Posts from the ‘Pakistan & War on Terror’ Category

Pasha Vs ‘The Trojan Horse’

It was as back as in late 70s when Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was at the peak of his fame and fear, as his government’s downfall was imminent. The power that was behind the plans to topple his democratic government was generally known and if some quarters had any doubt then it was cleared when Bhutto waved and read aloud a highly confidential and personal letter in public. In a blunt tone he was conveyed a message by Hennery Kissinger that a horrible example of him would be made. But that was not the first time when the Americans settled their grudge against Pakistani leaders or generals. Liaqat Ali Khan and Field Marshal Ayub Khan were few others.

The irony of some intelligence war is that its heroes sadly remain unsung. General Pasha is one such hero. There is an old saying that ‘My friend’s enemy is my friend’ and here in this specific case many of us are proving Chanakiya’s saying right by collaborating with Pakistan’s enemies. Through their acts they are making Pakistan’s enemies proud and contended. Who doesn’t know that who is behind the plots to malign Pakistan Army and ISI. The game is not new but the strategy is certainly fresh one. The muzzles are pointed towards the army chief and the DG ISI and the pawns are those who themselves have a shady and grey track record. Has anyone ever thought for a moment that if Pakistan army and the prime intelligence agency are obeying the American wishes (as it is propagated) then why should the Americans take them on as exclusive targets? Why should have they attempted to humiliate our armed forces by carrying out a massacre at Salala Check post and why should have they tried to embarrass our intelligence agency by raiding at a much talked Osama’s hideout? No we won’t think about these realities, rather would like to buy the propaganda about our armed forces, intelligence agency and nuclear program that is planned at the cyber spheres, by a conglomerate of some journo who are the chums of Pakistan’s enemies thus makes our enemy’s day.

I know this write up would be termed as a trumpet blowing for the armed forces and the ISI. Yes, it is but why shouldn’t it be the one? When people here in the holy motherland are betraying her by teaming up with its enemies and disappointing their countrymen, then someone has to raise a voice for with these sacred institutions unless we are indifferent to the national security and sovereignty.

As earlier said that intelligence wars and its heroes are usually remain unsung and so is the case with General Pasha, who is under heavy fire these days, but leading the operation like any fearless infantryman. General Pasha is amongst those few Pakistani spy chiefs who are reckoned as the men of crisis. Few others among them are General Akhtar Abdul Rehman and General Hamid Gul. Although as far as General Pasha is concerned he is considered totally divergent to the formers’ school of thought, nevertheless, his patriotism and views about the religion as a moderate Muslim are beyond any doubt.

Does anyone know that why this campaign against him has started?  But why should we, especially when ‘the masters’ are calling the Spade a Club. As I mentioned that Bhutto was made an example for exposing the Americans and what we should not forget is that the Americans don’t forget and don’t forgive. When one tells them bluntly that his Master is Allah and not America then what else could be expected? Yes, this is what exactly General Pasha told the CIA chief Leon Panetta during one of his recent visits to America. General Pasha is a diehard Pakistani who could go to any extent for the honour and dignity of the motherland and that’s what he exactly did, when he owned the responsibility of Abbottabad carnage which wasn’t a small thing to do but he did to an extent that even he offered his resignation which was turned down by the Prime Minister of Pakistan. I am going into these minute details just to keep the record straight.

General Pasha’s encounter with the then CIA chief was not the only one. The Americans who were jubilant over his appointment as the DG ISI literally pissed off when General Pasha started negotiating with them on principle grounds. Imagine about a soldier who is fighting the dirtiest intelligence war of the history is being stabbed in the back by none other than his own allies and few countrymen. The enemies had now two pains in neck, the organisation itself and its DG. Since they could conveniently pull the strings of any influential civil government’s member, hence initially they simply wanted to tear down ISI by placing it under the Interior Ministry where it could be reduced to just another police department. General Pasha, supported by the army, resisted to it and the ISI was able to keep its independence. However, this was not the first that ISI head was desired to be the fall guy by some hidden quarters. In past Ms. Benazir Bhutto did this adventure, when she removed General Hamid Gul from the DG ISI’s post. I wonder if General Pasha will have any interest in clutching on to the chair but at the same time such adolescent attempts are conveying nothing but wrong messages which will not only harm the most sensitive organization of the country, horribly but will also bring humiliation in the GWOT at our doorsteps.

One must remember that in intelligence operations what you see is not actually what is happening around and the tragedy is that everything cannot be shared with everyone and of all with those who are security risk for the country? Has anyone ever seen the intelligence chief of any country being talked and discussed in public? Or being questioned for his highly confidential tasks and trips? Unfortunately in this inopportune land this practice is very common.

The ISI is hated but respected by its enemies. The ISI is the favourite whipping boy of the Neocons and the Neolibs. Pakistan is the international scapegoat. Unfortunately the organisation and its DG have turned out to be the obstacles to certain quarters’ nefarious designs, hence, are treated as the punch bag for a section of media’s criticism that is replicated in the Indian media as well. The time has come that the forces that have love for the country and its security institutions must stand up against these pseudo liberal and anti state elements who are working on an agenda.

One shouldn’t forget that it’s not General Pasha whom these plotters are targeting, it’s rather the ISI. General Pasha will not remain in the chair for life but the number one at the top ten intelligence agencies of the world will surely live and that’s what is persistently bothering these ‘Twitters of the same Flock’ and the ‘Blackberry Lovers’ that have united against a warrior who is committed to Pakistan. Will it not be better for Husain Haqqani to come out of the PM house before conspiring against the armed forces, for Asma Jehangir to look back at her dubious track record and her visible links with the Indians, for Najam Sethi to wrap up his log stock and barrel at WSJ and Hamid Mir to first dispose off the millions he accepted recently as a fee for campaign against the armed forces and the ISI, before pointing accusing finger at these two institutions? See the mentality of these low rated heavily paid media managers and the civil society members who are slipping back to every unethical move and look at the calibre of that warrior Shuja Pasha who knows ‘a lot’ about them but doesn’t believe in espousing unfair moves, nevertheless, the fact is that the people of Pakistan reserve the right to see their true and ugly faces. The sooner it is the better it would be.

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Room 430: Husain Haqqani’s Waterloo

It was October 13, 1999, a day next to the toppling of Nawaz Sharif’s government, which the latter purely asked for. General Musharraf was not only that still the COAS but the CEO of the country as well. A large number of writers, intellectuals and journalists who were quite happy and excited over the change were gathered at ISPR. Many of them were keen to see the DG ISPR and some of them were eager to meet Musharraf, right away. Among them was one Hussain Haqqani, who was a frequent visitor to the ISPR for the reasons best known to him. The gentleman was known for switching affiliations and loyalties. During the later years of General Musharraf’s rule, when latter visited once America, Haqqani tried to contact him and asked for one on one meeting which the smart general bluntly refused as he knew about the Johnny well and was updated about his selfish mentality as well. Husain Haqqani felt humiliated and started a venomous propaganda campaign against the General in the US press. The out spoken president didn’t forget and forgive him and during one of his visits to the States, during a press conference, openly nitpicked the smart boy. The muck didn’t stop there and soon there was a gossip about Haqqani’s collaboration with a notorious anti Pakistan American think tank ‘Carnegie’s Endowment’. It was generally said that in the said paper’s script the most lethal parts related to Pakistan were scripted by our ex (intellectual) ambassador.

The gentleman maintained a low profile for a while, until he managed an access to Benazir Bhutto and consequently, finally to her spouse, who is now the President of Pakistan. As people know that Mr. Asif Zardari is a friend of friends, so accepted Haqqani’s gestures too, positively, incidentally forgetting that a great talker is a great liar. Not only Mr. President, rather everyone should know that the friends and books should be few and good. The little master managed to claim a big slot in the foreign affairs ministry and grabbed the prize appointment i.e. of Pakistan’s envoy to the only super power, the United States of America. The muck was still going on and Mr. Ambassador didn’t forget his enmity with the ex President General Musharraf. To settle his score with an individual, he was determined to humiliate an Institution.

Haqqani, throughout his tenure, till the time he met his fate, kept conspiring against the armed forces of Pakistan. It would not be wrong if said that he being a wicked soul, remained the main source of misunderstanding between the US and Pakistan and masterly followed the divide and rule trick. And as it should have been in such cases, not only managed to widen the gulf between two GWOT allies but also at many a times temporarily succeeded in creating a rift between the governments and the armed forces. His temporary successes turned him over confident and like any ill-fated idiot he also started putting all his eggs in one basket and that turned out to be his biggest blunder. Now he had no more eggs, so there was no more business. He was given ample time. At quite a few occasions he was directly and indirectly cautioned and admonished as well but was found indifferent to advices. It is rightly said that ‘Give a fool rope enough and he will hang himself’ and so Mr. Haqqani did. He started thinking about him as a Messiah for Pakistan. The elite class socialising made him arrogant and stiff neck. Anyone who followed him on Twitter will confirm the tinge of arrogance in his style, except those morons like Kamran Shafi, Asma Jehangir, Marvi Sarmad, etc, who are like-minded to him and are known as pseudo liberals.

Mr. Haqqani had a bigger plan to execute. He was in a mood to hit two birds with one stone; to sideline and made the armed forces powerless forever and to secure the position of the minister for foreign affairs, as he was sure that the President would not refuse him. He was already in the good books of the President and his loyalties to the Americans were beyond any doubt to the latter. He knew whatever he would convey to the Americans will be taken as official word but the only problem was looking for a dare devil who could bell the cat and that reminds him of his good friend Mansoor Ijaz, who was known for brooking the deals and selling his contacts. The controversial Ijaz had been doing such deals in past also so was considered an apt pick as a courier. There were a couple of meetings in the USA and UK besides BBM messaging and few calls for drafting a ‘Memo’ for requesting Admiral Mike Mullen to cut Pakistan Army to size. Both the smart guys struck a deal of $100 million for delivering just two pages to the Admiral. An advance of 30 percent amount was paid to Ijaz Mansoor and the rest amount was to be paid on job completion. Now that was the time from where the muck actually started. Haqqani was confirmed by Mansoor about the delivery and as expected he asked for the final payment which cunning Haqqani bluntly refused and showed inability to make the final payment. That, as it was expected infuriated Mansoor Ijaz who threatened Haqqani to make the deal public. The latter, thinking that he had no reason to show some lost sleep as the deal bore no signatures, asked Mansoor to do whatever he thought better, not realising that the courier had a complete record of BBM texts plus phone call record which could always turn the tables on him. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what happened.

When both these Johnnies started washing the dirty linen in the public, Mansoor having a sure edge pushed Haqqani against the wall and made him lick the dust. The poor soul could not do much about it and dejectedly landed back in Isloo where he was taken on. As expected he has a gang of supporters, the pseudo liberals, who came forward to rescue him. The alliance planned a Twitter campaign supported by print and electronic coverage to present the wolf, in a sheep’s casing. A game was planned and the muzzles were turned toward the Army and the ISI, though for a short while as the public in general was not prepared to trust the architect of ‘Carnegie Endowment’ (portion related to Pakistan) and the author of book Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military published in 2005. Above all it was known to all and sundries that Haqqani is beloved by many in Washington, suspected by some, but known by all. He maintains innumerable unofficial relationships with high-ranking U.S. officials, powerful civilians, and journalists, yet here in Pakistan generally he is known for switching his loyalties swiftly. His pseudo intellectual liberal friends couldn’t do much. Not even his beloved spouse’s fast friends of ‘steady days at Dubai’.

Haqqani is now keeping his fingers crossed and waiting for his fate. It is reliably learnt that even the President Asif Ali Zardari was quite furious over his stupidity. Especially at a time when Zardari was enjoying very cordial relations with the Army, the Twitter Ambassador tried to create misunderstanding between the President and the armed forces. Husain Haqqani was contended while thinking that the draft memo had no signatures, not realising that the forensic science would dig out the relation between the BBM texts, call times and the memo. Room 430, Park Lane Intercontinental London turned out to be a Waterloo for him.

Ah! Poor Husain Haqqani.

An Ending of Peeping Inside Al Qaeda or …?

Asif Chauhdary

Leading Pakistani journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad who was missing since Sunday night was found dead near Mandi Bahauddin, a significant grain market of Punjab. The initial post mortem confirmed that the young brilliant journalist was murdered. Why he was murdered is indeed a question needs to be answered and that needs a sober investigation. Nevertheless, minutes after the breaking news of his death there was uproar on the television channels, where the anchor persons and the analysts were directly blaming a particular intelligence agency for his killing. No one should have any doubt that the murder of Saleem Shahzad is indeed a colossal loss to the journalism world which is irreparable and it will have very serious implications on the national events in the times to come. However at the same time this would also be very unfair to draw a conclusion without putting in any investigative efforts. This is not the silencing of a first free voice. There have been such events in the past. Have we forgotten the killing of Daniel Pearl of Wall Street Journal for whom Khalid Sheikh Mohammad was alleged and arrested? Has Ms. Hilary Clinton, who has ‘graciously’ condoled and condemned the killing of Saleem Shahzad, so promptly, forgotten the story of Charles Harman and Frank Teruggi, who were arrested during the US-backed 1973 Chilean coup and were later murdered along with many other freelancers in Santiago’s national stadium. It was only in 1999, when the US State Department declassified bundles of documents; the truth revealed that US intelligence agents played a role in their deaths. Neither the killing of any journalist in the past had a justification, nor does the murder of some news reporter have any validation now. But never ever had anyone given the verdict without going into any investigation as some irresponsible and immature media persons are breathlessly doing now.

It would be quite pertinent if impartially analysed as why and who murdered Saleem Shahzad. Honestly speaking there can be more than one suspect. Dropping ISI out of the suspected list would be quite unfair as the supreme intelligence agency of Pakistan is the first one to be put under heavy volley by the friends and the foes, second could be the terrorists outfits who thought that the diseased journalist was probably not playing some fair game and third could be some foreign intelligence agency who has some specific and highly confidential vested interests.

Let’s start it with the prime suspect ISI. Ever since the Abbottabad debacle, the poor organisation is already under heavy criticism. The agency had been blamed for abducting and casual torturing in the past but never ever had anyone laid an accusing finger at it for a heinous crime like murder because in the heart of the hearts people know that ISI is not as callous as the civil police of Pakistan have proved to be. Why the agency, at such a time when it is targeted nationally and internationally, would invite more troubles? Knowing very well that a well timed symphony is being orchestrated against them currently, only some insane would commit such suicidal acts. As UK based daily Guardian has quoted that two ISI officials met him in the past and threatened him of the consequences. Well, that sounds ridiculous and stupid, since the threats by any intelligence agencies are not handed over formally over a cup of tea. Can Guardian quote just one example from the history where some journalist was called by some high profiler intelligence officer and was threatened? If we carefully analyse late Saleem Shazad’s recent write ups then we will find them rather helpful to the military leadership. This logic is otherwise not convincing and valid, because if that’s so then there are many other journalists, who penned more bitter and harsh write-ups, but are roaming freely and ISI or the armed forces have not even said a word to them. However, the possibility of exploiting his anti forces pieces by some unknown forces, to frame the organisation thus killing two birds with one stone cant be ruled out.

On the other hand Shazad’s recent book ‘Inside Al-Qaeda and the Taliban: Beyond Bin Laden and 9/11’ has raised lots of controversies. According to a number of published reports Shahzad was quite upset about the feedback on the book. If we remember Saleem was made hostage by Al Qaeda and Taliban sometime back, later he was accorded the status of a guest by his keepers. If this book is taken and understood in that backdrop then it sounds quite possible that his ‘friends’ were not happy over his unclear point of view regarding them. Even in his recent article about Mehran Base tragedy, he has put in more efforts to expose the terrorists’ network and functioning then doing any harm to the armed forces.

 

The last but not the least possibility is of the adventure by some foreign intelligence agency. If it is kept in mind that; the armed forces and ISI are purposely targeted for the obvious motives these days, anti army quarters within the country and abroad have collaborated, specific campaigns against the armed forces are being run by a section of media and few bloggers and finally the time is found apt to reap then guess who is going to be benefited by committing such reckless action?

In the underworld’s affairs the real purpose of the actions also remains unearthed but let’s take it for granted that those who appear palpable culprits are usually turn out to be innocents.