Custom Search Engine - Scans Selected News Sites

Loading

Monday, 31 May 2010

From Today's Papers - 31 May 2010

Telegraph India
Indian Express
Asian Age
Asian Age
Asian Age
Asian Age
Asian Age
Asian Age
The Pioneer
Asian Age
Indian Express
Indian Express
Indian Express





Different aspects of Maoist problem How to handle it effectively
by Gen V. P. Malik (retd)  THE May 28 train derailment caused by Maoists resulting in the death of 140 persons, the April 6 massacre of 75 CRPF personnel, the blowing up of a bus near Sukma in which 44 civilians and special police officers were killed and the almost daily instances of disrupted communications and violence in the “red corridor” have brought the long-festering Maoist insurgency to the centre-stage of India’s internal security threats. It has also highlighted our hollowness and incompetence to deal with the problem at the strategic, operational and tactical levels.  Though the origin of the Maoists’ movement can be traced back to the 1960s when the Naxalites started operating in various parts of the country, the Maoists emerged as a real internal security threat when the Peoples’ War Group and the Maoist Communist Centre joined hands in 2004 and formed the CPI (Maoists) to fight against the Indian state.  The bane of our counter-Maoists strategy, even after watching what has happened in Nepal, has been a lack of lucidity in analysis and consistency in formulating and implementing a viable strategy. It is evident that the Central government has woken up now but the desirable synergy with the state governments concerned is yet to be achieved. Besides, there are many powerful NGOs and the media who still consider that the Maoists are nothing more than today’s avatars of Robin Hood.  As a nation, which has considerable experience of countering insurgencies and terrorism — in Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur, Tripura, Assam, West Bengal, Punjab, J&K, and Sri Lanka — it is disheartening to see that our home security machinery has not been able to learn lessons from the past.  The root causes of the Maoist problem in tribal areas are the loopholes in the Indian Forest Conservation Act, the Mining Act, the land acquisition law, the power plant law, etc. Until the necessary measures are taken by the government to reform these acts, it will not be possible to uproot the Maoists’ movement or any other left wing extremist problem. Even more important is the need to address governance through good administration, prompt and fair judiciary, and the law and order machinery that inspires public confidence.  The development-versus-military action debate reflects political naivety. No one can deny that the long neglected tribal areas require comprehensive and accelerated development projects. But is it possible to carry out governance and development in an area where the writ of the state does not run and everyone in the state machinery fears for his life? And who is responsible for the developmental neglect of the tribal areas so far?  The quelling of Maoist violence has been rendered difficult because, according to the Constitution, law and order is a state subject. There is no clarity on more serious situations like across-the-states insurgencies. The policing authority is vested with state governments. This makes the Central government incapable of directly affecting the quality of policing, which is the cause for much of the problems in managing insurgencies. Unfortunately, the state governments devote little attention to this important issue and very often refuse to recognise the basic linkage between normal policing and insurgency. They have neither the resources nor the inclination to upgrade the quality of the state police nor the capacity to raise extra forces without substantial financial help from the Centre. They let the situation deteriorate till it blows out of their control.  Lately, the Finance Commission has allocated a huge amount to the states for the purpose of police training. But, as evident from the recent incidents, the police force is still in a pretty bad shape. In many areas, the actual number of police personnel is much lower than the posts sanctioned. A huge number of police posts lie vacant. There is far too much of political interference in the professional functioning of police organisations in the states. The law enforcement agencies across the country, without exception, are in a state of disrepair. Unless these are re-invigorated and energised, we cannot achieve the desired results. The responsibility without resources at the state level and the lack of accountability at the state and Centre levels need to be resolved quickly.  Three suggestions need to be made on the employment of armed forces against the Maoists:  One, military pressure alone cannot resolve matters unless there is good governance and a strong thrust on socio-political and socio-economic issues. Political leadership and civil administration have to govern the affected areas (and the rest of the country) with greater commitment and efficiency.  Two, protracted and excessive employment of the Army leads to the law of diminishing returns. The reasons are as follows: (a) Over-dependence on the Army reflects lack of trust and faith in the capability of the state and central armed police and para-military forces. Also, after a while locals start treating the Army as another police force. (b) The armed forces require legal cover under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act to handle such situations effectively. (c) Such deployments and prolonged duties have an adverse impact on the Army’s discipline, morale and operational effectiveness. (d) During a war/war-like situation the Army needs public support. It cannot afford to alienate the local population as is currently happening in Manipur and to some extent in J & K and Assam.  The excessive use of the army in such situations is neither good for the Army nor the nation. As far as the Air Force is concerned, utilisation of their capabilities in jungle terrain has to be discussed with them first before we seek Cabinet approvals. It would be counter-productive to use the Air Force in any offensive role unless the situation gets totally out of hand.  The Home Minister in recent months has outlined a series of organisational and systemic measures for revamping India’s internal security architecture and greater synergy in internal security operations. But he has paid little attention to the human resource factor (the man behind the gun!) in the homeland security forces and its development. The following points need his immediate attention:  A police officer trained for town policing and protective duties is not oriented or trained to carry out search and destroy missions against guerrillas in jungles. At present, the senior hierarchy in all the state armed and Central police forces (CPOs) comes from such officers. The Central police forces when allocated to a state have to function under the Director-General of Police of the state. The direct entry cadre commissioned and brought up in these units has no role at the policy and planning level.  The state armed police and the CPOs on counter-insurgency/guerrilla operational tasks and missions require different rules of engagement, training, equipment, leadership and man management.  People who have worked alongside the CRPF are aware of the constant moves of their companies at short notice, non-existent command and control at the battalion level, their inhuman living conditions, poor physical fitness, and lack of the basic equipment like bullet-proof jackets, radio sets, bullet-proof and mine-protected vehicles. How can we expect high results from such psychologically depressed personnel?  Counter-insurgency operations against the Maoists require integrated operations because insurgents when pursued in one state manage to take shelter in the neighbouring states. Every major operation requires detailed planning, coordination, and follow-up on the intelligence and combat aspects. Inter-state coordination and disputes over the state or Central responsibility can be resolved if there are effective Unified Command Headquarters with clear-cut political, operational and coordinating responsibilities.  We need a synergised Centre-state strategy and doctrine to deal with the different aspects of the Maoist insurgency. This should cover the earlier mentioned internal security-related reforms as well as policies on accelerated economic development and social justice in the affected areas.  The writer is a former Army Chief.








Winds of change  CRPF revamps strategy 
New Delhi, May 30 Major changes in CRPF’s operational strategies are underway following the recent setback against Naxals, especially in Dantewada where it lost over 75 personnel. The post of CRPF Inspector General of Police (Operations) is likely to be created in every state where the force is deployed for anti-Naxal operations, official sources said.  The most crucial states of Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh may be the first to get the new IGP, who would exclusively oversee operations and will not do any administrative work.  Such a set-up currently exists in militancy-hit Jammu and Kashmir. The sources said a need was felt to have a specialised person heading the anti-Naxal operations in each states besides the one at the headquarters. The Home Ministry will have to create the additional posts before the names are finalised, sources said.  Shuffling of certain officers is likely to take place soon, sources said. Also on the anvil is a process for greater coordination between the central and state police forces, a need for which was also mentioned by E N Rammohan, the former BSF chief who led a one-man enquiry into the Dantewada massacre.  Sources said fresh strategies are being planned out and efforts are on to understand and replicate the successes achieved by security forces in Gadchiroli in Maharashtra.  The forces there have been able to regain control of most areas from Naxals. Emphasis is also being given to proper training. While earlier, all battalions inducted in Naxal areas post-August 2009 were been given training by the army, sources said those who were posted earlier could also be given the same now at the counter-insurgency and jungle warfare schools of the force and the Army. — PTI








Dantewada Ambush Court of Inquiry against 4 CRPF officers 
New Delhi/Raipur, May 30 The CRPF has constituted a Court of Inquiry (CoI) against three of its officers and a retired Inspector General, shunted out of Chhattisgarh following a report on the Dantewada massacre by Naxals, to look into the “specific acts of omission and commission” by them.”  “The Court of Inquiry will go into the specific roles of the three officers and would be completed by June 30,” CRPF Director General (DG) Vikram Srivastava told PTI.  The CoI will be headed by Additional Director General at the force headquarters DC Dey and will comprise an IGP and a Commandant rank officer.  The four officers in the dock are the then DIG (CRPF) Dantewada, Nalin Prabhat, then Commandant of the 62nd battalion AK Bisht, Inspector Sanjeev Bangre and IG Ramesh Chandra, who retired from service on April 30.  On May 21, Prabhat and the two other officers were shunted out of Chhattisgarh for their alleged lapses after government considered the E Rammohan Committee report, which was constituted by Home Minister P Chidambaram to go into the reasons of the April 6 Dantewada Naxal attack that left 75 CRPF and one state police personnel dead.  After they were shunted out, Prabhat was sent to Chandigarh as DIG, a charge he was already holding, Bisht moved to a training centre at Aradi in Orissa and Bangre was shifted to Anantnag in Kashmir.  The removal of Prabhat came as a surprise in the CRPF ranks as he was considered among the best officers in para-military forces and has been decorated with President’s Police Medal, Police Medal for Meritorious Service and Police Medal for Gallantry. He was considered as best operational officer during his tenure as the DIG in militancy-hit Jammu and Kashmir.  The CoI has sought records and other documents which were a crucial part of the earlier probe by former BSF (DG) EN Rammohan.  The inquiry will also go into the order and flow of communication between the Special sector headquarters of the CRPF located at Raipur (Chhattisgarh) and these officers.  The Special sector of the CRPF is headed by a Special Director General rank officer who is responsible for anti-Naxal operations undertaken by various Central para-military forces like the CRPF, the ITBP and the BSF and their coordination with different state police forces. — PTI







Voluntary retirees entitled to disability pension
Tribune News Service  Chandigarh, May 30 The Armed Forces Tribunal has held that an individual is entitled to disability pension along with regular pension even if he has taken voluntary premature retirement.  There have been many instances where the authorities concerned have been denying disability pension to military personnel who opted for pre-mature retirement owing to their low medical category.  Granting disability pension to a Brigadier who retired in 2004 along with arrears since the date he retired with 12 per cent interest, the Tribunal overruled the contention of the government that Regulation 50 of the Pension Rules did not entitle voluntary retirees to disability pension.  “After discussions, we have held that even if the incumbent may seek pre-mature retirement, he is still entitled to the disability element of pension,” the Bench said. The Bench observed that in the present case, the incumbent sought pre-mature retirement after completing 33 years and four-month service. A medical board had assessed his disability to be 30 per cent, which was attributed to and aggravated by military service.  He had earlier petitioned the Army headquarters and the Controller of Defence Accounts (Pensions), over the issue, but to no avail. Thereafter, he sought legal redressal to his grievance.









Tribunal upholds conviction of Major General
Vijay Mohan Tribune News Service  Chandigarh, May 30 About five years after a Major General was convicted by a general court martial (GCM) for his alleged involvement in the Tehelka scandal, the Armed Forces Tribunal has dismissed his petition challenging his trial. The GCM had in March 2005 found Maj Gen PSK Choudhary guilty on three charges of accepting gratification and professional impropriety and sentenced him to one-year rigorous imprisonment. He was posted as Additional Director General (Weapons and Equipment) at Army Headquarters when a sting operation, carried out by news portal Tehelka.com in 2001, had caught senior officers, bureaucrats and politicians on tape demanding and accepting bribes from portal’s staffers posing as arms dealers.  Besides Maj Gen Choudhary, a Brigadier and a Colonel were also convicted and awarded varying sentences by separate GCMs for their involvement in the same case. Administrative action was also taken against some other officers. Choudhary had contended that the GCM, which commenced on May 26, 2004, did not have the jurisdiction to try him as three years had elapsed since the date he was placed under suspension and hence the trial had become time barred. He contended that the date to consider for calculating the period of limitation should be when he was summoned by the Defence Secretary for a written statement.  Though the GCM had then accepted his plea, the court’s convening authority did not confirm it and ordered that the court re-assemble in August 2004. The Army, on the other hand, contended that the date that was to be considered when the alleged offence came to the knowledge of the competent authority was when the court of inquiry proceedings were placed before the GOC-in-C, Western Command. The action taken in March was on the basis of prima facie and not definite information.  The Tribunal observed that the Tehelka expose was prima facie report and, therefore, the Army acted promptly and placed the incumbent under suspension. But it not mean that the Army had acquired actionable information or knowledge.  Stating that actionable information could only be acquired after the authorities had probed the matter, the Tribunal ruled that in this case such information was acquired in June 2001 after the court of inquiry proceedings were duly completed. Hence, the period of limitation could not be counted from the date of the suspension, the Tribunal ruled.







US rehearses strikes on Pak 
Islamabad, May 30 The US military has already completed “dry exercises” for launching a unilateral strike inside Pakistan if any terrorist attack in America in future is traced to that country, according to a media report published today.  Also known as dry run, the trial exercise is a rehearsal of a military’s combat skills without the use of live ammunition, the Dawn said in a dispatch from Washington. Quoting diplomatic sources, it said the trial run for a unilateral strike in Pakistan, however, did not involve US troops.  “Instead, it projected computer simulations of such an attack with an assessment of a possible counterattack and of the potential resistance the US troops might face if they entered the Pakistani soil,” the report said.  It quoted diplomatic sources as saying that the USA had already informed Pakistan of its intention to conduct such an exercise before conducting the computer simulations.  Soon after the Mumbai attacks, the then Bush administration had planned live exercises close to the Pakistan border and conveyed its decision to Islamabad as well, the report said.  The US decision forced the then National Security Adviser Mahmud Ali Durrani to fly to Washington for convincing the Americans that such exercises would not help in fight against terrorism. “Instead, they would have weakened the nascent democratic set-up in Pakistan and eroded its ability to support the US-led war,” it said.  However, the US abandoned its move to carry out such exercises after US military chief Admiral Mike Mullen got an assurance from his Pakistani counterpart Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani that Islamabad would do its best to prevent extremists from using its soil for attacking other countries.  A diplomatic source told the Dawn that the American decision to once again explore the possibility of a unilateral military strike was not a threat. “It aims at convincing Pakistanis that now is the time to uproot extremists. A failure to do so may lead to an attack on the US soil, which, in turn, could lead to an American military strike inside Pakistan,” he said.  The report said Americans believed there were people in the Pakistani establishment who still sympathised with jihadi elements.  While such people, according to sources, were no longer interested in protecting the Al-Qaida or the Afghan Taliban, “they still have a soft corner for Pakistani jihadi elements, particularly those who fought in Kashmir”. The Americans, however, “have concluded that such groups are linked to the Al-Qaida, whether they are fighting in Kashmir or Afghanistan, and want all them uprooted”, they added.  The Pakistani judiciary was also requested not to be lenient to people like Hafiz Saeed. Diplomatic sources in Washington also observed that the decision to leak to the media the US military’s plans for a unilateral strike aimed at “persuading any elements in the power structure in Islamabad to do what is needed: share more intelligence, stop insisting that there are good Taliban and bad Taliban and to get serious about uprooting all jihadi groups”. — PTI







Are Naxals in touch with LeT?
May 28, 2010 15:04 IST Tags: Lashkar, ISI, Umer Madani, SIMI, RDX Email this Save to My Page Ask Users Write a Comment  The Naxals have stepped up the tempo and security agencies following the Dantewada attack had warned that there is more to come. Whatever intelligence that has been gathered on red terror would suggest that the forces are constantly increasing their capabilities, which include more men and sophisticated machinery.  Speaking about an expansion plan by Naxals, security agencies are trying to decipher the links they may have with anti-national groups such as the Lashkar-e-Tayiba [ Images ] or other Pakistan-based groups.  Chief Minister of Chattisgarh, too, had said that the security forces in his state suspect that groups such as the Lashkar could be behind providing support to the Naxals. Mahendra Kumawat, former chief of the Border Security Force, too, said that the Naxals are only focused on disrupting the concept of democracy and they would align with any force even it is anti-national to further their cause.  Indian Intelligence agencies told rediff.com that it was the Pakistan-based groups which made the first move. The Naxals had decided to wage a battle on their own strength, but it was groups such as the Lashkar which lured Naxals into their fold.  The Naxals, too, realised that if they had to carry this war forward with the Indian security forces stepping up the heat, they needed better equipment and hence they gave in to the offer made from across the border.  Interrogation and investigations of some operatives of the Lashakr go on to suggest that the ISI-sponsored Lashkar had intentionally created a channel through their second head quarters in Nepal to deal with Naxals in India [ Images ].  The ISI sensed this as a major problem within India and thought the best way to destablise the nation further was to support an internal aggression, like how they did with SIMI [ Images ].  The Lashkar has instructed all its cadres based in Nepal to focus largely on this aspect. In fact, it was almost a year ago that the first attempt to channelise funds and weapons was made.  Umer Madani, a Lashkar operative, arrested recently even confirmed this to the security agencies. He had said that he was told to open talks with the Naxals and offer them support both financially and logistically. However, as talks were about to start, he was arrested.  The Indian agencies say that the efforts to open up links with the Naxals did not end with Madani. They continue to operate out of Nepal and are now in regular contact with these red forces.  Indian agencies say that the war of the Naxals could propel into another league if the menace is not controlled. They have been acquiring sophisticated weaponary and improvising on technology and this is a sign that they would like to take their battle forward by an additional step.  Even some of the literature that has been seized from Naxal areas shows that their weapons have been upgraded. Timer devices, RDX are not easily accessible locally and that why Indian agencies feel that they are procuring equipments from across the border.








J&K 'encounter': Army orders probe
TNN, May 31, 2010, 04.35am IST NEW DELHI: With the name of at least one Army officer figuring in the alleged fake encounter in which three persons were killed in the Machil sector of Jammu and Kashmir on April 30, defence minister A K Antony on Saturday said strict action will be taken against anybody found guilty in the case.  "The J&K government has already ordered an inquiry into the case. We will fully cooperate in the probe. There is no question of cover up. Whoever is guilty will be punished...nobody will be spared,'' said Antony, speaking on the sidelines of the golden jubilee celebrations of the Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL) here.  The Army, on its part, said it "was already fully cooperating'' with the police in the investigation. "We have a zero-tolerance for human rights violations, as the Army chief General V K Singh himself has declared,'' said a senior officer.  While this may be true, it's also a fact that the Army prefers to deal with its errant personnel under its "own internal mechanisms'', rather than handing them over to civilian authorities.  For instance, there were a total of 179 "complaints'' of human rights abuse against armed forces personnel in 2007-2009. While the majority of them were found motivated or fake, there were still 23 requests for permission to launch prosecution against soldiers in those three years. The defence ministry, however, did not give permission in any of the cases.  "We cannot allow soldiers battling terrorists in J&K to get no legal protection and be left to civilian courts in the event of something going wrong. It will hit troop morale,'' said an officer.  The Army feels it is to be used for counter-terrorism operations in J&K, which cannot be equated with normal law and order duties, then its soldiers need "adequate protection'' against being dragged to courts.








IAF combat and heavy-lift chopper trials to begin by July 
The Indian Air Force (IAF) seems set for trials of new combat and heavy lift helicopters this summer, possibly from June or July, as Boeing gets ready to field its latest versions of AH 64D Apache and Chinook CH-47F helicopters.  So confident is Boeing that its top executives say the company is looking forward to be the first in the trials so as to set benchmarks that others in the competition cannot possibly match.  The US spends so much on Research & Development (R&D) that "our products are unbeatable in hi-tech and precision engagement", Dean Millsap, Regional Director, Asia Pacific for Boeing Rotorcraft Systems told India Strategic (www.indiastrategic.in) defence magazine.  The heavy lift Chinook, for instance, is the only helicopter that can land on water in an emergency, and also operate just above the water level to land or evacuate troops or people in a natural disaster situation.  IAF is looking for 22 Attack and 15 Heavy Lift helicopters as replacement for its Soviet vintage Mi 35 Attack and Mi 26 Heavy Lift machines which have served well but are too old now either to carry on or bear the burden of modern technology. The RfP for the two new aircraft was issued last year and besides Boeing, Russia's Rosoboronexport has offered newer versions of Mi 35 and Mi 26.  Italy's Finmeccanica, which owns AgustaWestland now, has offered the Mangusta attack helicopter, currently in service with the Italian Army. AgustaWestland has already won the IAF's order for 12 VIP helicopters.  As in case of the combat jets for the Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft (M-MRCAs), trials for which have just been over, field trials for both the new helicopters would be held in hot and humid weather in the deserts of Rajasthan and the heights of the Himalayas, Jaisalmer and Leh included.  The Indian Army and Air Force are already holding trials for the utility helicopters in these regions, which are required in large numbers from imported and indigenous production kits. There is no Transfer of Technology (ToT) clause though for manufacturing the Attack and Heavy Lift helicopters in India.  Notably, IAF's Mi 35s have been upgraded over the last few years with Israeli night-fighting devices, but the airframes are too old for any more technology insertions. IAF had acquired half a dozen Mi 26 choppers for ferrying supplies to the Himalayas but hardly a couple of them are now able to fly, one problem being the lack of spares as its manufacturing facilities have closed down after the disintegration of the Soviet Union 20 years back.  Mi 26 is a huge machine though, equivalent to an An-12 aircraft that the IAF once used to fly.  But Millsap says: "No helicopter can match the stability of the Chinook, whose  contra-rotating twin-rotors withstand rough weather in land, mountains and sea."  In Afghanistan, where the US and NATO forces are fighting the Al Qaida and Taliban terrorists, Chinooks maintain a steady supply to the troops while the Apaches give them cover if required in a battlezone.  Adds Vivek Lall, vice president and India country head for Boeing Defense and Space (BDS): "The Apache will be a capable and lethal defender of India's troops and assets, while the Chinook will answer many of the Indian military and humanitarian requirements."  While Millsap briefed a visiting Indian media group, invited by Boeing, on the capabilities of the AH 64D Block III, which is still under development, other company executives, Jack Dougherty and Mark Bellow, highlighted the capabilities of the Chinook with graphic footage from the troubled Afghan mountains.  The first Block III Apache would be delivered to the US Army in 2011 and to the IAF within three years or less of the signing of an agreement, Boeing officials said.









Azm-e-Nau: Hot start against cold start
Iftikhar Butt  Pakistan Army’s Azm-e-Nau-III exercise ends with 35 days round-the clock, almost non-stop, drill for sharpening wits and weapons, upgrading and uplifting physical and spiritual endurance capacities and capabilities and above all it was an exercise for operational readiness of faith, discipline and armament-with a renewed determination to fight any force on earth threatening the security, people and national assets of Pakistan. Pakistan’s armed forces are a strange phenomenon. The enemy will find them ever ready for any war, from anywhere, anytime. Its preparedness will be always at the optimum level-may it be Armageddon. Exercise Azm-e-Nau III has left Indian defence analysts, think tanks, the untrustworthy neighbor and its unpredictable army big wigs guessing what was Pakistan Army and government up to.  The Indian government’s thinking is reflected by what her paranoid army and defence analysts think. They are desperate and untrustworthy. And Pakistan is going by the experience with its psychopathic arch enemy who is plundering public money to buy all sorts of choiced weapons to cause maximum harm to Pakistan. India’s Cold Start-a doctrine evolved in 2004 gives enough exposure to their open intentions to go for a joint-air force, navy and army offence against Pakistan. The Cold Start strategy is aimed militarily at Pakistan and is offensive operation specific. Pakistan government are well aware of their enemy’s outrageously wicked and odious designs. If we just have a cursory glance at the magnitude of India’s defence expenditure for fiscal 2010-2011 we will come to know that it has been raised by 3.98 percent. They have 32 billion dollars to make happen a catastrophe in the region without predicting that this country would be no more on the world map. India being the largest buyer among emerging countries has already imported military hardware worth 28 billion dollars since 2000 from Israel, Russia, France and Britain. Obviously this kind of preparedness is not meant for small states like Bhutan etc. Further more, India has recently inducted its longest range nuclear-tipped missiles into the army and plans to spend upto US 42 billion dollars on modernisation of its military.  We have just taken a peek at the defence spending of a peace loving country whose 80 percent population is struggling to exist. Acting according to the teachings of their “great” philosopher Chankiya the Indian leaders with an olive branch in their hands have always been straining their every nerve, every wit to subjugate their smaller, weaker neighboring states and even erase their national identity. And that’s what their godfather, mentor Chankiya’s philosophy is descending through ages, and it has become a nature and psyche of Indian leaders and thinkers. Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru was also fascinated by Chankiya’s teachings. It is an aging old saying about Hindu leaders-they have a dagger hidden in their armpit and Ram’s name on their lips. Indian leader’s perturbance over Azm-e-Nau III military exercise is really justified. They are paranoid and scared and are attributing the massive military exercise to different motives, perhaps to satisfy their own wily minds. The employment of U.S. supplied military hardware in the exercise greatly irked the Indians. They know it was being proclaimed “India threat-centric” and they also know that they have been using in their exercises military hardware bought and gifted from U.S., Russia and other countries. Pakistan is a sovereign country-it can go for a quid pro quo or any kind of offensive including nukes if its security is challenged by any country. The army chief General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani has time and again rejected insinuation and a vicious propaganda against Pakistan army launched by Indian and its best friends including U.S. and Israel. General Kayani has also warned the enemies of Pakistan that strategic decisions regarding where, when and how many troops should be deployed were for Pakistan to make and that would be base on objective analysis and full understanding of the threat spectrum.  And when quite recently when an orchestrated slander campaign was launched by the enemy of Pakistan and their agents about the security of nukes Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani sounded them a warning. He warned the detractors that our nuclear weapons are the cornerstone of Pakistan deterrence strategy and enjoy complete national consensus and support. The Prime Minister dismissed with contempt the U.S. and Indians masterminds of the propaganda with the remarks that their insinuations to the contrary are plain, mischievous and malicious. The Indian leaders and army were perturbed 20 years hence when Pakistan army conducted Zarb-e-Momin (1989) after its pivotal role in forcing Soviet army out of Afghanistan. The entire world knew Pakistan’s role in the victory but India going by its traits was adamant to take it. Now after 20 years the Indian species are again have gall in their heads. The chief cause of their irritation is that Pakistan army is conducting Azm-e-Nau III of an unprecedented magnitude “sending India politico-military signals”. They are expressing fears that General Kayani through his military genie has brought about U.S.’s U-turn in favour of Pakistan army will ultimately facilitate the U.S. military exit from Afghanistan and the latter conceding strategic space in Afghanistan to the Pakistan army.  The Indian army and leadership feel miserable that they have been sidelined and isolated by U.S. apprehending that these two major factors-Afghanistan and U.S. sidelining India carry politico-military implications for India. Their defence analysts also conclude that Pakistan army, its strategic sensitivities and interests in Afghanistan would be upheld by the United States, disregarding India’s objections to the contrary. They are further anticipative of the fact that Pakistan army could prevail over United States to make India yield on Kashmir issue. Their defence experts are also cautioning the Indian leaders and policy makers who are infatuated with India-U.S. strategic partnership that if the chips are down the United States will always throw its dice in favour of the Pakistan Army.









11 school kids rescued by army in Ladakh
 Jammu, May 30  Battling adverse weather conditions, Indian Army troops rescued 11 school children whose bus was trapped in a landslide in Jammu and Kashmir's Ladakh region, the army said Sunday. Helicopters evacuated eight victims to military hospitals for life-saving surgeries.  Following the landslide, army troops immediately swung into action to extricate the 11 students of Army Goodwill School, Takshi, close to the Line of Control (LoC), near Turtuk in Nubra Valley of Leh district, a press release of the army's northern command in Udhampur said.  Three Army helicopters were launched despite bad weather conditions to evacuate the eight seriously injured children to the military hospital at Hunder in the Nubra valley.  "The army doctors stabilised and evacuated three of these children with critical head injuries by helicopter to Leh as the CT scan facilities were not available in Hunder hospital," the release said.  An army surgeon performed a life-saving emergency surgery on Faizullah, 6, who had sustained serious head injuries and a skull fracture and was in no condition to be air evacuated.  Surgery was also performed on Shamim, 10, who had blunt trauma chest and multiple rib fractures and lung contusion which could have caused respiratory failure and shock leading to death, the release said adding that both surgeries were performed without the support of advanced diagnostic instruments.  "These children are now stable and under medical supervision of the army doctors," the release said.  Three children were evacuated to military hospital at Leh by an Air Force helicopter. Two of these children were referred to an army hospital in Delhi.  All the injured children are stable, the release said adding that the army will provide full medical assistance to them.



Sunday, 30 May 2010

From Today's Papers - 30 May 2010







  Army studying tribunal verdict on Kargil war officer: Antony 
Defence Minister AK Antony talks to the media after the Golden Jubilee function of Mazagon Dock Ltd in New Delhi on Saturday. — PTI  New Delhi, May 29 The Army is “carefully studying” the Armed Forces Tribunal judgment indicting a senior commander for his role in falsifying Kargil war reports and showing bias against a Brigadier, Defence Minister AK Antony said here today.  “I had a meeting with the Army Chief and the Army is carefully studying the report,” he told reporters here. The Defence Minister was asked what action would be taken after the Tribunal verdict in the case.  The Tribunal has held that former 15 Corps Commander Lt Gen Kishan Pal falsified accounts of some of the battles fought during the Kargil conflict and discredited then 70 Infantry Brigade commander Brigadier Devinder Singh over his role in the war while writing his annual confidentialreport.  Crediting the UPA government for setting up the Tribunal, Antony said, “We took the initiative to have the Tribunal as we wanted that if there was any complaint from our retired persons and armed forces personnel, it should not only be looked into by the Services headquarters and the Ministry, it should have a judicial look also.”  The Tribunal was launched on August 8 last year and hears disputes and complaints about commission, appointments, enrolment and service conditions in respect of those covered by the Three Services Act, as also appeals arising out of orders, findings or sentences of court martial.  To a question on the arrest of a Navy personal for spying activities, The Defence Minister said, “I discussed this issue with the Navy chief.  He is a lower-level Navy man. Now the Delhi police is inquiring into that and Navy will also conduct an inquiry in their own way.” — PTI








 US plans military strike if terror plot traced to Pak
Ashish Kumar Sen in Washington DC  The United States military is looking at options for a unilateral military strike against Pakistan should there be a major terrorist incident in America that is traced to Pakistan, The Washington Post reported over the weekend.  The Post, citing senior military officials, said ties between Faisal Shahzad, the alleged Times Square bomber and the Pakistani Taliban have "sharpened the Obama administration's need for retaliatory options."  "Planning has been reinvigorated in the wake of Times Square," one of the officials said.  The paper reported the officials as saying a U.S. reprisal would be contemplated "only under extreme circumstances, such as a catastrophic attack that leaves President Obama convinced that the ongoing campaign of CIA drone strikes is insufficient."  President Barack Obama recently dispatched his top two intelligence aides - National Security Advisor Gen. Jim Jones and CIA Director Leon Panetta - to Pakistan to deliver a stern warning to the government in Islamabad to rein in terrorist groups operating in Pakistan. The disruption of the plot to blow up Times Square prompted the visit.  Gen. Jones told reporters he and Mr. Panetta sought to "impress upon our friends [in Pakistan] that it is essential that terrorism be defeated and that wherever there are the presence of terrorists of the perception of presence of terrorists that it’s in the interest of Pakistan to not only repudiate the existence of those kinds of organizations but also at the appropriate time to rid Pakistan of those — of that presence.”  In their meetings with Pakistani officials — including President Asif Ali Zardari and Army Chief Gen. Ashfaq Kiyani — the two U.S. officials presented evidence gathered by U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies that Shahzad had received significant support from the Pakistani Taliban.  During his presidential campaign, Obama had said he would be willing to order strikes in Pakistan. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in a television interview after the Times Square bombing attempt that “if, heaven forbid, an attack like this that we can trace back to Pakistan were to have been successful, there would be very severe consequences.”  “The U.S. options for potential retaliatory action rely mainly on air and missile strikes, but could also employ small teams of U.S. Special Operations troops already positioned along the border with Afghanistan. One of the senior military officials said plans for military strikes in Pakistan have been revised significantly over the past several years, moving away from a “large, punitive response” to more measured plans meant to deliver retaliatory blows against specific militant groups,” the Post reported.  It said U.S. spy agencies have engaged in a major buildup inside Pakistan over the past year. The CIA has also increased the pace of drone strikes against al-Qaeda affiliates.








Major booked, jawan arrested Tejinder Singh Sodhi
Tribune News Service  Nadihal (Baramulla), May 29 A Major and a Territorial Army jawan, Abbas Hussain Shah, were today booked for the killing of three civilians in an alleged fake encounter in the Machil sector in Kupwara district on April 30. The jawan was arrested too.  “This is a clear case of murder for medal and reward. The three youths were innocent civilians, who were labelled as militants and killed by the Army,” a police officer said.  A former special police officer (SPO), Bashir Ahmad, and his accomplice, Fayaz Ahmed, are already in police custody in connection with the killings. He added Bashir had revealed the name of the TA jawan, who played a key role in the conspiracy to kill the youths.  “He, on the behest of the Major, conspired with Lone, Ahmad and Abdul Hamid Bhat to lure the three civilians. The youths were promised jobs of porter in the Machil sector near the LoC where the Army unit was located,” the police officer said. He said the three youths were taken to Sogam village in Kupwara, and were then shifted in another vehicle and taken to the LoC. Near the LoC, they were killed in the fake encounter.  Meanwhile, the situation continued to remain tense in Nadihal village for the second consecutive day today after the villagers refused to bury the bodies of the three youths. The bodies were exhumed yesterday and handed over to their relatives.  The villagers took the bodies in a procession and placed them on the Baramulla-Rafiabad road. The police had to resort to a baton charge to disperse the mob and at least 12 youths were injured, including two seriously. The agitating mob also set ablaze the house of former SPO Bashir, who is said to be the mastermind of the kidnapping of the youths and staging the encounter.







Clashes in J&K over 'fake' encounter
NDTV Correspondent, Saturday May 29, 2010, Baramulla Angry villagers protested on the Kupwara-Baramulla highway against an alleged fake encounter by the Army.  Tempers ran high as the bodies of three villagers were exhumed, a month after they were killed and labelled as militants.  The three were missing a day before the killings. Their relatives claim they were lured by some Army informers.  "After we filed an FIR, an accused arrested by the police confessed that he had sold them. He has sold them. He has taken money," said Mohammad Yousf Lone, father of one of the victims.  On April 30, the Army claimed to have foiled an infiltration bid and recovered 5 AK rifles, over 200 rounds of ammunition and even Pakistani currency.  Police have filed a case of murder and kidnapping against the Army. (Read: J&K- Murder case filed against Army for alleged fake encounter)  Two special police officers and a territorial Army jawan Syed Abbas have been arrested, who allegedly collaborated with an Major of Four Rajpur Rifles.  The two SPOs have alleged that the Major paid them Rs 50,000 each to 'get' 3 villagers who would act as infiltrators.  "We are trying to identify the persons involved, the officers involved," said Farooq Ahmad, IGP, Kashmir.  The Army unit has moved out of the state, but now the commanding officer and the Major are being sent back to Kashmir to cooperate in the probe.  "We will fully cooperate in the probe into the alleged fake encounter in Kashmir involving some Armymen; whoever is guilty will be punished," said A K Antony, Defence Minister. (Read: Army to cooperate in alleged fake encounter case probe)  The state government has ordered a magisterial probe, but the Opposition isn't amused.  "The Chief Minister as the head of unified command can't escape his responsibilities in this organised racket," said Mufti Mohammad Sayed (PDP leader).   In this horrifying incident of killing for rewards that has again put Kashmir on boil, now it's not just the question of justice for victims, but also where did the arms, ammunition and Pakistan currency come from that was shown as recovery in an attempt to prove victims were terrorists.







India is indispensable ally: US
Lalit K Jha/ PTI / Washington May 29, 2010, 10:39 IST  The United States, which recently concluded its strategic dialogues with Pakistan and China, has said that India is its indispensable ally and will be one of the defining partnerships for America in the 21st century.  "President (Barack) Obama has called India an indispensable partner and has said that India will be one of the defining partnerships for the United States in the 21st century.  India matters to the United States because it's the world's largest democracy," Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake said.  "It has the world's second fastest growing economy and an economy that is a very important source for -- of exports for United States companies, and also because it is an increasingly important partner for the United States in addressing common global concerns.  In just 10 years, we've had a complete transformation in our bilateral relations and a transformation that enjoys bipartisan support both in India and the United States," Blake told reporters ahead of the first Cabinet-level Strategic Dialogue between the two countries.  "Perhaps most importantly, we see tremendous potential for growth in our relations with India.  That's why President Obama and Secretary of State (Hillary) Clinton decided to elevate our relations with India by establishing a strategic dialogue to be led by Secretary Clinton and her counterpart, External Affairs Minister (S M) Krishna," he said.  Clinton had announced this dialogue last summer on her trip to India, following which Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was invited by Obama to be this Administration's first state visit in November, again, to reaffirm the importance that the US attach to its relations with India, Blake said.  Strongly refuting reports that the Obama Administration is not very much focused on India, Blake said the US attaches great importance to our relations with India as President Obama himself has said, this will be one of America's signature partnerships in the 21st century.







RAW's role in Lahore attacks not ruled out, says Malik
May 28, 2010 23:46 IST Tags: Rehman Malik, Research and Analysis Wing, Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan Email this Save to My Page Ask Users Write a Comment  Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik   on Friday said the involvement of India's Research and Analysis Wing intelligence agency in terror attacks on two mosques of the minority Ahmedi sect in Lahore   could not be ruled out.  "About Balochistan (province), I am sure that RAW is involved in saboteur activities. But for Lahore we are investigating," he said while talking to mediapersons.  "The involvement of RAW cannot be ruled out. However, anything concrete would come forth after the investigation," Malik said, adding, the involvement of Taliban   and Al Qaeda   elements in the attack would also be probed.  Meanwhile, officials of the Indian High Commission in Islamabad   were not available for comment. About 80 people were killed and over 100 injured when terrorists armed with suicide vests, grenades and assault rifles stormed the two mosques in Lahore, the capital of Punjab   province.  A Punjabi faction of the Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack in a message sent to a TV news channel. Malik said the interior ministry had sent two security alerts to the Punjab government on May 13 and May 26 about possible terrorist activity in Lahore, Islamabad and Rawalpindi.  "But it is yet to be probed whether the security measures taken by the provincial government were adequate or not. I have sought a report from the Punjab government on the incident," he said.  According to the intelligence reports, a terrorist named Abdul Jabbar alias Nasrullah was planning to carry out attacks in Lahore while militant commander Qari Hussain was plotting attacks in Rawalpindi, Islamabad and Lahore using suicide jackets procured from the Bannu region in the country's northwest.  "One militant apprehended (during today's attack) hails from Punjab. Such people have their headquarters in Jhang. It is not a secret. They had been carrying out terrorist activities for years," he said, referring to the headquarters of the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi.  Malik said the federal government will provide all support to Punjab and that he would visit the province within a week to discuss the issue.  "I had always been vocal that such militants exist in Punjab. If two explosive-laden trucks are seen in Dera Ghazi Khan, what are they there for? Obviously, they have some objectives," he said.  Terrorism   has been a menace for 25 years old and it is a challenging task to curb the terrorists, Malik said. "In the past, they used to carry out attacks on a daily basis. Now they act after a month or two. But it is government's resolve to uproot them in toto," he said.  Malik also said he had proposed to his Indian counterpart P Chidambaram   that the two countries should discuss issues at the negotiating table as this was in the interest of both sides.  "We cannot see the loss of innocent lives. There is a need to devise a common strategy. Pakistan will lead in this regard as it has been a victim of terrorism and sacrificed its citizens, security forces personnel and law enforcement agencies officials," he said.  Pakistan also expects the international community to lend a hand to its efforts to fight terrorism and restore peace, he said. "The government would never lose its muscles.  A more aggressive action will be taken against mercenaries and killers of innocent citizens," Malik said.  Image: Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik







Our soldiers have shed enough blood: it is time to come home
It is time to stop the blood sacrifice of our young soldiers in Afghanistan. In June 2003, Tony Blair initiated the grim ritual of reading out the names of the fallen at the start of each prime minister's questions. David Cameron's first words as PM at the Dispatch Box after the Queen's Speech were an incantation to the new victims of a war that is as unwinnable as it is unwanted by the people of both Britain and Afghanistan.  In 1985, Mikhail Gorbachev described Afghanistan as a "bleeding wound". Last week, US general Stanley McChrystal called it a "bleeding ulcer". Britain has no general, no "master of strategy" as the inscription on Field Marshal Lord Alanbrooke's statue outside the Ministry of Defence puts it, with the 21st-century vision to stop the blood-letting as officers and men are sent as IED fodder. War is too important to be left to generals. Unfortunately ministers past and present have flinched from thinking strategically. If the object is to stop Afghanistan from again becoming a base for al-Qaida to launch attacks, there are alternatives to sending out men on foot patrols to be blown up by hidden bombs or shot by snipers who fade back into the hills.  The new defence secretary is now known as "13th-Century Fox" after his colonial, quasi-racist rant about Afghanistan as a 13th-century nation. President Karzai is an obsessive reader of British and American papers. Liam Fox's patronising contempt has done serious damage to Britain's influence in Kabul. Instead of apologising gracefully, Fox blustered and tried to explain away his gaffe. But he did hint at a truth when he suggested that Britain should look to reducing its military profile in Afghanistan. Unfortunately this outbreak of wisdom was slapped down by the foreign secretary, William Hague.  In Canada, the Conservative government has confirmed its troops will leave next year. There is new thinking in the Netherlands, one of Britain's key Nato allies, where the government collapsed over Afghanistan. Nato has new duties to guard its Baltic flanks and ensure that the melting Arctic becomes a sea of trade and peace. It no longer needs to define its existence by occupying Afghanistan.  There is fresh thinking among Tory MPs. In the Commons last week, Patrick Mercer MP, a former commanding officer of an infantry regiment, made the point that Britain's terrorists were bred and trained in Yorkshire, not Afghanistan. Another Tory MP, the former shadow defence minister Julian Lewis, said Britain should create sovereign strategic bases in Afghanistan to support the government and ensure al-Qaida does not return, but stop the pointless patrols that are target practice for the Taliban.  Every six months, a new commander is sent from London to head the fighting soldiers in Afghanistan. These brigadiers rotate, so that, instead of fighting one six-year war, we have fought 12 six-month wars, so that future red tabs can punch their tickets. The can-do, will-do power-point style of the British army impresses politicians, and every visiting minister and journalist is in awe of these tough, sun-burnt, dedicated professionals. It is hard to say that they and their generals are wrong, but the time has come to put parliament and elected ministers in charge. The pro-war tabloids say they are backing our boys. They are not: they are backing the generals. Officers and men ready to criticise the campaign have no voice.  Diplomats and development aid should be redirected to Pakistan and India, as well as to China and Iran, to remove the widespread feeling among Muslim communities that this is Kipling's west again seeking to control the lives of people whose customs and needs they do not understand. The burning issue of Kashmir, where 70,000 Muslims have been killed since the Indian army took over full control of the disputed region 20 years ago, needs to be put on the international agenda. The White House is clearly looking for an exit strategy. Britain also needs to begin PMQs without a roll-call of the dead and maimed. We have done our duty. It is time to come home.  Denis MacShane is Labour MP for Rotherham and a former FCO ministe








Antony: we will cooperate with J&K police in probe
PTI Share  ·   print  ·   T+   Defence Minister A. K. Antony talks to the media after the golden jubilee celebrations of the Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL), in New Delhi on Saturday. PTI Defence Minister A. K. Antony talks to the media after the golden jubilee celebrations of the Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL), in New Delhi on Saturday. Related NEWS Expecting more attempts of infiltration this summer: Antony TOPICS crime murder crime, law and justice inquiry  Defence Minister A. K. Antony on Saturday said his ministry will fully cooperate with Jammu and Kashmir police probe into the alleged fake encounter in Kashmir involving an Army jawan and promised that anybody found “guilty will be punished“.  He said the Army is also inquiring into the allegations that three youth were lured to the Line of Control and killed in a fake encounter.  “The Jammu and Kashmir government has already ordered an inquiry. We will fully cooperate and there is no question of cover up. Whoever is guilty will be punished... There is no question of cover up and nobody will be spared,” he said.  The Defence Minister was talking to reporters on the sidelines of the golden jubilee celebrations of the Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL).  Jammu and Kashmir Police has arrested three persons including a Territorial Army jawan for the alleged fake encounter in Machil sector of north Kashmir.  Police arrested Abbas Shah - the Territorial Army jawan, Basharat Lone and Abdul Hamid Bhat after registering a case of murder against them.  The State government ordered a magisterial enquiry into the case and has also taken up the matter with the Defence Ministry.  Army studying tribunal verdict on Kargil war officer  The Army is “carefully studying” the Armed Forces Tribunal judgement indicting a senior commander for his role in falsifying Kargil war reports and showing bias against a Brigadier, the Defence Minister said.  “I had a meeting with the Army Chief and the Army is carefully studying the report,” he told reporters in New Delhi.  Crediting the UPA government for setting up the Tribunal, Mr. Antony said, “We took the initiative to have the Tribunal as we wanted that if there was any complaint from our retired persons and armed forces personnel, it should not only be looked into by the Services headquarters and the Ministry, it should have a judicial look also.”  The Tribunal was launched on August 8 last year and hears disputes and complaints about commission, appointments, enrolment and service conditions in respect of those covered by the Three Services Act, as also appeals arising out of orders, findings or sentences of court martial.  To a question on the arrest of a Navy personal for spying activities, The Defence Minister said, “I discussed this issue with the Navy chief. He is a lower-level Navy man. Now the Delhi police is inquiring into that and Navy will also conduct an inquiry in their own way.”








Antony doesn't rule out using army against Maoists 
Defence Minister AK Antony on Saturday met Indian Army chief Gen. VK Singh to discuss the possibility of using the army against the Maoist guerrillas - a possibility that Antony later didn't rule out.  A well informed source told IANS that Singh and Antony discussed the role of the army in "assisting" paramilitary troopers in the anti-Maoist operations in east and central India, where the Left-wing extremists have grown in strength striking at security forces and civilians with impunity.   Antony later told reporters that the government will "carefully" examine the issue but didn't rule it out.   "You cannot have a debate about it in public. We will take the decision after carefully studying it," the defence minister said.   The meeting between the army chief and the minister comes a day after a Maoist sabotage caused a train accident in West Bengal leaving more than 130 people dead. This was the biggest attack on civilians by the rebels after they slaughtered 76 security men in Chhattisgarh's Dantewada district April 6.   Sources said the army is almost ready to move in into Maoist dominated areas and is waiting for the political decision about it.   "The force is finalizing its plans to meet any contingency. They may have to step in," an official said.   The army is presently giving training, surveillance and logistical support to the central paramilitary troopers in their ongoing anti-Maoist operations.  It is establishing two sub-area headquarters at Ambarda on the Orissa-West Bengal border and Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh.  Though the sub-area headquarters would be static they are likely to help if army units are deployed in the region to fight the rebels along with the police and paramilitary forces.  Antony had earlier categorically ruled out deploying the army in a direct role in the operations.  The army has already trained around 47,000 police and paramilitary personnel for counter-insurgency battle.








Civil-military relations, the way forward
Gen Mirza Aslam Beg  Pakistan is passing through very interesting times of civil-military relations, which demand sagacious and bold decisions by the political and military leadership, to correct the course. We have a checkered history of civil-military relations, retarding the growth of the political culture, as the foundation for a robust democratic order. A brief mention of the past failings and the present opportunities, therefore, is necessary to arrive at some meaningful conclusions. General Ayub Khan took-over in 1958and opened the way for American ingress into our internal affairs. Ten years later when the Americans found him “too-big for his boots”, a political movement started against him, thus activating the ‘Nexus for regime change.’ The junior military leadership under General Ayub; the political parties; the judiciary using the instrument of ‘law of necessity,’ facilitated take-over by General Yahya Khan, who proved instrumental for the break-up of Pakistan. When the job was done, Mr. Z.A. Bhutto took-over as the Prime Minister of Pakistan.  Mr. Bhutto was a dynamic leader. He held 1974 Conference of the Organization of Islamic Conference, giving a new sense of unity to the Muslim World. He opened the way to China and declared to the world to acquire nuclear weapon capability against India, which was unacceptable to the Americans. Thus the Nexus got activated again, and the political movement started on the issue of rigging in the elections and turned into Nizam-e-Mustafa movement. Mr. Bhutto was over-thrown and General Ziaul Haq took over in 1977. General Ziaul ruled for eleven long years, with an iron hand. He joined the American war against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, and in the process helped create the Jehadi Resistance Movement, joined by “sixty-thousand volunteers, from seventy countries of the world.” Another forty-thousand came from Pakistan alone. He protected and promoted the atomic programme, initiated by Mr. Bhutto. When the Soviets retreated from Afghanistan, General Zia lost his importance for the Americans. He was considered a nuclear proliferator and a strong factor of unity for the Afghan Mujahideen, whom the Americans had decided to keep out of power from the political set-up at Kabul. Hence, General Zia was eliminated through the C-130 air crash, which Benazir Bhutto considered as “an act of God”. Within three hours of General Zia’s death, constitution was restored and power was transferred to the people, to whom it belonged. This momentous decision has no parallel in the contemporary history, was taken by the Three Service Chiefs: General Aslam Beg, Admiral Saeed Ahmed Khan and Air Chief Marshal Hakimullah. We were assisted by General Hamid Gul, DGISI and Brig Aziz Khan, the Judge Advocate General of Pakistan Army. A tradition was set. The opportune time has now arrived, to revive this tradition.  From 1988 to 1998, the two young elected political leaders of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif wasted most of their time on mud-slinging at each other. The Army Chiefs – General Asif Nawaz, General Abdul Waheed and Jahangir Karamat did not intervene despite, provocations and temptations. It were the two presidents, the known supporters of Pakistan Muslim League and Pakistan Peoples Party, who played their hands at 58-2(B) causing pre-mature regime changes. Americans were too busy during this period taking care of their interests in the Gulf region. In 1998, when Nawaz Sharif, despite American forbiddings, exploded the nuclear devices, in response to the Indian, he became an “undesirable and untrustworthy leader.” He therefore had to be removed. The ‘Nexus’ got activated again and a political movement started, under the banner of the Grand Democratic Alliance. Nawaz Sharif smelled the conspiracy being hatched against him and removed General Musharraf from command, but failed. General Musharraf took-over on 12 October 1998. He joined the American war on Afghanistan and earned the title of “Most Loyal non-NATO ally.” His rule spans over a period of ten years and his deeds are fresh in our memory but the most important development during this period was the “movement for the independence of the judiciary” led by the judges, lawyers, the media and the civil society, which forced Musharraf out, and a new political set-up was established after the 18th February 2008 elections.  The process of dismantling of the Nexus, now has started, first with the bold stand taken by the Chief Justice of Pakistan in March 2007, and subsequently, the very momentous decision by the Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kiani, for “not to engage or involve the Army in the election process of 18th February 2008” made all the difference. It changed the course of democracy in Pakistan. It also defeated the American – Musharraf plan for winning the 2008 elections in the manner, they had won in 2002. And from this point onwards, a great opportunity offers itself to the civil-military leadership to carve-out a new destiny for Pakistan.  The judiciary is independent and has discarded the mantle of Law of Necessity. The Army has found its proper place in its equation with the civil authority. The political opposition is not interested for regime change, despite the provocations. The lawyers and the media movement, has created a new awareness for change amongst the broad masses. The stage therefore is set for a bold decision to correct the course. Three steps are needed to set the fundamental direction right: Step One: Defuse the on-going controversy between the judiciary and the government. Independence of judiciary is sacrosanct, as much as is the sovereignty of the parliament. There are enlightened people on both sides of the fence and they will find the answer. Justice Jawad Khawaja’s recent comment is very re-assuring indeed: “We don’t claim any right beyond the will of the people.” A better understanding is developing between the two prime institutions. Step Two: Give a meaning to the decision of the three services chiefs of 17th August 1988, by establishing the post of Chief of Defense Staff (CDS) as recommended by General Muhammad Sharif Committee in 1975. Mr. Bhutto ignored this recommendation and suffered. Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and Mr. Nawaz Sharif both ignored my pleadings, to create the post of CDS. Nawaz Sharif ultimately had to bear the brunt. Why one may suffer any more? Step Three: Having created the post of Chief of Defence Staff, it would be proper to appoint General Kiani as the first CDS, for a three years tenure. His credentials are well established. And a new Chief of Army Staff may be appointed in his place.  With these steps taken, better harmony would prevail between civil-military relations and understanding would develop to safeguard the independence of judiciary and the sovereignty of the parliament. And from military point of view also, the appointment of CDS is as important, if we care to learn from history. The ’65 and ’71 wars were started without due coordination with the other two services and we suffered. The Kargil operation was a bad example. Now is the time to take this well-considered decision, as the bedrock of harmonious civil-military relations.

 

Mail your comments, suggestions and ideas to me

Template created by Rohit Agarwal