U.S. diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks make perfectly clear and straighten out Pakistan’s [strange] civil military relations, exposes various political conspiracies, the power of its army, it’s role in politics and alleged human rights abuses. It illustrates the supremacy of our unrepresentative institutions and control over representative institutions.It also confirms the [un]democratic intentions of various political stakeholders. And unmasks especially those [behind the scene]characters who are calling the shots? So, WikiLeaks documents confirm what we, as a nation, already know.
According to the Independent report: “But on the larger themes and broader issues, the cables offer only confirmation rather than surprise. “
“The diplomatic cables only serve to confirm what people have been worried about, especially in regard to the US fears about our nuclear assets.”
Here are some features and high points from the messages which appeared on Britain’s Guardian newspaper website, as well as some frame of reference on key issues covered in them.
* According to a cable from U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson dated Feb. 9, 2009, Zardari had raised the issue of his personal security in a meeting in Karachi.
“Zardari revealed that, if he was assassinated, he had instructed his son Bilawal to name his sister, Faryal Talpur, as President,” said the cable.
President Asif Ali Zardari had spoken to former US ambassador Anne Patterson in 2009, saying that he had instructed his son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to name his sister Faryal Talpur as President if he is assassinated.
In another cable quoted by the newspaper, US Vice President Joe Biden recounted to Britain’s then Prime Minister Gordon Brown a conversation with Zardari last year. Zardari told him that Kayani and the Inter-Services Intelligence agency “will take me out,” according to the cable.
Separately, President Zardari had told the then British foreign secretary David Miliband that his men (army officers and ISI) were keeping him unaware about critical information.
The general at the top of Pakistan’s army proposed to topple President Asif Ali Zadari during internal wrangling last year, WikiLeaks has revealed.
General Ashfaq Kayani, floated the idea during meetings with the US Ambassador in March 2009 as thousands of supporters of opposition leader Nawaz Sharif took to the streets.
Cable sent by Ambassador Anne Patterson on March 12, 2009.
The ambassador had met Army chief Ashfaq Kayani on March 10 before a long march by lawyers on March 12 in a political crisis that threatened Zardari’s government.
Another memo cited in The New York Times quotes General Ashfaq Kayani, chief of the military, telling the US ambassador during a March 2009 meeting that he “might, however reluctantly,” pressure Zardari to resign.
Kayani was quoted as saying that he might support Asfandyar Wali Khan, leader of the Awami National League Party, as the new president — not Zardari’s arch-nemesis Nawaz Sharif.
Zardari felt lonely and threatened, said Karzai
Afghan President Hamid Karzai once told a US Senate delegation that the Pakistani president felt “lonely, threatened and under siege” and urged the senators to secure strong US support for Asif Ali Zardari, says a cable released by WikiLeaks.
In a meeting with Senators John McCain, Joseph Lieberman and Lindsey Graham in Dec 2008, Mr Karzai stressed the importance of US support for the Pakistan president,
calling Mr Zardari “a good man who wants to free his country from extremists”.
The Afghan president noted that he had an excellent relationship with Mr Zardari and felt the two had a special rapport, adding that “never in 60 years of Pakistan`s history have we had such good bilateral relations”.
Mr Karzai described how, when he arrived in Istanbul for trilateral talks in Dec 2008, Mr Zardari called him directly and asked to meet him privately before their official meeting the following day.
Mr Zardari came to Mr Karzai`s room where they chatted over dinner for hours, “covering all topics imaginable”.
Mr Zardari believed he received too little support from the international community, the Afghan president said. Mr Karzai explained that India was still wary because of historic enmity with Pakistan; Russia withheld its support because Pakistan had helped the Afghans defeat the Soviets; China disapproved of Mr Zardari`s close relationship with the US; and the Arab countries wouldn`t support him because he wasn`t “one of them”.
Pakistan Interior Minister Rehman Malik had told then U.S. ambassador Anne Patterson that it was not chief of army staff Gen. Ashfaq Kayani but ISI chief Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, who was hatching conspiracies against President Asif Ali Zardari.
The U.S. embassy cables revealed that Mr. Malik sought an urgent appointment with Ms. Patterson in November 2009 and said that Gen. Pasha was hatching plots against Mr. Zardari, adding that the president needed political security, The News International reported.
However, Ms. Patterson was certain that the chief of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) could not do it alone.
In yet another cable, U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden told then British prime minister Gordon Brown about a conversation he had with Mr. Zardari in 2009.
Mr. Zardari told Mr. Biden that Gen. Kayani and the ISI “will take me out”, according to the cable, which added that Mr. Zardari had made extensive preparations in case he was killed.
Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani used the Pakistani civilian government for military purposes from behind the scenes and very effectively foiled the US plan to ensure civilian control over the military under the Kerry-Lugar Bill, according to a confidential diplomatic dispatch of the US embassy in Paris to the State Department on January 22, released by Wikileaks.
State Department cables: AMBASSADOR MEETS WITH KAYANI AND PASHA ABOUT
Wednesday, 07 October 2009, 13:31
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 ISLAMABAD 002427
EO 12958 DECL: 10/06/2019
TAGS PREL, PGOV, PTER, PK
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR MEETS WITH KAYANI AND PASHA ABOUT
Classified By: Anne W. Patterson, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)
1. (S) Summary: Ambassador heard a number of complaints about the Kerry-Lugar bill from COAS General Kayani and DGISI Pasha in a two-hour meeting October 6. These focused on the history of Pressler sanctions, particularly a fear that the waiver in Kerry-Lugar would not be used and aid would be suspended. There were several clauses in the bill, such as an American assessment of civilian control over military promotions and the chain of command, that rankled COAS Kayani. DGISI Pasha said Kayani was receiving criticism on the bill from the Corps Commanders. Ambassador emphasized the bill’s long-term commitment to Pakistan and made three points: provisions of the bill could be waived; the bill only requires certifications and “assessments;” and the bill does not apply to the large amounts in the Pakistan Counter-insurgency Fund or Coalition Support Fund but only, so far, to non-appropriated Foreign Military Financing. Pasha and Kayani repeated that the Army had taken huge steps this year in its bilateral cooperation with the US and in its campaign in Swat and Bajaur and was getting little public (or private) credit from the US for these historic steps. Kayani said he was considering a statement on the bill, but he was struggling with what to say. He realized that Senator Kerry and Vice President Biden, the original sponsor of the bill, were among Pakistan,s best friends. He predicted the parliamentary debate would be tough, but in the final analysis the government controlled the agenda. Kayani said the language in the bill could undermine political support for the Army’s anti-terrorist effort.
Leaked secret cables from the U.S. embassy in Islamabad, just after the November 26, 2008 attacks in Mumbai, reveal a more complex narrative than that chronicled so far.
The Pakistan government was willing to work with India; New Delhi was not painting Islamabad and the military nerve centre in Rawalpindi with the same brush, and the Europeans were initially keen on dousing any tensions that might have erupted.
The four WikiLeaks cables, though forming a narrow window, are a story of a missed opportunity for Pakistan to step up the friendship with India, being constructed through the comprehensive dialogue process.
“President [Asif Ali] Zardari, PM [Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza] Gilani and FM [Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood] Qureshi have made all the right public statements…Government of Pakistan is sending ISI [Inter-Services Intelligence] chief M.G. Pasha to India to participate in the investigation…[Mr.] Zardari is meeting with appropriate Cabinet members to discuss further possible govt reaction and NSA [National Security Adviser Mahmud Ali] Durrani forwarded a message on the need to jointly fight militants that threaten both Pakistan and India.”
Pakistan’s powerful Army had vetoed President Asif Ali Zardari’s proposal to send ISI chief Ahmed Shuja Pasha to New Delhi that came on British insistence to calm down tensions with India following the Mumbai terror attack, a secret U.S. cable made public by WikiLeaks shows.
The confidential document shows that the then British Foreign Secretary David Miliband had called Mr. Zardari, asking him to send the ISI chief to India, to which the President readily agreed. He, however, was overruled by the Pakistani Army led by General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani.
Mr. Miliband described Major General Pasha as a welcome “new broom” and expressed U.K. support for ISI reform.
Mr. Zardari said the new ISI leaders were “straightforward” and their roles were proscribed by the constitution, but it would take time for real conversions.
Robert Brinkley, the British High Commissioner to Pakistan, and Mr. Miliband pressed for Pasha to go to India, said a U.S. cable issued by its Embassy in Islamabad on December 1, 2008.
“Zardari gave Brinkley a long answer about various levels of directors in ISI but finally confirmed that the Army had vetoed the decision to send Pasha. Zardari told Miliband that it might be possible to send NSA Durrani, as he outranked Pasha,” it said.
The President said it would not be possible to send Pasha immediately as he needed to work public opinion first, the cable said.
According to the cable, the British diplomat passed the same intelligence information about LeT to Zardari that they previously had passed to the ISI.
“Zardari’s response was positive; he said ISI had to follow up and this was an opportunity. He criticised the Indians for statements that pushed Islamabad to make a defensive response and ‘made my job harder’
“Zardari said he thought it was not possible that terrorists could have launched attack boats from Karachi and the operation could not have been implemented without insider help from Indians,” the cable says.
In the conversation with Mr. Miliband, Mr. Zardari said he saw the attacks as an “opportunity to strike at my enemies”.
The attack, he said, was aimed as much at Pakistan as at India, but India had reacted in an unfortunate way.
“Miliband said that public messaging would be particularly important to link the Mumbai atrocity with Zardari’s own campaign against militants,” it said.
Mr. Zardari told Mr. Miliband that “my people” had not brought specific information to him about the individuals named in the information passed to ISI (on the day before).
Mr. Miliband said that LeT needed to “feel the full force of the law”.
“Zardari responded by saying he was setting up special courts, was contacting all political parties, and would take action immediately,” the cable said.
According to the cable, Mr. Zardari commented that he had a gut reaction that the attacks were the beginning rather than the end and went on to talk about Muslim-Hindu differences and attempts to split India.
“He urged the UK to push back on New Delhi and calm the situation. Mr. Miliband said they would do so, but India needs to see real action from Pakistan.
“India was asking for short-term actions, and this could buy some time for the Government of Pakistan,” it said.
Mr. Miliband later called Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi and said he wanted to make sure that he saw the intelligence passed to ISI.
“He pressed that India needs actions not words from Pakistan. Mr. Qureshi said he would follow up on the intelligence but reiterated the GOP request for the U.K. to counsel restrain on the part of the Indians,” it says.
The U.S. Embassy cable signed off by the then U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson said that overall, the Pakistani public remains in denial about any culpability for the Mumbai attacks and believes India is unfairly and prematurely accusing Pakistan.
1. (C) Summary. During a meeting with Ambassador January 31, Nawaz Sharif confirmed…. As proof of his pro-Americanism, Nawaz reminded Ambassador that he had overruled his Chief of Staff to deploy Pakistani forces with the U.S. coalition in the first Gulf War.
2. (C) Ambassador and Polcouns met former Prime Minister and Pakistan Muslim League-N PML-N) leader Nawaz Sharif January 31 for an hour during Nawaz’s recent visit to Islamabad. PML-N leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan also attended the meeting.
8. (C) The best thing America has done recently, said Nawaz, was arrange to have General Kayani named as Chief of Army Staff. This appointment is helping Army morale and raising the level of public respect for the Army. Noting that Musharraf met the UK equivalent to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Khan said the U.S. and the UK need to stop treating Musharraf as if he still ran the military. CENTCOM Commander Admiral Fallon would have met with Musharaf if the President had not been travelling, asserted Khan. Ambassador replied that we had excellent relations with the Pakistani military and meet them all the time at various levels.
WikiLeaks cables relay allegations that Nawaz Sharif’s government in Punjab province helped the group responsible for the Mumbai terror attacks evade UN sanctions.
Pakistan’s president alleged that the brother of Pakistan’s opposition leader, Nawaz Sharif, “tipped off” the militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) about impending UN sanctions following the 2008 Mumbai attacks, allowing the outfit to empty its bank accounts before they could be raided.
King Abdullah and ruling princes distrust Asif Ali Zardari, the country’s Shia president, and would prefer ‘another Musharraf’.
Oil power Saudi Arabia gained vast influence in the region when it, along with Pakistan and the United States, began backing the anti-Soviet mujahideen in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Saudi Arabia, a vital U.S. ally, still has clout in the region. Apparently it consider’s itself one of our master.
* On Nov 20, 2007, the Saudi Ambassador to the United States, Adel al-Jubeir, boldly asserted during a meal with a U.S. diplomat:
“We in Saudi Arabia are not observers in Pakistan, we are participants.”
Pakistan continues to support the militant group which carried out the 2008 terrorist attacks on Mumbai despite its claims to have launched a crackdown on the organisation, the United States Ambassador to Islamabad wrote in a cable.
The cables also laid bare US frustrations at what officials see as Pakistan’s refusal to cut off ties with extremists such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is blamed for carrying out the bloody 2008 siege of Mumbai.
“There is no chance that Pakistan will view enhanced assistance levels in any field as sufficient compensation for abandoning support for these groups, which it sees as an important part of its national security apparatus against India,” Ambassador Anne Patterson said in a cable quoted by the Times.
The cables also touch on allegations of extrajudicial killings by Pakistani forces, according to the Times.
A cable last year suggested there was credible evidence that the or paramilitary forces killed some detainees after an offensive against Taliban insurgents in the northwestern regions.
The embassy said that news of killings should not be leaked to the press, for fear of offending the Pakistani army. However, this year the United States said it would cut off support for some Pakistani units following the release of a video that appeared to show extrajudicial killings.
US diplomatic memos also reveal Western concerns that terrorists might get access to Pakistan’s nuclear material and American scepticism that Islamabad will sever ties to Taliban factions fighting in Afghanistan.
Washington’s frustration with Islamabad and the struggle in Pakistan between the country’s military and political leadership, analysts say the public disclosure of the cables will not damage relations between the two countries.
Despite massive US aid, anti-Americanism rampant in Pakistan:
America is viewed with some suspicion by the majority of Pakistan’s people and its institutions. While the Army remains fixated on India as Pakistan’s mortal enemy, the common man (and most importantly the youth) is just as likely to point to America as the nation which has twisted Pakistan’s collective arm, leaving it weak.
Pakistan quietly approved drone attacks, U.S. special units:
On the record, Pakistan has persistently criticized the United States’ use of unmanned drones to attack militant hideouts in its mountainous border region.
But diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks reveal that in private the Pakistani government was not unhappy about the strikes and secretly allowed small groups of U.S. Special Operations units to operate on its soil.
The Pakistani military is not simply an arm of government. It is by far the most supreme and soverign institution in the country. Defence accounts for 5 per cent of the Government’s budget. The military also receives billions of pounds in US aid. It controls Pakistan’s nuclear weapons arsenal. It oversees the intelligence infrastructure. It also determines foreign policy especially with countries such as America and China. It holds veto rights on any peace initiatives with India.
For that reason the Chief of the Army Staff is arguably the most powerful person in the country.