Friday, May 20, 2011

WIKILEAKS: US FOOTPRINT IN PAKISTAN

WIKILEAKS: US FOOTPRINT IN PAKISTAN
 



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[US direct assistance to on-ground Pakistan military forces]
229065 10/9/2009 7:25 09ISLAMABAD2449 Embassy Islamabad SECRET 09ISLAMABAD2116 "VZCZCXRO6340 OO RUEHLH RUEHPW
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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 5243
INFO RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL 0970
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 1467
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 5555
RUEHKP/AMCONSUL KARACHI 2344
RUEHLH/AMCONSUL LAHORE 7946
RUEHPW/AMCONSUL PESHAWAR 6977
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC
RUMICEA/USCENTCOM INTEL CEN MACDILL AFB FL
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RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEKJCS/JOINT STAFF WASHINGTON DC

RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL " "S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 ISLAMABAD 002449 SIPDIS E.O. 12958: DECL: 10/05/2034
TAGS: PREL, PGOV, PTER, MOPS, PK SUBJECT: (S) PAKISTAN ARMY GHQ AGAIN APPROVES EMBEDDING
U.S. SPECIAL FORCES PERSONNEL TO SUPPORT MILITARY OPERATIONS
REF: ISLAMABAD 2116
Classified By: Ambassador Anne W. Patterson, Reasons 1.4 (a)(b)(c), and (d)
1. (S) Summary: The Pakistani Army has for just the second time approved deployment of U.S. special operation elements to support Pakistani military operations. The first deployment, with SOC(FWD)-PAK elements embedded with the Frontier Corps in Bajaur Agency, occurred in September (reftel). Previously, the Pakistani military leadership adamantly opposed letting us embed our special operations personnel with their military forces. The developments of the past two months thus appear to represent a sea change in their thinking. End Summary.
2. (S) Pakistan Army General Headquarters (GHQ) informed ODRP that it approved a request from the Army's 11 Corps Commander, Lt. General Masood Aslam, for U.S. SOC(FWD)-PAK personnel to deploy to Wana, South Waziristan and Miram Shah, North Waziristan, in the FATA, in order to provide intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) support and general operational advice to the 11 Corps' 9th and 7th Divisions. The 11 Corps had informally approached ODRP about our providing such support approximately one week ago; ODRP responded positively.
3. (S) SOC(FWD)-PAK support to 11 Corps would be at the division-level and would include a live downlink of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) full motion video. SOC(FWD)-PAK's initial CONOPs envision deployment of six personnel each to Wana and Miram Shah. In order to finalize our planning and obtain formal go-ahead from CENTCOM, ODRP has requested additional information on the timing and purpose of the 11 Corps' planned military operations from Brigadier General Amjad Shabbir, the Army's Director General of Military Operations (DGMO).
4. (S) This is just the second time that GHQ has approved deployment of U.S. special operations elements to support Pakistani military operations. In September 2009, four SOC(FWD)-PAK personnel who were embedded with the Frontier Corps (FC) at Khar Fort, in Bajaur Agency in the FATA, provided ISR for an FC operation (reftel). This support was highly successful, enabling the FC to execute a precise and effective artillery strike on an enemy location.
5. (S) In recent days, the FC informally approached ODRP for a repeat deployment of SOC(FWD)-PAK personnel to Khar Fort. SOC(FWD)-PAK is preparing a CONOP while the FC obtains approval from GHQ.
6. (S) Comment: U.S. special operation elements have been in Pakistan for more than a year, but were largely limited to a training role. The Pakistani Army leadership previously adamantly opposed letting us embed U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) with their military forces to support their operations. The recent approval by GHQ — almost certainly with the personal consent of Chief of Army Staff General Kayani — for SOC(FWD)-PAK deployments to Bajaur and the Waziristans appears to represent a sea change in Pakistani thinking. Patient relationship-building with the military is the key factor that has brought us to this point. The Pakistanis are increasingly confident that we do not have ulterior motives in assisting their operations. In addition, the direct recipients of SOC(FWD)-PAK training appear to have recognized the potential benefits of bringing U.S. SOF personnel into the field with them for operational advice and other support. In addition, the success of the initial deployment to Khar Fort likely helped catalyze the follow-up requests for new and repeat support.
7. (S) Comment Continued: These deployments are highly politically sensitive because of widely-held concerns among the public about Pakistani sovereignty and opposition to allowing foreign military forces to operate in any fashion on Pakistani soil. Should these developments and/or related matters receive any coverage in the Pakistani or U.S. media, the Pakistani military will likely stop making requests for such assistance.
End Comment.
ISLAMABAD 00002449 002 OF 002 PATTERSON
http://www.dawn.com/2011/05/20/us-direct-assistance-to-on-ground-pakistan-military-forces.html


Admiral Mullen requests a third "Restricted Operating Zone" for US aircraft over FATA

[Admiral Mullen requests a third "Restricted Operating Zone" for US aircraft over FATA]
147015 3/24/2008 13:59 08ISLAMABAD1272 Embassy Islamabad CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN "VZCZCXRO2815
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TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 6061
INFO RUEHKP/AMCONSUL KARACHI PRIORITY 9351
RUEHLH/AMCONSUL LAHORE PRIORITY 5148
RUEHPW/AMCONSUL PESHAWAR PRIORITY 3845
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RHWSMRC/USCINCCENT MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY
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RHMFISS/CDR USCENTCOM MACDILL AFB FL PRIORITY" "C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ISLAMABAD 001272

SIPDIS
NOFORN
SIPDIS
E.O. 12958: DECL: 03/24/2028
TAGS: MARR, MASS, PGOV, PK, PREL
SUBJECT: CJCS MULLEN'S MEETING WITH COAS GENERAL KAYANI
Classified By: Anne W. Patterson, for reasons 1.4 (b)
(d)
1. (C) Summary: CJCS Mullen met with Pakistan's Chief of the Army Staff General Ashfaq Kayani twice March 3-4. At a private dinner on March 3, they engaged in a discussion of Pakistan's new political landscape in the aftermath of the February 18 parliamentary elections. During talks on March 4, Admiral Mullen briefed Kayani on the impact of U.S. domestic politics on our defense ties and engaged in a broad exchange on several important bilateral security issues. Admiral Mullen's visit, the second in less than a month, was intended to demonstrate the U.S. government's conviction to deepen our engagement with senior Pakistani officials. End Summary
2. (C) Admiral Mullen, Lieutenant General Carter Ham, J3 Joint Staff and Major General James R. Helmly visited General Kayani's house for a private dinner on March 3. Kayani began by providing a thorough explanation of the political situation including an analysis of the ongoing negotiations over the makeup of the incoming government and a description of the major political players. The General acknowledged the stated desire of some newly ascendant politicians to impeach President Musharraf but said he did not think these efforts would succeed. Discussing the military budget Kayani acknowledged it had been controlled and ""protected"" by President Musharraf in the past but that it would now be exposed to the parliament and he was ready to ""appear in public to defend it."" After discussing national politics Kayani transitioned into a discussion of the unique culture and history of Pakistan's FATA. He explained how the legacy of the Frontier Crimes Regulation and the corresponding role of the Pashtun Tribal Code impacted the FATA's system of governance.
3. (C) On March 4, Admiral Mullen and General Kayani met again focusing their discussions on bilateral military ties. They were joined by Lieutenant General Carter Ham and Major General James R. Helmly for the U.S. side and Lieutenant General Satthar, Chief of the General Staff; Major General Ahmad Shuja Pasha, Director General Military Operations (DGMO); Major General Nadeem Ijaz, Director General Military Intelligence; and Brigadier Zubair, Personal Secretary to the Chief of the Army Staff.
4. (C) Admiral Mullen began by telling Kayani that a U.S. SIGINT team had completed its initial assessment of Pakistan's requirements and that they intended to propose options to assist them in developing a solution. Admiral Mullen then asked Kayani for his help in approving a third Restricted Operating Zone for U.S. aircraft over the FATA. Regarding the FATA, Kayani spoke of a ""long range campaign plan"" to deal with Baitullah Mehsud although he provided no particulars. Kayani gave the impression that his strategy would focus on a defensive campaign for the foreseeable future. This campaign would include the initiation of discrete offensive operations in response to militant provocations so as to protect his forces and blunt tactical threats.
5. (C) He explained that his intent was not to ""hand the incoming government a problem"" but rather ""a stable situation."" Kayani indicated he understood the frailty of the new government and the need to prevent near-term challenges to it. The U.S. interlocutors impressed upon Kayani to advise the incoming government of the need to take responsibility for combating militancy rather than continuing to engage in rhetoric. Kayani said he needed the U.S. Ambassador to encourage those who might become Prime Minister to ""establish the position and take responsibility.""
6. (C) Kayani said statements in the Western press regarding the deployment of U.S. trainers to Pakistan cast the Army in a poor light. He acknowledged the need for American assistance but cautioned that it could not be publicized because it implied that the Pakistani Army was not capable of facing down the militant threat. He emphasized that he needed Admiral Mullen's help to ""manage perceptions"" and that he would like the U.S. to provide train the trainer types of assistance so that these responsibilities would ultimately shift to the Pakistan Army.
7. (C) Admiral Mullen raised the issue of Coalition Support Funds (CSF). Admiral Mullen told Kayani that the
ISLAMABAD 00001272 002 OF 002
U.S. goal was to move forward and that his help was needed in finding the best way ahead on this program. Kayani replied that the ""UN model"" for reimbursements served as a useful baseline for reforming CSF. As to the performance of the program Kayani explained that the money went to the GOP but that the Army only received a ""small percentage."" This was likely due to the fact that there are no formal mechanisms for ensuring that the reimbursements reach the Army.
8. (C) As to allegations that claims are inflated, Kayani said the U.S. should recognize that not all of the Army's costs are claimed and that it would be easier to account for if we could come to agreement on the types of costs that would be reimbursed. He also indicated that he was aware that there are some in the U.S. Congress that preferred an in kind reimbursement as opposed to a cash transfer. Kayani reminded Admiral Mullen that the ""delay"" in processing reimbursement claims is a problem that requires resolution.
9. (C) Kayani said that the U.S. effort to build the counterinsurgency skills of the FC through the implementation Security Development Plan ""makes sense"" and that improving its capabilities would help counter the spread of militant activity in the FATA. Kayani went on to explain that the Frontier Corps had certain discreet qualities that gave it ""balance"" but that it also had certain limitations. Specifically, Kayani said the FC was incapable of ""holding ground"" or conducting offensive operations. He cautioned that the US should not expect them to do more than they were capable of as it is simply ""not in their culture.""
http://www.dawn.com/2011/05/20/admiral-mullen-requests-a-third-%e2%80%9crestricted-operating-zone-for-us-aircraft-over-fata.html



[Kayani asked for "continuous Predator coverage"]

140777 2/11/2008 11:27 08ISLAMABAD609 Embassy Islamabad SECRET "VZCZCXRO4695
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RUEHLH/AMCONSUL LAHORE PRIORITY 4783
RUEHPW/AMCONSUL PESHAWAR PRIORITY 3472
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RUEAIIA/CIA WASHDC PRIORITY" "S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 ISLAMABAD 000609

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 02/10/2028
TAGS: PGOV, PREL, PTER, MARR, MOPS, PK
SUBJECT: ADMIRAL FALLON DISCUSSES SECURITY COOPERATION WITH
GENERAL KAYANI

Classified By: Anne W. Patterson, Reasons 1.4 (b), (d)

1. (C) SUMMARY. Admiral William J. Fallon, USCENTCOM
Commander, met with Pakistan's General Ashfaq Kayani, Chief
of Army Staff, on 22 January. Kayani provided a snapshot of
Pakistan's current overall security situation and described
the status of counter-insurgency efforts in Swat. Fallon and
Kayani also discussed areas for expanded military assistance
and training, as well as Pakistan's way forward in improving
close air support. Finally, Kayani commented on improved
cooperation with Afghanistan. END SUMMARY.

2. (C) Admiral Fallon began by offering condolences on the
December 28 assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir
Bhutto, and asking General Kayani for his assessment of the
current security situation. Kayani agreed Bhutto's death was
a tragedy and a destabilizing event for Pakistan,
particularly in Sindh province. Commenting on the overall
security situation, Kayani noted that, despite the rising
incidents of suicide attacks, things remained relatively
normal throughout the country. The Army had deployed more
broadly during the recent holy month of Muharram, (a period
often marked by sectarian violence), but had since returned
to their cantonments.

3. (C) Regarding Baitullah Mehsud, (generally considered
responsible for Bhutto's assassination), Kayani said that he
posed a serious problem for Pakistan. Mehsud had shifted his
focus from cross border attacks to internal assaults against
Pakistan security forces and was conducting training for
militants in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

ELECTIONS

4. (C) Regarding security for elections, Kayani stressed that
the Army should have no role in the February 18 election – an
exceptionally important election for Pakistan. It was, he
said, the Election Commission's duty to ensure free and fair
elections. The Army would only be involved if there were a
need to preserve law and order to facilitate elections.

SECURITY IN SWAT

5. (C) Kayani said the militants had been cleared from Swat's
population centers. They were, however, still present in
Peochar and adjacent tribal areas where pockets of resistance
remained. Kayani dismissed media reports of the resurgence
of extremist group Tehreek-e-Nafaz-e-Shariat-e-Mohammadi
(TNSM). The Frontier Corps had initially been tasked to
confront the militants in late October 2007, but within a few
weeks it became clear the Army would be needed. The Army
regained control of the area after 2 to 3 weeks.

6. (C) While Kayani felt the Army could not remain a
significant force there forever, he said there would be a
continuing need for troops to control entry routes into the
district. Also, the perception among some that continued
security was dependent on the presence of the Army had led to
plans for a small garrison in the area.

7. (C) The important thing, said Kayani, was that local
people were against the insurgents and it was key to the
Army's success to cultivate popular support. The Army has
distributed 1 million rupees (approximately 16,700 USD) in
development aid to Swat. (Kayani noted the Army had
previously offered similar assistance in FATA.) Kayani
asserted that it was now critical for civilian government to
take control in Swat.

MILITARY ASSISTANCE

8. (S) In response to Fallon's questions regarding military
assistance, Kayani first focused on the need for surveillance
assets. Emphasizing the urgent need for tactical SIGINT
capability for Pakistan's military aircraft, Kayani said he
understood the U.S. was working on this issue and would have
an assessment team in Pakistan shortly. Kayani said he was
not interested in acquiring Predators, but was interested in
tactical level Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs). He noted these
were expensive and asked if the U.S. could grant or loan them
to Pakistan.


ISLAMABAD 00000609 002 OF 003


CHALLENGES IN CLOSE AIR SUPPORT

9. (C) Kayani stated that President Musharraf had instructed
him to examine the various U.S. options available to enhance
Pakistan's close air support capability, but not to commit to
any of them. After considering the issue, Kayani had
concluded Pakistan could not accept U.S. aircraft in support
of Pakistan Army operations because it ran counter to the
Army's need to effectively handle combat operations on its
own.

10. (C) Kayani also noted his own policy of selective use of
aircraft in supporting operations as he felt employing combat
aircraft within Pakistan would send the message that the
level of conflict had escalated dramatically. He admitted to
reluctantly employing F-16s in South Waziristan within the
past few days, following direct assaults on Laddha Fort,
including hundreds of rocket attacks. (Note: The use of the
F-16s was presumably largely a show of force as the aircraft
can only be employed during the day, while the attacks were
at night. End Note.)

11. (C) Referring to the situation in Waziristan, Kayani
asked if Fallon could assist in providing continuous Predator
coverage of the conflict area. Fallon regretted that he did
not have the assets to support this request, but offered
Joint Tactical Aircraft Controller (JTAC) support for
Pakistani aircraft. Kayani demurred, saying that having U.S.
JTACs on the ground would not be politically acceptable.
Fallon then offered JTAC training for Pakistani troops.
After a brief discussion on the complexity of building a
night-capable, air-to-ground capability in the Pakistani
Army, Kayani conceded Pakistan could not currently undertake
such a big project.

12. (C) Kayani stated his preferred aerial support weapon
against militants continued to be the Cobra Attack
Helicopter. He observed ruefully that maintenance issues
still plagued the Army; one hour of flight time corresponded
to 24 hours of maintenance. Kayani said that only two
operational Cobras were available in the FATA. Fallon
responded that a U.S. Army helicopter maintenance team was
currently in Pakistan to provide both short and long term
recommendations to improve Pakistan's rotary sustainment.

OFFER OF ADDITIONAL U.S. TRAINING

13. (C) Fallon offered a more permanent training team at the
Special Service Group's Tarbela camp to complement the
current Joint Combined Exchange Training (JCET) program.
Kayani responded that a steady stream of U.S. Special Forces
trainers were already directing courses there throughout the
year. Fallon explained that the small Special Forces team he
was proposing could assist in ongoing training management, as
well as doctrine, command and control issues, and other
higher-level functions. Kayani said the Pakistan military
did not need training and asked Fallon to give priority to
his equipment requests. (COMMENT: It is the assessment of
CENTCOM and Post that the Pakistan military needs and would
benefit from additional Special Operations Forces and focused
counterterrorism training. END COMMENT)

FRONTIER CORPS TRAINING

14. (C) Kayani initially said equipping the Frontier Corps
was a higher priority than training, but LTG Salahuddin
Satti, his Chief of General Staff, and MG Ahmed Shuja Pasha,
Director General Military Operations, weighed in regarding
the importance of training. Kayani then conceded that
leadership training for the Frontier Corps was more critical,
but feared it would take years to show results.

AFGHANISTAN-PAKISTAN MILITARY COOPERATION

15. (C) Kayani said that the most recent Tripartite meeting
with ISAF General McNeill and Afghanistan General Bismullah
Khan on December 31 had gone well. He added that he had
given General Khan a ""blank check"" to send Afghanistan
National Army troops to Pakistan's military schools. He
praised the plan to establish multiple Border Coordination
Centers as a good concept that would enhance cooperation.
ISLAMABAD 00000609 003 OF 003
16. (U) Admiral Fallon has cleared this cable.
PATTERSON

http://www.dawn.com/2011/05/20/kayani-asked-for-continuous-predator-coverage.html


Army chief wanted more drone support

mullen kayani, WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, dawn papers, pakistan papers, dawn wikileaks, dawn cables, Sweden, pakistan wikileaks, pakistan, the hindu, the hindu cables, the hindu, wikileaks pakistan papers, us diplomatic cables

In another meeting with US Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen over March 3-4, 2008, Kayani was asked for his help "in approving a third Restricted Operating Zone for US aircraft over the FATA." The request - detailed in a cable sent from the US Embassy Islamabad on March 24 - clearly indicates that two 'corridors' for US drones had already been approved earlier. - File Photo



KARACHI: Secret internal American government cables, accessed by Dawn through WikiLeaks, provide confirmation that the US military's drone strikes programme within Pakistan had more than just tacit acceptance of the country's top military brass, despite public posturing to the contrary. In fact, as long ago as January 2008, the country's military was requesting the US for greater drone back-up for its own military operations.
Previously exposed diplomatic cables have already shown that Pakistan's civilian leaders are strongly supportive – in private – of the drone strikes on alleged militant targets in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), even as they condemn them for general consumption. But it is not just the civilian leadership that has been following a duplicitous policy on the robotic vehicles.
In a meeting on January 22, 2008 with US CENTCOM Commander Admiral William J. Fallon, Army Chief General Ashfaq Kayani requested the Americans to provide "continuous Predator coverage of the conflict area" in South Waziristan where the army was conducting operations against militants. The request is detailed in a 'Secret' cable sent by then US Ambassador Anne Patterson on February 11, 2008. Pakistan's military has consistently denied any involvement in the covert programme run mainly by the CIA.
The American account of Gen Kayani's request for "Predator coverage" does not make clear if mere air surveillance were being requested or missile-armed drones were being sought. Theoretically "Predator coverage" could simply mean air surveillance and not necessarily offensive support. However the reaction to the request suggests otherwise. According to the report of the meeting sent back to Washington by Patterson, Admiral Fallon "regretted that he did not have the assets to support this request" but offered trained US Marines (known as JTACs) to coordinate air strikes for Pakistani infantry forces on ground. General Kayani "demurred" on the offer, pointing out that having US soldiers on ground "would not be politically acceptable."
In another meeting with US Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen over March 3-4, 2008, Kayani was asked for his help "in approving a third Restricted Operating Zone for US aircraft over the FATA." The request – detailed in a cable sent from the US Embassy Islamabad on March 24 – clearly indicates that two 'corridors' for US drones had already been approved earlier.
In secret cable on October 9, 2009 (previously published by WikiLeaks), Ambassador Patterson reports that US military support to the Pakistan Army's 11th Corps operations in South Waziristan would "be at the division-level and would include a live downlink of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) full motion video." In fact, in November 2008, Dawn had reported then commander of US forces in Afghanistan, General David McKiernan, telling its reporter that US and Pakistan also share video feeds from Predator drones that carry out attacks. "We have a Predator feed going down to the one border coordination centre at Torkham Gate thats looked at by the Pakistan Military, Afghan Military, and the International Security Assistance Force," General McKiernan had said.
Sharing of video feeds does not imply operational control by Pakistan's military, however, and even this sharing may have subsequently been suspended.
Despite the occasionally disastrously misdirected attacks which have fed into the public hue and cry over civilian casualties, there is, in private, seeming general acceptance by the military of the efficacy of drone strikes. In a cable dated February 19, 2009, Ambassador Patterson sends talking points to Washington ahead of a week-long visit to the US by COAS Kayani. Referring to drone strikes, she writes: "Kayani knows full well that the strikes have been precise (creating few civilian casualties) and targeted primarily at foreign fighters in the Waziristans."
Another previously unpublished cable dated May 26, 2009 details President Zardari's meeting on May 25 with an American delegation led by Senator Patrick Leahy. "Referring to a recent drone strike in the tribal area that killed 60 militants," wrote Ambassador Patterson in her report, "Zardari reported that his military aide believed a Pakistani operation to take out this site would have resulted in the deaths of over 60 Pakistani soldiers."
The general support for drone strikes from both the military and civilian leadership is also evidenced by the continuous demand, documented over numerous cables, from Pakistan Government officials to American interlocutors for drone technology to be placed in Pakistani hands. The issue conveyed to the Americans is not so much that of accuracy as that of managing public perceptions.
In the meeting with Senator Leahy, Zardari is directly quoted telling the US delegation to "give me the drones so my forces can take out the militants." That way, he explains, "we cannot be criticized by the media or anyone else for actions our Army takes to protect our sovereignty."
General Kayani also "focused on the need for surveillance assets" in the meeting with Admiral Fallon according to Patterson's cable. "Kayani said he was not interested in acquiring Predators, but was interested in tactical Unmanned Air Vehicles (UAVs)." Predators are considered 'theatre-level' technology able to cover wide regions such as the whole of Afghanistan and Pakistan through remotely stationed operations rooms while 'tactical' drones are less wide-ranging and can be operated by forces on the ground.
After the first US drone strike outside the tribal areas, in Bannu on November 19, 2008 which killed four people including an alleged senior Al Qaeda member, Ambassador Patterson had presciently noted in another previously unpublished cable (dated November 24, 2008) the dangers of keeping the Pakistani public misinformed. "As the gap between private GOP acquiescence and public condemnation for US action grows," she wrote back to Washington, "Pakistani leaders who feel they look increasingly weak to their constituents could begin considering stronger action against the US, even though the response to date has focused largely on ritual denunciation."
http://www.dawn.com/2011/05/20/army-chief-wanted-more-drone-support.html

Shahbaz was willing to have CJ removed after 'face-saving' restoration

Shahbaz sharif, nawaz sharif

"On the issue of former Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, Shahbaz claimed that the PML-N was open to negotiation, provided that Chaudhry was symbolically restored." The conversation took place just a day before Nawaz Sharif would join a lawyers' long march in a dramatic public protest for the reinstatement of judges deposed by Gen Musharraf, a demand that President Zardari had been resisting. In private, however, a different story was being told. - File Photo




KARACHI: Even as PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif was rallying street support by publicly refusing to back down from demands for the restoration of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry in February and March 2009, the party was privately telling American diplomats that the future of the then-non-functional chief justice was up for negotiation.
"Shahbaz stated that following the restoration, the PML-N was prepared to end the issue and remove Chaudhry once and for all," reported Lahore Consulate Principal Officer Bryan Hunt in a secret American diplomatic cable describing his meeting with the younger Sharif on March 14, 2009.
"On the issue of former Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, Shahbaz claimed that the PML-N was open to negotiation, provided that Chaudhry was symbolically restored."
The conversation took place just a day before Nawaz Sharif would join a lawyers' long march in a dramatic public protest for the reinstatement of judges deposed by Gen Musharraf, a demand that President Zardari had been resisting. In private, however, a different story was being told.
"Shahbaz stressed that his party could not afford the political humiliation of abandoning what had become a long-standing principle in favour of Chaudhry's restoration," Mr Hunt reported. "At the same time, Shahbaz claimed to understand that Chaudhry was a problematic jurist, whose powers would need to be carefully curtailed."
Shahbaz Sharif strategised that as a judge who had taken oath under Gen Musharraf's first provisional constitutional order, Chaudhry could be removed – once "some sort of face-saving restoration" had been carried out – "by adopting legislation proposed in the Charter of Democracy that would ban all judges who had taken an oath under a PCO from serving."
A week earlier, in another meeting at the Lahore consulate, Shahbaz Sharif had proposed an alternative solution: creating the Constitutional Court envisioned in the Charter of Democracy and ensuring that "it be made superior to the Supreme Court. Iftikhar Chaudhry's restoration … would then have little measurable impact, as the Constitutional Court, staffed by appointees from both parties, could nullify his decisions."
Even before the restoration, Shahbaz Sharif confided, the PML-N leadership would agree to any constraints President Zardari might want placed on Chaudhry, "including curtailment of his powers to create judicial benches, removal of his suo motu jurisdiction, and/or establishment of a constitutional court as a check on the Supreme Court."
"Although Nawaz publicly has said Chaudhry's restoration is also a red line," commented US Ambassador Anne Patterson in a separate report, "no leader in Pakistan really wants an activist and unpredictable Chief Justice. … Nawaz emerges stronger in the public eye and retains the 'high moral ground' by defending the judiciary."
As late as January 22, in fact, PML-N leader Khawaja Saad Rafique had told Mr Hunt that a minimum requirement for saving the coalition with the PPP in Punjab was "full retirement of Chief Justice Hameed Dogar and appointment of Justice Sardar Raza in his place." Chaudhry did not seem to have been a concern.
But by March 2009 he had become the PML-N's rallying cry, and the timing clearly had to do with political developments at the time: a February 25 Supreme Court decision had declared the Sharif brothers ineligible for office, and the president had imposed governor's rule in Punjab.
"Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif told Principal Officer Lahore that the decision [to declare them ineligible to hold public office], which they claimed was entirely Zardari's, was a declaration of war; they would … take their battle to the streets. Following the decision, PML-N certainly will participate in the lawyers' march," reported a February 2009 cable previously published in the media.
"Before the Court ruling, '95 per cent of the party' had opposed joining the lawyers' March 16 sit-in because it might lead to violence," Opposition Leader Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan revealed privately in a separate conversation at the US embassy.
"Now, the party had little choice but to support them."
http://www.dawn.com/2011/05/20/shahbaz-was-willing-to-have-cj-removed-after-face-saving-restoration.html

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