After the WikiLeaks deluge
By Ansar Abbasi
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan stands insecure as our leadership, both political and military, ruling the country have been exposed by no one else but Washington, to whom our leadership is shown by WikiLeaks to have sold their souls at the cost of national integrity, honour and prestige.
Is our fate in safe hands? This is the fundamental questionthat boggles almost every mind in Pakistan as the WikiLeaks bombshell, believed to be deliberately leaked by Washington to attain its designs including chaos in Pakistan, leaves hardly anyone among the leaders here to be trusted.
Each and every word of WikiLeaks would be taken as true if Pakistani authorities and leaders, blamed and shamed by these leaks, do not come out with a clear answer. They need to reply, more importantly through their actions, that Pakistan is no more American domain.
Otherwise, WikiLeaks precisely proves what was earlier said i.e. Pakistan has been practically reduced from a sovereign state to an American colony as the president, prime minister, top political leaders and even Army chief all have been shown pleasing or taking into confidence the US ambassador — the de facto viceroy of Pakistan — to continue ruling the roost with the blessings of Washington.
DG ISI Lt Gen Pasha too crossed the limits of discipline as he is shown by the WikiLeaks to have told US officials that President Asif Ali Zardari was corrupt. The question here arises why did he report such purely internal matter to the Americans.
The only exception has been Imran Khan, the man who on the face of Americans has been criticising US policies, drone attacks, the so-called war on terror besides asking for negotiated settlement with Taliban to end extremism and refusing to dance to the tunes of the “real masters” of this unfortunate country.
Shame is too little a word to reflect on the portrayed conduct of those ruling Pakistan after one goes through the WikiLeaks, which is expected to heap more dirt on Pakistan as well as the Muslim nations.
What would be more shameful than reading President Asif Ali Zardari as conceding to the Americans, “We are here because of you,” and then assuring Washington, “We won’t act without consulting with you.” To the pleasure of his masters, Zardari committed Pakistan to the war on terror, insisting that it was Pakistan’s own war.
Asfandyar Wali too shares the shame by inviting Washington to influence both Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari through Jeddah and Dubai to mend fences. Why did he invite three foreign countries in matters purely pertaining to internal politics?
Look at the callousness of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, who on the issue of drone attacks told Washington, “I don’t care if they (US) do it (carry out drone attacks) as long as they get the right people. We’ll protest in the National Assembly and then ignore it.” The premier had snubbed the interior minister Rehman Malik, who had suggested to the Americans that the Predator attacks should be stopped after the Bajaur operation.
Look at the double speak of the PML-N, whose top leadership both Nawaz Sharif and Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan were shown repeatedly assuring the Americans that the PML-N was pro-America. To leave no doubt about his loyalty to the Americans, Nawaz recounted his decision to override his Chief of Army Staff and deploy Pakistani troops to Saudi Arabia in support of the US coalition in the first Gulf War. Here Chaudhry Nisar Khan reminded that it was the PPP and its leaders who were organising street demonstrations against Pakistan joining with the US coalition.
Exposing the hypocrisy of the already stinking Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the WikiLeaks revealed that the leader of the country’s most fiercely pro-Taliban religious party, hosted a jovial dinner for Ms Patterson at which the Maulana sought her backing to become the prime minister and expressed a desire to visit America. His lieutenant Abdul Ghafoor Haideri acknowledged that “All important parties in Pakistan had to get the approval of the US (to get power).” Just compare the actions of these Maulanas to what they preach in their speeches. Simply disgraceful!
Interior minister Rehman Malik is referred to as a frequent and co-operative interlocutor, who professes his support for cooperation with the United States.
No less shocking is the way the Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has been opening his heart and mind before the Americans, including the US ambassador. Otherwise giving the impression of being a man of few words, the Army chief spoke before the Americans against President Zardari and opposition leader Nawaz Sharif, and also talked of getting resignation from the president and tailoring democracy to his sweet choice.
He also hinted at supporting Asfandyar Wali Khan, the leader of the Awami National Party, as the new president. Kayani even made it clear to Ms Patterson, the former US ambassador, that regardless of how much he disliked Zardari, he distrusted Nawaz even more.
Such hobnobbing of the military chief with any foreign diplomat or official, what to talk of Americans, is undoubtedly a violation of discipline and breach of his oath. Unluckily, we have a tainted president, tainted prime minister and tainted political leaders otherwise this is a fit case of seeking explanation from the Army chief.
With such leadership, both political and military, Pakistan’s future is really bleak. Whom should we trust? Who is free from the US influence? Can we become a sovereign nation? Can we take our own decisions? Why do we have more faith in Washington than in God? How could we save Pakistan from being destabilised after reading what our president, prime minister, political leaders and Army chief have said to a minnow American — Anne Patterson? With such leadership, how can we tackle the problem of terrorism? Who would save us from disgrace and shame?
One hardly has any answer to the above questions. Our irony is that our leaders are leading us to shame like never before. What option do they have to undo what they have brought for this country and its people? Resignations and stepping down from their respective public and political offices is one option. Another option is to say a firm no to the American drone attacks, cut the Nato supply line, revisit our policy on US’s so-called war on terror, halt all military operations inside Pakistan, open up dialogue with the local Taliban leaders to bring to an end terrorism and desist from dancing to the tunes of Americans.
Otherwise these leaks, containing truths and half-truths all suiting Washington but embarrassing others, are bound to create more mistrust and chaos in the country, which is the actual design of those having leaked it from Washington.
By Shaheen Sehbai
WASHINGTON: The mystery of Reko Diq gold mines deepened on Tuesday as the Supreme Court prepared to hear the case on Wednesday, when Tethyan Copper Company (TCC), the Canadian-Chilean giant working in Balochistan, issued a long statement which coincided with a stinging attack on TCC by a US company which has eight exploration licences in Pakistan,
including two in Reko Diq. The official statement by TCC (reported separately in these columns) came 20 days after the original story by The News on how Reko Diq was being sold for a song by the Pakistani government but the statement by Benway Corporation of New York was a stunner as its president and CEO accused TCC and its principals of playing games with Pakistan.
He levelled serious allegations against TCC and Barrick Gold Corporation and announced his company will soon request the Supreme Court of Pakistan to become a party in the Reko Diq case. The company said Reko Diq deposits had not been fully declared to the government of Balochistan by its sponsors.
“They are playing games with their government of Balochistan partners,” CEO and president of Benway Corporation, Sheikh Tanvir, a Pakistani-American, said in the statement. The TCC statement added further confusion to the already complicated situation about the original size of the deposits at Reko Diq, the share of Pakistan and whether laws were followed or twisted.
TCC claimed that the mineral resource at Reko Diq was estimated at 5.9 billion tons. “From this resource, an estimated 2.2 billion tons of economically mine-able ore, with an average copper grade of 0.5 per cent and an average gold grade of 0.3 gms per ton will be processed to produce 2.2 billion pounds of copper (10 million tons) and 13 million ounces of gold in form of payable metal in about 56 years of mine life.”
But this statement militates directly against what the Barrick Gold of Canada told the Canadian and American Mines Handbook, 2009-2010, a bible of the mining industry. It shows Barrick’s 37.5 per cent share of measured and indicated resources in Reko Diq was equal to 1,125,071,000 tons average 0.008 opt gold, for 8,487,000 ounces of gold and 11.5 billion lbs of copper. Inferred resource was shown as 895,089,000 tons average 0.009 opt gold, for 8,398,000 ounces of gold and 8.5 billion pounds of copper.
If this estimate is the share of Barrick, then the Chilean share is exactly the same and Pakistan’s share would be slightly less as Pakistan has 25 per cent stake as against 37.5 per cent each of the two big companies. Experts have to calculate the worth in the present bullish gold and copper market.
The confusion gets further confounded as a 2008 study conducted by both these companies involving top experts of Geology and mining reported much larger deposits. This study was published in “Economic Geology”, a bulletin of the Society of Economic Geologists (Vol. 103 December 2008 No. 8), written by Jose Perello of Antofagasta of Chile, Abdul Razique and Asad-ur-Rehman of Tethyan Copper Company, Pakistan and John Schloderer of Albidon Ltd of Australia.
These experts concluded that the 300-km-long Chagai porphyry copper belt had 48 deposits and prospects containing porphyry-type alteration and mineralisation. “Three medium-sized porphyry copper deposits are present in the belt at Saindak and Tanjeel and H8 at Reko Diq, the former currently providing small scale production. The H14-H15 copper-gold deposit at Reko Diq, currently at the feasibility stage, is world-class and contains open pittable resources of approximately 18 million tons of copper and 32 million Oz of gold.”
So while on Tuesday TCC claimed that Reko Diq had only 2.2 billion pounds of “mine-able” copper (10 million tons), these experts hired by TCC in 2008 had found the deposit of copper to be 18 million tons. Likewise while TCC today says gold deposits are only 13 million ounces of “payable” metal, the experts had estimated it to be 32 million ounces.
What is the difference between a “mine-able” and “payable” ore and by using “ton” and “tonne” in the same statement is not evident to ordinary people but the US company, also working in Reko Diq, in its statement on Tuesday said TCC was twisting words.
“For some 15-20 days we hear TCC keeps saying they are doing everything according to Balochistan Mining Rules of 2002. They say they are doing everything lawful in Pakistan. We disagree with most of what they are telling Pakistani people and the media. They are not fully telling the truth. They twist words,” the Benway statement said.
Sheikh Tanvir heads Benway, a privately held corporation incorporated in New York State since 1998 with 38 shareholders, mostly US citizens, a Canadian, an Australian, a Turk and three 3 Pakistanis. Its business is mining and works to discover copper and gold deposits.
His statement revealed that Barrick Gold Corporation went to Benway in 2007 to go into a joint venture with Benway on EL-24 in Chagai Balochistan, owned by Benway, located south of Reko Diq with a 30 km long common border.
“Barrick in 2007 offered us a package of $10.6 million. We refused that very very low offer. Then Barrick and Antofagasta’s front company TCC invited Balochistan officials to Toronto and Chile and ended up building an airport on EL-24 instead of their EL-5. We went to Balochistan High Court against 3 international companies and their front company, TCC Pakistan,” the statement said.
Benway accused Barrick Gold of playing games “with your partners and host country.” “They please officials of GoB and GoP and convince those officials to play games for the sponsors. We believe business must be done truthfully and ethically. Reko Diq was found in 17 years and we believe we have similar deposits and we found this in 3 years. These mining companies are stifling the competition and pushing fair competition laws of US and Pakistan.”
The US company claimed that Barrick Gold had broken Canadian laws. “They have broken Australian laws and they have criminally broken US laws of Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. They have broken Pakistani and Balochistani laws by their tangible actions in Balochistan and Pakistan. We believe that highest officials of these corporations are involved, some of them hold the highest civilian awards of Canada.”
The company said now that the Supreme Court of Pakistan was hearing the matter, we are happy that truth will emerge soon. “We are in BHC since May 2008 and we will approach the SC soon to allow us to be disposed in BHC in a speedy manner and/or kindly enter us as the main injured party in SC.”
“We are against the law breaker mining companies. We believe Pakistan and Balochistan are not dependent on a few bad eggs of the mining industry. There are 150 major mining and over 3000 junior mining companies in the world. Pakistan has 1000 choices. It is not because of terrorism that mining companies are not coming to Pakistan. It is because of corruption of officials, politicians and Pakistanis not following Pakistan’s own rules and laws. We will show Pakistan who is right and who is wrong,” the statement concluded.
ISLAMABAD:(Umar Cheema) The wee hours of late Saturday brought a metamorphosis in my life. Not just that I was muffled, picked up, tortured, and humiliated. No absolutely not. Rather the torture has removed the remaining fear, if there was any in my heart and mind, and has instead given me the realization that we have to die fighting for this country.
My love for this country is based on some reasoning which is inspired by my firm belief that we can neither change our past nor our national identity. I learned this during my stay abroad for one and a half years when I went for studies, first in the US and then in UK. Lord Curzon’s words that “exile is a nursery of nationalism” always keep resounding in my ears.
Let us suppose I decide to settle abroad. I will again be Pakistani-British or Pakistani-American and the prefix ‘Pakistan’ cannot be dropped from my identity. It is always counted where you’re rooted in. So I have to stay attached and take care of my country wherever I am.
Having decided to live and die on this land, I have a dream to see Pakistan where brains, not batons reign supreme, where people can question the use of public money, where all institutions can be held accountable without any fear or favour, where our children love to live instead of fear to live, and where we are governed by the rule of law and not on the basis of personal loyalties.
The message of my captors for me was to become a status quo abiding person, not law abiding. They forced me through violence to accept their views and become a silent spectator to the rot without questioning what was happening to my beloved country.
I instead learned a different lesson from the torture and humiliation, to stand guard for this country, help the oppressed, keep questioning the high and mighty and continue the struggle to make this land livable and safe for the next generation.
The captors thought themselves to be heroes but emerged as villains and will go down in the history with same status. I feel pity for them. They were born innocent but forced to become sick minds. Instead of cursing them, I only pray for them because they don’t know we’re fighting for their betterment too.
My captors were probably not aware that I was also hit by a car in December 2004 that left me with compound fractures in my left leg. But I never bowed to those attackers either. Although I’ve forgiven my captors but not forgotten the perpetrators of this act that should be exposed and this mind-set be eliminated once and for all.
I believe in reporting with a moral force without any personal grudge against anybody or any institution. Whenever I write about anyone, the concerned people have always been approached for their version to balance my reporting. It is however a different story that those without answers to our questions try to propagate as if the stories are being planted and we are being bribed for doing this.
Such excuses are crafted by the individuals and institutions not inclined to revisit their conduct. But they don’t know that we, by virtue of our profession, have been tasked to unfold the truth, no matter who is affected by whatever way.
Some consider journalism as a shortcut to rise on the ladder to political power but we are here to protect the interest of people, neither our own nor of the rulers.
I have no words to thank so many of my well-wishers in Pakistan and abroad for consoling me and praying for me. I didn’t know many of them before. I was amazed to note how they struggled to reach me. Due to the flood of calls, I could not attend most of them. It was a silent majority that rose against the oppression of a tiny minority claiming to have monopoly on violence.
There was a mixed reaction to this incident. Those who didn’t know me gave me a new strength and conviction, emboldened me further and offered all-out help. People, who know me for years, were concerned about me and my family’s security. They think that I should think about my children. This is a question which comes to every parent’s mind. I would like to explain that the fight we are into is for my children and for the children of all Pakistanis.
We have to see the broader picture. Pakistani media is fighting the war for the future of this country. The country’s neighbours China and India, are emerging as superpowers but we, in spite of our immense capabilities, are on the decline. There are many who are even worried about its existence. The situation calls for internal accountability and restructuring the society but vested interests and pro-status quo forces seem to be strong, at least for the moment.
But we have to fight on and they don’t realize that a change is in progress, it is bound to come, sooner than later. I’m ready to pay any price for speaking up. Thomas Horaceman, who is considered the father of the public education system in US had said: “One should feel ashamed to die until one has done anything for humanity.” And I stand by his words.
A sensible article as far as the overall idea is concerned with some real good points raised.
The writer has explained what motivates people to get ready for suicide bombings.
Though in many cases like the killing of Benazir Bhutto or recent attacks on International Islamic University and many others in which the chances of the involvement by CIA,RAW or even Pakistani Security agencies are more and 9/11 is seen as an inside job but still the overall context of the article remains quite valid.
What creates this hate?
Friday, October 23, 2009
Dr Masooda Bano
The rise in suicide attacks in the past three weeks have left the nation shocked. The GHQ as well as ordinary institutions such as the International Islamic University (IIU) have been attacked. These attacks are making the government commit to starting even heavy military operations in Waziristan. But this increased number of suicide attacks needs to also raise the question why have some Pakistanis come to hate the rest so much that they are willing to take such extreme measures.
In the immediate aftermath of September 11, one dominant outcry in the US was that “Why have they come to hate us so much?” The question was never fully answered as the Bush administration soon moved into a militarist mode finding and attacking targets overseas. However, Pakistan cannot afford such a luxury because it is having to face the consequences of such a militarist approach on its own soil. There is thus the critical need to understand why some Pakistanis could be driven to a level of hatred that can result in making deadly attacks on other ordinary Pakistanis, such as the innocent students of IIU who so unfortunately died in the recent attack.
Those who try to attribute religious indoctrination as the prime basis of these suicide attacks have to provide better evidence to support such simplistic claims. Academic research on suicide missions conducted in either secular or religious contexts does not support the claim that suicide missions are ever driven purely by an ideological impulse. In fact, the basis of such a violent expression are often very political in nature, a religious or secular ideology only help sustain the momentum of the recruits after they have joined the struggle due to a feeling a sense of gross political injustice. To say that the militants in Pakistan are driven by some religious indoctrination where people are taught to hate others is too simplistic a solution. It helps ignore the more complex and demanding question that why are so many Pakistanis is a state of mind where they are willing to gather around the radical rhetoric and give up their own lives as well as taking life of other innocent people.
The answer to this is complex but one factor that could lead people to such extreme hate is the element of revenge. Those who suffer from the unjust excesses of the state end up retaliating in extreme ways because they find that there are no legal mechanisms left to secure justice. Palestinians pitted against Israel have faced that problem for long. I have not been to Swat during the period of military confrontation, nor I have been to Waziristan but I was closely engaged in studying the Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafza when it was staging the resistance and when it was under siege by the military. The state in this case was definitely an unjust aggressor. There was simply no need for the military operation that resulted in death of at the least 100 students.
The resist was triggered by some legitimate concerns about Pakistani military operations in the tribal belts and other issues such as that of the ‘missing people.’ It started moving in other directions, such as securing public piety, and of course needed to be curtailed. However, it could have been curtailed through a dialogue and through giving some concessions rather than opting for a full military operation. If today some relatives of students who died in those military operations had become recruits for such suicide attacks that are taking place in Pakistan, one won’t be surprised. Such gross level of injustice committed by a state is often not absorbed easily by those harmed by it.
What we have to remember if we want to find a solution to this problem that no one wants to give up his or her life for nothing. The promises of rewards in the other world could be tempting. To give up life in this world for promises of the rewards in the other is too extreme a measure, which is never just a product of search for heavenly rewards. After all, less costly measures, such as Haj, Hifz, fasting, khairat promise generous heavenly rewards too. There have to be actual political factors that are making people go to such extremes. Those who all along asked for making this “US-led war” our war now need to answer that what have we benefited from making it our war. If these are ordinary Pakistanis who are involved in these attacks, then we need to find out why they are doing this so that we are better placed to dissuade this from such actions. Cheering making an ever bigger and deadlier enemy out of them serves no purpose.
The writer is a research fellow at the Oxford University. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org