For many Pakistanis, it seems west means US and UK. For slave minded fake liberals, it seems good relations with west means acting like a bitch of UK and US governments.Even on drones issue, key NATO member like Germany is not on the same page with USA and it tried to distance itself from the issue but Pakistan never bothered to approach these countries to bring some sanity in their partners.
Why should Pakistan government do that when it is run by fake liberals, sectarian fascists and slave minds who are working as mercenary for US administration? Other countries also know that so they don’t bother to come out like they did on Syria or even North Korea which are run by two most oppressive and brutal regimes.
Pak government, army and fake liberals don’t seem to have any idea of having relationships other than master-slave or enemy-enemy relationship.
China and US/Japan/Taiwan have serious issues which can turn into potential military clashes but they still enjoy good people to people relationship, trade on equal terms, academic collaboration etc. Pakistan, despite acting as a slave and mercenary for US and UK never bothered to establish serious academic relationship or research collaborations in civil or military areas. In fact some big technology based industrial projects and technology transfer happened through China, Russia, France, Germany and other partners on equal cooperation basis but still our fake liberals and establishment cannot come out of their colonial past of serving UK or the power which replaced it after second world war i.e. USA.
Even in US or UK, Pakistani establishment only focuses on security related institutions and never bothered to understand broader opinion which also include anti-war, non-interventionist, non-corporatist or anti-military industrial complex groups.
But then again what benefit will it give to establishment which relies on mercenary services to corporatists sitting in White house or military industrial complex which runs Pentagon?
by Ansar Abbasi
ISLAMABAD: General (retd) Pervez Musharraf can be tried under Article 6 of the Constitution for his November 3, 2007 action as well as for his October 12, 1999 martial law, but the 18th Amendment gives constitutional cover to the PCO oath taken by superior court judges in 2000.
Although the 2008 parliament scrapped certain parts of the 17th Amendment passed by Musharraf’s parliament in 2004, the 18th Amendment endorses the indemnity of the oath of judges under PCO taken in 2000.
Therefore, as per the Constitution Musharraf could be tried for high treason for twice abrogating the Constitution, once in October 1999 and again in November 2007, but the judges who had taken oath under Musharraf’s PCO in 2000 are protected by the pre as well as post 18th Amendment Constitution.
Musharraf’s 12 October 1999 martial law, which was indemnified by the 2002-2007 Parliament under dictator’s rule, did not get the 2008-2013 parliament’s endorsement but the dictator’s consequent actions including the oath of judges in 2000 under the PCO got complete constitutional protection in the 18th amendment.
Those media commentators, politicians and opponents of the present independent judiciary, who are desirous of dragging others including the PCO judges of the 2000 PCO, in the high treason case are making an unconstitutional demand. The 18th amendment despite having declared the 2000 PCO as unlawful protected the superior court judges, who had taken the said oath, through 270AA (3), which reads as:
Judges of the Supreme Court, High Courts and Federal Shariat Court who were holding the office of a judge or were appointed as such, and had taken oath under the Oath of Office (Judges) Order, 2000 (I of 2000), shall be deemed to have continued to hold the office as a judge or appointed as such, as the case may be, under the Constitution, and such continuance or appointment, shall have effect accordingly;
Judges of the Supreme Court, High Courts and Federal Shariat Court who not having been given or taken oath under the Oath of Office (Judges) Order, 2000, (I of 2000), and ceased to hold the office of a Judge shall, for the purposes of pensionary benefits only, be deemed to have continued to hold office under the Constitution till their date of superannuation.”
Musharraf’s parliament through its 17th Amendment, had validated/indemnified the October 1999 martial law of Musharraf besides giving constitutional protection to all other president’s orders, ordinances, chief executive’s orders, including the Provisional Constitution Order No. 1 of 1999, the Oath of Office (Judges) Order, 2000 (No. 1 of 2000), Chief Executive’s Order No. 12 of 2002, the amendments made in the Constitution through the Legal Framework Order, 2002 (Chief Executive’s Order No. 24 of 2002), the Legal Framework (Amendment) Order , 2002 (Chief Executive’s Order No. 29 of 2002), the Legal Framework (Second Amendment) Order, 2002 (Chief Executive’s Order No. 32 of 2002) and all other laws made between October 12, 1999 and the date on which Article 270AA was inserted by Musharraf’s parliament in 2004.
As the previous parliament could not completely scrap the 17th Amendment, therefore, it gave partial indemnity to all presidential orders, laws etc that justified the consequential actions of Musharraf’s first martial law. The 18th Amendment also did not indemnify the November 3, 2007 action of Musharraf but gave constitutional cover to the general elections of February 2008 as announced by the former dictator.
Recent events of march against drone strikes and attack on Malala Yousafzai have raised some important questions in my mind. These questions are mainly related to the timing of the event and how past events were dealt by the government and security institutions.
If Benazir Murder case is resolved then a lot can be understood about this fake war. For a start, one should ask that how was it possible that some rogue terrorists were able to delete or tempered the mobile communication record from the area? As far as I know that only ISI or some other high level intelligence organization like CIA (Like NADRA data they can surely access this data too) can do it.
These incidents like Benazir, Malala, Islamic University blast or Peshawar market blasts (denied by Talibans) happen at crucial times when anti-war protests take momentum or some crucial decisions are being made about further operations.
Another interesting event is the letter written by Afghan (Pentagon puppet) President Hamid Karzai to PTI’s Chairman, Imran Khan. For those who think that Malala issue is not related to drones and military operations or this fake war, there are few things to ponder upon (If they have the brain to do so). Why the president of a country would like to write a letter to Imran Khan and show the concerns which are shown by social-class and sectarian fascists in Pakistan and pro-imperialism media in USA? It seems Imran Khan and PTI’s march against drone strikes not only disturbed the plans of Pakistani sectarian and social-class fascists but also disturbed the pro-war scum internationally.
Another thing to understand about drone, NWA operation and Malala issue is that Imran Khan is scheduled to lead a protest in front of UN on 26th October 2012.
We need to find answers for these questions. For a start on Malala’s issue, government’s own interior minister Rehman Malik denied the involvement of TTP. Even if it is TTP then there are more than 15 (some say 30) groups working as TTP.
Some are fighting for revenge, some are being funded by international enemies of the country who want Pakistan to remain stuck in this war and some are local criminal gangs. Unless they are not identified clearly, word Taliban has no meaning. Free and Fair investigation can only be done in current scenario through Supreme Court or some investigation body working under SC. But again judiciary is being badly cornered by the government and army due to corruption and missing persons cases. That is why I say for a start we need to find the names behind Benazir murder case.
People say that these tribes and terrorists are ideologically connected. Ideologically connected is also a vague term. People with same customs, cultures or grievances or may be some other common points can be termed as ideologically connected. With this logic most Indians can be termed as RSS, most USA can be connected to Bund or KKK, all Irish people can be termed as IRA, all British people can blamed for the crimes of East India Company, most Israelis can be linked with Stern gang, most Germans can be linked with Nazis etc. Without addressing the root causes, one cannot solve this issue and waging a war against populations after some isolated incidents doesn’t look very intelligent especially after a decade of destruction.
When are we going to learn the lessons from past mistakes? Or Pakistan army and government are committed to repeat another 1971?
Just heard a sad news from Swat. Malala Yousafzai, the teenage kid who got national peace prize got seriously injured in a shooting attack. This is sad, really bad and cowardly whoever has done this. It is also bad by the government to use this kid as a symbolic person against militants and expose her to such danger. It is ridiculous that first they used her for political gains in the war and then left her without adequate security. Not only the attackers but the people responsible for her security and exposing her to such danger should be made accountable for this.
The way government and some NGOs used Malala as a symbolic warrior is similar to child soldiers used by African war lords to fight their dirty wars.
May Allah give her health.
Swat: Malala Yousafzai injured in attack
SWAT: Malala Yusufzai the National Peace Award winner who came under the global spotlight for her efforts to bring back peace to her hometown Swat came under attack earlier today. Malala Yousafzai was injured along with two other girls when unknown assailants opened fire on her vehicle in Swat, Geo News reported.
According to police, Malala a children’s rights activist received two bullets, and was rushed to the District Headquarter Hospital in Saidu Sharif, and later shifted to a hospital in Peshawar.
It is important to mention that Malala had been receiving threats to her life, after which she was provided with a special car and unarmed security by her school.
The international children’s advocacy group Kids Rights Foundation nominated Malala for the International Children’s Peace Prize, making her the first Pakistani girl nominated for the award.
For her courageous and outstanding services for the promotion of peace under extremely hostile conditions in Swat, she was awarded the first National Peace Award by the Pakistani government on 19 December 2011.
Ever wondered why Bengalis who played a leading role in the creation of Pakistan took a separate path? Try and see why the people of Waziristan who made Azad Kashmir possible are now fighting against the state or why Balochis who chose Pakistan are now feeling dissatisfaction with the country then you will find some answers. I believe an assessment without any prejudice or nationalism will reveal that its not them who were or are at the wrong end.
It seems that words like treason, blasphemy or crime itself are reserved for weak and oppressed. The ones who often don’t follow the herd become eligible of being called as deviants or misguided. It is a shame that those sitting in the highest echelons of power or so called highest levels of political or religious orders have attained the right to determine right and wrong with an absolute sense of being the bearer of truth despite selling their souls many times to their lust for power and wealth. People digest the destruction of several villages or towns just because someone from them said that he doesn’t accept the system which has enslaved them. But don’t bother to ask those who execute the punishment that how many times they have violated the oath they take to protect the constitution? How many times they have attacked our freedom? How many times they have allowed their land to be used as a base for invading others and our own country? Blind people still follow these so called men of power and honor and call their blind following as Nationalism, Patriotism or Loyalty to the Land or Nation. Many of those who don’t follow these rhetoric are victims of their sectarian and social class prejudices and yet they are known as liberals. So called pious and religious have considered the meanings of being religious as being invaders of others privacy and freedom. No doubt we are in a mess and going deeper into it daily.
Attitude towards the people of Pashtoon areas during Eid times is another classic example and then we expect them to be patriotic. People don’t accept their Eid (right or wrong, for me its not important than respecting their decision for their-selves), they are being killed because they don’t fit to international plans, drones are allowed to bomb them just because they are different in culture or customs or sects, many don’t want them as so called usual participants in the makeup of our societies then why the heck it is necessary to keep them forcefully as a part of our country when they are so undesirable. Let the separation be done for good. Borders or contracts or NICs are not important as compared to respect, freedom, justice and equal status as human beings.
Even the term terrorist has different meanings here in Pakistan. Term “terrorists”, in war on terror in Pakistan, expanded from Al-quaida members to Alqaida+Talibans, then it moved to tribesmen and later to Pashtoons. It then turned sectarian and their whole sects were termed terrorists and then anyone who opposed this war was labeled with this term either as terrorists or supporter of terrorism. A new dictionary meaning has been given to the term based on sect, ethnicity, customs or way of life. The interesting part is that those who were defining terrorism were involved, as executives or supporters, in the bombing of civilian population or violations of human rights.
Pakistan lost its eastern part just after 24 years of freedom and now it is again facing a critical situation. We need to think where we are and where we want to go ahead and how we want to go ahead before its too late (again).
Recently in Iran, while attending a conference on Syria, Pakistani foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar has said that Pakistan will not support any kind of foreign government intervention in Syria.
I agree with the decision of not involving Pakistani state but at the same time I will disagree with the govt. if they stop people to help Syrians on their own in terms of money, weapons or any other way they can.
Foreign involvement will turn the focus of movement and will likely to hijack the issue from local Syrian opposition like Iran hijacked the Bahrain movement resulting the failure of the movement. But we can see in Egypt, things are changing in positive direction.
At the same time governments should now stop supporting Assad’s brutal regime by cutting diplomatic and defense ties which is essential to remain neutral as Assad is using these things to strengthen his position in killing innocent people. At the same time I cannot oppose Syrian opposition to accept help from where ever it comes from as they are victim side and prime responsibility lies on the shoulders of Assad who initiated the brutal actions against civilian populations which includes merciless aerial bombings.
Malik Riaz issue is a big test for the people of Pakistan especially those who are justice loving to prove their existence as human beings not as insects or blind sheep. Pakistan military and feudal-corporatist-extortionist political ruling elite thinks that we all are insects and blind sheep who can be easily crushed or can be taken any where.
There are reports that government wants to send a reference against Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry like Musharraf did in 2007. The move will give enough space for the government to waste time till the next elections and CJ’s 2013 retirement.
We need to decide now that what sort of life we want to give to our future generations. Are we ready to give a life of slaves to our future generations? Are we ready to surrender the rights of our future generations?
As John F. Kennedy said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. “
It seems government, military and allies want people who wan a system based on justice to go for the violent option. I think establishment and government want people to go for a French type revolution in Pakistan.
by Babar Sattar
The writer is a lawyer based in Islamabad.
The chief justice did the courageous thing by taking suo motu notice of the clandestine affair between Malik Riaz and his son Arsalan Iftikhar that had spread like wildfire through a crafty whispering campaign. And after putting the judicial wheels in motion to hold to account his son and Malik Riaz, and throwing his weight behind affixing the liability of the two in a transparent and impartial manner in an open court, he did the right thing by recusing himself from the case. Those who argue that the accusations rooted in gossip should have been shrugged off are wrong. The conduct in question might be that between two private individuals, but one of them being the CJ’s son, the insinuation was that illegal gratification was offered and accepted to influence the outcome of court cases pending before the Supreme Court.
From the disclosures made by journalists so far it is obvious that documents and accounts (and probably even videos?) were meticulously kept to drag the name of the CJ through dirt and consequently bring into disrepute the integrity and credibility of the apex court. The matter therefore didn’t relate to the CJ alone, but would bring under cloud the competence of the highest court of the land to dispense justice not adulterated by considerations of favour. And this in turn would bring into question the very notion of the existence and utility of rule of law in Pakistan by lending credence to the view that (i) law is not a shield for the weak but a weapon in the hands of the powerful to keep in subjugation the lesser mortals in society, and (ii) unimpeachable integrity is a defunct concept as every mortal is up for sale at the right price.
Such jaundiced view of the state and society is not a figment of cynical imagination but is rooted in the reality that the ordinary Joe is confronted with on an everyday basis. By all rational accounts we are living in a kleptocracy: a government of the extortionist, by the extortionist, for the extortionist. The state is in default of its contract with the citizen. You no longer have an entitlement to your rights even if you do your duty as a citizen. And consequently you have to pay for everything, even to protect your most basic rights to life, liberty and dignity. And if you are ready, willing and able to pay, it doesn’t matter if what you seek is right or wrong. State largesse flows through channels of personal patronage. Personal loyalty trumps merit. There is no distinction between honest and dirty money. And there are no principles remaining, only interests.
And consequently instinct demands that one accumulate as much wealth and influence as possible and use it to build social networks of protection to replace the role of the state. And it is people like Malik Riaz, who have mastered the ways of this ‘brave new world’ where money buys influence, influence yields more money, and with the use of money and influence to cajole the powerful and coerce the weak there are no limits to what you can accomplish. But not everyone in this state and society is comfortable with the rules of our evolving kleptocracy. And when someone who has reached the highest echelons of power within the state, like the CJ, refuses to be bought or otherwise inducted within the kleptocracy, the stakes go through the roof.
Within the kleptocracy that we are referring to, the kith and kin of the powerful do exceedingly well. Why should it be surprising that the mediocre son of our CJ grew a sense of entitlement to receive preferential treatment and climb the ropes without paying his dues? Does such lack of discretion and propriety reflect poorly on Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, the father? It probably does. But does it undermine his integrity or credibility as a judge and a public-office holder? Absolutely not. In exposing the dealings between himself and Arsalan Iftikhar, Malik Riaz has used the nuclear option. Why would anyone need to employ means of last resort in the event that quiet persuasion is working? According to media accounts, Malik Riaz leaked details of sponsoring the merry-making of Arsalan Iftikhar because his investment wasn’t paying off.
So what we have so far is this. By his own account, Malik Riaz paid Arsalan Iftikhar to influence the outcome of judicial proceedings pending before the Supreme Court. Was he forced to do so because the wily Arsalan was blackmailing poor Mr Malik? Improbable, and Mailk Riaz would need to adduce evidence to establish that he was at the receiving end of this clandestine relationship with the imprudent 34-year-old. As Arsalan Iftikhar was not holding court and adjudicating cases implicating Malik Riaz, he would in fact need to establish that the CJ was in fact blackmailing him while using his son as an agent. Without this, and in view of information disclosed by Malik Riaz himself, he could be charged for offering illegal gratification to influence a public servant.
This could make him liable under Section 165-A read with Sections 162 and 163 of the Pakistan Penal Code as well as Section 9 of the NAB Ordinance. If it were established that Arsalan Iftikhar accepted the gratification with a view to influence the discharge of functions by the office of the CJ or other public servants due to the exercise of his personal influence, he could also be liable under Sections 162 and 163 of the PPC. Now that details of this scandal are out in the open, it is essential for the apex court not to take a narrow view of this affair in the event that Malik Riaz backs off and doesn’t adduce any evidence before the court, but instead exercise its inquisitorial powers to collect and decipher facts to ensure that both Malik Riaz and Arsalan Iftikhar are held to account for their actions in accordance with the law.
In this debate, Malik Riaz must not be seen as a solitary individual. He might be a good friend, a loving father and a rich man who believes in charity. But he is also a phenomenon that highlights the growing predatory instincts of our society. This phenomenon has cultivated the myth of infallibility and immortality of the powerful within the society. It has defeated the conventional wisdom that if you are caught with hands in the cookie jar society holds you to account and respectable folk refuse to associate with such delinquents. It has established that irrespective of personal repute, money can buy the best professional assistance. It has proven that if cut a piece of the pie everyone is willing to play ball. This phenomenon has established an ethic of success that labels right and wrong as irrelevant for those who aim for upward professional and social mobility.
The CJ’s commendable action of dragging his son before an open court and laying his ethical failings in plain public view is a defining moment in the fight between continuity of the depraved status quo and the desire for change. As nothing succeeds like success, the strength of the entrenched kleptocracy is rooted not in its popularity but in its efficacy. Our ruling elites – across the political class, the khakis, the bureaucracy, the media and the lawyer fraternity etc – are mostly its beneficiaries.
The few who still have qualms about meddling in grime have turned apathetic having made their peace with the ‘ground reality’ they cannot change. In this environment, the action of the CJ to stand by law and principle, even as he subjects himself and his family to public scrutiny and possible embarrassment, has provided a unique opportunity to stand up and fight the kleptocracy. We must not fitter this opportunity away.
Before the concepts of agrarian and market economies, ancient societies especially the Roman Empire used to have a system based on Manorialism. In that society ruling elite comprising mostly of feudal elite and others used to control the land resources of the state through their political and military influence. The ruling elite support their finances and lifestyle by collecting obligatory contributions from the peasants and slave population under their jurisdiction. The contributions were in the form of coins, mandatory labor or even in the form of usable items and kinds. The dependent in return only used to get the right of living, earning just enough to live and a false sense of security.
The way situation in Pakistan is going, it seems we are moving very fast in backward direction of time to the point where Manorialism was at its peak and few lords used to enjoy enormous economic and ruling power. Recent debate on imposing new taxes or increasing the percentages of the old one to serve the expenses and corruption of our ruling elite is a good example of this.
The reality of our situation is that few classes of our people are working like bonded labour to pay most of the taxes so that they can ensure their living and also serve the ruling classes of the state. The Tax to GDP ratio debate and the methods which are devised to increase it in order to bring it to so called international standards seems to be leading a common salary class person in a position where he will only be able to serve the ruling elite with his hard work and his own survival will be just enough to keep him available for work.
The problem with our country is not of low Tax to GDP ratio but the real problem is wastage of resources and money for serving the huge size of governments comprising of around hundred of federal ministers and equal positioned offices. Also in provinces the situation is no different with lots of illicit ministries and offices working just to accommodate the supporters of ruling elite and ensure a regular income through kick backs and percentages.
Major area of our budget goes into debt retirement and interest payments. With Debt to GDP ratio of over 60 percent resulting in high interest payments and no policy of reducing or controlling the expenses, we cannot expect any improvement in our current economic crisis. In fact the current tax debate is for RGST which is being imposed to fulfil the demand of IMF to get more loans.
Another area where we are suffering badly is unaccounted defense budget and useless expense on an unwanted war. The war is not only hitting some estimated 13.5 billion dollars annually but it is taking the investment and business opportunities away from the country resulting in unemployment and economic slow down. This economic slow down and unemployment is also resulting in high crime rate and low standard of living. This shows a real sorry situation and it seems we are in a self-destruction mode.
Now the question is how to come out of this mess keeping in mind our problems, limitations, resources and opportunities. The problems and limitations discussed above are obvious and only an average mind is required to understand them. The real thing is to look what resources we have and what opportunities we can produce for the economy of our country.
First thing to do is to reduce government expenses and for that reduction in the size of government is must. Government should limit itself in areas where it is required most or if required at all. Most of the departments and ministries like housing, women development ,defence production and many others are simply there to accommodate political allies and cronies. Also we need to see how much burden the government-owned organizations put on our economy. Not only illicit expenditures are a problem but the real problem is corruption and resulting loss of money. Not only ending corruption in these institutions is required but giving them to private sector through privatization or if no buyer is there then involving private sector through public-private partnership on merit and transparent accountability can help in reducing the expenses.
For debt retirement, not only steps like privatization based on merit, transparency and fair value can help but selling the prime commercial land which our institutions hold can help the cause. There is simply no reason to have military bases or armed forces colonies on prime commercial area such as Shahra e Faisal or Sadar. In most of the countries military bases are planned outside the cities which not only help in controlling the problem of population congestion and development of new areas but the commercial value of land can give billions of dollars which can be used for debt reduction. If we are able to reduce or eliminate our debt then instead of putting more taxes on people, our country can afford some tax relief for them.
We also need to end non productive politically motivated programs such as Benazir Income Support Program which are making people beggars. For welfare of extremely needy a community driven Zakat system can help the cause with checks and balance from the society, where it is collected from. There is a serious requirement of revising our defense and intelligence budget and for this transparency and accountability are must. We need to see where the money is going and whether it is required in the area or not. This is every taxpayers right to know that the money is spent in the right direction.
We have also invested heavily in defense technology areas including nuclear technology, military vehicles and aeronautical technology. It is right time now to open the opportunities for private sector and share the research with private sector in return of royalty or going for joint ventures with government only contributing with technology base or in rare cases land. This can help us a lot in developing a strong private sector base in automobile, aeronautical, energy and other areas of industry. Not only huge revenue can be generated but job creation without burdening the budget and taxpayers will be possible with this.
Instead of taking flood taxes, value added taxes or useless surcharges on energy which make the economy slow and increase the cost of living and business. Again a community driven Aushur system for agriculture and natural resources areas can help bring those people in contributing classes who only know how to get more out of the economy i.e. feudal-corporatist ruling elite. Also the plot and agriculture land distribution culture is needed to be ended. Currently prime residential and agricultural land is being distributed in influential sections of our society especially related to military and political elite. This culture of giving exclusive control of land based on influence is a sign of slave society discussed in the beginning.
Apart from reducing cost of business to ensure economic growth and progress of business, Rule of Law is must. Not only terrorism and government created energy crisis are making the business difficult but red-tapism, extortion money collected by mafias and political parties, illicit licensing and quotas for political corruption are making it harder for a genuine business to flourish or even start. Independent and strong judiciary, protection of human rights and freedom are must for the progress of any country.
It is wrongly assumed that government has every right or authority to get taxes out of the hard-earned money of its working classes. Government needs to justify the taxes they take and expenditure they make. Its high time for nation to see what their ruling elite is doing and whose interest they are serving. We need to decide whether we live in a free country or a medieval slave society.
Dr A Q Khan
The Lahore High Court recently acquitted 11 people accused of involvement in an attack on Gen Musharraf and ordered their release from Adiala Jail. Before they could even taste their freedom they were, according to jail authorities, whisked away by agents of the intelligence agencies. To give it all a bizarre twist, the advocate general, Maulvi Anwar-ul-Haq, presented an affidavit from the intelligence agencies stating that these people were not in their custody. Then the bombshell came from the chief secretary of Punjab, who informed the Supreme Court that the men in question had indeed been taken away by ISI sleuths.
This is a very disturbing matter, as it more or less confirms the universal belief that our intelligence agencies are rogue agencies, and are above the law and the Constitution. Equally disturbing is the impression created that the army and the ISI still have Musharraf stooges who are willing to do anything for him, even if that means breaking the law. Only these organisations can tell us what the advantages of their actions are. It is an undeniable fact that such actions give a very bad name to our most august institution, the army.
Ever since Ayub Khan’s coup, our intelligence agencies have been used as servants for personal use and against political opponents. Their main task – gathering information for national security and safety – was superseded. It is said that our most expensive and extensive networks, like the ISI and the MI, are run by the army and take orders from the army chief, not from the civilian government. This has led to all the coups staged in this country.
When the Indians exploded their nuclear weapons on May 11, 1998, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called a meeting of the Defence Committee of the Cabinet (DCC) on the 13th to discuss options. The participants had varying views, but Foreign Minister Gauhar Ayub Khan, Mr Shamshad Ahmed Khan, the foreign secretary, and myself were quite vocal in favour of a response in kind. I voiced my criticism of the performance of our intelligence agencies. Despite their claims of having informants in almost every house in Pokhran, and their promises that they would inform us if India made any preparations for tests, we were caught unawares. If we had had as little as 10 days’ notice, we could have prepared a matching response and could have detonated our devices in as little as an hour.
If we look at the history of espionage and spies, we find that it is a very old business. The Indians and the Chinese were the original masters. Chanakya and Sun Tzu wrote treatises on the subject and the techniques recommended included murder, secret agents and paying foreigners for information. Similarly, the Egyptians, the Greeks and the Romans, all established intelligence networks on a scientific basis. The Mongols and the Japanese also used all kinds of tactics to get information about their adversaries. Western and communist countries strove hard to perfect this technology and turned it into a lethal war instrument.
It is said that Abul Fazl Sakzi, the adviser (prime minister) of Sultan Alp Arsalan, once asked the Sultan why he had not established an intelligence network and employed spies for collecting information against adversaries. The sultan replied: “I believe that there is a need for an intelligence network and spies, and that this is the responsibility of the government. This responsibility must be given to highly competent, honest, experienced people so that the government remains safe from dangers. This work is highly complicated and needs people of wisdom, knowledge and foresight, as there is a great danger in this work of fraud, cheating and double games. Hence the people working in this field must be free of all temptation and blackmail, as the security of the country will depend on their performance. They should be free from financial and family worries, which will enable them to fully concentrate on their important work and provide the government with correct and reliable information. It must ensure punishment to traitors and unpatriotic elements and reward and respect patriotic people and well-wishers of the state. The conditions within the country should be such that people automatically and willingly become good, law-abiding and patriotic citizens while at the same time respecting and fearing state laws. They should not dare to indulge in any anti-state activities. The establishment of an intelligence network and the deployment of spies is a state responsibility and it is a demonstration of courage and foresight. It is thus an essential duty of the state.” (Tusi Siasat-nama.)
Sultan Alp Arsalan gave important and practical advice. He not only mentioned the inherent dangers and possible undesirable activities of these institutions and their workers, but also the necessity of such organisations.
Unfortunately, in our country the performance of the intelligence agencies is anything but commendable and is not something to be proud of. They have been the extended arm of dictators and been widely branded as rogue organisations. They operate outside the law, are least bothered about the judiciary and totally ignore court orders. During Gen Musharraf’s time, a general, an ISI colonel and eight subordinates forcibly sent us to Bannigala and kept us there for 10 hours. During that time our house was totally ransacked, bedrooms, clothes, books, files, etc., searched and many things taken away – all this without any official warrant or court order to do so. To-date many of the things taken away have not been returned. During the process our house was also bugged with cameras and – how low can you get – listening devices placed behind our bed and in the bedroom of our granddaughter, as well as in the drawing room, dining room and other places. They totally ignored that fact that, with my background, I was not ignorant of such affairs. I immediately realised the mischief they had done, traced their devices but left them in place (until years later) to let them remain under the illusion that we were unaware. The courts did not take any action against this blatant violation of our fundamental rights and privacy. In any civilised society such despicable acts are totally unacceptable and are dealt with severely by the courts.
We saw how President Nixon was removed from office in disgrace over the bugging of Watergate by his staff. Our courts have wide powers and could, if they so desired, deal with such mischief effectively and immediately in one way or another. Unfortunately, such action is always lacking and the rogue agents of the rogue agencies are left to follow the law of the jungle. As long as they are allowed a free hand, we will be branded as a lawless, corrupt country.
It is my personal opinion that these activities are mostly carried out by retired and re-employed army personnel, who then try to be more loyal than the king and indulge in all kinds of mischief to justify their continuity in service. In doing so, they give a bad name to their agencies and to the government. The heads of the intelligence agencies would be better off not carrying such excess baggage and to utilise the services of young, educated, honest and capable people.