Osama Bin Javaid's Blog

Of “STEALTH” swimsuits and defence through press releases…

Cassius said in Julius Caesar, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars — but in ourselves…”

A spokesperson of the ISPR has strongly refuted reports in the media quoting unnamed US sources that elements in Pakistan security forces tipped off terrorists helping them to escape the purported IED factories in Waziristan. This assertion is totally false and malicious and the facts on ground are contrary to it. Explaining further the spokesperson said that intelligence information was received regarding four compounds suspected of being used as IED making facilities. Operations were launched on all. Two were found to be used as IED making facilities and have been destroyed. Information on other to proved to be incorrect. Some persons have been arrested and they are under investigation.

Why is it that these claims are repeatedly being made? Why is the Pakistani military establishment under the microscope after the Abbottabad incident? How many of us were surprised when the actual story surfaced alleging Panetta showed the Pakistani military of the militant factories CIA tipped them about and then before they could attack, militants fled.

PNS Mehran was a classic example where the finger pointers forgot that it was their own inefficiencies that led to the attack and failure to protect their assets. Why was there a 50 yr old barbed wire protection for billions of rupees of taxpayers money? why werent there CCTV cameras? why weren’t the checkposts manned? why did no one pay heed to the previous attacks on navy? why was there no intelligence? why were the lights switched off rather than everything being lit up to identify attackers?

Stop pointing fingers and identify your failures first. Not saying that the US and India might not take advantage but unless you plug the loopholes, everyone else will take advantage too.

This the message forwarded by a friend from a US-fault-finder…

Where do we go from here?!

I met an officer of my unit at a wedding on Sunday 29 may ’11.  As my unit is in Malir, I asked him if he had any knowledge of the Mehran attack. He said, his company was the one called in for the operation as it was on rapid deployment force duty. He gave me a blow by blow account of what happened. I shall only give the gist of what he said.

The runway of Shahrah e faisal is shared by the Navy as well as the PAF. The runway is the dividing line.

At the perimeter of the naval base is a nullah about 15-20 meters wide. This is full of shrubs and trees and bushes.  The terrorists had parked their vehicles about two KMs down and walked along the far side of the nullah. At exactly 90 degrees from the Orions they built a proper infantry fashion Assault Bridge. They crossed the nullah over the assault bridge, and  made a bee line to the Orions. Four of the attackers went round from the PAF side and took up positions facing the Orions, across the runway.

They fired all the seventy rocket launchers they had brought onto and into the two parked Orions. The destruction was total. The officer said except for two pieces of tyres of  an aircraft which he saw, everything else was total ashes.

The attackers had come in totally undetected. When they fired the rockets simultaneously, the local naval security forces rushed to the point. They ran in along the runway. The firing went on for about 12-15 mns. Immediately after the fire the attackers on the Naval side withdrew across the assault bridge and disappeared. No one knows how many they were. Figures quoted are only conjectures.

When the local security forces rushed along the runway, they inadvertently cut off the route of withdrawal of the four attackers. And a cross fire started between the two sides.

In the meantime, this officers company had reached the mehran base by about 11 pm. However, they had orders ‘from above’, to not to enter the base. They could hear the firing but were not allowed to move in.

At 1:30 in the morning they were allowed to move in but were prohibited to open fire. At this stage I asked him if they had been sent in to sell pakoras! He was quite cut up and said the troops were very upset about it too. But their orders were very strict – no fire.

By this time all fire had stopped before they were allowed to move in.

They knew that four attackers were still there in the PAF area. An area search was carried out but no one was found because of the night. After first light along with the Zarrar company of SSG the grounds were scoured. An officer with a jawan were searching for a lost magazine, as they neared a large bush, they were fired upon. The sepoy was injured. The officer fired back and killed the attacker. Thereafter three more were killed in an exchange of fire. No more bodies were found

While this company was being held outside the Base, the officer said he saw Rahman malik on the TV giving a running commentary on the action as if he was standing in the witness stand!! He also stated that before they were allowed in, RM was announcing very happily “all the terrorists have escaped. No one has been killed or captured”. The troops and officers were all aghast at his attitude and his glee!!

All the weapons and equipment found on the site and attackers was of Russian origin.

The attackers were in the middle of two bases and all the aircraft of the PN and PAF were within their beat. They could have destroyed or incapacitated most of the PAF aircraft and helicopters including Lamas. But nothing else was touched.. They had concentrated their total fire power onto the total destruction of the two Orions only.

The Americans on the base were flown out the same night.

I have tried to reproduce what the officer said, verbatim.

My observations.

These Orions had been used for surveillance in Baluchistan where the Americans are actively involved in terrorist activities. All their activities were monitored and the wireless messages were recorded. This is the capacity of the Orion. And therefore that could have been a great embarrassment for the Americans if it leaked out. Hence the Orions had to be destroyed so much that the recorders and black boxes were destroyed too along with the nefarious evidence.

The attackers came direct onto the two parked Orions because they were guided through Satellite GPS. The Americans at the base were acting as FACs to direct them. They had finished their jobs and were no longer required. Their safety demanded they be not available for any interrogation etc.

RM was in charge of the operations, and thus the peculiar orders to the army unit,  ostensibly for the safety of his American friends

Another revealing news I got was that the Americans are paying USD 500millions each annually to Asif, Rahman and Nawaz  Sharif to keep their mouths shut and look after US interests. One of the bankers being quoted said he had been involved personally in the transaction of $500 M in the case of Nawaz!

The photo of one attacker killed shows a full tattoo on his left arm fro stout shoulder to hand. This excludes the person being a Taliban, a Muslim, Pakistani or even Indian. Its not part of our culture. Russian or Europeans would have a single tattoo. The full arm or body tattoos are only American culture. Draw your own conclusions.

I thought you should know.

( Name removed )

 

Can we just stop blaming other and fix our own problems first. How long before we are mature enough to  take responsibility for the ambit we’re responsible for. Maybe we all should read Cassius’ comments again…

 

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SHUT UP OR DIE

A dear friend, a bold journalist a brave man was killed in pursuit of the truth. Saleem Shahzad leaves behind three children and a widow. The mourners under their wails and tears still have no clue why was their father killed. Since his abduction from Pakistan’s fortified federal capital to the discovery of his bruised mortal remains, the message is to hammer home the chilling threat to all those who strive to inform.

Rest in peace, we will not be silenced.

UPDATE:

After a successful 24 hr sit in by journalists demanding justice, the ineffective government made matters worse. The journalists from all over Pakistan demanded a judicial inquiry by appointing a judge who refused to head the investigation because the GOP didnt bother to ask the chief justice before appointing one of his subordinates.

On June 17, the ISPR released the following statement after Asma Jehangir said data of calls and texts from Saleem Shahzad’s mobile was wiped out by the ISI.

“Spokesperson of ISPR voiced concern on unfounded and baseless insinuation’s being voiced in a section of print and electronic media against ISI in regard to murder of Journalist Saleem Shahzad. Such negative aspersions and accusations were also voiced against ISI in some previous cases but investigations proved those wrong.
The spokesperson strongly supported   formation of a Commission to investigate the murder of   Journalist Saleem Shahzad. The case must be investigated thoroughly and facts made known to the people, the spokesperson concluded.”

 

Here’s what happened earlier …

 

Missing people in Pakistan have become a sad reality. Wikileaks has revealed that DEMAND TO ACCOUNT FOR MISSING
DRAWS LIMITED GOVERNMENT COOPERATION

“….The Supreme Court’s activism on the issue is a brave and encouraging start, but there are a number of obstacles that will make solving the problem a serious challenge. Interior Ministry and Attorney General’s office must rely on information from Pakistan’s powerful intelligence agencies to comply with the Supreme Court’s order. So far, this pressure has generated a few releases — often abrupt affairs, in which detainees have reportedly been pushed out of cars, confused and disoriented, and left to find their way home. It remains to be seen whether the Court’s scrutiny will have a lasting effect on the way the intelligence agencies do business.…”

Here is a compilation of a very well articulated response by the Newspaper Society and the rest of the world on the sad demise of Saleem Shahzad, a courageous journalist. Will there be action, I doubt it, but still all we have are words as our weapons

STATEMENT OF PRESIDENT OF APNS

A leading newspaper publisher in Pakistan and the president of the nationwide newspapers body has reacted sharply to charges by the Inter Services`Intelligence Agency (ISI) that allegations by Human Rights Watch of the intelligence agency’s involvement in the murder of Pakistani journalist Salim Shahzad were “baseless” .

It has come to my notice that a spokesman of Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) while speaking to the official national news agency in Islamabad yesterday has questioned the “baseless allegations” leveled by Human Rights Watch on the basis of an E mail from Salim Shahzad, the Bureau Chief of the Hong Kong based Asia Times Online, in their possession . Mr Shahzad was mudered three days ago near Islamabad after being abducted by unknown persons.

“I wish to state on record that the e mail in the possession of Mr Ali Dayan, the monitor for Human Rights Watch (HRW) stationed in ,Lahore Pakistan, is indeed one of the three identical E mails sent by Mr Shahzad to HRW , his employers (Asia Times Online) and to his former employer, myself . I also wish to verify that allegations levied by HRW at the Inter services Intelligence (ISI) are essentially in complete consonance with the contents of the slain journalists E mail ”

“In their denial issued Wednesday an anonymous spokesman from the ISI has questioned the “baseless allegation” leveled against ISI by Mr Dayan of HRW. I wish to state on the record for the information of the officers involved in investigating journalist Salim Shahzad’s gruesome murder, that the late journalist confided to me and several others that he had received death threats from various officers of the ISI on at least three occasions in the past five years. Whatever the substance of these allegations , they form an integral part of Mr Shahzad’s last testimony. Mr Shahzad’s purpose in transmitting this information to three concerned colleagues in the media ,was not to defame the ISI but to avert a possible fulfillment of what he clearly perceived to be a death threat. The last threat which I refer to was recorded by Mr Shahzad by e mail with me, tersely phrased as “for the record”, at precisely 4.11 am on October18,2010, wherein he recounted the details of his meetings at the ISI headquarters in Islamabad between the Director General- Media Wing (ISI) Rear- Admiral Adnan Nazir, with the Deputy Director General of the Media Wing, Commodore Khalid Pervaiz, also being present on the occasion.

The ostensible agenda for this meeting was the subject of Mr Shahzads’s story of Asia Times Online with respect to the Pakistan government freeing of senior Afghan Taliban commander, Mullah Baraadar. Mr Shahzad informed the senior officials that he story was leaked by a intelligence channel in Pakistan, and confirmed thereafter by the ” most credible Taliban s source” . The senior officials present suggested to Mr Shahzad that he officially deny the story, which he refused to do, terming the official’s demand as “impractical”

The senior intelligence official was “curious” to identify the source of Mr Shahzad’s story claiming it to be a “shame” that such a leak should occur from the offices of a high profile intelligence service. Mr Shahzad additionally stated that the Rear -Adimral offered him some information, ostensibly “as a favour ” in the following words : ” We have recently arrested a terrorist and have recovered a lot of data, diaries and other materials during the interrogation. The terrorist had a hit list with him . If I find your name on the list I will certainly let you know.”

Mr Shahzad subsequently confirmed to me in a conversation that he not only interpreted this conversation as a veiled threat to his person. He also informed me that he let an official from the ISI know soon thereafter that he intended share the content of this threat with his colleagues ..

As President of the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) and as head of Pakistan’s leading media group I consider the the security of journalists to be of paramount importance. At present the APNS has officially committed itself to the creation of a national body for the investigations of serious threats to the lives of journalists, a body which the Committee to Protect the Journalists in New York, and other leading organizations in the Pakistani press and human rights bodies have promised to lend vigorous support to. Pakistan has one of the high rates in the world for journalists killings and such an environment is inimical to the functioning of democracy . The government and the intelligence agencies should take the investigation into Mr Shahzad’s murder seriously and examine his last testimony closely.

Whether the Oct 18th incident itself or his last article in the Asia Times Online ,that alleged Al-Qaeda penetration of the security curtain for Pakistani Naval establishment in Karachi hastened his murder is for the official investigation to uncover. And nobody not even the ISI should be above the law”.

Hameed Haroon
PRESIDENT
ALL PAKISTAN NEWSPAPERS SOCIETY
KARACHI

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) fully backs a call by its affiliate, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ), for the Government of Pakistan to establish by June 10 a judicial commission to investigate the disappearance and murder of Syed Saleem Shahzad.

PFUJ president Pervaiz Shaukat said journalists from throughout Pakistan would assemble in Islamabad and stage a sit-in at the Parliament if the commission was not set up by this date.

The deadline was set at a meeting of senior union leaders and journalists in Islamabad on June 2, where the PFUJ also sought unity with the All Pakistan Newspaper Society (APNS).

APNS president Hameed Haroon issued a statement on June 2 in which he confirmed Shahzad had reported receiving threatening messages on at least three occasions, allegedly from members of the intelligence arm of the Pakistan military, the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

“Whatever the substance of these allegations, they form an integral part of Mr Shahzad’s last testimony,” Haroon said in his statement. “Mr Shahzad’s purpose in transmitting this information to three concerned colleagues in the media was not to defame the ISI but to avert a possible fulfilment of what he clearly perceived to be a death threat.”

The head of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, Zohra Yusuf, was reported as saying that although there was no conclusive evidence, “circumstances seem to point to state security agencies because there have been other cases where journalists have been picked up”, according to Reuters.

The ISI denies involvement in the murder of Shahzad, 40, who disappeared in Islamabad on May 29. Shahzad’s tortured body was found on May 31 at Mandi Bahauddin, about 150km southeast of Islamabad in Punjab province.

On May 27, Shahzad published on Asia Times Online an investigative report into alleged links between Al-Qaeda and Pakistani naval officials. It was to be the first of a two-part series. However, an editor’s note on the website says Shahzad had not completed the second part of his report and it will therefore not be published.

“The IFJ commends the courage of journalists in Pakistan at this distressing and dangerous time,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said. “We and journalists around the world will not rest until all murderers of journalists in Pakistan are brought to justice.”

Black flags have been hoisted at union offices and press clubs throughout the country, and PFUJ members will conduct a protest outside the Parliament today.

Hong Kong-based Asia Times Online, for whom Shahzad was the Pakistan bureau chief, is establishing a trust fund for his wife Anita and three teenage children.

Hillary Rodham Clinton

The United States strongly condemns the abduction and killing of reporter Syed Saleem Shehzad. His work reporting on terrorism and intelligence issues in Pakistan brought to light the troubles extremism poses to Pakistan’s stability. We support the Pakistani government’s investigation into the circumstances surrounding his death.
We remain committed to helping the government and people of Pakistan as they work to bring peace and stability to the country.

Chairman Kerry Washington, DC

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) issued the following statement on the death of Syed Saleem Shahzad, the Asia Times Online’s Pakistan Bureau Chief:

“I was deeply shocked and saddened to hear about the recent abduction and murder of reporter Syed Saleem Shahzad. His reporting on critical national security and intelligence issues helped shed light on the difficult challenges confronting the region. His death is a blow to Pakistan’s fragile democracy and a chilling reminder of the dangers journalists continue to face in Pakistan. I hope that the Pakistani government’s investigation into his murder will be as a thorough as possible to hold those responsible accountable and deter another crime against members of the press.”

BRITISH Foreign Secretary William Hague said:

“I was shocked to hear of the abduction and killing of Pakistani journalist Syed Saleem Shazad. He courageously reported on the terrorism and extremism which has caused so much suffering to the people of Pakistan. His death highlights the dangers faced by those working for a stable Pakistan and our thoughts are with his family at this time of grief.

“I welcome the announcement of an investigation. It is vital that this is thorough and transparent and that those responsible are brought to justice.”

Joint Action: Pakistan – Thirty-five organizations call for murder investigations in Pakistan

Thirty-five organizations call for murder investigations in Pakistan

The International Federation of Journalists and 33 other members of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX), including co-author the Committee to Protect Journalists, endorsed the following letter at IFEX’s General Meeting held in Beirut, Lebanon on May 30 and 31. The letter was also supported by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists.

Mr Asif Ali Zardari
President, Islamic Republic of Pakistan,

Mr Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani
Prime Minister, Islamic Republic of Pakistan

CC:

Mr Rehman Malik
Minister for Interior

Dr Firdaus Ashiq Awan
Minister for Information and Broadcasting

General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani
Chief of Army Staff

1 June 2011

Dear Mr President, Honourable Ministers and General Kayani,

RE: Journalists and Press Freedom Groups Call for Murder Investigations

We the undersigned members and partners of the International Freedom of Expression Exchange (IFEX) are writing with respect to express our deep concerns for the safety and welfare of journalists and media workers in Pakistan.

Representing the international community of journalists’ organisations and press freedom defenders gathered in Lebanon for IFEX’s bi-annual conference, we urge the Government of Pakistan and its law-enforcement and security agencies to take immediate and firm action to implement all appropriate measures to protect media personnel and to prosecute murderers of journalists in Pakistan.

In 2011, the tragic toll of dead and injured journalists and media workers placed Pakistan ahead of Iraq and Mexico as the world’s most dangerous country for journalists and media workers.

The killings have continued into 2011, with at least three journalists murdered in targeted attacks, including the killing of Nasrullah Afridi in Peshawar on May 10 and Syed Saleem Shahzad, whose body was found just yesterday.

We are deeply disturbed by Shahzad’s brutal murder, following his abduction in Islamabad on May 29. We note reports by Human Rights Watch that the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) may have been involved in his disappearance. We also note the potential connection between Shahzad’s murder and an article he published on May 27 about alleged links between Al-Qaeda and Pakistan Navy officials. We appeal to the Government of Pakistan and its security agencies to move with utmost urgency to identify Shahzad’s killers and bring to them to justice.

We fully appreciate the great difficulties confronting all people in Pakistan at this time. However, we also know that Pakistan has the resources and expertise to conduct credible investigations into murders of journalists and to bring culprits to justice.

Yet this is not happening and a culture of impunity prevails. Of all the murders of journalists in Pakistan over many years, the identification and prosecution of culprits has occurred only once in recent memory – in the internationally high-profile case of American journalist Daniel Pearl.

Pakistan’s law-enforcement authorities and security agencies at the provincial and federal levels have consistently failed to show the will to conduct full and proper investigations into all other murders of journalists in Pakistan.

Just a few examples where reports of investigations into murders are long overdue include the following:

• Hayatullah Khan, murdered, June 2006 in North Waziristan, after being abducted in December 2005.
• Allah Noor, murdered, Wana, February, 2005.
• Chishti Mujahid, murdered, February 2008, Quetta.
• Abdul Razzak Johra, murdered, Mianwali district, Punjab, November, 2008.
• Musa Khan Khel, murdered, Swat, February 2009.

The highly publicised investigation carried out by Peshawar High Court Judge Mohammed Reza Khan shortly after the killing of Hayatullah Khan has never been made public, despite repeated calls from the PFUJ and international media support groups.

In April 2009, the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ) and its district affiliates urged your Government to set up a judicial commission to investigate the murder of Khan Khel. This followed an independent investigation by the Khyber Union of Journalists and the PFUJ after local authorities failed to initiate their own inquiry. We await results in this case.

In early 2010, the then Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, Sumsam Ali Bukhari, acknowledged that Pakistan’s authorities and Interior Ministry had a responsibility to identify and arrest suspects. He gave an assurance to PFUJ members that the Sindh Government had been instructed to conduct a thorough investigation into the killing of Ashiq Ali Mangi in Khairpur, Sindh province, in February 2010. We await results in this case.

With respect, we remind you that your Government has a responsibility to protect and defend the rights of journalists and the media, in accordance with the Geneva Conventions, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and United Nations Security Council Resolution 1738.

As a signatory to the Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949 and to the 1997 Additional Protocol on the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts (Protocol II), the Government of Pakistan and its security forces are obliged to ensure the protection of journalists as civilians.

Article 13 of Protocol II states: “The civilian population as such, as well as individual civilians, shall not be the object of attack. Acts or threats of violence the primary purpose of which is to spread terror among the civilian population are prohibited.”

The 2006 Security Council Resolution, which stresses the civilian status of journalists reporting in war zones and crisis areas within national borders, stipulates: “… that all parties to an armed conflict comply fully with the obligations applicable to them under international law related to the protection of civilians in armed conflict, including journalists, media professionals and associated personnel.”

Under the laws of Pakistan, the federal and provincial governments have a duty to require that law enforcement and security authorities utilise appropriate and transparent policing and judicial means to fully investigate all murders and disappearances of journalists.

We fully support the PFUJ in its recent request to Minister Malik to initiate and oversee a comprehensive inquiry and report into the killings of journalists in all of Pakistan’s provinces. We look forward to full public disclosure of all evidence and official records.

We further call on you to work with the PFUJ and Pakistani and international media support groups to establish an independent taskforce to act promptly on the findings of the Malik inquiry, including through the pursuit of full and proper investigations and prosecutions of cases.

Again, we respectfully request that you use your authority to reverse the culture of impunity and act on the grave concerns held by the international community of journalists and press freedom defenders for the welfare of our colleagues in Pakistan.

In the absence of investigations and the prosecution of offenders, the State is failing to provide the necessary deterrent to those who would use violence to silence and intimidate journalists and restrict the right of all people in Pakistan to information.

Yours Respectfully,

The Undersigned

1. Aliansi Jurnalis Independen (Alliance of Independent Journalists)
2. Arabic Network for Human Rights Information
3. ARTICLE 19: Global Campaign for Free Expression
4. Association of Caribbean Media Workers
5. Canadian Journalists for Free Expression
6. Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility
7. Center for Media Studies & Peace Building
8. Centre for Independent Journalism
9. Centro de Reportes Informativos sobre Guatemala
10. Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)
11. Egyptian Organization for Human Rights
12. Freedom Forum
13. Freedom House
14. Free Media Movement
15. Globe International
16. Hong Kong Journalists Association
17. Independent Journalism Center
18. Index on Censorship
19. International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)
20. IPS Communication Foundation
21. Maharat Foundation (Skills Foundation)
22. Media Foundation for West Africa
23. Media Institute of Southern Africa
24. Media Rights Agenda
25. Media Watch
26. Mizzima News
27. National Union of Somali Journalists
28. Observatoire pour la liberté de presse, d’édition et de création
29. Pacific Islands News Association
30. Pakistan Press Foundation
31. Public Association “Journalists”
32. Southeast Asian Press Alliance
33. South East European Network for the Professionalization of the Media
34. Thai Journalists Association
NON-IFEX MEMBER SIGNATORY:
Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists (PFUJ)

SAUDI ARABIAN INVOLVEMENT IN PAK AFFAIRS

The latest wikileaks cables reveal that the Saudi monarch, King Abdullah believes that former military dictator Gen Retd Musharraf may be the best option for Pakistan’s security. Saudi intelligence chief frankly tells the americans about Saudi preferences: “Prince Muqrin said that while the King considers both Sharif and Musharraf friends, he considers Musharraf the better person to handle anti-terror issues.”

The candid behind-the-scenes details of Mr Sharif’s return to exile in Saudi Arabia shared by Prince Muqrin with the US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Ford M. Fraker, are documented in a secret cable from the US consulate in Jeddah on Sept 12, 2007.

Delving into the complexities of Pakistani politics, Prince Muqrin also “speculated that there is probably an agreement between Sharif and the Pakistani Chief Justice, adding that if the Chief Justice grants Sharif the right to return to Pakistan and Sharif wins, the Chief Justice will become President.”

The Saudi prince went on to state “that he is almost certain the Chief Justice will side with Sharif, noting that he believes the run-up to the November election will be tense.”

The cable reveals that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif “thought he might be arrested” upon his return to Saudi Arabia after deportation from Pakistan on Sept 10, 2007, but Prince Muqrin, Head of General Intelligence Presidency, Saudi Arabia, gave Sharif “two options — he could either stay at a palace that had been prepared for him, or at his home. He opted to go to his home.”

“During Ambassdor Fraker’s meeting with Prince Muqrin, the Prince first summarised the ten-year agreement, brokered by Rafik Hariri, under which Sharif would live in Saudi Arabia and refrain from participating in Pakistani politics. He added that there was a verbal agreement that after five years, they would hold negotiations to consider reducing that ten year period,” according to the secret cable.

Prince Muqrin went on to describe “how Saad Al-Hariri warned Sharif not to return to Pakistan, but how Sharif disregarded the warning and went anyway.”

After Sharif’s forcible return from Pakistan to Jeddah, Prince Muqrin received the former Pakistani prime minister at the airport at which point the two discussed where Mr Sharif would stay.

Prince Muqrin also told Sharif that there would be “some restrictions” on his activities “for a short while, at least through the November elections, to reduce the likelihood of inciting rioting among his supporters in Pakistan.”

Ambassador Fraker was also told that “Sharif will remain in Saudi Arabia until after the Pakistani elections in November.” Sharif eventually returned to Pakistan on Nov 25, 2007, by which point elections were to be held in early 2008.

“The Prince explained that, as in Lebanon, the Pakistani constitution requires individuals working within the government to be outside government for two years prior to becoming President. Therefore a constitutional change would be required for Musharraf to become President.”

In a previously released cable from 2007, the Saudi ambassador to the US, Adel al-Jubeir boasts “We in Saudi Arabia are not observers in Pakistan, we are participants,”. A senior US official later bemoaned as “negative” the Saudi influence. Al-Jubeir added that for the SAG, stability in Pakistan is an essential strategic matter. Since Pakistan possesses both nuclear weapons and delivery vehicles, from the Saudi point of view, the policy choice to be made there boils down to a drastic choice: “We can either support Musharraf and stability, or we can allow bin Laden to get the bomb, “he told the Charge’.

In another cable from November 2008 by Bryan Hunt, the then Principal Officer at the US Consulate in Lahore, was based on information from discussions with local government and non-governmental sources during his trips to the cities of Multan and Bahawalpur.

Quoting local interlocutors, Hunt attempts to explain how the “sophisticated jihadi recruitment network” operated in a region dominated by the Barelvi sect, which, according to the cable, made south Punjab “traditionally hostile” to Deobandi and Ahl-i-Hadith schools of thought.

Hunt refers to a “network of Deobandi and Ahl-i-Hadith mosques and madrassahs” being strengthened through an influx of “charity” which originally reached organisations “such as Jamaat-ud-Dawa and Al-Khidmat foundation”. Portions of these funds would then be given away to clerics “in order to expand these sects’ presence” in a relatively inhospitable yet “potentially fruitful recruiting ground”.

Outlining the process of recruitment for militancy, the cable describes how “families with multiple children” and “severe financial difficulties” were generally being exploited for recruitment purposes. Families first approached by “ostensibly ‘charitable’” organisations would later be introduced to a “local Deobandi or Ahl-i-Hadith maulana” who would offer to educate the children at his madrassah and “find them employment in the service of Islam”. “Martyrdom” was also “often discussed”, with a final cash payment to the parents. “Local sources claim that the current average rate is approximately Rs 500,000 (approximately USD 6,500) per son,” the cable states.

The cable sent to the State Department stated that “financial support estimated at nearly 100 million USD annually was making its way to Deobandi and Ahl-i-Hadith clerics in south Punjab from organisations in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates ostensibly with the direct support of those governments.”

Military public relations department relies on free email servers

Posted in News, Pakistan Curent Affairs by osamabinjavaid on May 12, 2011

I just came across the military’s media contact page that proudly boasts of 1 Hotmail, 3 Gmail and 1 Yahoo account.

http://www.ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-pr_contacts&director_id=dgispr

They are meant for queries and responses if you want to get answers from the Pakistani military. Just wondering why are all these addresses based on foreign servers. Usually all professional organizations have a secure network and as sophisticated & sensitive the operation the more secure the servers. I may not be an authority on IT matters but it feels odd that the military (of all organizations in Pakistan) has to rely on free, web-based email accounts. Yes all these email providers have strict checks and privacy rules but come on! really? I know that if I browse and get emails about sports, Google sends sports ads my way. I remember CNET reported that Web-based email accounts are as susceptible to be hacked into as other accounts

“The information is essentially being sent back and forth along a wire. Anyone along that wire, inside or outside of your company, has the ability to intercept, read and change the text,” said David Kennedy, director of research services for ICSA.net in Reston, Va. “Is it technically possible? Yes, and it’s fairly easy to do.”

Read more: http://news.cnet.com/2100-1017-246543.html#ixzz1M4Ga62WL

The privacy record of all the major providers has at some point or other been criticized for how they use user data. And it is understandable if they have millions of subscribers, they have to make money. (http://www.consumerwebwatch.org/dynamic/privacy-investigations-dear-big-brother.cfm)

Which begs the question that do our ‘wise’ military media managers have thought about this aspect? Just yesterday Apple and Google received a good lashing at a senate hearing in the US. The Senate committee was not pleased with how the companies are protecting user privacy on mobile phones. Senator Al Franken, said that application makers, companies like Apple and Google and wireless providers are free to disclose your location information and other sensitive information to almost anyone they please-without letting you know.

This is a small observation on the back of the Osama Bin Laden killing that has brought to life Pakistani military and intelligence community’s worst nightmare to life. The US, Britain, Spain and other countries hit with terrorism hit back with impenetrable shields of defence. They learnt lessons from intelligence failures and have proven to come out of the criticism – wiser and effective. One can only hope and wish that Pakistan has (this time) learnt its lesson!

PAKISTAN OFFICIALLY ADMITS ‘WE KNEW NOTHING’

Posted in Uncategorized by osamabinjavaid on May 3, 2011

Death of Osama bin Ladin-Respect for Pakistan’s Established Policy Parameters on Counter Terrorism

The Government of Pakistan recognizes that the death of Osama bin Ladin is an important milestone in fight against terrorism and that the Government of Pakistan and its state institutions have been making serious efforts to bring him to justice.

However, the Government of Pakistan categorically denies the media reports suggesting that its leadership, civil as well as military, had any prior knowledge of the US operation against Osama bin Ladin carried out in the early hours of 2nd May 2011.

Abbottabad and the surrounding areas have been under sharp focus of intelligence agencies since 2003 resulting in highly technical operation by ISI which led to the arrest of high value Al Qaeda target in 2004. As far as the target compound is concerned, ISI had been sharing information with CIA and other friendly intelligence agencies since 2009. The intelligence flow indicating some foreigners in the surroundings of Abbottabad, continued till mid April 2011. It is important to highlight that taking advantage of much superior technological assets, CIA exploited the intelligence leads given by us to identify and reach Osama bin Ladin, a fact also acknowledged by the US President and Secretary of State, in their statements. It is also important to mention that CIA and some other friendly intelligence agencies have benefitted a great deal from the intelligence provided by ISI. ISI’s own achievements against Al Qaeda and in War on Terror are more than any other intelligence agency in the World.

Reports about US helicopters taking off from Ghazi Airbase are absolutely false and incorrect. Neither any base or facility inside Pakistan was used by the US Forces, nor Pakistan Army provided any operational or logistic assistance to these operations conducted by the US Forces. US helicopters entered Pakistani airspace making use of blind spots in the radar coverage due to hilly terrain. US helicopters’ undetected flight into Pakistan was also facilitated by the mountainous terrain, efficacious use of latest technology and ‘nap of the earth’ flying techniques. It may not be realistic to draw an analogy between this undefended civilian area and some military / security installations which have elaborate local defence arrangements.

On receipt of information regarding the incident, PAF scrambled its jets within minutes. This has been corroborated by the White House Advisor Mr John Brennan who while replying to a question said, “We didn’t contact the Pakistanis until after all of our people, all of our aircraft were out of Pakistani airspace. At the time, the Pakistanis were reacting to an incident that they knew was taking place in Abbottabad. Therefore, they were scrambling some of their assets. Clearly, we were concerned that if the Pakistanis decided to scramble jets or whatever else, they didn’t know who were on those jets. They had no idea about who might have been on there, whether it be US or somebody else. So, we were watching and making sure that our people and our aircraft were able to get out of Pakistani airspace. And thankfully, there was no engagement with Pakistani forces. This operation was designed to minimize the prospects, the chances of engagement with Pakistani forces. It was done very well, and thankfully no Pakistani forces were engaged and there were no other individuals who were killed aside from those on the compound.”

There has been a lot of discussion about the nature of the targeted compound, particularly its high walls and its vicinity to the areas housing Pakistan Army elements. It needs to be appreciated that many houses occupied by the affectees of operations in FATA / KPK, have high boundary walls, in line with their culture of privacy and security. Houses with such layout and structural details are not a rarity.

Questions have also been asked about the whereabouts of the family members of Osama bin Ladin. They are all in safe hands and being looked after in accordance with law. Some of them needing medical care are under treatment in the best possible facilities. As per policy, they will be handed over to their countries of origin.

Notwithstanding the above, the Government of Pakistan expresses its deep concerns and reservations on the manner in which the Government of the United States carried out this operation without prior information or authorization from the Government of Pakistan.

This event of unauthorized unilateral action cannot be taken as a rule. The Government of Pakistan further affirms that such an event shall not serve as a future precedent for any state, including the US. Such actions undermine cooperation and may also sometime constitute threat to international peace and security.

Pakistan, being mindful of its international obligations, has been extending full and proper cooperation on all counter terrorism efforts including exchange of information and intelligence. Pursuant to such cooperation, Pakistan had arrested several high profile terrorists.

The Government of Pakistan and its Armed Forces consider support of the people of Pakistan to be its mainstay and actual strength. Any actions contrary to their aspirations, therefore, run against the very basis on which the edifice of national defence and security is based. Pakistan Army and intelligence agencies have played a pivotal role in breaking the back of Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations in Pakistan as well as around the World. Most of the successes achieved by the US and some other friendly countries have been the result of effective intelligence cooperation and extremely useful military support by Pakistan. The Government of Pakistan and its security forces have resolved to continue their fight against terrorism till people of Pakistan can live in peace and security.

HERE’S WHAT THEY IMMEDIATELY SAID AFTER THE KILLING

Mon, May 2, 2011 at 12:27 PM
Death of Osama bin Ladin

In an intelligence driven operation, Osama Bin Ladin was killed in the surroundings of Abbotabad in the early hours of this morning. This operation was conducted by the US forces in accordance with declared US policy that Osama bin Ladin will be eliminated in a direct action by the US forces, wherever found in the world.

Earlier today, President Obama telephoned President Zardari on the successful US operation which resulted in killing of Osama bin Ladin.

Osama bin Ladin’s death illustrates the resolve of the international community including Pakistan to fight and eliminate terrorism. It constitutes a major setback to terrorist organizations around the world.

Al-Qaeda had declared war on Pakistan. Scores of Al-Qaeda sponsored terrorist attacks resulted in deaths of thousands of innocent Pakistani men, women and children. Almost, 30,000 Pakistani civilians lost their lives in terrorist attacks in the last few years. More than 5,000 Pakistani security and armed forces officials have been martyred in Pakistan’s campaign against Al-Qaeda, other terrorist organizations and affiliates.

Pakistan has played a significant role in efforts to eliminate terrorism. We have had extremely effective intelligence sharing arrangements with several intelligence agencies including that of the US. We will continue to support international efforts against terrorism.

It is Pakistan’s stated policy that it will not allow its soil to be used in terrorist attacks against any country. Pakistan’s political leadership, parliament, state institutions and the whole nation are fully united in their resolve to eliminate terrorism.

Is democracy a good thing? join the debate…

AGAINST: I don’t think that more democracy is a good thing – democracy in places like Pakistan and Afghanistan is a nonsensical idea, to my mind. What we, and they, need is good governance – I think the most important criteria for economic growth is to have a government that is not corrupt and that has stable institutions.
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FOR: The pursuit of idealism makes me a watchdog on the walls of society (ie a journalist).

Agreed that the concept of democracy being one-size-fits-all is flawed. Bangladesh for instance is doing pretty well with its military interventions on corrupt politicians and au contraire the US is doing just fine with the idealism being complimented with lobbying and corruption. So its a matter of perspective really whether you look at it from the Noam Chomsky school of thought or the Amy Goodman activism.
I’ve witnessed people give seats to elderly on crowded buses in Pakistan and I’ve seen the British behaving like cattle during a tube strike. So good governance is relevant, but in my opinion lower on the nation-building priority list.

Empowering people with justice and basic human rights is the only way to build soceity regardless of the regime it follows. Democracy by far is the imperfect system which has been tried, tested and implemented. Why reinvent the wheel?
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AGAINST: I disagree with you. China is not a democracy but it has alleviated more poverty and improved the condition of its people (education, health, all social indicators) than India which is a democracy. Noam Chomsky is very smart but completely irrelevant I feel – comparing advanced western democracies with third world developing countries is meaningless in terms of demoracy. The States is democratic, Pakistan is run by a feudal-military nexus that is not democratic in the least.
And Bangladesh is not doing pretty well – its populace is desperately poor and uneducated.
In my view justice and improving human rights comes second and third to good governance and stability. Economic growth is the most powerful impetus that leads to better rights for a countrys citizens.

Is Obama reading the Soviet guidebook?

…what is your view on what should happen in Afghanistan? I believe that a country should be ruled by the democratic principles of the early Chartists and Tom Paine etc..they are my moral compasses over here not knowing yours aside from Muhammed Jinnah of course… self determination. However is there the will there to protect the way of life that allows women and girls to be educated?
What should be done internally and how can people in these western countries involved help?

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I was asked this question by a friend and here’s what I think
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Afghanistan is a mess and a by product of the cold war. It has reached this state due to plundering both intentional and unintentional by vested interests of internal and external powers. The CIA funded extremist literature and brain washing created monstrous killing machines, not in numbers but in generations. The Pakistani intelligence knowingly remained a tool because it could salvage 2 cents from the dollars being pumped in. The foreign fighters aren’t acceptable to Pakistan or Afghanistan and their home countries sure as hell dont want them back. Not all the foreign fighters became Jihadi machines, some were doctors, some engineers, some preachers who settled down and had families. Bear in mind we are talking about a period of over 30 years. The geography of the area has tribal customs dating back to centuries. The tribals are hospitable people with traditions such as PakhtoonWali and doing everything to protect who they deem as guests.

I need to bore you with the background because the future is closely linked to learning from the past. After 9/11 they changed their minds and with a snap of their fingers wanted to mow down on beliefs and ideologies they had sown for decades.

Its a myriad of muddles which each successor with no foresight has complicated even more, both on the home and the international front and now there is no easy fix. The easiest solution which would’ve had lasting impact was education. Call me an optimist but I only see prosperity clubbed with knowledge giving people a sense of belonging and responsibility, as the solution.

War brings destruction and creates divides which run deeper with each battle. You’d become a suicide bomber if all of your family was hit by a ‘friendly’ mortar and charred everyone you loved alive in front of your eyes. Believe me I have come across people with such harrowing tales. Give them something to lose and then let them guard it. Take away everything and you have an unpredictable weapon which can explode in your face.

The only way the west can help is empowering democracy. Not the Karzai style, Washington/London approved version but the actual will of the people. Let the Taliban get the vote, let them come to power then set ground rules. You cannot wish them away as they are a mighty force the west created and if it took three decades to build it, it will take at least double the time to dismantle it. Build schools, build hospitals, build power stations, build roads – when they destroy them – build them again. That is the only solution.

Obama administration maybe on the right track but they have to do more to gain trust. The CIA’s counter plans of securing Pakistan’s nukes, just in case, of taking over Kabul, just in case, of securing Islamabad, just in case; are the white man’s burden Washington needs to put to rest. Until the double game is being played, there is no solution to Afghanistan or to Pakistan’s tribal areas no matter how many troops you send in.

Accept yesterday’s mistakes and facilitate a prosperous tomorrow.