Twitter handle: @napaki

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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

#pakistan's blasphemy laws have left even judges in fear of their lives #religion #Terrorism #Islam

So he's going to swing – perhaps. On Saturday a Pakistani judge sentenced Mumtaz Qadri, the police bodyguard who assassinated the Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer, to death by hanging. The young policeman smiled and thanked God. "My dream has come true," he reportedly said.

It was a predictably theatrical turn from Qadri, a former nobody who murdered Taseer in cowardly fashion – shooting the governor 27 times in the back – and who has since revelled in the notoriety of his blood-stained celebrity. Equally predictable, alas, was the reaction on the streets outside.

Close to the courtroom in Rawalpindi, angry young men attacked a monument to the former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, defacing her image on the spot where she died in a suicide bombing in 2007. Down in Lahore, turbaned men with long sticks surged through the ancient Anarkali bazaar, thrashing traders who refused to shutter their shops in sympathy for Qadri.

Meanwhile the clerics engineering the protests – old men with soft palms and tinder-dry beards – issued po-faced statements decrying the sentence. Qadri was a good Muslim, they insisted, and Taseer got what he deserved. The governor had offended them by advocating reforms to Pakistan's antiquated blasphemy laws. In particularly they hated him for defending Aasia Bibi, a Christian mother-of-five sentenced to death under those laws last November. He deserved to die, they said.

Taseer's wife and children, in contrast, were silent. They stayed at home, busy worrying about their son and sibling, Shahbaz. The 27-year-old was kidnapped in August as he purred through Lahore in a sports Mercedes – his father's old car, in fact. Word has it he is being held in the tribal badlands of Waziristan; whether his captors are religious extremists, common criminals, or both, remains unclear.

The family is also reeling from character assaults. When Taseer was still alive, conservatives circulated photos of his children, lifted from their Facebook pages, showing them engaged in objectionable activity, such as dating and swimming in a swimming pool. After Taseer died, Qadri's lawyers aired allegations about his sex life, drinking habits and apparent taste for pork – proof, they said, of a licentiousness that justified his cold-blooded murder.

The distasteful spectacle is partly a product of Pakistan's social gulf. The Taseers inhabit the gilded bubble of a tiny elite whose westernised lives play out in Hello!-style photospreads of society magazines. In fact the Taseers own one of the most popular magazines. But it also goes to the heart of a bigger ideological crisis.

In theory, Pakistan is a country that welcomes all creeds and castes. But in practice it is proving to be anything but. Ask Faryal Bhatti, a teenage girl recently expelled from school for the crime of bad spelling.

A week ago last Thursday, the 13-year-old Christian girl was sitting an Urdu exam which involved a poem about the prophet Muhammad when she dropped a dot on the Urdu word naat (a devotional hymn to the prophet), accidentally turning it into lanaat, or damnation. Spotting the error, her teacher scolded her, beat her and reported the matter to the principal. The news soon flamed through her community in Havelian, 30 miles north of Islamabad.

Mullahs raged against Bhatti in their sermons; a school inquiry was hastily convened to examine the matter. Bhatti was expelled; her mother, a government nurse, was banished to another town, and the family has since fled Havelian in fear of their lives. All over a missing dot.

What accounts for such madness? In some parts Taseer's death has inspired a McCarthyite atmosphere in which nobody wants to seen to be soft on blasphemy. But there is also a more profound reason. Devotion to the prophet Muhammad is central to the faith of the Barelvi Sunnis, who make up the majority of Pakistani Muslims. Even a whiff of insult to the prophet can whip up feverish anger.

The core problem, in fact, is that the blasphemy furore exposes the fragility of the Pakistani state – ideological, legal and security-wise. The mixing of religion and politics has long troubled Pakistan, but over the past 30 years that dangerous cocktail has been spiked by the army's policy of nurturing extremists – hence men like Qadri who believe they have a right to kill in the name of God.

Meanwhile President Asif Ali Zardari's government has shown zero leadership when it comes to reforming the blasphemy law – in fact, cowardly ministers have run a mile from any suggestion of change. And those who do dare to stand up for progress – or just the rule of law – live in fear of the next Qadri-style hit.

In truth, Taseer's baby-faced killer is unlikely to be hanged any time soon. A lengthy appeals process is just starting, and the Zardari government has imposed an unofficial moratorium on capital punishment. But the judge who sentenced him, Pervez Ali Shah, faces perhaps shorter odds.

Judges who rule the "wrong" way on blasphemy face immense dangers in Pakistan. In 1997 extremists burst into the chambers of a high court judge who acquitted an accused blasphemer three years earlier, and shot him dead. Justice Shah will be fearing a repeat.

Reporters at Qadri's hearing on Saturday noted that the judge slipped from the courtroom via the back door. He knows he is a marked man. Now only time will tell if the discredited Pakistani state can stand up for at least one good man.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Analysts see #Pakistan'S terror links to Xinjiang attackS in #China

Officials on Wednesday said this week's attack on a police station in China's far western Xinjiang region had been “masterminded” by terrorist groups, while security analysts here suggested separatist groups active in Pakistan had a role in the violence.

Officials raised the death toll from Monday's attack in Hotan, a city in southern Xinjiang, to 18. While police shot down 14 “rioters”, four others, including two women, were killed in the attack.

Hou Hanmin, the head of the regional information office in Hotan, told The Hindu in a telephone interview that the attackers were “organised”, and armed with knives and grenades.

The rioters had entered a nearby government office before attacking and setting fire to a police station. They had taken six hostages before the police shot 14 of the 18 reported attackers, according to official accounts.

“They held up a banner calling for ‘holy war',” said Ms. Hou. “The attack was brutal and ruthless. This was clearly an attack masterminded by terrorist groups.”

Xinjiang has seen intermittent unrest with clashes between the local Uighur ethnic group and the increasing number of Han Chinese, the country's majority ethnic group, who have migrated to the region in recent years. The government has, in the past, blamed Uighur separatist groups for the clashes, though many Uighurs say tensions had been driven by rising inequalities between the groups.

On Wednesday, government-run newspapers quoted terrorism experts as saying the attacks were carried out by separatists, likely linked to terror groups active in Pakistan. Xinjiang shares a border with Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).

“Located in the southern part of Xinjiang, Hotan is close to the border with Pakistan. Due to their affinity in religion and language, some Uighur residents there are at risk of being influenced by terrorist groups such as the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM),” Pan Zhiping, director of the Institute of Central Asia at the Xinjiang Academy of Social Sciences, told the Communist Party-run Global Times.

He said Hotan “appears prone to the influence of terrorism that has penetrated the country from overseas”.

Li Wei, an anti-terrorism expert with the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR), told the same newspaper that “signs have shown that the rioters were greatly influenced by overseas terrorist organisations”.

The East Turkestan separatist movement was “very active on the soil of Pakistan”, Zhao Gancheng, a South Asia scholar at the Shanghai Institute for International Studies, told The Hindu. But China and Pakistan, he said, had kept “good communications on this issue”.

Ms. Hou said the investigation was “on-going”. The national counter-terrorism office had dispatched a working team to Hotan.

“There is no sign that this incident is linked to any Pakistan-based terrorist groups,” she said.

But overseas Uighur groups questioned the government's version of events. An exiled Uighur group called the World Uyghur Congress said on Wednesday this week's clash was sparked by a protest by local residents who had called on the police to release information about their missing relatives, believed to be in police custody.

Ms. Hou, however, said there had been no protest earlier this week.

She rejected reports that the attack was an ethnic conflict. “Both Han and Uighur people were hurt,” she said. An Uighur security guard and an Uighur police officer were among those killed by the attackers.

“This was not a clash between ethnic groups, and has done enormous damage to the local community.”

Many Uighur groups have, in the past, accused the government of portraying local protests and ethnic unrest as being driven by separatist groups in order to justify security clampdowns.

In 2009, the government blamed overseas groups for orchestrating ethnic riots between Uighurs and Han Chinese in the city of Urumqi, which left more than 197 people dead. However, dozens of the city's residents, in interviews with The Hindu last year, blamed long-standing distrust between both ethnic groups, driven by increasing migration and rising inequalities, as sparking ethnic tensions.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

#pakistan is now an institutionalized Al Qaeda #terrorism

Write it off, Pakistan has cooked its goose – stepped way over the line. The awkward relationship has moved further to one of state enemy than ally. The only thing slowing down catastrophe is Pakistan’s own incompetence.

“Al-Qaeda’s terrorist tool kit now includes training manuals from Pakistani spy agency

By Greg Miller

After losing key rounds in what some al-Qaeda operatives call the “intelligence war,” the terrorist network has introduced a new online course in operational security with material from an unusual source: Pakistan’s powerful spy service.

The Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate has long been accused of coddling militant groups, even while helping the CIA kill or capture dozens of senior al-Qaeda operatives including Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

Now al-Qaeda operatives can study directly from some of the ISI’s training manuals, according to a new report by Abdul Hameed Bakier at The Jamestown Foundation.

It’s not clear how the terrorist network got its hands on the documents, which were posted on jihadi Internet forums by al-Qaeda’s Global Islamic Media Front.

The course starts with an introduction to basic espionage terms, then moves into ways to screen potential mujaheddin members. They “should be Muslims, enjoy a certain degree of education and be religiously motivated and ‘non-mundane,’ ” according to the Jamestown synopsis. Subsequent classes deal with secure communications in the age of the Internet and mobile phones. (Bottom line: avoid them.)

There’s even an advanced course on “deep cover,” or the use of intricately fabricated false identities to penetrate the enemy. Most disconcerting of all, Jamestown notes, is that the courses were translated from Urdu to English “for the benefit of mujahideen in America and Europe ... an indication of where the mujahideen are planning their future terror attacks.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sikh community in #pakistan prevented from celebrating festival #persecution

The Sikh community in the eastern city of Lahore has been barred from organising a religious celebration at a disputed gurdwara after a religious group persuaded authorities that celebrating the Muslim holy day of 'Shab-e-Barat' is more important than the Sikh festival.

The musical equipment of the Sikhs was thrown out and their entry to the gurdwara barred due to the efforts of the Dawat-e-Islami, a Barelvi proselytising group, The Express Tribune newspaper reported today.

Police were deployed outside the gurdwara to prevent Sikhs from conducting a religious ceremony until after the end of Shab-e-Barat, which falls tomorrow.

The Sikh community wanted to commemorate an eighteenth-century saint at the gurdwara on Friday.

Gurdwara Shaheed Bhai Taru Singh at Naulakha Bazaar in Lahore was built to honour the memory of a Sikh saint who was executed in 1745 on the orders of the Mughal governor of Punjab, Zakaria Khan.

Every July, Sikhs have held religious ceremonies to commemorate his sacrifice.

Though the gudwara was taken over by the Evacuee Trust Property Board after Partition, Sikhs were allowed to continue using it with relatively few restrictions.

Four years ago, the Dawat-e-Islami claimed the gurdwara was located on the site of the grave of a 15th century Muslim saint, Pir Shah Kaku.

The group claimed Kaku was the grandson of Baba Fariduddin Ganjshakar, an "implausible claim" since Ganjshakar died in 1280 while it claims that Kaku died almost 200 years later, in 1477, the daily reported.

The Sikh community had approached ETPB, which allowed both communities to observe their religious rituals according to their own beliefs at the gurdwara.

The Dawat-e-Islami used it every Thursday for prayer services while Sikhs used it once a year for the anniversary of Taru Singh's martyrdom.

This year, when Sikh men went in to set up their musical instruments on July 13, they were thrown out by men from Dawat-e-Islami and prevented from re-entering the shrine.

Members of the Sikh community, many of whom fear to be identified, said the leader of the group of men, Sohail Butt, claimed that the gurdwara was now a mosque and Sikhs would not be allowed to bring in their musical instruments any longer.

Butt admitted he had prevented Sikhs from performing their ritual, claiming that the gurdwara was inside the courtyard of the mosque.

"Shab-e-Barat is more important than the Sikh ritual," Butt said, adding the ETPB had accepted his group's stance.

Officials from ETPB admit that they have asked the Sikh community to postpone their celebrations until after Shab-e-Barat.

ETPB Deputy Administrator Faraz Abbas, who deals with Sikh affairs across Pakistan, admitted that Sikhs had been denied entry into the gurdwara.

Gurunanak Mission president Sardar Bishon Singh said the ETPB's decision to bar Sikhs from entering their shrine was against the constitution.

He said that he approached the ETPB but was told to wait until after Shab-e-Barat.

"How can we postpone the rituals of our faith," he asked, adding that the government was not paying attention to their cause.

Singh appealed to Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry to take suo moto action over the violation of rights of minorities in Pakistan.

Book Review: Playing With Fire: #pakistan at War With Itself

America’s long, troubled relationship with Pakistan is now in a deadly downward spiral with no end in sight. An excellent new book by Pamela Constable, Playing With Fire: Pakistan at War With Itself, provides keen insights into Pakistani politics and society, and most important, elucidates the costs of America’s drone operations on the future of the relationship between Washington and Islamabad.

All this year there’s been bad news. Distrust is rampant. The Obama administration’s deep misgivings about Pakistan’s Army was dramatically illustrated when it sent the SEALs to get bin Laden, and only called Army chief General Ashfaq Kayani when they were safely back in Afghan airspace.

It’s easy to get frustrated and angry with Pakistan, but that’s not policy. When dealing with the world’s fastest-growing nuclear arsenal, we need a coherent and effective approach. A first step is to understand Pakistan. Fortunately, Constable has given us an excellent and timely introduction.

Based on years of reporting in South Asia, her book captures the maze of contradictions and conspiracies that make Pakistan the world’s most dangerous country. Her portraits of Pakistanis, including one of Kayani, are crisp and cogent. She properly emphasizes the enormous shadow one of his predecessors, Ronald Reagan’s friend Zia ul Huq, still casts across the country 30 years later. Zia was a jihadist and true believer, and with our help created a monster that is now fighting for Pakistan’s soul. If there is another coup by a Zia-type general, extremists will control the fifth-largest nuclear arsenal on the planet.

Pakistan’s many problems are only likely to get worse. Half the population is under 15 years old; they face a jobless future in which the lure of radical Islam is only likely to grow. Hatred of America runs deep. Each side often disappoints the other. Both pursue narrow, short-term interests at the expense of longer-term partnership. Great “secret” projects, like the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan, have played a disproportional role in the relationship.

Now there is a new project: the drones, which fuel anti-Americanism every day. Constable reports that the drones “beyond any other real or imagined provocation have most inflamed Pakistani emotions against the United States.” Their psychological impact is “so disproportionate the CIA might as well have dropped an atom bomb on Karachi during rush hour.” Covert operations have unintended blowback that may have implications for decades to come. The sad rhythm of Pakistani-American relations keeps repeating itself.

High-tech system to track US staff on risky tours like #pakistan [post-Raymond Davis kidnapping??]

The State Department is installing advanced, classified security systems in Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen to monitor staff movements in those countries where moving among local populations remains dangerous, according to department budget and contract documents.

The Blue Force Tracker system uses a small transmitter mounted on a vehicle, an aircraft or an individual that sends continuous signals to a Global Positioning System satellite and back to a computer in a secure command post. The command post computer shows precise locations within a 10-foot radius of tracked individuals, vehicles or aircraft on ever-changing map displays.

“This critical technology provides department personnel with the confidence to travel into highly dangerous areas, knowing there is an over-watch and a reaction capability to help them at the push of a button,” according to a State Department fiscal 2012 budget document presented to Congress. About $9.4 million was being sought to support the tracking system in Iraq next year.

No State Department official would discuss the systems on the record. A department spokesman, speaking on the condition of anonymity because security issues were involved, said last week: “The State Department uses all available options, including technology, to ensure the safety of our personnel. For reasons of operational security, we do not comment on what technologies the department employs, nor in which countries these technologies may be used.”

Four highly secure modular metal buildings are being built in Louisiana under a $23.1 million non-bid contract. When shipped to Iraq, they are to become the temporary operation centers holding Blue Force Tracker systems for two new embassy branches in Mosul and Kirkuk and two other facilities in Baghdad.

The new system will have “three-dimensional geospatial imagery and the ability to rapidly overlay analytic information onto maps,” say State Department budget documents. It also will allow the receipt of one-way messages, including distress calls, according to Thermopylae Sciences and Technology (TST), an Arlington-based company that helped develop the system for the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service.

The TST system also allows users to “create and manage intelligence reports or incident reports and easily import and export this information,” which permits “data-driven route analysis, threat assessments, trend analysis and intelligence summaries,” the firm says.

In addition, a $15 million classified facility to hold the tracking system is being assembled on the U.S. Embassy grounds in Islamabad, Pakistan. An advertisement posted in June by Olgoonik Development seeks a security specialist to work there for the Blue Force Tracker program.

The Pakistan system is “designed to maximize visualization of designated assets traveling and conducting operations in hostile or hazardous areas,” according to the advertisement. One job of the specialist is to “track and report all off-compound embassy travelers to the [State Department] regional security officer . . . using the BFT-ONE [Blue Force Tracker] system.”

Similar Olgoonik advertisements sought security specialists to work on Blue Force Tracker systems being put in Yemen and Afghanistan. Each of the Ol­goonik ads said the prospective hires must be U.S. citizens, have top-secret security clearances and be able to qualify for sensitive compartmented information, the category that applies to electronically intercepted intelligence.

While the Diplomatic Security Service has used the Blue Force Tracker in Iraq for six years to monitor vehicles carrying Foreign Service and other personnel, its primary purpose was to document activities of contract security guards. A 2008 report to top State Department officials, in the wake of Blackwater guards shooting several Iraqi civilians between 2005 and 2007, talked of video recording devices being installed in vehicles and the retention of tracker data.

The trackers then, according to the report, “combined with reporting requirements and established operational procedures allow for COM [chief of mission] motorcades to be monitored and held accountable.”

In contrast, the State Department’s fiscal 2012 budget document calls the system “critical to the life safety of COM personnel by allowing the security officer to monitor their location within three meters [10 feet] and respond to any incident with pinpoint accuracy.”

#Chinas's gift to tackle terrorism in #pakistan lying unused

A gift of expensive knitting machines from China for militancy-hit people of Pakistan's Khyber Pakthunkhwa province is lying unused for over a year due to lack of trained manpower.

The provincial directorate of technical education and manpower is now hunting for experts to run the machines and other equipment.

Besides knitting machines, China also gifted heavy machinery worth millions of rupees.

Sources told the daily Dawn that the provincial government had requested China to donate heavy machinery for reconstruction activities to rehabilitate institutions that were impacted due to insurgency.

China sent a consignment, including 20 knitting machines of industrial specification. One machine weighed 3,000 kg and a problem was faced in transporting it to Malakand.

Officials said that the directorate had sought training-cum-production knitting machines to train manpower while China had sent industrial level machines.

"Beggars can't be choosers. Therefore, we can't send the machines back to China," an official was quoted as saying.

Fearing for their life, Transporters in #pakistan keep their vehicles off road soon after sun set

ISLAMABAD, Jul 17 (APP): The people of twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, specially the passengers are facing great hardship as the owners of the public transport plying between the two cities were keeping their vehicles off the road soon after the sun set.A large number of the passengers who are working specially in the Federal Capital have complained that public transporters of route-1 and route-3 have made it their habit of keeping their vehicles off the road soon after sun set and only a few vehicles are plying on the routes leaving the passengers at the mercy of taxi cabs. The Islamabad Traffic Police which is considered to be one of the efficient traffic police forces seen to be hapless before these powerful public transporters. Passengers have also complained that public transporters are overstaying their vehicles at various bus stops specially at Faizabad causing inconvenience to the travellers in hot summer days. “When we ask the drivers of the public transports to operate their vehicles and dont overstay, they resort to misbehave the passengers”, Chaudhry Ahmed Waqar a government servant and a frequent user of the public transport told APP. The passengers have appealed the concerned authorities to tame the drivers of the private transport and direct them to operate their vehicles in the evening and action should be taken against the violators.

#pPakistan lose hockey match & series against Netherlands

KARACHI: Pakistan lost the series to Netherlands after losing in Amsterdam on Saturday in the second match of the two-match series.

Netherlands opened the scoring before Sohail Abbas equalised for the Green Shirts through a penalty. However, Pakistan conceded a goal in the dying minutes to hand the Dutch a series victory.

The national team returns to Pakistan on Monday to begin preparing for their next assignment which is the Asian Hockey Championship.

#pakistan becoming politically, economically insignificant

slamabad: The Pakistan Economy Watch (PEW) on Sunday said economy of the country is going down by the passage of every day which calls for urgent and decisive actions by the government.

Incompetent leadership and policies without logical or meaningful connection have left country astray while preserving credibility has become a big challenge for the government, it said.

Doubts, uncertainty, panic and pain has become part of the life for commoners as well as business community, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal, President PEW.

Loss of confidence is a very serious issue taken lightly by the politicians while the experience shows that it is impossible for a country to regain the faith of market once lost.

To avoid such an outcome, our leaders must act boldly and swiftly through parliament to boost anaemic growth rate, said Dr. Murtaza Mughal.

Islamabad urgently needs to send a clear message to convince international community and investors that government is now serious to introduce radical structural reforms.

Dr. Murtaza Mughal said that unpopular reforms will take time to produce results but will restore the market’s confidence which is dwindling due to impression that rulers are willing to risk everything to prolong rule and protect personal wealth.

Dr. Mughal said that current circumstances are leading country towards unsustainability raising serious challenges to our independence.

In this scenario, economic sustainability should be on the top of the government’s agenda as plunging into political and economic insignificance may leave Pakistan with no option but to accept Indian dominance, he warned.

"If we withhold that aid, I fear #pakistan might quit pretending to be our ally"


"Take that, Pakistan! Feel the stinging rebuke of receiving only $1.2 billion of U.S. taxpayer money for your ineffective, crooked military!"

Saturday, July 16, 2011

80% of #pakistan's budget speeches termed irrelevant

Evaluating the performance of the National Assembly of Pakistan during Budget Session 2011, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, MNA, has said that approximately 80% of the budget speeches were on non-budget issues.

He was speaking at the Citizens Forum on Performance of the 13th National Assembly of Pakistan: Budget Session 2011-2012, which was organised by PILDAT to analyse the Budget Session Performance of the 13th National Assembly. Abbasi said that quality of the debate was poor “and only few members of the National Assembly understand the Budgetary Process, therefore, budget remains a mystery for most of the members.” “Besides, parliamentary leaders fail to educate their members about the budgetary process,” he added.

Abbasi said that the Finance Minister himself most of the time was absent during the budget debates and he hardly attended any session except budget presentation day.

Other speakers at the Forum included Abdul Rashid Godil, MNA, Wazir Ahmed Jogezai, Former Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly; Abdullah Yousaf, Former Chairman Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, Executive Director of PILDAT.

Presenting an analysis based on PILDAT Citizens’ Report on Performance of the 13th National Assembly of Pakistan: Budget Session 2011-2012, Ahmed Bilal Mehboob, Executive Director PILDAT said that the Federal Budget 2011-2012, tabled in the National Assembly on June 3, 2011 and passed on June 22, 2011 lasted for a dismal 17 actual working days. There was a 16% drop in time consumed in budget debate 2011 compared to 2008; total 35 hours consumed in Budget process in National Assembly compared to 41.6 in 2008. The decade long average of budget sessions from 1998 to 2011 is 12 days while in comparison, in our neighbouring country India, the Parliamentary Budget Process spans over 75 days.

Unlike the practice in other developing as well as mature parliamentary democracies, Standing Committees in Pakistan are not allowed any role to scrutinise departmentally related estimates or demands for grants and therefore no meaningful input is made in the Budget. Mehboob said that while the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab has instituted a Pre-Budget Session every year from January to February, the National Assembly, despite understanding the need to do so in order to allow members to make an input into budget making and priorities, has failed to institute the tradition of a Pre-Budget Session.

Mehboob said that a sharp decline is witnessed in the number of members of the National Assembly participating in the budget debate over the last 4 years of the 13th National Assembly as 39% less MNAs spoke in 2011 compared to 2008. In 2008 budget session, a total of 229 members participated in the budget debate whereas only 139 members participated during the 2011 budget session. The dwindling number of participants may be indicative of the waning interest of members in the budget debate. The budget session is considered by many MPs as a mere formality in which not much role is there for MPs to make any significant contribution. Year after year, MPs demand during the budget debate a greater role for influencing the budget at its preparation stages. It has also been repeatedly suggested that once the budget is presented, the National Assembly should have an increased duration to review it and the demands for grants for ministries should be referred to the respective standing committees for scrutiny before the budget is passed. This key reform in the parliamentary budget process, however, remains elusive. During budget debate 2011, members from across political spectrum forcefully raised that these reforms be instituted in the parliamentary budget process.

Inside Al Qaeda’s hard drives #pakistan #Terrorism

When Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden at his Abbottabad, Pakistan, compound on May 2, the ensuing coverage focused on how the death of Al Qaeda’s leader might undercut terrorism worldwide. But the raid accomplished more than bin Laden’s removal: It yielded several computers, nearly a dozen hard drives, and about 100 other data-storage devices. Speaking on “Meet the Press” the weekend after the raid, presidential national security adviser Tom Donilon called it “the largest cache of intelligence derived from the scene of any single terrorist.”

After combing over this huge pool of data, a task force of analysts has already produced hundreds of intelligence reports geared to a primary goal: hunting down Al Qaeda operatives. Meanwhile, however, there is a second and longer-term task ahead. If studied diligently enough, the captured data is likely to provide an unparalleled look at how Al Qaeda functions. And that information may be as essential to disrupting Al Qaeda’s activities as it was to kill bin Laden.

I speak from experience, because I was part of a team at the RAND Corporation that performed a multiyear analysis of a similar, albeit much smaller, data dump - the data seized from Al Qaeda in Iraq. Over four years, we sought to provide as clear a picture as possible of Al Qaeda in Iraq for military commanders and intelligence officials. We mined information from two sources: declassified documents found on a hard drive at a residence in Julaybah, Iraq, in 2007 by Iraqi Awakening forces, and documents discovered by a patrol of Marines in Tuzliyah, Anbar, Iraq, in that same year. Based on this data, we were able to build a portrait of Al Qaeda in Iraq as a business - and a business that ran quite differently than conventional wisdom would suggest.

Today, analysts searching through data from the bin Laden raid have only just begun a similarly painstaking and time-consuming process. It is this process, beyond simply killing off leaders at the top, that is most likely to lead us to a deep understanding of how groups such as Al Qaeda work. And it is that knowledge, in turn, that will give us the tools to defeat them.

From 2007 to 2010, our team scoured a set of captured financial and organizational documents covering the years 2005 and 2006, and centering on Anbar Province, where Al Qaeda in Iraq was most powerful at that time. What we found there put to rest conflicting theories about Al Qaeda in Iraq’s funding and membership, and revealed it to be a highly systemized, bureaucratic organization. In particular, we learned a remarkable amount about Al Qaeda in Iraq’s franchise status, its flow of money, and its organizational structure.Continued...

When we began our work, we already knew something about the group’s history. Al Qaeda in Iraq was formed in late 2004, after the start of the Iraq War, when the Jordanian terrorist abu Musab al-Zarqawi rebranded his organization under the Al Qaeda banner. His group, Jamaat al-Tawhid al Jihad, had existed since the 1990s, with the initial stated goal of toppling the Jordanian kingdom. But its agenda expanded over time to include discrediting the Iraqi interim government, driving US and coalition forces out of Iraq, and helping to build a broader extremist caliphate.

In other words, the group shared a number of Al Qaeda’s goals, but the name itself was a strategic addition by a lesser-known organization. Al Qaeda in Iraq was not established in a top-down manner by a mastermind flush with millions in capital, the way a company would open an office in a new city. It was more like a local restaurant taking the name of a multinational franchise operation, but with autonomy to adapt the menu to local tastes. The new affiliation coupled Zarqawi’s ruthless vision and ability to rally people to his cause with the Al Qaeda brand name and well-organized franchise structure. After 2004, the group soared in power and popularity.

Yet there was little top-down strategy from Al Qaeda central, and dialogue between the groups was minimal. The documents we examined made it clear that there was no start-up capital from the parent company, just permission to use its name.

And, contrary to speculation that Al Qaeda in Iraq was reliant on international donations, this wasn’t a source of funding either. The group was self-financing. In fact, the core organization of Al Qaeda in Iraq in Anbar province was so profitable that it sent revenue to associates in other provinces of Iraq, and perhaps even further afield. The group raised millions of dollars annually through activities such as simple theft and resale of valuable items such as cars, generators, and electrical cable, and hijacking truckloads of goods, such as clothing. And their internal financial record-keeping was diligent, with all the requirements of expense accounts in regular businesses. A central unit of Al Qaeda in Iraq’s hierarchy required operatives to keep records of even the smallest outlay and to turn over their “take” to upper-level leaders, who made the spending decisions.

These carefully monitored expenses occurred in the context of what was literally a workforce. While people tend to think of Al Qaeda as simply a band of fighters, in reality there was a large organization needed to facilitate attacks and create support within the local community - all of which required money. As such, Al Qaeda in Iraq maintained an expanding payroll of members, imprisoned members, families of members, and dead members’ families, with ever fewer fighters and revenue producers. On the hook to provide for many local Iraqis, it had to resort to increasingly unpopular methods for generating revenue.

Beyond these daily expenditures, Al Qaeda in Iraq had big-ticket expenses. Launching attacks was one recurring overhead cost. An attack involved salaries for operatives, safe houses, transportation, weapons, and a crude form of life insurance for the wounded or for families of those killed. (By contrast, most civilian households in Anbar lacked any form of insurance.) Given these pressures, cash flowed fast in and out of Al Qaeda in Iraq’s central command in Anbar. About every two weeks, Al Qaeda doled out funds to pay not only for attacks, but also for housing, medical, and bureaucratic needs.

In terms of its membership, the group was a religious-political organization; its members were Sunnis, like Saddam Hussein. Many in the group had been disenfranchised after the United States disbanded the Iraqi Army and ended pension payments to retired members of the military, leaving those families without income. Unsurprisingly, then, the group made effective use of a military-like hierarchy. Top-tier Al Qaeda in Iraq commanders in Anbar set strategic goals that local leaders then carried out, making their own tactical decisions. Even as US military and Iraqi forces repeatedly removed Al Qaeda in Iraq leadership, the group’s structure let it replace staff quickly and continue delivery of information and support to members through a system of couriers. A similar courier system was reportedly a key element in the intelligence that led the US military to Osama bin Laden.

In the course of our research, Al Qaeda’s Iraq affiliate emerged as highly self-sufficient. The group appeared to manage its affairs internally; it did not seem to depend on foreign jihadists, though it did accept some as suicide bombers. It was led by strong top-level leaders, who generated media releases, kept prisoners, and issued judicial rulings.

The captured data testified to the fact that the US armed forces had had some success heading off the Iraqi group’s efforts. But the documents also made clear that truly taking the group out of commission was likely to require more than just removing its leaders. When someone in a key role was killed, the procedure for replacing him was nearly automatic.

Even with bin Laden dead and populations in democratic revolt across the Middle East, a US commitment to counterterrorism will need to remain in place - and a deep understanding of these groups’ economic and social structures will be key to combating them.

For example, my team was able to learn that Al Qaeda was forcing local affiliates (or at least its Iraqi one) to sustain themselves financially. If local groups must make their own money, governments and counterterror operatives can use Al Qaeda’s need to raise money - often using illicit means and pressure against local citizens - against the organization. That kind of counterterrorism would look less like war, and more like careful police work against what amounts to a criminal syndicate or mafia.

Two points emerged most importantly from our research on Al Qaeda in Iraq. First, there was no team of international ghost donors padding the group’s coffers. And second, Al Qaeda in Iraq had no strong ties to Al Qaeda central. While there may have been communication that was very well hidden - the eventual declassification of the Osama bin Laden documents may reveal more answers - it was noteworthy that there was virtually no communication to Al Qaeda central in any of the now declassified documents that we saw. Nor have there been any other substantive reports, save the occasional letter, of much communication between the groups, and certainly there seems to be no money flowing one way or the other.

While many Americans celebrate the death of the man who planned the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the United States needs to remain vigilant, and a large part of the puzzle is to develop a coherent picture of the enemy groups we face. Bin Laden may be dead, but as dedicated citizens pore over the vast store of information he left behind, our quest to understand the organization he built is far from over.

Renny McPherson served as an active duty Marine Corps officer in Anbar Province, Iraq, in 2006 and a civilian adviser in Baghdad in 2008; he recently graduated from Harvard Business School. You can read the full study, which McPherson researched with Howard J. Shatz and Ben Bahney,

Osama Bin Laden planning to assasinate US President Barack Obama while living sheltered life in #pakistan

Documents recovered from Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan show that al Qaeda spoke of attacking President Barack Obama and Gen. David Petraeus, a source familiar with the materials recovered from the compound said Friday.

The documents refer to an attack that would destroy the aircraft carrying Obama and Petraeus in the region, the source said.

It was not immediately clear whether the documents referred to an attack that was specifically planned or whether they referred in a more general way to a desire by al Qaeda to attack the president and Petraeus, who was until recently the top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan.

U.S. forces killed bin Laden during a raid on May 2. They recovered documents and other material during the raid.

Petraeus declined to comment, a spokesman said Friday.

Other materials taken from Osama bin Laden's compound in Pakistan have confirmed that the al Qaeda leader communicated with the Yemen-based group al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, according to a U.S. official familiar with the ongoing U.S. analysis of the documents.

The search through bin Laden's materials has also found direct evidence that while in hiding in Pakistan, bin Laden was encouraging direct plots to attack Americans and U.S. interests in Europe late last year, according to the U.S. official.

There were several threats at the time that led the United States to issue an October 2010 alert for Americans traveling in Europe, the source emphasized.

Bin Laden was "aware, supportive and trying to motivate his operatives in Europe. He was pushing them," the source said.

The U.S. intelligence community had classified information at the time suggesting that bin Laden was involved, the U.S. official said, but the documents taken from the compound have provided confirmation. Officials have previously said bin Laden always placed a top priority on trying to attack Americans.

from the compound have provided confirmation. Officials have previously said bin Laden always placed a top priority on trying to attack Americans.

Garment manufacturers relocating plants from #pakistan to #Bangladesh & #China

Author: Ahmed Abdullah | 15 July 2011

The Pakistani government is being urged to take measures to discourage woven garment manufacturers and exporters from relocating their businesses to countries like Bangladesh and China.

The call comes after a number of woven garment plants recently relocated from Karachi to Bangladesh, with many others looking to set up units in China, according to the Pakistan Readymade Garments Manufacturers & Exporters Association (PRGMEA).

Bangladesh offers several advantages to woven garment manufacturers over Pakistan, Ijaz Khokhar, central chairman PRGMEA, told just-style. These include an uninterrupted energy supply at cheaper rates, efficient and skilled workers, low production costs, and duty-free market access to the European Union.

He urged the Ministry of Textiles to take measures and resume the Drawback of Local Taxes and Levies (DLTL) scheme to discourage the relocation and encourage woven garment manufacturers and exporters to continue with their businesses in Pakistan.

The textile industry accounts for over 50% of Pakistan's total export receipts and provides direct employment for around 2.5m people. The industry currently faces high inflation, low labour productivity, energy problems, raw material shortages and very high interest rates.

#pakistan Supreme Court grants bail to criminal mastermind behind attack on Sri Lankan Cricket Team

key suspect in the 2009 attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore has been released from Kot Lakhpat Jail after the
Pakistan Supreme Court

granted him bail.

Malik Ishaq, one of the founders of the banned Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, had appealed to the Supreme Court to overturn the decision of the Lahore high court (LHC), which had rejected his bail plea earlier.

Ishaq had been accused of plotting the attack while he was in prison.

According to The Express Tribune, Ishaq was granted bail, as the charges against him could not be proved.

He had been in prison since 1997 and had 44 cases ranging from murder to terrorism lodged against him, but the court acquitted him in 34 cases and granted him bail in the rest.

The attack on the Sri Lankan team occurred on March 3, 2009, when a bus carrying the cricketers was fired upon by 12 gunmen, near the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.

The cricketers were on their way to play the third day of the second Test against Pakistan.

Six members of the Sri Lankan team were injured. Six Pakistani policemen and two civilians were killed.

These were the first attacks on a national sports team since the Munich massacre of Israeli athletes by Palestinian militants in 1972.

The attack was carried out by Jaish-e-Mohammed and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, the outlawed militant groups with close links to al-Qaida.

Shaheed Salman Taseer: truest patriot of #pakistan - hated the kufr India #fact

By Aatish Taseer, his son

Ten days before he was assassinated in January, my father, Salman Taseer, sent out a tweet about an Indian rocket that had come down over the Bay of Bengal: "Why does India make fools of themselves messing in space technology? Stick 2 bollywood my advice."

My father was the governor of Punjab, Pakistan's largest province, and his tweet, with its taunt at India's misfortune, would have delighted his many thousands of followers. It fed straight into Pakistan's unhealthy obsession with India, the country from which it was carved in 1947.

Though my father's attitude went down well in Pakistan, it had caused considerable tension between us. I am half-Indian, raised in Delhi by my Indian mother: India is a country that I consider my own. When my father was killed by one of his own bodyguards for defending a Christian woman accused of blasphemy, we had not spoken for three years.

To understand the Pakistani obsession with India, to get a sense of its special edge—its hysteria—it is necessary to understand the rejection of India, its culture and past, that lies at the heart of the idea of Pakistan. This is not merely an academic question. Pakistan's animus toward India is the cause of both its unwillingness to fight Islamic extremism and its active complicity in undermining the aims of its ostensible ally, the United States.

The idea of Pakistan was first seriously formulated by neither a cleric nor a politician but by a poet. In 1930, Muhammad Iqbal, addressing the All-India Muslim league, made the case for a state in which India's Muslims would realize their "political and ethical essence." Though he was always vague about what the new state would be, he was quite clear about what it would not be: the old pluralistic society of India, with its composite culture.

Iqbal's vision took concrete shape in August 1947. Despite the partition of British India, it had seemed at first that there would be no transfer of populations. But violence erupted, and it quickly became clear that in the new homeland for India's Muslims, there would be no place for its non-Muslim communities. Pakistan and India came into being at the cost of a million lives and the largest migration in history.

This shared experience of carnage and loss is the foundation of the modern relationship between the two countries. In human terms, it meant that each of my parents, my father in Pakistan and my mother in India, grew up around symmetrically violent stories of uprooting and homelessness.

But in Pakistan, the partition had another, deeper meaning. It raised big questions, in cultural and civilizational terms, about what its separation from India would mean.

In the absence of a true national identity, Pakistan defined itself by its opposition to India. It turned its back on all that had been common between Muslims and non-Muslims in the era before partition. Everything came under suspicion, from dress to customs to festivals, marriage rituals and literature. The new country set itself the task of erasing its association with the subcontinent, an association that many came to view as a contamination.

Had this assertion of national identity meant the casting out of something alien or foreign in favor of an organic or homegrown identity, it might have had an empowering effect. What made it self-wounding, even nihilistic, was that Pakistan, by asserting a new Arabized Islamic identity, rejected its own local and regional culture. In trying to turn its back on its shared past with India, Pakistan turned its back on itself.

But there was one problem: India was just across the border, and it was still its composite, pluralistic self, a place where nearly as many Muslims lived as in Pakistan. It was a daily reminder of the past that Pakistan had tried to erase.

Pakistan's existential confusion made itself apparent in the political turmoil of the decades after partition. The state failed to perform a single legal transfer of power; coups were commonplace. And yet, in 1980, my father would still have felt that the partition had not been a mistake, for one critical reason: India, for all its democracy and pluralism, was an economic disaster.

Pakistan had better roads, better cars; Pakistani businesses were thriving; its citizens could take foreign currency abroad. Compared with starving, socialist India, they were on much surer ground. So what if India had democracy? It had brought nothing but drought and famine.

But in the early 1990s, a reversal began to occur in the fortunes of the two countries. The advantage that Pakistan had seemed to enjoy in the years after independence evaporated, as it became clear that the quest to rid itself of its Indian identity had come at a price: the emergence of a new and dangerous brand of Islam.

As India rose, thanks to economic liberalization, Pakistan withered. The country that had begun as a poet's utopia was reduced to ruin and insolvency.

The primary agent of this decline has been the Pakistani army. The beneficiary of vast amounts of American assistance and money—$11 billion since 9/11—the military has diverted a significant amount of these resources to arming itself against India. In Afghanistan, it has sought neither security nor stability but rather a backyard, which—once the Americans leave—might provide Pakistan with "strategic depth" against India.

In order to realize these objectives, the Pakistani army has led the U.S. in a dance, in which it had to be seen to be fighting the war on terror, but never so much as to actually win it, for its extension meant the continuing flow of American money. All this time the army kept alive a double game, in which some terror was fought and some—such as Laskhar-e-Tayyba's 2008 attack on Mumbai—actively supported.

The army's duplicity was exposed decisively this May, with the killing of Osama bin Laden in the garrison town of Abbottabad. It was only the last and most incriminating charge against an institution whose activities over the years have included the creation of the Taliban, the financing of international terrorism and the running of a lucrative trade in nuclear secrets.

This army, whose might has always been justified by the imaginary threat from India, has been more harmful to Pakistan than to anybody else. It has consumed annually a quarter of the country's wealth, undermined one civilian government after another and enriched itself through a range of economic interests, from bakeries and shopping malls to huge property holdings.

The reversal in the fortunes of the two countries—India's sudden prosperity and cultural power, seen next to the calamity of Muhammad Iqbal's unrealized utopia—is what explains the bitterness of my father's tweet just days before he died. It captures the rage of being forced to reject a culture of which you feel effortlessly a part—a culture that Pakistanis, via Bollywood, experience daily in their homes.

This rage is what makes it impossible to reduce Pakistan's obsession with India to matters of security or a land dispute in Kashmir. It can heal only when the wounds of 1947 are healed. And it should provoke no triumphalism in India, for behind the bluster and the bravado, there is arid pain and sadness.
—Mr. Taseer is the author of "Stranger to History: A Son's Journey Through Islamic Lands." His second novel, "Noon," will be published in the U.S. in September.

Friday, July 15, 2011

#pakistan's Middle Class Extremists: Why Development Aid Won't reduce its Radicalism

Graeme Blair, C. Christine Fair, Neil Malhotra, Jacob N. Shapiro

GRAEME BLAIR is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Politics at Princeton University. C. CHRISTINE FAIR is an assistant professor in the Center for Peace and Security Studies at Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service. NEIL MALHOTRA is an associate professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania. JACOB N. SHAPIRO is an assistant professor of Politics and International Affairs at Princeton University.

Since al Qaeda bombed the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998 and then attacked the World Trade Center three years later, the United States has dedicated billions of dollars and thousands of lives to addressing the threat of terrorism. Over time, policymakers converged on economic development as a key to ending terrorism, in the belief that poorer people are more susceptible to the appeals of violent groups or more likely to perpetrate violence themselves. If economic development aid raised incomes, the thinking went, support for militant groups would diminish.

This logic has taken hold at the highest levels of American policymaking. In 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama argued in favor of sending more development aid to poor countries, because “extremely poor societies” are “optimal breeding grounds for disease, terrorism, and conflict.” The same year, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton concurred, declaring economic development an “integral part of America’s national security policy.”

Yet there is no evidence that economic development changes attitudes toward violent militant groups, or even that it is the poor whose attitudes are problematic. A number of scholars, including Claude Berrebi , Alberto Abadie , and Alan Kreuger and Jitka Malečková , have found that people who join terrorist groups are predominantly from middle-class or wealthy families. Public opinion scholarship, such as that of Najeeb M. Shafiq and Abdulkader Sinno , and Mark Tessler and Michael Robbins , suggests that differences in income and education do not explain variation in support for suicide bombing and other forms of violence. According to Oeindrila Dube and Juan Vargas , job loss appears to correlate with greater violence in Colombia. And Effi Benmelech, Berrebi, and Esteban Klor have found that poor economic conditions enable Palestinian groups to recruit higher-quality operatives. But in another study, Eli Berman explained that regions with higher unemployment in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Philippines are actually less violent. In Iraq, moreover, there is no evidence that large-scale development programs impact violence, although small-scale programs administered with deep knowledge of the local context do. Even then, the mechanisms that link small-scale aid programs to diminished violence remain unknown.

Closing this gap in understanding about the relationship between poverty and terrorism could not be more pressing. The United States and its allies have already directed billions of dollars in development aid to Pakistan and Afghanistan in the last ten years, with no demonstrable impact on the spread of Islamic militancy. With scarce resources to spend, they should be more careful about how they invest them.

The stakes are particularly high in Pakistan. The country provides haven for Islamist terrorists that operate in India and Afghanistan and is itself the victim of a militant insurgency that has killed or injured some 35,000 Pakistanis since 2004. Currently, programs meant to address the problem of homegrown Pakistani militancy by alleviating poverty dominate the Western aid agenda. The 2009 U.S. Kerry-Lugar-Berman bill, for example, proposed spending $7.5 billion on economic development in Pakistan, with the express aim of “combating militant extremism.” To test the assumption that poor people are more likely to become radicalized, we fielded a 6,000-person, nationally representative survey of Pakistanis in the four provinces of Punjab, Balochistan, Sindh, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly North-West Frontier Province) in the spring of 2009.

The survey measured attitudes toward four important militant groups: al Qaeda; the Afghan Taliban; the so-called Kashmiri groups, which include Lashkar-e-Taiba, Jaish-e-Mohammed, Hizbul Mujahideen, among others; and sectarian groups such as Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Sipah-e-Sahaba. The survey was much larger than any previous effort and, for the first time, included rural Pakistan. Previous studies had been undermined by low response rates, perhaps because they asked Pakistanis directly about their support for militant groups. Instead, we measured attitudes toward the groups using an indirect questioning technique called an “endorsement” experiment. We presented respondents with a set of four policy issues, including World Health Organization’s administration of polio vaccinations and the redefinition of the Durand Line separating Pakistan from Afghanistan, and asked how much they supported each. Some respondents were told that one of the four militant groups supported the policy. Comparing the support for each policy of those who were told a militant group supported the policy with those who were not gives the measure of support for the group.

The data revealed four findings that undermine common wisdom about support for militancy in Pakistan. First, survey participants were generally negatively inclined toward all four militant organizations. Contrary to some popular accounts, Pakistanis do not have a taste for militants. Moreover, they appear to differentiate between groups in subtle ways. Pakistanis were far more likely to believe that the Kashmiri groups provide public goods -- schools, health clinics, and the like -- than they were to associate other organizations with such positive activities . They were also much more likely to say that the Kashmiri groups are fighting for good things, such as justice and democracy than they were about the others.

Second, Pakistanis living in violent parts of the country, in Khyber- Pakhtunkhwa in particular, strongly disliked these groups. This is likely because they pay a disproportionately high price for militant violence, regardless of their views about the groups’ goals. Those from comparatively peaceful areas do not bear the full costs of militant action.

Third, poor Pakistanis nationwide disliked the militant groups about two times more than middle class Pakistanis, who were mildly positive toward the groups. We suspect that this is because much of Pakistan’s militant violence is concentrated in poorer areas and in the bazaars and mosques where less affluent people sell goods, shop, and pray. In addition to being in more physical danger than the rich, the poor are at more of an economic risk from attacks, and income losses are more consequential for them. Wealthier people often have servants run errands to bazaars, and when they do personal shopping they are likelier to do so in upscale stores in their own neighborhoods, which are safer.

Finally, this dislike is strongest among poor urban residents. The negative relationship between poverty and support for militancy is three times stronger in urban Pakistan than in the country as a whole. This finding reinforces the idea that the dislike of the groups is driven by greater exposure to their attacks, which are concentrated in urban areas.

Overall, the findings suggest that arguments tying support for militancy to individuals’ socioeconomic status -- and the policy recommendations that often flow from this assumption -- require substantial revision.

Most governments, including that of the United States, are still reeling from the global recession and looking to make budget cuts where possible. Development assistance aimed at alleviating poverty should not be stopped; countries such as Pakistan have legitimate development needs pertaining to education, health care, and economic growth to support its massive youth bulge. But expecting those programs to reduce militancy is misguided. There are many good reasons to offer development assistance, but counter-radicalization, counterinsurgency, and counterterrorism are not among them.

"bloody birth of #Bangladesh was brought about because Kissinger encouraged the #Pakistan military to butcher people of E pakistan"

"the bloody birth of Bangladesh was brought about because Kissinger, reaching out to China, simultaneously encouraged the Pakistan military to butcher the people of East Pakistan, as it then was"

U.S. to withhold millions in aid to #pakistan due to non-compliance & supporting terrorism, says Obama's chief of staff #terrorism

The United States is holding back $800 million in aid to Pakistan, President Barack Obama's chief of staff said Sunday.

Appearing on ABC's "This Week," White House Chief of Staff William Daley confirmed a report in the New York Times that the aid was being withheld.

While Pakistan has "been an important ally in the fight on terrorism," Daley said, "now they've taken some steps that have given us reason to pause on some of the aid which we're giving to the military, and we're trying to work through that."

A spokesman for the Pakistani military told CNN the military was not informed of any such plan.

"Since we haven't received anything in writing," Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas said, "we will not comment on this matter."

Senior U.S. officials, who declined to speak on the record because of the sensitivity of the situation, said the curtailing of aid, which represents a third of U.S. security assistance to Pakistan, was done both to pressure Pakistan to crack down on militants and as retribution for expelling U.S. military trainers.

The funding includes $300 million to compensate Pakistan for the cost of deploying more than 100,000 troops to its border with Afghanistan to combat extremists. Hundreds of millions in training assistance and military hardware is also on the chopping block.

Additionally, officials said that still other portions of the aid cannot be sent because Pakistan has denied visas to American personnel required to operate the equipment that includes helicopter spare parts, radios and night vision goggles.

"In many cases the personnel and the equipment comes as a package," one senior official said.

The aid also includes rifles, ammunition and body armor that Army Special Forces trainers took home with them after Pakistan threw them out of the country after shutting down an American program to train Pakistani troops combating the Taliban and al Qaeda in the country's tribal and border areas.

"While the Pakistani military leadership tells us this is a temporary step, the presence of our trainers is having the immediate consequence of preventing us from delivering a significant amount of military assistance," a senior State Department official said.

"We remain committed to helping Pakistan build its capabilities, but we have communicated to Pakistani officials on numerous occasions that we require certain support in order to provide certain assistance. Working together, allowing an appropriate presence for U.S. military personnel, providing necessary visas, and affording appropriate access are among the things that would allow us to effectively provide assistance," the official added.

The move comes amid intense pressure among lawmakers to halt U.S. security assistance. Last week the House approved a Pentagon budget bill than limits funding for Pakistan's military until the secretaries of defense and state submit a report to Congress explaining how the money will be spent to combat militants.

"When it comes to our military aid," Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told a Senate panel last month, "we are not prepared to continue providing that at the pace we were providing it unless and until we see certain steps taken."

Tensions between the United States and Pakistan, further aggravated by the U.S. raid on Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbotabad, continue to mount. Last week Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen stepped up U.S. rhetoric against Pakistan, becoming the first American official to publicly accuse Pakistan of sanctioning the murder of journalist, Saleem Shahzad, who was critical of the regime.

The Pakistani military and Inter-Services Intelligence agency denied any involvement in Shahzad's killing, and Pakistani Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan called Mullen's statement irresponsible.

The senior State Department official said that while the United States wants a "constructive and mutually beneficial relationship with Pakistan," Washington is urging Islamabad to strengthen its cooperation toward the two countries' "shared security goals."

"We are taking a very clear-eyed approach to our relationship with Pakistan -- weighing both the importance of a continued long-term relationship and the importance of near-term action on key issues," the official said.

On the ABC program Sunday, Daley said the U.S. relationship with Pakistan "is very complicated."

"Obviously there's still a lot of pain that the political system in Pakistan is feeling by virtue of the raid that we did to get Osama bin Laden," although the United States has "no regrets," he said. The relationship with Pakistan "is difficult, but it must be made to work over time," he said.

"But until we get through these difficulties, we'll hold back some of the money that the American taxpayers have committed to give."

Responding to whether that figure was "some $800 million," Daley said, "Yep."

Abbas, the Pakistani military spokesman, told CNN, "We have said in the past that military aid should be redirected to the civilian area where it's needed more."

"As far as the impact is concerned," he added, "we have stated in the past we have conducted operations against militants in the tribal region -- and they have been successful operations -- using our own resources without taking any external support. Those operations in the tribal areas will continue."