Monday, February 14, 2011

Kerry-Lugar Bill, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, US Sanctions & Raymond Davis. dishonesty is the advocacy of a position known to be false. An argument which is misused to advance an agenda or to reinforce one's deeply held beliefs in the face of overwhelming evidence contrary. The terms intellectually dishonest and intellectual dishonesty are often used as rhetorical devices in a debate; the label invariably frames an opponent in a negative light. It is a round about way to say "you're lying". The statement that all hurricanes are caused by global warming is intellectually dishonest. Stating as fact that lung cancer is unrelated to cigarette smoking is intellectual dishonesty. Pakistani critics are manufacturing a crisis over $7.5 billion in US aid for political reasons, one of the US authors of the assistance plan said on Thursday. The US Congress last week approved the plan authorizing a tripling of developmental aid over five years. But fierce controversy in Pakistan about conditions in the bill could make it harder for US lawmakers to appropriate the money going forward, a necessary step before the aid goes to Islamabad. “This is a created crisis, by people who either haven’t read the bill or don’t want to describe it accurately, and whose goal is either to destabilize the (Pakistani) government, or challenge some of the Pakistani military’s priorities,” Democratic Representative Howard Berman, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told Reuters. Berman is the House sponsor of the legislation that was drafted with Senate sponsors Democrat John Kerry and Republican Richard Lugar. It has no strings attached on development aid, but stipulates conditions for security aid, saying Pakistan must show commitment on fighting terrorism and dismantling nuclear networks. It also says the security forces of Pakistan should not subvert the political system. Pakistan’s powerful military, which has ruled the country for more than half its 62-year history, has voiced serious concern about the legislation, and opposition politicians said it undermined national sovereignty. But Berman said that on security matters the bill outlined a joint strategy with Pakistan. He said members of Pakistan’s military had been familiar with provisions of the measure as it worked its way through the US House and Senate. “I’ve been in touch with them (the military) through this whole process,” Berman told Reuters. “I’ve spoken with (Pakistani army chief) General (Ashfaq) Kayani, other people. It’s a common strategy,” he said. This joint strategy is “that we want to assist their efforts to take on the counterinsurgency, to disband terrorist groups within Pakistan, to protect their nuclear facilities from proliferation,” Berman said. The controversy comes as the United States is pressing Pakistan’s army to expand its operations against Pakistani Taliban fighters to include Afghan Taliban and al-Qaeda militants in lawless border enclaves. Berman said that since April, both the government of Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and the military “have shown a strong willingness to take on at least key elements of the insurgency, and with some success.”’s office issued a statement debunking what he said were “myths” circulating about the bill, denying for example that it had any language about unmanned drone aircraft Washington has used to attack militant targets in Pakistan. Kerry is travelling to the region next week, an aide said. US President Barack Obama had urged passage of the aid measure to promote stability in a nuclear-armed country that is key to the US war in Afghanistan. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said on Thursday that the president intended to sign it into law, because it was “important assistance for Pakistan.” State Department spokesman Ian Kelly said assistance bills for some other countries, like Egypt and Colombia, had similar kinds of conditions. “We’re not holding Pakistan up to any kind of different standard than we would any other country where the US taxpayer is making an investment,” Kelly said. But the storm of protest in Pakistan has raised some hackles in the US Congress, with House Republican Leader John Boehner asking whether the administration had done its homework before promoting the bill. Democratic Representative Gary Ackerman said he had no interest in a partnership characterized by “suspicion, resentment and political manipulation.” REFERENCE: Berman says he consulted Pak military on aid bill Saturday, October 10, 2009

Capital talk - 14th february 2011 part 1 - 1 / 2

URL:, Oct 7: “Those who have questions or doubts should read the legislation, which is very clear in its intent,” says US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton while responding to the criticism that the Kerry-Lugar bill encroaches upon Pakistan’s sovereignty. She made these remarks on Tuesday afternoon at a joint news conference with Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi who defended the bill saying that the Americans had “no intentions of trampling on Pakistan’s sovereignty; … nor will the elected democratic government of Pakistan ever allow any compromise on Pakistan’s sovereignty”. As the minister emerged out of a meeting with Secretary Clinton he told waiting journalists that he was convinced the Americans had “no intentions of micromanaging Pakistan and nor will Pakistan permit micromanagement”. From the State Department, Mr Qureshi rushed to Capitol Hill where Senators John Kerry and Richard Lugar joined him in urging the Pakistanis not to fear a bill that only aims to help them live better. “There is no conditionality, whatsoever, in this legislation with respect to the civilian assistance and the economic assistance that is provided …I want to emphasise there are no conditions on Pakistan attached to the $ 7.5 billion in non-military aid,” Senator Kerry told the joint briefing.

Capital talk - 14th february 2011 part 1 - 2 / 2


Senator Lugar described the bill as “a significant step forward” towards forging a greater relationship between the Pakistani and American nations. The foreign minister then dashed to the House to seek another assurance from Congressman Howard Berman, who chairs the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Mr Berman obliged him, saying that the Kerry Lugar Bill had made a new beginning in the relationship with Pakistan. “We made some mistakes in the past but we will not repeat them again,” he declared. The assurances — sought and given — followed media reports that the opposition to the bill in Pakistan was spreading and now even the military had aired a rare public criticism of the proposed legislation. Senator Kerry responded to some of the concerns raised in Pakistan. In a statement at the joint briefing with Foreign Minister Qureshi, Senator Kerry acknowledged that there were some conditions on the military aid. But “conditions on military aid do not require anything of Pakistan that is not already in the stated policy of the government and opposition parties (of Pakistan) that is already agreed upon”.

Pakistani Foreign Minister defending Kerry Lugar Bill


Addressing more specific concerns expressed in Pakistan, the senator said: “There is absolutely nothing in this bill related to private security firms or drone attacks or host of other issues that have been tangled together…. (there is) nothing in this bill that impinges on Pakistani sovereignty.” And it was not just the US administration and Congress that responded to the reaction in Pakistan. The media did too. The New York Times noted that President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan “has agreed to the stipulations in the Kerry-Lugar bill” and was “coming under sharp criticism from opposition parties and many Pakistanis who view America as a cavalier and condescending ally”. The CBS News quoted a western expert as saying that “the Pakistani military is not at all anywhere near seeking to break ranks with the US. What they seem to be doing is simply taking a stand (on the bill). Now, the next step will come from Washington where President Obama may not want to see a break in relations with Pakistan”. The US media also reported that the military is particularly concerned about a provision which required the US administration to send to Congress “an assessment of the extent to which the government of Pakistan exercises effective civilian control of the military”. The assessment should include “a description of the extent to which civilian executive leaders and parliament exercise oversight and approval of military budgets, the chain of command, the process of promotion for senior military leaders, civilian involvement in strategic guidance and planning, and military involvement in civil administration”. The media noted that the military saw this as an attempt to control the promotions and transfers process in the military with the help of the Zardari government. An email from a senior official of the US Congress underlined a growing reaction in the United States to Pakistan’s response. “Feel free to let the Pakistan military know that the current Senate foreign operations appropriations bill contains, thanks to the obstructionist attitude of the Pakistani military, exactly zero dollar in foreign military funding for Pakistan,” the official wrote. “If Gen Kayani wants to deprive Pakistani children of schools, roads and clinics, he better be prepared to forgo P-3s and F-16s too. The people he is counting on to provide them are precisely the people he is doing his best to alienate.” REFERENCE: US does not intend to encroach on Pakistan’s sovereignty: Qureshi By Our Correspondent Thursday, 08 Oct, 2009 (Dawn)

Capital talk - 14th february 2011 part 2

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari has agreed to relent on his hitherto uncompromising stance on the Kerry-Lugar Bill in its existing shape. The president and the prime minister have decided to defuse the current crises by both assuring Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on Saturday that all the controversial clauses of the Kerry-Lugar Bill will be debated in both houses of parliament and subsequently these clauses could be rejected by parliament. The president and the prime minister will meet jointly with the army chief today (Saturday) in a bid to address all concerns of the Army high command regarding the Kerry-Lugar Bill. Both the prime minister and the president discussed the current political crises in different meetings on Friday. A group of federal ministers first met the prime minister in the morning in his parliament chambers and then the president in the late afternoon. This group of ministers was on a crisis-defusing mission. They included Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira, Petroleum Minister Naveed Qamar, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Dr Babar Awan and Labour Minister Khurshid Shah. Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar was also part of the meeting in the late afternoon.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi's speech on Kerry Lugar bill (Part-1)

Shah Memood Qureshi's speech on Kerry Lugar bill (Part -2)


A recent statement of Farhatullah Babar also came under discussion in which he reportedly said that opponents of the Kerry-Lugar Bill were opponents of President Zardari. Farhatullah Babar claimed that his statement was distorted. It was decided that in future he will speak only after first consulting with Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira. Interior Minister Rehman Malik was not invited to this meeting but he too remained active till late last night. He contacted top army brass Thursday and assured that the president had no plans to remove General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani from the command of Pakistan Army. He categorically told one general that; “Neither I nor the president is hatching any conspiracy against General Kayani and if someone can prove anything against me I will resign.” According to reliable sources, the president himself will assure General Kayani today that nobody is going to remove him from his current job.

Shah Memood Qureshi's Speech on Kerry Lugar bill (Part -3)

Shah Mehmood Qureshi's speech on Kerry Lugar bill (Part-4)


It is also learnt that at least two federal ministers recommended to President Zardari that he must identify and fire all those who are responsible for creating misunderstanding between the Army high command and the civilian leadership. Some action on their recommendations is expected soon. Everybody present in the meeting agreed that the country cannot afford confrontation between different institutions and there is an urgent need to defuse the crises so that no internal or external enemy could take advantage of this situation. The president said that the country needed unity against extremist forces and any political crises will only help all those who have become a threat for the state in the tribal areas. It was also decided that the prime minister will talk to the heads of all major political parties for making a joint strategy on Kerry-Lugar Bill.

Shah Mehmood Qureshi's speech on Kerry Lugar bill (Part-5)

Shah Mehmood Qureshi's speech on Kerry Lugar bill (Part-6)


One minister informed the prime minister in the morning meeting that Kerry-Lugar Bill is not the only source of irritation between the army high command and the government. The president was also informed about the activities of some US citizens in Islamabad and Peshawar that created a lot of concern in army circles.
Reliable sources claimed that rejection of the controversial clauses of Kerry-Lugar Bill by the parliament will not be enough. The army high command and a large number of federal ministers want a check on the mysterious activities of some US nationals in Pakistan. The Interior Ministry had recently informed prime minister that there were 411 US nationals present in Pakistan these days out of which 286 enjoyed the status of diplomats. US embassy in Islamabad has hired about 307 houses in the capital. Security agencies have completed a survey of these houses and informed the government in clear words that most of these houses will not be used just for residences but also for spying activities. The president and the prime minister will discuss all these issues with COAS today and will try to form a joint strategy to secure and stabilise the country. REFERENCE: Troika meets today to resolve all issues By Hamid Mir Parliament likely to reject Kerry-Lugar Bill Saturday, October 10, 2009
The Army’s public statement openly questioning the intentions and policies of the civilian government in regards to the lucrative Kerry-Lugar Bill, while not surprising, is disappointing because it comes so early in yet another era of democratic revivalism. The bells of conspiracy and subterfuge are ringing again; the gyre, as Yeats would put it, is turning and widening. We are spellbound listening to the catchy chorus of political opportunists cashing in on the controversy. They smell blood. We know this tune – the opportunist sonata. It is the one that, laced with cacophonies of “national interest” slogans, crescendos in interventionism and upheaval. This impasse is an indication of yet another democratic civilian government being unable to take policy decisions autonomously as well as the continued unwillingness of the establishment to let go, even if only for the time being – as is usually the case every decade or so. What is even more disappointing is that there has been rabid support for the army’s “concerns,” rather than condemnation. In other countries, even India, an army chief would have been dismissed for something like this. Whether or not the army high command was consulted is inconsequential because in a pure democratic setup, a civilian government is not bound to consult the army at all. So what if contentious clauses were, as is being alleged, inserted in the Kerry-Lugar Bill through a conspiracy by a few civilians to tame the army’s influence, or to control their funding? That we are giving the Army’s ‘concern’ so much importance is essentially a reflection of a contradiction that Pakistan has struggled with since inception. Whether we admit it or not, the deeply-embedded nationalist psyche of the country dictates that the armed forces are the definitive authority in protecting the identity, and hence the very existence, of Pakistan. Questioning this authority has always been anathema, which is why the armed forces get away with almost anything: they are equated with our sovereignty and ultimately with our independence. Questioning the army, more importantly its top brass, has for too long been equated with questioning our sovereignty. Yet, intervention — direct and indirect — by the armed forces is also cited by politicians and intellectuals as the main hurdle to political development democratic sustainability.

Capital talk - 14th february 2011 part 3

Today in Pakistan, many are championing Gen Kayani for something that is the polar opposite of what he was praised for only a few months ago – i.e., non-interference. The same people – in the media, political circles and civil society – who were rabid critics of the army’s intervention in politics and policy-making just a few months ago, are now its reservations to put pressure on the current government regarding the Kerry-Lugar Bill. Medically, Pakistan would be called schizophrenic. When it really matters, no one seems to remember army intervention is a problem, not a solution; this is why the marching boots are cheered into the capital every once in a while, only to be sent packing a decade later. It should be no surprise that the Army has opposed the Kerry-Lugar Bill on the grounds that it was not consulted. The armed forces have historically been the principal figure, and indeed the principal beneficiary, when it comes to relations with America. The civilians have never been given a chance to work with US largesse – possibly because this is exactly when they can actually make democracy work. When the US and Pakistan’s relations were on a high in the late 50s and 60s, the early stages of the cold war, Pakistan went through its “Golden Era of Capitalism” – under Ayub Khan. Pakistan’s military government got into America’s good books in exchange for modelling policies along free-market capitalist lines instead of being protectionist like India. By doing this, we were giving their ideology preference and credibility over local, independent economic models that China and the rest of Asia were following. We are economically non-existent in the global sphere today.

When Washington went on a spending spree in the 80s, Pakistan was under Gen Zia and his regime received tons of money and aid in exchange for fighting a proxy war against the Soviets. Also, where was the army’s concern for sovereignty when the military handed over hundreds of its nationals to the US for interrogation in Guantanamo Bay after 9/11? Moral of the tale? Aid with strings was fine as long as the khakis had a direct say in it and there was a soldier in the Presidency. If today the US is supporting Pakistan financially under a civilian setup, in the same way, why shouldn’t it be allowed? Shouldn’t we at least give it a try? Or does the army fear that the civilians might just make this work – which will be a huge step to break away from the vicious cycle of military interventionism?

This is not about how corrupt Asif Ali Zaradri is or is not. He is a nonentity in the larger quest for democracy. This is about defending those who follow him – i.e., in becoming democratically elected leaders of Pakistan. Nor is this about aid or the Kerry-Lugar Bill; this is about civilians’ right to stand up for themselves and determine their own policies without the army’s godfathering – however well-intentioned it may be. If we argue that the problem lies with a controversial president, then we should be ready to have all our future leaders walk the tight rope of army support, shaken publicly by a mere ISPR press statement. The army is an important institution that has its own place – but that place is not in the realm of policy-making. Otherwise, we should forget civilian sovereignty, and instead equate sovereignty with only the military’s right to dictate policy shifts – something that will see us stay put, on edge, for another 62 years. The time to set the ground for a paradigm shift is now. The smallest signs of interventionism must be nipped in the bud. Be warned: Kerry-Lugar today, a whole lot more tomorrow. REFERENCE: Gratuitous advice, opportunistic politics Saturday, October 10, 2009 (The News International - Jang Group of Newspapers) Gibran Peshimam The writer is city editor of The News, Karachi.

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