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Qadri’s march: Conspiracy theories galore


Posted on January 17, 2013 by Akashma Online News

Source Dunya News

The military has denied any link to Tahirul Qadri.


ISLAMABAD: To Pakistan s ruling party, a firebrand cleric camped outside parliament with thousands of protesters is looking more and more like the harbinger of their worst fear: a plan by the establishment to engineer a “soft coup”.

In their eyes, Muhammad Tahirul Qadri seems like the perfect candidate for such a mission. A practised orator who has electrified crowds with his anti-corruption rhetoric, the doctor of Islamic law leapt into action to back the last power grab by the army in 1999.

The aim this time, some politicians suspect, is to use Qadri to bring down the current administration and provide a pretext for the handpicked caretaker cabinet.

“What we are seeing is dangerous and evidence that the third force is up to its tricks again,” said Mahmood Khan Achakzai, a politician who has been a frequent critic of the army s record of interfering in politics.

The military has denied any link to Qadri, and army chief General Ashfaq Kayani has built up a reputation for standing more aloof from politics than predecessors who have not hesitated to dismiss civilian governments. Pakistan has been ruled by the military for more than half of its 65 years as an independent nation.

Critics note, furthermore, that the ruling Pakistan People s Party (PPP), which has a long record of confrontation with the military, has often been quick to portray itself as a victim of bullying by the military to distract attention from its shortcomings.

But the timing of Qadri s return from six years of living in Canada, just a few months before elections are due, and his role in supporting a 1999 coup by former army chief Pervez Musharraf have nonetheless rung alarm bells.

Qadri, who led a convoy of buses carrying thousands of protesters into the capital, Islamabad, on Monday, has repeatedly demanded that the army should have a say in the formation of an interim administration that is due to oversee the run-up to elections in May.

“You meet army officers in the night; I m asking that you consult with them on the caretaker set up under the sunlight,” Qadri said in a speech on Tuesday in remarks clearly addressed to the government.

The PPP s fears over the potential for military meddling centre on the impending formation of a caretaker cabinet.
Pakistan passed a constitutional amendment last year that requires the government and opposition to agree on the
composition of the temporary administration.

The amendment is designed to prevent any ruling party exploiting the advantages of incumbency to manipulate elections
by using state power to skew the playing field.

The PPP and the Pakistan Muslim League, the main opposition party, have spent months negotiating a list of mutually
acceptable names for the transitional cabinet, including a number of politicians noted for resisting military rule.

“The PPP has lost three generations of leaders fighting against dictatorships,” said a senior member of the PPP. “You
think we will give up now? We will take up this battle at all levels.”

Meanwhile, military officers privately do little to conceal their contempt for the PPP, whose government has been unable to end militant violence, bring down sharp food price inflation or get the economy on track since it took power in March, 2008.
They are also dismissive of the Pakistan Muslim League.

One officer, speaking in a personal capacity, said the army had no desire to seize power but might be forced to play a role
as mediator between political factions if the cleric s protests trigger a prolonged crisis.

“If this gets worse, then the army may have to intervene (as a moderator),” he told Reuters.

After years of suspicion and ill-will between the generals and the PPP-led coalition led by President Asif Ali Zardari, Qadri s protests have seemed to signal a shift in the political landscape, with unpredictable consequences.

“We can t say who is behind him. But all we know is that he can t pull this off without backing from someone,” Maulana
Fazlur Rehman, the veteran leader of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, Pakistan s biggest religious party, said on television.

The political temperature soared even higher on Tuesday when Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry ordered the arrest of Prime
Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf in connection with a corruption case. Authorities have yet to carry out his instructions.

An aide to Ashraf said the military was behind this move as well, but the chief justice is known to be independent-minded.

If Qadri succeeds in bringing down the government, then a man whose name had faded from the limelight since he left
Pakistan for Canada in 2006 will have sabotaged the PPP s bid to be the first civilian government to complete a full term.

That would undermine Pakistan s struggle to bury the legacy of decades of military dictatorship by building institutions
strong enough to resolve the nuclear-armed country s multiple crises.

The military has a track record of picking interim administrations in past decades that have then overstepped their
mandates by hounding the army s political opponents or manipulating elections.

Army officers in Bangladesh, which was part of Pakistan until it broke away in 1971, have used a similar approach to
appoint a technocratic government to implement reforms.

But some commentators and Western diplomats argue that times have changed and the military has lost the appetite for
embroiling itself in struggles with increasingly assertive political parties and a hyperactive media.

“The military has no interest in disrupting the path to elections: in fact their interest is the opposite, supporting
the transfer of power from one elected government to another, which is a political milestone in Pakistan s history,” said
Maleeha Lodhi, a former Pakistani ambassador to Washington.

Much will depend on whether Qadri has enough rhetorical firepower left to persuade his followers to maintain their
protest, or whether the government decides to order the police to apply pressure to disperse them.

“There is nothing wrong with raising your concerns and protesting,” said Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira. “But
if you try to hold the capital hostage and disrupt the lives of its people, the law will take its course.”

Can Floods Lead to Taliban Resurgence


Can Floods Lead to Taliban Resurgence

Posted on 12. Aug, 2010 by Marivel Guzman from original post by Raja Mujtaba in Pakistan

By Sajjad Shaukat
On the onset, let me correct it that there are no Taliban in Pakistan, all that we are facing are criminals and terrorists pushed in here by Indo-Israeli network operating in Afghanistan. The western media who are under Zionist control have labeled them as Taliban only to defame this name that we use for students. It is highly objectionable to brand the criminals as Taliban. If this be the case then every student would be taken to be a terrorist then where would we educate our children and what would we call them? But for the sake of this paper I will refer them to as Taliban though they are not.
Pakistan has made numerous protests to the US and NATO command in Afghanistan to reign them in but to no avail.
The recent floods in Pakistan have provided a new level of devastation, especially in the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa where more than 4 million people have been affected by this natural disaster. The emerging landscape in areas where the water has receded is one in which bridges, roads, schools, health clinics, power facilities and sewage systems have been ruined or seriously damaged.
While Pakistan’s high officials and foreign media said that overall impact of the floods now exceeds that of the 2005 Kashmir earthquake, but at the same time some foreign media has started a propaganda campaign that by availing the opportunity, the Taliban can again return and organise themselves. They are likely to get the sympathies of the flood-affected people.
In this connection, under the caption, ‘Flooding’s devastation in Pakistan is seen as opportunity for Taliban’, The Washington Post reported on August 9, 2010: “The slow-motion disaster underway in Pakistan as floodwaters seep into virtually every corner of the nation has devastated basic infrastructure and could open the door to a Taliban resurgence.”
The Post further elaborated, “Over the past year, Pakistan’s army has succeeded in driving Taliban fighters

out of key
sanctuaries in South Waziristan and the Swat Valley. But the damage from the floods could jeopardize those gains, unless infrastructure is quickly rebuilt—an undertaking that will cost billions of dollars and will probably take years.”
However, it is misperception of The Washington Post including other western media as the fact of the matter is that the flood in Pakistan cannot lead to the Taliban resurgence. In this context, army officials are of the opinion that they are aware that the Taliban could try to seize the opportunity but they will not let that happen. Brig. Gen. Tippu Karim, who is overseeing relief efforts for Swat and other northwestern areas made it clear saying: “We have not let down our guard. The safeguards are still in place… reconstruction will be the top priority as soon as Pakistan can get past the immediate challenge of rescuing stranded residents and providing them with food and shelter.”
These floods have diminished the propaganda of the west and the militants against Pakistan, because Pakistan’s armed forces which are helping the flood victims round the clock and have visited various camps—focusing on evacuating people from flood affected areas, distributing food, water, medicine and conveying dead bodies. The relief efforts particularly addressed the Northern Areas, evacuating hundreds of stranded people every day. In this respect, Pak Army has been performing excellent services in the flood-affected areas, which include more water bottles, ready-to-eat meals and cartons of dry rations and boats. Apart from army, Pakistan Air Force helicopters besides evacuation and distribution also delivered medical staff and medicine. PAF has continued the relief operations in the flood affected areas of the country. The entire C-130 fleet along with helicopters is engaged in flood relief operations.
Pakistani navy boats spread across miles of flood waters as the military took a lead role in rescuing survivors from a devastating disaster
It is mentionable that the Pakistan military which had played a dominant role during natural disasters such as in the earthquake of 2005 has come to the fore during the present floods.
It is notable that our army which has already broken the backbone of the Taliban in Buner, Swat, Dir, South Waziristan and other tribal agencies through successful military operations is now busy in fighting Taliban insurgents in some areas. Despite its engagement in a different war, Pak Army has been performing a remarkable job in the regions which have been affected by the floods.
The women and men from troubled areas have highly appreciated all Pakistan’s armed forces, saying that they are saving them. Besides, various leaders of the civil society, political parties and media of our country including the general masses have also immensely praised the positive role of Pak Army in connection with the areas affected by the floods.
Islamic charities including ones that are known fronts for banned militant groups have also begun distributing assistance in some areas, as have western nongovernmental organizations. But for the most part, residents said they are receiving no aid at all from these entities.
It is of particular attention that more than 10 million people have been affected by the present floods. And billions of dollars are needed to rehabilitate the homeless people, reconstruction of roads, bridges, schools, hospitals and other infrastructure, while being a developing country, Pakistan government lacks resources in this regard. This fact has also been realized by the United Nations Organisation which recently revealed that destruction caused by the floods in Pakistan is more than that of the tsunami.

There is no doubt that although some countries, particularly the United States have provided aid to Pakistan in relation to the flood-affected areas, yet it is not enough and they have only fulfilled formality in this respect. For example, the US military has sent six helicopters, 91 troops and hundreds of thousands of meals from neighboring Afghanistan to help with relief efforts in Swat. In fact, each district which was cut off from the others, where the communications networks were jammed and where local roads were destroyed needs much help. Thousands of displaced villagers are still waiting for aid.
As regards the resurgence of the Taliban, the current army leadership is very clear that there is a war that needs to be waged.  If Pakistan’s armed forces leave the flood victims to their fate and if the only saviors for them are charity funds of terrorist organisations then there could be chances of Talibans’ return. And sooner than later, these organisations can start recruiting some of them into their ranks. But quick action by our defence forces has diminished the prospects of Talibans’ resurgence. Besides, people of the affected areas know very well that criminal activities of the Taliban militants such as kidnappings, beheadings, car-snatchings etc. had made life miserable. They wanted to impose their own self-style system of Shariah which was quite opposite to the real Islamic values. Hence, people have no sympathy for the Taliban and they do not favour return of these militants.
Now the right hour has come that setting asides politics and without waiting for foreign aid—by recognising the scale of disaster and suffering which is so huge, we must donate and help the flood victims.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants, Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous Shift in International Relations

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