Thursday, April 7, 2011

Cloak & Dagger: Dirty & Secret Intelligence War. September of 1994 Kamran Khan of The News and The Washington Post came calling. He told me how earlier that year he had asked for an appointment with the then leader of the opposition, Nawaz Sharif, to interview him on his relationship with the army and the security services whilst he was prime minister. He was asked to go to Lahore and meet the Mian. When on May 16 Kamran arrived at Nawaz's Model Town house, there was an army of men equipped with bulldozers demolishing the security fences and structures Nawaz had built on adjoining land, not his to build upon (akin to those built around Karachi's Bilawal House). The breakers had been on the job since dawn. Kamran found Nawaz angry but composed. He was amply plied and refreshed with 'badaam-doodh' and Nawaz, his information wizard Mushahid Hussain and he settled down to talk and continued to do so until late afternoon when Kamran left to fly back to Karachi. REFERENCE: We never learn from history By Ardeshir Cowasjee dated 21 July 2002 Sunday 10 Jamadi-ul-Awwal 1423 

Nawaz opened up by congratulating Kamran on his Mehrangate exposures which had recently appeared in the press, asking how the inquiry was progressing, and giving his own views. They exchanged information, each believing the other was being informed. They talked about how COAS Aslam Beg (sporter of shades in the shade) managed to get Rs 14 crore (140 million) from Yunis Habib, then of Habib Bank. This was deposited in the 'Survey Section 202' account of Military Intelligence (then headed by Major-General Javed Ashraf Kazi). From there Rs 6 crore was paid to President Ghulam Ishaq Khan's election cellmates (General Rafaqat, Roedad Khan, Ijlal Hyder Zaidi, etc.), and Rs 8 crore transferred to the ISI account. After lunch, Nawaz brought up the subject of how Aslam Beg early in 1991 had sought a meeting with him (then prime minister) to which he brought Major-General Asad Durrani, chief of the ISI. They told him that funds for vital on-going covert operations (not identified by Nawaz) were drying up, how they had a foolproof plan to generate money by dealing in drugs. They asked for his permission to associate themselves with the drug trade, assuring him of full secrecy and no chance of any trail leading back to them. REFERENCE: We never learn from history By Ardeshir Cowasjee dated 21 July 2002 Sunday 10 Jamadi-ul-Awwal 1423 

Nawaz remarked that on hearing this he felt the roof had caved in on him. He told them he could have nothing to do with such a plan and refused to give his approval. The Washington Post had just broken Kamran's story and when I asked why it had not broken earlier, he told me how they check and recheck, and that in the meantime, he had been busy with the Mehrangate affair on which, between May and August, he had filed seven stories. We must again ask: was Nawaz capable of saying what he did? Yes. Did Kamran invent the whole thing? Not likely. Is The Washington Post a responsible paper with credibility? Yes. Everybody who is anyone in Washington reads it over breakfast. Has it ever made mistakes? Yes. What is so earth-shattering about using drugs to make money? Drugs have been trafficked and used for covert operations for ages, by warlords, statesmen, chieftans and generals, used to gain territory, to buy or to harm the enemy. Remember how the staid Victorians of the British empire used opium to China's detriment. Remember the Americans and how they traded drugs in Vietnam, and the Iran-Contra affair. Can we believe Aslam Beg? Judging by his behaviour and record, no. Are we expected to believe Asad Durrani, a clever professional spook? Of course not. REFERENCE: We never learn from history By Ardeshir Cowasjee dated 21 July 2002 Sunday 10 Jamadi-ul-Awwal 1423 

RELEASE of deposed judges was so easy, but the withdrawal of fake cases against Baluch leaders is becoming difficult for the new government of Pakistan. The new Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani ordered the release of detained judges immediately after getting majority in the National Assembly of Pakistan last month. His orders were implemented by the police within an hour. All Supreme Court judges were released after four months of detention ordered by President Pervez Musharraf in November 2007. The same Yousaf Raza Gilani has asked for the withdrawal of cases against Baluch leader Akhtar Mengal, but his orders have not been implemented because the army is involved against Baluch leader. Despite his desire, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani is finding it difficult to establish his writ in Baluchistan province. The election was nakedly rigged in Baluchistan. Pro-Musharraf Muslim League got a majority only in Baluchistan, but all the Musharraf leaguers extended their support to Gilani's Peoples Party after they were routed in three other provinces. People's Party formed the government in Baluchistan. The new Chief Minister of Baluchistan, Mr.Raisani, demanded a halt to military operations in his province. He sent flowers to Akhtar Mengal in Karachi central jail. PM Gilani also ordered withdrawal of cases against the well-respected Baluch leader, but the administration has raised some legal excuses in this regard. A debate is going on within the ruling coalition that if the Sindh government could withdraw its appeal from superior courts in the Major Kaleem case against MQM leaders, then why couldn't the case against the Baluch leader be withdrawn? MQM leader Altaf Hussain was convicted in absentia by an anti-terrorist court in 1994, but the case was withdrawn in 2007 by the Sindh government. This case has become a real litmus test for the new democracy in Pakistan. REFERENCE: A real test coming for new democracy in Pakistan Hamid Mir Published On: 2008-04-28 

Reporter - Who Will Bell The Intelligence Agencies In Pakistan - Ep 157 - Part 1
(Courtesy Dawn News Pakistan

Pakistan's secret dirty war Balochistan, mutilated corpses bearing the signs of torture keep turning up, among them lawyers, students and farm workers. Why is no one investigating and what have they got to do with the bloody battle for Pakistan's largest province? REFERENCE: Pakistan's secret dirty war Declan Walsh Tuesday 29 March 2011 23.00 BST 

The adviser to the prime minister on home affairs, Rehman Malik, met Akhtar Mengal in the central jail Karachi recently and offered him release on bail, but the former chief minister and president of Baluchistan National Party (BNP) refused to come out of jail without his guards and party workers who were arrested and convicted by the previous regime on the complaint of a Pakistan Army Havaldar, Qurban Hussain. Mengal demanded release of his 25 party workers and return of at least 800 missing persons belonging to Baluchistan. These people disappeared after a military operation was started in the province in 2005. Akhtar Mengal was implicated in many cases, including a treason case that was registered against him due to his public speeches against the military operation. He was arrested two years ago on the orders of the then Director General Military Intelligence Major General Nadeem Ijaz. He was produced in an anti-terrorist court in an iron cage. He was not arrested under the charges of firing missiles on government installations, rather he was arrested because his guards detained some intelligence officials who were trying to harass him and his school-going children. REFERENCE: A real test coming for new democracy in Pakistan Hamid Mir Published On: 2008-04-28 

Reporter - Who Will Bell The Intelligence Agencies In Pakistan - Ep 157 - Part 2
(Courtesy Dawn News Pakistan
Thursday, April 07, 2011, Jamadi-ul-Awwal 03, 1432 A.H

On April 5, 2006, while Mengal was taking his son to a school in Karachi, two motorcyclists followed his car. On his way back home, still being followed, Akhtar stopped his car and asked them who they were and why he was being followed, and what they wanted of him. They failed to give any satisfactory answer. Asadullah Mengal, brother of Akhtar Mengal, was kidnapped and killed in Karachi in 1977 when a military operation was being conducted in Baluchistan. Keeping in mind the past experience, Akhtar decided to take some action against the mysterious motorcyclists. Four of his tribesmen guards picked up the two riders, took them to Akhtar's house and threatened to hand them over to the police. At this stage, the two admitted being army personnel. Almost immediately, a large number of a law enforcement agency men arrived at the house, took away their two companions and laid siege to the house and its occupants. On April 11, Iqbal Haider, Secretary-General of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), along with a group of fellow commission members, visited Akhtar's house and was allowed entry by the security officials. That same night, all personnel were withdrawn from the house and Akhtar and his family were free to go out. A Havaldar of the Pakistan army, Qurban Hussain, filed an FIR (170/06) at Darakshan Police Station against Akhtar Mengal and his four guards on April 5, 2006. On the basis of this FIR, a case (8/06) was registered in the Anti-Terrorism Court-V (ATC), Karachi. When Akhtar's relatives attempted to file an FIR against those who were following school-going children, it was refused. A constitutional petition (D-1917/06) was filed on Akhtar's behalf in the Sindh High Court, asking that the FIR be accepted and registered. On October 13, the court restrained the ATC from pronouncing a judgment against the four accused. Despite this restraining order, Akhtar's four arrested guards named in the FIR were convicted on December 9, 2006, by the ATC and sentenced to several terms of imprisonment, including life, and each was fined Rs140,000. REFERENCE: A real test coming for new democracy in Pakistan Hamid Mir Published On: 2008-04-28 

Reporter - Who Will Bell The Intelligence Agencies In Pakistan - Ep 157 - Part 3
(Courtesy Dawn News Pakistan chief Nadeem Ijaz ordered CPO to wash Benazir murder scene Saturday, April 17, 2010 By Tariq Butt ISLAMABAD: The report of the UN fact-finding commission says the then Rawalpindi City Police Officer (CPO), Saud Aziz, had ordered to hose down the scene of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination at the Liaquat Bagh on the order of the chief of the Military Intelligence of the time, Major General Nadeem Ijaz, who was not only a relative of Pervez Musharraf but also a known crony of the former dictator. The report lays a lot of blame on Saud Aziz on different counts, especially washing of the crime scene and lack of autopsy. He was posted as the CPO Multan immediately after the present government came to power. The commission attached a great significance to the washing of the crime scene to eliminate the evidence that could have proved tremendously useful in investigations into the assassination. At one place, the report said, the then Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Lieutenant General Nadeem Taj met Benazir Bhutto in the early morning hours of December 27 at the Zardari House Islamabad. It said that directly knowledgeable sources told the commission that they spoke both about the elections as well as threats to her life; versions differ as to how much detail was conveyed about the threats. The commission is satisfied that at the least the ISI chief told Benazir Bhutto that the agency was concerned about a possible terrorist attack against her and urged her to limit her public exposure and to keep a low profile at the campaign event at the Liaquat Bagh later that day. According to the findings, another source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that Saud Aziz was ordered to hose down the scene by the then MI chief. The report said that an ISI officer, Rawalpindi Detachment Commander Colonel Jehangir Akhtar, was present at the RGH through much of the evening. At one point, ISI deputy chief Major General Nusrat Naeem, contacted senior physician Prof Mussadiq through Colonel Jehangir’s cell phone. When asked about this by the commission, Nusrat Naeem initially denied making any calls to the hospital, but then acknowledged that he had indeed called when pressed further. He asserted that he had made the call, before reporting to his superiors, to hear, directly from Prof Mussadiq that Benazir Bhutto had died. The commission said sources informed it that Saud Aziz did not act independently in deciding to hose down the crime scene. One source, on condition of anonymity, said the CPO had confided to him that he had received a call from the Army Headquarters instructing him to order the hosing down of the crime scene. Others, including three police officials, told the commission that Saud Aziz did not act independently and that “everyone knows” who ordered the hosing down. However, they were not willing to state on the record what it is that “everyone knows”. This is one of the many occasions during the commission’s inquiry when individuals, including government officials, expressed fear or hesitation to speak openly, the report said. It said that on three different occasions, senior Physician Professor Mussadiq of the RGH, where Benazir Bhutto was brought from the Liaquat Bagh, asked Saud Aziz for permission to conduct her autopsy, and the CPO refused each request. On the second request, Saud Aziz is reported to have sarcastically asked the professor whether an FIR had been filed, a matter that the CPO should know, not the professor. The report said that the then District Coordination Officer of Rawalpindi Irfan Elahi (now a senior Punjab government official), who was also present outside the operating room of the RGH, supported the CPO’s position. The authorities, however, deny that the CPO deliberately refused to allow an autopsy. They insist that they wanted to get permission from Benazir Bhutto’s family. However, the commission said the police’s legal duty to request an autopsy does not require permission from a family member. It said that because Prof Mussadiq could not obtain police consent to carry out an autopsy, he called in X-ray technician Ghafoor Jadd, who took two X-rays of her skull with a portable X-ray machine. He did this without notifying or seeking Saud Aziz’s consent. Though not present at the time, a radiologist examined the X-rays the next day. Benazir Bhutto’s death certificate was completed and signed by the senior registrar, Dr Aurangzeb, who recorded the cause of death as “To be determined on autopsy”. The report said that soon after the blast outside the Liaquat Bagh the CPO left the crime scene for the RGH; SSP Yaseen Farooq followed shortly thereafter. The most senior Rawalpindi police official remaining at the crime scene was SP Khurram Shahzad, who continued to take instructions from Saud Aziz by telephone. The management of the crime scene and the collection of evidence by the Rawalpindi police during this time have generated considerable controversy. The commission said that senior Pakistani police officials explained to it that in law and practice, the ranking police official at the scene of the crime takes decisions relating to crime scene management. SP Khurram asserted that he made the decision to hose down the scene. Before issuing the order to the rescue and fire services, Khurram called his superior, Saud Aziz, to seek permission, which was granted. Sources, including police officials familiar with the case, questioned the veracity of SP Khurram’s claim that the decision was his initiative. The report said Saud Aziz’s role in this decision is controversial. Many senior Pakistani police officials have emphasised that hosing down a crime scene is fundamentally inconsistent with Pakistani police practice. While they acknowledge that there is no uniformity of practice in crime scene management in Pakistan, the washing of such a place is considered extraordinary. Indeed, with the exception of some Rawalpindi police officials, nearly all senior Pakistani police officials have criticised the manner in which this crime scene was managed. One senior police official argued that hosing down the crime scene amounted to “criminal negligence”. According to the commission, several senior police officials who know the CPO were troubled that an officer with his 33 years of experience would allow a major crime scene to be washed away, thereby damaging his reputation. The report said that some senior Pakistani police officials identified further factors suggesting that the CPO was not acting independently. They point out that, while the deliberate hosing down of a scene is unheard of in police practice, it has occurred on a few occasions, in each case when the military has been the target of such attacks and the crime scene was managed by the military directly. Even Saud Aziz, the commission said, when asserting to it that there were precedents for hosing down a crime scene, acknowledged that all the incidents which he posited as precedents actually involved a military target. The police officials who point out this pattern saw it as further indication that the military was involved in having the crime scene hosed down. The report said since the extraordinary nature of the hosing down of the crime scene generated such controversy that Punjab government officials recognised that some response was necessary. A three-member inquiry committee was set up by the chief minister to look into the washing down of the crime scene. The commission requested meetings with these individuals, which the facilitation committee was not able to arrange. No credible reason was provided. However, the committee accepted the Rawalpindi police explanation that the decision to wash the crime scene was formed by the investigating police officer at the scene, SP Khurram, with permission from CPO Saud Aziz, on grounds of public order. The committee had further found that the decision was not made with any mala fide intention and that washing the crime scene did not negatively impact on the conclusion as to the cause of death. The commission said Benazir Bhutto’s Land Cruiser was initially taken to the City Police Station some time after midnight early on December 28 and then taken to the Police Lines. In the early hours of December 28, Saud Aziz went to see the Police Lines, together with others, including ISI officers, who were the first to conduct a forensic examination of the vehicle. An investigating police officer on the orders of the CPO removed Benazir Bhutto’s shoes and took them to the City Police Station. Sometime thereafter, the shoes were ordered back into the car. The report said the commission is not convinced that the decision to wash the scene was made by Saud Aziz alone. The attack was too significant and its target too important to Pakistani society to make such a decision solely on his level. “Sources told the commission that CPO Saud Aziz was constantly talking on his mobile phone while at the hospital. In the commission’s view, he has not adequately explained who called him during that time. Other sources have provided credible information about the intervention of intelligence agencies in the case. Whoever was responsible for this decision, and for whatever reason, acted in a manner that is contrary to the most basic police standards and hampered the proper investigation of the assassination,” the report said. The report said the lack of a clear cause of death established by an autopsy severely affected the credibility of the government among the general public and has given rise to wide speculation as to the cause of Benazir Bhutto’s death. CPO Saud Aziz again appears in a setting in which he seems to have been able to impede the effective investigation of the crime. Again, it is unlikely that a police officer of his level could make such significant and ultimately destructive decisions on his own and wield such power. He maintains that he did not deny any requests for an autopsy. Furthermore, it said, the CPO impeded some Joint Investigation Team investigators from conducting on-site probe until two full days after the assassination. The failure of Punjab authorities to otherwise review effectively the gross failures of the senior Rawalpindi police officials and deal with them appropriately constitutes a broader whitewash by Punjab officials. The commission said the deliberate prevention by the CPO of a post mortem examination of Benazir Bhutto hindered a definitive determination of the cause of her death. It was patently unrealistic for the CPO to expect that Asif Zardari would allow an autopsy on his arrival in Pakistan at the Chaklala Airbase nearly seven hours after his wife’s death and after her remains had been placed in a coffin and brought to the airport. The autopsy should have been carried out at the RGH long before Zardari arrived.

Akhtar himself remained free to move, and continued his political activities. He tried to mobilise the Baluch people against the military operation in which former Chief Minister Akbar Bugti was killed. President Pervez Musharraf was chief of the army staff at the time of the operation. Akhtar Mengal was arrested on November 28, 2006, together with 14 of his party men, by the Baluchistan police and taken to Lassi Farm House in Hub Town, which was declared a sub-jail. He was kept there until December 26, when his arrest was disclosed and he was produced before the ATC. His 14 companions were removed to an undisclosed destination. Their whereabouts remained unknown. Akhtar's trial in the ATC started in the usual court premises, but it was later decided that he would be tried in Central Prison, Karachi, from January 8. In the courtroom, he was forced to sit in an iron cage away from his counsel. This treatment was a reflection of the hatred of the establishment for Akhtar Mengal. Late PPP Chairperson Benazir Bhutto always demanded withdrawal of cases against Akhtar. Just a few days before her assassination, she addressed a public meeting in Quetta and again demanded his release. New PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari is determined to withdraw all cases against him, but some active components of the old establishment are coming up with a number of legal excuses. Zardari has asked the Interior Ministry to coordinate with the provincial governments of Sindh and Baluchistan for the release of Akhtar Mengal. The Interior Ministry informed Zardari about some sensitivities involved in cases against Akhtar Mengal. A senior leader of BNP, Abdul Rauf Mengal, confirmed that an offer was made to Akhtar Mengal that he could come out of the jail on bail. Akhtar was assured that the government would not oppose his bail application in the court, but he said he would not come out without his guards and workers who were convicted in 2006. He is demanding withdrawal of cases against him and the return of missing people in Baluchistan. REFERENCE: A real test coming for new democracy in Pakistan Hamid Mir Published On: 2008-04-28 

Reporter - Who Will Bell The Intelligence Agencies In Pakistan - Ep 157 - Part 4
(Courtesy Dawn News Pakistan
Thursday, January 07, 2010, Muharram 20, 1431 A.H

The new ruling coalition is under immense pressure from the new Baluchistan government to release Akhtar Mengal. A federal minister has reminded his colleagues that a case was registered against pro-Musharraf MQM chief Altaf Hussain and his colleagues in 1991 on the complaint of one Major Kaleem who was kidnapped at gun-point during a military operation in Karachi. Altaf Hussain and Dr Imran Farooq were sentenced for 27 years imprisonment in absentia by an Anti-Terrorist Court of Karachi in 1994. Later, the Sindh High Court found all defendants innocent in 1998, but the Sindh government filed an appeal against the SHC decision in the Supreme Court. The Sindh government withdrew its appeal from SC on August 13,2007, and the whole case was closed. The government has been advised to act in the same manner, but some legal experts have the view that the Major Kaleem case is different from the Havaldar Qurban case. The advisor for the interior, Rehman Malik, will meet members of the parliament from Baluchistan soon and will take them into confidence about the cases against Akhtar Mengal. He is trying his level best to meet the demands of Akhtar without annoying the army. Rehman Malik told this correspondent: “We are determined to release Akhtar Mengal and his workers, but we need a few days for our homework.” It is learnt that the government is thinking about a general amnesty for all the Baluch militants except Barahamdagh Bugti, who is reportedly hiding in Afghanistan. Security outfits have reports that a grandson of Akbar Bugti is in contact with Indian authorities and is receiving support from them. REFERENCE: A real test coming for new democracy in Pakistan Hamid Mir Published On: 2008-04-28 

Reporter - Who Will Bell The Intelligence Agencies In Pakistan - Ep 157 - Part 5
(Courtesy Dawn News Pakistan
Monday, December 28, 2009, Muharram 10, 1431 A.H

Family sources of late Akbar Bugti have always denied these reports. Some members of the parliament from Baluchistan have advised the prime minister that Barahamdagh Bugti should also be given amnesty. The government is trying to get an assurance from Akhtar Mengal that he will not support Barahmadagh Bugti, but the former chief minister has not given any assurance in this regard. Akhtar Mengal is waiting for the restoration of the deposed judges. He is confidant that they will give him justice. Very few people know that it was “traitor”Akbar Bugti who appointed Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry as the advocate general of Baluchistan in 1988 after becoming chief minister of the province. Later on, Chaudhry was made judge of the Baluchistan High Court and then the Supreme Court. Bugti was killed by the Pakistan army in 2006 when Chaudhry was chief justice. He remained silent, but he should not remain silent after his restoration. The people of Baluchistan expect a lot from him. He will be restored by parliament in the last week of April (may be on April 25th), and it is expected that he will try to establish the writ of the constitution in his own province immediately after restoration. He has to initiate an inquiry into the murder cases of Akbar Bugti and Benazir Bhutto, and he must provide justice to Akhtar Mengal. REFERENCE: A real test coming for new democracy in Pakistan Hamid Mir Published On: 2008-04-28

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