NATO Strikes Aftermaths
Pakistan Boycott Bonn Conference
The bi-partisan Parliamentary Committee on National Security endorsed the decisions taken at the government level ranging from cutting off NATO supplies, taking back the Shamsi air base from US forces and boycott of Bonn Conference on Afghanistan, amidst the declaration by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani that Pakistan is being made a scapegoat for the failure of international policies in the war-torn Afghanistan.
The in-camera meeting of the committee, which lasted for three hours, deliberated at length the situation arising out of the NATO aggression on country's territory. Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani briefed the committee about the multi-faceted strategy of the government adopted in the aftermath of the incident. The committee was also mandated to give its recommendations to parliament to review the terms of engagement in war on terror.
Bilawal Bhutto Asserts His Authority For The First Time
Not many among us know that the decision of revisiting foreign policy vis-a-vis America by the PPP-led coalition government in the Centre is being done on the directions of Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, according to a local English daily.
Issuing his maiden order as party chairman he asked Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari and Senior Vice Chairman Yousuf Raza Gilani to "revisit the relations with America".
"Chairman Bilawal was in Naudero on November 26, the day when NATO helicopters attacked the Salala check post. He received detailed information from Islamabad and then called upon the co-chairperson and the senior vice chairman of the party to revisit the country's policy with America. The two gentlemen were little reluctant to 'obey' the 'order' and suggested to hold a meeting, but the chairman asserted that the meeting must be called only to review the relationship with USA," a person moving with Bilawal narrated.
The party administration then contacted its loyal corps and put the chairman's 'order' before them, asking them to make arrangements for its implementation. "It is the first order of Chairman Bilawal to his 'subordinates' in the party," the aide added.
The very next moment, the chairman told his men that he was going to the home of Shaheed Major Mujahid Ali Mirani, who was martyred in the attack. President Asif Ali Zardari and Faryal Talpur asked him not to go there until a security clearance was received. But Bilawal set off to the bereaved family's house. He met with the brothers of Shaheed Major Mujahid Ali Mirani and said that Major Mujahid had sacrificed his life for the cause of the country and that his name would be written in golden words. He announced that a government high school and a road would be named after Shaheed Major Mujahid Ali Mirani.
General Kayani Orders Troops To Hit Back In Future
Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani upped the ante in the standoff with the United States by telling his troops that aggressors would not be able to evade a crushing retaliation in future, reported a local English daily.
Where he vowed to respond to any future 'aggression' by United States and Nato troops based in Afghanistan with 'full force' regardless of its consequences, he also permitted the troops to respond to any attack without waiting for directions from the command.
"Be assured that we will not let the aggressor walk away easily," the army chief said in a message for the troops and added that he had "clearly directed that any act of aggression will be responded with full force, regardless of the cost and consequences".
The message, text of which was shared with the newspaper by a source and confirmed by an ISPR official, was specially drafted to deal with the gloom in the ranks after Nato air strikes on border posts.
Paying tributes to the 24 soldiers who were killed in the incident, General Kayani said he was proud of his men who responded with all resources at their disposal, including artillery. "We all salute the courage displayed by brave officers and men of 7 AK Regiment."
He believed that the attack could have been retaliated effectively had the communications network not broken down. "Timely decision could not be taken due to breakdown of communication with the affected posts and therefore lack of clarity of situation at various levels, including corps HQ and GHQ."
Pakistan Has Developed Smartest Nuclear Tactical Devices
Pakistan's nuclear programme has made some extraordinary progress by developing one of the world's smartest nuclear tactical devices, according to a local English daily.
According to a western diplomat, the former dictator and the then President General Pervez Musharraf, during one of his meetings with US officials, had deemed it proper to convey it to the Americans what Pakistan possessed and how the country's nuclear scientists had secured the defence of Pakistan.
The diplomatic source said that New Delhi also knows what Pakistan has produced and what is really unmatched. The Indians got this source said and believed that Musharraf intentionally conveyed this to the Americans so that the country is not treated by the US like Afghanistan and Iraq. Pakistan is neither a signatory to NPT nor CTBT, however, it has unilaterally decided to use its nuclear programme only as deterrence against any foreign aggression.
After becoming the target of the Western capitals particularly Washington, which have been unleashing all sorts of propaganda against Pakistan's nuclear programme, Islamabad has developed one of the most credible and foolproof command and control systems for its nuclear programme. The US authorities have acknowledged the credibility and security of Pakistan's nukes.
Pakistan Ranked 42nd Most Corrupt Nation In 2011
There is a good news for Pakistan. Transparency International, in its 2011 world corruption report, has shown Islamabad sliding down from last year's 34th to 42nd in ranking amongst the most corrupt nations in the world.
However, this improvement is because of some good results shown by institutions like the judiciary, Public Accounts Committee (PAC), federal tax ombudsman and the defence departments.
Although last year's 34th position of Pakistan was out of a total of 178 countries assessed by Transparency International as against 2011's 42nd rank out of 183 countries, still the country did not deteriorate further as has been the case during the previous three years of the present regime.
The Transparency International's 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index evaluated Pakistan getting 2.5 score out of 10, and ranked as 42nd most corrupt country out of 183 countries.
In 2010, TI report Pakistan's score was 2.3, and it ranked 34th most corrupt country out 178 countries. In 2011, the rank of Pakistan has improved because of increase in the number of countries assessed this year.
Pakistan ranked as the 47th most corrupt country in 2008, but in 2009 the country became more corrupt and ranked 42nd in 2009. In 2010, it was 34th most corrupt nation in the world. However, it is interesting to note that the Transparency International acknowledged that the arrest in the further decline of Pakistan in terms of corruption is not due to the present government's efforts to curb the menace but owing to commendable role of the judiciary, the Public Accounts Committee, the defence establishment and the federal tax ombudsman.
It underscored that PAC recovered Rs115 billion from 2008 to 2011. The TIP also applauded judiciary's zero-tolerance for corruption, the Ministry of Defence efforts to apply long-standing Public Procurement Rules 2004 in the armed forces departments; and the working of the federal tax ombudsman as one of the cleanest institutions in the government.
The TIP, however, said that this progress has been overshadowed by the ongoing corruption cases like the NICL, RPPs and 2010 Haj scandal in which the Supreme Court has affected recoveries of billions of rupees.
British Embassy Stormed In Iran
Protesters stormed Britain's embassy and another diplomatic compound in Tehran last week. They remained in both properties, trashing offices, stealing documents and defying police efforts to remove them, according to an AFP journalist and Iranian media at the scene.
The demonstrators were showing their anger at Britain's announcement last week that it was cutting off all relations with Iran's financial sector as part of a raft of sanctions coordinated with the United States and Canada.
Iran responded by passing a law to expel Britain's ambassador within the next two weeks. Protesters ripped down Britain's flag at the embassy, replacing it with Iran's, broken windows and vandalised buildings and vehicles.
SC Orders Memogate Inquiry, Tells Haqqani
Not To Go Abroad
President Asif Ali Zardari was dealt a second supreme blow in less than a week.
Within days of having rejected the government's review petition against the NRO judgment, the Supreme Court moved decisively and rapidly against the government on a petition filed by PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif.
It ordered an inquiry to be completed into the 'memogate' scandal within 15 days, barred former ambassador to the US Hussain Haqqani from leaving the country and issued notices to the president, the army chief and others concerned with the case.
A nine-judge larger bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry took up nine petitions moved by PML-N leaders from four provinces, AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan and two individuals.
Mr Sharif himself presented his case by reading out the entire petition in the tightly packed court.
The Chief Justice passed the order at the end of the four-hour proceedings without much deliberation or hesitation.
The immediate 'affectee' of the order is obviously Mr Haqqani who has been directed not to leave the country without prior permission and to cooperate with the commission set up by the court.
The commission will be headed by former secretary of the Anti-Narcotics Force Tariq Khosa, who will be free to conduct the inquiry on his own or to associate any expert to collect forensic evidence.