Jumat, 06 April 2012

Pakistan updates.....

Pakistan: ‘Deal’ on US Drone Strikes Still Far Off

Discussions on Reopening Border to Have Basic Framework

by Jason Ditz, April 05, 2012
Despite previous reports from US officials familiar with the negotiations, Pakistan’s Foreign Office insisted today that a deal on the outstanding disputes, including US drone strikes and the reopening of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border to NATO traffic remains far off.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Abdul Basit confirmed that the two sides continue to talk and are coming close to a “basic framework” on the terms for reopening the border, including taxation of the NATO convoys.
The deal is likely to stall, however, on the question of the drones. A number of Pakistani MPs have made it clear that getting the US to halt the drone strikes must be clearly linked with any deal on reopening the border, and theUS has ruled out any halt to the attacks.
Thus while talks on the minutia continue to progress, the primary issue remains virtually unaddressed, and apparently in the Obama Administration’s mind unaddressable. With the foreign ministry insisting they won’t move on the border without parliamentary approval, this likely means they won’t move at all.

Pakistan PM: US Bounty on Charity Head a ‘Negative Message’

FM Reiterates US Needs to Provide Actual Evidence for Saeed's Capture

by Jason Ditz, April 05, 2012
The US decision to issue a $10 million bounty to capture Hafiz Mohammed Saeed, the head of the banned Pakistani charity Jamaat-ud Dawa, is becoming an increasingly high profile issue in Pakistan, with Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gialni today insisting that the offer sends a “negative message” about the state of US-Pakistani relations.
The problem behind this is that Saeed isn’t, as he will be more than willing to tell you, some militant hiding in a cave. Yesterday he was in Rawalpindi, giving a public speech and looking very much the head of a charity, and not the terrorist mastermind.
Which is the other part of the problem. While the US is insisting Saeed was behind the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, they readily admitted yesterday that they don’t have any actual solid evidence to that effect.Pakistan’s government insisted yesterday, and the Foreign Minister reiterated today, they’re not going to make another effort at arresting Saeed (who was under house arrest briefly after India made similar allegations) without some sort of proof.
Saeed’s last round with the courts fell flat, again because of lack of evidence, and while the Pakistani government isn’t keen on his charity, and it is legally banned, their success in operating as a successful charity for people displaced in military offensives has earned them a lot of friends among voters.
Thus the US decision to simply slap a bounty on him whiffs not only of intervention in Pakistan’s internal justice system, but an attempt to bribe their way into circumventing it entirely. State Department officials now say they’re hard at work trying to find some evidence against Saeed, but one wonders why the effort is coming only after they slapped a $10 million bounty on him, and after that bounty was rebuffed.

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