Youth Awareness

Syed Ali Raza Abidi

Over the past 64 years Pakistan like any other newborn has had its ups and downs. The teens were spent under the rule of dictators, but as the country reached maturity, democracy was called in to take over the country’s affairs. But that did not last for long, as the dictators were not very much interested in letting the non-uniformed citizens govern in spite of elected representation. Then again during the 90’s power was offered by the Army to political parties, but to the one who would had promised to work under their ‘guidance’. PML-N and PPP took turn to practice their perceived operation of a democracy, but in reality, these political forces cannot be blamed totally as for most of the unpopular decisions the strings were pulled from elsewhere. This is regardless of the fact that both elite leaderships had continued politics of revenge and oppression of the smaller groups, and neither of them spared MQM from their wrath.

Unfortunately for them even in 2011 the MQM, PTI and APML still remains a threat to their power statuses.

In 1999 the dictators and the people have had enough of the democratic system, because it was becoming, hypocritical, misbalanced, and most of all divided on ethnic basis. Democracy after the golden jubilee did not get any stronger but used as a immunity cover by the selfish few who had the license to abuse power.  This system also upset the military which, was not used to being told by its people and surely did not appreciate the increased civilian involvement with its internal, covert and external operations.

At 55 Pakistan was given the opportunity to take up a specially tailored military-cum-civilian setup, which formed of handpicked politicians out of the best members from the failed political parties. This ‘Militocracy’ arrangement in fact worked very well for the country, and unlike the previous governments which had added to the woes of the middle-class and the common man, this system actually performed and gained International recognition with fame for the country. With any benefit will come sacrifice, and especially when you are weakness comes control of the stronger.

Gen. Pervez Musharraf the only democracy promoting dictator started off very well, but once he was at his highest point of fame he had to be brought down, because the US felt he cannot be trusted due to his popularity and overall acceptance ratings by the countrymen and the rest of the world, which might hurt their war in Afghanistan if Pakistan increases its influence. Must note that these invasions were because of the same US secret service reports with which they went into Iraq looking for weapons of mass destruction, and Afghanistan to hunt down Osama Bin Laden after the 9/11 attacks. I still wonder why didn’t the US invade the countries of the nationals whom were responsible for flying the planes as destructive missiles?

At exactly 60 years of age, no one in Pakistan could have imagined that the future will become worse than the past, and whatever progress achieved by the country will destroyed within months. Musharraf made the following mistakes which I find difficult to comprehend as to why would the General not see it coming!

  1. Understandably, Gen Musharraf did not have much choice or any possible ways to ignore the US Military’s bullish statements “Either you are with us, or you are against us” and “We will bomb you back to the dark-ages”. I wait to see what the current rulers in Pakistan do, when the US puts its foot down, and finally says to the country “Either you give Raymond Davis to us, or forget about all and any cooperation, and we will evict him ourselves, after bombing you back to the dark-ages” This was a dire mistake Musharraf and the establishment made just at the beginning of taking on the country for pleasant reforms.
  2. Then Musharraf was either gullible or fell for the Maulvi’s and offered them the belt along the Afghanistan border to rule for 5 years. This was the time terrorism in reaction to the treasure hunt started by the US, which is not found to-date. MMA got to play its role in breeding terrorism, while the rest of the nation was busy with the “philosophy of enlightened moderation, progress, development, major investments, educational reforms, and improvement in the quality of life index.
  3. His third mistake was to trust PML-Q with the handling of the red mosque political crises, when he should have known that there were more of such extremists whom were given birth by MMA and nourished by the parties forming this alliance. Roots of this problem also lead to the first mistake General Musharraf made of agreeing with the American to fight their war on terrorism, which was later converted into our war courtesy of the religious quarters in Pakistan.
  4. The last nail in the coffin of Musharraf ‘s presidency was the removal of the very rebellious Chief Justice of Pakistan who he himself appointed. This remains the most mysterious case, as until today, despite of the CJP installed back (politically) in office after the roller-coaster-country-destabilizing-ride has not been asked to counter or defend the charges on which he was initially asked to go home. Most of the parties who supported CJP’s movement for restoration of “Judiciary” have disassociated themselves with extreme regrets.
  5. Uniform removal, NRO and Elections of 2008 cannot be called mistakes, but its fall out did help with weakening the General further.

Ch. Iftikhar taking oath from President General Pervez Musharraf

If Osama had not attacked the towers, Pakistan would have become a true land of opportunities for the rest of the world, like it was until the year 2007. Some will never forgive the partnership of Musharraf, PML-Q and MQM as the best things that could have happened to Pakistan, setting aside your political differences. This country had just started to benefit from the excessive investments brought in all sectors, but kiya karrain, kisi buddbakht ki nazar lag gaie!

We may find all the reasons to hate Musharraf, his APML and partner MQM for continuing with the Militocracy. All the numbers, figures, examples go to waste when we see the plight of the people of Pakistan, and our currency printing up to Rs. 2 Billion burden of today, in order to keep the dying economy alive. If democracy heads for the right direction, it is a responsibility of all to help it evolve, but when it leads to disaster and mid-term changes, then it is time to compare which what you have seen or had, and what the current rulers have taken away from you!

Hey, wasn’t this supposed to be a democracy as the best revenge, but against who..  the people or the dictators?


England’s Ajmal Shahzad: My debt to

Pakistan legends Waqar Younis and Wasim


England’s new seam-bowling livewire Ajmal Shahzad has revealed his debt to Pakistan greats Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram as he sets his sights on a one-day international debut against Bangladesh on Sunday.

The Yorkshire quick believes his best chance of a long-term international career will be to master reverse-swing – a skill perfected by the Pakistani duo when they blew England away in 1992.

Shahzad has impressed during his brief involvement with the senior squad, taking two wickets in a feisty first over in international cricket during last week’s second Twenty20 against Pakistanin Dubai, then bowling Bangladesh Test batsman Shahriar Nafees for only 12 during Tuesday’s tour opener in Fatullah. His short but extremely important role in last England Vs India match was vital for his team as he managed to take England out of trouble and they tied the match which was due to win by Indians.

And his admission that he asked Waqar for reverse-swing tips while in the Middle East and regularly watches internet footage of Wasim will do nothing to dispel the impression he is keen to stand out from the crowd.

‘I want to learn the art of reverse swing,’ he said. ‘Waqar was commentating in Dubai, so I thought I’d better grab five minutes of his time. He told me how to grip the ball. I love watching his dismissals, especially when he used to york Hicky [Graeme Hick]. That was top-drawer!

‘I was also watching Wasim on Youtube. Waqar was more slingy, but Wasim had a straighter arm, like me, and he could swing it at will without changing his action. They’re both heroes of mine.’

The 25-year-old from Huddersfieldhas been limited to 22 first-class games and only 15 one-day matches in a career blighted by injury and held up by the seemingly endless supply of fast bowlers that has come out of Headingley in recent years.

But he caught Andy Flower’s eye in the nets in Pretoriabefore Christmas while on duty for the England Performance Programme, and had the confidence in Dubai to try a slow leg-break to Pakistan’s rampant all-rounder Abdul Razzaq at a crucial stage of the match.

That particular delivery may have disappeared back over his head for six in an over costing 17, but it’s a mark of his self-belief that he said he would do the same thing again.

He said: ‘If I can show the selectors I’ve got something different going for me, a bit of extra pace, I’ll get a chance on Sunday to put to bed what happened in the last over on my Twenty20 debut. I had one of the best smashers of the game stood at the other end, but I’ve learned a lot from that. I’ll still bowl it.

‘International cricket is a big step-up, but not for me. This is where I’ve wanted to be and I’m happy to be here.’

Meanwhile, Indian Premier League supremo Lalit Modi has reacted strongly to reports that Australiacaptain Ricky Ponting has tried to persuade team-mates to pull out of next month’s IPL on security grounds.

‘I’ve been told Ricky is pressuring players not to come,’ Modi wrote on the Twitter website. ‘Maybe it was due to the fact he was dropped from KKR [the Kolkata Knight Riders franchise].’

England’s IPL players are believed to be still considering their options.

{February 20, 2011}   Making Money was never this easy :)

Yesterday i was surfing my facebook, and i saw an add in which my friend was inviting everyone to share their email addresses so that she can send them details how they can make money online by simply  making friends and expending their network. I did’nt noticed her activities at first wondering why someone will pay me Euros for doing nothing ?

But when i got an email from her, describing the procedure, i was little excited that it cost me nothing but only 3 minutes to do this excercise, even if i did’nt get money, atleast i can make my friend happy. Therefore, i start signing up, and i went into the details, it feels really good and the procedure seems logical, specially the reason why this website is paying their users just for expending their network.

I am in sales/marketing by profession and i find it reall fun and interesting, and why not ? i am getting €500/- for doing nothing, just 3 min on internet and nothing.

After getting first responce from the sponsors of this sales campaign, i thought i have to share it with with people who need it. I admit, at first it looks weired to believe but when you do that, you start enjoying it. Therefore, with permission from the friend who forwarded me, i would like to share this on this blog so that maximum people can take advantage of it.


This is as simple as A.B.C.D. and entertaining…..
there are sme few steps
1) 1st click on that link

click on conect with Syed Kashif Ali (you need to do that as this is referral system and this guy is authorized.

then signup.. and do not  change this name in the refrence..   because you cannot signup without a referred person.

2) After sign up .. login 1st with your user id and password and then open this link

3) Then login with your “sitetalk” login and pasword. then click on geneology>> open your network tree……

4) Then you can see the tree  1st name is urs and other white balls are empty .. you just refer people like we refer you in this network and increase your network to ad people.
5) Apply for master ATM card by clicking this link

6) When you reach 5000 people in your network..  you got 500 euro in ur card.. and get your money from any ATm machine near you.

its a very easy and entertaining method to earn at home..

For confirmation and signup guide, download this Powerpoint attachment which is a support file from this address. it gves you more help

i can bet, once you did it, you’ll start enjoying it, and repeat it more often, and hopefully will become regular visitor of the site, so happy surfing and remember me in your prayers.


The tense saga of Raymond Davis, who shot and killed two Pakistanis in Lahore on January 27, continues. His trial in Lahore has been delayed again, with the next  hearing date addressing the question of diplomatic immunity now set for either March 3 or March 14, depending on which report you believe. On Wednesday, Senator John Kerry visited Pakistan to deliver yet another threat of Congress cutting off funding for Pakistan if Davis is not released.  In the meantime, analysis of records for the “businesses” with which Davis is associated in the US raises the interesting question of whether he recruits potential spies among students taking courses in international security.

The New York Times describes the hearing Thursday in Lahore:

A provincial court gave the Pakistani government three weeks on Thursday to decide whether the American official in custody for killing two Pakistanis has diplomatic immunity, a decision that amounts to a slap to the United States, the nation’s biggest donor and an ally in the fight against terror.


The judge in Lahore, Chief Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry, ordered the Foreign Ministry to present its findings on Mr. Davis’s immunity in three weeks, a delay that is likely to intensify the standoff.

This hearing came the day after Senator John Kerry visited with Pakistani officials, including President Zardari, to argue for Davis’ release and presumably to threaten that Congress could withhold billions of dollars worth of funding to Pakistan if he is not released:

Senator Kerry, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the sponsor of a $7.5 billion aid package for Pakistan, left Pakistan Wednesday night after meeting with top leaders, including President Zardari. He was confident, he said, that the Davis case would be resolved in the “next few days.”

It would appear that Reuters, and perhaps the people of Pakistan who are opposed to release of Davis, understand how the US Department of Justice operates when it comes to cases involving the war on terror or state secrets.  From a Reuters article on the standoff:

While U.S. officials have said the Justice Department will conduct a criminal investigation of its own, it is unclear whether such a probe would lead to a trial.

The likelihood that, if he is freed, Davis will not face charges for his actions in Pakistan appears to be driving at least a portion of the outrage being exhibited on the streets.

Because the Davis case has all the hallmarks of Davis being an intelligence operative of some sort, there has been much public speculation about his US business activities.  Not all of the information that is circulating appears to be correct.  For example, many stories state that the Florida version of his business has never been registered with the state.  Here is a partial screenshot from Florida public records indicating that Hyperion Protective Consultants, LLC filed registration paperwork in February, 2007 but was then dissolved by the state in September, 2008 for lack of an annual report:

The registered agent for the business in this filing is Gerald L. Richardson, Jr, who also is listed with the state as registered agent for a clothing business, Grynd Wear, LLC but doing business as Grynd Wear, Unlimited at this website.  Grynd Wear and Hyperion listed the same Orlando address for their retail locations, but multiple reports indicate that the storefront is now empty.

An online resume for Richardson notes his association with Hyperion and indicates that before joining Hyperion, he worked as Prevention/Security Manager for a large firm in Orlando.

Although the Florida business has been dissolved by the state, an entity with a very closely related name is registered and still active in Nevada.  There, it is incorporated as Hyperion Protective Services, LLC and lists Raymond Davis and his wife as Managing Members, unlike the Florida filing,where there is no mention of Davis. The address listed for the business appears to be a post office box in a UPS Store.

I have not yet found any definitive information on the Nevada registered agent, who is listed as Rachel Bender.

A very poorly written web description of the Nevada business links to the website of the Florida business, and so there is a direct connection between these similalry named businesses.

Although Davis has had multiple residences in the US, a Denver television station reported that he was living in the Denver area at the time of his arrest and even interviewed his wife.

The Nevada company is registered to operate in Colorado:

The registered agent for the Colorado filing is listed as Shadd Pease.  A person with the same name comes up as working toward a Master’s degree in International Security at the University of Denver.  From an online profile of Pease, we see that his resume is very similar to that of Davis, who also served in Special Forces:

The International Security program at the University of Denver held a “Global Security Career Fair” last October, where the CIA joined a number of other security agencies in recruiting among the students:

In conjunction with the career fair, the CIA also held an information session on Wednesday to explain what they have to offer and the characteristics they look for in employees, whether that be in the analytical field or the clandestine service.


Also in attendance at the Global Security Career Fair were the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, Immigration & Customs Enforcement, U.S. Army JAG, Army Recruiting, U.S. Marine Corps JAG, Boren Fellowship, and the State of Colorado Division of Emergency Management. Both the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) plan to reschedule their campus visits after having to cancel due to unforeseen circumstances.

The massive growth in the number of government and contractor intelligence personnel, coupled with Davis’ company appearing to have integrated a student in the Denver program in international security into the firm, led me to wonder whether Davis might play a role in recruiting personnel into intelligence.  Remarkably, when we list the various places Davis has lived, we find academic programs in international security that appear to be very similar to the Denver program near each location.

For the home office in LasVegas, we find the UNLV Institute for Security Studies.   For the Orlando operation, there is the Global Peace and Security Studies Program at the University of Central Florida.  There also is a business address and residence reported for Davis in Vail, Arizona, which is not too far from Tucson, where the University of Arizona is implementing a program to offer an International Securities Studies Certificate.  At least one report also mentioned Davis having spent time in Lexington, Kentucky, where we find that a student can also concentrate on International Security.  With five out of five of Davis’ known locations for living or conducting business being “target rich” environments for people being trained for intelligence careers, it is very hard not to come to the conclusion that Davis’ business function in the US may well be in recruiting for an intelligence agency or contractor.

{February 11, 2011}   Egypt: What Obama can do now ?

Sarah Smith

No one was more surprised than President Obama when his old friend Hosni Mubarak did not stand down as Egyptian President on Thursday night, writes US Correspondent Sarah Smith in Washington.

He had been fully expecting him to leave. Even the head of the CIA had told a Congressional Committee: “There’s a strong likelihood that Mubarak may step down this evening, which would be significant in terms of where the, hopefully, orderly transition in Egypt takes place.”

Barack Obama watched the speech in the conference room on board Air Force One. Afterward a White House spokesman said: “This is not what we expected to happen, this is not what we wanted to happen.”

For the last 18 days much of what’s been happening in Egypt has caught the White House unawares. And the result has been a muddled policy that has tried to support protestors’ demands for democracy but balance those with the interests of America’s other friends in the region.

This is not what we expected to happen, this is not what we wanted to happen. White House spokesman after Egypt’s Mubarak declared he would stay in power

After the first few days the US realized they couldn’t prop up their previously staunch ally Hosni Mubarak. But they couldn’t simply ditch him either. Not when both Saudi Arabia and Israel were warning the White House not to force destabilizing change on the region too quickly. The result has been a muddled policy that is now being criticized in America for not supporting the Egyptian opposition firmly enough.

Just 18 months ago President Obama very deliberately picked Cairo as the venue of a major speech championing the rights of all people to free and fair elections. So once the people answered his call and took to the streets you would think he’d be 100 per cent behind them. But all the talk of the need for “stability” in Egypt has fallen well short meeting the protestors’ demands for Mubarak to go now.


On Wednesday an angry editorial in the New York Times denounced the US endorsement of the newly appointed Vice-President Omar Suleiman saying “he appears far more interested in maintaining as much of the old repressive order as he can get away with. That is unacceptable to Egypt’s people, and it should be unacceptable to Egypt’s Western supporters.”

In the same paper the next day, columnist Nicholas Kristoff asked: “Why does our national policy seem to be that democracy is good for Americans and Israelis yet dangerous for Egyptians?” He argued that America has found itself on the wrong side of history and as result is strengthening anti-Western elements within Egypt.

Follow the latest in Egypt on the Channel 4 News Live blog

The young people filling Tahrir Square are not Islamic militants and most of them are minded to like Obama and his America. But not if they feel they have been abandoned by the man who came to Cairo to say: “I do have an unyielding belief that all people yearn for certain things: the ability to speak your mind and have a say in how you are governed; confidence in the rule of law and the equal administration of justice; Government that is transparent and doesn’t steal from the people; the freedom to live as you choose. Those are not just American ideas, they are human rights, and that is why we will support them everywhere.”

On Thursday – when he still expected Mubarak to go – Obama said: “We want all Egyptians to know America will continue to do every thing that we can to support an orderly and genuine transition to democracy in Egypt.”

On Friday Egyptians will want to know what Obama is going to do to support them now that Mubarak will not, voluntarily, give them that transition just yet.

Since we Pakistanis often suffer simultaneously from the twin demons of megalomania and paranoia – verily we are better than everyone else and that is why everyone is out to get us – we often also look at history through a rather selective and distorted lens. Unfortunately, none typify this mindset more than the doyens and doyennes of the Pakistani electronic media, in whom a curious mix of hyper-patriotism, half-baked information, sincere ignorance and arrogant bluster seems generally to hold sway.

Take the issue of the day on Pakistani media: whether the American known by his apparent pseudonym “Raymond Davis” – who shot dead two men in Lahore – can be tried by Pakistani courts or whether the US government has any right to claim diplomatic immunity for him. I am not going to offer my own opinion on this because, for better or worse, this is an issue for the US and Pakistani states to sort out. (I should, however, point out that, personally speaking, I do not think armed Americans or armed anyone should be roaming around the streets of Pakistan.)

But having seen numerous commentaries on television where emotive claims have been made about how Americans have not respected diplomatic immunity in their own cases, how immunity does not extend to serious crimes or how Pakistani diplomats have never been extended this kind of privilege, I just want to direct readers to a few examples.

Here’s The Independent reporting in 1997 about a case in which a drunk Georgian diplomat killed a 16-year-old girl in New York with his reckless driving and the US requested a waiver from immunity for him. (The paper reports that Georgia was unlikely to approve the request though it actually was approved at the discretion of the Georgian government and the diplomat was sentenced for 7-21 years. He was transferred back to Georgia after serving three years [link courtesy @qabacha].) The piece also cites other incidences of less egregious crimes by diplomats that go unpunished. Appropriately for us, the story is titled “Can A Diplomat Get Away With Murder?”

You may also recall the shooting dead of British constable Yvonne Fletcher apparently by Libyan embassy staff in London in 1984 as well as the wounding of 11 others. Diplomatic immunity allowed the staff not to be prosecuted at all, though Britain subsequently broke off diplomatic relations with Libya. Fifteen years later, Libya accepted “general responsibility” and paid compensation, though some experts continued to question whether the police officer’s death was actually caused by someone shooting from within the embassy.

Coming to Pakistani diplomats invoking diplomatic immunity, let us recall the case of our Ambassador to Spain, Mr. Haroon-ur-Rashid Abbasi, who Pakistan withdrew from his post in 1975 without allowing prosecution when heroin was discovered in his suitcase.

Let us also recall the case of our longtime permanent rep at the UN, Ambassador Munir Akram in 2003 who was accused of assault by his then girlfriend. The US also asked Pakistan to waive immunity in that case, which Pakistan did not oblige. (The case was eventually settled when Mr Akram persuaded his girlfriend to withdraw the charges against him).

So, as they say, au contraire, my friends.

Some final points, and please remember that we are only taking issue with the ‘facts’ of the case as presented in the media. Television analysts have almost unanimously claimed that “Davis” did not have a ‘diplomatic visa’. It might behoove someone to ask our media pundits if they have ever actually seen a Pakistani diplomatic visa. From our own investigations, it seems Pakistani visas have no such specified category of ‘Diplomatic Visa’ (unlike some other countries). In fact, according our sources, all foreign diplomats receive Pakistani visas with the marking “Purpose of Visit:” “Official” or “Official Business” (not Official / Business, another category that does not exist) on their diplomatic passports. If they carry such a visa on their diplomatic passport and the Foreign Office has been so notified, they receive diplomatic immunity during their stay in Pakistan.

Here are some scans of Davis’ passport as presented on DawnNewsReporter programme…

This is the marking on his passport, which clearly states that he is on “diplomatic assignment”

This is his current visa, issued incidentally not in Washington (as claimed by Shireen Mazari on Geo and Syed Talat Hussain on DawnNews) but in Islamabad:


Raymond Davis Passport

In fact, “Davis” only once received a three-month visa in 2009 from Washington. His subsequent 4-month visa in 2010 and his current 2-year visa were both issued within Pakistan.

Kamran Khan on Geo also went to great lengths to ‘break the news’ that “Davis” is a spy who works for the CIA. He almost certainly is. But not only is that not amazing insight, we have to ask, so? Is his actual work the issue of contention here? As former ambassador Zafar Hilaly pointed out on Dunya, spooks get posted on “cover postings” abroad all the time, including by the Pakistan Foreign Office, and they all receive diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Convention. Let’s at least be clear what we are arguing about.

: : : UPDATES : : :

There have been some comments questioning some of my assertions in this post, which have been answered in the comments section. You may want to have a look.

A couple of other cases have been brought to our notice which we are also sharing. The first is the case in January 2001 of a Russian diplomat who killed a woman in Canada while driving drunk. A couple of quotes from this piece are worth pointing out.

“Andrey Knyazev was charged with criminal negligence causing death, impaired driving, failing to provide a breath sample, and criminal negligence causing bodily harm. Knyazev immediately claimed diplomatic immunity and on Monday, Russia denied Canada’s request to lift it. [Russian Ambassador Vitaly] Churkin urged Canadians not to judge all Russians on the actions of one man. But he defended his government’s right to recall Knyazev, saying it’s tradition and common practice in the diplomatic community. “Many people are not happy that we didn’t lift the diplomatic immunity,” Churkin said. “The Canadian government has expressed its displeasure but recognized that this is our right.””

And this bit of wisdom from Canada’s Foreign Minister that Pakistanis may also want to understand:

“[The] tragedy has raised questions about the use of diplomatic immunity to escape prosecution. But Foreign Affairs Minister John Manley says he will not use this case to press for changes. “There’s an old saying among lawyers that hard cases make bad law,” Manley said following a cabinet meeting Tuesday. “I think that (revising diplomatic rules) is something that we’d want to look at in a broader circumstance, not in the situation which we’re in now,” he said.”

Incidentally, Shahid Saeed has also pointed out two further cases where Pakistani diplomats have invoked diplomatic immunity. The first involved Col Mohammad Hamid, a military attache in Pakistan’s High Commission in London, who was caught in 2000 having sex with a prostitute in his car in a public place. When caught, Hamid immediately invoked diplomatic immunity and therefore could not be arrested. Here’s an Indian Express report of the incident, which was also reported in the English papers.

The second involved the arrest in April 2001 in Kathmandu of Pakistan’s first secretary Mohammad Arshad Cheema. 16kg of high-intensity explosive RDX were recovered from his residence. The Indian government believed him to be also linked to the hijacking of the Indian Airlines flight IC-814 which resulted in the freeing from Indian prisions of (subsequently Daniel Pearl murder accused) Omar Saeed Sheikh and Jaish-e-Mohammad leader ‘Maulana’ Masood Azhar. This report from the respected Indian magazine Frontline presents a wider and less one-sided perspective on the arrest. It also provides evidence of two things we already asserted in our post: that spies (and even military operatives) are often posted by foreign governments under diplomatic cover and that diplomatic immunity extends even to grave crimes. Cheema was expelled from Nepal rather than be prosecuted even though, by any definition, possessing high intensity explosives for ulterior motives is a very serious charge in any country.

The shooting of two Pakistani men in Lahore by a mysterious American citizen risks undermining US Afghan strategy.

It’s difficult to know which country is in more of a tizz, Pakistan or the US, following the arrest of an American “diplomat” for shooting dead two Pakistanis in Lahore last week. It is desperately embarrassing for both and could not come at a worse time – just as the US needs all the help in get from Islamabad if it wants to start bringing home its troops from Afghanistan later this year. But now the diplomatic spat caused by Raymond Davis threatens to further undermine an already awkward alliance.

As usual in Pakistan, much of the detail is murky, shrouded in layers of intrigue and conspiracy theory. But here’s what we know…

Davis was arrested last Thursday. He was driving a Honda Civic alone through Lahore when two men pulled alongside him on a motorbike at traffic lights. According to the US embassy in Islamabad, he saw that one of them had a gun. Apparently fearing that he was about to be robbed, he opened fire, killing both. When US officials arrived to rescue him from a growing mob, they ran over a bystander, resulting in a third death. (I think we can assume that the driver of the second vehicle is no longer in Pakistan.)

Davis remains in custody, while Pakistan is refusing requests to release him on the ground of diplomatic immunity.

This is desperately bad news for the leadership of both countries. This week President Asif Ali Zardari said it was a matter for the courts. However, he knows his regime is propped up by American financial aid and his military risks being overrun by the militant threat with US backing. Snubbing Washington in this way is a disaster. But Zardari is a weak man and an even weaker leader. He dare not alienate the religious right and the rabid talkshow hosts who would seize on the release of Davis as an example of how Pakistan is run by Western puppet masters.

And for America, the case risks revealing many awkward truths. Who exactly is Raymond Davis, described by the US as a member of “technical and administrative staff”? What sort of “diplomat” carries a weapon? What was he doing driving alone through Lahore? Was he actually working for a private military contractor, Hyperion? Was he meeting an informer? Such is the panic, that last week the State Department spokesman denied his name was even “Raymond Davis”. Then this week, a spokeswoman for the embassy in Islamabad said Crowley had not denied the name was “Raymond Davis”.

The result is a diplomatic mess that goes beyond mere embarrassment. It could even threaten this year’s Afghan strategy. If it is to consolidate early gains from the military surge, the Pentagon needs Pakistan to move against militant havens on its side of the border. It needs Pakistan to provide an anvil to American troops’ hammer in Afghanistan. But being seen to do the bidding of Washington is always awkward for Pakistan’s political leaders, which have to operate against a backdrop of widespread hostility towards the West and the constant threat of Taliban terrorist attacks.

Releasing Davis on the grounds of diplomatic immunity risks unleashing Pakistan’s darkest forces, further undermining one of the world’s most important alliances. But in Pakistan the truth will remain hidden, leaving the conspiracy theorists to fill in the blanks.

{February 8, 2011}   Mysterious Raymond Davis

Strangely, the more we get to know about the case of Raymond Davis, the less we seem to know. Even more strangely, the fact that the entire incident happened in broad daylight and in front of dozens of witnesses seems to confuse the facts further. The reason for this maybe because no one seems to want to get much clarity; although different parties may want different parts of the story to ‘disappear’, everyone seems keen that the story goes away. However, we may all live to regret it, if it actually does.

Here is what one does know about Raymond Davis. He is a staff member of the US consulate in Lahore, shot dead two Pakistani men last Thursday in a crowded part of Lahore (Mozang Chowk); according to him in self-defence. A vehicle of the US consulate rushed to Mr Davis’ ‘rescue’ ran over a third person, who also died. A murder case was registered against Raymond Davis, who was handed into police custody. A case has also been registered against the driver of the US consulate vehicle that ran over a third person, but the driver has yet to be apprehended.

After a fair deal of scrambling by both US and Pakistani officials on what to do or say, their positions have now started becoming clear and they have taken the stance that is usually taken in such cases: the US is asking that Raymond Davis, as a diplomatic functionary, should be handed back to them; Pakistan seems to be responding that the matter is sub judice and that the law should take its course.

Beyond that, there are more questions than answers. For most part, these questions fall into three categories: (1) Who is Raymond Davis? (2) What exactly happened at Mozang, Lahore? (3) What should happen now?

The answer to the first question is: the earliest reports suggested that Raymond Davis was a “technical adviser” and a “consular” official. More recently, US Embassy officials have described him as a “functionary” of the Embassy assigned to the US consulate in Lahore and carrying a US Diplomatic passport. Reportedly he was hired at the US consulate in Lahore as a security contractor from a Florida-based firm Hyperion Protective Consultants.

All of this has material relevance to whether he is entitled to diplomatic immunity or not, but even more because of the apprehensions of many Pakistanis that he could be linked to the CIA or to the infamous firm Blackwater (later renamed XE Services).

And that leads squarely to the second question: what exactly was happening at Mozang? In line with the immediate knee-jerk reaction of many Pakistanis, an early commentary by Jeff Stein in The Washington Post seemed to suggest rather fancifully that the shootout could have been a “Spy rendezvous gone bad”? That could be a conspiracy theory, but not an entirely implausible one. Mozang is not a part of town that you would expect too many foreigners, let alone a US official, visiting; and certainly not in what was reportedly a rented private vehicle. And while Pakistan today is clearly an unsafe place, the question of just why an embassy official was carrying a firearm be wished away.

On the other hand, however, Mr Davis claims that he shot in self-defence as the two men on the motorcycle were trying to rob him at gun point. Anyone who knows Pakistan knows all too well that this, too, is entirely possible. TV footage and reports coming immediately after the incident showed one of the young men lying dead with a revolver and wearing an ammunition belt. And certainly, the question of why at least one of the two young men on the motorcycle was carrying a loaded firearm cannot be wished away just because of enmity

Indeed, serious questions need to be asked about just who the two young men on the motorcycle were, just as they need to be asked about who Raymond Davis is. There just seems to be too many unnecessary weapons in too much proximity in this story. All of the many explanations that are floating around are very disturbing, but also very plausible. This is exactly why this story is even more dangerous if left unresolved.

Finally, the third question – which is now getting the most attention – about what should happen now. Much is being made – maybe too much – about the Vienna Convention and its implications for diplomatic immunity. Familiar diplomatic games about the minutia of vocabulary are being played and will in most likelihood result in all too familiar results. That is exactly what one would expect in any such situation anywhere.

But this is not ‘any’ situation’; and this is not ‘anywhere’. This is about US-Pakistan relations: A relationship that is so jaundiced that there is just about nothing that the US can say or do which Pakistanis are likely to believe, and there is just about nothing that Pakistan can say or do which Americans are likely to trust. Which is why getting stuck in the intricacies of the Vienna Convention of 1963 is the exact wrong place to get stuck. This is a time for public diplomacy: certainly from the US and maybe even from Pakistan. It is not in America’s interest to be seen to be standing in the way of justice and due process. And it is not in Pakistan’s interest to be seen to conducting a flawed process of justice.

There are too many people on the extreme in both countries who will not and cannot change their opinion and apprehensions about the other. But there are even more people in both countries who could all too easily be swayed to the extremes on distrust if this delicate case is not handled with clarity and transparency by both sides. Doing so will probably bring with it more than just a little diplomatic embarrassment. Not doing so can only bring worse in the tinderbox that is US-Pakistan relations.

{February 4, 2011}   Facebook blamed for divorce cases

Facebook, which was first blamed for encouraging illicit encounters, is being increasingly cited as an evidence while seeking divorce.

Family lawyers have revealed that the problem has become so great that almost every divorce they have dealt with in the past year has involved the website.

One expert said she had dealt with 30 cases in the last nine months and Facebook had been implicated in them all.

Whilst another online law company said one in five of their divorce petitions in the past year contain references to Facebook.

Emma Patel, the head of family law at Hart Scales & Hodges Solicitors, said the site acted like a “virtual third party” in splits.

“Facebook is being blamed for an increasing number of marital breakdowns, and it is quite remarkable that all the petitions that I have seen here since May have cited Facebook one way or another,” she said.

“Its huge popularity as well as the lure of sites like Second Life, Illicit Encounters and Friends Reunited are tempting couples to cheat on each other.

“Suspicious spouses have used these to spy and find evidence of flirting and even affairs, which have then led to break-ups.”

She said that many of divorces came after partners found “flirty messages” on the Facebook wall of their partner – and also “inappropriate suggestive chats” which spouse’s can see.

The lawyer said that she urged all clients to “stay off” Facebook during divorce proceedings – as it could throw a spanner in the works of it going smoothly – especially if they post photos of new lovers.

She said: “They feel compelled to share their feelings online, and, in some cases, they not only express their stress, but also make inflammatory accusations against their partner.

“Divorce is a highly-charged and emotional time, but it is vital not to turn the situation into a public slagging match, played out for everyone to see online.

“The situation has deteriorated so badly that we advise feuding couples to avoid these sites until their divorces are settled.”

The family law specialist based in Dorking, Surrey, said that one divorcing couple’s rows on Facebook got so bad one party was charged with malicious communication after the police got involved.

James Wrigley, 34, of Hackney, east London, said: “My girlfriend left me after finding out I had been sending Facebook messages to a girl at work.

“She got my password and read the messages and that was the end of that – four years together down the drain, but at least we hadn’t got married.”

Other examples include Marianna Gini, 32, a housing support worker and mother-of-one who was married for six years before she found out through Facebook that her husband Robert, 34, was having an affair.

Sarah Picket, 36, a housewife from Oldham and mother-of-three was married to taxi driver Chris, also 36, for eight years, until her Facebook flirtations led to their split.

She did not have an affair but her husband found flirtatious messages and the relationship ended in acrimony and jealousy.

In 2009, a 28-year- old woman, from Newquay in Cornwall, ended her marriage after discovering her husband had been having a virtual affair in cyberspace with someone he had never met.

Amy Taylor split from David Pollard after discovering he was sleeping with an escort in the game Second Life, a virtual world where players reinvent themselves.

Lauren Booth, the sister-in-law of Tony Blair, ended up causing problems in her relationship when in a fit of pique she changed the status on her Facebook profile from married to single.

Miss Booth, who is half-sister of Cherie Blair, said it was a rash decision which she changed back but not before it upset her husband.

A spokesman for Facebook said it was “tosh” that Facebook could ruin a relationship.

“It is like blaming your mobile phone or your emails,” he said.

“Does being on Facebook force you to do something – absolutely not I would say.”

Asif Zardari got married to Tanveer Zamani according to Muslim Shiyat Bylaws in Dubai last week.

The ceremony has not been held.

However the marriage religious vows, paper work and prenuptials have been confirmed. Nine black goats, 6 cows and 1 camel was sacrificed at this sacred occasion.

This happened 3 years after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

She is a Mediterranean descent American resident, and she lives in Gramercy Park, Manhattan, New York.

Zamani is a practicing physician and known to be a Bhutto party loyalist.

She earned PhD degree in International Politics from UK. She owns estates in London, Dubai, Islamabad and Manhattan.

Zamani is a known Democrat and supported  Obama’s 2008 election campaign. She actively participated in Obama’s Health Care reform bill to make it a law.

Recently, she has been prohibited to attend the public political meetings due to her security issues. Pres. Zardari in a meeting with Obama on 1/14/11 in DC, requested his help in acquiring security for Zamani.

It has been claimed that Zardari is among the four richest men in Pakistan.

It has been noticed that with the advent of Zamani in his life for the last 8 months, he has changed a lot.

He seemed to find refuge in trusting her loyalty to him more than the party. The couple might have faced many domestic, social and political issues before they decided to turn this long distance, under cover- relationship  into a life time partnership.

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