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Does Gen. Kiyani Have To Decide Between Corrupt Politicians or Musharraf?

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Leadership Void Seen in Pakistan

By CARLOTTA GALL
Published: June 24, 2008


ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistan is in a leaderless drift four months after elections, according to Western diplomats and military officials, Pakistani politicians and Afghan officials who are increasingly worried that no one is really in charge.
The sense of drift is the subject of almost every columnist in the English-language press in Pakistan, and anxiety over the lack of leadership and the weakness of the civilian government now infuses conversations with analysts, diplomats and Pakistani government officials.
The problem is most acute, they say, when it comes to dealing with militants in the tribal areas that have become home to the Taliban and Al Qaeda.
Although the political parties and the military all seek a breather from the suicide bombings and nascent insurgency that have roiled Pakistan in recent years, there are fundamental disagreements over the problem of militancy that they have not begun to address, Pakistani politicians and Western diplomats say.
The confusion is allowing the militants to consolidate their sanctuaries while spreading their tentacles all along the border area, military officials and diplomats warn. It has also complicated policy for the Bush administration, which leaned heavily on one man, President Pervez Musharraf, to streamline its antiterrorism efforts in Pakistan.
If anyone is in charge of security policy in the tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, Pakistani politicians and Western diplomats say, that remains the military and the country’s premier intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, which operate with little real oversight.

While the newly elected civilian government has been criticized for dealing with the militants, it is the military that is brokering cease-fires and prisoner exchanges with minimum consultation with the government, politicians from the government coalition, diplomats and analysts said.

Politicians in both the provincial and central governments complain they are excluded from the negotiations and did not even know of a secret deal struck in February, before the elections.

“You see a lack of a coordinated strategy between the federal level and provincial level, and that includes the ISI and the military, who are clear players,” said one Western diplomat with knowledge of the tribal regions, who spoke only on the condition of anonymity. “You see it even on principles of negotiation and combined strategy.”
One newspaper, the weekly Friday Times, satirized the situation with a front-page cartoon showing the country’s main political players riding in a plane, all issuing different instructions.
Since coming to power in February, the fragile coalition government, run by Benazir Bhutto’s widower, Asif Ali Zardari, leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party, has been engrossed in internal wrangling over removing President Musharraf.
The coalition is barely functioning after half its ministers left the cabinet in May in a dispute over whether to reinstate 60 high court judges dismissed by Mr. Musharraf last year.

For now it is just accepting the military’s decisions regarding the militants, said Talat Masood, a retired Pakistani general who is now a political analyst. He characterized the country as suffering from “institutional paralysis and a dysfunctional government, signs of which are showing already.”

The American commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan, Gen. Dan K. McNeill, also described the government as “dysfunctional” just before leaving his post earlier this month.
“I have a feeling that no one is in charge and that is why the militants are taking advantage,” Mr. Masood said. “It is a very dangerous situation because what is happening is the Afghan government is getting desperate.”
The frustration is such that President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan threatened this month to send troops into Pakistan to pursue Pakistani militant leaders.

That Pakistan’s government appears broken is not surprising, analysts say. Pakistan’s civilian institutions were atrophied by eight years of military rule, and the country’s major political parties were left rudderless by the absence of their leaders, who lived in exile much of that time. The assassination of Ms. Bhutto in December left her party in even deeper disarray.


The military remains the country’s strongest institution, having ruled Pakistan for about half of the country’s 61 years of independence. But it is proving to be an increasingly fickle and prickly partner for Washington. United States and NATO officials are still struggling to decipher the intentions of the army’s new chief of staff, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.
Last fall, at the time of his appointment, American officials spoke approvingly of General Kayani, who seemed well aware of the threat the militants posed to Pakistan, and of the dangers of peace deals that have allowed the militants to tighten their grip in the tribal areas.
But despite at least $12 billion in aid to Pakistan from Washington for the fight against the militants since 2001, General Kayani has recently shown a reluctance to use the military for counterinsurgency operations, suggesting that the task be left to the much weaker tribal force, the Frontier Corps. He has encouraged the civilian government to take the lead.
Part of the confusion stems from the shift in power from military rule, after President Musharraf stepped down as head of the army in December, to the new civilian government, one Western military official said. “Kayani is being careful not to get too far out in front and is trying to determine who is in charge,” he said. “We all are.”
The uneasy balance between civilian and military authority was demonstrated this month when the finance minister, Naveed Qamar, revealed details of the defense budget to Parliament for the first time in 40 years. While Mr. Qamar called it a “historic moment,” the document was a mere two pages.
Parliament, tied up with budget negotiations until next month, has not discussed security or militancy. “We do understand this is the biggest issue, and after the budget session it will have to be addressed,” said Farah Ispahani, a Pakistan Peoples Party legislator.
Meanwhile, the military under General Kayani has quietly pursued its own policies, politicians from the government coalition, diplomats and analysts say. The military and ISI negotiated a little-known truce with the tribes and militants of North Waziristan just days before the Feb. 18 elections, a senior government official in Peshawar confirmed.

The deal was so secretive that few in the government know its contents even today. “The civilian government is in the back seat, or not even in the back seat,” said the Western diplomat, who did not want to be identified because of the critical nature of the remarks. The military also began negotiations with the most powerful of the Taliban commanders, Baitullah Mehsud, in January, just weeks after the government accused him of masterminding Ms. Bhutto’s assassination.

An official agreement with the Mehsud tribe has not been completed, but the military has already pulled back from some positions, put in place a cease-fire and exchanged prisoners with the militants.
Western officials are suspicious of the deal. Mr. Mehsud is accused of dispatching scores of suicide bombers in Pakistan and Afghanistan, but the agreement initially included no prohibition on cross-border attacks.
Only after strong pressure from the United States and other allies did the military insert such a clause this month, according to a senior official close to the negotiations. In the meantime, cross-border attacks increased by 50 percent in May, NATO officials in Afghanistan say.
The provincial government in the North-West Frontier Province has also expressed its reservations about the deal. Officials from the Awami National Party, a Pashtun nationalist party that leads the government in the province and which is also part of the national coalition, complained that they have not been included in the military’s decisions.
“Our main demand is that we should be included in negotiations,” said Wajid Ali Khan, a party official. “We don’t know with whom they are talking.”
Moreover, the central government’s point man for counterterrorism, the acting interior minister, Rehman Malik, has appeared to have an uneven grasp of developments.
This month he announced in Parliament that the peace deal with militants in the Swat Valley, just outside the tribal areas, had been scrapped. But he retracted the statement the next day, after the provincial government insisted the deal was still on.

Officials of the Awami National Party have complained that his comments undermined their negotiating position. Afrasiab Khattak, a senior official of the party, and other party officials are confident they can make the peace deals in their province work. But few believe that the deals brokered by the military in the tribal regions will last more than a few months, including military officials themselves, senior government officials in Peshawar say.

More fighting and violence is almost certainly on the horizon. What the plan will be then, no one seems to know.
NYTimes.com

Four views of the Pak army

By Irfan Husain

THE last couple of years have produced at least four important, although very different, books about Pakistan by Pakistanis. In their different ways, they discuss the role of the Pakistan Army, and the institution doesn’t come out very well in any of them.

The first, In the Line of Fire by Gen Pervez Musharraf, is the least honest of them. A self-serving, poorly written memoir, the book was nevertheless a bestseller for it was about a man and a country currently in the eye of the storm. His account about the unnecessary and disastrous conflict in Kargil, in particular, is both dishonest and confused. The general really thinks he won a great victory.

Ayesha Siddiqa’s Military Inc is a pioneering study about the Pakistan military’s deep industrial and financial involvement in the economy. In her scholarly survey, Dr Siddiqa outlines the many facets of the vast empire the military has built up in Pakistan. Being a serious work and not a popular journalistic investigation, it would probably not have done as well as it did in Pakistan and abroad had it not been for Musharraf’s crude attempts to muzzle it.
By buying up all the copies when the book was first launched, the government gave it publicity and circulation it might not have achieved on its own. As it is, the author was widely and rightly acclaimed for her research and analysis. Although it comes as no surprise, Dr Siddiqa’s conclusion is that in order to protect and expand its huge financial stake in the economy, the army needs to rule the country, either directly or indirectly.
The third book about Pakistan to cause a stir recently is Mohammed Hanif’s A Case of Exploding Mangoes. Unlike the other three on our list, this is a work of fiction, although the story is very close to reality. Even some of the major characters are based on real-life figures we are all familiar with. Hanif’s caricatures of generals Zia and Akhtar Rehman would cause the blood pressure in family members of the deceased to shoot up, had they been the types to read books.
The story is based on the plot to rid the world of Zia, and the author throws in many tantalising possibilities. His take on the armed forces was gained the hard way: he was trained in the Air Force Academy, so his portrait of the protagonist, Ali Shigri, bears the ring of authenticity. Zia’s fake piety and his ruthlessness are captured in rollicking passages of brilliant satire. In and out of the narrative weaves the enigmatic figure of ‘Major Kayani’, an ISI operative, who orders torture in the infamous detention centre at the Red Fort in Lahore. To her credit, one of Benazir Bhutto’s first acts when she came to power in 1988 was to have this chamber of horrors demolished.
As in the best satires, Hanif’s book forces the reader to think hard about the issues it discusses. Zia’s dictatorship changed Pakistan forever, and we are still living with the evil institutions and groups he created. Even though this is a work of fiction, Hanif’s novel gives us a chilling reminder of what life was like under Zia. The fact that it has been included in the list of Booker Prize contenders will do its sales no harm at all.
For around three decades, Ahmed Rashid has been the best-informed and the most intrepid journalist to have reported on Afghanistan and Central Asia. He was catapulted to international fame in the aftermath of 9/11 when his book Taliban was the only authoritative account of the benighted holy warriors of Afghanistan. But long before that, he had been filing reports on the Soviet invasion of our neighbouring state, and then on the civil war that engulfed it. In the process of observing the past and present conflicts in Afghanistan, he has made many friends from Hamid Karzai to the many warlords and tribal chiefs of the region.
His first-hand knowledge and deep sympathy for Afghanistan are on display in his new book Descent into Chaos. This is, above all, an indictment of the various players who are making a huge mess of the fight against extremism. It goes without saying that major protagonists in the ongoing
struggle are the Pakistani army and the ISI. Although the author analyses closely the decisions taken in Washington and how they impact on the region he has studied, his primary focus is on Afghanistan and Pakistan.


Meticulously, Rashid traces the rise of the Taliban, and lays bare their close links with the Pakistan Army and the ISI. While much of this has been written about before, Rashid has marshalled his evidence closely in a wide-ranging and depressing account of the self-destructive urge that has impelled our generals to create the monster we are struggling against today. There are no heroes in this book, only knaves and well-intentioned fools. Even Rashid’s close friend Karzai is seen to be a flawed figure, tolerating drug dealers and refusing to allow the emergence of political parties.
Rashid concludes by giving a set of recommendations on how to sort out the mess in the region. But the problems he outlines are so enormous and complex that the average westerner could be excused for throwing up his hands and saying: “I’m outta here!” However, this is not a luxury we in the neighbourhood can afford. And nor, given Afghanistan’s track record as a breeding ground for global terror, can the West walk away from the mess.
Above all, if there is to be a resolution to the Afghan problem, we will need to reorient our own army’s priorities first. As all the four books show in their own ways, our officer corps has been brainwashed into taking a rigid ideological position that is hopelessly out of step with regional and global realities. Although it has convinced itself that it is the country’s saviour, in reality it has made Pakistan a far less secure place than we have a right to expect after the billions we have poured into our defence.
And as all four writers have shown (even though that was probably not Musharraf’s intention), the army is now so much a part of the problem that it cannot possibly also be part of the solution. But while we have all been saying this for years, we are no closer to solving the ‘army problem’ today than we were when the generals began interfering in the political process half a century ago.
irfanhusain@gmail.com

August 09, 2008 Saturday Sha’aban 6, 1429
Welcome to DAWN, Pakistan's most widely circulated English language newspaper
Updated round-the-clock, with a major update before 10:00 PST (+06:00 GMT)



Inappropriate forms of intelligence
By Mahir Ali

OUT there on the international stage, the past 10 days must have proved rather trying for Yousuf Raza Gilani. First of all, a gift he planned to take along in order to impress his American hosts was snatched out of his hands.

Partly as a result, when George W. Bush asked his Pakistani guests about who controlled the ISI, he is unlikely to have received a coherent response. Perhaps the least dishonest option for Gilani would have been to say, “Don’t look at me, I’m not sure what you’re talking about” — at which point Bush may have nodded in sympathy and aired a complaint or two about the company.

Last week’s leaks from the US intelligence establishment weren’t, however, aimed at embarrassing the American president. If anything, the claim that there is clear-cut evidence of collusion between ISI operatives and those behind last month’s attack on the Indian embassy in Kabul offered the Bush administration grounds on which to base its interrogation of the visiting Pakistanis.
This is the very charge that was aired by India and Afghanistan in the immediate aftermath of the suicide bombing, which claimed more than 50 lives. An Indian spokesman had, at the time, gone as far as to suggest that the ISI ought to be dismantled. Whatever the merits of that idea, the events of July 26-27 demonstrated that it’s easier said than done. Gilani, meanwhile, is likely to have been less than thrilled by the fact that, following his sojourn in the District of Columbia, his next big engagement was the Saarc summit in Colombo, where Manmohan Singh and Hamid Karzai lay in wait, and where terrorism was identified as the region’s primary bugbear.

The precise circumstances of the announcement that the ISI would be brought under the aegis of the interior ministry, followed by the reversal of that decision within hours, are likely to remain shrouded in mystery. Did the government really believe a measure of this nature could be accomplished without taking the defence establishment into confidence? That it would suffice to present the generals with a fait accompli? And, if so, should the aborted attempt be characterised as an act of breathtaking audacity, of chutzpah based on hubris? Or should it be considered simply as evidence of foolhardiness, possibly based on the naive assumption that the army wouldn’t dare to countermand a move that enjoyed Washington’s imprimatur?
In circumstances where the truth is jealously guarded by those in the know, plausible conjecture is the only available option. The following scenario does not seem improbable. Amid mounting pressure from the US — including a visit from Stephen Kappes, the CIA’s deputy director in charge of covert operations — to do something about the waywardness of the ISI, the government decided inaction was no longer an option. The suggestion that the agency could be placed under the control of Rehman Malik’s interior division may well have come from Malik himself. He was able to convince Asif Ali Zardari, who runs the government by remote control from his Dubai redoubt, and the decision was communicated to the PM.
Its public notification was followed by Zardari patting himself on the back. He opted for silence after it became clear the move had backfired. He may, of course, have remonstrated privately with Malik along the lines of: “Here’s another fine mess you’ve got me into.” In fact, anyone with even a vague idea of how Pakistan functions ought to have realised that the army does not take kindly to being stuffed about (although it has few qualms about periodically messing with civilian institutions). Bringing the ISI under civilian control is not a bad idea, but it’s plain silly to assume anything of the sort can be achieved without the cooperation of the military high command.
The CIA has been well acquainted with the ISI since their close collaboration during the 1979-89 Afghan war, when the US was only too happy to fund jihadi violence. It subsequently found it necessary to perform a backflip. The ISI turned out to be less inconsistent. In the aftermath of 9/11, Gen Pervez Musharraf struggled to purge the ISI of Taliban sympathisers. He obviously did not go far enough. This may have had something to do with the fundamentalist bias of recruitment criteria and indoctrination under Gen Ziaul Haq, a favourite of the Reagan administration.
In Washington last week, Gilani described the ISI as “a great institution” and said that sympathy for the militants within its ranks “is not believable”. Not all of his colleagues were singing from the same hymn sheet. Sherry Rehman, for instance, admitted the possibility that individuals in the ISI are “probably acting on their own and going against official policy”, and said that the authorities “need to identify these people and weed them out”. Other Pakistani officials frequently express similar views in private. However, the US intelligence sources quoted by The New York Times last Friday said the ISI officers whose communications with the group that attacked the Indian embassy were intercepted were not renegades.

A Foreign Office spokesman in Islamabad dismissed the NYT’s allegations as rubbish, before Gilani assured Manmohan Singh in Colombo that the charge would be investigated. The question is, where will Pakistan find a credible ‘rubbish’ inspector? Will the ISI be requested to itself look into the matter? Would any other agency be prepared to explore the ISI’s darker recesses?

Gilani’s mantra that the struggle against Islamist militancy is “Pakistan’s war” is perfectly credible: the nation’s future is at stake. But can this struggle be coherently waged in the face of uncertainty about which side Pakistan’s premier spy agency is on? Military intelligence needs to be reorganised and the pro-obscurantist distortions of recent decades deserve to be swept away. A first step could be to collate all the evidence that the US, India and Afghanistan are able to supply, and to present it to Musharraf, Ashfaq Kayani and Nadeem Taj as part of an urgent call to action.

The trouble is, a coherent approach to this potentially existential threat — as well as to most of the nation’s other problems — cannot reasonably be expected from an administration whose preferred modus operandi is intrigue rather than transparency, with decision-making powers restricted to an unelected co-chairman whose attitude frequently resembles that of an absentee landlord. A return to the murkiness of direct military rule would be a profoundly unsettling consequence for Pakistan, but that may well be what lies ahead if the people’s elected representatives once again make a complete hash of democracy.

The writer is a journalist based in Sydney.

mahir.worldview@gmail.com

August 06, 2008 Wednesday Sha'aban 3, 1429
Welcome to DAWN, Pakistan's most widely circulated English language newspaper
Updated round-the-clock, with a major update before 10:00 PST (+06:00 GMT)


tobe continued>>>>>>>>
 
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BATMAN

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Army has nothing to do in this drama.
it all has to be P.Musharraf's call. Either he excercise 58-2b or leave Pakistan to the hands of corrupt traitors.
Army friends can persuade him in personal capacity but officially they are not the one signing the presedential orders.
If there is any thing that can be decided other than P.Musharraf than it has to be Judiciary who have final say in validating or rejecting the charge sheet.
 

JK!

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Aside from Musharraf there is no one person who can fill the leadership void should he leave/be impeached.

I certainly don't trust the current line up as they are more interested in their personal agendas or with revenge.
 

batmannow

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Aside from Musharraf there is no one person who can fill the leadership void should he leave/be impeached.

I certainly don't trust the current line up as they are more interested in their personal agendas or with revenge.
Dear, JK ... sir,
Sir, i guss, now its the time for GEN.KIYANI+ PAKARMY, should back a man who saved them a lot of times, and who brought very possitive changes to pakistan and its uneducated nation.
its, the need of hour, basicly even... if GEN. KIYANI & PAKARMY stay away from all this messs, next move of CHOR ZARDARI + NAWAZ would be to appoint a unfunctional.........ARMY CHIEF & TO DISSMENTLE PAKARMY, by securring all nukes & giving more bases to USA& ITS SO CALLED ALLIES. who wanted to capture PAKISTAN + IRAN!!!
:smitten::pakistan::china::sniper:...:usflag:
 

JK!

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Batmannow I believe Kiani will wait for the opportune moment before showing his hand so to speak.

He has a reputation as a "can do" man and I think he will not let his country down should it need his assistance.

Thus far with the stupidity displayed by the coalition in repeating past mistakes of greed and selfishness I can see another 1999 style coup due to similar reasons and circumstances.

Its just a matter of time.
 

fatman17

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Batmannow I believe Kiani will wait for the opportune moment before showing his hand so to speak.

He has a reputation as a "can do" man and I think he will not let his country down should it need his assistance.

Thus far with the stupidity displayed by the coalition in repeating past mistakes of greed and selfishness I can see another 1999 style coup due to similar reasons and circumstances.

Its just a matter of time.
Gen. Kiyani has in my humble opinion only one choice - will the army take the constitutional road (a road less travelled) or the one used by his predecessors. i hate to be in his shoes at this time!
May God Save Pakistan!
 

Contrarian

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Common man, Leave the general out. THis has nothing to do with him. Again the whole charade starts that the nation is 'asking' the General to intervene and 'save' Pakistan!

This is b/w civilians, let it be, let the Army do what it does best-fight-with whomever the civlians tell them to.
 

Goodperson

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Army's place should be in barracks or in battlefield they should not be allowed to interfere in Politics or history will keep repeating itself.
 

Contrarian

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Yeah, it really seems that the old saying that a nation deserves the leaders it gets is true. I have seen many Pakistani's on more forums than one, saying in not so subtle ways that the General should intervene!
 

araz

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Gen. Kiyani has in my humble opinion only one choice - will the army take the constitutional road (a road less travelled) or the one used by his predecessors. i hate to be in his shoes at this time!
May God Save Pakistan!
Hello
A good post. I think personally , he has chosen to take the constitutional road. I am no lover of these Demons but I think it is time Pakistan chose aroad it wants to take and stick to it, rather than tooing and froing between civilian and military government.
Araz
 

IceCold

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Common man, Leave the general out. THis has nothing to do with him. Again the whole charade starts that the nation is 'asking' the General to intervene and 'save' Pakistan!

This is b/w civilians, let it be, let the Army do what it does best-fight-with whomever the civlians tell them to.
And why not? I think we can better understand this bitter but true reality. There is not leadership in Pakistan and Pakistan isn't a piece of cake that can easily be sacrificed between the fight of the politicians. The democratic government has failed and instead of trying to correct the wrong doings, they are going after Musharraf for their personal gains, in this situation army should not, will not sit idle and let the corrupt destroy the country.
 

blain2

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Yeah, it really seems that the old saying that a nation deserves the leaders it gets is true. I have seen many Pakistani's on more forums than one, saying in not so subtle ways that the General should intervene!
Although I do not ant to see another Army intervention, what you say above (that a nation deserves the leaders it gets) hold true even when Army won't intervene. Its a bloody joke that we have convicts (NS and team) and thugs (Asif Zardari, has probably stolen even more than NS) as the alternate. Talk about being stuck in between a rock and a hard place.

In any case, Pakistan has suffered through the 90s, and if the nation is asking for more of the same then by all means let them have it...I guess the only consolation is that after getting whacked around for another decade, maybe the Pakistani nation will learn to chose a little more carefully.
 

AgNoStiC MuSliM

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Hello
A good post. I think personally , he has chosen to take the constitutional road. I am no lover of these Demons but I think it is time Pakistan chose aroad it wants to take and stick to it, rather than tooing and froing between civilian and military government.
Araz
A messy, slow moving democracy it should be!

Minus Zardari and NS preferably.
 

blain2

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A messy, slow moving democracy it should be!

Minus Zardari and NS preferably.
I totally agree. However sans Zardari and NS should not be a preference..its a must. Their sticking around will invariably delay or possibly even stunt Pakistan's progression toward a real democracy...unfortunately the reality is that both of these guys will be around like leeches. They have to make up for all of the lost time.
 
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