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Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Ex ISI chief claims foiling CIA bid to derail Pakistan Nuclear Programme

Pakistan’s former spymaster Brig (retd) Imtiaz Ahmad, whose recent statements have caused ripples in the country’s political arena, now talks of a much serious issue — Pakistan’s nuclear programme. He claims to have foiled two CIA plots to sabotage the country’s nuclear programme.

While serving for Pakistan’s premier intelligence agency ISI, he claims conducting the operation ‘Rising Sun’ in 1979 that successfully thwarted a CIA plot to target Pakistan’s nuclear programme.

The operation concluded with the arrest and conviction of a Pakistani CIA agent, declaration of a few undercover CIA agents and US diplomats as personae non grata and

their return.

In the second case, Imtiaz says, he, as the Intelligence Bureau chief, had discovered another CIA plot being operated through a third country mainly to hit the country’s nuclear programme.

In an interview yesterday, Imtiaz said that in the late 70s, the CIA spotted one Rafiq Munshi, a graduate of Karachi University, and took him to the US to be trained on nuclear technicalities and intelligence skills. Later, he got appointed in the Karachi Nuclear Power Plant as an engineer.

“It was in 1979 when he was launched back by the CIA with a mission to penetrate into the country’s nuclear network with two clear objectives. Firstly, to provide the CIA with information about the nuclear programme’s development, security and protection measures for the nuclear installations and identification of nuclear scientists working on sensitive assignments. Secondly, he was assigned to create an opportunity, when given a signal, for a technical sabotage of certain nuclear installations,” Imtiaz claimed.

He said Munshi was provided substantial financial aid and was made to operate in close coordination with a few special CIA operators, who were under cover agents and working under diplomatic cover in the US embassy in Islamabad and its consulate in Karachi.

Imtiaz said during those days he was posted in Karachi as a Lt Colonel and the ISI chief in Sindh. After getting the clue of the plot and personally monitoring it for several months, he disclosed, he conducted the operation ‘Rising Sun’.

He said that the operation was conducted in a secret manner and it was only between him and the then ISI chief Maj Gen Riaz Khan as to what was going on against the country’s nuclear programme

Shahid Masood does it AGAIN!

Just when Mian Nawaz Sharif found himself trapped in his negligence of 1992 operations, and also his failure to stop them, and had seemingly no one to support his case other than his party members, someone from the media elite has come to his rescue. Yes, once again its Dr. Shahid Masood! When everyone, including myself, was ridiculing Brig. (r) Imtiaz for coming clean too late, the Doctor Sahib brought another army retired to disprove Brig. Imtiaz.

What on earth is happening? Now, this attempt by Shahid Masood to save Sharif is a clear indication of where his interest lies. Shahid Masood raised suspicions about Brig. Imtiaz which is fair enough but bringning another retired armyman to his program, who has never spoken before, reeks much more suspicions and likely a case of heavy payments to appear on HIS show. This once again reminds me of Gulzar Kiyani episode, incidentally brought to limelight by this very doctor.

But Shahid Masood loves Nawaz Sharif, and hates Musharraf as well so the next day in his program he brought Lt. Gen. (r) Tariq Pervez, TP, who has never spoken to the media before as well. He also came to ridicule Musharraf and blame him squarely for Kargil. May I ask, honourable doctor, what exactly is the point of bringing TP? Why has TP suddenly decided to come clean and why isn’t he suspicious just as much as Brig. Imtiaz?

I’ve found a trend in Shahid Masood’s program lately, and I have been watching it just to solidy my belief that he is indeed in some sort of pursuit. All his programs being with a story of how the present setup can end, obviously, paving way for PML-N. A real nice way of strengthening democracy there! A Imtiaz

Winners and Losers of Partition : What did Jaswant Singh expect?

What did Jaswant Singh expect? You can’t be in a party that thrives on the demonization of Muslims and shower fulsome praise on the founding father of Pakistan as a ‘great Indian’ and ‘freedom hero’ and get away with it.

No wonder the former soldier has been expelled from the party that he helped found a day after the release of his biography of Pakistan’s founder. But then the former foreign minister has reached a stage in his career where he doesn’t give two hoots what his party thinks of his extraordinary book on Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the man most Indians have grown up despising as the man responsible for the country’s Partition.

The BJP has been out of power for more than five years. And after the rout in the recent elections, it looks like it is going to remain out there in the wilderness for a long time to come.

Besides, going by the incredible attention and adulation Singh and his book have been receiving at home and abroad with television networks and newspapers queuing up to interview him, his future appears more promising and secure than his former party.

One of the BJP’s founding members, Singh handled crucial responsibilities – defense, finance and external affairs – with aplomb in the government of Atal Behari Vajpayee. He deserved better than this from his party, which is going through a serious existential crisis right now.

I haven’t had the opportunity to look at the book in question, Jinnah: India-Partition-Independence (Rupa & Co) as yet. However, Singh’s extraordinary interviews with Karan Thapar of CNN-IBN and others, discussing his biography of Jinnah and why and how he came to write it promise a rollercoaster ride ahead.

Whatever the motives behind the book and its merits and flaws, you’ve got to acknowledge the author’s intellectual audacity in taking up such a daunting project. It takes real guts to swim against the current. In a party that loves to hate everything Muslim and bristles at the mention of Pakistan, singing hosannas to the man considered the ultimate iconoclast of ‘Akhand Bharat’ (united India) is nothing short of heresy.

Of course, this is not the first book on the monumental tragedy of the Partition and how Hindus and Muslims turned on each other after living together in harmony for more than a thousand years. There have been far more authoritative tomes on the subject, such as Ayesha Jalal’s The Sole Spokesman: Jinnah, the Muslim League and the Demand for Pakistan, Stanley Wolpert’s Jinnah of Pakistan and, most recently, Prof Akbar S Ahmad’s Jinnah, Pakistan and Islamic Identity: The Search for Saladin.

But what makes this book on Jinnah truly unique is its authorship — it is written by an Indian politician who is at the other extreme of ideological spectrum and farthest possible from Quaid-e-Azam and his much debated legacy. But more than the biographer and his unusual choice of subject, it is what he sets out to do with it that makes Singh’s Jinnah seminal in every sense of the word.

By holding India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and his deputy Sardar Patel as much responsible for the Partition as Jinnah, if not more, Singh has turned the received history and Indian understanding of the circumstances leading to t

he creation of Pakistan on its head.

He seeks to demolish the popular myth that Jinnah was a religious bigot and Hindu hater, elucidating rather persuasively how the tallest leader of Congress until Mahatma Gandhi arrived from the South Africa and a passionate champion of Hindu-Muslim unity ended up as the man who divided India to create a separate homeland for Muslims.

So how did the Gujarati lawyer, who felt slighted when a fellow Gujarati, Gandhiji, once thanked and acknowledged him as ‘a Muslim leader’ at a function that Jinnah hosted in the Mahatma’s honor end up as the man who divided India? It was a long journey that began with his disillusionment with and isolation in the Congress after Gandhi took over the reins of independence movement.

So it was not before a long sabbatical from politics and five years of self-imposed exile in London that the brilliant lawyer returned home into the welcoming arms of the Muslim League, a party that he had strongly attacked at the time of its inception in 1906 in Dhaka.

Singh, like so many others who have dealt with the subject before, believes it was the intransigence and rigidity of the Congress leadership, especially Nehru and Patel, that inflicted the Partition on India.

By refusing to accommodate Muslim concerns about their representation in power and decision making process in the independent India and refusing to share power with the Muslim League in provinces like Uttar Pradesh (United Provinces then) and in Delhi, the Congress leadership virtually presented Pakistan on a platter to Jinnah.

In fact, Singh concludes, Jinnah’s demand of Pakistan was a tactical gambit to extract greater role and say for Muslims in the post British India. It was aimed at creating “space for Muslims” after the British left the country. “Jinnah wanted Pakistan inside India,” insists Singh.

I am not so sure about that. But you get a fair idea how the man once described by Sarojini Naidu as the “ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity” was forced on the road to Pakistan. Whoever was responsible for the Partition, Jinnah or Nehru, all of us – Indians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis – have paid for it in our own ways. But perhaps no one has suffered as much as those remaining behind in India have. No one has paid a greater price for the Partition as India’s Muslims have.

Sixty-three years after the creation of Pakistan, we continue to carry the heavy cross of historic guilt on our shoulders.

Singh may be accused of resorting to hyperbole when he says, “Look into the eyes of the Muslims who live in India and if you truly see through the pain they live to which land do they belong?” But indeed India’s Muslims have been the chief victims of the catastrophe that left a million people dead on both sides and millions more displaced and scarred forever.

It’s rather late in the day for hypothetical mind games and ‘what ifs.’ And this is not to question the existence of Pakistan or Bangladesh either.

But I often wonder what a great and giant country this would have been if it had not been split into two (later three). Imagine the endless mass of a country, from Afghan frontier to the green expanses of Burma and from the mighty Himalayas to the Arabian Sea.

And imagine what a crucial role Muslims with their huge numbers could have played in such a powerful country (“Muslims on both sides have paid a price in Partition. They would have been significantly stronger in a united India, effectively so much larger land, every potential is here!”). But they gave up all this, or were forced to give up, — for a ‘moth-eaten Pakistan’ (Quaid-e-Azam’s words), founding a Muslim homeland in areas that were in any case Muslim-majority regions. In doing so, they broke away with the 1000-year-old legacy of Muslim presence and struggle in the sub-continent. I do not know who has benefited from the Partition. At least, the people who are accused of inflicting it on the sub-continent haven’t. They have been the real losers of this geopolitical drama. A Zaka Syed

How do India’s middle school textbooks portray China?

China” rarely appears in Indian textbooks, and China-related content mostly appears in history and politics textbooks. However, it is interesting that these two types of textbooks often contain different views on China.

Politics textbooks:

Chinese people eat all kinds of animals.

Chinese people like drinking tea and smoke opium, although the number of people with this bad habit is gradually dropping.

Chinese people wear a long gown and pants.

Chinese people’s lifestyle is very simple, but their language is very complicated.

These sentences about China appear in the political science textbook “Political Theory and Practice” for India’s third-year senior high school students.

Of course this does not imply that every Indian has this impression of China; no Indian has ever asked me, “Do you smoke opium?” when they learn that I am Chinese.

This is simply a “rigid” reproduction of the stereotypes about China prevalent in India.

First let us look at the China portrayed in the politics textbooks

“China is located north of the Himalayas and is the world’s most populous country with one fifth of the world’s population. Like India, China is one of the oldest countries in the world. Historically, China has always benefited from India; Indian civilization gave the Chinese knowledge about mind and spirit, and the two countries also strengthened economic ties through trade.”

This is the first paragraph of a China-related section in “Political Theory and Practice.” China-related content appears only on two pages in the last chapter, “India and the World,” of the book, and is just a small part of “India and neighboring countries.”

Politics textbooks often gather state rulers’ mainstream and even biased or stereotypical viewpoints. For example, it says in “Political Theory and Practice” that most Chinese are farmers who mainly engage in growing rice and tea; other occupations include fishing and pottery making; and industry is also gradually developing.

As they both have a long history, a huge population and are in the stage of economic take-off, China and India are similar neighbors. Whenever Westerners mention either China or India, they always like to compare them. Indians’ feelings toward China are complex and delicate; the formation of the politics textbooks reflects the fact that they neither consider China as a rival or enemy, nor can they open their hearts to treat China as a friend.

The textbook first acknowledges that India and China have a 2,000-year history of friendly exchanges. “Since Before Christ (BC), India and China have maintained friendly relations. Frequent overland and sea trade between the two countries created favorable conditions for equal exchanges.”

It mentions that Indian monks came to China to popularize Buddhism in 65 BC, and a number of eminent Chinese monks, including the infamous Faxian and Xuanzang, went on arduous pilgrimages for Buddhist scriptures.

It also mentions the harmonious relations between India and China of the early 1920’s, when the famous Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore visited China.

History textbooks: China is inevitably mentioned

Compared to the politics textbooks, the history textbooks have more specific China-related content and more objective and appropriate arguments. They are even enlightening to a Chinese reader.

“Our textbooks contain little about ancient Chinese history, but China is inevitably mentioned in connection with ancient Indian history. This is really very interesting because a large part of ancient Indian history is based on the records of Chinese people, such as the books written by monk Xuanzang about his travels,” said Saroji, a high-school history teacher at the Tagore International School in New Delhi, India’s capital. He added, “I believe that each student should therefore know the stories of monk Xuanzang.”

Indian high-school history textbooks contain unexpectedly detailed modern and contemporary Chinese history. The history textbook for the 11th grade contains modern and contemporary world history and covers important events in all countries between the 19th and 20th century in chronological order, just like Chinese history textbooks. China is therefore inevitably mentioned.

In particular however, the textbook contains a special “the road to modernization” topic, which covers the modernization of all Asian countries. There are 10 to 11 pages about China’s modernization, including the two opium wars at the end of the Qing Dynasty, the Old Democratic Revolution, the founding of the Republic of China, the War of Resistance against Japan, the development of the CPC, the founding of New China, the Great Leap Forward, the Cultural Revolution and post-1978 reform and opening-up.

At the beginning of that section of the textbook is the statement: “China’s modern history always centers on how to safeguard state sovereignty, end colonial rule by foreign countries and strive for equity and development.” This part of the textbook is not in chronological order. It respectively covers the rise and fall of political powers over the period, including the fall of the Qing Dynasty and traditional Chinese culture, the bourgeois democratic revolution led by Dr. Sun Yat-sen, the founding of the Republic of China, and the establishment of the CPC and New China.

Aside from texts, the textbook also contains more vivid content such as photos, maps and graphs. The textbook also has a special column explaining the Chinese imperial examination system, the eight-legged essay and their adverse impacts.

Chinese people are very familiar with this part of history, but the Indians have a novel way to write about it. For example, Indian text compares the modernization of China and Japan, and analyzes the differences and their respective advantages and disadvantages.

The book states, “The histories of China and Japan show how different the paths the two countries took, driven by different historical conditions in building independent modern countries. Japan successfully carried forward its traditions and made them suit the new era, although the top-down modernization process also led to radical and aggressive nationalism. In contrast, China chose to abandon traditions, destroy the old and establish the new.”

Moreover, the textbook also incorporates China-related recorded material by some contemporaries, including a small special topic named “how the discriminated unite,” which cites the diaries of Bark Crichton, an African-American jazz musician who lived in Shanghai in the 1930’s. The diaries reveal the situations of Chinese people at that time as well as their hatred and struggle against foreign colonists from the perspective of a foreigner. Yantaoju

Hamid Saeed Kazmi ( religious affairs minister ) Survives Assassination Attempt

Minister for Religious Affairs Hamid Saeed Kazmi on Wednesday narrowly escaped a life attempt when some assailants opened fire on him near Melody market, just few yards away from the Aabpara police station. However, the minister’s driver identified as Muhammad Yunus lost his life in the incident and the security guard was seriously injured in an apparent targeted attempt.

Kazmi had just left his office in Melody when the assailants opened fire on his car in the busy chowk adjacent to Argentina Park, killing the driver and injuring the Minister and a security guard.

The minister received injuries on his left knees and he was stated stable by the Doctors at Federal Government Services Hospital after necessary treatment.

Senior Superintendent of Police (Operations) Tahir Alam Khan said that assailants had ambushed the official vehicle of Federal Minister for Religious Affairs, leaving his driver dead on the spot and injuring the minister and his gunman.

The SSP said assailants were not outsiders as they might be local and insiders. “It is not the incident committed by some outsiders. There is some group inside here,” he maintained.

However, the eye witnesses opined that the assailants had chased the vehicle of the minister and later opened indiscriminate fire at the vehicle and fled away on motorbike.

Kazmi, also a renowned religious scholar, belongs to a respected religious family of Multan and his father an eminent religious scholar had a huge following across the country. Kazmi was elected as MNA on PPPP ticket from Rahim Yar Khan district.

Soon after the incident, Ministers, the top government functionaries and large number of people from different walks of life reached the hospital to enquire about the health of the Minister.

Talking to mediapersons, Minister for Health Aijaz Hussain Jakhrani said, Mr Kazmi was being operated at Poly Clinic while efforts are being made to save the life of gunman who received three bullet injuries.

Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervez Ashraf also reached the hospital and condemned the incident. He said the government would not bow to the terrorists and eliminated them at every cost.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik also visited the hospital to enquire about the health of Minister for Religious Affairs.

Malik termed the incident ‘an attempt of target killing’ and reiterated the firm resolve of the government to continue fight against terrorism.

Talking to the journalists here at Federal Government Services Hospital (FGSH), the minister informed that Kazmi was operated upon and his condition was “stable”.

“The driver of the minister has embraced Shahadat in the attack while the gunman is injured and is being operated upon. He is under observation,” he added.

He said the terrorists would be searched in every nook and corner and would be taken to task. He assured an early arrest of the culprits and bring them to justice.

Following the incident the security was beefed up in the federal capital as the Islamabad Police also arrested few suspects.

“A few suspects have been arrested on doubt of their involvement in the incident,” the police spokesman stated.

He said raids are being conducted while checking has been enhanced at all the entry and exit points of capital. “Few arrests have been made and security has been further beefed up,” he added.

Extra police force has also been deployed at the public and sensitive places to further enhance security and to protect the life and property of the citizens, the spokesman maintained.

The police have also recovered a bag with two pistols, one kalashnikov and one hand grenade from the site of attack.

According to sources, the police have started checking of hotels and guest houses and public places in the Federal Capital.

Police patrolling has been enhanced in order to avert any untoward situation and have been directed to remain vigil and further enhance the security at all public and sensitive places.

Rehman terms attack on Kazmi ‘target killing bid’

Saeed Kazmi shooting

Minister for Interior Rehman Malik Wednesday termed the life attempt on Minister for Religious Affairs Hamid Saeed Kazmi a ‘target killing’ bid, saying that the minister sustained a bullet injury in left leg.Talking to the journalists here at Federal Government Services Hospital (FGSH), the minister informed that Kazmi was operated upon and his condition was “stable”.

“The driver of the minister has embraced Shahadat in the attack while the gun man is injured and is being operated upon. He is under observation,” he added.

Minister for Water and Power Raja Pervaiz Ashraf also termed the attack on Religious Minister as a targeted attack, saying that the minister was being hurled threats for some time.

“This (attack) is a result of Malakand Operation (against the miscreants), however, such acts of cowardice cannot deter the resolve of the nation against terrorism,” he added.

Minister for Health Aijaz Jakhrani said that Hamid Saeed Kazmi was given the best possible treatment and he was now stable and conscious.

“The entire nation is united against the terrorists. The fight against terrorists would continue till the last terrorist is tracked down,” he added.

Jakhrani termed the incident a ‘targeted killing’ bid, however, ruled out the notion of a security lapse.

“We would reinforce the security for ministers,” he added.

Attack on Hamid Saeed condemned

درخت سے ٹکرا گئی

Federal Ministers and Ministers of State have condemned the attack on Minister for Religious Affairs, Hamid Saeed Kazmi here Wednesday near Melody Market by unidentified assailants.In the incident, his driver was killed while two others including Hamid Saeed Kazmi got injured.Terming the incident as cowardly act, the Ministers said those responsible for the act would be brought to justice.

Federal Minister for Environment, Hamidullah Jan Afridi, Federal Minister for Overseas Pakistanis, Dr. Farooq Sattar, Federal Minister for Science and Technology, Muhammad Azam Khan Swati, Federal Minister for SAFRON Najmuddin Khan and Federal Minister for Population Welfare Dr. Firdous Aashiq Awan said that the terrorists were enemies of Pakistan and Islam, and people of Pakistan must unite together to give the terrorists strong message that their acts of violence were hated by them.

They expressed firm resolve of the government to continue its war against terrorism till its end and restoration of complete normalcy in the country.

Meanwhile, in their separate messages, Minister of State for Information and Broadcasting, Syed Sumsam Ali Shah Bukhari, Minister of State for Interior, Tasneam A. Qureshi, Minister of State for Religious Affairs, Shagufta Jumani and Parliamentary Secretary for Information, Azeem Daultana expressed sorrow over the killing of Hamid Saeed’s driver by assailants and prayed to Allah Almighty to grant eternal peace to the departed soul and speedy recovery of the injured persons.

Afghan Gov,

Brigadier (retd) Imtiaz Ahmed.

PML-N’s ultimatum