Pakistan Examiner

2.18.12//01:52
Pakistan and Osama bin Laden | Pakistan Examiner →

With Pakistan’s civilian government and judiciary showing renewed signs of life, it’s time for them to ask the question the country has been avoiding for nine months: How didOsama bin Laden, the world’s leading terrorist, hide out in a military garrison city near Islamabad without anyone knowing?

To ask this question is not to accuse the Pakistani military or intelligence service of wrongdoing. So far, no “smoking gun” has emerged. But many puzzling issues surround bin Laden’s stay in Abbottabad for six years. Nobody should want them answered more than Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, the chief of army staff, who would gain new credibility at home and abroad by allowing such a probe.Gen. Mike Hayden, the former CIA director, sums up a feeling that’s widespread among both Americans and Pakistanis when he says: “Without being accusatory, I think it’s certainly in Pakistan’s interest to clear the air.”


2.17.12//23:33
Suck It Up, America: Why We Have to Apologize to Pakistan | Pakistan Examiner →

The Obama administration is actively considering issuing an apology or at least an expression of contrition toPakistan over the errant NATO strikes that killed at least 24 Pakistani soldiers last fall, even though nearly two months have passed since the completion of an official Pentagon investigation that partially blamed mistakes made by U.S. forces for the incident, U.S. officials said.

The State Department has resurrected the idea after repudiating the U.S. ambassador to PakistanCameron Munter, early on when he pressed for an immediate apology following the incident last November. A Pentagon official, asked about the possibility of a statement of apology or contrition last month, at first said he was unaware there was any discussion going on, then a few days later acknowledged that it was. Now theWhite House is mulling the language and timing of such a statement, a U.S. official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.


22:44
Difa-e-Pakistan: What we know and do not want to hear | Pakistan Examiner →

It is an adage that everything is already known; it just has to be rediscovered. But it applies particularly well to the rise of the Difa-e-Pakistan (Defence of Pakistan) Council (DPC). The new alliance of Islamist groups, campaigning for a break in ties with the United States  and an end to warming relations with India, is giving clear shape for the first time in many years to an underworld of hyper-nationalism, militancy, sectarianism and faith-based politics whose influence in Pakistan has until now operated largely beneath the surface.

And many Pakistanis are not liking what they are seeing. Columnist Ejaz Haider described the very public rallies of the DPC - which includes the Jamaat-e-Islami political organisation, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa (the humanitarian wing of the Lashkar-e-Taiba militant group),  the anti-Shi’ite Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan, and former spy chief Hamid Gul among others – as “Whisky Tango Foxtrot moment for the entire nation and, yes, the military and its various intelligence agencies”.

Yet what is interesting is what the DPC tells us about the trends already going on below the radar.  Given widespread suspicion that the alliance enjoys the tacit backing of the Pakistan Army – few believe it could operate so openly without the approval of the generals in Rawalpindi - it also provides an (albeit distorted) window into the thinking of the country’s powerful security establishment.


2.16.12//10:27
ISI Network in Bangladesh | Pakistan Examiner →

Soon after murder of the architect of Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975, Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI jumped into the fray to expand its network across Bangladesh. During more than two decades since his murder, when pro-Pak and Islamist forces ruled the country (1975 to 1996), Pakistan High Commission in Dhaka became the nerve center of ISI activities. ISI also utilized this long period to divert its anti-India operations through Bangladesh in order to ward off international outcry over its involvement in Kashmir for encouraging secessionist forces to destabilize India. Since then, with cooperation and help of the ruling pro-Pak and Islamist clique in the country, ISI opened a new anti-India terror front in Bangladesh to destabilize North East India by patronizing and providing logistic support including funds to the North Eastbased Indian Insurgent Groups (IIGs). ISI has established a multi-pronged terror network in Bangladesh which includes Jamaat-e-Islami (JEI), BNP and IIGs


2.15.12//22:52
Maximizing Chances for Success in Afghanistan and Pakistan | Pakistan Examiner →

Four years ago, Barack Obama ran for president arguing that Afghanistan and Pakistan were the most crucial national security issues for the United States and that he would prioritize his attention and the nation’s resources in their direction if elected. His reasons began with the fact that Afghanistan was the preferred sanctuary for al Qaeda, where the 9/11 attacks were planned. In addition, Afghanistan offered huge swaths of land where al Qaeda and other extremist groups—mainly, Pakistan’s own Taliban, which seeks to destabilize that country, and Lashkar-e-Taiba, which seeks to attack India—would likely take refuge if theAfghan Taliban again seized power in much or all of that country. And Pakistan, soon to be the most populous country in the Islamic world and the fifth largest in the world, also has the fastest growing nuclear arsenal in the world and is on track to be the world’s third largest nuclear weapons state.


09:24
Will Pakistan's steady hand Gilani survive? | Pakistan Examiner →

Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, indicted by the Supreme Court on Monday, was once seen as a shrewd operator with the best chance of bringing stability to Pakistan.

The soft-spoken figure tiptoed through Pakistan’s political minefields and at times acted as a troubleshooter – charming opposition leaders over tea or a meal to take the heat off the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

What he lacks in charisma, Gilani has made up for by maintaining close contact with Pakistanis through frequent public appearances and speeches.

But the longest-serving civilian prime minister in Pakistan’s turbulent history may be at the end of the line because of his defiance of the Supreme Court, which has become increasingly assertive over the last few years.

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01:43
Will Pakistan's steady hand Gilani survive? | Pakistan Examiner →

Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, indicted by the Supreme Court on Monday, was once seen as a shrewd operator with the best chance of bringing stability to Pakistan.

The soft-spoken figure tiptoed through Pakistan’s political minefields and at times acted as a troubleshooter – charming opposition leaders over tea or a meal to take the heat off the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

What he lacks in charisma, Gilani has made up for by maintaining close contact with Pakistanis through frequent public appearances and speeches.


2.14.12//14:36
It's chaos as usual as Pakistan's PM faces censure | Pakistan Examiner →

Chaos and looming doom are the lifeblood of Pakistan‘s politics.

So there is no special reason to imagine the indictment and likely conviction of Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani for contempt of the Supreme Court will produce more uncertainty than usual.

The usual is chaotic enough.

The indictment against Gilani for failing to obey a Supreme Court order to restart corruption charges againstPresident Asif Ali Zardari is part of a slow-burning contest for authority between the politicians of the governing Pakistan People’s Party on one side and a loose alliance – more accurately a coincidence of interest – between the court and the military on the other.

The military, which regards itself as the ultimate defender of the Pakistan state, is outraged at a leaked message from the Gilani government to Washington asking for American assistance to block a pending military coup.

The courts have become a proactive force since they were instrumental in removing the military regime of then-president Pervez Musharraf in 2008.


2.13.12//12:11
Pakistan's the problem, not Taliban | Pakistan Examiner →

Whatever one thinks of Defence Minister Peter MacKay’s penchant for taking military helicopters on fishing trips, the country should support him chiding elements in Pakistan for helping the Taliban.

While there’s nothing new in NATO leaks that elements of Pakistan’s intelligence service and military are helping co-ordinate Taliban attacks on coalition forces, the fact these reports keep surfacing has to be upsetting.

Pakistani denials ring hollow — nearly 10 years of denials.


2.12.12//22:53
England whitewash marks Pakistan’s return from the wilderness | Pakistan Examiner →

Cricket Pakistan style is never dull – from the all-round heroics of Imran Khan, the Warne-inspiring leg-spin of Abdul Qadir, the toe-crushing Yorkers of Waqar Younis or the six-hitting prowess of Shahid Afridi, literally propelling wrecking balls through the roofs of county grounds.

On the pitch Pakistan have always been an exciting team consistently picking out young talent, always producing great characters and, although swinging from brilliant to dreadful a little too often, never failing to provide us with entertainment, innovation and thrilling cricket.  Every credit must be given to them for beating England so comprehensively in the recent series.


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