Saturday, February 28, 2009

Pakistan's Leader Stirs Fresh Turmoil.

--- On Sat, 2/28/09, Jimmy Jumshade wrote:

They have created an unwanted crisis already when there is so much other crisis going on. Bloody Weirdos..... ......and Shareef brothers should have been disqualified & not allowed to participate in elections a year ago.....not after they have been in Office for a year.This is just a big time power-grab.

Pakistan's Leader Stirs Fresh Turmoil By MATTHEW ROSENBERG and ZAHID HUSSAIN ASIA NEWS FEBRUARY 26, 2009

Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari (pictured) has had a strained relationship with his hand-picked prime minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani (below).

Pakistan's Problems

Political Turmoil: Fresh tensions arose Wednesday after the Supreme Court banned a key opposition leader from contesting elections.

Sputtering Economy: Pakistan was forced to seek a $7.6 billion rescue package from the IMF in November.

Mumbai Fallout: November's attack on Mumbai, blamed on an Islamic militant group based in Pakistan, set back peace efforts with New Delhi.

Taliban Troubles: In the Swat Valley, hours from Islamabad, authorities agreed to impose Islamic law, yielding to a key demand of a Taliban faction. The Taliban have stepped up attacks on convoys supplying U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

ISLAMABAD -- When Asif Ali Zardari won the presidency last year, he vowed to unite this fractious country after nearly a decade of military rule. Instead, Mr. Zardari is emerging as a divisive figure at a time when Pakistan faces a rising Islamist insurgency and a stuttering economy.

The widower of slain former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto is alienating both allies and foes. Even his personal style has turned off supporters of his wife -- some of whom serve in his government but are now reluctant to deal with him directly. At meetings in recent months, according to several witnesses, he lashed out at senior ministers, calling one a "witch" and another "impotent."

On Wednesday, Pakistan was plunged into fresh political turmoil when the Supreme Court barred from elected office former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the country's leading opposition politician, citing a past criminal conviction. The court also barred Mr. Sharif's brother, Shahbaz Sharif, from office, effectively unseating him as chief minister of Punjab, Pakistan's largest and most powerful province. Following the decision, Mr. Zardari dismissed Punjab's state government and imposed executive rule in the province, sparking demonstrations in several cities

"It is a political decision given on the directives of Mr. Zardari," Nawaz Sharif, a former prime minister still popular across Pakistan, said at a news conference at his residence in Lahore. "It is a conspiracy to keep me out of politics."

Several government officials and Western diplomats say the friction caused by Mr. Zardari's rule is weakening the government and diminishing Pakistan's ability to solve the thicket of challenges it faces.

Wednesday's developments triggered a 5% drop in Pakistan's benchmark stock index in Karachi on the expectation of political tensions and possible street violence. The prospect of Mr. Sharif and his supporters leading a campaign against Mr. Zardari is likely to concern Washington. The Obama administration wants the president and his top officials focused on countering the threat posed by al Qaeda and the Taliban -- not contending with domestic political unrest.

Since taking over the presidency last September, Mr. Zardari has surrounded himself with a small cadre of advisers, many of them unelected, including family members and associates whom Mr. Zardari got to know in jail or in exile, leaving even government officials unsure of who runs what. Among the members of Mr. Zardari's inner circle: his former physician, Dr. Asim Hussain, who in addition to running a hospital in Karachi is the government's adviser on petroleum affairs and runs the oil ministry, despite having no background in the industry.

Mr. Zardari, 53 years old, declined to be interviewed for this story. A spokesman, Farhatullah Babar, said Mr. Zardari is seeking to bring the best people into Pakistan's government. He also said the president had never "used intemperate language" with colleagues.

"Far from endorsing infighting and general nastiness, President Zardari is seeking to melt away the bitterness of the past," Mr. Babar said in an email.

Concession to Taliban

In one recent controversial move, officials effectively yielded to a key Taliban demand and agreed to impose Islamic law in the Swat Valley. The region, located a few hours' drive northwest of the capital, until two years ago was best known as an alpine weekend getaway.

The government of the North West Frontier Province, where Swat is located, opted this month for a truce with the Taliban faction fighting in the valley, even though a similar deal collapsed after only a few weeks last year. Mr. Zardari initially opposed the deal, say officials. But with the army losing ground, he concluded he had "no other option but to go along with the decision of a beleaguered provincial government," one of his aides said.

The truce stunned officials in Washington, who are concerned that the war in Afghanistan will be undermined if the insurgents have a safe haven in Pakistan from which to launch cross-border attacks.

Mr. Zardari emerged as Pakistan's most powerful politician in the wake of Ms. Bhutto's December 2007 assassination. Previously, he was best known for his love of polo and for corruption allegations that made the nickname "Mr. Ten Percent" stick with the public. Mr. Zardari nonetheless led the PPP to victory in elections last February.

Pakistan's mounting problems not only worry the new administration of U.S. President Barack Obama. They also have contributed to a sharp decline in Mr. Zardari's own popularity. Recent opinion polls indicate the president's approval rating has sunk to a level near that of Pervez Musharraf, the widely reviled former general ousted from the presidency by Mr. Zardari and Mr. Sharif last summer.

Yousuf Raza Gilani

Even Mr. Zardari's relationship with his handpicked prime minister, Yousuf Raza Gilani, has become strained of late, several government officials say. Associates of Mr. Gilani say the prime minister has grown frustrated at Mr. Zardari's failure to fulfill his promise to reduce the presidency to its traditional role as head of state, allowing the prime minister to take a bigger role in decision-making and appointments.

Mumbai Attack

Tensions came to a head in January. Mr. Gilani fired his national security adviser, Mahmood Ali Durrani, for acknowledging that the sole surviving gunman captured by India during November's terrorist attack on Mumbai was Pakistani. Mr. Durrani was a close ally of Mr. Zardari and was fired days ahead of a visit by Joseph Biden, then U.S. vice president-elect.

Within minutes of hearing the news, a furious Mr. Zardari phoned Mr. Gilani to demand the move be reversed, one of the president's top aides said. When Mr. Gilani refused, the president asked: "Can you wait at least till Joe Biden's visit to Islamabad is over?" according to the aide. The prime minister again refused.

Mr. Babar, the president's spokesman, said Mr. Zardari approved the national security adviser's firing. He dismissed talk of a split between the president and prime minister as the talk of "PPP haters who think that their best chance to destabilize the system is to spread rumors of a rift within."

Mr. Gilani, in an interview during last month's World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, said his relationship with the president was "very good." As for Mr. Durrani's firing, Mr. Gilani said the president "has to approve it, and therefore that was approved."

But, he added, "I have to run the government. I'm the chief executive."

The infighting in the government contrasts with the tenor of government under Mr. Musharraf. He became a U.S. favorite by keeping a lid on intramural squabbles and making it clear he was the sole decision maker in Pakistan.

Mr. Zardari's supporters say he remains determined to restore Pakistan to a stable civilian democracy after nine years of Mr. Musharraf's military-backed rule. He often cites as motivation the 11 years he spent in prison in Pakistan on corruption and murder allegations. He says these were politically motivated; most of the allegations were dropped under an amnesty deal with President Musharraf.

On a February visit to Peshawar, the capital of the North-West Frontier Province and a city beset by Taliban insurgents, he told a gathering of tribal and political leaders: "I am myself a tribesman and know what misery is. I have passed through all such traumas for 11 years in jail."

He added: "But I never compromised on principles and succumbed to a dictator."

Western officials say they view Mr. Zardari's record of government to date as mixed. They credit him with keeping the military focused on fighting the Taliban and al Qaeda and providing intelligence to aid missile strikes on the militants by U.S. drone aircraft. His position is a risky one because of the widespread outrage in Pakistan over the attacks.

Military's Role

For now, there appears little prospect that the powerful military, which has ruled Pakistan for much of its 62 years as an independent nation, will intervene. It saw its morale and reputation battered in the final days of Mr. Musharraf's rule. Gen. Ashaq Kayani, the army chief and a veteran soldier, is determined to focus on fighting the militants and staying out of public life, say senior civilian and military officials and Western diplomats who often deal with him.

"I think there's a lot of patience in the services right now to let the civilian government take its course," said an officer at Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan's premier spy agency. "The patience won't last forever but it will last for a long time."

Mr. Zardari has proved willing to back down on policy changes that Gen. Kayani opposes. In November, Mr. Zardari announced that Pakistan was adopting a "no first strike" policy for its nuclear arsenal. It was a drastic change from the military's long stance of refusing to rule out a nuclear first strike, a strategy designed to keep larger rival India off balance. Pakistan's top military brass was livid.

Gen. Kayani immediately called Mr. Zardari to say Pakistan's nuclear doctrine was "irreversible." The policy of vagueness was restored.

Fuel Subsidies

Early in his tenure, Mr. Zardari had won praise for making the tough call to eliminate national fuel subsidies that were bankrupting Pakistan. When that didn't stanch the flow of hard currency out of the country, he successfully negotiated with the International Monetary Fund for $7.6 billion in loans that staved off financial collapse.

"When I met the president in the spring, before he was president, I came away thinking this is the man we need," said Munir Ladha, a former board member of the Karachi Stock Exchange and the chairman of Eastern Capital Ltd, a securities firm.

Mr. Ladha says he has since grown deeply disillusioned, pointing to the government's failure to make good on a commitment to aid the collapsing Karachi Stock Exchange. At the end of July, with shares plummeting, the government pledged to create a $635 million fund that would buoy the market by buying back stocks in seven government-owned companies.

Ultimately, the fund took months to materialize. By then the Pakistani stock market had fallen sharply. The benchmark KSE-100 index is now hovering above 5,000 points, its all-time high of more than 15,000 points reached in April 2008.

The IMF said in a statement Wednesday that Pakistan is on track to comply with the economic program agreed under the $7.6 billion credit facility granted in November. But it added that the deterioration in the global economy required Pakistan's government to "recalibrate" its fiscal and monetary policies.

In the Red Zone

Today, Mr. Zardari rarely ventures outside the presidential palace, deep in Islamabad's heavily secured "Red Zone," down roads blocked off from regular traffic by police checkpoints and cement barricades. Traditions such as visiting a local mosque during major holidays have been discarded. Mr. Zardari and top officials instead held this year's prayers for Eid al-Adha, a major Muslim holiday, inside the palace.

Presidential aides say security concerns keep him inside the Red Zone and he does his best to regularly meet with ordinary Pakistanis and local politicians inside the palace. "Never before has the presidency been opened to all cross sections of the diverse public," said Mr. Babar.

Some of those who visit him there, however, say they are frequently subjected to boorish behavior.

At a meeting in mid-January, Mr. Zardari taunted Sen. Raza Rabbani, Pakistan's provincial coordination minister, calling him "impotent" after the two disagreed on how to approach allied political parties about running certain candidates in upcoming Senate elections. "You always say no, and that is a reason why you don't have children," the president told the 55-year-old senator, according to multiple witnesses.

In previous meetings, Mr. Zardari has called a senior cabinet minister a "witch" on many occasions. He has told others to "shut up" or mocked their personal foibles, divorces, affairs. "This is what you come to expect at the presidency. You go there and you are insulted," said another senator who was at the mid-January meeting. .

Officials say his behavior is putting off people to the point where they actively try to avoid working with him. That is keeping the government from getting things done, they say, citing everything from shaping economic policy to deciding the future of the tribal areas, which are ruled by the federal government.

Mr. Babar said such criticisms were motivated by opposition to the president's reform agenda. He described Mr. Zardari's approach to leadership as, "Forgive but do not forget the past, arrange for the present and face the future."

—Marc Champion contributed to this article.

Write to Matthew Rosenberg at

Playing With Fire in Pakistan

The New York Times Editorial Published: February 27, 2009

Almost no one wants to say it out loud. But between the threats from extremists, an unraveling economy, battling civilian leaders and tensions with its nuclear rival India, Pakistan is edging ever closer to the abyss.

In a report this week, The Atlantic Council warned that Pakistan’s stability is imperiled and that the time to change course is fast running out. That would be quite enough for any government to deal with. Then on Wednesday, Pakistan’s Supreme Court added new fuel upholding a ruling barring opposition leader Nawaz Sharif — a former prime minister — and his brother from holding elected office. That touched off protests across Punjab Province, the Sharifs’ power base and Pakistan’s richest and politically most important province.

The Sharifs charge that the Supreme Court is a tool of President Asif Ali Zardari. They are backing anti-government lawyers who have long campaigned for the reinstatement of the country’s former top judge who was dismissed by former Gen. Pervez Musharraf in 2007.

We don’t know if Mr. Zardari orchestrated this ruling, as Nawaz Sharif and many others have charged. (The government actually argued Mr. Sharif’s side in the case, which stems from an earlier politically motivated criminal conviction.) We do know the danger of letting this situation get out of control.

When Mr. Zardari became president, he pledged to unite the country. He has not. Like Mr. Zardari, Mr. Sharif is a flawed leader and no doubt is manipulating the combustible court ruling for personal political gain.

For Pakistan’s democracy to survive, a robust opposition must be allowed to flourish and participate peacefully in the country’s political life. That includes finding a way for Mr. Sharif to run for office.

It also means Pakistan must get serious about tackling its problems, including the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Mr. Zardari, whose wife, Benazir Bhutto, was assassinated by extremists, seems to understand.

Unfortunately, the powerful chief of the Pakistani Army, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, still seems far more focused on the potential threat of India than the clear and present danger of the extremists. He is said to have supported the recent deal in which the government effectively ceded the Swat Valley — in the border region but just 100 miles from Islamabad — to militants in a misguided bid for a false peace.

Pakistanis need to understand that this is their fight, not just America’s. We hope top American officials delivered that message loudly and clearly when General Kayani visited Washington this week.

There was a time when Messrs. Zardari and Sharif pledged to work together for the good of Pakistan. Their country is in mortal danger. And they need to find a way to work together to save it.

Selective Provisional Constitution Order and Judiciary

--- On Sat, 2/28/09, emergencyinpakistan wrote:

This latest inclusion of jialas in the Lahore High Court needs to be rejected as part of the Zardari-Dogar court.

PPP sympathisers make it to LHC By Usman Manzoor Saturday, February 28, 2009/ Four of 16 judges are known party leaders, the rest opposed to lawyers’ movement


Not in a very distant past:

Mr Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and General Pervez Musharraf

In Quetta, Chief Justice of Balochistan High Court (BHC) Mr Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and four other High Court judges took a fresh oath under PCO.

Athar Minallah, spokesman for Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry
Athar was appointed Minister for Law, Local Government, Parliamentary Affairs and Human Rights by the Provincial Government of NWFP (2000-2002).

Read the detail rather newspapers of the year 2000 [3 Months after the Martial Law of General Musharraf] and what an irony, the present spokesman for CJ Mr Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry i.e. Athar Minallah was Provincial Minister in NWFP Government in the year 2000 under the very same General Musharraf.

In January 2000 Chief Executive General Musharraf dictated that all superior court judges swear a new oath under the Provisional Constitutional Order No.1 issued on October 15, 1999, which had suspended the Constitution. In January 2000, Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry then a serving judge on the Balochistan High Court (BHC) was one of the first judges to take an oath on the PCO. This allowed him to be elevated to the Supreme Court to fill one of the vacancies left by the 11 judges who had resigned in protest at taking this oath.

On May 13 2000, Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry was one of 12 Supreme Court judges who validated the military coup of General Pervez Musharraf. They ruled that the removal of the elected government of Nawaz Sharif was legal on the basis of the "doctrine of necessity".

In June 2001, Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry was one of two judges who visited the Presidency House to convince the then President Rafiq Tarrar to resign, and make way for General Pervez Musharraf to assume that office.

On April 13 2005, in the "Judgment on 17th Amendment and President's Uniform Case", Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry was one of 5 Supreme Court judges who dismissed all petitions challenging President Musharraf's consistitutional amendments. In a wide ranging judgement they declared that the Legal Framework Order (LFO) instituted by General Musharraf after his suspension of the constitution, the 17th amendment which gave this constitutional backing, and the two offices bill which allowed Musharraf to retain his military uniform whilst being President were all legal.


Thirteen judges of the superior judiciary, including Chief Justice of Pakistan Mr Justice Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui, ceased to hold office after they refused to take fresh oath under the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO), on January 26, 2000.

Mr Justice Irshad Hassan Khan became the new chief justice of Pakistan as the judges of the Supreme Court, Federal Shariat Court and four High Courts were administered oath under the PCO.

Six judges of the apex court, including the chief justice, refused to take fresh oath. The other seven judges who were not invited for the oath were two from the Lahore High Court (LHC), two from Peshawar High Court (PHC) and three from Sindh High Court (SHC).

The seven Supreme Court judges who took oath under the PCO were Mr Justice Irshad Hassan Khan (Chief Justice), Mr Justice Bashir Jehangiri, Mr Justice Abdur Rehman Khan, Mr Justice Shaikh Riaz Ahmed, Mr Justice Munir A Shaikh, Mr Justice Shaikh Ejaz Nisar, and Mr Justice Ch Mohammad Arif.

The judges who refused were Chief Justice Mr Justice Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui (who was due to retire on Nov 11, 2000), Mr Justice Mamoon Kazi (retiring date Dec 29, 2000), Mr Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid (Feb 2, 2000), Mr Justice Khalilur Rehman (April 24, 2001), Mr Justice Wajihuddin Ahmed (November 2003), and Mr Justice Kamal Mansoor Alam (April 2002).

In Punjab, 41 out of total 43 judges of the Lahore High Court were administered the oath. Only two judges -- Mr Justice Ehsanul Haq Ch and Mr Justice Najamul Hassan Kazmi -- did not take oath.

In Sindh, three High Court judges -- Mr Justice Dr Ghous Muhammad, Mr Justice Rasheed Ahmed Razvi and Mr Justice Mushtaq Ahmed Memon -- were not invited to take fresh oath under POC in Karachi.

In Quetta, Chief Justice of Balochistan High Court (BHC) Mr Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and four other High Court judges took a fresh oath under PCO.

The fresh crisis with the judiciary refreshed the memories of General Zia's sacking of 19 Supreme Court and High Court Judges who refused to take oath under his PCO of 1981. Feeling that he had been badly used, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Anwarul Haq, who had headed the bench which approved Zulfikar Ali Bhutto's hanging, refused to take the oath. The former Chief Justice of the Lahore Court, Molvi Mushtaq Ahmad who had sentenced Bhutto to death in the first place, although willing to take the oath was not asked to do so. While sacking the judges, General Zia explained: "We want the ju­diciary to mind their own business and not to meddle in anything else. Power is an intoxicant. Please do not get me wrong. I personally have not been intoxicated with this. I want to share power, but I re­fuse to share power with those who do not entitle themselves.[1]

Apparently, the new oath was required for the same reasons as prevailed in March 1981 when General Zia ordered the new oath. A number of constitutional challenges to General Zia's rule were pending before the Supreme Court and the Chief Justice Anwarul Haw was understood to have set them down for hearing shortly. The PCO killed all such petitions. A number of constitutional petitions against the military takeover were fixed before the Supreme Court for January 31, 2000. Like the 1981 PCO, General Musharraf's PCO-1 removed the power of the judiciary to decide whether a legislation was valid. Any judge who took the oath bound himself in advance not to question anything contained in the order.


There was a wide condemnation by the lawyers, political parties and human rights bodies of the oath-taking of judges under the Provisional Constitution Order. The Pakistan Human Rights Commission, in a statement, said that the military government has gone further down the anti-democratic road by forcing the judges, like General Ziaul Haq, to take their oath afresh under the PCO. The act has put an end to the pretence that the country is still being constitutionally governed and that the judiciary continues to act in accordance with its oath to the Constitution, it added. "The later (judiciary) has now, by its swearing of a new allegiance, become a creature not of the Constitution but of the chief of the army staff acting as the country's self-appointed chief executive….By not acting in unison and in accordance with their oath and conscience, the judges have done further harm to the institution and the national good. There is some comfort only in
that they are more numerous than the last time round and this time they include the chief justice himself." [2]

Former chief justice Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui, [3] in a press interview, said that he chose not to take fresh oath under the Provisional Constitution Order because it was a "clear-cut deviation" from the Constitution. When asked why this time more judges resigned than in 1981 when judges were asked by the then Chief Martial Law Administrator, General Ziaul Haq to take oath under a Martial Law Order, Justice Siddiqui replied, "Because most of the judges then were appointed by the then military government. Even I was an appointee of a military dictator. But later I took oath under the 1973 Constitution as Chief Justice of the Sindh High Court, then as a judge of the Supreme Court and later as the CJP." [4]

However, the fresh oath by judges under the Provisional Constitutional Order, did not come as a surprise for lawyers specially in the wake of pending constitutional petitions against the military takeover. The action of October 12, when the military took over in a bloodless coup, was an extra-constitutional step; therefore, the oath of judges under the PCO was expected. Mohammad Ali Saeed, advocate and former Sindh High Court judge said that he was expecting that such order has to come before January 31. A set of constitutional petitions against the military takeover is fixed before the Supreme Court on that day. LHCBA President Javed Gillani however termed the new oath as "a natural act," and said "it had to happen." He also added that this was nothing new, and was in fact expected under a military regime, as had happened in the past. [5]

Former Supreme Court chief justice Sajjad Ali Shah justified the need of the oath under PCO, saying that with the Constitution suspended, it was a legal requirement. "To validate the system, a PCO had been proclaimed. "When Gen Zia's martial law was forced, the Constitution was not abrogated but suspended at that time too." This time too, he said, the Constitution had been suspended and not abrogated. "And PCO has replaced the Constitution. The PCO is a substitute of the Constitution. In 1981 too, fresh oath was taken and many judges had lost their jobs. And Chief Justice Anwarul Haq of the Supreme Court, who had written the judgment in the Nusrat Bhutto case, had also taken the oath under PCO." [6]


1 - The Economist, London 2-4-1981

2 - Dawn 27-1-2000

3 - The day, the Chief Justice Siddiqi refused to take oath under the PCO, the News and Jang newspapers reported that an investigation is being initiated against former Chief Justice Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui and his wife on charges of corruption under normal laws. These report said that some agencies were probing that Justice (Retd) Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui "tried to sabotage the government's efforts to eradicate corruption and restore real democracy in the country".

Quoting government sources, the papers said that on the change of government on October 12, the armed forces and the judiciary had affirmed to work selflessly for the country's reconstruction. It was thus agreed to maintain a system of accountability to check those who had penetrated in the judiciary through political corruption and other "misdeeds". As Chief Justice, Saeeduzzaman Siddiqui had assured that he would take effective action against corrupt elements in the judiciary. But soon it was noticed that there was no change in the system of dispensing justice. There were visible indications to show that speedy justice and accountability promises were unreal and ineffective.

A former chief minister of NWFP was fined for Rs 10 lakh only despite substantial evidence regarding embezzlement of crores of rupees against him. Later, he (ex-CM) disappeared. "It was a blatant collusion." In some other cases, delaying tactics were allowed to be adopted. The report further claimed that soon the government officials came to know that people who purchased power in the past would now open their lockers and coffers to buy "justice". A highly placed person of the judiciary received Rs 125 million in cash while his other colleague received Rs 50 million. "The government has solid proof of these cash deals. When these persons were interrogated about the deals, they failed to give any explanation."

The report said that wife of the ex-chief justice had gold card of a nationalised bank. She went to London and Dubai for shopping and spent £ 30,000. She was also presented a diamond necklace worth Rs 13,00,000. [The News 27-1-2000]

4 - The News 27-1-2000

5 - The News 27-1-2000

6 - Dawn 28-11-2000

The author is a professional journalist, with Master's degree in Political Science from the Punjab University. Started his journalistic career as a sub-editor in the daily Bang-e-Haram, Peshawar in 1960. Later worked in the daily Anjam and the Tourist weekly Peshawar. Served as a News Editor in the Daily News, Kuwait from 1969 to 1976. Joined the English News Department of Kuwait Television as a News Editor in December 1976. Also worked as the correspondent of the Associated Press of Pakistan and the Daily Dawn, Karachi, in Kuwait. At present working as the Editor-in-Chief of the Kuwait Television English News.

[Courtesy:HEGEMONY OF THE RULING ELITE by Abdus Sattar Ghazali]

History of Pakistani Dirty Politics of 90s - 10

On Wed, 2/25/09, Emergency Moderator/Teeth Maestro wrote:

Sharif brothers declared ineligible for Elections Posted by Teeth Maestro February 25,2009

On Sat, 2/28/09, Jimmy Jumshade wrote:

They have created an unwanted crisis already when there is so much other crisis going on. Bloody Weirdos..... ......and Shareef brothers should have been disqualified & not allowed to participate in elections a year ago.....not after they have been in Office for a year.This is just a big time power-grab.

Excerpts from ISLAMIC PAKISTAN: ILLUSIONS & REALITY By Abdus Sattar Ghazali:

The author is a professional journalist, with Master's degree in Political Science from the Punjab University. Started his journalistic career as a sub-editor in the daily Bang-e-Haram, Peshawar in 1960. Later worked in the daily Anjam and the Tourist weekly Peshawar. Served as a News Editor in the Daily News, Kuwait from 1969 to 1976. Joined the English News Department of Kuwait Television as a News Editor in December 1976. Also worked as the correspondent of the Associated Press of Pakistan and the Daily Dawn, Karachi, in Kuwait. At present working as the Editor-in-Chief of the Kuwait Television English News.



Indian fighter jets and helicopter gun-ships launched an operation against the Mujahideen in Kargil on May 26, 1999. Pakistan called the air strikes a "very very serious" provocation because the armies of both nations normally limit their hostilities to regular cross-border exchanges of artillery and small-arms fire. After India lost two Russian-built MiG fighters and a helicopter gunship, Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee issued a stern warning that unless the infiltrators withdraw India would give "a befitting reply." On June 12, Pakistan's Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz visited New Delhi to hold talks with his Indian counterpart, Jaswant Singh. The talks ended in a deadlock as India refused to discuss the Kashimir issue and insisted on withdrawal of what it called Pakistani infiltrators from Kargil.

President Clinton, in a telephone conversation on June 15, asked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to withdraw Pakistani troops from the Indian part of Kashmir. A day earlier, Clinton had telephoned the Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee and praised him for the restraint shown by him in the current tense situation. Since the Kargil round of fighting flared up, US officials had been explicitly urging Islamabad to pull back its forces from the rugged peaks on India's side of the Line of Control in the disputed Kashmir. As a means of applying pressure, the Clinton administration had also quietly floated the possibility of holding up a $100 million IMF loan due to be released to Islamabad soon. The US House of Representatives' Foreign Relations Committee adopted a resolution calling for suspension of IMF, World Bank and Asian Bank loans to Pakistan until the Mujahideen occupying Kargil withdraw across the LoC.

The Group of Eight industrial nations' summit in Cologne charged that the fighting in Kargil was the result of the infiltration of armed intruders, which violated the Line of Control. The European Union also called for the immediate withdrawal of the infiltrators. The US Commander of the Central Command (CENTCOM), General Anthony Zinni, met in Islamabad with the Chief of the Army Staff, General Pervez Musharraf, to defuse the Kargil situation. He warned that things could "get bad" for Pakistan if it does not withdraw infiltrators from Kargil.

The Clinton administration saw several objectives for the Pakistani operation, including enhancing Islamabad's negotiating leverage with India over Kashmir, forcing international involvement in the dispute, and rekindling a flagging insurgency against India by Kashmiris. US officials believed that another factor was a strong desire in the Pakistani military to kill the direct India-Pakistan dialogue.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif visited Washington on July 4 to hold talks with US President Bill Clinton on situation in Kargil. In nearly three hours of talks in Washington on July 4, 1999, the two leaders agreed that "concrete steps will be taken to restore the Line of Control in accordance with the Simla Agreement". A joint statement issued after the talks said: "President Clinton and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif share the view that the current fighting in the Kargil region of Kashmir is dangerous and contains the seeds of a wider conflict." "The president urged an immediate cessation of the hostilities once these steps are taken," it added. Immediately after the talks, two senior US Administration officials told reporters that the "concrete steps" meant a Pakistani withdrawal from Kargil "at a very early time". [1]

Clinton-Nawaz meeting took place at the initiative of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. President Clinton made two phone calls to Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee before he officially said 'yes' to meet Nawaz Sharif. President Clinton made his second call to New Delhi and briefed Indian minister about his meeting with Nawaz Sharif.

Political and religious parties immediately rejected the Clinton-Nawaz declaration and the decision to seek a pullout of Mujahideen from Kargil, as they held massive rallies in Lahore. The rallies were organized by the Pakistan Awami Ittehad, the Jamaat-i-Islami, the Pakistan Awami Tehrik, the Khaksar Tehrik and the Markazi Jamaat Ahal-i-Hadith.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in a televised address, on July 12, said that there was an imminent threat of war with India, which was no more a secret, and that there were "diplomatic complications" which were getting extremely difficult to be handled.

Giving details of his US visit, he said when the situation was becoming serious he decided to meet President Clinton. The PM said: "I am happy to tell you that President Clinton has accepted that as long as Kashmir dispute is not resolved, the clouds of war will continue to hover on the region. This was the background in which the Washington Declaration was prepared in which it was very clearly stated that all the disputes between India and Pakistan would be resolved though dialogue and the LoC should be respected by both the parties".

Nawaz Sharif's televised address to the nation was rejected by the opposition parties as nothing but acceptance of government's complete failure on the diplomatic front. "The question arises as to why they had decided to launch the Kargil operation," Deputy Opposition Leader Syed Khurshid Shah said in his reaction to the prime minister's speech. "If they have to go back to the Lahore process then who had advised them to go for the Kargil heights, he asked, adding that who was responsible for heavy loss of lives both to civilians and Pakistan army soldiers and officers at the Line of Control. He recalled that it was the same PML who had taken the PPP government to task for removing a board of Kashmir House during a visit of Rajiv Gandhi to Islamabad.

According to General Khalid Mahmud Arif, Nawaz Sharif's Washington visit had seven objectives to achieve: "One, to avert a war at a time and place of India's choosing. Two, to emphasize that the Line of Control in Kashmir has equal sanctity for both the countries and its violation can lead to serious consequences. Also, the people of Kashmir have never accepted the CFL renamed LoC and they reject any attempt that divides them. Three, to bring the Kashmir dispute and the UN Security Council's commitments on it under a sharp international focus. Four, to request the US-led West to get seriously associated with a negotiated and peaceful settlement of the Kashmir dispute. Five, to muster international support for the right of self-determination for the people of Kashmir. Six, to bring the massive human rights violations committed by the Indian occupation forces in Kashmir to world's attention. And, seven, to emphasize Pakistan's peaceful approach in settling the Kashmir dispute." The restraint shown by it in the face of threats, provocations and a war hysteria created by India has vindicated Pakistan's position as a mature, peaceful and moderate country, concluded General Arif who served as the Deputy Commander-in-Chief during General Zia's regime. [2]

However the people of Pakistan were not surprised but stunned by the Sharif-Clinton accord since this is not what they had been led to expect. According to Ayaz Amir "The two surprised parties must be Clinton and Vajpayee. When Nawaz Sharif telephoned Clinton and requested an urgent meeting, the American president, who is no one's fool, must have realized in a flash that it was all up for the Pakistanis. But is it far-fetched to suppose that even he must have been taken aback by the eager enthusiasm of the Pakistani leadership to cave in and put its signature to a one-sided document. [3]

By the same token, Vajpayee too must have been taken by surprise. The Indian army, despite the successes it has scored, was not having an easy time of it in Kargil and Drass. Dangerous terrain, an elusive enemy and heavy casualties are not things an army likes. Imagine then the sense of relief in New Delhi when Clinton called to say that the Pakistani leadership was about to execute a volte-face and all it demanded in return was that he (Clinton) should give this turnaround his blessing. A bang turning to a whimper: to this timeworn phrase a fresh meaning has been given. [4]

The Tashkent and Simla accords look like victory parchments by comparison. Ayub Khan did not suffer humiliation at Tashkent. Even if the Tashkent agreement went down badly in Pakistan because official propaganda, always a curse in this country, had raised popular expectations to fever pitch, it was a fair agreement between two countries, which had fought each other to a standstill. At Simla on the other hand, Pakistan was at a grave disadvantage because it had suffered a humiliating defeat at India's hands. Yet even in the shadow of that disaster Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, to his enduring credit, managed to preserve what remained of Pakistan's honour. The Washington statement defies understanding. For such submission wherein lay the compelling necessity? "[5]

Ardeshir Cowasjee was blunt in his remarks that the world failed to see the logic in Pakistan's argument that India escalated the situation in Kashmir. "The Line of Control was crossed by some 500 men. By sending in 30,000 men, artillery, and military planes to dislodge them, Pakistan claims that India escalated the situation. The world has failed to see the logic of this argument. [6]

Pakistan's line is that the uprising in Kashmir is "popular, spontaneous and indigenous." Its line, as voiced by its foreign minister on the BBC, is that all that it provides to the freedom fighters is "moral, political, and diplomatic" support. Does he know that the BBC news, just after his 'Hard Talk,' showed the Islamabad correspondent talking to freedom fighters who had just descended from the hills of Kargil to their base depot at Muzaffarabad to rearm, regroup and return? Why do our men mock us, and make a laughing-stock of us in the eyes of the world? [7]

The mission to China failed. A statement from the G-8 was frosty. With the intent of averting a major conflict, Nawaz Sharif sought help from the president of the United States, 'rushed' to Washington to meet him on America's Independence Day. Clinton met him, not in the White House, but in Blair House. During the meetings, Clinton, not wishing to antagonize India, broke to ring Vajpayee and apprise him of the progress. A sop of sorts was thrown at us. We accepted. Sharif and his family went shopping, then on their way home stopped over in London, where he shook Tony Blair's apprehensive hand. [8]

Though the prime minister has pledged that hostilities will cease, noises are being made that the government is not sure that the popular, spontaneous, indigenous freedom fighters will abide by the terms of Nawaz Sharif's pledge. We know that the present localized hostilities will cease once the shot and shell stop raining from the skies. We have heard the Indian prime minister boast over the airways that India will give us no quarter and will 'kick us out.' [9]

Neither India nor Pakistan is concerned about the desire of the seven million Kashmiris. Neither country talks of allowing them to decide their fate for themselves. China for its own good reason is not keen on Kashmiri self-determination as it has its own problems with the fundamentalists in a large track in the south-west of the country, and in Tibet. Pakistan is unconcerned about the plight of the 150 million Muslims of India. It does not realize that each time it embarks on a Kargil-type misadventure, these Muslims have to work overtime trying to prove their loyalty to their country. [10]

India, with its size and weight, can afford to be, and is, intransigent. To get India to talk and see things our way, we do need global support and sympathy. Does the government comprehend that so far all we have achieved and established, relatively cheaply, is that we are globally isolated? Has a lesson been learnt?" [11]

The tailpiece of the Kargil fiasco is difficult to match in the annals of diplomatic humiliation. Certainly the worst setback for us since the fall of united Pakistan in December 1971. How did it arise? What was the game plan? Was it sanctioned by the Defence Committee of the Cabinet? Should an enquiry into the debacle be made by Parliament? These are some of the questions that are agitating the minds of concerned citizens. [12]


May 26: Indian fighter jets and helicopter gun ships launch operation against the Mujahideen in Kargil. Pakistan calls the air strikes a "very very serious" provocation because the armies of both nations normally limit their hostilities to regular

cross-border exchanges of artillery and small arms fire. After India lost two Russian-built MiG fighters and a helicopter gunship, Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee issued a stern warning. Unless the infiltrators withdraw, he said, India would give "a befitting reply."

June 12: Pakistan's Foreign Minister Sartaj Aziz visits New Delhi and holds talks with his Indian counterpart, Jaswant Singh. The talks ended in a deadlock as India refused to discuss the Kashimir issue and insisted on withdrawal of what it called Pakistani infiltrators from Kargil.

June 15: President Clinton, in a telephone conversation, asked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to withdraw Pakistani troops from the Indian part of Kashmir. Clinton called the prime minister as part of his continued efforts to reduce tensions and prevent the situation from escalating into a full-fledged conflict between the two countries. On June 14, Clinton had telephoned the Indian Prime Minister Vajpayee and praised him for the restraint shown by him in the current tense situation.

June 16: The Stockholm-based International Peace Institute (SIPRI) says: "The risk of nuclear proliferation by Pakistan and India in Kashmir is increasingly significant. The greatest risk of nuclear war in South Asia arises from Pakistan's long-standing strategy of using the threat of early first use of nuclear weapons to deter conventional war."

June 20: Leaders of the Group of Eight industrial nations, in Cologne, Germany, call on Pakistan and India to end hostilities immediately and resume talks. In a statement, the G8 leaders, including US President Bill Clinton and Russian leader Boris Yeltsin, voiced "deep concern" over the continuing military confrontation in Kashmir, repeating their earlier charge that the fighting was the result of "the infiltration of armed intruders which violated the Line of Control." "We are deeply concerned about the continuing military confrontation is Kashmir following the infiltration of armed intruders which violated the Line of Control in the disputed border region. We regard any military action to change the status quo as irresponsible. We therefore call for the immediate end of these actions, restoration of the Line of Control and for the parties to work for an immediate cessation of fighting."

June 24: The Commander of the US Central Command (CENTCOM), General Anthony Zinni, meets the Chief of the Army Staff, General Pervez Musharraf, to defuse the Kargil situation. In Washington, the US state department cautions that things could "get bad" for Pakistan. "That's for sure," a senior official said without denying that Gen Anthony Zinni had extended some kind of an implied "warning" to withdraw from Kargil.

June 25: The European Union has called on both India and Pakistan to show maximum restraint and hold to their assigned borders in the dispute over Kashmir while trying to resume diplomatic talks. Germany, which held the six-month EU presidency until the end of June, released a statement in which it demanded the withdrawal of armed infiltrators from Kashmir. "The EU calls for the immediate withdrawal of the infiltrators and urges both countries to work for the immediate cessation of fighting, to fully respect the line of control and to prevent further cross border infiltration," the statement said.

June 27: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif sends a special envoy to New Delhi in an apparent effort to ease the tension in Kashmir. The emissary, former foreign secretary Niaz Naik, met with Indian PM Atal Behari Vajpayee and his National Security Adviser Brajesh Mishra. The Indian Foreign Ministry said Naik had come to follow up on the telephone conversations between the Indian and Pakistani PMs over the past several weeks. Naik came with a secret message from Sharif. The gist of it was that both sides should search for a diplomatic solution to the crisis along the Line of Control (LOC) that divides the disputed region of Kashmir between India and Pakistan. The same day that Naik flew to India, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Gibson Lanpher met Indian officials in New Delhi following a visit to Pakistan.

Jun 28: Prime Minister Sharif visits Beijing and hold talks with his Chinese counterpart Zhu Rongji. The China Daily reporting on the meeting between Nawaz Sharif and Premier Zhu Rongji said that China had sincerely hoped that Pakistan and India would alleviate tensions in Kashmir through talks and return stability to the region soon. "The Kashmir issue is a historical issue involving territorial, ethnic and religious elements. It can thus be solved only through peaceful means; Zhu was quoted as saying by a Chinese foreign office spokesman.

- Pakistan and China signed four agreements following a meeting between the delegations of the two countries. These agreements were about cooperation in the development of Super-7 aircraft, cooperation in the cultural sector, cooperation in electronic media and counselor cooperation under which the counselor in Hong Kong would look after Pakistan's interests in Macao when it returns to China in December.

June 29: China has called upon India and Pakistan to resolve all their disputes through dialogue, a Foreign Office spokesman told newsmen after an hour-long meeting between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Chairman of the Committee of the Chinese People's Congress, Li Peng, in Beijing at the Great Hall.

July 2: Pakistan suffered a setback in the US Congress when the House Foreign Relations Committee adopted a resolution calling for suspension of IMF, World Bank and Asian Bank loans to Pakistan until the Mujahideen occupying Kargil withdraw across the LoC. The resolution, passed by 22-5 votes, demanded immediate withdrawal of Pakistani forces from Kargil/Drass/Batalik areas of Jammu and Kashmir and asked the Clinton administration to consider opposing loans from international financial institutions to Islamabad unless Pakistan withdrew its forces.

July 4: President Bill Clinton and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif reached an agreement under which the freedom fighters that crossed into certain parts of occupied Kashmir would withdraw. Clinton and Sharif said in a joint statement after three hours of talks: "It was agreed between the president and the prime minister that concrete steps will be taken for the restoration of the Line of Control".

July 6: British Prime Minister Tony Blair terms the joint statement issued after the meeting of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and President Bill Clinton as a "real progress" in reducing tension between India and Pakistan. A spokesman of 10-Downing Street said, at the conclusion of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's 30-minute meeting with Prime Minister Tony Blair, that the two were of the opinion that the a quick beginning should be made in the actions proposed in the joint statement.

July 9: Political and religious parties rejected the Clinton-Nawaz declaration and the decision to seek a pullout of Mujahideen from Kargil as they held rallies in Lahore. The rallies were organized by the Pakistan Awami Ittehad, the Jamaat-i-Islami, the Pakistan Awami Tehrik, the Khaksar Tehrik and the Markazi Jamaat Ahal-i-Hadith.

July 10: All Mujahideen groups unanimously reject both the Washington accord and an appeal made by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif regarding a pullout of the Mujahideen from the Kargil sector and pledged not only to continue their occupation in Kargil and Drass but also invade other disputed areas near the Line of Control (LoC). This was stated by Ahmed Hamza, the Amir of the Al-Badar Mujahideen, at a press conference in Islamabad. He was accompanied by two commanders of the organization - Salahuddin and Nisar - who had recently returned from Kargil and Drass sectors.

July 11: Pakistan announces the beginning of the "disengagement" of the Mujahideen and their withdrawal from the heights of Kaksar and Mushkoh in Kargil sector, following an agreement on the modalities of de-escalation and sector-wise cessation of ground and air operations between Pakistan and Indian directors-general military operations (DGMOs). The directors-general of military operations of the two countries had held their first contact on hotline, and then met at Wagah to decide the modalities for de-escalation.

July 12: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in a televised address, said that there was an imminent threat of war with India which was no more a secret and that there were "diplomatic complications" which were getting extremely difficult to be handled.
Giving details of his US visit, he said when the situation was becoming serious he decided to meet President Clinton.

July 13: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's televised address to the nation was rejected by the opposition parties as nothing but acceptance of government's complete failure on the diplomatic front. "The question arises as to why they had decided to launch the Kargil operation," Deputy Opposition Leader Syed Khurshid Shah said in his reaction to the prime minister's speech. "If they have to go back to the Lahore process then who had advised them to go for the Kargil heights, he asked, adding that who was responsible for heavy loss of lives both to civilians and Pakistan army soldiers and officers at the Line of Control.

July 16: The attorney general of Pakistan, justifying the Washington communique, says that Pakistan is completely isolated and economically could not have sustained a full-fledged war. The country is already 50 years behind the developed world and would have been thrown another 50 years back had there been a war.


1. TEXT OF STATEMENT: The following is the text of the joint statement by President Bill Clinton and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif issued by the White House after their talks on 4.7.1999: "President Clinton and Prime Minister Sharif share the view that the current fighting in the Kargil region of Kashmir is dangerous and contains the seeds of a wider conflict. They also agreed that it was vital for the peace of South Asia that the Line of Control in Kashmir be respected by both parties, in accordance with their 1972 Simla Accord. It was agreed between the President and the Prime Minister that concrete steps will be taken for the restoration of the Line of Control in accordance with the Simla Agreement. The President urged an immediate cessation of the hostilities once these steps are taken. The Prime Minister and the President agreed that the bilateral dialogue began in Lahore in February provides the best forum for resolving all issues dividing India and Pakistan, including Kashmir. The President said he would take a personal interest in encouraging an expeditious resumption and intensification of those bilateral efforts, once the sanctity of the Line of Control has been fully restored. The President reaffirmed his intent to pay an early visit to South Asia."

2. General (retired) Khalid Mahmud Arif, Beyond Washington accord – Dawn 14.7.1999

3. Ayaz Amir, Victory in reverse: the great climb down - Dawn 9-7-1999

4. Ibid.

5. Ibid.

6. Ardeshir Cowasjee, Lesson learnt? – Dawn 11.7.1999

7. Ibid.

8. Ibid.

9. Ibid.

10. Ibid.

11. Ibid.

12. M.P. Bhandara, On the edge of the precipice – Dawn 21.7.1999


History of Pakistani Dirty Politics of 90s - 9

On Wed, 2/25/09, Emergency Moderator/Teeth Maestro wrote:

Sharif brothers declared ineligible for Elections Posted by Teeth Maestro February 25,2009

On Sat, 2/28/09, Jimmy Jumshade wrote:

They have created an unwanted crisis already when there is so much other crisis going on. Bloody Weirdos..... ......and Shareef brothers should have been disqualified & not allowed to participate in elections a year ago.....not after they have been in Office for a year.This is just a big time power-grab.

Excerpts from ISLAMIC PAKISTAN: ILLUSIONS & REALITY By Abdus Sattar Ghazali:

The author is a professional journalist, with Master's degree in Political Science from the Punjab University. Started his journalistic career as a sub-editor in the daily Bang-e-Haram, Peshawar in 1960. Later worked in the daily Anjam and the Tourist weekly Peshawar. Served as a News Editor in the Daily News, Kuwait from 1969 to 1976. Joined the English News Department of Kuwait Television as a News Editor in December 1976. Also worked as the correspondent of the Associated Press of Pakistan and the Daily Dawn, Karachi, in Kuwait. At present working as the Editor-in-Chief of the Kuwait Television English News.



A number of incidents during 1998-99 indicated a pattern of harassment and intimidation of individual journalists as the government was increasingly becoming intolerant. Imtiaz Alam, a Lahore-based journalist, complains of threat over the telephone and then of his car being set on fire in a mysterious manner the other day. Another Lahore journalist, Mahmud Lodhi, is picked up and held in illegal custody for two days. He was questioned about his involvement with a BBC team filming a documentary on the rise and wealth of the Sharif family. Hussain Haqqani is picked up in a cloak-and-dagger fashion and interrogated at a FIA Center in connection with charges vaguely to do with money embezzlement while he held government office.

The residence of Idrees Bakhtiar, a senior staff reporter of Herald monthly and BBC correspondent in Karachi was raided by CIA police on Nov. 26,1998. The police harassed the family and also arrested his 28-year old son, Moonis, who was later released. On Feb. 13, 1999, three persons, including Senator Abul Hayee Baloch and a lady worker from Lahore, were injured when the police baton-charged, used water cannons and threw bricks on a peaceful procession of the Pakistan Awami Ittehad in front of the parliament house in Islamabad. The march, organized by the PAI for the freedom of the press, was led by PAI president Nawabzada Nasrullah Khan, opposition leader Benazir Bhutto and secretary general of the alliance Hamid Nasir Chatta, besides a number of sitting and former PPP MNAs and senators.

The owner of the Frontier Post, Rehmat Shah Afridi, was arrested in Lahore on April 2, 1999, by the army-run Anti-narcotics Force on charge of possessing 20 Kgs of charas and three guns. The Peshawar-based Frontier Post was critical of government policies, particularly the paper opposed the construction of the Kalabagh Dam. Afridi's arrest was seen by the journalists and others another official attempt to gag the Press.

On May 8, 1999, several dozen officials of ISI stormed into the house of Najam Sethi, Editor of The Friday Times, Lahore and dragged him out of his room. Before leaving the house with Mr. Sethi, they tied his wife Jugnoo's hands with a rope and locked her up in a dressing room. Later the federal government confirming the arrest said that Mr. Sethi had been taken into custody for interrogation by ISI for his alleged connection with he Indian intelligence agency, RAW (Research and Analysis Wing).

The Lahore High Court, on May12, declined to assume jurisdiction in the Najm Sethi case saying he was being detained by a military agency (ISI) and the offence he was suspected of and was being investigated for fell within the purview of the Army Act, 1952. Consequently, all three petitions filed by Sethi's sife, Jugnoo Mohsin, for his recovery and production and miscellaneous reliefs like medical examination and registration of a case of kidnapping with intent to torture and kill against two uniformed policemen and eight plainclothes personnel were dismissed in 'limeline' as not maintainable. The Deputy Attorney General told the court that Sethi "is presently in the custody of Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) authorities for his suspected links with hostile intelligence agencies." The suspected offence falls within the mischief of Section 123-A of the PPC (sedition) and finds mention in the Army Act schedule. Advocate for Sethi, submitted that the ISI does not function under the Army Act and can be headed by a retired officer and that the ISI reported to the prime minister and not to the army. One day later, the government agencies seize all copies of The Friday Times in Lahore. The Web site of The Friday Times was hacked and the pages and contents were erased.

The Attorney General Chaudhry Farooq on June 2, 1999 told the Supreme Court that the government had decided to set free Najm Sethi. In a short statement on behalf of the state, the AG said that Najam Aziz Sethi, who was detained in the case initially by ISI and was later taken into custody by the police as a result of an order obtained from the Special Court on June 1, in connection with the FIR registered with Kohsar police station, Islamabad, had been set free. [On May 31, the Supreme Court was informed that a case had been registered against Mr. Sethi in Islamabad for his alleged anti-state activities on the complaint of a ruling party MNA, Inamullah Niazi.] The AG further said that the government reserved its right to initiate proceedings afresh. However, Justice Mamoon Kazi, a member of the three-man bench which disposed Mr. Sethi's bail application, told the government that Mr. Sethi should not be arrested in future with permission of the court.


Mr. Najm Sethi, had gone to India to deliver a lecture on "Pakistan in the 21st Century" at India International Center, New Delhi on April 30.He was invited by the organizers of Kewal Singh Memorial Lectures. Former Indian Prime Minister, I.K. Gujral was the chairperson. Sethi, in his lecture said that Pakistan was afflicted with several crises, a law and order and political and system crisis, an economic crisis, a foreign policy and national security crisis and a civic society crisis. All these, Sethi said, added up to Pakistan being a failing state. He said Pakistan did not know what it stood for, was it Jinnah's Pakistan or Iqbal's Pakistan? It did not know what was its relationship to the sub-continent and whether it was Arab or Persian or Central/Asian or Afghan, it is a confused state. Sethi was of the view that Pakistan was totally isolated and its foreign policy did not represent state interests. He said that Pakistan was obsessed with India and merely complained that India had done an injustice to Pakistan by denying it an honorable settlement on Kashmir.

What Sethi said in India was nothing new. He has been saying the same thing at various forums in Pakistan. It was apparent that the government was looking for some excuse to frame Mr. Sethi, who had written a sharp editorial commenting on a High Court judgment in London against Nawaz Sharif's father and two brothers in March 1999, ordering them to repay $32.5 million in loans taken out from a Saudi finance house for a paper mill owned by the family.

The Amnesty International described the arrest as part of a pattern of intimidation, threats and arbitrary incarceration of journalists who have publicly criticized Pakistan government. The US State Department expressed deep concern at the arrest of Najm Sethi. In a press release the US said that crackdown on Pakistani journalists is unacceptable.


The government of Nawaz Sharif started a campaign against the Jang group in July 1998 when it refused to sack a number of journalists critical of the government policies. First, the government objected to the Jang group newspapers' reporting about the law and order situation in the country and put a ban on its advertisement for the Jang group. On Aug. 13, a report was published about non-payment of Rs. 700 million to farmers by the sugar mills owned by the Nawaz Sharif family. Three days later, the government sent notices to Jang for non payment of taxes and the case was shifted to the Ehtesab cell. On Sept. 27, 1998, the government asked the Jang group not to publish a report of The Observer London that said that PM Nawaz Sharif has siphoned off millions. The report was not published by the Jang but it was published by its sister English newspaper The News. On Nov. 5, bank accounts of the Jang group were frozen and FIA raided the Jang and the News offices in Rawalpindi and customs authorities stop delivery of newsprint to the Jang.

On Dec. 17, Sentaor Saifur Rehman said that another case is being prepared against the Jang group. On Jan 27, 1999, FIA encircles the Jang group office in Lahore and Karachi. And on Jan 28 1999, a sedition case was registered against Mir Sahkilur Rehman for publishing an advertisement of Muttahida's Khidmat-e-Khalq Foundation on January 1, which according to the police, was aimed at inciting people against the state. Offices of the Jang group in several cities were surrounded by security and taxation people; its godowns were sealed and newsprint was not allowed to be delivered for its paper.

Mir Shakil-ur Rehman revealed that Senator Saifur Rehman asked him to sack a number of Jang employees who should be replaced in consultation with the government. He released to the press audio-tapes of conversation with Senator Seifur Rehman on this issue.

Senator Saifur Rehman, addressing a press conference in Islamabad on 25th Jan. 1999 acknowledged that he had asked the Jang group to "avoid sensationalism and concentrate on objective reporting. He said the government has asked the Jang group for support on the 15th amendment because it wanted enforcement of the Islamic order according to the aspirations of the people. The Senator said he was asked to extend support to the government in what he called strengthening of democratic institutions. He particularly referred to the tragic incidents in Karachi and imposition of governor's rule in Sindh. He also said: Mir Shakilur Rehman evaded tax and customs duty to the tune of Rs. 2.6 billion during the last two years. [1]

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, a press freedom organization, said on June 1, 1999 that it was conducting an investigation into a "hit list" prepared by the Pakistan government that contains 35 prominent journalists of Pakistan. According to reports received by the CPJ, the federal government had decided to establish a special media cell comprising officials from the police, Intelligence Bureau and the Federal Investigation Agency to punish the journalists who have been writing against the government. Ehtesab Bureau Chairman, Senator Saifur Rehman Khan would head this cell which would function simultaneously at Lahore, Islamabad, Karachi and Peshawar with its head office in Islamabad.

According to the CPJ, the names were: Irshad Ahmed Haqqani, Rehmat Ali Razi, Anjum Rasheed, Suhail Warraich, Sohaib Marghoob and Roman Ehsan, (Jang Lahore), M. Ziauddin and Ansar Abbasi (Dawn Islamabad), Dr. Maleeha Lodhi, Javed Jaidi, Nusrat Javed and Mariana Babar (The News, Islamabad), Rehana Hakeem and Zahid Hussain (Newsline), Ejaz Haider, Khalid Ahmed, Jugnu Mohsin and Adnan Adil (The Friday Times, Lahore), Mahmood Sham (Jang, Karachi), Rashed Rehman (The Nation, Lahore), Amir Ahmed Khan (Herald, Karachi), Imtiaz Aalam, Beena Sarwar, Shafiq Awan, Kamila Hyat and Amir Mir (The News Lahore), Abbas Athar (Nawa-e-Waqt, Lahore), Kamran Khan and Shehzad Amjad (The News Karachi), Azam Khalil (Pulse), Mohammad Malik (Tribune), Imtiaz Ahmed (The Frontier Post, peshawar), Ilyas Chaudhry (Jang Rawalpindi), Naveed Meraj (The Frontier Post Islamabad) and Syed Talat Hussain (The Nation, Islamabad).


Commenting on the government campaign against the press, the US Human Rights report for 1998 said: Although the press largely publishes freely, the government uses its large advertising budget to influence content, journalists practice self-censorship, and the broadcast media remains closely controlled by government monopoly.

Favorable press coverage of the prime minister's family compound/hospital/college south of Lahore was widely understood to have been obtained for a price. Rumors of intimidation, heavy-handed surveillance, and even legal action to quiet the unduly curious or non-deferential reporter are common.

The government has considerable leverage over the press through its substantial budget for advertising and public interest campaigns, its control over newsprint, and its ability to enforce regulations.

The country's leading Urdu daily, Jang, and the English-language daily News, both owned by Shakilur Rehman, were cut off for a time from critical government advertising revenue after publishing articles unflattering to the government. The Jang group also was served with approximately $13 million in tax notices, harassed by government inspectors, and pressured not to publish articles. There is credible evidence that Senator Saifur Rehman, a close associate and head of the Accountability Bureau, demanded a number of journalists and editors be fired. Jang also reportedly had difficulty in obtaining sufficient newsprint to publish.

Rehana Hakim, editor of the English-language monthly Newsline also has complained that her publication, which is highly critical of the government does not receive government advertising revenue, has been raided and harassed by tax inspectors and security agents. The editors of the weekly The Friday Times have alleged government harassment of their staff as well. On March 19, Public of Karachi, a local Urdu-language daily, was banned by the local magistrate and ceased publication on March 20. [2]


The judiciary has given Nawaz Sharif little trouble since he sacked the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Sajjad Ali Shah, who took the president's side in an argument with the primer minister in 1997. Since then, the higher courts gave almost all decision on major issues in favor of the government that has shaken the public confidence in judiciary.

Here are some of the major decisions of the Supreme Court and High Courts that reflected judiciary's leaning towards the government:

The Lahore High Court accepts (Feb 9, 1998) the constitutional petition filed by Rafiq Tarar against his disqualification by the (former) Acting CEC and declared him qualified to contest for and hold the office of President. The acting CEC, Justice Mukhtar Ahmed Junejo of the Supreme Court, had found Mr Tarar, a former Supreme Court Judge, guilty of propagating views prejudicial to the integrity and independence of the judiciary at the time of his nomination as a presidential candidate under Article 63(G) of the Constitution and debarred him from the December, 1997 contest.

Lahore High Court dismissed (March 2, 1998) a writ petition seeking a direction against the government for settling along the motorway the Pakistanis residing in the refugee camps in Bangladesh. Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramaday also prescribed a cost of Rs. 5,000 to petitioner Advocate M.D. Tahir for indulging in frivolous litigation. The court said what was the guarantee that agents of the Indian intelligence agency RAW had not entered the ranks of these people. It also said that it required a lot of money for settling these people in Pakistan when there was already a lot of poverty here.

The Supreme Court dismissed (March 19, 1998) as "frivolous" a constitutional petition challenging the 13th Amendment and ordered the petitioner to pay Rs. 10,000 as court expenses. The 13th Amendment had stripped the president of the power to dissolve the National Assembly and dismiss a government.

Lahore High Court rules (April 1998) that Ehtesab Commissioner has unlimited powers.

May 18 1998: The Supreme Court, in a majority (6-1)decision, upheld the 14th Constitutional Amendment that bars members of parliament to vote against their party's line or abstained from voting. The court held that Article 63(a) would bring stability in the polity of the country as it would be instrumental in eradicating floor crossing. However, the court ruled that an elected member should not be disqualified if he opposed the party's policies in public. In his dissident judgment, Justice Abdul Mamoon Kazi held that Article 63(a) was in violation of fundamental rights and thus was not enforceable.

A seven-member bench of the Supreme Court unanimously (July 28, 1998) upholds the imposition of emergency on May 28. However, it set aside the fundamental rights' suspension order of the same date.

The Supreme Court declines (Nov. 23, 1998) to take notice of the imposition of governor's rule on Sindh and observed that the federal government had the powers to impose governor's rule under Article 232 of the Constitution. "Restoration of peace in Karachi is of paramount importance and court cannot declare it (governor's rule) illegal as some individual or a party wants to do so," observed Chief Justice Ajmal Mian.

A nine-member bench of the Supreme Court unanimously (Feb. 17, 1999) declared the setting up of military courts for trial of civilians in Karachi as unconstitutional. However, the court clarified that its decision would not affect the sentences and punishment awarded and executed by the military courts as the cases would be treated as past and closed transactions. Two people convicted by the Military Courts were executed. The Supreme Court recommended that the military court cases should be transferred to special Anti-Terrorist Courts.

The Supreme Court indicts (March 1, 1999) seven persons including six ruling party legislators on the charges of contempt of court for storming the court building on November 28, 1997. The court however, withdrew show cause notices issued to the executive and police officers of Islamabad.

The Supreme Court acquitted (May 14, 1999) all ruling party legislators who were indicted on the charges of contempt of court for attacking the court building when proceedings against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif were underway in 1997. The three-member bench, which decided the case, observed that though flagrant contempt of court was committed but showed its inability to convict the accused as the people had not given specific evidence against them. Lahore Bar Council leaders expressed their disappointment at the outcome of the contempt of Court case against the ruling party legislatures. They said that the contemners have admitted their guilt in their apologies. A conviction could have been based on their admission and the video film of the Supreme Court's own cameras. They said the SC verdict sets back the process of restoration of public confidence in the superior judiciary set in by the apex court judgements on emergency and military courts. On June 14, 1999, the Supreme Court reopened the rowdy-ism case and issued fresh notices to the Pakistan Muslim League, Attorney General and seven alleged contemners. A five-member bench of the Supreme Court, headed by outgoing Chief Justice, Ajmal Mian, converted a criminal original petition filed by Shahid Orakzai, a journalist, into an appeal against the decision of the three-member bench of the SC. Appeal hearing began on June 28, 1999.

The Supreme Court reserves judgment (May 19, 1999) on the petition of Air Marshal (retired) Asghar Khan regarding the distribution of funds by ISI among the political parties in 1990 elections. The case had originated from the letter of Asghar Khan which he had sent to the then Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah for appropriate action after reading the statements of General Naseerullah Khan Baber. Gen. Baber had informed the National Assembly that ISI had collected Rs. 140 million from Habib Bank which were distributed among different politicians before 1990 elections. Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif is one of those politicians who received money from ISI in 1990 polls. However, the Supreme Court observed that it would confine itself to laying guidelines for the operation of the political cell of the ISI within the legal framework. About the distribution of the funds by the ISI, Justice Saiduzzaman Siddiqui, head of a three-judge bench, observed that it was "history" and the court was not concerned with it.

Commenting on the role of judiciary in Pakistan, the US State Department Human Rights Report for 1998 said: Judiciary is subject to executive influence, and suffers from inadequate resources, inefficiency, and corruption. Despite concerns about damage to the judiciary due to the December 1997 confrontation between the prime minister and the chief justice of the Supreme Court, there were several instances in which the Supreme Court showed a continued degree of independence, striking down draconian laws favored by the government, including limits on freedom of speech, elements of a controversial anti-terrorist law, and some restrictions on fundamental liberties imposed by the state of emergency declared in the wake of Pakistan's nuclear tests in May.

The outgoing chief Justice of the High Court of Sindh and judge-designate of the Supreme Court told a full court reference held in his honor on April 19, 1999, that confidence of the people in the judiciary had been shaken. He said it was a matter of concern that with the continuing degeneration of the moral fabric of society, the malady of corruption had afflicted the power judiciary too, which had been made the task of dispensation of justice all the more difficult and "has shake the confidence of the people in the courts."

On June 18, 1999, The Supreme Court accepted the government's plea that the country is not in a position now to honor its legal obligation of allowing free operation of FCAs. The Court held that Section 2 of the Foreign Exchange (Temporary Restriction) Act, 1998 was lawful of the constitution, subject to the declaration that the same did not confer any power on the federation or the State Bank to compel FCA holders to convert their foreign exchange holdings into Pakistani rupees at the officially notified rate of exchange, or to compel the said account holders to liquidate their FCA accounts in Pakistani rupees which foreign exchange holdings had been accepted by the respective banks as security against any loan or other facilities extended to them. The court expressed its concern on the improper utilization of foreign exchange deposits of the FCA holders by the successive government in breach of the solemn commitment given by the legislature. The court also said that the State Bank of Pakistan also failed to perform its statutory duty to protect the interests of the FCA holders.


The government announced provisional results of the fifth population census on July 8 1998, according to which Pakistan's population rose to 130.5 million from 64.2 million, as recorded in 1981. The census figures show the population growth rate to have declined to 2.61 per cent per annum, as against 3.06 per cent in the 1981 census.

The census results also showed an increase in the proportion of Sindh's population to the country's from 22.6 per cent to 23 per cent. Total population of Sindh was put at 29.9 million -- an increase of more than 50 per cent over the 19 million figure in 1981.

The population of Punjab rose from 47.2million in 1981 to 72.5 million this year, but as a proportion of national population, it fell from 56.1 to 55.6 per cent.

The population of NWFP went up to 17.5 million from 11 million. The proportion of its population to the national figure increased from 13.1 per cent in 1981 to 13.4 per cent.

Balochistan's population increased from 4.3 million (1981) to 6.5 million, but as a proportion of national population, it fell from 5.1 to five per cent.

The population of FATA increased from 2.1 million to 3.1 million and its percentage of the country's population increased from 2.4 to 2.6 per cent.

According to the census, 67.5 per cent Pakistanis live in rural areas down from 71.7 per cent in 1981. The proportion of urban population increased from 28.3 per cent to 32.5 per cent.

The highest concentration in urban areas is in Islamabad -- 65.5%, followed by Sindh with an urban population of 48.9 per cent.

Three major cities -- Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur -- accounted for 73.1 per cent of urban population in Sindh and 35.7% of Sindh's total population.

There are now 23 towns having a population of 200,000 and above. The biggest city is Karachi with a population of 9.269 million. Lahore follows it, with 5.063 million souls and Faisalabad with 1.977 million. These three cities account for 38.4 % of the country's urban population. [3]


The fact that the census was carried out under army supervision didn't do much to inspire confidence, partly because the army itself happened mostly to belong to Punjab. There were announcements of the boycott of the count. In Balochistan, the Pashtoon areas were said to have largely gone un-enumerated. Specific objections were raised about certain parts of the census questionnaire and the proposed manner of its filling out. The forms were filled with pencil rather than ink pen. The objections were mostly ignored. The doubters claimed afterwards that the interim results announced had confirmed all their fears.

Sindh nationalist groups immediately rejected the census results, describing them as an attempt by Punjab to maintain its hegemony over the smaller provinces. Sindh National Front (headed by Mumtaz Ali Bhutto), Sindh Taraqi Pasand Party (headed by Dr. Qadir Magsi) and the Jeay Sindh Mahaz (headed by Abdul Khaliq Junejo), said that the census results have been engineered to show a small decline in the population of Punjab since 1981 (0.5 per cent) in proportion to the national average, even while they had failed to show the disproportionately high increase of population in Sindh caused by the national birth rate and migration. [4]

The Sindhi groups argued that the exodus of population from Punjab had been much higher as compared to Sindh over the last 17 years on account of Punjabis migrating abroad to the Middle East, the US and other countries, as well as to the other provinces. In this corresponding period, they argued that Sindh's population had grown not only on account of the national fertility rate of 2.7 per cent but because of the influx of Bengalis, Burmese, Afghans, Iranians, Sri Lankans, Indians and migrations from other provinces.[5]

SNF spokesman, Abdul Aziz Bughio, maintained that prime minister Nawaz Sharif had halted the 1991 census during his first tenure because the results would have demonstrated the huge influx of illegal immigrants into Sindh, "a result that would therefore have been unacceptable to the Punjab." According to him, the latest census had attempted to overcome the problem by counting the Punjabi settlers in Sindh as Punjabis instead of Sindhis. He said that the census staff had failed to account for the Sindhi population living in the far-flung areas of Tharparkar and Kohistan, after arguing that the "dacoit factor" had prevented them from reaching these areas. [6]

Sindh Taraqi Pasand Party spokesman Muzaffar Kalhoro declared that the latest census results had been engineered from Islamabad to prevent Punjab's national assembly seats from being affected, enable Punjab to obtain its share in the national resources as well as satisfy the international pressures for carrying out the census. He recalled that 1991 house count had been halted by the then Nawaz Sharif government in the first phase after it had failed to yield proper results for the Punjab. [7]

Chief of Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Altaf Hussain, declared that the census results had been manipulated with the aim to retain the population ratio of the past 27 years. He said according to available statistics, 17 million forms were distributed in Karachi during the 1998 population census so it was beyond comprehension that its population would be 9.2 Million. [8]

Opposition leader in the Sindh Assembly, Nisar Khuro said that the two-stage housing census and headcount in 1991-92 had not been taken into consideration. He said he was amazed to see that the population of Balochistan and Sindh had been drastically reduced whereas in the case of Punjab and the NWFP it had increased. He said the current report ignored the house count of 1995. [9]

Awami National party Sindh President, Mohammad Amin Khattak, said the Interior Minister, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, was on record having said in March 1997 that whether one accepted or not the census report would be submitted to the authority concerned. "By reducing the population of the three smaller provinces and increasing the population of Punjab and showing no increase in the tribal population, as it had been the practice during the Ayub regime, was a deep conspiracy to exploit the national resources for one province at the expense of three smaller units of the federation," he added. [10]

The Secretary-General of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, Mairaj Khan, said the census statistics did not reflect the the real size of the population of Karachi which, according to all estimates made by international media, was more than 12.5 million for the last few years. "Karachi which generates almost 70 per cent revenue of the country is denied its due share, resulting in the collapse of civic services, which added to the sufferings of the people of this city. Another reason why they don't acknowledge the increased population is to deny additional seats in the National and provincial assemblies that should become due to Karachi on the basis on an increase in population." [11]

The president of Karachi Division Markazi Jamiat Ulema Pakistan, Alhaj Mohammad Rafi, argued that in the city where the number of national identity card-holders were over 10 million, showing its population 9.2 Million in the fresh census is the biggest lie of the century. [12]


The 1998 census was held in the backdrop of sudden postponement of the head count on Oct. 4, 1997. The Inter-Provincial Coordinated Committee at a meeting in Lahore decided to postpone for six months the population census, which was due to be held on October 18, 1997. This was the fourth time that the census was postponed.

According to a Dawn report (6.10.1997) the deepening rural-urban politico-economic divide in the country is stated to be the main reason for the postponement of the long delayed census. Informed circles in the capital quoted educated projections said that in the last 17 years, the population of the urban areas in the Punjab, Sindh, NWFP and Balochistan have far outstripped that of the rural areas of these provinces.

Not only this, the population of Sindh is said have galloped at a higher rate during this period than that of the Punjab reducing to that extent the proportion of the Punjab population in the overall national count.

In NWFP, the Pathan areas are said to have become predominantly Mohmand reducing the former in the area to a minority. And in Balochistan, the Pathan population is said to have overtaken the Balochs.

In Sindh, the population of cities, like Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur are said to have outpaced those of the rural Sindh, mostly because of a massive exodus of population from Punjab and NWFP into urban Sindh as a result of which the Pathan and Punjabi populations are said to have increased in proportion reducing to that extent the population of Mohajirs in the over all Sindh urban count.

If these educated projections had come true as a result of a formal census, the present political power balance would get upset and even the economic power would change hands dramatically overnight.

In Punjab the rural areas will get lesser assembly seats than the urban areas while in the overall count the Punjab's financial allocations would get reduced remarkably.

In Sindh too the urban population will get the political power while province's overall allocation under the NFC award would get enhanced significantly, making it that much richer compared to the Punjab.

In urban Sindh, the Mohajirs will be sharing political power with Punjabi and Pathan settlers.

Sindh Graduate Association Chairman, Bakhsh Ali Lakho, told a seminar on "Census 1997" that the 1991 sampling census figures were not acceptable to the rulers only because the people of Sindh have ensured that no one remains un-listed. The results showed a two per cent increase in Sindh's population while the figures in Punjab declined by 2 per cent, he added. [13]

The government of Benazir Bhutto abandoned the idea of holding population census in November 1995. The decision was taken in the wake of startling figures obtained after house census carried out during September to November 1994. The government of Mian Nawaz Sharif had stopped the population census in 1991 after a house census which had given almost the same figures as those produced by the operation completed in 1994. The house listing operation of 1994 projected a population growth rate of around 4 per cent -- almost double the official claims of 2 per cent.

The first house listing operation which was carried out in November and December 1990 had shown an increase of 770 per cent in some districts of the province of Sindh. The increase in housing units recorded in Hyderabad and Karachi was 112 per cent and 172 per cent respectively during the past one decade. In the rural areas, the highest increase was registered in the district of Naushero Feroze where the population shot up by over one million in a span of just ten years. [14]


The Lahore High Court, on March 2, 1998, dismissed a writ petition seeking a direction against the government for settling along the motorway the Pakistanis residing in the refugee camps in Bangladesh. Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramaday also prescribed a cost of Rs. 5,000 to petitioner Advocate M.D. Tahir for indulging in frivolous litigation. The court said what was the guarantee that agents of the Indian intelligence agency RAW had not entered the ranks of these people. It also said that it required a lot of money for settling these people in Pakistan when there was already a lot of poverty here.

In her meeting with Mr. Nawaz Sharif, Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajid, made it plain that her government could not go on supporting the Biharis indefinitely and that they should be shifted to Pakistan. To make their plight even less enviable the stranded Pakistanis have not been recognized as refugees by the United Nations. They have been living all these 28 years in makeshift camps in Bangladesh. A great deal of concern is expressed about their plight by sections of Pakistanis and by people in many foreign countries. However the Pakistani authorities have made it clear that even if they are at all settled in Pakistan, this would be done on humanitarian grounds and not because they have a rightful claim to be regarded as Pakistanis stranded in Bangladesh. [15] Foreign Minister, Sartaj Azizi, said after his visit to Dhaka in 1998 that the so-called Biharis stranded in Bangladesh were not Pakistanis at all.

The bulk of the Biharis identified themselves with those who were in authority in Pakistan at the time and did not share the separatist sentiments of the people of the eastern wing. One the contrary, they (perhaps misguidedly) felt it was their patriotic duty to collaborate with the army which was used by General Yahya Khan and his cohorts to put down the separatist movement. Chronicles of the events of 1971 have gone on record to say that a large number of those, now referred to as Biharis, served as mujahids and razakars in support of the regular army. The GHQ in Rawalindi sanctioned the raising of an organized Razakar Force in the eastern wing towards the end of August 1971. Giving details of this setup, Lt. Gen. A. A. K. Niazi, who was in command of the troops in the then East Pakistan, says that a separate Razakr Directorate was established by the GHQ and the Razakars started functioning under two organizations - Al Badr and Al Shams. While Al Badr was assigned responsibility for 'specialized operations' while the volunteers of Al Shams were responsible for the protection of bridges, vital points and other areas. [16]

Majority of those who happed to be in East Pakistan, now Bangladesh were not migrants but Central government employees, mostly railway-men, from Eastern UP, Bihar and Orissa (even Madras). According to some estimates, they numbered 50,000 employees. When these optees joined East Bengal Railway, they were central government employees, but by an act of Ayub Khan, who made 'communications' a provincial subject, they became employees of East Pakistan, which seceded in 1971 and became Bangladesh. The government of Pakistan found a lame excuse and washed its hands clean of these victims of fate and is now disowning them as its nationals. So, is it on humanitarian grounds, or by invoking the Quranic edict of 'Islamic fraternity', or on purely legalistic grounds that those who had opted for Pakistan and their families that accompanied them, are entitled to Pakistani citizenship. [17]

The non-repatriation of Bihari Pakistanis by Pakistan since the creation of Bangladesh in 1971 is a negation of the so-called two-nation theory which was and is the ideological basis for Pakistan; it is also a silent but solemn rebuttal of our high-pitched claims of Islamization. One wonders, how and why Pakistan, which is the great champion of Muslim causes from Kashmir to Kosovo, and from Pelestine to Afghanistan, had the resources and the space to give shelter to millions of Afghans and even thousands of Bosnianas and now offers sanctuary to the Muslim Kosovars, is not prepared to admit its own citizens stranded in Bangladesh. We have Kashmir days and other memorable days for Palestinians, whose causes are in particular remembered vociferously by the right-wing political parties. But when it comes to the Biharis, it is a conspiracy of silence. Islamic brotherhood somehow stops at their door. [18]

Most Pakistani leaders maintain that the reptariates could not be rehabilitated in Sindh even though they have links of language and culture with the Mohajis living here. New colonies would, therefore, need to be set up elsewhere perhaps, in Punjab to accommodate them. Most Sindhi nationalist parties are opposed to the Bharis' repatriation to Pakistan as they are convinced that this would tilt the delicate population balance in favor of non-Sindhis in Sindh. Activists of Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz have even threatened to go on hunger strike if the Biharis were brought to Sindh. Motamar-e-Alam-e-Islami has managed to raise a considerable amount of funds for the repatriation of the Biharis. [19]

According to a report prepared by a former Inspector-General of Police, Afzal Shigri, there are 3.55 million illegal immigrants in Pakistan -- over two million Afghans, 1.16 million Bangladeshis and over 200,000 Burmese, besides Iranians and Iraqis. The largest number of illegal immigrants are in Karachi. Can we not settle 300,000 stranded Pakistanis in Pakistan. [Dawn 7.4.1999] Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in May 1999 visited Kosovo and donated $6 million in cash and relief goods. But no such gesture was made towards the Biharis when the Prime Minister was in Bangaldesh in 1998.


Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee paid a historic visit to Pakistan when he arrived in Lahore, on Feb. 20, 1999, to a colorful and enthusiastic welcome for a summit meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. Vajpayee entered the Wagah check post aboard a Delhi Transport Corporation bus that he had boarded at Amritsar for a 51-km journey.

This was the third visit of an Indian Prime Minister to Pakistan. Jawaharlal Nehru visited Pakistan in early sixties. Rajiv Gandhi attended a SAARC summit in Islamabad in July 1989 and held talks with Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. However, it was not the first time that the leaders of India and Pakistan had made seemingly path-breaking overtures towards each other. These gestures include: Simla agreement signed by Pakistan and India in 1972; "cricket diplomacy" between Rajiv Gandhi and Ziaul Haq in the eighties and the dialogue between I.K. Gujral and Nawaz Sharif in 1997 at a SAAR summit in Dhaka.

Three documents were signed at the end of Vajpayee's two-day visit to Pakistan.

The Lahore Declaration, signed by the two Prime ministers, contained the resolve of the two countries to intensify efforts for an early resolution of all issues, including the Kashmir issue, through bilateral talks in implementation of the Simla Agreement in letter and spirit.

A joint statement, singed by the foreign secretaries of the two countries, spells out confidence building measures to achieve a durable peace in the region.

The Memorandum of Understanding, also singed by the foreign secretaries of the two countries, spells out broader principles of security, disarmament and non-proliferation issues


The two governments:

- shall intensify their efforts to resolve all issues, including the issue of Jammu and Kashmir.

- shall refrain from intervention and interference in each other's internal affairs.

- shall intensify their composite and integrated dialogue process for an early and positive outcome of the agreed liberal agenda.

- shall take immediate steps for reducing the risk of accidental or unauthorized use of nuclear weapons and discuss concepts and doctrines with a view to elaborating measures for confidence building in the nuclear and conventional fields, aimed at prevention of conflict.

- reaffirm their commitment to the goals and objectives of SAARC and to concert their efforts towards the realization of the SAARC vision for the year 2000 and beyond with a view of promoting the welfare of the people of South Asia and to improve their quality of life through accelerated economic growth, social progress and cultural development.

- reaffirm their condemnation of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and their determination to combat this menace.

- shall promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms.


a) The two Foreign Ministers will meet periodically to discuss all issues of mutual concern, including nuclear related issues.

b) The two sides shall undertake consultations on WTO related issues with a view to coordinating their respective positions.

c) The two sides shall determine areas of cooperation in information technology.

d) The two sides will hold consultations with a view to further liberalizing the visa and travel regime.

e) The two sides shall appoint a two-member committee at ministerial level to examine humanitarian issues relating to civilian detainees and missing persons.


1. The two sides shall engage in bilateral consultations on security concepts, and nuclear doctrines, with a view to developing measures for confidence building in the nuclear and conventional fields aimed at avoidance of conflict.

2. The two sides undertake to provide each other with advance notification in respect of ballistic missile flight tests and shall conclude a bilateral agreement in this regard.

3. The two sides are fully committed to undertaking national measures to reducing the risks of accidental or unauthorized use of nuclear weapons under their respective control. The two sides further undertake to notify each other immediately in the event of any accidental, unauthorized or unexplained incident that could create the risk of a fallout with adverse consequences for both sides, or an outbreak of a nuclear war between the two countries, as well as to adopt measures aimed at diminishing the possibility of such actions, or such accidents being misinterpreted by the other. The two sides shall identify/establish the appropriate communication mechanism for this purpose.

4. The two sides shall continue to abide by their respective unilateral moratorium on conducting further nuclear test explosions unless either side, in exercise of its national sovereignty decides that extraordinary events have jeopardized its supreme interests.

5. The two sides shall conclude an agreement on prevention of incidents at sea in order to ensure safety of navigation by naval vessels, and aircraft belonging to the two sides.

6. The two sides shall periodically review the implementation of existing Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) and where necessary, set up appropriate consultative mechanisms to monitor and ensure effective implementation of these CBMs.

7. The two sides shall undertake a review of the existing communication links (e.g. between the respective Directors General, Military Operations) with a view to upgrade and improving these links, and to provide for fail-safe and secure communications. [Already the two countries have signed agreements to minimize the risk of war, such as establishment of a hotline between the Prime ministers, prevention of violation of airspace and prior notification of military maneuvers.]

8. The two sides shall engage in bilateral consultations on security, disarmament and non-proliferation issues within the context of negotiations on these issues in multilateral fora.

From the Pakistan's point of view, one of the most significant gains from the Vajpayee-Nawaz summit was the inclusion of Jammu and Kashmir in the list of issues to be discussed and resolved. India has often resisted such a reference to Kashmir. The fact that India now recognizes the dispute over Jammu and Kashmir as an issue to be resolved is seen as the important step forward in Indo-Pakistan relations.

From India's point of view, the reciprocal gain is that Kashmir will be effectively put on the backburner, to be negotiated slowly, even as substantial progress is registered on arrange of other matters first.

During his stay in Lahore, Vajpayee visited Minar-e-Pakistan, the spot where the All India Muslim League in March 1940, under the chairmanship of Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah, passed the Lahore resolution, which finally led to the partition of the subcontinent and the establishment of Pakistan. "From this historic Minar-e-Pakistan, I wish to assure the people of Pakistan of my country's deep desire for lasting peace and friendship. I have said this before and I say it again. A stable, secure and prosperous Pakistan is in India's interest. Let no one in Pakistan be in doubt about this. India sincerely wishes the people of Pakistan well," wrote Vajpayee in the visitor's book.

At the Lahore summit, the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry and its Pakistani counterpart launched an Indo-Pakistan chamber that would target impediments to the freer movement of businessmen and commodities between the two countries. The removal of these impediments will raise bilateral trade, most of which is currently unofficial and conducted via third countries from a meager $162 million annually to about $810 million. While this was small compared to the total volume of each country, it was seen nonetheless a step in the right direction.


1. Dawn 26.1.1999

2. Dawn 27.2.1999

3. Dawn 9.7.1998

4. Dawn 10.7.1998

5. Ibid.

6. Ibid.

7. Ibid.

8. Ibid.

9. Ibid.

10. Ibid.

11. Ibid.

12. Ibid.

13. Dawn 6.10.1997

14. Dawn 7.11.1995

15. M.H. Askari, Stranded or abandoned? Dawn 17.3.1999

16. Ibid.

17. Dawn 6.5.1999

18. M.P. Bhandara, Shame, Dawn 20.4.1999

19. A. H. Askari, Op. Cite.