Tilting at windmills: The phrase derives from an episode in the novel Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes. In the novel, Don Quixote fights windmills that he imagines to be giants. Quixote sees the windmill blades as the giant's arms, for instance. A relevant portion of the novel states: Just then they came in sight of thirty or forty windmills that rise from that plain. And no sooner did Don Quixote see them that he said to his squire, "Fortune is guiding our affairs better than we ourselves could have wished. Do you see over yonder, friend Sancho, thirty or forty hulking giants? I intend to do battle with them and slay them. With their spoils we shall begin to be rich for this is a righteous war and the removal of so foul a brood from off the face of the earth is a service God will bless.""What giants?" asked Sancho Panza. "Those you see over there," replied his master, "with their long arms. Some of them have arms well nigh two leagues in length." "Take care, sir," cried Sancho. "Those over there are not giants but windmills. Those things that seem to be their arms are sails which, when they are whirled around by the wind, turn the millstone." —Part 1, Chapter VIII. Of the valourous Don Quixote's success in the dreadful and never before imagined Adventure of the Windmills, with other events worthy of happy record. REFERENCE: Don Quixote http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Quixote
In his essay ‘Politics and the English Language’, George Orwell warns us against words and phrases drained of all meaning, words that can mean whatever the powerful want it to mean. One such term gaining in currency is ‘national interest’. Government spin doctors (and their stenographers in the media) routinely conflate national interest with people’s interest. But ‘national interest’ is very different from the people’s interest. ‘National interest’ concerns a nation-state’s ability to wage war. Whatever enhances this ability is considered to be in the national interest; whatever threatens it is against the national interest. The most transparent expression of this principle is seen in the ruling classes’ obsession with ‘national security’. The people’s interest, on the other hand, is always issue-specific. It is rooted in local geography, history, and community, while ‘national interest’ is tied to abstractions such as ‘development’ or ‘reform’ or ‘security’. The people’s interest might find a voice in democratic platforms, such as a movement or a party, while national interest is ‘protected’ through the executive and repressive arms of the state – the PMO, the police, etc. And where the people’s interest comes in conflict with ‘national interest’, the former will be booted out, democracy be damned. REFERENCE: Beware of those who speak of ‘national interest’ G Sampath | Agency: DNA | Saturday, October 6, 2012 http://www.dnaindia.com/analysis/column_beware-of-those-who-speak-of-national-interest_1749358
Major (R) Aamir in Jirga - 1 (GEO TV Sept 2009)
Major (R) Aamir in Jirga - 1 (GEO TV Sept 2009) by SalimJanMazari
Major (R) Aamir in Jirga - 1 (GEO TV Sept 2009) by SalimJanMazari
Major (R) Aamir in Jirga - 2 (GEO TV Sept 2009)
Interview: "Intelligence agencies are well-equipped to tackle subversive politics" By Aoun Sahi TNS: If so, how do you explain your role in Operation Midnight Jackal?
IA: The use of word operation for this small incident is a highly trumpeted drama. In this incident my involvement revolved round the blind trust and one sided loyalty that I accorded to my two seniormost superiors General Aslam Beg and Hameed Gul. I was called by Aslam Beg the then COAS and told that the policies of this government regarding nuclear programme, Afghan Policy and interference in the matters of army were creating problems for the country and sought my help in the matter. These two gentlemen, Beg and Gul, were the controlling figures of Midnight Jackal while federal defence secretary Ijlal Haider Zaidi was assisting them. Hamid Gul was serving as corps commander Multan at the time but he used to visit Rawalpindi every week without GHQ permission. There he used to see Ijlal Haider Zaidi regularly while Major Amir and I were also asked to often meet.
Malik Mumtaz, a grade 17 officer of military engineering service and a friend of Major Amir was the central villain of this incident. After this incident, he landed in India with the help of RAW and from there in London. During the second government of PPP he came back. He should have been convicted under the Army Act. Instead he was elevated to grade 18 and posted in FIA and later he interrogated me and blamed me for distributing millions of rupees among journalists. I want to tell you that during my 15 years long intelligence career, I have never given money to any journalist except one and that was only Rs5,000 and that too was sanctioned by DG ISI; at that time I was not allowed to give more than Rs500 without prior permission of DG ISI. I was also charged with corruption and mainly because when I was director IB, one day Rs15 million were transferred to its account and by the evening same day I used this sum. During investigation FIA people asked about this amount but I refused to tell them the truth because I used this money to safeguard the national interest of Pakistan. Later I also refused to disclose details about this amount in lower court. But in the High Court I did give the details to an honourable judge (Mr Rashid Aziz) in camera and he released me from the case. REFERENCE: Interview: "Intelligence agencies are well-equipped to tackle subversive politics" By Aoun Sahi http://jang.com.pk/thenews/aug2009-weekly/nos-02-08-2009/dia.htm#5
Major (R) Aamir in Jirga - 2 (GEO TV Sept 2009) by SalimJanMazari
DAWN 2006: Osama offered to buy votes for Nawaz: Qazi March 19, 2006 ISLAMABAD, March 18: Jamaat-i-Islami chief Qazi Hussain Ahmed has revealed that Osama bin Laden had offered to buy loyalties of legislators to see Mian Nawaz Sharif as prime minister. In an interview appearing in the magazine of an Urdu newspaper on Sunday, Qazi Hussain Ahmed said that Osama had visited the JI headquarters Mansoora and wanted to strike an agreement with the Jamaat but the suggestion was declined by him. Excerpts of the interview were published by the newspaper on Saturday. Qazi said he had met Osama several times in the past. However, the JI on Saturday clarified that meetings between the JI amir and Osama in Peshawar and Lahore were held in days when the Al Qaeda leader was staying in Peshawar. Recalling political events that took place when Mr Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League and JI were components of the then Islami Jamhoori Ittehad, Qazi said Osama was a big supporter of IJI and Nawaz Sharif and wanted to see him Pakistan’s prime minister. “Bin Laden was prepared to pay for buying parliamentarians’ votes to achieve this objective,” said Qazi Hussain Ahmed, who also heads the Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal. He said a delegation sent by Osama had visited him in Peshawar and conveyed that they wanted cooperation from JI but “we declined the request”. In a statement issued on Saturday, a JI spokesman said that excerpts from interview were published in the daily and presented on a private TV channel in such a manner that they were creating confusion in the minds of people.—PPI REFERENCE: Osama offered to buy votes for Nawaz: Qazi March 19, 2006 Sunday Safar 18, 1427 http://archives.dawn.com/2006/03/19/top10.htmMajor (R) Aamir in Jirga - 3 (GEO TV Sept 2009)
Extremists Nurtured for Short-Term Goals: Swat Deputy Commissioner Muhammad Javed, also provided possible support to the TNSM. President Zardari stated, therefore, that weakness of civil bureaucracy had resulted in the emergence of militants and militancy. Major Amir worked as a catalyst to promote the TNSM in Malakand Division through his father’s seminary in Panjpir which was then run by his brother Maulana Muhammad Tayyib. The JUI (F-group) Vice President, Aziz ur Rehman stated: “the absconder Major Amir is running the law and order situation in Malakand at the behest of Nawaz Sharif.” REFERENCE: Extremists Nurtured for Short-Term Goals - Tehreek-i-Nifaz-i-Shariat-i-Muhammadi in Malakand Division (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa): A Case Study of the Process of “State Inversion” BY Navid Iqbal Khan http://www.nihcr.edu.pk/Latest_English_Journal/6.%20Tehreek-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-%20Muhammadi,%20Navid%20iqbal.pdf
The demolition of the temples in Buner was initiated by Maulana Dua Noor, a cleric who belonged to the Panjpiri sect of Wahabism. After the death of Maulana Muhammad Tahir, his son Maulana Tayyab became the chief of this organization who also manages a huge religious seminary in the town of Panjpir. Muhammad Amir, another brother of Maulana Tayyab was a major in Pakistan Army and worked for Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), the country’s spy agency in 1980s. Major Amir allegedly conspired and collaborated with others to topple the democratically elected government of the then Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto in 1989. Major Amir, the ISI officer, was deeply involved in Operation Midnight Jackal, intended to remove Benazir Bhutto from the prime minister position through a no confidence vote in parliament. Funds for buying votes were allegedly provided by Osama Bin Laden. REFERENCE: Swat Valley- The Metamorphosis By Khushal Khan http://www.tribalanalysiscenter.com/PDF-TAC/Swat%20Valley-Metamorphosis.pdf
The Swat conflict was also deeply influenced by the Panjpirs of Swabi district, adjacent to the Malakand division of NWFP. The Panjpirs follow a localized version of Saudi Wahhabism that was introduced in Pakistan by Maulana Tahir, father of Major Amir, an Inter-Services Intelligence operative who allegedly helped topple Benazir Bhutto’s first government. The madrassa at Panjpir, administered by Maulana Tayyab, Major Amir’s brother, is associated with a who’s who of Pakistan’s extremist leaders, including TNSM chief Sufi Muhammad, Bajaur Taliban commander Maulvi Faqir Muhammad, and the Khyber agency’s notorious militant leader Mangal Bagh. TNSM military chief Fazlullah also adhered to the Panjpir group. This madrassa was an important recruitment camp that also performed the role of a think tank for strategic planning during the Afghan war of the 1980s. REFERENCE: Counterterrorism Strategy Initiative Policy Paper Inside Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province The Political Landscape of the Insurgency Hassan Abbas, April 2010 http://counterterrorism.newamerica.net/sites/newamerica.net/files/policydocs/abbas_0.pdf
In addition, the ideological rigor of the Bajauri militants is explained by the fact that most of the clerics hailing from the Agency are educated at Madaris run by Ishaat-ulTawheed, including TTP leader Faqir Mohammed. The organization is modeled around the madrassa founded by Maulana Mohammed Tahir Panjpir, in Panjpir, Swabi District, NWFP. The Panjpiris are linked to the Jemaat-e-Ulema Islam (JUI), both Sami ul Haq and Fazlur Rehman groups, and are close to the Ahl-e-Hadith ideology. The Panjpiri madaris network was a crucial influence for the Taliban movement in the Pak-Afghan region. Faqir Mohammed perfectly epitomizes the type of leader favoured by the Panjpiris, a dual Amir that leads both from the religious and the military point of view, in orchestrated continuity with paradigmatic figures such as Mullah Mohammed Omar and the early Sufi Mohammed, for example. REFERENCE: The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan: The Bajaur Case - NEFA Senior Investigator Claudio Franco July 2009 http://www.fondazionecdf.it/var/upload/file/992-02.pdf
But Azzam was also reviled, and feared, for his power to inspire others to share his dedication to jihad. There were no less than five assassination attempts on Azzam in the months leading up to his death, says Hutaifa, and countless threats. In the teeming, faction-ridden streets of Peshawar, they could have been launched by one group or several. "Who didn't want to kill Azzam?" asks journalist Ismail, who worked with Azzam and covered the anti-Soviet resistance throughout the 1980s. He counts the possibilities on his fingers: "There was the KGB and KHAD [the intelligence service of the communist government in Afghanistan] because he was a powerful leader in the jihad. Israel and Mossad, because he helped found Hamas. The [Pakistan] government of Benazir Bhutto, which came to know that he helped instigate a no-confidence vote against her in Parliament." There were the Americans, because Azzam objected to their efforts to reconcile the mujahedin with the Afghan government after the Soviets left; Shi'ite elements in Iran who saw him as chief of the Sunnis; Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a powerful Afghan warlord who resented Azzam's support of a rival; and other Arabs, who were concerned about his growing power. "The only person I can say for a fact didn't kill him is myself, because I was getting married in Jordan that day," says Ismail. REFERENCE: TIME's Annual Journey: 1989 - Who Killed Abdullah Azzam? By Aryn Baker / PeshawarThursday, June 18, 2009 http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,1902809_1902810_1905173,00.html
Major (R) Aamir in Jirga - 3 (GEO TV Sept 2009) by SalimJanMazari
2009: Political wings still exist in ISI: Maj Amir News Desk Tuesday, September 01, 2009 RAWALPINDI: Political wings existed in the past and still exist in the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), said Major (retd) Amir, claiming that they worked for the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in the Operation Midnight Jackal. He was talking to Dr Shahid Masood in ‘Meray Mutabiq’ programme of Geo TV in which former PPP minister Mukhtar Awan and former Army chief General (retd) Aslam Beg also spoke. When asked about the authenticity of the tape with regard to Operation Midnight Jackal, Major (retd) Amir said it was authentic but if the Intelligence Bureau recorded it, why they could not produce the original cassette in the court. “But despite that I admit that it was my voice and I was doing all that with permission of Gen (retd) Kalloo, who later distanced himself from the same. I did convey details about the operation to personal secretary of Gen (retd) Kalloo,” he said. “But when action was initiated against me, even the near ones left me. The civil court acquitted me but a general dismissed me. The civil court described the case as a fairy tale,” said Major (retd) Amir. Commenting on his views, Mukhtar Awan claimed to have come to know when Hamid Gul was heading the ISI that he (Hamid Gul) was emerging as a threat not only to the government of Benazir Bhutto but even to her life. He said on this he advised the Mohtarma to appoint a retired general as head of the ISI. He said the claim of Major Amir that Gen (retd) Kalloo conducted the Operation Midnight Jackal to save the government of the Mohtarma was wrong. He alleged that Major (retd) Amir was part of the conspiracy whereas Gen (retd) Kalloo did not take part in any plot. Mukhtar Awan said Major (retd) Amir and Brigadier (retd) Imtiaz have been favourites of some persons. He said people like them even fix cameras in coffins and also record conversations in the chamber of the chief justice. On this Major (retd) Amir said the man appointed by their (PPP) government as head of the IB submitted an affidavit in the Supreme Court that he was taping phone calls of judges and one of the cases against the Mohtarma pertained to this. He said he never taped telephone calls of judges. He said Mukhtar Awan is uttering baseless things while the man who conceived the Operation Midnight Jackal has been living in India after dismissal of their government and later had been travelling on the Indian passport. “What the agency would be called if a major stole personal documents of myself and the prime minister from the Prime Minister House?” Mukhtar Awan questioned. “It was your incompetence that you could not guard your documents,” Major (retd) Amir said in response. Participating in the programme, Gen (retd) Aslam Beg said it was not by chance that the PPP and MQM (Muttahida Qaumi Movement) are working together rather it is a synchronisation of their secular thinking and the present set-up is similar to that of 1988 to a great extent. He said he and Benazir struck no deal in 1988. The allegation was untrue and there is no proof in this regard. REFERENCE: Political wings still exist in ISI: Maj Amir News Desk Tuesday, September 01, 2009 http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=24239&Cat=13&dt=9%2F1%2F2009
2009: Spy vs spy Shakeel Anjum Friday, August 28, 2009 ISLAMABAD: Brig (retd) Imtiaz Ahmed is an American agent planted by the American agencies mainly to defame the Pakistani intelligence agencies, former director Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Malik Mumtaz Ahmad said on Thursday. While addressing a press conference, he said after having played a key role in toppling the Benazir government in 1990, Brig Imtiaz was now bent on destabilising the present government. Malik Mumtaz claimed that he had informed the then prime minister Benazir Bhutto through her special secretary (security) of the conspiracy plan ‘Midnight Jackal’ of Brig (retd) Imtiaz and Maj (retd) Amar. She contacted the then Army chief Gen Aslam Baig but he had denied. Malik Mumtaz claimed that Benazir had sent her interior minister Nasirullah Khan Babar to Aslam Baig but the Army chief had again denied the report, asking him to produce evidence about the conspiracy. “He is playing in the hands of American agencies to destabilise the political system,” Malik Mumtaz averred. “He is opposing Mian Nawaz Sharif to get entrance in the PPP camp,” he added. He appealed to the Supreme Court to take suo moto notice against Brig Imtiaz and reopen his corruption cases. He claimed Brig Imtiaz’s “anti-state activities” were creating confusion in the political system. The former FIA chief alleged Brig Imtiaz had collected illegal wealth during his tenure as IB head. Malik said that a corruption case was lodged with the FIA after the brigadierís removal during the Benazir government. However, the FIA did not pursue the case in the court, and, consequently, it was dismissed. Malik said Brig Imtiaz made 27 valuable properties and a heavy account in a bank of London, adding, he got himself freed from the cases by using his influence during the Nawaz government in 1997. The second case of corruption against Brig Imtiaz was registered by the Account Appellate Bureau chairman in 2000, Malik said, adding that the detailed list of his properties was attached with the petition. The properties included three houses and three commercial units in Islamabad as well as foreign exchange bearing certificates to the tune of Rs 20.8 million. He said a court sentenced Brig Imtiaz to eight years rigorous imprisonment with a fine of Rs 7 million, also confiscating his assets. The court disqualified him for ten years for holding any public office or statutory or local authority. But he, taking advantage of the NRO, managed to retake his property. Malik disclosed that before his “retirement at fault” from the Army in 1988, Brig Imtiaz had declared his total asset as a two-kanal plot at the Lahore Cantt Officers Society (Phase-II) and a 2,000-square-yard plot in the Defence Housing Society, Karachi. He questioned how Imtiaz made property worth billions of rupees as IB chief. REFERENCE: Spy vs spy Shakeel Anjum Friday, August 28, 2009 http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=195414&Cat=2&dt=8%2F28%2F2009
Major (R) Aamir in Jirga - 4 (GEO TV Sept 2009) by SalimJanMazari
2009: Spy vs spy Usman Manzoor Friday, August 28, 2009 ISLAMABAD: Another former senior officer of the Intelligence Bureau has broken his silence after the recent outbursts of Brig (retd) Imtiaz and has revealed that the former IB director-general had planned to register high treason cases against Benazir Bhutto, Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan, Salmaan Taseer and Masood Sharif. Following the recent disclosures of Brig Imtiaz, which have shaken both the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) and the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Rana Abdul Baqi, who had served under former IB director-general Masood Sharif and retired as senior director, in an exclusive interview with The News, disclosed that Brig Imtiaz wanted to try Benazir Bhutto and three others because they leaked secret tapes to an Indian journalist and got it published in India Today. According to Baqi, the tapes which were leaked contained conversations between MNAs and Brigadier Imtiaz and Major Amir, and also included classified information about training camps of the Army and other strategic security information which may still be classified. The former IB director said: “In 1991 after completing medical leave I reported at the IB headquarters and started waiting for my next posting, as I was previously working as personal staff officer to IB director-general Masood Sharif. One day, Brig Imtiaz called me in his office because he was upset with the episode of Salmaan Taseer, who had conducted a press conference against the architects of ‘Operation Midnight Jackal’ and India Today had also published some extracts of those secret tapes. The brigadier asked me how did Salmaan Taseer get those tapes? “He (Taseer) is an agent of RAW and India Today got those tapes through Taseer.” “Brigadier Imtiaz alleged according to his information Taseer got those tapes through me.” “According to my sources, Masood Sharif and Benazir Bhutto got those tapes from you,” Brig Imtiaz blamed me, adding: “Benazir Bhutto gave those tapes to Taseer.” Imtiaz added apart from Benazir Bhutto and Salmaan Taseer, Aitzaz Ahsan was also present there and in his presence these tapes were handed over to Taseer. “I want to initiate high treason case against these four because they have handed over classified national secrets to India and you (Rana Abdul Baqi) would become approver in the case and you would admit that these secret tapes were handed over to Taseer in your presence. “I told Brig Imtiaz that I do not know Benazir Bhutto, Aitzaz Ahsan and Salmaan Taseer personally and I can not give any sort of false evidence. I was offered promotion by Brig Imtiaz and upon my refusal I was threatened of severe consequences and an inquiry was lodged against me and I was accused of leaking those secret tapes.” “I told Brig Imtiaz that three sets of these tapes were prepared each containing 12 cassettes. One was sent to the Military Intelligence director-general; one to the Prime Minister Secretariat and the third was kept in IB director-general’s office. I don’t know how Taseer got those tapes.
Brig Imtiaz constituted a committee to discuss my involvement in handing those tapes to Taseer. Brig Imtiaz’s committee comprised Air Commodore Khalilullah Ghauri, Col Bashir Wali, who has remained IB director-general and Major Salim Khan. The committee inquired from me and I gave a ten-page reply on how these tapes were distributed. The Army men took the last copy of these cassettes which was at IB director-general’s office and a receipt was also given of that episode. “The committee exonerated me after getting satisfactory answers. Commodore Khalilur Rehman Ghauri told me Brig Imtiaz wanted to initiate high treason cases against Benazir Bhutto, Aitzaz Ahsan and Masood Sharif. I was asked to be careful as Brig Imtiaz could be dangerous. I only said I will not give any false evidence.” To a question, the former senior IB director disclosed that the then-government did not pay any heed to Brig Imtiaz’s formula of vindicating the opposition. “Even the prime minister was shocked about Imtiaz’s formula,” said Rana Abdul Baqi, adding: “In 1997 Brig Imtiaz once again wanted to play his role but was reminded of the 1991 mistake.” Brigadier Imtiaz, the mastermind of the Operation Midnight Jackal, when contacted termed all the allegations levelled by Rana Abdul Baqi baseless and said he never gave worth to Rana Abdul Baqi. He said Rana Abdul Baqi was sidelined by him when he assumed the charge of Intelligence Bureau. “I never thought of giving any important task to Baqi,” said the brigadier. Brigadier Imtiaz said the Operation Midnight Jackal was kept alive against a person who has served his whole life serving the country. He said he, Major Amir, Malik Mumtaz (a RAW agent according to Brigadier Imtiaz) and two MNAs were discussing the political situation of Pakistan and mentioned that their views were not favourable to the incumbent regime and that the minor incident was termed the Operation Midnight Jackal. Brigadier Imtiaz said politics was, and is, discussed everywhere but that the minor incident has been kept alive till today. He said Nawaz Sharif, Gen Nasir, Masood Sharif and Rana Baqi had taken MNAs in C-130 from the Rawalpindi Cricket stadium to Swat, which was unauthorised but no one had questioned that. REFERENCE: Spy vs spy Usman Manzoor Friday, August 28, 2009 http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=24160&Cat=13&dt=8%2F28%2F2009