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Seumas Milne
The Guardian

The return of Benazir Bhutto from the political dead has been wondrous to behold. Ten years ago, her name was mud around the world: she had been sacked as prime minister; her brother had been gunned down by her own police force; her husband was in prison on corruption charges; and her Swiss bank accounts had been frozen at the request of the Pakistani government. When the heroine of the struggle against the dictatorship of Zia ul-Haq visited Britain, government ministers failed to return her calls.

A decade on, she is the darling of the western media once more, leading the opposition to another US-backed military ruler and somehow, at the same time, the last hope of the US and British governments of keeping a grip on the upheaval now engulfing Pakistan. As she was told by a senior US official at her lowest point in the late 1990s: "We can whitewash you in 24 hours if we need to."
But events are not playing out quite as the Washington choreographers intended. The sweetheart deal they stitched together between the former Pakistani prime minister and the shopworn dictator was intended to produce a power-sharing arrangement which would keep the army on side but offer some modicum of legitimacy to General Musharraf's discredited rule. For Bhutto, it offered a route back to power and the dropping of corruption cases against her. Many in her Pakistan People's party naturally balked at this backchannel accommodation with the enemy. But in private meetings with her closest supporters, she recalled that her more radical father had been hanged "in the night, like Saddam Hussein" for his defiance of the US and that this was the way to get back and do something for the country. Her presence in Pakistan, she assured them, would create a new dynamic.

Which it certainly has, if perhaps not quite as her western sponsors intended. Musharraf's declaration of martial law barely two weeks after Bhutto's tumultuous and blood-drenched return to Karachi was a last throw of the dice to stop the newly assertive supreme court striking down his rigged re-election - whatever the general's claims about its importance for fighting terrorism in the Waziristan badlands. But the impact of the violent crackdown, the arrest of thousands of political activists, the closure of independent TV stations and the street confrontations with striking lawyers have transformed the political situation and united the opposition to the dictatorship.

Bhutto's response this week has been to mobilise her party machine behind the protest movement, abandon all talk of negotiation, insist she would now not serve as prime minister under the general, and call for Musharraf to go. By doing so, she has staunched her loss of support over the perception that she was propping up the dictator, and put herself once again at the head of a popular democratic movement. Despite having insisted earlier this year that she would do no such thing, she has even appealed to the leader of the country's Islamist coalition, Qazi Hussain Ahmed, to join a common front against the dictatorship. Not surprisingly, there is still scepticism about whether Bhutto's break with Musharraf is final and the protests, dominated so far by the middle class and party activists, have yet to draw in wider mass support.

But this is certainly not what the US had in mind for so pivotal a state in its "war on terror". The Bush administration's calls on Musharraf to abandon his dictatorial ways and press ahead with free elections clearly lack all credibility. Not only has the US been Musharraf's principal backer throughout, channelling nearly $11bn-worth of aid to his regime since 2001, but it is also widely accepted that any genuine withdrawal of US support would finish the general off in short order. No wonder Bush has sent his former ambassador in Iraq, John Negroponte, to try to knock his clients' heads together.

For the US, Pakistan has been a woeful foreign policy failure: Musharraf has himself now conceded that nuclear-armed Pakistan is becoming a failed state; and far from being a bulwark against jihadist terror, Pakistan is one of the two countries most closely associated with the rise and entrenchment of al-Qaida - the second being that other dependable American ally, Saudi Arabia.

For Pakistan, the US relationship has been a deepening disaster: the country's exploitation as a strategic asset against the Soviet Union and India in the past, and now as part of the US attempt to control Afghanistan and the wider Middle East, has been a central factor in its stifling by a bloated and anti-democratic military. It can be no surprise that hostility to the US role in the country is so overwhelming, though that is in no way articulated by its unloved political elites.

If ever there were a country begging for a radical social transformation, Pakistan is surely it. This is a state whose potential has been ruthlessly stunted by feudal land ownership and parasitic moneymen, where a third of its 160 million people go hungry and 44% are living below the poverty line, where half the population is illiterate and barely one in two girls goes to school. Such conditions demand a sweeping programme of land reform and public investment in social welfare, health and education. Instead, Pakistan gets corrupt, knockdown privatisations, and most western aid goes straight to the army. Bhutto has at least been arguing the case for large-scale public welfare programmes paid for through deficit financing. But given her record in power, there is much cynicism about such commitments, while no other mainstream political force offers a genuine social alternative.

Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Pakistan's former high commissioner in London and longtime Bhutto confidant, said yesterday he believed Musharraf would be gone within a week. If so, Bhutto and the other traditional political leaders will struggle to meet the pent-up demand for change they will inherit, and the extent of her commitments to the US will be put to the test. For all her rhetoric about fighting extremism, for example, there is no reason to imagine that a Bhutto-led civilian government will make any more headway than Musharraf in the unpopular military campaign he is waging for the US in the Talibanised tribal areas. However, if Hasan proves over-optimistic and Musharraf digs in with American support, the possibility of a wider popular uprising is likely to grow - and with it, the chance of real and necessary political change.


The imposition of emergency rule in Pakistan last Saturday comes as no surprise to onlookers who have witnessed Musharraf's grip on power ebb away over the past few months.

Clearly suspecting that his recent re-election by the National Assembly last month while holding both the offices of President and Chief of Army Staff may have been ruled illegal by the Supreme Court, Musharraf imposed de facto martial law in a desperate bid to retain power.

In a televised address to the nation, Musharraf cited the nationwide rise in terrorism and the interference of the judiciary in the running of government as the reasons for his drastic action. He stated that his decision was taken to protect Pakistan's sovereignty and that his overall aim was still to establish democracy at a future point in time. His actions since his speech have been to arrest all political opponents, shut down all independent media outlets and subject thousands of lawyers to brutal beatings at the hands of the police for demonstrating against his suspension of the constitution.

Musharraf also stated that he imposed emergency rule in order to prevent Pakistan from "committing suicide." Yet the truth is that after 8 years of supreme power, Musharraf has, by his own discription, brought Pakistan to its knees. By siding with the US in its War on Terror, Musharraf has polarised Pakistani society and weakened her strategically within the region. His unpopular policies of secularising the country, undermining the resistance in Kashmir, and setting the army upon the citizens of Waziristan and the Northern regions have caused divisions at every level of Pakistani society including within the army. Indeed, his inability to allow political expression by opposition groups or criticism of his policies by the judiciary has left him deeply unpopular and weakened. Ironically, Musharraf's suspension of the constitution, replacement the nation's chief judge and blacking out the independent media that refused to support him will only generate an environment that will foster greater support for militancy.

The imposition of a state of emergency is a last ditch attempt by Musharraf to cling on to power. Even after the desperate intervention of his close allies of the US and UK governments to save his regime by securing a marriage of convenience with the disgraced former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, Musharraf's position has proven to be untenable. Clearly the deep concern expressed by the US and UK governments at the imposition of emergency rule is not that democracy has been further set back in Pakistan but rather that Musharraf's decision is likely to constitute the point of no return for his ailing premiership. Indeed, the mute responses from the US and UK governments indicate that they realise their loyal partner in their war on Islam was left with few options other than to stage another coup d'etat.

The Muslims of Pakistan can no longer allow the current cycle of failure to continue and must now take the opportunity to bring about not only a change of leadership but a change of system. The Khilafat system is the only hope remaining for Pakistan to bring about a national reconciliation in which the desire for Islam, representative governance and the respect for the rule of law are combined within a political system that unifies the people upon the basis upon which Pakistan was created-Islam. Furthermore, only the Khilafat system can rid Pakistan of the plaque of western interference which has played a key part in the failed politics of the past 60 years and bring about a true era of independence.

26 November 2007

The bombing of military installations in Rawalpindi on Saturday, which killed 35, is a reminder to all who care about Pakistan that the country is facing a crisis that goes beyond simply the antics of a beleaguered dictator trying to cling on to power.

It comes as part of a disturbing elevation in the cycle of violence between government forces and popular militants groups that are assisting the Taliban in its battle to liberate Afghanistan from occupation forces. While these clashes had been restricted to the tribal areas, they are now spreading into the major cities such as Rawalpindi.

Musharraf's pursuit of America's war on terror may have earned his military billions of dollars in aid, but the cost to the Pakistan cannot be measured in monetary terms. Pakistan is now a fractured nation heading towards disintegration with society polarised by the clash between rising popular Islamic movements and a die hard secular elite comprising of land owners, business leaders and military personnel.

The unpopularity of Musharraf and the politicised role of the military had become a serious problem for America and the West due to the existence of a political vacuum in the country. This posed a potential danger to the status quo in the event that Musharraf's regime should fall and open the door for Islamic parties to seize power.

This is why America and Britain organised the return of Benazir Bhutto in order to bolster the secular political class in the wake of an Islamic challenge. However, both Benazir and Nawaz, who returned to Pakistan on Sunday following Musharraf ‘s trip to Saudi Arabia, far from being the saviours of Pakistan, represent a return to the failed democratic politics of the past which has brought nothing but misery and stagnation to Pakistan. Both leaders have been charged with corruption and have a track record of putting the interests of America ahead of that of the nation.

Benazir's last government was arguably the most corrupt in Pakistan's history with billions of dollars of public funds embezzled by her family and cronies. Likewise, Nawas Sheriff's withdrawal of Pakistani forces from the Kargil heights after the intervention of President Clinton was a betrayal of the Muslims of Kashmir and India as it facilitated the re-election of the fascist, Vajpay BJP government.

Consequently, both leaders have nothing to offer Pakistan but their track record of treachery, corruption and cronyist politics. More importantly, the situation in Pakistan and the world has changed drastically necessitating a new type of governance characterised by strength and conviction and an ideology that can bring about a national reconciliation. The type of divisive politics that Benazir and Nawaz offer belongs in the past and could only weaken Pakistan even further.


Islam and its Shariah are inseparable from Pakistan and the rise of political Islam is nothing more than a natural expression of the will of the nation. However, through western interference and the treachery of the secular ruling elite, Pakistan is not being allowed to develop its own political identity, which will only lead to further instability and violence. Today, Pakistan must release herself from the shackles of stagnation and subservience to the West and bring in a new dawn of Islam through the establishment of the Khilafah on the method of the Khulafa Rashideen. Such a Khilafah will be characterised by the high moral standards of Islam and an accountable leadership that will respect the independence of the judiciary. Most importantly, the Khilafah will implement policies internally and externally based upon the interests of its citizens and Islam and not upon those of foreign powers.


The few remaining "die-hard" Musharraf supporters point to Pakistan's improved economic performance under Musharraf's rule as a defence against his critics and opponents.

Indeed, in 2006 the IMF's Executive Board stated in their report that "Pakistan's recent economic performance has been impressive." The international club of bankers and financiers based their assessment on economic growth of 8%, record levels of net capital inflow from foreign direct investment and the large reduction in the government's debt to GDP ratio. However, these figures conceal a false economy.

Under the tutelage of the IMF, and following a western economic model, the strong economic growth has been fuelled by increasing the supply of money in the economy - particularly private credit, which has risen by an astounding average annual rate of 25% over the last five years. Usurious credit is not only prohibited for a country founded upon Islam, it has also been incredibly damaging for the economy and the country's poverty stricken citizens. The credit has fuelled inflation, which officially stands at 10% but in actual fact is many times greater as evidenced by the rise in the price of staple foods like flour and cooking oil. These large increases in the price of basic foods has probably done more to raise the numbers living in poverty than the 8% growth in lowering the numbers with access to basic needs via the trickle down effect.

Meanwhile, the large foreign inflow of capital has come as a result of selling off the country's valuable and most prized assets through privatisation. The most recent government divestitures included the vital energy resources of electricity and strategically important telecommunication companies. Privatisation of public assets like energy that belong to the Ummah is another violation of the Shariah. Moreover, it leaves the country vulnerable to foreign powers in meeting its vitally important energy needs and dependent upon foreign exchange reserves.

Finally, the significant reduction in the government-debt to GDP ratio from 80% in 2001/02 to 60% in 2004/05 is the direct result of the substantial payoff from America and the Paris Club to Pakistan for supporting the America's war in Afghanistan and its subsequent disastrous War on Terror. This alliance between President Musharaff and Bush has been catastrophic! It has violated the bond of brotherhood between Muslims; compromised Pakistan's security; undermined Pakistan's military; and drained the economy's scarce resources. As a result, the majority of Pakistan's citizens have not benefited from the substantial reduction in the debt burden but have rather suffered as the gulf between the rich and the poor has widened. Indeed, Musharraf has ensured loyalty from the military by turning it in to the new feudal class, with lavish gifts of land and shares in military owned companies.

Far from making Pakistan economically secure and independent of the colonial western nations and their financial institutions, Musharraf has weakened Pakistan's economic and strategic position in the region. The Muslims of Pakistan must now take the opportunity to rid Pakistan of its most traitorous ruler in history and look for to a new horizon of economic development under Islam. A future Khilafah state, based on Islamic values, will align its political and economic objectives with the Shariah. The false economy based on financial growth will be replaced by economic activity in the real economy with money supply tied to the gold and silver standards. Active redistribution will take place from the public resources like energy, which will be managed by the state, to eradicate poverty and raise living standards. International treaties will be negotiated that benefit the citizens without compromising the interests of the Ummah while at the same time taking the mercy of the call of Islam to other nations.

Zafar Bangash

Three weeks after General Pervez Musharraf hit Pakistan's crumbling political system on November 3 by declaring a “state of emergency”, the Supreme Court, stacked with loyalist judges, handed him the verdict he wanted.  His questionable “election” as president on October 6 was declared valid on November 22: the judges simply dismissed the last of six petitions challenging its legality.  Two days before, Musharraf had issued a presidential decree amending the suspended constitution and granted himself indemnity from prosecution.  He also decreed that no court has the authority to challenge his proclamation of the Provisional Constitutional Order (PCO), the state of emergency or actions taken since its imposition.  Clearly, he did this aware that he was skating on thin legal ice.  

Under the new dispensation—essentially martial law—thousands of political activists, lawyers and journalists were arrested and imprisoned.  Supreme Court judges who refused to take oath under the PCO were also arrested by soldiers, dragged from their chambers in the Supreme Court building and placed under house arrest.  There were disturbing scenes of club-wielding policemen beating up lawyers inside court premises and punching and kicking them as they were dragged to waiting trucks to be taken to jail.  Journalists were similarly treated, and continue to face the police's usual brutality.  

Musharraf signed the order declaring a “state of emergency” not as president but as chief of army staff.  This demonstrates the reality facing Pakistan today: the country is under the boot of the military, which has no regard for any rule of law.  The Chief of Army Staff has no authority to declare emergency; only the president can do so on the advice of the prime minister, provided there is a credible threat to the country's internal or external security.  There was no such threat except Musharraf's fear that the Supreme Court, hearing petitions challenging his unconstitutional presidential election of October 6, would deliver an unfavourable verdict.  So he struck first, sending the judges home to house arrest.  

On the night on November 3 and 4, he appeared on state-owned Pakistan Television (PTV), the only station allowed to broadcast, to explain the reasons for the emergency.  He sounded like a drunken sailor trying to defend the indefensible.  He alleged that the country faced a threat from “extremists”; if true, he has a lot of explaining to do.  For eight years he has been the sole authority in the land and done as he pleased.  His troops are attacking and killing civilians in North and South Waziristan, in Swat and Bajaur in the North West Frontier Province, and in Baluchistan.  Cobra helicopters and F-16 planes are being used against Pakistani villagers, thousands of whom have been killed in the last three years.  

Musharraf also lamented the fact that judges were releasing “terrorists” apprehended by his security forces, and that this was demoralizing them because it prevented them from “doing their job”.  Is it their job to arrest opponents of the regime, throw them in jail and throw the key away without pressing charges against them? Several people picked up by the intelligence agencies have been murdered.  The judges merely ruled that the government either press charges against detainees or set them free; it has no right to detain them indefinitely.  Interestingly, the two judges—Faqir Muhammad Khokhar and Muhammad Nawaz Abbasi—who had ordered the detainees' release are still serving as judges because they took oath under the PCO.  So Musharraf was not complaining about judges doing their job; his real concern was that the other judges refused to confer legitimacy on his illegal acts.  

Musharraf's rambling speech on November 3 lacked sophistication and coherence; he wandered between Urdu and English repeatedly.  Gone was the self-confidence of the commando soldier, an image he had carefully cultivated and projected in the past; his body language clearly betraying nervousness.  When he spoke in English, he compared himself with the nineteenth-century American president Abraham Lincoln, saying that he had to violate certain laws to “save the nation”.  He has wrapped himself in the garb of the “nation's saviour” so often that few take him seriously.  What “nation” is he talking about anyway? As for comparing himself with Lincoln, Musharraf is no Abe Lincoln and he knows it.  

There has only been mild criticism of his actions in Washington and London, the two power-centres that matter most in Pakistani politics, against Musharraf's actions.  On November 16, US deputy secretary of state John Negroponte arrived in Islamabad to urge Musharraf to work with Benazir Bhutto, the US's darling in dupatta.  America is working to create a Musharraf-Benazir axis and thus provide a civilian gloss on a military dispensation.  The Pakistani people are aware of this and want none of it.  They view both as American puppets, but feel that no alternative is available to them.  The disarray in the ranks of the political parties is shown by their lack of coherent strategy to mobilize the masses to confront the general even after three weeks.  This is Musharraf's second coup in eight years, this one carried out against the judiciary.  There is deep weariness among the people, who see the politicians as equally bad and have little reason to come out in the streets to replace one set of crooks in uniform with another set in civilian clothes, both totally subservient to the US.  

There is, however, something unusual about the situation in Pakistan this time round.  Before being placed under house arrest, eight Supreme Court judges, led by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, declared Musharraf's state of emergency illegal.  Aware that something was afoot, the justices were present in the Supreme Court building on Saturday November 3 and issued their ruling immediately after the “emergency” was declared.  This is likely to haunt Musharraf when the political tide turns against him.  Displaying unusual courage and adherence to the rule of law, the overwhelming majority of Supreme and provincial courts’ judges refused to take oath under the PCO.  Musharraf and his cohorts had to scramble and bring retired judges out of mothballs to fill the courts' benches.  

Even so, it took nearly two weeks to get enough judges on the Supreme Court bench to fulfil legal requirements.  Interestingly, not a single chief justice of any of the five superior courts—Supreme Court and the four provincial high courts—agreed to take oath under the PCO.  They risked arrest but refused to confer legitimacy on an illegitimate system, as has been the wont of judges in the past.  It is reported that the three Supreme Court judges—Abdul Hamid Dogar, Faqir Muhammad Khokhar and Muhammad Nawaz Abbasi—who took oath under the PCO with Dogar as chief justice were blackmailed because they or relatives of theirs had been caught on camera in compromising situations.  Dogar was with the government all along and was acting as an informant against his fellow judges.  For this act of betrayal he was rewarded with the plum job of chief justice.  

Though the legal battle, on hold for now, is likely to drag on for years, the political circus is in full swing.  Benazir Bhutto of the Pakistan People's Party and maulana Fazlur Rahman of Jami'at-e Ulama-e Islam are both in league with Musharraf, hoping to cash in on their loyalty to him by reaping rewards after the farcical elections that Musharraf has promised for January 8.  The assemblies were dissolved on November 18 and a caretaker government led by the senate chairman, Muhammadmian Soomro, was sworn in, again an illegal act.  The senate chairman cannot become the prime minister because he must act as president in the absence of the current president.  For instance, on November 20, when Musharraf flew to Riyadh to urge the Saudi authorities to prevent former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who has emerged as his fiercest critic, from returning to Pakistan before the elections, Soomro was acting president.  There were also reports that Musharraf had attempted to meet Sharif, but the latter refused.  

Also on November 20, the government announced that it had released thousands of political prisoners and lawyers, including Imran Khan, the cricket-star-turned-politician who was arrested on November 13 at the Punjab University campus in Lahore.  He was handed over to the police by members of the Jami'at-e Tulaba, the student wing of the Jama'at-e Islami, in what has turned out to be one of the most shameful episodes in Pakistan's tortuous history.  Imran Khan was moved to Dera Ghazi Khan jail, where he went on a hunger strike on November 17.  Lawyers have accused the government of playing a cynical game; it releases people but promptly re-arrests them or drags others to jail in their place.  On November 22 the government announced that the deposed judges were no longer under house arrest.  When retired justice Wajihuddin Ahmed and lawyer Athar Minallah, a former minister in Musharraf's cabinet, tried to visit Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry at his residence, they were prevented from doing so by a heavy contingent of the police.  As they drove off, Minallah was arrested for “violating the law”.  

While this cat-and-mouse game continues with some lawyers, others, such as Munir A. Malik, former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association, and Aitezaz Ahsan, its current president, both staunch supporters of the displaced chief justice, have been held in horrible conditions in jail.  Munir Malik, held in the notorious Attock Jail, was so badly tortured that  he had to be rushed to a hospital in Islamabad on November 23.  Nobody had been allowed to see him, his wife said on November 20.  She said  that the jail authorities even refused to allow medicines to be delivered to him.  Aitezaz Ahsan is being held in Adiala Jail.  He refused to be transferred to a hospital because he said other lawyers and political workers were being badly treated in jail and he did not want to abandon them.  

The future course of events will depend on how many political parties boycott the elections on January 8.  If enough of them join the boycott, it will completely deprive the process of any illusion of legitimacy and will provide impetus to a mass movement.  With Musharraf out of uniform—his “second skin”, as he put it—his first skin, albeit quite thick, which he has been trying to save, will become vulnerable.  The new army boss, General Ashfaq Pervez Kiani, a staunchly pro-American officer, will become his own man.  Pakistan has a long history of loyalists turning against their benefactors.  Musharraf did it to Nawaz Sharif, as did General Zia ul-Haque to Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.  In fact, Musharraf has stabbed a lot of people in the back besides Nawaz Sharif.  He swiftly dismissed the three generals—Mahmoud Ahmed, Muhammad Aziz and Muzaffar Usmani—who had brought him to power when his plane was prevented from landing in Pakistan on the orders of the then prime minister in October 1999.

If the political turmoil continues and the police are unable to contain street violence, the army may be called out to shoot people.  If this goes on for any length of time, this will result in soldiers disobeying their officers; it has happened before.  The upper echelon of the military will not want such a situation to develop or continue for long, and will force Musharraf to quit.  Whether this will end Pakistan's immediate problems is uncertain.  What the political farce in Pakistan shows is that the system is incapable of providing any solutions to its myriad problems.  The choice facing the people is stark: oppressive, corrupt military rulers or an equally corrupt bunch of ruthless feudal lords who maintain private armies and run private prisons.  The people's contempt for both is high.

Pakistan is in a tailspin; the only way to get out of this disastrous situation is to dismantle the present colonial-imposed order by means of an Islamic revolution brought about by means of an Islamic movement.  It would appear that an increasing number of people in Pakistan are beginning to realize this.  What they need is a leadership with a clear vision to mobilize the masses and consign this decaying system to the history books.  Failing that, the people of Pakistan will continue to stagger from one crisis to the next, and each change of rulers will only make the situation even worse.  This is hardly a prospect to look forward to and may even lead to the disintegration of Pakistan; all the signs are already there.  The march of history does not wait for anyone; Islamic activists ought to give this serious consideration.  Nature abhors a vacuum; other forces are bound to step in and fill it if there is no credible solution offered to the problems of the people and their country.

Abid Ullah Jan,1160

A Combo picture shows Pakistan's military dictators, from top left, clockwise, Ziaul Haq, Ayub Khan, Yayha Khan and Musharraf. Pakistan military has sucked the nation dry. Eighty percent of national resources are going directly and indirectly into the service of half a million strong army, which has won no war for Pakistan. However, it hands are littered with the innocent blood of fellow Pakistanis (AP Photo)  
Pakistan's army has literally occupied the country for more than half of its 60-year history and dominated _ or ended _ the fragile rule of the few civilian governments to take office.

The army’s position as a mercenary force – rented by US for $100 million a month - on the front line of the neocons’ war of terror and the army's ever increasing involvement in the economy suggest the generals are well-equipped to defend their privileges and are reluctant to share them in the name of democracy.

Officers and their families have their own upscale schools, hospitals and housing compounds. The military is deeply involved in businesses from banking to transportation and, under President Gen. Pervez Musharraf, scores of retired officers have been appointed to run civilian institutions, from universities to the municipality of Islamabad.

"You now have the army completely embedded like marble inside most of the civil institutions," said Shaun Gregory, a Pakistan expert at the University of Bradford in Britain.

Musharraf, who took power in a 1999 coup, declared Pakistan's current state of emergency in his capacity as army chief, underscoring the importance of the military in the nation's turbulent politics. He is refusing to say when constitutional rule will be restored.

He promises to step down from the military once his Oct. 6 presidential election victory had been endorsed by a hand picked Supreme Court after unconstitutionally and illegally removing judges of the Supreme Court as they were about to declare that he is not eligible to run the country. After relieving the Supreme Court of the most independent justices, Musharraf tempered his pledge again on Sunday with an affirmation that the nation's soldiers will back him in any dispute. As if the army is sold to him, he declared: "Even if I'm not in uniform, this army will be with me," Musharraf said.

Pakistan was not founded with an oversized security apparatus. However, it was strong enough to take over. To establish its hegemony within, the army fought three wars with its eastern neighbor India, the first within months of independence in 1947 and lost all of them. Pakistan also has had border disputes with Afghanistan that have fueled enduring tension on its western frontier.

"Unfortunately, Pakistan did not inherit a strong political system. In the first nine years we couldn't even find a constitution," said Mirza Aslam Beg, a former army chief. "It was in this time that the military physically took over."

Pakistan army has always exploited the fear of India and make the nation feel that without a black budget for defence and without un-accountable military rleadership, Pakistan will be over run by India. Some historians see that legacy in the harsh attitude of Pakistan's military-dominated elite toward dissent, its bickering politicians and the US interference and using the army as a mercenary force. The subservience to the US and its mercenary attitude is unlikely to change soon.

"As long as there is the context of the war on terror for the next decades _ goodness knows how long _ that is going to continue to create a security-focused situation" that the military can exploit, said Gregory.

Musharraf insists his latest suspension of the constitution amounts to a state of emergency, though critics note that he acted in his capacity as army chief and have called it "mini martial law."

The general insists he had no choice but to remove Supreme Court judges who were hampering the fight against terrorism by ordering the release of suspects held without charge. The Supreme Court judges said on TV that they were given no evidence of the alleged “terrorists” involvement in terrorism at all. They said the court documents are on the record and the government officials failed to produce a single shred of evidence against the people Musharraf now calling as terrorists. Moreover, the judges who were sitting on the panel who ordered the alleged terrorist released have all taken oath under  Musharraf’s new PCO after November 3, 2007, whereas those judges who were not even on the panel of those cases have been deposed.

Musharraf lies and raising the banner of fighting terrorism has underlined how both Musharraf and his supporters in the West -  who appear loathe to sanction Pakistan's latest authoritarian lurch - see the military as the key bulwark against Taliban and the mythical al-Qaida amid rising extremism, particularly in the regions bordering Afghanistan.

Like all uniformed rulers before him, Musharraf insisted he was acting to protect the nation's vital interests.

Political parties, in contrast, remain weak - dominated by individuals rather than policies, lacking nationwide appeal and with a record in government stained by corruption and vicious feuding.

The generals, abetted by Pakistan's powerful and well-resourced intelligence agencies, have been quick to cut down the few prime ministers who tried to take control.

Gen. Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq, who staged his coup in 1977, overthrew Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, father of current opposition leader Benazir Bhutto and arguably the most able politician in Pakistan's short history. That is what the US wanted at that time. The US allied with the opposition religious parties and supported a campaign for Islamic rule to throw out Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto through street power. Musharraf toppled Nawaz Sharif when the latter tried to fire him.

The criminal record of Pakistani general grows. Pakistan army troops on the lower level, however, suffer from the damage which policies of the slavish generals are following at the top.

These days, it is hard and humiliating for the military personnel to come out in public in uniform without having looked down upon by ordinary Pakistanis. The hatred towards army as an institution grows. People don’t know that the ordinary soldiers have no power or say in the decision making at the top. It is the generals with sick and slavish mentality who sell their conscience and the country’s independence. The public, however, only know that the soldiers at the lower level are the one’s who are holding the gun to their head and detaining, torturing and killing their loved ones.

Therefore, military as an institution has generated enough hatred for itself that anything can trigger a civil war in Pakistan. The struggle has already begun between the people and the mercenary army. But in the full fledged civil war, it would be most of the military personnel fighting on behalf of the people - not as soldiers of the mercenary army but as the people of occupied Pakistan. The desertions have already begun. These would simply increase in frequency.

That is when the matter will get worse for the generals who are busy digging their own grave these days. No slave master will come to their rescue from Washington as no slave master came to the rescue of the Shah of Iran and Saddam Hussain. Those who wanted a "war within Islam" will be the only one to enjoy the bloodletting, but not for too long.


The Islamic Uprising in Iran a quarter of a century ago is too important and too special for Muslims to simply watch it wander from its original and true course. We remember all too clearly the impact this breakthrough had on Muslims everywhere. For the first time in modern history, Muslims had risen against a corrupt government and its imperialist and zionist sponsors, and were able to take control of their own country, and begin to show the rest of us how things should be done.

Of course, the road forward was not likely to be smooth. The sponsors of the Pahlavi regime could not be expected to sit and watch a people shape their own future on the basis of their Islamic faith and commitment. Throughout the last 25 years, America and Israel have been working to bring the Islamic government in Iran to its knees, with the support of their Western allies, Iran’s pro-Western neighbours and even supporters within Iran. Iran’s borders amount to some 8,000 kilometers; American troops are now based across six thousand kilometers of this border. This grim scenario has been gradually built over 25 years, and has passed almost unnoticed by most Muslims, and even most Iranians. There has never been any cessation of hostilities between the followers of the line of Imam Khomeini (r.a.), who refuse to compromise when it comes to the independence and sovereignty of the Islamic state, and the numerous other interests wanting to shape the state on their terms.

Part of our object in this new column is to look at some of the gaps that have developed since the passing of Imam Khomeini (r.a.), many of which are rooted in earlier events, and how these gaps have caused serious problems about which we can no longer remain silent. But before we walk into this sensitive area, one point needs to be made absolutely clear. This is that none of the points we make are intended to express any criticism of Imam Sayyid Ali Khamenei, the successor to Imam Khomeini (r.a.) as Rahbar of the Islamic State. Many of the points we make will be highlighting natural processes in the evolution of post-Revolutionary state and society. Others will indeed involve criticism of errors and failures in Iran, mainly on the part of those who have been responsible for aspects of Iranian government and policy at the executive level. It was inevitable that such errors and failures should emerge over a quarter of a century in an unprecedented and highly-pressured historical situation; unfortunately they have contributed greatly to what many now see as the Islamic experiment’s current stagnation.

Sometimes frank statements of truth can be bitter pills to swallow; we hope no-one will consider this column to be too bitter a pill. We say what we say only to express our honest understanding of the issues. If we are correct, we appeal earnestly to Allah to accept our humble words to our humble readers. If not, we request Allah’s forgiveness and correction from anyone able to do so; without, we hope, descending into personal issues or hidden agendas. Ameen.

Pakistan and Egypt suffer from the failure of their Islamic movements
The main factor exacerbating the situation of Pakistan and Pakistanis is the state of the local Islamic movement there. The Jama‘at-e Islami is in no position to show anyone the way out of the morass that Pakistan has become. Likewise the Ikhwan – the Jama‘at's analogue in the Arab world – are running around in circles in Egypt. Both of them apparently still have to be “burned” further by the system which they so desire to be part of in order to learn the implications of one short ayah in a short surah of the Qur'an: lakum deenukum wa liya deen (“you [the kuffar and mushrikeen] have your deen, and I [Mohammad] have mine”:Q. 109:6.)

In a quickly sinking Pakistani nation-state the Jama‘at in the course of the past six years has failed to expose the media-intensive but futile campaign of “spreading democracy” that was launched in Washington DC and parroted in the ruling chambers of Islamabad and Karachi. Anti-imperialist luminaries could see that the “war on terror” policies springing from the Pentagon were disguised by means of worldwide blanket propaganda in favour of ‘democracy'. But our brothers in the Jama‘at were unable to do so; or if they were aware of it they kept this insight within their own circles, far away from the Muslim public. The people of Pakistan, with the connivance of their president and political parties (including the Jama‘at) are now reeling under the threats of imperialist-zionist menace of terrorism, an American controlled nuclear arsenal, and what is beginning to look like a failed state. Because Pakistan is the only Muslim country that has nuclear weapons and a slight potential that it might become an Islamic State like the one in Iran, it has become the main target of the American-zionist aggression, like Afghanistan and Iraq before it. The low-intensity conflict that has been gradually growing since September 2001 between the Islamic tendency on one side and secular tendencies on the other has moved the country to the brink of disaster. The warlike conditions in neighboring Afghanistan have gradually spread into Pakistan. Separatist tendencies are lurking just below the Pakistani surface; Baluchistan, for instance, may become a hotbed of breakaway tendencies. Meanwhile the bulk of the Pakistani military is tied up in an “alert” status, toe-to-toe with India's army along the border of Kashmir.

In the midst of this official nonperformance General Musharraf (whose nickname in Pakistan is General Whiskey) is looking good to India. On Musharraf's watch opposition to India over Kashmir has effectively vanished. While looming over his own citizenry as general and president he has become a pussy-cat to India's officials, though the ex-special forces soldier is going to have to do even more to appease the imperialist-zionist-hindu triangle. His juggling act of playing anti-Islamic secular parties with pro-Islamic shari‘ah orientations is in its final act. Not all the guilt for everything can be laid at the imperialists' and zionists' feet: Pakistan's own hang-on-to-power-at-any-cost wishful thinkers and the long-shot dreamers also impede the Islamic transformation of Pakistan by their own incompetence and lack of nous.

The ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) agency may have a cadre of sincere mu'mineen who are watching out for Islamic activists in Pakistan, but the US$ 10 billion that have been channelled into Pakistan by Washington is proof positive that – whatever political game Musharraf is playing internally – his credentials with Uncle Sam are sound. This does not mean that Washington will not dump its “pukka sahib” once he has outlived his usefulness. This may partially explain why Benazir Bhutto, through American channels, was routed back to Pakistan. The cold blood and cool nerves of Pakistan's enemies are hedging their bets by backing both Musharraf and Bhutto. Both of them are anti-Islamic, both of them are tried and true friends of the US, and both of them have the necessary experience to delay Pakistan's Islamic progress. We may add that in the case of Bhutto, there is a personal grudge against the Islamic trend in Pakistan because she blames the “crowd of Islamists” for her father's execution. The swords are locked now; the fight is on. Parvez Musharraf and Benazir Bhutto are going to have to prove themselves to their American superiors. It baffles the mind that the Jama‘at Islami can lower itself to compete for any position in any of their current or future governments.

The wild card in all this is the army. In the past, the army has stepped into political turmoil and taken control of the country as usual, to placate the US. To date no one has heard of any prominent Islamic leader who has been detained. Could their relative silence be what they are giving for their relative security? We simply do not know. What we do know – and this is true in all other Muslim countries too– is that the silent majority of people are looking for and longing for an Islamic leadership that can deliver, an Islamic leadership that answers to its own people and not to the holders of bank-accounts in Arabia, Switzerland or the Gulf. Even Pakistani officers and soldiers do not have their hearts in their assignments in the Northwestern Frontier, Waziristan or Swat. Their defection to the mujahideen in significant numbers is evidence enough of where their sympathies truly are.

This is no time for dilly-dallying. If Pakistan is going to survive it needs an Islamic leadership akin to the leadership of the Mustafa (saw) in Madinah, who did not look for favours from financial centres, did not abandon the underclass, nor wait for signals from Byzantium or Persia (the superpowers of his time). During these defining times we can notice the difference between the Islamic leadership in Iran 30 years ago (and of its successors today) and the Islamic leadership in Pakistan today. Imam Khomeini (ra) held himself accountable to Allah (swt) and was a servant of his people; Pakistan today has no such leader. Those who are going through the motions of Islamic leadership in Pakistan have their hands in a “Saudi” connection that never seems to go away.

Similarly it is reported that the Ikhwan in Egypt has resumed contacts with the US. “Our rare contacts with the nominally independent [Ikhwan] members of [the Egyptian] parliament occurred only on the full light of day, with many other Egyptians present, including members from the ruling National Democratic Party,” Francis J. Ricciardone, the US ambassador to Egypt, has said. The Ikhwan, unlike Hamas and Hizbullah, is not on the US list of foreign terrorist organizations. But the Egyptian government has long been imprisoning members of the Ikhwan for various periods of time: in the past two decades the practice has become routine.

It cannot be said what the Ikhwan can realistically hope to accomplish from these contacts. It is also difficult to understand why the many failures of such contacts in the past have not taught decision-makers in either the Ikhwan or the Jama‘at-e Islami to adopt a serious programme of Muslim unity and consolidation instead: using, for instance, the Hajj and ‘umrah, because millions of Muslims go there every year, to cement a worldwide Islamic awareness and aspiration for Muslim self-rule and Islamic autonomy. Makkah can become the crucible for such leaderships and movements if we cultivate it. If our leaders cannot discuss our affairs and other burning issues in Makkah of all places, then they will continue to go around in circles until Muslims are dizzy with their vicious circles and flat minds.

Is there an Imam Khomeini waiting to emerge in either Pakistan or Egypt? Has the Islamic movement in these two countries reached the age of maturity? It seems unlikely that the answer to either of these questions is “yes”. It is much more likely that there is a lot of preliminary homework for each organisation to do before either is in a position to offer its people hopes that are not delusory.

Abu Dharr.

Shaykh Dr. Abdalqadir as-Sufi

All over the world, the system of political democracy is showing itself to be in what may be a terminal phase. The absolute myth of political democracy as the terminal stage of human evolution (‘End of History’) has been coming apart dramatically in various parts of the world. Already the mathematical principle of majority rule has again and again been demonstrated as false. The insisted-upon multi-party pattern of democracy can now clearly be seen as legendary. The party in power is in most cases a minority party of any given total electorate. With voter turn-out around the 50 per cent mark across the world, this means that the winning majority party is in fact a minority of a minority. It is not, however, the shattered nature of its foundational logic, majority rule, which has plunged political democracy into terminal crisis.

The fundamental and obligatory doctrine of this system of government can be defined in its declared rule: the State must not interfere with the Market. Assuming the masses to be simpletons, it takes this simplistic slogan as its deep philosophy. It tells us that the business of government is to govern, and the market must be free to regulate itself and deal with its own fluctuating monetary crises.

The immediate result of this is that political democracy is a bureaucratic system which tries to serve and placate the masses by the unique procedure of taxing the registered voters, and then spending that money in their name. All the while real wealth, the vast, massive conglomerate bulk of the world’s assembled commodities – the oil, the precious metals and minerals, the corporately owned millions of hectares, the timber, the food-stuffs, and the two most powerful of all financial accretions: armaments and illegal drugs – all of that is off-limits to the political class with only a token exception. What is that exception? It is that necessary procedure to deflect from the educated class the risk that they grasp what has happened to the world’s wealth. The means to this is that government and the media are permitted to examine the private phenomenon of corruption. The exposure of the corrupt deal is the guarantee that the masses will never realise that such a criminal is a paltry individual mis-using a paltry amount of wealth, while the great crime of all the world’s wealth embedded in the financial system remains secure from social reformation.

Political democracy is staggering from crisis to crisis. A U.S. President on a fixed Ohio ballot, Florida re-counts, and finally a casting Republican vote in the Supreme Court, is ‘elected’ to office. Staged pacifist revolutions become instruments of forcibly taking over whole countries in order to oblige them to adopt democracy. An Orange Revolution in Ukraine. A Cedar Revolution in Lebanon. In the Argentine, when the Peronist husband’s democratic mandate is finished, his wife is set up as the next incumbent. In Russia the below-stairs torturer of the KGB as he nears the end of his democratic mandate reconstructs a Constitution so that he can pass from Presidency to Premiership and continue, business as usual.

With political discourse virtually at an end following the inability of the Left/Right dialectic now clearly irrelevant at this stage of capitalism, the victim becomes the rational process itself. When Ernst Jünger told me that freedom was the rational process, I must confess I failed to grasp the profundity of his insight. I can now see that he meant that civic freedom can only be removed by an open interdiction of rational thought.

There is now something called the War on Terror. We have been informed that it may last half a century. It is a phantom enemy without a philosophy, without a leadership, with no apparent financial backing, and the whole world is its war-zone. The handful of people captured have proved to be impoverished low-life characters without education, emerging from no known social nexus. Two skyscrapers destroyed, several planes crashed with all on board, a few trains blown up, and a couple of buses. What is the response? Two devastating invasions of two formerly sovereign nations, Iraq and Afghanistan. Hundreds of thousands of dead from Mosul to Mazar-e-Sharif. The quite astonishing dismantlement of the whole legal framework assuring the civil liberty of the individual inside the ancient kingdom of Britain and the nation dedicated to freedom, the USA. What is the War on Terror? Bin Laden, an ex-CIA operative turned adventurer mis-spending his family’s wealth, and the lone comic figure of the semi-literate, semi-idiot shoe-bomber? These, and a handful of disgruntled and embittered social misfits versus the armed might of the USA and its allies alongside the forces of the NATO organisation, whose mercenaries are exempted from criminal prosecution in any country!

Tonight the world-renowned and respected former cricketer, and the leader of a licensed political party, was arrested in a violent confrontation on the campus of Lahore University. Imran Khan was taken, incommunicado, to be flung into one of the dungeons of the fascist dictator now recognised and accepted by all the world’s democracies as a legitimate Head of State. It was enough that the dictator said he was fighting the War on Terror that the until-then sacred doctrine of democracy was trampled in the dust. The arrest of Imran Khan has done two things.

Firstly, it places before the whole world the political fact that now Imran Khan alone is the champion of that freedom which Jünger called rational discourse. The dictator has charged Imran Khan, who is a genuine democrat, under the anti-terrorist laws which have devastated the civic order of Pakistan.

Secondly, it lays bare that the system of political democracy, so traduced in Pakistan, in its failure to cover up its own essential flaw – that government governs but does not touch the money – has at last revealed the real crime in Pakistan against the Pakistani nation. Do not look at the failed politicians. Do not look at the floundering and disintegrating personality of Musharraf. His uneducated condition, his appalling Urdu, these are now the subject of mockery across the world wherever Pakistanis live.

Now let us look at the real issue in Pakistan. Let us make no mistake. The reason Imran Khan has been arrested is because while the political class floundered in this crisis, he alone saw the real issues. Firstly, the independent judiciary and its Supreme Judges must be re-instated. Secondly, the High Command of the Pakistani Army must be brought to the table of justice. The High Command of the Pakistani Army have betrayed their people, and honour itself. The military budget, that is the arms budget, has to be dismantled. That is far from being enough. An absolutely open and transparent report must be published for the Pakistani people to see, and the world. The wealth of the Chiefs of Staff, not only personal but in the astonishing spread of that wealth into corporate and land holdings must be exposed. The following list of commanders indicates an elite class who from all accounts in significant numbers have been inducted into masonic, atheist and anti-Islamic entities.

Collectively these men are responsible for a shameful tyranny over the greatest nation on earth today. Called upon from this website to rescue their country, they showed supreme indifference. The bitter irony, for them, of the present crisis, is that in the tragic event of it being resolved in terms of this army dictatorship, it would immediately lead to the next phase of Pakistani history. That phase would be that the nation would be treated as a colonial power occupied by its own security forces. At that moment the new masters of Pakistan would in the shortest possible time dismantle the Pakistani Army and replace it with a civic police system in the manner that the USA governs Costa Rica. Here is a recent list of Pakistan’s Guilty Men. For the in-depth scientific analysis of this matter concerning the corruption of the Pakistani military, it is important that the scholarly work of Ayesha Siddique, ‘Military Inc.’, is read and given the widest dissemination. In Miss Siddique’s analysis, she summarises a situation with an estimated £10bn of military wealth divided between £6bn in land and the rest in private assets.

The Guilty Men

Present Commanders

1. General Pervez Musharraf — Chief of Army Staff.
2. General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani — Vice Chief of Army Staff.
3. General Tariq Majid — Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
4. Lt Gen Safdar Hussain — Chief of Logistics Staff (CLS), GHQ.
5. Lt Gen Syed Athar Ali — DG Joint Staff, JS HQ.
6. Lt Gen Waseem Ahmed Ashraf — Corps Commander Gujranwala.
7. Lt Gen Mohammed Sabir — Military Secretary, GHQ.
8. Lt Gen Imtiaz Hussain — Adjutant General, GHQ.
9. Lt Gen Afzal Muzaffar — Quartermaster General (QMG), GHQ.
10. Lt Gen Hamid Rab Nawaz — IG T&E, GHQ.
11. Lt Gen Salahuddin Satti — Chief of General Staff (CGS), GHQ.
12. Lt Gen Syed Sabahat Hussain — Chairman Ordnance Factories.
13. Lt Gen Raza Khan — Corps Commander Bahawalpur.
14. Lt Gen Masood Aslam — Corps Commander Peshawar.
15. Lt Gen Shafaatullah Shah — Corps Commander Lahore.
16. Lt Gen Hamid Khan — President National Defence University.
17. Lt Gen Israr Ahmed Ghumman — DG Heavy Industries Taxila.
18. Lt Gen Ahsan Azhar Hayat — Corps Commander Karachi.
19. Lt Gen Nadeem Ahmad — Deputy Chairman ERRA.
20. Lt Gen Sajjad Akram — Corps Commander Mangla.
21. Lt Gen Muhammad Zaki — DG Infantry, GHQ.
22. Lt Gen Sikandar Afzal — Corps Commander Multan.
23. Lt Gen Ijaz Ahmed Bakhshi — DG W&E, GHQ.
24. Lt Gen Mushtaq Ahmed Baig — Surgeon General, GHQ.
25. Lt Gen Khalid Shamim Wyne — Corps Commander Quetta.
26. Lt Gen Mohammad Ashraf Saleem — Commander Army Air Defence.
27. Lt Gen Shahid Niaz — Engineer-in-Chief Pakistan Army.
28. Lt Gen Muhammad Yousaf — Vice Chief of General Staff, GHQ.
29. Lt Gen Syed Absar Hussain — Commander, ASFC.
30. Lt Gen Javed Zia — Deputy Chief of General Staff (DCGS), GHQ.
31. Lt Gen Shujaat Zamir Dar — DG NAB (Punjab).
32. Lt Gen Mohsin Kamal — Corps Commander Rawalpindi.
33. Lt Gen Muhammad Asghar — Rector, NUST.
34. Lt Gen Jamil Haider — DG C4I, GHQ.
35. Lt Gen Nadeem Taj — DG ISI.
36. Maj Gen Nasir Janjua — DG MO (Military Operations).
37. Maj Gen Zahid Hussain — Commandant, PMA.
38. Maj Gen Mian Nadeem Ijaz Ahmed — DG MI.
39. Maj Gen Waheed Arshad — DG ISPR.

Major Generals

Major General Shaukat Sultan – Director General Inter Services Public Relations, GHQ-Rawalpindi.

Major General Fazl-e-Elahi – Director General Corps of Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, GHQ-Rawalpindi.

Major General Ahmed Shuja Pasha – Director General Military Operations, GHQ-Rawalpindi.

Major General Shujaat Zamir Dar – Inspector General Frontier Corps, NWFP .

Major General Raheel Sharif – General Officer Commading, 11th Infantry Division, IV Corps, Lahore.

Major General Mustafa Kausar – General Officer Commanding, 10th Infantry Division, IV Corps, Lahore.

Major General Tariq – General Officer Commanding, 1st Armoured Division, under 2 Corps, Multan.

Major General Athar Abbass – General Officer Commanding, 6th Armoured Division, under 1 Corps, Kharian.

Major General Zaheer Islam – General Officer Commanding, 12th Infantry Division, under X Corps, Murree.

Major General Mohammed Farooq – Director General Artillery GHQ-Rawalpindi.

Major General Nadeem Taj – Commandant Pakistan Military Academy, Kakul, Abbottabad, NWFP.

Major General Akram Sahi – Commandant Infantry School Quetta, Balochistan.

Major General Khalid Nawaz – Commandant Staff College, Quetta, Balochistan.

Major General Khalid Shamim – Vice Deputy Chief of General Staff, GHQ-Rawalpindi.

Major General Saleem Nawaz – Director General RAB, Quetta, Balochistan.

Major General Agha Farooq – Director General Army Structuring Committee.

Major General Tahir Saeed – Deputy Quartermaster General, GHQ-Rawalpindi.

Major General Saleem Nawaz Mela – Managing Director Passco, Rawalpindi.

Major General Hamid Mahmud – Commandant Military College of Signals (MCS), Ordnance Road, Rawalpindi.

Major General Kamran Aziz – Commandant College of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (EME), Peshawar Road, Rawalpindi.

Major General Wajahat Muftee – Director General Military Lands and Cantonments, Ministry of Defence, Rawalpindi.

Major General Javed Zia – Director General Sindh Rangers, Shahra-e-Faisal, Karachi.

Major General Hussain Mehdi – Director General Punjab Rangers, Lahore.

Major General Tariq Mahmood - Commandant Military College of Engineers, Risalpur Cantt

It is the duty of all of us, the people of Pakistan, the greater Ummah, and those thinking non-Muslims who are aware that fascism did not die in 1945 – all of us must be determined to see the militarism of Pakistan dismantled. It is not the Muslims who are to be feared in Pakistan, of whatever School. It is a Military, glutted with greed, in whose hands is the Ultimate Deterrent, who must be feared.

If we want the omelette, then the eggs must be broken.


Tariq Ali

Six hours before she was executed, Mary, Queen of Scots wrote to her brother-in-law, Henry III of France: "...As for my son, I commend him to you in so far as he deserves, for I cannot answer for him." The year was 1587.

On 30 December 2007, a conclave of feudal potentates gathered in the home of the slain Benazir Bhutto to hear her last will and testament being read out and its contents subsequently announced to the world media. Where Mary was tentative, her modern-day equivalent left no room for doubt. She could certainly answer for her son.

A triumvirate consisting of her husband, Asif Zardari (one of the most venal and discredited politicians in the country and still facing corruption charges in three European courts) and two ciphers will run the party till Benazir's 19-year-old son, Bilawal, comes of age. He will then become chairperson-for-life and, no doubt, pass it on to his children. The fact that this is now official does not make it any less grotesque. The Pakistan People's Party is being treated as a family heirloom, a property to be disposed of at the will of its leader.

Nothing more, nothing less. Poor Pakistan. Poor People's Party supporters. Both deserve better than this disgusting, medieval charade.

Benazir's last decision was in the same autocratic mode as its predecessors, an approach that would cost her – tragically – her own life. Had she heeded the advice of some party leaders and not agreed to the Washington-brokered deal with Pervez Musharraf or, even later, decided to boycott his parliamentary election she might still have been alive. Her last gift to the country does not augur well for its future.

How can Western-backed politicians be taken seriously if they treat their party as a fiefdom and their supporters as serfs, while their courtiers abroad mouth sycophantic niceties concerning the young prince and his future.

That most of the PPP inner circle consists of spineless timeservers leading frustrated and melancholy lives is no excuse. All this could be transformed if inner-party democracy was implemented. There is a tiny layer of incorruptible and principled politicians inside the party, but they have been sidelined. Dynastic politics is a sign of weakness, not strength. Benazir was fond of comparing her family to the Kennedys, but chose to ignore that the Democratic Party, despite an addiction to big money, was not the instrument of any one family.

The issue of democracy is enormously important in a country that has been governed by the military for over half of its life. Pakistan is not a "failed state" in the sense of the Congo or Rwanda. It is a dysfunctional state and has been in this situation for almost four decades.

At the heart of this dysfunctionality is the domination by the army and each period of military rule has made things worse. It is this that has prevented political stability and the emergence of stable institutions. Here the US bears direct responsibility, since it has always regarded the military as the only institution it can do business with and, unfortunately, still does so. This is the rock that has focused choppy waters into a headlong torrent.

The military's weaknesses are well known and have been amply documented. But the politicians are not in a position to cast stones. After all, Mr Musharraf did not pioneer the assault on the judiciary so conveniently overlooked by the US Deputy Secretary of State, John Negroponte, and the Foreign Secretary, David Miliband. The first attack on the Supreme Court was mounted by Nawaz Sharif's goons who physically assaulted judges because they were angered by a decision that ran counter to their master's interests when he was prime minister.

Some of us had hoped that, with her death, the People's Party might start a new chapter. After all, one of its main leaders, Aitzaz Ahsan, president of the Bar Association, played a heroic role in the popular movement against the dismissal of the chief justice. Mr Ahsan was arrested during the emergency and kept in solitary confinement. He is still under house arrest in Lahore. Had Benazir been capable of thinking beyond family and faction she should have appointed him chairperson pending elections within the party. No such luck.

The result almost certainly will be a split in the party sooner rather than later. Mr Zardari was loathed by many activists and held responsible for his wife's downfall. Once emotions have subsided, the horror of the succession will hit the many traditional PPP followers except for its most reactionary segment: bandwagon careerists desperate to make a fortune.

All this could have been avoided, but the deadly angel who guided her when she was alive was, alas, not too concerned with democracy. And now he is in effect leader of the party.

Meanwhile there is a country in crisis. Having succeeded in saving his own political skin by imposing a state of emergency, Mr Musharraf still lacks legitimacy. Even a rigged election is no longer possible on 8 January despite the stern admonitions of President George Bush and his unconvincing Downing Street adjutant. What is clear is that the official consensus on who killed Benazir is breaking down, except on BBC television. It has now been made public that, when Benazir asked the US for a Karzai-style phalanx of privately contracted former US Marine bodyguards, the suggestion was contemptuously rejected by the Pakistan government, which saw it as a breach of sovereignty.

Now both Hillary Clinton and Senator Joseph Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, are pinning the convict's badge on Mr Musharraf and not al-Qa'ida for the murder, a sure sign that sections of the US establishment are thinking of dumping the President.

Their problem is that, with Benazir dead, the only other alternative for them is General Ashraf Kiyani, head of the army. Nawaz Sharif is seen as a Saudi poodle and hence unreliable, though, given the US-Saudi alliance, poor Mr Sharif is puzzled as to why this should be the case. For his part, he is ready to do Washiongton's bidding but would prefer the Saudi King rather than Mr Musharraf to be the imperial message-boy.

A solution to the crisis is available. This would require Mr Musharraf's replacement by a less contentious figure, an all-party government of unity to prepare the basis for genuine elections within six months, and the reinstatement of the sacked Supreme Court judges to investigate Benazir's murder without fear or favour. It would be a start.

Fatima Bhutto

We Pakistanis live in uncertain times. Emergency rule has been imposed for the 13th time in our short 60-year history. Thousands of lawyers have been arrested, some charged with sedition and treason; the chief justice has been deposed; and a draconian media law -- shutting down all private news channels -- has been drafted.

Perhaps the most bizarre part of this circus has been the hijacking of the democratic cause by my aunt, the twice-disgraced former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto. While she was hashing out a deal to share power with Gen. Pervez Musharraf last month, she repeatedly insisted that without her, democracy in Pakistan would be a lost cause.

The reality, however, is that there is no one better placed to benefit from emergency rule than she is. Along with the leaders of prominent Islamic parties, she has been spared the violent retributions of emergency law. Yes, she now appears to be facing seven days of house arrest, but what does that really mean? While she was supposedly under house arrest at her Islamabad residence last week, 50 or so of her party members were comfortably allowed to join her. She addressed the media twice from her garden, protected by police given to her by the state, and was not reprimanded for holding a news conference. (By contrast, the very suggestion that they might hold a news conference has placed hundreds of other political activists under real arrest, in real jails.)

Ms. Bhutto's political posturing is sheer pantomime. Her negotiations with the military and her unseemly willingness until just a few days ago to take part in Musharraf's regime have signaled once and for all to the growing legions of fundamentalists across South Asia that democracy is just a guise for dictatorship.

It is widely believed that Ms. Bhutto lost both her governments on grounds of massive corruption. She and her husband, a man who came to be known in Pakistan as "Mr. 10%," have been accused of stealing more than $1 billion from Pakistan's treasury. She is appealing a money-laundering conviction by the Swiss courts involving about $11 million. Corruption cases in Britain and Spain are ongoing.

It was particularly unappealing of Ms. Bhutto to ask Musharraf to bypass the courts and drop the many corruption cases that still face her in Pakistan. He agreed, creating the odiously titled National Reconciliation Ordinance in order to do so. Her collaboration with him was so unsubtle that people on the streets are now calling her party, the Pakistan People's Party, the Pervez People's Party. Now she might like to distance herself, but it's too late.

Why did Ms. Bhutto and her party cronies demand that her corruption cases be dropped, but not demand that the cases of activists jailed during the brutal regime of dictator Zia ul-Haq (from 1977 to 1988) not be quashed? What about the sanctity of the law? When her brother Mir Murtaza Bhutto -- my father -- returned to Pakistan in 1993, he faced 99 cases against him that had been brought by Zia's military government. The cases all carried the death penalty. Yet even though his sister was serving as prime minister, he did not ask her to drop the cases. He returned, was arrested at the airport and spent the remaining years of his life clearing his name, legally and with confidence, in the courts of Pakistan.

Ms. Bhutto's repeated promises to end fundamentalism and terrorism in Pakistan strain credulity because, after all, the Taliban government that ran Afghanistan was recognized by Pakistan under her last government -- making Pakistan one of only three governments in the world to do so.

And I am suspicious of her talk of ensuring peace. My father was a member of Parliament and a vocal critic of his sister's politics. He was killed outside our home in 1996 in a carefully planned police assassination while she was prime minister. There were 70 to 100 policemen at the scene, all the streetlights had been shut off and the roads were cordoned off. Six men were killed with my father. They were shot at point-blank range, suffered multiple bullet wounds and were left to bleed on the streets.

My father was Benazir's younger brother. To this day, her role in his assassination has never been adequately answered, although the tribunal convened after his death under the leadership of three respected judges concluded that it could not have taken place without approval from a "much higher" political authority.

I have personal reasons to fear the danger that Ms. Bhutto's presence in Pakistan brings, but I am not alone. The Islamists are waiting at the gate. They have been waiting for confirmation that the reforms for which the Pakistani people have been struggling have been a farce, propped up by the White House. Since Musharraf seized power in 1999, there has been an earnest grass-roots movement for democratic reform. The last thing we need is to be tied to a neocon agenda through a puppet "democrat" like Ms. Bhutto.

By supporting Ms. Bhutto, who talks of democracy while asking to be brought to power by a military dictator, the only thing that will be accomplished is the death of the nascent secular democratic movement in my country. Democratization will forever be de-legitimized, and our progress in enacting true reforms will be quashed. We Pakistanis are certain of this.

Zafar Bangash

Never stable in its entire 60-year history, Pakistan has been plunged into one of its worst crises as a result of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination on December 27. Soon after her death, General (retired) Pervez Musharraf and his minions made vacuous statements about “extremists” – naturally “enlightened moderates” like Musharraf could not have done it, could they? – threatening the “security and stability” of the country and vowed to redouble their efforts to deal with them even as enraged mobs went on a rampage. Shops, vehicles (buses and cars) and banks were set on fire in Karachi, Allayhar Khan, Multan, Lahore, Rawalpindi and Peshawar. Total lawlessness gripped the country with no agencies—police, rangers or the army—anywhere in sight to control the mobs.

Pic: US State Secretary Condoleezza Rice mourns Benazir at the Pakistani embassy, US.

Benazir’s supporters immediately blamed Musharraf for her death, shouting “killer, killer, Musharraf” outside Rawalpindi General Hospital where she had been rushed after the attack. Doctors at the hospital initially said that she had died of a bullet wound to the neck. (This was later disputed, with the government saying that she had been killed by striking a lever inside her car.) Eyewitnesses reported that shots had been fired at her from close range as she stood in her SUV waving to the crowd after speaking at a rally in Liaquat Bagh in Rawalpindi. A massive explosion then occurred, killing 20 others. It was reported that the gunman had detonated a suicide bomb. Benazir’s supporters rejected the government claim that Taliban-type extremists had killed her. Since the October 18 suicide bombing attack that killed 140 people in Karachi when she returned to the country, Benazir had asked for additional government security, which her supporters say was never adequately provided. Rahman Malik, one of her close associates, revealed that none of the electronic jamming devices provided by the government worked.

In a country where appearances are extremely deceptive, where rumours spread quickly and where disinformation has been perfected into an art form, widely divergent opinions are being expressed. For instance, the Dubai-based ARY reported that Al-Qaeda had claimed responsibility for her death without providing proof. This is by no means impossible. After all, Benazir had urged strong action against the militants and had openly supported the military assault on the Lal Masjid (Red Mosque) in Islamabad last July, in which an estimated 1,000 students, mostly girls, had been killed. She was also totally subservient to the West, especially the US, while the Pakistani masses hate America for what it is doing to Muslims worldwide. Thus blaming the militants is a perfectly plausible explanation.

In the absence of evidence, however, an equally strong argument can be made to support another point of view: that Musharraf and his civilian cohorts were responsible. Mark Siegel, Benazir’s lobbyist in the US, who had persuaded the US government to support her return to power in Pakistan, told Wolf Blitzer of CNN on December 27 that he had received an email message from her on October 26 saying, if “something happened to her”, Musharraf should be held responsible. Siegel also revealed that Benazir had told him not to divulge this information until something drastic happened. This also happen to be the view shared by most people in the country: that Musharraf and his supporters had a hand in eliminating her. While this may be politically motivated accusation in many cases, one must ask: who benefits from Benazir’s removal from the scene?

There were two contenders for the position of US favourites in Pakistan: Musharraf and Benazir. It is no secret that Benazir’s return was made possible through US pressure on Musharraf; on December 28, the day after Benazir’s death, the Washington Post published details of Washington’s role in setting her strategy and brokering the power-sharing deal by which she was to become prime minister while Musharraf remained president. As part of the deal, Washington had also arranged for the corruption charges--Benazir was accused of stealing $1.5 billion from Pakistan--to be dropped so that she could participate in the elections.

But both are (or were) headstrong individuals. Musharraf and his fellow generals may have calculated that it would be virtually impossible to control Benazir once she won the elections, particularly as Musharraf has been considerably weakened since his disastrous decision-making since he sacked chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry in March. He is now extremely unpopular and large segments of the population, including those that call themselves moderates, detest him. With Benazir back in office, conflict between them would have been inevitable and the US may quickly have concluded that he was dispensable and could be replaced by another military figure that Bhutto could more easily work with. He could not allow such a situation to develop if he wanted to be in control.

Whether or not he may personally have participated in any plot to eliminate her, those around him are certainly not above such ruthless murderous planning. Such a scenario would cast a completely different light on the deal with Bhutto, accepted by Musharraf only because of US pressure, and events since her return to Pakistan.

In this turmoil, only one politician, Nawaz Sharif, another former prime minister, appeared to show some maturity. He was also in Rawalpindi attending a rally of his party supporters. Shots were fired at his rally as well killing four people. Sharif not only immediately rushed to the hospital where Benazir’s body lay but also expressed sympathy with her supporters and announced that he would boycott the January 8 elections, which he was barred from contesting in any case. Whether the elections will go ahead is unclear, with the Pakistan People’s Party in turmoil and the country on the verge of anarchy.

One thing, however, is clear. Although Musharraf may expect some political benefit from the death of his main political rival – and the US’s other main ally in Pakistan – he has become even more unpopular in the country. And although public legitimacy has never been a major consideration in Pakistani politics, there comes a point when it cannot be ignored, either by Pakistan’s rulers or those backing them.

The turmoil launched by the assassination of Benazir – whoever was responsible – is unlikely simply to fade away. With two of the Pakistan’s four provinces – the North West Frontier and Baluchistan – already aflame, no-one can afford for Sindh also to pass out of government control and into mayhem. If this threatens to happen, the real powers in Pakistan – the military and the US – will quickly recognise the need to sacrifice the one person — Musharraf – who has come to symbolise everything that people hate about the military.


Zafar Bangash

Benazir Bhutto’s assassination has revealed a facet of Pakistani politics that is not generally known to people in the West: the extent to which Pakistani politicians act as agents of the West. Tens of thousands of Muslims are killed in political violence each year, most of of it sponsored by the West. Few are mourned as deeply as Benazir. Her assassination has been condemned by US President George Bush, the UN Security Council and a long list of other western leaders. Why should the death of one Pakistani draw so much attention in the West, when those of other – such as the girls killed in the Lal Masjid in July – are regarded with disdain?

The answer is obvious, of course: for those in the corridors of power in the West, Benazir was “one of us”. Before she returned to Pakistan, she had made a pilgrimage to Washington to receive the blessings of the Bush administration, where she was hailed as a modern, moderate leader. The Washington Post revealed on December 28 – the day after her death – that the final decision regarding her return to Pakistan in October had been taken in a telephone conversation with American secretary of state Condolleezza Rice. She was also known to be close to Zilmay Khalilzad, one of the US’s key strategists in the Muslim World, who served as viceconsul in both occupied Afghanistan and Iraq before becoming US Ambassador to the UN in February last year.

This, however, is nothing new or surprising for a ruler of Pakistan. Whether civilian or military, they have all acted as agents of the West to stay in power. And nor is this the only thing she had in common with the military elite that were her main rivals for power. Her notorious corruption and the venality of those around her was shared by all Pakistan’s rulers, who have always enriched themselves while selling the country short. Pakistan has been brought to the brink of disaster by an unholy alliance of ambitious generals and feudal lords . How it arrived at this sorry state needs careful consideration in order to understand the underlying reasons for its continued instability. If domestically Pakistan is held hostage by greedy generals and corrupt feudal politicians, externally the US casts a dark shadow over its politics.

Caught between these twin evils, the people of Pakistan search in vain for saviours to extricate them from this predicament. Some saw Benazir as their saviour; others repose their trust in Nawaz Sharif, a former prime minister. Yet others see Imran Khan, the former cricket star-turned-politician, as the person who will lead them to the promised land. This reflects a failure of understanding because people repose their hopes in individuals, not the policies they pursue.

There are other players as well (India, Saudi Arabia and even Afghanistan ) that pervert its course and prevent the realization of its full potential. Despite its large and resourceful population and strategic location, Pakistan has failed to benefit from its assets because of the shortsighted policies of successive rulers. The US and India in particular have affected Pakistan disastrously. It is difficult to determine who has caused greater harm: the US as “friend” or India as enemy. The current crisis in Pakistan must be viewed against the backdrop of these external influences, which continue to manipulate and distort its domestic agenda.

Both India and the US have been constants in Pakistani politics since its ‘independence’ in 1947. Pakistan fell into the deathly embrace of the US virtually the day it was born: India’s hostility propelled the country’s rulers to seek Washington’s help to keep the bully next door at bay. India’s military aggression in and occupation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, subjugating its people in contravention of the partition plan, locked the two new states into perpetual conflict. It is interesting to note that the one third of Kashmir’s territory that Pakistan controls today is the result not of its military prowess but of the sacrifices of tribesmen who went to support their Kashmiri brethren against India’s invasion. Pakistan’s generals and politicians immediately realized the utility of Kashmir; they cashed in on people’s emotions by taking up the cause of the Kashmiris and promising to complete the unfinished business of partition. The generals in particular discovered that Kashmir was the goose that would continue to lay the golden egg. Sixty years later the Kashmiris still reel under the Indian army despite having sacrificed tens of thousands of people, while the military in Pakistan has spread its tentacles into every facet of life under the pretence of championing the cause of Kashmir.

Pakistan’s rulers–military and civilian–have historically sought external support rather than mobilize the masses to confront the threat from India. US aid provided some relief, but this soon turned into a millstone around Pakistan’s neck as it became an appendage to US ‘cold war’ designs. In the unequal relationship, Pakistani rulers deluded themselves into believing that America would help them fight India; the Americans simply used Pakistan against the Soviets during the cold war. The close relationship with the US has had a disastrous impact on Pakistan: it enabled the military to interfere directly in domestic politics. Washington has always preferred strongmen–read military dictators–at the helm of affairs, rather than troublesome civilians. In Pakistan’s case, civilian rulers have been just as keen as their military counterparts to act as Washington’s tools.

Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan are two other entities that have interfered with Pakistani politics since the early nineteen-eighties. Afghanistan had been a troublesome neighbour since the day Pakistan gained independence. It was the only country that voted against Pakistan’s entry into the UN in 1947. Initially, Pakistan’s policy towards Afghanistan was carefully calibrated; it kept Pashtun tribesmen on both sides of the border happy by means of generous handouts, while cultivating anti-regime elements inside Afghanistan. This paid dividends when a Marxist-led coup toppled Sardar Daoud Khan’s regime in Afghanistan in April 1978. Immediately, a number of Afghan representatives–Burhanuddin Rabbani, Gulbudin Hikmatyar, Rasoul Sayaf, Professor Sibghatullah Mujaddidi and Pir Syed Ahmed Gailani–emerged on the scene. They set up camps and offices in Pakistan while the latter facilitated their propaganda campaign.

The Saudi influence on Pakistan’s domestic politics was shown clearly recently when a former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, exiled to Jeddah in 2000, was allowed to return to Pakistan on November 25 by direct Saudi intervention. Throughout the 1970s, the Saudis had helped Pakistan with free or cheap oil, and allowed Pakistani workers into the kingdom to work on construction sites. After the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan on December 27, 1979, Saudi Arabia became a full partner with Pakistan in financing the anti-Soviet struggle. It was Saudi money that bankrolled the Afghan resistance during the eighties. The Saudi gravy-train, however, came with toxic baggage, courtesy of the Americans: the narrow sectarian ideology of Wahhabism. This was spread throughout Pakistan, especially in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) and Baluchistan.

The import of Wahhabi ideology into Pakistan was part of a carefully crafted American policy to undermine Iran’s influence. Iran had just brought about an Islamic Revolution, overthrowing one of Uncle Sam’s favourite puppets. The Islamic Revolution, led by Imam Khomeini, who had mobilized the Muslim masses, was seen as a threat to US hegemony in the region because the Imam owed nothing to any external powers or influences; he had emerged solely and purely from the intellectual and spiritual roots of Islam. In the previous 50 years, native ‘elites’ that were products of Western education had led movements for ‘independence’ and simply continued the colonial mission when their colonial masters left. In Iran, by contrast, there was total change: this is what alarmed the West, which was determined to undermine Iran. The intolerant Wahhabis were the perfect choice for this task. Pakistan became the battleground on which this war was to be fought. The anti-Soviet struggle in Afghanistan provided a convenient cover for this nefarious agenda. In a country that had seldom experienced sectarian conflict, suddenly virulent sectarian groups emerged to launch a vicious war against other sects, especially the Shi’as. They were well-financed and well-armed, and spread swiftly to every part of the country.

The US-Saudi-Pakistani nexus was so successful that it drove the Soviets out of Afghanistan in less than ten years. By then, there was no Soviet Union left to return to. Having avenged its humiliation in Vietnam by the defeat and dismemberment of the Soviet Union, America washed its hands of the Afghans, leaving Pakistan to hold the bag. The genie of Wahhabism unleashed in Pakistan began to exact a heavy price. Pakistani intelligence agencies found sectarian criminals very useful to keep people preoccupied with their own problems, instead of allowing them to think about domestic politics or the plunder of Pakistan’s resources by the generals and their feudal accomplices. Throughout the nineties, various sectarian groups perpetrated gruesome acts of violence and murder; mosques were especially targeted: even when the police apprehended the culprits, politicians in Islamabad intervened to secure their release. In one particularly horrible incident in Karachi in March 1994, a powerful bomb exploded in a Shi’a mosque after jumu’ah salah, killing more than 50 people. A few days later the culprit was apprehended; he turned out to be a Shi’a gangster. At a press conference a senior provincial official, also a Shi’a, dropped a bombshell: this gangster had been arrested thrice before but released each time on orders from someone high up in the political establishment in Islamabad! A few weeks later the civil servant was shot dead as he left his home to go to work.

It is widely recognized that criminals are patronized by the intelligence agencies as well as by politicians because they find them useful. Last July, when the military assaulted the Red Mosque in Islamabad, killing more than 1,000 students (both boys and girls), the military regime deliberately sabotaged the agreement that had been worked out by its own negotiators. The US had demanded that Musharraf attack the madrassa/mosque complex and wipe it out. Pakistani commandos used phosphorous bombs to burn those inside the building alive. Most of the children were from Swat and other parts of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP). This explains the strong reaction in these areas to the military assault. The insurrection in Swat is the direct result of this criminal act by Musharraf and his henchmen.

The same holds true for military attacks in South and North Waziristan, with the dirt-poor town of Mirali taking the brunt. Cobra attack-helicopters and F-16 planes have been used to bomb the area. This was highlighted early last year, when ten members of a single family were killed in a missile strike ostensibly aimed at Ayman al-Zawahiri. A Pakistani journalist, Hidayatullah published photograps showing a piece of the American missile that killed them. He was subsequently kidnapped and murdered by the army. His widow, who vowed to pursue her husband’s killers for trying to cover up the US strike on the village. On November 17, she was killed by a missile fired at her home. It is now widely known throughout the NWFP that American troops are operating inside Pakistani territory, in Waziristan as well as in the Kurram Valley and near Bajaur. The US also demands that the Pakistan army attack tribesmen along the border with Afghanistan. The new army chief, General Ashfaq Pervez Kiani, is even more subservient to the US than Musharraf.

Until her assassination, Benazir was the US’s main hope for the future. They insisted that Musharraf agree to work with her, and drop corruption charges (amounting to a theft of $1.5 billion) against her. Benazir has vowed to follow the American agenda; she was among the few politicians, another being Altaf Husain, don of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) sitting in London, who supported the Pakistan army’s assault on the Red Mosque because that is what the Americans wanted. Benazir had also promised to hand Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, father of Pakistan’s nuclear programme, to the US for questioning.. She also maintained close links with India, hated by most Pakistanis but favoured by the US.

It is clear that Pakistan is as much occupied by America as are Iraq and Afghanistan. The only difference is that American troops are not usually visible in the streets of Pakistan; the US can operate more discreetly thanks to their dominance of Pakistan’s political institutions.. In Afghanistan and Iraq they face major threats and have suffered massive casualties. In Pakistan, they can keep Pakistani troops in the front to fight against their own people while Americans give the orders. What better arrangement could they ask for?

Benazir’s murder has once again exposed the degree of external interference in Pakistani internal affairs. Whether or not the elections go ahead, little will change as long as Pakistan remains in the grip of a military-feudal alliance that is subservient to the West and more concerned with their personal interests that those of Pakistan’s long-suffering people.


Hezbollah's Secretary General has urged Hamas to strike Israel and compared what is happening in Gaza with Israel's July 2006 assault on Lebanon.

"Our brothers in the resistance in Palestine know that it is by inflicting the biggest possible losses on the Israeli enemy during the ground confrontation that they will win the battle," Nasrallah said.

"It is when the resistance kills soldiers and destroys tanks that the course of the battle will be determined," he added.

Sayyed Nasrallah was speaking through a large screen as he marked the seventh night of Ashura at the Sayyed Shohada complex in Beirut's southern suburb, Dahiyeh on Saturday.

He said that the Israeli incursions into Gaza were aimed at physically dividing Gaza and imposing a new status quo in the besieged strip.

He emphasized that what had been taking place and would take place during the few coming hours is identical to what took place during the last days of the July war.

"This is not new, we experienced it in 2006 in Lebanon and we were able to overcome it," Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah said.

"The Israeli government is seeking to impose a new status quo and create new data to be exploited in a potential international resolution."

The Hezbollah leader said a decision by Arab foreign ministers this week to take the Gaza issue to the UN Security Council next Monday is meant to give Israel more time to accomplish its mission and destroy Hamas.

"Arab foreign ministers gave Israel until Monday to proceed with its military attacks on Gaza."

He added that if the Israelis failed to achieve their mission by Monday, then the Arab leaders might also want to extend the 'grace period for the enemy.'

On Friday, Seyyed Nasrallah had slammed Arab leaders for their stance over the aggression, calling on them to, at least, let their people express themselves freely and declare solidarity with their Palestinian brothers.

Nasrallah's remarks come as Israel entered Gaza after pounding the densely populated impoverished strip after eight days of heavy air and sea bombardment that has left 460 people dead and 2,600 wounded.


Shashank Bengali
McClatchy Newspapers
Jan. 02, 2009

Demonstrators gathered across the Muslim world Friday in fresh protests against the Israeli offensive in Gaza, while Egyptian authorities again used force to silence protesters in Cairo.

Thousands of demonstrators, many waving Palestinian flags and chanting anti-Israeli slogans, marched in cities from Amman, Jordan, to Karachi, Pakistan - as well as in Malaysia, the West Bank and parts of Europe and Australia - following afternoon prayers on what's traditionally the Muslim day of rest.

The protests, the largest in several days, came after the militant Islamic group Hamas, which controls Gaza, called for "a day of wrath" in opposition to the Israeli bombardment. More than 400 Palestinians have been killed in seven days of airstrikes that Israel says are aimed at stopping Hamas from firing rockets into Israeli territory.

The airstrikes have fueled intense anger among Arabs, not just at the Israeli military and its chief patron, the United States, but also at Egypt, the only Arab nation that shares a border with Gaza. Egypt occupied Gaza from the 1948 Arab-Israeli war until Israel conquered it in 1967.

Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, a U.S. ally who fears the rise of militant Islam in his country, has kept the Gaza border crossing in the town of Rafah sealed even as television images show bloodied Gazans being carted away from blast sites.

Egypt has allowed in scores of wounded Gazans to receive medical treatment, but officials have blocked journalists from entering Rafah, and many Egyptian convoys carrying aid to Gaza have been turned away.

Authorities blocked a protest called at Cairo's Al Fateh Mosque on Friday by the Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist movement that has ideological ties to Hamas and is a frequent government target. Authorities detained 40 Muslim Brotherhood members, according to Egyptian news reports, although smaller protests were allowed in Alexandria, El Arish and other towns.

Egypt has been a key mediator in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but analysts say that its response to the fighting in Gaza has badly strained relations with Hamas, which accuses Mubarak of collaborating with Israel and of failing to invite the Syrian-based Hamas leader, Khaled Mashaal, to Cairo for talks.

As other Muslim nations, chiefly Turkey, have taken a greater role in trying to broker a truce this week, some Hamas leaders have questioned whether Egypt can continue in its role as the main go-between.

A visit to Cairo by Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni the day before the onslaught began fueled that perception. In the Middle East's swirling rumor mill, images of Livni and Mubarak shaking hands provided all the proof that Egyptian critics needed that Mubarak was warned of the Israeli military campaign and might even have signed off on it.

Egypt's response to Gaza has been "very depressing," said Mohammed Nahas, a 42-year-old Cairo sculptor, who called it the latest example of Mubarak's tightly controlled regime prioritizing security concerns above all else.

"We're not being asked to fight, but at least let's be fair," Nahas said. "Europeans and even progressive Jews have sent humanitarian supplies to Gaza, and we as Muslims and Arab neighbors haven't done much."

The gap between pro-Western regimes in Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia and their citizens in the "Arab street" has widened over the Gaza conflict, just as it did during the 2006 war between Israel and the militant Lebanese group Hezbollah. Egypt criticized Hezbollah - whose popularity was surging as it stood up to Israel - for provoking a conflict, just as it's done with Hamas.

Then, as now, anger among Egyptians and workaday Arabs flared. However, experts say that protests have little effect on a regime as authoritarian as Mubarak's.

"In terms of domestic unrest, no doubt that Egypt looks very bad and you can expect more demonstrations," said Issandr El Amrani, a Cairo-based analyst for the International Crisis Group, a research center. "But whether this can bring any serious threat to the regime is unlikely. This country is very tightly policed, and security forces have experience at controlling dissent."


Prince Bandar bin Sultan
A high-ranking Saudi national security advisor has warned Tel Aviv against repeating the mistakes it made during the 2006 war on Lebanon.

Citing "informed sources", Al-Moltaqa news website reported that Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi advisor, contacted Israeli officials to caution them.

The Israeli onslaughts on Gaza, which started on Saturday, have killed at least 387 Palestinians, while over 1,800 others are reported to be wounded.

The Saudi prince termed the situation in the Gaza Strip as grave and warned that his country could not stand the mounting pressure by Arab and regional nations for a long time.

He reportedly told Israeli officials that Saudi Arabia would do its best to delay the Arab summit with Egypt and even Jordan.

According to the sources, Prince Bandar met an Israeli official in Jordan on Sunday and apparently discussed the issue of Gaza.

The report came as Saudi sources said that in a telephone conversation with US President George W. Bush, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia informed the president that he would not ask Israel to halt its operations immediately.

Political analysts believe that Saudi Arabia and particularly Egypt would try to delay the summit by any means possible in order to provide Israel with the opportunity to destroy Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

According to diplomatic sources, Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal has put pressure on his Arab counterparts form Persian Gulf littoral states to postpone the emergency Arab summit called over the Gaza issue.

The Saudi state-run news agency had earlier quoted Saud al-Faisal as saying that the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) had not made a decision on a call for an emergency meeting on Gaza.


"If I were an Arab leader, I would never sign an agreement with Israel. It is normal; we have taken their country. It is true God promised it to us, but how could that interest them? Our God is not theirs. There has been Anti - Semitism, the Nazis, Hitler, Auschwitz, but was that their fault? They see but one thing: we have come and we have stolen their country. Why would they accept that?"

David Ben Gurion – First Israeli Prime Minister (1)

This statement made by Ben Gurion in 1948 reveals a great deal about the status of the Muslim Rulers in the eyes of Zionists. Even Ben Gurion the first prime minister of Israel regarded the act of signing an agreement by a Muslim ruler with the state of Israel as a betrayal of the people they represented. However, today the Muslims rulers are not content in their betrayal by signing treaties with the state of Israel, they are working to normalise relations between this illegal entity and the Muslim countries and they also oppose any resistance to the occupying state of Israel. This is why Ben Gurion regarded the Muslim rulers to be in the Israeli camp when he said that the Arab regimes are the first line of defence for Israel, he also said “the Moslem regime is artificial and easy for us to undermine”(2). What he means by artificial is that these Muslim rulers have been artificially imposed on the Muslim Ummah ever since the Uthmani Khilafah was destroyed in 1924.

The failure of the Muslim rulers to respond to the aggression carried out over the years by non-Muslim states against the Muslim Ummah has exposed the betrayal of the Muslim rulers. The ultimate betrayal was witnessed during the recent war between Israel and Hizbullah, when Muslim rulers blamed Hizbullah for instigating the war.

The war was in fact instigated by Israel in its plan to disarm Hizbullah, which is the only military force in the region resisting Israel and protecting the people from Israeli aggression. Most of the biased western media outlets put the blame on Hizbullah for instigating the war, but when we examine a UN report on the matter of the conflict since the Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000 the report mentions many Israeli violations:

“Regarding air violations, the report stated that Israeli aircraft violated the line on an almost daily basis, penetrating deep into Lebanese airspace”(Jan-July 2001)

“Of equal concern, stated the Secretary-General, were Israeli air violations of the Blue Line, which continued on an almost daily basis, penetrating deep into Lebanese airspace. These incursions were not justified and caused great concern to the civilian population, particularly low-altitude flights that break the sound barrier over populated areas.”(Jan-Jul 2002)

“The Secretary-General also voiced deep concern that “ Israel persists in its provocative and unjustified air violations of sovereign Lebanese territory. Hezbollah's retaliatory firing of anti-aircraft rounds across the Blue Line "is a violation that poses a direct threat to human life", he added.” (Jan-July 2004).

Secretary-General report to the Security Council in 2001/2002/2004

So in the words of the Secretary General in 2004, it was Israel, which was the provocateur and Hizbullah was only responding to the Israeli aggression.

As regards to the “kidnapping” of Israel soldiers, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) 2006 report on Israel explained:

“At the end of 2005, approximately 11,200 Palestinians were held by Israel in interrogation units, temporary detention centres, military detention camps, prisons and police stations”

“12,192 detainees visited, including 7,504 monitored individually (of whom 131 women and 565 minors)”

The document states that ICRC issued documents to 17,882 detainees, so the total number of detainees being held illegally may be much higher. These numbers quoted are the detainees which ICRC has access to. There are a large number of Muslims who have gone missing and are therefore not reported in these figures. Most of the detainees have been either abducted or kidnapped on the streets in Palestine or Lebanon. It is worth noting that 565 are minors. So, when Israel claims that it has been provoked into this war with Lebanon due the kidnapping of three Israeli soldiers by Hizbullah, it is nothing but a complete distortion of the truth. It is clear to see that in fact Israel is the provocateur.

The facts presented above are well known in the region and especially by the Muslim rulers, and yet they blamed Hizbullah for instigating the war, which allowed them to lay the basis for their inaction. They even sought to promote divisions in the Muslim Ummah by calling the issue a sectarian one along the lines of Shia and Sunni, highlighting the fact that Hizbullah is Shia and is supported by Iran. The main reason for their inaction is that they do not serve the interest of this Ummah, rather they serve the interest of their colonial masters America and Britain.

According to Abdullah Mohamed, professor of international relations at Kuwait University:

“Blaming Hezbollah is a message to the U.S. from these countries, which says they are sources of stability and will continue to serve U.S. interests in the region,''

President Mubaraks statement reflects the stance of a Muslim ruler in the area:

"Those who urge Egypt to go to war to defend Lebanon or Hezbollah are not aware that the time of exterior adventures is over,"
"Those who are asking for war will make us lose all of that in a blink,"
"The Egyptian army is for defending Egypt only and this is not going to change,"

Press Trust of India - Cairo, July 26, 2006

These rulers once promoted Arab unity and they also claim to profess Muslim unity through the Organisation of Islamic Conferences (OIC). But when challenged to act on this unity they profess self-interest. The statement of Mubarak reminds us of Musharaf’s words when Afghanistan was invaded by the US in 2002, he said: “Pakistan first”.

But don’t be fooled into thinking that they will even defend the nation state, as we know with Iraq, Sadaam Hussein did not release the armies to defend the nation against the invading US force, it was the people and individual soldiers who took up arms to defend Baghdad in 2003. In fact the statements made by King Adbullah of Jordan , King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and Hosni Mubarak criticizing Hizbullah implicitly gave justification for Israel’s attack and she took it as a green light to invade Lebanon.

The Muslim rulers have cited many excuses for their inaction, the main one being the superiority of Israel’s military and that confronting Israel will bring harm to their national economies. Let us examine what options are actually available to these rulers:

 Military – Direct confrontation
 Economic and cultural isolations of Israel.


Published figures show that the Muslim armies combined outnumber the Israeli forces by a ratio of 68 Muslim soldiers to one Israeli soldier. The Muslim countries spend almost 17 times more on their military budgets than Israel. So it is clear that a united Muslim armed force is the dominant military power in the region. Even with their advanced military technology, the Israelis cannot overcome such a large military force.

 Also, after a brief glance at the borders of Israel, it is clear that it would be virtually impossible for Israel to defend itself from a simultaneous land offensive from Egypt, Jordan and Syria. You may be wondering have not these states engaged in a war against Israel before. Yes they have, but those wars were in reality ‘scenario wars’ with the objective of seeking peace with Israel.

This was mentioned by Mohammed Heikal's in his book "The Road to Ramadan" - he quotes one of Sadat's generals, Mohammed Fouwzi who gave the analogy of a samurai drawing two swords - a long one and short one in preparation for battle. Fouwzi said that this battle ( the 1967-six day war) would be a case of the short sword, signifying a limited battle for certain motives. Indeed, this gross betrayal by of the Ummah by Egypt is currently matched by Turkey who assists Israel in her military exercises. As a Turkish news agency stated;

"Billion-dollar military agreements, intelligence cooperation, maneuvers and secret operations are being made between Turkey and Israel. Israeli war planes are flying over Konya. A common missile shield project is on the agenda between the two countries; it’s under consideration for the missiles to be located on the borders of Iran and Syria. In a 20 thousand square kilometre area in the Konya valley, there were maneuvers of hundreds of planes making a nuclear attack. Dozens of examples like this can be shown. In short, Turkey is Israel’s friend and ally" – (

Economic blockade

It may be stating the obvious but the Israel is land, sea and air locked by the Muslim countries. So Israel is dependent on the Muslim countries for its survival and for access to the outside world. What would be the impact of a Sea, Land and Air blockade?

Sea Blockade

Some 98% (by weight) of Israel's imports and exports travel by sea ( Just as Israel with its minute naval force imposed a sea blockade on Lebanon, it would be easy for Egypt, Syria and Turkey to impose a sea blockade on Israel further up the Mediterranean sea. Israel imports 90% of the oil it consumes, majority of which is imported by oil tankers. This blockade will have a major impact on its Energy requirements. The major oil ports are at Ashkelon and Eilat, currently the port at Ashkelon receives oil from Russia in tankers via the Bosphorus, which is controlled by Turkey. In 1989 Egypt supplied about 45% of Israel's oil needs but this has been gradually replaced by Russian oil, currently it is still around 26-30%. The oil tankers arriving at Eilat have to pass though the Gulf of Aqaba whose waters are controlled by Saudi Arabia and Egypt. This is a narrow waterway and a blockade can easily be implemented. The port at Eilat is strategic as it will become a key point of distribution for the central Asian oil to the world market, BP plans to pump oil through Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan oil and gas pipelines via Turkey through the Israeli Tipline pipeline to Eilat. All the routes require the consent of the Muslim countries. Continuing on the theme of Energy requirements Egypt signed an agreement with Israel in July 2005 to supply Israel between "1.7 to 3 billion cubic feet of natural gas annually for 15 years."(

The blockade would simply nullify the following treaty, which really exposes how treacherous our rulers have been in aiding Israel:

“Ships of Israel, and cargo destined for or coming from Israel, shall enjoy the right of free passage through the Suez Canal and its approach through the Gulf of Suez and the Mediterranean Sea on the basis of the Constantinople convention of 1888”

“The parties consider the strait of Tiran and the Gulf of Aqaba to be international waterways open to all nations for unimpeded and non-suspendable freedom of navigation and overflight.

“it is agreed that such relations will include normal commercial sales of oil by Egypt to Israel, and that Israel shall be fully entitled to make bids for Egyptian-origin oil”( Treaty Of Peace Between The State Of Israel and The Arab Republic of Egypt - 26/03/1979)

Treaty Of Peace Between The State Of Israel and The Arab Republic of Egypt - 26/03/1979

The sea blockade would also curb the shipment of vitally needed water to Israel from Turkey. Israel and Turkey signed a 'water for arms' agreement in Jan 2004 where Turkey would “ship 50 million cubic metres of water a year for 20 years from the river Manavgat in Anatolia”(Guardian UK) to Israel in water tankers.

Land Blockade

The following trade agreement meant that goods were traded across the borders between Israel Egypt and Jordan:

Agreement on Trade and Commerce (08/05/1980) – “To ensure the free movement of goods between the two countries, each party will make available to the other party, laws, regulations and procedures prevailing in his country, concerning the importation and exportation of goods and commodities”. “Both nations shall accord each other most favoured nation treatment”.

The impact of this treaty has been the increase of exports from Israel to Egypt and Jordan as the report mentions below:

“Israel’s exports to Egypt and Jordan in January-May 2006 increased, thanks to the Qualifying Industrial Zone (QIZ) export agreements with Israel's two neighboring countries…. Exports to Egypt rose 93% to US$48.7 million”

A land blockade would affect trade, mail and communication between Israel and the international community.

Air Blockade

Air Transport Agreement - 08/05/1980 – “To fly without landing across the territory of the other Contracting Party.”. “To make stops in the said territory for non traffic purposes … Agreement for the purpose of putting down and taking on international passengers, cargo and mail to and from the territory of the other Contracting Party.”

International flights to and from Israel utilise the air corridors over Muslim countries. Imposing a blockade would greatly impact tourism and vital communication channels, which are required for the state of Israel to operate.

The Muslim states have supported the call for the Ummah to boycott Israeli goods on an individual level but nothing is done at the state level. So the Ummah very effectively boycotted the Israeli and American goods. So much so that the boycott in 2002 against American products by the Muslims in Saudi Arabia resulted in a $2 billion drop in US exports. But this is insignificant when we compare it to the investment of the Gulf countries in the US. It was reported by Pravda the Russian newspaper that the total assets of the six Persian Gulf countries are evaluated in the sum of 1.4 trillion dollars, 75% of which resides in the G8 countries. The figure is likely to be double if not more when we consider indirect investment and joint venture with the western countries that Gulf States indulge in. The $1 trillion lawsuit brought against Saudi Arabia by the families of the US attack exposed the Saudi investment in the US to be around $750 billion (Aug 2002 -BBC).

Cultural Blockade

On an area such as Education, Media and Culture, treaties have been signed between Israel and its Muslim neighbours. The aim of this is to dilute the Islamic culture and to make Israel more acceptable to the Muslim societies. The following are three example of such treaties:

Education-Protocol On The Establishment Of The Israeli Academic Center in Cairo (25/02/1982) – “Two parties have agreed to establish an Israeli academic center in Cairo …. The centre will be established by the Israeli Oriental Society ….. ”, “provide hospitality and assistance to Israeli citizens on scholarships and visiting scholars”. “ Conduct seminars for its visiting scholars and researchers and provide opportunity for them to meet and cooperate with Egyptian scholars and researchers”.

Media- Protocol Of Cooperation Between The Israel Broadcasting Authority And The Radio And T.V. Union Of The Arab Republic of Egypt - 16/02/1982 – “The parties shall exchange Radio and Television programmes and Television films, reflecting culture, social, economic and scientific life in their countries”

Cultural –Cultural Agreement Between The State of Israel - 08/05/1980 –
“both parties shall encourage and promote youth and sport activities youth and sports institutions in each country”. “ Both Parties shall encourage co-operation in the cultural, artistic and scientific field…” ... “Exchange of cultural, educational and scientific publications”.

It doesn’t end here. We know that the purpose of creating the PLO was to shift the responsibility of defending the Muslims of Palestine and protecting Masjid Al- Aqsa to a nationalistic organisation such as the PLO. In fact, this is the responsibility of the Muslim rulers who clearly have the capability to do so but try to deflect public expectations away from themselves. Similarly, the stance taken when the issue of boycotting Israel arises is to encourage the Ummah to boycott Israeli goods and even American goods for it’s support of Israel. But they themselves deceive this Ummah by importing Israeli products under the label of Muslim companies. It was reported in 2002 that a total of $150 million worth of Israeli goods were imported into Saudi Arabia alone through 72 companies in Jordan, 70 companies in Cyprus, 23 companies in Egypt and 11 companies from Turkey. These regimes use a third country to disguise the source of the goods (Deutsche Presse-Agentur).


One may think that this is a simplistic view of the situation and it is not easy to move the army and it is difficult to get agreement on implementing sanctions and blockade on a country. If that was the case then why did the Muslim Rulers assemble a force and join the Anglo American coalition to remove Sadaam from Kuwait. Surely in the eyes of the UN and the international community the invasion of Kuwait by Sadaam Hussien is no different to the invasion of Lebanon by Israel. Is it possible for the UN to impose sanctions, the no fly zones and the sea blockade for 10 years without the collaboration of the Muslim rulers? Just like Israel, Iraq is also surrounded by Muslim countries. It was the Muslim rulers, which actually implemented the sanctions. Can you recall any ruler opposing or violating these sanctions?

By now the question that should be on your mind is how do we rid ourselves of these rulers. A number of option have been suggested to us, such as vote them out. We have seen so called democratic elections in the Muslim world since the end of World War II and yet they have not produced any change. They have only hindered change and reinforced the status quo. There has been numerous attempts to bring change by arms struggle, this has only created instability and destruction and brought us back to where we started.

The problem is that Muslims have fallen into the trap of taking their policies from these corrupt regimes and their Western supporters who have always misled them. But our policies, as with everything else, lies in the example of our beloved Prophet Muhammed (SAW).  

Only the Khilafah, the Islamic system of ruling, can unify the Muslim lands and sweep the divisions that the colonialists have placed amongst the Muslims to keep them in a perpetual state of weakness and backwardness. Only the Khilafah government will establish a government independent of Western control that is obliged to protect the life and honour of the Muslims and other citizens. The solutions proposed are meant to ensure that such comprehensive change is never achieved.  

Hizb ut-tahrir is a global political party that is working in many countries in the Muslim world to lead the Ummah to reestablish the Khilafah. It works politically to unfying people at all levels of society in their efforts to establish the state and to bring comprehensive change.
Find out today how you can work with Hizb ut-Tahrir to establish the Khilafah and liberate the Muslim lands from the Muslim rulers and their colonialist masters.

Muslim narrated on the authority of al-A'araj, on the authority of Abu Hurairah, that the Prophet said: "Behold, the Imam is but a shield from behind whom the people fight and by whom they protect themselves."

1 Quoted by Nahum Goldmann in Le Paraddoxe Juif (The Jewish Paradox), pp121.

2 David Ben-Gurion, May 1948, to the General Staff. From Ben-Gurion, A Biography, by Michael Ben-Zohar, Delacorte, New York 1978.


Dear All,
Peace be with you.

Well, those humble, honourable, generous and honest politicians and financial geniuses within the US government are currently begging for US$300bn from those arrogant, backward, dishonest and lying ragheads that are currently heading up the states out in the Middle East.This is absolute proof that the US economy is fiscally bankrupt by the way, since it does not have any cash left, after bailing out the banks and insurance giants, for companies in the real economy. No doubt we can rely on these great leaders of the Muslim states to help out their great friends in the West who at every opportunity like to extoll the virtues of Muslims and their culture.

The hypocrisy of not using this cash for political leverage to make the US completely abandon Israel and its policies not only demonstrates the lack of political savvy of these class 1 puppet regimes, but further adds to the disrepute of Muslims throughout the world in the eyes of non-Muslims, who are absolutely shocked and amazed by the total lack of support for the Palestinians by their "brothers in faith". At times I seriously wonder what I have joined in becoming a Muslim, certainly the words organisation and fellowship can't be applied, except sparingly.

With peace,
Muhammad Rafeeq.

According to reports published in Al-Seyassah, a Kuwaiti newspaper, and some other Gulf newspap ers, the United States has asked four Gulf states for financial aid close to $300 billion to face the fallout of the financial crisis and help prevent its economy from sliding into a painful recession.

Washington is seeking $120 billion from Saudi Arabia, $70 billion from the United Arab Emirates, $60 billion from Qatar and $40 billion from Kuwait.
The Kingdom has dismissed these reports. There is enough evidence that the Federal Reserve is out of ammunition. The Fed can only control the supply of money, it cannot control the velocity of money or the rate of its turnover.

The dollar is going to lose its status as the world’s reserve currency.
The Gulf’s vast investment funds are run by professionals who have lost heavily because of their forays into Western m arkets, particularly with their investments in banks, which are hit by the credit crisis. The funds are now nursing heavy losses, such as those purchased by the Kuwait Investment Authority which invested in Citigroup whose shares have fallen by three quarters this year. Citigroup, Merrill Lynch, UBS and Barclays have all raised billions of dollars from the Middle East.

The impact on Gulf state funds is particularly acute given that largely declining oil revenues fund them. They are also likely under political pressure to invest more locally than in the past because companies in the Gulf are themselves fighting for liquidity now that the credit crunch has reached the Middle East. Investment funds from Kuwait, Dubai, Qatar and possibly Abu Dhabi are all shifting their focus.

Gulf states have been helping and protecting the US economy for many decades i.e. having their currencies pegged to the dollar, quoting oil prices in US dollars, putting their entire surplus in passive investment in the US economy (they have lost over 40 percent of their assets because of the declining value of the dollar) and purchasing expensive weapons.Many voices would like to drag the Gulf states into a confrontation with Iran as they did in the early 1980s when they convinced Saddam Hussein to invade Iran. Everybody knows the disastrous results.

How could Saudi Arabia help the US auto industry and not help its own stock market that dropped over 80 percent from its value in the last 2 years? Saudi Arabia should help its citizens. Over 50 percent of Saudi families do not own homes, they rent, and the monthly income of most Saudi families is below $1,500.


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