Tag Archives: war

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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Good luck, General Kayani

Raza Rumi

http://tribune.com.pk/story/30713/good-luck-general-kayani/

In a hurried non-speech, the prime minister has confirmed that the incumbent army chief will stay on for three years. Unprecedented as the decision might be, it is perhaps the best option under the current circumstances. Pakistan is battling against domestic and external terrorism. Given how the army works, it is clear that the military establishment wants a continuation of national security policy.

Lack of policy continuity has been the hallmark of Pakistan’s governance.  At least with General Kayani’s extension, the military operations in the northwest and approach to the Afghanistan imbroglio will also remain unchanged. This is good for Pakistan for three reasons. Continue reading

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Filed under Afghanistan, Islamabad, Islamism, Kerry Lugar Bill, Pakistan, Politics, Power, public policy, secular Pakistan, Taliban, Terrorism, USA, violence, war, War On Terror

In Baghdad Ruins, Remains of a Cultural Bridge

Reproduced from The New York Times

By ANTHONY SHADID

Published: May 21, 2010

 http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/22/world/middleeast/22house.html?pagewanted=1&ref=middleeast

BAGHDAD — Report No. 25, dated April 4 and written by Col. Qais Hussein, was clinical, the anonymous survey of an explosion in a city where explosions are ordinary.

 “Material damage: significant,” it declared of the car bomb that was detonated last month near the Egyptian Embassy, killing 17 people. “The burning of 10 cars + the burning of a house, which was in front of the embassy, with moderate damage to 10 surrounding houses.”

Colonel Hussein’s report didn’t mention the hundreds of books, from plays of Chekhov to novels of the Palestinian writer Ghassan Kanafani, stored in bags, boxes and a stairwell. It didn’t speak of the paintings there of Shaker Hassan, one of Iraq’s greatest, or the sculptures of his compatriot, Mohammed Ghani Hikmat. There was no note of the stone brought from an exile’s birthplace in Bethlehem that helped build the house as a cosmopolitan refuge bridging West and East.

Nor did Colonel Hussein’s report mention that the home belonged to Jabra Ibrahim Jabra, a renowned Arab novelist, poet, painter, critic and translator who built it along the date palms and mulberry trees of Princesses’ Street nearly a half-century ago and lived there until his death in 1994.

This is not a story about an outpouring of grief over its destruction. There were no commemorations, few tributes. As Fadhil Thamer, a critic, said, “People here have seen too much.”

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Filed under Identity, Iraq, Literature, Pakistan, Palestine-israel, Religion, Terrorism, USA, violence, war

The Sre Vala Killings

The weekend killings of scores of villagers in Sre Vala shows the dark side of the war, where up to 75 innocent Pakistani villagers were mistakenly killed.

War is an ugly phenomenon, and as much as we despise the loss of innocent lives, unintentional civilian casualties do happen. Yet limiting the civilian bystander casualties to the minimum is what will define the success or failure of the operation being waged by the Pakistan Army. The war will be won less with the boots and more with the realization that what Pakistan offers is a far superior alternative to the nihilistic Jihadis that were planning to conquer Pakistan. In the Khyber bombings, 75 innocents died due to a massive intelligence failure. Families and children died when the army that they support, dropped bombs on their own homes. We condemn this utter and senseless loss of innocent lives. Pakistan Army must fully investigate this incident, and take appropriate measures to ensure that the mistake does not happen again. As Daily Dawn editorial below says “Damage control alone cannot suffice”.

Below, we are reproducing the Daily Dawn editorial condemning these killings, as well as the detailed report of the killings published in the New York Times.

(PTH)

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Filed under Afghanistan, Army, FATA, human rights, Rights, state, Taliban, Terrorism, violence, war

What Remains

By Aisha Fayyazi Sarwari

Every day I am asked the same question: Where do you want to go?

Proceeded by a request to show identification. I reach out for my purse at the back seat of the car, open my wallet and pull out my Pakistani national ID. After it is scanned and my numbers are jotted down in a dog-eared journal, I can’t help but ask: Do you have to do this every day? You can see my car has a Government employee sticker for the secure area. Why do I have to go through a security check every day?

The answer: Because the terrorists are part of us.

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Pakistan’s Nuclear Weapons: How Safe Are They?

ISAS Brief No. 140 – Date: 18 November 2009 by Dr Ishtiaq Ahmed

Introduction

With the assault on the office of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in Peshawar on 13 November 2009, which left at least 20 people dead, including 10 ISI officials, the Taliban-Al Qaeda nexus has once again demonstrated that it is capable of hitting the supposedly well-guarded targets representing the power and authority of the state. A few weeks earlier, they were able to deceive the guards at the entry of the citadel of the Pakistan army, the General Headquarters, in Rawalpindi. On that occasion, more than 40 people were taken hostage, of whom 37 were rescued due to a daring operation by the commandos of the elite Special Services Group.

The Head Office of the Federal Investigation Agency in Lahore was bombed in October this year. A similar attack took place in 2008. Since 2007, attacks have been launched on military, air force and naval personnel and officials. On the other hand, the media also reported that some terrorists had tried to enter the restricted area where the nuclear facilities are located, but they were stopped at the outer security ring.   Continue reading

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Shame On You Chief Minister Hoti!

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

ANP’s NWFP government is fighting the onslaught of terror and even those who disagree with its politics and its past  have rallied behind it all over Pakistan.   We at PTH support all steps in the right direction  and therefore this morning I wrote an article welcoming ANP’s suggestion of changing Pakistan’s name.  Democratic politics requires old configurations, compromises and coalitions re-align themselves along new political realities.   Alas I knew that it was too good to be true and by evening ANP sparked off a divisive controversey of a very different nature which revealed the true pettiness of this party and its politicians. Continue reading

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