Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
September 15, 2008

The Chenab River And U.S. Pressure on Pakistan

There is again conflict heating up between India and Pakistan. There are two well known political issues between these countries. Yesterday a major economic issue was added by India that may well lead to unrest or even war. I suspect that the U.S. has a hand in this.

One political conflict is over Kashmir, the north western state of India that has a Muslim majority and borders Pakistan. Kashmir does want independence from India, but does not want to become a part of Pakistan.

While Pakistan generally supports anti-Indian activities in Kashmir it does not want Kashmir to become independent but would like to incorporate it. Unrest is Kashmir is often a proxy war that Pakistan traditionally stokes whenever it has interior political trouble.

This time though trouble in Kashmir seems to be indigenous. The state government gave a patch of land near a Hindu temple in Kashmir to some Hindi charity. The 6 million Muslims in Kashmir protested over this in large rallies. Hindu protesters then blocked the only road connecting Kashmir with India for several weeks. This led to big losses for Kashmir fruit farmers who now plan to reopen the silk road to Pakistan.

Saturday five bombs exploded in New Delhi and killed 21 people. A group called Indian Mujahideen took responsibility and referred to the conflict in Kashmir. Some accuse Pakistan of supporting the Indian Mujahideen which I find unlikely.

While the recent conflict might not have been activated by Pakistan, India has other grievances too. Last month the Indian embassy in Kabul was bombed and India as well as the U.S. accused Pakistan's military secret service ISI to be behind this. Pakistan feels threatened by any Indian activity in Afghanistan. (Why do the U.S. and NATO allow Indian activities in Afghanistan at all? These practically guarantee a never ending trouble with Pakistan supported Taliban.)

In a rather harsh step India yesterday added a big economic issue to the already problematic situation:

India has closed Chenab water flow and as a result the shortage in Pakistan has become more severe.

Sources told Dawn on Sunday that the water blockade by India could adversely affect the Kharif crops, particularly cotton and sugarcane which were in maturity stage and required final watering, and the sowing of Rabi crops early next month.
...
The water shortage could force Pakistan to import more wheat next year, adding to the foreign exchange pressure and worsening its balance of payments crisis.

The authorities are already estimating more than 35 per cent shortage of irrigation water during the next Rabi season following a decline in the melting of snow in Northern Areas, higher withdrawals by provinces during Kharif and increased hydropower generation.

The sources said India’s unilateral decision to stop the Chenab flows had put additional pressure on the irrigation system of Pakistan, which used to receive more than 23,000 cusecs a day until last week, but it had now been brought down to almost zero.

(Chenab is a river (map) of the Indus system that flows from Kashmir to Pakistan. Kharif is the autumn harvest and Rabi the spring harvest period. A cusec is a cubic foot of water flow per second.)

The flow of water from the rivers of the Indus system is essential for Pakistan's electricity generation and for irrigation. Karachi already sees daily long electricity outages and the government recently raised electricity prices by 31%.

India stopping the flow of the Chenab is a violation of the Indus Water Treaty between India and Pakistan.

It is possible that the U.S. has a hand in this and asked India to close the flow. Bush has quite some leverage with New Delhi through the recent nuclear deal. On Friday Syed Saleem Shahzad wrote about the conflict between the U.S. and Pakistan over alleged Taliban support and reminded us:

In this delicate situation, the balance could be tipped by India, on US instigation, mobilizing forces on the Line of Control that separates the Indian- and Pakistan-administered sections of Kashmir, as happened in December 2001. And as happened then, Pakistan will be left with no option but to surrender to America's will in both letter and spirit.

Instead of war at the Line of Control between Kashmir and Pakistan, the threat to Pakistan this time is famine and/or financial ruin. It might fold under this threat or it might get violent over this breach of the international treaty on the river flow.

The new Pakistani president Zardari is visiting London this week and then New York. He will be offered some water. He will also be asked to give the U.S. a free hand to hunt Taliban in Pakistan's tribal eastern areas and to stop firing at U.S. helicopters over Pakistan.

It will be difficult for Zardari to reject the drink.

Posted by b on September 15, 2008 at 11:42 UTC | Permalink

Comments

It will be difficult for Zardari to reject the drink.

Juan Cole raised this a couple of days ago. He thought Zardari would deal under the counter, while maintaining a facade of opposition to US raids. Considering Z's reputation, that sounds right. I suspect, however, that Zardari in Pakistan is in a similar position to Maliki in Iraq. He is stuck on very powerful popular feelings. He is *not* free to go in for conspiratorial surrender to US demands (not that US pressures count for much these days. Every world leader will have noted the importance of the "Wild Ride" of the last thread for US prestige, and capacity to enforce their wishes. Very serious).

If he wants to keep his head, I would say his policy will have to be to keep everybody happy, not only the US.

Posted by: Alex | Sep 15 2008 12:11 utc | 1

The state government gave a patch of land near a Hindu temple in Kashmir to some Hindi charity. The 6 million Muslims in Kashmir protested over this in large rallies. Hindu protesters then blocked the only road connecting Kashmir with India for several weeks.

this seemed a little confusing to me, why would hindu protesters block the road? it seems the government rescinded its offer of the land and this is what lead to the hindu protests. then they changes their minds again.

The Indian state government agreed on Sunday to allow the Hindu organisation to use 40 hectares of land, but the move is the second time the government has reversed its position on the issue.

Posted by: annie | Sep 15 2008 15:18 utc | 2

I am much confused where we are standing now a days?

Our ancestors have really fucked us like this president of pakistan.

I do not know why our ancestors have filled their pockets and left all the nation in misery.

Posted by: tanveer | Sep 15 2008 15:19 utc | 3

Juan Cole cites a Pakistan newspaper today; "According to sources, US troops boarded on two helicopters were trying to enter onto Pakistan’s areas near Angoor Adda along Pak-Afghan border when local tribes and troops of Pakistan army resisted the move and opened fire, forcing US helicopters to return."

All this in order to hand the head of bin Laden to the McCain/Palin ticket. Nothing will unite Muslim government troops and the tribes faster shooting at big slow Christian choppers.

The central Pakistan government won't last long if it is taking under the counter bribes to continue the truck convoy's through to Afghanistan. A State has to defend its territory in order to survive.

Cutting off water starts range wars. It appears that India and the Bush Administration have opened a two front war against nuclear Pakistan.

Posted by: VietnamVet | Sep 15 2008 17:10 utc | 4

cubic feet of water per second/per day?

Posted by: | Sep 15 2008 18:50 utc | 5

Cubic feet of water per second, per day? No it don't sound right to me either. I would have thought, like any nation living in the 21st Century(excepting the United States of course)they would have been measuring in metric. Feet and inches--pounds and ounces? Euuuch!

Posted by: Spyware | Sep 15 2008 18:59 utc | 6

cubic feet of water per second/per day? Ask the Dawn writer. Given the river size 23,000 cusecs makes sense. Cusecs per day obviously don't. (Now guess why I added the explanation.)

(Cusecs is btw a traditional British measurement, so I wonder why someone British would mock it. Especially while still driving on the wrong side of the road.)

Posted by: b | Sep 15 2008 19:25 utc | 7

Dear boy, it may be "traditional", but throughout the EC and for the past 30yrs., in Britain at least, metric has been the offical and more widly used of the two systems. Only taking the building industry as an example, ALL design and build measurement is in metric--and has been for the past three decades. Incidentally if you think it's the "wrong" side of the road we drive on then come on over and try driving on the "right" side of the road and see just far you get. I can tell you you'll get about as far as the nearest police station after a (hopefully) brief stop at the nearest hospital casualty ward. So put that one in you pipe and smoke it mate.

Posted by: Spyware | Sep 15 2008 19:55 utc | 8

'Cuse the misspellings, etc. but you're hardly a shining example your self of lexigraphic probity from what I've seen in these columns

Posted by: Spyware | Sep 15 2008 20:00 utc | 9

Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, Nepal, Bhutan, and the American Virgin Islands(None of them former Brit colonies) as well as India, Pakistan, Malaysia, Singapore, South Africa, Kenya, Australia, New Zealand, Cyprus, Fiji, Ireland et al...... are all driving on the "wrong" side of the road like the Brits. Total population about one third of the planet. What arrangements are made for traffic entering Afghanistan (drives on "right" side of road) from Pakistan(drives on "wrong" side)? Anyone know?

Posted by: drongo | Sep 15 2008 20:12 utc | 10

Being a hydrologist, I am able to assure you that river flow in the UK is measured in Cumecs = Cubic metres per second. I cannot imagine what "Cusecs" as described by b are. are

Posted by: drongo | Sep 15 2008 20:20 utc | 11

Traffic wardens in the form of hellfire-armed drones, perhaps?

Posted by: Tantalus | Sep 15 2008 20:21 utc | 12

Actually, fuck this sorry attempt to hijack this thread with trivia. This is happening too much lately. And apologies for playing along.

Posted by: Tantalus | Sep 15 2008 20:23 utc | 13

Britain is struggling, reluctantly it has to be admitted, towards full adoption of the metric system. The country that adheres most slavishly to the pre-French Revolution "Imperial" system of measurement - pounds, ounces, yards, acres, feet and inches etc. is the former British ruled Land of the Free. That is why one of its rockets or sattelites crashed a few years ago. NASA nuddled metric and Imperial measurements in their calculations. Big boo-boo.

Posted by: drongo | Sep 15 2008 20:34 utc | 14

b - I think you are reading too much into this - it looks like the Indians are starting to fill the Baglihar Dam.

Posted by: blowback | Sep 15 2008 20:57 utc | 15

Hijacking this thread with trivia? Wake up, the whole damn blog’s trivia.

Posted by: Spyware | Sep 15 2008 20:58 utc | 16

b - I think you are reading too much into this

Fuck Off

the whole damn blog’s trivia.

Fuck Off

Posted by: sick of trolls | Sep 15 2008 21:21 utc | 17

Spyware, for people interested in substance rather than form, it is irrelevant if the caps are used properly. The moment you understand the sentence, the author achieved his/her goal. The conclusions you seem to draw about blog contributors from their unorthodox usage of punctuation or spelling, is like judging drivers by how often they wash their car. How shallow can you get?

Posted by: Juan Moment | Sep 15 2008 21:56 utc | 18

throughout the history of b's blog - we have had to put up with fools - who come here but appear not to have ears to hear. at any level. touting oneself as a journalist here - & expecting to win a medal - well you have to be one silly fellow. this blog is an indictement of journalism & if even a casual visitor woul read what is written here - they would know that

b, take heart my friend - you post across the waterfront & that is to your credit, & our collective good. smartass arseholes who offer nothing but the edges of their mendacity -will come & go - precisely because they do not listen - they are just noise & in no way affect the real communication that takes place

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Sep 15 2008 22:21 utc | 19

i wouldn't mind if they had anything to offer other than their casual sadism & their ill informed impertinance

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Sep 15 2008 22:26 utc | 20

B, you wrote that "it is possible that the U.S. has a hand in this and asked India to close the flow." We will never know for sure, but the timing of this provocation is suspect, to say the least:

A K Antony arrives in US on four-day visit
Monday, September 08, 2008

Washington: [Indian] Defence Minister A K Antony has arrived on a four-day official visit to the United States during which he will hold talks with several officials of the Bush administration.

One can bet his bottom dollar that Pakistan was high on the agenda.

Posted by: Juan Moment | Sep 16 2008 0:03 utc | 21

Viet Vet #4--

You certainly touched the main points. Cutting the water is plainly an act of war, ranking right up there with bombing villages from the air.

But--what will Pakistan do? Hard to guess: I suppose we will see. I expect things are just starting to heat up.

In their place I would support an independent Kashmir. Easier than taking it (so far impossible) and much more trouble for India. This might ease the pressure of the now two-front war.

b--

Thanks for your efforts and thanks for this blog! You catch stories with deep implications that most folks just don't notice.

Posted by: Gaianne | Sep 16 2008 3:42 utc | 22

@blowback - b - I think you are reading too much into this - it looks like the Indians are starting to fill the Baglihar Dam.

They have been doing that for a while without taking ALL the water of the Chenab:

LAHORE, Aug 22: India has started filling the Baglihar Dam in clear violation of the Indus Basin Water Treaty, bringing the inflow in Chenab River down to a historic low of 20,000 cusecs and forcing Pakistan to launch a protest with India’s Indus Commissioner.

“Although the Indians can fill the dam between June 21 and Aug 31, they can only do so by releasing at least 55,000 cusecs downstream,” says Syed Jamaat Ali Shah, Pakistan’s Indus Commissioner. But this has not been the case and is a clear violation of the Indus Basin Treaty.

Posted by: b | Sep 16 2008 5:19 utc | 23

Top news in today's Dawn: Protest lodged with India over reduced water flow

ISLAMABAD, Sept 15: Pakistan formally protested to India on Monday over the reduction in Chenab River flows and sought an emergency meeting of the Permanent Indus Commission for explanation of the violation of the 1960 treaty on water sharing.

The reduction has caused substantial losses to standing Kharif crops in most areas downstream of the Head Marala, in Punjab.
...

Posted by: b | Sep 16 2008 5:23 utc | 24

Can't help but wonder at the coincidence in timing of India amping up the bellicosity and the ratification by the Nuclear Suppliers Group of the awful war mongerering India/amerika nuclear co-operation intiative whereby the world has declared India's possesion of nuclear weapons without signing up to the nuclear test ban treaty or nuclear non proliferation treaty as "fine with us".
Now India can access as much nuclear material as it wishes apparently without having to stick to any rules other than 'promising' to touch base with the IAEA from time to time.

The announcement made early september, didn't go un-noticed where I live. The Minister of Foreign Affairs leader of a minority party in our government is in more shit than a Mangere duck (turned in by former big corporate donors the man is an asshole any how but the pending election down here has a few paw marks in the general shape of AIPAC across it but that's a whole other story) so the Labour party Mr Fix-it, Phil Goff was all over the TV in place of the minister explaining to us why his capitulation on the India amerika agreement was a real 'win win' situation.

In other words 'we was robbed' by 'we' I mean the humans of the world. Goff reckoned that by the end there were only three countries holding out on the agreement Austria, Ireland, and NZ representing barely 20 million people "so we had to take what we could get".

India is on a home run now. Judged nice unwhite humans by the corporate media (largely true, Indians like most humans are friendly generous and obliging humans) because they aren't communistic or muslim and run a great convenience store, India seems likely to provide the world with an interesting educative experience during their time in the sun as "the next best foreigners to Israelis".


Just like whitey does with Bhuddism, many in the west wrongly imagine Hinduism to be a pacifist sort of religion.

Of course parts of the Hindu tenets preach peace and love but so do parts of xtianity and look where that got us. Maybe people in the west like to imagine India is made up of a billion Ghandis , I dunno but if they do they haven't been paying attention to the rise of Hindu facism/fundamentalism with the rise of the BJP party.

Some of those guys spout on about India being able to win a nuclear war with Pakistan!

India is undergoing a bigger but less apparent metamorphosis than China. At the moment they have amerika's backing to bully Pakistan. They won't blow the opportunity cause it may not come around again.

For whatever reason (prolly investments in both camps - maybe guilt at cranking the whole thing up in the first place)the english who were India's last best friends used to try and restrain India when the anti-Pakistan rhetoric got too heated.

However the current mob occupying either faction of the washington imperial party don't seem able to appreciate the necessity of that stance. They will if anyone is truly stupid enough to create the feeling in either side that amerika will support 'their' side all the way.

Lets hope the recent Wall St incidents make an amerikan imprimatur for war a less powerful tool.

The border conflicts of the 60's even the 71 'liberation' of Bangladesh were mild affairs in comparison to what a sectarian conflict involving millions of troops on either side along with their respective collections of thermo-nuclear devices will be like.

Then when the inevitable Indian victory (sheer weight of numbers - they could keep training and replacing casualties for years) was about to become reality, China steps in. Like Russia with once amenable Georgia and the Ukraine, China wants Pakistan between itself and rivals such as India.
Pakistan conquered by India is not an occurrence China would see as a 'satisfactory' outcome.

I know that some in here have become convinced that chaos is the deliberate strategy of the amerikan empire, but a continuous line of war and misery, bombing and looting, rule by assassination and brutality from the eastern Mediterranean all the way to India and beyond could never be contained to that area.

The Chinese have made their views known. Since India seems unlikely for a dose of honest self examination, peeps in amerika who don't see Armageddon as a positive would be wise to try and engage pols on the stupidity of the current course of action.

I realise it is only a 'world war' when all the whitefellas are in it but the sort of conflict discussed here would make either of those confrontations seem like a minor barroom brawl in comparison.

Pretty soon one half of humanity would be fighting the other half, under a myriad of flags, while diverse fingers itched on the buttons.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Sep 16 2008 9:59 utc | 25

Pakistan orders troops to open fire if US raids

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - Pakistan's military has ordered its forces to open fire if U.S. troops launch another air or ground raid across the Afghan border, an army spokesman said Tuesday.
...
"The orders are clear," [army spokesman] Abbas said in an interview. "In case it happens again in this form, that there is a very significant detection, which is very definite, no ambiguity, across the border, on ground or in the air: open fire."

Posted by: b | Sep 16 2008 13:15 utc | 26

b - I read those reports as well, but the only way the Indians could reduce to flow is to either divert it or obstruct it. Looking at Google maps, I can only see one canal coming off the Chenab River and it has been around for some time. So that just leaves the Baglihar Dam. Pakistan has been opposed to the Baglihar Dam all along and given the relationship between the two countries, it is hardly surprising that the Pakistanis want to complain loudly about it.

Pakistan’s Indus Water Commissioner Jamaat Ali Shah told the channel that data relating to the previous record of water flow in Chenab had been provided to NESPAK to ascertain the loss arising out of the stoppage. Shah said Water and Power Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf would chair a meeting in Islamabad on Tuesday to discuss the procedure for demanding compensation. He said that India had stopped Pakistan’s 200,000 acre-feet water from August 1 to September 12 to fill its Baglihar Dam lake in Indian-held Kashmir.

Given the current antagonism between Pakistan and the US, now was not the best time for India to fill the Baglihar Dam, but then given the state of the relationship between Pakistan and India, there never would be a good time.

Posted by: blowback | Sep 16 2008 13:54 utc | 27

As usual, Debs paints a scaringly realistic picture - the smouldering conflict between Pakistan and India.

Since India seems unlikely for a dose of honest self examination, peeps in amerika who don't see Armageddon as a positive would be wise to try and engage pols on the stupidity of the current course of action.
I think the same can be said about Pakistan. Both nations have huge numbers of dirt poor citizens, but manage to spend incredible amounts on their military (money they actually don’t have). India http://en.rian.ru/world/20080611/110101921.html”>doubled its defence budget to almost $40 billion, making military expenditure 3% of the annual gross domestic product (GDP), and Pakistan is spending in excess of 4% of its GDP. In other words, as much as the US in relative terms. That is crazy stuff.

Although in the last 30 years India managed to reduce the number of people having to live below the poverty line from over half the population to about a third, because of its sheer number of people, the number of poor souls suffering from pretty much everything one can suffer is still massive. By Indian government standards the poverty line is at 21 cents a day, and even assessed on this incredibly low par, India still has approx 300 million people living on income below this pittance. That’s about a spoonful worth of Ol’Roy dog food. 7 out of 10 Indians are on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poverty_in_India”>less than $2 a day, which means they can afford a whole can. And yet, they plan to spend $40 billion per year on their military, which by today’s norms would catapult them ahead of Russia into the list of http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/articles/2008/09/04/1220121376460.html”>top ten military spenders.

TOP 15 MILITARY SPENDERS
1. United States $US696.30 billion
2. United Kingdom $US79.27 billion
3. France $US65.74 billion.
4. China $US58.07 billion
5. Japan $US48.10 billion
6. Germany $US43.55 billion
7. Saudi Arabia $US38.32 billion
8. Russian Federation $US36.73 billion
9. Italy $US31.40 billion
10. South Korea $US28.30 billion
11. India $US27.21 billion
12. Brazil $US24.62 billion
13. Australia $US19.74 billion
14. Spain $US19.37 billion
15. Canada $US16.19 billlion

TOP 15 MILITARY SPENDERS - PER CAPITA
* The top 15 military spenders, reorganised by their military spend per head of population
1. United States $US2291.78 per head of population
2. Saudi Arabia $US1360.72
3. United Kingdom $US1300.70
4. France $US1026.26
5. Australia $US958.21
6. South Korea $US574.81
7. Italy $US540.02
8. Germany $US528.71
9. Canada $US487.46
10. Spain $US478.37
11. Japan $US377.88
12. Russian Federation $US261.04
14. Brazil $US128.29
15. China $US43.66
16. India $US23.70

The arc Debs described, from North East Africa right across to Oceania, in other words nearly along the entire Indian Ocean, the regional arms race is shifting gears. Australia’s government has just announced a further increase in its military budget line, largely in response to India’s rapid renewal and expansion of its hardware. I mean I understand that India doesn’t want to end up in China’s growing sphere of control, but it is foolish to squander such large sums on aircraft carriers and other late model fighter planes, seeing that with the present rate of experimental arms development in 10 to 15 years that gear will be near to obsolete. Compare that with investments in civil infrastructure such as water filtration, highways, schools and hospitals, outlasting a tank by many decades.

As a non-militarist I feel like spewing, the waste of money is beyond belief. The top 15 spenders above added together come close to $1’300’000’000’000.00. Tendency: Increasing until X-mas and Easter fall on the same day.

India is nuclear armed, should war break out with China (which it won’t), it wouldn’t stand a chance with its conventional force. Whilst China builds its own fighter jets, India needs to buy them, it has no arms industry to speak of. Yet. Its starting to develop one, but will always be miles behind China. Or Russia for that matter. That’s what the whole going nuke thingy was all about. So why now this shift of funding priorities to arms upgrades? Especially when people have hardly anything to eat, wear or sleep under. Imho a disgrace and misuse of funds. Same with Pakistan. Plain stupid.

Both nations need to confront home grown insurgents and radicalisation, but prefer to focus on the hated neighbours. In doing so they spend precious resources on arms that are pretty much useless in the fight against radical activists. Militancy, fed by mostly inconspicuously looking young men living amongst the civilian population, requires improved means of policing and better methods of infiltrating the groupings. No aircraft carrier in the world will be able to do that. From where I stand both nations need to come to their collective senses and reprioritise their spending. Having said that, this observation applies to all countries on this planet.

Posted by: Juan Moment | Sep 17 2008 13:12 utc | 28

Suspected US missile kill five in northwest Pakistan: officials

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AFP) - At least five people were killed when four missiles fired by suspected US drones struck a compound in a northwestern Pakistani tribal area near the Afghan border, officials said on Wednesday.

"Five people including foreigners were killed and three others injured when the missiles hit a compound in Baghar Cheena area in the restive South Waziristan region," a security official told AFP.

Mullen is in Pakistan talking with the Army chief. I can imagine the talks will NOT go well.

Posted by: b | Sep 17 2008 16:09 utc | 29

Well, made to eat my words:

The Indian Air Force (IAF) has, for the first time, deployed its multi-role Sukhoi SU-30MKI combat jets in Jammu and Kashmir to send out a powerful message to both China and Pakistan, with whom it has fought border wars...

The deployment of two squadrons of the SU-30s from their home base at Pune in Maharashtra comes at a time when Pakistan is scheduled to receive a fresh batch of F-16 combat aircraft from the US, as also the JF-17s from China. Two more squadrons of the aircraft are permanently stationed at Bareilli in a China-centric deployment....

The aircraft have just returned home after successfully participating in the prestigious Red Flag exercise with the US Air Force at the Nellis Air Force base in Nevada...

Toward this, the SU-30s, which are capable of delivering eight tones of nuclear payload, are likely to be deployed at the Tezpur air base in Assam, while Pune is to get another squadron of the aircraft, these ones being manufactured by Hindustan Aeronautics Limited...

So, India is producing its own fighter jet, trains with the US and is parading the new gadgets. In international sign language this means "I've got a big dick and looking for somewhere to put it". Pakistan better not blink.

Posted by: Juan Moment | Sep 17 2008 16:51 utc | 30

@Juan - I think India will stay calm - unless the rabbit right BJP nationalists get into government.

For Pakistan Kashmir is important, but I don't think they will (again) start a fight over it right now.

Also - the U.S. wants Zardari to shut down ISI, the military secret service. Bad Idea.

Recommended: The Line of Control

...
Neither the Pakistani public nor its security establishment will accept compromise on Kashmir in a context of weakness. Gen. Kayani has spoken of “peace through strength.”

In this context, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher’s calls for the “reform” of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence will hit a brick wall. The civilian government is, in effect, being thrown at this wall, i.e. the army, and will bear the direct consequences of such action. This is something Zardari must consider out of both self and national interest.

The first target of ISI “reform” would seemingly be the organization’s director general, Lt. Gen. Nadeem Taj. Indeed, some in Washington are pressing for civilian control of the ISI. This is a recipe for disaster. Zardari’s earlier attempt to bring the ISI under civilian control failed. After another attempt, he’ll find himself sitting out on the pavement outside of the presidential palace. Zardari lacks the legitimacy and power with which to assert himself over the military. While the Pakistani public supports the cessation of the ISI’s political role, there is no support for tying the organization’s hands in other matters. If pressed by Zardari, Gen. Kayani would be forced to enter the political realm, against his will, because of civilian excess.
...
Gen. Kayani has given the civilians free reign over non-security matters. He has, however, drawn a line in the sand. The civilians cannot pass the line of control into his own domain. Given Zardari’s consolidation of power and the absence of checks and balances upon him, a foolish press against the military would compel that institution to intervene, making his presidency the shortest in Pakistan’s history.

Posted by: b | Sep 17 2008 17:24 utc | 31

b, #29 Sorry, the page you requested was not found.

any text available?

Posted by: annie | Sep 17 2008 17:33 utc | 32

thx annie - I corrected the link

Posted by: b | Sep 17 2008 17:40 utc | 33

..... he’ll find himself sitting out on the pavement outside of the presidential palace.

hehe.
Nope. Consensus on the street is that this is their(pols) last chance to get it right.
These guys are going to find themselves hanged when they slip up and they are going to slip up. Its almost inconceivable that they are going to survive five years. Its a matter of when and how bad, not if.


Posted by: fool | Sep 18 2008 0:29 utc | 34

hehe

Posted by: fool | Sep 18 2008 0:53 utc | 35

This is a few days old but pretty good summary of how many many pakistanis feel.

Posted by: fool | Sep 18 2008 1:10 utc | 36

Needless India-baiting, here. The dam's design and operation are well within the bounds of the Indus Waters Treaty. As for Kashmir, the separatist protesters are clearly flexing their sectarian chauvinism, denying pilgrims the right to facilities at their traditional time-honored place of worship.

Posted by: Sanjay | Sep 19 2008 3:37 utc | 37

that is one hella link @ #36 notafool

recommended!

Posted by: annie | Sep 19 2008 4:47 utc | 38

massive explosion in pakistan kills 27

Posted by: annie | Sep 20 2008 15:50 utc | 39

40 dead 100 injured

At least 40 people were killed and 100 injured in a massive explosion at the Marriott hotel which was gutted after a suicide bomber rammed an explosive-laden vehicle into the main gate of the five-star hotel in the heart of Pakistani capital.

ARY TV Channel reported that at least 40 people had died in one of the worst terror attacks in the history of Pakistan. The toll is likely to go up, police said.

Several floors of the hotel were seen on fire. The Hotel is popular among foreigners and several American Embassy officials were reported to be inside the hotel.

Posted by: annie | Sep 20 2008 15:53 utc | 40

india is really on top of this story..Senior CIA officers were target of Islamabad blast

Islamabad, Sept 20 (ANI): Several senior officers of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) who are reported to be currently visiting Islamabad were the target of the blast at the Marriott Hotel which took place here tonight.

Well placed sources said that Marriott Hotel is usual hotel choice of the US officials and it seems that militants tipped off that certain high level US intelligence officers were currently staying at the hotel.

While no confirmation was available but Pakistan sources said it was clear that the explosion was aimed at specific targets based on a tip off.

the only thing that's clear is the fact that if the cia was the target they wouldn't have tried to blow up their own guys.

Posted by: annie | Sep 20 2008 16:01 utc | 41

@ 41

this is just wild speculation by the indian media (with probably some hidden motive). in fact, at that time the president, prime minister and the army chief were at an iftar dinner at the prime minister house which is around 300 meters from the site of the blast. the bomber could not penetrate the security thus blew himself outside.

Posted by: a | Sep 20 2008 17:50 utc | 42

@41 and 42. Although I agree a's remark @ 42 implies real knowledge, the reported effects on the Marriot Hotel, complete destruction of the front, and widespread fire, speaks more of the Marriot having been the target, and of the attack having been effective. As to whether senior CIA were there, and whether some were killed, we will have to wait to see. I don't suppose that it will be admitted soon, if ever. I suspect that the story is true.

Posted by: Alex | Sep 20 2008 18:56 utc | 43

I think a @ 42 is writing on behalf of the Pakistan government, with the aim of calming Western fears.

Posted by: Alex | Sep 20 2008 19:01 utc | 44

this is just wild speculation by the indian media

how do you know it wasn't carefully planted?

how facts are made from rumors.

in fact, at that time the president, prime minister and the army chief were at an iftar dinner at the prime minister house which is around 300 meters from the site of the blast. the bomber could not penetrate the security thus blew himself outside.

any links to support this?

the blast happened hrs after Zardari was making his first major address since being elected president, vowed to 'fight terrorism'.

i just googled news 'pakistan' and this has top billing. Pakistan hotel bombing 'likely' al Qaeda

here is some interesting commentary out of india timesofindia

A measure of its collapsing faith in the Congress is the fact that these theories finger government agencies as frequently as they do traditional adversaries like the RSS and Bajrang Dal. Indian Muslims are relieved if anyone ascribes terrorism to Pakistan's ISI or America's CIA. The one Indian Mujahideen email that was traced to an American missionary resident in Mumbai was, for a while, the subject of much internet-advocacy.

Dissection pares arguments down to the bone in the search for any consolation: for instance, one of the two who signed the Mujahideen email signed himself as Al-Arabi; but Arabi was the name of a bridge-builder to other communities, unlike others who were aggressors. Would a terrorist have used such a 'peace-loving' pseudonym? Was this a mistake made by a non-Muslim mastermind?

however this morning as soon as i heard the news after posting #39 i googled pakistan and there were hardly any links, i googled news by date, not reference. the cia story was there (Newstrack India, India - 7 minutes ago ) directly after the first reported story of the blast on google at the time was from teletext.co.uk11 killed in hotel blast 12 minutes ago

i thought this was very curious. here was the other story from india, posted almost simultaneously, and the 2 after that (although i did not copy paste those minutes) and i thought the chronological report directly on its heels was revealing. after copying these stories i went back to google, it couldn't have been more than 7 or 8 minutes later, and that is when there were several dozens of reports and sandwiched before and after these links. perhaps i happened to check google at a time they were rearranging the links or something, i found it very odd. obviously there must have been more reports prior to my checking for raw story had the 'developing' story. sometimes checking 'news by date' is interesting, altho i'm not sure how relevant it is. here are the three stories in succession on google news prior to the onslaught of reports, all from india.

Four deposed Pak judges reinstated into Supreme Court

The ruling Pakistan People's Party-led coalition on Saturday continued to selectively reinstate judges deposed during last year's emergency by inducting four judges into the Supreme Court even as it virtually ruled out the restoration of former Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to his earlier position.

AQ in india

New Delhi (PTI): A week after the serial blasts in Delhi that left 24 dead, police on Saturday claimed to have uncovered the conspiracy behind the attacks in the capital and in Jaipur and Ahmedabad, saying they were carried out by terrorists of Indian Mujahideen and SIMI in league with Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Atif alias Bashar, the "main man" of the Indian Mujahideen who was killed in the encounter with police yesterday, was the mastermind behind the Delhi blasts and was inspired by the "philosophy" of Al-Qaida, Joint Commissioner of Delhi Police (Special Cell) Karnal Singh told a press conference.

He said Pakistan's ISI has lately "changed strategy" to rope in Indians to strike terror as it had "problems" internationally after LeT cadres were arrested.

"So, they approached SIMI and Indian Mujahideen. They asked Tauqeer (one of top men of SIMI) and Atif to coordinate. Indian Mujahideen received funding and operational support from SIMI and both got support from LeT," Singh said.

A day after it killed two terrorists and arrested two others, he said the Indian Mujahideen and SIMI had jointly carried out the September 13 serial blasts here as also the explosions in Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Varanasi and Faizabad over the last one year.

Atif and 12 others, all from Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh, were involved in the bomb blasts in Delhi and Ahmedabad, Singh said, adding they had utilised local support in carrying out the strikes.

LeT was the "vital link" of banned SIMI and Indian Mujahideen. "LeT was providing total support to SIMI and Indian Mujahideen... LeT is at the back of both the groups... it is the joining point of SIMI and Indian Mujahideen," Singh said.

After the encounter at a house in Jamia Nagar in South Delhi yesterday, police seized a laptop of Atif which contained material about Al-Qaeda and photographs of Osama bin Laden, the Joint Commissioner said.

Asked whether Atif was in touch with the Al-Qaeda, he said that nothing could be said at this stage.

Citing interrogation of Saif and Zeeshan, who were arrested after the encounter, Singh said. Two terrorists, who had managed to escape during the encounter, were identified as Junaid and Shahzad.

Besides them, seven are at large and police has "trails" about them, he said.

Among those at large is one Sajid, who had made the bombs used in Delhi and Ahmedabad.

Atif had "lured" 12 others, who were his seniors or juniors in school in Azamgarh, into Indian Mujahideen and SIMI had organised training for them.

On the blasts in Delhi, Singh said the terrorists undertook a recce and identified their target spots on September 11. On September 13, the bombs were placed between 5.45 pm and 6 pm.

Explosive used in the blasts here was brought from Karnataka, he said.

chonology CHRONOLOGY - Recent bomb attacks in Pakistan.

cnn's earliest report included this about the hotel hmm

Located near the diplomatic section of the city and heavily guarded by police and military, the facility is popular among tourists. Any car entering the facility is searched, its underside scrutinized for bombs, before it is allowed to pass through heavy steel gates.

ps, my comment @ the bottom of 41 was snark.

Posted by: annie | Sep 20 2008 19:22 utc | 45

this is just wild speculation by the indian media

how do you know it wasn't carefully planted?

how facts are made from rumors.

in fact, at that time the president, prime minister and the army chief were at an iftar dinner at the prime minister house which is around 300 meters from the site of the blast. the bomber could not penetrate the security thus blew himself outside.

any links to support this?

the blast happened hrs after Zardari was making his first major address since being elected president, vowed to 'fight terrorism'.

i just googled news 'pakistan' and this has top billing. Pakistan hotel bombing 'likely' al Qaeda

here is some interesting commentary out of india timesofindia

A measure of its collapsing faith in the Congress is the fact that these theories finger government agencies as frequently as they do traditional adversaries like the RSS and Bajrang Dal. Indian Muslims are relieved if anyone ascribes terrorism to Pakistan's ISI or America's CIA. The one Indian Mujahideen email that was traced to an American missionary resident in Mumbai was, for a while, the subject of much internet-advocacy.

Dissection pares arguments down to the bone in the search for any consolation: for instance, one of the two who signed the Mujahideen email signed himself as Al-Arabi; but Arabi was the name of a bridge-builder to other communities, unlike others who were aggressors. Would a terrorist have used such a 'peace-loving' pseudonym? Was this a mistake made by a non-Muslim mastermind?

however this morning as soon as i heard the news after posting #39 i googled pakistan and there were hardly any links, i googled news by date, not reference. the cia story was there (Newstrack India, India - 7 minutes ago ) directly after the first reported story of the blast on google at the time was from teletext.co.uk11 killed in hotel blast 12 minutes ago

i thought this was very curious. here was the other story from india, posted almost simultaneously, and the 2 after that (although i did not copy paste those minutes) and i thought the chronological report directly on its heels was revealing. after copying these stories i went back to google, it couldn't have been more than 7 or 8 minutes later, and that is when there were several dozens of reports and sandwiched before and after these links. perhaps i happened to check google at a time they were rearranging the links or something, i found it very odd. obviously there must have been more reports prior to my checking for raw story had the 'developing' story. sometimes checking 'news by date' is interesting, altho i'm not sure how relevant it is. here are the three stories in succession on google news prior to the onslaught of reports, all from india.

Four deposed Pak judges reinstated into Supreme Court

The ruling Pakistan People's Party-led coalition on Saturday continued to selectively reinstate judges deposed during last year's emergency by inducting four judges into the Supreme Court even as it virtually ruled out the restoration of former Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry to his earlier position.

AQ in india

New Delhi (PTI): A week after the serial blasts in Delhi that left 24 dead, police on Saturday claimed to have uncovered the conspiracy behind the attacks in the capital and in Jaipur and Ahmedabad, saying they were carried out by terrorists of Indian Mujahideen and SIMI in league with Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Atif alias Bashar, the "main man" of the Indian Mujahideen who was killed in the encounter with police yesterday, was the mastermind behind the Delhi blasts and was inspired by the "philosophy" of Al-Qaida, Joint Commissioner of Delhi Police (Special Cell) Karnal Singh told a press conference.

He said Pakistan's ISI has lately "changed strategy" to rope in Indians to strike terror as it had "problems" internationally after LeT cadres were arrested.

"So, they approached SIMI and Indian Mujahideen. They asked Tauqeer (one of top men of SIMI) and Atif to coordinate. Indian Mujahideen received funding and operational support from SIMI and both got support from LeT," Singh said.

A day after it killed two terrorists and arrested two others, he said the Indian Mujahideen and SIMI had jointly carried out the September 13 serial blasts here as also the explosions in Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Varanasi and Faizabad over the last one year.

Atif and 12 others, all from Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh, were involved in the bomb blasts in Delhi and Ahmedabad, Singh said, adding they had utilised local support in carrying out the strikes.

LeT was the "vital link" of banned SIMI and Indian Mujahideen. "LeT was providing total support to SIMI and Indian Mujahideen... LeT is at the back of both the groups... it is the joining point of SIMI and Indian Mujahideen," Singh said.

After the encounter at a house in Jamia Nagar in South Delhi yesterday, police seized a laptop of Atif which contained material about Al-Qaeda and photographs of Osama bin Laden, the Joint Commissioner said.

Asked whether Atif was in touch with the Al-Qaeda, he said that nothing could be said at this stage.

Citing interrogation of Saif and Zeeshan, who were arrested after the encounter, Singh said. Two terrorists, who had managed to escape during the encounter, were identified as Junaid and Shahzad.

Besides them, seven are at large and police has "trails" about them, he said.

Among those at large is one Sajid, who had made the bombs used in Delhi and Ahmedabad.

Atif had "lured" 12 others, who were his seniors or juniors in school in Azamgarh, into Indian Mujahideen and SIMI had organised training for them.

On the blasts in Delhi, Singh said the terrorists undertook a recce and identified their target spots on September 11. On September 13, the bombs were placed between 5.45 pm and 6 pm.

Explosive used in the blasts here was brought from Karnataka, he said.

chonology CHRONOLOGY - Recent bomb attacks in Pakistan.

cnn's earliest report included this about the hotel hmm

Located near the diplomatic section of the city and heavily guarded by police and military, the facility is popular among tourists. Any car entering the facility is searched, its underside scrutinized for bombs, before it is allowed to pass through heavy steel gates.

ps, my comment @ the bottom of 41 was snark.

Posted by: annie | Sep 20 2008 19:23 utc | 46

@ Alex

thats really funny...

but the sad part is that the "western" understanding is so shallow....

Posted by: a | Sep 20 2008 19:24 utc | 47

b, could you check your spam filter thingamagig. i tried to post a link twice and it isn't letting it thru. then i cut it in half, still not allowing me to post.

Posted by: annie | Sep 20 2008 19:28 utc | 48

a, i have a response for you coming up if and when b finds it and posts it.

i was snarking @ my comment at the end of 42 btw. how so soon after the blast a rumor like this would come from india, or from anywhere (also published out of thailand). it reaks of false flag (the story not the event per se).

here's what is clear to me. the US has been agitating and provoking pakistan. this morning 16 more 'taliban' were targeted and killed by airstrikes. is this explosion be an escalation of violence ? of course. any actor targeting pakistan is therefore suspect. including the US or the cia. imho.

Posted by: annie | Sep 20 2008 19:36 utc | 49

a @ 45. I don't much care whether you are a paid representative of Pakistan - many commenters on blogs are paid to turn opinion in the direction desired. I would say from your remarks that you are (a) Muslim and (b) probably Pakistani, or of Pakistani origin. I don't much care.

Do you have good reason to deny the story that CIA were involved?

Posted by: Alex | Sep 20 2008 20:00 utc | 50

The attack on the Merriott in Pakistan could be:

- an Indian operation
- a U.S. operation
- an Afghan operation
- a Chinese operation
- an anti Pakistan Pashtun operation
- an anti Pakistan Baluch operation
- a Pakistani Intelligence Service operation
- some weird lunatics act

We don't know and never will know.

The situation in Pakistan is quite confusing.

If you look locally you see several groups in confrontations, class, parties, ethnic, tribal, religious.

If you zoom out you see India, Pakistan in struggle over Afghanistan and Kashmir.

If you zoom further out you see the U.S. fighting China in a proxy war in Pakistan.

This one was quite big. Someone had access to several tons of explosive stuff. You don't find that on a junk yard.

I am preparing a piece on the zoom view of this conflict - it is not easy to reconcile the various zoom levels. The media never catches them even when they are obvious.

Posted by: b | Sep 20 2008 20:13 utc | 51

@Alex,

read the local press first. http://geo.tv/9-21-2008/25309.htm

i have no clue whether the cia was there or not.

the death toll is expected to climb over a 100.

even if the cia was there, then those scum are not worth so much innocent civilian blood. hundreds of innocent human beings have died in these senseless wars, but when even one mother fucking european or umreekan soldier dies then those "western fears" start to come into the lime light. what major shit-holes you guys are.

you seems to be profiling me. are you a US agency operative? not that i really care.

Posted by: a | Sep 20 2008 20:45 utc | 52

my 'how facts are made from rumors." link shows that free republic has picked up this cia target story. i always take note when news first generating from overseas is 'dropped' on free republic or another radical extremist US blog comments prior to hitting 'legitimate' msm here in the states.

we will see if this story from 'Pakistan sources' has legs.

the reason it concerns me most is the meme that they are targeting the US in bold ways (regardless of who did it), for this is what it takes to get the american right wing revved up for more war.

Posted by: annie | Sep 20 2008 20:57 utc | 53

@ annie

follow the local tv channels. GeoTV or Dawn News or dozens more. to me, the cia story seems like a plant. to me it seems like an al-qaeda/baitullah mehsud type hit trying to get the message across to zardari. who has already been shitting in his pants after getting elected as president. this brand of taliban follow the 'tafkiri' ideology. read syed saleem shehzad on atimes.com, he has devoted a lot of time to this in many of his stories. go visit the place sometime to get an idea of what in-credulous heads these talibans have.

btw, it is also interesting that baitullah mehsud is an umreekan asset. i have had an exchange about that with b on this website.

Posted by: a | Sep 20 2008 21:05 utc | 54

i am also convinced cheneyco would not hesitate to create scenarios in which the next administration was boxed in in terms of options for the immediate future. once they are out of office they presumably will have less control over gov response to events even tho they can obviously still create chaos.

Posted by: annie | Sep 20 2008 21:05 utc | 55

@annie

us-pakistan war is a non-flyer. at this time the us depends much more on pakistan than vice-versa. if they get into a war with pakistan, then this will be the mother of all disastrous wars that they have fought. :)

Posted by: a | Sep 20 2008 21:16 utc | 56

to me, the cia story seems like a plant.

well of course it's a plant, the question is, by whom? whether it has any basis in truth it is still a plant coming so fast on the heels of the story (literally before msm was carrying the story on google.. obviously if it had lots of credibility it wouldn't have been inserted in some off the beaten path website). plus, the wording REEKS for BS. let's review it.

Several senior officers of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) who are reported to be currently visiting Islamabad were the target of the blast at the Marriott Hotel which took place here tonight.

says who????? actually, no one! here's the kicker

Well placed sources said that Marriott Hotel is usual hotel choice of the US officials........ and it seems that militants tipped off that certain high level US intelligence officers were currently staying at the hotel.

did you hear what i heard? well place sources did not say militants were tipped off. well placed sources only said Marriott Hotel is usual hotel choice of the US officials. so what?

so, it seems? this report is a bunch of speculation and nothing else.

While no confirmation was available but Pakistan sources said it was clear that the explosion was aimed at specific targets based on a tip off.

gee, ya think? what would be the purpose of reporting this within moments of the blast? who said it? newstrack india????? who are they? their news source comes from ANI which says WARNING This site may harm your computer. when you try to access their site

* Return to the previous page and pick another result. * Try another search to find what you're looking for.

Or you can continue to http://www.aniin.com/ at your own risk. For detailed information about the problems we found, visit Google's Safe Browsing diagnostic page for this site.

For more information about how to protect yourself from harmful software online, you can visit StopBadware.org.

If you are the owner of this web site, you can request a review of your site using Google's Webmaster Tools. More information about the review process is available in Google's Webmaster Help Center.
Advisory provided by Google

this is the source of the cia story.

Posted by: annie | Sep 20 2008 21:36 utc | 57

a @ 54. I wouldn't disagree with you that this was a 'takfiri' attack. The question is against whom it was intended. Against foreigners in general? Against the government? or against a team of CIA?

Posted by: Alex | Sep 20 2008 21:42 utc | 58

us-pakistan war is a non-flyer. at this time the us depends much more on pakistan than vice-versa

and this relates how? besides, who said anything about war? what's a little bombing campaign between friends?

it just occurred to me w/the new prez's statements about sovereignty he wasn't sounding very enthusiastic about the US's new target locales. meanwhile maybe the US doesn't think pakistan is living up to it's end of the 'friendship' by not cracking down on the 'terrorists'.

have you read fool's post @36?

anyway, i don't think the US wants to go to war w/pakistan, i just think they want to use pakistan to have a war w/'terrorists', and maybe break off part of pakistan in a friendly sort of way. we don't fight with countries anymore anyway, we just libertae them and fight with some of the people living in them. huge distinction. anyway, its nice we agree on something. you, me, and the US government. pakistan is our friend. we probably have a different concept of how to treat friends tho.

Posted by: annie | Sep 20 2008 21:56 utc | 59

fyi, the story has morphed already


According to sources, several senior officers of Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) who are reported to be currently visiting Islamabad were the target of the blast at the Marriott Hotel.

pakistan news, same source ANI, just tweeked.

Posted by: annie | Sep 20 2008 22:32 utc | 60

I watched bits of it in bed last night but only had the beeb and they were pontificating throwing around cliches like 'Pakistani Taliban' without any facts to support their allegations.
I don't know why the one contributor speaking from within Pakistan has been called out instead of listened to. Doubtless the contributor is getting his information of dinners and the truck being stopped by security from Pakistani newsources who at least have reporters with good contacts on the ground. The Beeb, CNN and many western wire services were just padding out the bare facts (a truck blew up the marriott was on fire) with propaganda for the first 12 hours after the bombing.
here are some facts which appear to have some consensus. A Pakistani eyewitness observed the truck driver and at least one other passenger in a heated argument with security who would not let the truck through a checkpoint. The truck exploded shortly after that, the Marriott had chosen to put their hotel in a part of town where they couldn't safely expand their security perimeter out far enough to protect their pub.
So even though the truck exploded outside the security cordon, the hotel was still within the blast radius, other more important sites such as the PM's residence were deep enough within the security cordon as to be relatively unaffected.

On the other hand amerikans claiming to be "state department officials' were spotted leaving the scene in a torn and bloodied condition (karma is a bitch but like a, I agree that the other casualties - ordinary Pakistanis going about their business make this action despicable if determined and desperate).

One of the self professed "state department officials" was interviewed leaving the scene and he claimed to be attending a private dinner with his fellow assholes and murderers when a small explosion caused them to move to one side of the building whereupon a much larger explosion (the truck bomb) exploded next to the wall they were sheltering against.

However since cia/state department assholes couldn't lie straight in bed the latter may be a hastily agreed after the fact piece of amerikan bullshit.
If amerikans were the primary target amerika will force Pakistan into accepting amerikan assistance with the investigation. If the targets was Zardari and co Pakistan will be justified in keeping the investigation to themselves.

Posted by: Debs is dead | Sep 21 2008 1:58 utc | 61

for those of you yearning for the cia angle is yesterday's blast. here is more info.


The News International
By Ansar Abbasi

ISLAMABAD: Was there a top secret and mysterious operation of the US Marines going on inside the Marriott when it was attacked on Saturday evening? No one will confirm it but circumstantial evidence is in abundance.

Witnessed by many, including a PPP MNA and his friends, a US embassy truckload of steel boxes was unloaded and shifted inside the Marriott Hotel on the same night when Admiral Mike Mullen met Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and others in Islamabad.

Both the main gates (the entrance and the exit) of the hotel were closed while no one except the US Marines were either allowed to go near the truck or get the steel boxes unloaded or shift them inside the hotel. These steel boxes were not passed through the scanners installed at the entrance of the hotel lobby and were reportedly shifted to the fourth and fifth floors of the Marriott.

Besides several others, PPP MNA Mumtaz Alam Gilani and his two friends, Sajjad Chaudhry, a PPP leader, and one Bashir Nadeem, witnessed this mysterious activity to which no one other than the PPP MNA objected and protested.

A source present there told The News that after entertaining them with refreshments at the Nadia restaurant at midnight when Mumtaz Alam, along with his friends, was to leave the hotel, he found a white US embassy truck standing right in front of the hotel's main entrance.

Both the In-gate and the Out-gate of the hotel were closed while almost a dozen well-built US Marines in their usual fatigues were unloading the steel boxes from the truck. No one, including the hotel security men, was either allowed to go near the truck or touch the steel boxes, which were being shifted inside the hotel but without passing through the scanners.

Upon inquiry, one of the three PPP friends who was waiting for the main gates of the hotel to open to get his car in, was informed that the suspicious boxes were shifted to the fourth and fifth floors of the hotel. Mumtaz Alam was furious both at the US Marines and the hotel security not only for the delay caused to them but also for the security lapse he was witnessing.

On his protest, there was absolutely no response from the Marines and the security men he approached were found helpless. Mumtaz Alam told the hotel security official that they were going to endanger the hotel and its security. He was also heard telling his friends that he would never visit the hotel again. He also threatened to raise the issue in parliament.

One does not know whether the PPP MNA revisited the hotel after that mysterious midnight but his brother Imtiaz Alam, who is a senior journalist, was in the same hotel when the truck exploded at the main gate of the hotel. Imtiaz Alam had a lucky escape and found his way out of the hotel with great difficulty in pitch darkness.

One of the lifts he was using fell to the ground floor just after he forced the door open on the 4th floor and got out of it.

irrespective of who the real target was. this blast has swung pakistani public openion massively in one direction, that the United States of ARROGANCE needs to get the hell out of pakistan. otherwise soon there will be public lynchings.

Posted by: a | Sep 21 2008 11:00 utc | 62

What I did and do find unlikely is the idea that this was an attack on Zardari or Gilani (both are mentioned) while at Iftar dinner, and that the Marriott was a second-choice target. I don't know Islamabad, and I haven't had time to look carefully on Google, but I somehow doubt that it would ever be possible for a suicide truck to get anywhere near their residences - a good width of garden at least. On the other hand the Marriott has little more than a forecourt. A suicide truck is not the way to get politicians.

Posted by: Alex | Sep 21 2008 13:00 utc | 63

PS, Google Earth did confirm what I thought. You couldn't get a suicide truck anywhere near to either the PM's or President's residences. So this was definitely an attack on the Marriott.

I am sure a is right about the effects on Pakistani public opinion, and it looks like it was deliberately planned that way.

Posted by: Alex | Sep 21 2008 13:16 utc | 64

@ Alex

you are looking too deeply into this as if it was an agatha christie novel. you are loosing the big picture. they may have wanted to send a message to zardari or the army top brass (as the coas was there too), or maybe the umreekans were the ostensible target. but where it really matters, the message has hit home hard. Here is an example from the bbc.

Turning to the Taleban in Pakistan


"I would rather live in the dark ages under the Taleban than be subservient to any foreign power."

The unexpected comment comes from an urbane, sophisticated and, I had always thought, Westernised Pashtun lawyer.

He wears none of the badges of Islamic piety - a beard, for example - and he normally sports a navy blazer not the local shalwar kameez.

He is a former minister with the Pakistan People's Party, the most liberal in Pakistan.


this blast will make us operations in pakistan much more difficult. with the senseless war mongering and arrogance, the neo-cons are digging umreeka's political grave in this region. and if they keep on like this then umreeka will surely lie burried in that grave. no amount of fire power can save them. just like the neo-cons are digging a financial grave on wall street, and no amounts of bailouts can save them ;-)

Posted by: a | Sep 21 2008 17:47 utc | 65

he claimed to be attending a private dinner with his fellow assholes and murderers when a small explosion caused them to move to one side of the building whereupon a much larger explosion (the truck bomb) exploded next to the wall they were sheltering against.

this time it appears as though the ugly american actually told the truth. CCTV video shows the a small initial explosion that probably killed the driver and started a fire in the truck, the guards were unable to put out the fire and after a short while the main charge went off. If the bomb maker had been a bit more competent there would have been many more deaths.

Posted by: dan of steele | Sep 21 2008 18:19 utc | 66

This must be the origin of the story that the P. government were targetted by the bomb:

Pakistan's top leaders were to have been in the Islamabad Marriott hotel when it was bombed - but changed venue at the last minute, officials say.

Interior Ministry head Rehman Malik said the president, prime minister and military chiefs should have been there.

Pakistan leaders' 'narrow escape'

Posted by: Alex | Sep 22 2008 9:41 utc | 67


@67

Rehman Malik is a big liar. He just said this as a diversionary tactic to cover-up the major security lapse.
How could they have planned to hold this at a private location when all the highly fortified federal govt. locations are within 0.5km?

Posted by: a | Sep 22 2008 16:47 utc | 68

The gloves are off in Pakistan By Syed Saleem Shahzad

Posted by: a | Sep 22 2008 17:32 utc | 69

@a - By Syed Saleem Shahzad

I don't trust that guys 'reporting' - he seems to have a (personal?) agenda.

Posted by: b | Sep 22 2008 17:40 utc | 70

b,

you are right about him, i sometimes smell it too. but here, to me, he sounds to be closer to the fact, esp what he is saying about the tarbela area. a year (or two?) ago, in tarbela, there was a suicide hit at a pakistan army mess used by a ssg commando unit. this unit had been especially trained by the umreekans for anti terrorist ops.

Posted by: a | Sep 22 2008 18:03 utc | 71

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