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

fatman17

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Pakistan's Military Stays in the Barracks, for Now

With a history of coups, Pakistanis are keeping a close eye on the generals

By Aamir Latif

Posted August 29, 2008

KARACHI, Pakistan—The Pakistani military, which intervened to run this nation for more than half its 61-year history, is staying in the barracks amid growing political turmoil following the forced departure of President Pervez Musharraf.

Coups have been a regular part of Pakistan's political history, with then General Musharraf's 1999 takeover the fourth time the military has shut down civilian rule. Will history repeat itself?

Analysts here have been closely watching the military for any signs of that but so far think the generals prefer to keep out of politics and to try to restore the image of the military damaged during the years of Musharraf's dictatorship.

And their apparent reluctance is understandable in light of the problems the country faces: massive capital outflows, pitched battles with pro-al Qaeda and Baloch militants in two provinces, and a simmering political mess following the breakup of the six-month-old civilian ruling coalition led by the Pakistan Peoples Party of slain Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and the right-wing Pakistan Muslim League of two-time premier Nawaz Sharif.

Musharraf, detested by leaders of both major parties, was forced to step down as president to avoid facing impeachment by a newly assertive parliament. Political observers think that if the army had any intentions of intervening, the time for that was during the weeks of tension over impeachment.

Gen. Ashfaq Kayani , who was picked by Musharraf to succeed him as Army chief of staff last November, stood aside during the entire impeachment crisis. If Kayani had lent his support, Musharraf could have used the constitution's infamous article 58-2B, which empowers the president to dissolve the parliament.

There are various reasons to believe that the army is not interested in taking over, at least at present, says Rasul Bakhsh Rais, a professor of political science at Lahore University of Management Sciences. "The first and the foremost reason is that General Musharraf earned a huge humiliation for the army during his stint," Rais says.

Second, Rais says that the national sentiment is not in favor of a military coup. "Except 1999, the army never took over without public support," he says. "Musharraf took over just to protect himself. It was not an institutional decision. But the problem at that time was that the political forces were divided, and they supported the coup."

Analysts believe that the army itself is aware of the fact that the public mood has turned against military interventions because of the expansion of private media and the independence shown by the deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and his colleagues against military regimes.

However, they do not rule out action by the army if the conditions deteriorate.

Asif Ali Zardari, Bhutto's widower, is set to capture the president's office. His real test will begin after September 6, since a break with Sharif's party will make governing difficult.

That rift opened because Zardari and his party oppose Sharif's push for the reinstatement of Justice Chaudhry, who may strike down the "national reconciliation ordinance" under which various corruption cases against the slain prime minister, her husband, and his aides were withdrawn by Musharraf.

Sharif, who was ousted by Musharraf's coup and has his own ambitions to become president, reportedly has lawyers gathering evidence that Zardari is mentally unfit to be president.

Another wild card is the degree to which civilian authorities seek to exercise greater control over the military, particularly the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, the powerful intelligence arm. U.S. officials, who have quietly complained about ISI support for the Taliban, have recently gone public and blamed the ISI operatives for a role supporting Islamic militants in Pakistan and Afghanistan, including those responsible for the deadly July 7 bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. Top American officials have been pressing Kayani and the Pakistani civilian leaders to clean up ISI.

US News & World Report - Breaking News, World News, Business News, and America's Best Colleges - USNews.com
 

batmannow

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What a bloody mess!
By Ardeshir Cowasjee
The DAWN
August 31, 2008 Sunday Sha'aban 28, 1429




HOW ironic. Having reiterated time and time again over the past years that the then president of Pakistan, Gen Pervez Musharraf, was (and remains) the best of the worst lot, it was highly amusing to read in a column headed “Musharraf’s Pakistan had true potential” printed in the Boston Globe of Aug 26: “The sad thing is that Musharraf was the best of the current lot.”

And how factual was an editorial in The Independent (London) of the same day which opened up: “Even by the notoriously low standards of South Asian politics, Asif Ali Zardari, leader of the PPP, is a compromised figure, dogged by corruption charges. So it is hard to be enthused by the PPP’s decision to nominate its leader as the country’s next president.”
This was one day after the Financial Times had broken the news of the medical reports compiled by two New York-based psychiatrists, which had been filed in a London court to support an application to delay corruption cases brought against him by the Pakistan government. The diagnoses were delivered in March 2007 and successfully served their purpose. The FT report opens “Asif Ali Zardari, the leading contender for the presidency of nuclear-armed Pakistan, was suffering from severe psychiatric problems as recently as last year, according to court documents filed by his doctors.”

The FT report has also been picked up and commented upon internationally. Pakistan is in the news again to its detriment. Presidential candidate Zardari has been diagnosed as suffering from “emotional instability”, memory loss and concentration problems, and major depressive disorder. These court papers have caused alarm amongst the citizens of his country who question his ability, and his fitness, to occupy the presidential chair.
In these past few days, I have been inundated with e-mails calling upon me to come to the aid of the country and save it from Zardari. Little do they know what a columnist can achieve — all he can do is save a few blind donkeys and some old trees. Even were I to approach the courts, under the present circumstances, my petition would be thrown out quicker than a wink of an eye. And the same goes for the Election Commission. Citizens of Pakistan are, these days, wary of ‘consequences’.
Now, constitutionally where does Zardari stand in view of the court-backed doubts about his mental state? The president, under Article 41(2) is required to be “qualified to be elected as a member of the National Assembly”. According to Article 63(a) a person is disqualified to be a member of the National Assembly if “he is of unsound mind and has been so declared by a competent court”.
The court in London accepted the psychiatrists’ certificates and acted upon them. Zardari, if he wishes to deny the diagnoses, must plead that the London court is incompetent and that the psychiatrists were falsifying. We must go with an editorial of Aug 28 which counselled that “It would be unwise to dismiss the recent revelations about the fragile state of Mr Asif Zardari’s mental health as irrelevant,” and asked “Does the country really need another potentially deluded individual to lead it through these troubled times?”
Dementia, as any psychiatrist will confirm, is a progressive disorder which usually does not remit with any known treatment. A combination of major depressive disorder and post traumatic stress disorder can hamper memory and judgment. This goes a long way towards explaining the recent Zardari string of dishonoured signed agreements and broken promises.
As if the Zardari mental health state was not sufficient unto the day, news broke in Europe and the US two days later about the release by Switzerland of assets amounting to some $60m which were frozen in 1997 by a Geneva court investigating allegations of kickbacks received by Zardari and Benazir Bhutto between 1994 and 1997 (her second term as prime minister). In June, our attorney general penned a letter to the Swiss prosecutor general informing him that neither husband nor wife had done anything illegal and that the charges were politically motivated (thank you, USA and Musharraf, for the NRO). The money laundering case was dropped and Zardari is now richer than ever having pocketed a dubious $60m, though the PPP leader vehemently denies receiving this amount.
The investigating judge in Geneva, Daniel Devaud, was flabbergasted. “It would be very difficult to say that there is nothing in the files that shows there was possible corruption going on after what I have seen in there. After I heard what the general prosecutor said, I have a feeling we are talking about two different cases.” The Swiss release should not in any way be interpreted as a sign of innocence.
Now, let us revert to our mutilated almost incomprehensible constitution which as far as Article 62 goes is clear. To qualify as a member of the National Assembly, and thus to be able to contest the presidential election, a man must be “of good character and is not commonly known as one who violates Islamic injunctions”, and he must be “sagacious, righteous and non-profligate and honest and ameen”. No further comment is necessary.

We must wonder how our armed forces feel about all this. After all, the president is not only their supreme commander but he has his finger on the nuclear button. Zardari and his sycophantic supine political party must ask themselves if he truly qualifies to be a head of state. He has five days in which to prove himself a patriot and a democrat. Democracy, no matter what the party slogan may proclaim, is not a form of revenge and for him to carry through his ambition (which he has nursed ever since he made up his mind to rid himself of Musharraf) would be an act of vengeance upon his country and its people.

Of the three presidential candidates, Mushahid Hussain is by far the cleanest (the ‘best of the worst’). I have suggested to him that, as a directly affected party, he go to the courts immediately and at least attempt to obtain a stay order. The frightened people of the world and the people of Pakistan will undoubtedly support his move. n:agree::tup:
arfc@cyber.net.pk
 
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* PM says judiciary will be restored as per constitution
* Offers senators in-camera briefing by COAS on FATA and Balochistan​

LAHORE: The removal of the 17th Constitutional Amendment is part of the Pakistan People’s Party manifesto, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told the Senate at his first appearance in the Upper House on Tuesday.

“The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has not accepted Article 58(2b) and the 17th Amendment in the past, and will not accept them in the future,” he told reporters at the Lahore airport later on Tuesday.

He said a president should keep the federation united and must be neutral, and that his party did not accept the 17th Amendment because it wanted a balance of power.

A decision on whether Asif Zardari would continue to be the PPP co-chairman after he becomes the president of Pakistan would be made by the party’s Central Executive Committee, he said.

Judges: Gilani said his government was committed to the reinstatement of the judges sacked on November 3, 2007, including sacked chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, but had to consider constitutional complications and avoid confrontation between state institutions.

Briefing: The prime minister said he was ready to arrange an in-camera briefing by the chief of army staff (COAS) for the members of the Senate on the situation in the Tribal Areas and Balochistan. He lamented the abduction of Chinese engineers in the NWFP on Monday and said militants had ruined the tourism industry in Swat.

Gilani denied allegations his government’s policy on terrorism was being dictated by the United States, saying he was only answerable to the people of Pakistan. He said he considered the Taliban his brothers and asked them to lay down weapons and work for Pakistan’s progress.

Later on Tuesday, Gilani told PPP lawmakers during a meeting at the Governor’s House that Punjab should play the role of ‘an elder brother’ of provinces and help them get Zardari elected as president.

He told reporters at the Lahore airport that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) had withdrawn from the four-party ruling alliance at the Centre because of its stance on the framework for the restoration of the sacked judiciary, but added that the Centre and Punjab would not destabilise each other.

A decision on accepting the resignations by federal ministers from the PML-N would be made after discussions within the PPP, he added. He told the Senate he had ‘forgiven’ former president General (r) Pervez Musharraf after he resigned following dialogue, and that other political parties should also ‘look forward’.

When Baloch senators complained their province was not being given its share of state jobs, Gilani said there were 6,700 quota jobs for Balochistan lying vacant, and he had assigned the Balochistan establishment secretary to advertise the jobs and conduct tests. staff report/agencies
 

batmannow

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US-led forces alleged involved in Pakistan attack
By ISHTIAQ MAHSUD – 22 minutes ago

DERA ISMAIL KHAN, Pakistan (AP) — At least 15 people, including women and children, were killed in an attack involving U.S.-led forces in a remote Pakistani village near the border with Afghanistan, intelligence officials and a witness said Wednesday.

Thats could be a great lesson for our COAS , that we cant trust these USA+NATO FORCES plus thier adminstrations.:tsk::agree::tup::angry:
 

batmannow

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World Briefing | United Nations
U.S. Ambassador Discusses Pakistan Contacts
NY.TIMES.COM

By NEIL MacFARQUHAR
Published: September 3, 2008
Zalmay Khalilzad, the United States ambassador to the United Nations, gave a fuller account on Wednesday of his contacts with Asif Ali Zardari, a potential president of Pakistan and the widower of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Senior State Department officials expressed irritation last month Mr. Khalilzad had kept in close contact with Mr. Zardari, saying it might look like Washington was anointing a candidate. Mr. Khalilzad said he was friendly with the Bhutto family and had talked to Mr. Zardari perhaps seven times since he had returned to Pakistan from exile. Mr. Khalilzad denied giving Mr. Zardari policy advice:what:
 

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