Archive for the ‘emergency’ Category

Iran Now Sees ‘World Without America’ as Attainable

October 14, 2008

By Clifford May and Jay Carafano
The Washington Times
.

Which world leader is on record musing about “a world without America” – a goal he calls “attainable”? Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, right, watches President Bush address the 63rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters, Tuesday Sept. 23, 2008. Seated with him is his UN Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee, left, and Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki. Associated Press.

Above: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, right, watches President Bush address the 63rd session of the United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters, Tuesday Sept. 23, 2008. Seated with him is his UN Ambassador Mohammad Khazaee, left, and Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki. Associated Press.

 

Until recently, it was possible to believe that whatever Mr. Ahmadinejad’s intentions, Iran was a long way from acquiring the capabilities it needs to achieve its goals. But a blue-ribbon commission has reported to Congress on what appears to be an Iranian drive to obtain the means to carry out an EMP (electro-magnetic pulse) attack.

An EMP attack is produced by launching a ballistic missile with a nuclear weapon attached — and detonating it high above the Earth. This produces a massive pulse of ionized particles that could damage or even wipe out many electrical and information systems. Such an attack would disrupt telecommunications, banking and finance, fuel and energy, food and water supplies, emergency and government services and much more, threatening millions of lives.

We’ve seen a blacked-out South Texas in the wake of Hurricane Ike. We’ve seen New Orleans after Katrina. Now imagine that scenario over most of the continental United States. There would be a “world without America” – at least as we know it.

No one disputes that Iran is developing a robust long-range missile force. Few question that Mr. Ahmadinejad’s regime is working on nuclear weapons development. Less well-known is that Iran has conducted missile tests from sea-based platforms, detonating warheads at the high-point of the missile trajectory, rather at the aim point over the target. These facts have now been documented in official government reports.

Connect the dots, and you find the picture of a workable research program for developing a covert means to deliver an EMP attack against the United States.

A short-range ballistic missile could be carried on one of the thousands of commercial freighters sailing under “flags of convenience” that sail around U.S. waters every day. Without ever piquing the interest of the Navy, the Coast Guard, or the Customs and Border Protection, that ship could sail within range and deliver its payload over American territory. Even a modest warhead placed at the right spot over the East Coast could take down 75 percent of the electrical grid.

The genius of such a covert attack is that it doesn’t come with an obvious “return address.” The ship might be registered in Liberia. The crew might be Lebanese. The ship might disappear into the night – or be scuttled quietly.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2008/oct/
14/irans-world-without-america/

Americans Bombed In Pakistan Violence

March 15, 2008

Message from Muhammad in Pakistan, March 16, 2008

Dear John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Dear Sir,I hope you and your team will be alright.

At the moment there is complete choas in Pakistan as terrorists have been making last-ditch effort to assert their authority. Besides declaring government in Bajaur Agency tribal areas situated on Pak-Afghan they have carried suicide blast in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan.

Reports gathered from various sources revealed blast at an Italian restaurant in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad on Saturday appears to have killed at least two people and wounded 15.

A foreign woman was one of the dead. A witness told newsmen the explosion occurred in a garden dining area at the rear of the Luna Caprese restaurant, which is frequented by expatriates, including diplomats, aid agency workers, and journalists.
Pakistani volunteers unload an injured victim of a bomb explosion ... 
Pakistani volunteers unload an injured victim of a bomb explosion from a police van at a local hospital in Islamabad, Pakistan Saturday, March 15, 2008. A bomb apparently killed at least two people and wounded nine others Saturday at an Italian restaurant popular with foreigners in Pakistan’s capital, police said.(AP Photo)

A police official said a blast hit a restaurant frequented by foreigners in the federal capital.

“There was an explosion inside the Luna Caprese Italian restaurant in the centre of the capital in Supermarket area,” police official Mohammad Ishtiaq told AFP. 

An AFP photographer at the scene said several of the injured who were stretchered out of the restaurant were foreigners. Witnesses also confirmed casualties.

“There are lots of injured people who have lost their limbs and legs, foreigners were inside. It’s a very bad situation. We don’t know what has happened,” an employee at the restaurant said.

Pakistan volunteers remove a foreigner injured victim at the ...
Pakistan volunteers remove a foreigner injured victim at the site of bomb explosion in Islamabad, Pakistan Saturday, March 15, 2008. Photo from the Associated Press.

“It was a very powerful blast. There is a lot of blood here, the walls are splattered with it. I see lots of human flesh,” the employee said.

According to another report, two persons including a US female citizen have died and over 15 others have injured in Islamabad blast on Saturday evening.

A US female citizen identified as Ellen, who was nurse at the US embassy was killed in the blast.Three US citizens and including two doctors and a Chinese citizen included among the citizens. The majority of injured is reportedly foreigners, the sources added.

The blast occurred in the backside of an Italian restaurant “Luna Caprese” near Super market, the sources said. Over 15 injured including foreigners have been shifted to hospitals.

Nature of the blast, which happened at about 850PM is yet to be ascertained.

Dear Sir, situation is very very critical.

Again thank you very much,

Yours sincerely,

Muhammad Khurshid
Khar, Bajaur Agency,Tribal Areas, Pakistan
Injured foreign nationals wait for ambulances at the site of ... 
Injured foreign nationals wait for ambulances at the site of bomb explosion in Islamabad, Pakistan Saturday, March 15, 2008. A bomb killed two people and wounded nine others Saturday at an Italian restaurant popular with foreigners in Pakistan’s capital, police said.(AP Photo)

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) — A bomb exploded in the back garden of an Italian restaurant popular with foreigners in Pakistan’s capital Saturday night, killing two people and wounding nine, police said.

It appeared to be the first attack targeting foreigners in a recent wave of violence.

Police have not determined whether the bomb was planted in the Luna Caprese’s back garden, or whether a suicide bomber attacked the restaurant, said police officer Irshad Abro. Two people were killed and nine hurt, he said.

Related (From March 16, 2008):
Pakistan: Restaurant Bombing Saturday Injured Several Americans

Monday: China Covered in Snow, Fog, Displaced People

February 4, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
February 4, 2008

Overnight our friends and colleagues in China sent us a deluge of reports all with a familiar ring: masses of Chinese people remain engulfed in snow, fog, troops holding them back and just a crush of humanity unable to move or make progress.

The snow emergency is now in its fourth week and a nation that now has been revealed as a place totally ill-equipped for a major snow “event,” as weathermen love to say in the U.S., is now using military armoured vehicles (“Tanks”) to pack down snow on freeways.

Armed vehicles are deployed to crush ice covering roads in Chenzhou, ...
Armed vehicles are deployed to crush ice covering roads in Chenzhou, Hunan province, in this picture distributed by China’s official Xinhua News Agency February 3, 2008. The power supply of the city was cut off as the heavy snow and ice damaged seriously the power facilities including the transmission towers and lines, Xinhua News Agency said. Picture taken February 3, 2008.
******

Troops are beeng used in formations two and three deep to create a wall of uniformed men to block surging crowds from their intended objective.  But this tactic has not been foolproof.  Last week a crowd broke through the wall of troops and crushed a man to death in the process.

Freezing storms have killed scores of people and left travelers stranded before the Lunar New Year, or Spring Festival — the only opportunity many people have to take a holiday all
year — or perhaps years.

The poor, nomadic migrant workers in China, sometimes estimated at up to 100 million people or one-third the total population of the U.S., do not have but this one opportunity to return home each year.  But our colleagues have spoken to dozens who have not been home for three or four years.  These people have very limited human rights and no advantages in life.

And getting home for the Lunar New Year is deeply important.  Paying respect to one’s parents and elder family in person at the start of the Lunar New Year makes one lucky all year.  To miss the event can evoke ill will from the household gods for the entire year.

A man lights candles at a stall selling foods  in Chenzhou in ...
A man lights candles at a stall selling foods in Chenzhou in China’s southern Hunan province Monday, Feb. 4, 2008. The city of four million has been without electricity for ten days.  Most electric power generating plants run off coal which cannot be distributed without trains.  The trains are blocked by snow and their power lines are felled by ice.
(AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

Lunar New Year is a deeply significant cultural event without an analogy in the West — especially among the rural, under educated and poor.

President Hu Jintao chaired a second emergency Politburo meeting in a week on Sunday.  Yet the communist leadership, despite its best effort and calling out over one million troops, simply does not have the experience or resources to effectively deal with a snow emergency of this magnitude.

“We have to be clear-minded that the inclement weather and severe disaster will continue to plague certain regions in the south,” said a statement issued after Sunday’s Politburo meeting. “Relief work will continue to face challenges, posing a tough task.”

The China Meteorological Administration said the weather was the coldest in 100 years in central Hubei and Hunan provinces, going by the total number of consecutive days of average temperature less than 1 degree Celsius (33.8 degrees Fahrenheit).

But there is hope for milder days said the weather agency.

“The weather over the disaster-stricken regions is likely to turn better in the next several days, but it is still necessary to remain alert for possible low temperatures, frozen rain, snow, freezing and heavy fog,” it said in a statement.

The state controlled communist government is already in full “spin” mode saying that the economic impact of the snaow is limited and is likely to create new investment.

“There is no doubt that such a big economy will encounter various difficulties each year, but the Chinese economy is maintaining stable growth momentum,” said Fan Gang, director of China’s National Institute of Economic Research.

The snow is likely to stimulate investment on items such as upgrading the national power grid or improving the transportation network for coal, Fan was quoted as saying.

AFP reported this:
.
“The economic situation has become complicated with the new factors cropping up,” said Wu Jinglian, an analyst at the State Council Development Research Centre, the central government’s think tank, according to the paper.

China’s economy, the world’s fourth-largest, grew by a blistering 11.4 percent in 2007, the highest level in 13 years.

Investment accounted for 4.3 of those 11.4 percentage points, more than the 2.7 percent accounted for by net exports, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.

The World Bank Monday also predicted limited impact on the economy, as it lowered the 2008 growth forecast for China from 10.8 percent to 9.6 percent, not because of the snow, but because of the global slowdown.

“Natural disasters normally call for economic activity to repair the damage,” David Dollar, the head of the bank’s China office, told a briefing in Beijing.

Most of the impact of the storms — including rising food prices and a decline in industrial output over January and February — will turn out to be temporary, World Bank economists said.

There “could be some pick-up (later in the year) as investment takes place to solve the bottlenecks,” said Louis Kuijs, a senior economist with the bank.

Thousands of passengers wait to get on trains outside the railway ...
Thousands of passengers wait to get on trains outside the railway station in China’s southern city of Guangzhou. A double row of troops keeps the migrants in place.  Heavy fog descended Monday on large parts of southern China, complicating the task of helping millions of workers stranded by winter weather that in some areas is the worst in 100 years.
(AFP/Liu Jin).
Related:

China Confirms Man Killed in Stampede; Winter Chaos Continues
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Blizzard Strikes: What Happens in China Different From in the U.S.?
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Snowstorms damage China’s reputation

Either Way, Pakistan’s Musharraf Is In Trouble

December 28, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
& News Service Reports
Friday, December 28, 2007
0010 GMT

The assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto exasperated tragedy on many levels. First, we see the tragic loss of a freedom fighter and dedicated advocate of democracy. The lady that aides and confidants called “B.B.” inspired confidence and delighted those seeking a better, more democratic Pakistan.

Photo

Then we have President Pervez Musharraf, who just a few weeks ago was still stubbornly holding on to the title “General” as well as “President.” He was General President Musharraf: a strange mixture for a man who said he was committed to a more democratic Pakistan.

Mr. Musharraf either failed to provide adequate security for rival Mrs. Bhutto or he helped engineer her assassination. Either prospect is chilling for an ally of the United States that has accepted billions in U.S. aid to fund his version of the war against terror — and has its own nuclear weapons.

Mrs. Bhutto had recently complained that President Musharraf blocked her request for additional radio frequency channels: channels that would have allowed a much better security cordon around her motorcades. And after a previous assassination attempt against Mrs. Bhutto, she complained that Pakistan’s ruler had appointed as an investigator a man complicit in the death of her husband.

And if President Musharraf did provide adequate protection for Mrs. Bhutto and if he did not plan her execution disguised as a terror attack, perhaps his loyalists in Pakistan’s Army, who are many, planned the attack.

Either way, President Musharraf, despite his nuclear weapons, is in a morass of difficulties with his own people, his number one ally the United States, and Russia, France, Great Britain, and about every other democratically-ruled law-abiding nation.

A Pakistani cameraman take images of burning vehicles on a street ...
At least 10 were killed overnight in rioting in Pakistan.
Here a Pakistani cameraman take images of burning vehicles
on a street in Karachi. Former Pakistan premier Benazir
Bhutto was assassinated by a suicide bomber Thursday,
plunging the nation into one of the worst crisis in its history
and raising alarm around the world.(AFP/Asif Hassan)

And what was the depth of U.S. commitment to Mr. Musharraf? $130 million (USD) every month. And a deal that kept U.S. troops out of Pakistan – even out of the tenuously “controlled” tribal areas where Osama bin Laden and the Taliban are the rumored “guests.”

And Mr. Musharraf has been the beneficiary of some of the strongest verbal support the United States has ever doled out to an ally. On NBC’s “Meet the Press” with Tim Russert on Sunday, September 10, 2006, Vice President Dick Cheney expressed such strong U.S. Government support for President General Musharraf of Pakistan – that I thought at the time the words were clearly over the top.

Mr. Cheney expressed U.S. support for Musharraf as follows:

“President Musharraf has been a great ally. There was, prior to 9/11, a close relationship between the Pakistan intelligence services and the Taliban. Pakistan was one of only three nations that recognized, diplomatically recognized the government of Afghanistan at that particular time. But the fact is Musharraf has put his neck on the line in order to be effective in going after the extremist elements including al-Qaeda and including the Taliban in Pakistan.”

“There have been three attempts on his life, two of those by al-Qaeda over the course of the last three years. This is a man who has demonstrated great courage under very difficult political circumstances and has been a great ally for the United States”.

“So there’s no question in that area along the Afghan/Pakistan border is something of a no man’s land, it has been for centuries. It’s extraordinarily rough territory. People there who move back and forth across the border, they were smuggling goods before there was concern about, about terrorism. But we need to continue to work the problem. Musharraf just visited Karzai in, in Kabul this past week, they’re both going to be here during the course of the U.N. General Assembly meetings over the course of the next few weeks. We worked that area very hard, and the Paks have been great allies in that effort.”

“Pakistan, we’ve gone in and worked closely with Musharraf to take down al-Qaeda. Saudi Arabia, same thing. In all of those cases, it’s been a matter of getting the locals into the fight to prevail over al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda-related tyrants.”

“Think of Musharraf who puts his neck on the line every day he goes to work, when there’ve been attempts on his life because of his support for our position. And they look over here and they see the United States that’s made a commitment to the Iraqis, that’s gone in and taken down the old regime, worked to set up a democracy, worked to set up security forces, and all of a sudden we say it’s too tough, we’re going home. What’s Karzai going to think up in Kabul? Is he going to have any confidence at all that he can trust the United States, that in fact we’re there to get the job done? What about Musharraf? Or is Musharraf and those people you’re talking about who are on the fence in Afghanistan and elsewhere going to say, ‘My gosh, the United States hasn’t got the stomach for the fight. Bin Laden’s right, al-Qaeda’s right, the United States has lost its will and will not complete the mission,’ and it will damage our capabilities and all of those other war fronts, if you will, in the global war on terror.”

Have you ever heard any President or Vice President of the United States express such unbridled support for anyone at any time?

I think not.

Pakistan’s President Musharraf

The Associated Press made this assessment:

“The assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has dealt a severe blow to U.S. efforts to restore stability and democracy in a turbulent, nuclear-armed Islamic nation that has been a critical ally in the war on terror.

While not entirely dependent on Bhutto, recent Bush administration policy on Pakistan had focused heavily on promoting reconciliation between the secular opposition leader who has been dogged by corruption allegations and Pakistan’s increasingly unpopular president, Pervez Musharraf, ahead of parliamentary elections set for January.

In Washington and Islamabad, U.S. diplomats urged that Jan. 8 elections should not be postponed and strongly advised against a re-imposition of emergency rule that Musharraf had lifted just weeks ago.

The United States has poured billions of dollars in financial assistance into Pakistan since Sept. 11, 2001, when Musharraf made a calculated decision to align his government with Washington in going after al-Qaida and the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan. That move is blamed for several unsuccessful assassination attempts on him.

But it was not immediately clear, however, what if any influence Washington might have or whether Bhutto’s death would drive the United States into a deeper embrace of Musharraf, whom some believe offers the best chance for Pakistani stability despite his democratic shortcomings.”

“This latest tragedy is likely to reinforce beliefs that Pakistan is a dangerous, messy place and potentially very unstable and fragile and that they need to cling to Musharraf even more than they did in the past,” said Daniel Markey, who left the State Department this year and is now a senior fellow at the private Council on Foreign Relations.

“The weight of the administration is still convinced that Musharraf is a helpful rather than a harmful figure,” he said.

Amid the political chaos and uncertainty roiling the country in the wake of Bhutto’s slaying, U.S. officials scrambled Thursday to understand the implications for the massive aid and counter-terrorism programs that have been criticized by lawmakers, especially as al-Qaida and Taliban extremists appear resurgent along the Pakistan-Afghan border.

Underscoring the concerns, a grim President Bush interrupted his vacation to personally condemn Bhutto’s murder, demanding that those responsible be brought to justice and calling on Pakistanis to continue to press for democracy.

“We urge them to honor Benazir Bhutto’s memory by continuing with the democratic process for which she so bravely gave her life,” Bush told reporters at his Texas ranch, before speaking briefly to Musharraf by phone.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Bhutto’s assassination would “no doubt test the will and patience of the people of Pakistan” but called on the Pakistani people in a statement “to work together to build a more moderate, peaceful, and democratic future.”

Yet such calls could fall on deaf ears, experts said.

“The United States does not have a great deal of leverage where Pakistan is concerned,” said Wendy Sherman, who served as counselor to former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

“And at the end of the day, the decisions are going to be made by the Pakistani people and by the leadership of Pakistan and not by the United States.”

Other analysts warned that Bhutto’s assassination might further damage Musharraf, whose democratic credentials have been seriously tarnished by growing authoritarianism, and have lead to widespread unrest.

“Legitimacy for Musharraf will be deferred if not impossible,” said Christine Fair, a South Asia expert at the RAND Corporation. “The U.S. likely does not have a plan for this contingency as Musharraf remains a critical ally and because Bhutto’s participation was hoped to confer legitimacy to the upcoming January elections.”

She also warned that the murder could embolden militants in Pakistan to seek out other high-profile targets.

Bhutto, who served twice as Pakistan’s prime minister between 1988 and 1996, was mortally wounded Thursday in a suicide attack that also killed at least 20 others at a campaign rally in Rawalpindi. She had returned to Pakistan from an eight-year exile on Oct. 18 when her homecoming parade in Karachi was also targeted by a suicide attacker.

The attempt on her life added to U.S. concerns about the country that had already been heightened by the situation in Pakistan, largely ungoverned frontier provinces where a truce between Musharraf’s government and tribal leaders is credited with helping extremists regroup and reorganize.

In addition, Musharraf’s declaration of emergency this fall, along with a clampdown on opposition figures and judges, irritated the administration, which was criticized in Congress for lax oversight of the nearly $10 billion in U.S. that poured into the country since he became an indispensable counterterrorism ally after 9/11/.

Under heavy U.S. pressure, Musharraf resigned as army chief and earlier this month lifted emergency rule to prepare for the elections. Bhutto’s return and ability to run for parliament had been a cornerstone of Bush’s policy in Pakistan.

Congress last week imposed new restrictions on U.S. assistance to Pakistan, including tying $50 million in military aid to State Department assurances that the country is making “concerted efforts” to prevent terrorists from operating inside its borders.

Under the law, which provides a total of $300 million in aid to Pakistan and was signed by Bush on Wednesday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also must guarantee that Pakistan is implementing democratic reforms, including releasing political prisoners and restoring an independent judiciary. The law also prevents any of the funds from being used for cash transfer assistance to Pakistan, but that stipulation had already been adopted by the administration.

At Peace and Freedom we share the concerns expressed by many. But our support for our brother Muhammad and the tribesmen over-rides many other thoughts. We shall continue to support, foster and plead for democracy and law and order in Pakistan.

If that means than Mr. Musharraf has to depart his beloved Rawalpindi, so be it.

Related:
Pakistan’s Bhutto: Investigator Replaced Amid Death Threat

Musharraf: He’s The Best Hope That Was Available At the Moment

Pakistan Is Defeating Militants in Swat Valley, Musharraf Says

December 26, 2007

By Michael Heath
Bloomberg News

Dec. 26 (Bloomberg) — Pakistan’s army is defeating Islamic militants in Swat Valley near Afghanistan, President Pervez Musharraf said, three days after a suicide bomber killed nine people in an attack on a military convoy in the region.

The extremists’ effort to expand from the tribal regions “has been controlled,” Musharraf said in Karachi yesterday, according to the official Associated Press of Pakistan. “I want to pay tribute to the armed forces and people of Swat” for their work “in crushing the increasing terrorism in the area.”

The Dec. 23 suicide attack in Mingora, also in Swat Valley, killed four military personnel and five civilians, security agencies said. Twenty-three people were injured.

The army killed as many as 230 pro-Taliban militants in a two-week operation in Swat Valley that began at the end of November. It’s fighting militants loyal to Maulana Fazlullah, a cleric seeking to impose Islamic law in the once popular tourist destination about 250 kilometers (150 miles) from the capital, Islamabad.

Extremism and terrorism in Pakistan have “taken a new dimension and need to be controlled,” Musharraf said in a speech to mark the anniversary of the birth of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Pakistan’s founder, according to APP. “We have faced problems in this process but we have also made headway.”

Musharraf’s support for the U.S.-led war on terrorism is unpopular with Islamist parties in Pakistan. He has survived at least four assassination attempts by extremists since 2001.

U.S. Intelligence

Al-Qaeda leaders have established a base in the tribal region of northwestern Pakistan, U.S. intelligence agencies said in a July report. Fighting between the army and militants in the region escalated after Musharraf ordered security forces to storm Islamabad’s Red Mosque in July, ending a challenge to the government by clerics seeking to impose Islamic law in the city.

Musharraf earlier this month denied there are people in the military who are sympathetic to the Taliban and al-Qaeda, saying the army has suffered 1,000 casualties since it began its anti- terrorist operations in the northwestern region in 2003.

Pakistan has about 80,000 soldiers in the tribal region and mans 1,000 military posts on the 2,430-kilometer frontier with Afghanistan.

Musharraf, 64, imposed a state of emergency in Pakistan on Nov. 3 and fired Supreme Court judges, accusing the judiciary of hampering the fight against terrorism.

The emergency decree was revoked on Dec. 15 before elections scheduled for Jan. 8.

Congress Sets Limits on Aid to Pakistan

December 20, 2007

By Glen Kessler
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, December 20, 2007

Congress yesterday slapped restrictions on military aid to Pakistan and withheld $50 million of the administration’s $300 million request until Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice can certify that Islamabad is restoring democratic rights, including an independent judiciary.

The congressional move went further than the administration’s own review of aid to Pakistan after the Nov. 3 declaration of emergency powers by President Pervez Musharraf. In a decision that received little notice, the administration decided earlier this month to stop making an annual $200 million cash payment to the Pakistani government, instead converting those funds to programs for Pakistan that will be administered by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/19/AR2007121902502.html?hpid=sec-world

Fair Elections Not Possible in Pakistan: Rights Group

December 19, 2007

ISLAMABAD (AFP) – Fair and free elections in Pakistan are “impossible” following the dismantling of an independent judiciary and a crackdown on critics by President Pervez Musharraf, a rights group said Wednesday.

New York-based Human Rights Watch said scores of lawyers, judges and other government critics remained detained in Pakistan despite the lifting of the state of emergency on December 15.

Musharraf’s “dismantling of an independent judiciary and the crackdown on the vocal lawyers’ movement mean free and fair elections, scheduled for January 8, will be impossible,” the international rights group said in its latest report on Pakistan.

Pakistan: Can Osama Be Cornered?

December 18, 2007

Dear John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Dear Sir,

First of all accept Merry Christmas from me, my wife, my children and all people of Bajaur Agency, tribal areas situated on Pak-Afghan border. Consider this congratulation to citizens of the United States from the tribesmen.

I want to remind you we will be also be celebrating Eidul Azha on the 21st of this month and may be away from our normal post for a day or two — just as I expect you will celebrate Vietnamese Christmas wherever you find yourself!

We are going to celebrate both the Christmas and Eidul Azha in great fear and terror as after the statement of President Musharraf that Osama bin Laden could be in Bajaur Agency the people have been anticipating big operation in the areas.

Most of the tribesmen think that the operation should be targetted; if Osama is to be neutralized. Civilian casualities should be avoided at all cost.

Despite the President’s claim that the state of Emergency has made for the control of militancy and one of Pentagon’s top officials disclosure that the US is helping Pakistan’s security forces “perform” in the tribal areas, the menace has continued to rear its ugly head and the incidents of terrorism have not become rarer. Not only the facts on the ground do not seem to corroborate Pakistan’s claim but they also show no visible improvement in the situation as a result of Pentagon’s help.

On Saturday, a bomb blast killed five in Noshehra Cantonment and a day later nine sportsmen belonging to the army lost their lives in a suicide attack in Kohat and another serious incident occurred when local militants in Bajaur beheaded a security official. In Kurram Agency eight persons, including two of paramilitary corps, were abducted, a CD centre in Mardan became the target of a bomb attack with nine shops destroyed, a suicide bomber and two of his companions were arrested and bombs planted at three places recovered. At Parachinar, tribesmen fought among themselves causing deaths to three and a hostile cleric while six others were held. Thus, if anything, militancy appears to be on the rise.

Maj-General Richard Sherlock, according to a report in The Times of India, acknowledged Islamabad’s role in capturing certain high-profile Al-Qaeda operatives at great cost to its armed forces. However, he did not come out with any details of the USA working with the Pakistan government to meet the challenge. At the same time, he would not elaborate, when asked, what message Defence Secretary Gates was sending when he declared that the US might take unilateral action within Pakistan. Washington has to be told in explicit terms that any armed action on Pakistan’s soil would be deemed an act of aggression.

Dear Sir, Please remember us in the prayers on the eve of Christmas.

Again thank you very and merry Christmas and happy New Year.

Thank you very much,
Yours sincerely,

Muhammad Khurshid,
Khar, Bajaur Agency,
Tribal Areas Pakistan

A Conversation With Pakistan’s Pervez Musharraf

December 16, 2007

By Lally Weymouth
The Washington Post
Sunday, December 16, 2007; Page B1

An angry President Pervez Musharraf defended imposing a state of emergency on Pakistan and blamed the Western media for many of his problems — from increased attacks by Islamic extremists to lawyers who have taken to the streets to protest his suspension of the constitution and firing of the country’s chief justice. In an interview with Newsweek-Washington Post’s Lally Weymouth, the Pakistani president reiterated that he would lift the state of emergency Saturday but will not reinstate judges who opposed him. Despite his opponents’ doubts, Musharraf insisted he will ensure a free and fair election in January. But he refused to say whether he would endorse a constitutional amendment to allow former prime minister Benazir Bhutto to serve a third term.

Q. Is there a difference now that you have shed your uniform and relinquished your post of army chief of staff?

A. On a personal note, I loved my uniform. From th national point of view, I don’t think there is a difference. I think the overall situation will be better and stronger. The army is being managed by a chief of staff dedicated to the job, and I will be president of Pakistan, and if the two are totally in harmony, the situation is better.
available.
Pakistan's purged Supreme Court demolished the final hurdle to President Pervez Musharraf's re-election, paving the way for him to become a civilian leader after eight years of army rule.(AFP/File/Tanveer Mughal)

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/12/14/AR2007121401229.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Pakistan’s Musharraf lifts emergency rule

December 15, 2007

Reuters, December 15, 2007

ISLAMABAD – Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf lifted emergency rule on Saturday in a move Western nations hope will stabilize the nuclear-armed state as Islamic militant violence spirals.

Musharraf will address the nation on TV and radio on Saturday night. But critics say curbs on the media and judiciary mean that he can still manipulate a January 8 general election win for his allies and secure a power base despite his unpopularity.

“Yes, the emergency has been lifted,” said a government official who declined to be identified.


In Late November, President Musharraf resigned as Army Chief of Staff and said he would no longer wear his uniform.

Read the rest:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22268963/