[DAWN] Six months into his tenure, Afghanistan's President Ashraf Ghani ...former chancellor of Kabul University, now president of Afghanistan. Before returning to Afghanistan in 2002 he was a scholar of political science and anthropology. He worked at the World Bank working on international development assistance. As Finance Minister of Afghanistan between July 2002 and December 2004, he led Afghanistan's attempted economic recovery until the Karzais stole all the money. .. 's recent visit to the US can accurately be billed as a successful charm offensive -- not least in that he has won pledges of continued American military assistance. He fruitfully articulated his administration's case for continued US military presence in Afghanistan; President B.O. agreed to slow down his troop withdrawal plans and keep 9,800 soldiers in the country through the end of the current year.
[DAWN] IT goes without saying that any decision to participate in the on-going, multi-state military action in Yemen ...an area of the Arabian Peninsula sometimes mistaken for a country. It is populated by more antagonistic tribes and factions than you can keep track of. Except for a tiny handfull of Jews everthing there is very Islamic... would be a senseless move. It would be senseless to send 'trainers' and pilots, it would be senseless to send naval support, and it would be doubly senseless to commit ground troops to what is surely a messy, and thoroughly complex conflict space. At the time of writing, the official stance -- thankfully -- has been a somewhat firm 'no' in parliament, and lots of rhetoric laying out Pakistain's unwavering solidarity and lifelong commitment to the territorial integrity of Soddy Arabia ...a kingdom taking up the bulk of the Arabian peninsula. Its primary economic activity involves exporting oil and soaking Islamic rubes on the annual hajj pilgrimage. The country supports a large number of princes in whatcha might call princely splendor. When the oil runs out the rest of the world is going to kick sand in the Soddy national face... The reasons for why the Pak state needs to avoid getting involved beyond simple sloganeering are patently clear, but can and should be restated for the sake of clarity. First and foremost, the armed forces are already engaged on several fronts in the fight against an insurgency in the northwest, intelligence gathering and security duties in Punjab, and with an ancillary 'operation against criminality and terror' in Bloody Karachi ...formerly the capital of Pakistain, now merely its most important port and financial center. It is among the largest cities in the world, with a population of 18 million, most of whom hate each other and many of whom are armed and dangerous... . All these official assignments remain further burdened by their off-the-record duties of handling foreign policy vis-à-vis India and Afghanistan, along with routinely boosting the nation's morale through public relations exercises. Even for what one is told is a supremely competent and well-functioning institution (which by Pak standards leaves much to be imagined), this must be a trying list of tasks.
At a societal level, the murky nature of the Yemen conflict -- which remains somewhat congruent with a regional tussle between Iran and Saudi Arabia -- may have serious implications in a country like Pakistain that is already violently fractured along sectarian lines. Moves to support a chauvinistic Sunni armed coalition in Yemen would simply provide fodder to the host of violent Sunni organizations already busy flexing their muscles against imagined Shia conspiracies in the country.
[DAWN] It has long been an unhappy feature of Pak foreign and national security policy that many of the more sensational revelations are left to foreigners to make. So it has been with this sudden and frenzied will-we/won't-we speculation that Pakistain will send troops and other military resources to the Middle East -- either to intervene inside Yemen ...an area of the Arabian Peninsula sometimes mistaken for a country. It is populated by more antagonistic tribes and factions than you can keep track of. Except for a tiny handfull of Jews everthing there is very Islamic... on the side of the Saudi-led coalition or help defend the Saudi border from a possible invasion by the Houthi ...a Zaidi Shia insurgent group operating in Yemen. They have also been referred to as the Believing Youth. Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi is said to be the spiritual leader of the group and most of the military leaders are his relatives. The Yemeni government has accused the Houthis of having ties to the Iranian government, which wouldn't suprise most of us. The group has managed to gain control over all of Saada Governorate and parts of Amran, Al Jawf and Hajjah Governorates. Its slogan is God is Great, Death to America™, Death to Israel, a curse on the Jews ... rebels in Yemen.
Bizarrely, it has been the Saudi news media -- hardly known for their independence, especially in matters of regional policy -- that has led with loud, insistent claims that Pakistain has agreed to make a military contribution to the Saudi-assembled coalition that has been aerially pounding the Houthis since last week and which may soon become a fully fledged land invasion.
Here in Pakistain, the government has seemingly tried to downplay the issue, without giving any clear indication of what is being discussed and why. Why the gap between the thinly veiled official Saudi claims and the watered-down government statements here?
Part of the reason could well be that the Saudi government, keen to have as broad a coalition as it can assemble in Yemen, is using public statements and media leaks to put pressure on Pakistain.
In times of crisis -- and the Saudi monarchy appears to be either grimly determined or in a state of panic already -- it is to be expected that every bit of leverage, public and private, will be used to achieve the ends that the Saudis are looking for in Yemen.
It could well be that private and very cautious Pak resistance to the idea of getting involved in Yemen, or even on Saudi soil, is being very publicly countered by the Saudi media campaign.
However -- and this can never be discounted given the Pak leadership's penchant for secrecy -- it could also be that the Saudi cajoling is aimed at making Pakistain deliver on the far more extensive private reassurances it has already given to Riyadh in contrast to what the Pak leadership has publicly claimed.
Posted by: Fred ||
Top|| File under: Govt of Pakistan
the Saudis are very manipulative
they get everyone to fight their battles for them don't they.
[DAWN] "You are free, you are free to go to your temples, you are free to go to your mosques or any other place of worship in this State of Pakistain. You may belong to any religion or caste or creed -- that has nothing to do with the business of the State."
If the Sindh government doesn't backtrack from the announcement it made last week, students in the province will be able to read this speech, delivered by Mohammad Ali Jinnah on Aug 11, 1947, in school textbooks starting next year.
This is no doubt a welcome move at a time when Pakistain's minorities are facing horrifying levels of persecution and discrimination, and when the state's ideology as portrayed in popular discourse is veering further away from the principles of inclusion and pluralism.
Posted by: Fred ||
Top|| File under: Govt of Pakistan
Perfect. Teach the children to be proud of and support a secular state from day 1. Religious freedom and tolerance can only happen under a secular authority that does not favour one sect over another.
but they also need to ban sharia - because if you let law-giving belong to the religious then you're f*d
[DAWN] Baba Mithal Abro's Thursdays for the past 40 years were spent outside Madni Masjid in Bloody Karachi ...formerly the capital of Pakistain, now merely its most important port and financial center. It is among the largest cities in the world, with a population of 18 million, most of whom hate each other and many of whom are armed and dangerous... 's F.B. Area. Many would look at the 80-year-old man, at his wrinkled face and flowing white beard, and assume he possessed some kind of saintliness. The old man must have giggled to himself countless times: he was never there to pray, he was always there to steal a cycle of violence, and he did it without arousing any suspicion. Once he had obtained his target, he would drive the stolen motorbike straight to Hub or a town nearby Karachi.
Mithal's arrests always confounded officers and judges. Most would chuck his case out in disbelief, blaming sloppy investigations and crooked cops for having booked an innocent old man. His fate was only sealed after he stole a court clerk's motorbike from inside court premises, and was caught on camera doing so. A shocked judge had no other option but to convict him.
Described by police officials as a "billion-rupee" black market, the economy of vehicular theft in Karachi brings together large purchasers, criminal gangs, the black spare parts market and errant government officials. Given the size of the city and the volume of vehicular traffic, there is neither a shortage of demand nor of supply.
Posted by: Fred ||
Top|| File under: Govt of Pakistan
H/t Donald Sensing
American warplanes have begun bombing the Islamic State-held Iraqi city of Tikrit in order to bail out the embattled, stalled ground campaign launched by Baghdad and Tehran two weeks ago. This operation, billed as "revenge" for the Islamic State (IS) massacre of 1,700 Shiite soldiers at Camp Speicher last June, was launched without any consultation with Washington and was meant to be over by now, three weeks after much triumphalism by the Iraqi government about how swiftly the terrorist redoubt in Saddam Hussein's hometown was going to be retaken.
...So now, the same Iraqi government which earlier dismissed the need for U.S. airpower had to put in an eleventh-hour request for it, lest an easy victory descend into embarrassing folly. But the past few months ought to have shown that even indirectly relying on Iranian agents to conduct a credible ground war against Sunni extremists was always a lousy idea for three reasons: those agents hate the United States and have threatened to attack its interest in Iraq; they're guilty of IS-style atrocities themselves; and they're lousy at fighting an entrenched jihadist insurgency.
A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.
Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing
the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.
Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence
over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has
dominated Mexico for six years.