Stories about Kayani

Imran Khan risks being on the wrong side of history

With the encirclement of the South China Sea having been completed by the US and her allies (Japan and Australia), the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has become crucial to China – more than Pakistan as well. India’s play on the other hand is not just post-Uri theatrics. With the recently acquired civilian nuclear technology and its offer to provide a base to Baloch separatists (Baramdagh Bugti citizenship case), it’s evident that our neighbours are willing to play hardball on behalf of the US, in order to up the ante on Pakistan. Add to this, the far from amiable attitude of our western neighbours (Afghanistan and Iran) ...

Read Full Post

A visit to Shahbaz airbase: All is well…

I reached Shahbaz airbase along with several other journalists and senior Pakistan Air Force officials, to inspect the 36 new F-16 C Block 52 fighters. We were accompanied by General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Chief of Air Staff Rao Qamar Suleman. We toured the revamped base where the recently acquired aircraft will be housed, and which has reportedly cost the government over $5 billion! I could not see any American soldiers at the airbase, which is only 345 km away from Kandahar, Afghanistan. Everyone, including both the army and air force chiefs, appeared to be grateful to the United States ...

Read Full Post

Islambad diaries: Here comes McCain, now start the tantrums

The good cop-bad cop routine has become such a cliche of television cop shows that it is unlikely anyone would still bother employing it. Anyone other than the US, that is. When the Americans desperately need something from Pakistan, like the release of CIA contractor Raymond Davis, they send John Kerry, a master of diplomacy and equivocation, here. If they just want to complain and throw a tantrum the ill-tempered John McCain is deployed. That was the case during his August 13 visit as McCain bluntly told Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani that Pakistan needed to end its recent policy ...

Read Full Post

Islamabad Diary: The extent of consensus around a polarising military leader

After The New York Times, followed swiftly by The Washington Post, idly speculated last month that Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani was on the way out, chatter in the capital has centred around the role of the army chief. The consensus, to the extent that there can be a consensus around a polarising military leader, is that Kayani has lost the plot but will leave only if he wants to. Those who come to bury Kayani always begin by praising him. One military official said were it not for Kayani, the army as an institution would be on life-support. He ...

Read Full Post

I read so you don’t have to: A week of small pleasures

Here’s how not to lose heart when reading and writing about Pakistan week after week: you can either quit your job and stay at home wiping Cheetos’ dust off your shirt or you can laugh at everything you read. When the military gets too overbearing, just poke fun at its head. Sick to death of political intrigue in parliament? Just create some of your own intrigue among the journalist community. Here, then, is the week where everything just got too much and it was the little things that irked and delighted. (June 17 – June 23) Best of the week 1. Issam Ahmed- One ...

Read Full Post

Zardari stands tall amidst disaster-struck Pakistan

With the intellect of a potato, the Punjab leadership recently banned sugar in all government offices. The cosmetic step left many offices with tasteless tea and coffee, and achieved absolutely nothing. The politician-owners of many sugar mills, in the sitting government, continue to print money with high prices while harping about their nonsensical policy to save sugar in government offices. Having said this, the Pakistan Muslim League is the most likely alternative available to the present federal government. The existing government is a symbol of inefficiency and corruption. But then, so were all the other previous governments. Our parliament consists of ...

Read Full Post

Does Forbes support dictatorship in Pakistan?

I found this year’s Forbes list of the most powerful people illuminating. Most revealing was the inclusion of General Kayani on the list. The military has always played a role in Pakistan’s politics. Be it the overt martial law regimes or the democratically chosen politicians, it is the army that has the power. We, of course, remain happy in the illusion that we have the power of choice. But the Forbes list is a rapier of piercing light that shreds the magician’s cloth of delusion, shining on the single most important fact for Pakistan – the military is and has always ...

Read Full Post

Was a fourth military coup averted in Pakistan?

Hardly. Better still, there wasn’t a coup to start with. Monday’s well-timed meeting between the so-called ‘troika’ – the President, Prime Minister, and the Army chief – is being widely interpreted as having averted a possible collapse of the elected Zardari-Gilani government. There is no word from the military’s media people on the meeting but the president’s media office took the liberty of releasing a statement renewing the commitment of Gen. Kayani, and that of the President and Prime Minister, to defending democracy. If there’s anyone who created a frenzy about an extra-constitutional [read: military-engineered] change, it is the elected government ...

Read Full Post

All Kayani’s Men: Why the army works

Voltaire remarked of Frederick the Great’s Prussia that “where some states have an army, the Prussian Army has a state.” In view of the sheer size, effectiveness and wealth of the Pakistan military and associated institutions compared to the rest of the state, much the same could be said of Pakistan. The Pakistani military is the only Pakistani state institution which works as it is officially meant to – which means that it repeatedly does something that it is not meant to, which is to overthrow what in Pakistan is called “democracy” and seize control of the state from other institutions. ...

Read Full Post