Monday, July 25, 2005

South Asia Tribune: What To Believe?

The South Asia Tribune put forth a news story several weeks back suggesting the Nepali Maoists are getting LTTE help to train fleets of suicide bombers. The Indian intelligence agencies came out a few days back denying any such thing existed.

Today I read a SAT story of their correspondent in Delhi getting harassed by members of the Indina establishment.

Press freedom perhaps means something different even in a democracy like India than it might in the US, and it is a stretch in Pakistan: reportedly Musharraf called up his "contacts" in the US establishment to "silence" some of his vocal US-based critics. What was the guy thinking?

It would be highly irresponsible for the SAT to fabricate a story like that of the LTTE involvement. On the other hand, it does seem to put forth many gutsy stories, especially in the Pakistani situation.

I proceeded to read a bunch of their stories.

The Pakistan stories are relevant because the regime in Kathmandu seems to think of Pakistan as a country to emulate.

In The News
  • The Maoists Are Working To Carve Out Their Own Country JALPAIGURI (Indo-Nepal-Bhutan-Bangladesh Border), July 24 .... Purba Bangla Sarbhara Party (PBSP).... Bhutan Communist Party .... Bhutanese of Nepali origins (refugees in Nepal), dalits, majhis, kols, etc. These are the classes that work as informers..... the top leadership of ULFA, NDFB and KLO is safe in Bangladesh.... Bhutan Communist Party-Marxist-Leninist-Maoist (BCP-MLM).... The Chief of the BCP-MLM is someone with an alias of ‘Vikalpa’ on the line of Nepali Maoist Chief ‘Prachanda’.
  • Musharraf Asks US To Silence His US-Based Critics Pakistan’s intelligence agencies have made an informal request to the US authorities to “contain” some of the US-based Pakistani writers and journalists who criticize the Musharraf Government “because they are harming Pakistani efforts to fight the US war on terror."..... Washington-based scholar-diplomat Husain Haqqani (left), a former police officer and author of a recent book Boston-based Hassan Abbas (right), and a Wisconsin University Professor Dr. Tarique Niazi, who writes scathing articles in the South Asia Tribune..... the ISI and Military Intelligence (MI) have given several names to the US intelligence agencies and other authorities to “contain” some of the critics of the Musharraf Government who are based on US
  • The Crumbling World Of General Musharraf The Military Mullah Alliance once so dear to the military establishment has become a millstone around its neck..... the mullahs .... They refuse to sit in the NSC, they refuse to help the war against terror; they refuse to support the India-Kashmir initiatives, they refuse to allow enlightened amendments to the blasphemy and Hudood laws. Worse, they refuse to prop up General Musharraf as president or army chief...... neither Ms Bhutto will relent to a civilian Musharraf as president of Pakistan without a full withdrawal of the cases against her and free rein in the forthcoming general elections, nor will Mr Sharif settle for anything less than the unequivocal exit of General Musharraf and the army from politics. The only option for General Musharraf is to break both parties afresh and compel the new rumps to join his camp in preparation for 2007.
  • Tamil Tigers Training Nepalese Rebels
  • How A Dictator Reduced Pakistan To His Will In a democratic Pakistan, General Musharraf has only one place to go to: Prison..... Over the past nearly six years now, he has been living from day to day.... his distrust of everyone around him. .... He knows that the day he quits the army command, he will be history...... Gen. Zia-ul-Haq never went to sleep without calling each of his corps commanders and making sure that they are tucked away in homes, especially after midnight..... He could still be rattled if, in the wee hours, a general would answer his call at the first ring..... the international community believes that no dictator in Pakistan can survive without its blessing...... already has named a co-ethnic as his Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS)..... appointed his cousin as corps commander of Lahore, a city that is credited with making and unmaking governments..... All provincial governments are overseen by his self-appointed governors. They in turn are overseen by respective corps commanders, who in turn are watched by the ISI (Inter-services Intelligence) and MI (Military Intelligence), and the latter are pitted against one another....... the opposition’s demand for his head under Article 6 of the Constitution.... he has hitched his star to his co-ethnic Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM).... He believes the MQM can and will “blackmail” any government in Islamabad into leaving him alone...... opposition leaders were barraged with letters from dissenting middle-ranking officers who urged them to try Gen. Musharraf under Article 6 of the Constitution...... When the opposition leader Javed Hashmi articulated their concerns, Gen. Musharraf had him sentenced to 23 years in prison....... Opposition can take the first step toward this goal by sticking to its demand for trying Gen. Musharraf for sedition, which is punishable with death, under Article 6 of the constitution...... “Gen. Musharraf will be the last dictator Pakistan ever had; and he will be the first one Pakistan ever tried.”
  • Musharraf Agrees To End Exile Of Nawaj Sharif, Under Saudi Pressure Musharraf’s sudden dash to Saudi Arabia early this week was prompted by positive vibes from the Crown Prince, indicating his willingness to broker a rapprochement between him and the Sharifs...... Nawaz Sharif is indebted to the Crown Prince for saving his life and providing him a comfortable abode in Jeddah where the family is also pursuing its business interests with great success.
  • Time For Opposition To Stop Vacillating On How To Deal With Musharraf they look for legitimacy abroad with their foreign masters rather than their own people..... Pakistan the epicenter of global terrorism, most militarized state, criminalized the entire society, put it in the grip of land grabbers' mafia with generals, their kith and kin leading them all...... Minorities and women have to live in fear of oppressive and selective state application of laws pertaining to blasphemy and male victimization of female population......a truthful Mukhtaran Mai, if allowed to go abroad, would be a better representative of Pakistan than General Pervez Musharraf..... Pakistan's only leader of international standing Ms Benazir Bhutto..... Musharraf's primary objective is to eliminate Ms Bhutto's leadership one way or the other, through political means or by persecution. There has been no let up in this twin-strategy and the victimization of the party and its leaders continues much more venomously and rigorously than ever before...... The writer is a former Pakistan High Commissioner to UK
  • The Many Mocking Masks Of Master Musharraf 'Teach the bitch a lesson. Strip her in public." .... happened to Asma Jehangir, the United Nations special rapporteur on freedom of religion and head of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, the country's largest such non-governmental group..... The crime: attempting to organize a symbolic mixed-gender mini-marathon...... The public beating of Pakistan's most high-profile human rights defenders.... The writer is the Pakistan Representative of the New York-based group, Human Rights Watch.
  • The Deceptive Cloak Of Musharraf's Enlightened Moderation the famed victim of a gang rape whose rapists had earlier been set free was detained and forbidden from traveling abroad ...... “There are three elements of terrorism that the world is concerned about,” Musharraf said in that interview and went on to list these three elements. “Number one, the Al-Qaeda factor. Number two is what [the Indians] are calling cross-border terrorism and we are calling the freedom struggle in Kashmir. Number three is the sectarian [Sunni vs. Shia] extremism and sectarian terrorism in Pakistan...The third one is more our concern, and unfortunately, the world is not bothered about that. We are very much bothered about that because that is destabilizing us internally.” .... The writer is Associate Professor of International Relations at Boston University
  • Generals Defy, Degrade Parliament To Protect A Corrupt Colleague Deeply engrossed in private businesses, Army Generals ..... Pakistan Army is bent upon breaking every rule and demolish or disfigure every institution to protect the Army's personal, political and corporate interests..... Army’s biggest corporate entity, the Fauji Foundation ..... National Accountability Bureau (NAB). As NAB Chief General Amjad, and his successors, have been continuously using NAB, illegally and unconstitutionally, to investigate every private sector company or businessman the Generals want to target for their own personal, political or financial reasons...... the “sugar mill had been sold at Rs300 million, against the highest bid of Rs387 million.” ..... quarter-page advertisements in national dailies. The ads titled "Fauji Foundation Rejects" ..... Editor of Lahore’s Daily Times, Najam Sethi, weighed in with a strong editorial note on the issue titled: “Fauji Foundation must explain its conduct to the Senate Standing Committee.”.... They want immunity from accountability for their misdeeds in all Government-run, funded and controlled organizations which they have grabbed. The next step would be to demand that all lands, properties and houses owned by the Generals would be exempt from any law, tax or regulation..... This battle between the Generals and the Parliament is another manifestation of the crumbling state of affairs in General Musharraf's Pakistan.
  • A Despicable Checklist Of Musharraf's Pakistan a renounced daily was threatened to shut-up by withdrawing official ads..... we have private armies that barge into factories with guns and tractors..... all the political parties asking for return of democracy are the least democratic within their own setups. They have no elections. Their allegiance is to a personality who is elected Chairman for life.... Does it matter that an honorable retired bureaucrat who has achieved a status of a pious man and to whom all and sundry flock for advice and to whom came for advice one of his retired chaprasis who had four daughters who were constantly harassed by the goons of the neighborhood and who had used all his resources of police contacts etc. All that this pious man could advise was to sacrifice one of the daughters?....... the loans by banks are being given to the haves and the right-offs are for chronic defaulters...... all those who previously stood for elections as MNAs and MPAs are all proudly vying to be demoted to the district and tehsil nazim slots. Why? Because that is where the buck stops..... both our allies (referring probably to US and China) have abandoned us and left us high and dry and are wooing Miss India? ..... In this era where consumerism, materialism, individualism is breaking the very fiber of societies and religions and is further being strengthened by the grip of corruption and nepotism which has been unleashed by the media moguls of the New World Order......
  • Sindh Demands Rewriting Of Constitution, Social, Political Terms To Stay In Pakistan the entire intellectual and thinking spectrum of Pakistan’s southern province of Sindh ... Balochistan is simmering with violent nationalist dissent ... demanding an immediate end to exploitation of their rights by Punjab, the largest province..... the dominance of the Pakistan Army and elite of Punjab..... the Pakistan Army remains to be a regional army without attaining a national and inclusive character..... Jawans and officers cadre belong to only two provinces of Pakistan.... the Center should be given charge of only three subjects, Defense, Currency and Foreign affairs and the Senate should be empowered over the National Assembly..... Pakistan must become a truly federal state ..... In a radical proposal copied from the US constitution, the Charter says the provincial governors should be directly elected by the people..... the 1853-2005 Sindh-Punjab water dispute...... It is in the utmost national interest of Sindhi people to have true democracy and not a dictatorship of minority in Pakistan. Having no significant representation in armed forces, bureaucracy, business and media, true democracy and government of genuine representatives is the only leverage available to Sindh to win her due place in the union....... Pakistan's defense budget is not transparently made and spent. Likewise Pakistan's defense policy is a complete failure, the reason behind is that it does not represent all four provinces...
  • Corrupt Musharraf's Generals, Exposed By Musharraf's Generals the military regime’s big guns who are turning out to be the really big thieves..... the horrifyingly ugly scale of land grabbing and fake land sale scams going on in Pakistan, especially in Punjab..... in the price of every plot of land allotted in the society, a fee of Rs 600,000 (US$10,000) had to be built-in, almost automatically, meant for the Corps Commander’s office...... Thousands of plots of lands are designated in official files as Defence Society land and these plots are then sold and re-sold on files. More paper Housing Societies are registered and approved and they claim vast tracts of land without owning a square Lahore alone there are 12,000 files of plots for Sectors 7, 8, 9 and 10 for which there is no land actually available on the ground...... According to a going joke in the Army Mess Circuit, the last request General Musharraf made to Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Delhi was to give him 8,000 acres of land from the Indian territory across the Wagah-Atari border, 30 miles from Lahore, in return for Kashmir and Siachin, because “my boys have already sold this land in the files.”...... in Bahria Town Islamabad/Rawalpindi 77,000 plots have been sold which require land equivalent to 16 built-up sectors of Islamabad..... one of his pillars of accountability, the former head of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Lt. General (Retd) Amjad Hussain was himself accused of massive corruption in the corporation he has been heading..... the Fauji Foundation, undeniably the largest corporate body of Pakistan, now waiting to take over the largest public sector company, Pakistan State Oil....... The management of SAF Games has been found involved in financial irregularities to the tune of Rs201 million, which among other charges, include giving undue benefit to private organizations through "verbal agreements" .....
  • An Exit Strategy For General Musharraf, Pakistan Army, Political Parties any solution which does not provide the Army, General Musharraf and his colleagues, a safe and dependable exit will not be acceptable to the Army and the deadlock will continue..... Pakistan’s history proves that no autocrat or dictator ever left power on his own and had to be either booted out by street pressure or his own Army colleagues stabbed him in the back or he just vanished into thin air like General Zia ul Haq...... All these parties understand that since 2007 is approaching fast something has to be done quickly to consolidate their own position.... Given these conflicting and opposing interests and strategies, the national political scene looks like a fish market with everybody scrambling behind closed doors but nothing understandable and logical happening publicly except confusing moves, contradictory statements, empty threats, meaningless fights on non-issues and reiteration of stated positions to keep the lid from blowing...... a few innovative thinkers in Washington, London and Pakistan have come up with a solution
  • Benazir, Nawaz Agree On Charter Of Democracy For Pakistan 2/11 "Both leaders agreed to adopt a minimum program for restoration of democracy in Pakistan".....Ms Bhutto also took the opportunity to condole the death of Mr Sharif's father while the latter congratulated her on the release of her husband, Asif Ali Zardari.....
  • Musharraf's Sweaty Performance Sheds Aura Of Invincibility Sweating profusely on the podium, unable to complete even well rehearsed sentences of his insignificant formula speech, Musharraf caved in to what would be called a fairly ordinary vocal protest by the Opposition MPs.... book to keep active Opposition parliamentarians out of the House. Commercial aircraft carrying these members were diverted to other cities without explanation or reason, one landing in Peshawar instead of Islamabad and another never reaching the capital in time after taking off from Karachi. Later, as an after-thought, PIA claimed there were bomb threats against these aircraft...... Yet, whatever number of Opposition legislators made it to the House chanted "Go Musharraf, go Musharraf" and "Friends of dictators are traitors" slogans as soon as he took the podium...... Musharraf appeared confused, shaken and cracking..... Within 5 minutes, his forehead was full of sweat beads forcing him to wipe it frequently. His delivery of the written speech was colorless, words were being repeated, sentences left hanging, his body language sending signals of a man under siege, helpless, fearful and collapsing....... His speech and his words appeared to carry no weight and no meaning. Musharraf was like a man having lost the force of his conviction and the moral authority to stand up and speak...... His state of mind was so obvious, each word and each minute appeared to be an eternity. So great was the pressure on his nerves, the moment he read the last written word, he raised both his fists as if the commando had conquered the enemy...... Still nervous and shivering, he shook hands with the Speaker of the National Assembly and the Senate Chairman but then again raised his fists to get the fear out of his system...... when next time he issues unpleasant orders to his colleagues or other partners in power, his shaky legs and sweaty face would come back to hound him..... missed the opportunity to prove his political credentials and capacity. A man who cannot stand a tiny vocal Opposition is nothing but a paper tiger, was the overall impression he conveyed.....can rule with a gun in his hand but cannot articulate an argument in his head to convince others..... How seasoned politicians make mince meat of him when he takes off his uniform would be a sight to watch.
  • Musharraf Reshuffles Generals As Lord Of The Ring promotion of ISI Chief Lt. General Ehsan ul Haq ..... replacing the most feared but controversial General Mohammed Aziz Khan, the man Musharraf projected in private sessions with American leaders as the fundo who may take over...... Corps Commander, Karachi, Lt Gen Ahsan Saleem Hayat .... apparently been rewarded for the recent assassination attempt on his life in Karachi in which several others died but he survived..... has been constantly shuffling the pack of his commanders, as an astute commando who could not trust any one, for any extended time..... Since he took over on October 12, 1999, Musharraf has moved 38 commanders among the nine Army Corps, not allowing any General to settle down..... all the power players around Musharraf have been kept on the move, not allowed to settle down in one place.... Musharraf’s main criteria in naming his Vice Chief will not be competence or merit but loyalty.... all those who were appointed because they appeared to be the most loyal, turned out to be instrumental in throwing out their benefactors....... Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who thought General Zia ul Haq was his “chowkidar (personal guard) as Zia would himself patrol the residence at nights where ZAB was staying..... led Sharif to name General Musharraf who then stabbed the man in the back......Now Musharraf has selected his own loyalists after cleansing the Army of all those who brought him to power or shared it with him in some form for the last 5 years.....his next move would be to invite all these now retired colleagues for a drink at his home and offer them some lucrative position or a post.....some more ex-Generals turned corporate CEOs heading newly acquired civilian corporations.
  • Musharraf-Nawaj Sharif Have First Telephonic Conversation After '99 Coup offered his condolences on the death of Mian Mohammed Sharif..... Mian Nawaz Sharif reminded General Musharraf that when his father had died, Sharif had sent the General a letter of condolence from the Attock Jail...... “When Musharraf heard that, he went silent for at least 10 second and did not know how to respond...... "as a big mess created by the Pakistani diplomat who had not been mandated to put these conditions."..... “If the PML-Q members, now in the government realize that Musharraf had opened his direct channels with Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif, they would start shaking in their pants as it would mean an end to their utility for the General” ......Another factor which has increased the pressure on General Musharraf is the change of leadership at the US State Department where his friend "General" Colin Powell has left and a more hawkish "civilian" Condoleezza Rice is set to become the new Secretary of State.....
  • Musharraf's Close Relative Paid In Rs 7 Billion Motorway Project his son Bilal’s father in law ..... Rs 25 billion Golf Course in Lahore .... Musharraf's "Golfway" project, conceived and launched by an ex-ISI chief, held secret from the public for ‘national security reasons’.. converting the M-3 project from the Built, Operate and Transfer (BOT) plan to the government funded project...... “He admitted that he had purchased about a dozen sick industrial units,” was his reply to one question. This seems to be an impressive record which would beat any Sharif or Zardari hands down.

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