceptance of terrorist attacks, it has turned a blind eye, and instead blames the United States for the attacks, thanks to certain political leaders who have led the nation into an abysmal state of confusion by being sympathetic to militant outfits, and blaming the US and its drones for whatever is wrong in Pakistan, not realising that drones came out of the need to deal with militants, not the other way around. In war, confusion is bad, and tragically, more than a decade into the war, the same Pakistani politicians call it an ‘American war’, an idea utterly disrespectful to all those Pakistani soldiers and families who laid down their lives in this war to save Pakistan. What is even more unfortunate is the role of the top brass of the Pakistan military, which somehow gets little limelight within Pakistan. The first basic step in any counterterrorism strategy is to define the target, forge a national consensus, and make people firmly believe in the absolute necessity of wiping out the target, something that the United States did in the case of Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda. However, the military in Pakistan with all its budget and might during authoritarian rule when mobilising the people would not have been an issue, either forgot to strike up a consensus against terrorism, or deliberately allowed controlled chaos in information. Today, a decade later, as my study reveals, there is no consensus in Pakistan over the militant and terrorist groups, and the little consensus if any, tilts positive towards the TTP and Taliban. Either the state has lost its power over the narrative, or, the agencies are deliberately constructing this controlled narrative to meet their strategic interests in post-US withdrawal Afghanistan. Whatever the military advisors are doing, the reality should hit them hard by now that they are doing just about everything wrong. The strategic policies of the Pakistan military are not helping Pakistan increase its external sphere of influence, nor helping to resolve the Kashmir or Durand disputes, nor giving Pakistan an economic advantage in terms of natural resources. The strategic policy is only leading to more Pakistanis, ethnic and religious minorities, being killed inside the country, and the country eventually reaching a point of splitting asunder. What needs to be done? The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) needs to take bold steps. For one it needs to push the Pakistan military to open up its vault of secrets, and make its policies and strategies transparent so that the government knows what exactly the ground situation is. Second, the government must invite all political actors and reach a strict consensus on the national narrative towards terrorism. Parliament cannot stand divided with one side sympathetic towards the TTP, while the other side is being killed by the same group. Without consensus Pakistan entered this war, but without consensus, Pakistan cannot get out of this war. Third, the media must be taken on board to ensure that it supports the national narrative on terrorism. The voices that create confusion and chaos must not be entertained on the media. Last, the PML-N government needs to take the step forward to negotiate with the US, and with the terrorists themselves, rather than letting the military turn to diplomacy, something that the military is not genetically prepared for. Taking the forefront on the issue of terrorism will not be an easy task for the PML-N, but there is no other way out either. The clash between the PML-N and the military is inevitable; the clock, as a lot of people within the government and military know, is ticking. For a military that only believes in limited democracy and does not allow civilians to touch foreign and defence affairs, a strong Nawaz Sharif with both foreign and defence portfolios is a major crisis situation. The military will push back and is likely going to scheme. However, with the nation behind the PML-N, Sharif must take the leap of faith, once again.

AL JAZEERA: Leaked report shows Bin Laden's 'hidden life'

Government report obtained exclusively by Al Jazeera reveals results of investigation into AQ chief's life on the run.
Former al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was able to hide in Pakistan for nine years due to the "collective failure" of state military and intelligence authorities, a leaked Pakistani government report has revealed. The report, obtained exclusively by Al Jazeera's Investigative Unit, also outlines how "routine" incompetence at every level of civil governance structure allowed the once world's most wanted man to move to six different locations within the country. The report of the Abbottabad Commission, formed in June 2011 to probe the circumstances around the killing of Bin Laden by US forces in a unilateral raid on the Pakistani city of Abbottabad, draws on testimony from more than 200 witnesses, including members of Bin Laden's family, Pakistan's then spy chief, senior ministers in the government and officials at every level of the military, bureaucracy and security services. It was released by the Al Jazeera Investigative Unit on Monday, after being suppressed by the Pakistani government. It comes on the heels of a report by AP news agency revealing that top US special operations commander, Adm William McRaven, ordered military files about the Navy SEAL raid on Bin Laden's hideout to be purged from Defense Department computers and sent to the CIA, where they could be more easily shielded from ever being made public. Following the US operation to kill Bin Laden in May 2011, which was avowedly conducted without the Pakistani government or military's knowledge, the Commission was set up to examine both "how the US was able to execute a hostile military mission which lasted around three hours deep inside Pakistan", and how Pakistan's "intelligence establishment apparently had no idea that an international fugitive of the renown or notoriety of [Osama bin Laden] was residing in [Abbottabad]".The Abbottabad Commission was charged with establishing if the failures of the Pakistani government and military were due to incompetence or complicity, and was given overarching investigative powers. The Commission's 336-page report is scathing, holding both the government and the military responsible for "gross incompetence" leading to "collective failures" that allowed both Bin Laden to escape detection, and the United States to perpetrate "an act of war". Moreover, through the testimony of Bin Laden's family members, intelligence officials and the wife of one of his couriers, the Commission was able to piece together a richly detailed image of Bin Laden's life on the run from authorities, including details on the secluded life that he and his family led in Abbottabad and elsewhere. It found that Bin Laden entered Pakistan in mid-2002, after narrowly escaping capture in the Battle of Tora Bora in Afghanistan in December 2001. Intelligence officials say he stayed briefly in the South Waziristan and Bajaur tribal areas of Pakistan, before moving to the northern Swat Valley to stay with his guards, Ibrahim and Abrar al-Kuwaiti, for several months. While in Swat, Bin Laden reportedly met with Khalid Shaikh Mohammad, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks against the United States, in early 2003. A month later, Mohammad was captured in Rawalpindi in a joint US-Pakistani operation, and Bin Laden fled Swat. Bin Laden turned up next in the town of Haripur, in northern Pakistan, where he stayed for two years in a rented house with two of his wives and several of his children and grandchildren. In August 2005, they all moved to a custom-built compound in Abbottabad, a military garrison town located about 85km away from the Pakistani capital, Islamabad. He stayed there for six years, until he was killed in the US operation in May 2011. 'Culpable negligence' According to the Commission's investigations, Pakistan's intelligence establishment had "closed the book" on Bin Laden by 2005, and was no longer actively pursuing intelligence that could lead to his capture.Moreover, it found that there had been a complete collapse of governance and law enforcement - a situation it termed "Government Implosion Syndrome", both in the lack of intelligence on Bin Laden's nine-year residence in Pakistan, and in the response to the US raid that killed him. It finds that "culpable negligence and incompetence at almost all levels of government can more or less be conclusively established". On the presence of a CIA support network to help track down Bin Laden in Pakistan without the Pakistani establishment’s knowledge, the Commission determined that "this [was] a case of nothing less than a collective and sustained dereliction of duty by the political, military and intelligence leadership of the country". It also found that the US violation of Pakistani sovereignty, in carrying out the raid unilaterally, had been allowed to happen due to inaccurate and outdated threat assessment within the country’s defence and strategic policy establishments. "It is official or unofficial defence policy not to attempt to defend the country if threatened or even attacked by a military superpower like the US?" the Commission asked of several top military officers. Military officers, including the chief of the country's air force, testified that Pakistan's low-level radar was on "peacetime deployment", and hence not active on the border with Afghanistan, when the raid occurred. The report concludes that unless there are major changes to Pakistan's defence strategy, it remains vulnerable to a repeat of such an airborne raid. The Commission found that the country's "political, military intelligence and bureaucratic leadership cannot be absolved of their responsibility for the state of governance, policy planning and policy implementation that eventually rendered this national failure almost inevitable", and calls on key national leaders to formally apologise to the country for "their dereliction of duty". Perhaps aware of the implications of its findings, the Commission noted that it had "apprehensions that the Commission's report would be ignored, or even suppressed", and urged the government to release it to the public. It did not do so. The report was buried by the government and never released. Al Jazeera's Investigative Unit obtained a copy of the Commission's report, and has now released it, in full, along with accompanying coverage to help unpick the details, and implications of its findings. Al Jazeera has received credible reports that its domain (www.aljazeera.com) was blocked for users in Pakistan shortly after it released the Bin Laden Files at 15:00 GMT.
Page 197 of the report, which contains part of the testimony of Lt-Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha, then director of the ISI, was missing from all copies of the report that Al Jazeera obtained from multiple sources. It is unclear what was contained in that page, but the contextual implication is that, among other things, it contains a list of seven demands made by the United States of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks in 2001.

Report Blasts Pakistani Leaders Over Bin Laden

A leaked Pakistani government report says "collective failure" by that country's military and civilian leaders allowed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden to live there undetected for years. The 336-page report was published Monday on the website of Qatar-based broadcaster Al Jazeera. It was written by a commission formed by the government to investigate the circumstances surrounding the covert U.S. raid that killed bin Laden in May 2011. As reported by Al Jazeera, the report said "negligence and incompetence to a greater or lesser degree at almost all levels of government" allowed bin Laden to live in Pakistan for nine years. It said no evidence was found that current or former Pakistani officials helped bin Laden hide, although that could not be ruled out completely. The fact that the compound where bin Laden was hiding was located only about one kilometer from an elite Pakistani military academy led many in the U.S. to suspect Pakistani officials of aiding the al-Qaida chief, although Washington never found evidence to back that up. The report also revealed details of the terrorist leader's daily life. It said bin Laden was so concerned about surveillance that he wore a cowboy hat when he was outside, to avoid detection from above. The widow of one of bin Laden's key aides told the commission that bin Laden and his entourage once were stopped for speeding in Swat region. But she said her husband "very quickly settled the matter with the policeman" before he could recognize the al-Qaida leader. Pakistani officials said for years they did not know the whereabouts of the world's most wanted man or even if he was alive. In the wake of the raid that killed bin Laden, it emerged that Pakistani authorities were kept in the dark about the U.S. operation.

Pakistan: Disquieting quietude

As the time is running out fast, the new incumbents in power are trailing far behind to the great consternation and concern of the masses. They had held out tall promises to the electorate and had also promised to deliver on them quickly. Of course, that was patently electoral politics, with the contestants irrationally but alluringly promising competitively to the electorate the moon for gains on the ballot box. But rational or irrational, with that ploy they had raised the people's expectations abnormally high, who now want them to make good on what they had promised, which candidly is impossible in the given conditions. The incumbents' plea, even as absolutely true, that they have inherited a huge mess which would take time to clear up, is not carrying any much conviction with the masses. They have specific questions and only specific answers can satisfy them. And, appallingly, those answers are not coming forth from the incumbents. And this quietude of theirs is very disquieting, to say the least. The PML (N) hierarchs had come crowing that they would get into grips with tortuous load-shedding powerfully and the masses would feel the change not in months or weeks but within days. They gave the sense that with clearing the vicious circular debt they would considerably slash it down. And now the people are intrigued and miffed. They can't understand why has there been no lessening in load-shedding even when the PML (N)-led federal government has paid up a huge chunk of that debt, and it instead is aggravating. Nobody is bothering to tell them. Not even the power minister, who in effect appears to have just disappeared from the scene altogether. The word is long out from the party and government quarters that it is the prime minister who would in due course unveil his administration's energy policy. So be it. But that doesn't preclude any one else from answering a question troubling the public mind. Unarguably, unveiling an energy policy is a matter altogether different from answering a perplexing question bamboozling the people. And it doesn't have to be the prime minister to answer that puzzling question. The power minister should do it. Indeed, leave alone the minister, even a senior mandarin of the power ministry could have done it. But none over there has deemed fit to assuage the boiling public disquiet on this score, realising not the baneful consequences of this quietude. As indeed has the PPP government in Sindh fretted not to tell the people as to why it is as yet failing again to curb violence and bloodshed in the province's metropolis of Karachi. The party couldn't be unaware that apart from load-shedding, it is the bloodbath of Karachi on its previous watch in Sindh that had largely cost it the 2013 election so unbearably humiliatingly. From a national party, it has been indefensibly reduced just into a regional party. And had Sindh interior still not been under the sway of overbearing feudal lords and land barons, the party could have been possibly swept out from the political centre-stage altogether. Yet the PPP government is mum as to why the key port city of the nation is still in flames. Is it for its lack of trying, as on its previous watch? Or is it for reasons beyond its control? Of necessity, it has to come clean on the issue. But it is puritanically keeping quiet, wholly ignorant of the intense public sentiment to know this as well as of the tremendous dent its already-deeply besmirched public image is receiving because of this stupefying muteness. The incumbents across the spectrum must know this. They have come promising moon to an impatient public dealt an atrociously raw deal by the previous rulers over their long, long five-year tenure. This terribly-wronged public has no patience to wait for the whole lot of goodies promised to them. Since those promises as yet remain just that, a disturbing public unease and restlessness is setting in that potentially could ultimately flare up into something wholly undesirable. Hence, the incumbents must take the questions taxing the public mind very seriously and answer them promptly to set the mass of the people at ease. They must increase their truck with the media and speak out in press conferences, exclusive interviews and press meets frequently to answer those troubling questions. Their existing nonchalance on this count is very dismaying, and baneful too.