Why did the CIA recall its station chief in Pakistan?

Background: CIA recalls its station chief in Pakistan

The CIA has pulled its station chief from Islamabad, one of America’s most important spy posts, after his cover was blown in a legal action brought by victims of US drone strikes in the tribal belt.

The officer, named in Pakistan as Jonathan Banks, left the country yesterday, after a tribesman publicly accused him of being responsible for the death of his brother and son in a CIA drone strike in December 2009. Karim Khan, a journalist from North Waziristan, called for Banks to be charged with murder and executed.

In a rare move, the CIA called Banks home yesterday, citing “security concerns” and saying he had received death threats, Washington officials told Associated Press. Khan’s lawyer said he was fleeing the possibility of prosecution.

“This is just diplomatic language they are using. Banks is a liability to the CIA because he’s likely to be called to court. They want to save him, and themselves, the embarrassment,” said lawyer Shahzad Akbar. Pakistani media reports have claimed that Banks entered the country on a business visa, and therefore does not enjoy diplomatic immunity from prosecution.


Who revealed the CIA chief’s identity?

Questions have arisen as to whether a civil lawsuit filed last month in Brooklyn in connection with the 2008 Mumbai attacks may have raised tensions with Pakistan and spurred it to retaliate. The lawsuit lists Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, the head of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, as a defendant and accuses the ISI of nurturing terrorists involved in the Mumbai attacks, which left 166 people dead.

The position

The CIA’s work is unusually difficult in Pakistan, an important but at times capricious counterterrorism ally. The station chief in Islamabad operates as a virtual military commander in the U.S. war against al-Qaida and other militant groups hidden along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. The chief runs the Predator drone program targeting terrorists and handles some of the CIA’s most urgent and sensitive tips.

The station chief also collaborates closely with Pakistani intelligence. The alliance has led to strikes on key militant leaders but has also been marred by spats between the two agencies. During the first term of President George W. Bush’s administration, Pakistan almost expelled a previous CIA station chief in a dispute about intelligence sharing.

ISI’s reaction

Pakistan’s top spy agency denied Saturday that it helped unmask the CIA’s station chief in Islamabad, dismissing speculation it was retaliating for a U.S. lawsuit linking the Pakistani intelligence chief to the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, India.

An official with the Pakistani spy service warned that such allegations risk raising tensions between the already uneasy allies.

The Pakistani intelligence official dismissed any claims of ISI involvement in exposing the CIA official as “a slur.” He declined to offer any comment on the Brooklyn lawsuit and said it was entirely possible Pakistani journalists simply figured out the station chief’s identity on their own.

Such “unfounded stories can create differences between the two organizations,” the official warned.

He also said the CIA has not directly accused the ISI of any wrongdoing in the matter. Like other intelligence officials, he requested anonymity because of the sensitive nature of his work and because he is not authorized to speak to media on the record.


‘ISI blew CIA station chief’s cover in retaliation to Mumbai massacre implication’: The US officials’ allegation

The US officials said they strongly suspected that operatives of Pakistan’s spy service, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), had a hand in revealing the CIA officer’s identity- possibly in retaliation against a civil lawsuit filed in Brooklyn last month implicating the ISI chief in the Mumbai terrorist attacks of November 2008, the New York Times reports.

The officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, did not immediately provide details to support their suspicions, but said that the CIA station chief had received a number of death threats since being publicly identified in a legal complaint sent to the Pakistani police this week by the family of victims of earlier drone campaigns.


The top CIA spy’s hurried departure is the latest evidence of mounting tensions between the two uneasy allies, which could intensify in the coming months with the prospect of more American pressure on Pakistan to hunt for militants in its tribal region bordering Afghanistan.

The Mumbai lawsuit in Brooklyn

The CIA-ISI relationship has often frayed in recent years; American officials believe that ISI officers helped plan the deadly July 2008 bombing of the Indian Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, as well as provided support to Lashkar-e-Taiba militants who carried out the Mumbai attacks later that year.

Last month, a lawsuit filed in Brooklyn, which was brought by families of American victims of the 2008 Mumbai attacks, had named the ISI chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, as being complicit in the attacks. The suit asserts that General Pasha and other ISI officers were “purposefully engaged in the direct provision of material support or resources” to the planners of the Mumbai attacks.

Pakistan’s response

A senior Pakistani official, also speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that the Pakistani government “believes that the suit in New York does not have a sound legal basis, and is based on conjecture.”

“We did not need to retaliate,” he said. “As far as the government of Pakistan and the ISI are concerned, we look forward to working with the Americans in securing the world from transnational threats, especially the shared threat of terrorism.”

The legal case in Pakistan

The legal complaint in Pakistan, which identified the station chief was filed on Monday over CIA drone attacks that killed at least two Pakistanis, seeking police help in keeping the top spy in the country until a lawsuit could be filed.

Mirza Shahzad Akbar, the lawyer who brought the case against the CIA, said that it would continue despite the station chief’s absence. He is representing Kareem Khan, a resident of North Waziristan, who said that his son and brother were killed in a drone strike, and is seeking 500 million dollars in compensation. (ANI)


What do the ISI’s agents in Pakistani media say?

Syed Talat Hussain

Change of heart on US drone strikes?
Source: Dawn, December 15, 2010

ISLAMABAD: “Report 25” in the Islamabad secretariat police station`s record is set to become a symbolic document in Pakistan`s counter-terrorism relations with the United States. Based on an application by Kareem Khan of Muchikhel, Mirali, North Waziristan, the report can possibly pave the way for the registration of a case against Jonathan Banks, an alleged CIA functionary operating from the US embassy in Islamabad, on charges of providing operational guidance for drone attacks in Fata region, including one that killed the complainant`s son and brother.

Kareem Khan`s application caps two weeks of activity by a group of protesters from the Fata region who have camped outside the parliament, and not far from the Islamabad Press Club, pleading for an end to drone attacks.

All of them have seen the horror of drone strikes. Some like Sadullah, a grade-7 student, also from Mirali, have been crippled for life, while others, the majority in the group, have been traumatised by the death of their relatives.

It is the first time since the drone attacks started in 2004 that some victims have taken an initiative for a legal action against the US authorities. This strengthens a hitherto disjointed outcry against drones, elevating it to an expression of the nation`s sentiment. Dawn

“I want the court to provide me relief. I want these criminals to be brought to justice. They sit in Islamabad and kill Pakistan`s citizens. Let us see what the government does for us now,” said Kareem Khan while talking to .

This expectation of support from the government is already half-met. The group of protesters has been getting substantial political support. Almost every political party has sent a representative to the camp to assure the protesters of its support. Even the Awami National Party, whose leaders have been the most vocal in supporting the drone attacks, has publicly endorsed their stance. Afrasiab Khattak, chief of the party`s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa unit, surprised his own colleagues by spending time with the campaigners from Fata.

But a question has been baffling observers: who tipped off the petitioners about the identity of the putative CIA operative and his presence in Islamabad?

Even the most well-informed sources in the capital would not have access to such privileged piece of information. For this to have become a part of Kareem`s application indicates that the mood in Islamabad`s corridors of power is changing with regard to drone attacks and their usefulness. TIT FOR TAT?:

Islamabad`s diplomatic circles are abuzz with speculation as to what could have caused this change of mood. One reason cited is the 26-page lawsuit filed with a New York Court on Nov 19 against the ISI and LeT by the relatives of those who were gunned down by militants at Mumbai`s Chabad House on Nov 26, 2008.

The court has issued summons to, among others, the present and former heads of the ISI, Lt Generals Shuja Pasha and Nadeem Taj.

“It could be tit for tat, in a bizarre battle of one-upmanship between the agencies,” mused a western diplomat at a recent reception.

It is hard to verify this explanation in the absence of any official word. The Foreign Office, as well as military spokespersons, have declined to comment on the subject. And the ISI does not have an official spokesperson.

A much more convincing explanation could be that the frequency of drone attacks has at last exasperated the decision makers into feeling enough is enough.

If indeed the Fata protesters are being facilitated by Islamabad`s ruling establishment, then it seems to have a lot to do with a new set of anxieties that have overtaken both GHQ and Islamabad.

Statements from top US intelligence officials warning about the possibility of expanding the territorial scope of the strikes has rung alarm bells.

Sources close to the security establishment say that suggestions by US think tanks of attacks in Quetta against the so-called Quetta Shura and on madressahs in Akora Khattak, Karak, are being taken seriously.

While US officials have always reassured Pakistan that such suggestions are “wild talk”, the sources say, no one is under any illusion that this cannot happen.

Cultivating public opinion against drone attacks is therefore important to make the CIA think twice before expanding drone attacks to urban centres.

Hence “Report 25” is a clear message from Pakistan that the nation has now begun to draw a red line vis-Ã -vis the drones.

But it is hard to imagine that this would make US policymakers review their policy. This is in part because of the private sanction that Islamabad has given to these strikes since 2004.

`LAUGHABLE`: Karim Khan`s complaint has come after as many as 207 reported drone strikes and considerable civilian casualties. The Long War Journal has given a conservative estimate of the innocents killed in these strikes, putting the figure at over one hundred.

The locals laugh off these estimates. “This is laughable. Hundreds have been killed in my area alone. This is just to prove US policy right. These estimates have no value,” said Kareem.

Regardless of the debate on casualties, it is an open secret that Pakistan`s highest authorities have been in on drone strikes. The most persuasive evidence came when a WikiLeaks cable quoted Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani as saying: “I don`t care if they do it as long as they get the right people. We`ll protest in the National Assembly and then ignore it.”

Making the US change this policy of cooperation will be easier said than done. In fact, the US has already ramped up the drone effort inside Pakistan, and that is why of the total drone strikes on Pakistan, a whopping 197 have taken place since 2008.

It will be interesting to see whether Report 25 will reverse the trend.

Hamid Mir

The US must not consider ‘us’ weak

ہمیں کمزور نہ سمھو…قلم کمان …حامد میر

Jang, 2 Dec 2010

کیا یہ امریکا کے زوال کا آغاز نہیں؟ امریکی سفارت کاروں کی خفیہ دستاویزات ہزاروں لاکھوں کی تعداد میں بے نقاب ہوچکی ہیں۔ دوسرے الفاظ میں ”وکی لیکس“ نے امریکا کو دنیا کے سامنے ننگا کردیا ہے۔ گھر کے بھیدی نے لنکا ڈھا دی۔امریکی سفارتکاروں کا طرز فکر ہمارے سامنے آچکا ہے اور اب اس حقیقت میں کوئی شک نہیں رہا کہ ہمیں امریکیوں سے ہوشیار رہنے کی ضرورت ہے۔ بس بہت ہوچکا۔ اب ہمیں امریکیوں کے ہاتھوں مزید ذلت برداشت نہیں کرنی چاہئے۔ یقیناً ایک سپر پاور کے سامنے سراٹھا کر جینا اتنا آسان نہیں لیکن ہم اس سپر پاور کو تو باور کروا سکتے ہیں کہ اگر تم نے ہمیں ذلت کی زندگی کی طرف دھکیلنے کی پالیسی نہ بدلی تو تم ہمیں عزت کی موت کا انتخاب کرنے سے نہ روک سکو گے۔ مجھے یقین ہے کہ ہماری ذلتوں کا وقت ختم ہونے والا ہے

کچھ دانشور کہتے ہیں کہ امریکا جو بھی حکم دے اس پر آنکھیں بند کرکے عمل کرنا ہی قومی مفاد ہے کیونکہ ہم ”ناں“ کہنے کی اوقات ہی نہیں رکھتے ۔ یہ دانشور بھول جاتے ہیں کہ ابھی چند ہفتے پہلے کی تو بات ہے جب امریکی طیاروں کے حملوں میں ایف سی کے جوان شہید ہوئے تو ہم نے ایک ”ناں“ کی۔ ہم نے امریکا کیلئے پاکستان کے راستے افغانستان جانے والی سپلائی لائن بند کردی۔ صرف ایک ہفتے کے اندر اندر سپر پاور کو ہمارے سامنے جھکنا پڑا اور امریکی سفیر نے پہلی دفعہ ہم سے معافی مانگی۔

یہ خاکسار کوئی جذباتی بات نہیں کررہا۔ اس معافی کے بعد بھی امریکیوں نے ہماری آزادی اور خود مختاری کو ایک عالمی تماشہ بنانے کی پالیسی ختم نہ کی تو ہم امریکیوں کو سبق سکھانے کی صلاحیت بھی رکھتے ہیں۔ جی ہاں! جس قسم کے ڈرون طیاروں کے ذریعے امریکا پچھلے کئی سالوں سے پاکستان میں بمباری کررہا ہے اسی قسم کے ڈرون طیارے پاکستان بھی بنا چکا ہے۔ پاکستان کے ڈرون طیارے بھی پائلٹ کے بغیر اڑتے ہیں، پائلٹ کے بغیر نہ صرف دن کی روشنی میں بلکہ رات کے اندھیرے میں بھی اپنے ہدف کو 25 ہزار فٹ کی بلندی سے نشانہ بنا سکتے ہیں اور دشمن کے ریڈار کو دھوکہ بھی دے سکتے ہیں۔ امریکا کے ڈرون طیاروں کو گرانے کیلئے ہمیں امریکا سے خریدے گئے ایف16 طیاروں کی ضرورت نہیں بلکہ ان ڈرون طیاروں کو بھگانے کیلئے ہمارے اپنے ڈرون ہی کافی ہیں۔

اب آپ سوچ رہے ہوں گے کہ اگر امریکا القاعدہ اور طالبان کے خلاف پاکستان میں ڈرون حملے کرسکتا ہے تو ہم القاعدہ اور طالبان کے خلاف اپنے ڈرون استعمال کیوں نہیں کرتے؟ میری اطلاع کے مطابق ہم نے جنوبی وزیر ستان میں عسکریت پسندوں کے خلاف اپنے ڈرون طیاروں کو بڑی کامیابی لیکن احتیاط کے ساتھ استعمال کیا۔ ان طیاروں کو صرف ان علاقوں میں استعمال کیا گیا جہاں صرف عسکریت پسند موجود تھے

میں نے کئی مرتبہ کئی امریکیوں سے پوچھا کہ تم پاکستان میں ڈرون حملے کرتے ہو لیکن افغانستان میں طالبان کے خلاف ڈرون حملے کیوں نہیں کرتے؟ اس سوال کا ان کے پاس کوئی جواب نہیں ہوتا۔ دراصل پاکستان میں ڈرون حملوں کے ذریعہ وہ دنیا کی ساتویں ایٹمی طاقت کا جان بوجھ کر بار بار مذاق اڑاتے ہیں۔ انہیں معلوم ہے کہ ان حملوں سے ریاستی اداروں اور عوام میں عدم اعتماد بڑھے گا۔

امریکی میڈیا کے ذریعہ پروپیگنڈہ کیا جاتا ہے کہ یہ ڈرون حملے پاکستانی حکومت کی مرضی سے ہوتے ہیں بلکہ یہاں تک کہا جاتا ہے کہ یہ ڈرون طیارے پاکستانی ایئر پورٹوں سے ہی پرواز کرتے ہیں۔ وزیر اعظم یوسف رضا گیلانی، وزیر خارجہ شاہ محمود قریشی اور آرمی چیف جنرل اشفاق پرویز کیانی کئی مرتبہ امریکی میڈیا میں شائع ہونے والی خبروں کی تردید کرچکے ہیں اور یہ کہہ چکے ہیں کہ انہوں نے امریکیوں کے ساتھ مذاکرات میں ڈرون حملے روکنے کا مطالبہ کیا ہے۔

پچھلے دو اڑھائی سال میں یہ حملے کم نہیں ہوئے بلکہ بڑھ گئے ہیں۔ ان حملوں نے ریاست اور عوام کے درمیان غط فہمیوں کے کوہ ہمالیہ کھڑے کر دیئے ہیں۔ کیا وقت نہیں آگیا کہ ان غلط فہمیوں کو دور کیا جائے؟ کیا وقت نہیں آگیا کہ وزیر اعظم، وزیر خارجہ اور آرمی چیف اہل وطن کے سامنے اپنی سچائی کو ثابت کریں؟ امریکیوں کی خوشنودی کی خاطر اپنوں کی تنقید کا نشانہ نہ بن کر انہیں کیا مل رہا ہے؟


A relatively sane voice in Pakistani media

Saleem Safi

ڈرون حملے، وکی لیکس اور ہماری منافقت…. جرگہ…سلیم صافی

نہیں نہیں، ہر گز نہیں۔ انہیں انکشافات کہنا مناسب نہیں۔ انکشاف وہی ہوتا ہے جس کا پہلے سے کسی کو علم ہو اور نہ اندازہ اور اچانک وہ منکشف ہوجائے۔ وکی لیکس میں پاکستان سے متعلق جو حقائق سامنے آئے ہیں،ان میں پاکستان سے متعلق کم از کم ہم جیسے طالب علموں کے لئے کوئی نئی بات نہیں۔ پاکستانی سیاست و سکیورٹی سے دلچسپی رکھنے والے ہر فرد کو علم تھا کہ موجودہ سیاسی سیٹ اپ کی بساط امریکہ نے بچھائی تھی۔ یہ حقیقت سب اہل صحافت و سیاست پر عیاں تھی کہ آصف علی زرداری ملکی اسٹیبلشمنٹ کو اچھے لگتے ہیں اور نہ اسے میاں نوازشریف عزیز ہیں۔ یہ راز بھی کوئی راز نہیں تھا کہ آصف علی زرداری اور میاں نواز شریف یکساں طور پر عسکری قیادت کے بارے میں شاکی ہیں

کس باخبر پاکستانی کو خبر نہ تھی پاکستانی اسٹیبلشمنٹ کے سرخیل اپنے ہر بڑے قدم کے لئے واشنگٹن کی آشیرباد ضروری سمجھتے ہیں اور یہ کہ پاکستانی سیاستدانوں کی اکثریت اپنے گندے کپڑے امریکی سفارتخانے میں جاکر دھوتے رہتے ہیں؟

دوغلے پن اور قوم کے ساتھ دھوکے کا یہ سلسلہ بہت پہلے سے جاری ہے۔ 2007ء میں امریکیوں نے شمالی وزیرستان دو اور باجوڑ میں ایک مقام کو ڈرون سے نشانہ بنانے کا منصوبہ بنایا۔ ان کی پہلی ترجیح شمالی وزیرستان تھی لیکن تب اس وقت کے گورنر لیفٹیننٹ جنرل(ر) علی محمد جان اوکرزئی نے اس وقت کے وائس چیف آف آرمی اسٹاف کے ذریعے امریکیوں سے درخواست کی کہ وہ حملہ اس لئے نہ کرے کیونکہ دو روز بعد شمالی وزیرستان کے قبائل کے ساتھ طے پانے والا معاہدہ خطرے میں پڑ جائے گا ۔ جب امریکی نہیں مانے تو پھر مبینہ طور پر گورنر صاحب نے ان سے درخواست کی کہ اگر ڈرون حملہ خواہ مخواہ کرنا ہی ہے تو پھر شمالی وزیرستان کی بجائے باجوڑ میں کیا جائے۔ یہ وہ حملہ تھا جس میں ڈمہ ڈولا کے ایک مدرسے میں درجنوں بچے شہید ہوگئے۔

یہ سب کچھ تب ہورہا تھا جب متحدہ مجلس عمل حکومت میں شامل اور پرویز مشرف کا درپردہ اتحادی تھا۔ اس حملہ پر اس وقت ہماری حکومت نے ڈرامہ بازی کی خاطر امریکہ سے احتجاج کیا اور اسی حملے کے خلاف اسفندیار ولی خان کی زیرقیادت عوامی نیشنل پارٹی نے تیمرگرہ سے باجوڑ تک ایک احتجاجی مارچ بھی کیا ۔

امریکی ڈرون حملوں کو اپنی جنگ میں کامیاب ترین ہتھیار تصور کرتے ہیں۔ جس کا نقصان ان کے لئے کم سے کم اور فائدہ بہت زیادہ ہے۔ بغیر کسی جانی اور مالی نقصان کے گزشتہ سالوں کے دوران ان حملوں کے نتیجے میں وہ درجنوں کی تعداد میں القاعدہ اور پاکستانی طالبان کے رہنماؤں کو مار چکے ہیں۔ ان میں اگر بے گناہ قبائلی نشانہ بنتے ہیں تو امریکیوں کو اس کی کوئی پروا نہیں۔ نہ صرف وہ یہ سلسلہ جاری رکھیں گے بلکہ اس میں مزید اضافہ بھی کرنے جارہے ہیں۔ سوال یہ ہے کہ اگر یہ سب کچھ پاکستانی حکمرانوں کی اجازت سے ہورہا ہے تو پھر کیوں قوم کو بے وقوف اور پاکستان کو دنیا کی نظروں میں مذاق بنایاجارہا ہے؟

ان دنوں شمالی وزیرستان سے تعلق رکھنے والا ایک صحافی کریم خان اسلام آباد میں مارے مارے پھرتے ہوئے انصاف کی بھیک مانگ رہے ہیں۔ 31دسمبر 2009ء کو میرعلی کے قریب واقع ان کے حجرے پر امریکی سی آئی اے نے ڈرون حملہ کیا تھا جس میں ان کا اٹھارہ سالہ معصوم بچہ زین اللہ خان، ان کی بھائی آصف اقبال (جو کہ نمل سے ایم اے انگلش کرنے کے بعد ایک اسکول میں پڑھاتے تھے) اور ایک ملازم شہید ہوئے تھے۔ انہوں نے بیرسٹر مرزا شہزاد اکبر کے ذریعے امریکی سیکرٹری دفاع رابرٹ گیٹس، سی آئی اے کے سربراہ لیون پینیٹا اور اسی ادارے کے اسٹیشن چیف جوناتھن بینکس کو عدالتی چارہ جوئی کا نوٹس ارسال کرکے پانچ سو ملین ڈالر کا تاوان طلب کیا ہے لیکن میں یہ دیکھ کر حیران رہ گیا کہ ان کے اس نوٹس میں پاکستانی حکمران اور پالیسی ساز شامل نہیں ہیں۔

سوال یہ ہے کہ کیا کریم خان جیسوں کو ایک اسی نوعیت کا نوٹس پاکستانی حکمرانوں کو بھی ارسال نہیں کرنا چاہئے جنہوں نے ایک طرف امریکیوں کو ڈرون حملوں کی اجازت دے رکھی ہے اور اوپر سے دوغلے پن کا مظاہرہ کرتے ہوئے ان کے خلاف قراردادیں پاس کرتے یا پھر سیاسی میدان میں موجود اپنے پراکسیز کے ذریعے دھرنے دلواتے رہتے ہیں؟


What do WikiLeaks say?

Pakistan has been very sensitive to allegations that U.S. combat forces are at work inside the country. But one cable from Patterson written in October 2009 noted with satisfaction, “The Pakistani Army has for just the second time approved deployment of U.S. special operation elements to support Pakistani military operations. The first deployment … occurred in September.”

That cable goes on to say that a request had come from the Pakistani military commander in North and South Waziristan, Lt. Gen. Masood Aslam, for intelligence and reconnaissance assistance from U.S. Special Operations units. That support would “include a live downlink of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) full motion video,” it says.

Patterson adds that the move “appears to represent a sea change in Pakistani thinking. Patient relationship-building with the military is the key factor that has brought us to this point.”

But she cautions: “These deployments are highly politically sensitive because of widely held concerns among the public about Pakistani sovereignty and opposition to allowing foreign military forces to operate in any fashion on Pakistani soil. Should these developments and/or related matters receive any coverage in the Pakistani or U.S. media, the Pakistani military will likely stop making requests for such assistance.”


Wikileaks: Pakistan privately approved drone strikes
US special forces fought side by side with Pakistani soldiers and the government in Islamabad privately approved drone strikes while publicly condemning the CIA’s covert raids, according to the Wikileaks diplomatic cables

Rob Crilly in Islamabad 9:43AM GMT 01 Dec 2010

The revelations of America’s secret war in Pakistan will deeply embarrass President Asif Ali Zardari (a puppet of Gernal Kayani) who has long denied such deep co-operation with Washington for fear it would embolden Islamist opposition to his feeble government.

In public, both sides have described putting American boots on the ground as a red line issue.

However, a cable sent by the then US Ambassador to Islamabad, Anne Patterson, states that Pakistan has twice requested American soldiers to embed with its Frontier Corps in North Waziristan and South Waziristan, areas dotted with Taliban and al-Qaeda bases.

On both occasions Pakistan asked for the help of US special forces to provide intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance – including video footage from drones – to its troops. On one mission they helped the Pakistani soldiers target an enemy base with artillery.

“These deployments are highly politically sensitive because of widely-held concerns among the public about Pakistani sovereignty and opposition to allowing foreign military forces to operate in any fashion on Pakistani soil,” she wrote.

“Should these developments and/or related matters receive any coverage in the Pakistani or US media, the Pakistani military will likely stop making requests for such assistance.”

A second cable describes a 2008 meeting with Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, Pakistani prime minister, in which he brushes aside concerns about the use of Predator drones against targets in the tribal areas and gives an insight into how he would deny any co-operation.

“I don’t care if they do it as long as they get the right people. We’ll protest in the National Assembly and then ignore it,” he told Ms Patterson.

There have been more than 100 drone strikes so far this year as the Obama administration steps up its covert use of Predators in the skies over Pakistan.

[Of course, Gilani and Zardari were speaking the voice of their masters in khaki.]


US embassy cables released by whistleblower website WikiLeaks reveal that teams of US special forces have been secretly working with Pakistan military in the tribal areas, the Guardian said on Wednesday.

Small US special forces teams helped hunt down Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters and co-ordinate drone strikes, American cables revealed.

They pointed out that the number of soldiers involved were limited to just 16 in October 2009 – but the deployment is of immense political significance.

The first special forces team of four soldiers was deployed at an old British colonial fort in the northern half of the tribal belt in September 2009, so as to help Frontier Corps paramilitaries to carry out artillery strikes on a militant base, one of the leaked US cables revealed.

A month later, two more teams of six soldiers each were deployed at Pakistani army bases in North and South Waziristan, a lawless warren of mountains considered to be the global headquarters of al-Qaeda, it said.

Their job was to provide “intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance” support, “general operational advice” and to help set up a live satellite feed from American drones flying overhead.

American officials, who had long been pushing for such a deployment in the face of “adamant” Pakistani opposition, were jubilant, viewing it as a sign of growing trust in an often troubled relationship, the cable said.

“The developments of the past two months thus appear to represent a sea change in [the military’s] thinking,” read one of the cables.

American special forces had been deployed in Pakistan since 2008 but were limited to a training role, it noted.

Permission for the active combat deployment “almost certainly” came with the personal consent of Pakistan army chief General Ashfaq Kayani, another cable read.

“Patient relationship-building with the military is the key factor that has brought us to this point. The Pakistanis are increasingly confident that we do not have ulterior motives in assisting their operations,” according to the cable.

Participation of American soldiers in combat operations in the tribal campaign has never been publicly acknowledged due to its extreme political sensitivity in a country seething with anti-US sentiment, it further noted.

In the cables, Pakistan bureaucrats have been shown as supporting the drone attacks, viewing them as a solution to a problem.


Within Pakistan, ISI is on the run, refuses to explain its role in drone attacks!

In a visible expression of disrespect and distrust of politicians, the ISI has refused to brief the Pakistan Parliament’s standing committee on defense about their role and cooperation with the US drone attacks on Pakistani territory.

According to recent revelations by Wikileaks the current drone operations in Pakistan are being conducted by the USA with due permission and help from Pakistan Army / ISI.

A few days ago, the National Assembly Standing Committee on Defense had taken serious view of the media reports that US was seeking to expand drone attacks in Quetta. The committee is chaired by the PPP MNA from Sindh, Azra Afzal.

The NA committee, which met at the Parliament House on 25 November, sought a clarification from the Interior, Foreign and Defence Ministries by December 7. The committee also directed for a special briefing on ISI role in the war on terror.

The ISI has however refused to welcome parliamentarians in their headquarters because of ‘security concerns’.

The ISI, which is largely conceived as a state within the state of Pakistan, is notorious for its disrespect for elected representatives of the people, and also for its illegal interference in the country’s political system.

According to the ISI’s criteria, almost all politicians and activists (except Imran Khan, Munawar Hassan, General Hameed Gul, Hafiz Saeed, Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Pir Pagara etc) are a risk to the national security of Pakistan.

In the past, the ISI and its paid agents in Pakistani media have categorized elected Prime Ministers Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif as a threat to the national security.

Same allegations are currently being levelled against the elected President Asif Zardari, Prime Mnister Yusuf Raza Gilani and their aides including Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Law Minister Babar Awan etc.

Here is the news item from Jang newspaper:

آئی ایس آئی کی قائمہ کمیٹی برائے دفاع کو بریفنگ دینے سے معذرت

Updated at 1645 PST

اسلام آباد….آئی ایس آئی نے قومی اسمبلی کی قائمہ کمیٹی برائے دفاع کو آئی ایس آئی ہیڈکوارٹر میں بریفنگ دینے سے معذرت کرلی ہے۔

ذرائع کے مطابق قائمہ کمیٹی نے وزارت ِ دفاع کو ڈرون حملوں کا دائرہ کار کوئٹہ تک بڑھانے اور سی آئی اے کی پاکستان میں سرگرمیوں سے متعلق آئی ایس آئی کو ہیڈکوارٹر میں بریفنگ دینے کی ہدایت کی تھی لیکن آئی ایس آئی حکام نے وزارت دفاع کو آگاہ کیا کہ پوری کمیٹی کو ہیڈکوارٹر میں بریفنگ نہیں دی جاسکتی

جس پر چیئرپرسن عذرا فضل نے وزارت دفاع کو ہدایت کی کہ کسی اور محفوظ جگہ پر 13 جنوری کو بریفنگ کا انتظام کردیا جائے۔

قائمہ کمیٹی برائے دفاع کے اجلاس میں فضائی مال برداری بل 2010ء کا بھی جائزہ لیا گیا اور بل کے حوالے سے ائیرلائنوں کے نمائندگان اور ایکسپورٹرز نے اپنے تحفظات پیش کیے۔ جس پر ان تحفظات کا جائزہ لینے کے لیے یہ بل قومی اسمبلی کی قائمہ کمیٹی برائے دفاع کو بھجوا دیا گیا

اجلاس کی صدارت چیئرپرسن کمیٹی عذرافضل پیچوہو نے کی۔




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