March 2009, the worst month in Paksitan’s history or …?

This post is motivated from an article published as Enough is Enough. The article is pasted below. But my views on the issue are as diverse as many of the comments which I intend to debate. This is quite a lengthy post but grasp different opinions on current situation of Pakistan in broadred perspective.

Enough is Enough

What will it take? What will it take for Rehman Malik, Advisor to Prime Minister on Interior Affairs (de facto Interior Minister who is known to claim he is the establishment) and Salmaan Taseer, current Governor Punjab, to resign? Their utter failure of governance, whether it arises from incompetence or from a lack of will, has been more than adequately demonstrated by the two terrorist attacks in Lahore within a month. It is incredible that neither took responsibility in any way, nor resigned after the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team at Liberty in Lahore on March 3, 2009, instead trying to deflect responsibility onto the previous provincial government they had helped sack.

After the media disclosed that the Punjab Government was made privy to specific intelligence with regard to the attack on the Sri Lankan team at least a month and a half in advance of the event, Governor Taseer and Rehman Malik admitted as much. Yet, on the eve of the attack, the said gentlemen together with a cohort of other PPP wise men, were busy hatching conspiracies to consolidate their power in Punjab, and deprive the PML-N and its party leadership of their mandate in the province, in a bid to foil the civil society and PML-N backed lawyers’ Long March for Rule of Law, set to commence on the 12th of March.

The success of the Liberty attack was a direct result of the fact that, in their scramble to usurp power in Punjab, and tailor the entire provincial bureaucracy to achieve their ends, these wise men were engaged in transfers of high-level personnel. Within an hour or so of the announcement of Mian Shahbaz Sharif’s disqualification from holding public office by the Supreme Court, announcements of transfers of Chief Secretary, Inspector General, etc., started to roll in.

In a process where smooth transfer of power takes place, there is a transition period where files or issues of priority get a continuity of focus, at least in the immediate post change period. However, in the case of Punjab, such was the haste to grab power, and such the disregard for everything else, including that of the safety of life and property of citizens, that no heed was paid to dangers inherent in breaking government midstride at a sensitive time.

Even if the Chief Minister were validly disqualified (though it is a common perception, and has now been tacitly admitted even by the federal government that the Supreme Court decision was made under a political understanding with it), there was no justification for imposing Governor Rule summarily and dismissing a well functioning government in the Punjab. The President (on the advice and encouragement of his close circle of confidantes and allies in government, most of whom happen to be unelected, and one of whom is the also unelected Interior Minister, Rehman Malik) used the ever-obliging Mr. Taseer to break down a working government. This, at a time the country faced serious internal security challenges. Only to keep a hold over power, this unprincipled posse struck down a provincial government, without a thought to the security of country or people.

Thinking minds must ponder the point: was the action of striking down a working, legal and elected government, at any time leave alone at a time of grave national security threats, tantamount to treason or not? The clear and present danger of terrorist attacks became reality at the Liberty Chowk, in the heart of Lahore within days of this band’s shenanigans in Punjab. The gross negligence thus exhibited by all of those involved in the plot to disrupt a working provincial government to advance their personal agendas, was of criminal proportions. The terrorists involved in the Liberty disaster, walked away, not in the legal sense of the word, but literally walked away after perpetrating carnage, leaving cricket all but dead, and Pakistan’s reputation in shreds, in the wake of this disaster.

All this, under the watch of the President, who imposed Governor Rule in Punjab, under the gaze of the Governor who was supposed at the time to be governing the province, and under the guard of the Interior Minister, whose first responsibility is national security. Did they bat an eyelash? Resign? Did they commence spending a small proportion of their time to the duties they are meant to be carrying out? No. Moving right along, this group brazenly continued their efforts to secure power in Punjab via any means available (bribes, threats, horse-trading etc.) whilst paying no heed to formulation of a cohesive anti-terror policy, or implementation thereof.

On March 30th, after extremists struck again and laid siege to a police training school in Manawan, Lahore and killed about two dozen and injured more than 75 innocent young trainees, Mr. Malik again admitted to receiving intelligence of terrorists having entered Rawalpindi and Lahore recently to perpetrate more strikes. Had these gentlemen given a single iota of thought to the issue, the first thing they would have done would have been to secure soft targets against any such strikes. But did they? No, the March 30th massacre of unarmed police trainees proceeded unchecked till the government reacted. The first help (police elite force) arrived half an hour later, and the rangers and military aerial support several hours later. Before the event, none had proactively thought of securing such places as police training centers.

Was the training centre such an unobvious target, when for the last few years the pattern has been for the extremists to target government security personnel whenever and wherever they can? The nation must ask what precautionary measures had these governors of people taken, except to travel around in bulletproof cars themselves?

It is of paramount importance for people to realize that such criminal negligence of duty, and such abuse of office for personal gain and power at the expense of innocent lives is a treasonous betrayal of State and citizens. Removal and accountability of these (mis) rulers must be demanded.

Comments

Following article indicates incompetence and over inthusiasm from Rehman Malik and Salman Taseer which follows from absolute power without any accountability. article

Now a very harsh comment. You can question the decency of word but surely not the emotions of a large %age of public.

BOTH ACTS were deplorable historically significant and direct consequences of illetrate and redundant leadership qualities of REHMAN MALIK ala REHMAN DACAiT and Salman BAWASEER Taseer . Both nedd to be dismissed from office if they dont resign. 3/03 and 30/03 were acts of terror and the responsibilty lies with interior ministry for such irreprehensible security measures in each case. TASEER AND MALIK deserved to be beaten up by mobs at LIBERTY CHOWK if not hanged publicly for people to view how crime doesnt pay. THEY both r the perpetrators of acts of vehemance againts the public and institutions. We have lost cricket for n indefinite period of time as well as valubale policing lives. SHAME ON YOU RAHMAN MALIK, U BANDIT ,U WILL PAY FOR THIS CRIME. SHAME ON YOU TASEER, YOU DRUNK DRONE ! U WILL BE PAY FOR ALL THIS WRECKAGE in ur tenure in the safest province. Whether it s sabotaging police for personal or horsetrading issues rather than providing proetction for the ppl and pakistan’s guests, they have completely ridiculed their power to sick proportions. As the whole of LAHORE cried zardari kutta zardari kutta at GPO CHOWK on march 16, the whole of PAKISTAN now echoes with chants RAHMAN KUTTA, TASEER KUTTA , but they dont even deserve this title ,dogs r loyal to their masters. both these jackals arent to the masses ! so RAHMAN MURDABAD, TASEER MURDABAD will reign ! LORD please ! relieve us the misery of these IMBECILES !

An alternate point of view.

While I have extreme dislike and disgust for Rehman Malik, allow me to differ with criticism on Interior Ministry. No Interior Minister whoever he maybe can be held responsible in such circumstances. The reason is the legal and administrative structure of law enforcement in the country. The Federal Interior Ministry has no jurisdiction in any province. It does not command the police in the provinces which is directly under the administration of the provincial government. The Federal Interior Ministry only commands the paramilitary force (Rangers, FC etc.) which are requisitioned by the provincial government in case a situation gets out of the hand of provincial police. In that case, the paramilitary troops will directly be commanded by the provincial government or the administration (which on the day of the attack was the governor). The Federal Interior ministry has no intelligence agency under its authority. The ISI and IB directly report to the Prime Minister and the MI reports to the Army. The current role of the Federal Interior Ministry (FIM) is that of a coordinating body (except in ICT and FATA). It is given intelligence information by the ISI or IB and it passes on that information to the Provincial Home Departments and thats it. In addition to that FIM can provide extra funds to a province to a provincial police force but the job of recruiting the best people in the police force, giving them best training, equipping them with best equipment and using them effectively is the job of the provincial administration. All FIM could do is to pass on information about threats in advance and that it did!! The reports published (Ansar Abbasi, Daily Jang, 1st April) suggest that an alert was already sent by the FIM to Punjab government. However, Punjab government (i.e. the governor and his cronies) failed to act on it. You replace this moron Malik with the best of men and still you may see failures of this sort unless you change the legal & administrative structure of law enforcement and intelligence in the country. Sorry guys but FIM cannot be technically blamed in this case since the job it has been assigned currently (i.e. issuing alerts and coordinating information) was indeed carried out timely. Punjab administration, Punjab Police and its CID department failed to pro-actively counter the problem. All agencies ISI, IB, MI and FIM had issued alerts well in advance.
Again, I have extreme dislike and disgust for Malik and I would be glad to see his head rolling yet we may face the same situation (God forbid) in future if we are just content with rolling heads and not engineering the system properly.

With a bit of spice.

A very poorly argued article. A real disappointment. You have blamed Rehman Malik for all that has gone wrong in the Mango Republic without offering any specific proof. Rehman Malik is doing all he can and indeed his performance has shown itself to be above and beyond the call of duty.

Similarly, the much maligned Salman Taseer has been taking all the flak without it being any of his fault. People like Salman Taseer and Rehman Malik are the moderates, the levies that are holding back the Taliban tide.

Rehman Malik, Salman Taseer and Fauzia Wahab are effective administrators and communicators who must be encouraged to keep fighting the good fight. The fascist media bias has ensured that a general negative climate exists in the intellectual discourse of this counrty where you cannot even praise the positive actions of the PPP.

I submit that the rare good luck that Rehman Malik, Salman Taseer, Fauzia Wahab, Babar Awan and Farook Naik have turned out to be, will be evident in the months and years to come. The statesman like personality of President Zardari will soon shine through the fog of war and we shall see the back of PPP at last.

Anyone who opposes Rehman Malik and Salman Taseer cannot be a friend of Pakistan because by opposing these outstanding leaders of men, they lengthen the lease of life that PPP has. People who malign PPP are, unbeknown to themselves, helping PPP. Please support PPP in all that they do.

Confucius, he say: “When enemy make mistake, never interrupt.”

My dream team:

Rehman Malik – Prime Minister, IG Lies
Mulana Fazlur Rehman – interior, Petroleum and transport. minister
Shareefuddin Pirzada – Law Minister
Fauzia Wahab – information minister, (she is perfect)
Pervaiz Ellahi – finance minister,
Hussain Haqqani – Ambassador to Israel
Malik Riaz (Bahria Town) – Commerce and Industries minister
Ahmad Raza Qasuri – VC of SZABIST
Babar Ghauri – defence minister, port and shipping
Moonis Ellahi – CM Punjab
Pir Mazharul Haq – CM Sindh
Afrasiab Khattak – CM NWFP
Qasim Zia – Governor Punjab

and…

Altaf Hussain – Governor Sindh

Then wait for 3 weeks and a new election. Just add water. Do not defrost. Serves 170 million.

Namak harami hasb-e-zaika

A genuine demand.

I do not belong to NWFP or FATA but I fully agree with you. It is very sad and beyond understanding that while we are giving coverage to the lives of police jawans lost in Punjab we have maintained a criminal silence over the lives of police and FC jawans lost in NWFP and FATA. Access to FATA may be a problem but access to NWFP areas where the police has been hit is not difficult. It is criminal of our national media and leadership to come out in support for the lives lost in one part of the country while maintaining a mum over the same thing happening in another part of the country. We all must come out in unison to express solidarity for the officers and jawans of law enforcement agencies specially the police no matter which part of the country they are serving. In this regard, we can send emails to national dailies and news channels informing them of their irresponsibility and biased approach to covering police casualties.

Another pro-govt. point of view.

Though i generally restrict myself to watching programs on this site and religiously avoid making comments …. due to the seeming lack of logical discussions …. barring some, I must pick the pen and doll out a little black and white advice on how governments work. Although it’s quite apparent that the general trend at this forum is people bashing … I hope this statement is taken in its “stating an opinion” stride and not as “trying to create an argument”.

Not that im defending Malik or Tasser … but to argue that the attacks took place due to their focus on political wheeling dealing or rather more absurdly, as a result of governor’s rule, is both illogical as well as political simplification. Firstly, the sri lankan attacks took place a couple of days after the imposition of governors rule. Notwithstanding the effect of management changes at the provincial level in decreasing response effectiveness, we must accept the fact that organizing, planning, infiltration and logistical requirements necessitate the deduction that such a plan was afoot weeks if not months prior to the actual event. Would they have not carried out their atrocities if Shahbaz Sharif was still CM? I don’t think that would have stopped them. Secondly, while its highly unacceptable that none of the culprits were apprehended in the first attempt it isn’t wholly unimaginable to realize why they managed to escape. The liberty chowk strategically provides at least 10 different quick routes to escape the scene. ppl familiar with the location would agree. A quick operation followed by a swift exit would be possible in the face of the impossibility of cordoning that area with limited police nafri.

Now coming to the latest incident. We must appreciate the fact that policing is a provincial subject and as such the information ministry under Mr. Rehman has little or no direct control over it. The ministry provided detailed senario’s for possible activities based on its intel and expected a response. Here, the faliure of the punjab police should be solely put on the shoulders of Mr. Taseer and not Mr. Rehman. Secondly, we must be aware of how jealously bureaucrats guard their terrains, because that gives them a sense of power. The IG punjab would do the same in the face of interference from the interior ministry in operational matters. Thirdly, securing numerous police facilities in lahore alone is a big task. you need policemen for that and if they were all stationed at police barracks and training centers … our armchair critics would turn around and argue that they only defend themselves and not the streets. Thirdly, commendations to our police force who managed, this time, to capture some of the terrorists and finish the operation in a few hours…clearing the building without the help of the army or rangers … who primarily only provided the cordon.

My point therefore is that its easy to criticize and hard to do. Terrorism the world over is difficult terrain. Many of our friends here argue that why is it that the government/army always tell us so and so are in so and so city but never catch them? I hope you all understand the nature of intelligence gathering. A whisper on a phone here, a clue from an informant there and chatter on transmissions there is all you get. You don’t always get full details of their appearance, their target and their modus operandi. If they did they would catch them. Lastly, even if embedded sources did provide a little more detailed intel inaction is sometimes preferred as a means of preserving your few human intel sources whereby if they were suspected and beheaded you wouldn’t get any chatter at all.

The idea, of my mentioning all this, is simply to emphasize the extremely complex nature of how bureaucracies work and how intelligence is gathered. Having said that I also agree that even if, in the face of all these complications, an extremely high profile event happens heads should roll and ppl should be held accountable.

Unfortunately, we all hear of the intelligence failures because we see them transmitted live on networks…but we seldom hear of intel successes because of their inherently secretive nature. To end with an example. If our ppl catch 5 highly lethal guyz from shahdara all you get is one little ticker on geo or a third page report on dawn saying police/security agencies caught 5 ppl in shahdara on suspicion of terrorism….FINISH. If those some ppl ended blowing up a building you’d get 3 days of non-stop commentary on TV.

we just shouldn’t simplify things we (including me) don’t completely understand.

did bush resigned when US was attacked on 9/11.
did Brown resigned when UK was attacked 7/7
did ‘Nikka’ sharif resigned when LAHORE was attacked in GRO and FIA center.
did ‘Nikka’ Sahrif Resigned when ‘Extremists’ was ordering to shut the CD shops in LAHORE and shops themselves burning CDs on these threats.
Did “Nikka” Sharif resigned when extremists attacked the SUFI FESTIVAL in LAHORE.
did Nikka SHARIF resigned when there were repeated attacks in Multan, Bahawalpur, Rawalpindi and other parts of PUNJAB.

if none of above resigned then why Rehman Malik {who in fact is not responsible for law an order in PROVINCES} its a provincial GOVT responsibility.

what the hell is army doing whose main responsibility is to wipe out these extremists from FATA which it failed to do or doesn’t wanted to do.

The root of the probelm?

We have already fallen into the trap of axis of evil powers. Now its too late to decide if its our war or its US war. We shd wake up and formulate a broad policy and stick to it to navigate with these negative activist. I would like to make it clear that use of absolute power is useless. If you could win by killing your own people and establish rit of govt you could have avoided Bangladesh. There would have been a dreaming peace in Balochistan. What have we learned from incidents of Lal Masjid?….Nothing….Main problem is ignorance of our illiterate people. You can easily earn there sympathies just by telling them that you are involved in a socalled holy war and turn hundereds of these innocents into hard line dudes….You got to root out the main cause. Now its beyond to the fact that you kill 100–1000 people and it will stop. You need a 15 yrs massive plan along with a rigorous follow up to combat it with out using POWER other wise you are turning more and more people against Govt and Govt is on a loosing side. I am not at all supporting these hardliner but I am absolutely against the use of power to kill our own people. In you home if your brother turns out to be of a view that is totally opposite to your vision you don’t KILL him right?….

Is US trying to ‘show’ something before they exit from Afghanistan? If so Pakistan’s policy to find flanks in Taliban (as accused by USA) is good. We just need to sit back and wait. Let the assets of USA and India (Baitullah Mashud etc.) play their game before they die naturally…

What has been achieved?

” After seven years in Afghanistan, the Western coalition does not have much to show in terms of progress. All available data indicate a general failure in security and state building: increased civilian and military casualties, expansion of the guerillas, unfavorable perceptions of foreign troops by the local population, absence of functioning national institutions, and growing destabilization of the Pakistani border, which threatens NATO’s logistical roads, essential for resupplying NATO forces.” Nothing apart from death and destruction!

What is the scope?

“Since 2002, the Taliban have been able to adapt very quickly to allied tactics. Their learning curve is good, and they have the psychological momentum. The situation in 2009 is probably going to deteriorate, but the results of any increase in troop numbers will be difficult to assess before the summer of 2010.In the event of failure, the U.S. administration will have very few options left, because sending another 30,000 troops would present a political challenge. This is why it is especially important to concentrate attention on areas where the troops can make a real difference (i.e., Kabul and not Helmand), allowing the allies to build sustainable Afghan institutions and eventually withdraw their military forces. The immediate issue is the amount of pressure the Taliban will be able to put on the international coalition in 2009, forcing it into tactical fights instead of focusing on strategic goals.”

And obviously a definite good news this month, guess what? You all know.

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One thought on “March 2009, the worst month in Paksitan’s history or …?

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