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Monday, 16 May 2011

From Today's Papers - 16 May 2011

Jottings completes 1,000 posts with this one. Would love to receive your comments, feedback and suggestions either through the comments on blog itself, or via email to . Thank you for your support and hope for more of the same in the times to come.

Rohit Agarwal

The post-Osama scenario
Are the US and Pakistan drifting apart? by Anita Inder Singh  THE US and Pakistan have since 2001 been allies in conflict, but after Osama bin Laden’s killing their tense relationship has become so strained that the question is whether and how they can continue to collaborate against extremists in the Af-Pak area.  With US officials openly saying that the mistrust of Pakistan led them to keep Islamabad in the dark about American plans to kill Bin Laden, who was enjoying a safe haven in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad, and with Islamabad saying it wants American troops in Pakistan to be reduced to a minimum, their relationship seems to be hardening. A possible trip by President Barack Obama later this year might be called off. And many in Washington are now debating the desirability of continuing to give largesse to Pakistan.  While announcing that Bin Laden had been killed by American security forces, President Obama wisely refrained from humiliating Pakistan in public; instead, he has affirmed that “our counter-terrorism cooperation with Pakistan helped lead us to Bin Laden”. Perhaps, he hoped that an emboldened US would now find it easier to persuade the embarrassed Pakistani establishment to hunt down the Afghan Taliban who have enjoyed safe havens and are training on Pakistani turf over the last decade, enabling extremists to frustrate the success of America’s Afghan campaign.  Subsequently, however, Mr Obama’s statement of May 9 — “some people inside of government” were providing a support structure to Bin Laden --- is diplomatic fluff for Washington’s belief that Bin Laden could only have survived in secure luxury in Abbottabad with knowledge and collusion of Islamabad.  Even before Bin Laden’s death, America’s mistrust of the Pakistan Army was evident when it deployed a number of CIA operatives, Special Operations forces and contractors deep inside Pakistan without the knowledge of the Pakistani authorities. These deployments triggered the showdown over Raymond Davis but, most importantly, helped open the trail to Bin Laden. On the other side, Pakistan’s anger at the US was evident from its advice to Afghanistan to end its dependence on Washington and turn to China, Pakistan’s all-weather friend.  Pakistan’s military reacted to the news of Bin Laden’s killing by cutting off communication with US and NATO forces in Afghanistan for two days. Washington couldn’t care less: it has since asserted that it reserves the right to act again against top terror suspects inside Pakistan.  The US believes that Al-Qaida remains to be dismantled and defeated in Pakistan. So, it is likely to push Pakistan to stop looking both ways on extremism. One reason is that the US claims to have evidence that more Al-Qaida leaders, including Ayman al-Zawahiri, one of the brains behind 9/11, are hiding in Pakistan.  The other extremists include Afghan Taliban leader Mullar Omar, believed to be enjoying a safe haven with his cohorts in the Baluch city of Quetta and the Afghan Taliban commander, Jalaluddin Haqqani and his son, Sirajuddin, who are based in North Waziristan. Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, believes that the ISI operatives are “supporting, funding and training fighters that are killing Americans and killing coalition partners” and that the ISI has a “longstanding relationship” with them. There are also extremists from other groups, including Pakistani militants, having ties with Al-Qaida. Pakistan’s military is aware of America’s insistence that their country cannot have ties with these groups. But while leading military operations against extremists in some parts of Pakistan, the army has expressed its inability to tackle North Waziristan.  Pakistan has, understandably, warned against further raids inside its territory. American intrusion into its sovereignty was already a sticking point in US-Pakistani relations as Pakistan resented American drone attacks which have killed civilians. Now with popular Pakistani protests against the US killing of Bin Laden, the new American threat will not endear the US to the Pakistanis.  American-Pakistani differences also prevail on Afghanistan’s future and on India. Essentially, Pakistan’s interest in the political future of Afghanistan stems from its wish to have a client regime in Kabul which would keep Indian influence out of the country. That is not Washington’s aim. At the very least, Washington will only negotiate with the Afghan Taliban from a militarily vantage point; at best, it wants to defeat them.  Even more important, perhaps, is the discomfiture of the Afghans with the idea of making deals with the Taliban. That is evident from Mr Karzai’s hailing of Bin Laden’s death, and his call to the Taliban to learn a lesson from the event. And recently Afghan officials, including former Intelligence Chief Amanullah Saleh and Abdullah Abdullah, Karzai’s main, defeated, electoral challenger in the presidential elections of 2009, addressed large crowds, saying that they did not want peace talks with the Pakistani-steered Taliban. Their opposition to Pakistani-brokered talks with the Taliban cannot be ignored by the West, especially Washington, whatever some advocates of NATO’s withdrawal from Afghanistan and parleys with extremists might think.  More generally, Kabul and Islamabad have their own differences over India. Mr Karzai and Dr Abdullah welcome India’s interest in a stable Afghanistan, Indian reconstruction aid and cultural influence.  As for India and Pakistan, the US does not expect their impasse to be broken soon. But it has never accepted that as an excuse for Islamabad’s inaction against extremists on Pakistani soil. And the new tensions between the US and Pakistan will not encourage Washington to ditch India with a view to pleasing Pakistan.  There have been calls in Washington to slash aid to Pakistan. That would not suit Islamabad, which has received more than $12.5 billion over the last decade in return for fighting extremism. Most of that aid has been used to help militants, to buy arms to be used against India, or to line the pockets of Pakistan’s military. Whenever the US demanded accountability from Islamabad and talked tough over the use – or misuse – of aid, Pakistan threatened to cut off supply lines to Afghanistan. The US backed down and continued to send more weapons and aid. And so the cycle continued.  The death of Bin Laden presents an opportunity to the US to demand accountability from Islamabad for playing this dangerous double game.  But with most NATO supplies passing through Pakistan, Washington’s hope is that Pakistan will come on board against the Afghan Taliban. That is reasonable, but not enough. The US is already reviewing its dependence on Pakistan.  Should the US break with Pakistan's military establishment as the only way to bring Islamabad’s duplicity out in the open and force the Pakistani military and intelligence services to decide which side they are really on? This question is being hotly debated in Washington. For the US can no longer delude itself that Pakistan is a partner against terrorism. Post-Osama, Islamabad is looking to many Americans as accomplices to those who wish to cause harm to the US.  Both the US and Pakistan will try to keep their relationship on an even keel. Whether those efforts will succeed or fail remains to be seen, but some tough bargaining can be expected in the months ahead.

Osama raid is a feather in the cap of US Navy Seals
HOW THRILLING it indeed must have been to land on top of the Osama house in Pakistan, do the big job in quick 40 minutes and return to Afghanistan. Of course, the return journey had no anxious moments as the forward flight to Pakistan had.  The commando raid by the US Navy personnel on the house of the most dreaded Islamist terrorist headman was fraught with danger to limb and life. But the job they had been entrusted with had to be done. It was done. The SEALS were mandated to catch Osama bin-Laden, the mastermind of the terrorist attack on twin towers in New York, the Pentagon in Washington DC and two more places in which more than 3,000 Americans and citizens of other nationalities had lost their lives.   OBAMA SIGNED OSAMA'S DEATH WARRANT   Both interesting and thrilling. President of the United States of America had signed the mandate that the top most terrorist had to be captured and brought to own base dead or alive. Of the 50 SEALS of the US Navy who were put on alert for mission Osama, 26 actually landed on the Osama roof and compound, challenged the outlaw and on the latter's resistence to arrest, the SEALS had no option but to shoot him. They precisely did that. Americans pumped one bullet in Osama's chest and one in head, bundled the body in the chopper and flew toJalalabad in Afghanistan. The American raiding party was wearing cameras on helmets and the scenes of raid, shooting and capture of wives and children were broadcast live for viewing of the President of the United States and other senior members of the government back in Washington DC. The mission was a success and the President said with aplomb "We got him".   SEALS WATCHING LIKE BAY WATCH   DEV GRU as the US Navy outfit is known in the defence jargon returned to base with success written on their faces. They had a congratulatory trip to the White House and were patted on the back by the President himself. Back on base when they went to the beach for a stroll, they were objects of watch and admiration by the common man. Citizens would hoist their toddlers on their shoulders and pointing towards SEALS in civies would say "Hey sonny boy, look over there. the man walking briskly is a SEAL, a member of the Naval Commando outfit that raided the Pakistani top terrorist house, killed him anf seized a lot of tapes, hard disks, pen drives etc." Kids understood less than half of what was uttered in excitement by parents but knew very well that the Naval guy did something for the United States to be proud of.   Indeed SEALS of the US Navy displayed valour and wisdom that won them laurels. They really did their country proud. All the planning and execution of the deadly raid was a top secret and the best kept secret of the Defence Forces in recent years. It is worth recalling that they raided a house in Abbottabad, a garrison town and returned safely.  The raid is not only a talk of the town but of the world. How was Osama lodged in a garrison town where is located Pakistan Military Academy? How did Americans raid a town without the Pakistan security forces coming to know of it till the US President informed them that the raid was successfully over.  Pakistan is indeed a failed state. There the Army Generals and Islamist terrorists prosper but the national economy needs Americn stilts to just stand still. Pakistan is Pakistan and anything can happen there.

The warship that buried Osama bin Laden
Aboard the USS Carl Vinson:  US officials welcomed visitors on Sunday to the USS Carl Vinson warship, from which Osama bin Laden's body was buried at sea, but did not discuss the ultra-secretive attack that killed him, reflecting America's concern over possible retaliation.  US defense officials were taking measures to ensure the security of the operatives involved in the May 2 assault on a walled fortress in Abbottabad, Pakistan, particularly the Navy SEAL team that killed the world's most wanted terrorist.  President Benigno Aquino III, accompanied by senior members of his Cabinet and military chief of staff, were flown to the massive aircraft carrier Saturday as it traveled in the South China Sea toward the Philippines, a key Asian anti-terrorism ally.  A group of journalists were invited to tour and talk to sailors aboard the 97,000-ton Carl Vinson, which anchored off Manila along with three other warships on Sunday at the start of a four-day routine port call and goodwill visit.  
During the 30-minute ferry ride to the Vinson, US Embassy spokeswoman Wossenyelesh Mazengia told about two dozen journalists that nobody aboard the carrier would talk about bin Laden. "No one on the Vinson is authorized to discuss any operational details that involve Osama bin Laden," Mazengia said. "I'm not trying to say you can't ask, you can."  Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said Aquino and his entourage were given a tour of the warship and an exhibition of fighter jets landing and taking off from the Carl Vinson, including one flown by a Filipino-American pilot.  Aquino, at one point, sat on the cockpit of an F/A-18E Super Hornet fighter jet at a hangar bay as sailors snapped pictures. He talked and posed for souvenir pictures with many beaming Filipino-American sailors, Gazmin said.  But the one thing on everybody's mind - bin Laden's burial from the Carl Vinson just 12 days earlier - did not come up. US Navy officials did not touch the sensitive subject and Aquino's group saw it fit not to ask questions, Gazmin said.  "We did not ask for a briefing because it was too sensitive," Gazmin told The Associated Press on Sunday. "It was a friendly visit and we let it stay that way." Gazmin, a retired general, said he was impressed by the stunning US commando night-time strike that got bin Laden, adding it showed the might of the American military force.  Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario, who said it was his first time to set foot on an aircraft carrier, was impressed as war planes landed and were launched by catapults from the tarmac.  "You can feel the inherent power of these fighter jets," del Rosario said.  In impromptu remarks on the ship, Aquino reaffirmed the "historic, defense and cultural ties" between the United States and the Philippines, one of Washington's oldest and closest Asian allies, presidential spokesman Ricky Carandang said.  US special forces have been training and arming Filipino soldiers battling al-Qaida-linked militants in the southern Philippines since 2003.  The Carl Vinson came from the North Arabian Sea, where it had received a US SEAL team, which carried bin Laden's body after killing the long-wanted al-Qaida leader in a raid on his walled compound near a Pakistani military academy.  Pentagon officials have said that on the carrier, bin Laden's body was placed in a "weighted bag," an officer made religious remarks and the remains were put on a flat board and tipped into the sea.  Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said that during a recent meeting with members of the team that attacked bin Laden, they expressed concerns about the security of their families.  American officials agreed shortly after bin Laden was killed not to release any operational details on the commando assault, Gates said, but added "that fell apart - the next day."  "We are looking at what measures can be taken to pump up the security," Gates said.  The US Embassy in Manila said Carl Vinson's service members would take part in sports events, seminars and community assistance projects with their Philippine counterparts.  The visit will contribute about $4.65 million to the local economy from port fees and crew expenditures, the embassy said in a statement.  Philippine police have said they will step up security in Manila, where left-wing groups have threatened to stage protests against the US warship's visit.  

British military chief urges wider targeting in Libya
The head of Britain's armed forces urged Nato to "up the ante" in Libya by widening its bombing campaign to include infrastructure targets, in an interview with a newspaper.  General David Richards, chief of the defence staff, added that if Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was killed in a strike on a command and control centre, that would be "within the rules" set out by the UN Security Council.
"The vice is closing on Gaddafi, but we need to increase the pressure further through more intense military action," he told the Sunday Telegraph.  "We now have to tighten the vice to demonstrate to Gaddafi that the game is up and he must go."  The general said he wanted Nato member states to support the targeting of Gaddafi's regime, not just targets which pose an immediate threat to civilians, such as tanks and artillery.  "The military campaign to date has been a significant success for NATO and our Arab allies. But we need to do more. If we do not up the ante now there is a risk that the conflict could result in Gaddafi clinging to power," he said.  "At present, Nato is not attacking infrastructure targets in Libya. But if we want to increase the pressure on Gaddafi's regime then we need to give serious consideration to increasing the range of targets we can hit."  He added: "We are not targeting Gaddafi directly, but if it happened that he was in a command and control centre that was hit by Nato and he was killed, then that is within the rules."  Britain and other countries have been bombing Libya for weeks under a UN Security Council resolution which authorises force to protect civilians from fierce fighting between Gaddafi's troops and rebels against his rule.

Pakistani troops fire on Indian posts in Jammu
In yet another ceasefire violation, Pakistani troops fired on Indian positions in Nikowal forward belt along the International Border in Jammu sector on Sunday morning.  Pakistani rangers opened unprovoked fire on Indian Border Outposts which lasted for over 45 minutes, a senior Border Security Force officer said.  The BSF returned the fire, he said, adding there were no casualties on the Indian side.  It was yet another ceasefire violation by Pakistan, the officer said.  On Saturday night, Pakistani snipers fired on a BSF patrol in Budhwar area in Suchetgarh sub-sector along the IB, 45 km from Jammu, killing a jawan.  With today's firing, there have been five instances of truce violations by Pakistani soldiers in less than a month.  On May 5, Pakistani troops fired rockets and opened indiscriminate fire on Indian positions in Poonch sector along the LoC. Two more such incidents took place in Poonch on April 22 and 24.

Are Pakistani forces really ashamed?
By Syed Atiq ul Hassan, Sydney  Today the Pakistani nation is ashamed of those whom they always pay high respect. Now, the civic society, political gurus and the public are crying on the intelligence failure of Pakistan’s agencies and the US violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty by invading a compound in Abbottabad killing Osama and other residents. Well, is it the first time United States has violated Pakistan’s sovereignty, dignity and even the freedom? United States has not only been interfering in Pakistan’s internal & external affairs but also making decisions for Pakistan since the first Marshall Law which was introduced in Pakistan in 1958. When the current government came into power, a resolution was passed from the joint session of the National assembly that Pakistan would not tolerate any violation of Pakistan’s integrity including drone attacks. Has this government done anything to stop the drone attacks? According to wiki leaks this government has committed to United States that United States would continue drone attacks and government would keep condemning those attacks in public.  Like common citizens of Pakistan are faithful to Pakistan an ordinary soldier of the Pakistani forces are also committed to defend Pakistan. Even from junior to senior officers in the forces are found to be loyal with the country. But the problem is in the high ranking forces chiefs who have been secret deals with their foreign masters for the last 50 years without the consent of the nation, passing lavish life, enjoying on the national wealth and after retirement spend enjoyable life in United States and Europe in their big mansions.  More than 60 percent of the tax-payers money of the people of Pakistan is spent on Pakistan defence. Especially, in the last 10 years, billions of dollars have been received on the name of war against terrorism from the United States and the Western Capitals which has also been consumed by Pakistani defence & intelligence forces. Pakistani army, air force, navy and intelligence services have no open audits or accountability of the funds they receive. Defence personnel have best remunerations and luxuries compared to almost all the other arm forces of the 3rd world countries. During 60 years of Pakistan’s life, 75 percent of the time Pakistan’s forces have ruled the country and remaining 25 percent of the time army Generals brought their made-up political actors. In return what the army has given to the country and the nation? From the insurgency issues in Kashmir, fall of Dhaka 1971, defeat in Siachan by India to Afghan Jihad in 180s and now war against Taliban & al-Quaeda Pakistani army has made decisions for Pakistan and the people of Pakistan without any consent of the nation and all have now proven to be failed and brought disgrace to the country and the nation. Their self-centred policies only benefited to them not to the country. I cannot go in each and every detail of the issues Pakistan is facing today but I can boldly say that all these mess of today link to the autocratic army rule. From General Zia ul Haque to General Pervez Musharraf, there has been continuous support towards United States, first in support of the Taliban, Osama Bin Laden and his companions for more than 10 years, and then against them for about 10 years brought Pakistan in this the most humiliated post raid-and-kill situation of Osama Bin Laden.  Since 1958, army has been manufacturing the political leaders, directly or indirectly making foreign policies, dealing secretly with superpowers especially with the agencies of United States and hiding facts from the public. Today, the entire Pakistani nation is distressed and shameful for the sins they never committed. The democratic government is just a puppet in the hands of armed forces.  If we look back and see, have they ever given anything to the nation? Any victory, any success on Pakistan’s territorial disputes with neighbours? Their brutal and bloody military operation on the people of then East Pakistan provided opportunity to India to enter East Pakistan and gain the sympathies of the people of then East Pakistan which led them to convert East Pakistan into their independent state – Bangladesh. Their decision to support United States in 1980s in forming and training Taliban gave the gift of heroin and Talibanisation to the people of Pakistan, similarly, never-ending fight in Kashmir, implementing fake democracy and so on has brought the country into an unstable and unsecured conditions. Their recent bloody operation in Baluchistan is creating another East Pakistan-like situation.  Pakistan’s forces and the people of Pakistan too have the perception that Pakistani forces won the war of 1965 over India and pay them high tribune celebrating ‘Defence Day’ on 6th of September every year. But the fact is that it was Pakistani forces that first ignited the war through crossing the line of control in Kashmir with the intention to capture the Indian occupied territories. When India attacked badly at the border of Punjab then it was the people of Punjab who laid down in front of Indian tanks to give their lives for the country. After the 17 days of decisive battle, luckily, United Nation ceased fire war and later both India and Pakistan agreed on seizing the war under Tashkent declaration. According to Ayub’s biographer, Altaf Ghuhar, ‘India attacked Pakistan the most surprised person was Ayub Khan. . . . Ayub’s surprise was shared by the Commander-in-Chief of the Pakistan Army (General Musa) — Ayub was now facing the moment of truth’. Today, after 45 years, United States surprised Pakistan’s forces and intelligence by raiding a place only couple of kilometres away from the Pakistan Military Academy. The entire nation could not believe this. Even in 1971 India and United States surprised Pakistani forces in their process of helping the anti-Pakistani elements to convert East Pakistan into Bangladesh.  Today, our neighbour India has high respect in the world and the world also listens to India not because India has good relations with its neighbours or India is really shining but because India has the largest democracy in the world. Their armed forces are under control of their civil government. Their arms and civil system respect rule of civil laws and liberties.  Today, Pakistani forces once again surprised the nation when US forces launched commando operation at the place which is supposed to be most safe and secure area of the city of Abbotabad. In about 10 years of General Musharraf’s army rule and now 3 years of army backed government, Pakistani forces, ISI and the government lied to the nation about the access to the US forces. They denied for drone attacks being launched from Pakistani sites. And now as the stories are broken it is very much clear that Pakistani government have given full access to United States. The foreign offices have issues thousands of visas to US personnel and who knows who are these people and what they are doing the Pakistan.  Now a drama is being staged in the parliament house and in the media events. Chiefs of Pakistan’s forces and ISI have displayed regret and offered them for accountability in account of the intelligence failure to the national parliament. Well, instead of regretting and offering themselves for accountability why anyone of them didn’t do their judgement and resigned from their jobs if they are so ashamed - as it happens among civilised nations. Therefore, for me it is all drama - unfortunately, when they are staging all this drama in the parliament the news was coming that there was another drone attack killing 4 people and another suicide bomb blast killing 80 people and alas no one had any say on that. Again, I would say the same thing which I have said in my many published articles that it is the fault of the people of Pakistan who are just quietly watching and ignoring these wrong doings. (The writer is a sydney-based journalist and a political analyst, his homepage is ).

Islamabad continues to hide the truth
LAHORE: In what seems to be a deliberate attempt to whitewash some stark realities, no civil or military regime in Pakistan has ever revealed the findings of its enquiry commissions to the public, contrary to the practices in countries like India, United States and Israel, where the governments have helped their people know the vital facts about their national disasters, tragedies and losses.  In many instances, the investigating bodies in these countries have succeeded in discovering the truth by evaluating the facts placed before them and have managed to draw a fairly clear picture from the mosaic stones.  In Pakistan’s case, the files of all national tragedies have been placed in the cold storage and no regime has ever had the courage to disclose anything despite the fact that most of the enquiry commissions had reportedly jotted down some vital findings.  On the other hand, the Indian, American and Israeli governments have never hesitated from making the reports of their enquiry commissions public, even if they were controversial or hard to digest and even they had pointed fingers at powerful people.  Over 170 million Pakistanis are still clueless as to what may have led to the splitting of their country in 1971, who may have benefited from the Ojhri Camp catastrophe of 1988 and who may have orchestrated General Zia-ul Haq’s plane crash during the same year.  In the words of former Indian Justice Bakhtawar Lentin, who had highlighted the nexus between drug makers, politicians and the concerned government departments during an investigation: “Commissions are effective in that they awaken public awareness-for that the media must be given credit-otherwise they are a total waste of time and money. Besides, the public memory is short. For Commissions to be effective, they must have the power of proceedings in perjury and the power to proceed in contempt.”  Analyzing and probing the probable lapses of Pakistan Army during the East Pakistan debacle of 1971, the Hamoodur Rahman Commission did reportedly come up with a lot of intriguing and explosive facts, but its report remains a black hole.  This Commission was set up under Justice Hamoodur Rahman (the then Chief Justice of the Supreme Court). The other two members of the Commission were Justice Anwar-ul-Haque of Supreme Court and Justice Tufail Ali Abdul Rehman Zubedi (the former Chief Justice of the High Court of Sindh and Balochistan).  This Commission had unveiled a host of factors behind the killing of thousands of Bangladeshis, besides unmasking the powerful men behind the rampant rape incidents, smuggling and looting of banks in East Pakistan.  Merry-making incidents of high-raking Army officials in the middle of the Indian attacks had also come to light when the three judges cross-examined nearly 300 witnesses during the probe process.  This Commission had also recommended dozens of courts-martial and trials of top Army officers, but no heed was paid to its suggestions. Justice Hamoodur Rahman, who had also served a member of the International Court of Arbitration at The Hague (Holland), had finally submitted his report on October 23, 1974.  Apart from fixing responsibilities on key Army officials, the top arbiter of his time had also blamed the then Premier Zulfikar Ali Bhutto for the East Pakistan fiasco. However, as was expected of him, Bhutto had gone on to accuse the Enquiry Commission of exceeding its jurisdiction.  Even General Zia ul Haq, Bhutto’s worst enemy, could not publish this report during his 10-year long reign owing to certain ‘expediencies.’ Similarly, the Ojhri Camp truth continues to remain locked up in dusty files for the last 23 years, despite the fact that the havoc caused by this disaster is still fresh in most memories.  On April 10, 1988, the Ojhri Ammunition Depot in Rawalpindi’s Faizabad area had blown up and over 100 people were killed by the free-flying missiles and projectiles. The Ojhri Camp was used to forward US-supplied arms to the Afghans during the Soviet invasion.  Soon after this calamity, reports had surfaced in press that since a Pentagon team was about to conduct an audit of the weapons stocked at the Ojhri Camp, therefore, this ammunition depot was blown up to cover up the likely pilferage from the stocks of rockets, mines, anti-aircraft Stinger missiles, anti-tank missiles, multiple-barrel rocket launchers and mortars stored at this site.  An investigation was conducted into this tragedy on orders of then Premier Mohammad Khan Junejo, but the findings of General Imranullah Khan met the same fate as the Hamoodur Rehman Commission Report.  A Parliamentary Commission, headed by politician Aslam Khattak, was also given the same task at the same time. There is a theory that General Zia had dismissed the Junejo government on May 29, 1988, for the Premier’s ‘sin’ of trying to ‘uncover the reality.’  Interestingly, neither Benazir Bhutto nor Nawaz Sharif could even make this report public during their tenures. And today when Nawaz Sharif is demanding an enquiry commission to probe into the Abbottabad incident of May 2, he can well be questioned by his political rivals for the dichotomy in his views.  Similarly, General Musharraf and his handpicked PML-Q regime also could not dare to disclose the facts of this rather ‘mysterious’ case. Four years after General Zia-ul-Haq’s plane had crashed near Bahawalpur in August 1998, the then Premier Nawaz Sharif had decided to form an enquiry commission under a Supreme Court judge called Justice Shafiur Rehman.  Though Justice Shafi had reportedly accused the Pakistan Army of obstructing his work, the commission headed by him did not clearly blame the Pakistan Army for General Zia’s death.  Despite the fact that General Zia’s son Ijaz-ul-Haq had repeatedly been accusing General Aslam Beg (his father’s successor as the Army Chief) for the mystifying plane crash; the Shafiur Rehman Commission could just look into the possibilities of the involvement of the Shias, Americans or the Ahmedis in the disaster.  This Commission examined all the three likely possibilities, but dismissed all of them in the end. Although this Commission was convinced that the air crash was an act of sabotage that had killed 30 senior Pakistani army officers and two important Americans, even an ordinary Pakistani had deduced the same.  No responsibilities were hence fixed by this toothless body and mystery continues to shroud Zia’s death, even though 23 long years have gone by. The history of enquiry commissions dates back to 1780, when a British Army Major, John Andre, was executed during the American Revolution for espionage and conspiracy on orders of General George Washington, who had later become the first US President in 1789.  The first documented use of enquiry commissions was recorded during the Mexican-American War in 1847 and then thousands of people were prosecuted during the American Civil War (1861-65), Reconstruction era (1865-77), the Spanish-American War of 1898 and the World War II (1939-45).  During its post-independence history, India has formed quite a few enquiry commissions too.  In 1950, a bureaucrat A. D. Gorwala was asked by Government of India to recommend improvements in governance. In his report, Gorwala had made an observation that quite a few of Nehru’s ministers were corrupt and that government patronized its cronies.  The Santhanam Committee, which was appointed by the Government in 1962 to examine the issue of corruption, had observed in its 1964 report:” There is widespread impression that failure of integrity is not uncommon among ministers and that some ministers, who have held office during the last 16 years have enriched themselves illegitimately, obtained good jobs for their sons and relations through nepotism and have reaped other advantages inconsistent with any notion of purity in public life.”  The Liberhan Commission was formed in December 1992 to investigate the Babri Masjid dispute in Ayodhya. After 17 years, the report of this longest-running Indian Commission was finally submitted to Premier Manmohan Singh on June 30, 2009. The commission was given 48 deadline extensions and had cost Rs80 million.  The report had held Kalyan Singh, the then Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, responsible for posting bureaucrats and police officers who had remained silent during the mosque’s demolition, besides accusing him of dismantling the security apparatus and infrastructure.  It had also accused the Kalyan Singh regime of lying consistently to the courts and to the people of India. The Liberhan Commission had also blamed senior BJP leaders Atal Behari Vajpayee, Lal Krishna Advani, Uma Bharti and Murli Manohar Joshi etc of being intellectually and ideologically responsible for the mosque’s destruction.  The report had said that although Vajpayee, Prime Minister in the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, was not present on December 6, 1992 when the mosque was brought down, it could not be assumed that Vajpayee, Advani and others did not know of the designs of the people who had brought the mosque down.  The Liberhan Report had come under severe criticism from the Hindus especially, for being biased and rhetorical in nature. The Justice Thakkar Commission was set up to probe into Indira Gandhi’s assassination in 1984. It had recommended a separate probe for the conspiracy angle behind the assassination.  Leading Indian magazine “Outlook” had viewed in its April 13, 1998 edition that Justice Thakkar had himself recommended that some parts of his report should not be made public.  The Justice M.C. Jain Commission was formed to probe into the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. This is how the “Outlook” magazine of April 1998 had looked at this commission’s report:” What did the Jain Commission’s interim report on the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case achieve, besides enabling our politicians to thrust an election on the country? It got 12 extensions and took six years to complete the probe-Jain wasn’t given an extension when his term expired on February 28. Now, more than a month after he submitted his final report, it’s still with the government.”  The Indian magazine had gone on to write: “In the days of Nehru and the old Congress, inquiry panels had a better fate. The M.C. Chagla Commission, which took up the Life Insurance Corporation scam, is unique in more ways than one-as it is the only Commission that submitted its report in less than a month.”  After the Kargil conflict of 1999, the Atal Behari Vajpayee government had constituted a Kargil Review Committee to peek into the causes of the conflict and analyze the perceived Indian intelligence failures.  This committee, chaired by eminent strategic affairs analyst K Subrahmanyam, even had the powers to interview former prime ministers.  Though the Subrahmanyam Report had led to massive restructuring of the Indian Intelligence, it was slated in media for not fixing the responsibilities of the intelligence lapses.  This Commission had even indicted a few high-ranking Indian Army officials for not reporting Pakistan Army’s war moves in time.  The Justice Phukan Commission was set up to investigate the allegations of corruption in the wake of the controversy generated by the Tehelka tapes in March 2001. The expose had led to the resignation of the then Defence Minister, George Fernandez.  However, in May 2005, “The Newsweek” had reported that Justice Phukan along with his wife and eight officials used Indian Air Force plane and went to Pune and Mumbai etc.  India had also established some enquiry commissions to probe into the 2002 Gujarat violence, which had started after the burning of the Godhra train on February 27, 2002.  After 58 Hindu pilgrims were burnt alive in their train apartment at the city of Godhra in Gujarat state, communal riots had sparked off—killing 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus.  These events, which also led to burning of 298 shrines, 205 mosques, 17 temples and 3 churches, had forced the Indian government to set up a few commissions like the Shah-Nanavati commission.  In 2008, the Shah-Nanavati commission came out in favour of the Gujarat government and both Communist Party of India (Marxist) and the Indian National Congress party had come out protesting against the exoneration of the Narendra Modi regime.  The Congress had lashed out at the Commission for absolving the Gujarat government, viewing it should have been held accountable for complacency for the carnage.  The Banerjee Committee, set up in 2004 to probe the Godhra train fire, had concluded that the fire was accidental.  However, after its findings were challenged by the BJP and the Gujarat Police, the court ruled in 2006 that the panel was illegal.  The Concerned Citizens Tribunal, headed by retired Supreme Court justice Krishna Iyer, also investigated the Gujrat violence and accused Chief Minister Narendr Modi of complicity in the violence.  Opposition parties reacted and demanded the dismissal of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi for failing to curb the violence.  A few others called for the removal of Union Home Minister L. K. Advani also.  The Pradhan Inquiry Commission was appointed by the Maharashtra Government on December 30, 2008, to probe the response to the November 26, 2008 Mumbai attacks.  The committee submitted its report to the Chief Minister of Maharashtra in April 2009, but the government did not release it initially, citing security concerns.  The Pradhan Inquiry Commission report said that since the Maharashtra police had not experienced a direct commando attack, such as the 2001 Parliament attack or 2002 Akshardham temple attack, so they were only thinking of stealth bomb attacks  The Pradhan Committee said it did not find any serious lapses in the conduct of any individual police officer and generously appreciated the law enforcement agencies.  It observed that the managements of the Taj and the Oberoi Hotel did not implement certain important security advice given to them by the local authorities.  In American history, 10 official inquiries were conducted into the Japanese attack on the Pearl Harbour attack on December 7, 1941.  Ever since the Japanese attack, there has been debate as to how and why the United States had been caught off guard and how much knowledge did the Americans have about the Japanese offensive.  All the 10 official inquiries into this incident had reported incompetence, underestimation and misapprehension of Japanese capabilities and intentions, problems resulting from excessive secrecy about cryptography and dearth of intelligence manpower.  The 9/11 Commission, which was set up to prepare a comprehensive account of the circumstances leading to the September 11, 2001 attacks, had concluded that the intelligence failures of the American CIA and FBI had contributed largely to these terrorist offensives.  In November 1963, the then US President Lyndon B Johnson had appointed a Commission on the assassination of his predecessor, John Kennedy.  This Commission, headed by the then US Supreme Court Chief Justice Earl Warren, is thus also known as the Warren Commission.  Its 888-page final report was presented to President Johnson on September 24, 1964, and made public three days later.  The Warren Commission had concluded that Kennedy’s killer, Lee Harvey Oswald, had acted alone and that a man called Jack Ruby had murdered Oswald during the trial.  The Commission’s findings have been dubbed controversial by many during the last 48 years and hundreds of conspiracy theories have surfaced since.  In Israel, the Agranat commission probing the failures of the country’s 1973 Arab War had given a clean chit to the then Prime Minister Golda Meir and the Defence Minister Moshe Dayan and had blamed Army for the debacle.  The report’s contents were so scandalous that the public rose up against them.  Resultantly, the commission’s report was rejected and Premier Golda Meir and her Defence Minister Moshe Dayan were forced to resign.  On April 30, 2007, the Justice Dr Winograd-led Inquiry Commission had submitted its interim findings about Israel’s 2006 military attack on Lebanon to the then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.  The Commission had held Olmert responsible for the failures, observing that the Premier had made up his mind hastily, without studying the complex features of the Lebanese military, without asking for a detailed military plan and without any systematic consultation with others.  According to the Israeli Government Press Office, the Commission had further observed, “We impose the primary responsibility for these failures on the Prime Minister, the Minister of Defence (Amir Peretz) and the (outgoing) Chief of Staff. All three made a decisive personal contribution to these decisions and the way in which they were made.”

Pakistan: Talk, Talk, Hit, Hit – Analysis
Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is presently in Afghanistan on his way to Pakistan. His visit to Pakistan has been triggered off by the discovery of Osama bin Laden living for six years in a safehaven at Abbottabad, the cradle of the Pakistan Army, where he was killed by US Naval commandos on May 2,2011. Tensions in the relations between the US and Pakistan, which had already worsened before the clandestine US raid into OBL’s hide-out, have been further aggravated by the defiant refusal of the Pakistan Army and its Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), to agree to any independent inquiry into the circumstances under which OBL managed to live undetected for nearly six years.  The US suspects, with valid reasons, that OBL could not have lived that long in a garrison town without local support — official or unofficial or both. Identifying and neutralizing the sources of local support would be an important step forward in the fight against jihadi terrorism. The Pakistan Army and the ISI have dismissed suspicions of local support and are stonewalling demands—-made in Pakistan as well as in the US — for an independent enquiry.  Kerry, known in the past as a well-wisher of Pakistan and as a strong advocate of long-term aid commitments to Pakistan, has been showing signs of skepticism after May 2. He has been quoted as saying that it was “extraordinarily hard to believe” Osama could have survived in Pakistan for so long without any knowledge.
This skepticism seems even stronger now nearly two weeks after the death of OBL. He has been quoted as saying on May 14 at Mazar-e-Sharif in Afghanistan, where he had gone on a visit before proceeding to Pakistan : “Washington will consider all its options if it found out that Mullah Omar (Amir of the Afghan Taliban) was living in Pakistan. The United States government will always reserve all of its options to be able to protect our people. Other plots have been conducted and organised and planned out of Pakistan. It is really critical that we talk with the Pakistanis as friends. The United States wanted Pakistan to be a real ally in combating militants inside its borders, but serious questions remain in relations between the countries after Osama’s killing. We obviously want a Pakistan that is prepared to respect the interests of Afghanistan, and to be a real ally in our efforts to combat terrorism. We believe there are things that can be done better. And there are serious questions that need to be answered in that relationship. But we’re not trying to find a way to break the relationship apart, we’re trying to find a way to build it.”  Can Pakistan ever be a real ally against terrorism? That is a question that even well-wishers of Pakistan in the US have started posing — not in secret, but in public. Can it be trusted to fight sincerely and genuinely against terrorism? All those, who were talking of a transformational moment in the history of Pakistan in the wake of May2, would have been disappointed by the details of the in camera session of the Pakistan Parliament held on May 13, to discuss the OBL affair. Not the slightest sign of a feeling of shame that Osama was living unmolested in a Pakistani army garrison town for over five years. Not the slightest sign of a determination to find out the truth.  The fact that the world’s most dreaded terrorist was found living in an important garrison town did not seem to embarrass the Pakistani leaders and their Army and the ISI. What has embarrassed them is the fact that the US managed to find that out and carry out a clandestine raid to kill him. They have decided to hold a commission of inquiry only into the security failure and not into the intelligence failure. That is, they want to find out how the US carried out the raid. Nothing more.  Kerry has referred to other plots conducted, organized and planned out of Pakistan. Many of those plots targeted India and Indian nationals in different cities of India and in Kabul working in the Indian Embassy there. Three of those plots — all in Mumbai – involved mass fatalities — in March 1993, July 2006 and November 2008. No other city in the world has suffered so many acts of mass fatality terrorism. Pakistan has been able to carry on this policy of using terrorism as a strategic weapon because of the reluctance of the US and other members of the international community to act against it.  The time has come for sustained action against terrorists and their hide-outs in Pakistan. If Pakistan will not act, the international community has to. Pakistanis talk of a violation of their national sovereignty — whether at Abbottabad or in respect of the Drone strikes in the two Waziristans. Of course, they constitute violations of national sovereignty — but they are justified violations in exercise of one’s right of self-defence.  There are UN resolutions that describe the state-sponsorhip of terrorism as amounting to indirect aggression against the targeted country. This indirect aggression gives one the right to exercise one’s self-defence in the territory of that country if left with no other option. Till now, Pakistan managed to get away without any negative consequences because no country was prepared to take the right of self-defence into its territory.  Now that the US has shown the way and taken the lead, it is important for India to follow its lead — not by doing a copy cat of Abbottabad, which would be messy between two neighbors — but through other means, which would not be spectacular, but effective without involving any civilian casualties in Pakistan and without the use of Indian security or para-military forces or commandos for that purpose.  Options, suited to our needs, are available. We have to identify them, acquire the capability to use them and use them. As we acquire the capability, we have to educate the international community, particularly the US, on the serious dimensions of the problems faced by us, on our right of self-defence and on our determination to exercise that right even outside our territory if left with no other option.  I have endorsed strongly our Prime Minister’s initiatives for talks with Pakistan. Talks do not mean we renounce our right of self-defence. The two have to go together. I have always advocated a policy of “Talk, Talk, Hit, Hit” — keep talking so long as the talks promise results, but be prepared to hit if the talks prove counter-productive.

Supreme commander: Petition seeks to empower army chief
LAHORE:   A writ petition has been moved in the Lahore High Court seeking to transfer the title and powers of the supreme commander of the armed forces of Pakistan from the president to the army chief.  Tehreek-i-Inqilab Pakistan chairman Advocate Rana Ilmuddin Ghazi filed the petition, contending that the army had been unable to take prompt action to stop the American operation in Abbottabad on May 2 because the power to take such a decision rested with President Asif Zardari and not Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.  The federation, the president and the ministries of foreign affairs, defence and interior are named as respondents in the petition.  Ghazi said that there could not be foolproof security at Pakistan’s borders until all powers were consolidated in the office of the chief of army staff. Such consolidation would enable the army to take prompt action when required to respond to any attack on the territorial borders of Pakistan.  The petitioner argued that Field Marshal Ayub Khan in 1965 was supreme commander of the armed forces when India and Pakistan went to war, and so he was able to take a timely decision “to launch a counterattack and frustrate the evil designs of the enemy”.  He said today President Zardari was the supreme commander of the armed forces and the army was not fully authorised to take decisions about the defence of the country.  Ghazi said any delay in decision making by the president could harm the defence of the border. If there were any attack on the border by the US or India, any blame for failure to take timely action would fall on the army instead of the president, he said, which was unfair.  He asked to the court to accept the petition for regular hearing and pass directions to the federation and president of Pakistan to transfer the powers of the supreme commander of the armed forces to the chief of army staff immediately in the greater national interest.  ‘Remove PML-Q members from committee’  The Judicial Activism Panel (JAP) has demanded that the federal government remove the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) members from the parliamentary committee on judges’ appointment as they had joined the committee as opposition members but were now on the treasury benches.  In a resolution passed at an emergency meeting led by chairman Muhammad Azhar Siddique, the JAP also demanded that new opposition members be appointed to the committee in place of the PML-Q members, in line with Article 175 of the Constitution.  The committee is supposed to consist of four members from the treasury benches (two each from the National Assembly and Senate) and four from the opposition benches. Currently, the PML-N and Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal are the only opposition parties in parliament. “If the parliamentary committee is not reconstituted immediately it will further delay the appointment of judges and aggravate litigants’ problems,” said Siddique.  The JAP also asked the Judicial Commission to hold a meeting and form a committee to investigate who had leaked sensitive information compiled by intelligence agencies about lawyers from Lahore to the press.  Siddique said that new judges should be appointed from among the competent and honest lawyers of the Lahore High Court Bar Association, including the association’s Bahawalpur chapter.

LHC moved to delegate more powers to COAS
LAHORE: Tehreek-e-Inqilab Pakistan Chairman Rana Ilamuddin Gazi filed a petition in the Lahore High Court (LHC) seeking court directions for the federal government to transfer the powers of supreme commander of armed forces from the country’s president to the chief of army staff (COAS).  The petitioner moved the petition against the federation, president of Pakistan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Interior. Ilamudin’s counsel stated that the authority of the supreme commander of armed forces lies with the president, which is not justified. He stated that country’s former president, Ayub Khan, was the country’s supreme commander of the armed forces in 1965 when India had imposed war on Pakistan.  The counsel said, “Any delay on part of the president in taking a decision regarding a matter of national security could harm the solidarity and defence on border. Moreover, if in future the country faced any military threat from the US or India, the blame would go on the government if he failed to take a timely decision and act upon it.”  He said that President Asif ali Zardari is currently the supreme commander and the army does not have a full authority of taking decisions regarding the country’s defence. He stated that the Pakistan army could not take prompt action to stop the US attack in Abbotabad on May 2 because powers to make decisions for any such action rested with the president and not with the COAS.  He said that the defence of the country’s borders would not be foolproof until it is fully in the hands of the army, with all the powers resting with the COAS so that he would be able to take quick and prompt actions when required to respond to any attack on the territorial borders of Pakistan. He requested that the federal government and the country’s president be directed to transfer the powers of supreme commander to COAS immediately in the “greater national interest”.

As cyber attacks rise, India sets up central command to fight back
Alarmed over rising cyber attacks from “White hats” in Pakistan and the Chinese “Honker Union” on Indian websites and computer networks, the Manmohan Singh government is in the process of establishing a Cyber Command & Control Authority.  The recent efforts of hackers from mafia groups in erstwhile Soviet Union countries to penetrate even the well-protected defence network prompted the government to set up a central command rather than leave it to each ministry and department to handle the problem.  A senior official involved with the cyber command programme told DNA that despite intelligence agencies issuing “regular warnings against possible hacking”, there had been little success in countering the attacks, forcing the change in approach from the government. However, the minister for communications and IT, Sachin Pilot, won’t go beyond saying that “the government has formulated a crisis management plan for countering cyber attacks and cyber terrorism”.  A crucial aspect of fighting a cyber attack is to launch a counter-attack, with the help of private IT experts if required. These experts are known as “white hats” if they work for state agencies. For example, when Delhi police recently arrested a software engineer Bhupinder Singh in a hacking case, it discovered that the person had once hacked some key computer networks in Pakistan. Bhupinder Singh is in fact considered amongst theworld’s ace cyber hackers and worked for a fee.  The white hats may work for the government without being directly on the rolls. The “black hats”, on the other hand, are hackers who obtain sensitive data for criminal activities. The Chinese hackers, known as Honker Union, who succeeded in penetrating Google servers last year and even broke the source code of Microsoft, are believed to have state patronage.  The need to establish a unified cyber Command is considered vital because cyber attacks are going to be part of future warfare.  There was some debate over whether this command should be under one of the ministries or directly under the prime minister, but now it has been placed under the National Security Adviser who reports to the PM.  It is learnt that officials in the national security apparatus have already interacted with the US, whose CYBYERCOMM works as a central command. The need for it was felt when websites of NASA, the state department and commerce department were hacked in 2007. The hackers disabled 2000 computers of theUS Army and also penetrated the networks of VISA, MasterCard and Paypal. In Britain, the parliament’s website faced the same fate, following which a cyber command on the lines of the US system was established at a cost of 650 million pounds. The US is also believed to have carried out cyber warfare by infecting the Iranian nuclear network with the Stuxnet computer worm.  In a confidential dossier, the US informed India that more than 100 attacks take place every day from all over the world to break its security network. It is in this backdrop that India is now establishing its own central cyber command authority under the PMO.

Army mobilisation time: 48 hours
Bringing down its mobilisation time drastically, the Indian Army can now move forces in just 48 hours, as against the almost-month-long time required by it earlier.  The swift mobilisation is a result of the just concluded strike corps exercise, ‘Vijayee Bhava’, in Rajasthan’s Thar desert.After terror attack on parliament in December 2001, the government had asked the army to mobilise, ‘Op Parakram’, and it took 27 days to do so. However, by that time international diplomatic pressure built up sufficiently to pre-empt any possibility of a military strike against Pakistan.  Since then, the army has been working hard to bring down its mobilisation time to the minimum possible.  Sources said better road management, better offloading, better rail links, equipment and man management, have reduced the mobilisation time. Every strike corps has been working at reducing its own mobilisation period.  Sources said timings may differ for armoured units and artillery units and also what matters is the place and terrain from where they move, like the Dehradun-based 14 Division is a hilly terrain and the Patiala-based 1 Division is farthest when compared to the deserts, where ‘Vijayee Bhava’ was carried out.  Movement is carried out in four phases which are command elements, reconnaissance, main body and balance.  Command elements comprising the formation commanders earlier used to take eight hours which was now been brought down to two hrs.  Reconnaissance comprising two officers, the second in command of the Brigade and the mobile operations, used to take 12 hours which has been brought down to six hours.  The main body of the formation comprises all the three units in the Brigade and their administration and logistics, which used to take 18 hours earlier, has now been brought down to 12 hours.  The remaining of the troops were given 30 hours, as opposed to their 36 hours.  The mission was successful, with all the units of the 60 Brigade meeting at the destined point in 45 hours, and another couple of hours for a final check. The distance covered was around 450 kilometers, and approximately 3500 personnel moved on road, on transportation that was either hired or were army trucks.  A Division has three Brigades in it, and for a complete Division to mobilise, another 10 hours could be added to this, said asource, but for a fighting unit formation, Vijayee Bhava has proved that the target of 48 hours can be achieved.  Support elements, like engineers, logistics, doctors, medical care, artillery, and other administrative items also move along, all of which take time to fall in place. ‘Vijayee Bhava’ also tested the advanced version of the indigenous Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH), with a glass cockpit.

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