Monday, December 31, 2007 Bhutto Spouse, Divisive Figure, Asserts Himself

Bhutto Spouse, Divisive Figure, Asserts Himself By CARLOTTA GALL While Bilawal Bhutto Zardari brings the much-needed continuity of the family name, it is his father who will be the critical figure over the next several years.

The Future Pakistan Deserves

In his article for The Washington Post (Tuesday, January 1, 2008; Page A11) former Prime Minister of Pakistan Muhammad Nawaz Sharif says in Benazir Bhutto's assassination he lost a friend and a partner in democracy.

Following is the text of his article:

LAHORE, Pakistan -- There is no law and certainly no order in my country. What happened this past week has shaken every Pakistani. Benazir Bhutto was no ordinary person. She served as prime minister twice and had returned to Pakistan in an effort to restore our country to the path of democracy. With her assassination I have lost a friend and a partner in democracy.
It is too early to blame anybody for her death. One thing, however, is beyond any doubt: The country is paying a very heavy price for the many unpardonable actions of one man -- Pervez Musharraf.

Musharraf alone is responsible for the chaos in Pakistan. Over the past eight years he has assiduously worked at demolishing institutions, subverting the constitution, dismantling the judiciary and gagging the media. Pakistan today is a military state in which a former prime minister can be gunned down in broad daylight. One of my own political rallies was fired upon the day Benazir Bhutto was killed.

These are the darkest days in Pakistan's history. And such are the wages of dictatorship. There is widespread disillusionment. At all the election rallies I have addressed, people have asked a simple question: Criminals are punished for breaking laws, so why should those who subvert the constitution not be punished? Those who killed Benazir Bhutto are the forces of darkness and authoritarianism. They are the ones who prefer rifles to reason.

Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and my own Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) have traditionally been political rivals. We fought each other through elections. We won some. We lost some. That is what democracy is all about. Whoever has the majority rules. Bhutto and I both realized while in exile that rivalry among democrats has made the task of manipulation easier for undemocratic forces. We therefore decided not to allow such nefarious games by the establishment.

I fondly remember meeting with Benazir in February 2005. She was kind enough to visit me in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where I lived after Musharraf forced me into exile. We realized that we were fighting for the same thing: democracy. She, too, believed in the rule of law and rule of the people. A key point of the Charter of Democracy that we signed in May 2006 was that everyone should respect the mandate of the people and not allow the establishment to play dirty politics and subvert the will of the people. After the Jeddah meeting we regularly consulted each other on issues of national and international importance. On many occasions we tried to synchronize our strategies. We had agreements and disagreements, but we both wanted to pull Pakistan back from the brink of disaster.

And while the PPP may have been our traditional rival, it is a national asset whose leadership has inspired many Pakistanis. Political parties form part of the basis on which the entire edifice of democracy rests. If our country is to move forward, we need an independent judiciary, a sovereign Parliament and strong political parties that are accountable to the people. Without political parties, there will be hopelessness, and authoritarianism will thrive. Dictators fear the power of the people. That is why they pit parties against each other and then try to destroy those parties -- to further their own agenda. This is what has happened in Pakistan in recent years.

So, what is the way out of the depths to which Pakistan has been plunged? First, Musharraf should go immediately. He is the primary and principal source of discord. Second, a broad-based national unity government should be immediately installed to heal the wounds of this bruised nation. Third, the constitution should be restored to what it was in 1973. The judiciary should be restored to its condition before Nov. 3 -- countering the boneheaded steps Musharraf took under the garb of "emergency" rule. All curbs on the media should be removed. Finally, fair and impartial elections should be held in a friendly and peaceful environment under such a national government so that the people are able to choose their representatives for a Parliament and government that can be trusted to rebuild the country rather than serve the agenda of a dictator.

These are the only steps that will give the country a semblance of stability. If Musharraf rules as he has for the past eight years, then we are doing nothing but waiting for another doomsday.
The world must realize that Musharraf's policies have neither limited nor curbed terrorism. In fact, terrorism is stronger than ever, with far more sinister aspects, and as long as Musharraf remains, there remains the threat of more terror. The people of Pakistan should not be antagonized any further for the sake of one man. It is time for the international community to join hands in support of democracy and the rule of law in Pakistan. The answer to my country's problems is a democratic process that promotes justice, peace, harmony and tolerance and hence can play an effective role in promoting moderation. With dictatorship, there is no future.

The writer is head of the Pakistan Muslim League and was twice elected prime minister of Pakistan.

Yahoo! News Story - US provided Bhutto with security intel - Yahoo! News

US provided Bhutto with security intel - Yahoo! News

Sunday, December 30, 2007

U.S. Strives to Keep Footing In Tangled Pakistan Situation

By Robin Wright and Glenn Kessler
For the Bush administration, there is no Plan B for Pakistan. (The Washington Post)

Yahoo! News Story - U.S. urges Pakistan move ahead with free election - Yahoo! News

U.S. urges Pakistan move ahead with free election - Yahoo! News

Saturday, December 29, 2007

US presidential candidate backtracks on illegal Pakistanis’ claim

WASHINGTON: Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee today backtracked from his yesterday’s claim about 660 illegally Pakistanis crossing into the US border last year.

He was addressing a press conference in Iowa State where the first electoral battle will take place among the presidential candidates on January 3 for the nomination of their respective parties.

Yesterday, in his reaction to Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, Huckabee surprisingly linked it to the immigration issue in the US saying that this incident reminds us to secure our border and told the audience that last year 660 illegal Pakistanis tried to cross into our border.

When a reporter asked him how did he get that figure, he said he received a briefing earlier and probably that figure came from CIA or the immigration department and promised to check back to confirm the source.

However, today when he was asked again about his claim, he said the figure actually covered a period of four years instead of one year and originated from an article he had read in the Denver Post. He admitted that it was his mistake.

According to the recent polls, Mike Huckabee is leading all other Republican candidates in the race in Iowa and South Carolina.
(Rana Fawad)

Friday, December 28, 2007

Benazir's murder is linked to illegal immigration in US?

WASHINGTON: As the US Presidential candidates with experience in foreign policy are trying to gain political mileage in the aftermath of Benazir Bhutto's assassination, other candidates with less or no knowledge of foreign affairs do not want to lag behind.

One Republican candidate Mike Huckabee, whose resume lacks foreign policy credentials, today linked Benazir's death to the immigration issue in the US during his campaign in Iowa - the first state to decide the fate of the candidates on both sides of the political divide in less than a week. According to different polls, immigration remains an important issue for the voters in Iowa.

Mike Hcakabee stressed that since 660 Pakistanis crossed illegally into the US border last year, there was a need to erect the fence along the US border. When a reporter asked how he came up with this figure of 660 illegal Pakistanis, he replied that he received a briefing earlier in the morning and this figure either came from the CIA or immigration department. However, he promised the reporter to check back and get the exact source later.

Yesterday, in his attempt to compete with other candidates in their reaction to Benazir Bhutto's murder, Mike Huckabee was unaware that emergency had already been lifted in Pakistan two weeks ago.
(Rana Fawad)

Stephen Cohen readjusts his prediction about Pakistan

"...Pakistan will face a fundamental crisis in five or six years, Benazir Bhutto's assassination may bring that about sooner than later."
Stephen Cohen is a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute in Washington, US.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Benazir Bhutto's interview with the Parade magazine for it's Jan 6, 2008 issue

In late November, PARADE sent Contributing Editor Gail Sheehy to Pakistan. Sheehy traveled with former prime minister Benazir Bhutto as she campaigned through her home provinces. Sheehy had two long interviews with her—the first in Bhutto’s home in Islamabad, a second at her residence outside Karachi. Bhutto told Sheehy that she had long been a target of terrorists. She knew she was also now a target of the Musharraf government. Today’s suicide bombing mirrors the earlier attempt on her life that Bhutto described to Sheehy.
The interview with Bhutto will be the cover story of PARADE on January 6, 2008. Click here for Benazir Bhutto's Interview

Pakistan: Bhutto Assassination a Tragedy: HRW

Crucial to Uphold Fundamental Rights to Prevent Turmoil

NEW YORK: The assassination of Benazir Bhutto is a tragic event with serious implications for Pakistan’s transition to democracy, Human Rights Watch said today.

“Political violence of this nature has claimed far too many innocent lives in Pakistan and it must stop,” said Ali Dayan Hasan, South Asia researcher at Human Rights Watch. “Benazir Bhutto was a democrat who believed in the supremacy of constitutional rule and throughout her career, sought power through the ballot box. Today, she died campaigning for votes and calling for a free election.”

Human Rights Watch called upon the Pakistani government to undertake an independent and transparent investigation into Bhutto’s assassination and fully cooperate with such an investigation.

“Given Bhutto’s public accusations of government threats against her and the absence of judicial independence in Pakistan, an independent and transparent investigation is absolutely essential,” said Hasan.

The government and security forces should ensure that fundamental rights are not violated and people are allowed to peacefully express their grief and anger.

“To prevent Pakistan’s descent into further political chaos at this delicate time, it is essential that both the government and Bhutto’s supporters follow the rule of law and remain peaceful,” said Hasan.

Benazir was a target just a day before her assassination?

WASHINGTON: A day before Benazir was assassinated, the Police in Peshawar had arrested a suspect carrying explosive before Benazir Bhutto addressed a political rally there.

According to the reports that appeared on Wednesday in the Pakistani media, the young suspect was trying to enter the gate of the political rally.

Pakistan lost a liberal leader: Mahmud Durrani

By Rana Fawad

WASHNGTON: Pakistan’s Ambassador to the United States Mahmud Ali Durrani has condemned the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and termed it a great loss for her family, her party (Pakistan Peoples Party) and the country.

Responding to questions posed by different US media outlets, Ambassador Durrani said Pakistan lost a liberal leader. He added that the terrorists who do not want a liberal and democratic government in Pakistan were responsible for this act.

Ambassador Durrani disagreed with some of the US analysts that the place of assassination in Rawalpindi was part of the military headquarters. Durrani said that the commentators did not know much about the location of the Liaqat Bagh (where Benazir was assassinated after addressing an election rally). He explained that it was a huge civilian area without a single soldier’s presence there.

As for the safety of the country’s nuclear weapons, the Ambassador rejected those views and said that the so called security specialists should know that the Pakistan Army was an organized force and that the nuclear assets were in the safe hands.

To a question, he commented that Pakistan had seen many crises in the past and hoped the people would pull through this one too. He said President Musharraf was committed to bringing democracy to Pakistan and, therefore, the opposition and the government should work together to move forward.

He also rejected the notion that there would be a political vacuum after BB’s death and said that no doubt she was a very important leader but she was not the only political leader.

He emphasized that in this moment of crisis all Pakistanis need to join hands to fight the menace of terrorism. He said in his view it was probably the work of Al Qaeda and Taliban.

US presidential candidates react to Benazir’s assassination

By Rana Fawad

WASHINGTON: Presidential candidates in the US have also reacted to the assassination of Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and termed it a horrific act.

In a press release issued today, Republican candidate Rudy Giuliani said it was a tragic event for Pakistan and for democracy in Pakistan and demanded the murderers must be brought to justice. He also commented, “Her death is a reminder that terrorism anywhere — whether in New York, London, Tel-Aviv or Rawalpindi — is an enemy of freedom. We must redouble our efforts to win the Terrorists’ War on Us.”

Another Republican front runner Mike Huckabee said it “is devastating news for the people of Pakistan, and my prayers go out to them as we follow developments regarding this dire situation.”

He added, “On this sad day, we are reminded that while our democracy has flaws, it stands as a shining beacon of hope for nations and people around the world who seek peace and opportunity through self-government.”

Republican Senator John McCain offered his condolences to the family and supporters of Benazir Bhutto. The Senator said, "The death of Benazir Bhutto underscores yet again the grave dangers we face in the world today and particularly in countries like Pakistan, where the forces of moderation are arrayed in a fierce battle against those who embrace violent Islamic extremism.”

Referring to his own visits to Pakistan, John McCain said the politicians faced many challenges in that country and “There are, in Pakistan, brave individuals who seek to lead their country away from extremism and instability and into the light of a better day. America, I believe, must do all we can to support them.”

Another Republican candidate Mitt Romney condemned the assassination and said moderate forces needed to be supported.

He offered condolences “to the family of Benazir Bhutto, and to all the people of Pakistan who are fighting against extremist forces that would commit such heinous acts as the whole world has witnessed today.”

Democratic front runner Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton reacted by saying she was profoundly saddened and outraged by the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

She said Benazir was a leader of tremendous political and personal courage and added “She returned to Pakistan to fight for democracy despite threats and previous attempts on her life and now she has made the ultimate sacrifice. Her death is a tragedy for her country and a terrible reminder of the work that remains to bring peace, stability, and hope to regions of the globe too often paralyzed by fear, hatred, and violence.”

Hillary hoped Beanzir’s “legacy will be a brighter, more hopeful future for the people she loved and the country she served. My family and I extend our condolences and deepest sympathies to the victims and their families and to the people of Pakistan.”

In a brief statement issued by Barak Obama’s campaign, he said, “I am shocked and saddened by the death of Benazir Bhutto in this terrorist atrocity. She was a respected and resilient advocate for the democratic aspirations of the Pakistani people.”

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Pakistani, Afghan leaders vow cooperation
By Kamran Haider
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - The leaders of Pakistan and Afghanistan vowed on Wednesday to boost intelligence cooperation to meet the menace of terrorism that was destroying both countries, Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf said. (The Washington Post)

Tuesday, December 25, 2007 Doubts Engulf an American Aid Plan for Pakistan

Doubts Engulf an American Aid Plan for Pakistan By JANE PERLEZ The ambitious $750 million plan is imperiled by questions about whether the money could fall into the wrong hands.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Musharraf Made A Mockery Of Pakistan: Sharif

SUKKUR, Pakistan (Reuters) - Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf made the country an international laughing stock by purging the judiciary after he imposed emergency rule in November, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif said on Monday. (The New York Times)

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Pakistani militants pose visible threat

LAHORE, Pakistan -- While the war against Islamic militancy has focused on shadowy underground organizations such as al-Qaida, counter-terrorism officials say there is a growing worldwide threat from an extremist group operating in plain sight in Pakistan.

The complete article can be viewed at:,0,4339318.story Pakistan's Tyranny Continues

Op-Ed Contributor: Pakistan's Tyranny Continues By AITZAZ AHSAN How long can the chief justice of Pakistan’s Supreme Court, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, and his colleagues be kept in confinement? Billions in Aid to Pakistan Was Wasted, Officials Assert

Billions in Aid to Pakistan Was Wasted, Officials Assert By DAVID ROHDE, CARLOTTA GALL, ERIC SCHMITT and DAVID E. SANGER The money the U.S. spent to bolster the Pakistani military effort against militants has been diverted to help finance weapons systems designed to counter India, not Al Qaeda or the Taliban, officials said.

Saturday, December 22, 2007 Weakening Pakistan

Editorial: Weakening Pakistan Pakistanis need to turn out in force on Election Day to ensure that everybody — not just Pervez Musharraf — can have a say in Pakistan’s future.

Pakistan's Islamic Parties Struggle for Support

By Griff WittePESHAWAR, Pakistan -- In 2002, Ibrar Hussein voted for an Islamic takeover. (The Washington Post)

Failure blooms in Afghanistan

"THE BUSH administration's decision to conduct a review of security, governance, and economic development in Afghanistan reflects an overdue recognition that, six years after the overthrow of the Taliban, the country remains dangerously unstable. With Taliban attacks on the rise and the opium poppy crop increasing, Afghanistan is on the way to becoming a failed state, a narco-state or both." (The Boston Globe)

Friday, December 21, 2007 Pakistan: Lawyers' Leader Rearrested

World Briefing Asia: Pakistan: Lawyers' Leader Rearrested By DAVID ROHDE Pakistani officials rearrested Aitzaz Ahsan, the leader of Pakistan’s lawyers movement, just 18 hours after granting him a three-day release from detention as a good-will gesture for the Id al-Adha holiday.

Baltimore Sun: Bhutto facing tough road in Pakistan vote

But the former prime minister seems confident of victory Jan. 8
Associated Press
December 21 2007

MIRPURKHAS, Pakistan -- Bringing her election campaign to her home province, Benazir Bhutto vowed that neither bullets nor bombs could keep her away from the Pakistani people.

The complete article can be viewed at:,0,3421810.story

The Washington Post: Ignoring Reality in Pakistan

Regarding the Dec. 17 op-ed, "Questions for Musharraf and Bush," written by John F. Tierney and Aitzaz Ahsan:

Regarding the Dec. 17 op-ed, "Questions for Musharraf and Bush," written by John F. Tierney and Aitzaz Ahsan:
The column did not reflect what is really happening in Pakistan. Contrary to what has been asserted, the people of Pakistan are with the government. This is evident from the fact that the masses did not pay any heed to the calls by vested interests to agitate and destabilize the country. The country is fully back on track. The president has taken off his military uniform and lifted the state of emergency, as promised.

Elections will be held as scheduled, on Jan. 8, in a totally free, fair and transparent manner.
All political parties, including those of the two former prime ministers, are taking part in the elections. A large number of independent observers, including representatives of the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute, are in Pakistan, and more are on their way.

What we expect from our friends at the present juncture is that they express their support for the people of Pakistan as a whole and for their government as the country is heading toward elections, rather than aligning themselves with one or another individual or faction.

Press Attache, Embassy of Pakistan

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Bush Team Confident on Pakistan Funds

WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration said Thursday it is confident new restrictions set by lawmakers on $50 million in military aid to Pakistan will not prevent it from providing the money...(The Washington Post)

Wednesday, December 19, 2007 Picture of Secret Detentions Emerges in Pakistan

Picture of Secret Detentions Emerges in Pakistan By CARLOTTA GALL Nearly 100 suspected terrorists have been released in an apparent effort to avoid acknowledging secret detentions.

The Washington Post: For Iowa's GOP Voters, Immigration Is Top Issue

Surging Huckabee Takes Lead in Iowa Over Romney
By Jon Cohen and Chris Cillizza
The race for Iowa's Republican caucuses has narrowed to a two-person battle between former governors Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, with Huckabee now perched atop the field, propelled by a big jump in support among religious women.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Three Eids in USA

WASHINGTON: Muslims in the United States will observe three Eids this year. Most of the Arab-American community will celebrate Eid ul Adha tomorrow (Wednesday) while majority of the Pakistani-American community will mark this holy day on Thursday.

Yet another Eid will be observed on Friday (December 21) as the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) has already announced, "The moon was not sighted anywhere in North America on Monday December 10, 2007 as such Wednesday December 12, 2007 is the first day of Dhul-Hijjah 1428 AH and Eid-ul Adha will be on Friday December 21, 2007."
(Rana Fawad) Pakistan Rejects Sharif's Election Bid Appeal

Pakistan Rejects Sharifs Election Bid Appeal By REUTERS ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan's Election Commission has upheld an election ban on former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, his lawyer said on Tuesday, barring a main rival of President Pervez Musharraf from the January polls.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Two Months in Pakistan

By Lally Weymouth
When Benazir Bhutto returned from exile in October, she was disturbed by the growing strength of the Taliban and Islamic extremists inside Pakistan. Last week she sat down with Newsweek-The Post's Lally Weymouth in Islamabad. Excerpts: (The Washington Post)

Sunday, December 16, 2007 WHO to Investigate Pakistan Bird Flu

WHO to Investigate Pakistan Bird Flu By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) -- International health experts have been dispatched to Pakistan to help investigate the cause of South Asia's first outbreak of bird flu in people and determine if the virus could have been transmitted through human contact, officials said Sunday.

Saturday, December 15, 2007 On Retainer in Pakistan, to Ease Military Rulers' Path

The Saturday Profile: On Retainer in Pakistan, to Ease Military Rulers' Path By JANE PERLEZ Mysterious, influential and scorned by protesters, Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada, 84, fixes things when military rulers take over in Pakistan.

Friday, December 14, 2007

There are no restrictions on the press: Musharraf

WASHINGTON: President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf has said that media in Pakistan are not under any restrictions. This he stated during an interview conducted by the Newsweek-Washington Post's Lally Weymouth.

To another question, he replied, "We issued a code of conduct and asked them to sign it. It's as good as you have in your own country. All the channels except one accepted it, and all except one are open. The print media were not closed at all."

However, when the interviewer reminded him that there is no code of conduct for the media in the US, the president backed out of his earlier position and said, "No, the code of conduct is there in most countries of the world. Why should we compare the United States to Pakistan?"

To find out his responses to other questions, please click President Musharraf's Interview
(Rana Fawad)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

PPP to get 30 percent votes, PML-N 25 and PML-Q 23: IRI survey

By Rana Fawad

WASHINGTON: Pakistan Peoples Party of Benazir Bhutto would secure 30 percent support, Sharif's party would get 25 percent and the pro-Musharraf (Pakistan Muslim League-Q) party would win 23 percent in the coming elections.

This was the result of a survey released on Thursday by a Washington-based nonprofit organization International Republican Institute (IRI). The poll was conducted November 19-28 this year.

The survey also revealed that more than 70 percent of those questioned for the survey disapproved Pervez Musharraf’s election as President while the two-thirds wanted him to resign.

According to the IRI news release issued today, “The fieldwork for this poll was conducted in the two weeks leading-up to President Pervez Musharraf’s resigning as Army Chief of Staff, being sworn in as a civilian president and announcing a date that the state of emergency would be lifted. The effect of these events is therefore not reflected in this poll.”

It adds that the randomly selected sample consists of 3,520 adult men and women from 223 rural and 127 urban locations in 51 districts in all four provinces of Pakistan. “The margin of error for the national sample will not exceed +1.69 percent in 19 out of 20 cases.”

Since 2002, the IRI has conducted surveys in Pakistan including five national polls over the past 12 months.

“A nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, the IRI advances freedom and democracy worldwide by developing political parties, civic institutions, open elections, good governance, and the rule of law.”

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Rigged Vote Is Widely Expected in Pakistan

By Griff Witte
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- With less than a month to go before parliamentary elections in Pakistan, independent experts say that there is little chance the polls will be either free or fair -- and that the result could be renewed tumult across the country. (The Washington Post) Pakistan's Government Threatens Media

Pakistans Government Threatens Media By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) -- The government's intolerance of public dissent isn't easing ahead of next month's parliamentary elections, with TV executives warned they could go to jail and pay fines if they give the president's critics a live forum.

Bhutto sees Pakistan coalition, without Musharraf

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former prime minister Benazir Bhutto expects her Pakistan People's Party to pick up additional seats in a January election but will have to enter into a coalition to create a ruling majority, The Washington Times reported on Wednesday.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Bhutto won't join with Islamic party

For detail please click The Washington Times Pakistan's News Media No Longer Silent, but Musharraf Has Muted His Critics

Pakistan's News Media No Longer Silent, but Musharraf Has Muted His Critics By SALMAN MASOOD and DAVID ROHDE Western and Pakistani observers say President Pervez Musharraf has reversed one of his greatest achievements: fostering a vibrant independent news media.

Bhutto happy two main Pakistan parties are in vote

By Augustine Anthony
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - The participation of Pakistan's two main opposition parties in a January election will either force the government to make it fair or try to rig it so much it will be obvious, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto said. (The Washington Post)

Monday, December 10, 2007

Pro-Musharraf party puts brave face on poll fight

By Augustine Anthony
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan's dominant party published its election manifesto on Monday a day after its rival, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, said his party would take part in the polls raising the prospect of a hung parliament. (The Washington Post)

Sunday, December 9, 2007

In Pakistan, judges still confined

Associated Press

December 9 2007

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- A month after emergency rule was imposed, the gate to deposed Supreme Court Judge Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday's house remains locked. Five officers stand sentry outside, allowing him to leave only on Fridays to pray at a mosque under police escort. (Baltimore Sun)

The complete article can be viewed at:,0,5912190.story Sharif to Participate in Elections in Pakistan

INTERNATIONAL / ASIA PACIFIC December 9, 2007 Sharif to Participate in Elections in Pakistan By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS The move by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s party may encourage other opposition groups to take part.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Sehba Musharraf's gift to Laura Bush?

WASHINGTON: What gift Mrs Sehba Musharraf of Pakistan could give to First Lady Laura Bush? It was a "three-piece set including: pierced earrings with oval cut sapphire encircled by round cubic zirconium and set in gold" with a matching ring and pendant necklace.

According to a report published by the Baltimore Sun on Saturday, the State Department issued a list of gifts presented in 2006 to President Bush, his administration officials, and other employees.

As for President Musharraf, he gave Persian rugs to White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, Chief of Staff Andy Card, First Lady Chief of Staff Anita McBride and Counselor Dan Bartlett.
(Rana Fawad) Guns, Not Golf, as Pakistani Army Battles Militants

INTERNATIONAL December 8, 2007 Guns, Not Golf, as Pakistani Army Battles Militants By REUTERS KABAL, Pakistan (Reuters) - No tourists are hitting balls down the fairways of the once-peaceful Kabal golf course in Pakistan's Swat valley these days.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Pakistanis Face Critics

WASHINGTON -- Nasim Ashraf faced a tough diplomatic mission on his visit to the United States: persuade lawmakers and the public to support Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's decision to suspend his country's constitution and arrest prominent lawyers and judges. (The Washington Post) Complete Story

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Bush's Pakistan Policy Criticized

Associated Press Writer

December 6 2007, 5:56 PM EST

WASHINGTON -- A senior Bush administration official said Thursday that Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's suspension of the constitution and arrests of opponents were "bumps in the road," comments that drew criticism from Democrats. (Baltimore Sun)

The complete article can be viewed at:,0,3623434.story

Visit at

Aaj TV website restored

WASHINGTON: Pakistan's private TV channel Aaj restores its website after it was hacked on Thursday morning.

Aaj TV website hacked

WASHINGTON: The website of Pakistan's private TV channel Aaj has been hacked. A message posted by the site's administrator on Thursday says efforts are being made to restore the site.

Many viewers who watch Aaj TV online in the Washington area are unable to access the site at this hour (PST 1:51 pm).

Aaj is one of those TV channels that has been allowed to go on air conditionally during the emergency rule after it signed an agreement with the government to abide by the official policy. However, its talk shows 'Live With Talat' and 'Bolta Paakistan' have been axed.
(Rana Fawad)

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Pakistan sees red over Code Pink activists' antics

The Washington Times Sharif, Bhutto Near Pakistan Poll Terms

INTERNATIONAL December 5, 2007 Sharif, Bhutto Near Pakistan Poll Terms By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) -- Pakistan's opposition parties neared agreement Wednesday on a list of demands of President Pervez Musharraf in return for calling off a boycott that could spoil the legitimacy of January parliamentary elections, an official said.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Headed to where U.S. stakes are scary: Iraq, Pakistan

There's something entirely fitting about the fact that Pakistan and Iraq are, together, dominating the foreign news. They are linked in strange and very somber ways. (Baltimore Sun)

The complete article can be viewed at:,0,6014575.story

Monday, December 3, 2007

Rigging Pakistan's Election?

By Robert D. Novak
Diplomats at the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad could hardly believe what President Bush said to anchor Charles Gibson on ABC's "World News" on Nov. 20. He described Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf, as "somebody who believes in democracy" and declared: "I understand how important he is in fight...(The Washington Post) Complete Comlumn

Sunday, December 2, 2007

"A solid foundation but a challenging future" by Pervez Musharraf, President of Pakistan

I will judge Pakistan's elections a success if they meet two criteria. First, they must take place in a free and safe environment. We cannot allow terrorists to hijack this critical democratic institution through violence. Nor can we allow self-serving politicians to disrupt the consensus required to continue the fight against terror. Second, we must move beyond personalities to debate a vision for Pakistan, writes President Musharraf (for Complete column and comments

Economy figures in Musharraf's unpopularity

By Henry Chu

December 2 2007

MUSTAFABAD, Pakistan -- Mohammed Rafiq has only to look at his dinner table to find reasons to hate President Pervez Musharraf. (Courtesy: Baltimore Sun)

The complete article can be viewed at:,0,363287.story

Saturday, December 1, 2007

The anatomy of protest

By Amjad Bhatti
THE space, participation, intensity and content of the resistance campaign against emergency-cum- martial law imposed by General Pervez Musharraf on Nov 3 have prompted serious questions about the scope and pattern of the popular uprising for political and civil rights in Pakistan. Complete column (Courtesy: Dawn)

Friday, November 30, 2007

Off the track: What is disaster pornography?

The Africa You Need To Know
Africans define it as the Western media’s habit of blacking out Africa’s stock markets, high rises, internet cafes, cell phones, heart surgeries, soaring literacy and increasing democratization, while gleefully parading her genocides, armed conflicts, child soldiers, foreign debts, hunger, disease, and backwardness.
Source: Gbemisola Olujobi, Pulitzer Fellow, Annenberg School for Communication. Complete article

U.S. suspects Pakistan nukes ended in Syria: The Washington Times

For complete story, please click on

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Pakistan state of emergency to be lifted: Baltimore Sun

Musharraf begins new five-year term as civilian president

By Sadaqat Jan
The Associated Press

November 29 2007, 11:37 AM EST

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- Pervez Musharraf embarked on a new five-year term as a civilian president today, promising to lift a state of emergency by Dec. 16 and restore the constitution before January elections, a key demand of his domestic opponents and foreign backers.

The complete article can be viewed at:,0,5736122.story

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The reason Musharraf referred to Lincoln

When President General Pervez Musharraf declared emergency on November 3, he also mentioned US President Abraham Liconl's use of emergency powers during civil war. The following article 'Unprecedented exercise of power' published in The Washington Times on November 24 illustrates the pros and cons of Lincoln's orders. For Musharraf, Reduced Power as the President

INTERNATIONAL / ASIA PACIFIC November 29, 2007 For Musharraf, Reduced Power as the President By CARLOTTA GALL and JANE PERLEZ His resignation from the army sets up the potential of competing power centers in Pakistan, with a new army chief separate from the president.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Fund for lawyers and judges

WASHINGTON: The lawyers protesting against the imposition of emergency and demanding the restoration of pre-emergency judges in Pakistan have created a fund to support those lawyers and judges who are faced with financial hardship during their struggle against the emergency rule.

In a statement isssued on Wednesday, Iqbal Haider mentioned that the fund account is titled as ‘Legal Aid,’ ( in Habib Bank Ltd High Court Branch, Karachi) and will be operated by Justices Wajihuddin Ahmed, Nasir Aslam Zahid and Majida Rizvi together with Barrister Anwar Mansoor Khan and Iqbal Haider.
(Rana Fawad) Back in Pakistan, Sharif Condemns Musharraf

INTERNATIONAL / ASIA PACIFIC November 27, 2007 Back in Pakistan, Sharif Condemns Musharraf By JANE PERLEZ Nawaz Sharif, the religiously conservative former prime minister, demanded an end to emergency rule.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Pakistanis to protest in London

LONDON: The Doctors Against Breaches of Human Rights in Pakistan has planned a protest demonstration opposite Downing Street in London on December 1 (Saturday) at 1:00 pm.

The protesters' agenda includes demands for restoration of the pre-PCO judiciary, release of all political prisoners, and restoration of democracy in Pakistan.
(Zulfiqar Ali)

Musharraf Foe Threatens Protests

INTERNATIONAL / ASIA PACIFIC November 27, 2007 By JANE PERLEZ Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, back from exile, said he would lead protests if his demands were not met... (The New York Times)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Sharif gets a hero's welcome

Ten of thousands of supporters hail the deported leader's return to Pakistan as the politics get more complicated.

By Laura King
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

November 25 2007, 1:09 PM PST

LAHORE, Pakistan — Tens of thousands of cheering, chanting supporters showered former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif with rose petals as he triumphantly returned from exile today, posing a thorny new challenge not only to President Pervez Musharraf but also to the pro-Western opposition leader Benazir Bhutto.

The complete article can be viewed at:,1,5270818.story?coll=la-headlines-world

Visit at

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Next terror attack will be “postmarked Pakistan”: Republican candidate

WASHINGTON: According to a speech covered by the Baltimore Sun on Saturday, Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee remarked the next terror attack on the U.S. will be "postmarked Pakistan" but added “he believes that nation will continue to cooperate with American anti-terrorism efforts.” He was addressing a gathering in South Carolina.

Huckabee also commented, "If there is an imminent threat to the American people, then I think it is the responsibility of a president of this country to do whatever he has to do to protect you, me and the rest of us standing here." (Rana Fawad)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Musharraf forewarned US about emergency plan

WASHINGTON: The Wall Street Journal on Friday reported that Musharraf and his officials warned the US diplomats in Islamabad about the emergency before its imposition on November 3. The paper says the ‘muted’ US response led the Musharraf regime to believe it could go ahead with the emergency plan.

“As his government battled democracy protesters and an Islamist insurgency, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf startled his countrymen this month by imposing emergency rule and jailing thousands of opponents. The move wasn't a surprise to the U.S.,” the paper reports. (Rana Fawad)

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Aitzaz Ashan inches towards Cambridge doctorate

By Rana Fawad

WASHINGTON: President Pakistan Supreme Court Bar Association Ch Aitzaz Ahsan's name has been shortlisted for the Honorary Doctorate (LLD) by the Law Department of the University of Cambridge.

His name was proposed by the Cambridge Law Society. However, it still requires further approvals even outside the law department.

Ch Aitzaz Ahsan is a senior advocate as well as politician affiliated with the Pakistan Peoples Party. He successfully represented the deposed Chief Justice of Pakistan's Supreme Court Iftikhar Ahmad Ch during his first removal by President General Musharraf and was in the forefront of the popular movement.

He was elected President of the SCBA on October 27 by securing 864 out of 1,210 votes cast against his rivals' 175 votes.

Before the emergency rule was imposed and the SC judges were deposed, Aitzaz Ashan was arguing his case against President General Musharraf's eligibility to contest the presidential elections before November 3. He is behind bars ever since.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Where We Went Wrong In Pakistan
The Washington Post's Op-Ed columnist Michael Gerson thinks, "Immediately after Musharraf's imposition of emergency rule this month, the options were also limited. The administration could have urged the Pakistani military to overthrow Musharraf -- or pressured him to get back on track by restoring civil liberties, taking off his uniform and conducting quick, fair elections. President Bush took the latter course..."

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Emergency being lifted in Pakistan?

WASHINGTON: A Pakistani newspaper daily Express has claimed the government will lift the emergency rule and added that President General Pervez Musharraf will announce the decision after his arrival from Saudi Arabia.

The paper adds the decision seems to be the result of immense pressure from the US, Commonwealth and European countries.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Pakistan and security challanges

Pakistan and Afghanistan, however, are having increasing difficulty getting beyond
the personal animosity between their leaders and the legacy of hostility
they inherited, writes Teresita C Schaffer in 'Global Forecast: The Top Security Challenges of 2008' published by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (Washington) last week

Please click on Perils of Pakistan to read the essay.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

US Army proposes to woo tribal leaders in Pakistan: NYT

WASHINGTON: According to a news story carried by the New York Times on Sunday (Nov 18), the US army has proposed a plan to seek direct support of Pakistani tribal leaders in an attempt to root out Al Qaeda from the Pak-Afghan border areas.

The paper reports that under the new strategy (if approved) the American army trainers’ presence, which stands at 50 at present, in Pakistan would increase to many dozens while militias willing to fight Al Qaeda would receive direct financial support.

The report mentions that the new proposed strategy is inspired from the success story of Anbar Province in Iraq . However, the paper questions the outcome in Pakistan without a heavy US Army presence.

For the NYT story, please click on ‘U.S. Considers Enlisting Tribes in Pakistan to Fight Al Qaeda’

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Remittances soared 41pc to $580m in Oct
The News (Pakistan) Sunday, November 18, 2007
By our correspondentKARACHI: Remittances sent home by overseas Pakistanis reached a record level of $580.24 million in October 2007 compared to $410.61 million in the same month last year, showing a jump of $169.63 million or 41.31 per cent.

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif shares his views in The Washington Post
Pakistan's One-Man Calamity
By Nawaz Sharif
My country is in flames because of Musharraf's lust for power.

Friday, November 16, 2007

CSIS-MEI event (Part II)
'US turned a blind eye to Pakistan’s nuclear program'

By Rana Fawad

Another audience member Shuja Nawaz said though he could read only a small portion of the book due to the recent events [emergency declaration in Pakistan], he had doubts about the accuracy of certain points mentioned by the authors. He said the book made rather startling claim about Mushrraf teaming up with Usama bin Laden to sort out Shia in Gilgit. He told the authors that Musharraf at that time was a Brigadier in Khaarian (Punjab) and was not posted anywhere in the northern areas and this could be verified even from Musharraf’s own book.

Referring to the book’s claim regarding Hamid Gul’s statement that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and the Americans prevented him from becoming the next Chief of Army Staff and that Nawaz Sharif removed him from the army, Shuja said it was totally inaccurate. He added that Hamid Gul was removed by the then army chief and not by Nawaz Sharif and added, “Nawaz Sharif, in fact, supported him for the post of army chief.”

Shuja Nawaz said he was just concerned that picking up a lot of information from the web and including into the book could undermine the authenticity of the contents. He also commented that the authors could be accused of ‘hoovering’ instead of sifting through the contents and, “that’s the danger we all face when we try to collect so much information and try to make sense of it.”

Adrian responded by saying that the book is based on hundreds of face-to-face interviews while Catherine said that they collected material from many different sources.

To a question by Simon Henderson that since the authors quoted Peter Griffin saying he was always paid with a check from the Pakistan Military, did that include the work he was doing on the Libyan project post-2001, Catherine replied Peter told them he was still getting money through a private bank (Habib Bank) and he believed it was official money and not coming out of Khan’s private accounts.

She added that they did not believe everything what Peter said but in an effort to clear his name he gave them a lot of documents to show his role in the Libyan program.

When asked whether the authors paid Peter any money, because according to his own dealings with Peter, he would not give him anything without money, Catherine said they did not pay any money to Peter for getting information.

Responding to a question by an audience member that the American media hardly reported anything when Musharraf released 24 Taliban last weekend when he declared Martial Law, Catherine said that’s something he should ask the American media.

To a question that the authors are reinforcing a dangerous trend who has the right to posses as well as police nuclear weapons and who should not, Adrian replied that broadly speaking there was a system of nonproliferation in place, though there were exceptions to the standards like Israel which perhaps would be the subject of the next book. He said it was enormously difficult question. “I understand the motivation for the Pakistani program. India began the arms race in 1974 and Pakistan was reacting,” he added.

As for the enforcement, he acknowledged that the double standard was involved in the decisions made but it should also be looked into whether those decisions regarding the nonproliferation made the world safer or not.

A freelance journalist Agarwal commented that he was impressed by the descriptive analysis but in terms of Pakistan’s motivation was its 99 per cent focus on India not the West.

Catherine replied she agreed with the viewpoint that India was and would remain its enemy because in 1971 India with the help of the secessionist movement in East Pakistan, India was able to halve Pakistan’s territory in 16 days and the Pakistan Army, of which people like Musharraf were officers, was made to look absolutely enfeebled. She added that many times in his military career Musharraf had wanted to right that wrong in Kashmir.

Dr Poudel of National Advisory Council for South Asian Affairs asked what single advice the authors would like to offer to the people in the US to prevent Pakistan form doing such things in the future. Adrian commented that China was the key which was ignored so far. He said China was an extraordinary ally of Pakistan and had been providing it with political as well as technical assistance almost for nothing and sometimes no payment were made at all. He believed China could play its role as a broker as it did in the N Korean affair to bring N Korea back to talks.

He also observed that there was a willful ignoring of the philosophy of Pakistan's military. He said it was not Mushrraf or the Islamists but the equation was Musharraf and the Islamists. He said there was a pattern of manipulation of the Islamist factions and commented that Musharraf’s allies were those Islamists (MMA) who never had electoral success in the country.

He stressed for a correct analysis to understand what Pakistan needed to feel secure rather than guessing and misunderstanding the strategy.

To a question by David Isenberg (of the British American Security Information Council) that to what extent the elements of Dr Khan’s network or similar networks are still utilizing those illicit and clandestine channels, Catherine replied that there had been suggestions that some of the key figures of the Khan network were still operating but there was no evidence on that and there had been no prosecutions yet.

Co-host of the event, President MEI and former US ambassador to Pakistan Wendy J Chamberlin commented that she would not support cutting off aid to Pakistan as a result of Musharraf’s declaration of emergency because “our relationship is with the Pakistani people.”

She said the suspension of aid would hurt the fields of education, democratic capacity building, health, and some of the useful assistance along the border. She suggested the aid should be cut off to the big ticket items in the defense category and shifted to strengthen the judiciary and the building of community police force.

She said so far the question discussed was whether the world was safer with Pakistan’s nuclear program and the answer was certainly not. She pointed out that another question ‘was Pakistan safe’ should also be asked because Pakistan has nuclear arsenal which it used as a deterrent against India when India moved its nuclear devices close to the border as a result of an attack on the Indian Parliament in December 2001.

She told the audience that at that time she was ambassador in Islamabad and Musharraf had made it clear that he would use the nuclear bomb in response.

Adrian commented that Pakistan used the same deterrent in the opposite direction at least on three occasions in 1990 and 1999. He said certain experts believed that there was a state of mind building in Pakistan's military in 1999 to use this deterrent for adventurous play against India.

As for allegation that the US military aid was used for the purchase of F-16s, Larry Robinson clarified that the sale contained no aid component and F-16s were bought entirely by Pakistan’s own funds. He added that the military aid was being used for the counter insurgency mode only.

Analyzing the future of the Pak-US partnership, Dr Marvin Weinbaum commented that there was a growing realization here in Washington that Musharraf was no longer a part of any solution. He said Musharraf had become such a lightening rod himself that any stabilization of our relationship would have to be without him.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

CSIS-MEI event (Part I)
'US turned a blind eye to Pakistan’s nuclear program'

By Rana Fawad

WASHINGTON: Two British journalists have claimed in their book that the US on many occasions turned a blind eye to let Pakistan build its nuclear program and this approach ultimately led to the attempts to proliferate nuclear technology to Libya, Iran, and North Korea by A Q Khan network. (Please click on CSIS PRESS CENTER for the audio of Adrian's presentation).

Authors of ‘The Deception: Pakistan, the United States, and the Secret Trade in Nuclear Weapons,’ Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark, were addressing a gathering about this book at an event jointly arranged by the Post-Conflict Reconstruction Project of the Center for Strategic and International Studies and Middle East Institute last week (Friday, November 9).

Co-director PCR Frederick D Barton moderated the proceedings whereas President CSIS John Hamre, President MEI Wendy J Chamberlin, MEI Scholar Marvin Weinbaum, Co-director PCR Karin von Hippel, Director of CSIS International Program Stephen Flangan, former Ambassador to Pakistan Robert B Oakley, former officials, students, members of Pakistani-American as well as Indian-American community were also present on the occasion.

During Q&A seession, an aduience member Larry Robinson (he was Political Counselor at US Embassy in Islamabad during A Q Khan controversy) urged the audience to keep their minds open instead of going for only one narrative when two narratives are available about relatively few known facts. Referring to the charge made by the authors that Khan was not asked all the questions promised by the government, he said according to his knowledge Khan was questioned intensively and the US got answers to all questions it provided to the Musharraf government.

He mentioned that he (Dr Khan) was interviewed at great length by two generals, Ishan ul Haq (the head of ISI) and Khalid Kidwai (the head of the nuclear program). “They spent many many hours with him and told me and told many others that the man was one of the most accomplished liars they had ever seen in their life and it was impossible to get him to admit to anything unless presented with incontrovertible evidence at which point he completely switched his point of view and became equally convincing in his story,” he said.

As for the authors’ objection that the US was not granted access to A Q Khan for questioning, Larry Robinson said, “I don’t remember the US granting Britain access to Rosenberg. I don’t remember any country that has had a nuclear spy working for somebody else ever granting access to any third country.”

He said in case the US was given access to Khan, “The first thing he was going to do was to say that he had full authorization all the way, whether or not that was true.” He added that the second thing Khan would have talked about was Pakistan’s covert import program of which Khan was a very essential part.

He said that the covert import program exists to this day for the very good reason “that even if they didn’t have nuclear weapons at all, we won’t let Pakistan import even essential safety equipment for their safeguarded nuclear power plants that got to have a covert import program.”

As for Khan’s wealth, he said everybody in Islamabad knew he was rich “but everybody in Islamabad figured that he was getting rich the way everybody else in Islamabad officialdom does – by creaming off a percentage of all the imported stuff.”

Responding to Catherine Scott-Clark’s query why is that no one can clearly answer what exactly Pakistan provided N Korea or how far the negotiations went with Syria or Saudi Arabia or surely there are people in Islamabad who could help to get to the bottom of what actually Iran has, Larry said, “I don’t know how many people really knew how much,” and added by suggesting a parallel of A Q Khan, “I don’t think Hyman Rickover’s [known as the father of Nuclear Navy] brief case was ever examined careflly when he left the Navy nuclear programs.”

“Rickover could have done everything what A Q Khan did. He had exactly the same type of authority. He was in charge of his own authority. He was his own boss because he was the head of the Navy program for the Atomic Energy Commission,” Larry mentioned.

Responding to the authors’ claim that General Zia had commissioned the then ISI chief Hamid Gul and Vice Chief of Army General Aslam Beg to look into the army’s direction beyond Afghtan-Soviet war, Robert Oakley (former US Ambassador to Pakistan) made a factual comment and said, “Hamid Gul became head of ISI only after Zia died. At that point his influence and his wacky ideas began to grow.” He said up until that time Zia and General Rehman [Akhtar Abdur Rehman] had kept the nuclear program under control.

He also said that book seemed to assume the US intelligence was omniscient and infallible, "I think we've seen time and time again not just in Iraq that this is wrong."

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

HRW opposes amendments to the Army Act

WASHINGTON: The Human Right Watch has urged the Pakistani government to withdraw amendments to the Army Act “which give wide-ranging powers to the military, including the power to arrest, detain and try any civilian.”

According to a press release issued on Wednesday, “Under the amendment to the 1952 Army Act, the military can now try civilians for a wide range of offenses previously under the purview of the country’s judiciary. These include offenses punishable under: the Explosive Substances Act, 1908; Prejudicial conduct under the Security of Pakistan Act, 1952; the Pakistan Arms Ordinance, 1965; the Prevention of Anti-National Activities Act, 1974; the Anti-terrorism Act, 1997; and several sections of the Pakistan Penal Code. For example, civilians can be tried in military courts for acts of treason, sedition and less specific offenses such as “giving statements conducive to public mischief.”

Moreover, trials of civilians conducted by special military courts under the amended law will not be public, investigations will be conducted by military officers, and rules of evidence and procedures laid out for constitutional trials will not apply.

The amendment will take effect retrospectively from January 2003, in effect sanctioning impunity of the army for detaining and “disappearing” people.

Pakistan police charge Imran Khan: BBC
Pakistani police charge Imran Khan under anti-terrorism laws after his first appearance under the emergency.
< >

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

In Interview, Musharraf Defends Rule by Decree
November 14, 2007 In Interview, Musharraf Defends Rule by Decree By CARLOTTA GALL, DAVID ROHDE and JANE PERLEZ
“The emergency is to ensure elections go in an undisturbed manner,” Gen. Pervez Musharraf said today in an interview with The New York Times.

Viewpoint: Media freedom dented
A Spanish court has chipped away at the fragile pillar of media freedom in Europe, writes William Horsley of BBC
< >

Sunday, November 11, 2007

New York Times / November 12, 2007
Musharraf Sets No Date to End Emergency Rule By DAVID ROHDE and JANE PERLEZ Gen. Pervez Musharraf said that emergency rule in Pakistan would last through elections in early January, raising new questions about the vote’s legitimacy.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Emergency in Pakistan, protests in Washington

WASHINGTON: Members of the Pakistani-American community opposed to the imposition of emergency and suspension of the Constitution by President General Pervez Musharraf will stage a protest outside the White House on November 9 (Friday) afternoon.

Another such event will take place outside the Pakistani embassy here in the US capital on November 11 (Sunday) afternoon. This protest is being organized by the Pakistani students and civil rights activists.
(Rana Fawad)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

HRW letter urges Bush to suspend Pakistan's non-humanitarian aid

WASHINGTON: In a letter to US President George W Bush on Thursday, the Human Rights Watch has urged the US government to suspend all non-humanitarian assistance to Pakistan immediately in response to General Pervez Musharraf's suspension of the Pakistani constitution and declaration of emergency rule on November 3.

The HRW has advocated that the aid should remain suspended until the Pakistani government returns to constitutional rule, reinstates dismissed judges and respects the decisions of the courts, releases all those arbitrarily detained, and restores full media freedoms. The letter adds President Bush should impose a travel ban on senior Pakistani military and government officials until the above steps are taken.

Director of the HRW Asia chapter, Brad Adams, said, “Unless President Musharraf reverses course now, the elections he has announced for February 2008 will not be free or fair.”

To view the Human Rights Watch letter to President Bush, please visit:

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Only lawyers, not people, are against emergency: Kasuri

By Rana Fawad

WASHINGTON: Only Pakistani lawyers are protesting against the emergency declaration because they have their own axe to grind otherwise the people and political parties do not support them and are interested in the country’s security which is the main cause of this declaration.

This was stated by a senior member of President General Musharraf’s legal team and Supreme Court lawyer, Ahmed Raza Kasuri, while replying to questions at the Middle East Institute’s event ‘Political and Constitutional Developments in Pakistan’ this morning in the MEI’s Boardman Room.

Former US ambassador to Pakistan and President MEI, Wendy J. Chamberlin, Vice President MEI, David L. Mack, MEI staff, members of the US and Pakistani media, students, and human rights activists were also present on the occasion.

Responding to a question, Ahmed Raza Kasuri said the lawyers were protesting as stakeholders of the emergency decision because they were receiving relief lavishly under the judicial activism as the courts released many terrorists. He added that the judicial activism without judicial restraint was not good for the country. He claimed that no political party is protesting the emergency declaration.

Replying to another query, he denied the allegation that the judges were being detained and questioned how come they were talking to the international media if there were strict restrictions on them. To a question about the arrests of the civil society members, Kasuri commented that they were not under arrest but they were being held under protective custody.
Kasuri argued for the emergency declaration and said that special circumstances demanded special steps. Referring to the US situation in the wake of 9/11 tragedy, he commented that if the US democratic set up with a history of 220 years behind it could give wide-ranging powers to the executive branch, democracy in Pakistan is still in the process of getting stronger.

Explicating his view on judicial activism in Pakistan, the senior advocate opined that all three branches of the government should play their role within the prescribed bounds of the Constitution and refrain from stepping out of their limits. When he was asked, does this imply Prevez Musharraf stepped out of his limits and violated his oath as Chief of Army Staff on October 12 1999 when he removed an elected government, he replied that a military coup was never a positive development but those were extraordinary circumstances because of malpractices and height of corruption in the country.

He also commented that Pakistan was a unique democracy where elected rulers behave like dictators and military dictators act like democratic leaders. Referring to President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and Libyan leader Qaddafi, Kasuri argued that unlike those dictatorships Pakistan was a democratic country where military rules had not lasted more than 10 years.

Responding to a question about the status of elections in Pakistan, he replied that the country was facing a growing threat of terrorism and terrorists freely move across Pak-Afghan border. He added that human missiles [suicide bombers] had spread to every nook and corner of the country, therefore, the situation needed to be stabilized first.

Arguing for the emergency declaration, Kasuri dispelled the notion that it was a preemptive ‘strike’ by President General Pervez Musharraf against the judiciary. He said Musharraf’s legal position is secure as envisaged in the 17th Amendment of the Constitution and had no such problem. He added that the country’s security was the only reason Musharraf took this decision and added that extremism and terrorism were posing serious challenges to the national security.

When asked did he have any remorse for his support to two military rulers (General Zia and General Musharraf), Kasuri said he came from a notable family not from streets and always preferred the country’s best interest.

He told the audience that his family’s contribution to Pakistan’s democracy was an established fact and added that his role in framing the country’s constitution was similar to that of Thomas Jefferson’s role in the US Constitution making.

Kasuri said he was the only member who went to Dhaka to attend the assembly’s session in 1971 despite Zulfiqar Bhutto’s (the then leader of the Pakistan People’s Party) warning that he would not tolerate it.

Recalling his 1971 experience, he commented that elections could also turn out to be very divisive and said a part of Pakistan was truncated from it due to those elections.
Responding to a question about General Musharraf’s two offices, he said he would quit as army chief as soon as he takes oath as president as a result of the recent presidential elections in which he secured 57 per cent vote of the electoral college comprising all four provincial assemblies, National Assembly and Senate.

Earlier, Vice President MEI, David L. Mack introduced Ahmed Raza Kasuri to the audience and explained that the purpose of such events is to hear different views from various people. He clarified that Benazir Bhutto’s event at the MEI should not give an impression that this organization was taking sides and added that in the past a variety of other Pakistani leaders including Qazi Hussein Ahmed were also invited to express their views.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Pakistan's fired chief justice calls for uprising
By Laura King
Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
November 6 2007, 8:24 AM PST
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan -- The fired chief justice of Pakistan issued a ringing call to compatriots today to resist the government's 4-day-old declaration of emergency rule.

The complete article can be viewed at:,1,277464.story?coll=la-headlines-world

Monday, November 5, 2007

On Monday, President Bush urged General Musharraf to hold elections and give up his army post, though he gave little indication of any real change in American policy, which has bankrolled Pakistan’s military with $10 billion in aid since 2001 (The New York Times)

News Analysis: A Detour From a Battle Against Terror By DAVID ROHDE While Gen. Pervez Musharraf justified his emergency rule decree as helping him combat terrorism, it could end up weakening his ability and generating instability.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Emergency declaration in Pakistan: The final decision came only after a Supreme Court judge quietly informed the government last week that the court would rule against Musharraf's effort to stay on as president, reports The Washing Post
Pakistan Moves Against Opposition
By Griff Witte
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Nov. 4 -- Pakistan's government on Sunday executed a nationwide crackdown on the political opposition, the news media and the courts, one day after President Pervez Musharraf imposed emergency rule and suspended the constitution.

Emergency declaration by Musharraf

As Crisis Deepens, White House Endures Diminished Power to Influence Events
By Glenn Kessler
In August, a 2 a.m. phone call from Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice helped pull Gen. Pervez Musharraf from the brink of declaring a state of emergency in Pakistan. Two days ago, Rice made a similar plea. This time, the Pakistani president was not swayed. (The Washington Post)

Saturday, November 3, 2007 Officials See Few Options for U.S.

Emergency declared by President General Musharraf: NYT reports the White House response INTERNATIONAL / ASIA PACIFIC November 4, 2007 News Analysis: Officials See Few Options for U.S. By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG and HELENE COOPER The White House is said to be in wait-and-see mode.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Largest order of low cost PCs for Pakistani university

Washington: Pakistan's order of classmate laptop computers for Allama Iqbal Open University is so far the largest Intel is working on. Quoting Reuters, the BetaNews, reported that Intel and Microsoft have shipped 150,000 low cost computers to Libya as well while Nigeria will order the same computers in the future.
According to the BetaNews, "The Classmate PC is capable of running either the Windows or Linux operating systems. It includes a 900MHz processor, 256MB of RAM, 1GB of NAND flash storage, a touchpad, and optional digital pen for taking notes" while each device costs about $200.
(Rana Fawad)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

U.S. and Pakistan: A Frayed Alliance
By Joby Warrick
Five years ago, elite Pakistani troops stationed near the border with Afghanistan began receiving hundreds of pairs of U.S.-made night-vision goggles that would enable them to see and fight al-Qaeda and Taliban insurgents in the dark. The sophisticated goggles, supplied by the Bush administration... (The Washington Post)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Book Check
HERE'S AN IDEA for those members of a federal panel worried about what's being taught at a Saudi-supported school in Fairfax County. Give the academy a call and ask to take a look at the disputed works. That's what a Fairfax supervisor did, and school officials, without hesitation, opened their d... (The Washington Post)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Pakistan bigger threat than Iran: Chairman US Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Washington: Pakistan is a potentially bigger threat than Iran warns Chairman US Senate Foreign Relations Committee and presidential candidate Sen Joe Biden in an interview with The Washington Post’s editorial board on Thursday.
Responding to The Washington Post’s questions on foreign policy, senior Senator from Delaware and candidate for presidential nomination of the Democratic party, Joe Biden commented, “I'm a hell of a lot more worried about Pakistan" and added "I wish we'd pay as much attention to Pakistan as the saber rattling we're doing with Iran." His concern emanates from the fact that Pakistan already has nuclear weapons while Iran is still working on them.
Senator Biden is the second Democrat presidential candidate in this race who issued a statement regarding Pakistan’s ability to handle security related issues. Earlier, Senator Barak Obama had said that if elected as President of the United States he might order strikes inside Pakistan unilaterally.
(Rana Fawad)

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Materials Missing At Library Of Congress
By James V. Grimaldi and Jacqueline Trescott
About one-sixth of the books, monographs and bound periodicals at the Library of Congress weren't where they were supposed to be because of flaws in the systems for shelving and retrieving materials, according to a survey to be made public at a congressional hearing today.

Saturday, October 20, 2007 In Pakistan Quandary, U.S. Reviews Stance

INTERNATIONAL / ASIA PACIFIC October 21, 2007 News Analysis: In Pakistan Quandary, U.S. Reviews Stance By DAVID E. SANGER and DAVID ROHDE A political meltdown in Pakistan, where Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and nuclear weapons are all in play, could be a disaster for the Bush administration.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Yahoo! HotJobs Article - Mind Your Mobile Manners

Use of mobile phones can sink a business deal or put your friend off. See how mobile manners may keep you out of trouble.

Mind Your Mobile Manners

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Focus on Pakistan

The Washington Post's editorial on the eve of presidential election in Pakistan

Pakistan's Tainted Election
Gen. Pervez Musharraf is likely to be reelected as president today; whether he can maintain power is another question.
Saturday, October 6, 2007; Page A20

GEN. PERVEZ Musharraf will almost certainly succeed in orchestrating his "reelection" today as president of Pakistan -- but it will be an ugly victory. The national Parliament and provincial legislatures that will convene as an electoral college have little legitimacy, because they were chosen in rigged elections four years ago. In a genuine democratic election, Mr. Musharraf would have no chance of extending his eight years in power, which began with a military coup. Already tainted, the general's mandate will also be tenuous: Pakistan's Supreme Court ruled yesterday that the result cannot be certified until it rules on whether Mr. Musharraf is violating the constitution by entering the election without stepping down as Army commander in chief.
The good news is that Pakistan's autocratic but ineffectual leader will probably surrender a large share of power in the coming weeks. He has promised that if granted a new mandate as president, he will give up his military command -- something that may cause the Supreme Court to overlook the legal problems with his election. Yesterday he also, at last, struck a deal with one of the country's two principal secular political party leaders, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto . Under its terms, corruption charges against Ms. Bhutto and her husband will be dropped and she will be allowed to return to Pakistan this month. Her party hopes to win parliamentary elections due by early next year and return her as prime minister.
In a few months Pakistan could be governed by a troika of Mr. Musharraf, Ms. Bhutto or another civilian prime minister, and the likely new army commander, Gen. Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani. The Bush administration, which has been quietly pushing for just such an outcome while publicly proclaiming disinterest in Pakistan's internal affairs, is hoping that it will strengthen the government both politically and militarily in what, right now, is a losing battle against Islamic extremism -- including Taliban and al-Qaeda forces that have gained control over a large and growing chunk of western Pakistan.
The problem with this convoluted process is that it may involve very little democracy. Though Ms. Bhutto says her deal with Mr. Musharraf is meant to ensure that parliamentary elections will be free and fair, it appeared yesterday that another major Pakistani political figure, Nawaz Sharif, could be excluded. Though relatively popular while in exile, Ms. Bhutto could quickly be discredited if she is seen to be gaining power through backroom dealing with Mr. Musharraf. The government has recently conducted a crackdown on opposition leaders from Mr. Sharif's party, as well as on the media. Unless the crackdown is reversed and a credible parliamentary election is held, Pakistan's moderate and secular center will continue to be at war with itself while its enemies grow steadily stronger. (The Washington Post)