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Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Shaheen Sehbai, Anjum Niaz, Matthew How, Zafar Hilaly, Altaf Hussain,

What has already happened is known but what is likely to come is more important. All stakeholders agree, and this I can claim after meeting almost all of them in the last few days in Islamabad and Lahore, that President Asif Ali Zardari will have to either step down with dignity, hand over his presidential powers to the PM through a fast-track constitutional amendments process, or become a figure head and stay within his bunker for as long as he does not create any nuisance.Some apologists for the presidency have already publicly indicated that Mr Zardari is seriously thinking about this course because that would keep him in the top most position, immune to the unpleasant hardships of defending himself in civil courts, a process he has endured for years, and wait for his time to strike back as a relevant PPP leader, with the active aid and presence of son Bilawal and daughters Bakhtawar and Assefa. Shaheen Sehbai

With men like Peter W Galbraith (Benazir Bhutto's old buddy), Matthew Hoh and Nick Horne around, we can dare to hope. We can also dare to dream of a fairer world order. The three have raised the bar for truth. They have challenged the UN and the US for following a trajectory in Afghanistan mined with iniquity, death and deception. As the UN deputy special representative in Afghanistan, Galbraith rang the alarm bells back in August against Karzai's electoral fraud. He got promptly fired by his boss, the UN secretary-general. Matthew Hoh, an American diplomat stationed in Afghanistan, resigned recently against US occupation in Afghanistan. Richard Holbrook's sweet persuasion failed to convince Hoh not to quit. And Nick Horne, another UN political affairs aide in Kabul, has just resigned for similar reasons. Anjum Niaz

As Pakistan continues to be drenched in blood, there are sane and conscientious voices emanating from within the US highlighting the absolute futility of its continued presence in Afghanistan and the dire need for formulating an immediate exit strategy. The latest to surface is Matthew How, the first US official known to have resigned over the Afghan war, who expressed his deep-set fears in his resignation letter: "I have lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States' presence in Afghanistan. I have doubts and reservations about our current strategy and planned future strategy, but my resignation is not based on how we are pursuing this war, but why and to what end." He went on to write: "Many Afghans are fighting the United States largely because its troops are there – a growing military presence in villages and valleys where outsiders, including other Afghans, are not welcome and where the corrupt US-backed national government is rejected. While the Taliban is a maligned presence and Pakistan-based Al Qaeda needs to be confronted, the United States is asking its troops to die in Afghanistan for what is essentially a far-off civil war." Raoof Hasan

About the only issue on which Hillary would not be drawn out was that of the drones. And that, one suspects, was because she is aware that their use has been sanctioned expressly, or by a wink and a nod, from her hosts. Had Hillary confirmed such a suspicion it would have raised an outcry and marred her entire trip; she was wise to desist. Zafar Hilaly

The benefactors of the NRO belonging to the ruling party were propagating about the MQM workers that they were also beneficiaries of the NRO, but the pronouncement of the MQM leader cleared the air about them. The Monday announcement of Altaf Hussain would be remembered long that has changed the complexion of the MQM. Its leader has transformed the party into a robust national entity just with one remarkable stroke, the observers opined. Altaf Hussain

ISLAMABAD: Over 100 corruption and criminal cases involving many top politicians and bureaucrats, which were settled under the controversial NRO after February 2, 2008, would automatically reopen after 25 days on Nov 28.NAB documents and information collected from other sources reveal that not only President Asif Ali Zardari but most of his confidants and top political and bureaucratic aides benefited from the NRO after February 2, 2008, after the controversial ordinance had completed its constitutional life of 120 days. Ansar Abbasi

The prime minister sent a copy of the said letter to the president and another to the Pakistani mission in Washington DC through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Pakistani mission in Washington DC gave a detailed response on the objections raised by the ISI DG on August 11, 2009 and assured the government that it will try its best to safeguard national interests.Next day on August 12, the mission sent an advance copy of the KLB to the Foreign Ministry in Islamabad and the objections raised by the ISI DG were still present in the draft. The army waited for another month. The consolidated text of KLB was sent by the Pakistani mission on September 14, 2009. It repeatedly claimed in its assessments that Ambassador Husain Haqqani had tried his level best to safeguard national interest but not a single objection raised by the ISI DG was removed from the bill till the end of September 2009. The army came out with a press release on the KLB on October 7. Hamid Mir


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