View Full Version : Pakistani Army commentary

10-04-2007, 12:44 PM
I'd like to get members take on Musharraf's move to make this guy his replacement as the Pakistani army chief.

Several questions come to mind:
1. Why did Musharraf see the need to step down?
2. What do we know about the new guy besides that he's a Punjabi and a USA CGSC graduate?
3. What are the impacts for OEF in AF?
4. What are the impacts on the search for UBL/neutralizing of AQ in view of the general belief that the Northwest Tribal regions are a primary launching point for global "Islamic" terrorism?

10-04-2007, 01:00 PM
To answer question #1 only, it may have to do with Bhutto's negotiations over her return, amnesty for her on corruption charges, and some sort of power-sharing deal. Maybe he realizes that he already has a tenuous hold over power, and doesn't need anymore heat.

That's been a hot topic on NPR lately.


10-04-2007, 01:29 PM
The need for Musharraf to surrender either the uniform or the presidency was also at the heart of his dispute with the Supreme Court as well, though the issue has gone beyond that to his attempted subversion of the one of the last non-militarized institutions in Pakistani society.

BBC profile (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/low/south_asia/7024719.stm).

10-04-2007, 08:55 PM
Several questions come to mind:
1. Why did Musharraf see the need to step down?
2. What do we know about the new guy besides that he's a Punjabi and a USA CGSC graduate?
3. What are the impacts for OEF in AF?
4. What are the impacts on the search for UBL/neutralizing of AQ in view of the general belief that the Northwest Tribal regions are a primary launching point for global "Islamic" terrorism?

From my "armchair" in the UK:

1. Musharraf to retain the presidency, not by popular vote, but by national and provincial legislators, had to compromise and step down from Army CoStaff. He assumes that as president he can retain power over the Army, a point many would challenge. Retaining both posts was no longer acceptable, for example Benazir Bhutto's widely reported deal with Musharraf was conditional on him standing down. How the Pakistani electorate will vote early in 2008 is unclear, will a coalition between Musharraf's supporters and Bhutto win?

2. I've not searched, but somewhere is a commentary on the Pakistani Army hierachy. The Pakistani Security Research Unit at Bradford University, UK maybe be worth checking and Indian sites - like saag.org and satp.org.

3. None, given Pakistan's stop-go cycle of military action in troublespots, determined by a variety of factors (internal politics, divisions within the Army over who is the enemy, external pressure and currently an apparent reluctance to confront in the lower ranks, let alone fire at extremists).

4. None, action in the Northern Territories is even more difficult than in North-West Province. The Pakistani state is even weaker there. If UBL is there. In NWFP stop-go remains and confronting AQ is not a top Pakistani priority. I am sceptical that Ms Bhutto as Prime Minister in 2008 would support a US air strike on his location, as reported earlier this week on Al-Jazeera.

Behind all the rhetoric realistically what can the USA / UK expect from Pakistan in the fight against terrorism?


10-04-2007, 09:55 PM
I guess part of my concern relates to the general's last position as chief of ISI, especially with the allegations about ISI and its Taleban/AQ connections. I think this also relates to the on-off phenomenon davidbfpo mentioned. Another concern I have is the impact of his selection on Indo-Pakistani relations, particularly since US-Indian military cooperation seems to be a growth area.. I understand tKiani has had a play in that area in the past as well.

10-05-2007, 04:23 PM

This makes interesting reading and downplays the ISI role as he was / is a Musharraf appointee. Happy reading.


10-05-2007, 10:17 PM

This makes interesting reading and downplays the ISI role as he was / is a Musharraf appointee. Happy reading.


I concur that it is interesting reading. Besides the downplay of the ISI post you mentioned, also conspicuous by its absence is any mention of his role during the India-Pakistan crisis as described here (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7024719.stm).

10-06-2007, 08:48 PM
I'd say the absence of the Kargil episode, when India and Pakistani's confrontation went lethal up in the mountains, in the Indian analysts piece, indicates this episode is being hidden. It serves both nation's interests to play down the history of confrontation and preserve peace.

I recall a public briefing in London, where a Pakistani general stated the local forces, i.e. para-miltary and local garrisons, could not cope with demands to confront militants. Higher grade troops, up to 80,000, were re-deployed from the Indian border.

If Pakistan was to take military action in NWFP and elsewhere having a calm border with India is required. More likely is the need to deploy the army for the forthcoming general election.

Back to my armchair


10-07-2007, 07:15 PM
General Musharaff, under enormous pressure from both within and without Pakistan, has accepted the fact that the U.S. will not support him if he declares martial law in order to remain both Pakistan’s COAS and President. Ignoring the U.S. administration isn’t an option either if the generous cash flow is to continue that has helped Pakistan revitalize its economy. Yet, as with previous Pakistani leaders, Musharaff has a hard time giving up the kursi (Urdu for “chair”). To seek, and win, another five year term as President (which is now a done deal, although the Supreme Court hearing of petitions is a temporary hitch to the plan) is the way Musharaff sees himself holding on. Although, removing his uniform as COAS will diminish his grip on power, ensuring that the new COAS is a strong ally is one way to try to maintain a revised status quo (and to stay safe).

It appears Musharaff had both luck and the good sense to tap Kiyani –who just got his 4th star along with General Majid—as the new VCOAS while retiring General Ahsan Saleem Hayat on Oct 8th. As luck would have it, Kiyani has the seniority to justify his appointment. Historically, COAS’s were always deep selected from amongst the more junior flag ranks based on a perception (proven false) that they would --out of gratitude?-- act like sycophants, only to have these “appointees” launch coups of their own (like Zia and Musharaff, the two with the longest tenures in power besides Ayub).

Kiyani has a reputation for being both competent and loyal. Furthermore, notwithstanding the dismal results of the Pak army’s strategy in the Tribal belt, especially in South and North Waziristan, he has proven to be effective at coordinating the various entities in hunting down Islamists, especially those behind the Musharaff assassination attempts. His reward: Directorship of ISI. He is a moderate Muslim in an army that at the lower ranks is morphing into a more conservative institution (read: Islamist sympathizers). He is a uniter based on his ethnicity and background: a Punjabi from the Potowar Plateau region near Jehlum (known as the soldier factory of the country for good reason) and the son of an NCO. The fact that he comes from a relatively humble background at a time when within the NCO ranks morale and disgruntlement with the army leadership is at an all time high, is a morale booster. This is also unprecedented and it gives the lower ranks a glimmer of hope that one day their sons too can hold one of the highest offices in the military.

Given the ongoing humiliation of the Army in the FATA and the recent Lal Masjid incident (which involved some casualties that were kin of NCOs who had sent their children to its madrassas, both the boys and girls sections), Kiyani as the future COAS would definitely be a much needed morale booster that should not be underestimated. The perception: finally that damn Mohajir (refugee from India) i.e. Musharaff is being replaced by one of us (a Punjabi aka Kayani) and he’s an NCOs boy!

Kiyani as COAS would be perceived favorably by the Punjabis (the overwhelming majority of the population), by the enlisted ranks, by his fellow officers who admire (and envy) his abilities and by Bhutto, who he served as military secretary in her first term. He will not be appreciated in both Baluchistan and the NWFP (inc FATA) where he is seen as a Musharaff stooge and the architect of the army’s intervention into the FATA, with disastrous effects all round. But his presence will have a soothing/stabilizing effect for the army that also controls Pakistan nuclear arsenal.

Wana 88

Ken White
10-07-2007, 08:03 PM
Always great to get the intangibles and nuances.

10-07-2007, 08:30 PM
Nice post. Adds information of the sort I was seeking on this thread (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=4077)

Rob Thornton
10-07-2007, 09:18 PM
helps me get a feel for the relationships that must be maintained. I appreciate you providing your insights.
Best regards, Rob

George L. Singleton
02-16-2009, 02:41 AM

Read this that the new head of the Pak Army and his ISI have again caved to the Taliban, whom they outnumber more than 4 to 1 inside Swat, by agreeing to imposition of Sharia Law.

Damned those bearded 'persons'. They undercut every effort at democracy for Pakistan, and Swat is not a past source of Taliban terrorists, it was flatly invaded by these bums.

Ken White
02-16-2009, 04:25 AM
region is as it it appears. There are always wheels inside of wheels. Can't tell much from a newspaper report. It may take six weeks or six months for the real truth to come out.

I also need to ask you a favor. We're all grownups and most of us have forgotten more combinations of cuss words than we can remember but we do try to not use them here; It would be helpful if you could do that also.

George L. Singleton
02-16-2009, 05:13 AM
Apologies for my colorful language. We all slip up but shouldn't and I appreciate your comment.

It [my raw language[ reflected genuine anger as I hear directly, daily from young Pukhtuns being slaughtered in Swat, as well as from highly educated Pukhtun family members here in the States whose opinions and views I believe now, which I failed to believe shortly after 9/11 when I gullibly was willing to believe that one shoe fits all.

Such "ceasefires" are how we lost bin Laden and his #2 when we first started fighting in Afghanistan. Just last year at this same time another such bogus cease fire allowed the Taliban, and al Qaida, both to maneuver and to be resupplied under the protection of, and by, that really irks me, by, the ISI/Pak Army themselves/itself. Imagine rearming and resupply those who you are supposed to be fighting. Mentioned before and here now the Pukhtun troops in FC and other parts of the Pak Army at lower ranks are both young, more and more "bearded" and undependable, we don't get public reports of troop mutinies but such happens/has happened in last 24 months inside Pakistan.

**Remember a firefight on the Afghan border last year when allegedly a Pak Major and several of his soliders were allegedly killed by NATO fire from Afghanistan into Pakistan? Those troops were in league with and co-manning together with Taliban fighters the firing pits being used to first and foremost fire across the Duran Line into NATO forces on proper patrol inside Afghanistan. Etc.

We have similarly had the Pak bearded FC warriors refuse to fight their blood relatives and fellow terrorist verison of Pukhtuns, which is what has the non-terrorist Pukhtuns up in arms against the Taliban, the Pak Army, and the Pak Central Government, in addition to their secondary reason which is their to me [my opinion, to be clear] foolish and vain hope of an "independent" Pukhtun homeland made up of much of Afghanistan and NW Pakistan.

Here is one small example of Pukhtuns talking on Hujra Online today about Pak troops not fighting Taliban, both being ethnic Pukhtuns all wearing beards....which is not proper miliary decorum even for the Pak Army in today's world, reflecting the bad situation in the manning of today Pak Frontier Corp in N. Paksitan:

You have pakhtuns there in Swat, all of them with beards and look no different from the Talibaan. If you are a soldier (forget being a civilian) and you are approached by two people, how do you distinguish between a talib and non talib? The talibs are cowards that are hiding among civilians and therefore all these civilian deaths.

Most of these guys are talibs by day and humans by night and vice versa and if caught and killed; then the public, you and I start shouting that an innocent has died. If all of these guys are innocents then there are no talibs in our area and we all should be happy. But in reality you and I both know that is not the case.

Innocents and humans have mostly moved away from Swat. They do not care for their lands, shops and houses and would rather live in peaceful punjab and give their children a future than live among the animals called Talibs.

The army if told to move out, which might very well happen if our only hope, unless you really want FM to represent you and you want to live under his stupidity which he calls Shariah. Trust me, you would rather have the army with all its flaws than the Talibs and their so called Islam....


This and other on line conversations from today and recent days from inside Swat and elsewhere in adjoining Pakistan are a good read.

03-18-2009, 06:29 PM
CEIP, Mar 09: Reforming the Intelligence Agencies in Pakistan's Transitional Democracy (http://www.carnegieendowment.org/files/pakistan_intelligence_transitional_democracy.pdf)

The purpose of the present report is to analyze the intelligence agencies’ role in Pakistan’s political life through a better understanding of the agencies’ objectives and mechanisms. Because Pakistan’s civilian governments have been victims of the agencies’ manipulation in the past, the new and very fragile government cannot ignore the decisive role of the intelligence agencies in Pakistani politics if it wants to counter the direct and more subtle manifestations of military control. The domestic political role of intelligence agencies is always a combination of three elements: militarization, comprehensive political surveillance, and state terror. The intensity and relative importance of each component varies over time and according to the specific situations in each country, but all three are always present. Terror as it applies to individuals or groups can be carried out by proxies and is intermittent, but it remains an essential element of the system. An intelligence agency’s reputation for ruthlessness is often as important as its actual efficiency.

The reform of the intelligence agencies is therefore imperative, and the depoliticization of the intelligence process is as much an element of national reconciliation as of consolidation of power. To achieve its objectives, this report draws on interviews conducted in Pakistan as well as on related literature. It also examines similar attempts at reasserting civilian control over intelligence agencies in two democratizing military dictatorships, Indonesia and Chile. In all three countries, intelligence agencies were—and in the case of Pakistan still are—trying to achieve a similar set of objectives regarding social control, the need to protect the regime against all sources of disturbance, and promoting the passive acceptance of regime policies by the population. Neither Indonesia nor Chile has been completely successful in bringing its intelligence agencies under democratic control but both were forced to reform their intelligence services and simultaneously reduce the scope of military autonomy vis-à-vis elected officials. This is what Pakistan will have to do in order to consolidate its nascent democracy.....
Complete 109-page paper at the link.

George L. Singleton
03-19-2009, 03:10 AM
Thanks for the short intro but the link is too much for my decrepit old home pc...will have to wait until I am on my office or the library pc tomorrow to look into that longer report.

The unique problem Pakistan's ISI has are the ties to radical Taliban and al Qaida, which ISI even with one so far attempt at reorganization under President Zardari appearing to have flopped/failed thus far.

The head of the Pakitani Army was hand picked by Musharraf, who was his mentor, for what that is worth.

With 5 attempts on Musharraf's life while he was President
it is hard to image that Musharraf or his direct proteges would like the Taliban...but who knows?

08-31-2009, 08:00 PM
Attached are three comments provided by an open source analyst, Hamid Hussain, who is based in the USA and writes regularly on such issues. He can be contacted via PM to davidbfpo.

One concerns: One the forthcoming process for the promotion of general rank officers; Two another the choice of Chief of Staff in 2010 and Three a general comment on the role of the military in COIN.

08-31-2009, 08:07 PM
System only allows one attachment being loaded to a thread and so here is the Chief of Staff paper.

08-31-2009, 08:27 PM
Final one, a more general comment post-Swat valley etc.

George L. Singleton
09-01-2009, 02:01 PM

Good reading in all three paper's cases.

Thanks for these excellent posts.

09-01-2009, 03:39 PM
The Swat operation paper looks like it was written by someone in the Pak army and seems to reflect some recognition that their arming and training of militants was not necessarily a good idea. Thats a good thing. But it does not show any glimmer of understanding that the arming and training of half a million potential terrorists was just one aspect (albeit the most dangerous and self-destructive) of a 60 year record of misrule and misdirection. Pakistan shared the pathologies but also the possibilities of British India. The army hijacked that process and took it upon itself (with US support) to "improve" the nation. Some recognition of the disastrous effect of this is now commonplace in civilian pakistan, but still missing in the army and its think tanks..which would not be the end of the world if the army had not meanwhile destroyed or nearly destroyed all other institutions. Rebuilding those institutions and bringing the military to heel is essential, otherwise the next Napoleon will try something even more disastrous. Ultimately, that is a job for the people of Pakistan, but their job will be nearly impossible if the world's pre-eminent superpower is operating at the level of Anthony "firm-hand-musharraf" Zinni....

09-01-2009, 08:39 PM
Taken from Omerali:
The Swat operation paper looks like it was written by someone in the Pak army...

I can assure you that the author is not in the Pakistani Army, nor dependent on them.


George L. Singleton
09-02-2009, 02:34 PM
Your post is interesting.

Here are a few curb stone observations as an old Pakistan/Afghan hand from long, long ago, the President /Field Marshal Ayub Khan era in country:

1. The PPP nationally in Pakistan and in the Northern Pakhtun heavy areas of Pakistan the ANP are helping turning the corner toward more democracy, SW Asia style democracy, than ever before.

2. The major problem since inception in 1947, as an Islamic or theocratic Republic, has been the Mulism based parties, who are very clearly in my view mixed in with aspects of the Taliban, al Qaida, and their fellow traveler associated splinger groupings of thugs, all in my Muslims friends over there view "bent on kidnapping Islam" to justify their God awful existance.

3. While in retrospect it is true that the ISI, in particular, enabled and has used the Taliban (in particular) in years of struggle with Afganistan, and in Kashmir against India, last few years even into mainland India via Lahore, the new President of Pakistan is doing in my view his level best to end this sort of foolish, dumb ass tactics and stragety.

4. The growth in the number and now into higher ranks, as in field grade promtions, of loyal Pakistani Pakhtuns is visible evidence of a better day for ethnic minorities, ie, including and best exemplified by the Pakhtuns, in Pakistan's military, and one would assume now, government.

5. As the whole free world frets, rightly so, over nuclear weaponry development in Iran, N. Korea, etc., it is a clear cut fact of life in Pakistan which alone justifies heavy involvement when and where allowed to keep the terrorist hands off nukes. This is not a glib remark, as a realistic fear at any time, worldwide, is an unwanted small or large "mushroom cloud" via a non aircraft delivered nuclear bomb, some of which today fit in size into the head of a simple artillery shell....in size.

In summary, you take what you can get to move forward; you cannot rewrite nor change past history; and your biggest challenge today is the Pakhtun unwritten constituion or cultural "customs" which promote grudges, getting even, and related archaic traditions that create a never ending cycle of violence.

The Swat operation paper looks like it was written by someone in the Pak army and seems to reflect some recognition that their arming and training of militants was not necessarily a good idea. Thats a good thing. But it does not show any glimmer of understanding that the arming and training of half a million potential terrorists was just one aspect (albeit the most dangerous and self-destructive) of a 60 year record of misrule and misdirection. Pakistan shared the pathologies but also the possibilities of British India. The army hijacked that process and took it upon itself (with US support) to "improve" the nation. Some recognition of the disastrous effect of this is now commonplace in civilian pakistan, but still missing in the army and its think tanks..which would not be the end of the world if the army had not meanwhile destroyed or nearly destroyed all other institutions. Rebuilding those institutions and bringing the military to heel is essential, otherwise the next Napoleon will try something even more disastrous. Ultimately, that is a job for the people of Pakistan, but their job will be nearly impossible if the world's pre-eminent superpower is operating at the level of Anthony "firm-hand-musharraf" Zinni....

09-02-2009, 04:57 PM
Your post is interesting.

In summary, you take what you can get to move forward; you cannot rewrite nor change past history; and your biggest challenge today is the Pakhtun unwritten constituion or cultural "customs" which promote grudges, getting even, and related archaic traditions that create a never ending cycle of violence.

I agree that you have to move forward from wherever you find yourself. The point of bringing up past misdeeds was to indicate that the Pakistani army as an institution has pursued policies that are inimical to peace and development in the region and a long term change in their "strategic mindset" is needed, and may not be as deep as they currently present it, so we have to harp on it a little...
Secondly, I think the role of archaic pakhtun codes in this insurgency (particularly on the Pakistani side) is over-rated. If Pathans are so determined to avenge every attack, then how come they are not avenging the hundreds of deaths suffered at the hands of taliban and their suicide bombers? After all, those deaths in Pakistan exceed the numbers killed by US missiles? I think this "archaic code" is a smokescreen. There is a very real level of support for Islamists (which is not necessarily the same as the archaic code) but in the end, its about the corruption and uselessness of existing structures, determined and ruthless leadership on the other side, delivery of cheap justice, and a good solid guess about who is likely to come out on top. Suicide bombers are NOT usually self starters from Bradford and in this case they are not aggrieved tribesmen out on some "cycle of revenge". There is an organization and there are specific individuals who recruit and train them. How many bombers are taking revenge for the sake of some "archaic code"? my guess is "near zero". They are recruited from madressas and trained and fired as needed by organized groups with very modern organizational skills and very clear aims and revenge is one of the smaller motivators in this package. Nothing archaic about it.

09-18-2009, 11:59 AM
NAF, 17 Sep 09: Pakistani Capabilities for a Counterinsurgency Campaign: A Net Assessment (http://www.humansecuritygateway.info/documents/NAF_PakistaniCapabilitiesForCounterinsurgencyCampa ign.pdf)

As a more effective Taliban steps up its operations along the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan, Western observers increasingly are calling on Pakistan to implement a strategy of population-security counterinsurgency, or COIN. This paper will offer a net assessment of Pakistan’s military capabilities to conduct such a campaign based on clearly stated assumptions, an analysis of opensource materials, and textbook COIN doctrine and best practices. It will examine the gap in Pakistani efforts and the choices required to fill this gap based on:

1. The nature of the insurgency, including its strength, capabilities, tactics, and strategic objectives;

2. The terrain challenges posed by the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and North- West Frontier Province (NWFP), and

3. Current and potential Pakistani military capabilities.

09-18-2009, 03:27 PM
There may be situations where immovable objects face unstoppable forces with tragic results. The writers of this report assume that "countries and their interests" are natural and eternal categories, but such may not be the case. I would submit that Pakistan has already lost control of the Islamic Emirate and does not possess the military force or the political will to reconquer it on its own terms. Eventually, it will settle for a strategy of holding the "settled areas" and I would not be surprised if one day the indo-tibetan border police is being asked to come and help defend Islamabad. Stranger things have happened. The US will inshallah create a reasonable facsimile of a regime in Afghanistan and this regime will contend with the Islamic Emirate for territory and influence for the next generation or so. China, US, EU, even India, will continue to subsidise corrupt "pro-western" regimes in Pakistan and Afghanistan and will wait for time to work its healing magic. This is the best case scenario. Other possibilities include the humiliation and withdrawal of the great satan, followed by an orgy of violence and an expanded Islamic emirate surrounded by India, China and other local powers and at war with all of them. OR, if India and China fail to cooperate, China may use rump Pakistan or the islamic emirate to humiliate and destroy India, but will be left holding the most explosive bag in history, allowing the United States to recover from its near-terminal decline while China tries (unsuccessfully) to pacify Southwest Asia. OR, we could see the triumph of rationality and peace will reign as Pakhtuns buy Chinese HD players to play Indian movies while eating Ramen noodles. My apologies for being flippant, but its than kind of day...

02-15-2010, 11:11 PM
The role of the Pakistani Army Chief of Staff is pivotal in Pakistan's future and as an indicator what may happen internally. So it is no surprise to see the current CoS General Kayani may have his two year term of office extended beyond the compulsory retirement age; not to overlook the ISI chief and the Chief of General Staff too.


The move has been made to ensure continuity in Pakistan’s policy on the war on terror and it also has a nod from Washington as the Army has achieved remarkable successes in the war on terror under General Kayani’s command.

I have a longer analytical comment via an email that will posted soon.

02-15-2010, 11:22 PM
Hat tip to Zenpundit for his exposure of the Q&A session Secretary Gates had with a Pakistani military forum on his visit recently: Zen's comments:http://zenpundit.com/?p=3338

Zen's closing, calm remarks:
Pakistan, or at least an autonomous part of its military, is our enemy in Afghanistan and have been since 2001. Let’s accept that reality and revise our policies accordingly. Being an enemy of the United States ought to come with some costs rather than aid packages.

A (partial?) transcript of the Q&A

The frank talk was apparently a bit heated. At one point, one of the Pakistani military officers asked Secretary Gates point blank: "Are you with us or against us?"

The transcript reveals a deep level of distrust between the US and the Pakistani military. It also shows that some junior officers of the Pakistani military do not take ownership of their government's current offensives against militants in the North West Frontier Province and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan.

This could fit on the thread 'The US & others working with Pakistan (a joined up thread)', but fits here too:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=2313

02-16-2010, 06:09 PM
I posted earlier in this thread some comments / analysis by an observer of the Pakistani Army's ways and attached is their latest - just in time as the succession issue has come to the fore. The author is identified, he is not a SWC member, his work has appeared on SWJ before and has given his permission for this item to appear here.

03-13-2010, 12:35 PM
This is a cross post and was originally on the 'Round Up Taliban' thread.

Lieutenant General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, director general of the military's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, was due to retire this month but will remain in office for another year, Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani's office said in a statement.

From:http://watandost.blogspot.com/2010/0...extension.html Which has links to two Pakistani press comments and one adds:

The extension in service to generals, now four in number, by the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, raises important points.


06-02-2010, 11:18 PM
An excellent article IMHO and some good quotes:http://www.nationalinterest.org/Article.aspx?id=23214

Opens with:
VOLTAIRE REMARKED of Frederick the Great’s Prussia that “where .some states have an army, the Prussian Army has a state!” The same can easily be said of Pakistan. The destruction of the army would mean the destruction of the country. Yet this is something that the Pakistani Taliban and their allies can never achieve. Only the United States is capable of such a feat; if Washington ever takes actions that persuade ordinary Pakistani soldiers that their only honorable course is to fight America, even against the orders of their generals and against dreadful odds, the armed forces would crumble.

....when it comes to the Pakistani Taliban and their allies. The military as a whole and the ISI are now committed to the struggle against them, and by the end of 2009, the ISI had lost more than seventy of its officers in this fight—some ten times the number of CIA officers killed since 9/11, just as Pakistani military casualties fighting the Pakistani Taliban have greatly exceeded those of the United States in Afghanistan.

06-05-2010, 09:03 PM
A short interview of a US-based Pakistani analyst on the next Army Chief of Staff, a decsion due by November 2010, or an extension for General Kayani: http://watandost.blogspot.com/2010/06/who-will-be-pakistan-armys-next-chief.html

I have two questions: a) can the USA stand aside and let Pakistan make its own decision and b) will the civil power, President Zadari, make the decision?

07-23-2010, 11:03 PM
Finally a decision and a long extension, three years:
The government extended the term of Pakistan’s army chief by three years on Thursday, a move backed by the United States as it seeks to encourage Pakistan as a more reliable ally against Taliban and Qaeda militants.

And later:
General Kayani’s extension was not unexpected. The weak civilian government appears to be grateful to have an army chief that at least consults it, and Mr. Zardari and Mr. Gilani were known to be willing to go along with General Kayani’s desire to stay longer.


07-27-2010, 05:21 PM
The Atlantic Council, 12 Jul 10: The Changing Pakistan Army Officer Corps (http://www.acus.org/highlight/changing-pakistan-army-officer-corps)

The Pakistan army elicits many concerns about terrorism, nuclear proliferation and the coherence of the state. However, very little is actually known about this institution. This essay mobilizes unique data to address one important facet: the army’s geographical recruitment base. The authors find that the Pakistan army has been successful at expanding the geographical recruitment base while some groups (namely those who are native to Sindh) remain highly under-represented. They also find that the officer corps is increasingly coming from urban areas. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications of these important shifts subject to the limitations of our data.

09-21-2010, 02:51 PM
Admiral Fasih Bokhari is a former chief of naval staff and a respected and upright officer (fired in 1999 for demanding a court of inquiry into Pervez Musharraf's botched Kargil operation). He now writes for newspapers and here is his latest. I urge you to read it very carefully, since a better summary of the default Pak army strategic view cannot be found:


09-21-2010, 03:08 PM
The complete lack of self-reflection combined with paranoia and wistful thinking is quite remarkable. I could waste a good half hour pointing out the historical amnesia implicit in his summation of Bangladeshi independence alone.

If this is representative of Pakistani civil society leadership, then it is indeed on the way to failed state status.

09-21-2010, 04:26 PM

Omarali... indeed if this is the prevailing view.... hmmm... revealing :eek:

Tequilla... couldn't agree more :D

09-21-2010, 05:59 PM
I would not describe it as the dominant "civil society" view. It is very much the dominant military view, though the serving generals know enough about where their money comes from to be able to dissemble about it when needed. But its worth keeping in mind that this mindset is amazingly ignorant and naive about the world at large. This means its available for misuse by anyone who understands their psychology and has a more sophisticated understanding of the world. The true Jihadis do it best: the entire Jihadi operation is a tribute to the abiliity of a few Jihadi generals to get the whole high command to follow their suicidal policies while mindlessly repeating nonsense about the "complex strategic threat from India"....But this means the same people can also be manipulated by others. The Chinese do it. I am sure by now the Saudis do it very well. And who knows, Anne Patterson may have learned a trick or two as well. Its a farce and a tragedy of epic proportions...

09-21-2010, 09:53 PM
I'll add jaw-dropping to speechless and remarkable. This thing reads like it was written as a parody. There ought to be bugles blowing and drum rolls.

He comes straight out and says the U.S. is the enemy, they are fighting us and the Pakistani government lies like hell; or at least as straight out as anybody associated with the Pakistani gov and army can be.

09-21-2010, 10:06 PM
I have read a number of Pakistani military leadership articles and the retired Admiral writes so well you'd think Pakistan was on the springboard to success.

For a more balanced viewpoint try this IISS commentary:http://www.iiss.org/publications/strategic-comments/past-issues/volume-16-2010/september/pakistans-floods-broader-implications/

Yes, the Admiral failed to notice the floods!

Global Scout
09-21-2010, 10:49 PM

He's right about India's leadership, they're under seige by numerous insurgencies due to poor governance, and they're close to falling on their face even before the Common Wealth Games starts (see news at the link).

I think from his point of view Pakistan is ascending, and the U.S. is looking for an honorable exit from Afghanistan, which sadly he gives Pakistan credit for, and even worse he's probably right.

09-21-2010, 11:07 PM
Yes, the Admiral failed to notice the floods!

He also seemed to forget the bloody insurgencies waged by the TTP and the Balochs against the Pakistani Army, as well as resurgent party/ethnic violence in Karachi. The savage bombings of Pakistani religious minorities probably count as victories in the good Admiral's mind --- strikes against Indian co-conspirators by "patriotic" elements, perhaps?

If the United States really wanted the end of Pakistan, you'd think we'd start by cutting off the aid pipeline.

09-22-2010, 03:03 AM
about Indian incompetence, I have a slightly different view. its not based on any notion of Indian patriotism (I am not even Indian, I am a Pakistani) but on the empirical observation that state failure is actually rather rare and success is coming to all sorts of previously totally incompetent countries provided they dont start a huge war or slip into civil war...in other words, the threshold for real disaster is much higher than the 24 hour news cycle implies. things change. I think India has a real chance of becoming a serious mid-level power (not a superpower) in 10 years or so, but its not a done deal. The joker in the pack is Pakistan. if Pakistan explodes and takes India down with it, end of story. But if Pakistan survives and has barely normal relations with India, then I dont think any of the other problems in India are insoluble. I cannot "prove" my view anymore than anyone else can "prove" theirs....in these matters, its always a guess based on a whole pyramid of other assumptions about human societies in general and this society in particular.
As William Burroughs put it, "in India, the man is always late"....

09-29-2010, 09:33 PM
No great surprise, although I expect closer-in observers may have seen the signs beforehand:http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/29/world/asia/29pstan.html?_r=2&ref=world

Opens with
The Pakistani military, angered by the inept handling of the country’s devastating floods and alarmed by a collapse of the economy, is pushing for a shake-up of the elected government, and in the longer term, even the removal of President Asif Ali Zardari and his top lieutenants.

Near the end:
The alarm about the economy was first sounded by Mr. Shaikh, a former officer of the World Bank, who told a meeting of political and military leaders last month that the government had enough money to pay only two months’ salaries. The economy was “teetering on the brink” before the floods but was now heading for the “abyss,” Mr. Shaikh was quoted as saying.

10-27-2010, 08:55 PM
From a Pakistani report, based on the UK Forces TV story:
Beating hundreds of soldiers from major armies of the world, Pakistan Army has won the coveted Gold Award at the prestigious Cambrian Patrol Exercise held in Wales with participation from armies of India, Australia, Canada, United States and France among others.

750 soldiers from across the world descended on the Brecon Beacons in Wales to suffer through one of the toughest exercises ever devised. The Cambrian patrol tested the soldiering skills of the teams as they crossed some of the most arduous terrain one can imagine.

During the marches, the teams had to complete challenges including observation and reconnaissance of enemy forces, cold-river crossings in full kit without access to boats, first-aid and defensive shooting under attack.

TV clip:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cVh-EBUwlFo&feature=player_embedded#!

12-24-2010, 12:11 AM
Indian Express has an excellent take on Kayani's "consolidation"

The three-year extension given to Kayani did block off avenues of promotion to several aspirants, most of them Punjabis. Nevertheless, he seems reasonably well ensconced in power and has brought in officers of his choice and proven loyalty in key slots, both at the level of Corps Commands and Principal Staff Officers (PSOs), assuaging, in the process, the discontented lot of Punjabi Generals.

Lt.Gen Khalid Shamim Wyne had been brought in as Chief of General Staff only a few months earlier after a successful stint as Corps Commander in Quetta. Logically, this could have been seen as a stepping stone to the chief’s post. He has now been accommodated as a Four-Star General in the largely ceremonial post of Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC), giving a go-by to the convention of rotating this post between the army, navy and air force. Wyne will retire in October 2013, just before Kayani’s term ends. Another highly rated and well-connected officer, Lt Gen Sikander Afzal Burki has been sidelined in an extended foreign peace-keeping tenure in Liberia, which would take him to retirement in March 2011.The next senior, Lt Gen Javed Zia, has been sent to the XII Corps Command in Quetta, from where he should retire in September, 2011.

Like every other army chief before him, Kayani is proving no exception to the convention of favouring officers of his parent ‘arm,’ the Baloch regiment.

A clansman, Maj Gen Naushad Ahmed Kayani (Infantry) appears to have been favoured as the new Director General, Military Intelligence.
With almost three years still to run, it may be rather premature to assess who may emerge as a potential successor to Kayani. One of the most important Kayani appointments will be that of DG, ISI, in March 2011. Whoever comes in at this slot is likely to be a trusted acolyte, on the high road to further important positions.

After Kayani retires, the following Generals will be senior most — Lt Gen Asif Yasin Malik, currently XI Corps Commander, Peshawar, whose retirement date is March 31, 2014.Much would depend on how he handles the war against terror in FATA and what the Americans think of him.After him are the April 2014 retirees — Lt.Gen Waheed Arshad (Armoured Corps) who is highly rated and presently holding the crucial Chief of General Staff slot, and the Corps Commander, Lahore, Lt Gen Rashad Mehmood. Lahore has had a jinx associated with it as no Corps Commander from there has made it as Chief so far!


02-03-2011, 03:22 AM
Below is a link to an Atlantic Council report about the Pakistani Army's recent experiences with counterinsurgency. It includes a very interesting audio presentation by the author.


One of the things mentioned was that in a Pakistan Army military academy, there was an easel with a picture of mullah on it, where in the past there would have been a map of India. The author suggests this is indicative of a changing focus on the part of the army. This may be a hopeful sign.

Bob's World
02-03-2011, 12:57 PM
Historically, taking one's eye off of external threats to deal with internal discontent is the trip before the fall...

Far better for the Pak government to address the concerns of the Pashtu and Baluch populace, and for the military to stay focused on the military matters of national defense.

02-04-2011, 03:11 AM
Historically, taking one's eye off of external threats to deal with internal discontent is the trip before the fall...

Far better for the Pak government to address the concerns of the Pashtu and Baluch populace, and for the military to stay focused on the military matters of national defense.

Bob's World:

The paper was interesting. The primary thesis being that after a bad start the Pakistan Army has very quickly learned to be more effective in a small war conducted within its' national borders. It has mostly learned on the fly and is incorporating what is has learned into unit training and various schools. Kind of interesting too when you think of it as indicating the organizations ability to learn like Nagl covered in his book.

I got the sense from the paper this concern with small war is especially evident at the lower levels of the army because all the casualties they've suffered in the past few years have been suffered in FATA and Swat. Fear not though, the senior generals are keeping their steely gaze fixed on the Hindu hordes to the east.

Since we are on the subject of the Pak Army and in the correct thread, I wish to ask about your following comment.

I believe that Pakistan's position is reasonable, as is their position in regards to the Durrand line. Most military professionals doing a basic assessment of the terrain and the threat would probably come to the same conclusion. If Pakistan is reduced down to just the Indus river valley a quick push by India could foreseeably take their entire country. They would cease to exist as a nation. A fearful, nuclear armed state with its back up against the Hindu Kush and a rival nuclear state to their front is NOT a healthy situation for anyone. I think there are workable solutions, but before the US can get to sitting down and discussing workable solutions we to first be willing to recognize their reasonable perspective in regards to what their national interests are and how highly they prioritize them.

Second, to rephrase your question a bit: Is sustaining a set of conditions that supported a workable situation of deterrence between India and Pakistan one that I think is more important than disrupting that balance to grant India a clear advantage? I have to go with sustaining the status quo. Like our own Cold War with the Soviets, it was sometimes a bit dicey, but it worked. I can't imagine if some external power would have come along and ceded Canada into the Warsaw Pact, allowing the Russians to positions military forces all along our northern border, that we would have said "oh, ok."

First off, you say above most military professionals would say that Pakistan needs territory east of the Indus valley to fall back on to preclude defeat by a quick Indian push, the implication being that territory includes Afghanistan. So my question is this, what is the defeated army going to fall back on? There is nothing much in those mountains and there is nothing much in Afghanistan. What are they going to use to resupply and build up troop strength? It seems to this forever civilian that even if they used this sovereign country as their fallback, it wouldn't do them any good. There is nothing there for them to use. If they got pushed to the west of the Indus valley, it would be over regardless. I may be reading this wrong and if I am, please tell me but it seems to me that unless you have some kind of resource base to fall back on, you may as well be falling back into the ocean.

As to your second paragraph quoted above, I think I prefer you answer my question as I originally stated it. Your rephrasing changes the sense of my original question. Or you maybe could answer your rephrased question if you swapped the words "India" for "Pakistan" and vice versa. But I would prefer you answer my original question as originally stated-is the Pak Army/ISI's desire to exert control over Afghanistan one we should honor any more than India's desire that they don't?

Also you state above you believe the Pak Army/ISIs position is reasonable, yet in the past you stated that you didn't believe they had a right (or something like that, I will get lost if I go retrieve the quote, but I can if you want) to exert control over Afghanistan. Those two statements seem contradictory.

03-28-2011, 11:03 PM
FYI: http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2011/03/pakistan-failed-state-or-weimar-republic-omar-ali.html#tp


06-10-2011, 08:13 PM
Since a certain event there have been a number of threads and posts that have touched upon the role of the Pakistani Army.

There are now increasing signs that the army is having problems externally with civil society and this WSJ article covers it all:http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304432304576369442416874836.html?m od=WSJ_World_LeadStory

Opens with:
Pakistan's army leadership, under mounting domestic pressure since a U.S. strike team infiltrated its soil to kill Osama bin Laden, issued a rare defensive response to domestic critics Thursday, offering to reduce its reliance on U.S. military aid and training and setting strict limits on American intelligence operations within the country....

The roughly 1,000-word statement—at various points apologetic, belligerent and strident—was the clearest indication to date that in striking a balance between the competing demands, Pakistan's military leaders are looking to first assuage their own people, even if that means scaling back ties to the U.S.

07-28-2011, 02:13 PM
Belfer Center, 27 July 2011: An Introduction to Pakistan's Military (http://belfercenter.ksg.harvard.edu/files/Pakistan-Military-final-B.pdf)

The Pakistani military remains an opaque entity, both inside and outside of the country. Few publicly available reports exist for those seeking a basic understanding of its leaders, functions, or allegiances. An Introduction to Pakistan's Military is the first of two Belfer Center reports examining the Pakistani military. To assemble this report, the authors interviewed over two-dozen retired Pakistani military officers, principally in Islamabad and Karachi. The authors also conducted nearly forty additional interviews with Pakistani politicians, civil society actors, journalists, and military experts, as well as with US and European military, diplomatic, and intelligence officers and analysts.

The first report examines Pakistan’s:

Overall strategic security and threat environment;
Military history since 1947;Conventional military capabilities;Nuclear strategy and security posture;and
Current counterinsurgency (COIN) efforts (briefly).

07-29-2011, 12:30 AM
This report looks rather lame. How does it provide any new insight into the "opaque" side of the army? All it tells you is boilerplate strategic theory and numbers of weapons and so on. Hamid Hussain's occasional articles are far superior if you really want to know something about the Pakistani army.

09-16-2011, 05:44 PM
Hat tip to FP Blog and an article by Christine Fair, which is sub-titled:
New data suggest it may be even more liberal than Pakistani society as a whole.

I find no systematic evidence that conservative areas are producing more officers than other areas as late as 2002....In the absence of ideal data on officers, I did the next best thing: provide insights into the kind of areas that produce officers.

(Ends with and my emphasis) Admittedly, these conclusions are tentative, and these measures of social liberalism are no doubt imperfect. This study, moreover, cannot be conclusive as it can only speak to the districts that produce officers, not the worldview of officers themselves. Given the high stakes involved, this subject requires more thorough data collection and analysis. Understanding these dynamics is vital for the United States, but it's perhaps even more important for Pakistan and Pakistanis who rely on their military to protect their country.


09-27-2011, 04:22 AM
Hat tip to FP Blog and an article by Christine Fair, which is sub-titled:


I guess so. Just like most non western countries (or not) , Pakistan Army recruits it's enlisted troops from the rural regions. Bar the officer corps, they are not exactly well versed in world affairs. Since the education system has long been Islamized, it hardly matters if you study in a madarassa or a private or government school, books are mostly same and they don't really provide a very good picture of non Muslim world. Officers may or not be radicalized but most of the troops are very much influenced by the hardliners.

A Pakistani I know, mentioned that Musharraf tried to reverse the Zia effect but as soon as soldiers reached their villages or towns and attended a sermon by the local Mullah they get back to square one.

09-27-2011, 01:07 PM
The focus on "madressas" and "conservative areas" is useful as an academic exercise but should not "reassure" or "scare" anyone either way. Christine Fair is much more sensible than the previous retarded attempt at connecting lifestyle with political views (he drinks whisky and soda so he must be pro-western), that has a long history in US-Pakistan affairs by now...but this is still misleading.
The problem with GHQ is its tunnel-vision version of "paknationalism"..everything else proceeds from that. Reliance on Islamists is a result of that obsession, not a cause of it. Afghan policy is derived from that obsession, not from Islamic solidarity. And so on...
But, at this point, I think the best thing for NATO would be to throw up its hands and give up. They clearly dont understand what is going on and will continue to throw good money after bad. Let the Indians and the Chinese sort it out, or not sort it out.

The officer corps has become more formally Islamic with time (as have other sections of the middle class) and this newfound "Islam" is not without its problems, but there is a very long journey from being a more orthodox Muslim to supporting the Haqqani network..and many generals can make that journey without passing through Islam on the way.

09-27-2011, 01:55 PM
I was unhappy with the first attempt at a reply this morning and edited it again and am still unhappy. The point may be moot anyway. Events may be moving in a direction where liberal and "conservative" Pakistani officers will all look equally problematic to American analysts because the pendulum is now swinging from "our army in South Asia" to "our enemy in South Asia", with God knows what results to follow.
And we have an election year coming up.
If I was an academic specializing in research papers about the recruitment patterns of the Pakistani army and the school networks in Chakwal, I would start thinking of grant ideas in a different direction. When the money spigot is finally turned off, it wont be done very rationally. Nobody wants to study a disaster until at least 20 years have passed.

09-27-2011, 04:25 PM
This is a review of Carey Schofield's new book:http://www.spectator.co.uk/books/7204343/the-enemy-within.thtml

Like other writers who know the country well, she regards it as the only institution which is able to transcend the religious and tribal divisions that rend the country apart. ‘A Christian or a Parsi or a Sikh can serve in the Pakistan army,’ writes Schofield. ‘Atheists do. But all are bound together by a willing submission to discipline and a battle for self-improvement that is in itself doctrinal in character.’

This is the reason Schofield is optimistic that the army has not been heavily infiltrated by the Taleban...

She paints a convincing picture of the army as an honorable, indeed moral institution, dedicated to the security of the Pakistan nation. But what is this nation to which the army is loyal?

A slim bio:http://ccw.modhist.ox.ac.uk/people/bios/schofield.asp

09-27-2011, 07:00 PM
I see that the army is still the great white hope in Pakistan. There is an Urdu verse that fits here:
Meer kya saada hain, beemar huey jin key sabab
Ussi attar key londey sey dawa letey hain..

How naive is Mir, going to get his medication,
from the same physician who made him sick in the first place..

Who knows. Next time around, it may work.

10-06-2011, 06:04 PM
Good review, of all places, in huffpo: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/aparna-pande/schofield-pakistan-book-review_b_995933.html

10-06-2011, 07:37 PM

We must have read a different review! As you said:
Good review..

The reviewer was blunt, for example:
Here again, Ms. Schofield unquestioningly accepts the Pakistan army narrative on Afghanistan, on the Afghan war, and on U.S. policy towards Pakistan. Like the Pakistan army, she repeatedly states that the Pakistan army does not lack intentions, only capabilities, in fighting the militants. There is no attempt to address U.S. concerns about Pakistan's links with the Taliban and the Haqqani network, or Pakistani Jihadi groups. The prescription is simple: Americans need to help build Pakistan's capabilities and resources if they want Pakistan to do more.

Otherwise you end up with simply portraying what the propaganda machine asks you to do, taking away any shred of credibility. ... Her latest book is not an academic work on the Pakistani army, but a long press release written by a foreigner.

10-06-2011, 08:47 PM
If its blunt, it cannot be good? :)

I will be the first to admit it, I think the Pakistani army high command (for all sorts of reasons) has adopted a strategic worldview that is fundamentally flawed and leads to repeated disasters and missed opportunities. And I also think that a lot of Western commentators take it for granted that all modern looking armies must have the same fashionable modern notions of strategic necessities and problems, so they tend to take the Pak army view as a reasonable starting point and take it from there. I think that is a mistake.
I also think the Pakistani army is not impossible to reform. They are pragmatic at heart and if more of their "allies"and advisers had told them so and been a bit more upfront, they might have been induced to rethink...."enabling" their pathologies is not helping them.
having said that, I also suspect it may be too late now. Mistrust and accumulated mistakes make it hard to imagine the US or NATO playing too constructive a role any more. Maybe Uncle Chin will have to do what Uncle Sam could not..

10-06-2011, 09:27 PM
for a look at how the strategic geniuses are thinking, go to http://rupeenews.com/

12-23-2011, 06:52 PM
we have a bit of a discussion going about the 1971 war and I wondered if anyone here (especially Ray) can shed some light on Indian operations in East Pakistan. The discussion is at: http://www.brownpundits.com/2011/12/17/defeat-in-the-west-1971-war/

btw, I have seen that military men can be rather suspicious of people who seem disloyal to their own military...but I hope you dont judge too harshly ;)
we mean well.

03-10-2012, 08:34 PM
We have had at least two reviews of Carey Schofield's book 'Inside the Pakistan Army: A Woman’s Experience on the Frontline of the War on Terror', pub.London: Biteback Publishing, 2011; 232 pages.

Here is one by a contributor to SWC, Hamid Hussain, who is a USA-based analyst and this is a slightly edited summary
The most valuable part of the book is summary of some of the military operations in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA)....This book gives an impression of a favorable narrative about Pakistan army and it is not surprising. Pakistan army was author’s host and it is very difficult to criticize one’s host...Despite its shortcomings, book still has its value for those interested in Pakistan army.

At length
Carey Schofield’s book on Pakistan army is another addition to the work done on Pakistan army. Carey was given unprecedented access by then Chief of Army Staff (COAS) and President General Pervez Mussharraf. She made several trips to Pakistan over five years time period and was given access to several senior generals and visited many formations; a privilege not granted to any Pakistani or foreign writer.

Carey has tried to put a complex story of Pakistan and Pakistan army in two hundred and thirty two pages which is a very difficult task. In chapter three, she starts the story from the time of Prophet Muhammad in seventh century going through various dynasties of the subcontinent, linking it with British Empire and then via Afghanistan all the way down to Baitullah Mahsud of the tribal badlands fame. These events spread over centuries and wide geographic areas are not related to the story of Pakistan army.

Carey is intelligent enough to pick up some of the nuances of inner dynamics of senior officer corps as well as civilian elite. However, her sweeping comments about criticism of army as pastime of ‘chattering classes’ is not correct. In general, army still retains respect and even admiration from general public; however a wide spectrum of the society wants army to stay in its own lane. Large segments of Pakistani society as well as many non-Pakistani well wishers of Pakistan are fully cognizant of the enormous sacrifices made by the soldiers and officers of Pakistan army. Fresh graves continually added to the army graveyard in Rawalpindi are a constant reminder of the sacrifices of Pakistan army. The casualties suffered by senior brass of Pakistan army are unprecedented for any army in recent times. During my recent visit to army graveyard, it was sad to see four graves of senior officer’s right next to each other. Major General Amir Faisal Alvi and Brigadier Moinuddin Ahmad; both assassinated in Islamabad are buried next to each other and immediately below them are buried Lieutenant General Mushtaq Ahmad (assassinated by a suicide bomber in Rawalpindi) and Brigadier Anwarl ul Haq Ramday (killed during attack on army General Head Quarters). In addition to death, countless soldiers have been disabled by the current conflict. Criticism of senior brass is in the context of some seriously flawed decisions regarding national security policy as well as encroachment on areas not related to military affairs.

Carey links some of the preparations made by senior officers in 1999 prior to the coup with potential threat of breakdown of law and order. Evidence does not support this assertion and it is quite clear now that these preparations were made to counter any move by then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during his confrontation with General Mussharraf. The cast in the play, their relationship with Mussharraf and subsequent meteoric rise of almost all of these officers makes it quite clear that by the middle of 1999, army was securing all its bases against Sharif. Then Chief of General Staff (CGS) Lieutenant General Muhammad Aziz Khan summoned a meeting with presumed threat of possibility of attempt of overrunning Prime Minister and President House. Those in attendance included Director General Military Operations (DGMO) Major General Shahid Aziz, Director Military Operations Brigadier Haroon Aslam, Special Services Group (SSG) Commander Brigadier Amir Faisal Alvi, 111 Brigade commander Brigadier Salahuddin Satti, SSG Zarrar Company commander Major Haroon ul Islam and Commanding Officer (CO) of the battalion guarding Prime Minister House Lieutenant Colonel Shahid Ali. It turned out later that the group actually overran the Prime Minister and President House although they were pretending to prevent such an outcome by someone else.

Muhammad Aziz was later given the fourth star and served as Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC), Shahid Aziz and Satti were promoted to Lieutenant General rank and both served as CGS and Corps Commanders, Haroon Aslam was promoted Major General and appointed General Officer Commanding (GOC) SSG (he is now Lieutenant General and Corps Commander), Faisal promoted to Major General rank (although he later fell out with Mussharraf and unceremoniously removed) and Haroon ul Islam became Lieutenant Colonel and died during Lal Masjid operation. Lieutenant Colonel Shahid did not go further in the army but for different reasons. On the day of the coup, Shahid had restrained newly appointed COAS Lieutenant General Khwaja Ziauddin and his guard and Ziauddin’s escort had pulled guns at each other coming close to a shootout. He also later confronted Lieutenant General Salim Haider and prevented him from entering the Prime Minister House. Shahid followed the orders of his superiors but no army Chief can be comfortable promoting an officer after such encounters. In contrast, Shahid’s counterpart commanding the battalion at President House Lieutenant Colonel Javed Sultan was given choice postings and promoted to Major General rank (he died in a helicopter crash in 2008).

Carey has highlighted some of the differences among senior brass regarding ongoing operations. No army is monolithic and Pakistan army is no exception. In war, there are differences between various branches of the armed forces as well as senior officers. There was and probably still a clear divide between intelligence agencies and fighting formations as far as conduct of operations is concerned. It is also very difficult for an outsider to navigate the minefield of personal and professional rivalries and jealousies among the senior officers.

Carey has given a detailed account of the controversy surrounding the unceremonious removal and death of the former GOC of SSG Major General Amir Faisal Alvi. Carey knew him well and he shared many details with her therefore the account is quite credible. Carey was criticized by many army officers when she published Alvi’s letter after his death. Many charged that the letter was fabrication to discredit Pakistan army. However, there is no reason to believe that the letter was a fabrication. It was Alvi’s own view in the context of his deep anger towards some senior officers. Carey provides her take on the issue and gives the readers all sides of the story and they can reach their own conclusions.

Alvi was forcibly retired and he suspected that then Director General Military Intelligence (DGMI) Major General Mian Nadeem Ijaz and then CGS Lieutenant General Tariq Majeed conspired to remove him. It is quite clear now that Alvi was removed for passing some remarks against General Mussharraf that were recorded by MI and played to Mussharraf. Alvi’s affair with a woman got entangled with his removal as remarks were passed during telephone conversation with this lady. Alvi was furious as many other officers also had affairs and he didn’t hesitate to announce this to many. However, later Alvi tried to put disagreement regarding policy matters (peace deals with militants) as cause of his dismissal and accused some officers including Tariq Majeed in this regard. This gives the impression that somehow these officers were not committed to the fight against militants or worse they were running their own show; both assumptions not correct. Negotiations and payouts to militants were part of the general policy that proved to be disastrous as later events showed. However, officers (formation commanders and intelligence operatives) involved in these efforts were following a policy decision and not acting independently. Tariq’s own son-in-law has been abducted by the militants and in their custody for the last eighteen months. They have demanded release of some high value detainees and huge ransom and it is to Tariq’s credit that he has held his ground.

The most valuable part of the book is summary of some of the military operations in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) although author could have provided more details in view of her access to several senior officers involved in the operations. There are few minor typo errors in the book. On page 100, Hizb-ul-Tahrir; a London based Islamist group championing Caliphate is named incorrectly Hezb-e-Islaam and on page 137, tribal police khassadars is written Hasildars.

This book gives impression of a favorable narrative about Pakistan army and it is not surprising. Pakistan army was author’s host and it is very difficult to criticize one’s host. Such relationship invariably affects the perspectives and if one is using titles such as ‘unimpeachable’, ‘glamorous’, ‘outgoing’, ‘scrupulous’, ‘clever and kind’, ‘darkly brilliant’, ‘neat’, ‘honorable’, ‘guileless’, ‘principled’, ‘gutsy’and ‘gentle and thoughtful’ for senior officers, it is very hard to criticize the same individuals. Despite its shortcomings, book still has its value for those interested in Pakistan army.

The review has appeared in a regional defence journal, but no link could be found without warnings by my IT defences.

03-10-2012, 11:22 PM
we, in the chattering classes, have a name for this condition. Its called Lieven Syndrome, in honor of respected author Anatol Lieven. Extreme cases may also be labelled "Cloughley syndrome", for obvious reasons.

06-29-2012, 10:31 AM
Admiral Fasih Bokhari is a former chief of naval staff and a respected and upright officer (fired in 1999 for demanding a court of inquiry into Pervez Musharraf's botched Kargil operation). He now writes for newspapers and here is his latest. I urge you to read it very carefully, since a better summary of the default Pak army strategic view cannot be found:


I love the Pakistanis 'intelligentsia'!

In their frustration of not being able to prove that as a Muslim majority nation as they claimed would give them the power to be free and independent and powerful they have failed so badly and so miserably.

India have 'overhauled' Pakistan many times over and has no regret that those who felt that they would be better off with a new country based on religion left.

Therefore, only dreams and hallucination is all that they can cling to!

But this is wonderful and humorous:

To emerge as an international economic power India will one day beg Pakistan for reach into Iran, Central Asia , and beyond to Russia and Europe. India will beg Bangladesh for reach into South East and East Asia.

Check who is begging! :eek: ;) :D

10-28-2012, 02:59 PM
The occasional SWC contributor, Hamid Hussain, a USA-based analyst has written an article for a regional defence journal and provided a copy (slightly edited by me).

This coup brought General Musharraf to power and the paper details what happened. What I found interesting was the inter-action within the army leadership and the future careers of those involved - with several suicides.

10-30-2012, 07:29 AM

I am responding since you asked me to.

On the contrary Pakistan army’s war plan centered on launching a counter-offensive with one armored and two infantry divisions on the Western front in case of Indian attack on East Pakistan. At what point in time would the attack be launched, however, remained undecided. On December 3, 1971 Pakistan’s 12 Div attacked Poonch but lack of surprise, poor quality of generalship by GOC Akbar Khan (a candidate for COAS in 1976), insufficient logistics and a determined Indian resistance led to the failure of the offensive and Pakistani troops had to withdraw.

Usual reasons given for not succeeding.

In his piece Defeat in the West, Waseem Altaf appears to indicate that practically all the Pakistani military were staffed by incompetent brass and that is why Pakistan made no headway.

If that is true, which I am sure it is not, then there is some real systemic problem in the Pakistani military.

I am sure this article denuded the Arabian Sea of sea salt since much of it was consumed while reading this piece.

SWJ Blog
01-30-2013, 09:22 AM
The Growth of Islamism in the Pakistan Army (http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/the-growth-of-islamism-in-the-pakistan-army)

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SWJ Blog
01-30-2013, 09:22 AM
The Growth of Islamism in the Pakistan Army (http://smallwarsjournal.com/jrnl/art/the-growth-of-islamism-in-the-pakistan-army)

09-23-2013, 12:01 AM
Once again it is time for a Pakistani decision on who will Army Chief of Staff, so the occasional SWC contributor, Hamid Hussain, a USA-based analyst has written an article on the choices and more. Attachment no longer works - my fault.

10-15-2013, 03:08 PM
Last week the Army Chief of Staff for six years, General Kiyani announced his retirement; effective on the 29th November 2013, link to his official statement:http://ispr.gov.pk/front/main.asp?o=t-press_release&date=2013/10/6

FP.com has an optimistic article on the implications, although from this faraway vantage point his successor has quite a lot to do:
The next army chief will have his work cut out for him. In addition to convincing the reluctant civilian government to continue the fight against the Pakistani Taliban, he will have to help manage the Afghanistan endgame as U.S. troops withdraw and a presidential election take place next year.


The civilian government have not announced their choice of Kiyani's successor; FP.com does comment on their contenders.

11-27-2013, 01:23 PM
Announced today, the next Chief of Army Staff (COAS) will be Lt Gen Raheel Sharif and the Chairman Joint Chief of Staff Committee (CJCSC) will be Lt Gen Rashad Mahmood. Taken from:http://dawn.com/news/1058927/pm-meets-top-military-officials-names-for-coas-cjcsc-expected

FP in the last post thought:
Raheel Sharif....is possibly the safest choice politically for Nawaz Sharif, as Raheel Sharif enjoys a close relationship with one of the prime minister's confidants.

11-27-2013, 04:34 PM
He appears to have picked the two least aggressive generals for the two jobs. May not be the best decision for an army at war...

11-27-2013, 04:51 PM
He appears to have picked the two least aggressive generals for the two jobs. May not be the best decision for an army at war...


The BBC's slim profile suggests COAS LTG Raheel has been preparing the army for an internal war:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-25122054

The Daily Telegraph's comment uses that fatal adjective 'moderate':http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/10477847/Pakistan-names-moderate-as-new-army-commander.html

11-27-2013, 10:28 PM
Hamid Hussain's profiles are a good guide: http://www.brownpundits.com/2013/09/23/the-next-army-chief-in-pakistan/

Raheel is a gentleman but almost all agree that for a peacetime army, it would make no difference but he is probably not suited to lead an army engaged in a war. I think Raheel himself knows it, but Lieutenant General ® Abdul Qadir may whisper some good words about him in Sharif’s ears.

General Tariq Khan stood out among the candidates but Sharif was probably scared of promoting someone known to be aggressive and headstrong. Good for Sharif, but maybe not so much for the army.
Per army scuttlebutt, he is a good man, but not an aggressive leader. Will do fine if politicians above him take tough decisions and people on the frontlines (corps commander Peshawar, IGFC, SSG chief, etc) are up to the job..but hard to believe that he will make tough decisions on his own.

11-28-2013, 05:27 PM
Attached after light editing are Hamid Hussain's comments on the appointment and the next year.

I have altered my method of saving Hamid's contributions so they will remain available.

12-04-2013, 08:34 PM
Stephen Tankel has a slightly optimistic comment on the new COAS, part of a forthcoming series on 'War on the Rocks' assessing General Kayani's legacy:http://warontherocks.com/2013/12/general-kayanis-legacy-trying-to-get-pakistans-house-in-order/

He'll have his hands full:
The anti-state insurgency has made the security establishment even less likely to part with its pro-state proxies for the time being, not least because they do not attack Pakistan and in some cases provide utility against those militants who do. At the same time, the existence of a militant infrastructure and ongoing support for proxies creates myriad operational and ideational challenges for those seeking to counter the jihadist insurgency.

01-11-2014, 11:13 PM
Here is an interesting story about an American gun maker that is pulling out of a contract competition because they are concerned that any guns sold to the Pak Army may be used to slay Americans.


Every body gets it but the genii inside the beltway. The Pak Army/ISI is the enemy.

02-26-2014, 07:00 PM
A timely IISS Strategic Comment as Afghanistan is in a flux, there are no talks with the Pakistani Taliban and the Pakistani Army are "prepping" for ground action in Waziristan. To name just three factors.


03-16-2014, 05:06 AM
Here is a comment that appeared today on the Onviolence blog. It has to do with their series dealing with Lone Survivor, book and movie.

The Taliban actually videotaped the fight with Seal Team 10 that day. I saw it in 2007 when I was there. It was obviously a controlled item and required a clearance to view. The main reason for viewing it was that after the fight, when the fighters are going through discarded equipment, they find the Panasonic Toughbook laptop the team was carrying. One of the fighters came up with some equipment and was able to actually “map” the hard drive. This demonstrated the presence of those trained or employed by Pakistan’s intelligence service(ISI). But with regard to the fight, from the first shot to the last was less than two minutes. How long did it appear to last in the book and film?

You can all judge for yourselves whether you believe the man who made the comment or not. I do. It all fits with everything that has been happening for more than a decade.

We have videotaped evidence that the Pak Army/ISI kills our people and we do nothing, except lie, about that and everything about this particular fight.


(The comment is the very last one.)

04-10-2014, 04:39 PM
Professor Christine Fair's new book "Fighting to the End; the Pakistan Army's Way of War" is out.


I am only on chapter two, but hope to have a review when done and when I get some time to write one. I look forward to enlightening comments from professional/academic people on this blog.

I think the introduction pretty much nails it. I am sure I will disagree with some details as I go along, but the overall thesis seems accurate to me.
What do others think?
Interestingly the current rating on Amazon is 2 stars because there is only one review and that person appears to be unhappy that she was not harsh enough or went easy on Islam. You can't win em all..

04-10-2014, 08:04 PM
SitRep book report:
Christine Fair's book on the Pakistan military is out. From Amazon: Simply put, acquiescence means defeat. Fighting to the End convincingly shows that because the army is unlikely to abandon these preferences, Pakistan will remain a destabilizing force in world politics for the foreseeable future." Oxford University Press

04-11-2014, 06:20 PM
Nice discussion at the Hudson institute on that other 10 years too late book:


(Carlotta Gall: The Wrong Enemy)

04-11-2014, 10:22 PM
Professor Christine Fair's new book "Fighting to the End; the Pakistan Army's Way of War" is out.

Interestingly the current rating on Amazon is 2 stars because there is only one review and that person appears to be unhappy that she was not harsh enough or went easy on Islam. You can't win em all..

Well, I am the one who wrote the review and gave the rating. Here's my review: http://www.amazon.com/review/R1EQTVWSDJJN38

The explained reason why this book failed in its primary purpose is essentially this: the author failed to properly understand what drives Pakistan or why it continues to be revisionist.

Surely, Christine Fair has published extensively on Pakistan in peer-reviewed journals – in fact, far more than perhaps any other scholar. However, just about all of them address small issues with nothing putting together to identify what Pakistan is really all about. Her prolific publishing on small issues is less optimal in developing a long view, and it shows. I can say that because I have read most of her publications in intimate detail, and have referred to her work in my forthcoming scholarship.

Through my exchanges with her over the years, I have realized that she is a sectarian by nature, who tends to somewhat blindly identify with people who call themselves victims (perhaps owing to her financially-deprived family origins). I have noticed that, in the context of South Asia, she never properly understood that the claims of Muslim victimization was mostly a self-induced effect, and that it was tactic used to undermine and victimize non-Muslims (I have covered this in great detail in my book, Defeating Political Islam). For example, her constant theme with regard to India’s Muslim minorities is her emphasis of their “discrimination” in India, without understanding the situation in a wholesome manner.

With such a strong outlook and background, it is hard to see how she can be objective or produce a wholesome analysis. It showed finally, in the form of a flawed book.

04-12-2014, 05:29 PM
On this subject, I also recommend Haider Mullick's Pakistan's Security Paradox: Countering and Fomenting Insurgencies (https://jsou.socom.mil/JSOU%20Publications/JSOU09-9mullickPakistan_final.pdf), published by the Joint Special Operations University in 2009.

04-13-2014, 02:23 AM
Is there any book that deals with the American end of this disaster? What is the dominant theory? Were all the American policy makers just foolish? or did they have nefarious motives of their own?

04-13-2014, 06:24 PM

There is no book like that that I'm aware of. There probably won't be for years. To write one people in power right now would have to talk truthfully about their flaws or allow access to source material that demonstrated their flaws. That isn't going to happen easy.

Until then guesses are all we may have. And your guess about the 'romance of the raj' being used as the fulcrum of a grift is one of the best.

04-13-2014, 09:13 PM
Is there any book that deals with the American end of this disaster? What is the dominant theory? Were all the American policy makers just foolish? or did they have nefarious motives of their own?

No, not to my knowledge. Hopefully the long running thread 'The US & others working with Pakistan' may have an answer; it does have 685 posts so may take a while for you to check:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=2313

Have a look elsewhere for Myra MacDonald's writing.

She has just reviewed in RUSI Journal a book by a former Pakistani Ambassador to Washington DC 'Magnificent Delusions: Pakistan, the United States and an Epic History of Misunderstanding' by Husain Haqqani.

04-14-2014, 04:12 PM
Hamid Karzai: Last will and testament...well, not exactly. But an important interview as he is on the way out:


04-14-2014, 08:02 PM
Is there any book that deals with the American end of this disaster? What is the dominant theory? Were all the American policy makers just foolish? or did they have nefarious motives of their own?

Omar, without first understanding why Pakistan behaves the way it does, your question may not be answered.

The policy-makers have to rely on political scientists such as the likes of Christine Fair. Not to be so hard on Fair, quite frankly, no one has yet to figure out the conundrum called Pakistan. Hence, circumstances and our belief that our Pakistani specialists are credible forced us into foolish policies initially.

Now, at least the policy-makers know that they can't trust our Pakistan experts, as a result the U.S. has no Pakistan policy :o

04-14-2014, 10:22 PM
Pakistan is not a state with an army but an army with a state. Any analysis of Pakistan should begin there IMO. Pakistan ends wherever the army's ability to exert influence ends regardless of the internationally recognised border. Add to that the parralel state of the ISI and its own overlapping, competing and in some cases greater/longer reach and the, if that weren't complicated enough, civilian state apparatus which compete for authoity with the others then you have what can only charitably described as a headache (SNAFU to the locals). Ontop of that thes ovelpping netoks of power intersect at key points. Anyone who thinks "normal" diplomatic relations is possible with that setup is welcome to try. Even figuring out what "Pakistani" national interest depends upon figuring out which "power ministry" (to borrow a phrase from post-soviet analysts) is exerting internal and external pressure. Figuring out the correlation of frorces at any given time may actually be the easy part (:rolleyes:), the next step requires a degree of patience and mirror imaged machiavellianism that would confound the most seasoned wheeler-dealer.hardly something western european or even the US democracies with their short attention spans and black and white public diplomacy narrative (good guys/bad guys) can handle. Good luck to anyone who tries.:eek:

04-21-2014, 12:45 AM
I have my first thoughts about both the Fair book and the Carlotta Gall book:

An excellent quick summary of the Afghan war and where and how America went wrong. She presents a very strong case against Pakistan (from the American and Afghan perspective). She does mention some of America's own cruelties and absurdities and does not fail to mention the terrible and tragic "shoot first and ask questions later" aspect of actual military operations (the scene where a translator witnesses his troops pointlessly shoot innocent Afghan civilians is devastating), but she does not provide any insight into WHY the top US decision-makers were so thoroughly fooled. Still, thanks to her book, this question must now be front and center; that the US was taken for a ride is documented in devastating detail.. WHY they allowed themselves to be taken for a ride (or did they really WANT to be taken for a ride because their aims were never the stabilization of Afghanistan?) is left unclear.
I dont know enough about particular Afghan personages to know if her somewhat uncritically positive views of various police chiefs are really accurate, but even if some details are wrong, this is a must read book. And it is hard to see how this will fail to influence future American attitudes to Pakistan...

About Christine Fair's book:

A thorough and very well documented exposition of the Pakistan army's dominant strategic culture. I think she may slightly exaggerate the unanimity of this consensus. In actual fact the majority of officers are probably thinking far more about their plots and post-army jobs than about the strategic needs of Pakistan, but those who think they are thinking are indeed thinking exactly this.
Her conclusions seem unimpeachable: the army will not reform in return for X or Y amount of money or even minor territorial concessions. Nothing less than the fall of India will be enough. Since that seems less likely than GHQ believes, it is therefore going to be Pakistan that will fight to the end....sad, but most likely true

04-23-2014, 01:17 PM
Omar is right. Ms. Gall's is a must read book.

Some of her viewpoints dovetail into things I've read in other books. Her point about the displacement of local strong men leaving a vacuum to be filled by Taliban & Co. matches things I've read in War Comes to Garmser and Little America. She is very emphatic about how badly the errant air strikes and shootings have hurt the fight and hurt Afghans. (The account of the translator Omar mentions is an account of straight up premeditated mass murder in my view. But they were spec ops so it's ok. That's my sarcasm not Ms. Gall's.)

One of the things that she writes I hadn't read before. I had always read that Mullah Omar was a self made man. He saw lawlessness and started the fight against it on his own and things went from there. Ms. Gall writes that what actually happened is that a group of former mujahideen commanders, local strong men, got tired of the chaos down around Kandahar and created an organization to fight it. MO was the equivalent of a squad leader in the employ of one of those strong men, a good reliable fighter and a good man but not too bright . Within a very few months what the commanders created had turned into the Taliban with MO at its head eclipsing everybody else. Ms. Gall didn't actually say it but I think she very strongly suggested MO's rise was the result of ISI machination and he is their creature completely.

The other thing that surprised me is she ends the book on an optimistic note. She seems to say that Afghans dislike Taliban & Co intensely and if given support they will reject them, as in kill them reject them. But they need support to counter the support Taliban & Co receive from Pakistan.

So it is a great book. But like Omar says, even Ms. Gall doesn't have an idea about how we got so thoroughly fooled by the Pak Army/ISI.

04-23-2014, 02:09 PM
Citing Carl in part:
...how we got so thoroughly fooled by the Pak Army/ISI.

Prompted me to recall an exchange with a retired USG decision-maker, who was closely involved in monitoring Pakistan's nuclear developments and in particular the leading scientist, Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan, known as the ' the father of Pakistan's nuclear programme'. See:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abdul_Qadeer_Khan

Several times Dr. Khan was outside Pakistan on his missions, with "hands on" access to incriminating evidence and each time those further up the command chain declined to authorise action.

The USG decision-maker IIRC referred to an overwhelming US national interest in the maintenance of at least a friendly Pakistani state, that was not totally opposed to the interests of the USA and allies.

This seems a rather high price to pay given what happened over the conflict in Afghanistan, but as I have posted before Pakistan is far more important than Afghanistan.

Yes an element of being 'fooled' existed, I suspect more of the explanation and blame rests closer to home than the murky corridors of the Pakistani Army/ISI.

04-24-2014, 05:49 AM
Citing Carl in part:
Yes an element of being 'fooled' existed, I suspect more of the explanation and blame rests closer to home than the murky corridors of the Pakistani Army/ISI.

David, I suspect that the history is repeating itself.

At this time Pakistan is embarking on a massive buildup of Plutonium based nukes. These compact nukes are versatile and dangerous. To my knowledge, the U.S. has no game plan on what to do about Pakistan becoming a Sunni Islamist nuke factory.

If Pakistan played a role in facilitating the conditions that led to the 9/11 attacks on America, it is now setting the stage for a nuclear 9/11.


04-25-2014, 07:27 PM

Everything about our official attitude toward Pakistan cries out "How on earth can we think that and do that!?". The Pak Army/iSI and the feudal elites haven't well hidden much of anything. What the have done is too big and brazen for that. All they really bother to do is say "We did not!" one second and "It's your fault! Can you blame us?" the next. And we go right on cooing to them as you would a favored but petulant child.

What on earth is with us? The Pak Army/ISI is the most dangerous organization in the world and will have to be brought low or tens of millions will die, if that is even possible anymore. And yet we still think we can deal with the devil's spawn.

05-19-2014, 03:53 PM
A WoTR review of Carlotta Gill's book 'The Wrong Enemy: America in Afghanistan, 2001-2014:http://warontherocks.com/2014/05/finding-the-right-enemy-afghanistan-pakistan-and-al-qaeda/

The review author, David Isby has visited Afghanistan for thirty years.

One passage:
Unsurprisingly, Gall does not provide a comprehensive account of the strategy, organizations, or background behind Afghan or Pakistani actions (and U.S. reactions to them), which is unfortunate. She reports largely what she saw. Similarly, Gall does not attempt to provide a prescription of how U.S. policy might focus away from the “wrong” enemy without compounding the damage already done. She does not look at the larger story of U.S. relations with Pakistan, nor does she aim to identify and examine the alternatives to the perceived policy of appeasement bitterly opposed by her Afghan sources such as Amrullah Saleh, the former intelligence chief, one of the most thoughtful and effective Afghan officials (hated by the ISI, not least for his sympathy towards India). But without Pakistan providing access through its territory, both coalition military forces and Afghanistan’s economy would be at risk of being cut off. Despite Pakistan’s dysfunctional democracy, the ISI remained hands-off as an elected government served its full term for the first time in the country’s history, to be replaced by an elected successor of a different party.

05-24-2014, 04:17 PM
Hat tip to Lawfare's weekly e-briefing for the identification of a review of Carlotta Gall's book by Bruce Reidel, he ends with:
What The Wrong Enemy does effectively establish beyond doubt is the ISI’s and Army’s dominance of the Afghan Taliban. As the long war in Afghanistan enters a new phase after 2014, it is critically important to understand who is calling the shots on the other side of the hill.


05-31-2014, 09:36 PM

Dr. Fair struggling not to curse is pretty amusing.:D

06-09-2014, 03:23 PM
I have a post up about the attack on Karachi airport and on Shia pilgrims



What would a different strategy look like:

1. We should have switched sides completely in 2001. Calculating that Islamist terrorism will be a problem for us, a problem for India, for China, for Afghanistan, for Central Asia, for America, etc etc and we are better off having normal relations with these countries, we should have dropped the whole Jihadi option. Entirely. Completely. No good jihadists, no good taliban, no good Kashmiri militants, etc etc. In other words, we should have taken the opportunity to completely reverse a policy that was always a bad idea. We should have sided WITH America, with China, with the new Afghan regime and even with India against the Jihadist network.
2. Of course, the details of any such switch would have been a bit murky. Some lying would have been involved. But at least the people on top would have been clear about what they were trying to do. That has NOT been the case. If we had switched sides in 2001, by now the mess could have been sorted out. But 13 years were wasted while we tried to double-cross Amrika (this is not a controversial claim, many patriotic Pakistanis miss no opportunity to crow about the American failure in Afpak and to take some credit for wrecking it). We also kept alive a terrorist option against India. After Mumbai, we did not unequivocally act against the terrorists. In fact, our propaganda effort has been focused on creating doubts about the loyalties and identities of the perpetrators. This again is not a secret, or a controversial claim. It is also a mistake.

There is no way win the war against Jihadist terrorists by picking on some of them and by spreading mass confusion about their identity and aims. Terrorists dont just appear out of thin air to attack an airport. They have places of refuge, they have trainers, they have leaders, they build bombs and make plans in some physical location. These networks can be traced, their leaders killed or captured and their political supporters isolated and condemned. It is not rocket science. And it does not seem to be happening nearly to the extent which it should.

And when we do go after them, we will also have to ally WITH America, with China, and yes, even with India. Otherwise, it wont work. Good terrorists will provide cover to bad ones. Approved Islamists will help out unapproved ones. Propaganda will remain confused. and the general public will not be successfully mobilized in the effort. Law enforcement agencies will continue to hesitate to take action against particular terrorist networks and supporters because they will never know for sure who is currently approved as good and who has become bad.
It is possible that the deep state is now truly committed to defeating these groups. But if that is so, they are doing poor job of showing their priorities.

What do you think.. Has the policy now changed? Will it change soon?

06-09-2014, 03:44 PM
Omarali asked just:
What do you think.. Has the policy now changed? Will it change soon?

No, the policy has not changed - even after a Nawaz Sharif's government took power.

This theme has been widely discussed on another thread, for sometime now.

What will cause the Pakistani state and the national security establishment to change course?

There is a simmering insurgency in parts of the FATA, terrorist attacks of which Karachi civil airport is the latest, sectarian murders and more. Yes civilians are often those who die first, such as the Shia minority. What about those who serve in the civil and military forces, who know condoned, if not supported groups kill them often without retribution?

06-09-2014, 08:09 PM
I have a post up about the attack on Karachi airport and on Shia pilgrims



There is no way win the war against Jihadist terrorists by picking on some of them and by spreading mass confusion about their identity and aims. Terrorists dont just appear out of thin air to attack an airport. They have places of refuge, they have trainers, they have leaders, they build bombs and make plans in some physical location. These networks can be traced, their leaders killed or captured and their political supporters isolated and condemned. It is not rocket science. And it does not seem to be happening nearly to the extent which it should.

And when we do go after them, we will also have to ally WITH America, with China, and yes, even with India. Otherwise, it wont work. Good terrorists will provide cover to bad ones. Approved Islamists will help out unapproved ones. Propaganda will remain confused. and the general public will not be successfully mobilized in the effort. Law enforcement agencies will continue to hesitate to take action against particular terrorist networks and supporters because they will never know for sure who is currently approved as good and who has become bad.
It is possible that the deep state is now truly committed to defeating these groups. But if that is so, they are doing poor job of showing their priorities.

What do you think.. Has the policy now changed? Will it change soon?[/I]

Omar, in my view the situation in Pakistan needs to be viewed very differently.

I have proposed that by popularizing a self-serving narrative of sharia, clerics have, by and large, created the Pakistan we see today.

Here's the link to my forthcoming paper: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2420652.

I think this focus on the Pakistani military (the so-called deep state) is misplaced (the basis of C. Fair's flawed book - see my review at Amazon).

The good news is this paper of mine has some meaning ideas on how to extricate Pakistan (and others) from regreesive forces and nudge it toward modernity.

06-12-2014, 07:40 PM
By now even I am scared of predicting anything, but a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do, so here goes


1. Dr A (source of the "Jihadi Army" prediction in 2009 and 2012) says he has NOTHING to change in his prediction from 2009. Pakistan ka matlab kya, La illah a illalah (What is the meaning of Pakistan? There is no God but Allah). All has been prepared for the feast. Apostates, liberals and Shias should book their tickets while Karachi airport is still operational. The triumph of the warriors of Allah is not far. Most of the current army will switch sides. And will then discover some decidedly unpleasant facts about their more Islamic partners from Waziristan. Zaid Hamid and Hamid Gul will be hanged in Islamabad BEFORE the attack on Red Fort Delhi ever begins. Somalia will look like a walk in the park compared to the #### that will fly in the land of the pure. Eventually, warlords and mafia gangs will break up the country and foreign powers will try to establish zones of influence in the more useful/governable areas. Or it may all vaporize in a nuclear exchange.

2. Comrade Zee's comments are awaited.

3. My prediction: I no longer feel confident of making any predictions. As Ali Minai might say, it is a complex situation and unpredictable phase transitions are the only safe prediction. It could be that there will be a stabilization of the Sharif regime and the army will gradually take action against all Jihadists in some mysterious order only they understand. But I must admit that even an eternal optimist like me now feels that it is more likely that phase one will be a continuing confused and inept response from the Sharif government, with the army simultaneously fighting the bad Taliban and undermining the elected government. When the #### has hit the fan in sufficient quantity (####-fan contact being a process rather than a singular event in Pakistan) the people of Punjab (the only ones who really matter as a people) will be so sick of MNS that the army will be "forced to impose Martial Law". Phase two would then be a temporary stabilization under army rule. At that point the British colonial roots of the army could hold, allowing it to act as a disciplined force to suppress true believers and brazenly lie its way through to bloody and shaky stabilization of pseudo-Islamic crony capitalist Pakistan. Or it could all fall apart after that, in which case the fate of the constituents depends on how well India and Afghanistan are holding up and what China and America are pushing for (with the minor safe prediction that China will make more rational choices in that situation than America will).
Predicting everything from Sharif stabilization to Army stabilization to complete anarchy is not really a prediction, its many contradictory predictions. That is where I am right now.

Add your predictions. The more concrete the better.

06-13-2014, 12:06 AM

I won't predict. But I do fear greatly something I think is a credible possibility.

In all the tooing and froing, something, I know not what, will happen that will cause India to doubt that the Pak Army has full control of its nukes and that some takfiri killers will get hold of some. India will then have no choice but to act and try to secure those weapons. I am sure they have forlorn hope type plans for that. This will cause the nukes to fly both east to west and west to east. Tens, probably hundreds of millions will die.

This possibility is why I think the Pak Army is the most dangerous organization on earth.

06-13-2014, 07:49 AM

I won't predict. But I do fear greatly something I think is a credible possibility.

In all the tooing and froing, something, I know not what, will happen that will cause India to doubt that the Pak Army has full control of its nukes and that some takfiri killers will get hold of some. India will then have no choice but to act and try to secure those weapons. I am sure they have forlorn hope type plans for that. This will cause the nukes to fly both east to west and west to east. Tens, probably hundreds of millions will die.

This possibility is why I think the Pak Army is the most dangerous organization on earth.

Pakistan Army calls the shots and even when there is a civilian govt, the Army is consulted and it is their decision that is final; or so it appears from Musharraf's book.

It is believed that the Pak Army controls the nukes and not the Govt. At least that is what is the impression given.

As I see it, historically there has been the jockeying for power in Pakistan between the Army and the Civilians and now we have the third element - the non state actors. In all this jockeying, even when there was a civil Govt, the Army ensured that they were supreme. Therefore, I wonder if the Pakistan Army will give space to the non State actors, even though they themselves have spawned such non state actors and is still nurturing.

There is an interesting phenomenon in Muslims, which is that there is a high sense of competitiveness within and without, which leads to the internal jockeying and strife to act as the 'sole inheritors' and trampling other factions.

Maybe it is from the unending and unfortunate manoeuvring to be supreme - the legacy from the historical past when their Prophet died, leaving a divided Islam transmogrifying from Spiritual Islam to Temporal Islam that impacts the mindset.

One cannot say for sure, but if one observes the strife in the Islamic countries, especially those in the Middle East and close to the Middle East, one gets the feeling that that leaders and factions are more keen to topple each other rather than address them to the progress and development and peace of their people. This is evident from North Africa to the Indian subcontinent.

I will hasten to add that because of this high competitiveness amongst them, it is not difficult for outsiders to foment problems for them exploiting the same.

I don't think India will provoke any war or even encourage Pakistan to embark on one against India. It is not in India's interest, though in India, they observe with concern how Pakistan is hell bent to implode thanks to the inherent fault line of temporal Islam where each entity wants to be a Khalifa.

India's real problem is China and that is where the focus lies.

This is my analysis and I could have misread the matrix.

06-19-2014, 09:14 AM
This is from a column by Khaled Ahmed, a Pakistani political analyst.

Every year,December 16 is observed in Pakistan as a moment of morose stocktaking,in which India is held responsible for the break-up of Pakistan in 1971. However,over the years,the Pakistani media has taken to mixing the message. It now balances the short-term culpability of India with the long-term culpability of Pakistan.

But the media in Pakistan has mixed the message more than usual this time. The “secret” Hamoodur Rehman Commission report on the atrocities committed by the Pakistan army in East Pakistan in 1971 has been taken out of the state’s closet of collective conscience and quoted to great effect.
Unread books by honest military officers are now being quoted to the embarrassment of the Jamaat

The idea of imposing Urdu on East Pakistan was born in the mind of a non-Bengali education secretary of East Pakistan,F.A. Karim,who was able to convince a dimwit Bengali central education minister in Karachi,Fazlur Rehman,to adopt it. It also caught the imagination of the governor of East Pakistan,Malik Feroz Khan Noon,not the brightest son of Punjab. He started the scheme of writing Bengali in the Arabic script. By 1952,there were 21 centres doing this in East Pakistan,funded by the central education ministry. The East Pakistan chief minister didn’t even know that this was happening outside the primary school stream.

More significantly,the book called into question the “victories” against India in 1948 and 1965. The first war failed to achieve its objective because “we caved in without consolidating initial success”. The second war was first opposed by General Musa and General Ayub,but after they agreed to it,no authentic information was obtained about the “sympathetic” Kashmiri insurgency,and wrong assumptions were made about India’s capabilities of launching a major offensive across the international border.

Here is the climax of the book: “[Enter Commander,East Pakistan,General Niazi,wearing a pistol holster on his web belt. Niazi became abusive and started raving. Breaking into Urdu,he said: ‘Main iss haramzadi qaum ki nasal badal doon ga (I will change the race of this bastard nation).’”
Raja adds: “He threatened that he would let his soldiers loose on their womenfolk. There was pin-drop silence at these remarks. The next morning,we were given the sad news. A Bengali officer,Major Mushtaq,went into a bathroom at the command headquarters and shot himself in the head.”

The ex-foreign minister of Bangladesh,Kamal Hossain,in Bangladesh: Quest for freedom and Justice (2013),reports a conversation with Pakistan’s former foreign minister,Aziz Ahmed: “When pressed to suggest what should be done to those (Biharis) who were clearly eligible and entitled to go to Pakistan,but whom Pakistan was not willing to accept,Aziz Ahmed turned round and said,‘Why don’t you push them into India?’ When told that this was hardly feasible,he retorted,‘Then push them into the Bay of Bengal’.”


08-20-2014, 10:26 AM
Pakistan crisis puts army back in the driving seat

Besieged Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been assured by the country's military there will be no coup, but in return he must "share space with the army", according to a government source who was privy to recent talks between the two sides.

Last week, as tens of thousands of protesters advanced on the Pakistani capital to demand his resignation, Sharif dispatched two emissaries to consult with the army chief.

He wanted to know if the military was quietly engineering the twin protest movements by cricket star-turned-politician Imran Khan and activist cleric Tahir ul-Qadri, or if, perhaps, it was preparing to stage a coup.

Pakistan once again has lived up to its reputation as the 'sick man of Asia'.

Once again, democracy is tottering and the Army is easing itself in the saddle, but this time in a more 'gentlemanly' and benign way.

If again the Army takes control, then it will prove that there is something in the saying 'born under an unlucky star' because it will be the second time the democratically elected Nawaz Sharif getting unseated by the Army.

Nawaz Sharif has been a moderate face of Pakistan and so obviously that is not to the comfort of the Pakistan Army which has milked Pakistan dry with the handle of Kashmir and anti India rhetoric.

Pakistan conveniently forgets United Nations Security Council Resolution 47 which recommended that in order to ensure the impartiality of the plebiscite Pakistan withdraw all tribesmen and nationals who entered the region for the purpose of fighting and that India leave only the minimum number of troops needed to keep civil order.

Pakistan ignored the UN mandate, did not withdraw its troops and claimed the withdrawal of Indian forces was a prerequisite as per this resolution.

Pakistan failing to honour the UN resolution on Plebiscite apart, the Anti India histrionic calmed, which Sharif tried, then where would be the raison d'etre for the pampering and molly coddling the Army at the expense of the people of Pakistan, who are wallowing under the weight of poverty, insurrection, terrorism, sectarian violence and what have you?

One wonders why democracy cannot survive in Pakistan, when it is alive and kicking in India, with the Army having no say in the running of the State?

After all, India and Pakistan have a shared lineage.

And there are good people in India and Pakistan.

Then, where does the disconnect in Pakistan emanate from?

08-20-2014, 12:10 PM
I imagine someone is going to come along and point a finger at Islam, but that' an interesting question.

I recall you making the point that Pakistan has a problem with trying to be a democracy while keeping a foot in Islam but I took that to mean a problem with global perspectives, relationships and outcomes.

Perhaps the larger issue remains its proximity to Afghanistan, where India only has "interests" but not critical concerns. Or maybe India does lay claim to critical concerns after all, and the problem runs much deeper.

08-21-2014, 05:20 AM
I recall you making the point that Pakistan has a problem with trying to be a democracy while keeping a foot in Islam but I took that to mean a problem with global perspectives, relationships and outcomes.

That Islam is the engine that power Pakistan is best exemplified by the Pakistan Army motto:

Arabic:Iman, Taqwa, Jihad fi Sabilillah
A follower of none but Allah, The fear of Allah, Jihad for Allah.

Therefore, all institution start and end with religion, it appears and extends to Pakistan's domestic and external interests.

The latest is that the Army has assured that there will be no coup, but the Army will have to be given greater 'space', which for some, means that Democracy and Nawaz Sharif will be the 'front organisation' for Army dictated policies.

Nawaz was slowly building up a greater say of democracy in the running of the Govt, but now that his existence as the Head of the Govt will depend on the Army, he will be more of a lame duck.


08-21-2014, 07:00 PM
The "ideology of Pakistan" was an incoherent mishmash prior to 1947 (mostly it was whatever Jinnah felt would work to get him the best deal...he himself seems to have had no coherent vision of the state he was demanding...and he more or less lost control of the narrative as the Aligarh boys simplified it into "Islam in danger" for the purposes of the 1946 election). What now passes for official Pakistani ideology was mostly put together AFTER partition and did not reach full flower till General Zia's time. It's creators took one strand of the original mishmash (Pakistan as Muslim Zion) and fashioned it into a millenarian fantasy about a vanguard Muslim state. Reality was never too close to the fantasy and remains impossibly distant even now, but enough people (meaning about 0.1% of the population, but maybe 25% of the educated military elite) are now part-time believers. In between normal activities like arranging tuition for their sons in American universities and buying and selling plots of lands in housing societies, these part-time believers sometimes start to believe "it can actually happen". To that extent, it matters and it is dangerous. It is easy to overestimate it's role in everyday life and in the actions of millions of ordinary people, but unfortunately the army's dominance as the "sole functioning institution" (a state of affairs they did much to create, with help from a generous and generally clueless Uncle Sam) means their vision of the national myth has undue influence...and their vision is heavily colored by this ideology.
Does that make some sort of sense?
I need more time to make this a coherent argument, but I am always hopeful that responses will lead to clarity....

08-21-2014, 10:32 PM

From what I've read, a lot of it written by you, a large part of the problem is plain old fashioned bureaucratic imperative. Pakistan isn't that different culturally from India. If things simmered down the countries would naturally get close. The closer they drew the less need for a big Pak Army. That would mean less power and privilege for the Pak military. That would never do. So in order to preserve itself, the Pak Army must always make sure India is an enemy even if that means pulling a Mumbai periodically. I would guess that Pakistani civilian politicians can't be trusted to keep the pot boiling so the army has to keep them closely controlled.

All part of why I think the Pak Army poses a greater danger to the humans than any other single organization in the world.

08-22-2014, 03:13 PM
Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army's Way of War by C. Christine Fair is an interesting book to browse through.


08-22-2014, 08:53 PM
Hamid Hussain has provided his viewpoint on the current scene in Pakistan, it is on the five page attachment.

He ends with:
In my view three critical issues are casualty of current crisis. Country’s weak economy got another punch in the rib with flight of capital and in short term there is no likelihood of outside investment. Current crisis is distracting both civil and military authorities from fight against militancy which is now an existential threat. One issue which is below the radar and no one is paying attention to is that country is sleep walking into the sectarian conflict of the Middle East. It is quite clear that army gave a generous severance package to the leadership of militant organizations operating against India in Kashmir. Many mid level commanders and foot soldiers joined sectarian organizations as well as militants entrenched in Federally Administered Tribal Area (FATA) as well as opening franchises in Southern Punjab, Karachi and Baluchistan. Lucrative outside sources are changing the dynamics and these groups are now heading to greener pastures and killing fields of Middle East that will exacerbate sectarian schism inside the country. This factor has the potential of unraveling the state if not handled in time. Military and civilian leaders have taken several rides on the roller coaster in the last six decades and one expects that now they are mature enough to know the limits of brinkmanship. There will always be friction and disagreements but these should be handled in a more mature way by both parties.

08-23-2014, 08:48 AM
Former president and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari on Saturday left Karachi for a lunch meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the latter's Raiwind residence.

According to reports, Zardari also has plans to meet Jamaat-i-Islami emir Sirajul Haq during his visit to Lahore.

During the past few days, the former president has been proactive in establishing contacts with almost all major political parties in the country. PPP spokesman Farhatullah Babar had said that the purpose of Zardari’s phone calls to political leaders was to lay emphasis on protecting and promoting democracy and the Constitution and, at the same time, sending a clear message to the government to listen to the “voices of reason and logic and not overshoot the bullet”.

It appears that the two main political parties are joining shoulders so that democracy is not toppled by a 'soft coup'.

It is believed that the Army is supporting the Imran and Qadri.

A Pakistani Perspective: Soft Coup, Hard Reset?

Things are still extremely fluid in Islamabad as we go to press but whether the ultimate outcome of the protests is a soft coup d’état, the elected government weathering the storm or something in between, it is evident that for now the civil-military balance in Pakistan has gone through a hard reset in favour of the boots. There is little doubt that the ultimate beneficiary of the morass created by a power hungry cricketer-turned-politician and a delusional cleric is the military establishment. It is also evident that the wheels within wheels of the establishment have been prodding the protestors all along and also threw them a lifeline when their hubris bubble burst on live television.


08-30-2014, 11:01 PM
A good WaPo commentary, covering "all the bases" as Islamabad reeks of tear gas and rubber bullets fly:http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/08/29/did-a-soft-coup-just-happen-in-pakistan/

BBC on the tear gas plus:http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-29000563

09-03-2014, 08:06 PM
The antics in Islamabad of the cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan and a usually in Canada cult religious leader Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri almost defy understanding - with a few thousand angry supporters - so this WoTR column by Myra McDonald helps to explain:http://warontherocks.com/2014/09/in-pakistan-a-soft-coup-stalls/#_

Revolutionaries at the behest of the military establishment, well OK "usefulk idiots" is more appropriate:
In the run-up to the elections, Pakistani media suggested that Khan was a particular favourite of Lt. Gen. Shuja Pasha, then head of the ISI. The former cricketer, not well known for his critical thinking, happily espoused the army narrative that all of Pakistan’s problems could be blamed on its corrupt politicians, while disregarding the military’s own powerful role in setting policy.

Maybe it is now Nawaz Sharif's moment, after all he is the Prime Minister.

09-04-2014, 12:20 AM
I just wanted to commend Myra MacDonald's above article. It is simply the best summary I have seen of the current situation and reflects a positive change in the willingness (or ability) of Western journalists to shed lazy stereotypes (corrupt regime, disciplined army, weak state, disaffected population etc etc) and tell it like it is with specifics about this particular country and its peculiar problems. Excellent job (she has been good before too, i dont mean to imply that she has suddenly woken up to the facts, but this one is particularly good).

I had written a short piece earlier about this so-called crisis http://brownpundits.blogspot.com/2014/08/saving-incompetent-sharif-brothers-and.html

In fact, its short, I will copy the whole thing here:
We know from history that the skill, wisdom and effort (and oodles of luck) needed to build and sustain a working democratic system (whatever you may think of the pros and cons of such a system is a separate and interesting discussion) in one of the ex-colonial countries is orders of magnitude greater than the skill needed to just run a functional government for a few years. Saddam, Gaddafi, Ayub Khan, they all ran functional regimes and even made their Universities conduct their examinations on time. But none had a system with adequate checks and balances or the mechanism to transfer power smoothly from one elite clique to another without having to shoot the other clique first.
It may be possible to repair the effects of poor governance by this or that democratic regime in a few years, but if the system as a whole is undermined and devalued, then it may never get working again, or may take decades to repair. Political authority (like money) is a shared (useful) illusion. Puncture the illusion and what is left is naked force (or, if enough of asabiya exists, a monarchy; whether called a monarchy or under some other name).

Given our history, it is a significant achievement that all parties participated in a reasonably (by our standards) fair election under reasonably (by our standards) neutral caretaker administrations and an actual transfer of power took place peacefully. All that progress can be (and is) being undermined by this sustained campaign against democracy and civilian politics (with TUQ playing a conscious and Imran Khan a characteristically semi-conscious role in the undermining). That the Sharifs are not the best rulers is hardly debatable, but that the system should be wound up on that account is a disastrous step beyond the punishment of the Sharifs for any specific crime or misdemeanor. They must be removed from within the system or else they must be tolerated for their term. There is no third choice.
We know very well from our history that the next step in the paknationalist (aka PMA) framework is a "technocratic government of all talents" and we also know that in short order that will prove worse than the poor Sharifs and will lack even the rickety checks and balances that limit the damage done by the Sharifs or any other democratically elected crook. Beyond that, we also know that the institutional biases of the Pakistani army in particular are utterly opposed to the rights of smaller nationalities and are determined to pursue suicidal and extremely disruptive policies with respect to relations with our neighbors and with the wider world. The Sharif brothers dalliances with ASWJ notwithstanding, it is the army that is most responsible for creating and sustaining various sectarian and islamofascist tendencies in the body politic. For all these (and other) reasons, this latest farcical soft coup is very bad news.
Finally, it is good to keep in mind that it is not all fun and games...there really IS a bottom. One fine day the whole ####house could go up in flames (as East Pakistan did in 1971); and what follows could then cause significant discomfort even to those whose low opinion of the Sharifs or of bourgeois politics or of the current politicians, makes them look kindly upon any disruption to the system...
I would add that I have come around to agreeing with those who think that NONE of the major VISIBLE players really had a detailed plan or a script that has been faithfully followed during this farce. But that does not mean that there is no one with a coherent agenda. There are people with coherent agendas and they make hay while the sun shines on Imran Khan's empty chairs. Just as the ASWJ terrorists are pursuing their agenda, the "Paknationalists" in the intelligence agencies are pursuing theirs. Sharifs (including Raheel Shareef) may have no plan and may be blundering in the dark, but some people have plans and most of them are dangerous...

Luckily, it does look like this particular attempt has failed.
Till the next time some General gets itchy...

01-31-2015, 08:00 PM
Our regular correspondent on Pakistan and the Pakistani Srmy, Hamid Hussain has contributed a lengthy (five page) commentary, which is on the attachment. One section has been copied to the ISI thread as it refers to the Director General.

02-06-2015, 08:08 PM
Three books reviewed:http://www.nbr.org/publications/asia_policy/free/ap19/AsiaPolicy19_PakistanBRRT_January2015.pdf

02-06-2015, 10:47 PM
General Asad Durrani is on a victory tour in the West these days and was apparently just interviewed by Aljazeera in Oxford (Mehdi Hasan). Pakistani author Ayesha Siddiqa had this to say of Facebook about the interview:

Don't know whether to weep or laugh when a former DG ISI says that the Taliban policy worked and killing of innocent people was inevitable collateral damage to get occupation forces out of Afghanistan. He also said that probably ISI knew about OBL which was a good policy. He would be exchanged for quid pro quo

Not broadcast yet. I wonder if there is any way to get a transcript or video? Anyone aware of this event? Anyone happened to be there?

This is a tweet from Mehdi Hasan about the interview:

Mehdi Hasan @mehdirhasan · 52m 52 minutes ago
Just recorded 1 my craziest @AJHeadtoHead interviews ever in Oxford. With General Durrani, ex-head of Pakistani ISI & a Taliban supporter.

02-07-2015, 12:01 AM
Here is what I could gather from Twitter about General Durrani's wide ranging talk in the UK


02-07-2015, 11:58 AM

I participated in an AJE Head to Head last year, as a questioner. AJE use the Oxford Union's premises and after editing the interview should appear. You will have to check the programme's website:http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/headtohead/

It looks like the Durrani interview is the first in a new series of eight programmes.

02-11-2015, 07:41 PM
Ret'd General Durrani was interviewed for Head to Head in Doha, not the Oxford Union and it is likely to be broadcast in April. Meantime somehow parts have become public:http://www.politico.com/story/2015/02/osama-bin-laden-pakistan-asad-durrani-115063.html

There is a thread here on the OBL raid and the Pakistani investigation:http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=18472

02-27-2015, 06:57 PM
I am sure they all knew.

Hunting with the hounds and running with the hares.

Musharraf did a good job of it and so did the ISI,

Milked the US to keep afloat a failed Nation.

04-15-2015, 10:41 PM
Ret'd General Durrani's appearance @ The Oxford Union, for Al-Jazeera's 'Head to Head' series, has now been released for viewing. So judge for yourself what he said:http://www.aljazeera.com/programmes/headtohead/2015/03/pakistan-exporting-terror-150324130451504.html

04-17-2015, 06:05 AM
This is a must watch episode. Even dedicated fans of Anatol Lieven may be shocked into enlightenment...

06-28-2015, 01:47 PM
I'd not heard of this book until the occassional SWC contributor Hamid Hussain sent a review (on the attachment). He starts with:
Brian Cloughley’s A History of Pakistan Army is the fourth edition of a book originally written in 1999. Fourth edition adds many new chapters especially tenures of General Pervez Mussharraf and General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani. Author is one of few foreigners with long association with some senior Pakistani officers going back to early 1980s. This gives the author an advantage to draw on his personal associations.

Book is a comprehensive review of history of Pakistan army starting from 1947 when country gained independence. It documents journey of Pakistan army over six decades.

A History of Pakistan Army: Wars and Insurrections by Brian Cloughley, Fourth Edition. Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2014, pp. 588

On Amazon UK no reviews:http://www.amazon.co.uk/History-Pakistan-Army-Wars-Insurrections/dp/1634505018/ref=pd_sim_sbs_14_1?ie=UTF8&refRID=08BRRKEZMQ91AWWD5JAQ

No reviews on Amazon.com either:A History of the Pakistan Army: Wars and Insurrections (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/A History of the Pakistan Army: Wars and Insurrections)

08-01-2015, 02:22 PM
Hamid Hussain our occassional SWC contributor has a short paper on this aspect, which IMHO is a strange price to pay when the Pakistani state has "relations" with a good number of its jihadist enemies. See the attachment.

Someone asked about a little known aspect of current conflict and following was my response. On every trip to Pakistan, I visit local military graveyards and on every visit I see new and fresh graves of fallen soldiers.

08-09-2015, 09:02 PM
An update to the last post by Hamid Hussain our occassional SWC contributor:
Last circulation of the targeting of senior Pakistani army officers prompted an officer to remind me about late Colonel Sultan Amir Tarar, aka Colonel Imam who was abducted by Pakistani Taliban along with Squadron Leader (R) Khalid Khawaja. Both were later killed by Hakimullah Mahsud (ironically accusing them for working for CIA) who in turn was returned to his maker courtesy of a drone. Monsters usually eat their own creators as well as their own children.
Here is a profile of Colonel Sultan Amir by his friend and colleague and my two cents in red in main text. One small typo error. He was commissioned in 2nd Pathan; now 15 FF.

09-06-2015, 05:31 AM
Remembering the war of 1965


10-06-2015, 07:36 PM
Two contrasting articles on the Pakistani Army, one almost laudatory and the other asking questions.

Link thanks to WoTR:http://warontherocks.com/2015/10/why-is-pakistans-army-chief-so-popular/

In the other corner, from a previously unknown website, with mainly American academics involved:http://muftah.org/where-things-stand-one-year-after-pakistans-operation-against-the-taliban/#.VhQDZW4dzuk

10-08-2015, 07:51 PM
On the attachment is an exchange between Hamid Hussain and a ret'd Pakistani Army general, which illustrates how the army thinks. It is in the public domain.

01-28-2016, 03:12 PM
Sahibzada Yaqub Khan died on Jan 25th 2016 after a long and eventful life. More famous as a diplomat than as a general (he was more of an armchair general, did well with introducing academics into the army but never did anything notable in the field), he was a pillar of the Pakistani establishment. I combined obituaries/notes from Dr Hamid Hussain, Major Amin and a family friend into one blog post. (http://brownpundits.blogspot.com/2016/01/sahibzada-yaqub-khan.html)



..Of course, Sahibzada sahib's career as Bhutto's ambassador to several great powers, as Zia's foreign minister, then as the establishment's chosen foreign minister to keep Benazir in check, and then as Musharraf's envoy to justify his coup, all indicate that he was a solid and upstanding member of Pakistan's ruling elite and was comfortable with military rule, and with the foreign policy priorities of the Zia and Musharraf regimes (including the jihad in Afghanistan and its softer version in the Musharraf era). He was also highly educated and well read and had an impressive personality that a lot of people remember with awe. And of course, he got high praise from people like Nixon and Kissinger. One imagines that had he been born into the elite of a great power (instead of being born into the fading North Indian Muslim elite) he could have been an Edward Grey, though probably not a Curzon or Palmerston...

Yaqub’s critics point to three incidents pertaining to three different times of his life. First is when he was in Kashmir war in 1947-48. Yaqub was ordered to rescue a small picket surrounded by Indians. He was a thinking officer and kept calculating his own likely action and enemy’s possible reaction. In the meantime, Indians overran the picket. Second was when he refused to carry out military action against Bengalis when he was commander of Eastern Command. Yaqub was sacked from the army for his refusal. At that time, almost all officers regardless of their rank and social background denounced Yaqub. Later, with hindsight, some changed their mind and thought Yaqub did the right thing. Third criticism relates to his post retirement career. He served at important ambassadorial positions under Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and later served as Foreign Minister of Bhutto’s executioner General Muhammad Zia ul Haq without any qualms.

04-20-2016, 11:13 AM
Hamid Hussain our occassional SWC contributor has a short paper, which is on the attached PDF (3 pgs).

09-14-2016, 11:16 AM
Shashank Joshi's article on Nawaz Sharif's choice - due in November - via the Australian Lowy Institute:http://www.lowyinterpreter.org/post/2016/09/14/Picking-Pakistans-new-top-general.aspx

A Pakistani satirist, who Shashank cites, has a different viewpoint:
The once all-powerful Pakistan army has now retreated to only controlling the foreign policy, the ISI, all aspects of internal and external security, beating up errant journalists, extra judicial killings, policymaking in sensitive provinces like Balochistan, wheeling-dealings with all manner of ‘non-state actors’, and the nuke button. Some would say that Pakistan Army has even been rendered toothless — the power to unilaterally nuke India and getting Pakistan annihilated in subsequent Indian retaliation is hardly a symbol of power or a compensation for the inability to freely conduct coups.

04-17-2017, 05:11 PM
A book review by an Indian "lurker" on this controversial author; the review starts with:
In 2007, Ayesha Siddiqa touched a raw nerve by publishing Military Inc.: Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy. Then Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf branded her a traitor, blocked the book launch, threatened to try her for treason and hounded her out of the country. Her crime was documenting the Pakistani military’s business involvement (“Milbus”) at the cost of the public economy. The 2017 edition of Military Inc. adds details from the post-Musharraf era and concludes that Milbus has become a permanent feature now. There is also widespread public and media acceptance of Milbus through the Pakistan military’s successful efforts in brushing up its image as the most trustworthy security guardian even under civilian rule. According to her, “In post 2007 Pakistan, military power is more intensely entrenched”.

(Ends with) By 2016, the Milbus in Pakistan “seemed unstoppable” since the army was perceived as the only credible national institution for guarding national security, fighting terrorism and intervening domestically to be a “counterweight to the corrupt, unaccountable and inefficient image of the political class”. This has boosted the army’s media image. This was also because “all political, religious and ethnic parties have over the years developed a dependency on the military”.Link:https://thewire.in/123455/pakistan-military-ayesha-siddiqa/

10-24-2017, 09:37 AM
A commentary by Hamid Hussain, a SWJ contributor. The full title being: Past is Prologue – New Ebb in Civil-Military Relations of Pakistan. It is too long for here, so is on the attachment.

One passage should alert the reader:
A look at the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) today may provide some more scary lessons. A dominant military dictated its wishes to civilians, with approval ratings of over ninety percent and admired and trusted by the general populace. Along comes a politician with only forty percent of the votes and a reasonable governance recipe. The TAF refused to adjust to this changed environment and a group of officers jumped the gun. The revenge was swift and brutal. The TAF was decapitated from the top with over forty percent of generals and admirals sacked and jailed, from the middle racks were eviscerated with the sacking of over 500 Colonels and dozens of Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) booted out. The TAF is now a shadow of itself. Pakistan’s ‘Erdogan moment’ is not in near future; however nobody would have also predicted the fate of TAF just five years ago.

12-11-2017, 05:51 PM
A commentary on Anglo-Pakistani military relations by a Pakistani analyst @ RUSI, which is sub-titled:
The long relationship between the British and Pakistani armies is transforming, from one based mostly on pomp, ceremony and personal friendships, to one based on shared strategic interests.Link:https://rusi.org/sites/default/files/201711_newsbrief_37.4_alam_final.pdf

Personally I found the article strange and concluded that it will be the Pakistanis who are chuckling at this relationship.

Hat tip to WoTR for this first-hand account of an officially sponsored trip by American analysts to North Waziristan, which sees things differently. It ends with:
Indeed, one of the deepest disconnects in U.S.-Pakistan relations is rooted in threat perceptions. The Haqqani Network is America’s enemy and Pakistan’s asset. The Pakistani Taliban is also America’s enemy — but an enemy of much greater priority for Pakistan. This fundamental divide was thrown into sharp relief on a visit to a restive locale that provided a tantalizing glimpse of how much better things could become — but also a humbling reminder about the fragility of the progress that has been made there.Link:https://warontherocks.com/2017/12/progress-peril-north-waziristan/

05-28-2018, 07:48 PM
A puzzling article by a former Pakistani diplomat in an Indian newspaper; the full title being 'From key Pakistani general to ISIS terrorist ‘killed’ in Jihad, the chilling saga of Shahid Aziz'. It starts with:
It is very unusual for retired senior officers of a professional military to end up fighting alongside militants attacking soldiers they once commanded. But the recently reported saga of retired Lt. General Shahid Aziz — whose 37-year service in the Pakistan army included postings as director-general military operations, chief of general staff from October 2001 to December 2003, and commander of the IV Corps in Lahore from December 2003 to October 2005 — points to the hazard of allowing ideology to supercede professionalism in a modern military.

Other officers get a mention too - for being wayward.

05-29-2018, 06:16 PM
According to anecdotal reports, General Shahid Aziz disappeared about a year ago and there are rumors he has been killed (most likely in Syria, maybe in Afghanistan) while indulging a passion for Jihad His son (who is a retired army officer) has denied he is on Jihad (claiming he is in some remote part of Africa on tabligh (Islamic preaching or dawa) and cannot be contacted). One theory is that he is indeed dead, but the family has been told to try and draw this out and then claim a death in remote Africa or some such. This would probably work well in the age of Dr Livingstone, but seems a bit shaky in this day and age.
Still, it is possible he may turn up alive. Nobody is willing to go on record with any real details at this time it seems. (Musharraf set this particular ball rolling by casually mentioning in an interview that Shahid Aziz was crazy and had gone to Syria and got himself killed there; he was on Musharraf's team, but after retirement he became very Islamist and wrote a book very critical of Musharraf so they are no longer friends)

06-04-2018, 11:00 AM
This book featuring a long retired ISI Director and a ret'd RAW Director has aroused controversy in Pakistan, with their ex-soldier being stopped from leaving and is to face an inquiry. Below is a review by Hamid Hussain, our occasional contributor.

The full title is: Spy Chronicles: RAW, ISI and the Illusion of Peace. A. S. Dulat, Assad Durrani and Aditya Sinha (Delhi: Harper Collins), 2018.

This book is neither a memoir nor an organized attempt to explain a theory. It is essentially a transcript of conversations. It covers India Pakistan relations, Kashmir, Afghanistan and other general regional and international topics. Two informed individuals from rival countries engaged in a candid conversation and some of their views are not fully in line with the official stance of their respective countries.
In view of unresolved issues between India and Pakistan, there have been several international attempts to bring high former officials of both countries together for dialogue. One effort was to bring former intelligence officials of both countries together. This effort called ‘Intel Dialogue’ was organized by the University of Ottawa. Dulat and Durrani met each other during these ‘Track II’ efforts and developed a kind of friendship.
A brief background of Durrani’s career will help readers to understand where he is coming from. He is a gunner officer with no previous intelligence experience. His career up to the rank of Major General was typical of any career officer with normal command, staff and instructional appointments. He is considered a cerebral officer by his peers. In 1988, he was appointed Director Military Intelligence (DMI) by General Mirza Aslam Beg. In 1990, when Benazir Bhutto’s first government was sacked by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan, DG ISI Lieutenant General Shamsur Rahman Kallue was also removed from his post. Beg asked Durrani to have additional charge of ISI and for a while Durrani was running both agencies. When a new DMI was appointed, Durrani became the permanent DG ISI, where he served until March 1992. His next two assignments were Director General Military Training & Evaluation and Commandant of National Defence College (now University). In 1993, he was retired from service by army Chief General Abdul Waheed Kakar. In 1994, during the second Benazir Bhutto government, he was appointed ambassador to Germany (May 1994 – May 1997) and during General Musharraf’s government; he served as ambassador to Saudi Arabia (2000-2002). Durrani is not new to controversy. In 1990, he distributed money to politicians of an opposition alliance against Benazir. This was later known as the Asghar Khan case and the Supreme Court is currently hearing this case.
In Pakistan, retired officers are usually kept at arm’s length from current events. They may gather some general information when interacting with serving officers during re-unions. In general, General Head Quarters (GHQ) discourages the interaction of retired senior officers with serving officers outside of normal accepted norms. If someone shows indiscretion, then a message is quietly sent and many serving officers will avoid such senior officers like plague as it can jeopardize their career. Durrani retired from active service twenty-five years ago; therefore he is not privy to any classified information or details of current policies. He was part of the ‘Track II’ parleys. In some cases, members of Track II parleys are given informal general briefing about policy lines but in his case no such briefing was ever provided by GHQ. His credentials make him a good spokesperson for army’s point of view to international audience but there was never any direct line of communication with GHQ.
Durrani is candid about his approach. He admits that after retirement, he was exposed to the views of other people. He reflected on the difference between his own information and what others said. The conversation in this book is simply the outcome of that reflection. Others have the right to agree or disagree with his point of view.
Dulat and Durrani advocate for renewed efforts to start the India and Pakistan dialogue. The most interesting part is their perceptions about the American role in India-Pakistan rivalry. Durrani believes that American policies have had a negative impact on Pakistan and the country’s interests clash with American interests especially in the Afghanistan theatre. He views Washington’s closeness to Delhi as detrimental to Pakistan. On the other hand, Dulat believes that Washington still has a soft corner for Pakistan and if only Washington can steer away from Pakistan then Pakistan may change its policy. Dulat also believes that American defence establishment has a close relationship with the Pakistan army and this gives Pakistan a distinct advantage. In some cases, Washington comes in to defend Pakistan asking India to show restraint. Dulat recalls a 2003 meeting with CIA’s Director of Counter Terrorism Cofer Black who told him that ‘we are putting pressure on the Pakistanis to behave, so we hope you won’t do anything silly’.
On 03 March 2016, Pakistan announced arrest of a RAW officer Kulbhushan Jhadav. He was operating from Iran and Pakistan announced his arrest when Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was visiting Pakistan with a high-powered delegation. Iran and Pakistan have problems on various issues but usually governments try not to make them public to avoid deterioration of relations. Army Chief General Raheel Sharif (2013-2016) in his meeting with Rouhani raised this issue of RAW using Iranian soil. This was the right forum to raise the issue but surprisingly the army leaked this to the media. In a press conference, Rouhani was put on the spot and asked if this issue was discussed. Iran has very close relations with India and Tehran walks a fine line. Rouhani while admitting there were talks on wide ranging issues denies that this issue was discussed. Army’s spokesperson, Lieutenant General Asim Saleem Bajwa promptly released the transcript of the meeting to public while Rouhani was still in Pakistan embarrassing Iran. Durrani is of the view that ‘we should not have broached it with the poor Iranian President while he was an honoured guest. And it was embarrassing that this faux pas was committed by the army chief’. He does not elaborate on why it was done? I have my own opinion based on information at that time and later developments. At that time, many Pakistani officers expressed surprise to me and were confused about the army’s logic as these actions looked like a deliberate effort to sabotage Rouhani’s visit. I had come to know some early but not clear information in the spring of 2016 about Raheel’s parleys with new Saudi leadership. Pakistani army chiefs visited Saudi Arabia and meet with senior Royal family members and this is nothing new but in case of Raheel something was different. Raheel was retiring in November 2016 and working on either getting an extension or a Field Marshal rank. The Saudis were working on an anti-Iran alliance and negotiating with Raheel to lead it. There was clearly a conflict of interest case where a serving army Chief was negotiating his own lucrative post-retirement package with a foreign government. In my view, Raheel did this to earn some brownie points with Saudis. He finally got a golden parachute from Saudis right after his retirement.

06-04-2018, 11:00 AM
This book is record of conversations on a wide range of topics and one can only talk about general themes and not specific details. In such conversations one can miss on details as it is simply memory recall and no time to confirm details by either consulting published material to talking to an informed colleague. In criticizing July 2007 Lal Masjid episode, Durrani is of the view that ‘wrong force and wrong means were used’. He states that Rangers were used who burnt down the place. He argues that instead Special Forces should have been used. This operation can be criticized on many grounds but not on this one. Rangers were deployed only in outer cordon with the task of sealing the area and establish holding points for those leaving the mosque. Operation was conducted by about 150 Special Service Group (SSG) troops commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Haroon Islam (3rd Sindh Regiment). He was Commanding Officer (CO) of Zarrar Anti-Terrorist battalion of SSG. The role of SSG is clear from the casualty list of security forces. Of eleven killed in action, ten were SSG including Islam and one Ranger and of forty-four wounded, thirty-three were SSG, three Rangers and remaining regular army soldiers. Two months later, a suicide bomber took the revenge on Zarrar battalion when he blew himself inside a highly secured area killing 22 SSG soldiers. (This information is from various sources with first had knowledge and confirmed by a senior officer who was in a position at that time to know the details.)
Durrani’s views on Osama Bin Laden raid are nothing new. He has expressed his theory years ago that Pakistan army brass may have made a deal with Americans on this issue. This is his personal view although he does not have any concrete evidence. In my own conversations with dozens of officers, about half believe their own brass was in the loop while the other half believes they were in dark. Durrani mistakenly calls CIA sponsored vaccination program run by Dr. Shakeel Afridi as polio vaccination. It was Hepatitis B vaccination. Polio is administered orally while Hepatitis B vaccination is given by injection. Objective was that if a family member living in the compound was given vaccination injection, then the small amount of blood left in the needle could be used to test for DNA for positive identification. CIA had collected blood samples from Bin Laden’s family members in Saudi Arabia. If DNA matched from the sample collected from a family member in the compound then it would be certain that the ‘tall pacing man’ in the compound was Bin Laden.
Commenting on Brigadier Muhammad Yusuf and Mark Adkin’s book The Bear Trap, Durrani provides an interesting anecdote that is relevant to the upheaval caused by his own book. Durrani was head of ISI when book was published. Someone from his own organization asked if ‘we should get hold of the man, court martial him, issue a rebuttal?”. Durrani replied that ‘there must be 20 people who have read it but once we do something, 200 people will read it’. The timing of publication of his own book caused problems for GHQ. In normal circumstances, a few days of high pitched noise in electronic media and then everything evaporating in thin air as a more interesting and colourful election season is at hand. Army is very sensitive about its public image. Few days earlier, GHQ was very upset about Nawaz Sharif’s controversial statement and forced government to summon National Security Committee meeting and issue a strongly worded reprimand to Sharif. Now, GHQ had to take some action as people started to compare two cases. Hopefully with this action of GHQ, more people will read the book and make their own judgement.
Durrani was confident when asked about his institution’s possible reaction to his interaction with former RAW chief. He said, “they must have had enough confidence in my ability to hold my own’ and that ‘no one has ever accused me of indiscretion’. In this case, Durrani was proven wrong and within days of launch of the book, he was summoned to the headmaster’s office at GHQ. His name is placed on Exit Control List (ECL) and an inquiry committee headed by Lieutenant General will review his case. This will take some time and in the meantime, many more interesting topics will be in headlines and this issue will fade away. In the end, we will see whether headmaster simply gives a stern warning to the errant boy or decide on canning.
This book should be read by anyone interested in India Pakistan relations as it provides a window to thought process of members of intelligence communities of two countries. One can disagree with some of the opinions expressed by Durrani but I didn’t find any evidence that he broke the norms and divulged any classified information. Serious outside observers interested in India and Pakistan know much more than what is written in this book.

06-10-2018, 09:26 AM
No surprise a former Indian intelligence officer (known to the author) weighs in with a review and a devastating "taster":
At the same time, their remarks on current decision makers or ‘hawkish’ career foreign service off#icials (Part IV: Kabuki) might excite the media, but do not help either country in finding solutions.

I'd heard of the close ISI-Taliban relationship, but missed a RAW defector to the USA in 2004:
Durrani claims that no ISI man had ‘def#ected’, like from RAW. Quite true. The last big defector, Rabinder Singh, could flee due to RAW’s own intransigence of not handing over the investigation to the IB. But then, no other official espionage agency has been in the swim with terrorists as the ISI. The classic example is ISI stalwart Col. Imam (Sul#tan Amir Tarar) who, along with Naseerullah Babar, had created the Taliban in 1994 with the help of then DGMO Pervez Musharraf, by giving them the entire Pakistani arms cache in Spin Boldak on the Pakistan-Afg#ha#ni#stan border.

A very short explanation:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rabinder_Singh_(intelligence_officer)