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Updated: December 3, 2011 03:33 IST

Pakistani soldiers cleared to retaliate without orders

Anita Joshua
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Chief of Army Staff Ashfaq Parvez Kayani
AP Chief of Army Staff Ashfaq Parvez Kayani

Islamabad firm on boycotting Bonn meet on Afghanistan

Pakistan on Friday stuck to its guns vis-à-vis boycotting next week's Bonn Conference on Afghanistan even as the Government accused certain unnamed quarters of subverting Islamabad's efforts for reconciliation in Afghanistan and the Army hardened its stance by permitting the rank and file to respond to any attack without awaiting directions from the command.

In a message to the troops, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Ashfaq Parvez Kayani released them from the ‘chain of command' that necessitates orders from the top for responding to attacks from any quarter. Providing a new set of rules of engagement for everyone down the chain of command – especially the unit/sub-unit commanders – he said they now had full liberty of action to respond when under attack and could use all capabilities available. “This will require no clearance at any level.''

Though this message is seen as a bid by the Army top command to lift the morale of the troops after the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation attack on two border outposts last Saturday left 24 soldiers dead and 13 injured, the general apprehension is that this could escalate tensions with Afghanistan as cross-border firing has become an irritant between the two countries.

In his command communiqué to the troops, the COAS said any act of aggression will be responded with full force, regardless of the cost and consequences. Stating that he was proud of the men who fought back in the border posts with everything they had including artillery in the form of air burst, he added: “The response could have been more effective if PAF [Pakistan Air Force] had also joined in. However, it was no fault of PAF. The timely decision could not be taken due to breakdown of communication with the affected posts and, therefore, lack of clarity of situation, at various levels, including the Corps Headquarters and GHQ [General Headquarters].''

This decision was also communicated to the Parliamentary Committee on National Security by Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani. The Committee endorsed the decision of the Cabinet to boycott the Bonn Conference and will meet again after Moharram for a briefing from the Finance Minister on the possible implications of a prolonged stand-off with coalition forces. Addressing the Committee, Mr. Gilani provided the government's perspective on the prevailing situation. Stressing on the importance of good relations with all neighbours, he said a stable and peaceful Afghanistan was in Pakistan's interest; adding that this country had been severely impacted by the turmoil in its neighbourhood.

Of the view that the international community has not appreciated Pakistan's sacrifices and commitment to battling terrorism, he said the notion of giving Islamabad a “to do'' list and the mantra of “do more'' had caused immense resentment. Add to this the tendency to project Pakistan as the “problem'' instead of the “partner'' that it is, and make it a scapegoat for failings of international policies in Afghanistan.

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I remember a quote from the Bible " Like you sow you will reap "

from:  xavier surender
Posted on: Dec 4, 2011 at 10:49 IST

@John Smith

Your bravado is a sign of your weakness. The real fact is that a looser cannot be a chooser and you have lost the war in Afghanistan.

from:  Tipu Qaimkhani
Posted on: Dec 4, 2011 at 05:57 IST

It is a shame that people like John Smith and Prasad are so blind to the reality of
Pakistan/USA relationship that they cannot even think straight.
Pakistan is a large country and USA aid has been peanuts in the over all budget of
Pakistan. One should remember that USA carried out sanctions against Pakistan in
nineties and Pakistan actually prospered more in that time. Pakistani public does
not want USA money and would be happy if it goes away. Many countries get USA
aid without strings attached. Each year Israel and Egypt gets almost 10 billion
dollars each. So why should Pakistan be asked special favours.
Pakistan is not Iraq or Libya. It has world's 6th largest, very professional and
dedicated army. India has tried and experienced Pakistan army’s capabilities. On
top of its strength, it is a nuclear power and 180 million Pakistanis back their
army. USA will be foolish to tangle with Pakistan, but then again, Americans never
learn from history.

from:  Bashy Quraishy
Posted on: Dec 4, 2011 at 05:35 IST

@Shreeniwas.

That the world would become your enemy's enemy is a very beautiful dream indeed. Rest assured there are people among US policy makers who hate Pakistan as much as you do but they don't have the luxury of dreaming that you do.

Thirteen years ago Vajpayee committed the folly of going nuclear, convinced that the West would be able to coerce Pakistan into giving up it's rights. Fifty years of history suggested the same thing. But the history didn't apply on that fateful day, I am glad that the dogma of our enemies will never let them understand why.

from:  Tipu Qaimkhani
Posted on: Dec 3, 2011 at 23:54 IST

Why hasn't anyone considered the possibility that this might be a very
clever ploy by the Pakistani Army to isolate and bring to knee the
civilian govt? As long as the US was Pakistan's friend, the army's
power and prestige was always precarious. But now, the Pakistani army
is in a position, using religious means among others, to lord over the
civilian govt, since the govt has snapped all ties with the US/NATO.
What lends credence to this hypothesis is -
1.the "memogate" occurring just before this
2.the absurdity of the assumption that NATO would kill 24 soldiers of
a deeply disturbed, yet indispensable as an ally, country, the
circumstances of the strike being as they are presented to have been
3.There have been rumblings that the co-ordinates for the strike were
okayed by the Pakistani military
Whatever be the reason, due to the nascent power and influence the
deeply fanatical military has obtained, these developments HAVE to be
studied deeply by our Govt.'s intelligence community

from:  Aritra Gupta
Posted on: Dec 3, 2011 at 20:47 IST

If the American patience is tested they may bomb them and leave them to start from
a Stone Age setting. Disarming them of their trophies or Nukes won't solve the
Pakistan Problem as they have the other more potent weapon : Jihad, a 1400 year old
Nuke that is deeply embedded in the form of meme.

The whole population may need to be cleansed and reprogrammed to join the
international community like SCAP did in post war Japan.

from:  P.N.Shreeniwas
Posted on: Dec 3, 2011 at 20:09 IST

@john smith

He might recall, inter alia, how Pakistan facilitated the journey of Pres Nixon & Kissinger to fly to meet the Chinese communist leaders of the time.
US-Pakistan relations must have been of mutual benefit to last so long.
Remember India was close to the USSR then. Times change.

from:  S A Khan
Posted on: Dec 3, 2011 at 20:08 IST

Strange business.The senseless and thoughtless remark of J Smith above is in the worst of taste when a dozen Pakistan soldiers have been killed manning a frontier post. The advance of "aid" is shown to be hardly altruistic from the time of sending a U2 aerial surveyer over USSR with assisstance from Pakistan ... no need to rehash all past history; the present US attack (let's drop the euphemism of Nato/Isaf) described as unprovoked aggression has caused Pakistan to say, this is a step too far, hang the US$ which may not cover damage to Pakistan economy in a decade of essentially GWBush's & now Obomba's war for their own reasons, and which has destabilised the neighbourhood without benefit to either Pakistan or Afghanistan. It was "you're with us or against us" but 10 years later and so many children, women & civilian men killed by the invading forces of the USA & its satraps, the time has come to make a surgical cut to allow both sides to better heal. After all tiny Lebanon can say no.

from:  S A Khan
Posted on: Dec 3, 2011 at 19:47 IST

This is a fast route to Armageddon. Pakistan has always been short-sighted and short term oriented in its approach. It doesn't realize that US will not tolerate insubordination. Bush said of defiant Saddam: "We will bring him to his knees" - They actually hung him by the rope. It maybe good if the row escalates, it may end in disarming this terrorist state.

from:  P.N.Shreeniwas
Posted on: Dec 3, 2011 at 15:19 IST

The US.led international war on terror in Afghanistan with Pakistan as an unwilling partner meant a disaster for the latter in more than one sense.The killing of the al-Qaeda Chief Osamabin Laden in a Pakistan garrison last May sharped eroded the image of the Pakistan army in the public eye. The faux pas of the memo-gate rocked the Pakistan government, as a result, the Pakistan armed forces harboured deep suspicions of the civilian government's Machiavellian machinations to outmanoeuvre the Pakistan army as deep distrust characterises the steamy relationship between the two. The nascent Nato attack that killed 24 Pakistan soldiers opened the old wounds of hurt national pride beyond any healing touch. Pakistan's absence as the principal stake holder at the forthcoming Bonn conference makes a big difference in ensuring stablity in the turbulent Afghanistan. Pakistan needs a face saving formula to silence domestic criticism against its failure to protect its national sovereignity.

from:  M.Siva Ram Prasad
Posted on: Dec 2, 2011 at 23:35 IST

A beggar can not be a chooser. Pakistan has lived on the charity of USA since 1947.

from:  John Smith LONDON UK
Posted on: Dec 2, 2011 at 23:22 IST
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