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Pakistan foils coup plot

KashifAsrar

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Pakistan foils coup plot
By Syed Saleem Shahzad

KARACHI - A plot to stage a coup against Pakistan's President General Pervez Musharraf soon after his recent return from the US has been uncovered, resulting in the arrest of more than 40 people.

Most of those arrested are middle-ranking Pakistani Air Force officers, while civilian arrests include a son of a serving brigadier in the army. All of those arrested are Islamists, contacts in Rawalpindi, where the military is based, divulged to Asia Times Online.

The conspiracy was discovered through the naivety of an air force
officer who this month used a cell phone to activate a high-tech rocket aimed at the president's residence in Rawalpindi. The rocket was recovered, and its activating mechanism revealed the officer's telephone number. His arrest led to the other arrests.

Other rockets were then recovered from various high security zones, including the headquarters of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in Islamabad.

According to Asia Times Online sources, more arrests can be expected, both military and civilian.

Several assassination attempts have been made on Musharraf since he took power in a bloodless coup in 1999, and in all attempts there was a connection with the armed forces, especially the air force. However, this time it appears that beyond the attack on the president, a coup against his administration was also planned.

This plot takes place amid major developments. While in the US, Musharraf, in a meeting with President George W Bush, once again pledged his commitment to the US-led "war on terror". He drew world attention to his belief that the real threat were the Taliban in Afghanistan, and not al-Qaeda. He subsequently agreed to terms with Washington for a massive joint operation against the Taliban.

Still in the US, Musharraf also claimed that former ISI officials were supporting the Taliban and he sent instructions to the director general of the ISI to check on top officials, including retired Lieutenant General Hamid Gul and retired Colonel Ameer Sultan (known as Colonel Imam). Gul is a former director general of the ISI and Ameer is considered as the founding father of the Taliban movement. He was Pakistan's consul-general in Herat in western Afghanistan when the Taliban emerged in the mid-1990s.

Musharraf also instructed that a list be compiled of all retired officers who had been involved in any significant intelligence operations and who were suspected of still being sympathetic towards the Taliban.

At the same time, he began to backtrack from an agreement Islamabad had made with the Pakistani Taliban in the Waziristan tribal areas for the release of al-Qaeda-linked people detained in Pakistan. Instead, more were arrested, including Shah Mehboob, a brother of former jihad veteran and member of parliament, Shah Abdul Aziz. Also arrested was a British-born suspected member of al-Qaeda, known as Abdullah.

"This is just one glimpse of upcoming events as a result of Musharraf's pro-American policies, which are in contrast to the thinking pattern of Pakistan's state institutions," said retired squadron leader Khalid Khawaja, a former ISI official who went to Afghanistan after his forced retirement and fought alongside Osama bin Laden against Soviet Russia in the 1980s. (Khawaja features on Musharraf's list mentioned above.)

"Musharraf always blamed the madrassas [Islamic seminaries] for extremism, but all plots against him or his government go back to the armed forces. But he still does not realize why this happens," Khawaja maintained.

"He says retired ISI officials are involved in supporting the Taliban. I say there is no difference between retired and serving ones. All of them have the same approach, mindset and conviction. The retired ones act freely, while the serving ones have some job constraints, but both think in the same way. The present move of a coup against Musharraf is the writing on the wall that if he continues with pro-American policies, he will continue to face problems like that," Khawaja said.

"These governments, whether it is Indian or Pakistani, compel their forces to work for their strategic requirements, and when a particular operation is over, they talk about peace and wash their hands of everything they have done in the past. For instance, the Kargil operation [the Pakistani incursion into Indian-administered Kashmir in 1999]. Pakistan initially called it an action by the 'mujahideen'. Six months later, they started awarding medals to their army officers for their performance in Kargil. What does it prove? It proves that governments are personally involved in everything, whether it is the Kargil operation or the Kashmiri resistance, and then they blame the mujahideen or whatever."

Khawaja said that whatever officials did during their service in the ISI, it was on state instructions, and if the state tried to punish these same officials, the result would be the type of events that are happening now.

It is all too apparent that Pakistan's head and tail are moving in opposite directions: while Musharraf is fully behind the "war on terror", the strategic institutions are reluctant to follow Islamabad's instructions.

This is not something new, but over the years Musharraf and hardliners within the army have been able to live with one another. Had a hardline ruler been in Musharraf's place, Western countries would have tightened the noose around Pakistan and its security institutions would not have been able to manipulate their support of the Taliban. Because of Musharraf, Western countries are not prepared to be tough on Pakistan, which allows the hardliners to continue their activities.

Musharraf is acutely aware of the undercurrents in the army, which historically draws its inspiration from Islam, and more recently from the attacks on the US of September 11, 2001, when anti-US sentiment also took root. Musharraf exploited this by convincing the West of his usefulness in keeping the army - "full of extremism" - under control, something that a democratically elected government could not do, he argued

This cozy arrangement, or uneasy truce, between Musharraf and hardline Islamists in the ranks is breaking down as the US is demanding that Musharraf do something about the resurgent Taliban. He has responded, as outlined above, by cracking down on Taliban supporters and sympathizers. These people, both in uniform and out, have in turn given their reponse: they are not prepared to throw away all the gains that have been made in Afghanistan.

Syed Saleem Shahzad is Asia Times Online's Pakistan Bureau Chief. He can be reached at saleem_shahzad2002@yahoo.com

(Copyright 2006 Asia Times Online Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing .)


http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/HJ14Df02.html
 

Awesome

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Mar 24, 2006
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There was no coup attempt, atimes is just blowing more steam from its rear.

Even this article hardly mentions any coup attempt just that it happened. It's also justified by the recent rocket attack attempt.

These rumours of a coup attempt have been rejected.

8 Al Qaeda Members were arrested.
 

Salahuddin

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Sep 23, 2006
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Allhumdolilah, people hate him so much that he has stand behind BulletProof glass to give his stupid speech. The day for this d** is numbered.
 

sparten

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Mar 11, 2006
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Listen Englishman, mind your own fookin business. Whatever his faults Musharraf is a leader of pakistan.
 

Neo

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There was no coup attempt, atimes is just blowing more steam from its rear.

Even this article hardly mentions any coup attempt just that it happened. It's also justified by the recent rocket attack attempt.

These rumours of a coup attempt have been rejected.

8 Al Qaeda Members were arrested.
Some 30 were arrested including 3 medium ranked airforce officers.
Any coup attempt would have backing of atleast a major general or ISI but nobody's been sacked yet..
This was indeed no coup.
 

TopHatter

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Some 30 were arrested including 3 medium ranked airforce officers.
Any coup attempt would have backing of atleast a major general or ISI but nobody's been sacked yet..
This was indeed no coup.
Help me out here, I'm more than a little short on knowledge for this sort of thing. If a coup takes place in that part of the world, is it typically masterminded by senior generals?

IIRC, in other parts of the world, it's traditionally the "domain" of mid-to-high level officers such as colonels who instigate a coup.
 

Neo

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Help me out here, I'm more than a little short on knowledge for this sort of thing. If a coup takes place in that part of the world, is it typically masterminded by senior generals?

IIRC, in other parts of the world, it's traditionally the "domain" of mid-to-high level officers such as colonels who instigate a coup.
Imho the latter is the case. Anyway you have to have influential officers to make it work and Imho backing of ISI.
Musharraf btw didn't take over by himself, he was en route to Karachi onboard PIA flight PK805 when his dismissal was announced by Nawas Sharif. This action was inconstitutional so Musharraf's loyal high ranking officers planned the take over.
 

Salahuddin

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Sep 23, 2006
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Listen Englishman, mind your own fookin business. Whatever his faults Musharraf is a leader of pakistan.

If people of Pakistan stop accounting there corrupt rulers then day is not far when Pakistan will be sold completly .
 

Kaiser

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Oct 8, 2005
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Asim please stop singing musharrafs bhajans now at least. Why are some people so dum?
Atleast we here dont spell **** wrong :lol:

There was no coup attempt and never will be. Musharafs times almost up there are even indications that the elections will be held early. Although I would love to see musharaf in office for another 3 years.
 

KashifAsrar

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Arrest of 40 people in one go, is no minor incident. those who arrested were not planning it by thier own. They must be having a solid backing of the generals, from ISI or Army. Do people think they were foolish to take such an extreme steps, knowing fully well that unless some generals do not join in thier so called coup is going to lend them in jail! This looks a very clear warning to General and USA masters, from the Jiahdi cadres. Things are not that smooth as Musharraf claims.
Kashif
 

Awesome

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Mar 24, 2006
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Asim please stop singing musharrafs bhajans now at least. Why are some people so dum?
Salahuddin please quit cheering for Osama Bin Laden. Why are people such terrorists?

The people that hate him so much are the Al Qaeda whom he has got on the run. Over 700 caught and handed over to the US, thousands more dead. What did your kinsman manage in return? Placed him behind a bulletproof glass? Wow you really got him now.
 

Awesome

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Mar 24, 2006
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I doubt all of them were charged. We've rounded up more people. The only concern is the arrest of the military officers. Over the years there are many officers that go rogue in all kinds of forces.

They always claim some looney ideological reason but at the end of the day if you dig deep enough, its just money and they've just become mercenaries.

This was yet another assasination attempt sure. But without the top generals there really isn't going to be anyone ordering the colonels and the forces to depose off Musharraf.

Realistically ISI has the power to remove him by force. But ever since 9/11 most of the hardline ISI officers have been removed by Musharraf and there has been massive reshuffling.
 

Awesome

RETIRED MOD
Mar 24, 2006
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Depends if it really were a coup. They must've just figured, kill the guy at least, we'd see about the rest. Probably paid by Al Qaeda like the last 2 times.
 

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