2011: According to several TV Anchors Former Foreign Minister and MNA Sardar Asif Ahmed Ali will join Tehreek-e-Insaf in coming days. Sardar Asif Ahmed Ali who was assoicatd with Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) served as 18th Foreign Minister during the PPP led government in 1993 to 1996. Way back in 2004: LAHORE, Feb 16: Former foreign minister Sardar Assef Ahmad Ali has stressed the need for developing a national consensus to steer the country out of "state crisis". He was talking to reporters after announcing his decision to join the PPP in the presence of party's senior vice-chairman and other central leaders here on Monday. Accusing Gen Pervez Musharraf of being arrogant, he said the army ruler under the influence of his hatred against certain politicians was ignoring the crisis. Fearing action against Pakistan on the nuclear issue, he said mishandling of the scientists' affair had given certain powers an opportunity to prepare a case against it. However, he said Gen Musharraf's ties with US President George Bush may delay the action. He urged Gen Musharraf to unite all nationalist parties on a single platform to face the crisis as it was the need of the hour, otherwise Islamabad would be forced to roll back its nuclear programme. He criticized the way the scientists were produced before the nation and made to "confess" their mistake, saying it had hurt the feelings of the masses. He alleged the scientists were made a scapegoat to save some senior officers in uniform. He said he decided to join the PPP after consulting his family and friends for two months. "I won't demand party ticket, office or a slot in cabinet as the only objective of my joining the PPP is to work for the national interests," he said. ARD chairman Makhdoom Amin Fahim endorsed Sardar Assef's views on the nuclear issue, and said it was the duty of every Pakistani to come forward and stop the rulers from giving in before world powers on every issue. He said the call for a march on Islamabad would be given after analyzing the situation and consulting all friends, and no step would be taken in haste. He denied reports that the PPP was taking a solo flight through protest camps as other constituents of the ARD had differences with it. Asked if the MMA would also be invited for joining ARD's drive against Gen Musharraf, he said: "We will do our job with commitment." Asked if the ARD would give a call for court arrests, he said no stone would be left unturned in the movement against the army ruler, however, any decision in this respect would be made public at an appropriate time. Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Aftab Shaaban Merani, Khalid Kharal, Naveed Chaudhry, Munir Ahmad Khan, Munawwar Anjum and MNA Chaudhry Manzoor were also present on the occasion. REFERENCE: Sardar Assef joins PPP By Our Staff Reporter 17 February 2004 Tuesday 25 Zilhaj 1424 http://archives.dawn.com/2004/02/17/nat10.htm 2010: ISLAMABAD: The federal cabinet expanded on Saturday as three new ministers took oath at a ceremony held here at the President House. President Asif Ali Zardari administered oath to ministers Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Arbab Muhammad Zahir and Sardar Asif Ahmed Ali, hours before the budget was presented in the National Assembly. In the new cabinet, Hafeez Sheikh has been sworn in as the finance minister, Ahmed Ali as the minister of education while Muhammad Zahir has been made the minister for narcotics control. After the additions, the strength of the federal cabinet has increased from 39 to 42. Consequently, advisers to the prime minister have been reduced from five to three. And the number of state ministers reduced to 17 from 18. REFERENCE: Cabinet expands as three more ministers sworn in By Online Published: June 6, 2010 http://tribune.com.pk/story/19160/cabinet-expands-as-three-more-ministers-sworn-in/
Postscript (27 December 2011)
ISLAMABAD: After welcoming many NAB-tainted individuals into the party, the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) chief has now warmly accepted Sardar Assef Ahmad Ali, former education minister who was the key man standing between fake degree holders and Abid Sher Ali, chairman NA standing committee on education. As Imran Khan proudly announced Sunday night in Karachi taking yet another wicket, that of Sardar Assef, it left many surprised as the new entrant is also a relic of the rotten system. With ‘electables’ joining the PTI in quick succession the slogan of change is coming under critical scrutiny. The News has already reported that a NAB-tainted former police chief, Malik Naveed Ahmad, has also joined Imran’s team. PTI’s scrutiny committee head for Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa, Rustam Shah Mehmand, facilitated his entrance as both are brothers-in-law, though with entirely opposite reputation as bureaucrats. As for Assef Ahmad Ali, he made headlines as cabinet minister of Yusuf Raza Gilani, mostly for the wrong reasons. As education minister, Assef first emerged as a villain in the Farah Dogar scam and later on the issue of fake degree holder lawmakers. In Farah Dogar case where she was given extra 20 marks illegally to enable her to get admission in a medical college, Assef had strongly opposed its investigation when Abid Sher Ali ordered a probe into the matter. So much so he said since the case involved the daughter of the then sitting Chief Justice, it shouldn’t be discussed, let alone probed. Finally, the issue was thrown into the cold storage and Farah Dogar continues to be in medical college, courtesy Assef. Assef again emerged as the stumbling block when Abid took up the issue of fake degrees of lawmakers. He also bullied the chairman Higher Education Commission (HEC), Javed Leghari, into submission and pressured the government for his removal. The PPP government also arrested Leghari’s brother. Not only this, media reports at that time also indicated that Assef wrote to the Punjab University directing it not to comply with the HEC directives for verification of degrees. The fake degree case has also been swept under the carpet, again courtesy Assef. The HEC was sent the record of some 500 lawmakers and 70 of them had fake degrees but no action was taken against them. Again, Assef was instrumental in handing over the control of National University of Modern Languages (NUML) to the army chief as its chairman board of governors. Before assuming the portfolio of education, Assef was made deputy chairman of planning commission where his performance was pretty ordinary. He failed in his main task of reforming the Public Sector Development Programme, and was later shifted to education ministry. REFERENCE: PTI embraces another ‘relic of the past’ Umar Cheema Tuesday, December 27, 2011 http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=84393&Cat=2&dt=12/27/2011
Postscript (27 December 2011)
More shame :) How Swati and Sardar Assef Ahmed Ali would sit together in PTI:)
Azam Swati & Million US Dollars - 1 (KYUN - Duniya News 6-2-12)
Azam Swati & Million US Dollars - 2 (KYUN - Duniya News 6-2-12)
Azam Swati & Million US Dollars - 3 (KYUN - Duniya News 6-2-12)
ISLAMABAD: A multi-million dollar impending purchase of an old ship purportedly at an “inflated price of millions” for the Ministry of Science and Technology created ugly scenes in the federal cabinet meeting on Wednesday when three ministers blamed one another for the scam. High-profile sources confirmed to our sources that Minister for Science and Technology Azam Swati and Minister for Ports and Shipping Babar Ghauri accused Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Sardar Assef Ahmed Ali of pressurising them to buy an old ship at an inflated price of millions, which otherwise was available at a much cheaper price. Swati and Ghauri blasted Sardar Assef in his absence in the meeting. Prime Minister Gilani has now summoned the deputy chairman to explain his position about the alleged scam that jolted the cabinet. Talking to our sources, Sardar Assef Ahmed Ali strongly rejected allegations levelled against him in the federal cabinet meeting. The details, which he shared with this correspondent, give a totally new picture to the subject. He lambasted Azam Swati for pointing finger at him, arguing how he could be singled out in the matter that had nothing to do with him or his Planning Division. He said that a three-member technical committee of science and technology was scheduled to visit some foreign country to buy an old ship. This committee was constituted by the Ministry of Science and Technology itself. But all of sudden, Sardar Assef said, Swati cancelled the tour of the committee and instead he went to Dubai on a personal visit and inspected the ship along with his Egyptian technical friend. Sardar Assef said he had nothing to do with the buying of this ship, which was a project of the Ministry of Science and Technology. But the Planning Division came into the picture when it came to the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) for approval. It was approved by the CDWP. He said there was a task force on maritime affairs in the Planning Division that raised some objections after going through the whole process, which was violated by the minister himself by visiting Dubai to inspect the ship at night. The minister, the secretary and the Planning Division were not authorised to give approval to this purchase unless cleared by the technical committee. Sardar Assef accused the JUI minister of trying to settle scores with him because of his ìfrequent criticism on JUI policiesî. The cabinet sources said when the meeting started, Azam Swati revealed that he was facing pressure from Sardar Assef Ahmed Ali to buy a specific ship meant for gathering scientific data. He claimed that Assef was so keen to buy this old ship that he had even told him if the approval in this regard was not given in line with his personal wishes, neither would he approve any of their development projects which come to the Planning and Development Division nor would he let a single penny be released. The sources said upon this, Babar Ghauri, too, shared the views of Azam Swati but did not name Sardar Assef Ahmed Ali. Ghauri told the meeting that he, too, was under pressure from the deputy chairman to let him buy a particular ship for the Institute of Oceanology. Sources said Swati went a step ahead and directly accused Assef of involvement in the scam. He told the cabinet that this old ship was proposed to be purchased from Dubai at a price of Rs 500 million, which otherwise was available for a few million rupees. Source said upon hearing these serious allegations against Assef Ahmed Ali, Gilani asked the secretary cabinet to contact the deputy chairman and ask him to hold a meeting with him on this serious issue. When asked why Babur Ghauri talked against him in the cabinet, Sardar Assef replied that actually he, too, wanted him to give approval of a project of $500 million at the Karachi port areas that was not feasible. He said he had raised objections over certain projects, which the Ministry of Ports and Shipping was planning to execute without consulting the concerned agencies. He said even the naval chief who was adviser to the PM on such important issues was not consulted before undertaking some strategically important projects which in the long run might harm the citizens of Karachi. “My job is to raise objections over the faulty projects in the ministries as the Deputy Chairman Planning Division and would continue to do my duty irrespective of these laughable charges against me,” Sardar Assef said. All efforts to contact Azam Swati and Babar Ghauri went futile as their cell phones were switched off. However, SMS were left for them. The telephones at their official residences went unanswered. These columns, however, would be available to present their version. REFERENCE: One ship, three ministers, a dirty fight! 21 May, 2009 http://paktribune.com/news/One-ship-three-ministers-a-dirty-fight!-215107.html One ship, three ministers, a dirty fight! Thursday, May 21, 2009 Assef accuses Ghauri of forcing an unviable $500m project; Swati blames Assef for forcing him to buy a ship for Rs 500m By Rauf Klasra http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=22254&Cat=13&dt=5/19/2009
Did Musharraf, Kayani know about Osama's whereabouts?
In a sensational claim, a former Pakistan army General has said that Osama bin Laden had been kept in a "safe house" of Intelligence Bureau in Abbottabad with "full knowledge" of the then ruler Pervez Musharraf and possibly current Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani. Gen Ziauddin Butt, who was appointed as the Pakistan Army Chief by the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif but could not take over as Musharraf seized power in coup on the same day on October 12,1999, has reportedly made the claim at a conference in October. "In spite of denials by Pakistani military, evidence is emerging that elements within the Pakistani military harboured Osama bin Laden with the knowledge of Musharraf and Kayani," said an article quoting Butt on website of Washington-based think tank Jamestown Foundation. According to his knowledge, the former Director General of Intelligence Bureau Brigadier (retd) Ijaz Shah, "had kept Osama bin Laden in an Intelligence Bureau safe house in Abbottabad", Butt has said. The website claimed that "the revelation remained unreported because some intelligence officers had asked journalists to refrain from publishing General Butt's remarks. The report said Butt repeated his statement in an interview to Dawn News TV channel earlier this month, saying, "he fully believed that (brigadier) Ijaz Shah had kept this man (bin Laden in the Abbottabad compound) with the full knowledge of General Pervez Musharraf... Ijaz Shah was an all-powerful official in the government of General Musharraf". Asked whether Kayani knew of this, he first told the TV channel "yes, but later reconsidered: [Kayani] may have known I do not know he might not have known." However, Butt failed to explain why Bin Laden was not discovered even after Brigadier Shah and General Musharraf had left the government. REFERENCES: Musharraf knew of Osama's whereabouts? 25 Dec 2011, 1003 hrs IST, AGENCIES http://www.timesnow.tv/Musharraf-knew-of-Osamas-whereabouts/videoshow/4392218.cms Musharraf, Kayani knew about Osama's whereabouts: Ex-Pak army chief December 24, 2011 18:38 IST http://www.ndtv.com/article/world/musharraf-kayani-knew-about-osama-s-whereabouts-ex-pak-army-chief-160512
Daily Jang says that as per Former DG ISI, General Ziauddin Butt "Musharraf provided sanctuary to OBL" (Pigs can fly they have wings) http://e.jang.com.pk/pic.asp?npic=12-08-2011/Karachi/images/06_08.gif http://e.jang.com.pk/12-08-2011/Karachi/page1.asp#:
Same General Ziauddin while talking with an Indian Newspapers tried his best to tarnish Pakistan Army. http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/musharraf-closed-operation-osama-says-ex-isi-chief-ziauddin/1/137705.html
Asif Ali Zardari's Resignation - 1 (Bolta Pakistan 8 Dec 2011)
LAHORE: A Youm-e-Takbeer ceremony titled ‘Thank you Dr Qadeer Khan’ was held under the auspicious of Mohsin-e-Pakistan Lovers Foundation and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) at Punjabi Complex here Saturday. The chief guest of the ceremony was the former army chief and DG ISI General (retd) Ziauddin. Gen Ziauddin (retd), while addressing the participants, claimed that former Gen Pervez Musharraf had given asylum to Osama bin Laden on mala fide nature. He said that Gen Musharraf kept extraditing other people but he himself hide bin Laden so that the series of coming of money would continue and kept minting money from America. Gen (retd) Ziauddin said that ex-DG Ejaz Shah had colluded with Musharraf in this job and General (retd) Mehmood could also be part of that job too. When asked had Musharraf handed Osama bin Laden over to anyone before departing, he said that absolutely. He said that you could see how Ejaz Shah had enjoyed perks still today and he was still travelling in a car with green number plate. The former general said that how it was possible that Osama had been living near Abbottabad army academy for five years without any information. In such a period at least eleven of twelve time the houses were searched then why Osama was not found. He said that the whole band of General Musharraf was corrupt and Musharraf and his accomplices were minting money with both hands. He said that besides General (R) Tanvir Naqvi and another general all were plundering the country. He said that Musharraf had already made a plan to usurp power. He said, “When I was DG ISI Musharraf used to set spy on me.” While speaking on the dual policy of Musharraf, he said that he had sent a man to India for secret contact and when I as DG ISI summoned that person, at first that person refused but when I put proof before him then he admitted to visit India on Musharraf’s direction. Former Gen Ziauddin said that he had been associated with Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan for three years and all allegations on him are false and he is hero of the nation and most intelligent person. He said that if given chance Dr Qadeer would solve the issue of energy within six months. While addressing telephonically, Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan said that the youths should come forward to save the country and we would stand by with them. He said that revolution is the only solution to the problems. He said that country’s situation is extremely bad and people are fed up with price hike, anarchy and unemployment. He said a campaign should be launched with full force and there is a need to liberate the country. Arif Nizami, Qayyum Nizami, Irshad Arif, Dr Mujahid Mansoori, Amna Ulfat, Saadullah Shah, Maj (R) Muhammad Arif and Syed Rajab Ali were among those who spoke on the occasion. REFERENCE: ‘Musharraf provided Osama shelter to mint money from US’ Ali Masood Monday, May 30, 2011 http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=6348&Cat=13 KARGIL WAR Friday, February 5, 2010 http://drug-trafficking.blogspot.com/2010/02/kargil-war.html
Asif Ali Zardari's Resignation - 2 (Bolta Pakistan 8 Dec 2011)
KARACHI: The sudden prospect of Asif Ali Zardari sitting on the most powerful and sensitive political hot seat in the country has shaken everybody. There is a greater sense of uncertainty in the political class as well as the civil and military establishment, although the presidential election should have removed the clouds of doubt hanging over the political scene. Yet no one has any clue how to handle this situation as Mr Zardari has an absolute right to contest for and claim that hot seat, his controversial past and spotted career notwithstanding. But stepping back a little and trying to get an overview of the situation, two facts should become crystal clear about who is responsible for this mess and who is being asked to clean it. No one can deny that Gen Pervez Musharraf’s nearly nine years rule, or misrule, landed the country in the political turmoil that we are facing. During this period political parties and leaders were hounded, persecuted, terrorised, exiled, abused and deprived of their genuine rights. Musharraf played havoc with the system, it is obvious. Political parties and leaders were on the run in exile, never being allowed to settle down, organise or prepare for taking over the state responsibilities. As an individual Mr Zardari was the last person expected to climb the political ladder so fast that within eight months of Benazir’s assassination, he is now poised to be the country’s head of state, master of the nuclear button and supreme commander of the armed forces of Pakistan. In short, the leaders and parties are not prepared, or capable, of handling this mess. It would, in fact, be unfair and totally unjustified to expect them to clear the nine-year year old backlog, in less than nine months. Basically, though, the responsibility of correcting the situation is on the elected representatives who should chalk out a plan, call an all-party conference, invite the Army leadership to reach a consensus or whatever, but they seem either not interested or not too involved in petty politicking. So then who should do it? After the politicians, in all fairness, it is the prime responsibility of the Pakistan Army, which under Gen Musharraf created this situation and which should now undo the wrongs that Musharraf perpetrated for years. When Musharraf decided to quit as Army chief, he did not, and could not, absolve the rest of the Army generals from the blame they must share. Just by walking away under the pretext of “neutrality” and protecting their ex-commander by giving him a Guard of Honour, as if he was leaving after performing tremendous feats for Pakistan, the generals who collaborated with Musharraf cannot get away from their national duty and responsibility to undo the wrongs. But Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has walked away from everything and the poor politicians, led by Asif Zardari and Mian Nawaz Sharif, have been left with the dirty task of sweeping the stables and washing the left over dirty linen. It would have been fair for the Army after Musharraf had quit to undo his decisions, all taken to prolong his own power, so that the politicians had a clean slate to start their innings. That did not happen and now we are left with the prospect of a massively intricate political situation, with no one having a clue how to untangle it. Still it would be a right thing if the Army decided to correct the situation even now, unless they do not want to take the heat to a point in a few months when the generals will be sucked in, walking in like saviours to save the situation, like it has been happening in the past. Honesty and sincerity demands that the present Army generals put in their bit to help correct the distortions left over by Musharraf. They are the ones with guns to implement decisions. This time their efforts would be in the interest of Pakistan, as against using that power to perpetrate the interests of one man, one general or one junta. Risking the charge that will instantly be thrown at me that I am inviting the Army to intervene again, like the PFUJ secretary-general Mazhar Abbas did rather unjustifiably after my last article, I am prepared to offer the following sequence of steps that the Army must take before the politicians are handed over the full reins of the country, the presidency and the Prime Minister house included:
1) Since Gen Musharraf had imposed an emergency on Nov 3, as COAS, to suspend the Constitution, Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani should find a way to undo all that was wrongfully done. It is his responsibility.
2) Kayani should use his influence to restore the judges to the Nov 2 position, because Musharraf threw them out fearing a judgment against him and as the politicians would never be able to reach a consensus in view of their own insecurities and vulnerabilities. It is also a known fact that Gen Kayani did not appear in the Supreme Court to give testimony against the deposed chief justice when the Supreme Court was hearing the case before July 20, 2007. It has been reported, and not denied, that Kayani was against the sacking of Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry when he was ISI director-general.
3) He should get the NRO repealed to revert the white-washing of thousands of alleged criminals, mostly those who had struck deals with Musharraf, or whose support Musharraf needed to prolong his rule. These people should be made to face normal process of law and clear themselves, as Asif Ali Zardari had done in almost all of his cases. I still cannot figure out why he had to get himself tainted with the NRO when he had been cleared by the courts any way.
4) Kayani should cancel all the secret deals that Musharraf had made with politicians or foreign powers as these deals are not binding international agreements signed between governments. Gen Kayani or his Army is not supposed to be bound by them.
5) He should persuade others to set up a National Accountability Commission, with men of undisputed credibility, strength of character and certified competence so that all the corruption cases, past, present and future, are sent to it and anyone cleared by it is genuinely considered an honest and clean person. At present the NRO has cast more doubts on its beneficiaries than helping clear their image.
6) While all the politicians, bureaucrats and others are made to appear before this commission, Gen Musharraf must also be brought before it and made to face the charges, instead of providing him a blanket amnesty.
7) When Army power can be used to thrust a one man rule and perpetuate his interests, why can’t Army power be used to undo the wrongs for which the entire institution of the army is facing the blame and Kayani has been forced to push it into the background.
Let the power of the guns and barrels be used, for a change, in the interest of the nation and the people. It is obvious that the politicians cannot clean the dirt as they are neither visionaries, nor that tall, nor experienced, nor prepared nor motivated to look beyond their noses. But the unfortunate thing is that this is the crop of politicians we have and this is what we have to work with. Neutrality is a very pious concept but after throwing all the mud and muck in the political pond, standing on the side as neutral observers would only be a poetic injustice to the nation. REFERENCE: How to clean up the bloody mess Shaheen Sehbai Tuesday, September 02, 2008 News analysis http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=16975&Cat=13&dt=9/2/2008
Asif Ali Zardari's Resignation - 3 (Bolta Pakistan 8 Dec 2011)
KARACHI: An intense, behind the scenes, strategic and decisive review of the current political situation has begun among major power players, both political and non-political, to quickly decide how to stabilise the situation, seriously threatened by impending questions about the fate of those who benefited from the infamous NRO and are now in top positions of the country. After detailed background interviews and sessions with most of the stakeholders, it is now becoming clear that unless the present system is cleansed and the major irritants are removed, the desperately needed political stability and the required moral and political support for the on-going civil war-like situation would not be available. This may, and probably already is, seriously hampering the military-cum-security operations against the hit-and-run or hit-and-die terrorists roaming all over the country. Although the apparent problem is the uncertainty about what would happen to the NRO in parliament and even if passed by a simple majority, what may happen if the Supreme Court strikes down the controversial law ab initio, the issue which is driving everyone crazy is the wide gulf that has emerged between the top civilian and military leadership on how to handle America and the war on terror, denials and clarifications notwithstanding. A well-informed insider said things had gone so bad that the military leaders had refused to meet President Asif Ali Zardari recently but it was Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani who persuaded the Pindi people to at least convey their views in a face-to-face sitting so a patch up, if possible, may be attempted. That effort too did not work. Unfortunately, or probably in the interest of the system as the other side may argue, the political wings of our military establishment (read agencies), which had almost become redundant and were dormant for some months, have now come back into action with full force. According to a recent BBC analysis: “The military launched a massive public relations exercise, briefing sympathetic talk-show hosts and journalists, who were encouraged to whip up public opinion against the (Kerry-Lugar) Bill. General Kayani also secretly met the opposition politician Shahbaz Sharif, the Punjab CM, who the Army had ostracised until now.” Though such behind-the-scene interference has always been a major factor in political changes in the country, it is never legitimate or desirable. The Army is unhappy and angry because Zardari has given away too many concessions to the Americans and the GHQ realises that if the Kerry-Lugar Bill was to be implemented as desired by Washington, Pakistani cities could soon turn into battlegrounds between the Army and the Lashkar Tayyaba, the Jaish Mohammed and Taliban forces combined. So far the GHQ has kept the Lashkar Tayyaba quiet by not acceding to the US demands of attacking or even touching Muridke, arguing that once this sleeping elephant wakes up, it could turn around and trample our own forces. After all, the LeT was raised and trained by our military establishment to fight the Indians in Kashmir and they are good at it. Turning their guns inwards, with TTP suicide bombers roaming everywhere, would turn Pakistan into a burning inferno, ready to collapse. Thus the Kerry-Lugar Bill is considered to be a recipe for instant disaster. These arguments apart, the fact, however, is that the politicians are again failing to handle their own affairs in a deft manner and may again have provided the opportunity or the space for such behind-the-scene military intervention. One such occasion was provided on March 15 when the long march threatened the system. Leading political parties are weighing their options. Consultations, often late in the night between key leaders, are at a peak to find some formula which may save the political parties from the embarrassment of voting for a black law but at the same time saving the system from failing once again. The bottom line is how to change the image of the presidency, how to bring back its credibility and how to make it an institution which could be trusted and respected, by the people and its armed forces alike. President Asif Zardari, who had the God-given opportunity to rise to the occasion, has failed miserably by acting in a cavalier manner, by destroying his own credibility and by foisting upon the nation a coterie of cronies who may have been good providers of goods and services to him in jail but are not fit by any standard to run the affairs of the country. This personalised style of governance has confused all political leaders and parties. They do not know whether to support Zardari on the NRO or to take a principled stand against him. The position of PPP allies is extremely difficult. The ANP and the JUI are inclined to stay neutral at best, although publicly they have opposed the NRO repeatedly. Abstention may also not help Zardari. The MQM is on a crossroads as the party has recently announced a major makeover of its public face, trying to go into Punjab and other parts of Pakistan and transform into a country-wide party. But it is stuck with the PPP in Sindh and going against the NRO would cause a serious breach in these relations since it would again be seen as an anti-Sindh move, aimed at supporting the Punjabi political and military establishment. The MQM think tanks do not want to get into a situation in which the apparently stable province could fall back into the dreaded urban-rural conflict once again, with the Taliban waiting on the outskirts of Karachi to strike at the city as soon as they get the chance. So far, MQM strategists say, the Taliban have refrained from attacking Karachi because firstly the level of public vigilance in the city is far greater and intense because of the omni-present MQM cadres on the streets, and secondly because the Pathans in Karachi seriously believe that their economic and financial interests would be severely hit if Taliban terrorism disrupts the city. So the Pukhtoons are in no mood to secretly provide sanctuaries to suicide bombers and could openly confront them if need be. On this issue, they and the MQM are on the same page, with strong political support from the ANP and the Jamaat-e-Islami. Several meetings between the MQM and Pathan leadership on this issue have already raised the level of mutual trust and coordination for joint action. Yet for the MQM to openly support the NRO would be a retrogressive political decision. Conversely, if the MQM came out publicly against the NRO and offered to present all its beneficiaries to take their cases to the courts, the party will gain moral high ground and the party will get a facelift throughout the country, which could otherwise take years to accomplish. For the PPP itself, the NRO is a major divisive issue. Except for the few top beneficiaries, the general PPP cadres had nothing to do with it and privately are deadly opposed to voting for such a black law. But they have other interests associated with staying in power and they would not like to rock the boat, if the NRO threatens to derail the current PPP stint in power. The feeling in some PPP circles is that if the NRO strikes at Zardari and his cronies, rural Sindh, where the PPP has grass root support for the Bhuttos, would not react as fiercely as many predict it would. This may be so because Zardari and his Sindhi friends, who were never part of the Benazir circle, have generated enough ill will and animosity in the last 18 months. Some have been forced to recall the funny story of the coffin thief of a village and his son. It is better not to repeat that story. The prime minister appears to be in two minds and would publicly like to support the president but he had himself refused to take any benefit from the NRO and had his own cases judged by the regular Musharraf courts under old laws. That one correct political decision may help him immensely when the NRO may keep haunting others. But he is also lobbying secretly for the principled political parties, both allies and opponents, to take a stand against the NRO so that the system could be cleansed and stabilised. How much support he can muster within the PPP is a moot question but if he takes a public position, many would come forward to support him. His government would in no case fall because the PML-N has offered to sustain it. The intense discussions behind closed doors are focusing on finding some way out before the NRO explodes into the political scene and starts rocking the boat. Political wings of agencies are secretly lobbying members of parliament to vote out the law, which may force the president to think about giving up his powers or to resign. Various compromise formulas are also doing the rounds, some code named minus-5 and others minus-12. The five and 12 are the personal friends and helpers of Zardari during his jail time, who have now been posted on sensitive state positions. The stand taken by the Fata members is one such example of immense relevance. Although, they have taken up an anti-government position on a different issue, they want to sit in the opposition and would not like to side with the pro-NRO lobby. If that happens, it would be a major blow to the Zardari camp. The role of the secret agencies thus would come out in the open. An overriding desire and effort in all the camps, including the non-political establishment, is not to rock the entire system. Everyone agrees in private that if President Zardari and his group of few unwanted aides were sidelined, the system will stabilise so that the focus can be shifted to the war against terrorists. But resilience and the fighting spirit of Zardari is being tested by the day. According to one source located within the presidency, tension in the presidential camp is mounting and a battle headquarter is being set up to mobilise forces, appease allies, win over opponents and get the NRO passed by parliament, even bulldozed if necessary. But all the excitement suddenly dies down when the question of the Supreme Court striking down the NRO comes up. Everyone is suddenly dumbfounded. The latest initiative by President Zardari to meet PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif to sort out their issues is viewed in the presidency as their last ditch political offensive to get Nawaz Sharif on his side. The argument that will be pitched to him will be that the military establishment is again out to derail the political process and in this fight the politicians should stay on the same side. Although, Nawaz is strongly of the same views, it is highly unlikely that he will take sides with Zardari unless some huge, really huge, concessions are made and immediately, without waiting for any minute, hour or day. Informed presidential sources say President Zardari is now ready to give up all his powers under the 17th Amendment, including the powers to appoint the Army chief but whether it is too late and too little for Nawaz to accept this bait is not yet clear. What is clear is that Nawaz has been bitten twice or thrice by the same snake hole and he may not like to poke his finger in that hole again. REFERENCE: All power players focus on constitutional knock-out Shaheen Sehbai Friday, October 23, 2009 http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=25146&Cat=13&dt=10/26/2009
Asif Ali Zardari's Resignation - 4 (Bolta Pakistan 8 Dec 2011)
KARACHI: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and the Asif Zardari-led PPP set-up have reached a dead end on their political highway to nowhere. After the official release of the NRO list, it has become impossible for Gilani to sleep in the same bed with boggy and smutty crocodiles and cockroaches when he was about to quit his lucrative job if just a speck of the NRO dirt had hit his real life partner. This is how outsiders see it. But those sitting inside the secure PM House have no different view and it is now widely known that the Syed from Multan is no longer prepared to take public or private snubs and insults anymore. His many travels outside Islamabad have often left his hosts in a daze. Recently in Sindh, he was almost in tears recalling to some dear friends what huge burden he was facing on his conscience and how humiliatingly he was being treated by the party high command. In the recent CEC meeting, there was repeated mention of rebirth of Farooq Legharis within the PPP, arrows thrown at the PM by Zardari loyalists meaning that he was a traitor. It was in this desperate state of mind that Gilani took his revenge and forced his law minister to go out and announce to the world the notorious list of thieves and crooks who had first robbed the country dry and then had taken refuge behind a disgraceful deal with a dictator. He was paying back his critics, in kind. Once PM Gilani crossed that red line and made the shame and ignominy of even his top leaders officially public, he has left no room for a retreat. It would be the world’s most exciting conversation when President Asif Zardari and PM Gilani sit down again in the Presidency for another of their frequent one-on-one talks. There is no one present when they talk, but there are walls and there are flies on these walls, if not of the biological kind, of the electronic species. Of course, it is generally known that whatever is said within the four-walls of our big secure houses is not only heard by our own spooks and spies but sometimes by even listeners with headphones sitting thousands of miles away. Interestingly, when President Zardari meets anyone, a huge grandfather clock between him and his guest is always ticking. Electronic bugs could always sneak into that clock. According to one such fly, a recent tense talk between the big two of the country was in such a bad taste and in such foul language that the Syed from Multan may have resigned and left for his hometown directly from the House on the Hill, if anyone else had been present to watch his humiliation. That he did not do so was because he did not want to surrender without his revenge. That was before the NRO sh— had hit the roof. The situation as it stands today reminds me of a news analysis that I had written under the same headline as this piece, almost 15 months ago. It was on Sept 2, 2008, before Asif Zardari had become the president that I had said: “The sudden prospect of Asif Ali Zardari sitting on the most powerful and sensitive political hot seat in the country has shaken everybody. There is a greater sense of uncertainty in the political class as well as the civil and military establishment, although the presidential election should have removed the clouds of doubt hanging over the political scene.” Another para had stated: “In short, the leaders and parties are not prepared, or capable, of handling this mess. It would, in fact, be unfair and totally unjustified to expect them to clear the nine-year-old backlog, in less than nine months. Basically, though, the responsibility of correcting the situation is on the elected representatives who should chalk out a plan, call an all-party conference, invite the Army leadership to reach a consensus or whatever, but they seem either not interested or not too involved in petty politicking.” It was in this piece that I had politely asked the Pakistan Army to play its role, from behind the scenes, to clean up the mess which General Musharraf had left at the doorstep of unprepared politicians. There was a massive uproar in the country over my article and I had counted 29 columns and numerous TV talk shows attacking me for “inviting the Army to take over”. It was a preposterous charge. But look at what happened in the last 15 months. I had suggested that General Kayani should use his influence to restore the judges to the Nov 2 position. The politicians made him do that on Mar 15. I had proposed that he should get the NRO repealed so that its beneficiaries should be made to face normal process of law and clear themselves. Again the failure of parliament has led to this now being done whether Asif Ali Zardari likes it or not. I had suggested that Kayani should cancel all the secret deals that Musharraf had made with politicians or foreign powers as these deals were not binding. The Kerry-Lugar fiasco and the GHQ reaction hinted at this approach. It was also said that a National Accountability Commission, with men of undisputed credibility, strength of character and certified competence be set up so that all the corruption cases, past, present and future, are sent to it and anyone cleared by it is genuinely considered an honest and clean person. This is the next likely step to happen. It was argued that Gen Musharraf must also be brought before it and made to face the charges, instead of providing him a blanket amnesty. Things are moving in that direction without any visible resistance from the Army. Instead of stabilising the political system, giving a clean and effective government and supporting the Army and security forces to fight the menace of terrorism with full political backing and support, the arrogant and lop-sided governance style of President Zardari has messed up everything. Within a year he has reached the point where everyone is asking and discussing “what after him”. Musharraf took nine years to reach that stage when the Americans dumped him. Zardari was fast. He has now dug into his bunker and is ready to fight. But fight for what? Fight with his own self against his own failures? Today’s mess is not for the Pakistan Army to clean, as it was 15 months ago. The Army has already played its behind-the-scene role to keep the system going. Today the failure is of the politicians and they should not blame anyone else, as is now becoming a habit in pro-Zardari circles. No one wants to destabilise the system. But the blunders and egocentricities of the PPP leadership is going to do that. A very mischievous impression is being given that criticism of Zardari, and sidelining him, would mean another attack on Sindhi rights. He should be sidelined because he has failed as a politician and not as a Sindhi. He should pay for his acts of omission and commission, the rampant corruption unleashed all around and the failed policies that he has forced on everybody. All this has nothing to do with Sindh or the Sindhi card. In fact, all reports from Sindh say people in Larkana and Nawabshah would be more than happy if the tyranny of these newly unleashed feudals is ended. The decades old servants and workers of Mr Bhutto’s ancestral homes would like to come back to their jobs and not live in wilderness any more. The heavy onus of correcting the situation thus lies on the prime minister and the PPP, or whatever part of the organisation which can come out of the scare spell of the presidency. Gilani is considering many options, including his own resignation if he does not get his way. But right now the centre of power has shifted to his office and the presidency is in a lame-duck mode. As a starter Gilani can slash his cabinet and remove all the tainted NRO hit ministers, advisers and ambassadors. In one go, he will boost his image and credibility and deliver a fatal blow to the one-man style of governance that has led the PPP into a corner in just two years. The PM should then move with super speed to get the 17th Amendment repealed, get the competent and popular PPP leaders back into the party fold, take Mian Nawaz Sharif and others on board, even in his cabinet, as in the early days of the coalition. Get a political consensus on major issues, start a dialogue with moderates in the ranks of militants and then lead the country with a focus on ending the miseries of the poor harassed masses and crushing the militancy. He should keep the president informed and on board if he wants to play along. But it should be clear that the buck would stop at the PM House. If this does not happen and Mr Zardari creates hurdles, plays his dirty tricks, unleashes his ‘Ghairat’ or ‘Izzat’ brigades against the PM, the media, the security establishment or all of them, he would be the one responsible for demolishing the system. No one else should then be blamed. REFERENCE: How to clean up the bloody mess-2 Shaheen Sehbai Monday, November 23, 2009 http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=25733&Cat=13&dt=11/23/2009
Before anything else, the first order of national business should be a ban on the teaching of history. For this is a country with no use for history. We have been going around in circles for the last 60 years and seem destined to move in circles forever. “Frightful thing!” said Hugo, “...an incurable destiny!” Anyone can have a heart condition. There is nothing special about that. But there is something special about the speculation and frenzy surrounding President Asif Zardari’s heart condition, if it is truly that, and his leaving for Dubai and checking into a hospital. Conspiracy experts, of whom there is no shortage here, are placing this squarely in the context of the ongoing saga dubbed by the commentariat as Memogate. Confused messages from the government about the president’s departure haven’t helped matters, but this is a secondary issue. The main issue is something more sinister: working overtime to convert an absurdity into a national crisis; and the army and ISI treating the testimony of a known Pakistan-basher as the gospel truth. Mansoor Ijaz’s memo may have been a serious indictment of the army and may have sought US help to bridle the high command and preempt a coup. But did anyone take it seriously? Certainly not Admiral Mike Mullen who barely remembered receiving it. Ah, but our man in Washington, and President Zardari’s confidant, Husain Haqqani, had a hand in shaping it, a circumstance borne out by the transcript of his BBM exchanges with Mansoor Ijaz. But action has been taken against him. He is no longer our man in Washington. In most other countries this would be considered enough of a sacrificial offering. Not in Pakistan where, the evidence suggests, the memo is being used for a larger political purpose: bringing down the Zardari presidency and initiating some vague form of change – vague because even the most enthusiastic cheerleaders, and we have a list to choose from, don’t seem too sure about what exactly they want. Getting rid of Zardari is what unites them. But what comes after? At this point vagueness sets in. This has always been the Pakistani way. We have known what to bring down or destroy: sometimes democracy, sometimes Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, sometimes Benazir Bhutto, occasionally Nawaz Sharif. We have been less clear about the alternatives. Gen Jim Jones, Obama’s former national security adviser who took Ijaz’s memo to Mullen, has said something harsh about Pakistan, that this was a country bent on self-destruction. Enough in our history tends to support this judgement. We pay India a compliment by saying it wants to destroy us. Often it seems we are self-sufficient in this respect. There is enough material on record to show the lengths to which, over a period of time, Mansoor Ijaz has gone to malign the Pakistan Army and ISI. There is no shortage of elements in Washington who consider the Pakistan Army a ‘rogue’ army. Ijaz has been of this fraternity. Yet, the Pakistani establishment – for which read the army command and its advanced school of ideology, the ISI – is relying on his word to make out a case against Zardari. Let’s not delude ourselves. Memogate is not about endangered national security. It was never endangered. Predator missiles were not about to hit the GHQ or our nuclear installations. Memogate is about Zardari, the establishment’s bête noire from day one. In a TV interview Ijaz has called Zardari a “naïve buffoon”. The memo has over-smartness written all over it. This should rule out any input from a naïve buffoon. Ijaz and Haqqani are of a kind and deserve each other. But Pakistan’s leading school of national ideology has its own way of measuring things. Haqqani, once in the ISI’s good books (long time ago), is the prime villain in this affair and Ijaz the star witness. A concerted effort is also afoot to lend credence to another Mansoor Ijaz claim: that Zardari and Haqqani could have known of the May 2 assault on Sheikh Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad hideout. He doesn’t say that there is anything factual to prove this, but that his analysis – some analysis – leads him to this conclusion. No shortage of pundits who are treating this claim seriously. Obama shared the secret with Haqqani who then passed it on to Zardari. Even the gods would be hard put to decide whether to laugh or cry. But as knives are out, and the flavour of the season is treason and Article Six of the Constitution, the thing most in demand is for heads to roll. The latest target is Wajid Shamsul Hasan, our man in London, who is being taken to task for saying that Pakistan knew about Osama’s hideout and had cooperated with the US assault. Enraged patriots forget that when the assault took place and our army was caught with its pants down, and we were being hard put to explain what Osama bin Laden had been doing all this time in the shadow of PMA Kakul, about the smartest thing to say was that, no, we weren’t caught unawares, we knew what was afoot. This was the government’s first reaction and PM Gilani was smart enough to even congratulate the Americans. But this was before the army command, red in the face, swept into the act and raised the banner of violated sovereignty. Osama bin Laden hadn’t violated our sovereignty but the Americans had. When it comes to selective patriotism there is no one to beat us. The line I plugged the first day on television was precisely the line the government had taken...that there was no way the Americans could have come to Abbottabad without our knowledge and cooperation. It was only when evening came that the truth sunk in that we had truly been had. By then the civilians had been driven into a corner and the army had taken over, and it was a sight not for pretty eyes, so palpable was the army’s confusion. Even so, Osama’s Abbottabad discovery should have been an occasion for profound self-introspection. How did we get ourselves into this mess? But we turned all our anger on the Americans. Some things never change. The delayed reaction to Kargil was Musharraf’s treacherous coup of October ‘99. Instead of Musharraf being put in the dock for Kargil, Nawaz Sharif was put in the dock for plane hijacking, a strange reversal of events. The delayed reaction to the embarrassment and humiliation of May 2 is Memogate, another exercise in extended irony. No one has been made to answer for the multiple failures of Abbottabad: the failure to detect the Sheikh’s presence on our soil; the failure to detect the incoming American helicopters as, in the silence of that moonless night, they came skimming over our mountains. But for a piece of paper with shared input from two outstanding charlatans the knives are out for another luckless head of a civilian dispensation. Whatever revisionist twist the PPP may now give to the events of ‘99, it rejoiced when Nawaz Sharif was overthrown, and only changed its stance when Musharraf did not take it as a sleeping partner. Today the PML-N, forgetting the history of its own sorrows, is being too clever by half, thinking it is acting as an instrument of national rejuvenation. Pity our delusions. It is paving the way for the fulfillment of other ambitions. In the run-up to Oct ‘99, the Grand Democratic Alliance put together by Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan raised the cry that Pakistan and Nawaz Sharif could not co-exist together. The coup de grace was administered, as always, by Pakistan’s highest court of constitutional authority, 111 Brigade. But the atmosphere was made conducive by Pakistan’s leading democrats. In our case certainly, the road to hell is paved with the noblest intentions. In 1988 President Ghulam Ishaq Khan and Gen Aslam Beg acted on the principle that Pakistan and Benazir Bhutto could not coexist together. In 1977 the parties of the PNA were prepared to go to any lengths to get rid of Bhutto. Today the same mantra revolves around the person of President Zardari: with him around Pakistan’s survival is at stake. We go around in circles and refuse to learn. Perhaps we deserve our fate. REFERENCE: Samurai who refuse to learn Ayaz Amir Friday, December 09, 2011 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=81296&Cat=9