Saturday, July 13, 2013

Huqooq ul Ibad in Ramadan; Abbottabad Commission Report; UK Probe of Altaf Hussain

Weekly Round-up: Imams need to emphasize Huqooq-ul-Ibad along with Huqooq-ul-Allah in the Holy month of Ramadan, Leaked Abbottabad Commission report holds Pakistani military and civilian leadership responsible for multiple failures leading up to Bin Laden raid in Abbottabad, BBC documentary lays bare Altaf Husain's and MQM's illegal activities in Karachi and London.

1. Huqooq ul Ebad in Ramadan:

It seems to me that there is an urgent need to bring Huqooq ul Allah (Duties to God) in better balance with Huqooq ul Ibad (Duties to humans and all of Allah's creation). And Ramadan is an ideal time for the imams (prayer leaders) and khatibs (preachers) and popular televangelists to give equal time to both in their sermons, TV shows and speeches to the faithful attending the mosques or watching TV.

The Muslim preachers must take this opportunity to tell the worshipers that Allah will not forgive any wrongs done by them to their fellow human beings; such wrongs can only be forgiven by those who are wronged.

The imams and the televangelists must emphasize to their large Ramadan audiences that the Holy Quran equates " unjust killing of one person" with "the killing the entire humanity". It commands respect for life.

 2.  Abbottabad Commission Report:

On Monday, al-Jazeera published 336 pages of the Abbottabad Commission report  which had so far been kept from the public eye.  There is some speculation that the leak was orchestrated by the new government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to make his predecessors and the military look bad.

The leaked findings of the Abbottabad Commission report  are highly critical of the conduct of the Pakistani military brass, military and civil intelligence agencies, corrupt bureaucrats and the top leadership in the years leading up to the US Navy Seals' raid on the Bin Laden Compound.

The report details how Usama Bin Laden who topped American FBI's Most Wanted List lived in various parts of North West Pakistan from 2002 to 2011. He avoided detection by various disguises including shaving off his beard and wearing cowboy hats. When caught in Swat for speeding, he was able to settle the matter by bribing the policeman, a common experience in Pakistan. He also bribed a land department official ("patwari") to acquire land and build his home in Abbotabad with fake IDs. The construction of a third story was illegal but went unchallenged. No property tax was paid, and at one point, the heavily occupied house was even declared uninhabited.

The report lays bare the culture of corruption and blatant lies that permeates many aspects of life in Pakistan.  The report does not rule out the possibility that Bin Laden enjoyed the support of some officials to conceal his presence in Pakistan, but it says that there was no conclusive proof of such support.

3.  Expanding Probe of  MQM Chief Altaf Hussain:

BBC documentary on expanding British police investigation into allegations against MQM leader Altaf Husain was aired on July 11, 2013. He lives in London and runs his party remotely through regular speeches and telephonic orders to the political and militant wings of his party in Karachi.

The documentary features former members of MQM who accuse Altaf Hussain of ordering hits against his opponents. The documentary reveals the recovery of over 400,000 British pounds in searches of Altaf Husain's homes in London.

It seems that British government's support of MQM has so far stemmed from its policy of supporting forces strongly opposed to Al Qaeda and Taliban in Pakistan. It also appears that the UK officials have known about MQM's use of extortion, murder and torture in Karachi but they have chosen to look away until the brutal murder of Dr. Imran Farooq, a former top leader of MQM, on a London street. The British police suspect that Dr. Farooq's killing was ordered personally by Altaf Husain from his London residence.

Even if the British prosecutors do find substantial evidence to charge and convict Altaf Hussain, it's still possible that they will not pursue the charges. Their decision will be based on how valuable Altaf Husain and MQM are in supporting their over-riding priority to curtail the influence of Taliban and Al Qaeda in Pakistan and its spill-over into the UK.

Here's the weekly show of Viewpoint From Overseas:

Respecting Rights in Ramadan; Abbottabad Commission Report; BBC Documentary on Altaf Hussain from WBT TV on Vimeo.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Rights in Ramadan

Culture of Corruption in Pakistan

Gangster Politicians of Pakistan

Gangs of Karachi

Does Sharif Have an Anti-Terror Policy?

Why is Democracy Failing in Pakistan?

Viewpoint From Overseas-Vimeo 

Viewpoint From Overseas-Youtube


Anonymous said...

very frustrated to know the opinion of riazhaq in drone attacks

how can you even justify the violation of our sovereignty? yes drone attacks killed few taliban heads but what about fazlullah?

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "how can you even justify the violation of our sovereignty? yes drone attacks killed few taliban heads but what about fazlullah?"

What sovereignty are you talking about?

Does Pakistan really have sovereignty over FATA, particularly North Waziristan from where the TTP leadership regularly mocks the state institutions of Pakistan and flouts its laws and constitution?

To establish sovereignty, Pakistani state has to act against the TTP who are operating from FATA with impunity and slaughtering Pakistani citizens every day.

As to the effectiveness of US drone campaign in FATA, General Officer Commanding 7-Division Maj-Gen Ghayur Mehmood serving in Waziristan in 2011 said: "Yes there are a few civilian casualties in such precision strikes, but a majority of those eliminated are terrorists, including foreign terrorist elements.”

More recently, journalist Saleem Safi also confirmed on Express News' "To the Point" talk show that drone strikes are effective in killing Taliban terrorists.

Imran said...

I have to say one thing about the Abottabad commission report, 4 helicopters hovering over a garrison and no one knew, the entire garrison was asleep !!! Give me a break. Has anyone measured the noise decibels of a Chinook Helicopter, remember there were two Chinooks flying in the shadow of two Stealth. Can you imagine with the sound and size of four helicopters combined, the entire garrison was sleep. Did someone put out a sleeping gas in the air? I may be hallucinating but after what happened after the Tehran crash to Carter, do you really think Obama would have taken a risk by not informing Kiyani, a small mistake would have led to a confrontation with the Army or the air force, or even people on the ground could have opened fire. The results would have been disastourous for Obama political future. From a risk factor, its most likely that someone would confront you. Reports from eyewitnesses, 'we were told it was a planned exercise- do not interfere'.

Oostur said...

So, it comes down to Pak army is incompetent or gaddar.
In either case, how could US not take advantage of them to get Osama.

Lets forget the painful Pak army and talk about the current target: Egypt
Or if you prefer future target: Iran.

Have a fidgety, I mean good day.

Hopewins said...

^^RH: "He avoided detection by various disguises including shaving off his beard and wearing cowboy hats."

A clean-shaven man wearing a cowboy hat would have attracted too much attention in Northern Pakistan.

A bearded man not wearing a cowboy hat would have blended perfectly into Northern Pakistan.

We KNOW that Usama Bin Laden blended perfectly and no one took any notice of him.

Therefore, he did NOT shave his beard and he did NOT wear a cowboy hat.

Why do you fall for these silly government reports all the time?

Riaz Haq said...

HWJ: "A bearded man not wearing a cowboy hat would have blended perfectly into Northern Pakistan"

Not at 6 ft 5 in. That's how tall Bin Laden was. It's rare for pathans to be so tall.

A bearded shalwar-kamiz-wearing person 6 ft 5 in tall would immediately attract the attention of US CIA "assets" there.

Hopewins said...

^^RH: "Not at 6 ft 5 in. That's how tall Bin Laden was. It's rare for pathans to be so tall."

So a 6ft 5 in brown-arab man, when clean shaven and wearing a cowboy hat does not attract attention.

But the SAME 6ft 5 in brown-arab man, when wearing a beard and not wearing a cowboy hat attracts attention... because... it is rare for Pashtuns to be so tall.

Is this what you want to say?

Riaz Haq said...

HWJ: "So a 6ft 5 in brown-arab man, when clean shaven and wearing a cowboy hat does not attract attention."

That's right. 6 ft 5 in clean shaven man with a cowboy hat does not fit the description of what law enforcement believed UBL looked like.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a NY Times story illustrating how angry anti-US Pakistanis are shooting themselves in the foot:

Usman, who limps on a leg bowed by the polio he caught as a child, made sure that his first three children were protected from the disease, but he turned away vaccinators when his youngest was born.

He was furious that the Central Intelligence Agency, in its hunt for Osama bin Laden, had staged a fake vaccination campaign, and infuriated by American drone strikes, one of which, he said, had struck the son of a man he knew, blowing off his head. He had come to see the war on polio, the longest, most expensive disease eradication effort in history, as a Western plot.

In January, his 2-year-old son, Musharaf, became the first child worldwide to be crippled by polio this year.

“I know now I made a mistake,” said Usman, 32, who, like many in his Pashtun tribe, uses only one name. “But you Americans have caused pain in my community. Americans pay for the polio campaign, and that’s good. But you abused a humanitarian mission for a military purpose.”

Anger like his over American foreign policy has led to a disastrous setback for the global effort against polio. In December, nine vaccinators were shot dead here, and two Taliban commanders banned vaccination in their areas, saying the vaccinations could resume only if drone strikes ended. In January, 10 vaccinators were killed in Nigeria’s Muslim-dominated north.

Since then, there have been isolated killings — of an activist, a police officer and vaccinators — each of which has temporarily halted the campaign....

And here's PTI's chief minister Pervez Khattak saying "our war is not against the Taliban. We say to Taliban this is your province and your country. We want to talk with them."

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Guardian report on MQM Chief Altaf Hussain:

Pakistan's most vibrant, vivacious and popular 24-hour news channel, Geo TV, generally has little difficulty recruiting staff. Its headquarters are in Karachi, Pakistan's so called "city of dreams" – a massive, sprawling conurbation with 20 million residents seeking a better life. And yet there was one vacancy recently that Geo TV could not fill. The channel wanted a lookalike for its popular satirical show, in which actors play the parts of the country's leading politicians. It was a job offering instant stardom and good money. And not a single person in Karachi was willing to do it.

The man Geo TV sought to satirise was Altaf Hussain, the leader of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM). And the reason no one applied was the fear that if Altaf Hussain were unamused by the performance, the actor playing him would be murdered.
It's difficult to know how many murder cases have been registered against Altaf Hussain, but perhaps the most authoritative number was released in 2009 when the then Pakistani president General Pervez Musharraf implemented his National Reconciliation Order, granting most of the country's senior politicians an amnesty. One of the biggest beneficiaries was Hussain, against 72 cases were dropped, including 31 allegations of murder. The MQM rejects all the murder charges lodged against Hussain.
Right from the start the police raids in the investigation have produced rich material. Shortly after the 2010 murder the police found a significant number of papers stashed in Farooq's home. Some of the documents gave credence to the confessions made by a number of suspected MQM militants in Karachi. Repeatedly, MQM activists there had told the Pakistani authorities they were trained in India. Asked on numerous occasions over a period of several weeks about its relationship with the MQM, Indian government officials have failed to make any statement on the matter. Recent police raids have turned up £150,000 at the party's Edgware's offices and £250,000 at Hussain's house in Mill Hill.

The police say they are making significant progress in the Farooq murder case and have an ever-clearer understanding of what they believe was a conspiracy to kill him. Their investigation, however, is complicated by the fact that the MQM has supporters deep within the Pakistani state who want to protect it, and more cynical actors such as Pakistan's main intelligence agency, the ISI, which want to control it.
As Hussain suggests in the letter, British interest in the MQM is largely driven by the perception that the party offers a defence against jihadis. But there is more to it than that. The MQM is British turf: Karachi is one of the few places left on earth in which the Americans let Britain take the lead. The US consulate in Karachi no longer runs active intelligence gathering operations in the city. The British still do. When it comes to claiming a place at the top table of international security politics – London's relationship with the MQM is a remaining toehold.

And there's something else. The FCO's (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) most important currency is influence. Successive Pakistani governments, when they are not demanding Hussain's extradition, have included his parliamentary bloc in various coalition governments. From the FCO's point of view, it's a great source of access. Right on their doorstep, in London, they have a man with ministers in the Pakistani government...

Riaz Haq said...

It will be interesting to note whether PPP-MQM have joined hands out of compulsion or will it really be a new journey, burying the bitter past. It looks difficult but it is the only option for peace in Sindh as well as its economic development. But one still has to wait and see the “written accord” between the two representative parties of Sindh. Both have supported the ongoing “operation” which will continue. Former President Asif Ali Zardari faced internal criticism and pressure when he informed his top leaders about seat adjustment with MQM in the Senate and also about the new accord.

Mr Zardari, who is now tightening his grip on the party after reports that the party’s senior most leader, Makhdoom Amin Fahim, is not happy with some of the decisions he has taken. His absence from the Parliamentary Board’s meetings and not awarding a single ticket on Amin Fahim’s recommendations has raised many questions. Whether these differences are of serious nature or not but the fact remained that Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, for all practical purposes, is no longer chairman of the PPP.

Mr. Zardari also knows that there still are strong reservations over this accord within PPP, Sindh, particularly at this crucial time. It is important for him to satisfy his leaders from interior Sindh as well as from Karachi.

Rehman Malik, the man behind the new accord, does not enjoy support in the PPP, Sindh, yet this accord with MQM has added one more seat to the PPP tally, from six to seven in the senate elections, which is crucial as the party will hardly be getting any seat from other three province.Secondly, Mr Zardari also knows that he needs MQM to check the entry of PTI in Sindh.

Thirdly, local bodies elections are also in his mind and that is why he is making new alliances in Sindh. MQM will be getting Karachi and Hyderabad while it will support PPP in interior Sindh.

At the same time Mr Zardari needs to control his ministers and local leaders, as they will be facing tough questions from the media in the “talk shows.” He will be facing some problems in interior Sindh, as he not having the best of terms with his school-time friend, Dr Zulfiqar Mirza, these days.

Mirza is also not happy with the arrest of Uzair Baluch in Dubai and his possible extradition to Pakistan. But, his main differences are not with Zardari but with his sister, Faryal Talpur.Sensing the possible dissent in the party, the PPP co-chairman will be making a few important decisions about his relations with Functional Muslim League and smaller groups.

One of the crucial alliances, expected on Friday, will be Jatois joining hands with Zardari, bringing an end to the decades-old political rivalries. It will certainly change the political dynamics of Nawabshah.

It was also not be an easy decision for the MQM and its chief, Altaf Hussain, either. He too is facing problems in his own party and frequent reshuffle in the Rabita Committee is an indicatio

Riaz Haq said...

Wall Street Journal on Saulat Mirza's video confession:
KARACHI, Pakistan — The hot topic on Pakistani social media today isn’t just cricket: It’s one of the country’s most famous death row inmates.
Saulat Ali Khan, known as Saulat Mirza, is a former activist for the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, the country’s fourth-largest political party. He was sentenced to death by a court in 1999 for assassinating a top government bureaucrat, his driver and bodyguard in 1997 in Karachi, but hours before the sentence was to be carried out, he won a Bollywood gangster-movie-style reprieve: Hours after prison officials confirmed he was to be hanged in a prison in remote Balochistan province, he was given a temporary stay of execution by the President of Pakistan Mamnoon Hussain.
Late Wednesday, #saulatmirza was already trending on Twitter in Pakistan, despite the ongoing Cricket World Cup. The reason?
The release of a videotaped confession, in which Mr. Khan said that murders had been carried out on the order of MQM’s London-based founder, Altaf Hussain, and other senior party leaders.
In the aftermath of the release of this allegation, Mr. Hussain issued a strong denial, saying he had never met Mr. Mirza and that the convicted murderer had been removed from the party in 1994.
But the Mr. Khan’s revelations remained the focus of television talk shows until late Wednesday night.
Local police officials said Mr. Khan had also been charged in 20 separate murder cases, including the killing of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency agent in Karachi in 1995. They added that he is suspected to have been involved in at least 58 political murders, with the victims being principally police and security officials.
Officials, speaking privately, said Mr. Khan’s sentence in the murder of Shahid Hamid, then-managing director of Karachi’s then state-owned electricity company – now the privately held K Electric – had stood because Mr. Hamid’s widow, also a senior government official, and his son Omar Shahid, a police officer and author of the internationally acclaimed thriller ‘The Prisoner’ refused to succumb to pressure from MQM party for a lighter sentence.
Nevertheless, officials said, the death penalty was not carried out for 11 years, even after the Supreme Court had denied an appeal against Mr. Khan’s conviction in 2004. It was only the recent lifting of the moratorium on hangings by the government after the Peshawar massacre of school children by the Taliban in December, that Mr. Mirza’s name appeared on the top of the list of those to be executed.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan arrests two men over #London murder of dissident politician Imran Farooq. #MQM #Karachi … via @Reuters

Pakistani authorities said they arrested two men on Thursday in connection with the murder of a dissident Pakistani politician in London five years ago.

Mohsin Ali Syed, who left Britain just hours after Farooq's murder and is wanted by Scotland Yard, and Khalid Shamim were crossing into Pakistan's Baluchistan province from Afghanistan when they were arrested.

Farooq was a founding member of a major political party in Pakistan, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), which controls Karachi, Pakistan's richest city and home to 20 million people.

He has been accused of murder, torture and other serious crimes and was seeking asylum in London when he was stabbed and beaten to death on his way home from work.

"The two men are MQM activists, one of them is directly involved in the Farooq stabbing, the other is said to be handler," a senior security official told Reuters.

MQM was not immediately available for comment.

A spokesman for the paramilitary Frontier Corps said, "The Interior Ministry has been informed about their arrest and the men will be handed over to the Federal Investigation Agency."

MQM's leader Altaf Hussain has been living in self-imposed exile in Britain since 1992. He was arrested and questioned in connection with Farooq's murder last June, leading to protests that shut down Karachi.

No one has been charged with Farooq's murder but several MQM activists have been questioned and one of them was arrested on suspicion of money-laundering in April.

Last year, Scotland Yard said they wanted to trace Ali and a second Pakistani man, Muhammad Kashif Khan Kamran, who also left Britain just hours after Farooq's murder.

Kamran's whereabouts remain unknown.

The arrests may raise further weaken MQM at a time of rising tensions between Karachi's civilian politicians and the powerful military.

The two sides have been trading corruption allegations for several days and this week the paramilitary Rangers raided a government office after accusing an unnamed political party of controlling mafias in the city.