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Showing posts from July, 2011

Critical situation in Balochistan

Unknown gunmen opened fire at a local passenger van in Quetta on Saturday, killing 11 Shia Muslims and injuring three others. Inspector General (IG) Police Balochistan Rao Amin Hashim said, “Unidentified gunmen riding [a motorbike] opened fire at a Suzuki van carrying a group of people on their way to the main city from Hazara town.” This comes a day after seven Shia pilgrims were killed by unknown assailants in Quetta. Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), a banned outfit, claimed responsibility for both attacks. The LeJ is notorious for its sectarian agenda and over the decades has killed countless Shia Muslims. One of LeJ’s founding members, Malik Ishaq, was recently released from prison after 14 years. Sectarian violence in Balochistan has also increased over the years but the government’s inadequate response in this regard is shameful. The security forces are busy killing Baloch nationalists while turning a blind eye to the sectarian violence in the province. Nothing has been done so far desp…

Balochistan: the horror continues

Human Rights Watch (HRW) has recently released a 132-page report on Balochistan titled, ‘We Can Torture, Kill, or Keep You for Years’: Enforced Disappearances by Pakistan Security Forces in Balochistan’. “Pakistan’s security forces are engaging in an abusive free-for-all in Balochistan as Baloch nationalists and suspected militants ‘disappear,’ and in many cases are executed,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. The issue of the ‘disappeared’ Baloch, more commonly known as ‘missing persons’, is not something unknown. The Supreme Court took up the issue of missing persons but unfortunately the apex court did not pursue it in the manner that was demanded. For the past few years, the number of missing persons has increased alarmingly. Tortured, bullet-riddled bodies of Baloch nationalists are often found dumped randomly in Balochistan. According to HRW’s report, “The inability of law enforcement agencies and the criminal justice system to tackle the problem of disappear…

Another round of Indo-Pak talks

Foreign minister level talks between India and Pakistan were held in New Delhi on July 27. The foreign secretaries of both countries met a day before the foreign ministers were to meet. Despite the fact that there were no high expectations from this dialogue, the joint statement seems promising. Indian Minister of External Affairs S M Krishna and Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar “reviewed the status of bilateral relations and expressed satisfaction on the holding of meetings on the issues of counter-terrorism (including progress on Mumbai trial) and narcotics control; humanitarian issues; commercial and economic cooperation; Wullar Barrage/Tulbul Navigation Project; Sir Creek; Siachen; peace and security including CBMs; Jammu and Kashmir; and promotion of friendly exchanges.” This is indeed a positive development as almost all important issues between the two neighbouring states were discussed.

On the issue of Kashmir, several CBMs were announced. “The number of trading d…

Privatisation of Pakistan Railways

Pakistan Railways Employees (PREM) union recently staged a protest demonstration against the proposed privatisation of Pakistan Railways. For the past few years, Pakistani leadership has adopted a neo-con economic worldview. Privatisation is seen as the panacea of all problems. In their bid for ‘economic growth’, our leadership has put its faith in privatisation of state-owned assets and industry since not only does it generate instant money but also allows the government to shirk from its responsibilities. But if we look at the track record of privatisation in Pakistan, for instance PTCL and KESC, it has not succeeded. In Pakistan, the privatisation process of not transparent and leads to cronyism and underhand deals.

Privatising railways is in any case not the right thing to do. Railways system is not simply a commercial enterprise; it is also a social service. When railways were first introduced in the world, it was a virtual revolution in transport. The isolation of the rural are…

Abolition of the death penalty

Barrister Zafarullah Khan of the Watan Party has filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking the abolition of the death penalty, claiming it was in violation of the constitution. Mr Khan’s claim is not devoid of logic. According to Amnesty International, “The death penalty is the ultimate denial of human rights. It is the premeditated and cold-blooded killing of a human being by the state. This cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment is done in the name of justice. It violates the right to life as proclaimed in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

The world over there is a debate on the death penalty. Most countries have abolished it as it is seen as a very primitive and retributive kind of justice, more in line with the concept of ‘an eye for an eye’. In the words of Gandhi, “An eye for an eye will make the whole world blind.” Killing someone, whether by an individual or the state, is inhuman, except in self-defence, and that too when unavoidable. There are those who think t…

Dynastic politics in Pakistan

According to a report, Hamza Shahbaz Sharif – son of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif – will become the next provincial general secretary of the PML-N. Hamza’s uncle, PML-N chief Mian Nawaz Sharif, wants him to don this mantle as he is supposed to be the future of the party. Most political parties in Pakistan hold sham elections when it comes to inner-party democracy. The PPP, PML-Q, ANP and PML-N are all examples of dynastic leadership. The PML-Q is run by the Chaudhry brothers; the PPP was led by the Bhuttos and now Bhutto-Zardaris; the ANP is run by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan’s family while the PML-N is dominated by the Sharif family. It is ironic that all these political parties that never tire of reminding us of their belief in democracy deny the possibility of any inner-party democracy. Dynastic politics does not let the best talent from political parties come forward and claim what can be theirs on merit. It implies that our politicians have made their parties personal fiefdom…

No ‘cajoling’ needed?

Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Hina Rabbani Khar met US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Saturday on the sidelines of the Asian security conference in Bali. After her meeting, Ms Khar said that the US and Pakistan “have the same strategic objective. Pakistan is the first one to suffer because of terrorism and militancy. Pakistan is doing it for itself. You do not need cajoling on that; that is in our national interest.” Ms Khar is right about the logic of needing no cajoling but then like many other things, the real decision makers in Pakistan do not think along the same lines. Not only do they need cajoling, they need to be reminded again and again of their commitment as the US’s frontline ally in the war on terror.

It is no secret that Pakistan’s foreign policy is dictated by the military establishment as is the case with our security policy. The US has tried its carrot and stick policy many times. In the Musharraf era, we were offered more carrots but now the US and its allies a…

Norway: a horrendous tragedy

On Friday, Norway was the victim of twin attacks. A massive car bomb ripped through the government district in Oslo, close to the offices of Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, killing seven people. Hours later, a nearby island summer camp for the youth wing of the ruling Labour Party, AUF, was attacked by a lone gunman who managed to shoot at least 85 people. So far, 92 people have lost their lives. Prime Minister Stoltenberg termed it a “national tragedy”. He said, “Last night, it became apparent that what happened at the Labour Youth League summer camp on Utøya was a national tragedy. Not since the Second World War has the country experienced such an atrocity. It is incomprehensible. It is like a nightmare.” A 32-year-old Norwegian man, Anders Brehing Breivik, was arrested and charged. The Guardian reported that Breivik “boasted online about his discussions with the far right English Defence League and other anti-Islamic European organisations”. This is indeed a new developm…

Balochistan and the army’s ‘concerns’

The Commander of the army’s Southern Command, Lieutenant General Javed Zia, has said the army “considers the killing of missing people an abhorrent act” but tried to take away the blame from the army high command by adding, “Certain ‘elements’ who do not believe in the courts are involved in killing and throwing the dead bodies of missing persons…however, there is no such policy by army chief General Kayani.” Lieutenant General Javed Zia expressed his concern that the way things were going, it might result in Balochistan breaking away from the country. On the one hand it is a good thing that the army has finally realised what the consequences of the kill and dump policy could be but on the other it is quite audacious of the army to sweep everything under the carpet and blame ‘certain elements’, unnamed. The people of Balochistan have long been saying that the Frontier Corps (FC) is running a parallel government in the province. The intelligence agencies and the FC are accused of the a…

Afghan reconciliation process

Having tried to keep Pakistan out of the reconciliation process in Afghanistan, the US is now looking at Islamabad to press the Afghan Taliban to cooperate. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that Washington has noted Pakistan’s “legitimate interests” in Afghanistan, which is why it expects Pakistan to ask the Afghan Taliban to join the reconciliation process. This means that now noises of Pakistan’s central role in Afghanistan are being heard in the US. This is a realistic approach given how it is impossible to keep Pakistan out of the loop when the Afghan Taliban as well as the Haqqani network are in its fold. As the end game in Afghanistan comes closer, regional relationships and politics are all in a flux. This can be judged by President Asif Ali Zardari’s whirlwind trips. From Iran to Afghanistan to Saudi Arabia, the president has been rather busy. Ostensibly, President Zardari went to Iran to sort out the gas pipeline issue. He went to Afghanistan to condole with Preside…

Requisite change

“We have made it clear to the Pakistani government that confronting violent extremists of all sorts is in its interest. We do not believe that there are any terrorists who should be given safe haven or a free pass by any government,” said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her recent visit to India. Ms Clinton said the US was ‘encouraged’ by the resumption of dialogue between India and Pakistan as talks were “the most promising approach” to build more confidence between the two nuclear-armed states. On the one hand, Ms Clinton appreciated the Indo-Pak dialogue process but on the other she made it clear that the US would not tolerate the terror threat posed by Pakistan-based jihadist groups. Ms Clinton condemned the recent Mumbai attacks and assured that India and the US “are allies in the fight against violent extremist networks. And homeland security is a high priority and a source of increasing partnership”. This was a clear message to Pakistan that just because it is the …

MQM: ‘in’ again?

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has once again, sort of, mended its ties with the PPP government. MQM chief Altaf Hussain instructed Ishratul Ebad to resume his duties as governor Sindh and “to work in harmony with the federal and provincial governments under the guidance of President Zardari”. The president has welcomed Altaf Hussain’s statement and termed it “a good omen for harmony and reconciliation not only in the province but also throughout the country”. Ishratul Ebad had submitted his resignation along with MQM’s ministers at the Centre and in Sindh following a falling out with the government. The departure had come about because of a government decision to defer elections on three seats of the Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Legislative Assembly. Interestingly, Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah announced the PPP’s decision to withdraw its candidates from two of those very seats: LA-30 and LA-36. Obviously the PPP has done this to make way for the MQM’s candidates. It seems t…

Malik Ishaq’s release

It was a sad day for the justice system of Pakistan when an alleged killer and terrorist, Malik Ishaq, was released from prison after 14 years. Ishaq was one of the founder members of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), an offshoot of the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP). Both the LeJ and the SSP are known terror outfits and mostly indulge in sectarian violence. Upon Ishaq’s release, it was announced that he had given up his LeJ membership and joined the Ahle Sunnat Wal Jama’at. Ishaq is alleged to have killed scores of people, mostly Shias. He was also accused of having masterminded the attack on the Sri Lankan cricket team back in 2009. Out of 44 cases lodged against him, Ishaq was acquitted in most cases while he was granted bail in the remaining ones. There are a number of reasons for his acquittal.

Pakistan’s justice system is weak in many ways, most notably when it comes to prosecution of terrorists and known criminals. Our investigation and forensic system and collection of evidence are …

Mumbai: another tragedy

Three blasts rocked Mumbai city on Wednesday evening at 6:54 pm, 6:55 pm and 7:05 pm. More than 20 people lost their lives while another 141 were injured. Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) were used in the terror attacks but so far no one has claimed responsibility. Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram said the blasts were “not a failure of intelligence agencies...whoever has perpetrated the attacks has worked in a very clandestine manner”. Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan appealed to the people of Mumbai to remain calm. President Zardari and Prime Minister Gilani condemned the attacks and expressed their deepest sympathies with the victims of the tragedy. The attacks showed that terrorism is a phenomenon that is not just confined to Pakistan and Afghanistan anymore; the region may well be passing into the grip of terrorism. So far, the Indian authorities have not blamed Pakistan. Secretary (Internal Security) in the Home Ministry U K Bansal said that as of now, there was …

Mending Pak-US relations

At the 140th Corps Commanders’ Conference held at GHQ, Pakistan’s military top brass was trying to be all macho by saying that our military could do without US assistance by depending on its own resources. This was a response to the US suspension of $ 800 million in military aid to Pakistan. Whether this is a permanent aid cut or just a “pause” as has been said officially, only time will tell. China, it seems, has come to the rescue – for the time being. “China has always provided assistance to Pakistan, helping it improve people’s livelihood and realise the sustainable development of its economy and society. China will continue to do so in the future,” said a spokesman of China’s Foreign Ministry. China has been providing military assistance to Pakistan for many years now but the jury is out if we were to expect it to match or increase aid in view of US aid suspension.

Pakistan is in a deep flux. Drone strikes are continuing with ferocity in Waziristan, both South Waziristan and Nort…

More terrorist attacks?

Pascal Cuttat, a senior official of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), has claimed that there has been an increase in violence following Osama bin Laden’s (OBL’s) death. Granted that there have been terrorist attacks post-Abbottabad raid but to claim that they have increased because of OBL’s death is stretching matters to some extent. Before May 2, there were more casualties in terrorist attacks this year before al Qaeda’s leader was killed than post-OBL. The deadliest attack after May 2 was the suicide attack at the Frontier Constabulary (FC) Training Centre in Shabqadar area of Charsadda district. The attack on PNS Mehran was the most audacious but such an attack, even though it took place after Osama’s death, must have taken months of planning. Before PNS Mehran, the Navy had come under attack thrice. On April 26, two Navy buses were bombed and on April 28, another Navy bus was attacked. Of course there is an anticipation that terrorist attacks will increase now t…

Karachi: the knives are out

The situation in Karachi has taken a turn for the worse. There is a head-on collision between the PPP and the MQM. In less than a week, more than 100 people have lost their lives in the metropolis. Sindh’s acting governor, Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, promulgated three ordinances on Saturday, with immediate effect. An official statement said, “Accordingly, the commissionerate system, Sindh Local Government Ordinance 1979 and Police Act 1861 have been restored. Sindh government has suspended Sindh Local Government Ordinance 2000 and Police Order 2002 with immediate effect.” The colonial commissionerate system has been reinstated in Sindh while the Sindh Revenue Department has divided the province into five divisions. These moves have clearly annoyed the MQM, which has decided to challenge the commissionerate system in court. The MQM is a strong supporter of the local bodies system introduced by General Musharraf as it re-demarcated districts and constituencies to its advantage. The MQM’s intere…

Defaming Pakistan

Terrorism at its peak, bomb blasts in every nook and corner of the country targeting both the security agencies and civilians, religious bigots threatening secular voices and religious minorities alike, sectarian violence, missing persons, the security establishment’s kill and dump policy in Balochistan, a weak government and an all too powerful military. These are just ‘some’ of Pakistan’s afflictions. Add a dwindling economy, power shortages, unemployment, poverty, illiteracy, corruption to the ever-growing list of woes Pakistanis have to face every day. As if this was not enough, Pakistan has been termed as one of the most dangerous countries for journalists.

“Be careful.” “Stay safe.” Every Pakistani journalist has heard these words countless times from family members, friends and well-wishers since May 31; some more so than others. On that fateful Tuesday evening, Syed Saleem Shahzad’s body was found from Mandi Bahauddin two days after he had gone missing from Islamabad. He was …

Saleem Shahzad Commission

On May 31, Pakistan’s journalist community was shocked when Syed Saleem Shahzad’s body bearing torture marks was found two days after he had gone missing from Islamabad. Mr Shahzad had been voicing his concern about threats to his life from the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). Journalists from all over the world condemned this act of brutality. Fingers were directly pointed at the ISI for his abduction and murder. The ISI denied these charges. A judicial commission was set up at the insistence of Pakistani journalists after some dilly-dallying by the government. Supreme Court (SC) judge Justice Saqib Nisar, who is heading the Saleem Shahzad Commission, met senior journalists on Saturday (July 9) to share information regarding the murder of the slain journalist with members of the commission. They have been asked to submit their written statements by Friday. Justice Saqib Nisar also voiced his concerns over lack of cooperation from people who have not responded to the public appeal m…

Birth of a new nation

South Sudan became the world’s newest independent state on July 9, 2011. South Sudan President Salva Kiir said it was “a dream that has come true”. “We have waited for more than 56 years for this…This land has seen untold suffering and death. We have been bombed, enslaved and treated worse than a refugee in our own country. We have to forgive, though we will not forget,” said President Kiir. South Sudan has indeed seen decades of brutality at the hands of the north. The movement in southern Sudan for autonomy transformed into a movement for independence when northern Sudan refused to accept it and decided to quell the movement by force. South Sudan fought a civil war for many years. Their leader, John Garang de Mabior, died in a helicopter crash during the struggle in 2005. He had led the Sudan People’s Liberation Army during the second civil war from 1983-2005.

The civil war in Sudan did not come properly into the limelight until the Darfur conflict focused the minds of the world on …

Hacking scandal: lessons for Pakistani media

“This Sunday will be the last issue of the News of the World,” announced James Murdoch, son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch, on Thursday. Not many people would have imagined that they would be seeing the last ever edition of a 168-year-old tabloid and Britain’s largest selling Sunday newspaper News of the World (NOTW). Former NOTW editor Andy Coulson, former NOTW royal editor Clive Goodman and an unnamed 63-year-old man were arrested in this regard but all three have been released on bail. Murdoch’s media empire is known for being ruthless and unscrupulous; it is for this reason that he is considered to be one of the world’s most influential people. Murdoch’s media empire has a strong presence in several parts of the world, be it Australia, the US, the UK and Asia. The decision to close down NOTW was Murdoch’s bid to avoid more controversy amidst the latest and the most shocking phone hacking scandal to have rocked Britain. Murdoch’s News Corp was all set to takeover the British Sky Bro…

A disaster in the making

Addressing the ‘National Seminar on De-radicalisation’ held the other day in Swat, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani made some interesting remarks. Prime Minister Gilani said that cooperation in counter-terrorism warrants a partnership approach that fully accommodates others’ interests and respect for the clearly stipulated “red lines”. Mr Gilani was obviously referring to Pakistan being the frontline ally of the US in the war on terror. “There is a need to bridge the trust deficit and allow Pakistan space to manoeuvre and contribute significantly without international pressure,” said the prime minister. Mr Gilani assured that Pakistan is committed to eliminate terrorism but he criticised drone strikes by saying that they impact “negatively on our efforts in controlling radical trends”. Maybe our premier has forgotten how WikiLeaks revealed the Pakistani military and government’s tacit approval of drone strikes, which began u…

Justice for Saleem Shahzad

According to a report published in the New York Times (NYT), American officials believe that Pakistan’s premier spy agency, the ISI, “ordered the killing” of slain journalist Saleem Shahzad. The NYT report further revealed that “new classified intelligence” obtained before Mr Shahzad’s disappearance on May 29 and after the discovery of his body “showed that senior officials of the spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, directed the attack on him in an effort to silence criticism”. This is quite damning if the information can indeed be substantiated. Though the report calls the information “reliable and conclusive”, the Obama administration is reluctant to disclose details of this information given the fraught relations between Pakistan and the US. It would be of little help unless and until the said information is provided to the Saleem Shahzad Commission so that it can be submitted as evidence in a court of law. The US is a champion of free speech and free flow …

Blasphemy allegations, again

Clerics in Lahore have issued yet another blasphemy fatwa (religious decree). This time it is against Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP’s) Samina Khalid Ghurki and one of her supporters, Haji Nasir, who the clerics have alleged to be blasphemers. As in most blasphemy cases, these allegations are not based on any concrete proof. In fact, they have deemed Ms Ghurki and Haji Nasir to be blasphemers because of some allegedly blasphemous remarks by a Shia cleric, Zulfiqar Naqvi, in a local imambargah. Naqvi was invited by Haji Nasir to deliver a sermon and since he is one of Ms Ghurki’s supporters from her constituency, they have labelled all of them blasphemers. On the other hand, Ms Ghurki claims that one of the clerics, Mian Attiqur Rehman, has a property dispute with Haji Nasir, which is probably the reason why he is now resorting to using religion as a weapon. This just shows how the flawed blasphemy laws are used as a tool to settle petty feuds and personal rivalries. In another case, a…

Indo-Pak: importance of dialogue

Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao has made some interesting observations in an interview with an Indian news channel. Ms Rao was very realistic in her approach vis-à-vis the resumption of dialogue between India and Pakistan. She said that the process is beneficial for both countries. “I do not think you can seek to create a profit and loss statement when it comes to relations between India and Pakistan in the current context…given the shared geography and the fact that there are enormous complexities in the relationship and there are problems to be resolved, it makes sense to engage, it makes sense to resume the dialogue, it makes sense to discuss the complex issues,” said Ms Rao. She also acknowledged that Pakistan’s attitude towards tackling terrorism has “altered”, which is a “concrete” development that India should take note of.

Terrorism is no respecter of borders, religion or anything else. Even though Pakistan’s military establishment is still pursuing its policy of giving…

Finally, power shifts away from Punjab

July 1, 2011, was declared ‘Provincial Autonomy Day’ by Pakistan’s prime minister, Yousaf Raza Gilani. The importance of this day in Pakistan’s history is as important as the abolition of One Unit by General Yahya Khan on July 1, 1970. One Unit was basically devised in the ’50s by the ruling elite of West Pakistan (now Pakistan) who did not want to give a fair share to East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). This was one of the reasons the people of Bangladesh were alienated from Pakistan.

When the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) came to power after the 2008 elections, it promised to return the 1973 constitution to its original form. The 18th Amendment was passed by the Pakistan parliament last year. This amendment has brought back the spirit of the 1973 constitution. Among other things, the concurrent list has finally been abolished through the 18th Amendment. It has strengthened the federation by meeting the demands of the smaller federating units to a considerable degree.

Given that the orig…

Kidnappings for ransom

Interior Minister Rehman Malik disclosed to the National Assembly that 15,365 incidents of kidnapping and abduction took place in Pakistan last year. Out of the total, 13,497 took place in Punjab, 1,293 in Sindh, 273 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 250 in Balochistan and 52 in Islamabad. Mr Malik said that usually these abductions are carried out by terrorists who target the big cities in order to make money. Children too are victims of such abductions and are in some cases used by the terrorists as suicide bombers. This is a very worrying development. A Swiss couple was recently kidnapped in Balochistan and the authorities are still clueless about their whereabouts. On the other hand, there were reports that French journalists Herve Ghesquiere and Stephane Taponier, who were kidnapped in Afghanistan, were released after a huge ransom was paid in Pakistan. Such incidents are not new but are now taking place with increasing frequency. There are a number of reasons for this development.

In tradi…

Democratising cricket boards

The International Cricket Council (ICC) Annual Conference 2011 has decided to amend the ICC Articles of Association in a bid to democratise all cricket boards “to provide for the important principle of free elections and the independence of member boards”. This is an extremely important step taken by the ICC given how some cricket boards are still chosen by their respective governments instead of being elected. The ICC has asked all boards to “implement the provisions before annual conference June 2012 and a further 12 months (to June 2013) would be allowed before any sanctions would be considered”. The ICC says only in the case of security concerns can a government interfere with its cricket board’s decisions. Bangladesh, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are three countries whose governments are involved one way or another in their cricket boards’ affairs.

In Pakistan, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) is appointed by the president. This has severely damaged not just the PCB but…

Shamsi Airbase controversy

Pakistan’s Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar’s statement regarding the Shamsi Airbase has landed the country in another controversy. Mukhtar told Reuters: “When they (US forces) will not operate from there [Shamsi Airbase], no drone attacks will be carried out.” He said that Pakistan had been asking the US to vacate the base even before the Abbottabad raid and has “told them again”. But the US is having none of this. “That base is neither vacated nor being vacated,” a US official said. The issue of this particular airbase is complicated. In an in-camera joint session of parliament, Pakistan’s Air Chief Rao Qamar Suleman admitted that the said airbase was under the control of the UAE and not the Air Force. It was quite a shocking revelation given that the UAE had sublet the base to the US for conducting drone operations. How all this happened in a ‘sovereign’ state is beyond comprehension. And now, according to our defence minister, Pakistan has demanded that the US should vacate the base…