Thursday, November 14, 2013

PPP leader sends legal notice to JI head over ‘martyr’ remarks
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Chaudhry Fawad Hussain has sent a legal notice to Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) leader Syed Munnawar Hassan for calling the slain Taliban leader, Hakimullah Mehsud, a “martyr”. Advocate Chaudhry Faisal Hussain sent the notice to Munnawar Hassan on behalf of Fawad Hussain, demanding that the JI leader withdraw his statement and tender an unconditional apology to the nation especially from the families of those who have been killed in terrorist attacks. Fawad also warned that if Munnawar Hassan did not tender an apology, he would take legal action against the JI leader. “You completely discounted the bloodshed of innocent Pakistani citizens including women and minor children and issued the above referred loathsome, preposterous and illegal statements with aim to ridicule and scorn the sacrifices of our great martyrs, who lost their priceless lives, to save the lives of millions of Pakistani citizens, living in the breadth and length of this country, in the monstrous and ruthless terrorist attacks carried out by the banned outfits including TTP and its allies,” the legal notice read. Fawad also believed that Munnawar Hassan’s statement was part of the “vilification propaganda campaign aimed to harm, defame and denigrate the prodigious sacrifices of the soldiers of Pakistan and with criminal object to glorify the enemies of the state, who openly defy the constitution and laws of Pakistan”. He also said that such statements had established a ridiculous impression and caused suspicion, hatred and prejudice against the armed forces and civil armed forces of Pakistan. “Your action is prejudicial to the fundamental principles enshrined in the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Being a common citizen as well as the Ameer/leader of a registered political party namely Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan, you were under a prime duty to be loyal to the state of Pakistan and also to bare inviolable obligation to show obedience to the laws and the Constitution of Pakistan. Hence you have, in letter and spirit violated Article 5 of the Constitution of Pakistan 1973.” The notice further read, “You issued/rendered the above referred statements with a criminal intention to disrupt and frustrate the public order and to create law and order situation within Pakistan by causing hatred and dislike against and in the armed forces and civil armed forces of Pakistan.”

Obama: U.S. committed to help Philippines

The President encourages Americans to support organizations assisting with typhoon recovery.

Obama: 'We fumbled the rollout' on healthcare

President Obama bowed to political pressure from his fellow Democrats and announced a plan to let insurers renew for one year the health plans for Americans whose policies would be otherwise canceled due to Obamacare.

Haqqani Leader Lived, Died In The Open In Pakistan

Haven't we been here before? The assassination of a high-profile militant living large under the noses of the authorities has rekindled suspicions that Pakistan shelters known terrorists. The November 10 killing of Nasiruddin Haqqani, considered to be the financier of the Haqqani network, drew obvious comparisons to Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden's death on Pakistani soil in 2011. Both were considered masterminds of their terrorist organizations, both were wanted by the United States, and both were living in large homes among the local population. But even compared to bin Laden, who hid in a safe house within sight of a prestigious military academy in Abbottabad, Haqqani's case stands out. He appears to have been living luxuriously in Islamabad, with several homes there, and often frequented the capital's markets and restaurants.
Retired Pakistani Army Brigadier General Mehmood Shah says the circumstances of Nasiruddin Haqqani's death -- he was shot on the street as he bought bread at a bakery -- are deeply troubling for Pakistan. "The big question now is what was he doing in Islamabad?" Shah says. "We were assuming that the Haqqani network only operated in [the remote tribal region of] North Waziristan. And even there they were thought to be based close to the border with Afghanistan."
The Haqqani network, led by Nasiruddin's aging father, Jalaluddin Haqqani, and managed by his younger brother Sirajuddin Haqqani, was widely believed to operate out of northwest Pakistan and be active only in southeastern Afghanistan.
Pakistan 'Appears Guilty'
For a leading member of the group to have been living in the capital and reportedly using it as a launching pad for fund-raising trips to Arab Gulf states came as a big surprise even to close observers. Nasiruddin Haqqani's "presence in Islamabad was deeply humiliating for Pakistan," Shah says. "This will be another reason to malign Pakistan, but Pakistan appears guilty in this whole affair." Family patriarch Jalaluddin Haqqani and his network were once on the side of United States and Pakistan, fighting as proxies in the war against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s. After emerging as a leading guerrilla commander in Afghanistan, Jalaluddin Haqqani sided with the Taliban in the 1990s. After the fall of the Taliban regime in 2001, the Haqqani network evolved into the most lethal Taliban faction. Afghan journalist Sami Yousafzai says Nasiruddin Haqqani was considered a guiding spirit behind the organization because he raised funds, provided strategic guidance, mediated disputes, and networked widely. In 2010, Washington designated Nasiruddin Haqqani a "global terrorist" and, later that year, he is believed to have been briefly detained in northwestern Pakistan.
Free To Roam?
Yousafzai says Nasiruddin Haqqani's presence in Islamabad showcases the freedom with which Afghan insurgent groups such as the Haqqani network operate in Pakistan. But he also notes that his death shows their safety is not assured. "This killing shows that people who are being sought by the United States and Western intelligence services are overconfident about their safety in Pakistan," Yousafzai says. "They probably think that those who declared them terrorists -- and have even announced bounties for their killing or capture -- cannot do anything against them inside Pakistan." Islamabad has been tight-lipped about Nasiruddin Haqqani's assassination. But earlier this month, Pakistani Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar told lawmakers that his country maintains cordial relations with the Afghan Taliban. "All the warring factions inside Afghanistan have positive relations with the Pakistani Army and the government of Pakistan," Nisar said. "We have good relations with the Afghan Taliban. The state of our relations with the Afghan Taliban is improving."
'Arm' Of Pakistani Intelligence
In September 2011, a former chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, described the Haqqani network as "a veritable arm" of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). The Pakistani government has repeatedly denied such accusations, but the network's lasting war-hero status and Nasiruddin Haqqani's ability to evade capture have rekindled suspicions. Journalist Yousafzai suggests that Islamabad has never gone after Afghan insurgents because it does not want to risk angering their hardline supporters in Pakistan. And, he says, there is a general view that there is no compelling reason to do so. "The thinking now inside Pakistan is that if the Americans can negotiate with the Taliban and can even establish an office in Qatar to facilitate talks with them," Yousafzai says, "then it is not necessary to move decisively against the Afghan Taliban."

Pakistan: Who Killed Nasiruddin Haqqani?

Pakistani authorities appear to have few clues in the mysterious murder of a senior Afghan Taliban leader in the capital. Police in Islamabad, where Nasiruddin Haqqani was gunned down outside a ramshackle bakery on November 10, have said little about his killing. A police officer in the Bhara Kahu neighborhood confirmed to BBC that Nasiruddin lived there, and the police are still investigating his slaying. But the killing of one of Pakistan's long-time Afghan jihadist allies has prompted much speculation about who might have been behind the brazen assassination of one of the top leaders of the Haqqani Network, which is considered the most lethal faction of the Afghan Taliban.
Tribal Feud?
One source close to the Afghan Taliban suggested to RFE/RL that Nasiruddin might have been the victim of a tribal feud within the large Zadran tribe, whose homeland in the southeastern Afghan provinces of Khost, Paktia, and Paktika is the key theater for Haqqani Network operations. The source, requesting anonymity out of fear of reprisals, said the feud began after the murder of an Afghan man in Islamabad two years ago. The source described the victim as the son of a wealthy Afghan businessman, Haji Khalil Zadran, who had reportedly vowed to avenge his son's killing. (The "Daily Beast" cited reports of a feud but identified the victim as Zadran's brother.) "The New York Times" recently reported that Zadran tribe members had previously broken ties with the Haqqanis because of their association with Pakistan. In addition, Haqqani fighters have targeted tribal leaders and terrorized villagers. The tribe observes an ancient tradition of reprisal killings in family or clan disputes that can last for generations.
Pakistani Taliban
The source close to the Afghan Taliban also singled out the Pakistani Taliban as another group that might have been behind Nasiruddin's murder. He said that slain Pakistani Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud had turned against the Haqqanis because of their long-standing alliance with Pakistan's powerful military establishment. The source said Taliban insiders had told him that days before his death, Hakimullah Mehsud had vowed to take on the Haqqanis and Asamatullah Muawiya, leader of a Pakistani Taliban faction now sheltering with the Haqqanis in their North Waziristan stronghold. The source said that Mehsud had publicly chided the Haqqanis for their alleged ties with Pakistani intelligence services. A senior Pakistani politician told RFE/RL that the Haqqani sanctuary in North Waziristan was threatened by a deepening rift with Hafiz Gul Bahadar, a powerful Pakistani Taliban leader. The politician said that Bahadar and his supporters were unhappy with Nasiruddin's brother Sirajuddin Haqqani because of his support for radical fighters from the eastern Pakistani province of Punjab. Such fighters, dubbed Punjabi Taliban in Pakistan, are widely seen as insensitive to local sentiments in North Waziristan, whose Pashtun population strongly resents the decade-long insecurity in the region.
The BBC reported that the Taliban factions and allied extremists are uneasy over the prospect of a power struggle after NATO's withdrawal from neighboring Afghanistan next year. A BBC report said that the Haqqanis are opposed by local militants from Waziristan over the former's presumed ties to Pakistani intelligence services. But the Haqqanis now face additional pressure from the Punjabi Taliban, who are said to have turned against the Haqqanis despite being initially hosted by them.
Intelligence Services?
For its part, the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan, the Pakistani Taliban's umbrella alliance, has accused Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) of orchestrating Nasiruddin's murder. Pakistan's daily "The News" reported that Nasiruddin's assassination might herald the end of a decades-old alliance between the Haqqanis and the Pakistani intelligence services. The newspaper said Islamabad was unhappy with ties between the Haqqanis and the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan. In late 2010, Washington designated Nasiruddin a "global terrorist." U.S. Navy SEALs killed Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Ladin near Islamabad in the garrison town of Abbottabad in May 2011. Scores of Pakistani, Afghan, Arab, and Central Asian militant leaders have died in suspected U.S. drone strikes in North Waziristan and the adjacent tribal regions during the past few years.

President Obama addresses tribal leaders as D.C. conference

U.S. To become top oil producer by 2015

The United States will knock off Saudi Arabia as the world's top energy producer by 2015, but its power as a global energy force will fade over the next decade, according to a report from the International Energy Agency. Massive investment in the production of shale gas has driven the U.S. supply boom, thanks in large part to new technologies such as hydraulic fracking, which has made the extraction of oil and gas from shale rock commercially viable. But limited reserves will cap the surge in shale oil output within the next 10 years. "Shale oil is good news for the U.S, but we do not expect this trend will continue after the 2020s," IEA chief economist Fatih Birol told reporters Tuesday, at the launch of the 2013 World Energy Outlook in London. That will translate into an increase in OPEC producers' share of global output since those nations would remain the only large source of relatively low cost oil.
"Middle East oil is crucial to the global oil industry today, and also tomorrow," Birol said.The OPEC oil cartel, which includes Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar, controls the vast majority of world oil reserves. As a major exporter, top producer Saudi Arabia is critical to future energy supplies. By contrast, the United States relies on its newfound energy wealth to power domestic consumption.
Birol said despite the growth in U.S. energy supplies, the new era isn't one of "oil abundance," due to demand pressures and declining production from existing crude fields. The IEA also noted that power-hungry Asia will continue to re-shape the global energy landscape. About two-thirds of future world energy demand will come from the region. India will take over from China as the biggest energy demand center around 2020. The Middle East will also have a rising impact on demand. By 2035 the Middle East will consume the same amount of oil as China does today, according to the IEA. To top of page

Putin calls Assad on Geneva-2, chemical weapons, persecution of Christians

For the first time since 2011, the Russian and Syrian presidents spoke on the phone to discuss developments in the Syria crisis. Vladimir Putin called Bashar Assad about the Geneva-2 peace talks and the destruction of Syria’s chemical stockpile. President Putin called President Assad to talk about the preparations for the Syria peace talks, and to share Russia’s concerns over the reports of a surge in extremist persecution of religious minorities in Syria, the Kremlin press service said on Thursday. The Russian President said he hopes that major Syrian opposition groups will take “a constructive approach” and participate in the peace conference in Geneva. Putin told Assad he was “satisfied” with Syria’s cooperation with the UN and the OPCW (International Chemical Weapons Watchdog). The presidents discussed the procedure for bringing the Syrian chemical arsenal under international control and its ultimate destruction. Putin said he was concerned with “purposeful persecution of Christians and other religious minorities” by extremist groups in Syria. He said Russia hopes the Syrian government “will do everything possible to relieve the suffering of the civilian population and to restore the peace.” Assad thanked the Russian government for “aiding the Syrian people,” and the two presidents confirmed they intend to foster bilateral relations further. The Geneva-2 peace talks, brokered by the US and Russia, have not yet been scheduled officially, although they were tentatively planned for November 23. Syrian official media recently said the date has been set for December 12, but this has not been officially confirmed. While Russia has been pushing the international community for months to start the talks, and the Syrian government has repeatedly said it is ready to participate without preconditions, Western powers are still struggling to bring the opposition groups to the negotiation table. Recently, the leader of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, Ahmad Jarba, told the Sunday Telegraph the group will agree to take part in talks on condition that the West ensures humanitarian corridors to the opposition strongholds in Syria. Previously, Jarba rejected the possibility of attending the Geneva-2, demanding that President Bashar Assad must go.

VIDEO: The Cartoons Pakistani TV Was Afraid to Show

Musician and writer Daniyal Noorani created animated cartoons that took on Islamic extremism in Pakistan. But even though their message was peaceful, TV stations there would not run them.

Pakistani Polio Hits Syria, Proving No Country Is Safe Until All Are

By Aryn Baker
Viruses cross borders invisibly and dangerously. The fighting in Syria has made that especially easy for polio
The polio virus that crippled at least 13 Syrian children last month originated in Pakistan, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). It does not look as if the disease came into the country with Pakistani militants aligned with rebels fighting the regime of President Bashar Assad, as was alleged last week by a government official. Instead, it appears it has been lurking in the Middle East region for at least a year, seeking any opportunity to infect a vulnerable population. It finally got its chance in Syria, where the ongoing conflict has obstructed the vaccination campaigns that are the only way to ensure the virus stops in its tracks. Before this most recent outbreak, Syria had been polio-free since 1999. It is conflict in Pakistan’s tribal areas that has allowed the virus to flourish and hitch a ride west, demonstrating that as long as polio has a foothold in one country, no other country is safe.
Genetic sequencing of the virus that spread through Deir ez-Zor in eastern Syria, threatening tens of thousands of unvaccinated children, indicates that this particular strain is closely related to samples discovered in the sewage systems of Egypt, the Gaza Strip, Israel and the West Bank late last year. “With large-scale population movements ongoing within and between Syria and surrounding countries, it is very unlikely that it will ever be possible to state definitively how the virus came into the country,” says the WHO’s polio-eradication spokesman Oliver Rosenbauer. “This is the big danger with this disease, in that it can travel across wide geographic areas with population movements.”
In response, the WHO has mounted a massive, region-wide campaign that aims to vaccinate some 20 million children under the age of 5 in the next six months. It will be an expensive and arduous undertaking, with no guarantees that vaccination teams will reach the most vulnerable children before the virus does. The only way to protect every single child from a crippling disease that has no cure is to eradicate the virus entirely.
The world is tantalizingly close to that goal: after a 28-year campaign, polio is endemic in only three countries: Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria. Even those outliers are on their way toward complete eradication. But a recent antivaccine movement spearheaded by the Pakistani Taliban has threatened Pakistan’s progress. Taliban leaders have banned polio vaccinations in their areas as long as U.S. drones continue to attack militants. Several health workers who defied the ban have since been shot or killed. The result: 56 children have been paralyzed in Pakistan so far this year, up from 48 last year.
“Taliban leaders are essentially holding their own children hostage, just to stop drones,” says Aziz Memon, Rotary International’s PolioPlus chairman for Pakistan, by telephone. By doing so, he says, they are threatening the rest of the world’s children. “This virus is vicious. It is going to travel, and it will seek out the vulnerable. The only way to prevent outbreaks like the one we are seeing in Syria is to stop it here in Pakistan. And the sooner the better.”
Read more: Pakistan Infects Syria With Polio, Says the WHO |

Jamaat-i-Islami Confusing terrorists for martyrs

The Jamaat-e-Islami never misses an opportunity to be on the wrong side of history. Since its inception, it has acted against the interests of the very people it pretends to serve. Last week Syed Munawar Hassan, who heads Pakistan’s Jamaat-i-Islami (Jamaat), declared the former head of the Pakistani Taliban, Hakeemullah Mehsud, a martyr. Mehsud reportedly died of a missile fired from an unmanned drone in North Waziristan. The Pakistan Army took serious offense to the statement by Mr. Hassan and found it insulting to the memory of thousands of soldiers who have died fighting militants.
The Jamaat’s long history of being on the wrong side of history started in 1947 when the Jamaat opposed an independent homeland for the Muslims of South Asia. In 1971, it sided with the military in its campaign against the populist insurgency in Bangladesh. Later in 1985, the Jamaat sided with yet another military dictator, General Ziaul Haq, and assisted him in subverting democracy and radicalising the youth to fuel the war against the Soviet Army in Afghanistan. Today, the Jamaat has come in support of the militants who have declared war on Pakistan’s establishment and its civil society. For these reasons, and despite its organisational structure, the Jamaat has failed to win over the imagination of the electorate in either Pakistan or Bangladesh. The Civil War in Bangladesh resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands. A study published in 2008 in BMJ estimated the death toll at 269,000. The Jamaat-i-Islami in Bangladesh provided recruits for militias who joined the military campaign against the Bengalis by the East Pakistan-dominated Army. The Jamaat was banned in 1971 after Bangladesh gained independence from Pakistan. The Jamaat’s leadership in Bangladesh fled to Pakistan. More recently, the Bangladeshi Supreme Court in August 2013 declared the Jamaat’s registration illegal, thus restricting it from contesting elections in the future. It is rather surprising to see Pakistan’s army taking a stand against the Jamaat, which has always found a way to support the Army whenever it suspended the constitution or the democratic process. However, given the large number of dead and injured soldiers in the fight against the militants, the army felt compelled to take issue with the Jamaat that declared the former head of the Taliban a martyr. The spokesperson for the armed forces said:
The people of Pakistan, whose loved ones laid down their life while fighting the terrorist, and families of the shuhada of armed forces demand an unconditional apology from Syed Munawar Hassan for hurting their feelings. It is also expected that Jamat-e-Islami should clearly state its party position on the subject.
The Jamaat had an opportunity to lay the blame on Mr. Hassan and absolve itself of any direct responsibility. However, the Jamaat, which appears to be on a collision course with the state and the constitution for decades, yet again opted for collision rather than collaboration. Mr. Fareed Paracha, the Jamaat’s spokesperson rejected the impression that the Jamaat had distanced itself from Mr. Hassan’s statement. Instead, Mr. Paracha argued that Mr. Hassan’s statement reflected views of the Jamaat. The Jamaat has always acted as a spoiler in Pakistan. Knowing that the electorate has rejected the Jamaat in every election, it runs the election campaigns on false promises, knowing that it will never be asked to deliver on the claims it made. However, this makes the life of real political outfits much difficult who have to explain to the voters why they cannot promise to double the minimum wage, which the Jamaat always readily promises. The Jamaat this time, has made a major error in judging the political mood in the country. With thousands of deaths at the hands of the militants in Pakistan, the common man no longer sees the Taliban as an asset. Even the Army is distancing itself from the hardcore militants who have repeatedly attacked the armed forces. It is not clear if the Jamaat would be able to learn from its mistakes and indeed apologise to Pakistanis whose loved ones have been killed in cold blood by the militants. Hakeemullah Mehsud was the militant-in-chief who rebelled against the State and approved of attacks against civilians. He was a war criminal, and not a martyr. If the Jamaat still cannot tell the difference, it deserves to be in the political wilderness it finds itself in today.

QWP announces to quit KPK government

Qaumi Wattan Party (QWP) has announced to quit Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led coalition government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), SAMAA reports on Thursday. Addressing a press conference here‚ QWP Chairman Sikandar Sherpao leveled series of allegations against PTI leaders. He said a new drama was started to befool the people. Sherpao told media that his party’s reservations were not being addressed. He further added that PTI never consulted the QWP leadership over decision-making when it came to matters relating to politics and governance. “PTI does not look serious in closing NATO supply routes” he added.

Bilawal Bhutto urges Muslims to adopt Hazrat Imam Hussain’s character, pays rich tributes to Shohda-e-Karbala
Patron-in-Chief of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, has urged Muslims to learn from the supreme sacrifice of Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS) and Ahle Bait and continue struggle for higher values and triumph of goodness over evil. The incident of Karbala is remembered as historical event which established the lasting example of rendering sacrifice for upholding truth and principles. The Jihad fought by Hazrat Imam Hussain along with his companions is a shining minaret of courage, patience perseverance and determination, said PPP Patron in his message on Yom-i-Ashur falling on November 15, 2013. He said that today nation was passing through difficult phase as tyranny at the hands of militants continues to stark the country. “Islam is a religion of peace and forbids killing in the name of religion,” he said. “At this juncture of our country’s history, we reiterate our resolve that no matter what the odds, we shall not submit before the tyranny of militants who want to impose their distorted ideology upon us and continue the struggle for a just, plural, moderate and enlightened Pakistan,” he further said. PPP Patron appealed to people to rise above sectarianism and forge unity amongst them and to fight the forces that want to surrender Pakistan at the altar of narrow-mindedness and evil. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said the best way to pay tribute to Hazrat Imam Hussain, the leader of all martyrs, is to adopt his character and face difficulties with courage. “In this way we can not only overcome all difficulties but we can also adopt the real teachings of Islam and succeed in this life and hereafter,” he added.

Former President Asif Ali Zardari’s message on Yom-e-Ashura
Former President Asif Ali Zardari has asked the nation to forge unity and harmony on the solemn occasion of Yom-e-Ashura and urged people to be cautious of those who want to destroy sectarian harmony in the country.
In a message on the occasion of 10th Muharram, former President said, Hazrat Imam Hussain (May Allah be pleased with him) sacrificed his life and the lives of his dearest family members and associates for the cause of truth and justice and against tyranny, falsehood and authoritarianism and in doing so he bequeathed a lesson to us to resist oppression and tyranny in whatever form it may rear its head. The former President said it is hard to find a parallel example of Imam Hussain’s supreme sacrifice in the annals of history. He said tyranny and oppression manifests itself in different forms at different times and tyranny of our time is unleashed by militants and extremists for forcing their own ideological agenda on innocent and unarmed people. On this ‘Yom-e-Ashura’ while paying homage to Hazrat Imam Hussain and the martyrs of Karbala we should also vow to resist the tyranny and oppression of zealots and extremists, the former President added. He also asked the people to rise above sectarianism and forge unity among their ranks. The need for learning a lesson from the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain (May Allah be pleased with him) is greater today than even before, former President concluded.

Pakistan: Af-Pak and the military-mullah tiff

Dr Mohammad Taqi
It is for the security establishment to reflect over and revisit its association with unsavoury characters from both sides of the Durand Line A tiff has erupted between the Pakistan army and its best men of several decades’ standing. The emir of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), Mr Syed Munawar Hasan, ruffled quite a few feathers with his callous remarks about martyrdom last week. Mr Hasan not only called the slain Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) ringleader Hakeemullah Mehsud a shaheed — a martyr in the divine sense of the word — but also impugned the martyrdom status of the armed forces men who laid down their lives fighting the TTP and its ilk. The military shot back, quite understandably, with a statement castigating the JI chief and demanded an apology. The ISPR press release, however, did qualify its criticism of Mr Munawar Hasan with an unqualified exhortation for the JI’s founding emir, the late Maulana Syed Abul Aala Maududi. Interestingly, the military ruler, General Ayub Khan, had imprisoned Maulana Maududi twice in the 1960s. But the military had consorted with the Islamists before and continued to do so after Ayub Khan.
The military establishment, under General Yahya Khan, a man not exactly known for religious observance, groomed the Islamist political parties like the JI and Jamiat-i-Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) as a policy. Mr Shuja Nawaz notes in his book Crossed Swords: Pakistan, its Army and the Wars Within that these two parties “received assistance from (General) Sher Ali Khan Pataudi, who found an ally in Major General Ghulam Umar, the newly promoted executive head of the National Security Council.” The idea was to actively upend the popular political forces like the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the National Awami Party (NAP) with pliable political elements. In his work Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military, the former ambassador Professor Husain Haqqani describes this strategy as the “Sher Ali Formula”, which “required behind-the-scenes manipulation of the political process, to increase the number of political contenders, as well as identification of ‘patriotic factions’ against ‘unpatriotic’ ones.” The alliance matured when the JI mercenaries fought alongside the army in the botched but brutal attempt to crush the 1971 Bengali nationalist struggle.
It was ultimately the third military dictator General Ziaul Haq, who after dislodging the PPP government, directly shared political power with the JI and the JUI. The overtly religious General Zia inducted three ministers from the JI and two from the JUI, along with five Muslim Leaguers in his cabinet on July 5, 1978. The Zia-JUI fling was short-lived but he shared a deep ideological affinity with the JI and a personal connection with the then emir of JI, Mian Tufail Muhammad who, like General Zia, hailed from East Punjab. The Zia-JI union flourished till the general’s death did them part. Along with his intelligence chief, the so-called Khamosh Mujahid (silent holy warrior) General Akhtar Abdur Rahman, General Zia unleashed the JI hordes on Afghanistan. The JI and its Afghan counterparts, a la Hizb-e-Islami of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, remained the major beneficiaries of Saudi money and the US weapons channeled courtesy the Pakistani security establishment till the gravy train stopped circa 1989-90. On the domestic front, abstract themes like the ‘glory of Islam’ and as yet undefined ‘ideology of Pakistan’ became endemic as General Zia went on his ‘Islamisation’ spree to establish with the help of his clergy cohorts what he called the ‘Nizam-e-Mustafa’ or the governance of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The Zakat and Ushr Ordinance to collect Islamic charity on behalf of the state and the Nizam-e-Salaat mandating prayers in schools and government offices were the direct consequence of the Zia-JI liaison. The armed forces wore an ideological rather than a professional look and developed significant pockets of support for Islamist causes, which exists to date. While the military under General Zia sought to use the JI and its ilk to legitimise their rule on religio-political grounds, the JI wanted to push their fanatical agenda through the junta. But just like the security establishment presumed that it could somehow turn off the field jihadists’ switch once the job is done, it also misread the intentions and zeal of its JI-type allies. The jihadists and their political fronts like the JI are in it for the long haul. They do not operate on a 9-5 clock and take the weekends off. The security establishment’s à la carte approach to jihadism is what the TTP and the JI both are livid about. The former ISPR chief pinning the JI for harbouring al Qaeda operatives is interesting, but it would take more than a few retaliatory words to roll back the jihadist project his parent outfit had sired together with the political clergy. The military and the mullahs have coauthored the hyper-nationalist narrative prevalent in Pakistan. Even under the ‘enlightened moderate’ General Pervez Musharraf, the electoral mandate was manipulated to hand power to the mullahs in two provinces. The mullahs have kept their end of the bargain. They do not like the change of rules in midgame. That the security establishment continues to consort with the chosen jihadists is also not lost on the JI and the TTP. The latest example of the Pakistani security establishment turning a blind eye to, if not facilitating, the Afghan jihadists is the murder of the Haqqani terrorist network (HQN) top financier Nasiruddin Haqqani just outside Islamabad. Nasiruddin was son of Jalaluddin Haqqani from an Arab wife, and full brother of the HQN’s de facto chief, Sirajuddin. It has been an open secret for several years that Nasiruddin and his uncles Ibrahim and Khalil have operated in Islamabad’s vicinity. Nasiruddin leveraged his Arab connections to raise funds for attacks inside Afghanistan while his uncles have been known to induce, personally and through enforcers working out of Rawalpindi, ostensible peace deals such as the 2011 Kurram accord. Sirajuddin Haqqani had played a decisive role in the selection of the TTP chiefs in the past, and possibly in Mullah Fazlullah’s recent ascent as the terror group’s ringleader as well. It is unlikely that the Pakistani establishment has not been aware of the al Qaeda-affiliated HQN’s activities near the federal capital. Syed Munawar Hasan and indeed JUI’s Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s crass remarks have made even the worst critics of the army queasy. It is for the security establishment to reflect over and revisit its association with unsavoury characters from both sides of the Durand Line. But it would be naïve to assume that decades of damage can be undone with one statement. Peace in Afghanistan and Pakistan requires a policy overhaul on the part of the security establishment, not just a knee-jerk reaction only when its toes are stepped on.

Saudi investment in Pakistan’s nuclear weapons

By Musa Khan Jalalzai
Saudi Arabia has not established any nuclear reactor on its soil but it has invested in Pakistan’s nuclear programme
Other countries’ investment in Pakistan’s nuclear programme and its weapons of mass destruction raised serious questions across the world that these weapons might fall into the wrong hands. The huge investment of the Saudi government in Pakistan’s nuclear weapons is not a new thing; Libya, United Arab Emirates, China contributed their share. Saudi Arabia, in the past, has been the subject of speculation regarding its nuclear weapons ambitions. Among the charges levelled against it is the possession of undeclared nuclear facilities. Saudi Arabia’s link with Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programme has long been the source of speculation that Pakistan might either station its nuclear forces on Saudi soil or provide a nuclear umbrella to the Wahabi state in return for oil supplies, or that the Saudis would purchase nuclear weapons from Pakistan. Saudi Arabia has stationed two brigades of the Pakistan military on its soil to prevent an Iranian invasion, while some 30,000 ex-soldiers of Pakistan are fighting in Bahrain and Yemen.
Saudi Arabia invested in Pakistan’s nuclear bomb and now it seems it wants to obtain the bomb. While the Saudis’ quest for these weapons has also been set in the context of countering Iran, it is now possible for the Sheikhs to obtain these weapons quicker than Iran. Iran wants to establish hegemony in the region and Saudi Arabia views Iran’s influence in the Middle East and Persian Gulf as a big threat. The Saudi investment in Pakistan’s nuclear bomb raised many questions. Facilities and capabilities that Saudi Arabia is known to possess would be insufficient for any military nuclear programme. Saudi Arabia has not established any nuclear reactor on its soil but it has invested in Pakistan’s nuclear programme.
Experts fear that Saudi Arabia may possibly provide these weapons to the Pakistani Taliban based in Syria or it may deploy these weapons on its borders because Saudi Arabia’s recent diplomatic ruction with the United States has been over the demand for stern military action against the Assad regime. The Saudis will not want to wait more to receive the Pakistani nuclear bomb because they have already paid for it. Libya and North Korea have already received their share.
Afghanistan could also demand its share as its uranium was used in building Pakistan’s nuclear bomb. Pakistan used Afghan uranium, brought secretly from the mountains of Kunar and Paktia province in the 1980s. Afghanistan can also demand its share in the ‘Muslim ummah’ bomb, because when Pakistan exploded its nuclear bomb in the Chaghai region in Balochistan in 1998, it dumped nuclear waste inside Afghanistan, which caused dangerous diseases.
Since the 1980s, we read about the danger of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and its security in print and electronic media worldwide. Speculations about the recent terror attacks on Pakistan’s nuclear installations confused the international community about the safety and security of the country’s nuclear assets. No doubt, Pakistan has deployed more than 25,000 forces personnel on its 15 nuclear sites. However, recent terror attacks in various cities of Pakistan triggered concerns in the international community about the security of the country’s nuclear weapons.
This perception has wide ranging strategic, diplomatic, political and economic implications for Pakistan. Today’s precarious situation in Pakistan comes in a world where terror groups are actively seeking nuclear weapons. The Uighur Islamic Front has its eyes on Pakistan. The Taliban, al Qaeda and other sectarian groups want nuclear weapons. The Syrian rebels need weapons of mass destruction; Haqqani and Mullah Omar also need these weapons to be used in Afghanistan. The continued ties of Deobandi, Barelvi, Ahle Hadith, Salafi groups and their sympathisers in the civilian and military leadership pose a considerable threat to the nuclear installations of the country. According to the recent report of the National Crisis Management Cell of the Interior Ministry, more than 400 sectarian and extremist groups operate alongside the Punjabi Taliban in southern Punjab. The Punjabi Taliban control dozens of villages in southern Punjab, and allegedly receive funds from the Punjab government. The Punjabi Taliban have established a strong network in the army and police forces. As we have already discussed, the networks of extremist and terror groups in the country, the globalization of world industry and transport, containerisation of trade, diffusion of nuclear weapon technology and the availability of weapons of mass destruction present a big threat to world peace. Terrorist groups and, specifically, al Qaeda are planning to acquire these weapons and, with their ability and financial resources, they have designs to purchase, steal and make these weapons from fissile material.
The report, “Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission”, compiled by the Swedish government on a proposal from the United Nations, warns: “Acquiring weapons of mass destruction and usable materials directly from a sympathetic government would significantly simplify the requirement for the terrorists, obviating the need to defeat security systems protecting such materials. During the civil wars, violence or instability in a country like Pakistan, terror groups can gain control of fissile materials. Insurgent groups, like the Taliban, or sectarian groups can make a safe penetration with the cooperation of inside contacts. Even if such an insurrection were unsuccessful, however, nuclear sites could fall behind “enemy” lines, before fissile materials could be removed, permitting their transfer to terrorists or their allies.”

Pakistan: To remedy unrest in Fata

Talking to the senators from the tribal areas in a meeting, President Mamnoon Hussein assured of efforts to bring Fata into the mainstream. Every president and prime minister since the creation of this country has stated his intention to bring Fata at par with the rest of Pakistan; it is easier said than done, as even after over six decades; Fata is centuries behind the rest of Pakistan.
Such statements by presidents and prime minister regarding Fata are usual and traditional; it, however, is also traditional and tragic that the Fata MPs only promote their personal agendas during these meetings. These MPs are not even embarrassed and do not object when Gilgit-Baltistan, a much smaller entity and with not even half the population, gets double the funds compared to Fata.
Regardless of the apathy of the Fata MPs towards their people, the current president and prime minister cannot be so naïve and lacking in knowledge and commonsense that unless peace and progress comes to the tribal areas there never will be peace in the country; also, the progress and prosperity in the rest of Pakistan will be impeded by the lack of law and order in the tribal areas. It is not necessary that the selfishness of the Fata MPs should blind the president and prime minister to what is in the national interest. It is in the national interest to create conditions in Fata conducive to make the lifestyle of the tribal people compatible with the rest of the country. But that is not all; because the conditions in the tribal areas are wild and unstable, the government has been unable to tap the vast underground resources there, said to be more in abundance than in any area in the country; Khyber Agency alone is said to have more oil reserves than the rest of Pakistan. In fact, all the seven agencies comprising Fata are extremely rich in underground mineral resources; but, because there is no proper civil administration to make things orderly, especially law and order there, these resources can not be manipulated.
It is a shame that no prime minister and president has been bold enough to make revolutionary decisions regarding the tribal areas that can not only turn around the situation in Fata but the rest of the country as well.
Basically, Fata and Pakistan cannot hold together unless sincere and speedy steps are taken to bring the tribes at par with the rest of the nation and make their lifestyle compatible with the people living in other parts of the country. Incompatibility among people in itself is a recipe for separation and making the areas comprising of Fata and Pata into a single province is the only remedy to remove the incompatibility in attitudes and lifestyle between the settled and tribal areas. However, the talk of merging Fata and Pata with the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will only cause heartburns to the tribes in these areas. The people of Fata and Pata consider themselves, their coming from the same stock notwithstanding, as socially different and geographically separate from the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Because the tribes don\'t have a province of their own, the elections taking place in these areas are hardly credible. In the absence of regular law enforcement agencies, individuals with most guns at their disposal, not votes, win elections. In fact, the people of the tribal areas don\'t think their so-called elected representatives different from the \'yes men\' as tribal elders\' appointed by the political agents inside Fata. Nor do they expect anything from the Fata MPs other than the advancement of their personal interests in their meetings in Islamabad. Creating a province out of the areas comprising Fata and Pata will revolutionise the tribal areas. Right now the twenty-million tribesmen don\'t even have one university. The reason of such and many other omissions is that their fates have been left to the whims of the so-called MPs and bureaucrats appointed either by Islamabad or the Islamabad-appointed governor in Peshawar. The Frontier Post strongly urges both the president and the prime minister to initiate steps for the creation of a province comprising of Fata and Pata. A full fledged province with its own provincial assembly; it own high court and lower judiciary; its own local government system; its own regular police force will bring the affairs there in order. The seven agencies of Fata, and the area of Pata can be declared as districts of the proposed province. Things will become normal once there is a modern civil administration placed there. The terrorists, in such a case, will find that the space for them in Fata and Pata is fast shrivelling. Also, the country will be able to bring into use the enormous underground riches there. The proposed province will prosper and so will the nation. What is more the federal government will have increased ability to act against militants. The presence of regular law enforcement forces is the main reason that Taliban have to stealthily sneak in the provinces instead of roaming in big gangs as they do in Fata. It is hoped that the president and the prime minister will see the light in this regard.

Leader's death plunges Pakistan Taliban into dangerous disarray

The killing of one of Pakistan's most wanted Islamic militants in a U.S. drone strike has exposed centuries-old rivalries within the group he led, the Pakistani Taliban, making the insurgency ever more unpredictable and probably more violent. Hakimullah Mehsud's death this month has set off a power struggle within the outfit's ranks, which could further unnerve a region already on tenterhooks with most U.S.-led troops pulling out of neighboring Afghanistan in 2014. When a tribal council declared Mullah Fazlullah as the new leader of the Pakistani Taliban last week, several furious commanders from a rival clan stood up and left. "When Fazlullah's name was announced, they ... walked out saying, 'The Taliban's command is doomed'," said one commander who attended the November 7 'shura' meeting in South Waziristan, a lawless Pakistani tribal region on the Afghan border. Others at the shura declared loyalty to the hardline new leader and stayed on to map out a plan to avenge Hakimullah's death through a new campaign of bombings and shootings. "This is the start of our fight with the Pakistan government, an American puppet," the Taliban official said. "Those who forced the Soviet Union out of Afghanistan are capable of breaking up Pakistan," he added, alluding to senior commanders whose rite of passage into war started with the rebellion against Soviet troops in Afghanistan in the 1980s. The Pakistani Taliban have always been divided, a loose alliance of militant bands united only by jihadist beliefs and their hatred of the government and all things Western. The group operates independently of its Taliban allies in Afghanistan, who are fighting U.S.-backed forces there. But the death of Hakimullah, a member of the dominant Mehsud tribe, and the rise of Fazlullah, a Swat Valley native and hence an outsider in the eyes of tribesmen, changes the picture in the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), or Pakistani Taliban. Under Hakimullah, the TTP had been open to the idea of peace talks with the Pakistani government, even though no meaningful negotiations had taken place. Fazlullah ruled out any talks and declared the start of a new campaign to attack government and security installations in Punjab, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's political base. "Mehsuds are not only not happy with this appointment but there are reports of serious infighting among them that might come to the fore in the near future," said Saifullah Mahsud, director of the Pakistani think tank FATA Research Center. "I think for now the anti-peace talks group among the TTP has prevailed and hence the appointment of Fazlullah," said Mahsud, who compiles data based on information provided by his sources on the ground in the tribal Pashtun areas.
Fazlullah's threat against Punjab has unnerved Pakistan's most prosperous and populous province, where attacks have so far been rare. Various Pakistani militant groups, including the Sipah-e-Sahaba, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Jaish-e-Mohammad, are based around Punjab and have been long tolerated or even sponsored by Pakistan's powerful military and intelligence establishment. Some of them were set up to fight Indian forces in disputed Kashmir, but they have turned on Pakistan in recent years thanks to the growing influence of the TTP and al Qaeda, and have become increasingly involved in Taliban affairs. "The situation is getting out of control and the ISI knows that," said one Western diplomat in the capital Islamabad, referring to the Pakistani military's powerful intelligence arm. As the dynamic within the militancy evolves, powerful Punjabi groups are also beginning to turn their heads westwards, with many seeing the pullout of U.S. troops from Afghanistan as a chance to expand their reach to tribal areas. During a recent meeting with Reuters in the Pashtun city of Mardan, a group of militants - who sat cross-legged on the floor of a mud-brick safe house sipping tea and eating biscuits - said the Afghan cause was close to their hearts "We want peace in Afghanistan under Mullah Omar's leadership," said Abdurakhman, a militant with Jaish-e-Mohammad, a group usually focused on Kashmir, others nodding in agreement. Mullah Omar is the chief of the Afghan Taliban. "When the Americans leave, elders will sit down with Mullah Omar and decide. If there is a need to fight, we will recruit and send people there." Sitting next to him, Farhatullah, a middle-aged man with the Hizbul Mujahideen group, said he used to fight against Indian forces in Kashmir but was now ready to go to Afghanistan. "We are the reserve force," he said. "If needed I will ... take my gun, go there and fight."
The TTP publicly rubbishes any talk of a major rift among its ranks. A Taliban spokesman has confirmed Fazlullah's appointment and said there would be no more peace talks with the government. Operatives from al Qaeda and the Haqqani network, a powerful militant group based in the mountains of North Waziristan, are also working hard to smooth over any disputes, sources say. Mullah Omar, the reclusive, one-eyed leader of the Afghan Taliban, is said to have stepped into the debate and backed Fazlullah's candidacy. Fazlullah knows Omar personally, having fought alongside his men in Afghanistan in 2001. Fazlullah is still holed up in his base in Nuristan, a thickly forested Afghan region favoured by many Pakistani militants hiding from U.S. drones. To reassert control over feuding groups he would have to come back and establish a foothold in Pakistan. "He is a non-resident commander, he is not present physically," said a Pakistani intelligence source. "But he has two advantages: He's got a lot of money and he has Afghan support."

Terror plot foiled as 20 kg bomb defused in Peshawar

Police defused a 20 kilogram remote-controlled bomb in the Achini Bala area on the outskirts of Peshawar on Thursday, foiling a major terrorist attack in the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, DawnNews reported. Police sources said the bomb was planted in the middle of the patch of Ring Road that comes in the Achini Bala area. Upon receiving information, police called the Bomb Disposal Squad (BDS) to defuse the bomb. The BDS through water charges defused the 20 kilogram remote controlled-bomb. Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, lies on the edge of Pakistan's tribal areas which have been labelled by Washington as the main sanctuary for Al Qaeda and Taliban militants in the country. The city has seen frequent attacks by militants in the past few years, with targets ranging from civilians to policemen and other law enforcement personnel.

Security forces foil suicide attack on Islamabad Imambargah

A suicide bombing attempt was foiled in Islamabad and the alleged suicide bomber and mastermind were arrested, Express News reported on Thursday. According to initial reports, they were planning to attack the Imambargah in Sector G-6, Islamabad on Muharram 9, but security forces foiled the attack by arresting them the night before. Police also seized suicide jackets and other equipment from them. The alleged suicide bomber and the mastermind behind the attack were identified as Muhammad Saeed Abdullah and Matiullah. Karachi Raid On November 13, three alleged militants of the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) were killed during a raid by Rangers personnel in the Gulshan-e-Buner area of Landhi, Karachi. The security officers raided TTP hideouts after receiving a tip off that the militants were planning an attack on the 10th of Muharram. The militants reportedly retaliated and during the exchange of fire, one Rangers official also lost his life. Hand grenades and weapons were also seized during the operation.

Pakistan: Khursheed says pro-IMF policies crushing people
Expressing serious concerns over steep the increase in the prices of essential commodities, the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Ahmad Shah on Tuesday lashed out at the government saying it had crushed the masses to please the IMF. Speaking on a point of order, the opposition leader said a surge in the prices of flour, electricity and petroleum products had added to the miseries of the common man. Khursheed Shah said potatoes were being sold for Rs90 per kg, tomatoes for Rs200 per kg while the price of flour had increased to Rs50 per kg. He said the leaders of the ruling party, when in the opposition, used to dub the petroleum levy as ‘Jagga Tax’ but now their own government is continuously increasing the petroleum prices. He also criticised the government for suppressing the voice of those who were protesting against the hike in the power tariffs. Khursheed Shah said we would not accept the privatisation of major state institutions including Pakistan Railways and Pakistan Steel Mills at throwaway prices. He said National Savings and National Bank of Pakistan are profit-earning entities and they should not be privatised. He said the overseas Pakistanis are contributing greatly to the national economy by sending 16 billion dollars in remittances annually.

Time magazine most influential teens: Malala Yousafzai, Malia Obama top list
US President Barack Obama's elder daughter Malia and Pakistani girls' education activist Malala Yousafzai have been named among the 16 most influential teens of 2013 by Time magazine.
Time's list, out yesterday, comprises young singers, sports stars, technology and science whiz kids, authors and media icons who have become inspirations for youngsters across the world due to their spectacular achievements through their work and passion.The magazine said Malia, 15, and her younger sister Sasha act with the "poise of adults" at high-profile events like their father's second presidential inaugural address. "Thanks in part to Michelle Obama, they seem to lead as normal lives as they can while still meeting the demands of being in the limelight. President Obama often mentions his daughters in speeches, and says that they influenced his stance on gay marriage," the magazine said. Malala's vocal activism for girls' right to education made her a target of the Taliban, who shot her in the head as she was returning home in her school bus in Pakistan last year. From being nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, winning the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought and a Clinton Global Citizen Award to discussing education rights with President Obama, meeting the Queen of England and addressing the United Nations, the 16-year-old has the world applauding her dreams, courage and vision. "After surviving the attack, (Malala) didn't hide in fear but strengthened her voice. The world has been listening," Time said. Malala had also met Malia when she visited the White House last month to meet President Obama and First Lady Michelle. Also on the list is singer and pop icon Justin Bieber. The 19-year-old Canadian-born pop star has become an "industry to himself", valued by Forbes at USD 58 million. He released his first single at age 15, and in 2010, became the youngest solo male artist to hit the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100 music charts. The list includes 16-year-old Lydia Ko, a New Zealand golfer born in South Korea who has multiple Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) wins.

Someone Finally Asked Malala About Drones

Malala Yousafzai is an international hero, and for good reason. Her recent visits to the United States have prompted rapturous coverage in the American media -- also for good reason. But one thing that news outlets have spent hardly any time on is the part of Malala's message to America that might make some people uncomfortable: her vocal criticism of the Obama administration's drone policy. Malala even told President Obama to his face that she thought drones were driving terrorism. "CBS This Morning" host Norah O'Donnell, however, bucked that trend on Tuesday, when she asked Malala to talk about her conversation with Obama. "Is it true that when you spoke with President Obama, that you talked about your concern that drone attacks are fueling terrorism?" she asked. "It is true that when there's a drone attack the terrorists are killed, it's true," she said. "But 500 and 5,000 more people rise against it and more terrorism occurs, and more -- more bomb blasts occurs. ... I think the best way to fight against terrorism is to do it through [a] peaceful way, not through war. Because I believe that a war can never be ended by a war." "And you said that to President Obama?" O'Donnell asked, in an impressed tone.
"Yes, of course," Malala replied.