Tag Archives: ISI

Wikileaks and our fantasies

Raza Rumi

The Wikileaks’ damning half-truths pertain to the anti-war movement within the US. This has caused embarrassment to the US war architects and stirred the military industrial complex and its cousin, the corporate and embedded media. Similarly, what has been said about the role of Pakistan and its globally famed Inter Services Agency (ISI) is not something that is really a revelation and is more or less an open secret. Three important questions need to be considered before Wikileaks can be taken seriously.

Do field reports from individual sources, especially disgruntled, anti-Pakistan Afghan nationals constitute ‘evidence’? No. Is there sufficient evidence to substantiate the startling sensational pieces of information? Perhaps not. Is the Pakistan-ISI role central in the Taliban insurgency within Afghanistan? No clear answers can be determined due to the complexity of the Taliban resistance and the involvement of multiple players.<!–more–>

The ‘leaks’ identify that Pakistan, India and Iran are fully involved in the Afghan drama and singling out the ISI is not the whole truth regardless of whatever the western media says. Afghanistan is an occupied and fragmented country, far more layered than the simplified views from Washington, Islamabad or New Delhi. Continue reading

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Of Friends and Fire

By Nadeem Farooq Paracha

Cross post from The Dawn

http://blog.dawn.com/2010/05/06/of-friends-and-fire/

On April 19, a Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) rally in Peshawar was attacked by a suicide bomber. The gruesome attack was allegedly engineered and undertaken by members of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). The irony is that the JI are one of the few mainstream political parties in the country that actually sympathise with the TTP, claiming that the terror group is fighting a war against “American imperialism” and against the Pakistani state’s “aggression” in the north-west of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province.

But the irony in this respect wasn’t a one-off. In early April, former ISI sleuth, Khalid Khawaja, was kidnapped along with another ex-ISI man by a group of terrorists labeled (by the media) as the ‘Punjabi Taliban’ (or Punjabi extremists having links and sympathies with the Pushtun Taliban).

On April 29, Khawaja’s murdered body was found in the turbulent tribal area of North Waziristan. He had been shot twice. A faction of the ‘Punjabi Taliban’ calling itself Asian Tigers claimed responsibility. Khawaja was an open supporter and sympathiser of the TTP, and was known to have had deep links with various Sunni sectarian organisations, and within both the Pushtun and Punjabi Taliban groups.

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Filed under Al Qaeda, Islam, Pakistan, Religion, state, Taliban, Terrorism, violence, War On Terror

In Pakistan, ex-spy’s killing raises questions

Published on May 03, 2010

Karin Brulliard, The Washington Post

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/02/AR2010050202801.html?nav=emailpage

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Shrouded in white, the spy’s bullet-riddled body was buried Sunday, and with it clues to a cloak-and-dagger mystery gripping Pakistan.

The funeral was for Khalid Khawaja, 58, a former Pakistani intelligence agent who journeyed last month to the militant-controlled borderlands of North Waziristan, only to be killed by a little-known insurgent group that accused him of working for the CIA and its Pakistani counterpart.

That is where this whodunit becomes more of a why-done-it. Khawaja placed himself solidly in the anti-American, pro-Taliban camp. So did his traveling companion, a fellow ex-spy and U.S- trained Taliban architect with the nom de guerre Colonel Imam.

“How could the mujaheddin kill their supporter?” asked Mohammed Zahid, 45, an engineer who was among a modest crowd standing under a baking mid-morning sun at the funeral.

The answer, according to emerging clues and security analysts, is that North Waziristan, once a hub of Taliban fighters with links to Pakistan’s military, has evolved into a stewpot of militant groups, each with different loyalties. Old Taliban ties may have meant little to the Asian Tigers, the group that said it killed Khawaja and is thought to be a Punjab-rooted organization battling the Pakistani state.

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Filed under Al Qaeda, Army, FATA, Islamabad, Pakistan, Politics, Punjab, Punjabi, Religion, Taliban, Terrorism, USA, violence, War On Terror

The More Things Change…

…the more they remain the same

The ISI – a proxy for the Army, since Z.A.Bhutto’s creation of ISI’s infamous Political Cell – seems to be making it clear that it (too) is beyond accountability. After Malik Qayyum tried to show he still had some nuisance value by declaring to Hamid Mir that ‘a former head of a powerful intelligence agency had confirmed to him that (the missing person) Mr Janjua was dead’, there were news items about the police (possibly) investigating a handful of former and serving intelligence and army officers in relation to missing persons. Mrs Amina Janjua promptly responded to the possible muddying of the intelligence agency’s name by writing to The News.

She declares in this letter that she does not seek investigation against any ‘valuable’ national agency and does not wish their ‘good name’ to be called into question. She still considers her quest for justice for her missing husband to be noble, just as noble it would seem as she considers our national agencies to be. She declares that she holds the US responsible for her family’s woes and only seeks justice against the US… in a Pakistani court, one must add.

Both the petitioner and the court had a very different view of the same state and its agencies under the dictator Gen Musharraf. The tone and tenor with which this view was expressed was very different too. Indeed, one of Musharraf’s (completely fake) complaints against the SC was that it ‘had been setting free suspected terrorists’.

Mrs Janjua need not have bothered writing the letter. The 3-member SC bench had already declared, back in February, that the court “will not examine evidence against intelligence agencies in the missing persons’ case.” I guess she just wanted to make sure. Continue reading

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Filed under Activism, Al Qaeda, Army, baluchistan, Citizens, Democracy, human rights, journalism, Judiciary, Justice, Pakistan, Taliban, USA, War On Terror

Our dogmatic liberals

[Here’s another twist to the liberal-conservative debate in Pakistan. We think we know about right-wing nationalists, but do we have the correct definition of ‘liberal nationalists’? Obviously most Pakistani nationalists are not Islamists. In fact, is an Islamist ever anything other than just an Islamist or can there really be an Islamist nationalist? It would be interesting to find out what our readers think of the points raised by this article. Is the writer’s stance on Blackwater, for example, a variant of xenophobia or other biases unworthy of liberal values the writer claims to uphold? Or is it a worthy stand against so-called neo-imperialism? Or further still, are these just dangerous and irrational views based on mere conspiracy theories? Is she a liberal rightly accusing some of her fellow liberals, just like Islamists and right-wing nationalists do, of being liberal fascists? Is she saying that she is more patriotic than those she considers liberal fascists,  or just less dogmatic? Please do respond with your thoughts on the matterposted by BC]

The News, March 17, 2010

By Humeira Iqtidar

“Why are Pakistanis so prone to conspiracy theories?” a colleague at Cambridge recently asked. He was referring to recent debates about the presence of Blackwater in Pakistan. A version of this question is echoed by the liberal intelligentsia of Pakistan. The local version emphasises the focus on Blackwater within the rhetoric of a segment of society, notably the Islamists. A common refrain amongst the liberal intelligentsia to the question of Blackwater presence in Pakistan is that we must look inwards, we must critique ourselves and our own creations such as the Taliban before we focus on Blackwater. Through framing any critique of Blackwater as conspiracy theory, there is some congruence between the stance of my colleague at Cambridge, who is largely unfamiliar with Pakistan, and the liberal intelligentsia: they both see this focus on Blackwater as an illogical act, as a hiding behind and of course, as an abdication of our own responsibility.

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Filed under Democracy, Liberal Democratic Pakistan, Pakistan, War On Terror

“Hakeem” Zaid Hamid

 By Yasser Latif Hamdani

Zaid Hamid is a name thrown about quite a bit these days.  Who is he and what does he want?  Well I am sorry to disappoint his fans and supporters but Zaid Hamid is a small time nutcase and an Afghan war veteran who has probably been picked up some foolish schemer in the ISI to strengthen right-wing pro-Islamic ultra-nationalist sentiments described by them as “Deeni Ghairat”.

Somewhere towards the end of the Musharraf regime, when it was being vociferously challenged by the people’s movement,  Musharraf sought to create a new constituency for himself.  A “Musharraf lovers” body was formed and another group started agitating for Musharraf’s picture on the currency.   During this time entered onto stage one Ahmad Quraishi and one Zaid Hamid.  Former was an opinionated super-nationalist Musharraf lover and the latter presented himself as a defense and economic security analyst who in general promoted military rule over civilian rule.  Of these two the odd-looking Zaid Hamid with his red beret, small beard and rabble rousing style clearly won the day. Continue reading

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Taking on the Taliban, by Steve Coll

Cross Post from The New Yorker

http://www.newyorker.com/talk/comment/2010/03/01/100301taco_talk_coll

The Taliban’s jihad, like rock and roll, has passed from youthful vigour into a maturity marked by the appearance of nostalgic memoirs. Back in the day, Abdul Salam Zaeef belonged to the search committee that recruited Mullah Omar as the movement’s commander; after the rebels took power in Kabul, he served as ambassador to Pakistan. “My Life with the Taliban,” published this winter, announces Zaeef’s début in militant letters. The volume contains many sources of fascination, but none are more timely than the author’s account of his high-level relations with Pakistani intelligence.

While in office, Zaeef found that he “couldn’t entirely avoid” the influence of Pakistan’s powerful intelligence agency, Inter-Services Intelligence. Its officers volunteered money and political support. Late in 2001, as the United States prepared to attack Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, the I.S.I.’s then commanding general, Mahmud Ahmad, visited Zaeef’s home in Islamabad, wept in solidarity, and promised, “We want to assure you that you will not be alone in this jihad against America. We will be with you.” And yet Zaeef never trusted his I.S.I. patrons. He sought to protect the Taliban’s independence: “I tried to be not so sweet that I would be eaten whole, and not so bitter that I would be spat out.”

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Filed under Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, Army, India, Islamabad, Obama, Pakistan, Taliban, Terrorism, USA, violence, war, War On Terror