Endgame in Afghanistan

by Khalid Aziz- Dawn.

THE current tensions in Pakistan-US ties have convinced many Pakistanis that the US will undertake an operation in North Waziristan thus breaching Pakistani sovereignty.

Such a conclusion became likely after Adm Mike Mullen’s uncharacteristic outburst recently at a US Senate hearing. He held the ISI responsible for the recent attacks in Kabul. His ire is more a product of expectations gone sour than a warning. It is likely that there were promises made by Pakistan for undertaking such an operation but that later the idea was dropped. The important statement issued after the extraordinary meeting of Pakistan’s military commanders last Sunday made it clear that Pakistan will not undertake an operation in Fata. But at the same time the commanders wished for good relations with the US. Continue reading

A tacit admission?

THE statement by Gen Javed Zia, Quetta corps commander, that the “army considers the killing of missing people an abhorrent act” is perhaps the first time that a senior military commander has directly addressed an issue that goes to the heart of the fifth insurgency in Balochistan: the `missing persons` whose bodies are appearing in so-called `kill and dump` operations over the past year. Gen Zia also made another remarkable statement, going so far as to say that `patriotic elements` had hit back against Baloch insurgents and those involved in desecrating the Pakistani flag. Was this a tacit admission that the ISI and the Frontier Corps have been involved in the extrajudicial killings, as independent and Baloch observers have repeatedly alleged?

via A tacit admission?.

A critical perspective on the LSE report on the Taliban-ISI alliance

Waldman’s one-sided and highly biased report refers to several unnamed single sources. Accusations against Pakistan are mostly based on hearsay.

By Shiraz Paracha

The London School of Economics’ (LSE) recent report on the alleged links between the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) of Pakistan and the Afghan Taliban is yet another proof of an unholy alliance, in which Western secret services, the mainstream Western media and some Western academic institutions are partners. Continue reading

How Top Generals May Trap Obama in a Losing War By Tom Engelhardt

Front and center in the debate over the Afghan War these days are General Stanley “Stan” McChrystal, Afghan war commander, whose “classified, pre-decisional” and devastating report — almost eight years and at least $220 billion later, the war is a complete disaster — was conveniently, not to say suspiciously,leaked to Bob Woodward of the Washington Post by we-know-not-who at a particularly embarrassing moment for Barack Obama; Admiral Michael “Mike” Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who has been increasingly vocal about a “deteriorating” war and the need for more American boots on the ground; and the president himself, who blitzed every TV show in sight last Sunday and Monday for his health reform program, but spent significant time expressing doubts about sending more American troops to Afghanistan. (“I’m not interested in just being in Afghanistan for the sake of being in Afghanistan… or sending a message that America is here for the duration.”) Continue reading

What’s gone wrong at the CIA, and should it be abolished?

By Rupert Cornwell   Tuesday, 14 July 2009 Published in ‘ Independent’.

Why are we asking this now?

The CIA is currently embroiled in two controversies that go to the heart of the problems surrounding the world’s largest intelligence agency. It is accused of keeping Congress in the dark about a secret post-9/11 project, on the orders of the former vice-president Dick Cheney and probably in violation of the law. Meanwhile the Justice Department is moving towards a criminal investigation of whether CIA operatives illegally tortured captured terrorist suspects. A rule of thumb about an intelligence service might be: the less you hear about it, the better it’s probably doing its job. Instead, the CIA seems to be eternally in the headlines. Continue reading

Update Swabi Camp

With every passing day the situation of the IDPs living in the camps is getting worse. The weather is getting warmer day by day  making it more and more miserable and affecting the health of the people  badly. The most vulnerable group are children and women (specifically the women who are pregnant). They are suffering the most and need urgent attention.

The average number of people visiting the medical camps has increased significantly, according to the medical assistant, Salma, working in the population welfare department.  She has told us that nearly fifty patients visit their camp daily, out of which 10 are women who are pregnant. She told us that due to insufficient nutrition they are weak and developing complications According to Salma there is no doctor available in the Population welfare department’s camp to see the patients. When we asked her that how do they treat the serious patients she answered that they refer them to the other medical camps serving in the colony.  Unfortunately these camps are hardly any better. 

The other depressing issue is that women are giving birth to children in an unhygienic environment. Due to this the new born are highly susceptible to infections. Another volunteer, Riaz Mohammad, who has been working in the camps for past couple of  months, informed us  that two infant baby girls died a couple of days ago due to heat and inappropriate healthcare services.

 Riaz Mohammad also observed that while initially there were numerous  relief activities and volunteers and  there was a steady flow of aid , the situation is much harsher now. He told that the activities have now slowed down with the passage of time and are not sufficient enough to meet the needs of the camp populations. While on the other hand the IDPs are more in need of help compared to earlier. He told that one of the three medical camps set up a month ago has been closed in the time when people need it more .  Riaz Mohammad said that there are other camps managed by the private organizations which are performing better. But again the problem is that the service is not sufficient for alleviating the problems of IDP

 The need now is to not let the ‘ donor fatigue’ set in. And help in any way we can. Vision 21 is now working on a plan to provide nutritional supplements and such for pregnant women and children.  

To help us deliver this please call us on  +92 51 250 5030 or email on info@thevision21.org.


Who will bell the cat ? And How ?

Here are three pieces published in daily ‘The News’. These represent a cross section of views. Although they discuss the problem of Swat Operation and IDPs from different perspective, the common theme is ‘What needs to be done and how it should be done?’. However no one clearly comes up with the answer to the question ‘Who’ needs to do this. And if the government is failing, as they all say or imply, how the hell are we going to change this?

Is any one listening? Who will bell the cat?

On the other side of despair. by Ali Asghar Khan, 

No escape from hell by Noreen Haider    and     

Winning the peace by Dr Maleeha Lodhi

On the other side of despair. by Ali Asghar Khan

“Where does one go from a world of insanity? Somewhere on the other side of despair.” –T S Elliot

Amidst the insanity, the brutality, hate and intolerance, there remains an overwhelming desire for peace and security. In the face of daunting issues and powerful actors, many may doubt their ability to contribute to change and question the relevance of making an effort. The importance of raising citizen concerns individually or collectively for creating checks and balances is greater now than ever before. We as citizens must demand that the manner in which we resolve our problems reflects our reality and our interests. For ordinary citizens to abdicate this role under the present circumstances is simply suicidal.

Hypocrisy, fast becoming a national pastime, should no longer be tolerated. Continue reading

The next phase. Dawn Editorial Sunday, 31 May, 2009

 FOUR weeks into the military operation in Malakand division, the flow of mixed news continues. Militarily, successes are being achieved; the latest good news is that Mingora has nearly been secured by the army. But on the humanitarian front troubling news continues to pour in: on Friday, the NWFP information minister claimed that the number of IDPs in the northwest has touched 3.4 million, and this at a time when international aid agencies are running short of money and supplies. Overall, the picture that is emerging is one of a reasonably successful military operation set against a humanitarian crisis of staggering proportions. Continue reading

Attack in Lahore – Qui Bono [who benefits]

Mar 9, 2009

Azhar Aslam and Shaista Kazmi (Vision21)

Pakistan is in a classic ‘cry wolf’ situation. Now that the wolf has come one risks shouting about it at the peril of being called paranoid, liar, crazy or conspiracy theorist. But this unfortunate ‘wolf cry’ of the ‘foreign hand’ may have given a room to maneuver and protection to the external players and handlers. Fourteen ( or twelve) gunmen attacked Sri Lankan cricket team and their guards in a coordinated, well planned attack and got away (until now). But fool may be the one who thinks this was a senseless attack with the aim of terrorising ordinary Lahorites. So let us just look at the facts and let everyone draw their own conclusion. The attack has raised many questions which are pertinent and of utmost relevance and must be answered in a forensic manner. Continue reading