Musharraf starts new political voyage amid uncertainties

Ex-president says Kargil a matter of pride, it is made into shame; announces Rs2b bounty on Shahzain’s head

Naimat Khan

KARACHI: Having claimed to end his self-exile for the people of Pakistan, the former President, Pervez Musharraf, on Wednesday said he would decide his political future after knowing the results of forthcoming elections.

“I had taken the country towards skies”, claimed Musharraf in a crowded press conference at a local hotel, saying the successors had brought the country to the verge of collapse, making it a hell for the masses.
The All Pakistan Muslim League chief, who started his press conference with confessing his failure to do the required planning and selecting the desired candidates for contesting elections, said he had to rely on and trust the party leaders for nominating candidates which he hoped would be better. “I didn’t find much time to scrutinize each and every candidate” said Musharraf, adding, his party was a remote controlled party prior to his arrival in Pakistan.
The former President, while rejecting the old guns, PPP and PML-N, who ruled over the country for two and three turns, said he can neither claim to bring Tsunami nor can he contest elections separately.
Musharraf called Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) his favorite party for electoral alliance and said he expected MQM’s support especially for NA-250 on which he would contest elections at the advice and insistence of party leaders.
Musharraf said he had not struck a deal with anybody and returned to Pakistan in the interest of the country. “I have got an international status, I am respected and honored, I have never asked for anything” claimed Musharraf, adding, may be someone had done something for him but he had never requested anyone to help him start the new political career.
Regarding the conflict inside his party, the APML president asked which party in Pakistan was free of internal politics. “But I have reached Pakistan and I will control the situation” he said.
Although the doors of hotel hall where the press conference was held remained closed until Musharraf left the place due to strict security measures, he said he was not scared of anyone and would continue election campaign. “It is still to be pondered over as where I have to address to public gatherings”, said Musharraf.
The former President, who attributed all goods of his 8 years’ rule to himself, said he was not responsible for the bad that happened during the period including Bugti murder, Benazir assassination, Lal Masjid massacre, and removal and mishandling of superior judiciary.
Nuclear Proliferation: The former President, whose address to press mostly revolved around “I”, made a shocking statement that there was no control over proliferation of nuclear technology in Pakistan. “It was me who made control system, completely making it the safest technology in the county” said Musharraf alleging that Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan had been involved in nuclear proliferation that brought Pakistan the name of a rouge state.
“Had I not been there, one can not imagine what would have happened to the proliferators?” claimed Musharraf.
Kargil War: The Kargil should have been a matter of pride for the nation but it has been made a matter of shame, complained the former President when asked how he would defend his position on the issue that brought Pakistan a bad name. 
In Kargil we had gripped India from its neck but unfortunately the military victory was converted into political defeat, he said.
I had not joined army for wearing bangles but fighting the enemies which not only supported Mukti Bahini in 1970 but also made aggression in Siachen, said Musharraf.
Issue of Dr Aafia: When asked that whether those who handed over the daughter of the nation to America were traitors, Musharraf said “whoever did so was a traitor but I have not handed over her to the US”.
Bounty on Shahzain: The former President announced a bounty of Rs 2 billion on head of Shahzain Bugti, the grandson of Akber Bugti who was allegedly killed at the orders of General (R) Pervez Musharraf. “If he has announced head money of Rs 10 millions on my head, I announce twenty million rupees” said Musharraf who later enhanced the head money to 2 billions rupees.
It is pertinent to mention that Shahzain Bugti had announced to give Rs1 million in cash and a bungalow worth Rs100 million to anybody who kills Musharraf.
Bugti Murder Case: When asked whether he would apologize for the murder of Bugti to soothe Baloch people, the former President said Akber Khan Bugti had challenged the writ of the government and it was the government of the time and not the President which took action against him to restore its writ.
He was not killed but the cave collapsed when either a rocket was fired at the army officials detained there and subsequently martyred or some explosive stored there went off, Musharraf claimed. “But no one talks of the children of those four army officials who lost their lives for the country.”
Lal Masjid Operation: The former President rejected the claims that negotiations had reached to the point where these could be productive. Refusing to accept the responsibility of Lal Masjid massacre, Musharraf said all leaders including Chaudhry Shujaat were at the same page for ultimate action against the miscreants who had created a state within the state in the heart of Islamabad.
“No women or children were killed during the operation, only 94 terrorists were killed” said Musharraf, adding, the facts and figures shown in media were baseless.
War on Terror: Musharraf said the decision to join the US-led war on terror was in the interest of Pakistan and if he had not taken that decision the country’s destiny would have been radically different.
“Today you would not have been here to take notes of my press conference” said the former dictator who took u-turn after the US Secretary of State Collin Paul gave him the options of “either you are with us or against us”. Musharraf claimed that by siding with the US, he saved many things including the Kashmir cause.
The foreign hands behind terrorism in Pakistan cannot be ruled out, he said. “But no one, except me, is speaking against the terrorists” he said and added, “Only I raise voice against them while others political interests are ahead of national interests.”
Action against Judiciary: The former Army Chief while defending his decision to remove the Chief Justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and other judges from their posts, said it was his constitutional duty to remove them after the Prime Minister sent him a reference. Musharraf denied to have detained the judges and said they were free to roam everywhere.
Lawlessness in Karachi: The peace in the city can be restored only through strong will, said Musharraf. “For peace in Karachi, we would have to control the political forces behind criminal elements and 50 percent of the situation would automatically be controlled” said the former dictator while presenting his solution of the issue of lawlessness in Karachi.


Serious threats to life: Musharraf Asked to Leave Karachi


KARACHI:  A scheduled press conference by former President, General (R) Pervez Musharraf at a local hotel was postponed on Monday at last moment following the security agencies advised him to cancel it, The Frontier Post reliably learnt.

The former army chief was also asked to leave Karachi immediately due to serious evident threats to his life, however, it could not be known whether Pervez Musharraf had left Karachi till filing of this report or not.

The sources told this scribe that around twelve rooms of the Hotel Avari Tower, where the All Pakistan Muslim League (APML) president has been stationed and holding party meetings were evacuated on Sunday night on similar grounds, leaving the hotel customers completely annoyed.

The information secretary of All Pakistan Muslim League (APML), Asia Ishaq had sent an assignment email requesting print and electronic media to cover the important press conference of APML president who was supposed to announce vital decisions about his party future course, especially during the forthcoming elections.

But when on Monday a large number of media persons reached at the hotel, they were told that APML president would not address the press as the press conference had been deferred till indefinite period.

When contacted for giving its version regarding the news that military has forced former army chief to postpone his press conference due to security threats, a spokesman of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) told The Frontier Post he cannot refute the news as it was much likely that the country’s security agencies might have advised him to postpone his press conference.

“It is very much logical for the security agencies to inform an important figure like General (R) Pervez Musharraf of threats to his life and subsequently share their piece of advice with him”, he said.

When asked whether General (R) Pervez Musharraf was also advised to leave the troubled port city for capital, he said Musharraf was former Army Chief and former President of Pakistan and he had direct threats to his life so it becomes the duty of security agencies to avert any untoward incident.

The spokesman while citing the sad incident of assassination of former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto said it was also vital to act on the intelligence reports.

When contacted the APML’s Central Information Secretary, Asia Ishaq, refuted the news and said it was the tough schedule and round the clock meetings that barred former President of Pakistan from addressing the press.

“Head to head meetings, short listing candidates on general, minorities and women’ reserved seats and constitution of parliamentary boards were few among many things which the APML president had  to do” she said, adding that after so many hectic work, Musharraf informed that he would not be able to attend the press conference as he was tired.

She said Musharraf will leave for Islamabad in the evening on 29th April after appearing in the court in the morning. “He will address a press conference either before his departure from Karachi or just after his arrival in Islamabad” she added.

She further informed that the former president would contest elections both from Karachi and Chitral.

Published on 26th March 2013.

Taliban’s presence benefits MQM

 ANP may boycott elections in Karachi

Naimat Khan

KARACHI: The growing presence of Taliban may have long-term downsides to the peace of the port city of Karachi but in short-term if it has brought bad to the enemy number one, Awami National Party (ANP), it has certainly benefited its enemy number two, Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), by not allowing voters’ registration in Pashtun localities of the city.

An ANP’s internal source said this along with other factors including direct threat from Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) Karachi has forced the local leadership to boycott the elections. A person very close to the party circles told The Frontier Post on the condition not be named that the leadership is reluctant to obey the orders of central leadership which has categorically announced to contest forthcoming elections from all seats.

One of the party’s provincial headquarters, Mardan House, issued on Friday a statement that the party would fight elections on all Sindh seats where its electorates exist.
The source, however, said that lack of registration in Pashtun areas by Election Commission due to Taliban threat perception has manifold the worries of local leaders who are forced to take risk for the uncertain elections results.

The source informs that the staff of election commission has not entered into the areas under Taliban influence, badly affecting the electorates of not only ANP but also Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazal (JUI-F), having got elected in past with highly evident anti-MQM Pashtun votes from these areas.

The vicinities where the process of registration and verification of voters could not be carried out include, Janjal Goth, Lasi Goth, Machar colony, Ayub Goth and Al-Asif squire which drastically impacts the result of PS- 126 from where the candidate of JI, Muhammad Younis Barai was elected to Sindh Assembly in 2002.

The process has also not been carried out in Shafique Colony and Madina Colony, a resident of these areas hailing from Waziristan told this scribe.

A large number of citizens, mostly from the tribal areas and divided into three provincial seats PS-100, 102 and 103, including Manghopir, Kunwari colony, Sultanabad, New Mianwali colony, Sultanabad, Pakhtunabad, Qasba colony, Bhangi Para and other adjacent Pashtun localities also remained unregistered during the recent process. The votes had been transferred at their permanent addresses in the forged lists.

The verification staff did not go to Itehad Town and Pir Bangash colony of PS-94 which can impact the outcome of elections on this seat. Although, the process has been carried out in areas of PS-93, the constituency of ANP MPA and former provincial minister Amir Nawab and around 60 percent of the illegible votes have been registered, the situation in PS-128 is gravely affected due to the law and order situation.

No verification process has been done in the major areas of PS-128, the seat which ANP had grabbed in 2008 general elections. Gulshan-e-Buner, Muzaffarabad colony, Geedar colony, Quidabad and cattle colony of this provincial assembly seat have not been covered during the verification process.

Although, Qamar Sultana Ruvi, District Election Commissioner West Karachi refused to comment, an official in the district election commissioner West office on the condition of anonymity conceded that the staff of election commission has refrained from entering into the mentioned areas due to Taliban threat perception.

The spokesman of ANP Sindh, Pir Riaz Gul, while talking to The Frontier Post endorsed that the verification process couldn’t be fruitful as the major areas with Pashtun votes remained unvisited by the verification staff of election commission.

The ANP leader told “the Pashtun registration has improved within 2 years from 2010 till date and in the PS-94 ANP has been able to enhance its registered votes from 1700 to 14,000” But he further said the areas with Taliban influence especially the adjacent areas of Sohrab Goth, only the ANP hardcore members in their own capacity have got themselves registered for using their constitutional right to poll votes.

When asked whether the lack of registration can force the party to boycott the general polls in Karachi Gul said “a very tough time is ahead for ANP in the city but ANP Karachi can not make any decision by its own. We may not boycott the elections as it’s the decision of central leadership.” He added the elections in such situation may not bring positive results for the party in Karachi.

“We are negotiating with JUI-F and JI for an electoral alliance in the city but these talks have not been productive yet” told Gul, adding the Pashtun vote bank already being dented by lack of registration may remain unproductive after its division among anti MQM parties.

Published on March 24, 2013

NA-248: PPP at mercy of PAC to avert historical defeat

Naimat Khan

KARACHI: The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) will face an uphill battle in one its safest constituencies, NA-248 Lyari in the forthcoming general elections, in the aftermath of PPP’s mix response to the issue of banned People’s Amn Committee (PAC).


The party is virtually at the mercy of banned outfit in its stronghold, annoying which can cause it a historical defeat on important seat that had been sending founder of the party Z.A Bhutto, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and President Asif Ali Zardari in to the national legislature.


Sources told The Frontier Post the new political voyage of Nabil Gabool, who twice elected from the constituency on the PPP ticket, was clear indication that the things in the most troubled area of the metropolis were no more in control of the ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).


NA 248 (Lyari), which has traditionally been the fortress of PPP, consists of areas like Chakiwara, Baloch Para, Katchi Colony, Agra Taj, Hazara Colony, Kalakot and others parts where the writ of the government completely ceases to exist.


According to media reports, the unwilling of police and other law enforcement agency (LEAs) to take any action when the heads of Lyari gangsters, Arshad Pappu, his brother and accomplice Pathan were being used as football by the opponents for hours on last Saturday night, speaks volume about the writ of the government in the area. 


Though Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) has not finalized any name for the constituency, the Lyari’s People’s Amn Committee has suggested Shahjehan Baloch, former UC Nazim-11 for the seat, warning to contest against PPP candidate if the party declines to consider him, sources said.


The PPP, on other hand, is trying to win the support of banned outfit by offering one of the PS to the PAC nominated local leader, Shahjehan, the source privy to party discussions in this regards disclosed.


“The party which is unwilling to accommodate a local level leader for the seat also does not want to present any big name for the electorate, which the party would later vacate for by-election of its chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.


Sources said that in case the PAC demands were not met, the group may land its own man as independent candidate. It is also likely that the Uzair Baloch of People’s Amn Committee become the PML-N candidate on the seat, which will be serious blow to the ruling party.


The politics of the vicinity had been dominated by the Pakistan Muslim League (PML), religious parties and Baloch nationalists till the popular upsurge in the 1970s which changed the electoral politics of the area and the PPP, headed by late Z.A Bhutto, emerged as an unchallengeable political force by securing all the seats from this constituency.


In 1988, former Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto had made it to the NA by securing 62,046 votes. Her nearest rival was IJI’s Jamshed Ahmed Khan with 10,731 votes. In the 1990 elections, present President Asif Ali Zardari was elected MNA from the Lyari seat.


In 1997 PML-N almost snatched this seat from PPP when Mama Yunus of PML-N lost by only 312 votes to Waja Kareem Dad of PPP.


However, after Mama Yunus, PML-N had been unable not find an appropriate contender from Lyari and PPP won election from here virtually unchallenged. But now the situation has become different with the developments in recent past, the course said.


Although the ratio of votes secured by PPP in Lyari in 2008 polls was much higher, especially owing to the boycott of MMA, the party candidate, Nabil Ahmed Gabol had taken less than half (48 percent) of the total votes in general election 2002 whereas the opponent candidates were able to win the trust of 52 percent of the total registered votes of the constituency.


In such a situation, it becomes risky rather fatal for PPP to loose the votes of PAC, which will tantamount to loosing the seat which it has never lost since its inception.


Sources said the political compulsion to not annoy the Amn committee vote bank had been the major cause of PPP opposition to operation against criminals in Lyari.


During the most recent crackdown in the troubled area of the city, the PPP Karachi president Abdul Qadir and leader Shehla Reza had held a press conference against it.

Published on March 19, 2013

Daniel Pearl Case; Rangers Arrest High Profile LeJ Man from Karachi

Naimat Khan

KARACHI: The Rangers on Sunday arrested a Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) leader, who had been reportedly involved in several high profile cases during a raid in the port city of Karachi.
The former president of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi’s (LeJ) Sindh chapter, Qari Abdul Hayee alias Asadullah, was allegedly involved in the murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl which got immense coverage in the international media. Subsequently, he was arrested in 2003 from Multan and implicated in the case with charges of planning and carrying out the kidnapping and murder of Pearl.
Hayee was also facing the charges of helping his accomplice, Riaz Basra, in fleeing from the Lahore Sessions Court in 1994.
After his arrest, the high profile LeJ leader was shifted to an undisclosed location for interrogation.
A black warrant had been issued in January, 1994 against Hayee for his involvement in the Shehr Sultan killings. Police investigations claimed that Hayee had thrown grenades on a Shia mosque in Sher Sultan and opened indiscriminate fire along with his two accomplices in the attack. About six people died in the incident and Sher Sultan police registered a case against the accused.
A bounty amounting to Rs2 million was announced for his arrest. 
Hayee was arrested and had been awarded the death sentence by the Dera Ghazi Khan Anti-Terrorism Court on six counts for killing six people in the Shehr Sultan attack.
Given internal differences, Qari had reportedly formed his own Qari Asad group.
Published on March 18, 2013