The report in a leading US newspaper about links between the ISI and militants, which a CIA official reportedly showed evidence of to Pakistan government members in Islamabad recently, adds a new dimension to the much talked of government move to place the agency under the interior ministry. The same theme is reinforced by the defence minister who informed this publication that President George Bush had expressed displeasure over ISI behaviour in his meeting with the Pakistani prime minister. The Pakistan military has denied a nexus exists between the ISI and terrorists. It seems unlikely this denial has cut much ice in Washington.

While the ill-fated move to place the ISI under the interior ministry has kindled a heated controversy, the latest concerns regarding the role of the outfit, raised in the US, make it imperative that it be placed under some kind of civilian control. It is obviously unfair to expect a government to take responsibility for battling militancy while the country's premier agency backs the outfits engaged in terror. Indeed the consequences are potentially horrendous for all of us who wish to see Pakistan evolve into a modern, progressive state. The fact is that the ISI needs to be brought under check. As civilians we need to know what its role is. So far, the allegations that this role has involved conspiracies within the country, backing for militants in Kashmir and northern areas and other rather dubious policies makes it questionable whether it is working for or against the national interest. US leaders are quite openly now pressing for the agency to be brought into line. Many in the country would agree.

This having been said, the manner in which the notification regarding the change in control over the agency was issued by the government has not helped matters. Indeed it may have made things more difficult for the future. Criticism has also focused around the controversial adviser on interior, under whom the ISI would have fallen had the change gone through and the fact that he is not an elected person. The controversy rages on, with talk now of heads rolling. But all this has meant a basic principle is being completely overlooked as the rant against the government goes on. Looking beyond the issue of an individual and adopting a more institutionalized approach, the ISI, and indeed other secret agencies, need to serve the government and not act as an entity quite beyond the control of parliament. For this, the agency must be brought under the control of the civilian authorities. The suspicion that the ISI operates as a body quite outside the command of civilian set-ups is a key factor in the rumours and conspiracy theories that so often spread through the country, particularly at critical moments. This speculation in turn is often a key destabilizing factor for democratically-eldcted governments.

Over the years, the ISI has grown into an entity that is not answerable to government. As citizens, whose taxes help keep it running, we need to know more about the organization and its operations. After all, in many countries including Britain, there is today far greater transparency than ever before in the running of secret agencies. Looking beyond the ham-handed means adopted by the government, followed by a clumsy effort to present the whole fiasco as a case of misunderstanding, the fact cannot be ignored that there is an urgent need to bring the ISI under civilian control. One must hope that the attempt to do so continues and the government finds a way to achieve this goal by building greater consensus on the issue, keeping in mind the fact that Pakistan must move from a national security state to evolving as a pro-development state, where the needs of citizens take priority over other considerations.

Pakistani Military protect Elite !!!

LATE LAST year Pakistan's military rulers struck a deal allowing the former president, Nawaz Sharif, to avoid corruption charges and flee to Saudi Arabia. His departure shocked people even more than the sudden disappearance of the Sharif family from the political scene. After a year-long propaganda campaign against Sharif, the convict has been set free by government order.

The widespread anger this deal has provoked shows that the reaction from below is brewing against the military junta. Its claims that it came to power to save the country from a rogue prime minister and would cleanse a corrupt political system lie in tatters.

Sharif's exile, George W Bush's US presidential election victory, and the hurdles created to avoid the prosecution of Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet, show that there is no impartial judicial system in the world. The judiciary and other state institutions are manipulated by the ruling classes for their own convenience. Sometimes, powerful sections of the world ruling classes arbitrate in the disputes of another country. In Sharif's case, they arbitrated between different feuding factions of the Pakistani ruling elite.

Sharif's exit has proved that his political philosophy was only to enrich himself and his clan. Once he had run out of political options, he tried to salvage the wealth he had accumulated abroad. One thing is clear: at the time of their departure to Saudi Arabia, the Sharifs were as unpopular as when they were ousted in October 1999. The people object to the way Sharif has been allowed to leave and ask why those who plundered the country have been let off the hook.

At first, the US ambassador denied his government played any role. Now the US administration has confirmed that it was involved. Considering that Sharif signed the Washington statement of July 1999 agreeing to the withdrawal of troops in the Kashmir conflict with India - under pressure from Bill Clinton - the US president could not remain indifferent to his fate. The involvement of the Saudi royal family, with whom Sharif has close personal and business relations, comes as no surprise either.

The power exerted by the US and Saudi Arabia is mainly financial. The primary concern of the military government, on the other hand, is to preserve its rule, so it is prepared to accept the most humiliating deals, indifferent to the feelings of the masses. The people only ever figure in the establishment's considerations when they take to streets and attempts to suppress them fail.

What moves the establishment are its own interests. The ruling class reacts to the pressure exerted by Middle Eastern elites because they support Pakistan's establishment at a time when it is targeted by the West for its nuclear weapons programme, its support for the Afghanistan Taliban, and its confrontations with India. The Middle East supplies oil to Pakistan at cheap prices with deferred payments. These advantageous terms do not benefit the poor masses, of course. They are exclusively used by the ruling classes.

Instead of holding free and fair elections, the establishment always intervenes in the interests of the ruling classes to bring in the leadership of its own liking. This seems to be happening again. The military regime's effort to create a 'moral legitimacy' has come crashing to earth.

Another consequence of Sharif's release is to feed the discontent of the peoples of the smaller nationalities once again. What is the justification behind releasing one set of politicians while keeping those from the smaller provinces in jail? The nationalist parties of the smaller provinces have already started exploiting the ruling military establishment's discriminatory attitude. The Sindhis argue that Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Mohammad Khan Junejo and Benazir Bhutto (three Sindhi former prime ministers), all fell victim to conspiracies hatched by the Punjabi-dominated military establishment. They also point out that the first elected prime minister from Sindh, Zulfikar Bhutto, was sent to the gallows despite repeated calls for clemency by the entire Muslim world. On the other hand, a convicted prime minister from Punjab has been provided a safe exit.

The masses of the smaller provinces think of themselves as a deprived lot and see the 'federation' as taking unjust decisions against them, be it with regard to financial resources or water allocations. The military government's so-called devolution plan has added to their fear that it will further reduce provincial autonomy.

The BBC has linked the decision on Sharif to Pakistan's economic predicament. The military government does not admit this but, given the deteriorating financial situation of the country and the threat of default as a result of the post-nuclear sanctions, it is facing an economic impasse. The junta is increasingly worried of an explosion from below.

It is pertinent to recall the report of the State Bank of Pakistan (July-September 2000), which indicates that inflation has risen and price hikes are inevitable in utilities and petroleum. Efforts to increase tax revenues have fallen significantly short of their targets. The compulsion to rely on Western financial institutions remains. This means the International Monetary Fund dictating low public spending, fewer new jobs (if any), job cuts in sectors being prepared for privatisation, and a higher rate of unemployment which is compounding the already bad job situation, especially for young people.

With the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader, Benazir Bhutto, already in exile, Sharif's flight to Saudi Arabia means that the leaders of the two main 'liberal' parties are now banished from the country. This is a major boost for the religious parties. The political landscape has been cleared exclusively for those who have the support of reactionary Muslim fundamentalist forces. This is a dangerous development for the poor.

The military government will try to install a prime minister of its own choice. The ban on all political activity and the exile of the PPP and Muslim League leaders is a good opportunity for the army to get the desired result because it is easier for them to bargain with the weaker liberal groups and religious parties.

Though it seems that the junta has manoeuvered well to take hold of the political process, it is also the biggest loser in this game. Not all of its problems have been resolved by the Sharif case. The more serious problems are rooted in the feudal-capitalist state structure upheld by the military. The army is an instrument for safeguarding the interests of national and international big business. It makes no real difference who is on the scene, whether that is Sharif, Bhutto or General Musharraf. All of these represent feudal-capitalist class rule.

Sharif's exit has created a political vacuum. The masses are burdened by price hikes and feel betrayed by Sharif's exile but are not taking to the streets because they also distrust the old political leadership. The religious parties will try to exploit this opportunity with the help of their like-minded generals.

The most disappointing aspect is that the old 'left' has abandoned the politics of raising any alternative and have either become part of the bourgeois parties or have sunk into the oblivion of the NGOs (non-governmental organisations). There is a desperate need to build a genuine socialist alternative to the present political and social chaos, the imminent threat of reactionary fundamentalist forces and the danger of the break up of society. That requires building support for a programme aimed at the social, economic and national problems, all of which are intertwined.

A socialist alternative would start from the fact that the junta, religious groups and other feudal-capitalist leaders, like Sharif and Bhutto, have consistently betrayed the Pakistani masses, and convincing the workers and poor that capitalism means unemployment, poverty and wars. The real choice is between the struggle to overthrow capitalism and feudalism or continued poverty and talibanisation (brutal state repression).

A socialist federation of Pakistan would release the resources needed to wipe out social deprivation and poverty. It would create the basis for fulfilling the national aspirations of the smaller nationalities and protecting the rights of all nationalities. Only a genuine socialist alternative with a democratically-elected and accountable leadership can put forward such a programme.

Pakistani Elite !!!

An elite gone berserk !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I think its already too late for failed politicians of Pakistan to save this country for which so many sacrificed, I been saying for years that Pakistan will become another SOMALIA, lets face reality that Army Generals, Politicians, bureaucrats, Mullahs, bourgeois and elite is responsible for destroying Pakistan. Pakistani politicians never had any agenda for developing the country, in this country elite is responsible for keeping people of this country backward and illiterate, where over 40 million people have no education, Islam has never been an issue in Pakistan. The cry of 'Islam in danger' is a powerful weapon and slogan of Pakistani politicians and Army generals. General Zia fully utilized the process of Islamization to achieve his political ends. The whole sprit of Qur’an is dynamic as pointed out by so many great Islamic thinkers like Jamaluddin Afghani, Muhammad Abduh, Sir Syed and Muhammad Iqbal. They waged real jihad against stagnation, dogmatism, ignorance and superstition in the name of Islam. It is highly necessary to revive the spirit of these great Islamic thinkers and activists. Their jihad was real jihad. Their main weapons were knowledge, understanding and constant efforts to change. Iqbal represented this spirit in his much quoted verse which says Firm conviction, constant efforts and overpowering universal love are the weapons of men in jihad of life. This is a challenge for us all Muslims. We must turn into a great opportunity and change the image of Islam in the modern world. Mullhas tell you what happens after death but they never told you how to live in this world, no one cared about education of people, selfish leaders of this country go to USA and WEST and ask for charity and then steal all aid money. Elite use name of Islam for their benefits, Cruel dictator Zia did not hesitate to introduce religious fanaticism for keeping himself in power. Nawaz sharif will do anything to get power, It was democratic government of Pakistan that created Taliban movement and installed Taliban government in Afghanistan. Nawaz Sharif, after meeting Osama bin Laden personally at least three times in Saudi Arabia and receiving a huge donation for reelection campaign, democratically elected government of Pakistan under Nawaz Sharif facilitated relocation of Osama bin Laden from Sudan to Afghanistan in 1996 to prove his (Sharif’s) own confides as a ‘true jehadi’ because Osama had taunted Sharif not being a ‘true jehadi’ in one of the meetings. The existing situations or expansions of Taliban in the regions were due to previous Mulla's govt in Pukhtoon land. It is a shame that Pakistani Army only takes action against criminal Taliban and their leaders when Washington force them, otherwise they have no will and sincerity to shoot these criminals who are involve in crimes against humanity. Pakistan seems to have a majority of moderate Muslims and a minority of crazed, religious fundamentals. Who will prevail??? Hard to say, but the religious wack-jobs definitely seem to operate as they wish. As a result, it's a problem. When extremist distort and totally misinterpret the Prophet Mohammad's teachings, they act like a bunch of crazed teen-agers high on Ecstasy with loaded weapons. It's a shame . But then again people like QAZI HUSSAIN whose son got educated in States, wants sons of poor to take part in his senseless marches and dharnas creates fanatics. Pir Pagara who loves to predict political events keeping his followers without education. All these so called failed politicians wants to be Prime Minister but no one talks about the miseries of people living in Pakistan. None of these so called ignorant politicians talk about education, health, poverty, terrorism, they don’t care about people who are committing suicide because of poverty, people who are selling their kids and kidneys for money. Most of the Politicians lack qualifications, experience and even commitment to tackle the problems of the Country. Politics and power dominates their agenda and real issues of poverty, illiteracy and disease do not fare in their book. Anyone who expects them to lead the country to peace and prosperity must be dreaming. The representatives of the people need to pass certain tests of eligibility. Character, ability, a sense of responsibility and experience are necessary ingredients of that eligibility, but in Pakistani Politics we don’t see that, a lot of these politicians, even can’t sign their names in English or Urdu. Typical Pakistani politicians thinks this following way. 1. They consider themselves higher than their institutions. 2. They believe - or at least that is what they claim - that only they can save the country. 3. Only they know what is right for their parties and for the country. 4. They make “temporary” compromises for their own personal interest. 5. They try to maintain a vacuum of leadership so that the party is identified with them - and no-one else. Where is the discussion about the higher education in Pakistan? How are the top notch scientists, engineers and doctors going to be trained? When will govt start pouring funds into these fields? I don’t really understand whether Pakistan and Pakistanis wants to become a peaceful and hopeful country or not. India, China and Iran are surging ahead in research and development. Pakistan is caught up in political and ideological quagmire. India and China will be super powers by year 2050. Leader means visionary personality who can lead others to achieve certain vision. Pakistan’s condition in over 60 year of its ‘independence is one of tragedy; it is a country which has lost its way and whose politicians care little for its reputation. It is not sufficient to change from military leaders to political leaders without changing the underlying political system. It will not work now, nor has it ever worked in the past. There is no check and balance in Pakistan. What Pakistan therefore needs is clear, a comprehensive change of system not a return to the failed politics of the past and another set of cosmetic leadership changes. Retired General Pervez Musharraf would be most remembered for his failure to change the political landscape of the country. In this he would share the fate of other three generals who attempted to remake the political structure of the country and who failed miserably, all three generals failed to establish a new political order in the country, they did achieve a certain degree of success in destroying Pakistan’s social, economic, and cultural landscape. Ayub Khan’s long reign fortified feudal culture, provided new opportunities to the rich to become richer, and gave unprecedented leverage to the notorious thirty-two families who controlled most of the industrial and agricultural holdings of Pakistan. This concentration of wealth in a few hands deprived the poor and middle classes of any genuine role in the country’s political and social structure. General Zia’s failure to bring any substantial changes in the political culture of Pakistan was primarily due to the fact that he was not really interested in this task; his own survival was his greatest concern. During his long reign, he presided over a process of rapid deterioration of the social fabric of the country and allowed a handful of military generals to amass huge amounts of money. The new power mafia which emerged during his reign brought a culture of drugs and violence even to those segments of Pakistani society where such things were unimaginable until then. General Musharraf has done to Pakistan what no other man has before him: his draconian measures have produced a total break down of Pakistani society in a manner never seen before. It may seem premature to pronounce the final verdict, yet it is absolutely clear that Musharraf’s ruthlessness is responsible for the emergence of unprecedented violence in Pakistan. He also allowed plunder of state resources at a level and of an order not seen before. His attempts to restructure Pakistani politics through exiling political leaders have been an utter failure. He relied on turn coats, just as his predecessors had, but it is a truism that one can only rent the loyalties of Pakistan’s corrupt politicians, they cannot be bought permanently. The rented loyalties are always available for anyone ready to pay higher rents. It cannot be denied that political power and authority were snatched away by the bureaucrats and generals after the assassination of the first Prime Minister of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan, in October 1951.The former US national security advisor, Robert C. McFarlane rightly observed that the democratic system in Pakistan is comprised of "a few families struggling with one another to achieve absolute power and are inevitably, in Lord Acton's phrase, corrupted absolutely." The feudal controllers of the government appear to have a long-term strategy to maintain the status quo by ignoring human resources development and keeping the masses illiterate. Even before independence, the feudal lords blocked spread of education in their respective areas for selfish reasons. Since independence, all governments have without exception, deliberately curbed the spread of literacy. Education has never been a priority with any form of government whether it was a democratic or a military one. Since all governments, including the martial law regimes, solely depended on feudal support, they intentionally suppressed education, a potential threat to the status quo. Ironically, the billionaire club of our ruling elite, that enjoys all the privileges and political clout, does not pay any taxes. Generally, everyone who is some one in Pakistan does not like to pay his or her tax. Despite having declared assets of Rs 676.8 million of the Sharif family, , Nawaz Sharif and his brother, Shahbaz Sharif, filed a zero income tax and deficit wealth tax returns, in1998. According to the tax statements of June 30, 1998, total income tax paid by the 11-member Sharif family was just Rs 0.25 million. The family also paid Rs 0.55 million as wealth tax and 0.13 million as agriculture tax raising the total tax payment of the family to Rs 0.94 million and Nawaz family is not the only political family, there is a long list of other politicians and elite who does not pay tax. One can write thousand of books on selfish, failed Pakistani Generals and politicians, corrupt elite, bourgeois, cruel feudal lords, selfish bureaucratic system, but how to get rid of this selfish group of elite in Pakistan?, The Chinese revolution came about with the collapse of the Manchu dynasty, a result of increasing internal disorders, pressure from foreign governments, and the weakness of central government, that’s what we see in Pakistan today. I think we need a true revolutionary in Pakistan before this country breaks up.
“A great revolution is never the fault of the people, but of the government.” Goethe


What else do you expect if you have pumpkins as your rulers and elite? At this point in time, vicious storms are gathering threateningly on the country’s western borders. After years of calm, the LoC is becoming uncomfortably live too, with the Indians pointing finger at us for the recent spate of bomb blasts in their country and accusing the ISI of the terrorist attack on their Kabul embassy as well. In the tribal belt and the settled areas in the vicinity, the extremists are becoming increasingly aggressive and a law unto themselves, behaving like a sovereign power, dictating terms to the state authorities for peace, and even projecting themselves as the alternative leadership for the Islamabad throne. But how are these elites reacting to all these threats and dangers? By setting deadlines, by announcing long marches, by threatening sit-ins, isn’t it? But what for? For their own self-driven agendas and for their own maddening pursuits of settling personal scores; isn’t it? Have you ever heard any of them ever making some sensible proposal or mooting some wise idea in detail for facing up to these threats? Isn’t it that you hear of only silly noises and populists slogans coming forth from their loud mouths? To cope with all these challenges, a visionary gracing the ranks of the opposition-in-wilderness has a gem of wisdom. Just redraw a new constitution, is his magic recipe. But the sage doesn’t tell how his magic formula would bring about his touted miracle when these challenges are immediate needing instantaneous remedial actions, while framing a constitution anew needs months upon months, if not years, in spite of the best intents and efforts of its framers. And that unbeatable intellectual light and unsurpassable political wizard who has anointed himself as this nation’s spiritual guru and its political guide, Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif, the head honcho of the PML (N), he has only a plaintive refrain to make to address all these existential threats to us. The ruling PPP leadership, he complains, has not taken him and his party into confidence on the moves taken to come to grips with these challenges. And that is it that he has all on this score. What do you make of it if not that his heart is not in these issues, even though of so fundamental import to this country’s existence and its security and stability? He is all obsessed with his blinding madness to avenge his ouster by the retired general and somehow get him and drag him to the gallows. Ludicrously, he has catapulted his obsession into the people’s mandate in the February poll, whereas the people had rejected him outright in Sindh and Balochistan, even in the subsequent bye-elections, and it is only in the NWFP where he could muster up a sprinkling of public vote and in Punjab where his party was though the largest but not even in simple majority. The PPP says, and rightly, that it holds a countrywide people’s mandate, which it secured not for the judges’ reinstatement but for its promise of roti, kapra aur makan. Yes, it did. But where is roti? Has not the runaway food inflation on its watch snatched roti from many more mouths? Has indeed anyone any idea what a piece of roti now costs, what rate a cup of tea sells in a shabby roadside eatery, and what price a plate of pulse is sold at? Does anyone in the PPP, or in the elite, for that matter, know that a labourer from Swabi in Islamabad has to spend more than half of his day’s earning on just his food and the rest he consumes up in the days he finds no work, leaving not even a paisa with him to send home for his hungry children and starving family? Does anyone in this elite nobility knows that he sleeps at night on the pavements, as do numerous labourers who work for a day or two and remain idle for days on end for no job? Has anyone in the gentry strutting on the national political landscape so grandiosely even a slight idea that jobless, hungry and starving pavement sleepers in cities and metropolises alike are multiplying by leaps and bounds in these days? These elites across the spectrum must wake up to the horrendous realities on the ground. If it becomes a Somalia of this country, as it seems heading to terribly, where would they stage their long marches and sit-ins, and to whom will they be setting deadlines to meet? They must change, their politics must change, their rhetoric must change, and their idiom must change before it is too late. A stormy tide is evidently in the making to ferociously sweep away each and all.

C.I.A. Outlines Pakistan Links With Militants

WASHINGTON — A top Central Intelligence Agency official traveled secretly to Islamabad this month to confront Pakistan’s most senior officials with new information about ties between the country’s powerful spy service and militants operating in Pakistan’s tribal areas, according to American military and intelligence officials.

The C.I.A. emissary presented evidence showing that members of the spy service had deepened their ties with some militant groups that were responsible for a surge of violence in Afghanistan, possibly including the suicide bombing this month of the Indian Embassy in Kabul, the officials said.

The decision to confront Pakistan with what the officials described as a new C.I.A. assessment of the spy service’s activities seemed to be the bluntest American warning to Pakistan since shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks about the ties between the spy service and Islamic militants.

The C.I.A. assessment specifically points to links between members of the spy service, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, and the militant network led by Maulavi Jalaluddin Haqqani, which American officials believe maintains close ties to senior figures of Al Qaeda in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

The C.I.A. has depended heavily on the ISI for information about militants in Pakistan, despite longstanding concerns about divided loyalties within the Pakistani spy service, which had close relations with the Taliban in Afghanistan before the Sept. 11 attacks.

That ISI officers have maintained important ties to anti-American militants has been the subject of previous reports in The New York Times. But the C.I.A. and the Bush administration have generally sought to avoid criticism of Pakistan, which they regard as a crucial ally in the fight against terrorism.

The visit to Pakistan by the C.I.A. official, Stephen R. Kappes, the agency’s deputy director, was described by several American military and intelligence officials in interviews in recent days. Some of those who were interviewed made clear that they welcomed the decision by the C.I.A. to take a harder line toward the ISI’s dealings with militant groups.

Pakistan’s prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani, is currently in Washington meeting with Bush administration officials. A White House spokesman, Gordon D. Johndroe, would not say whether President Bush had raised the issue during his meeting on Monday with Mr. Gilani. In an interview broadcast Tuesday on the PBS program “The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer,” Mr. Gilani said he rejected as “not believable” any assertions of ISI’s links to the militants. “We would not allow that,” he said.

The Haqqani network and other militants operating in the tribal areas along the Afghan border are said by American intelligence officials to be responsible for increasingly deadly and complex attacks inside Afghanistan, and to have helped Al Qaeda establish a safe haven in the tribal areas.

Lt. Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the acting commander of American forces in Southwest Asia, made an unannounced visit to the tribal areas on Monday, a further reflection of American concern.

The ISI has for decades maintained contacts with various militant groups in the tribal areas and elsewhere, both for gathering intelligence and as proxies to exert influence on neighboring India and Afghanistan. It is unclear whether the C.I.A. officials have concluded that contacts between the ISI and militant groups are blessed at the highest levels of Pakistan’s spy service and military, or are carried out by rogue elements of Pakistan’s security apparatus.

With Pakistan’s new civilian government struggling to assert control over the country’s spy service, there are concerns in Washington that the ISI may become even more powerful than when President Pervez Musharraf controlled the military and the government. Last weekend, Pakistani military and intelligence officials thwarted an attempt by the government in Islamabad to put the ISI more directly under civilian control.

Mr. Kappes made his secret visit to Pakistan on July 12, joining Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, for meetings with senior Pakistani civilian and military leaders.

“It was a very pointed message saying, ‘Look, we know there’s a connection, not just with Haqqani but also with other bad guys and ISI, and we think you could do more and we want you to do more about it,’ ” one senior American official said of the message to Pakistan. The official was briefed on the meetings; like others who agreed to talk about it, he spoke on condition of anonymity because of the diplomatic delicacy of Mr. Kappes’s message.

The meetings took place days after a suicide bomber attacked the Indian Embassy in Kabul, killing dozens. Afghanistan’s government has publicly accused the ISI of having a hand in the attack, an assertion American officials have not corroborated.

The decision to have Mr. Kappes deliver the message about the spy service was an unusual one, and could be a sign that the relationship between the C.I.A. and the ISI, which has long been marked by mutual suspicion as well as mutual dependence, may be deteriorating.

The trip is reminiscent of a secret visit that the top two American intelligence officials made to Pakistan in January. Those officials — Mike McConnell, the director of national intelligence, and Michael V. Hayden, the C.I.A. director — sought to press Mr. Musharraf to allow the C.I.A. greater latitude to operate in the tribal territories.

It was the ISI, backed by millions of covert dollars from the C.I.A., that ran arms to guerrillas fighting Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s. It is now American troops who are dying in Afghanistan, and intelligence officials believe those longstanding ties between Pakistani spies and militants may be part of an effort to destabilize Afghanistan.

Spokesmen for the White House and the C.I.A. declined to comment about the visit by Mr. Kappes or about the agency’s assessment. A spokesman for Admiral Mullen, Capt. John Kirby, declined to comment on the meetings, saying “the chairman desires to keep these meetings private and therefore it would be inappropriate to discuss any details.”

Admiral Mullen and Mr. Kappes met in Islamabad with several high-ranking Pakistani officials. They included Mr. Gilani; Mr. Musharraf; Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the army chief of staff and former ISI director; and Lt. Gen. Nadeem Taj, the current ISI director.

One American counterterrorism official said there was no evidence of Pakistan’s government’s direct support of Al Qaeda. He said, however, there were “genuine and longstanding concerns about Pakistan’s ties to the Haqqani network, which of course has links to Al Qaeda.”

American commanders in Afghanistan have in recent months sounded an increasingly shrill alarm about the threat posed by Mr. Haqqani’s network. Earlier this year, American military officials pressed the American ambassador in Pakistan, Anne W. Patterson, to get Pakistani troops to strike Haqqani network targets in the tribal areas.

Gen. Dan K. McNeill, the senior NATO commander in Afghanistan until last month, frequently discussed the ISI’s contacts with militant groups with General Kayani, Pakistan’s military chief.

During his visit to the tribal areas on Monday, General Dempsey met with top Pakistani commanders in Miramshah, the capital of North Waziristan, where Pakistan’s 11th Army Corps and Frontier Corps paramilitary force have a headquarters, to discuss the security situation in the region, Pakistani officials said.

North Waziristan, the most lawless of the tribal areas, is a hub of Al Qaeda and other foreign fighters, and the base of operations for the Haqqani network.

On Tuesday, Pakistani security forces raided an abandoned seminary owned by Mr. Haqqani, Pakistani officials said. No arrests were made.

Ahmed Faraz

POSTCARD USA: One for Ahmed Faraz — Khalid Hasan
Daily Times - Site Edition Sunday, July 27, 2008

In 2006, angered by something Faraz had written, the minions of the regime had him and his family evicted from their Islamabad house, their belongings placed on the street. There was a nationwide uproar and the government pulled in its horns but did not apologise

This is Ahmad Faraz’s week as he lies in a Chicago hospital, fighting back, refusing to go gently into the night.

Sometimes prayers do get answered and this may well be one of those moments, because for the first time since July 7 when he entered hospital, he managed this week, with help from his attendants, to actually sit in a chair and remain there sitting for two full hours. But hopes that it could perhaps be the beginning of his journey on the long road to recovery were dashed later in the week when a hospital source described his condition as “irreversible” following the massive stroke he suffered while in hospital.

Poets, Ghalib said, are connected to a world that is not visible to the rest of us. Since that must be so, there have to be powers of which we have neither awareness nor understanding, but could we still hope that they will begin to smile on Faraz, the muse’s favourite son? Such a hope cannot be entertained, going by what one has been told. Are we going to lose Faraz, the supreme poet of romance, whose poetry we have loved and lived with all these years? It is a horrible thought and I want to banish it.

There is little doubt that there are few love letters written in long, stealthy hand by shy girls that do not bear one or more of Faraz’s verses. Challenged once at a mushaira held to honour protesting women to recite poetry dedicated to women, Faraz replied, “But all my poetry is dedicated to women.” Such a lover of the finer things in life needs must live and provide sweetness and light to what Faiz called “this land of yellow leaves”.

Ahmed Faraz is a national treasure and although he does not believe in kings or the succession system, let it be said that if there is one successor to Faiz, it is none other than Faraz. Like Faiz he has endured much persecution and received much love. Last year, and not for the first time, Faraz was persecuted by the regime of “enlightened moderation”.

In Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s time, which of all times should have been and in many ways was, Faraz’s, he was suspended from service by Maulana Kausar Niazi for a single verse of his that asked the books that advocate hate in the name of religion to be cast aside once for all. This misstep was soon corrected.

Faraz suffered imprisonment and persecution under Zia and was so heartbroken that he left the country like Faiz and lived in exile for six years. His great poem Mohasra (The Siege) remains one of the most powerful indictments of military rule. Who else but Faraz could have written: Peshavar qatilo tum sipahi nahin (Soldiers you are not, you professional assassins).

There can be no question that Faraz is also the greatest romantic Urdu poet of our times. But why do we treat our best and brightest so disgracefully, we should sometimes ask ourselves. Faiz was hounded all his life, except during the Bhutto years. Habib Jalib was jailed more than once. Ustad Daman was hunted as if he were a criminal. The progressive writers’ movement and its members were singled out for imprisonment and persecution as soon as Pakistan came into being. Why?

In 2006, angered by something Faraz had written, the minions of the regime had him and his family evicted from their Islamabad house, their belongings placed on the street. There was a nationwide uproar and the government pulled in its horns but did not apologise. Last year, Faraz was dismissed from his post as head of the National Book Foundation on the orders of “Shortcut” Aziz, Citibank’s gift to Pakistan. He is now gone but that infamous act is what he will forever be remembered for.

Faraz has always had the courage to remain to the left of every military regime, while many of our leading literary lights have taken the path of least resistance and keeled over. Faraz said in an interview last year, “I am against dictatorship and military rule. The time has not yet arrived when I should escape from the country out of fear. I will stay home and fight.” Faraz remained involved in the movement to restore the illegally dismissed judges and used his influence to persuade fellow writers to join the protest.

Asked once, when Zia was in power, why he had left Pakistan, he replied that he was in Karachi when an order was served on him, externing him from the province of Sindh. “I said to myself, ‘What have we come to when a man is exiled from his own land! Today, it is Karachi, tomorrow it will be Peshawar, the day after, Lahore. That is when I decided to leave.’”

He also returned the Hilal-i-Imtiaz conferred on him. When asked why he had kept it for two years, he replied, “Do you think it laid eggs in those two years?” I know of no one who can match Faraz’s wit. Let me recount some vintage Faraz stories.

One day Faraz heard loud banging at his door. He rose hurriedly to open it, only to see four or five bearded men in white skullcaps. “Can you recite the Kalima?” one asked. “Why, has it changed?” Faraz inquired.

Once when Faraz was staying at a Karachi hotel, Kishwar Naheed landed there with two of her women friends and announced as soon as they entered the room that they were all famished. Faraz picked up the phone and told room service, “Please send up some sand. The witches are already here.”

Faraz was once asked about the difference between Pakistan in 1947 and Pakistan today. “In 1947, the name of the Muslim League president was Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Today it is Chaudhry Gujrat Hussain.”

And then there is this Faraz story. A man is walking through a jungle on a dark night, when he is startled by a rustling noise in the bushes. “Who is that?” he asks, frightened. “An evil spirit,” answers a woman’s sweet voice. “Then come and possess me, what are you waiting for!” he says.

Husain Haqqani, who remembers more of Faraz than perhaps Faraz himself, phoned to tell me midweek that he had called Asif Zardari and the government was going to take care of the Chicago hospital expenses. All three, Zardari, Gilani and he, had also sent Faraz flowers. “Recite me two of your favourite Faraz verses,” I asked him. Here is what he recited:

Ye kaisa vasl hai tu samnay hai aur hamain

Shumar ab se judai ki saa’tain karnain

Ye kya ke sub se bayan dil ki haaltain karnain

Faraz tum ko na aayain mohabattain karnain

(What a union of ours is this! Here you are sitting across from me and here I am, already counting the moments of separation. You speak to all the world of what your heart is going through: Faraz, you never did learn how to love.”)

In an interview for VOR, Shakh Mahmud Neck just back from Afghanistan says that the country urgently needs international assistance to embark on peaceful nation building. Kabul, microcosm of the entire country, best illustrates the crying need for help, said Shakh.

The situation in Afghanistan has not improved since the entry of coalition forces in 2001; rather, things have gone from bad to worse. Last year, a record 8.200 tons of opium puppies was gathered in the country and the UN forecast future increase Internal squabbling is out of control and bearing the brunt of it are Afghan civilians and foreign experts working in Afghanistan. Against this distressing backdrop, none of the fundamental problems have been solved, said Mahmud Neck. .

The situation is bad; Kabul is in ruins, said Neck, saying that the major problem in the country now is high unemployment. The youth can/t find work and cost of living keeps soaring. Kabul is a squalid city; refuse remains piled up, dirt everywhere, including presidential palace. Disabled children and women solicit for alms in the streets; Kabul is not fit for human habitation. On seeing such depressing picture, any sober minded person experiences shock. There is no evidence of the huge financial help by the world community that the world press has trumpeted about for a long time.

There is no security in Kabul, laments Neck who in three weeks saw the burning of convoys of 30 to 60 vehicles on the Kabul-Kandahar road; they included petrol tankers. The blast in front of the Indian Embassy which killed about 60 people was particularly horrendous and gory. Explosions happen in Kabul and other towns with frightening regularity. So-called peacekeepers live behind well protected compounds, shielded against bomb blasts.

In three weeks, Mahmud Neck saw five times armoured troop carriers speeding across Kabul . Soldiers shoot indiscriminately at civilians, mortally afraid of ubiquitous Taliban. Homes of civilians and police stations have recently been bombed by soldiers and ordinary Afghans believe that coalition forces came to their country to destroy Afghan customs, culture and religion. When children, women and the aged are mowed down in cold blood, the question arises as to why the coalition troops came to Afghanistan, said Mahmud Neck.

A Pentagon source has said that President George W. Bush is considering sending extra troops to Afghanistan to beef up the current 36 thousand strong contingents, half of who is under NATO command. Afghanistan really needs international help, but not men and women in uniform but civilians to help rebuild the country’s economy and collapsing infrastructure.

Obama on Iran, Syria, J'lem and settlements

Jul. 24, 2008
Two months ago in the Oval Office, President George W. Bush, coming to the end of a two-term presidency and presumably as expert on Israeli-Palestinian policy as he is ever going to be, was accompanied by a team of no fewer than five advisers and spokespeople during a 40-minute interview with this writer and three other Israeli journalists.

In March, on his whirlwind visit to Israel, Republican presidential nominee John McCain, one of whose primary strengths is said to be his intimate grasp of foreign affairs, chose to bring along Sen. Joe Lieberman to the interview our diplomatic correspondent Herb Keinon and I conducted with him, looked to Lieberman several times for reassurance on his answers and seemed a little flummoxed by a question relating to the nuances of settlement construction.

On Wednesday evening, toward the end of his packed one-day visit here, Barack Obama, the Democratic senator who is leading the race for the White House and who lacks long years of foreign policy involvement, spoke to The Jerusalem Post with only a single aide in his King David Hotel room, and that aide's sole contribution to the conversation was to suggest that the candidate and I switch seats so that our photographer would get better lighting for his pictures.

Several of Obama's Middle East advisers - including former Clinton special envoy Dennis Ross and ex-ambassador to Israel Daniel Kurtzer - were hovering in the vicinity. But Obama, who was making only his second visit to Israel, knew precisely what he wanted to say about the most intricate issues confronting and concerning Israel, and expressed himself clearly, even stridently on key subjects.

There is a limit to what can be gauged of a politician's views as expressed in a relatively short interview at the height of an election campaign. But Obama, who chose to give the Post one of the only two formal sit-down interviews he conducted during his visit, was clearly conveying a carefully formulated message - and it was striking in several areas.

He sought to sound resolute on thwarting Iran's nuclear drive, while insisting on the need to "exhaust every avenue" before the military option. He was optimistic on the prospects of potential Syrian moderation. He was succinct and blunt on Jerusalem - and distinctly different from the "poor phrasing" of his "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel and it must remain undivided" comments during his address to AIPAC's policy conference last month. And most notably, he was explicit and unsympathetic on the matter of West Bank settlement.

Speaking to the Post six months and a political lifetime ago in January, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert declared that the unique advantage of trying to reach an accord with the Palestinians during the Bush administration stemmed from the fact that while even Israel's best friends, when they envision the permanent dimensions of our country, think of Israel "in terms of the '67 borders," Bush "has already said '67-plus.' He's the only president who has ever said that... And that's an amazing achievement for Israel."

In the Knesset on Monday, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, a self-declared lifelong friend of Israel, underlined the point by setting out the "fundamentals" of a final-status accord involving "a two-state solution based on 1967 borders."

And on Wednesday evening, Obama answered my question about whether Israel has a right to try and maintain a presence in the West Bank, for security, religious, historic or other reasons, with a vigor and detail that also seemed to confirm Olmert's assessment of where conventional friendly wisdom stands and that expanded significantly on his brief settlement remarks in the AIPAC speech.

The 46-year-old senator, who must have been exhausted after a day's shuttling between Yad Vashem, Beit Hanassi, Ramallah and Sderot, with a prime ministerial dinner still ahead of him and Europe beckoning the next day, was personable and gracious, nonetheless, calling out to Post photographer Ariel Jerozolimski and me that he was just going to put his tie on and then striding down the corridor to greet us.

He spoke softly and deliberately, and though the interview was brief and there was, of course, much more to ask the front-runner in the race to lead the free world, his answers, transcribed here in full, offer considerable insight into his would-be presidential attitude to Israel and the region... and considerable food for thought.

Can you assure the people of Israel, and beyond, that as president you will prevent Iran attaining nuclear weapons?

What I can do is assure that I will do everything in my power as president to prevent Iran attaining nuclear weapons. And I think that begins with engaging in tough, direct talks with Iran, sending a clear message to Iran that they shouldn't wait for the next administration but should start engaging in the P5 process [involving the five permanent members of the UN Security Council] that's taking place right now, and elevating this to the top of our national security priorities, so that we are mobilizing the entire international community, including Russia and China, on this issue.

One of the failures, I think, of our approach in the past has been to use a lot of strong rhetoric but not follow through with the kinds of both carrots and sticks that might change the calculus of the Iranian regime. But I have also said that I would not take any options off the table, including military.

How do you address the concern that the Iranians, even in the "tough negotiations" that you envisage, will play you for time while moving towards a nuclear capability? Ahmadinejad said today, "We're not pulling back... not one iota." They are very adamant.

I think it is important in mobilizing the international community to make clear that this is not just a game that we're playing, but this is of the utmost seriousness - to send messages to Russia and China that in our bilateral relationships this is a top priority, not just a secondary priority. And one of my strong beliefs is that, to the extent that we are showing a willingness to negotiate but are very clear and direct in our goals, and are displaying a sense of urgency - that if the Iranians fail to respond, we've stripped away whatever excuses they may have, [and] whatever rationales may exist in the international community for not ratcheting up sanctions and taking serious action.

There'd be a very limited time for that kind of approach?

Time is of the essence in this situation.

You told AIPAC that the Israeli strike on Syria last year was "entirely justified to end that threat." Would you support an Israeli strike at Iranian facilities in the coming months if Israel felt it had no choice but to act?

My goal is to avoid being confronted with that hypothetical. I've said in the past and I will repeat that Israelis, and Israelis alone have to make decisions about their own security. But the grave consequences of either doing nothing or initiating a potential war with Iran are such that we want to do everything we can, to exhaust every avenue to avoid that option.

You've said on this trip that you want to work for an Israeli-Palestinian accommodation from the minute you're sworn in, so let me ask you about the thesis that there is no prospect of Palestinian moderation prevailing and enabling a peace process to really move forward until Iran's nuclear drive has been thwarted - that so long as the Teheran-backed extremists of Hamas and so on feel that they are in the ascendant, the moderates can't prevail and that the whole region is now in this kind of holding mode.

I think there is no doubt that there is a connection between Iran's strengthening over the last couple of years, partly because some strategic errors have been made on the part of the West. And [the same goes for] the increasing boldness of Hizbullah and Hamas. But I don't think that's the only factor and criterion in the lack of progress.

Hamas's victory in the [Palestinian Authority] election can partly be traced to a sense of frustration among the Palestinian people over how Fatah, over a relatively lengthy period of time, had failed to deliver basic services. I get a strong impression that [PA President Mahmoud] Abbas and [Prime Minister Salaam] Fayad are doing everything they can to address some of those systemic failures by the Palestinian Authority. The failures of Hamas in Gaza to deliver an improved quality of life for their people give pause to the Palestinians to think that pursuing that approach automatically assures greater benefits.

You know, look, I arrive at this with no illusions as to the difficulty in terms of what is required. But I think it's important for us to keep working at it, frankly, because Israel's security and peace in the region depend on it.

There's been some back and forth on your position on Jerusalem. So as editor of The Jerusalem Post, I need to ask you: Do you support Israel's current claim to sovereignty throughout the city, or should Jerusalem also come to constitute the capital of a Palestinian state?

I believe that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel. But I think that how Israel and the Palestinians resolve this issue is a final-status issue. It needs to be left up to the two parties.

Tell me about Syria: Israel is now in indirect talks with Syria. Would you as president directly re-engage with Damascus even if it hadn't changed its position on hosting terror groups and so on?

My general view is that initiating direct contacts between the United States and other countries is a generally smart practice - if nothing else just to get better intelligence on what they are thinking, on what their approaches are, what their calculations are, what their interests are. I think that based on conversations I've had here in Israel as well as conversations with leaders elsewhere in the region, there is the possibility at least that the Syrian government genuinely seeks to break out of the isolation. What price they are willing to pay to break out of that isolation, is an unanswered question. It's worth exploring.

And if in fact there are some genuine signals that Syria is willing to drive out terrorists in their midst, shut down the arms flow into Lebanon, or to otherwise engage in more responsible behavior, I think it could be a shift in the region that would be extremely advantageous. And the United States should partner with Israel as well as moderate forces in the Palestinian community to pursue that.

The American position has been blanketly opposed to settlement construction. Do you think Israel has a right to try and maintain a presence in the West Bank - for security, religious, historic or other reasons?

I think that Israel should abide by previous agreements and commitments that have been made, and aggressive settlement construction would seem to violate the spirit at least, if not the letter, of agreements that have been made previously.

Israel's security concerns, I think, have to be taken into account, via negotiation. I think the parties in previous discussions have stated that settlement construction doesn't necessarily contribute to that enhanced security. I think there are those who would argue that the more settlements there are, the more Israel has to invest in protecting those settlements and the more tensions arise that may undermine Israel's long-term security.

Ultimately, though, these are part of the discussions that have to take place between the parties. But I think that, based on what's previously been said, for Israel to make sure that it is aligned with those previous statements is going to be helpful to the process.

The current Israeli prime minister told me in an interview a few months ago that the great advantage of the Bush administration on that issue was that they looked at Israel on the basis of "67-plus" - that their starting point was that maybe Israel can expect or deserve support for a slightly larger sovereign presence than the pre-1967 Israel. Do you think of Israel in its final-status incarnation on the basis of "67-plus"?

Look, I think that both sides on this equation are going to have to make some calculations. Israel may seek "67-plus" and justify it in terms of the buffer that they need for security purposes. They've got to consider whether getting that buffer is worth the antagonism of the other party.

The Palestinians are going to have to make a calculation: Are we going to fight for every inch of that '67 border or, given the fact that 40 years have now passed, and new realities have taken place on the ground, do we take a deal that may not perfectly align with the '67 boundaries?

My sense is that both sides recognize that there's going to have to be some give. The question from my perspective is can the parties move beyond a rigid, formulaic or ideological approach and take a practical approach that looks at the larger picture and says, "What's going to be the best way for us to achieve security and peace?"

How should the free world tackle the threat of Islamic extremism, the "death cult" ideology that holds that the finest thing you can do for your god is kill and be killed?

There are a number of different aspects. Our first approach has to be to capture or kill those who are so steeped in that ideology that we're not going to convert them. Bin-Laden is not going to change his mind suddenly. So we have to be very aggressive in simply rolling up those terrorist networks that have been set up and that adhere to those views.

I would argue that the number of Muslims who both embrace and act on that ideology is relatively low. There's then a larger circle, there's a broader part of the Muslim world that is fundamentalist, but is not wedded to violence. The key in dealing with that aspect of Islam is to help them reconcile modernity to their faith. A lot of times their gripe is not with the West per se, but with the forces of modern life and globalization that is disruptive to their views of what their faith means.

And I think that lifting up models of countries that have found accommodation between Islam and a modern economy, globalization, diversity of cultures...

Countries such as?

A country like Jordan has gone a long way in moving in that direction. A country like Indonesia, which I lived in as a child for four years, has a strong tradition of tolerance of diversity. And although there was a certain period of time when a fundamentalist strain of terrorism infected the culture, that's not its core.

A final aspect of this is recognizing that the population explosion of uneducated young men and women who are impoverished is always dangerous in any society. And that helps fuel and feed Islamic radicalism, even if there is not a direct correlation.

I recognize that many of the perpetrators of terrorist acts aren't poor; often times [they] come from middle class or even upper class families. [But] there's no doubt that the tolerance or the acceptance of extremism among the broader population is often fuelled by frustration and a sense of no prospects for the future.

To the extent that we can work with countries like Egypt, or countries like Jordan, to assure that the youth that are coming up have avenues that allow them to prosper... We're not going to end this, to eliminate terrorism entirely. There's always going to have to be a part of our strategy that involves force. But I think that we can shrink the appeal of that ideology in a way that makes an enormous difference.

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Once again Puktoons are target of genocide,Talibans supported by Punjabi mafia and Pakistani ISI are crushing puktoons like we pukhtoons are not human beings or Muslims,today Talibans see all the evil in Pukhtoonistan but it seems like Punjab is pure,Pukhtoons are not terrorists,pukhtoons are Muslims and knows how to deal with religion and politics,Pukhtoons are more liberal then Punjabis.There is a conspiracy against Pukhtoons,Punjabi chief minister is bust working for the welfare of punjabis but chief minister of pukhtoonistan is being forced to deal with thugs of ALQUIDA.

Pakistan and the "Global War on Terrorism"

Todays Talibans,who were freedom fighters during REAGON/ZIA GOVTS.
By Prof. Michel Chossudovsky
"The new Pakistani general [Musharraf], he`s just been elected -- not elected, this guy took over office. It appears this guy is going to bring stability to the country, and I think that`s good news for the subcontinent." (George W. Bush, 1999)
"In Afghanistan, the freedom fighters are the key to peace. We support the Mujahadeen..." (President Ronald Reagan, Seventh State of the Union Address, January 1988).
The assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto must be understood in a historical context. Since the late 1970s, successive US administrations have contributed to repealing the Rule of Law, destroying Pakistani institutions of civilian and secular government and instating military rule.
During the Cold War and its aftermath, the repeal of democracy and the militarization of the Pakistani State have served US foreign policy objectives. Pakistan is a geopolitical hub from which US sponsored military and covert intelligence operations have been launched.
Pakistan is part of South Asia, at a strategic crossroads, bordering onto the Middle East, Central Asia and the former Soviet republics and within proximity of China`s Western frontier.
Benazir`s father, Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, leader of the Pakistan`s People`s Party (PPP) was deposed in a military coup d`Etat on July 5, 1977, which spearheaded Pakistan into a process of virtually uninterrupted military rule. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was subsequently executed, in a judicial assassination, on the orders of the US sponsored military junta.
Under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a secular postcolonial government had developed. Economic nationalism was promoted. The Pakistan People`s Party (PPP) government, which had the support of a large majority of the electorate, was committed to a broad program of economic, social an institutional reforms.
From his early days as foreign minister in the 1960s, Bhutto had called for an independent and non-aligned foreign policy, free of US encroachment as well as the closing down of US military bases. In the course of the 1970s, a nationalization program of key industries under the PPP government was carried out, which undermined the interests of multinational capital.
In the Aftermath of the 1977 Military Coup
Following the 1977 military coup, the structures of democratic government were dismantled. The Constitution was abolished and martial law was established under the rule of General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq who became President in 1978.
The postcolonial political process had been reversed. At the outset of the Zia-ul-Haq regime, the populist PPP nationalization and agrarian reforms of the Bhutto era were reversed and undone.
In turn, the new military rulers sought, with Washington`s support, to undermine the secular structures of the Pakistani State.
Islamism became embedded in the functioning of the State under military rule. The tenets of "Islamic fundamentalism" sponsored by US intelligence were adopted by the military dictatorship of General Zia, with a view to undermining the structures of civilian government and the Rule of Law.
In 1980, the Parliament was replaced by a bogus consultative assembly, the Majlis-e-Shoora composed of scholars and professionals, all of whom were appointed by President Zia. A reign of terror marked by arbitrary arrests and imprisonment was installed in the name of Islam.
State violence under military rule supported the concurrent implementation of "free market" reforms under the helm of the IMF and the World Bank. IMF sponsored macro-economic reforms contributed to destroying the fabric of Pakistan`s economy. The external debt spiraled. Poverty became rampant. The commercial banking system was largely taken over by Western financial institutions.
Since 1977, a military dictatorship has largely prevailed. The short-lived democratically elected governments of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif did not, in a meaningful way, break the continuity of authoritarian military rule. Both Sharif and Bhutto served US interests and accepted the economic diktats of the IMF and the World Bank.
Pakistan`s Role in the Soviet-Afghan War
The Soviet-Afghan war was part of a CIA covert agenda initiated during the Carter administration, which consisted in actively supporting and financing the Islamic brigades, later known as Al Qaeda. The Pakistani military regime played from the outset in the late 1970s, a key role in US sponsored military and intelligence operations in Afghanistan. in the post-Cold war era, this central role of Pakistan in US intelligence operations was extended to the broader Central Asia- Middle East region.
The 1977 military coup in Pakistan, leading to the demise of the PPP government of Ali Bhutto, was a precondition for the launching of the CIA`s covert war in Afghanistan.
In April 1978, the People`s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA), seized power in Afghanistan in a popular insurrection directed against the dictatorship of President Mohammed Daud Khan. The PDPA government instigated a land reform program, expanded education and health programs and actively supported women`s rights. Afghanistan`s relationship with the Soviet Union was also strengthened.
The CIA`s covert operation was intended to undermine and ultimately destroy the PDPA government, while also curtailing the influence of the Soviet Union in Central Asia. CIA covert support to the Islamic brigades was also instrumental in destroying the foundations of secular civilian government.
From the outset of the Soviet Afghan war in 1979, Pakistan under military rule actively supported the Islamic brigades. In close liaison with the CIA, Pakistan`s military intelligence, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), became a powerful organization, a parallel government, wielding tremendous power and influence.
America`s covert war in Afghanistan, using Pakistan as a launch pad, was initiated during the Carter administration prior to the Soviet "invasion":
Acording to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahideen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention." (Former National Security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, Interview with Nouvel Observateur, 15-21 January 1998)
In the published memoirs of Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who held the position of deputy CIA Director at the height of the Soviet Afghan war, US intelligence was directly involved from the outset, prior to the Soviet invasion, in channeling aid to the Islamic brigades.
With CIA backing and the funneling of massive amounts of U.S. military aid, the Pakistani ISI had developed into a "parallel structure wielding enormous power over all aspects of government". (Dipankar Banerjee, "Possible Connection of ISI With Drug Industry", India Abroad, 2 December 1994). The ISI had a staff composed of military and intelligence officers, bureaucrats, undercover agents and informers, estimated at 150,000. (Ibid)
Meanwhile, CIA operations had also reinforced the Pakistani military regime led by General Zia Ul Haq:
Relations between the CIA and the ISI had grown increasingly warm following [General] Zia`s ouster of Bhutto and the advent of the military regime. … During most of the Afghan war, Pakistan was more aggressively anti-Soviet than even the United States. Soon after the Soviet military invaded Afghanistan in 1980, Zia [ul Haq] sent his ISI chief to destabilize the Soviet Central Asian states. The CIA only agreed to this plan in October 1984.(Ibid)
The ISI operating virtually as an affiliate of the CIA, played a central role in channeling support to Islamic paramilitary groups in Afghanistan and subsequently in the Muslim republics of the former Soviet Union.
Acting on behalf of the CIA, the ISI was also involved in the recruitment and training of the Mujahideen. In the ten year period from 1982 to 1992, some 35,000 Muslims from 43 Islamic countries were recruited to fight in the Afghan jihad. The madrassas in Pakistan, financed by Saudi charities, were also set up with US support with a view to "inculcating Islamic values". "The camps became virtual universities for future Islamic radicalism," (Ahmed Rashid, The Taliban). Guerilla training under CIA-ISI auspices included targeted assassinations and car bomb attacks.
Weapons` shipments "were sent by the Pakistani army and the ISI to rebel camps in the North West Frontier Province near the Afghanistan border. The governor of the province is Lieutenant General Fazle Haq, who [according to Alfred McCoy] . allowed "hundreds of heroin refineries to set up in his province." Beginning around 1982, Pakistani army trucks carrying CIA weapons from Karachi often pick up heroin in Haq`s province and return loaded with heroin. They are protected from police search by ISI papers. (1982-1989: US Turns Blind Eye to BCCI and Pakistani Government Involvement in Heroin Trade See also McCoy, 2003, p. 477) .

Osama Bin Laden:::

Osama bin Laden, America`s bogyman, was recruited by the CIA in 1979 at the very outset of the US sponsored jihad. He was 22 years old and was trained in a CIA sponsored guerilla training camp.
During the Reagan administration, Osama, who belonged to the wealthy Saudi Bin Laden family was put in charge of raising money for the Islamic brigades. Numerous charities and foundations were created. The operation was coordinated by Saudi intelligence, headed by Prince Turki al-Faisal, in close liaison with the CIA. The money derived from the various charities were used to finance the recruitment of Mujahieen volunteers. Al Qaeda, the base in Arabic was a data bank of volunteers who had enlisted to fight in the Afghan jihad. That data base was initially held by Osama bin Laden.
The Reagan Administration supports "Islamic Fundamentalism"
Pakistan`s ISI was used as a "go-between". CIA covert support to the Mujahideen in Afghanistan operated indirectly through the Pakistani ISI, --i.e. the CIA did not channel its support directly to the Mujahideen. In other words, for these covert operations to be "successful", Washington was careful not to reveal the ultimate objective of the "jihad", which consisted in destroying the Soviet Union.
In December 1984, the Sharia Law (Islamic jurisprudence) was established in Pakistan following a rigged referendum launched by President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq. Barely a few months later, in March 1985, President Ronald Reagan issued National Security Decision Directive 166 (NSDD 166), which authorized "stepped-up covert military aid to the Mujahideen" as well a support to religious indoctrination.
The imposition of The Sharia in Pakistan and the promotion of "radical Islam" was a deliberate US policy serving American geopolitical interests in South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. Many present-day "Islamic fundamentalist organizations" in the Middle East and Central Asia, were directly or indirectly the product of US covert support and financing, often channeled through foundations from Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States. Missions from the Wahhabi secto of conservative Islam in Saudi Arabia were put in charge of running the CIA sponsored madrassas in Northern Pakistan.
Under NSDD 166, a series of covert CIA-ISI operations was launched.

The US supplied weapons to the Islamic brigades through the ISI. CIA and ISI officials would meet at ISI headquarters in Rawalpindi to coordinate US support to the Mujahideen. Under NSDD 166, the procurement of US weapons to the Islamic insurgents increased from 10,000 tons of arms and ammunition in 1983 to 65,000 tons annually by 1987. "In addition to arms, training, extensive military equipment including military satellite maps and state-of-the-art communications equipment" (University Wire, 7 May 2002).

Ronald Reagan meets Afghan Mujahideen Commanders at the White House in 1983 (Reagan Archives)
With William Casey as director of the CIA, NSDD 166 was described as the largest covert operation in US history:

The U.S. supplied support package had three essential components-organization and logistics, military technology, and ideological support for sustaining and encouraging the Afghan resistance....
U.S. counterinsurgency experts worked closely with the Pakistan`s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in organizing Mujahideen groups and in planning operations inside Afghanistan.
... But the most important contribution of the U.S. was to ... bring in men and material from around the Arab world and beyond. The most hardened and ideologically dedicated men were sought on the logic that they would be the best fighters. Advertisements, paid for from CIA funds, were placed in newspapers and newsletters around the world offering inducements and motivations to join the Jihad. (Pervez Hoodbhoy, Afghanistan and the Genesis of the Global Jihad, Peace Research, 1 May 2005)
Religious Indoctrination

Under NSDD 166, US assistance to the Islamic brigades channeled through Pakistan was not limited to bona fide military aid. Washington also supported and financed by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the process of religious indoctrination, largely to secure the demise of secular institutions:
... the United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings, part of covert attempts to spur resistance to the Soviet occupation.
The primers, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then as the Afghan school system`s core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books,..
The White House defends the religious content, saying that Islamic principles permeate Afghan culture and that the books "are fully in compliance with U.S. law and policy." Legal experts, however, question whether the books violate a constitutional ban on using tax dollars to promote religion.
... AID officials said in interviews that they left the Islamic materials intact because they feared Afghan educators would reject books lacking a strong dose of Muslim thought. The agency removed its logo and any mention of the U.S. government from the religious texts, AID spokeswoman Kathryn Stratos said.
"It`s not AID`s policy to support religious instruction," Stratos said. "But we went ahead with this project because the primary purpose . . . is to educate children, which is predominantly a secular activity."
... Published in the dominant Afghan languages of Dari and Pashtun, the textbooks were developed in the early 1980s under an AID grant to the University of Nebraska -Omaha and its Center for Afghanistan Studies. The agency spent $ 51 million on the university`s education programs in Afghanistan from 1984 to 1994." (Washington Post, 23 March 2002)
The Role of the NeoCons
There is continuity. The architects of the covert operation in support of "Islamic fundamentalism" launched during the Reagan presidency played a key role in role in launching the "Global War on Terrorism" in the wake of 9/11.
Several of the NeoCons of the Bush Junior Administration were high ranking officials during the Reagan presidency.
Richard Armitage, was Deputy Secretary of State during George W. Bush`s first term (2001-2004). He played a central key role in post 9/11 negotiations with Pakistan leading up to the October 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. During the Reagan era, he held the position of Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy. In this capacity, he played a key role in the implementation of NSDD 163 while also ensuring liaison with the Pakistani military and intelligence apparatus.
Meanwhile, Paul Wolfowitz was at the State Department in charge of a foreign policy team composed, among others, of Lewis Libby, Francis Fukuyama and Zalmay Khalilzad.
Wolfowitz`s group was also involved in laying the conceptual groundwork of US covert support to Islamic parties and organizations in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Bush`s Secretary of Defence Robert Gates also was also involved in setting the groundwork for CIA covert operations. He was appointed Deputy Director for Intelligence by Ronald Reagan in 1982, and Deputy Director of the CIA in 1986, a position which he held until 1989. Gates played a key role in the formulation of NSDD 163, which established a consistent framework for promoting Islamic fundamentalism and channeling covert support to the Islamic brigades. He was also involved in the Iran Contra scandal.
The Iran Contra Operation
Richard Gates, Colin Powell and Richard Armitage, among others, were also involved in the Iran-Contra operation.
Armitage was in close liaison with Colonel Oliver North. His deputy and chief anti-terrorist official Noel Koch was part of the team set up by Oliver North.
Of significance, the Iran-Contra operation was also tied into the process of channeling covert support to the Islamic brigades in Afghanistan. The Iran Contra scheme served several related foreign policy:
1) procurement of weapons to Iran thereby feeding the Iraq-Iran war,

2) support to the Nicaraguan Contras,

3) support to the Islamic brigades in Afghanistan, channeled via Pakistan`s ISI.

Following the delivery of the TOW anti-tank missiles to Iran, the proceeds of these sales were deposited in numbered bank accounts and the money was used to finance the Nicaraguan Contras. and the Mujahideen:

"The Washington Post reported that profits from the Iran arms sales were deposited in one CIA-managed account into which the U.S. and Saudi Arabia had placed $250 million apiece. That money was disbursed not only to the contras in Central America but to the rebels fighting Soviet troops in Afghanistan." (US News & World Report, 15 December 1986).
Although Lieutenant General Colin Powell, was not directly involved in the arms` transfer negotiations, which had been entrusted to Oliver North, he was among "at least five men within the Pentagon who knew arms were being transferred to the CIA." (The Record, 29 December 1986). In this regard, Powell was directly instrumental in giving the "green light" to lower-level officials in blatant violation of Congressional procedures. According to the New York Times, Colin Powell took the decision (at the level of military procurement), to allow the delivery of weapons to Iran:
Hurriedly, one of the men closest to Secretary of Defense Weinberger, Maj. Gen. Colin Powell, bypassed the written ``focal point system`` procedures and ordered the Defense Logistics Agency [responsible for procurement] to turn over the first of 2,008 TOW missiles to the CIA., which acted as cutout for delivery to Iran" (New York Times, 16 February 1987)

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was also implicated in the Iran-Contra Affair.

The Golden Crescent Drug Trade

The history of the drug trade in Central Asia is intimately related to the CIA`s covert operations. Prior to the Soviet-Afghan war, opium production in Afghanistan and Pakistan was directed to small regional markets. There was no local production of heroin. (Alfred McCoy, Drug Fallout: the CIA`s Forty Year Complicity in the Narcotics Trade. The Progressive, 1 August 1997).

Alfred McCoy`s study confirms that within two years of the onslaught of the CIA operation in Afghanistan, "the Pakistan-Afghanistan borderlands became the world`s top heroin producer." (Ibid) Various Islamic paramilitary groups and organizations were created. The proceeds of the Afghan drug trade, which was protected by the CIA, were used to finance the various insurgencies:
"Under CIA and Pakistani protection, Pakistan military and Afghan resistance opened heroin labs on the Afghan and Pakistani border. According to The Washington Post of May 1990, among the leading heroin manufacturers were Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, an Afghan leader who received about half of the covert arms that the U.S. shipped to Pakistan. Although there were complaints about Hekmatyar`s brutality and drug trafficking within the ranks of the Afghan resistance of the day, the CIA maintained an uncritical alliance and supported him without reservation or restraint.
Once the heroin left these labs in Pakistan`s northwest frontier, the Sicilian Mafia imported the drugs into the U.S., where they soon captured sixty percent of the U.S. heroin market. That is to say, sixty percent of the U.S. heroin supply came indirectly from a CIA operation. During the decade of this operation, the 1980s, the substantial DEA contingent in Islamabad made no arrests and participated in no seizures, allowing the syndicates a de facto free hand to export heroin. By contrast, a lone Norwegian detective, following a heroin deal from Oslo to Karachi, mounted an investigation that put a powerful Pakistani banker known as President Zia`s surrogate son behind bars. The DEA in Islamabad got nobody, did nothing, stayed away.
Former CIA operatives have admitted that this operation led to an expansion of the Pakistan-Afghanistan heroin trade. In 1995 the former CIA Director of this Afghan operation, Mr. Charles Cogan, admitted sacrificing the drug war to fight the Cold War. "Our main mission was to do as much damage to the Soviets. We didn`t really have the resources or the time to devote to an investigation of the drug trade," he told Australian television. "I don`t think that we need to apologize for this. Every situation has its fallout. There was fallout in terms of drugs, yes, but the main objective was accomplished. The Soviets left Afghanistan." (Alfred McCoy, Testimony before the Special Seminar focusing on allegations linking CIA secret operations and drug trafficking-convened February 13, 1997, by Rep. John Conyers, Dean of the Congressional Black Caucus)
Lucrative Narcotics Trade in the Post Cold War Era

The drug trade has continued unabated during the post Cold war years. Afghanistan became the major supplier of heroin to Western markets, in fact almost the sole supplier: more than 90 percent of the heroin sold Worldwide originates in Afghanistan. This lucrative contraband is tied into Pakistani politics and the militarization of the Pakistani State. It also has a direct bearing on the structure of the Pakistani economy and its banking and financial institutions, which from the outset of the Golden Crescent drug trade have been involved in extensive money laundering operations, which are protected by the Pakistani military and intelligence apparatus:

According to the US State Department International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (2006) (quoted in Daily Times, 2 March 2006),

“Pakistani criminal networks play a central role in the transshipment of narcotics and smuggled goods from Afghanistan to international markets. Pakistan is a major drug-transit country. The proceeds of narcotics trafficking and funding for terrorist activities are often laundered by means of the alternative system called hawala. ... .
“Repeatedly, a network of private unregulated charities has also emerged as a significant source of illicit funds for international terrorist networks,” the report pointed out. ... "

The hawala system and the charities are but the tip of the iceberg. According to the State Department report, "the State Bank of Pakistan has frozen more twenty years] a meager $10.5 million "belonging to 12 entities and individuals linked to Osama bin Laden, Al Qaeda or the Taliban". What the report fails to mention is that the bulk of the proceeds of the Afghan drug trade are laundered in bona fide Western banking institutions.

The Taliban Repress the Drug Trade

A major and unexpected turnaround in the CIA sponsored drug trade occurred in 2000.
The Taliban government which came to power in 1996 with Washington`s support, implemented in 2000-2001 a far-reaching opium eradication program with the support of the United Nations which served to undermine a multibillion dollar trade. (For further details see, Michel Chossudovsky, America`s War on Terrorism, Global Research, 2005).
In 2001 prior to the US-led invasion, opium production under the Taliban eradication program declined by more than 90 percent.

In the immediate wake of the US led invasion, the Bush administration ordered that the opium harvest not be destroyed on the fabricated pretext that this would undermine the military government of Pervez Musharraf.

"Several sources inside Capitol Hill noted that the CIA opposes the destruction of the Afghan opium supply because to do so might destabilize the Pakistani government of Gen. Pervez Musharraf. According to these sources, Pakistani intelligence had threatened to overthrow President Musharraf if the crops were destroyed. ...

`If they [the CIA] are in fact opposing the destruction of the Afghan opium trade, it`ll only serve to perpetuate the belief that the CIA is an agency devoid of morals; off on their own program rather than that of our constitutionally elected government`" .(, 28 March 2002)

Since the US led invasion, opium production has increased 33 fold from 185 tons in 2001 under the Taliban to 6100 tons in 2006. Cultivated areas have increased 21 fold since the 2001 US-led invasion. (Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, 6 January 2006)
In 2007, Afghanistan supplied approximately 93% of the global supply of heroin. The proceeds (in terms of retail value) of the Afghanistan drug trade are estimated (2006) to be in excess of 190 billion dollars a year, representing a significant fraction of the global trade in narcotics.(Ibid)
The proceeds of this lucrative multibillion dollar contraband are deposited in Western banks. Almost the totality of the revenues accrue to corporate interests and criminal syndicates outside Afghanistan.
The laundering of drug money constitutes a multibillion dollar activity, which continues to be protected by the CIA and the ISI. In the wake of the 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan.
In retrospect, one of the major objectives of the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan was to restore the drug trade.
The militarization of Pakistan serves powerful political, financial and criminal interests underlying the drug trade. US foreign policy tends to support these powerful interests. The CIA continues to protect the Golden Crescent narcotics trade. Despite his commitment to eradicating the drug trade, opium production under the regime of Afghan President Hamid Karzai has skyrocketed.

The Assassination of General Zia Ul-Haq >:))))))))
In August 1988, President Zia was killed in an air crash together with US Ambassador to Pakistan Arnold Raphel and several of Pakistan`s top generals. The circumstances of the air crash remain shrouded in mystery.
Following Zia`s death, parliamentary elections were held and Benazir Bhutto was sworn in as Prime Minister in December 1988. She was subsequently removed from office by Zia`s successor, President Ghulam Ishaq Khan on the grounds of alleged corruption. In 1993, she was re-elected and was again removed from office in 1996 on the orders of President Farooq Leghari.
Continuity has been maintained throughout. Under the short-lived post-Zia elected governments of Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto, the central role of the military-intelligence establishment and its links to Washington were never challenged.
Both Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif served US foreign policy interests. While in power, both democratically elected leaders, nonetheless supported the continuity of military rule. As prime minister from 1993 to 1996, Benazir Bhutto "advocated a conciliatory policy toward Islamists, especially the Taliban in Afghanistan" which were being supported by Pakistan`s ISI (See F. William Engdahl, Global Research, January 2008)
Benazir Bhutto`s successor as Prime Minister, Mia Muhammad Nawaz Sharif of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) was deposed in 1999 in a US supported coup d`Etat led by General Pervez Musharraf.
The 1999 coup was instigated by General Pervez Musharaf, with the support of the Chief of General Staff, Lieutenant General Mahmoud Ahmad, who was subsequently appointed to the key position of head of military intelligence (ISI).
From the outset of the Bush administration in 2001, General Ahmad developed close ties not only with his US counterpart CIA director George Tenet, but also with key members of the US government including Secretary of State Colin Powell, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, not to mention Porter Goss, who at the time was Chairman of the House Committee on Intelligence. Ironically, Mahmoud Ahmad is also known, according to a September 2001 FBI report, for his suspected role in supporting and financing the alleged 9/11 terrorists as well as his links to Al Qaeda and the Taliban. (See Michel Chossudovsky, America`s "war on Terrorism, Global Research, Montreal, 2005)

Concluding Remarks

These various "terrorist" organizations were created as a result of CIA support. They are not the product of religion. The project to establish "a pan-Islamic Caliphate" is part of a carefully devised intelligence operation.
CIA support to Al Qaeda was not in any way curtailed at the end of the Cold War. In fact quite the opposite. The earlier pattern of covert support not only extended, it took on a global thrust and became increasingly sophisticated.
The "Global War on Terrorism" is a complex and intricate intelligence construct. The covert support provided to "Islamic extremist groups" is part of an imperial agenda. It purports to weaken and eventually destroy secular and civilian governmental institutions, while also contributing to vilifying Islam. It is an instrument of colonization which seeks to undermine sovereign nation-states and transform countries into territories.
For the intelligence operation to be successful, however, the various Islamic organizations created and trained by the CIA must remain unaware of the role they are performing on geopolitical chessboard, on behalf of Washington.
Over the years, these organizations have indeed acquired a certain degree of autonomy and independence, in relation to their US-Pakistani sponsors. That appearance of "independence", however, is crucial; it is an integral part of the covert intelligence operation. According to former CIA agent Milton Beardman the Mujahideen were invariably unaware of the role they were performing on behalf of Washington. In the words of bin Laden (quoted by Beardman): "neither I, nor my brothers saw evidence of American help". (Weekend Sunday (NPR); Eric Weiner, Ted Clark; 16 August 1998).

"Motivated by nationalism and religious fervor, the Islamic warriors were unaware that they were fighting the Soviet Army on behalf of Uncle Sam. While there were contacts at the upper levels of the intelligence hierarchy, Islamic rebel leaders in theatre had no contacts with Washington or the CIA." (Michel Chossudovsky, America`s War on Terrorism, Chapter 2).
The fabrication of "terrorism" --including covert support to terrorists-- is required to provide legitimacy to the "war on terrorism".

The various fundamentalist and paramilitary groups involved in US sponsored "terrorist" activities are "intelligence assets". In the wake of 9/11, their designated function as "intelligence assets" is to perform their role as credible "enemies of America".
Under the Bush administration, the CIA continues to support (via Pakistan`s ISI) several Pakistani based Islamic groups. The ISI is known to support Jamaat a-Islami, which is also present in South East Asia, Lashkar-e-Tayya­ba, Jehad a-Kashmiri, Hizbul-Mujahidin and Jaish-e-Mohammed.
The Islamic groups created by the CIA are also intended to rally public support in Muslim countries. The underlying objective is to create divisions within national societies throughout the Middle East and Central Asia, while also triggering sectarian strife within Islam, ultimately with a view to curbing the development of a broad based secular mass resistance, which would challenge US imperial ambitions.
This function of an outside enemy is also an essential part of war propaganda required to galvanize Western public opinion. Without an enemy, a war cannot be fought. US foreign policy needs to fabricate an enemy, to justify its various military interventions in the Middle East and Central Asia. An enemy is required to justify a military agenda, which consists in " going after Al Qaeda". The fabrication and vilification of the enemy are required to justify military action.

The existence of an outside enemy sustains the illusion that the "war on terrorism" is real. It justifies and presents military intervention as a humanitarian operation based on the right to self-defense. It upholds the illusion of a "conflict of civilizations". The underlying purpose ultimately is to conceal the real economic and strategic objectives behind the broader Middle East Central Asian war.
Historically, Pakistan has played a central role in "war on terrorism". Pakistan constitutes from Washington`s standpoint a geopolitical hub. It borders onto Afghanistan and Iran. It has played a crucial role in the conduct of US and allied military operations in Afghanistan as well as in the context of the Pentagon`s war plans in relation to Iran.
Pakistan remains a training ground for the US sponsored Islamic brigades in the Middle East, Africa, Central Asia, South and South East Asia
President Pervez Musharraf, is described by the Western media as "a U.S. ally in its battle against terrorism" Realities are turned upside down. The Pakistani military regime has consistently, since the late 1970s, abetted and financed "Islamic terrorist organizations" on Washington`s behalf.

Michel Chossudovsky is the author of the international bestseller America`s "War on Terrorism" Global Research, 2005. He is Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa and Director of the Center for Research on Globalization.
PART 1 OF THIS ARTICLE..............

The Destabilization of Pakistan
By Prof. Michel Chossudovsky

The assassination of Benazir Bhutto has created conditions which contribute to the ongoing destabilization and fragmentation of Pakistan as a Nation.

The process of US sponsored "regime change", which normally consists in the re-formation of a fresh proxy government under new leaders has been broken. Discredited in the eyes of Pakistani public opinion, General Pervez Musharaf cannot remain in the seat of political power. But at the same time, the fake elections supported by the "international community" scheduled for January 2008, even if they were to be carried out, would not be accepted as legitimate, thereby creating a political impasse.

There are indications that the assassination of Benazir Bhutto was anticipated by US officials:

"It has been known for months that the Bush-Cheney administration and its allies have been maneuvering to strengthen their political control of Pakistan, paving the way for the expansion and deepening of the “war on terrorism” across the region.

Various American destabilization plans, known for months by officials and analysts, proposed the toppling of Pakistan's military...

The assassination of Bhutto appears to have been anticipated. There were even reports of “chatter” among US officials about the possible assassinations of either Pervez Musharraf or Benazir Bhutto, well before the actual attempts took place. (Larry Chin, Global Research, 29 December 2007)

Political Impasse

"Regime change" with a view to ensuring continuity under military rule is no longer the main thrust of US foreign policy. The regime of Pervez Musharraf cannot prevail. Washington's foreign policy course is to actively promote the political fragmentation and balkanization of Pakistan as a nation.

A new political leadership is anticipated but in all likelihood it will take on a very different shape, in relation to previous US sponsored regimes. One can expect that Washington will push for a compliant political leadership, with no commitment to the national interest, a leadership which will serve US imperial interests, while concurrently contributing under the disguise of "decentralization", to the weakening of the central government and the fracture of Pakistan's fragile federal structure.

The political impasse is deliberate. It is part of an evolving US foreign policy agenda, which favors disruption and disarray in the structures of the Pakistani State. Indirect rule by the Pakistani military and intelligence apparatus is to be replaced by more direct forms of US interference, including an expanded US military presence inside Pakistan.

This expanded military presence is also dictated by the Middle East-Central Asia geopolitical situation and Washington's ongoing plans to extend the Middle East war to a much broader area.

The US has several military bases in Pakistan. It controls the country's air space. According to a recent report: "U.S. Special Forces are expected to vastly expand their presence in Pakistan, as part of an effort to train and support indigenous counter-insurgency forces and clandestine counterterrorism units" (William Arkin, Washington Post, December 2007).

The official justification and pretext for an increased military presence in Pakistan is to extend the "war on terrorism". Concurrently, to justify its counterrorism program, Washington is also beefing up its covert support to the "terrorists."

The Balkanization of Pakistan

Already in 2005, a report by the US National Intelligence Council and the CIA forecast a "Yugoslav-like fate" for Pakistan "in a decade with the country riven by civil war, bloodshed and inter-provincial rivalries, as seen recently in Balochistan." (Energy Compass, 2 March 2005). According to the NIC-CIA, Pakistan is slated to become a "failed state" by 2015, "as it would be affected by civil war, complete Talibanisation and struggle for control of its nuclear weapons". (Quoted by former Pakistan High Commissioner to UK, Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Times of India, 13 February 2005):

"Nascent democratic reforms will produce little change in the face of opposition from an entrenched political elite and radical Islamic parties. In a climate of continuing domestic turmoil, the Central government's control probably will be reduced to the Punjabi heartland and the economic hub of Karachi," the former diplomat quoted the NIC-CIA report as saying.

Expressing apprehension, Hasan asked, "are our military rulers working on a similar agenda or something that has been laid out for them in the various assessment reports over the years by the National Intelligence Council in joint collaboration with CIA?" (Ibid)

Continuity, characterized by the dominant role of the Pakistani military and intelligence has been scrapped in favor of political breakup and balkanization.

According to the NIC-CIA scenario, which Washington intends to carry out: "Pakistan will not recover easily from decades of political and economic mismanagement, divisive policies, lawlessness, corruption and ethnic friction," (Ibid) .
The US course consists in fomenting social, ethnic and factional divisions and political fragmentation, including the territorial breakup of Pakistan. This course of action is also dictated by US war plans in relation to both Afghanistan and Iran.

This US agenda for Pakistan is similar to that applied throughout the broader Middle East Central Asian region. US strategy, supported by covert intelligence operations, consists in triggering ethnic and religious strife, abetting and financing secessionist movements while also weakening the institutions of the central government.

The broader objective is to fracture the Nation State and redraw the borders of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Pakistan's Oil and Gas reserves
Pakistan's extensive oil and gas reserves, largely located in Balochistan province, as well as its pipeline corridors are considered strategic by the Anglo-American alliance, requiring the concurrent militarization of Pakistani territory.

Balochistan comprises more than 40 percent of Pakistan's land mass, possesses important reserves of oil and natural gas as well as extensive mineral resources.

The Iran-India pipeline corridor is slated to transit through Balochistan. Balochistan also possesses a deap sea port largely financed by China located at Gwadar, on the Arabian Sea, not far from the Straits of Hormuz where 30 % of the world's daily oil supply moves by ship or pipeline. (Asia, 29 December 2007)

Pakistan has an estimated 25.1 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of proven gas reserves of which 19 trillion are located in Balochistan. Among foreign oil and gas contractors in Balochistan are BP, Italy's ENI, Austria's OMV, and Australia's BHP. It is worth noting that Pakistan's State oil and gas companies, including PPL which has the largest stake in the Sui oil fields of Balochistan are up for privatization under IMF-World Bank supervision.

According to the Oil and Gas Journal (OGJ), Pakistan had proven oil reserves of 300 million barrels, most of which are located in Balochistan. Other estimates place Balochistan oil reserves at an estimated six trillion barrels of oil reserves both on-shore and off-shore (Environment News Service, 27 October 2006) .

Covert Support to Balochistan Separatists

Balochistan's strategic energy reserves have a bearing on the separatist agenda. Following a familiar pattern, there are indications that the Baloch insurgency is being supported and abetted by Britain and the US.

The Baloch national resistance movement dates back to the late 1940s, when Balochistan was invaded by Pakistan. In the current geopolitical context, the separatist movement is in the process of being hijacked by foreign powers.

British intelligence is allegedly providing covert support to Balochistan separatists (which from the outset have been repressed by Pakistan's military). In June 2006, Pakistan's Senate Committee on Defence accused British intelligence of "abetting the insurgency in the province bordering Iran" [Balochistan]..(Press Trust of India, 9 August 2006). Ten British MPs were involved in a closed door session of the Senate Committee on Defence regarding the alleged support of Britain's Secret Service to Baloch separatists (Ibid). Also of relevance are reports of CIA and Mossad support to Baloch rebels in Iran and Southern Afghanistan.

It would appear that Britain and the US are supporting both sides. The US is providing American F-16 jets to the Pakistani military, which are being used to bomb Baloch villages in Balochistan. Meanwhile, British alleged covert support to the separatist movement (according to the Pakistani Senate Committee) contributes to weakening the central government.

The stated purpose of US counter-terrorism is to provide covert support as well as as training to "Liberation Armies" ultimately with a view to destabilizing sovereign governments. In Kosovo, the training of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in the 1990s had been entrusted to a private mercenary company, Military Professional Resources Inc (MPRI), on contract to the Pentagon.

The BLA bears a canny resemblance to Kosovo's KLA, which was financed by the drug trade and supported by the CIA and Germany's Bundes Nachrichten Dienst (BND).

The BLA emerged shortly after the 1999 military coup. It has no tangible links to the Baloch resistance movement, which developed since the late 1940s. An aura of mystery surrounds the leadership of the BLA.

Baloch population in Pink: In Iran, Pakistan and Southern Afghanistan

Washington favors the creation of a "Greater Balochistan" which would integrate the Baloch areas of Pakistan with those of Iran and possibly the Southern tip of Afghanistan (See Map above), thereby leading to a process of political fracturing in both Iran and Pakistan.

"The US is using Balochi nationalism for staging an insurgency inside Iran's Sistan-Balochistan province. The 'war on terror' in Afghanistan gives a useful political backdrop for the ascendancy of Balochi militancy" (See Global Research, 6 March 2007).

Military scholar Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters writing in the June 2006 issue of The Armed Forces Journal, suggests, in no uncertain terms that Pakistan should be broken up, leading to the formation of a separate country: "Greater Balochistan" or "Free Balochistan" (see Map below). The latter would incorporate the Pakistani and Iranian Baloch provinces into a single political entity.

In turn, according to Peters, Pakistan's North West Frontier Province (NWFP) should be incorporated into Afghanistan "because of its linguistic and ethnic affinity". This proposed fragmentation, which broadly reflects US foreign policy, would reduce Pakistani territory to approximately 50 percent of its present land area. (See map). Pakistan would also loose a large part of its coastline on the Arabian Sea.

Although the map does not officially reflect Pentagon doctrine, it has been used in a training program at NATO's Defense College for senior military officers. This map, as well as other similar maps, have most probably been used at the National War Academy as well as in military planning circles. (See Mahdi D. Nazemroaya, Global Research, 18 November 2006)

"Lieutenant-Colonel Peters was last posted, before he retired to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, within the U.S. Defence Department, and has been one of the Pentagon’s foremost authors with numerous essays on strategy for military journals and U.S. foreign policy." (Ibid)

It is worth noting that secessionist tendencies are not limited to Balochistan. There are separatist groups in Sindh province, which are largely based on opposition to the Punjabi-dominated military regime of General Pervez Musharraf (For Further details see Selig Harrisson, Le Monde diplomatique, October 2006)

"Strong Economic Medicine": Weakening Pakistan's Central Government

Pakistan has a federal structure based on federal provincial transfers. Under a federal fiscal structure, the central government transfers financial resources to the provinces, with a view to supporting provincial based programs. When these transfers are frozen as occurred in Yugoslavia in January 1990, on orders of the IMF, the federal fiscal structure collapses:

"State revenues that should have gone as transfer payments to the republics [of the Yugoslav federation] went instead to service Belgrade's debt ... . The republics were largely left to their own devices. ... The budget cuts requiring the redirection of federal revenues towards debt servicing, were conducive to the suspension of transfer payments by Belgrade to the governments of the Republics and Autonomous Provinces.

In one fell swoop, the reformers had engineered the final collapse of Yugoslavia's federal fiscal structure and mortally wounded its federal political institutions. By cutting the financial arteries between Belgrade and the republics, the reforms fueled secessionist tendencies that fed on economic factors as well as ethnic divisions, virtually ensuring the de facto secession of the republics. (Michel Chossudovsky, The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order, Second Edition, Global Research, Montreal, 2003, Chapter 17.)

It is by no means accidental that the 2005 National Intelligence Council- CIA report had predicted a "Yugoslav-like fate" for Pakistan pointing to the impacts of "economic mismanagement" as one of the causes of political break-up and balkanization.

"Economic mismanagement" is a term used by the Washington based international financial institutions to describe the chaos which results from not fully abiding by the IMF's Structural Adjustment Program. In actual fact, the "economic mismanagement" and chaos is the outcome of IMF-World Bank prescriptions, which invariably trigger hyperinflation and precipitate indebted countries into extreme poverty.

Pakistan has been subjected to the same deadly IMF "economic medicine" as Yugoslavia: In 1999, in the immediate wake of the coup d'Etat which brought General Pervez Musharaf to the helm of the military government, an IMF economic package, which included currency devaluation and drastic austerity measures, was imposed on Pakistan. Pakistan's external debt is of the order of US$40 billion. The IMF's "debt reduction" under the package was conditional upon the sell-off to foreign capital of the most profitable State owned enterprises (including the oil and gas facilities in Balochistan) at rockbottom prices .

Musharaf's Finance Minister was chosen by Wall Street, which is not an unusual practice. The military rulers appointed at Wall Street's behest, a vice-president of Citigroup, Shaukat Aziz, who at the time was head of CitiGroup's Global Private Banking. (See, 30 October 1999). CitiGroup is among the largest commercial foreign banking institutions in Pakistan.

There are obvious similarities in the nature of US covert intelligence operations applied in country after country in different parts of the so-called "developing World". These covert operation, including the organisation of military coups, are often synchronized with the imposition of IMF-World Bank macro-economic reforms. In this regard, Yugoslavia's federal fiscal structure collapsed in 1990 leading to mass poverty and heightened ethnic and social divisions. The US and NATO sponsored "civil war" launched in mid-1991 consisted in coveting Islamic groups as well as channeling covert support to separatist paramilitary armies in Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia.

A similar "civil war" scenario has been envisaged for Pakistan by the National Intelligence Council and the CIA: From the point of view of US intelligence, which has a longstanding experience in abetting separatist "liberation armies", "Greater Albania" is to Kosovo what "Greater Balochistan" is to Pakistan's Southeastern Balochistan province. Similarly, the KLA is Washington's chosen model, to be replicated in Balochistan province.

The Assassination of Benazir Bhutto

Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in Rawalpindi, no ordinary city. Rawalpindi is a military city host to the headquarters of the Pakistani Armed Forces and Military Intelligence (ISI). Ironically Bhutto was assassinated in an urban area tightly controlled and guarded by the military police and the country's elite forces. Rawalpindi is swarming with ISI intelligence officials, which invariably infiltrate political rallies. Her assassination was not a haphazard event.

Without evidence, quoting Pakistan government sources, the Western media in chorus has highlighted the role of Al-Qaeda, while also focusing on the the possible involvement of the ISI.

What these interpretations do not mention is that the ISI continues to play a key role in overseeing Al Qaeda on behalf of US intelligence. The press reports fail to mention two important and well documented facts:

1) the ISI maintains close ties to the CIA. The ISI is virtually an appendage of the CIA.

2) Al Qaeda is a creation of the CIA. The ISI provides covert support to Al Qaeda, acting on behalf of US intelligence.

The involvement of either Al Qaeda and/or the ISI would suggest that US intelligence was cognizant and/or implicated in the assassination plot.