Husain Haqqani Controversy: The Real Cover Up

cover upThe latest controversy surrounding Husain Haqqani continues to grow as different parties try to score some political points. Whether it is PMLN trying to solidify its power, or PPP’s unseemly willingness to turn on one of its own, everyone knows that piling on someone who has openly criticised the Army’s policies towards militants is a low risk proposition. The reality is that this latest episode is nothing but a repeat of past dramas, and like those too nothing will come of it except distracting from the actual problems facing the nation.

As it has already been pointed out, there is not any new information in Haqqani’s latest article. There was never a denial that he issued visas to Americans working for the US government, but as already explained in his statement to the Abbottabad Commission that no unauthorised visas were issued to Americans agents while he was Ambassador. This brings up an important point: There has already been a commission to investigate these claims, and it has already produced a report! However, as always, it has been kept secret from the people opening the door to conspiracy theories and confusion. If there is some great concern over Haqqani’s article, the obvious answer is to follow advice of Justice Javed Iqbal, who headed the Abbottabad Commission and publish the complete report so the people can know the actual findings.

This raises another important point: While we have already had a commission investigate Abbottabad raid, nothing has been done to investigate and explain any of the following:

This is only a partial list of unanswered questions that the state has shown no interest in investigating. Do we have nothing better to do than try to interpret and decode hidden messages in Husain Haqqani’s writings?

In Husain Haqqani’s latest article he gave the example of passing messages between US officials and Pakistan officials. As was obvious to anyone who can read, he was explaining that this is the job of a diplomat – to pass messages back and forth. Nowhere does he say that he issued any unauthorised visas, and no one has shown any evidence that he did. Does the state really want to push things to the limit that records of every visa and who authorised them (including military personnel) are leaked to the public?

The obvious next step is not to constitute a new commission but to release to the public the report already compiled by Abbottabad Commission and once again face the inevitable questions about how Osama bin Laden was able to enter Pakistan and live next door to PMA Kakul without ever being noticed by our own agencies. Next we can answer questions about why officials continue to accuse civilians of treason for any contacts with CIA when it is well known that most cooperation was with Army and ISI agents and not civilians. Most importantly, though, we must stop allowing this pathetic political point scoring to continue as cover up for the lies and failures of state policy that continue to plague our nation and cause the deaths of hundreds of innocents.

In-credible Pakistan

The state’s credibility problem endures. Following the unprecedented attack on APS Peshawar, death penalty was reinstated after seven years moratorium. The death penalty returned with popular support based on the argument that it was needed to fight terrorism. Somehow, we believed, terrorists who were willing to die for their delusional cause would give up if they faced the death penalty. However illogical our reasoning, though, the death penalty has not been used as a tool against terrorists. Actually, only 7 per cent of executions are related to terrorism charges! This shows that ‘terrorism’ was only an excuse, not the real reason, which seems to happen with alarming regularity in Pakistan.

The state’s credibility problem has been on display in many ways lately. Not only from the death penalty report, but the release of Quetta Commission report also which catalogued the state’s duplicity including what Dawn described as ‘the state’s complicity with militant groups for parochial agendas that allowed the creation of an infrastructure of jihad’. Is it any surprise that rather than make any effort to correct these issues, the state has instead rejected its own report!

The unwillingness to face facts and be honest with ourselves has a long history. Over 30 years ago we were already telling ourselves sweet little lies.

17 December 1971 Dawn front pageThis failed mindset not only damages our credibility in the eyes of the world, it has destroyed the state’s credibility with our own people. When Quetta Commission report was released, who really believed it would change anything? Same with Abbottabad Commission before that and Hamoodur Rahman Commission before that.

 

APS Massacre: What we remember, and what we forget

Mother of APS MartyrA public holiday has been announced and all schools will be closed in Peshawar to observe second anniversary of APS attack. There are some who say that the better observation would be for all children to attend school, which would be a greater defiance of the terrorist threat, but the most important is that we take the time to think about how to prevent another massacre from taking place. The only way to do this is to directly take on extremism completely and without any exceptions.

Operation Zarb-e-Azb has made important progress in reducing the ability of anti-state militants to carry out attacks, but it has not come near the claimed success of ‘breaking the back’ of militants. They may be less common, but major terrorist attacks continue, including those targeting students such as the attack on Bacha Khan University and the deadly attack on Balochistan police college in Quetta earlier this year.

However it is not only these attacks that show the threat of terrorism continues. ASWJ backed candidate Maulana Masroor Nawaz Jhangvi, son of Sipah-e-Sahaba founder Haq Nawaz Jhangnvi, was elected to Punjab Assembly just a few weeks ago. Only a few days ago, a mob of thousands attacked an Ahmadi masjid in Lahore. Today, while we are memorialising those innocent students who were killed by extremist militants, there religious extremists are literally marching through the streets of Lahore.

Today we remember the lives of those innocent children martyred by extremist militants, but have we forgotten the promise of zero-tolerance for extremism and tackling militant groups without exception?

One year after APS Peshawar, what has changed?

APS Peshawar16th December was supposed to be a turning point. The brutal massacre of hundreds of innocent children at APS Peshawar had finally awoken the nation and united our resolve to defeat the real enemy – the jihadi extremists that had killed tens of thousands of Pakistanis since the last ten years. It is almost six months since that black day, and where are we now? The truth is not encouraging…

I wrote those words six months ago. Six months after the brutal slaughter of innocent children that shocked not only our own nation but brought the entire world to tears. Today I have been struggling to find something to write on the one year anniversary of this tragedy, but find myself at a loss of words. What has changed since six months? What has changed since one year?

Today I have heard countless people praising the sacrifice made by these little ones, but when did they or their parents offer to sacrifice themselves? They were only children going to school to learn, not to sacrifice. Or have we reached the point that merely living in this country is itself considered a sacrifice? Where learning is an act of courage?

We have been told ad nauseam that the terrorists have been defeated, and yet they continue to kill us by the dozens. Today we honour the memory of those poor children killed one year ago, but tomorrow we get back to our routines of taking out protests in support of extremists.

Aha! You say. But terrorist attacks are down! General Raheel and Zarb-e-Azb have broken the terrorists backbone, demoralised them, and scattered them to the wind! But in reality, even the numbers are not encouraging.

terrorist incidents in PakistanOnly in Pakistan would a thousand terrorist attacks be accepted as success. And the feel-good rhetoric does not stop there. The terrorists have been defeated! It has been declared for over a year, but no one has bothered to ask what dictionary is being used to define “defeated”. It’s a question that is worth asking, since security officials admit that despite being defeated, these terrorists can still carry out attacks against us – even one as terrible as the one targeting APS Peshawar.

“There is no question about this,” a senior security official said. “Do they have the capability to carry out attacks of the scale of the one on APS or Mehran and other places?” — Absolutely, the official said.

So today, I am not going to beat my chest and shout nationalistic slogans. I am not going to wear a school uniform and praise the families of these lost children for their sacrifice to our nation. They did not ask for their children to be sacrificed. They do not deserve our thanks, they deserve our apology. Our apology for letting them down not only in allowing extremism to get to the point that their children were killed, but because even that it seems could not wake us from our hypernationalist delusions.

Why are we celebrating the fall of Kunduz?

Pakistani newspaper writes "America cries, another victory for Taliban"

Afghan forced backed by NATO are reported to have regained control of Kunduz after a three day battle with Taliban fighters. This comes as a disappointment to many of our own countrymen who celebrated reports that Taliban had seized control of the major Afghan city on Monday. This is deserving of reflection. Why are so many of us celebrating advances by Taliban fighters even while we are locked in a battle to the finish with Taliban ourselves? The answers offer important clues to the root of our troubles and, possibly, provide some hope for a solution.

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