Why violent Hiaz ut tehrir is able to publish and distribute these leaflets [on very good quality glazed paper] despite being banned?

Why its websites are not banned? If PTCL can ban Baloch websites why not Jihadi websites? Is call to overthrow constitutional government and establish a pan islamist caliphate allowed in Pakistan’s war on Terror?

Image-02

This was distributed in homes of southern punjab few days back. According to noted journalist Seymour Hersh this organization has infiltrated the Army as well. A spokesman for the Army has denied it but we know that fundamentalist sections exist in Army and have tried to overthrow government and kill Musharraf as well.

The website which calls for establishment of Caliphate is freely accessible in Pakistan

http://www.hizb-pakistan.com/home/

Many secular, so called anti islam websites and many websites of Baloch nationalists cant be accessed in Pakistan due to censorship by govt.  What kind of war on terror is this?

Image-01

 

Advertisements

 

October 19, 2009

The authorities in Gilgit-Baltistan were not quite done celebrating the proclamation of the Empowerment and Self-governance Ordinance of 20091, when a bomb rocked Gilgit town on September 27 sparking off the latest bout of Shia-Sunni riots.2 Gun battles in the aftermath of the blast have led to the death of more than twelve people, including Raja Ali Ahmed Jan, a prominent leader of the Pakistan Muslim League.3 The incidents, culminating in a short-lived peace in this Pakistani occupied Shia region of Jammu & Kashmir, have led to the detention of several civilians as well two policemen. Some of the arrested are allegedly linked to those who assassinated Deputy Speaker Asad Zaidi and his companions in Gilgit in April 2009.4 Zaidi was the third-most high profile Shia politician, after the revered clerics Agha Ziauddin5 and Allama Hassan Turabi, to become the target of sectarian violence – a menace that has troubled Gilgit-Baltistan socially and economically, since the 1970s. Agha Ziauddin’s death in January 2005 caused widespread clashes leading to a six-month long curfew and emergency, and loss of more than two hundred lives. Allama Turabi, shot dead in Karachi on July 14, 2006, hailed from Baltistan and was the President of Tehrik Jafaria of Pakistan (TJP). His death has been termed as detrimental to Shia rights’ movement in Pakistan.6

In the sequence of events, as one looks back, eighteen people including the Director of the Agriculture Department of Gilgit7 died in 2008 as a result of Shia-Sunni clashes. However, by far, 2009 has seen more sectarian killings than the previous two years put together. It started in the middle of February when two Shias were killed in an attack on a van in Gilgit.8 Then, on June 17, ISI personnel arrested a Shia political activist, Sadiq Ali, and tortured him to death.9 Two months later, when the leader of the banned anti-Shia political party Sipah-e-Sahaba of Pakistan (SSP), Allama Ali Sher Hyderi was killed in Sindh, riots broke out in Gilgit leading to the closure of markets and heavy gun battle between Shias and Sunnis.10 In September, two Sunni Pashtuns and three native Shias were killed in Gilgit while a bus with Shia passengers coming from Baltistan was torched, causing several casualties.11

For centuries, people of Gilgit-Baltistan, professing various religions, co-existed in amicable conditions. It was only after Pakistan’s annexation of these regions in the seventies that anarchy began. First, authorities abrogated the State Subject Rule, the law that until then protected the local demographic composition, and encouraged Pakistani Sunnis to settle in Gilgit town. This illegal government-sponsored settlement scheme damaged the social fabric and provoked religious feuds that continue to simmer. Pakistan created a political vacuum and a law and order crisis, once princely states and time-tested administrative structures of Gilgit-Baltistan were abolished. While Islamabad refused to delegate powers to local Shias by establishing viable a modern political structure, the despotic military rulers maintained ad-hoc policies to govern the region with an iron fist. It was during the same time that Pakistan embarked on its well-rehearsed divide and rule policy to paralyze local society. It exploited ethnic and religious fault-lines to weaken the natives in their demands for genuine political and socio-economic rights. Government-led Shia-Sunni and Shia-Nurbaxshi riots caused acute socio-political polarization in Skardo during the early 1980s. Events like these forced members of the local intelligentsia like Wazir Mehdi, the only Law graduate of Gilgit-Baltistan from Aligarh University, to admit that unification with Ladakh and Kashmir brought culture and civilization to the region while opting for Pakistan has resulted in the arrival of drugs, Kalashnikovs and sectarianism. On occasion, agencies employ religious leaders to fan hatred. In one such incident, intelligence agencies released a Punjabi cleric, Ghulam Reza Naqvi, from prison “to be sent to Gilgit to keep the pot of sectarian violence boiling.” His release was granted after negotiations with SSP, which also got their leader Maulana Mohammad Ludhianivi freed from jail.12 A watershed in the history of Gilgit-Baltistan causing permanent trust deficit was reached in May 1988 when tribal Lashkars, after receiving a nod of approval from General Zia, massacred thousands of Shias in Gilgit and abducted local women. The intention was to undertake demographic change by force in this strategically located region sandwiched between China, the former Soviet Union and India.

The recent killings of Shias in Gilgit-Baltistan may also hinder the election process for the Gilgit-Baltistan Legislative Assembly (GBLA) that will take place in November of 2009. With the newly proclaimed self-governance ordinance, GBLA is expected to legislate on 66 articles pertaining to socio-economic and administrative issues. While local political institutions are evolving towards achieving genuine autonomy, the Sunni minority fears that the Shias would gain a majority in the assembly, which the former sees as a direct attack on its long term political and socio-economic interests in the region. The authorities intend to exploit similar insecurities to consolidate control over Gilgit city, which is not only the largest settlement in the region but also the capital of Gilgit-Baltistan. As the regional ballot is nearing, authorities may resort to electoral engineering to create a hung assembly, thereby stripping GBLA of the mandate to pass laws. The past experience of reorganization of constituencies along Shia-Sunni lines has also enabled Sunni candidates to gain a majority in various constituencies.

Gilgit city is divided into two constituencies – Gilgit-1 and Gilgit-2. Until a decade ago, voters from both constituencies sent Shia members to the local Council. The demographic change has turned the tide in favor of the Sunnis; in 2004, voters of Gilgit city returned Sunni candidates as winners. Shias in Gilgit-1 were further marginalized when the major Shia settlement of Nomal was transferred to Gilgit-4, thereby tilting the population balance. Since then, contests between Shia and Sunni candidates have remained neck to neck.13 The tipping point is the vote bank in the Amphari neighborhood with a mixed Shia-Sunni population where sectarian polarization will help the Sunni candidate gain a lead. Likewise, in Gilgit-2, the settlement of Pathans and Punjabis has changed the demography and this one-time Peoples Party (PPP) stronghold supported Hafiz Rehman of PML in the 2004 elections, which he won by a small margin of 500 votes.14 The voters’ list released recently shows more than a 80 per cent increase in voters’ numbers in Gilgit-1 (from 28,146 to 47,835) and Gilgit-2 (from 34,517 to 62,048) in just five years.15 Of these, a majority are Pakistani settlers who will impact election results in favor of Sunni candidates. The government is planning to increase the number of GBLA seats after the November elections and the above-mentioned additional voters in Gilgit city will lead to an out of proportion representation for Sunnis in GBLA. Such interference from Pakistan will only lead to further sectarian clashes and deaths.

Although sniper shooting has remained the primary method of sectarian killings, owing to Taliban influences bomb blasts are also becoming common. In May 2009, a bomb blast occurred in Baltistan, which led to the arrest of two Sunnis and recovery of explosive-making material and hand grenades.16 Later in July, a bomb was hurled at Bagrot Hostel, Gilgit, killing two and injuring several other Shia students.17 In April 2009, an Al Qaeda member, Abdullah Rehman, threatened to bomb a four-star hotel in Baltistan.18 Many Taliban who escaped from Swat and adjoining areas found shelter among Sunni extremists in Gilgit.19 Analysts fear that locals may benefit from the Taliban expertise in the field of bomb and suicide jacket making. Local youth is also susceptible to converting to the extremist Islamic ideology and joining the suicide bomber club as a result of Taliban influences. The fact that more than 300 suspected terrorists were expelled from Gilgit in October 2008 highlights fears that the Taliban presence in Gilgit-Baltistan is widespread.20 Successful Talibanization of Gilgit-Baltistan means more Shia deaths and continued arrival of Taliban in large hordes, which will hasten demographic change and hurt local cultural identity and ethnic solidarity. The ongoing military operation in Waziristan against Taliban and Al Qaeda may also create greater problems for Gilgit-Baltistan as Shia soldiers of the Northern Light Infantry Regiment will be in direct confrontation with those who perpetuated the Shia genocide in Gilgit in 1988

Notes:

  1. 1. http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/KI16Df01.html
  2. 2. http://www.thenews.com.pk/updates.asp?id=87717
  3. 3. http://pamirtimes.net/2009/09/28/pml-leader-raja-ali-ahmad-jan-shot-dead-in-konodas-gilgit/
  4. 4. http://pamirtimes.net/2009/04/21/asad-zaidi-deputy-speaker-nala-shot-dead-in-gilgit/
  5. 5. http://pakistantimes.net/2005/01/14/top1.htm
  6. 6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allama_Hassan_Turabi#Early_life
  7. 7. http://hunzatimes.wordpress.com/2008/12/27/five-of-a-family-killed-in-gilgit-attack-updated-news-news/
  8. 8. http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=40756234671
  9. 9. http://www.ahrchk.net/ua/mainfile.php/2009/3193/
  10. 10. http://pamirtimes.net/2009/08/17/violent-protests-in-gilgit-over-murder-of-ali-sher-hyderi/
  11. 11. http://www.blogcatalog.com/blog/pamir-times/854fb8cae3214331a32604745d595c27
  12. 12. http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2006%5C05%5C21%5Cstory_21-5-2006_pg3_1
  13. 13. http://www.ciaonet.org/wps/icg449/icg449.pdf (pp:16)
  14. 14. http://pakistantimes.net/2004/10/14/top2.htm
  15. 15. http://www.app.com.pk/en_/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=87988&Itemid=2
  16. 16. http://dardistannews.wordpress.com/2009/05/
  17. 17. http://pamirtimes.net/2009/05/23/bomb-blast-at-hostel-in-gilgit-city/
  18. 18. http://weeklybaang.blogspot.com/2009/04/weekly-baang-karachi-voloum-02-issue-08_3275.html
  19. 19. http://dardistannews.wordpress.com/2009/06/02/taliban-hiding-in-gilgit-baltistan-operations-in-gb-asian-human-rights-commission-press-release/
  20. 20. http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/nwfp/300-suspected-people-ex

Xeno

Thief Shumila Rana

Thief Shumila Rana

“It’s a victory of justice” these were the magical words that PML-N’s MP  Miss Shumaila Rana uttered outside the LHC . Miss Rana was accused of credit card theft and was caught in act of crime by the CCTV whose footage was shown on national TV. I guess those words really define our society today, it is victory for someone but the question is , can it be called a victory for Justice?

Can present judiciary make unbiased decisions especially in the cases of  those who supported the cause of old PCO judges [these honourable judges took oath under PCO issued by General Pervez Musharaf when he dismissed the right wing bonapartist regime of Mr Nawaz Sharif and legalized his martial law, gave him the power to rule the country in uniform and to amend the constitution at his will and after first restoration allowed him to contest the presidential election in uniform]  like lawyers and political parties.
Let us take the case of Justice Khalil-ur-Rehman Ramday his brother the former attorney general of Pakistan an sitting MPA of PML-N from Toba Tek Singh his son (Raza Farooq) was made attorney general of Punjab against the established  criteria of competency and skill just for his and his family’s time tested affiliation  with the  Sharifs .

Can we expect the justice when uncle is a Judge with political views, [right wing] nephew Attorney general and father former attorney general and now a very important MP of  party in power. To find out an answer thankfully we don’t have to search hard. Justice Ramaday had answered that in one of his many television interviews [ A practice which itself is deplorable in British judicial tradition from which our judicial system has evolved] he said, “I never gave a judgment against Asif Ali Zardari  because my brother then the Attorney general was defending Nawaz Sharif government.” I have a problem with that Mr Ramaday because  justice delayed is justice denied, isn’t? If you were so sure Mr Asif Ali Zardari has done something wrong you should have convicted him

Old PCO judges remain in control

Old PCO judges remain in control

under the law. When you were not giving decisions in cases of Mr Asif Ali Zardari to prove the twisted logic of your impartiality, you were in fact hindering his release and his bail. Mr Asif Ali Zardari spent 11 years in prison without being convicted setting a record in judicial persecution. It was not you impartiality your honour, ill beg to say that the  truth is you never did that because it was not in the script that Saif-ur-Rehman had written. The plan was never to fight corruption , or to serve justice, rather it was to delay justice, to drag the cases for long time to keep Asif Ali Zaradari in jail during the prime of his married life to break the will of Ms Benazir Bhutto, to continue a media trial of Bhutto-Zardari family , to destroy their popularity hence finish the PPP.
The cases were fake and weak and you never would wanted to give your judgment and  your brother was buying time from your respected court for his brilliant colleague Mr  Saifur Rehman to manhandle and torture Mr Zardari , so that he breaks, either divorce Ms Bhutto or accept the allegations of massive corruption. [Mr Asif Ali Zardari was tortured in custody without any intervention from the courts, in one instance his tongue was slit using a sharp object, his also suffered a permanent spine injury due to torture]

He was kept in prison for 11 year to break him so that either he divorces

Benazir

Benazir

BB or accept the allegation, but he stood firm, when the Sharif  family ran away from the country like cowards , Mr Nizami of Nawa-e-waqat, one of the worse enemy of Bhuttos called Asif Ali Zardari Merd-e-Hur.
you can’t deny that  Sharifs are enjoying full support of judiciary in Punjab. Recently magistrates were appointed by Punjab government the appointment criteria was political support of PML-N, this was the clear violation of new judicial policy but no court acted. All the laws and morality comes into play only when PPP is involved, there is a lot of hue and cry against “jiyala judges” but when it comes to judges who are sympathizers of PML and JI not a single word is uttered.

The Pundits in Islamabad are already talking about regime change and “minus one” formula in Islamabad.Why Benazir and Asif Ali Zardari are not acceptable? The roots of it lies in the structure of Pakistani state, which have been called a “National Security State”.

The reason is BB was not part of national security state the idea which civil-military bureaucracy had carried forward since our first war with India in 1948. BB was termed as a threat to national security. Now let us determine theory of national security state.
• India is our enemy number one.
• America will give us funds, so that we remain a national security state because its in our interest and if we serve American interest its not problem as long India remains our enemy.

Now let analyze internal factors which protects national security state .

Military ,intelligence agencies , courts ,religious parties and right wing media  they roughly form what left wing analyst use to call “establishment” whose meaning has been distorted by the channel mafia. I remember in recent television interview of Mr Majid Nizami [editor and own of Nawa-e-waqt group one of the leading media business houses of Pakistan which controls Urdu and English news papers and  a television channel ]was saying we can never be friend with India and we should not waste our time we  should fire our all nuclear weapons towards India . what worse can happen in the process we are already dying because India has stopped  our water supply. A similar Media Pundit, Mr Javed Chaudhary always concludes his popular programme by saying “we can never be friends with India”.

Coming back to our original discussion why BB was a threat to a national security state .
Reason number one she never considered India as enemy number one , her  first state visit to India was first step towards normalization and thankfully Mr Rajiv Gandhi also rose to the occasion and acted very sensibly . This was a direct threat from BB to national security state because the whole Idea of national security state revolves around India (enemy ) .
Agencies never accepted BB olive branch towards India . Her first government was dismissed , her role in normalization and her meeting with Mr Gandhi was part of the charge sheet along with the allegation of appointing great Urdu poetess Fehmida Riaz, the “Indian agent” in minister of culture.  One of the first act of Mr Sharif’s government was to confiscate Miss Raiz’s passport and persecute her.

Now we are left with role of judiciary in protecting national security state.  BB’s government was overthrown on charges of corruption and judiciary endorsed that decision but the decision was different for Mr Sharif whose government was one of the most corrupt and repressive.

The Chief Justice which restored Sharif’s government was Nasim Hassan Shah, one of the judges who hanged Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. He later confessed on tv , that his decision was flawed and motivated by anger.

His decision to restore Sharif’s government was hailed as a “judicial revolution” which destroyed the “doctrine of necessity” for ever. What happened after that is history

Forget about all this, General Hameed  Gul on national television had said BB was a threat to national security so he created IJI and funded it till the end.

Now one IB  chief Breg Imtiaz made stunning confessions on TV which proves that the establishment itself created ethnic tensions in Karachi by creating the stunt of “Jinnah Pur”. This led to brutal  military operation, the ethnic hatred it created still is burning Karachi. This shows how far this state can go for its security objective, even if it means to kill its own people.

So now we come to present situation president is not going to dissolve assemblies , the government of Pakistan Peoples Party despite all the propaganda and ill faith about it which exist in the Urban chattering classes has shown remarkable progress. Some things must be mentioned which this government achieved

1) It sent Pervez Musharraf home

2) Faced with the worse global economic meltdown whose scale and effect was unmatched in human history , Peoples Party government didnt let the country collapse. Not a single bank or big corporation sank in Pakistan.

3) This government was able to defeat Right wing on war against Taliban, its strategy of signing Nizam-e-Adel exposed Taliban and its supporters and for the first time public opinion in Pakistan shifted in support of war against Taliban

4) After Mumbai attacks, its was soley due to presence of democratic PPP government that India showed restraint. A war was avoided.

5) Benazir Income Support programme, may be inefficient and riddled with errors but it has sowed the roots of a welfare state in Pakistan. After 30 years of Neo Liberalization PPP government once again put the concept of “responsibility of state towards the poor” back on agenda. It is a great achievement.

This government cannot be defeated by political means, a martial law is practically impossible, establishment’s hope are on Yousaf Reza Gilani to persuade him to become the next Farooq Legari. I hope he will not follow his footsteps esp looking at his political fate. If this card fails they have only one card left. Its the judiciary
Only judiciary  can protect our national security state and they are in a position to bring down this government. Judiciary’s recent decisions on Nawaz Sharif and Hafiz Saeed have reaffirmed their comittment to the ideology of “national security state”.

if pakistaan and india becomes friends then from where army and intelligence agencies will loose all their strength. One needs to read Dr Ayesha Siddiqa’s landmark book to understand the real character of Pakistan Army

Pakistan cannot afford to live in illusions, the judiciary must understand that it should not try to control the democratic regime. It has to show impartiality which unfortunately is not visible any more!

Xeno is a Lahore based student of Engineering, his interests includes politics and history and he is a supporter of Pakistan Peoples Party

With thanks: Online Journal

WMR has learned from U.S. intelligence veterans that the secret intelligence operation run by Vice President Dick Cheney was not under the aegis of the Central Intelligence Agency but was a component of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in the Department of Defense.

The JSOC unit carried out assassinations of foreign individuals, including politicians in countries friendly to the United States, under the direct orders of Cheney. One former intelligence official described the operation as a new “Phoenix Program.”

Benazir Bhutto

Benazir Bhutto

During the Vietnam War, the CIA’s Phoenix program, carried out, with the cooperation of U.S. Special Operations forces, identified key Vietcong leaders in South Vietnamese villages and towns and later assassinated them. What the CIA was involved with from the days subsequent to the 9/11 attacks was a similar operation in Afghanistan and Pakistan that identified key leaders of “Al Qaeda” and the Taliban and planned their assassinations.

However, what the CIA abandoned was Cheney’s use of the operation, in part organized under then-CIA director George Tenet’s “Worldwide Attack Matrix” or “WAM,” to target real or perceived political enemies in other countries, possibly including individuals in the United States. CIA director Leon Panetta officially terminated the CIA’s residual role in the assassination program after an eight-year involvement and informed Congress that they had been misled about the nature of the program.

The only actual part of the CIA that worked with the Pentagon’s assassination unit under JSOC was the Special Activities Division (SAD) of the CIA, itself largely comprised of former U.S. Special Operations personnel, including a number of former Delta Force members.

Far from being concerned about revelations about the program, WMR has learned that rank-and-file CIA officers are ecstatic about the revelations concerning Cheney’s operations. In knowing that most in the CIA, perhaps with the noted exceptions of deputy director of the CIA, Stephen Kappes, and acting CIA general counsel John Rizzo, were not involved in Cheney’s assassination ring, which is considered by many CIA officers to have been illegal, there is a certain amount of glee in realizing that Cheney may soon face the legal music on ordering illegal assassinations.

One retired CIA officer who was involved in the original clandestine targeting program before it was altered by Cheney, believes that the CIA has Cheney “by the balls” over the new revelations about the death squads.

WMR has been told by a U.S. intelligence source that the one person who poses the greatest threat to Cheney is former CIA director George Tenet, who claims that Cheney’s operation was so secretive he was not aware of its details. Tenet has been described as having few friends from the Bush-Cheney administration and has nothing to lose by making public what he knows about Cheney’s role in the assassination operation. Although the Cheney/JSOC operation continued under CIA directors Porter Goss and General Michael Hayden, neither are considered particularly vulnerable, except for their possible testimonies under oath before congressional committees.

The most high-profile target of the secret Cheney assassination squad, according to high-level CIA sources, allegedly was former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, assassinated on December 27, 2007, in Rawalpindi, the heart of Pakistan’s military and intelligence community.

WMR reported the assassination as follows on December 27, 2007: “Bhutto was reportedly first shot in the neck and chest and then killed in a suicide bomb blast at a campaign rally. Bhutto’s closest advisers immediately suspected the involvement of Pakistan’s military and intelligence complex in the assassination, an event which is thought by many to strengthen the hand of Musharraf and Pakistan’s dictatorship. The global corporate media, in practical unison, began echoing the tired tripe that ‘Al Qaeda’ was responsible for Bhutto’s assassination. However, ‘Al Qaeda’ was fostered by Pakistan’s military and intelligence community with large amounts of funding from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf.”

According to our CIA sources, Cheney decided that every effort should be made to ensure that his friend, Pakistan President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, remain in power in Pakistan and not be replaced by Bhutto. Cheney allegedly authorized his secret assassination unit to hit Bhutto and then maximize his political gain by blaming the attack on “Al Qaeda.”

Cheney’s alleged hit on Bhutto also involved U.S. and Pakistani electronic surveillance of her communications. On February 21, 2008, WMR reported: “The late former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto knew that all her phone conversations and e-mails were being monitored by Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and ‘other intelligence agencies,’ according to her long time friend and co-author Mark Siegel. Siegel made his comments last night in a speech at the National Press Club highlighting ‘Reconciliation,’ a book he co-authored with Bhutto shortly before her assassination. Siegel said he and Bhutto were convinced that during her five years of exile in Dubai that all their phone calls between Washington, DC, and Dubai were being monitored by ISI. Since ISI does not possess its own significant eavesdropping capability in the United States, Bhutto’s reference to ‘other agencies’ is an indication that the US National Security Agency (NSA) was eavesdropping on Bhutto and passing some of the intelligence to the ISI and the government of Pakistani dictator Gen. Pervez Musharraf.”

The House Intelligence Committee is promising to investigate the details of the program and on July 12, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) said he believes there will be additional revelations forthcoming about the super-secret Cheney program.

Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.

Copyright © 2009 WayneMadenReport.com

Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report

Post Credit: Let Us Build Pakistan Blog

[The Mullah-Military (ISI-Taliban) Alliance Remains Intact?]

11:16am UK, Monday August 03, 2009

Alex Crawford, Asia correspondent

Sky News has obtained exclusive and conclusive proof that one of Pakistan’s most feared Taliban leaders is alive – contradicting government claims that he was killed months ago.

l-umer-khalid

The Pakistani Government said Khalid died months ago

Umer Khalid, who is also known as Abdul Wali, was thought to have died in the Pakistani government’s crackdown against extremists.

But our pictures show him not only alive and well, but with four hostages whom he is threatening to kill unless the authorities free Taliban prisoners they are holding.

Khalid allowed himself to be filmed to disprove the official claims and apparently to initiate negotiations with the authorities.

The Interior Minister Rehamn Malik told reporters in January that Khalid was among those killed in an attack on militant extremists in the Mohmand Agency, part of Pakistan’s tribal areas.

The claims were denied by the Taliban at the time.

The footage – which was filmed within the last few days – shows Khalid relaxing and smiling with a group of young, armed men who form his fighting group.

He says he has 35,000 fighters under his control but this figure is impossible to verify.

Sky’s cameraman is allowed to film the militant leader signing a paper giving his access to the four hostages.

The four hostages are sitting together in a line still wearing their security uniforms.

They belong to the Frontier Constabulary, which is the security force operating in the tribal areas.

Richard Holbrooke testifies at the House Foreign Relations Committee in 2007

US Special envoy, Richard Holbrooke

One of the men addresses the camera and says they have been held for three months.

He appeals to the government to release Taliban prisoners in exchange for their freedom.

Khalid tells Sky News that he has already killed two of his hostages but is willing to free the remaining four if five Taliban prisoners are let out of custody.

He appears to indicate he is ready to negotiate with the authorities.

The pictures of the Taliban leader coincide with concerns voiced by the US special envoy for Pakistan and Afghanistan over the success of the military operation in the Swat Valley.

Richard Holbrooke said he was not sure whether the operation had achieved its aim of driving the Taliban out of the former tourist spot.

There are increasing worries that the militants may have just shifted to other areas in the country or gone underground.

Holbrooke is the first high-profile member of the Obama administration to voice doubts over the operation in public.

The new US administration has up until now given great support to Pakistan’s attempts to curb extremism in the country.

The pictures showing Umer Khalid alive are likely to heap further embarrassment on the government.

http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/World-News/Taliban-Leader-Alive-Umer-Khalid-Not-Dead-Despite-Pakistani-Governments-Claims/Article/200908115352539

The inferno of “Rah-e-Haq” is burning humanity in Swat. Anyone who is not supporting the barbarity is being declared a “Taliban” by the pro-imperialism and pro establishment liberals. Many assumptions of these liberals are based on myths. One such myth is that Pakistan Army is fighting Taliban in Swat. Pakistan Army is just killing ordinary innocent people in Swat. Taliban were provided safe passages by Army through the clumsily conducted exodus. Some will be killed especially those who are no more loyal to Army. The Taliban have been sighted in the refugee camps of Mardan and Peshawar. Taliban phenomenon is rooted in “state” of Pakistan itself. Rubina Saigol is one of the few academics from Pakistan who has raised the fundamental question about Taliban. She has called it “Pakistan  at war with itself”

Shaheryar Ali

Rubina Saigol , [The News, 28 Feb, 2009]

Religious fundamentalist movements of all shades and hues have gripped large parts of the world and have posed a threat to the prevalent political, economic and social systems. While “fundamentalism” is a term that is used in varying contexts to denote differing realities, its origins lie in 1920s America where it was used to refer to puritanical evangelist movements. The term is sometimes used to deny history by suggesting a return to some imagined early purity or “golden period” that supposedly existed in a bygone era. Fundamentalisms have manifested themselves in virtually all kinds of cultures and societies, Christian, Muslim, Hindu or Jewish. Like anything that is not much explored or understood, fundamentalisms have given rise to certain myths that tend to seduce public imagination. The purpose of this article is to try and dismantle eight of the most common myths about Muslim fundamentalism and extremism in our part of the world by juxtaposing such myths against observable facts.

Myth: Fundamentalism is the result of mental and moral backwardness, attitudes, religion and beliefs.

Fact: Fundamentalism is about geopolitics, involving power, money, and control over territory, people and resources. If we examine the actions and pronouncements of the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan or the Swat Taliban – actions that include beheading, rape, murder, public display of dead bodies, public executions, suicide bombings killing scores of innocent people – it is not hard to discern that such actions have little to do with religion or a moral order. Through brutal means and barbaric methods, the Taliban have gained control over territory in Swat and Waziristan. They have forced the government to accept their power over people and resources through the Nizam-e-Adl agreement reached between the Tehreek-e-Nifaz-e-Shariat-e-Muhammdi’s Maulana Sufi Muhammad and the provincial government of the ANP. Apart from drug trafficking, the money is raised from donations received from Saudi Arabia and other countries and goes to pay Rs15,000-20,000 per month to about ten thousand militant followers of Maulana Fazlullah.

Myth: Fundamentalism in Pakistan can be traced back to the era of General Zia.

Fact: Fundamentalism can be traced much further back to Imam Hanbal, Al-Ashari, Imam Ghazali (he influenced writers like Ashraf Thanvi who wrote Bahishti Zewar), Abdul Wahhab and the Darul Uloom, Deoband.

Contrary to the common perception that General Zia’s Islamisation laid the foundation of extremist and fundamentalist strands of religion, the seeds were sown much earlier. Reactionary Islamic thought goes back centuries, to the time when rationalism first appeared in Muslim lands. The Asharite revolt against the Mu’tazila rationalist thought located in Greek philosophy, Imam Ghazali’s total repudiation of Reason as a source of truth apart from Revelation, and his denunciation of the great scientists, medicine men, mathematicians and thinkers like Al-Kindi, Al-Razi, Ibn-e-Rushd and Ibn-e-Sina who introduced enlightenment within the Muslim world between the 8th and 11th centuries, are reflections of early fundamentalist reactions. In the heyday of Baghdad, the genius of these thinkers was much admired and they were highly respected during the time of Khalifa Al-Mamun. However, later Muslim rulers like Al-Mutawakkil punished them severely for injecting innovative thought in the Muslim world. It was political power that chose to ally itself with the traditionalist and conservative ulema who crushed innovative and scientific thinking in favour of obscurantism.

The 18th century Arabian thinker Abdul Wahhab, who was also protected by and aligned with the House of Saud and political power, rejected all later accretions in Islamic thought and insisted on returning to purported versions of pure Islam during its early years. The bland Wahhabi version of religion that he propounded was exported to the subcontinent through Saudi Arabian funding of religious movements in Pakistan. The much more syncretic, tolerant and non-violent versions of Sufi Islam were rejected by a highly intolerant version which came though Saudi imperialism. In the context of the subcontinent, fundamentalist thought was furthered by Maulana Maudoodi, who used his influence in the passage of the Objectives Resolution in 1949 which laid the foundation of a potentially “theocratic” state. General Zia made the Objectives Resolution a substantive part of the Constitution in 1985 through the insertion of Article 2-A. General Zia thus merely accelerated a process begun by his predecessors.

Myth: Only religious parties and sectarian outfits support or forge fundamentalism.

Fact: Fundamentalism has been supported or encouraged as much by the so-called secular elite as by religious parties to maintain class power and privilege.

The common assumption that only parties like the JUI-F, JUI-S and Jamaat-e-Islami and sectarian and Jehadi outfits like Sipah-e-Sahaba-e-Pakistan or Harkat-ul-Mujahideen support fundamentalism in Pakistan overlooks the constant capitulation to religious extremism by seemingly secular and liberal parties. Most analysts like to quote Jinnah’s August 11, 1947, speech to argue that he envisioned a secular state, but in several of his other speeches he catered to the religious lobby’s sentiments to justify the two-nation concept. In 1940 he declared: “It is extremely difficult to appreciate why our Hindu friends fail to understand the real nature of Islam and Hinduism. They are not religious in the strict sense of the word, but are, in fact, different and distinct social orders, and it is a dream that the Hindus and Muslims can ever evolve a common nationality, and this misconception of one Indian nation has troubles and will lead India to destruction if we fail to revise our notions in time. The Hindus and Muslims belong to two different religious philosophies, social customs, literatures. They neither intermarry nor inter-dine together and, indeed, they belong to two different civilisations which are based mainly on conflicting ideas and conceptions.”

Even though Ayub Khan was considered modern and enlightened, a large number of his speeches cater to the religious lobby, in particular the ones that were designed to ensure “national integration” and emphasise Pakistani identity over ethnic and regional identities. In 1962 he declared: “Pakistan came into being on the basis of an ideology which does not believe in differences of colour, race or language. It is immaterial whether you are a Bengali or a Sindhi, a Baluchi or a Pathan or a Punjabi – we are all knit together by the bond of Islam.” The Council for Islamic Ideology was established during his rule to scrutinise laws for their conformity to religion. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, often associated with the Left and socialist thought, caved in to the demand to declare the Qadianis non-Muslims in 1974 through the Second Amendment, and later capitulated to the Nizam-e-Mustafa movement by taking certain symbolic measures towards Islamisation. The National Education Policy of 1972 declared that Islam is woven into the warp and woof of Pakistani society and would be reflected centrally in education. It was during Benazir Bhutto’s second tenure that the Taliban gained ascendancy in Afghanistan in 1996 and her government was the first to recognise their rule.

Again, it was the right-of-centre PML-N which, during Nawaz Sharif’s first tenure, instituted the death penalty (295c) for blasphemy, a law much abused by religious zealots against the Ahmadi and Christian communities. In his second tenure he introduced his infamous Shariat Bill (15th amendment) which would have effectively made him Amir-ul-Momineen, for it was designed to gain power by deciding virtue and vice and imposing it upon the country. Most recently, the ANP has entered into a desperate agreement with TNSM for Shariat in return for peace – an expensive peace which may or may not come about! Liberal, centrist and Left-oriented leaders and parties have contributed heavily to the rise of religious fanaticism in order to maintain their hold on power.

Myth: Fundamentalists want a genuine Shariah-based system of quick and affordable justice.

Fact: Fundamentalist and extremist outfits have little or no understanding of Shariah and have devised a highly convoluted version of Shariah that is rejected by a large number of serious religious scholars.

Recent interviews of a cross-section of religious scholars and thinkers in Punjab and the NWFP conducted by a team of researchers reveals the following: There is not a single serious scholar of Shariah and Islamic jurisprudence who believes that bombing and torching girls’ schools, digging out dead bodies and hanging them from trees, murdering with wild abandon and killing innocent people with suicide bombing are Islamic. Similarly, these scholars informed us that there is no known school of Islamic thought that forbids the education of women and disputes their right to work, or their freedom of movement to carry out their daily tasks. Rather, virtually every scholar or religious leader that we interviewed said education is the foremost duty of every Muslim, man or woman. There is no respected religious scholar who supports the beating of women for going out of their houses or starving children to death by disallowing women from earning a livelihood. Virtually, every scholar, belonging to various sects and schools of thought, strongly condemned the actions of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan of Baitullah Mehsood and Fazlullah’s actions in Swat as efforts to give religion a bad name.

Myth: Fundamentalism is the antithesis of imperialism and Jehadis/Taliban are fighting against imperial domination.

Fact: Fundamentalism and imperialism are deeply linked and invoke each other for their own aims; fundamentalism is itself a specific form of imperialism.

In his thoroughly researched book Jihad-e-Kashmir o Afghanistan, journalist Muhammad Amir Rana reveals the following: After the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, Jimmy Carter’s administration created a secret fund of $500 million to create terror outfits to fight the Soviets. Nicknamed “Operation Cyclone,” this fund was kept secret even from Congress and the American public. Subsequently, the Reagan administration and Saudi Arabia provided $3.5 billion to General Zia’s regime for the funding of madrassahs for the Afghan Jihad. Militants were trained in the Brooklyn School in New York and in Virginia by the CIA. In Pakistan they were trained by MI6 and the Inter-Services-Intelligence. Between 1979 and 1990 there was a mushroom growth of madrassahs – Jihad-related organisations grew by 100 percent and sectarian outfits multiplied at the rate of 90 percent. By 1986 the rate of increase of deeni madaris was 136 percent annually, whereas in previous times it had been a mere 3 percent. By 2002, 7,000 religious institutions were offering degrees in higher education. Currently, it is estimated that there are between 18,000 and 22,000 madrassahs operating in Pakistan, teaching over 1.5 million children. Pakistan is in fact located at the nexus of multiple and competing imperialisms representing the US (and the so-called West), Saudi Arabian Wahhabiism and Iranian forms.

Myth: Fundamentalism and related terrorism are problems of the Frontier regions/FATA/Swat.

Fact: The Largest recruitment for Afghan and Kashmir Jehad is from the Punjab followed by the NWFP, Sindh and Balochistan.

Amir Rana’s study reveals that Punjab contributes about 50 percent of the Jihadi workforce, followed by the NWFP, Sindh and Balochistan. Punjab has the largest number of deeni madaris (5459 according to a 2002 study). The NWFP, Sindh and Balochistan have 2,483, 1,935 and 769, respectively. Karachi alone accounts for about 2,000 madrassahs. Statistics collected by the ministry of education show that FATA has 135 while Islamabad alone has 77 deeni madaris. According to Rana, the great majority of militants from the Punjab were sent to fight in Kashmir by groups such as Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad, while most of the Pakhtoon and Balochi youth from the NWFP and Balochistan were sent to and killed in Afghanistan. Most belonged to the JUI-F and the TNSM (which has now entered into an agreement with the ANP government of the NWFP). A large number of organisations, such as Harkat-ul-Mujahideen, Harkat-ul-Jabbar wal Islami, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Al Badr and Lashkar-e-Islam have participated in the Kashmir and Afghan Jihad getting their poor foot soldiers killed while the leaders enjoy luxurious lifestyles that include Pajeros, expensive mobile phones, large houses and frequent air travel.

Myth: Only non-state actors are involved in religion-based terrorism and fundamentalism.

Fact: State policy, in line with imperial and vested interests, has fully encouraged and supported the growth and rise of fundamentalist and sectarian outfits.

The state is fully implicated in backing, supporting and fanning the growth of extremist outfits. Pakistan’s “strategic depth” theory effectively helped keep the Taliban in power in Afghanistan, even as they killed, murdered and butchered children for playing football, women for going to the bank or school, working or lifting the lower part of the burqa to cross a river. The reign of terror had Pakistan’s official support while the rest of the world remained incredulous. The policy of “bleeding India with a thousand cuts” through infiltration in Kashmir also had state sponsorship. One look at the curriculum and teachings by Jamaat-ud-Daawa, an offshoot of Lashkar-e-Taiba, reveals the main purpose of this organisation. Their alphabet revolves around killing, murdering and jihad and their hatred is focused on Hindus. The games children play are war games designed to inspire them to lay down their lives for “holy war.” Going into the Afghan jihad in return for dollars was also a state decision.

Myth: Fundamentalist outfits have the support of local populations.

Fact: People have invariably voted in secular and liberal parties in elections.

A frequent defence in favour of religious hegemony is that the people are essentially religious and want a religious order in Pakistan. An examination of all elections held since 1970 reveals that people invariably voted for secular and liberal parties, while religious parties were promoted only by dictators: the Jamaat-e-Islami by General Zia and the MMA by Musharraf! The major winners of elections in 1970, 1977, 1988, 1990, 1993, 1997, 2002 and 2008 were the Awami League, the PPP, the PML-N, the ANP and the MQM, along with smaller nationalist parties. The religious parties failed to capture people’s imagination in a significant way in any election.

The myths that one has tried to unpack above need detailed scrutiny. As a nation we need to contemplate our choices: can we afford religious extremism with its negative obsession with controlling women as well as its anti-democracy, anti-development stance and its propensity towards violence because of its love for martyrdom, death and the next world? Or, do we need a plural democracy that can ensure fundamental rights while also accommodating and balancing the concerns of the different provinces, ethnicities, religions and genders into a just system of production and distribution.

(The writer is an independent researcher specialising in social development. Email: rubinasaigol@hotmail.com)

Shaheryar Ali

Today I searched my old closet looking for some thing, a book which I had read long time ago. Since the last few days I have been longing to read that book again. Its Oscar Wilde’s “The picture of Dorian Gray”.

Picture of Dorian Gray

Picture of Dorian Gray

Considered a classic in English literature, the book is an experiment with the concept of “duplicity”. Just as the “Strange case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde”. Strikingly handsome Dorian Gray is painted by a painter who becomes obsessed with Gray’s beauty. The portrait is a masterpiece in itself and looking at it Gray wishes he be able to remain young for ever, the wish is granted. Dorian Gray falls into a life of corruption and evil, one day he looks at the picture; instead of the serene beauty he sees a monster. While Grey was granted youth and beauty, his picture became the mirror of his soul which was sinking into pits of evil. With his every act of evil, the picture became disfigured. When Grey looks at the picture he realizes how hideous he really is and what has he become. We in Pakistan are suffering from the same “Dorian Gray Syndrome

we want to keep living in the “Utopia of Mumliqat e Khudadad”, our great rivers, our spring, our winters. Land of four seasons, the modern progressivedorian_gray_1970 Muslim democracy Jinnah created. Such is our obsession and insecurity that most advanced of our thinkers spent all their energies in charting out an “intentionalist” perspective on Partition of India. What was intention of Muhammed Ali Jinnah. He was a liberal and secular leader who was fighting for socio-cultural-economic rights of a community. A community defined by a confessional faith. Pakistan was a “bargain card” of a sort. Nehru’s and Gandhi’s refusal to address Muslim insecurities resulted in partition of India etc etc. All correct. Have any one of us ever tried to discuss the “consequentionalist” perspective on Partition of Indian. What were the natural consequences of creating a “secular” state for members of a community defined by religion? The linguistically absurd terminology we created “Muslim state” or “Islamic state”, did it make any sense to mostly ignorant and primitive “natives” on whom a highly developed colonial apparatus was being imposed with an immigrant leadership? Are muslim and Islam by any stretch of imagination mutually exclusive terms? Is it possible to be muslim without Islam or can Islam be alien to muslims? How could a “secular” muslim state exist without being evolving into a Islamic state? This is the absurd debate we are engaged in for last 50 years, muslim state or Islamic state. All abstract absurdities. Millions died in communal violence when all 3 characters of partition were secular. These were the delusions of modernity, western educated elitists leaders failed to understand what would be the consequences of their lofty ideas of secular nationalism and secular nationalism of a community defined by religion [if such a pathetic thing makes any sense] in ignorant masses. . We killed millions of Pakhtuns to defend Islam against evil of communism. Pakistan ka Matlab kiya . La Illaha Illallah. When Taliban of our country say that “this meaning” is lost and they rise to impose La Ilaha illallah on us we start lamenting ah whiskey drinking secular Jinnah. Our Constitution states Quran and Sunnah will be supreme laws of Pakistan but when Quran and Sunnah are imposed in Swat we start crying . We are so busy in our logically absurd non sense that reality has become irrelevant to us. We killed 3 million Bengalis trying to impose our “muslim nationalism”. Our state sponsored thugs are killing people but we see India’s hand. The paranoia of Hindu majority engulfing us, the remedy of which we thought was creating a Muslim state has now become paranoia of state of India. We see all evil in India. Gandhi was fascist, Nehru was hypocrite, despite both these evil characters India is a functioning secular democracy. We people of land of pure with most pure, liberal and modern leader are a failed state. No but we must keep the mantra of Jinnah’s speech and Jalal’s work on Jinnah and in this narcissism of ours we keep sinking in the pits of evil. Millions of East Pakistanis were slaughtered by our Army and Jamate Islami, we have never seek justice for them. Now Baluchiis are being butchered, silently as state has learned more. We are drunk on “sharab e tahoora”, lecturing other countries how to behave. Islamic fascism our joint venture with United States of America to provide us with “strategic depth” against the “evil Hindu” India has eroded our very roots, but we want to keep denying our evil deeds. Few days’ back Nadra Naipaul’s brother was shot dead. He was a General. The reason it appears to hush up the “deals” GHQ had with Taliban. None of our great prophets of “constitutionalism” and “Rule of Law” have even spoken a single line to demand at least an 

The brother-in-law of VS Naipaul, the British novelist and Nobel laureate, was murdered last month after threatening to expose Pakistani army generals who had made deals with Taliban militants.

Major-General Faisal Alavi, a former head of Pakistan’s Special Forces, whose sister Nadira is Lady Naipaul, named two generals in a letter to the head of the army. He warned that he would “furnish all relevant proof”.

Aware that he was risking his life, he gave a copy to me and asked me to publish it if he was killed. Soon afterwards he told me that he had received no reply.

“It hasn’t worked,” he said. “They’ll shoot me.

Four days later, he was driving through Islamabad when his car was halted by another vehicle. At least two gunmen opened fire from either side, shooting him eight times. His driver was also killed.

This weekend, as demands grew for a full investigation into Alavi’s murder on November 18, Lady Naipaul described her brother as “a soldier to his toes”. She said: “He was an honourable man and the world was a better place when he was in it.”

It was in Talkingfish, his favourite Islamabad restaurant, that the general handed me his letter two months ago. “Read this,” he said.

General Alavi and Doug Brown

General Alavi and Doug Brown

Alavi had been his usual flamboyant self until that moment, smoking half a dozen cigarettes as he rattled off jokes and gossip and fielded calls on two mobile phones.

Three years earlier this feted general, who was highly regarded by the SAS, had been mysteriously sacked as head of its Pakistani equivalent, the Special Services Group, for “conduct unbecoming”. The letter, addressed to General Ashfaq Kayani, the chief of army staff, was a final attempt to have his honour restored.

Alavi believed he had been forced out because he was openly critical of deals that senior generals had done with the Taliban. He disparaged them for their failure to fight the war on terror wholeheartedly and for allowing Taliban forces based in Pakistan to operate with impunity against British and other Nato troops across the border in Afghanistan.

Alavi, who had dual British and Pakistani nationality, named the generals he accused. He told Kayani that the men had cooked up a “mischievous and deceitful plot” to have him sacked because they knew he would expose them.

“The entire purpose of this plot by these general officers was to hide their own involvement in a matter they knew I was privy to,” he wrote. He wanted an inquiry, at which “I will furnish all relevant proof/ information, which is readily available with me”.

I folded up the letter and handed it back to him. “Don’t send it,” I said. He replied that he had known I would talk him out of it so he had sent it already. “But”, he added, “I want you to keep this and publish it if anything happens to me.”

I told him he was a fool to have sent the letter: it would force his enemies into a corner. He said he had to act and could not leave it any longer: “I want justice. And I want my honour restored. And you know what? I [don’t] give a damn what they do to me now. They did their worst three years ago.”

We agreed soon afterwards that it would be prudent for him to avoid mountain roads and driving late at night. He knew the letter might prove to be his death warrant.

Four days after I last saw him, I was in South Waziristan, a region bordering Afghanistan, to see a unit from the Punjab Regiment. It was early evening when I returned to divisional headquarters and switched on the television. It took me a moment to absorb the horror of the breaking news running across the screen: “Retired Major General Faisal Alavi and driver shot dead on way to work.”

The reports blamed militants, although the gunmen used 9mm pistols, a standard army issue, and the killings were far more clinical than a normal militant attack.

The scene at the army graveyard in Rawalpindi a few days after that was grim. Soldiers had come from all over the country to bury the general with military honours. Their grief was palpable. Wreaths were laid on behalf of Kayani and most of the country’s military leadership.

Friends and family members were taken aback to be told by serving and retired officers alike that “this was not the militants; this was the army”. A great many people believed the general had been murdered to shut him up.

I first met Alavi in April 2005 at the Pakistan special forces’ mountain home at Cherat, in the North West Frontier Province, while working on a book about the Pakistani army.

He told me he had been born British in Kenya, and that his older brother had fought against the Mau Mau. His affection for Britain was touching and his patriotism striking.

In August 2005 he was visiting Hereford, the home of the SAS, keen to revive the SSG’s relationship with British special forces and deeply unhappy about the way some elements of Pakistan’s army were behaving.

mehsudHe told me how one general had done an astonishing deal with Baitullah Mehsud, the 35-year-old Taliban leader, now seen by many analysts as an even greater terrorist threat than Osama Bin Laden.

Mehsud, the main suspect in the assassination of Benazir Bhutto late last year, is also believed to have been behind a plot to bomb transport networks in several European countries including Britain, which came to light earlier this year when 14 alleged conspirators were arrested in Barcelona.

Yet, according to Alavi, a senior Pakistani general came to an arrangement with Mehsud “whereby – in return for a large sum of money – Mehsud’s 3,000 armed fighters would not attack the army”.

The two senior generals named in Alavi’s letter to Kayani were in effect complicit in giving the militants free rein in return for refraining from attacks on the Pakistani army, he said. At Hereford, Alavi was brutally frank about the situation, said the commanding officer of the SAS at that time.

“Alavi was a straight-talking soldier and some pretty robust conversations took place in the mess,” he said. “He wanted kit, skills and training from the UK. But he was asked, pretty bluntly, why the Pakistani army should be given all this help if nothing came of it in terms of getting the Al-Qaeda leadership.”

Alavi’s response was typically candid, the SAS commander said: “He knew that Pakistan was not pulling its weight in the war on terror.”

It seemed to Alavi that, with the SAS on his side, he might win the battle, but he was about to lose everything. His enemies were weaving a Byzantine plot, using an affair with a divorced Pakistani woman to discredit him.

Challenged on the issue, Alavi made a remark considered disrespectful to General Pervez Musharraf, then the president. His enemies playeda recording of it to Musharraf and Alavi was instantly sacked.

His efforts to clear his name began with a request that he be awarded the Crescent of Excellence, a medal he would have been given had he not been dismissed. Only after this was denied did he write the letter that appears to many to have sealed his fate.

It was an action that the SAS chief understands: “Every soldier, in the moment before death, craves to be recognised. It seems reasonable to me that he staked everything on his honour. The idea that it is better to be dead than dishonoured does run deep in soldiers.”

Alavi’s loyalty to Musharraf never faltered. Until his dying day he wanted his old boss to understand that. He also trusted Kayani implicitly, believing him to be a straight and honourable officer.

If investigations eventually prove that Alavi was murdered at the behest of those he feared within the military, it may prove a fatal blow to the integrity of the army he loved.

Britain and the United States need to know where Pakistan stands. Will its army and intelligence agencies ever be dependable partners in the war against men such as Mehsud?

James Arbuthnot, chairman of the defence select committee, and Lord Guthrie, former chief of the defence staff, were among those who expressed support this weekend for British help to be offered in the murder investigation.

Inside the Pakistan Army by Carey Schofield will be published next year by Soap Box Books.

Thanks: Times on Line