July 5, 2008


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JULY 05, 2008


“MUSHARRAF IS ENEMY OF PAKISTAN” – A.Q. KHAN – Musharraf knows best about nuclear deal with NKorea: AQ

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JULY 06, 2008

NUCLEAR scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan has said that President Musharraf knew best about the shipment of centrifuges to North Korea from Pakistan in 2000.
Talking to a private TV channel on Friday, AQ Khan said Pyongyang received the shipment in 2000 under the rule of President Musharraf. “Musharraf wrote this in his book, so he knows best about this deal,” he added.
Responding to a question about his interview with an American news agency, he said the news agency twisted his words which gave the wrong impression.
He said that President Musharraf had mentioned in his book about the dispatching of centrifuges to North Korea and that his (Dr Qadeer’s) statement was carried by the foreign news agency in a distorted manner.
AQ Khan said when he was asked by a foreign news agency whether the centrifuges were sent to North Korea he replied that this had already been published in the President’s book.
He said that any question regarding the dispatch of centrifuges be put to President Musharraf. “Nothing could be sent without the supervision of the security forces,” he added.
To a question, he expressed hope that his detention will end soon.
The American news agency quoted AQ Khan as saying that North Korea received centrifuges from Pakistan in a 2000 shipment supervised by the Army during the rule of President Pervez Musharraf.
He further said that the uranium enrichment equipment was sent from Pakistan in a North Korean plane that was loaded under the supervision of Pakistani security officials.
He said the Army had ‘complete knowledge’ of the shipment and that it must have been sent with the consent of Musharraf, the then-Army Chief who took power in a 1999 coup.


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JULY 06, 2008


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JULY 06, 2008


June 16, 2008

Karzai Threatens to Send Soldiers Into Pakistan – WHAT A JOKER! AMERICAN STOOGE – “MAYOR OF KABUL”

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Published: June 16, 2008
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan threatened on Sunday to send soldiers into Pakistan to fight militant groups operating in the border areas to attack Afghanistan. His comments, made at a news conference in Kabul, Afghanistan, are likely to worsen tensions between the countries, just days after American forces in Afghanistan killed 11 Pakistani soldiers on the border while pursuing militants.

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Rahmat Gul/Associated Press

President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan at a news conference in Kabul on Sunday.

“If these people in Pakistan give themselves the right to come and fight in Afghanistan, as was continuing for the last 30 years, so Afghanistan has the right to cross the border and destroy terrorist nests, spying, extremism and killing, in order to defend itself, its schools, its peoples and its life,” Mr. Karzai said.

“When they cross the territory from Pakistan to come and kill Afghans and kill coalition troops, it exactly gives us the right to go back and do the same,” he said.

Mr. Karzai repeated that he regarded the Pakistani government as a friendly government, but he urged it to join Afghanistan and allied nations to fight those who wanted to destabilize both countries, and to “cut the hand” that is feeding the militants.

The prime minister of Pakistan, Yousaf Raza Gilani, said the border was too long to prevent people from crossing, “even if Pakistan puts its entire army along the border.”

“Neither do we interfere in anyone else’s matters, nor will we allow anyone to interfere in our territorial limits and our affairs,” The Associated Press quoted Mr. Gilani as having said.

Mr. Karzai named several militant leaders, including Baitullah Mehsud, a Pakistani who has sent scores of fighters and suicide bombers to Afghanistan, and Maulana Fazlullah, a firebrand militant leader from the Swat Valley. Both men have recently negotiated peace deals with the Pakistani government, but vowed to continue waging jihad in Afghanistan.

“Baitullah Mehsud should know that we will go after him now and hit him in his house,” Mr. Karzai said.

The president also taunted the leader of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Muhammad Omar, calling him a Pakistani, since he has been based in this country since fleeing Afghanistan in 2001.

“And the other fellow, Pakistani Mullah Omar, should know the same,” Mr. Karzai said. “This is a two-way road in this case, and Afghans are good at the two-way-road journey. We will complete the journey and we will get them and we will defeat them. We will avenge all that they have done to Afghanistan for the past so many years.”

“Today’s Afghanistan is not yesterday’s silent Afghanistan,” he warned. “We have a voice, tools and bravery as well.”

Mr. Karzai’s comments came two days after Taliban fighters assaulted the main prison in the southern Afghan city of Kandahar, blowing up the mud walls, killing 15 guards and freeing about 1,200 inmates. It is not known if the fighters received assistance from outside Afghanistan.

Mr. Karzai has adopted a tougher stance in recent months toward Pakistan and even toward foreign allies like the United States and Britain, a shift that analysts say is driven by political concerns at home, with presidential elections due next year.

He says Pakistan has been giving sanctuary to militants for several years and his frustration has grown as the threat has grown. He has often accused the premier Pakistani intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence, of training and assisting militant groups, to undermine his government and maintain a friendly proxy force for the day that United States and NATO troops withdraw from Afghanistan.

His relations with the president of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf, have deteriorated over the years, amid mutual recriminations that the other side was not doing enough to curb terrorism. Mr. Musharraf always denied that the Taliban was operating from Pakistani territory and accused Mr. Karzai of failing to put his own country in order.

Mr. Karzai has welcomed the electoral victories of the secular, democratic parties in Pakistan, since he had longstanding good relations with the late Benazir Bhutto and her Pakistan Peoples Party, and in particular with another coalition partner, the Awami National Party.

In a recent interview, Mr. Karzai expressed optimism that relations between the countries would improve under the new government, in particular because of its opposition to militant Islamism.

Yet Afghanistan has watched Pakistan’s peace deals with militant groups with concern and has protested that cross-border infiltration has already increased.

In southern Afghanistan, Mr. Karzai said, British commanders reported that 70 percent of the Taliban fighters killed in recent fighting in the Garmser district were from Pakistan, and 60 percent were Pakistanis.

Mr. Karzai complained that the Pashtuns, the ethnic group that lives on both sides of the border, have been used by the Inter-Services Intelligence and have suffered the most at the hands of the militants. Mr. Karzai is an ethnic Pashtun and spoke out for his fellow tribesmen in Pakistan as well as in his own country.

The militants “have been trained against the Pashtuns of Pakistan and against the people of Afghanistan and their jobs are to burn Pashtun schools in Pakistan, not to allow their girls to get educated, and kill the Pashtun tribal chiefs,” Mr. Karzai said.

“This is the duty of Afghanistan to rescue the Pashtuns in Pakistan from this cruelty and terror,” he said. “This is the duty of Afghanistan to defend itself and defend their brothers, sisters and sons on the other side.”

Sangar Rahimi contributed reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan.

Did Karzai speak on behalf of US?

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Updated at  
Monday, June 16, 2008

By Rahimullah Yusufzai

PESHAWAR: Afghan President Hamid Karzai must have been very angry and frustrated that he put all diplomatic niceties aside and threatened to send his troops across the international border into Pakistan to combat Taliban commanders such as Baitullah Mahsud and Maulvi Omar.

His tone was bitter in the press conference that he addressed in Kabul on Sunday. The rise in Taliban attacks across Afghanistan and the setback that his forces are suffering must be weighing heavily on his mind when he spoke those words. There couldn’t be a bigger embarrassment for his beleaguered government than the jailbreak in Kandahar following a spectacular Taliban attack that freed more than 1,000 inmates. This must be one of the biggest jailbreaks in history.

President Karzai should know that sending Afghan troops across the Pak-Afghan border would constitute violation of Pakistan’s territory and resisted. Pakistan’s armed forces until now have not made any effort to stop violations of its airspace by US gunship helicopters, jet-fighters and drones but they would certainly not allow Afghan troops to intrude into Pakistani territory to hit targets.

This is the first time that Mr Karzai has hurled a threat to send his soldiers into Pakistan. Earlier, he was pleading with US-led Nato forces to take action against the bases of militants that in his view operated in Pakistan. His argument was that the Nato troops should focus on targeting Taliban hiding in Pakistan instead of launching attacks against the militants in Afghanistan. There is also this feeling that the Afghan President was speaking on behalf of the US, which has lately increased pressure on Pakistan by opposing its peace accords with Taliban militants and launching airstrikes in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

One is sure President Karzai doesn’t mean to carry out his threat to send Afghan troops across the border to Pakistan. The only manner in which he can hope to do so is to convince the US and its Nato allies to undertake such a mission in Pakistan and then order some of his Afghan soldiers to accompany the Western forces. The US until now has refrained from sending its ground troops into Pakistan and has instead relied on its pilotless Predator planes to carry out airstrikes against suspected hideouts of militants in South Waziristan, North Waziristan and Bajaur. Also, it is no secret that the fledgling Afghan National Army is confronted with major military challenges at home due to the spreading Taliban insurgency and ordering it to launch strikes in another country would be unwise.

Pakistan has been insisting that its own forces would carry out operations against militants in its territory. It has resisted demands by the US that its troops be allowed to conduct operations in Pakistan. The issue has caused friction in their ties. The relationship has become uncertain following the recent US airstrikes that killed several civilians and 13 Pakistani paramilitary soldiers manning a border post in Mohmand Agency.

Mr Karzai cited the right of self-defence as the reason that gave Afghan forces the excuse to go after the Pakistani Taliban commander Baitullah Mahsud. It wasn’t clear if he meant the Afghan Taliban leader Mulla Mohammad Omar or the Pakistani Taliban spokesman Maulvi Omar when he issued a similar warning. It appears that he meant the spokesman Maulvi Omar, who like Baitullah Mahsud is a Pakistani and has admitted sending fighters across the border to Afghanistan to fight US-led coalition forces. While it is wrong on the part of these Pakistani Taliban commanders to send their men to Afghanistan to attack Afghan and Nato forces, still it doesn’t give Afghan National Army the right to cross the international border and operate in Pakistani territory. As Pakistan Army isn’t crossing the Durand Line border to enter Afghanistan and fight there, the same principle would apply to the Afghan National Army. Crossing the border by regular armies of the two neighbouring countries would complicate the situation and fuel hostility in their already uneasy relations. A better option would be to pool efforts to stop the militants infiltrating the long and porous Pak-Afghan border. It is another matter that such efforts didn’t succeed in the past. One probable reason for this is that all the armies fighting the militants and ranging from the US and Nato forces to those from Afghanistan and Pakistan have been under-estimating the strength of the resilient and resurgent Taliban.

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JUNE 16, 2008

June 15, 2008


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JUNE 15, 2008


A rainbow in the sky

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JUNE 15, 2008

Sunday, June 15, 2008
Ghazi Salahuddin

My heart leapt up when I beheld that mammoth crowd gathered in front of the parliament in Islamabad through the night that led to Saturday morning. Well, I am tempted to paraphrase Wordsworth because the long march was verily a rainbow in the political sky of Pakistan. There has never been anything like it in terms of what it means and what it tells us about the potential for Pakistan’s redemption as a democracy.

As I write these words in the forenoon of Saturday, I feel overwhelmed by the hangover from a night of excitement and, in a sense, celebration. The involvement was building up throughout the day, an auspicious Friday the thirteenth, and it peaked in the small hours. Yes, there was this shade of concern when a group of aggressive political activists besieged the stage as Aitzaz Ahsan got up to speak just before five in the morning.

They were demanding a ‘dharna’ – a sit-in – until their main demand, the restoration of the judiciary, was accepted. They were also eager to jump across the barbed wire barrier to enter the ‘red zone’. In a sense, this line of attack had at times been suggested by the leaders of the lawyers’ movement themselves. But the situation as it had developed, with the massive attendance of ‘long marchers’, demanded a more prudent strategy and the leaders opted for wrapping up the protest to plan their next move after consultations.

Hence, the question is: what next? But this question can only be posed after the impact and meaning of the long march have been carefully analysed. A resounding message has been conveyed to the present rulers. The people have spoken. After the elections of February 18, the long march of this week has certified a mandate that some political elements are trying to camouflage through devious devices.

When I compare the long march to a rainbow, the idea is to underline the coming together of different and even divergent shades of political persuasion and public opinion to campaign for justice and morality. They do talk about rainbow coalitions in politics. But a very important characteristic of the long march is that it celebrates issue-based politics. We constantly complain that our politics revolves around personalities and issues are generally pushed into the background.

Ah, but where does the Pakistan People’s Party belong in this rainbow? We know that the PPP has traditionally been allied with such defiant demonstrations against the establishment. Indeed, the lawyers’ movement, since March 9, 2007, was visibly and enthusiastically supported by the PPP activists and leaders. Yet, after the formation of the coalition government, the present leadership of the party is seen to be drifting away from it hallowed traditions.

Unfortunately, the PPP’s hesitation in being an active participant in the protest can weaken the liberal voice in our politics. We should be mindful of how the Islamists and the rightist political parties are exploiting this cause that essentially upholds democratic and moral principles. Without any doubt, Nawaz Sharif’s Muslim League has taken great advantage of popular emotions and its stock is bound to rise at the cost, obviously, of the PPP.

It was interesting to see how the PPP leaders, the ones who belong to Asif Zardari’s ‘kitchen cabinet’, were responding to the remarkable spectacle of the long march in talk shows and interviews telecast by the news channels. You could feel their discomfiture as they insistently argued that their party was totally committed to the restoration of judiciary and was going about it in a constitutional manner. Some of them were deftly adjusting to the tempo of the long march as it rose by the hour.

By all means, the long march, as a political protest, was one of its kind. It was not an anti-government demonstration in the same way as the campaign was when President Musharraf was at the helm. There was this spectacle of a major coalition partner playing a leading role in a popular protest against governmental inaction and delay in the restoration of judiciary. Perhaps the PPP should at least be commended for facilitating the long march at the administrative level. But when you have people like Rehman Malik, Salman Taseer and Babar Awan to defend your case, the popular verdict is bound to be divided.

In its initial phase, the long march was not so impressive. The very idea of undertaking such an enterprise during scorching summer was problematical. Multan, virtually the launching pad of the march, did not present an encouraging show. But the push that was provided by the Nawaz League, beginning in Lahore, changed the entire perspective. Finally, the excitement surged on Friday as the procession reached Rawalpindi and Islamabad was witness to a political gathering that should become a legend in the capital’s brief history.

I am sure many of the supporters of the lawyers’ movement were surprised by the passion that was invested in the long march in its closing moments. Once again, Nawaz Sharif was able to enthrall a responsive crowd with his jibes aimed at Musharraf. He has definitely improved himself as a public speaker and can at times play with the audience. As for the rising tide of feelings against Musharraf, the long march has lifted it a few notches.

It was noted, particularly by Nawaz Sharif, that the finale of the long march was being staged at the same place where Musharraf had held his rent-a-crowd show of strength on May 12, 2007 – a day that will live in infamy in our political history. The difference in the two rallies is a manifestation of the change that has come about in the wake of the lawyers’ movement and the national elections held in February. The great tragedy of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination on December 27 has overshadowed all these developments.

Supporters of the PPP will forever grieve for that tragedy and keep on wondering how, with her political wisdom and courage, she would have responded to challenges that her party now confronts. Pakistan is certainly in a state of crisis at various different levels. Relations with the United States have entered a critical stage after that Mohmand air strike. Economic conditions have played havoc with the lives of ordinary citizens. Load-shedding is taking its toll.

Does this mean that the rulers must give priority to these matters rather than attend to the demands for an immediate restoration of judiciary? The long march has conveyed its message. And that message is that the issue of the judiciary is central to our concerns. For God’s sake, get this out of the way and then get on with the resolution of all other problems. Otherwise, there is little hope for the survival of the present arrangement.


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JUNE 15, 2008


The descent of the long-marchers on Islamabad, which began Friday afternoon and continued into Saturday, marks an event of immense significance. After decades, ordinary people may well prove the force they wield is mightier than that of dictators and political parties who align themselves with them. Buoyed by the immense crowd, the tone of the key speakers certainly left no doubt that they intended to ensure their target was attained. This goal, as lawyer leader and Supreme Court Bar Association President Aitzaz Ahsan clarified, was the restoration of the pre-November 3 judges and the creation of a welfare state. Mian Nawaz Sharif, who arrived at the venue of the mammoth rally several hours into Saturday, made it clear there would be no safe exit for the president. He also called on parliament to make decisions in keeping with the wishes of the people. He stressed these wishes included the departure of President Musharraf.

Whereas an initial plan to stage an indefinite sit-in at Islamabad was cancelled, with Aitzaz citing resource constraints, the impact of the long march will not dissipate with the dispersal of the hundreds of thousands who participated in it. Figures being projected range from about 200,000 to half a million with the actual figure, most probably, somewhere in between. By any standards, the gathering was huge. More remarkable still was the fact it included so large a cross-section of people, ranging from political workers and lawyers to ordinary housewives and professionals. It seems in many ways extraordinary that an issue which on paper appears to be rather academic – that is the restoration of judges – could have galvanized so many people to come together, braving high heat, hours of travel and the threat of terrorist attacks that now hover everywhere.

What those who had predicted the long march would fizzle out, and the political parties – chiefly the PPP – which distanced itself from it, had not realized that the campaign for judicial restoration has metamorphosed since its earliest days. Today, it has come to represent a struggle by people against oppression, against injustice, against a lack of democracy and against wrong of every kind. The presence of tens of thousands of people under the shadows of the three buildings that represent the institutes of state; parliament, the Supreme Court and the presidency was as such extremely appropriate. The slogans raised hour after hour by the crowd, calling for Musharraf to leave, also made it clear which institution they saw as the main source of anti-people authority.

The results that emerge from the march on Islamabad are yet to be seen. Will President Musharraf, as he has done in the past, simply turn a blind eye to all that has happened and go back to his insistence that people wish him to stay? Has Aitzaz Ahsan emerged as, potentially, the man to lead the country at some point in the not too distant future? Will a newly galvanized PML-N carry on where the long march left off?

But perhaps most intriguing of all will be the impact on the PPP – the party that terms itself a party of the masses, yet removed itself from their midst as these masses converged on Islamabad. Within the party the voices critical of the manner in which Asif Ali Zardari has handled matters are rising. Some believe a split may not be far off; others say it is still not too late for the PPP to jump onto the long march bandwagon by beginning the process to impeach the president. But Zardari, who delivered a talk to Steel Mill workers in Karachi as the long marchers shook Islamabad, will have to make truly heroic efforts if his party is to recover from this latest debacle. The PPP, at present, is regarded as having allied itself with the presidency for reasons of expediency. After the long march, there is growing conviction that this is the losing side.

Parliament too, as the body representing people, needs to rise up to its role. All eyes will be on it during the days ahead. The people have shown they are capable of demanding their rights. Parliament needs to prove it is capable of delivering these to them.

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