Amid calls to declare Pakistan a ‘hostile state’, US curtails aid, withholds Sharif invite – Chidanand Rajghatta

Barack Obama & Nawaz Sharif

Chidanand Rajghatta“Pakistan’s economy is both parlous and perilously-poised, despite frequent juggling of numbers in a country that does not even conduct a regular census. With economic growth barely matching projected population growth, it is reduced to living on aid and remittances. Even aid is starting to dwindle after its familiar patrons in the Gulf have pulled the plug and its sugar daddy China has not come through with the expected bail-outs.” – Chidanand Rajghatta

Dr Peter LavoyPakistan’s bottomfeeding on American aid is about to end unless it terminates its policy of covertly using terrorism to further its frontiers, the Obama administration has conveyed to Islamabad, amid indications that the US is also making Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s proposed visit to Washington conditional to meeting this objective.

A key administration official on Thursday said there has been no announcement about a Sharif visit to Washington in October although the trip had been widely reported in the Pakistani media based on briefings from diplomats in Islamabad. “This is news to me. We have not made any statements about that (Sharif’s visit to Washington),” Peter Lavoy, special assistant to the US president and senior director for south asian affairs at the national security council of the White House, told PTI. “If it is pakka (final) you would be the first to hear.”

The rethink—or at least holding back the announcement—of the visit comes after the administration conveyed to Islamabad that it will not certify the effectiveness of Pakistan counterterrorism operation to Congress to enable passage of the Coalition Support Fund (CSF), the military reimbursement aid that goes towards keeping Pakistan solvent.

As part of its rentier-state ethos, Pakistan provides logistical support to US and coalition forces in Afghanistan and in turn bills Washington for reimbursement. Pakistan has extracted more than $13 billion from the US since the coalition forces swooped into Afghanistan.

The CSF was scheduled to end following the US drawdown from Afghanistan in December 2014, but the Obama government extended the program for another year through a legislation containing additional conditions, including a requirement for certification by the defence secretary that Pakistani military operations are rolling up terrorist networks, including the Haqqani group in North Waziristan.

But true to form, Pakistan’s military-intelligence establishment has again suckered Washington fooling the US by keeping the death from illnesses of Taliban supremo Mullah Omar and Jalaluddin Haqqani while trying to manage their succession.

Hafiz Muhammad SaeedThe manipulation, coming after Osama bin Laden being sheltered in Abbottabad, has further eroded trust in a country with a long history of lying and dissembling. Although US policy of forbearance is centered around its fear of Pakistan’s collapse, that tolerance is being tested in the face of the Pakistani military-intelligence’s serial malfeasance, including its continued patronage of terrorists associated with the 26/11 Mumbai attacks in which six Americans died.

“The US move is politically more damaging for Islamabad than its financial impact, which is significant nevertheless for being an important source for narrowing the current account deficit. More importantly, it coincided with the deterioration in ties with Afghanistan because of Kabul’s allegations that Islamabad continued to harbor Taliban bases from where attacks were being launched,” Karachi’s Dawn newspaper, which first reported the rupture, said on Thursday.

“The US decision is also likely to sour ties in the run-up to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s scheduled visit to White House in October,” it added.

Zaki ur Rehman LakhviPakistan’s economy is both parlous and perilously-poised, despite frequent juggling of numbers in a country that does not even conduct a regular census. With economic growth barely matching projected population growth, it is reduced to living on aid and remittances. Even aid is starting to dwindle after its familiar patrons in the Gulf have pulled the plug and its sugar daddy China has not come through with the expected bail-outs.

Desperate to keep the US pipeline open, the Pakistani military, which runs the country’s foreign policy on behalf of the nominal civilian government, has been decimating its civilian population with every-day air-strikes this week in North Waziristan, announcing dozens of dead “militants” which no one is able to authenticate due to lack of access.

However, the country’s continued patronage of terrorists on its eastern flank with India, including its protection of UN designated terrorists such as Hafiz Saeed and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, indicates there has been no fundamental change in its policy.

With Pakistan’s salience to American objectives declining in the context of US outreach to Iran and the drawdown in Afghanistan, some scholars are now pressing for a review of Washington’s ties with Islamabad. In a Foreign Affairs magazine piece headlined “An Unworthy Ally,” C. Christine Fair and Sumit Ganguly have argued that the time has come for Washington to “cut Pakistan loose,” going as far as to suggest punitive sanctions against Pakistani elite, including visa denials to its top generals and officials who support terrorism.

Extracts from Foreign Affairs article by C. Christine Fair and Sumit Ganguly:

  • “Since the current approach has little chance of aligning Pakistan’s interests with those of the United States, the time has come for Washington to change course. If Washington cannot end Pakistan’s noxious behaviors, it should at least stop sponsoring them.”
  • “The strategic demands of today’s South Asia are distinct from those of the Cold War era, but the central dynamic of US-Pakistani relations remains constant. The United States turns a blind eye to Pakistan’s misdeeds because it depends on the country’s leaders to counter US enemies in the region-first the Soviets, now the melange of militant groups active in Afghanistan and Pakistan. As a result, the United States has subsidized both the expansion of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal and its stable of Islamist terrorists through programs ostensibly created to manage those same concerns.”
  • “Despite Barack Obama’s understanding of Pakistan’s misdeeds … his administration, like his predecessor’s, has failed to develop policies that limit American complicity in them. As a result, Washington has continued to pay Pakistan to do what any sovereign state should do: eliminate terrorists exploiting its territory.”
  • “All the while, the United States has not required Pakistan to stop backing militant groups, such as the Afghan Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba, even as Islamabad battles those militants who have turned against the state. Indeed, Islamabad has created a permanent revenue stream by arguing that so long as it is fighting militants, it should be entitled to US aid. The United States has been willing to comply because it considers the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons a core national interest.”
  • “Past attempts to induce Pakistan to change its behavior have largely failed, and there is little reason to believe that a change in course is imminent. Indeed, what little convergence of interests existed between Washington and Islamabad during the Cold War has long since disappeared. After six decades of policy predicated on Pakistani blackmail, it should be possible to achieve US interests with a different approach.”
  • “A strategy of containment is the United States’ best option. Above all, US relations with Pakistan should be premised on the understanding that Pakistan is a hostile state, rather than an ally or a partner.” – The Times of India, Aug 21, 2015

» Chidanand Rajghatta is The Times of India’s US-based Foreign Editor, long-time Washington DC scribe and sutradhar.

John Kerry & Pak Military

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  1. Dawood Ibrahim

    Dawood’s wife confirms her husband is in Karachi – The Times of India – TNN – New Delhi – Aug 22, 2015

    NEW DELHI: Times Now on Saturday tracked Dawood Ibrahim’s wife. In a phone conversation, Mehjabeen Sheikh, the underworld don’s wife, confirmed her husband was in Karachi.

    This is what the conversation was:

    Reporter: Walequm Assalam! Can I talk to Mehjabeen Sheikh?

    Mehjabeen: Yes, I’m Mehjabeen Sheikh. Who is this?

    Reporter: Madam are you speaking from Karachi?

    Mehjabeen: Yes

    Reporter: Madam, I just wanted to know if you are Dawood Ibrahim’s wife?

    Yes, he is sleeping.

    2nd phone call:

    Hello, Salaam Walequm

    Reporter: I wanted to speak to Dawood. He is there?

    Mehjabeen: I don’t know. Call after a while. (Hangs up phone)

    NSA-level talks between India and Pakistan are in peril over Pakistan’s decision to go ahead with its meeting with J&K separatists. India is reportedly set to hand over a dossier with documentary evidence, including phone bill and passports, that the underworld don is living in Karachi with his family.

    The Times of India and other national newspapers have earlier as well published reports about Dawood’s comfortable and luxurious life in Pakistan for the last several years.

    New calls show Dawood in Pakistan

    In early May this year, The Times of India reported: “Around four months ago, intelligence agencies traced Dawood’s three calls from Pakistan to his associate Javed in Dubai, yet again confirming the gangster’s presence in the neighbouring country. The calls also nailed Pakistani high commissioner Abdul Basit’s lie that “Dawood is not in Pakistan”.”

    “Javed, according to sources, looks after Dawood’s business interests in Dubai and India. Dawood was regularly heard talking to another associate, identified as Tariq, over phone from Pakistan a few months before the three calls to Javed, sources said. While Javed reportedly manages Dawood’s businesses including real estate, narcotics, extortion, hawala, betting and fixing, not much is known about Tariq. Dawood’s one-time right hand man Tariq Parveen was arrested by Uttar Pradesh ATS earlier this year.”


    Dawood Ibrahim moves under Pakistan’s protection – Deccan Chronicle – New Delhi – August 23, 2015

    New Delhi: In a phone conversation, Mehjabeen Sheikh, the underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s wife, reportedly confirmed her husband was in Karachi. The wife reportedly told the channel “Dawood is home, he’s sleeping,” a comment which incidentally came against the backdrop of both countries exchanging one of the most bitter public exchanges in recent times.

    According to the dossier, the new residence Dawood bought is located at Shireen Jinah Colony near Ziauddin Hospital, Cliffton, Karachi. “This accommodation was purchased in September, 2013 and is located near the hospital where medical treatment could be provided to Dawood whenever required. This place is close to the residence of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, son of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto,” the dossier reads.

    Apart from this house, the other places where he regularly frequents are: Moin Palace, near Abdullah Shah Gazi Dargah, Cliffton, Karachi, 6A Khyabar Tanzeem, Phase V, Defence Housing area, Karachi, ISI safe house located on Bhoubhan Hill, around 20km from Islamabad on Islamabad-Muree Road, P 6/2, Street No. 22, House No. 29, Maragalla Road, Islamabad, 17 C P Bazar Society, Block 7-8, Amir Khan Road, Karachi, 30th Street in Phase 6 extension of DHA in Karachi, 8th floor of Mohran Square near Pardesi House 3, Tawar area, Cliffton, Karachi and a palatial bungalow in the hilly area of Nooriabad, Karachi.

    “Dawood is known to frequently change his locations and addresses in Pakistan. He has amassed immense property in Pakistan and moves under the protection of Pakistani agencies,” the dossier says. According to the dossier, Dawood has three Pakistani passports — first one issued in Rawalpindi (No.G-866537), second in Karachi (No. C-267185) and a third one which was also issued in Karachi (No. KC-285901).

    Dawood’s wife Mahajabeen holds a Pakistani Passport No. J-589103, son Moeen’s Pakistani Passport No. J-588518 and daughter Mehrukh’s Passport No. J-563473. Mehrukh is married to former Pakistani cricketer Javed Miandad’s son Junaid. Dawood daughter Mehreen’s another Pakistani Passport No. is J-563439. Dawood’s brother Anees and Mustaqim too have Pakistani passports with the Nos. H 144394 and KA-713357 respectively.

    The dossier says that Dawood was declared a global terrorist by the US State Department on October 16, 2003 and he was included in the UN list as an associate of Al Qaeda on November 3, 2003 under the UNSC resolution no. 1267. “Pakistan has failed to issue a red corner notice and take action as per UN notice against Dawood,” it says.

    BJP termed as “irrefutable evidence” a new report, which citing Intelligence evidence said Dawood Ibrahim was in Pakistan, and asked it to hand him over to India while Congress played down the report, saying successive governments have shared such evidence with Pakistan.


    Nailing Dawood: According to a dossier prepared by India, there are nine places where Dawood Ibrahim, who is known to frequently change his locations, stays in Pakistan

    One of the nine residences in Pakistan has been one bought near the house of Bilawal Bhutto, son of former PM Benazir Bhutto, two years ago.

    Significance of the Locality: The new residence Dawood bought is located at Shireen Jinah Colony near Ziauddin Hospital, Cliffton, Karachi. This accommodation was purchased in September, 2013 and is located near the hospital where medical treatment could be provided to Dawood whenever required.

    Multiple passports (Dawood has three Pakistani passports)

    First one issued in Rawalpindi (No.G-866537)
    Second in Karachi (No. C-267185)
    A third one which was also issued in Karachi (No. KC-285901).
    Family status

    Dawood’s wife Mahajabeen holds a Pakistani passport No. J-589103
    Son Moeen’s Pakistani passport No. J-588518
    And daughter Mehrukh’s passport No. J-563473
    Mehrukh is married to former Pakistani cricketer Javed Miandad’s son Junaid
    Dawood daughter Mehreen’s another Pakistani Passport No. is J-563439
    Dawood’s brother Anees and Mustaqim too have Pakistani passports with the Nos. H 144394 and KA-713357 respectively.

    Global terrorist: Dawood was declared a global terrorist by the US State Department on October 16, 2003. He was included in the UN list as an associate of Al Qaeda on November 3, 2003 under the UNSC resolution no. 1267.

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