??????? ????| PAKISTAN LEDGER | ???????? ????? | Aug 21, 08 | Moin Ansari | ???? ??????? | | RUPEE NEWS | Moin Ansari | Sepetember 1st, 2008 | ???? ??????? | ????? ????? | The elected military dictator is gone. Long Live the new “un-elected” Dictators. There was celebration in the streets! This was supposed to be the dawn of democracy in Pakistan. Like before the political games are being played to disqualify and incarcerate the opponents.
The Sharif government is in crisis in the Punjab and may not survive the vote of no-confidence. After the election of Mr. Zardari, he will retain 58-2(b), and have governments in all the provinces as well as FATA and Northern Areas. With a PPPP president, a PPPP Prime Minister, a PPPP Speaker of the house this makes the leader of the PPPP a very powerful man. He may not be literate, or have a degree, but surely he has played his cards right. He has eliminated Benazir Bhutto, used Prevez Musharraf to eradicate the criminal cases against him, used Aitizaz Ahsan to put pressure on the military, used the Sharif’s to remove Pervez Musharraf, and then gotten rid of the Sharifs–all the time remaining in secret contact with Mr. Zalmay Khalilzad of the USA. Machivillian brilliance or just a pawn in the hands of the USA?
Mr. Zarmay Khalilzad is expected to be the next president of Afghanistan. His good relationship with Mr. Zardari will surely help to smooth relations between two of America’s allies. This is in line with US interests.
The biggest task for the new government will be to manage the expectations of the populace. The cheering crowds expect the prices of food items to return to 1999 levels, the elimination of food and fuel shortage, an end to US bombing of FATA and an end to terror. Most of this will not happen. As the pressure builds, the coalition will come under tremendous pressure.
The PPPP and PMLN participate in elections, but are not known for their democratic norms and parliamentarian ways. In the first term of Benazir Bhutto she hardly passed any major legislation and did almost nothing to ameliorate the lot of the women and the poor. The Hadood ordinance survived here two stints in power and has not been repealed in the past 100 days.
The PMLN in their last term did not use the parliament or even the cabinet to discuss issues. Most of the problems were resolve din “Abbajees kitchen cabinet” between the father and his two sons and a few close confidantes. The treasury was looted and the foreign exchange earnings of normal hard working people seized. At the tail end of his government Mr. Nawaz Sharif had left only $200 million.
The PPP-PLMN alliance government of 2008: The Foreign exchange vaults have fallen from $17 Billion to $8 Billion. Inflation, partly due to the rising oil prices but also due to bad or lack of governance is spiraling out of control. There are food, fuel and electricity shortages.
The worst criticism is that both the leaders, Mr. Sharif and Mr. Zardari are always out in London and Dubai.
The co-chairman Mr. Bilawal Bhtto arrived in Pakistan and had to admit to a reporter “I do not speak Urdu”.
The dictator is gone. Long Live the new Dictators.
August 26, 2008
Zalmay Khalilzad angers US over contact with Asif Ali ZardariJames Bone, New York
A top American diplomat tipped as a possible president of his native Afghanistan has fallen foul of his masters in Washington for fraternising with Benazir Bhutto’s widower, a contender to become president of neighbouring Pakistan.
Zalmay Khalilzad, the US ambassador at the United Nations, has angered senior Bush Administration officials by maintaining what they call “unauthorised contacts” with Asif Ali Zardari, the leader of the Pakistan People’s Party.
The Afghan-born diplomat has reportedly spoken with Mr Zardari several times a week for the past month and planned to meet him privately on Tuesday during a holiday in Dubai.
The New York Times today published a leaked e-mail that Richard Boucher, the Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia, sent Mr Khalilzad after learning of the contacts from Mr Zardari himself.
Bhutto widower set to replace Musharraf
Cracks appear in Pakistan’s ruling coalition
Envoys fail to break losing streak
“Can I ask what sort of ‘advice and help’ you are providing?” Mr Boucher asked Mr Khalilzad in the e-mail. “What sort of channel is this? Governmental, private, personnel?”
Mr Khalilzad, 57, an ethnic Pashtun, was born in the Afghan city of Mazar-e Sharif as the son of a civil servant under the Afghan monarchy. He first came to the United States as a high-school exchange student and eventually earned a PhD in political science at the University of Chicago.
He took up his post as the US representative at the UN after serving as US ambassador first in Afghanistan and then in Iraq, where he was known for reaching out to anti-American factions.
A charming and courteous man, he is well liked at the UN for his back-slapping bonhomie despite the widespread disdain among other delegations for his government’s hawkish policies.
He was recently caught on in-house UN television hugging Libya’s UN ambassador and explained that he was congratulating the Libyan envoy on the marriage of his son.
But he got into trouble with his bosses for sitting next to the Iranian foreign minister at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January without prior clearance, even though the two countries have no diplomatic ties.
Mr Khalilzad became a friend of Mr Zardari several years ago after meeting him with his wife, Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated in Pakistan in December.
Richard Grenell, a spokesman for the US mission to the UN, said that he had planned to meet him in his “personal capacity” while on holiday in Dubai but had postponed the meeting after consultations with senior State Department officials.
The friendship between the two men – who could end up as presidents of neighbouring states – has caused a diplomatic headache for the Bush Administration, which is trying to stay out of Pakistan’s internal politics.
“We have maintained a public line that we are not involved in the politics or the details. We are merely keeping in touch with the parties,” Mr Boucher wrote to Mr Khalilzad in his August 18 e-mail. “Can I say that honestly if you’re providing ‘advice and help’? Please advise and help me so that I understand what’s going on here.”
Mr Khalilzad, who did not attend a UN Security Council session on Burundi today because he is on holiday, is the focus of continued speculation in Afghanistan that he may return to his native land to run in the presidential election scheduled for next year.
The US ambassador plans to step down in the coming months as the Bush Administration comes to an end, but he has repeatedly said that he will not seek to become Afghan president.
“I am honored to have the opportunity to represent the United States in the United Nations,” he told reporters recently. “This is my job and when I leave this job I will work in the private sector in the United States of America.”
U.S./U.N. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad to Leave Office
Wednesday, August 27, 2008 11:47 AM
By: Stewart Stogel Article Font Size
UNITED NATIONS – The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Zalmay Khalilzad, is expected to leave office before the November elections, diplomatic sources report.
While Khalilzad’s departure had been expected, his resignation date is likely to be moved up and could come as early as October, sources said.
The move apparently comes as a result of a recent falling out between the ambassador and senior State Department officials, including Deputy Secretary of State John D. Negroponte, who served as the Bush administration’s first U.S. ambassador to the U.N.
Things came to a head on Tuesday when The New York Times reported that Khalilzad had been unofficially advising Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of Benazir Bhutto and leading candidate to succeed Pervez Musharraf as president of Pakistan.
Khalilzad, an Afghan native, is rumored to be flirting with the possibility of returning home to challenge President Hamid Karzai when his term expires next year. Should Khalilzad return home, a good working relationship with Islamabad would be critical.
The Pakistani incident is just the latest misstep involving the U.S. ambassador. Khalilzad and his deputy, Alejandro Wolff, have been roundly criticized by U.N. diplomats for the disjointed way the delegation has handled the Russian invasion of Georgia, sources report. The invasion – almost three weeks old – has paralyzed the Security Council.
Two competing draft resolutions, one by France, the other by Russia, stand little chance of passage. The U.S. delegation has been pushed to the sidelines, doing little more than issuing empty, inflammatory warnings to Moscow.
Russia’s U.N. ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, told Newsmax he has been confused by the U.S. delegation, at one point asking, “do you speak English?” Churkin’s concerns have been echoed by other Council diplomats.
While the White House struggles over the Russian invasion and the U.N.’s inaction, the U.S. representative still decided to take a previously scheduled vacation in Dubai. Despite the problems, State Department spokesman Robert Wood offered a luke warm endorsement of the U.S. ambassador: “The Secretary [of State Condoleezza Rice] still has full confidence in the ambassador.” But when asked if Khalilzad should offer his resignation, Wood brushed aside the question, stating such matters were outside his responsibilities.
Khalilzad’s fall from grace is contrasted by an entry on Wikipedia, where the U.S. ambassador was reported to aspire to be the “first Islamic secretary of state.”
Khalilzad, a naturalized U.S. citizen, previously served as American ambassador to Kabul, and later to Iraq, before arriving at the U.N. in March 2007. Khalilzad succeeded John Bolton, whose neo-con politics infuriated Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman and Democratic vice-presidential candidate Joe Biden, D-Del., who successfully blocked his Senate approval.
Ben Chang, the U.S./U.N. mission’s spokesman, had no comment on developments other than to note that Khalilzad had publicly stated he intended to leave his U.N. post before a new U.S. administration takes office in January 2009.
- The history of Pakistan and its alliance with the USA and a Marshall plan for Pakistan.
- BOOK REVIEW: The India Doctrine by Munshi. Some basic facts about India. SECULAR INDIA? Christian genocide in Indian Orissa-pictures
- The genesis of the Kashmir problem and the wishes of the Kashmiri people.
- The negative role of the India in Afghanistan. India intelligence: “‘the aim of RAW is to keep internal disturbances flaring up and the ISI preoccupied so that Pakistan can lend no worthwhile resistance to Indian designs in the region.”
- India a secret player in Afghanistan: Bases—Lashkargarh, Qushila Jadid,Khahak,Hassan Killies
- The ineptness of the Karzai government. Karzai the biggest drug baron in Afghanistan
- It all came tumbling down…the house of cards that George built—in Kabul
- The last mayor of Kabul’s failures spell the end of Afghanistan. How long can the inept Karzai blame others for his corrupt Narco Warlordism?
- British “Charge of the Light Brigade” in Afghanistan AGAIN: Unfortunately the lessons of the unmitigated disaster of “Auckland’s Folly”, (First Anglo-Afghan War 1838–42) have not been taught to the Oxbridge students.
President Pervez Musharraf announced his resignation on TV: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-pakistan19-2008aug19,0,5947849.story
The exit of President Pervez Musharraf from the political stage in Pakistan opens up an era of both possibilities and risks for the country.
The alliance that came to power after the elections in February will now really have to get to grips with its biggest challenges – a possible economic meltdown and the growing militant threat in the north-western tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.
If they fail, it may spell the end of the hopes of Pakistan ever becoming a successful democracy.
The key for failure or success lies with the two largest parties in the alliance, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
In the six months since the elections, they have spent much of their energy arguing about what to do with President Musharraf.
In fact, the alliance came close to a split in May when they could not agree then on whether to impeach Mr Musharraf and whether to try to reinstate the judges he had sacked in November 2007.
So with Mr Musharraf out of the way, will things get better?
Can they put their need to collaborate above the narrow interests of each party?
The PPP emerged as the largest party in February elections but failed to win a simple majority in the parliament.
Lawyers celebrate outside the presidential palace in Islamabad
Many analysts believe it wants to expand its influence in the PML-N’s power base in the province of Punjab, where more than half of the country’s voters live.
A couple of recent PPP moves in this direction have caused strains in the alliance.
But the reinstatement of the judges could be a bigger problem.
The issue has been central to PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif’s recent politics, and is generally believed to have added to his increased popularity in the post-election period.
But the PPP is said to be inclined to keep some of the judges, including deposed Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, out of a restoration deal, a condition which Mr Sharif has so far resisted.
Many say PPP leader Asif Zardari fears that Justice Chaudhry may outlaw a legal arrangement under which corruption cases against him were withdrawn, paving the way for his return to the country last year.
The more optimistic view is that Mr Sharif and Mr Zardari have compelling reasons to bury their differences.
Ordinary Pakistanis are desperate for economic improvement
The political future of both leaders lies in their ability to deliver in political as well as economic terms, a task which no single party can perform on its own, given the fractured state of the country.
In the coming days, the two men will come under increasing pressure to tackle severe food and fuel inflation, falling reserves, a yawning trade gap and an overall slowdown in economic growth.
In addition, they will continue to face questions over their proposed legal reforms, and the fate of hundreds of ‘missing’ persons – most of them political activists allegedly being held incommunicado by the intelligence agencies.
And there’s another big reason why the two men cannot afford to fail.
Both have been victims of military coups in the past, and it is only through joint action that they can hope to survive another attempt by Pakistan’s powerful military to keep a civilian government under its influence.
It is widely thought here that success on both counts will require the political as well as economic backing of Western powers, notably the US.
This will also bring Western pressure on the country’s army to deal with the militants more effectively, analysts say.
And that leads on to another long-standing problem that democratic governments face in Pakistan.
The military question
How can this coalition make sure that the military conducts its operations in the way the civilian government wants, rather than in the way the military wants?
Will the military do the bidding of Pakistan’s civilian government?
The military’s present campaign in the Bajaur tribal region is its first credible assault on a suspected al-Qaeda stronghold in several years, but questions remain over how far it will go.
A similar operation in South Waziristan in the winter of 2007 was called off just when most analysts expected a final triumph over the militant groups based there.
Similarly, the government will have to redefine Pakistan’s relations with India in the light of what it sees to be the country’s national security interests, rather than letting the military dictate the agenda.
In the past, both the PPP and the PML-N have worked for peace with India.
In late 1980s, the PPP government’s alleged attempt to help India overcome the Sikh insurgency in the Indian Punjab brought accusations of a sell-out against then prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, from a group of ex-army generals.
The last attempt in 1998 by Nawaz Sharif, then prime minister, to normalise relations with India was derailed when the Pakistani army infiltrated the Kargil region in Kashmir.
Mr Sharif says that Mr Musharraf, then army chief, ordered the operation without informing his government.
So the challenges facing the new government are great indeed, and no one is underestimating the risks of failure.
Questions linger for post-Musharraf Pakistan
Updated Mon. Aug. 18 2008 2:49 PM ET Bill Doskoch, CTV.ca News
The resignation of Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf has left his country slightly more democratic but its politics just as chaotic, say Pakistan watchers.
“It’s a thunderclap both for Pakistan and its foreign supporters,” Eric Margolis told CTV Newsnet on Monday.
Musharraf, the former army chief who took power in a 1999 coup, stepped down in response to the near-certain threat of impeachment by the country’s parliament.
The two main parties in Pakistan’s parliament are the Pakistan Peoples’ Party (PPP), led by the Bhutto family, and the Pakistan Muslim League-N, led by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. The PPP dominated in the February elections.
However, Margolis said there are very real questions that affect the nuclear-armed South Asian nation’s stability:
Can the coalition between the two parties hold?
Who will become president?
What powers will the new president hold?
Sharif vs. the Bhuttos
A major question will be how well the civilian government can continue to work together, Margolis said.
Sharif is a former prime minister of Pakistan deposed by Musharraf. He and the Bhuttos — Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto, husband and son respectively of assassinated former prime minister Benazir Bhutto — are political rivals.
“The one thing the two had in common was their opposition to Musharraf,” Louis Delvoie — a senior fellow at Queens University’s Centre for International Relations and a one-time Canadian high commissioner to Pakistan — told CTV.ca.
There is some talk that Zardari might wish to seek the presidency, but only if it remains as a powerful post and not downgraded into a figurehead one, Margolis said.
Sharif’s party has said it could live with Zardari as president, but only if the position is made ceremonial.
Margolis said Zardari, a minister under Benazir Bhutto, has some grave allegations of corruption hanging over him. “A lot of Pakistanis feel he is not fit to be president or prime minister of Pakistan until these allegations are finally cleared up,” he said, adding Sharif has also been dogged by corruption allegations.
Tariq Amin-Khan, a professor at Toronto’s Ryerson University, told CTV.ca that another key issue is the restoration of the nine supreme court judges sacked by Musharraf as he attempted to cling to power last fall.
“I think that is a big stumbling block,” he said, noting that for whatever reason, the PPP hasn’t pushed the restoration forward even though it said that it would.
Musharraf’s departure will put an end to what Amin-Khan called “the blame game” — both Musharraf and the parties pointing fingers at each other for political paralysis in the country — that has hurt Pakistan.
“Now that he’s gone, they will be accountable to what’s happening,” he said.
There are also questions about how developments in Pakistan will affect neighbouring Afghanistan, where Canada has 2,500 troops as part of a NATO coalition trying to stabilize the elected government of President Hamid Karzai.
“There’s going to be a lot of change now in Pakistan’s policies, both internally and towards Afghanistan,” Margolis said, noting the two main coalition parties favour reducing Pakistan’s role in the so-called war on terror.
Pakistan is a key front and has received billions in military aid from the United States since September 2001. Its restive tribal regions are home to domestic Islamist militants and provide sanctuary to Taliban fighters from Afghanistan — and to al Qaeda, the global Islamist terror group.
Margolis said Musharraf, who publicly opposed foreign troops operating on his country’s soil, tacitly gave the U.S. the green light to carry out missile strikes on al Qaeda targets inside Pakistan — along with some ground raids.
The new government would oppose such moves, but the U.S. has made it clear it won’t seek permission if it has a chance to take out a high-value al Qaeda target, he said.
Domestically, Margolis said the war on terror is really “a fight against Pashtun tribesmen along the North West Frontier of Pakistan who are supportive of their Pashtun first cousins in Afghanistan.”
The new civilian government has moved towards scaling back its military operations in the tribal areas and attempted to reach political settlements with militants. However, that effort is fraying in some areas such as the Swat Valley, where clashes between militants and government forces have left more than 100 dead in recent weeks.
Margolis said Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, Pakistan’s top military leader, is in step with the civilian leadership.
Delvoie said that the new government is basically following Musharraf’s lead on dealing with the tribal areas conflict.
Afghanistan has complained that easing up on the battle against militants in Pakistan simply frees up more fighters to cross the porous border into its territory.
While Canada and Afghanistan might complain about the border, sealing it would be impossible, Delvoie said.
Amin-Khan said that a military solution in the tribal areas isn’t possible.
To win support of the populace there, the government needs to do a better job of providing basic governance and to alleviate the high levels of poverty, he said.
While it doesn’t affect Canadian interests as directly, relations between India and Pakistan — particularly with respects to Kashmir — are key foreign policy issues in Pakistan. Several wars have been fought with India over Kashmir since partition in 1947.
“It think with all of its other troubles (Islamist militants in the tribal areas, secessionists in Baluchistan), the last thing the government would want to do is stir the pot in Kashmir,” Delvoie said.
However, Kashmir has been known to bubble up on its own, he said.
From New Delhi, CTV’s South Asia Bureau Chief Paul Workman told Newsnet that India’s news media has been absolutely obsessed by the Musharraf story and what it might mean to their country.
Margolis said even if things seriously deteriorate in Pakistan in the coming months, its military has very secure control over the country’s nuclear arsenal.
“There is absolutely no risk of the bomb falling into radicals’ hands — unless the army were to split apart into different factions. But for the time being, that’s not happening,” he said.