Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Irfan Siddiqui and TTP Jang Group.

ISLAMABAD: A four-member committee tasked to hold peace talks with the Pakistani Taliban and end years of bloodshed says it has been given an open mandate and complete authority to initiate the dialogue process. At the first meeting of the committee on Friday morning, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif gave guidelines for holding negotiations, discussed in detail the framework and strategy for the talks, and instructed the team to immediately initiate the process. The four member committee formed by the prime minister comprises of his Special Assistant on National Affairs Irfan Siddiqui, veteran journalist Rahimullah Yusufzai, former ambassador and expert on Afghanistan affairs Rustam Shah Mohmand, and former ISI official Major (retd) Amir Shah. Federal Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan was also present at the committee meeting. According to sources, the meeting also touched upon topics in the committee's mandate and rules of negotiations with militants, which would be discussed in detail during the next meeting. Irfan Siddiqui was appointed as coordinator of the group, and he would inform the prime minister and interior minister of any progress made. Speaking at a press conference after the meeting, Siddiqui said that the team has conveyed its message to the militants. He called on the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) to announce its team of negotiators as soon as possible after a meeting of its Shura (council). He said that the Taliban should communicate and explain their stance on the peace talks as soon as possible so the dialogue process can be initiated. He said that the committee was waiting for a response from the Taliban, and was ready to hold negotiations wherever they wished. The committee wishes to enter the dialogue with open hearts and without any preconditions, he said. He added that the committee may involve the services of other individuals to facilitate talks if it feels the need to do so. Earlier, the Federal and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa governments were assigned with the responsibility to provide security and travel facilities to the members of the committee. Premier Sharif had only one precondition for talks, which he had explained in the National Assembly on Wednesday that there should be no terrorist attacks during negotiations. REFERENCE: PM directs committee to initiate peace talks immediately 2014-01-31 14:08:27 http://www.dawn.com/news/1083985/pm-directs-committee-to-initiate-peace-talks-immediately

Press Conference of PMs Advisor Irfan Siddiqui.

Press Conference of PMs Advisor Irfan Siddiqui. by SalimJanMazari

2006 Osama offered to buy votes for Nawaz: Qazi  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 2006-03-19 00:00:00 http://www.dawn.com/news/183849/osama-offered-to-buy-votes-for-nawaz-qazi

General (R) Khawaja Ziauddin with Azaz Syed in Dawn News (11 Dec 2011)

General (R) Khawaja Ziauddin with Azaz Syed in... by SalimJanMazari

Osama: CIA had trained Pakistani commandos DAWN WIRE SERVICE: Week Ending : 6 October 2001 Issue : 07/40 WASHINGTON, Oct 3: The US Central Intelligence Agency had trained some Pakistani commandos in 1999 to enter Afghanistan and capture Osama bin Laden, but the plan was shelved when the Nawaz Sharif government was displaced by the military. The revelation is made in a story published by The Washington Post under banner headlines. It says the operation was arranged by Nawaz Sharif and his chief of intelligence with the Clinton administration, which in turn had promised to lift sanctions on Pakistan and provide an economic package the precise steps that the Bush administration is now undertaking following Islamabad's pledge of support for the US-led campaign against terrorism. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage refused in a television interview on Wednesday morning to comment on the Post story, saying intelligence matters could not be discussed in public, but unnamed administration officials were quoted as confirming the report. The Post also said a proposal by Sudan in 1996 to arrest Osama, who was then in that country, and deport him to Saudi Arabia had fallen through after Riyadh refused to agree to accept Osama. Talking of a record of "missed opportunities" in the drive against Osama and Al Qaeda, the Post said the US-Pakistani intelligence plan was set in motion less than 12 months after American Tomahawk missiles were launched on Afghanistan. The Pakistani commando team trained by the CIA "was up and running and ready to strike by October 1999", according to one official, when the plan was aborted after the Oct 12 overthrow of the Sharif government by Gen Pervez Musharraf and the army. The Post says Gen Musharraf, who has now committed himself to back the US, had refused to continue with the operation despite attempts at persuasion by the Clinton administration. It adds: "The record of the CIA's aborted relationship with Pakistan two years ago illustrates the value - and the pitfalls - of such an alliance in targeting bin Laden." 

The paper says Pakistan and its intelligence services have valuable information about what is occurring inside Afghanistan. "But a former US official said joint operations with the Pakistani service are always dicey, because the Taliban militia that rules most of Afghanistan has penetrated Pakistani intelligence." According to the Post, president Clinton's national security adviser Samuel "Sandy" Berger says Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden were the number one security threat to America after 1998 (the year when, in August, 200 people were killed in bomb attacks at the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania). "It was the highest priority and a range of appropriate actions were taken". REFERENCE: Osama: CIA had trained Pakistani commandos DAWN WIRE SERVICE: Week Ending : 6 October 2001 Issue : 07/40 https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/spa/zohkohb0i282t94/Area%20Studies/public/SouthAsia/SAserials/Dawn/2001/oct0601.html#osam Irfan Siddiqui Column on the Death of Osama Bin Laden Daily Jang 4 May 2011 http://jang.com.pk/jang/may2011-daily/04-05-2011/col1.htm

Osama Bin Laden & Memory Loss of Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan & Pervez Musharraf

Osama Bin Laden & Memory Loss of Chaudhry Nisar... by SalimJanMazari

In 1999, the CIA secretly trained and equipped approximately 60 commandos from the Pakistani intelligence agency to enter Afghanistan for the purpose of capturing or killing Osama bin Laden, according to people familiar with the operation. The operation was arranged by then-Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his chief of intelligence with the Clinton administration, which in turn promised to lift sanctions on Pakistan and provide an economic aid package. The plan was aborted later that year when Sharif was ousted in a military coup. The plan was set in motion less than 12 months after U.S. cruise missile strikes against bin Laden's training camps in Afghanistan that Clinton administration officials believe narrowly missed hitting the exiled Saudi militant. The clandestine operation was part of a more robust effort by the United States to get bin Laden than has been previously reported, including consideration of broader military action, such as massive bombing raids and Special Forces assaults. It is a record of missed opportunities that has provided President Bush and his administration with some valuable lessons as well as a framework for action as they draw up plans for their own war against bin Laden and his al Qaeda network in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington. The Pakistani commando team was up and running and ready to strike by October 1999, a former official said. "It was an enterprise," the official said. "It was proceeding." Still stung by their failure to get bin Laden the previous year, Clinton officials were delighted at the operation, which they believed provided a real opportunity to eliminate bin Laden. "It was like Christmas," a source said. The operation was aborted on Oct. 12, 1999, however, when Sharif was overthrown in a military coup led by Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who refused to continue the operation despite substantial efforts by the Clinton administration to revive it. Musharraf, now Pakistan's president, has emerged as a key ally in the Bush administration's efforts to track down bin Laden and destroy his terrorist network. The record of the CIA's aborted relationship with Pakistan two years ago illustrates the value -- and the pitfalls -- of such an alliance in targeting bin Laden. Pakistan and its intelligence service have valuable information about what is occurring inside Afghanistan, a country that remains closed to most of the world. But a former U.S. official said joint operations with the Pakistani service are always dicey, because the Taliban militia that rules most of Afghanistan has penetrated Pakistani intelligence. "You never know who you're dealing with," the former senior official said. "You're always dealing with shadows." 

 'We Were at War' :  In addition to the Pakistan operation, President Bill Clinton the year before had approved additional covert action for the CIA to work with groups inside Afghanistan and with other foreign intelligence services to capture or kill bin Laden. The most dramatic attempt to kill bin Laden occurred in August 1998, when Clinton ordered a Tomahawk cruise missile attack on bin Laden's suspected training camps in Afghanistan in response to the bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. At the time, the Pentagon informed the president that far more ambitious and riskier military actions could be undertaken, according to officials involved in the decision. The options included a clandestine helicopter-borne night assault with small U.S. special operations units; a massive bombing raid on the southeastern Afghan city of Kandahar, the spiritual home of the Taliban and a place frequently visited by bin Laden and his followers; and a larger air- and sea-launched missile and bombing raid on the bin Laden camps in eastern Afghanistan. Clinton approved the cruise missile attack recommended by his advisers, and on Aug. 20, 1998, 66 cruise missiles rained down on the training camps. An additional 13 missiles were fired at a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan that the Clinton administration believed was a chemical weapons factory associated with bin Laden. Clinton's decision to attack with unmanned Tomahawk cruise missiles meant that no American lives were put in jeopardy. The decision was supported by his top national security team, which included Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen and national security adviser Samuel R. "Sandy" Berger, officials said. In the aftermath of last month's attacks on the United States, which the Bush administration has tied to bin Laden, Clinton officials said their decision not to take stronger and riskier action has taken on added relevance. "I wish we'd recognized it then," that the United States was at war with bin Laden, said a senior Defense official, "and started the campaign then that we've started now. That's my main regret. In hindsight, we were at war." Outside experts are even more pointed. "I think that raid really helped elevate bin Laden's reputation in a big way, building him up in the Muslim world," said Harlan Ullman, a defense analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a Washington think tank. "My sense is that because the attack was so limited and incompetent, we turned this guy into a folk hero." Senior officials involved in the decision to limit the attack to unmanned cruise missiles cite four concerns that in many ways are similar to those the Bush administration is confronting now. One was worry that the intelligence on bin Laden's whereabouts was sketchy. Reports at the time said he was supposed to be at a gathering of terrorists, perhaps 100 or more, but it was not clear how reliable that information was. "There was little doubt there was going to be a conference," a source said. "It was not certain that bin Laden would be there, but it was thought to be the case." The source added, "It was all driven by intelligence. . . . The intelligence turned out to be off." 

A second concern was about killing innocent people, especially in Kandahar, a city already devastated by the Soviet Union's 1979 invasion of Afghanistan. Large loss of civilian life, the thinking went, could have cost the United States the moral high ground in its efforts against terrorism, especially in the Muslim world. The risks of conducting a long-range helicopter assault, which would require aerial refueling at night, were another factor. The helicopters might have had to fly 900 miles, an official said. Administration officials especially wanted to avoid a repeat of the disastrous 1980 Desert One operation to rescue American hostages in Iran. During that operation, ordered by President Jimmy Carter, a refueling aircraft collided with a helicopter in the Iranian desert, killing eight soldiers. A final element was the lack of permission for bombers to cross the airspace of an adjoining nation, such as Pakistan, or for helicopters to land at a staging ground on foreign soil. Since Sept. 11, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan have offered the United States use of bases and airspace for any new strike against bin Laden. Bin Laden, 44, a member of an extended wealthy Saudi family, was expelled from Saudi Arabia in 1991 and stripped of his citizenship three years later. In early 1996, the CIA set up a special bin Laden unit, largely because of evidence linking him to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center. At the time, he was living in Sudan, but he was expelled from that country in May 1996 after the CIA failed to persuade the Saudis to accept a Sudanese offer to turn him over. After his subsequent move to Afghanistan, bin Laden became a major focus of U.S. military and intelligence efforts in February 1998, when he issued a fatwa, or religious order, calling for the killing of Americans. "That really got us spun up," recalled retired Marine Gen. Anthony C. Zinni, who was then the chief of the Central Command, which oversees U.S. military operations in the Middle East and Central Asia. When two truck bombs killed more than 200 people at the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in August of that year, and the U.S. government developed evidence that bin Laden was behind both attacks, the question was not whether the United States should counterattack, but how and when. And when depended on information about his whereabouts. Two weeks later, intelligence arrived in Washington indicating that bin Laden would be attending a meeting in eastern Afghanistan. 

Much turned on the quality of the intelligence provided by CIA Director George J. Tenet, recalled a senior official who had firsthand knowledge of the administration's debate on how to respond. "Some days George was good," the official said, "but some days he was not so good. One day he would be categorical and say this is the best we will get . . . and then two days later or a week later, he would say he was not so sure." 'It Was a Sustained Effort' The quality of the intelligence behooved restraint in planning the raid. Hitting bin Laden with a cruise missile "was a long shot, very iffy," recalled Zinni, the former Central Command chief. "The intelligence wasn't that solid." At the same time, new information surfaced suggesting that bin Laden might be planning another major attack. Top Clinton officials felt it was essential to act. 

At best, they calculated, bin Laden would be killed. And at a minimum, he might be knocked off balance and forced to devote more of his energy to hiding from U.S. forces. "He felt he was safe in Afghanistan, in the mountains, inside landlocked airspace," Zinni said. "So at least we could send the message that we could reach him." In all, 66 cruise missiles were launched from Navy ships in the Arabian Sea off the coast of Pakistan into the camps in Afghanistan. Pakistan had not been warned in advance, but Air Force Gen. Joseph Ralston, then the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, met with Pakistani officials at the precise time of the launch to tell them of the operation. He also assured them that Pakistan was not under surprise attack from India, a potential misapprehension that could have led to war. At least one missile lost power and crashed in Pakistan, but the rest flew into Afghanistan and slammed into suspected terrorist training camps outside Khost, a small town near the Afghan-Pakistani border. Most of the cruise missiles were carrying loads of anti-personnel cluster bomblets, with the intention of killing as many people as possible. Reports from the scene were inconclusive. Most said that the raid killed about 30 people, but not bin Laden. Intelligence that reached top Clinton administration officials after the raid said that bin Laden had left the camp two or three hours before the missiles struck. Other reports said he might have left as many as 10 or 12 hours before they landed. Sources in the U.S. military said the launch time was adjusted some to coordinate it with the Sudan attack andto launch after sundown to minimize detection of the missiles. This had the effect of delaying the launch time by several hours. An earlier launch might have caught bin Laden, two sources said. Cohen came to suspect that bin Laden escaped because he was tipped off that the strike was coming. Four days before the operation, the State Department issued a public warning about a "very serious threat" and ordered hundreds of nonessential U.S. personnel and dependents out of Pakistan. 

Some U.S. officials believe word could have been passed to bin Laden by the Taliban on a tip from Pakistani intelligence services. Several other former officials disputed the notion of a security breach, saying bin Laden had plenty of notice that the United States intended to retaliate. There also is dispute about the follow-up to the 1998 raid, specifically about whether the Clinton administration, having tried and failed to kill bin Laden, stopped paying attention. There were attempts. Special Forces troops and helicopter gunships were kept on alert in the region, ready to launch a raid if solid intelligence pinpointed bin Laden's whereabouts. Also, twice in 1999, information arrived indicating that bin Laden might possibly be in a certain village in Afghanistan at a certain time, officials recalled. There was discussion of destroying the village, but the intelligence was not deemed credible enough to warrant the potential slaughter of civilians. In addition, the CIA that year launched its clandestine operation with Pakistani intelligence to train Pakistani commandos for operations against bin Laden. "It was a sustained effort," Cohen said recently. "There was not a week that went by when the issue wasn't seriously addressed by the national security team." Berger said, "Al Qaeda and bin Laden were the number one security threat to America after 1998. It was the highest priority, and a range of appropriate actions were taken." But never again did definitive information arrive that might have permitted another attempt to get bin Laden, officials said. "I can't tell you how many times we got a call saying, 'We have information, and we have to hold a secret meeting about whether to launch a military action,' " said Walter Slocombe, the former undersecretary of defense for policy. "Maybe we were too cautious. I don't think so." REFERENCES:  CIA Trained Pakistanis to Nab Terrorist But Military Coup Put an End to 1999 Plot BY By Bob Woodward and Thomas E. Ricks Washington Post Staff Writers Wednesday, October 3, 2001; 12:18 AM Researcher Jeff Himmelman contributed to this report. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/11/18/AR2007111800629.html Irfan Siddiqui on War on Terror Daily Jang 5 March 2009 http://jang.com.pk/jang/apr2009-daily/05-04-2009/col3.htm 2  http://jang.com.pk/jang/apr2009-daily/06-04-2009/col1.htm  Irfan Siddiqui on Swat Peac Treat 13 April 2009 Daily Jang http://jang.com.pk/jang/apr2009-daily/13-04-2009/col1.htm

Jasmeen Manzoor on Khalid Khawaja & Osama Bin Laden - 1 (ARY NEWS)

Jasmeen Manzoor on Khalid Khawaja & Osama Bin... by SalimJanMazari

 KK: The story starts in 1986-87, when out of emotion I wrote a letter to General Zia ul-Haq saying that he was a hypocrite and he was only interested in ruling Pakistan, rather than imposing Islamic law in the country. General Zia immediately ordered my dismissal from my basic services in the Pakistan air force, where I was a squadron leader, and from the ISI, where I was deputed at the Afghan desk. I went to Afghanistan and fought side-by-side with the Afghan mujahideen against Soviet troops. There I developed a friendship with Dr Abdullah Azzam [a mentor of bin Laden], Osama bin Laden and Sheikh Abdul Majeed Zindani [another mentor of bin Laden's]. At the same time, I was still in touch with my former organization, the ISI, and its then DG [director general], retired Lieutenant General Hamid Gul. After General Zia's death in a plane crash [1988], elections were announced and there was a possibility that the Pakistan People's Party [PPP] led by Benazir Bhutto would win, which would be a great setback for the cause of jihad. We discussed this situation, and all the mujahideen thought that they should play a role in blocking the PPP from winning the elections. I joined my former DG Hamid Gul and played a role in forming the then Islamic Democratic Alliance comprising the Pakistan Muslim League and the Jamaat-i-Islami. The PPP won the elections by a thin margin and faced a strong opposition. Osama bin Laden provided me with funds, which I handed over to Nawaz Sharif, then the chief minister of Punjab [and later premier], to dislodge Benazir Bhutto. Nawaz Sharif insisted that I arrange a direct meeting with the "Sheikh", which I did in Saudi Arabia. Nawaz met thrice with Osama in Saudi Arabia. The most historic was the meeting in the Green Palace Hotel in Medina between Nawaz Sharif, Osama and myself. Osama asked Nawaz to devote himself to "jihad in Kashmir". Nawaz immediately said, "I love jihad." Osama smiled, and then stood up from his chair and went to a nearby pillar and said. "Yes, you may love jihad, but your love for jihad is this much."

He then pointed to a small portion of the pillar. "Your love for children is this much," he said, pointing to a larger portion of the pillar. "And your love for your parents is this much," he continued, pointing towards the largest portion. "I agree that you love jihad, but this love is the smallest in proportion to your other affections in life." These sorts of arguments were beyond Nawaz Sharif's comprehension and he kept asking me. "Manya key nai manya?" [Agreed or not?] He was looking for a Rs500 million [US$8.4 million at today's rate] grant from Osama. Though Osama gave a comparatively smaller amount, the landmark thing he secured for Nawaz Sharif was a meeting with the [Saudi] royal family, which gave Nawaz Sharif a lot of political support, and it remained till he was dislodged [as premier] by General Pervez Musharraf [in a coup in 1999]. Saudi Arabia arranged for his release and his safe exit to Saudi Arabia. That was a typical situation, when Osama was famed for his generosity, and even politicians like Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi, who was president of the National People's Party and president of the Islamic Democratic Alliance, and then interim prime minister, were also after me to arrange meetings with the "Sheikh". Then Nawaz Sharif introduced me to Sheikh Rashid, and he took me to his Freedom House camp near Fateh Jang Road near Rawalpindi. He asked me to get support from Arabs. I took several of my Arab friends to his training camp, and they provided him with some money, though they were not satisfied with the environment. The youths were mostly trained to fire AK-47 rifles, but there was no arrangement for the ideological training of youths. That was the point on which the Arabs objected, that it is ideological training that makes a difference between a mercenary and a mujahid. Rashid was the least bothered about ideological training, he was interested in money - Rs50,000 per person. Some money was provided to Rashid, and he claimed that he procured AK-47 guns with that money. How many, I do not remember. REFERENCE: The pawns who pay as powers play By Syed Saleem Shahzad South Asia Jun 22, 2005 http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/GF22Df04.html Irfan Siddiqui on GHQ and Parade Lane Mosuqe Daily Jang 6 Dec 2009 http://jang.com.pk/jang/dec2009-daily/06-12-2009/col2.htm

 Jasmeen Manzoor on Khalid Khawaja & Osama Bin Laden - 2 (ARY NEWS)

Jasmeen Manzoor on Khalid Khawaja & Osama Bin... by SalimJanMazari

 The momentum for finding a strategy that will allow for an honorable exit is becoming irresistible. Enter Mansoor Ijaz, a US citizen of Pakistani origin with close ties to the right wing of the Republican Party. In London, with the help of British authorities, he began the peace process. Mansoor's point man in Pakistan is Khalid Khawaja, a former Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) official who was a close friend of Osama bin Laden. Khawaja's associates included Paracha, a former member of the provincial assembly in North West Frontier Province and leader of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz group). His claim to fame is his advocacy for the families of al-Qaeda operators detained by Pakistani authorities. One of the inducements put on the table for the Taliban leadership was their inclusion in the government of President Hamid Karzai, but Mullah Omar rejected this, saying there could not be any form of a deal until all foreign forces were pulled out of Afghanistan. Thus there was no possibility of the Taliban laying down their weapons. "Actually, the media have jeopardized the peace initiative when it is still in its initial stages, though part of the news is correct, that yes, there is a discourse between the Taliban and the US, but it is wrong that any US officials met Javed Ibrahim Paracha," Khalid Khawaja told Asia Times Online. Asia Times Online sources in the Afghan resistance across the border from Pakistan confirm that there has been recent contact between Karzai and the Taliban leadership. This took place through a go-between. Karzai, according to the contacts, sought support for himself and agreed that any cooperation with the Taliban would hinge on one single point - the evacuation of foreign troops. The contact was confirmed at a time the Afghan parliamentary results confirmed that members of the former Taliban regime and former mujahideen leaders had won seats in parliament with heavy mandates. 

The general perception is that these new parliamentarians are split into small political groups, and will therefore not be able to make much of an impression. However, most of the Taliban warlords who won in the elections are still in contact with the Taliban leadership, and so are the members of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar's Hizb-i-Islami, whose leadership sits quietly in Peshawar, Pakistan. Veteran warlord Hekmatyar is still active in the Afghan resistance. Far from being splintered, these new parliamentarians are believed to be in a decisive position, and they are taking guidance from their Taliban or Hizb leaders. For instance, once Mullah Omar received Karzai's communication agreeing that the withdrawal of foreign troops was the minimum starting point for any negotiations, Mullah Omar called a shora (council) and then sent messages to all former Taliban members in parliament to support Karzai. REFERENCE: Time to talk: US engages the Taliban By Syed Saleem Shahzad Central Asia Nov 22, 2005 http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/GK22Ag02.html 
Irfan Siddiqui on Suicide Bombing Daily Jang 9 Dec 2009 http://jang.com.pk/jang/dec2009-daily/09-12-2009/col3.htm

 Jasmeen Manzoor on Khalid Khawaja & Osama Bin Laden - 3 (ARY NEWS)

Jasmeen Manzoor on Khalid Khawaja & Osama Bin... by SalimJanMazari

 KARACHI - There was a day when former premier Nawaz Sharif was part of Pakistan's ruling military oligarchy. He tried to be independent and a strongman, and consequently was removed from power in a bloodless coup by now President General Pervez Musharraf on October 12, 1999. However, after serving a year in jail and then going into exile in Saudi Arabia to avoid charges of treason and hijacking, he has once again dealt with the military and finalized a deal with the director general of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Lieutenant General Nadeem Taj, in Saudi Arabia. As a result, they both returned to Pakistan - on flights half an hour apart - on Sunday. Sharif returned to the country two months ago, but was hustled straight back onto a plane to Saudi Arabia. This time there was no such drama as the circumstances have changed. According to Asia Times Online contacts, a retired military brigadier and the publisher of a large media group were involved in backroom negotiations between the military, Sharif and Saudi Arabia which resulted in him being given the go-ahead to return to Pakistan provided "he did not make trouble". Musharraf is expected to be sworn in as a civilian president this week, which means he will step down as chief of the army staff in preparation for national elections in January. According to the contacts, following the elections, Shabaz Sharif, the younger brother of Nawaz, has been earmarked to lead a unity government comprising liberal democratic forces, but under the umbrella of the military. Initially, former premier Benazir Bhutto had been chosen for this job and she, too, returned from exile, only to fall out with the United States-inspired plan and Musharraf himself. It is not yet clear what part Nawaz Sharif, considered a conservative and traditionalist and an acceptable face for Pakistan's religious forces, will play in this new political dispensation. Just a day before his return, two devastating suicide attacks killed at least 16 people in the garrison town of Rawalpindi adjoining Islamabad. One attacker targeted a vehicle carrying ISI personnel, the other a gate at the military's general headquarters (GHQ). 

The attacks serve as a strong hint to the Pakistani army to reverse its intervention in the Taliban's fight against foreign forces in Afghanistan. The attacks, impeccable sources at GHQ reveal, were based on precise intelligence. However, the sources refused to name the victims or their ranks. Mounting US pressure has forced Pakistan this year to do more in the fight against Taliban and al-Qaeda forces in the country, leading to head-on confrontation. As a result, Pakistan's channels of communication with militants have been choked and the situation is reaching a point of no return in the battle between the Pakistani Taliban and the Pakistani army. The deal with Sharif has both internal and external aspects. The Pakistani military is concerned that the "war on terror" is spilling far too much into the country. The Pakistani Taliban already have a strong presence in the tribal areas and in North-West Frontier Province. Pakistan's leading security think-tank, the National Defense University, has floated the idea that Afghanistan and Pakistan could be prevented from falling into the clutches of extremism by North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) forces withdrawing from Afghanistan and being replaced by troops from the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC). Ironically, four Muslim countries with the strongest armies in the OIC are non-Arab - Pakistan, Turkey, Indonesia and Bangladesh. If a decision is taken to send in the OIC, these four countries would be at the helm. With the insurgency in Afghanistan spiraling out of control with every passing day, Washington is giving an ear to this suggestion. But the biggest problem would be for Muslim countries to find leaders to speak to the insurgents in a spirit of mutual trust. Otherwise, OIC forces could be just as much of a problem as NATO's. For instance, if the militants declare the troops infidels, it would only add to the hopelessness of the situation. Apparently, the deal brokered by Saudi Arabia to allow Nawaz Sharif back into Pakistan aims to bring his brother Shabaz into the spotlight. Nawaz Sharif had personal interactions with Osama bin Laden (The pawns who pay as powers play, Asia Times Online, June 22, 2005) many times when both were planning to dislodge Bhutto's government in the late 1980s. In Pakistan's charged environment, anything is worth a try, including this old wine in a new bottle - it's worked before. REFERENCE: Strings attached to Sharif's return By Syed Saleem Shahzad South Asia Nov 27, 2007 http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/IK27Df02.html Irfan Siddiqui on Suicide Bombing Daily Jang 10 Dec 2009 http://jang.com.pk/jang/dec2009-daily/10-12-2009/col2.htm

Jang Group on the Life of Osama Bin Laden - 1 (Capital Talk 5 May 2011)

Jang Group on the Life of Osama Bin Laden - 1... by SalimJanMazari

Jang Group on the Life of Osama Bin Laden - 2 (Capital Talk 5 May 2011)
Jang Group on the Life of Osama Bin Laden - 2... by SalimJanMazari

2009 Even children not spared . General among 40 dead: Carnage in Pindi army mosque as Taliban breach security 2009-12-05 RAWALPINDI, Dec 4 Armed militants stormed a mosque during Friday prayers in Rawalpindi`s supposedly secure military residential area and killed at least 40 people, almost half of them children and five senior military officers, and wounded over eighty others before being gunned down by security forces. In what appeared to be one of the worst incidents of terrorism in recent years, militants opposed to Pakistan army`s operation against Al Qaeda and the Taliban touched a new low in their activities when they violated the sanctity of a mosque to kill and maim worshippers in cold blood. Besides 16 children, an army major general, a brigadier, two lieutenant colonels, a major and a number of soldiers were among those killed in a multi-pronged attack at the Parade Land Askari mosque that involved grenade throwing, firing from automatic guns and deadly explosions. The siege ended after two suicide bombers blew themselves up. Although mosques and imambargaghs have in the past been targeted by sectarian terrorists, this was the first time that such a such large number of children were gunned down by any militant group even though the apparent target were military officers offering Friday prayers in the community mosque. Most of the children were at the mosque along with their fathers or other relatives and belonged to military families, officials said. “Like every Friday my son had accompanied me to the mosque. Now he is dead and I am standing here in front of you,” said a highly disturbed elderly man, his clothes soaked in blood. As word spread about the terrorist attack in the city, scores of people gathered outside the Westridge area, but were prevented by military police and security personnel from going near the mosque as for many hours the situation in the area had remained volatile. It was late in the evening when authorities cleared the area and allowed the people to go in. A military spokesman said the dead included Major General Bilal Umer, Brigadier Abdul Rauf, Lt-Col Mansoor Saeed, Lt-Col Fakhr and Major Zahid. Several senior serving and retired military officers were also among the injured. They included a former vice chief of the army staff, Gen Muhammad Yousuf (retd) (also known as Gen Joe), a brigadier, a colonel and a couple of majors. As anger and sadness gripped Rawalpindi and rest of the country, a top leader of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) claimed responsibility for the brazen attack. The head of TTP`s South Waziristan operations, Waliur Rehman, told the BBC that militants loyal to his organisation had carried out the attack on the mosque. The chief military spokesman, Major General Athar Abbas, condemned the incident and described it as a work of anti-state terrorists whose sanctuaries have been destroyed by the military in the tribal areas. He said the same group was now using their remaining assets in cities to terrorise the nation. The ISPR chief told DawnNews that authorities would investigate if there was any serious breach. Security in areas housing military installations or residences had been beefed up manifold in recent weeks, particularly after the audacious attack on the General Headquarters in October. Resident told Dawn nearly 150 people, including women and children, were offering their prayers when a group of four militants scaled a high brick wall of the mosque by using a small ladder, landing among the worshippers. An injured man said one of the attackers first threw hand grenades into the worshipers. A deafening boom followed. Later there were two more explosions, followed by machinegun fire. Gunfire, mayhem Ali, a witness, said another attacker started firing randomly into the mosque, creating mayhem among worshippers. He said he saw wounded people lying in the courtyard of the mosque. A large number of shoes dripped with blood were scattered all around in the mosque premises. Security sources said that the group of militants who attacked the mosque had come on a car bearing Islamabad`s registration, defying all security checks and they were spotted scaling the mosque`s wall by some children playing in a nearby ground. At least seven handgrenades, two national identity cards, two sports bags and some documents were found from the boot of the grey colour car the militants had used to come there. Officials later said the dark grey colour Toyota car that militants used to travel to the Parade Lane had a fake registration plate of Islamabad, which in fact was that of a white colour car. REFERENCE: Even children not spared . General among 40 dead: Carnage in Pindi army mosque as Taliban breach security 2009-12-05 00:00:00 http://www.dawn.com/news/854742/even-children-not-spared-general-among-40-dead-carnage-in-pindi-army-mosque-as-taliban-breach-security Swat Taliban welcome Osama bin Laden 2009-04-21 http://www.dawn.com/news/955474/swat-taliban-welcome-osama-bin-laden

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