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Showing posts from April 1, 2007

Rumours of 'imminent' political change grip Pakistan

Islamabad, April 7 (IANS) Pakistan is agog with rumours of "imminent" top-level political changes in the backdrop of a flurry of high-profile meetings, especially between President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz - with the two meeting thrice in a span of 12 hours this week. There is media speculation for and against Shaukat Aziz being changed, for allegedly "mishandling" the crisis over the suspension of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry last month and the nationwide protests it had caused. Though ministers have denied such a move, but Dawn, The News and The Nation newspapers among others said the denials had not stopped the gossip. The crisis is also being attributed to a "deal" between Musharraf and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. Off the record, officials and politicians confirm that "negotiations" between representatives of Musharraf and Bhutto were continuing. National Security Council Secretary Tariq Aziz,

A Potential Musharraf-Bhutto Deal April 05, 2007 02 18 GMT As many as 60 foreign jihadists, mostly Uzbeks, were killed on Wednesday in the South Waziristan agency of Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), top agency administrator Hussainzada Khan said. The total number of transnational Islamist militants killed there since March 19, when fighting broke out between Pashtun tribesmen and al Qaeda-linked militants, has reached 200. Pakistani officials have hailed the fighting as a major success, and evidence that their deals with tribal maliks to de-Talibanize the area are working. Given that this fighting is taking place within, at most, one of the seven agencies that constitute FATA, it is way too early for Islamabad to claim success. So far, al Qaeda does not seem affected by the fighting; its presence in FATA is toward the northern end of the tribal belt, while the battles are taking place in the south. However, the drive to expel foreign Islamist fighters could sprea

Reality check : Enlightened moderation or Talibanisation

Enlightened Moderation?? Enlightened moderation or Talibanisation Reality check By Shafqat Mahmood The News, April 6, 2007 The writer is a former member of parliament and a freelance columnist based in Lahore In a country where mobile phone subscribers number over fifty million and growing, instant messaging has become an important means of keeping in touch, or exchanging jokes and sharing information. In times of national crisis, the messages that circulate widely also become reflective of public mood. One such message has truly captured the ironic dilemma we face. It said: "In Pakistan the chief justice of the Supreme Court seeks justice and the army chief seeks security." While no comment is necessary on the chief justice, those of us who have seen streets barricaded, traffic halted and police and intelligence throw their weight around when the army chief is near, know the second part quiet well. This of course is not the only irony. In a week when the political

French Nuclear Energy firm Areva Push in US

Areva Push in United States Nearly a dozen lobbying concerns defend the interests of France’s Areva, a world leader in nuclear energy, in Washington. Indeed, the U.S. represents the group’s biggest market. According to the Nuclear Energy Institute, the leading nuclear industry trade association in the U.S., there is a potential market for 18 new reactors in the U.S. between now and 2009. To gain traction on that highly strategic market, France’s Areva, which is promoting its third generation EPR reactor and employs 5,000 people in 40 places in the U.S., is relying on a raft of lobbying concerns (see graph below) while also adopting a strategy of forging partnerships with top local players. In anticipating a strong market for EPR reactors in the U.S., Areva teamed up with Constellation Energy (future operator) in 2005 through a joint venture, Unistar Nuclear, and with Bechtel (future constructor). To bid for a contract to process spent nuclear fuel that was put out to tender early this

French BI Czar Alain Juillet unveiled 3 year plan

French Government has unveiled a New 3-Year Business Intelligence Plan which is headed by BI czar Mr.Alain Juillet , on April 3rd . Last year it is reported in (Times 04/03/06 )that French leader 'asked secret service for list of firms at risk of takeover' "THE French secret service is reported to have drawn up a confidential list of French companies that could be vulnerable to hostile bids by foreign investors..." "...M de Villepin is believed to have ordered French intelligence agencies to provide him with information to sustain his campaign for “economic patriotism”, which has been criticised as covert protectionism. He is seeking to defend France’s biggest and most emblematic companies against foreign takeover..." "...Alain Juillet, the former French spy chief appointed as head of the Government’s Economic Intelligence unit, denied any knowledge of the list..." OVER the past three years, the French authorities have given the country’s intellig

Iran: Balochi Insurgents and the Iraq Tango

Iran: Balochi Insurgents and the Iraq Tango April 04, 2007 22 43 GMT Source : Stratfor Summary An April 3 ABC report discussed covert Pakistani and U.S. links to a Balochi insurgent group in Iran known as Jundallah. Stratfor has noted U.S. links to Jundallah in Iran for some time. The group's activities have served as a device for the United States to poke Iran as the two dance the diplomatic tango over Iraq. Analysis An ABC exclusive released April 3 details covert Pakistani and U.S. links to a Balochi insurgent group in Iran known as Jundallah, citing unnamed U.S. officials and Pakistani tribal and intelligence sources. According to the report, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney discussed the secret Jundallah campaign against Iran during his visit to Pakistan in February. The report also says the U.S. relationship with Jundallah is arranged so that Washington lacks direct financial links to group, since these would require an official presidential order and congressional ov

Second Quarter Forecast 2007: The Maneuvering Before the Storm

Second Quarter Forecast 2007: The Maneuvering Before the Storm April 04, 2007 19 27 GMT The second quarter of 2007 will brim with fury and froth as two states attempt to challenge the geopolitical order imposed by others to stem their expansion, in hopes of regaining their long-lost position as major powers. Throughout the quarter, these two states will seek a louder voice and a stronger hand. The real conflicts, however, will come later. For the first country -- Iran -- the more aggressive tone is part and parcel of the diplomatic dance with the United States. Both countries realize that their ideal for Iraq -- unified and pro-American for Washington, unified and pro-Iranian for Tehran -- has slipped from the realm of possibility. The two will now negotiate furiously to keep their respective worst-case scenarios -- for the United States, a shattered Iraq in which Iran controls the south; for Iran, a Sunni-run and American-armed Baghdad -- from becoming