Pakistan PM Nawaz Sharif is a harried and politically cornered man.
He wants to do business with India’s PM Modi – but cannot.
Fertile but logical imagination of what could happen in a top secret meeting chaired by Sharif – and attended by his army top brass – leads one to the following thoughts!
Sharif: Look guys, the parliamentary committee appointed by this democratically elected government has thrown the book at us for supporting terrorism in Kashmir. The US of A has cut off aid. NATO could create trouble on the issue of our Azad Kashmir – our AJK and even try to gift the whole thing to India because the West needs to parcel away the goodies worth at least US$ 20 trillion from Afghanistan.  That step would give the West a direct land route through Modi’s Gujarat. We continue to torture the blighters in AJK – what the Indians call Pakistan Occupied Kashmir or simply PoK. The whole thing is making our face seem fully pock-marked and wart-ridden.
Inter-Services Intelligence [ISI] – boss Lt Gen Rizwan Akhter: No need to worry at all, sir. Everything has been taken care of.
General Raheel Sharif [Pakistan army Chief of Staff]: I am getting a bit tired of this smug attitude, Rizwan.
National Security Advisor Naseer Khan Janjua: You are understating it like some silly Pommie politician in a London pub near the Whitehall or in faraway Southall, Raheel. The situation would be better termed appalling.
Sharif: Let us discuss this calmly and civilly, gentlemen. You see, I am a civilian and also the head of state. And being part of the military does not accord you the luxury of being impudently smug and uncivil, Rizwan.
Rizwan: I apologise, sir. I fully agree that the points raised by you are cause for concern. But, allow me to assure you sir, we are taking care of all the contingencies – with the cooperation of the bird-brained Indian media and myopic opposition.
Raheel: Could you elaborate, please, Rizwan?
Janjua: And this had better be convincing. My Indian counterpart Ajit Doval spent a lot of time here undercover. He knows our methods the way I know the back of my hand.
Rizwan: While I would carefully and respectfully add that your admiration for Ajit is misplaced, I wish to point out that we have taken care of the entire thing – by our methods. If you could give me – as all those jokers from our side who take part in shows hosted by that insufferable Arnab Goswami in India – say a few minutes of uninterrupted time and pay careful attention, please.
Sharif: You have our ears, Rizwan. Go ahead, please.
Rizwan: The latest trick we pulled off was the denial of visa to actor Anupam Kher for the two-penny Karachi Literature Festival and then asking our boy in Delhi Basit Ali to seemingly, sheepishly backtrack. The stupid Indian media would continue discussing this for some time – because – Kher – who does not have many films now – would ensure the publicity to his victory continues and finally lands him a few good roles.
Raheel: If the whole thing was pre-planned, I would grant you the first brownie point.
Rizwan: Our second showbiz sideshow is centred on that ageing dream grandmother – actress Hema Malini – another of the fetishes of the Indian media monkeys. Apparently, she was granted some 2000 square metres of prime land at a throwaway price – the offer may even be withdrawn – for a dance academy. The muddled exercise flung muck on the faces of the ruling, right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party [BJP]-led regime in Maharashtra – whose capital – Mumbai had nearly been destroyed by our boys on 26/11. Indian journalists in our pay will keep harping on the minor scandal and others who still dream of her – will keep masturbating on the news. This will go on for a long time. None bothers to even notice that one of the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blast accused – Tejani – who has shops and links in Karachi – controls vital property worth Rs. 2,60,000 crores within a stone’s throw of the Mumbai police headquarters, the regional naval base and the state assembly! Sooner or later – when someone goes anywhere near that scandal, we will cause the discovery of a suspect truth – that to marry her Jat Saand [ox or stud] hubby Dharmendra – Hema is said to have briefly converted to Islam!  Someone can be made to put that question to the son of the Jat – Sunny Deol – whose movie Ghayal [injured] Once Again is getting released shortly. Sunny continues to hate his mother’s bedroom competitor from Ayyo-land in the south . The currently hated censor board chief Pahlaj Nihalani has praised the film. When this is brought up upon the movie’s success and/or failure it will trigger another nasty debate, sir. It will cause the Indian media to get self-insulted-injured. After all, the cream of the Mumbai media carried a false, planted story about a beer-hole in south Mumbai – named Mondegar.  Its alleged drug peddler owners are reportedly involved in a huge set of forgery, fabrication instances and worse, getting Indian courts implicated in a case of attempted illegal eviction!
Sharif: I am liking this, Raheel.
Rizwan: Movies of two of the Khans are getting released shortly. To generate publicity those silly-telly boyos and girlos will say something sillier. Our agent provocateurs will exacerbate the situation with another obfuscating debate – resurrecting the mindless issue of intolerance. It would suit us, sir.
Raheel: I must say this is interesting, Rizwan.
Rizwan: The Aam Aadmi Party [AAP] has turned New Delhi in a massively pungently stinking city – and some of the short-sighted BJP chaps controlling the Municipal Corporation of Delhi are worsening it by threatening a major strike and resolutely refusing to remove the garbage. When this scandal begins ebbing, someone will surely dig up the issue of the Rs.2 crores mysteriously pumped into the AAP bank account – by someone close to our set up – believed to be controlled by one of our Middle-East conduits. Cries of political vendetta will deafen India and the AAP will ensure it!
Sharif: Brilliant, I would say!
Rizwan: I admit the Pathankot terrorist attack controlled from the minders in Bahawalpur – let me carefully say – was a blunder, sir. But, none in the Indian media or the officialdom are pointing to the conspicuous gaping hole in their theory of terrorists having gone into that Punjab town from our side – the absence of any hole in the border fence or a secret tunnel. When they eventually discover which 3rd nation was used by us as the route, it will create an international diplomatic row. The diplodocuses in the US of A and UK will yell blue murder – to our advantage – in the name of democracy and international diplomacy’s sacrosanct holy cow status!
Janjua: At this point – all these look feasible diversions, Rizwan and I do not begrudge their usefulness. But, the finalisation and disbursal of One-Rank-One-Pension [OROP] in India will make the Orang-utans of the Indian army to close ranks. I have reasons to believe that some of your behind-the-enemy-lines-operators had ensured the long, meaningless and frustrating delay in honouring the guys out there. All of us had hoped it would demoralise the Indian army. Now, the chaps could return the compliment and explore possibilities of morphing Baluchistan into yet another banana republic like Bangladesh! Further, all these will not buy us a dram of mineral water in the West, which is intent on doing business with undivided India – which is a vast, viable market. Besides, Afghanistan’s Ashraf Ghani, the former World Bank guy and American stooge – now heading the regime in Kabul – is more sold on India than Arun Jaitley – India’s Finance Minister is!
Sharif: Very good point, Janjua, I say!
Raheel: There are other issues too, Rizwan. Whatever be the number of holes in the assassination saga of Osama,  the world has accepted that he was killed in Abbottabad – in our very backyard. Someone will render that to surface in an election year in the US of A! Significantly, Obama visited a mosque and short of saying Allah-u-Akbar – said everything else! Let us face it, Rizwan – Muslims – the world over – are as tired of terrorism as quite a few of us are. We are the military – who fight as per old school codes of honour. Many of my family members – including my father – gave their lives during wars with India – but fought by the rules! My credibility in Pakistan is on account of that. Do not forget these things even for a minute. Corner-cutting exercises in the media are good, sending agent provocateurs is sometimes even better. But when the shit the hits fan, the pungent, nauseating stink triggers one to throw up!
Rizwan: I have a full series of scenarios ready to tackle those contingencies, sir! The former UN diplomat and ex-minister Shashi Tharoor is a prime suspect in the murder of his wife – Sunanda.  The Delhi cop Bassi is making the media copulate in front of cameras by yapping on future scopolamine tests that are worth zilch. I will soon get some wag in India to compare that name with that of our High Commissioner in India – Basit! More seriously, the scandal has a Pakistani connection in the form of one of our golden girls – Mehr Tarrar. Tharoor will attempt to save his backside by getting his diplomatic contacts worldwide to pull strings. We will cause that aspect to surface soon and the Indian media will introduce the cricket match fixing scandals besides Dawood’s money in the game. Anyway, the man who hopes to be Prime Minister – Dr Swamy – will keep stoking the smouldering fire. The whole thing will keep the idiotic idiot-box-addicted Indian public to forget Pathankot for some more time.
Raheel: Sounds good and feasible, Rizwan.
Sharif: Now, Britain has found active bank accounts linked to Dawood Ibrahim, Rizwan. He is a declared terrorist by all major nations, for God’s sake. So are Hafiz Sayeed and Masood Azhar.
Rizwan: Sir, with due apologies, let me point out the obvious! Ibrahim, Sayeed and Azhar – ought to have been handed over to international authorities as they are designated terrorists with bounties on their heads ages ago. It is incumbent upon us as members of the United Nations. None in the international media or the power-broker dispositions in Washington/London or wherever else – is questioning us on that! If push comes to shove – what stops us from handing over Dawood and the rest – to say – the US – or the UN or the UK or even Uruguay? And then, we can ‘nationalise’ the fabled cash stash of Dawood! That will give us liquidity for some time. All we need to be careful about is not handing him over to India – and that is something I would oppose tooth and nail – and I presume so would Messers Janjua and Raheel, here. India will naturally cry foul, and we will alter its spelling and yell ‘fowl’!
Sharif: All said and done, Rizwan, the simple fact that we are a pariah nation and a failed state – because of terrorism – and the international community says it openly. We need the money and its supply is drying up – even from China – whose economy has been wiped out to almost 35% since Tianjin blasts and the run on the Chinese bourses. Sure, Saudi Arabia – the male parent of ISIS – will help, but for how long? They have their battles to fight with Iran on the one side and Yemen on the other. Further, I am not exactly sure as to how much the United Arab Emirates – want to covertly back ISIS and overtly slam it. The Middle-East moolah will keep funding our Mullahs but – sooner or later – the all-is-well status of the oil-wells there will dry up!
Rizwan: Then there is only a single way out, sir! We clandestinely supply Saudi Arabia one or two of our nukes and the technology to make them in return for 2-3 years’ financial liquidity. If the West can now support Iran’s use of nuke power for ‘peaceful purposes,’ Saudi Arabia can demand the same thing from the same carnage merchants! That will set the cat amongst the pigeons or the lions amongst the camels of the desert.
Sharif: But, suppose, someone gets hold of the nuke bomb within the ISIS and bursts it in Syria or Singapore or Sydney, Tehran or Timbuktu? We will be up shit-creek without a paddle!
Rizwan: You are getting needlessly worried sir. After all, the US of A dropped two nukes on Japan at the end of World War II! Neither the US of A nor Japan is even seriously talking about it! There is one minor glitch sir. We will need to check whether the fallout in Iran or Iraq or Syria will harm us. But then, we do not need to worry. We will ensure that all the residences of decision makers in Pakistan are insulated against nuke dust.
Janjua: The points are well made, Rizwan. Allowing the status quo ante to continue – is still not something I am fully comfortable with. Doval could still spring a nasty surprise.
Raheel: I am deeply suspicious of that man, sir.
Sharif: Well, let me mull this thing overnight.
The 3 men get up to leave. Suddenly Rizwan remembers a need to visit the toilet and goes into the rest room.
Janjua: [to Sharif] I would be careful with this guy, if I were you, sir. He may do exactly what Mr Musharraf did to you in the 90’s.
Raheel: He could even do what Zia-ul-Haq did to Zulfi Bhutto .
Both salute and take leave.
Rizwan emerges out of the toilet and buttonholes Sharif.
Rizwan: I would be careful of these two if I were you sir. Either of them can do to you what Mr Musharraf did to you in 1999. Worse, I hear – they are constantly in touch with your brother and CM of Punjab – Shehbaz Sharif. Before you bust your gut saying I am making a preposterous remark, kindly remember sir that the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb got three of his brothers – Dara, Murad and Shuja eliminated. Incidentally, the greatest of Mughal conquerors – and given the honorific Alamgir – or universe-seizer – was born in Dahod – a town in Gujarat which is a mere 150 km from Vadodara – from where – India’s PM Modi got elected. And yes, Dahod means – a land of two borders in the Gujarati dialect. Pakistan is stuck between 2 borders too – India’s and that of Afghanistan – on the Kashmir tangle – that keeps our army occupied and under some control. You keep calling Modi your brother. Will he do to you what Aurangzeb did to his brothers? If in doubt, kindly consult two Indian politicians in the BJP – LK Advani and one Shanta Kumar – a former CM of one of Indian states in the foothills of the Himalayas. Both of them saw their careers go up sans a smoke – courtesy – Modi. And just think what all could Shehbaz do if his stakes in Pakistan rise higher than yours. Good night, sir!
A Wikipedia report estimated that the mineral wealth of Afghanistan could be worth US$ 30 trillion.
The nation has over 1400 mineral fields, containing barite, chromite, coal, copper, gold, iron ore, lead, natural gas, petroleum, precious and semi-precious stones, salt, sulfur, talc, zinc, besides high quality emerald, lapis lazuli, red garnet and ruby.
The estimate of the wealth was made by President Karzai in December 2013.
Details were provided by this writer way back in May 2011.
Excerpts from a report that appeared in The Guardian – entitled Afghanistan’s newfound mineral wealth could fuel further conflict.
The US Geological Survey prompted widespread cheer in Kabul with the release of a report on Monday stating that Afghanistan is home to US $ 1 trillion in mineral wealth.
This discovery is a double-edged sword. The mineral reserves may lead to more endemic conflict.
The “blood diamond” phenomenon – diamonds mined in African war zones that are then sold on to finance an insurgency or a warlord’s grip on a region – is well known, but other examples of misused mineral wealth abound.
Afghanistan may not have diamonds, but it does have an insurgency, the country is packed with warlords and many of the minerals present in Afghanistan are the cornerstones of conflicts in other parts of the world.
One of Afghanistan’s closest neighbours is mired in conflict that is partly rooted in mineral wealth. In India, a hidden war against the government is raging in the central Indian state of Chattisgarh home to some of India’s largest reserves of iron ore, coal, bauxite and limestone. The basis for this conflict is political and social. The insurgents, called Naxalites, are descended ideologically from Mao Zedong and show no signs of abandoning their violent war against what they believe is to be an unfair, caste-bound capitalist system.
India’s largest corporations have moved into the region to harvest these resources and some £1.6bn worth of contracts have already been signed.
In 2009, the Indian prime minister concluded that the state was losing the fight against the Naxalites.
Afghanistan finds itself in this milieu.
Just last year, the Chinese began digging into the ground in Logar Province to access the 240m tonnes of copper ore accessible via surface mines.
Historically most of Afghanistan’s resources have not been exploited – in part due to the constant war. The rugged terrain, lack of infrastructure, primitive methods and out-fashioned technology further complicate the excavation of minerals. The same variables also hinder the ability of the Taliban and Afghan warlords to exploit these resources. The rediscovery of mineral wealth may become yet another factor contributing to Afghanistan’s endless war.
Excerpts from a report in The Times of India
Actor Dharmendra (born as Dharam Singh Deol) had reportedly converted to Islam in 1979. Already married to Prakash Kaur, he didn’t want to divorce his wife. As he could not marry again as per the Hindu Marriage Act, he converted to Islam and married Hema. As there were many protests during his second marriage, the actor, it is said, had no other option than to change his religion to legitimise his union with Hema Malini.
Excerpts from a Zee News report:
Senior Congress leader Shakeel Ahmad took a dig at BJP MP Hema Malini and her husband Dharmendra on Sunday asking whether their marriage was ‘love jihad’.
Outlining the point that yesteryear`s Bollywood heartthrobs Hema and Dharmendra had converted to Islam at the time of their wedding, the Congress leader said that only BJP could answer whether it was love jihad.
Ahmad posted on the micro-blogging site Twitter – “Present BJP MP Hema Malini and Dharmendra (14th Lok Sabha) were converted to Islam at the time of their marriage. Was it “Love Jihad”? Only BJP can say.”
Operative excerpts from a Times of India report:
Someone from the electronic press did drop a clanger in his face questioning the absence of Sunny and Bobby Deol at their half-sister’s wedding.
The soft spoken won’t-hurt-a-fly Dharmendra lost his cool at the question. “It was a sore point and very insensitive to bring it up,” says someone close to the couple.
Given the super-sensitive circumstances it would have been a miracle if Sunny and Bobby, fond as they are of their baby sister had shown up for the wedding.
Esha’s two Bade Bhaiyyas [elder brothers] decided against doing so, so that their mother wouldn’t feel hurt.
“That Sunny and Bobby couldn’t attend Esha’s wedding was a personal defeat for Dharamji. It was a reminder of the fact that his two families would never be the one. His ire was totally justified,” a person close to the family said.
Operative excerpts from a report in The Hindustan Times April 18 2015
The Mumbai Port Trust has served notice to all tenants of Metro House, including the iconic Cafe Mondegar, for violating the lease agreement and asked them to vacate the building by Sunday [April 19 2015].
The four-storey structure dating back to the 1870s, located on Colaba Causeway, contains some popular shoe shops and an outlet of the global chain McDonald’s.
The notice, served in November last year, followed a survey by the port authorities that found the lessee had violated the terms of the original lease agreement with the port trust.
According to the notice, tenants of the building, including Café Mondegar, have to vacate the premises by Sunday, failing which the port trust will initiate legal action against them.
Sources in the Mumbai Port Trust said a survey had established a number of violations within the structure. These include unauthorised alterations, non-payment of rent, changing the use of the structure without permission and illegally sub-letting the property.
Hindustan Times had reported in November last year how the port trust was planning to crack down on errant and expired leaseholders after receiving a push from the Union Shipping Ministry.
Many of the establishments, however, were unaware of port trust’s order. A representative of Café Mondegar said, “We have not been served any notice and hence, we have nothing to do with this issue. Whatever the issue is, (it) exists between the landlord of the Colaba Metro House, who apparently owns Metro Shoes, and the MbPT,” said the representative, who refused to be identified.
Attempts to contact Metro Shoes [headed by Rafique Malik Tejani an accused in the 1993 serial bomb-blasts case] did not yield results.
Operative excerpts from a report in the Times of India dated April 21 2015:
Eviction proceeding against the iconic Metro house in Colaba that houses Cafe Mondegar, did not begin on Monday, April 20 2015.
Metro House, a lease holder of the property, and other tenants had received a notice for termination of lease agreement by Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) last November 19 2014 and respondents have reply within six months.
[Editor’s note: How did 5 major newspapers miss one important point that the notice period only ended in May and not April?]
Excerpts from a blog published February 13 2013
Confusion swirls around Esquire story on Osama bin Laden’s killer
By Matt Pearce, Los Angeles Times
February 12, 2013, 12:14 p.m.
The fog of Abbottabad strikes again.
On Tuesday, confusion continued to swirl around Esquire magazine’s cover story about the Navy SEAL who killed Osama bin Laden during the instantly legendary May 2011 raid on the terrorist leader’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
The article, which was published online Monday, is framed around the premise that the SEAL, dubbed the Shooter, got “nothing” from the government after his retirement, including no healthcare coverage.
According to officials and experts, that claim was incorrect: All Iraq and Afghanistan veterans get five years of healthcare benefits after retirement.
And now Esquire’s swift and firm defense of its story and that claim — which was reported by Phil Bronstein, board chairman for the Center for Investigative Reporting, which co-published the article — has already witnessed a factual backlash that has attended other high-profile accounts of the raid and its shadowy undertakers.
In a Tuesday morning blog post, Esquire responded to a Stars and Stripes reporter, Megan McCloskey, who called out the magazine over the no-healthcare claim. “It is a simple fact that when your family doesn’t have healthcare, you don’t have healthcare,” said the post, which was credited to Esquire’s editors. “Think the Shooter has healthcare? We respectfully suggest that Ms McCloskey ask his wife.”
Esquire then accuses McCloskey of making a mistake when she said that Esquire’s story doesn’t mention the five years of healthcare afforded to all Iraq and Afghanistan veterans:
“Now granted, ‘The Shooter’ is a long story, lots of words to sort through, but McCloskey is wrong here. We refer her to this paragraph deeper in the piece: ‘There is a Transition Assistance Program in the military, but it’s largely remedial level, rote advice of marginal value: Wear a tie to interviews, not your Corfam (black shiny service) shoes. Try not to sneeze in anyone’s coffee. There is also a program at MacDill Air Force Base designed to help Special Ops vets navigate various bureaucracies. And the VA does offer five years of benefits for specific service-related claims — but it’s not comprehensive and it offers nothing for the Shooter’s family.’”
Except Esquire is wrong.
According to a Google cache of the original story posted online on Monday, those final two sentences about benefits were not in the story it published.
In an update to its blog post defending the article, Esquire has since acknowledged the sentences were omitted in a production error in the online version, but has defended the thrust of its story about the lack of benefits. “The story’s argument, however, remains the same: That the man who shot and killed Osama bin Laden, as the following post explains, remains responsible for his own healthcare and that of his family.”
McCloskey, who has covered veterans affairs for Stars and Stripes, tweeted earlier that Esquire’s claims were “blatant falsehoods” and that its response was “a total smear campaign” — the magazine “insinuated I simply couldn’t read all those words.”
These journalistic squabbling may seem like nitpicky small-ball to some readers, but for former veteran and Veterans Affairs official Brandon Friedman, now a vice president for Fleishman-Hillard, the Esquire article remains deeply unrepresentative of the federal government’s military benefits.
“There are many issues with the Esquire piece beyond the fact that a ‘regretful production knot’ caused them to leave out a key sentence,” Friedman tweeted, adding, “They’re still characterizing five years of FREE health care as ‘not comprehensive.’”
Another veteran Marine Corps officer wrote to the Los Angeles Times to offer to help the shooter file for benefits.
The SEAL controversy is highly unusual for the world of major glossy magazines, which pay fact-checkers to ensure that articles are error-free before they reach newsstands, but it also seems part of the seemingly now-regular accusations of misrepresentation that have become legion when it comes to the Abbottabad raid.
The accusations began with the Obama administration’s first details about Bin Laden’s death in “an intense gun battle”; continued in the first comprehensive journalistic account of the raid, published by the New Yorker, which failed to disclose that the author hadn’t spoken to any of the SEALs who had participated; flourished with the implication in “Zero Dark Thirty” that torture led to the discovery of Bin Laden’s compound, leading to a Senate inquiry after the movie’s release; and now, in Esquire’s latest account, have gently accused raid member Matt Bissonnette of “gloss[ing] over” the shooter’s role in his book about Bin Laden’s death, “No Easy Day.”
No easy day, nor easy story indeed.
USA links Pakistan military top brass with assassinating investigative reporter
Southern Features 9/7/2011
A top military commander of the United States of America has charged Pakistan’s regime of “officially sanctioning” the killing of investigative journalist Salim Shahzad whose reports had exposed the unholy nexus between the Pakistani intelligence services and terrorists agency reports said.
“It is now clear that Salim Shahzad’s killing was officially sanctioned by the Pak Inter-Services-Intelligence,” Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, was quoted as saying by “The New York Times” on July 7 during a Pentagon briefing.
Pakistani Ambassador to the U.S. Husain Haqqani denied the charges.
Citing Haqqani as a source for the information, The New York Times reported that the Ambassador demanded the USA shared its information with the Pakistani Commission appointed to probe the journalist’s death.
Pakistani Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan termed Mullen’s comments “extremely irresponsible and unfortunate”.
“The statement by Mike Mullen about Pakistan is extremely irresponsible and unfortunate. This statement will create problems and difficulties for the bilateral relations between Pakistan and America,” the minister said.
Shahzad disappeared from Islamabad on May 29 after writing a report about Al-Qaeda’s alleged infiltration of Pakistan’s navy. His body was found two days later, bearing what police said were signs of torture.
Mullen said the episode raised worrying questions about the country’s current course: “It’s not a way to move ahead. It’s a way to continue to, quite frankly, spiral in the wrong direction.”
“The New York Times” reported recently that Obama administration officials suspected the ISI had ordered Shahzad’s killing quoting unnamed U.S. officials.
Islamabad has set up an independent commission to probe the killing.
“Whatever is published in U.S. media, the judicial commission needs evidence,” Pervez Shaukat, president of the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists and a member of the investigating commission, told Radio Free Europe.
The ISI, however, dismissed the charges as “baseless”.
Shahzad was a 40-year-old who worked for the Hong Kong-based Asia Times Online whose reputation as an investigative journalist was highly credible internationally especially in the context of his exposes detailing the nexus between the Islamic militants and the ISI.
His abduction came shortly after he had written an investigative piece on the deadly insurgent attack on a naval base in Karachi on May 22-23, which took 16 hours to contain and resulted in the deaths of at least 10 military personnel and four militants. In his report, he alleged that the attack stemmed from a breakdown in secret negotiations between the navy and Al-Qaeda.
Shahzad warned that he had received threats because of his report, with suspicions turning toward the ISI agency.
Mullen acknowledged the U.S. relationship with Pakistan was “under extraordinary pressure,” confirming that the U.S. military presence in Pakistan had been dramatically scaled back at Islamabad’s request.
But, Mullen insisted that Washington was “committed to sustaining that relationship.”
The Karachi attack came after the May 2 killing of Osama bin Laden in the Pakistani garrison town of Abbottabad, which led to questions of how the Al-Qaeda leader could find a safe haven for years alongside Pakistan’s elite military training academy, and how the U.S. raid could be successfully carried out unbeknownst to the armed forces.
Mullen said that even before the bin Laden raid ties had become strained, particularly over the arrest of a CIA contractor in Pakistan who was charged with double murder before eventually being released.
Despite growing frustration over Pakistan’s failure to crack down on militant sanctuaries near the Afghan border, Mullen said it would be a “disaster” to cut off financial aid to Islamabad, as some U.S. lawmakers have urged.
Osama Bin Laden Is Dead, Officials Say
May 1, 2011
Update at 11:28 p.m. ET.
Killed Last Week In Pakistan, AP Reports:
“A senior U.S. counterterrorism official said bin Laden was killed in a ground operation in Pakistan, not by a Predator drone,” The Associated Press reports. “The official said it happened last week.”
By Mark Memmott
Osama bin Laden, who created the al-Qaida terrorist network that killed 3,000 people in the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, is dead.
President Obama is about to announce that news to the nation, NPR and other news outlets have been told by U.S. officials.
With the al-Qaida leader’s death, a new and dramatic moment has occurred in a long struggle that has seen the U.S. go to war first in Afghanistan — where al-Qaida was based — and then in Iraq.
Update at 11:45 p.m. ET. “Justice Has Been Done”:
Tonight, says the president, “We can say to those families who have lost loved ones … justice has been done.”
Update at 11:42 p.m. ET.
Bin Laden Was Killed Today, The President Says:
Last August, the president says, the U.S. got a lead on bin Laden’s whereabouts “within a compound deep inside Pakistan.”
“Last week,” he says, “I determined we had enough intelligence to take action.”
“Today, at my direction, the United States launched a targeted action” and in a firefight killed the al-Qaida leader. The U.S. now has his body.
Update at 11:36 p.m. ET. Hundreds Are Cheering, Singing Outside The White House:
A crowd is outside the gates and can be heard singing the national anthem and chanting “USA!”
Operative excerpts from an Israeli newspaper report:
Shashi Tharoor had to resign as minister of state only 10 months after taking office as a junior minister in Dr Manmohan Singh’s cabinet. He was accused of having abused his position to obtain shares in the Indian Premier League cricket franchise for Sunanda Pushkar (later his third wife). Tharoor denied the charges.
A series of intimate tweets appeared on Tharoor’s Twitter account, for his eyes only, from a Pakistani woman, the journalist Mehr Tarar. Tharoor immediately tweeted that his account had been hacked and that he was dealing with the breach.
In fact, it was ultimately Pushkar, Tharoor’s wife, who went into the Twitter account and made the tweets public. She told the Mumbai-based Economic Times, “Our accounts have not been hacked … I cannot tolerate this. This is a Pakistani woman who is an ISI [Inter-Services Intelligence] agent, and she is stalking my husband. And you know how men are. He is flattered by the attention. I took upon myself the crimes of this man during IPL [that is, she was blamed for wanting shares in the Indian Premier League] I will not allow this to be done to me. I just can’t tolerate this.”
Pushkar told the Indian Express newspaper that Tharoor had been having a “rip-roaring affair” with Tarar, and that she would “seek divorce.”
Tarar, for her part, denied that she was in any kind of relationship with Tharoor. A friend of hers told the media that Tarar strongly denied any affair with Tharoor or the claim that she was spy.
The next day, January 16, 2014, Tharoor and Pushkar issued a joint statement: “We wish to stress that we are happily married and intend to remain that way. Sunanda has been ill and hospitalized this week and is seeking to rest.”
A day later, Tharoor found his wife dead in their suite in a luxury hotel, where they had been staying while their house was being painted. Tharoor’s personal secretary said that Pushkar had been found dressed, lying on the bed, and that there were no signs of violence. However, the next day one of the pathologists who conducted an autopsy said that marks of violence had been found on the body. Tharoor insisted that his wife had died of natural causes.
Three weeks ago, BBC India quoted the local police as saying that her death was “not natural and was due to poisoning.” Additionally, according to media reports, 15 injury marks were found on Pushkar’s body. Tharoor was questioned by police for several hours the following week; he was “cooperative,” the Delhi police commissioner stated.
Operative excerpts from an opinion piece published in Pakistan
Zia remains the most horrifying and shameful skeleton in many important closets. Pakistan is still not completely immune to the lure of his demagoguery.
Ziaul Haq should remind us of the evil, mediocre and I stake everything and say; common men are capable of. In the comparison between Bhutto and Zia to mention the verdicts of history etc., will be a cliché. Admittedly, some Bhutto supporters go a tad too far in their devotion, yet he certainly was a man worth admiring. Even his political opponents feel compelled to praise him before attacking other members of his party; I suspect this is not merely genteel courtesy dictating that one not speak ill of the dead, but the feeling of guilt, of blood on their hands and their complicity in his murder.