What Pakistan is currently experiencing is the price for its strtegic depth policy. This policy first devoloped by Ranjeet Singh (1800-1849) involved attacking Kabul and his boss Nadir Shah Ahmadzai of the Pahstun dynasty , who had made him Governor of Punjab.
The Zardari camp has openly started supporting Asma Jahangir as the next chief of the Supreme Court Bar Association, said present SCBA President Qazi Anwar. He said that all resources and connections of the government were being used for this purpose. They are bent upon getting Asma elected in the hope that she will stand before the Supreme Court and criticise the apex court judges as president of the SCBA.
But Qazi said that lawyers, who fought for the independence of the judiciary, would leave no stone unturned to safeguard the country’s independent judiciary. The Law Ministry has already started spending government funds by the millions on bar associations, delivered among some members of the lawyers’ community by the law minister himself in his bid to convince the lawyers to support Asma.
A major problem being faced by the lawyers’ community is that all the big names of the historic lawyers’ movement for restoration of judges are siding with Asma Jehangir. According to insiders, PPP’s Aitzaz Ahsan, Athar Minallah, Ali Ahmad Kurd and Justice (retd) Tariq Mehmood will support Asma for their own reasons.
Asma has properly started campaigning for the elections to be held in October 2010.When approached by our sources, Asma was first not available and her telephone operator was not transferring calls to her. However, eventually, she came on line, but after introduction and coming to know that a journalist wanted to speak to her, she promised to call back soon. However, she did not call back.
On the other hand, a major supporter of Asma Jahangir, Justice (retd) Tariq Mehmood, said that if the People’s Party was supporting them, there was nothing wrong with it. He said that Ahmad Awais was the candidate of Hamid Khan group and both Ahmad Awais and Hamid were the members of a political party, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf. He said that use of the word Zardari camp was not right as lawyers from different parties were supporting their candidates.
Tariq, however, said that whatever Asma had said against the judiciary after declaration of the NRO judgment was her view and everybody had the right to have any views on any issue. It is also important that according to an audio recording of a BBC interview taken on October 12, 1999, Asma Jahangir had termed Musharraf’s coup as a step against the Constitution, but at the same time tried to give an impression that because of the large scale corruption and inability of the democratic government, there seemed to be no other way out and tried to defend the unconstitutional step of dictator Musharraf. She had also said that inefficiency of the Nawaz government was the major reason for the coup.
According to insiders, lawyers from all corners of the country have started interacting to devise a comprehensive strategy to tackle the latest move of the Zardari camp, which will be implemented through Babar Awan’s law ministry.
Asma Jehangir’s Rejoinder
The news report titled “Zardari camp hopes Asma will confront SC judges,” is mischievous and deliberate in its attempt to dis-inform public opinion on my candidacy for the president of the Supreme Court Bar Association.
Such campaigns will not in any way deter me from contesting this election. On the contrary, it hardens my resolve to ensure that this position remains independent and non-partisan.
At the outset I want to clarify that I had received no telephone calls from this scribe and even if I had, I may well have not entertained his calls due to his behaviour. I had made it absolutely clear to the senior management at The News that I would only respond to his queries in writing because of his misreporting in the past. In the present news report he has made several allegations and assumptions against me to jeopardise my campaign and therefore, I am now compelled to respond to him.
Firstly, he has painted me as a person who is opposed to the independence of the judiciary, whereas my struggle for judicial independence precedes even the lawyers’ movement, of which I was an active participant. Any criticism of judicial performance that I have expressed has also been a part of the same commitment.
I believe that the Bar is an equal stakeholder in judicial independence. Its role is to ensure that the judiciary can function without fear or favour and at the same time it serves as the best watchdog of judicial performance. My struggle for judicial independence started much before the recent lawyers’ movement in which I was also actively involved. I suffered imprisonment during Ziaul Haq’s period and have constantly participated in the lawyers’ struggle for democracy and the rule of law.
Even during the last lawyers’ movement I was under house arrest and was willing to sacrifice much more. Nevertheless, my struggle is based on the principle of democracy and rule of law rather than to protect or hound any person or institution. As such it is not my intention to “confront” judges but to remain consistent in upholding the values of justice.
The allegation that I am a candidate of the Zardari camp is simply malicious. I am no admirer of any such camp and my criticism of nepotism, corruption and mis-governance by governments has been consistent throughout. To remind this scribe I would like to draw his attention to my article published in an English newspaper on 19 December 2009. “Another aspect of the judgment” in which I have criticized some aspects of the NRO judgment, where I have stated, “While the NRO can never be defended even on the plea of keeping the system intact the Supreme Court judgment has wider political implications.”
I believe that my criticism of using Article 62(f) as a touchstone for striking down laws was correct. Later, the detailed judgment also bore out this view. I expect that no political faction or other pressure groups will presume to think that my just criticism of any negative trends will not endure despite this candidacy to the Supreme Court Bar Presidency. My views on all important issues are in the public domain and are well-known including my statement on Mr Zardari’s candidacy to the Presidency which was published in newspapers on 26 August 2008.
It has been reported that the Law Ministry is handing out money to certain bar associations. This may well be but has no connection with me. It is between the Law Ministry and the bar associations. Nevertheless, the next allegation that “some members of the lawyers’ community” have been doled out funds in order to convince them to vote for me casts a serious aspersion on the integrity of the members of the Supreme Court Bar Association. I am certain that no lawyer of the Supreme Court Bar will be convinced to vote one way or another through any such alleged tactics. I have always denounced any such malpractices.
Next, Justice (Retd) Tariq Mehmud is quoted to have said that if the PPP was supporting me there was nothing wrong with it. In the next paragraph, the scribe contradicts himself by clarifying that Justice (Retd) Tariq Mehmud said that lawyers with different political affiliations support various candidates. I believe, as a candidate anyone would seek support of all members of the Supreme Court Bar regardless of their political affiliations, caste or beliefs.
This scribe has also quoted SCBA President Qazi Anwar, who he claims has confirmed that resources in connection with the government are being used to get me elected. I am amazed that such irresponsible statements are being attributed to Mr Anwar. When I met him after I had announced my intention to contest these elections, he expressed no such apprehensions to me. On the contrary, he promised to remain neutral, as is appropriate, for any person holding his position.
The malice of this report is most apparent from the allegation made against me that I have been in any way defensive of the Musharraf coup. I am on record of having denounced the Musharraf coup, when few spoke up. I made several public statements to this effect. My position is well known and my criticism of political leadership has never been presented as a justification for a military takeover. My struggle goes as far back as when I was a student. Let me remind the scribe that I was a petitioner in the Asma Jilani case and participated in all major protests against authoritarianism. My independence has never been compromised and will remain as such. My election, too, will be won on this premise and therefore a desperate attempt is being made to malign and demoralise me. It will not work.
Rejoinder Ahmad Noorani of the The News to Asma Jehangir’s Rejoinder
Most of what Asma Jehangir has written about herself is right and everybody respects her struggle and her views. But she did not take my calls to give her version. I can prove from data from telephone companies how many times I called her, especially on June 12, 2010 and despite a promise to return my call, she never called back. Even in her rejoinder she says so. So she should not complain on that count.
About the perception that she is a Zardari camp candidate, instead of debunking my report she should talk to Babar Awan of the PPP government who is giving out money to lawyers and asking them to support Asma Jehangir. It is they who have created this impression and I am only reporting it, as any reporter should. It is her burden to correct this perception.
I have no interest in taking sides in the SCBA election but I expect that aspirants for such prestigious positions should be straight and honest. Asma Jehangir cannot deny her comments after October 12, 1999 coup, although later she may have criticized the military regime. I stand by what I referred to about her remarks to BBC criticizing the Nawaz Sharif government. I will offer a public apology if she can prove that she did not make those comments.
On her point about statements being made by Qazi Anwar, I would simply say that Qazi Sahib can correct the record himself if any newspaper misquotes him in writing. Whatever he says to people privately is not of my concern but Ms Jehangir should not act as a spokesperson for Qazi Anwar. I wish her well in the elections.
More than a decade ago when the Cold War was coming to an end, the one question which perturbed some people, especially those who had stakes in keeping the conflict going, was: What would they do with their lives?
This is a question that a number of people in Pakistan and India, too, will ask themselves once peace is restored between the two countries.
And this is most certainly a question that the army and its intelligence agencies will ask themselves, particularly those sections in Pakistan that had thrived on the mission of jihad.
The Pakistan Army’s involvement with the Afghan mujahideen in fighting the Soviet troops in Afghanistan is what laid the ground for jihad, which was then fought on other fronts as well. However, this is not a conclusion reached by the Indian author, Praveen Swami in his book titled, India, Pakistan and the Secret Jihad.
The recently published book tells the story of the jihad waged by Pakistan against India, dating back to 1947. Of course, the author does not view it as a freedom struggle but as an act of terrorism perpetrated by one state against the other.
In fact, Praveen Swami chooses not to use the word ‘militancy,’ since this term also includes a non-violent struggle, which is different from the terror triggered by a combination of state and non-state actors.
Although written from an Indian perspective, the book provides an interesting insight into the Pakistan Army’s strategy of covert warfare.
The book seems to suggest that what started after 1989 was actually a full-blown strategy put in place in 1947.
Praveen Swami’s book uncovers an important facet of the Pakistan military’s operational strategy, according to which it systematically planned to use covert warfare tactics to fight an otherwise conventionally strong India. Since the conventional military technological gap between the two adversaries did not allow Pakistan’s Army to take Kashmir forcibly, it opted to use the low-cost and high-efficiency method of deploying both military personnel and non-state actors to fight the conflict. This, in Swami’s view, was also considered a relatively safer option because New Delhi could not launch an attack on Pakistan every time it discovered a secret cell inside Kashmir engaged in terrorist activities.
According to this book, the attack by the Mohmand, Afridi, Wazir and Mehsood tribes in 1947 was a planned action choreographed by General Akbar Khan. Even Jinnah, Swami states, agreed with the general principle of the plan; in the Pakistani leader’s view, the accession of Kashmir to Pakistan could not be stopped.
In fact, the earlier leadership was not averse to the idea of capturing Hyderabad and Junagarh since they believed that Kashmir would, in any case, fall into Pakistan’s lap. It was primarily the Radcliffe Award that upset the plan, which Akbar Khan then decided to correct through planning the covert operation. The main problem with the plan was its dependence on tribal warriors, because, at the time, the Pakistan Army was in the process of reorganising after 1947. The warriors lacked discipline and instead of heading straight towards Srinagar, they engaged in loot, rape and plunder in Baramulla. This allowed the Indian forces to gain time and push the tribal warriors back. In Swami’s view, this military fiasco did not, however, stop the army from continuing with its covert operations inside the now Indian-administered Kashmir.
The author finds evidence of covert activities in 1955 and in October 1957 when an attack on a temple was carried out to incite Hindu-Muslim riots. The internal discontent was critical for planning any covert activities. Interestingly, New Delhi’s politics have never helped improve relations between the different ethnic communities residing inside Kashmir. This socio-political weakness was exploited by Pakistan’s intelligence in planning Operation Gibraltar in 1965, says Swami, for which a master cell was set up in Kashmir in early 1965. The military operation was planned and executed by Maj. General Akhtar Malik, who was the general officer commanding of the Pakistan Army’s XIIth Division. The general trained 30,000 troops to be dropped behind enemy lines in Jammu and Kashmir.
The problem, however, was that Operation Grand Slam, which was initiated on September 1, 1965, was launched at the wrong place and at the wrong time, and provoked massive retaliation by India. In fact, the plan completely backfired, with India’s XIth Corps capturing 362 sq km of Pakistani territory. More importantly, as pointed out by the author, a Muslim betrayed the plan to India. The defeat in fulfilling its military objectives, however, did not deter the Pakistan Army from continuing with its covert activities, and a secret group called Al-Fatah was established in Jammu and Kashmir in 1969.
More interestingly, the strategy of covert warfare was supported even by political leaders such as Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who publicly lauded the gang responsible for hijacking an Indian airliner on January 30, 1971, contends Swami. Popularly known as the Ganga hijacking, the incident was read as Islamabad’s explicit support to the hijackers.
The Pakistan Army’s strategy got a fillip due to the conditions created as a result of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. Co-opted by the US to operationalise a covert warfare in Afghanistan, the Pakistan Army managed to train about 80,000 insurgents and also developed a capacity to export insurgents to other places, including Kashmir and the Indian Punjab. East Punjab was viewed as a theatre of sub-conventional war where maximum damage could be done.
The strategy worked out fine until India, under the Rajiv Gandhi government, decided to respond by setting up two offensive desks in the intelligence agency, the RAW. The two desks, CIT – X and CIT – J, were responsible for carrying out terrorist operations inside Pakistan, which then forced the head of ISI, Lt. General Hameed Gul, to meet his counterpart in RAW and agree on the rules of engagement as far as the Punjab was concerned. It was agreed that Pakistan would not carry out activities in the Punjab as long as RAW refrained from creating mayhem and violence inside Pakistan. However, both these desks in RAW were dismantled by I.K. Gujral’s government.
The Indian government probably realised that encouraging covert warfare would not only destabilise bilateral relations but was also dangerous for the peace and stability of the entire region. Unfortunately, this fact was not understood by the Pakistan Army. It continued to engage in covert warfare until it reached a dead end during the Kargil crisis and the 2002 India-Pakistan stand-off, says Praveen Swami. What the Pakistani strategists failed to understand was that the stability-instability paradox in a nuclear environment restrained a covert war against India. Given the nuclear deterrence on both sides, Pakistan could no longer afford to escalate tension by fanning insurgency. Although the author does not state this in his conclusion, the fact is that it is this realisation which seems to have influenced General Musharraf’s decision to put obvious curbs on insurgency and negotiate peace with India. Islamabad has definitely come to a point where it can no longer raise an existing issue with its adversary by using covert or overt military means, which means that the army is inclined to sort out the Kashmir issue. However, the question is: What would the army do with its covert warfare capability? More importantly, how will it deal with the jihadis who have been trained for years to fight a war in other territories? Reading this book, one wonders if it will ever be possible to produce such a detailed account of the years-long covert warfare in Pakistan.
Perhaps someone close to the establishment might get access to confidential details in the same manner that Praveen Swami did when writing his book.
India is a mess. It’s that simple, but it’s also quite complicated. I’ll start with what I think are India’s four major problems–the four most preventing India from becoming a developing nation–and then move to some of the ancillary ones. First, pollution. In my opinion the filth, squalor and all around pollution indicates a marked lack of respect for India by Indians. I don’t know how cultural the filth is, but it’s really beyond anything I have ever encountered. At times the smells, trash, refuse and excrement are like a garbage dump. Right next door to the Taj Mahal was a pile of trash that smelled so bad, was so foul as to almost ruin the entire Taj experience. Delhi, Bangalore and Chennai to a lesser degree were so polluted as to make me physically ill. Sinus infections, ear infection, bowels churning was an all too common experience in India. Dung, be it goat, cow or human fecal matter was common on the streets. In major tourist areas filth was everywhere, littering the sidewalks, the roadways. Toilets in the middle of the road, men urinating and defecating anywhere, in broad daylight. Whole villages are plastic bag wastelands. Roadsides are choked by it. Air quality that can hardly be called quality. Far too much coal and far too few unleaded vehicles on the road. The measure should be how dangerous the air is for one’s health, not how good it is. People casually throw trash in the streets, on the roads. The only two cities that could be considered sanitary in my journey were Trivandrum–the capital of Kerala–and Calicut. I don’t know why this is. But I can assure you that at some point this pollution will cut into India’s productivity, if it already hasn’t. The pollution will hobble India’s growth path, if that indeed is what the country wants. (Which I personally doubt, as India is far too conservative a country, in the small ‘c’ sense.) The second issue, infrastructure, can be divided into four subcategories: roads, rails and ports and the electrical grid. The electrical grid is a joke. Load shedding is all too common, everywhere in India. Wide swaths of the country spend much of the day without the electricity they actually pay for. Without regular electricity, productivity, again, falls. The ports are a joke. Antiquated, out of date, hardly even appropriate for the mechanized world of container ports, more in line with the days of longshoremen and the like. Roads are an equal disaster. I only saw one elevated highway that would be considered decent in Thailand, much less Western Europe or America. And I covered fully two thirds of the country during my visit. There are so few dual carriage way roads as to be laughable. There are no traffic laws to speak of, and if there are, they are rarely obeyed, much less enforced. A drive that should take an hour takes three. A drive that should take three takes nine. The buses are at least thirty years old, if not older. Everyone in India, or who travels in India raves about the railway system. Rubbish. It’s awful. Now, when I was there in 2003 and then late 2004 it was decent. But in the last five years the traffic on the rails has grown so quickly that once again, it is threatening productivity. Waiting in line just to ask a question now takes thirty minutes. Routes are routinely sold out three and four days in advance now, leaving travelers stranded with little option except to take the decrepit and dangerous buses. At least 50 million people use the trains a day in India. Not surprising that waitlists of 500 or more people are common now. The rails are affordable and comprehensive but they are overcrowded and what with budget airlines popping up in India like Sadhus in an ashram the middle and lowers classes are left to deal with the over utilized rails and quality suffers. No one seems to give a shit. Seriously, I just never have the impression that the Indian government really cares. Too interested in buying weapons from Russia, Israel and the US I guess. The last major problem in India is an old problem and can be divided into two parts that have been two sides of the same coin since government was invented: bureaucracy and corruption. It take triplicates to register into a hotel. To get a SIM card for one’s phone is like wading into a jungle of red-tape and photocopies one is not likely to emerge from in a good mood, much less satisfied with customer service. Getting train tickets is a terrible ordeal, first you have to find the train number, which takes 30 minutes, then you have to fill in the form, which is far from easy, then you have to wait in line to try and make a reservation, which takes 30 minutes at least and if you made a single mistake on the form back you go to the end of the queue, or what passes for a queue in India. The government is notoriously uninterested in the problems of the commoners, too busy fleecing the rich, or trying to get rich themselves in some way shape or form. Take the trash for example, civil rubbish collection authorities are too busy taking kickbacks from the wealthy to keep their areas clean that they don’t have the time, manpower, money or interest in doing their job. Rural hospitals are perennially understaffed as doctors pocket the fees the government pays them, never show up at the rural hospitals and practice in the cities instead. I could go on for quite some time about my perception of India and its problems, but in all seriousness, I don’t think anyone in India really cares. And that, to me, is the biggest problem. India is too conservative a society to want to change in any way. Mumbai, India’s financial capital is about as filthy, polluted and poor as the worst city imaginable in Vietnam, or Indonesia–and being more polluted than Medan, in Sumatra is no easy task. The biggest rats I have ever seen were in Medan! One would expect a certain amount of backwardness in a country that hasn’t produced so many Nobel Laureates, nuclear physicists, imminent economists and entrepreneurs. But India has all these things and what have they brought back to India with them? Nothing. The rich still have their servants, the lower castes are still there to do the dirty work and so the country remains in stasis. It’s a shame. Indians and India have many wonderful things to offer the world, but I’m far from sanguine that India will amount to much in my lifetime. Now, have at it, call me a cultural imperialist, a spoiled child of the West and all that. But remember, I’ve been there. I’ve done it. And I’ve seen 50 other countries on this planet and none, not even Ethiopia, have as long and gargantuan a laundry list of problems as India does. And the bottom line is, I don’t think India really cares. Too complacent and too conservative. http://open.salon.com/blog/sean_paul_kelley/2009/03/26/reflections_on_india