Sunday, January 2, 2011

Mahmud Ali Durrani, Hyper Nationalism & Harsh Realities.

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN - Countless U.S. officials in recent years have lectured and listened to Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, the man many view as the most powerful in Pakistan. They have drunk tea and played golf with him, feted him and flown with him in helicopters. But they have yet to persuade him to undertake what the Obama administration's recent strategy review concluded is a key to success in the Afghan war - the elimination of havens inside Pakistan where the Taliban plots and stages attacks on coalition troops in Afghanistan. Kayani, who as Pakistan's army chief has more direct say over the country's security strategy than its president or prime minister, has resisted personal appeals from President Obama, U.S. military commanders and senior diplomats. Recent U.S. intelligence estimates have concluded that he is unlikely to change his mind anytime soon. Despite the entreaties, officials say, Kayani doesn't trust U.S. motivations and is hedging his bets in case the American strategy for Afghanistan fails. "Kayani wants to talk about the end state in South Asia," said one of several Obama administration officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity about the sensitive relationship. U.S. generals, the official said, "want to talk about the next drone attacks." The administration has praised Kayani for operations in 2009 and 2010 against domestic militants in the Swat Valley and in South Waziristan, and has dramatically increased its military and economic assistance to Pakistan. But it has grown frustrated that the general has not launched a ground assault against Afghan Taliban and al-Qaeda sanctuaries in North Waziristan. Kayani has promised action when he has enough troops available, although he has given no indication of when that might be. Most of Pakistan's half-million-man army remains facing east, toward India. In October, administration officials choreographed a White House meeting for Kayani at which Obama could directly deliver his message of urgency. The army chief heard him out, then provided a 13-page document updating Pakistan's strategic perspective and noting the gap between short-term U.S. concerns and Pakistan's long-term interests, according to U.S. officials. Kayani reportedly was infuriated by the recent WikiLeaks release of U.S. diplomatic cables, some of which depicted him as far chummier with the Americans and more deeply involved in Pakistani politics than his carefully crafted domestic persona would suggest. In one cable, sent to Washington by the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad last year, he was quoted as discussing with U.S. officials a possible removal of Pakistan's president and his preferred replacement. On the eve of the cable's publication in November, the normally aloof and soft-spoken general ranted for hours on the subject of irreconcilable U.S.-Pakistan differences in a session with a group of Pakistani journalists. The two countries' "frames of reference" regarding regional security "can never be the same," he said, according to news accounts. Calling Pakistan America's "most bullied ally," Kayani said that the "real aim of U.S. strategy is to de-nuclearize Pakistan." Kayani was a star student at the U.S. Army's Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., in 1988, writing his master's thesis on "Strengths and Weaknesses of the Afghan Resistance Movement." He was among the last Pakistanis to graduate from the college before the United States cut off military assistance to Islamabad in 1990 in response to Pakistan's suspected nuclear weapons program. Eight years later, both Pakistan and India conducted tests of nuclear devices. Kayani "is one of the most anti-India chiefs Pakistan has ever had," one U.S. official said. The son of a noncommissioned army officer, Kayani was commissioned as a second lieutenant in 1971. He was chief of military operations during the 2001-02 Pakistan-India crisis. As head of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency from 2004 to 2007, he served as a point man for back-channel talks with India initiated by then-President Pervez Musharraf. When Musharraf resigned in 2008, the talks abruptly ended. The Pakistani military has long been involved in politics, but few believe that the general seeks to lead the nation. "He has stated from the beginning that he has no desire to involve the military in running the country," said Shuja Nawaz, director of the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council. But that does not mean Kayani would stand by "if there was a failure of civilian institutions," Nawaz said. "The army would step in." REFERENCE: U.S. courts Pakistan's top general, with little result By Karin Brulliard and Karen DeYoung Washington Post Staff Writers Saturday, January 1, 2011

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s security agencies had authorised confirmation the surviving Mumbai gunman was Pakistani, former national security adviser Mahmud Ali Durrani said on Thursday, adding he was sacked because the prime minister had been out of the loop. Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani fired Durrani, on Wednesday, shortly after he and other officials had confirmed to reporters the gunman in Indian custody was Pakistani. Newspapers in India interpreted his dismissal as a reaction to his revelation of the truth about the gunman’s nationality. But Durrani said authorities, including the powerful security agencies, had already decided to confirm the gunman was Pakistani. ‘It had been decided yesterday that we would tell the world that he is a Pakistani because hiding that makes no sense,’ Durrani told Reuters in a telephone interview. ‘The security agencies recommended it and ... they repeated it to me,’ he said. Durrani said he was dismissed because Gilani had not been informed about the decision to confirm Kasab’s nationality and the prime minister had ‘felt the need to exert his authority.’ ‘The prime minister happened to be ignorant. He was in Lahore and he didn’t know about it. He was out of the loop,’ Durrani said. Gilani’s office said Durrani had been sacked ‘for his irresponsible behaviour for not taking the prime minister and other stakeholders into confidence’. REFERENCE: Authorities had agreed to confirm Kasab news: Durrani Thursday, 08 Jan, 2009

Some questions for Hyper Pakistani Nationalists

Question Number 1: Did Major General [Retd] Mahmud Ali Durrani start leaking Information [as per Pakistani Hyper Nationalists] when he was From 1977 to 1982 he was Pakistan’s defense and military attaché in Washington, D.C?

Question Number 2: Did Major General [Retd] Mahmud Ali Durrani start leaking information [as per Pakistani Hyper Nationalists] when he was Military Secretary [1982-1986] to American Backed Military Dictator General Muhammad Zaiul Haq [1977 - 1988 and Maternal Son-In-Law of Former Jamat-e-Islami Chief Mian Muhammad Tufail]

Question Number 3: Did Major General [Retd] Mahmud Ali Durrani start leaking information [as per Pakistani Hyper Nationalists] when he was posted as the commander the 1st Armoured Division in Multan, and being the former MS to the president persuaded the then Army chief and president General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq to witness the tank exercise in Bahawalpur desert on 17 August, 1988 [where are those demented Generals i.e. General Retd. Mirza Aslam Beg and Lt. General Retd. Hamid Gul who wind up the investigations of General Zia's Plane Crash - Read, Who Killed Zia VANITY FAIR September 1989 by Edward Jay Epstein].
Maj. Gen [R] Mahmud Ali Durrani, PK US Ties & Security Breach - Part 1


Maj Gen Mehmud Durrani (PA6398) was appointed as prime ministerial advisor on national security. His was a key post, and he was a key man who knew everyone who mattered in Washington and was known and trusted by them. He graduated from the Pakistan Military Academy in 1961, wearing the Sword of Honour, he served as Pakistan’s military attaché in Washington from 1977 to 1982, and after his retirement from the army in 1998 he became actively involved in the Track II movement the purpose of which was to try and foster peace between the ‘traditional’ enemies, India and Pakistan. Spurred on by Shirin Tahir-Kheli and her brother Toufiq Siddiqui, and with support from the United Nations Development Programme and the Rockefeller Foundation, a group of Indian and Pakistani generals, politicians and bureaucrats and others got together sometime in the 1990s to discuss ways to bring sense and direction to the India-Pakistan relationship. The group came to be known as the Balusa Group, named after two adjacent villages in Pakistani Punjab. Mehmud Durrani was a major figure in the group, and was dubbed ‘General Shanti’ through his sustained support for peaceful relations with India.

Maj. Gen [R] Mahmud Ali Durrani, PK US Ties & Security Breach - Part 2


From 2001 to 2004 he served as an advisor in the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, and in 2006 President Gen Pervez Musharraf appointed him as his ambassador in Washington. With the beginning of the downfall of Musharraf through his inexplicably erratic action on March 9, 2007 in the matter of the chief justice of Pakistan, and the lessening of the US love affair with the general because he put his foot down on the matter of drone attacks and incursions into Pakistan’s territory, a replacement had to be found and it turned out to be Benazir Bhutto. Durrani played a leading role in negotiating the structured ‘deal’ to be put in place between Musharraf and Bhutto (and later Zardari) with the blessings of the USA.

Known to be outspoken and to adhere to the truth — as much as anyone in this subcontinent can adhere to any truth — whilst still in the army he wrote to the then prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, advising him that to his mind conducting a nuclear test as a repartee to the Indian nuclear tests of 1998 would be a strategic mistake. He also made himself unpopular with Sharif by telling him that Kargil was also a grave error and that it would not work to plan. He was right on both counts. The Mumbai incident will haunt this country for long, as has the attack upon the Indian parliament earlier this century. In the vocal and verbal dangerous skirmishes indulged in by India and Pakistan since November it has transpired, and it has been admitted by Pakistan, and the world knows that the Lashkar-i-Taiba were the planners and perpetrators. Now who and what are the Lashkar? They are members of a group formed by Pakistan’s ISI to wage the Kashmir freedom fight. This is admitted and recorded. So it would not be illogical to assume that if it be the Lashkar who undertook the Mumbai operation then the members concerned could conceivably have originated in Pakistan. REFERENCE: Tarnishing the national image By Ardeshir Cowasjee January 11, 2009 Sunday Muharram 13, 1430

Maj. Gen [R] Mahmud Ali Durrani, PK US Ties & Security Breach - Part 3


WASHINGTON: Jehangir Karamat, Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, is being replaced by retired general of the Pakistan Army Mahmood Durrani. The formal announcement from the Foreign Office is expected to be made when the agreement – the request to the host government to accept the nominated person as ambassador and plenipotentiary – which has already been sent to the US government is approved and received back in Islamabad. It is not clear why Ambassador Karamat, who took up his post on a two-year contract, which is normal, around a year and a half ago is returning home. Maj Gen Durrani, an armoured corps officer like Gen Karamat, was Gen Zia-ul-Haq’s military secretary for several years. He will become the third armoured corps officer to serve as Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington. The late Lt Gen Ejaz Azim, who served here the longest during the Reagan and Zia years, was also an armoured corps officer. It is understood that while Gen Karamat would prefer to leave in late summer, Gen Durrani would prefer to take up his post in May. REFERENCE: Durrani in, Karamat out By Khalid Hasan Thursday, March 23, 2006\03\23\story_23-3-2006_pg7_4

WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s ambassador-designate to the United States Mahmud Ali Durrani has been called “General Shanti” by a leading Indian newspaper for his work and interest in India-Pakistan peace. Bharat Bhushan, editor of The Telegraph’s Delhi edition, writes in a report monitored here that “India may finally have a friend as Pakistan’s new ambassador to the US.” He describes Durrani as a “staunch Pakistani nationalist” and “an outspoken advocate of improving ties with India.” According to Bhushan, “Durrani’s support for peace and good relations with India has earned him the nickname ‘General Shanti’ in Pakistan. He has been the coordinator of a Track-II group called Balusa, which promoted an improvement in ties even when they were at their nadir. Considered close to Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf, who still respectfully addresses him as ‘Sir’, Durrani was commissioned by Musharraf immediately after his coup to conduct a study for the army titled ‘Pakistan’s Security Imperatives for the year 2000 and beyond.’ He is also the author of a book, ‘India and Pakistan - The Cost of Conflict and the Benefits of Peace,’ published by Johns Hopkins University and Oxford University Press, Karachi. Durrani is known for speaking his mind and had the courage to write to then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif advising him that it would be a strategic mistake to conduct a nuclear test in response to the Indian tests of May 1998. He was still in uniform then. He also had no hesitation in saying, when it was unpopular to do so, that Kargil was a mistake and would have to be reversed. He was proven right.”

Maj. Gen [R] Mahmud Ali Durrani, PK US Ties & Security Breach - Part 4


According to Bhushan, Durrani was in India in the third week of February this year, conducting a study exploring nuclear confidence-building measures between India and Pakistan. He met foreign secretary Shyam Saran, former national security adviser Brajesh Mishra and a host of experts from India’s strategic community. Durrani, who is expected to take up his assignment in Washington around June, was commissioned in the Pakistan Army in 1961 and retired in 1998. Military Secretary to President Ziaul Haq from 1982 to 1986, he served as Pakistan’s defence and military attaché in Washington from 1977 to 1982. He saw action in both the 1965 and 1971 wars as an armoured corps officer. His efforts to promote US-Pakistan relations earned him the US Legion of Merit. He has also been decorated with Sitara-e-Basalat and Hilal-e-Imtiaz (military).

Another Indian commentator, retired civil servant B Raman, is less complimentary in his assessment of the ambassador-designate that he wrote for his South Asia Analysis Group, Chennai. According to him, Durrani had a role to play in the creation of the Taliban and some Pakistani jihadi outfits. along with Gen. Muhammad Aziz Khan. Raman is known for posting incendiary material about Pakistan on his website and in his newsletters. In a July-August 2005 interview with the Nepalese magazine Himal, Durrani was asked how he got involved in lobbying for transnational natural gas pipelines in the Central and South Asia region. He replied, “Shirin Tahir-Kheli (now in charge at the State Department for the UN reform effort) is really the mother hen of all this. I was still in service when I told her of wanting to retire and devote my life to promoting India-Pakistan peace. Within two years, she and her brother Toufiq (Siddiqi) had organised a group of Pakistanis and Indians to discuss energy cooperation. I attended the first meeting with the backing of the Pakistan military and the government. There was a feeling that we needed peace. There was even an ex-RAW chief in our group.”

Maj. Gen [R] Mahmud Ali Durrani, PK US Ties & Security Breach - Part 5


Toufiq Siddiqi is an environmentalist and energy expert based in Hawaii and Shirin Tahir-Kheli, his sister, with support from the United Nations Development Programme and the Rockefeller Foundation, brought together a group of Indian and Pakistani generals, politicians, bureaucrats and others to discuss ways to bring “sense and direction” to the India-Pakistan relationship. This loose gathering that came to be known as the Balusa Group, named after two adjacent villages in Pakistani Punjab. The group first met in Singapore, followed by gatherings in Bellagio (Italy), Muscat (Oman), Udaipur, Rawalpindi and elsewhere. The latest was a discussion on Kashmir held in Chandigarh in February 2005. According to Kanak Mani Dixit, “A leading figure in the Balusa Group is Mahmud Durrani. While a serving general, he had announced to Tahir-Kheli in 1994 his intention to devote his imminent retirement to helping achieve an India-Pakistan rapprochement. With the support of some progressive-minded top brass in the Pakistani military, Gen Durrani became active in the Balusa conclaves. A firm advocate of economic linkages to concretise peace initiatives, he believes the group has been ‘way ahead of the curve’ on the gasline proposal.”

Asked by Himal magazine if he felt vindicated, Durrani replied, “Now that the pipeline project seems within grasp, the members of the Balusa Group feel redeemed. What we had thought of as close to a dream is now close to reality. The idea is do-able, it is economically feasible, and we are excited. In seeking to learn all there was to learn about natural gas pipelines, I met with a representative of Reliance Industries at the Indian International Centre in New Delhi. They were already into gas, and felt that the pipeline would work. This added to my confidence.” Asked if he was not wary of meeting up with big businesses such as Reliance, one of India’s largest corporations, Durrani replied, “I got over that kind of timidity long ago. One must respect the private sector as a partner, and I had no problem meeting with the Reliance people. For a peacenik, industry can be a very strong partner.” He conceded that the pipeline would be opposed by “narrow-minded extremists,” but expressed confidence that the project would move ahead on its own merits sooner than later, and the gas will help develop stakeholders across the border. Asked if he was worried about the “troubles in Balochistan affecting the pipeline,” he answered, “There is disaffection in Balochistan, but this does not provide the motivation to blow up a transit pipeline from Iran. Nevertheless, adequate security arrangements will have to be there. A lifeline for Indian industry cannot be made insecure. I think the pipeline will happen, not as a romantic but as a realist. India needs the gas and Pakistan needs the gas. They have in the broader sense agreed to cooperate on this. The issue is fundamentally settled.” REFERENCE: New Pakistan ambassador dubbed General Shanti By Khalid Hasan Monday, April 03, 2006\04\03\story_3-4-2006_pg7_33

No comments: