A decade of
By Shoaib Hashmi
The phrase much bandied about is "One lives, and learns!" Someone should have the guts to add, "Not necessarily!" Most of my life I have sailed along with a working knowledge of local plants and flowers without any pretence at expertise: The rose is really the only ubiquitous flower, we use it for weddings and funerals and for wearing in the lapel and we tout its medicinal properties drinking rose-water and extracting its perfume.
Then about two decades ago a new flower came on the market by the name of 'Tube-rose'; it came as a yard-long stem studded with dozens of white flowers, a wonderful and heavy perfume, so we all got deep vases to hold bunches and it took over the decorative flower market, though we couldn't use it for weddings and funerals. The shape and the scent made it seem obvious that it was an interloper from some far away land.
My friend Kappa is a known Indian chauvinist, ready to attribute the origin of everything to her native land, and she jumped at the chance to inform me that it was an ancient Indian flower, mentioned in all their legends, by the very Indian name of Rajni-Gandha! To nail the proof she even took me, before sunrise, to the flower market of Delhi in Connaught Place where a few thousand peddlers tried to sell us some by that name.
I have great admiration for Kappa's knowledge and enthusiasm, and had already accepted her gift of Amrit Dhara which is an old 'harmless medicine' I remember from childhood. It was then known as a panacea for all childhood ailments from an upset tummy to bumps and scratches acquired in play. I even remembered the picture, bearded and bespectacled and beturbaned, of the Pandit who discovered, or invented the stuff.
But I was still sceptical of Rajni Gandha, because neither the shape of the flower, nor the perfume seems even vaguely Indian -- and sure enough the internet told all, it comes from Central America! Why they named it 'Tube-rose' is anyone's guess because it looks nothing like a tube, nor a rose. You must have guessed by now that I have been in Delhi, most of which was obscured behind boards hiding building sites for the Delhi Metro.
I had to say that because I recall going away complaining of the billboards in Lahore. The truth is that Delhi is cleaner and greener than ever because it is the middle of the monsoon so it is warm and sticky, but they have done a marvellous job of renovation on Humayun's tomb, and an even better one on Connaught Circus so you see all the old buildings in their colonial glory. So eat your heart out, I am off further to perhaps even more colonial glory in Kolkata!
When we talk of the Monsoon the full phrase is 'Bengal Monsoon' because that is where it starts and that is where you see it in its full bloom with all the Bengalis milling about with tightly rolled umbrellas. Also it is the home of the Rosho-gullah and its own cuisine centred round the fish. Round here we eat our fish big, the Rahoo and the Shinghara, and the smaller one, the Khagga is a rare delicacy. If you wonder what happens to all the small fish, the answer is they eat them all in Bengal.
It was called Calcutta then but, in my boyhood, I recall whenever an elder cousin or a young uncle was off to Calcutta, there used to be an air of excitement in the household. It was an exotic place, very much the cultural centre of the south-east, just as Lahore was of the north-west. In art one knew of the 'Bengal School' as a rival to the 'Lahore School'; and one knew it consisted of a few dozen cousins all named 'Tagore' and who all painted and wrote poetry. There was the great Rabindranath and also cousin Abanindranath and Gaganindranath, and they all operated out of Calcutta, and it will be nice to pay my respects.
Shahbaz Sharif's unique style of governance may indeed be satisfying a public craving for effective government. Views from a cross-section of society about its legality and impact
By Shahzada Irfan Ahmed
The monsoon season arrives and you see the low-lying areas inundated in water in most urban parts of the country. Blocked roads, clogged drains and broken vehicles are some other regular sights during this part of the year.
However, the province of Punjab and especially the city of Lahore have something extraordinary to offer to the viewers -- both who are present at such troubled places or those watching TV in their homes. They can expect any moment an energetic man stepping into the knee-deep or waist-high pools of water, followed by officials of civic agencies in safari suits repeating the act unwillingly. Right there, in front of TV cameras and flashguns, he listens to people's complaints and reprimands, suspends and even gets those responsible for the mess arrested/handcuffed.
Shahbaz Sharif, the chief minister of Punjab, is known for his unique style of governance and the policy of no tolerance against negligence shown by government officials. While there are those who vehemently praise him for this, the number of his critics is also on the rise.
Anwar Kamal president Lahore High Court Bar Association, stresses that rules and regulations should be respected under all circumstances. Kamal thinks it is improper to humiliate and handcuff officials in front of the media and the general public. "What I would suggest is that the head of the concerned department should be called and given a short deadline to identify the culprit. Even when the person is identified he should be given a show cause notice and given a chance to defend himself. This is the appropriate way as the chief minister is neither the appointing nor disciplinary authority for the person under his scanner." Anwar Kamal does not approve of on-the-spot arrests of government officials and says they can be arrested only in cases of cognisable offences.
I.A. Rehman, Director Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) tells TNS that what the Punjab chief minister is doing is an integral part of populist politics. It definitely satisfies a public craving for effective government. "But sometimes the effects of such measures turn out to be negative," he says, "It is not for sure that every time a poor administrator is suspended and replaced, the one taking charge is worth doing any good." Therefore, he says, it is more important to make institutional changes and the input i.e. the bureaucrats who are going to run the system which will take some time. Rehman thinks there are many positive points in Shahbaz Sharif's style of governance which must lead to evolution of a new working code.
PML-Q leader and former Punjab law minister Raja Basharat strongly criticises Shahbaz Sharif for violating government service rules and taking away the peace of mind of civil servants. He says by transferring thousands of officials with a single stroke of pen, the Punjab government has made them ineffective. "These officials had not completed their tenures on specific posts as per their service rules," he adds.
Raja says the khuli kutchery held by Shahbaz Sharif in Model Town is a joke as only selective people are allowed to participate and the media has been barred from covering the proceedings. "The chief minister has no respect for the assemblies as, in the presence of elected parliamentarians, he has appointed several non-elected people as advisers." Raja says he (Shahbaz) cannot make bureaucrats obey government directions if he himself refuses to obey the superior judiciary and acknowledge the head of the state. "Isn't it contradictory that the PML-N government does not acknowledge the superior judiciary but on the other hand they have appointed their Advocate General in the province to represent them in the court," he added
Raja says it's a pity that the chief secretary of Punjab sits in the veranda of the secretariat, marks attendance of provincial secretaries and oversees staffers cleaning window panes. "His role is that of overseeing the working of all the provincial departments and not what he is doing. In private meetings, he has literally become a butt of jokes," he says.
He says there is no development work going on in the province as accounts of local governments have been frozen by the government. "If there are no funds to improve roads and the sewerage system then why are the poor officials being held responsible for the whole mess?"
Raja says the new provincial government has fired hundreds of employees of the Punjab Prosecution Department on grounds that they were not hired through Punjab Public Service Commision. But, in a self-contradictory move, they have placed ads in newspapers asking for applications against contractual appointments in the department.
PML-N media adviser Pervez Rasheed says these critics must recall the days of the previous government when all the institutions were paralysed and there was no system of accountability. Pervez says his party believes that institutions and systems must be strengthened but what if a person appears and complains that the police is not listening to his complaint. "We cannot wait for decades and hope for the system to become strong enough to automatically provide relief to the masses. In such cases immediate interventions are needed and the Punjab chief minister is taking them."
Pervez tells TNS that khuli kutcheries and complaint cells have gone a long way in solving people's problems. "It's an encouraging development that the number of complainants at these 'kutcheries' is coming down very fast," he says. "The reason is very simple. All the officials concerned have realised that they cannot escape accountability in case they don't perform their official duties properly."
About handcuffing of three WASA officials on Punjab CM's orders he says such steps are taken with a very heavy heart and the government does not want to repeat the act. "But sometimes the situation becomes so grave that it becomes necessary to take strict actions like these. That day thousands of people were made captive within their homes. The situation demanded that those responsible should also be made to go through a similar ordeal," he says.
The Shahbaz Sharif phenomenon cannot just be a personal style steeped in the Mughal virtues of ruling. It has to get down to the messy institutional reform business
By Raza Rumi
While the pundits have rambled on the venality of the politician and the slothfulness of the bureaucracy, Pakistan's largest province has witnessed the rise of a unique phenomenon in terms of provincial public management articulated by its second-time Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. In terms of efficacy of the public services and the administration of state machinery, the younger Sharif has set a leadership benchmark that daunts the political class as a whole. What are the points of departure here and how did this formidable image develop in less than a decade?
From 1997-99, arguably not a long stint in office, Shahbaz Sharif demonstrated the maximalist application and range of political will -- from policy setting to micro-managerial interventions. It was a style that went down well with the populace, sent shivers down the imaginary backbones of the civil service and took the entrenched mafias and vested interests by huge shock. In the quest for an administrative style that could 'deliver', the younger Sharif was undaunted and bold. Exogenous factors admittedly were at play: a powerful government managed by the elder Sharif at the Centre, two thirds majority in the Punjab legislature tremendously helped in this quest for efficient public administration.
Therefore, a new style emerged that combined the popular versions of administrations run by Nawab of Kalabagh and Mustafa Khar, and added a predominantly modern and corporate ethos to it. It was the idea of public managers setting goals, targets and involving the private sector in a rule-based fashion. Other than the more visible infrastructural investments, the launching of public-private partnerships for urban public transport systems in Lahore and Rawalpindi, the launch of the private sector financed airport in Sialkot and restructuring of hospital management across the province were reflective of a ground-breaking vision of public administration.
Critics, of course, had a few major points to articulate. Foremost, this was a personalised style of governance and institutions lagged behind the personal dynamism of Shahbaz Sharif. In particular, the arrests and stern treatment meted out to the defaulting civil servants created waves of resentment within the bureaucracy and of course the sustainability of reform was faced with a question mark. In some measure the critics were right as the reform movement waned after the coup of 1999 and several of the innovations were either undone or diluted to render them ineffective. However, the PML-Q could not give up the style of management and therefore we saw Sharif's successor maladroitly attempting to imitate the 'new' Sharifesque style of public management.
Such was the legacy of three years in office.
The central tenet of the Shahbaz Sharif style was a quick appreciation of history and how the district team mattered in delivering state services and ensuring a perception of responsiveness. The mansabdars and their successors, the deputy commissioners, were made to work at the local level with relative autonomy from the local and the provincial politician. The bargain was that this kind of unprecedented backing from the Chief Minister and space for action was to result in the achievement of provincial policy goals. Therefore, the health facilities for the first time were inspected duly and regularly by the officials of the Deputy Commissioner's office, development work was implemented under such scrutiny to offset the predominance of the contractors' mafia.
The results were stellar for as long as the Sharifs governments lasted.
Critics were also vocal that development was Lahore-centric with spillovers into parts of the northern and central Punjab. There was some merit in this assertion though not entirely true. Even in far-flung areas such as Dera Ghazi Khan and elsewhere the provincial government made immense headway and improved the overall administration as well as services.
However, it was Lahore that saw the transformation of its urban infrastructure, sound maintenance of works and efficacious delivery of public services. The widening of roads that took place through the Army's construction subsidiary was completed in record time and the quality was matchless or at least superior to much of what had been constructed earlier. The elite-owned petrol pumps built without proper layouts and regulations were demolished overnight and the tricky business of removing encroachments was handled with a rare degree of fairness. The State, after a long time, was seen as applying and establishing its writ; and the urban interest groups were given a rude shock by the general even-handedness in application of law.
The financing of infrastructure across the province was also innovative: a sizeable portion of funds for development were raised through creative re-engineering and play with the encroached public assets that had little or no returns. There was some reaction to this zeal of generating funds such as the local uprising in Murree in 1998 when the government offices and property were set ablaze. However, the project continued until a tourism tax was imposed in 1999 and that continues to save the Murree's municipal coffers from bankruptcy.
In the post-Bhutto Pakistan, populism cannot remain confined to interacting with the dreams of poor and a mere articulation of vision for change. This was an unwitting lesson imbibed by Shahbaz Sharif who ventured to showcase results and in certain cases change the embedded administrative practices. Air conditioned buses for urban commuters therefore became a landmark in a city that had largely focused on private cars and their easy facilitation.
The agenda, image and substance of the Shahbaz Sharif phenomenon holds a resonance with the fast urbanising districts of the central and northern Punjab that are not only PML-N's base, but also the seat of current turbulence in the wake of lawyers' movement. These districts are clamouring for urban public services and a state that gets down to civic improvement rather than overspend on martial goals. In new urban areas -- from Attock to Okara -- where safe drinking water is extinct, sanitation systems have collapsed, security is purchased from the private agencies, quality health and education service come with a price tag, urban unrest is logical.
This is why Shahbaz Sharif has been cheered and welcomed back by a population at the end of its patience with the old order. However, this public angst poses even a bigger challenge since a tumultuous decade has made the task of public administration even more daunting. The more pressing issue is that the Sharif phenomenon cannot just be a personal style steeped in the Mughal virtues of ruling. It has to get down to the messy institutional reform business. Such an agenda would require a headway towards civil service reform, realignment of local government system and of course instituting internal accountability mechanisms that are not hostage to the Chief Minister taking notice of everything that goes wrong in the Province. The best service that Sharif can do for the Punjab and the country is to ensure that agencies and departments undertake their regular business and that there are systemic safeguards to weed out those who cannot or are not inclined to deliver.
Rumi is blogs at razarumi.com and edits Pak Tea House and Lahore Nama
Patwaris on strike in Punjab as the government moves against land mafia and orders computerisation of land record
By Ali Waqar
The ongoing strike of patwaris, government employees holding the state and the private land record of the province, is being seen as an attempt to block the efforts of the new Punjab government to bring about land reforms, computerise the decades' old land record and curb the land-grabbing menace.
Though the patwaris, around 8,000-8,500 in total in Punjab, announced a province-wide strike on July 24, 2008, insiders say the strike started in a few districts where Anti Corruption establishment became active against some patwaris who were allegedly part of the land mafia.
Officials at the Board of Revenue believe this suddenly propped-up strike was in fact meant to create obstacles in the smooth running of the computerisation and reforms plan of the Punjab Government. While the association of patwaris, 'Anjuman-e-Patwarian Punjab', believes this was a baseless impression and they had been raising these demands before the previous regimes too.
Punjab government sources told The News on Sunday that the new government had ordered the Board of Revenue (BoR) to prepare the latest state land record as well as a report on the situation of state land in the last eight years. The BoR, they said, was also told to complete the land computerisation record project in three instead of five years.
The association of patwaris went on strike urging the BoR and the government to stop this kind of "harassment" of the employees. Later they decided to start strike in all districts of the province with their old charter of demands.
This state of the land report, according to the BoR officials, would be collected with the help of revenue staff at the local (district level), which mainly includes patwaris who are on strike these days. The officials also believe that the computerisation of the land record would definitely curtail the alleged illegal activities and moves of patwaris in changing the land records.
"The issue is not computerisation but harassment and the reported arrests of patwaris by some agencies against which they have gone on strike. However, we are having meetings with them and would consider their demands," Senior Member BoR, Safdar Javed Syed, told TNS.
Project Director Land Record Management and Information System BoR Punjab, Ali Raza Bhutta, told TNS that the government was spending Rs 3 billion for the computerisation of land record of 18 districts. For 56 districts, the cost would be up to Rs 6 billion roughly. He said the project would be completed in phases and first four districts would be computerised by the end of 2009. He added that the Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif has asked the BoR to complete the project within three years.
On the issue of strike, he said: "No doubt, the computerisation is going to decrease the workload of patwaris but they would continue to do the field work to help them keep the record properly."
"We are using the Urdu software which has never been used at such a level for a huge data." This would help in making the record easy. "Only selective people would have access to this data. Patwari will only have to do field work and his burden would be lowered."
Though BoR people have met patwaris, their demands have not yet been approved. An official of the association of patwaris said they would not be satisfied with the verbal statements of the officials until some solid steps were taken. He added that the association has also appealed to the chief minister to pay attention to their demands on humanitarian grounds.
The association of patwaris has prepared a 29 point charter of demands for the Punjab government and announced it would not end the strike till the demands were met.
"We are not against reforms. We want reforms but our rights too," the secretary information of the Anjuman-e-Patwarian Punjab, Mian Sajid, told TNS. He said the corrupt elements must be identified and arrested but undue harassment must be stopped. He said they had been called for a meeting by the local and provincial authorities but no concrete steps have been taken to approve their charter of demands. He denied the impression that they were anti-reform and against the computerisation of the land record.
He added that the protest camps were being set up in districts courts in every district and they would continue their efforts for their rights.
The demands include up-gradation of the post of patwari from government grade 5 to grade 11, family medical allowance and facilities, travel allowance, quota in different category government jobs, exemption from any additional duties which are contrary to their nature of job, regularisation of their service, increase in commission percentage per registration of a piece of land, proper time-table for job, implementation of all relevant labour laws, promotion system in their job, residential colonies for patwaris, provision of computer to each patwari and training for the same, offices for patwaris, and a lot more.
Independent experts do not rule out the possibility of some elements propping up these protests and strikes but hold that the association of patwaris must accept reforms and coordinate with the government. They also urged the government to pay heed to the genuine demands of patwaris so that the system could work more efficiently and accurately.
Mannu Bheel keeps striving for the recovery of his family as the issue starts being treated as dead already
By Adeel Pathan
Imagine the reaction of parents whose child goes missing for a few seconds. But there is one person in this country whose nine family members -- including his wife and children -- have not been recovered even after a decade.
Justice delayed is justice denied has not sounded truer than in the case of freed peasant Mannu Bheel who is presently living in a makeshift camp of Sikandarabad with scores of other bonded labourers freed from agricultural bondage.
Mannu Bheel has become an icon for others, especially the marginalised sections of society, prominently his own community which had lost all hope of getting justice but his struggle certainly encouraged it to keep raising its voice against injustice.
No easy answer is available as to why the family of Mannu Bheel has not been found in the last ten years but it is evident that the power structure -- comprising the ruling elite -- is the main obstacle.
Mannu Bheel's family was kidnapped in 1998 when Mannu went to attend a marriage ceremony and the case was registered with Jhuddo police station near Mirpurkhas of the kidnapping. Mannu is among thousands of bonded labourers who have escaped or have been rescued from private jails or captivity of landlords in the province of Sindh because the tenancy act clearly disallows any form of work under bondage or without the will of the employee.
Mannu was released along with other members of his family from the captivity of landlord of Sanghar district Abdul Rehman Marri in 1996 after the district administration took action on the complaint of then coordinator of human rights commission at Hyderabad the late Shakeel Pathan. But Mannu lived only for two years with his family.
A former coordinator of HRCP, Nasreen Shakeel Pathan and chairperson of Centre for Peoples Empowerment and Equality (CPEE), says the ray of hope at the end of the tunnel was seen in the shape of directive of chief justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudry in 2006 on the complaint of an international organisation as well as on the completion of 1000 days of token hunger strike of Mannu Bheel.
However, once again the influential landlord exercised his power so that the police official who was dealing with the case -- a Deputy Inspector General (DIG) -- was not only suspended but was also booked in minor cases.
But the tragedy has returned for Mannu Bheel after the grant of bail to the main culprit and accused. Abdul Rehman Marri whose bail application was rejected from the Supreme Court of Pakistan got released only two months after the new government came into power.
The landlord is denying that he kidnapped the family of Mannu Bheel and has even levelled charges that Mannu Bheel demanded money from him.
PPP legislators who had been supporting Bheel while in opposition have chosen to keep mum. Defenders of human rights and members of civil society who made their name as well as fame along with getting financial projects in Mannu Bheel's name have seemed to forgotten him. Now when he appears outside Hyderabad Press Club along with other peasants, there are very few supporters, even among the civil society.
Asked whether anyone from the government or opposition parties have contacted him after relaying of his story titled 'Mannu Bheel Pakistani' and other programmes on a channel, he replies in the negative but insists that his struggle for justice would not come to an end till he gets a clue of his family members.
"I have contacted the DIG Hyderabad Sanaullah Abbasi to help me but he says that no formal directive has been received at his office so far," he says.
After the extensive coverage of his case on a news channel, a case of an attempted sexual assault and kidnapping was lodged against him in Tandojam police station of Hyderabad. Mannu denies the charges.
One of the colleagues of Mannu Bheel, Bhoromal Chanesi, tells TNS that the case was lodged to give his struggle a setback. "How can a distressed person like Mannu even think of assaulting anyone?" he questions and blames some civil society groups who now consider it a dead issue.
Junaid Khanzada, president Hyderabad Press Club and bureau chief Express News, is of the opinion that the case of Mannu is simply an administrative issue and police is capable of recovering his family but is showing double standard because of the landlord's influence. "Those recently released from the private jails of the same landlord have given statements that family members of Mannu Bheel are still in his possession."
He says that police and other state authorities are responsible for providing security to every citizen as per constitution and termed the role of media as positive to highlight such cases where influential persons are committing atrocities.
"Without media my struggle is incomplete. Media has played a vital role in raising my case and with their support I will continue my search for justice," Bheel remarks.
People have a very short memory. Feb. 18 seems like centuries ago and people have already begun talking about when Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani will be replaced or when his government will be removed. One has to say that much of the blame for the rising crescendo seen against the present government is linked to the media which in many instances has over-exaggerated certain events -- especially those linked to the prime minister's recent visit to America.
Take for example what happened when, en route to the US, the prime minister and his entourage stopped over at London for a night. The next day, as they reached Heathrow Airport, it was reported by several TV channels that his plane had been denied permission to take off and this was portrayed as a major slight against the people and the state of Pakistan. The same channel has a show where some columnists from its Urdu newspaper sit and 'dissect' the news of the day. What they usually do is add to the rising level of public ignorance and sense of self-importance. For instance, the failure to take off on time was made into a big issue and the reporter was saying things to the effect that he could not, for the life of him, understand why a plane carrying the head of government of a sovereign state would not be allowed to take off. He also kept blaming the staff of Pakistan's high commission in the UK saying it was their responsibility to coordinate with British aviation authorities and then inferred that since the plane had not taken off on time, the high commission officials had obviously made a mess of things.
It was quite clear that had he done his professional duty of trying to talk to the relevant officials at Heathrow -- which in all probability he wasn't doing and was likely not even at the airport -- he would have known that the plane missed its take-off slot. Heathrow being one of the busiest, if not the busiest, international airports in the world, means that your plane's next chance for take-off is pushed much further down the queue. Also, it later transpired that the reason why the prime minister's plane had not taken off on time was that a minister accompanying him, and who maintains a residence in London, had left something back at his place and this had to be retrieved. Had the TV channels tried to tell their reporters that they should do their job properly -- i.e. check and check their facts again and try and speak to as many officials as possible to get to the bottom of things, the matter would not have been given the 'breaking news' treatment that it was needlessly given.
Again, the same thing happened when the prime minister's plane landed at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington. Much of the media quite literally went to town with the story that how could a lowly assistant secretary of state receive the prime minister of our country and also that he (the prime minister) was made to walk and that too not on a red carpet! The truth -- again -- was quite different. A friend who was accompanying the delegation said that the distance was not much from the plane and that it was the prime minister himself who thought it would be a good opportunity to loosen up and hence he himself took the initiative to walk the short distance from the plane to a nearby reception building.
This instance too was used by many a commentator and columnist (more so in the Urdu press I have to say) as proof that the nation had all but lost its sovereignty and that the visit to America -- which anyway is considered by most people to be our master -- was the culmination of this abdication. Of course, it is all well and good to be proud of one's past and to be confident of one-self but this should come with a certain degree of humility and pragmatism -- or else one will end up being an individual with an oversized ego and sense of self-worth that is far out of proportion to reality. And this in turn creates an environment ideal for paranoia to take over and this is what seems to have happened to -- one can safely say, albeit with much regret -- to a large section of the population. Hence, it should make sense why Pakistan is fertile ground for all kinds of perverse thinking and circulation and belief in the wildest of conspiracy theories.
A good related example of this tendency is the recent debate on reports coming in the American press of the US telling Pakistan that it (the US) believed that Pakistani intelligence agencies were involved in the recent attack on India's embassy. While this is a claim that surely needs investigation, to dismiss it out of hand as 'rubbish' and 'nonsense' is simply not going to cut it with much of the outside world -- and even with Pakistanis who have some brains and have been following events in this part of the world. From Pakistan's point of view, it would make perfect strategic sense to do something to disrupt India's growing influence in Afghanistan, and the propaganda campaign that it tries to run in the Pakistani media -- which has now become official because the president and the prime minister's interior adviser have now said it publicly: that India's many consulates in Afghanistan are conspiring against Islamabad is part of this whole plan. And Jalaluddin Haqqani has been very active in Afghanistan -- he was also implicated in the botched attempt on Hamid Karzai's life during a military parade in Kabul some months ago. His son Sirajuddin Haqqani recently gave an interview to NBC news in Khost where he claimed to be behind several high-profile attacks (and accusing an unnamed senior military officer in the Afghan army of helping him) and Pakistani intelligence is believed to have been close to him in the past and it is more likely than not that presently these links remain in some form.
However, the truth is not only that America, Afghanistan and India are conspiring against Pakistan in some form or the other. It is completed by the fact that Pakistan too has an interest in creating problems for Afghanistan as well as India and this is neither a new development nor has it been hidden from anybody. For example, while NATO should indeed respect our sovereignty and the CIA should not send in drones over FATA (which someone knowledgeable told me is sometimes several sorties a day!), it is also the case that we need take more effective measures on our own side of the border to prevent Taliban and al Qaeda from using our soil as a base to launch attacks inside Afghanistan. So to perceive the situation that Pakistan finds itself in as not one of our own making and only because of our participation in the war against terror and because of our apparent subordination before America is the view of -- I dare say -- a pompous and insufficiently-developed mind.
writer is Editorial Pages Editor of The News.