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Wednesday, 22 July 2009

From Today's Papers - 22 Jul 09

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Defence deal with US: Indian concerns remain
Ajay Banerjee
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, July 21
Even as the contours of the Indo-US end-user-monitoring-agreement (EUMA) --- that will enable high-end defence equipment to be sold to India -- are yet to be clear, some of the concerns of the Indian armed forces have been addressed.

On the other hand, questions remain unanswered on critical issues that can create problems for national security, hence allegations of surrender to US pressure.

The Defence Ministry today maintained a studied silence as the matter boiled over into fiery debates in both houses of Parliament. A positive note for the Defence Ministry is that its primary fear of not allowing “intrusive physical inspections” by the US at forward bases has been taken care of.

Now, under the agreement, the inspections will be carried out at a date, place and time of India’s choice and not at the forward bases where the equipment may be deployed. For example, the US, in the past, has supplied fire-finding radars. These can be taken from one place to another within a few hours in case any inspection is carried out. Any movable assets like fighter planes and warships can be moved to civil areas. Physical inspections of all defence equipment is mandatory under the US laws. This governs sensitive technology to prevent it from being leaked to other countries.

The third good development for the Defence Ministry is that it wanted that a standard text be framed for all EUMAs in the future and it be insulated from any changes in the US laws. Now this text has been “frozen” and cannot be altered without joint consultations if there is a change in the US laws in the future. As of now, all deals with the US like purchase of INS Jalashwa, Boeing business jets or the long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft have had separate stand-alone EUMAs.

On the other hand, what will affect India is the fact that future upgrades will hinge upon US whim and fancies. In case of Russian equipment, India has been upgrading several items on its own and even has a licence to manufacture these indigenously.

Also India has no guarantee that the US inspectors will not share the data of Indian usage of the equipment with Pakistan or any other country. The EUMAs also bar use of the equipment for aggression. Now this is what has the forces worried. Say if a US company gets to bid to supply fighters, then what use are these planes if they cannot be used aggressively?

Last, each sophisticated equipment has a “source code” that prevents any tampering. It is possible that this “source code” will be used to track movement of Indian forces while they use US-produced planes or ships, said a serving officer, while expressing his reservations on the same. Such inspections have not even been allowed to Russia, India oldest defence ally. The US in past has refused to share the “source code” of F-16 fighters with Israel, its closet defence ally.

Another worrisome aspect is that the US can seek an inspection of equipment that could have some US part/parts in it. This means a large number of deals with Israel - that is now one of the leading suppliers to India - will be covered under this.

Indian troops aiding Hezbollah: Israel

Press Trust of India, Tuesday July 21, 2009, Jerusalem

Israel has accused the Indian troops part of the UN peacekeepers along its border with Lebanon of doing nothing to prevent the infiltration of Hezbollah supporters into its territory, but on the contrary cooperated with them, a media report said.

In a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and the President of the UN Security Council Ruhakana Rugunda, Israel accused an Indian contingent of United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) of having done nothing to prevent the demonstrators from crossing the border and even cooperating with the group, 'The Jerusalem Post' reported.

"(The demonstrators) stood opposite the UNIFIL force, (which did nothing), and worse than that, according to statements made by the organisers of the demonstration, they even cooperated with them," Israeli Ambassador to the world body Gabriela Shalev wrote in the letter.

Fifteen Lebanese civilians had crossed into Israel last Friday waving Hezbollah flags. The Israeli troops spotted the group, but did not confront them as they returned to south Lebanon minutes later.

This is not the first time when Tel Aviv has accused Indian troops stationed in south Lebanon of having helped Hezbollah.

Indian troops were blamed by Tel Aviv for not only quietly watching the abduction of three Israeli soldiers by Hezbollah in October 2000 but even assisting them after having accepted bribes.

Shalev also lashed out at Hezbollah for its "grievous violations of Resolution 1701," which included both the border breach, as well as an attack by Lebanese villagers against UNIFIL troops on Saturday who were investigating an explosion in a suspected arms depot allegedly belonging to the group.

Both incidents "demonstrate an escalation and a pattern of behaviour in Lebanon, that must be confronted," Shalev wrote.

Navy to be responsible for overall maritime security: Govt

Press Trust of India / New Delhi July 21, 2009, 16:41 IST

The Indian Navy will solely be responsible for overall security of the coastal zones, the government said today.

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Minister of State for Home Affairs M Ramachandran said the Director General of Coast Guard will also assume the role of Commander Coastal Command.

"The government of India has designated Indian Navy as the authority responsible for overall maritime security which includes coastal security and offshore security," the Minister said in a written reply in the Lok Sabha.

"The Director General Coast Guard has been designated as Commander Coastal Command responsible for overall coordination between Central and state agencies in all matters relating to coastal security. These decisions are being implemented by the Ministry of Defence," he said.

While replying to a question on instances of infiltration through the coastal areas, Ramachandran said, "As per the information available, there has been no case reported or encountered during the last three years, except a case regarding infiltration by sea route on November 26 last year leading to Mumbai attacks. The matter is under investigation and sub-judice."

Joint coastal patrolling is also being carried out along the coasts of Gujarat and Maharashtra under operation SWAN by Coast Guard, Navy and other agencies, the Minister said.

India had previously used a leased Russian-built nuclear submarine INS Chakra from January 1988 to January 1991.

With the launch of the indigenously-built nuclear-powered submarine, India will join the exclusive club of US, Russia, China, France and the UK with similar capabilities.

The ATV, developed jointly by the Navy and the DRDO, will give India the additional power of a nuclear weapon strike from the sea, apart from surface and air which it currently possesses.

According to sources, the nuclear reactor of the submarine has been developed at the Indira Gandhi Centre for Atomic Research, Kalpakkam.

Clips of eclipse: IAF pilot chased the sun's shadow


EYE IN THE SKY: IAF's participation in scientific study of total solar eclipse was aided by the sortie.

New Delhi: For an Indian Air Force (IAF) fighter pilot chasing a target at Mach 2.5 or more than twice the speed of sound and yet not managing to play catch seems like something out of a sci-fi film. But for Air Marshal S. Mukerji, chasing the sun's shadow during the total solar eclipse on October 24, 1995, that's exactly what happened.

Heralding the IAF's participation in scientific study of total solar eclipse, Mukerji, presently the Air Officer-in-Charge Personnel at Air Headquarters and the then commanding officer of IAF's only MiG-25 reconnaissance squadron based at Bareilly, undertook a sortie in the giant plane to record the celestial event. He got the rare opportunity to film the Sun's corona from an astounding altitude of 80,000 feet.

"We flew at Mach 2.5 in the path of the eclipse at 80,000 feet along the planned central axis of the eclipse over Neem ka Thana (in Rajasthan's Sikar district)," recalled Mukerji of his historic sortie.

The sortie finds a mention in his flying log book simply as "Supersonic Profile".

"The weather and visibility were not any constraints as clarity at stratospheric levels is far better than that nearer the ground," he said.

After the total solar eclipse of 1898 over India, the next occurrence took place in 1980. And in the subsequent total solar eclipse in 1995, the IAF assisted the Department of Science and Technology (DST) in their quest to film this celestial alignment. This was possible with aviation speeds streaking way past the supersonic barrier.

With a manual camera mounted above the instrument panel, a special lead and button provided to the other pilot, Wing Commander Y S Babu, seated in the front cockpit, the duo, with special solar filters on their visors flew straight towards the Sun for a minute and 24 seconds, photographing never-before seen images of the spectacle during the total solar eclipse.

"A lot of preparation went into the sortie. It had to be charted and axis programmed on the inertial navigation system, with briefings by scientists armed with NASA charts. The aircraft was first jacked up and the angle-of-attack simulated on the ground to harmonise the camera along the axis.

"In addition, the aircraft's belly camera could capture the shadow beneath that was 85 km in width," Mukerji explained.

During Wednesday's eclipse, a 10-member team of scientists and a camera team will be flying in an AN-32 transport aircraft from the Agra airbase in an endeavour to film the event. The aircraft will fly along the central axis on a north-westerly direction at an approximate altitude of 25,000 feet, turn around at Khajuraho and land back at Agra.

This apart, a Mirage-2000 trainer will also take off from the Gwalior airbase and the pilot in the rear seat will take photographs as the fighter flies on an angular track to the central axis of the Sun's shadow.

Senate Votes to Stop Stealth Jets, Continue Pentagon Overhaul

* By Noah Shachtman Email Author

* July 21, 2009 |

* 2:13 pm |

* Categories: Air Force, Paper Pushers, Beltway Bandits, Politicians



The Senate has voted to stop production of the controversial F-22 Raptor stealth jet in what could prove to be the key victory in the Pentagon’s attempt to radically overhaul its arsenal.

In April, Defense Secretary Robert Gates unveiled a budget that killed or cut back more than 50 major programs — many of which were designed for a superpower-style showdown — in favor of an increased Army and more tools for counterinsurgents.

There was surprisingly little resistance until last month, when the House and Senate Armed Services Committees voted to keep production going on the $250 million-a-pop F-22 dogfighters. (The jets’ supporters say they’re needed to maintain American supremacy in the skies; the President, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Air Force Secretary all agree with Gates that 187 jets is plenty.) Other committees then began taking shots at the new defense budget — adding in money for everything from presidential helicopters to cargo planes.

President Obama said he would veto any defense budget bill that included F-22s. And last week, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates went to Obama’s hometown and declared that “every defense dollar diverted” to programs like the F-22 is “a dollar that will be unavailable to take care of our people, to win the wars we are in, to deter potential adversaries.”

White House and the Pentagon were aided in their push by Sen. John McCain, who, minutes before the Senate’s decision, called it “a crucial vote on whether we can prevail over the Military Industrial Congressional Complex or not.”

In the end, the troika of Gates, Obama and McCain emerged on top, with the Senate voting 58-40 in favor of cutting off Raptor production.

“As Commander-in-Chief, I will do whatever it takes to defend the American people,” Obama said, right after the vote. “But I reject the notion that we have to waste billions of taxpayer dollars on outdated and unnecessary defense projects to keep this nation secure…. And that’s why I’m grateful that the Senate just voted against an additional $1.75 billion to buy F-22 fighter jets that military experts and members of both parties say we do not need.”

He added, “Our budget is a zero-sum game, and if more money goes to F-22s, it is our troops and citizens who lose.”

Top Indian army general to visit Fort Irwin

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July 20, 2009 - 3:11 PM

By EUNICE LEE, staff writer

FORT IRWIN • The top ranking official of the Indian Army will be stopping by Fort Irwin on Saturday as part of a week-long series of visits to key United States military posts.

Gen. Deepak Kapoor is slated to tour the National Training Center with Brig. Gen. Robert Abrams, commanding general of Fort Irwin, as part of Kapoor’s first visit to the U.S. as chief of the Indian Army. Kapoor will also meet with top U.S. officials including Defense Secretary Robert Gates during the week.

Kapoor, along with six other Indian Army officials, will spend the day meeting with Fort Irwin’s top leaders and observing soldier training, said King Colley, deputy chief of protocol at Fort Irwin.

According to Colley, Fort Irwin officials will show the Indian officials “how we do what we do” by taking them to the base’s operations center where they can watch and analyze video-recorded footage of the current rotation of soldiers from Fort Stewart, Ga., training out in the field.

While reviewing footage, officials can identify any mistakes that soldiers make or problems they run into, said Colley.

While Kapoor’s visit is significant, Fort Irwin Spokesman John Wagstaffe said that the NTC has regularly hosted foreign officials in the past, but has seen a rapid succession of visits recently.

On Monday, Denmark’s chief of defense spent time touring the soldier training grounds. Over the weekend, a group of 10 Egyptian officials visited. Sometimes, the foreign visitors venture off the base into the city, like the Egyptian officials, who spent the night in a motel in town, according to Colley.

In the upcoming months, Fort Irwin will play host to a wide range of global visitors, including military officials from the Philippines, Israel and Saudi Arabia, Fort Irwin officials said.

On average, visiting officials spend one or two days on post.

In addition to visiting the NTC, Kapoor will be visiting Fort Bragg, N.C., the most active and combat-ready military installation, and Fort Leavenworth, Kan., which is often pegged the intellectual center of the U.S. Army.

Pakistan, Captain America's On the Phone

By: Ken Stier print Print

Part II of a look at the entwined fates of the United States and Pakistan. Click here to see part I, "Re-Arranging Pakistan's Deck Chairs."

Reconstituting trust is tricky enough between two individuals. In the case of star-crossed "frenemies" the United States and Pakistan, it's complicated because the U.S. will simultaneously try to apply benchmarks to Pakistan's internal counter-insurgency cooperation.

"We must begin [emphasis added] to develop leverage with our large-scale aid programs and ensure that U.S. taxpayer money does not indirectly end up assisting enemies that are fighting coalition forces in Afghanistan," says Lisa Curtis of the Heritage Foundation.

The key benchmark is whether the Pakistan military is willing to "comprehensively abandon" its ties to the local Taliban and other militant groups it has long sponsored as low-cost proxy for harassing India, its primordial enemy.

While this might seem non-negotiable from the U.S. standpoint, Undersecretary of Defense Michele Flournoy recently told the Senate Armed Services Committee it is an "open question" whether the U.S. can rely on Pakistan's cooperation against Al-Qaeda.

But to "test the proposition" that Pakistan can be made a dependable and effective counter-terrorism partner, the Pentagon wants to spend $400 million on training. That's part of $3 billion to be spent over the next three years on a military that has repeatedly balked at reorienting its basic defense posture from prepping for a conventional war against India.

An alternative tack taken by Pakistan is that it already knows counterinsurgency. It just needs more equipment. Recent efforts to eject insurgents from Pakistan's Swat Valley suggest there may be some validity to this, but only at the cost of considerable collateral damage to civilians. The result is that Pakistan's current ham-handed counterinsurgency efforts risk, as Selig Harrison has pointed out, exacerbating millennial ethnic tensions between the Punjabi-dominated army and the country's many tribal groups, especially the Pashtuns.

Partition's Lasting Pain

A key word in understanding Pakistan's relationship with India is neuralgic — originally a medical term that means a pain or irritation whose physiological basis is hard to ascertain. As the Rand Corp.'s Christine Fair notes, even if vexing border issues were solved (besides the disputed Kashmiri border — the Durand Line - that demarcates Pakistan and Afghanistan, is also disputed), it is not clear that this would lead Pakistan to abandon its sponsorship of militant groups — a policy it has practiced since the inception of the state in 1947.

"Pakistan's fears about India are historical, neuralgic and deeply existential," she writes. (See her disquieting Washington Quarterly article here: "The Pakistan Army cannot imagine a future wherein its very existence is not imperiled by India."

This is primordial insecurity that will not dissolve easily. In fact, India's arc as a strongly ascendant power — while Pakistan clearly is not — will only fan these fears. U.S. officials and think tank analysts are cognizant of the problem but tend to offer blandishments about how it might be dealt with. "The U.S. must dedicate its diplomatic resources to changing security perceptions ... from zero-sum geopolitical calculations," writes Curtis.

"A policy of inducements — through financial, technical, and diplomatic assistance — is the best means to shift the strategic calculations of influential Pakistanis and bolster moderates who share basic U.S. interests," argues Daniel Markey of the Council of Foreign Relations.

But it's unclear why these inducements should succeed now when they are basically the same as were on offer in the past. More likely, no amount of inducements are likely to change Pakistani's understanding of their fundamental strategic interests.

That will require changes on the ground. There have been some interesting initiatives, but so far they have been quite preliminary and marginal. These include a trilateral military commission with Afghanistan, Pakistan and NATO. Then there are a handful of border crossing stations that are jointly manned by intelligence and security officers. Mutually advantageous business could help, but bilateral trade between India and Pakistan is currently a piddling $1 billion annually, and it seems a long shot that industrial parks planned for the Afghan-Pakistani border, which will enjoy duty-free access to the U.S. market (through what are known as "reconstruction opportunity zones"), will have much of an impact.

Security and development in these three countries are now inextricably linked, and Afghanistan has now become a key cockpit where much of the rivalry between Indian and Pakistan plays out. As Curtis points out, Afghanistan-Pakistan relations can only improve in the context of reduced tensions between India and Pakistan. Some progress was actually being made in bilateral talks held between 2004 and 2007, even reportedly on the Kashmir issue — but as the 2008 terror attack in Mumbai demonstrated, progress can be quickly obliterated.

One hundred and sixty-six people were killed in the assault on one of the city's most prestigious hotels and other high-profile sites. The group believed behind it, Lashkar-e-Taiba, has links to Pakistani intelligence services (the Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, and others), and so far there has been no crackdown on the group — or its militias, its FM station or hundreds of seminaries where jihadists are trained, according to Harrison. He says two leaders of the group (which has renamed itself) who had been under house arrest, were subsequently released. Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, who U.S. and Indian intelligence both identify as the Mumbai attack ringleader, is still at large.

Another disturbing affiliation is the one between Pakistan intelligence services and Jalaluddin Haqqani, who served as the tribal affairs minister in the Taliban government in Kabul during the late 1990s. He is believed to have been behind the suicide attack at the Indian Embassy last July, which killed two senior Indian officials and more than 50 Afghan civilians. This terror-sponsorship makes it difficult for New Delhi to deal with Islamabad, although it might help if India would acknowledge a link between Mumbai and Kashmir — Lashkar-e-Taiba, after all, recruits on the basis of this issue.

The U.S. Has a Role

With hotheads like these stirring the cauldron it seems unlikely there will be any improvements in "security perceptions" any time soon. And it is at this juncture in considering the bedeviled region that U.S. analysts reach for a longer-term tonic by advocating that the U.S. help train mid-career up-and-comers in the Pakistan military, and train intelligence services to be more modern-minded.

"Washington should work to influence internal debates and transform mindsets among the rising classes of Pakistani officers," says Markey, a former State Department planning officer. The annoying implication is that the country has not been doing this during past decades in which U.S. military colleges have hosted Pakistani officers. Others suggest the U.S. reach out even further to the younger generation to make school curriculum more balanced, a move apparently already nixed by Pakistani officials concerned the U.S. may try to secularize it as well.

Perhaps the one bright streak in the new U.S. approach is the insistence on reasserting civilian authority over the military as part of an apparently new, or at least an improved, commitment to cultivate genuine democracy.

Too bad though that there is no evidence that civilian rule differs much from the military. (Although here is a strong argument for trying to bring the country's intelligence services to civilian heel, if the nascent democracy is to stand a chance — as Indonesia and Chile have been trying to do.) Indeed, the current political culture that has evolved in Pakistan seems a symbiosis of revolving elites that do little to encroach on each other's almost feudal prerogatives.

Still, an emphasis on civilians is welcome, if fatally belated. The rot in Pakistan has gone on unchecked for decades. Pakistan has made a career of shaking down the international community, exploiting fears of the chaos that would ensue if it were to become a failed state. One critical consequence of Pakistan's dependency is that there are just 1.5 million taxpayers, out of population of some 180 million. As Fair notes, this undermines the essential political or social contract that exists between the governed and their leaders.

Instead, what has evolved is a culture of endemic corruption, which has not fostered economic development but has deepened foreign dependence. It is also the reason that Fair, an Urdu-speaker, regularly hears Pakistanis charge that the real, hidden aim of international largesse is to undermine Pakistan by engendering foreign dependence. (That fits with the controversial thesis presented in John Perkins' 2004 book Confessions of an Economic Hitman.)

U.S. officials counter by insisting they are imposing tight transparency and accountability requirements — once again, annoyingly, as if for the first time. Additionally, they say, the funds will be channeled through local grassroots organizations to develop the capacity of local civil society. Currently, 70 to 80 cents of every dollar allocated in aid comes back to the U.S. instead of staying in the country it is meant to benefit because of USAID's dependence on contractors.

This figure (found here) apparently startled Richard Holbrooke, President Obama's regional point man, and he is reportedly looking into the idea of a trust fund to get more buy-in from Pakistanis and keep more of the money in-country. (A similar setup has been working in Afghanistan.) That's just one of many things that need to change for the U.S. to have a chance to succeed in Pakistan.

The underlying premise of all these considerations is that Pakistan is simply too big — and too frightening — to be allowed to fail. But there are some dissenting views. This includes Fair's, who says now "we are just trying to figure out where we can put icing on this relatively unsavory cake. Nobody is really talking about the structural issues; we end up looking for things we can fix. We can bring [internally displaced persons] air-conditioned tents, but we can't make the army engage in activities that in fact don't displace 2 million people [as happened in retaking Swat Valley from militants]."

In her admittedly "heretical view" she says, "Pakistan has to be allowed to fail. It's like an addict — that until it falls flat on its face, it won't change."

In defence of Armed Forces

Gp Capt R N Chaudhry (R)

Armed forces in Pakistan have an undisputed respect for them in every corner of the country. No one has to substantiate for them the immortal role they have played for their country. Their sacrifices from 1947 till to date have enough proof to honour their loyalty and place them at the highest standing in the country. The performance in Kashmir, Rann of Kutch, 1965 can be graded as a feat of highest degree of patriotism. The only set back they suffered was the battle of 1971 which everyone knows was due to their own stupid and poor civilian leadership who went for their personal gains rather than the country. The Chief of Army Staff at times exploited or capitalized the power of the armed forces and misused its obedience to discipline for their own advantage and took over the country as dictators whenever they found any unrest or an apparent danger to Pakistan. There were indeed such conditions existing which rightly or wrongly warranted some kind of safety to stabilize the country, especially in the wake of strong enemy trying to destroy Pakistan.

Pakistan armed forces had the distinction to perform so bravely against five times bigger enemy in all the wars. In 1947, in spite of being totally under equipped they gifted Azad Kashmir to Pakistan and forced India to go to UNO to prevent their onslaught by accepting Kashmir; a disputed territory.

The purpose is not to compliment the martial law but to express a few details and facts before the public to know and understand the difference instead of polluting their minds with the prejudiced propaganda. Martial law indeed was a bad experience but not as bad as our civilian leaders have done to this poor country. It would therefore be fair to analys, “kia khoya, kia paya”, of the entire stretch of that time. As for West Pakistan; besides substantial industrialization, Tarbaila Dam, the biggest earthen dam in the world, Mangla Dam, and many other small projects for agriculture developments were the spectacles of Ayub Khan’s planning. The buying of Gwadar and adjoining area from Ameer of Qatar, showed the foresight of this soldier statesman, the golden project that today every civilian talks about and takes advantage, was the vision of Ayub Khan’s government. Ayub Khan had many serious faults which cannot be condoned. He must be blamed for his bad deeds but for God’s sake don’t deprive him for the good things and directions he provided for which Pakistan is still getting the fruits of. Yahya Khan was a stupid General like many other generals and civilian leaders who damaged their countries. They are therefore remembered in the same manner. However, I just want to put the record straight, when he held the elections, all civilian politicians without any exceptions and intellectuals were paying big tribute to him for this act of fairness and piety. You may take out the newspapers of that time to see for yourselves. He should have been punished for his bad deeds but was saved because a few civilian leaders’ heads would also be rolled.

Air Marshal Asghar Khan, a failed political soldier who turned down Mr. Bhutto’s proposal for making fool of the poor masses of the country and rule them as his partner. His unsuccessful political career still is full of respect by all segment of society even today. His failure in politics is no loss to him as a person but loss to the nation for not having an honest and clean politician.

Gen. Zia ul Haq, the most ineligible out of all the Generals, unfortunately took over as the third dictator in the country. His regime was full of turmoil but the least corrupt amongst all the rulers since 1958. In spite of all the flaws, he had the courage to look into the eyes of our enemy, India, and created conditions which warranted them to bother about their own security more than creating problems for Pakistan. The Sikh problem and insurgency in Kashmir kept their eyes away from Pakistan as long as Zia ul Haq was in command. Mr. Bhutto’s execution was the biggest allegation on Zia ul Haq and apparently this charge could not be cleared during his life time and after.

During Russian invasion of Afghanistan he dealt with Americans better than any civilian leader would have done. His policies defeated Soviets and forced their retreat back to Russia. With Soviet Union disintegrated, many small Muslim states emerged out of it thereby providing better chances of trade and relations for futuristic links with Pakistan. It is another matter that none of the civilians or military leaders of Pakistan had the sense of taking any advantage out of it. After Zia ul Haq’s crash, Gen. Mirza Aslam Baig had a unique opportunity to take over the country but he voluntarily opted to stay away and requested President Ishaq to arrange a civilian change to take over as per the constitution. This was the commendable vision of Gen. Aslam Beig for which the armed forces were awarded Tamgha e Jumhuriat by the next Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto.

The point of significance is that no General wants to involve himself in government affairs if the conditions are normal and there is no turmoil in the country. Gen. Aslam Baig must be given credit for not meddling with power without purpose and voluntarily staying away from it.

Benazir was the next Prime Minister of the country, whose first sermon to the PPP stalwarts was “Paisay banao kyon kay aagay election larna hai”. As a result people like Faisal Saleh Hayatt, Sher Pao,and other adventurers were all out to loot the country. Her latest find was Mr. Zardari, who followed her advice meticulously and acquired a famous award of Mr. 10%. When it became really unbearable, she was dismissed by her own president, Mr. Farooq Leghari to put an end to her misdeeds. Benazir made sure to bail out India from the instability of Khalistan by handing over the list of all Sikh leaders through one of her most trusted leaders. Even removed Kashmir’s name from the road signs in Islamabad to reassure Rajiv Gandhi that Kashmir was no problem between India and Pakistan. Her coming back from exile with NRO blessing was indeed to provide support to Musharaf for continuing as the president and her as his prime minister. What happened subsequently is all a story and description. Then came Nawaz Sharif, known to be politically naive and no match to Benazir by the PPP leaders. However, as an average man, I personally think he did the best after Prime Minister Liaqat Ali Khan. His plans of Motor ways, communication, free movement of foreign exchange, privitization of some government assets, NFC award, water distribution to provinces, and above all the nuclear detonation, against the will of super power and other Western countries, goes to his credit and credit for the country.

Gen. Musharaf was next to follow as the worst of Military dictators we had. His coward actions, misguided and short sighted policies have done maximum damage to Pakistan. Only God knows how long will it take for Pakistan to recover from this remorse.The present civilian leadership is as irrelevant as was Musharaf. People now have fairly good judgement about their performance. In one and a half years the promises they broke, the useless visits abroad and impotence they have shown in running the country is a disgrace. Their predecessors were very keen to re-elect Gen. Musharaf in uniform. I hope the present regime does not follow the same course and recall him to guide them and teach them the good governance for the five years of their elected period. Military dictatorship was a curse and hopefully we never face it anymore.

Civilian incompetency and corrupt leadership was a bigger curse and we pray to Allah that we never have such leaders anymore ruling this country. Let us forget the past and drive onto the civil road map efficiently to put the dictatorship at our back, never to return. However, the saying: worst democracy is better than the best dictatorship is not a Quranic verse but a Western gimmick to derail countries like China and Pakistan. Democracy established in Afghanistan and Iraq by the West may be an eye opener for us all.

Police seeks arrest of five Army personnel
Perneet Singh/Tribune News Service

Jaipur, July 21
Following some startling revelations made by the accused in the Army Recruitment Scam, the Ajmer police has written to the Army, seeking arrest of five of its personnel for their alleged involvement in recruitment of sepoys at the holy town.

Ajmer Superintendent of Police (SP) Hariprasad Sharma has shot off missives to the Army Headquarters, Defence Ministry and the head of the Army recruitment in the state, seeking their cooperation in arrest of these officials. “We have written to the army for arrest of three Majors and two Subedars - Major rank personnels - who are suspected to be involved in the scam,” he said. The police had interrogated two army officials a couple of days back to inquire into their involvement in the scam. Also all recruitment-related documents are also being scrutinised.

Assistant Superintendent of Police Rahul Prakash said a case had been registered against these five army officials while notices had been issued to 8 other army officials for interrogation purpose.

The police, in a joint operation with the Military Intelligence, had unearthed the scam with the busting of a gang on July 13. The police had arrested eight persons and recovered cash and some documents from their possession. The gang was active in Ajmer in view of the army recruitment camp in the city between July 11 and 19. The gang headed by one ex-armyman Abhilash Singh was using undergarments of a particular company as a code to get their candidates identified among others by the doctor and physical instructor while appearing in the physical and medical tests. They used to take Rs 15,000 at the time of giving undergarment and the balance after final selection. The accused belong to Jodhpur, Jhunjhunu and Bhilwara districts of Rajasthan. The police action came after one youth from Nasirabad town in Ajmer complained on July 12 that he had not got job even after making payment to the agents.

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