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Changes in Pakistan Army meant to secure control of nukes

KARACHI, October 17 (Internews): It transpires that it was the absence
of a hierarchal deputy that ultimately moved Pakistan President Pervez
Musharraf last week to appoint a vice army chief who could handle any
emergency in the country in case something happened to him.

"When Musharraf ordered a major reshuffle in Pakistan Army on October 7,
he was fundamentally assuaging growing concern both in the country's
national security circles and abroad," The News reported Wednesday.

The concern was about the absence of his number two - essentially a
successor - in the government hierarchy, an undesirable scenario for a
country with nuclear weapons and ready to participate in an
international military action in its neighbourhood.

"Before October 7, there was no vice president or no vice army chief in
Pakistan and the country was ready to plunge itself as an active partner
in an international war against terrorism against its next door
neighbour," one source said.

He adds: "While there was no vacancy for a vice president, no less than
four senior generals were aspiring to be named as Musharraf's deputy. It
was a difficult situation because at that moment the country needed
absolute stability.

The situation became more difficult as it emerged that at least two of
the four senior generals - candidates for the slot of the vice army
chief - tried to pre-empt Musharraf's decision about his successor by
suggesting that Pakistan should only extend restricted assistance to the
global coalition against Afghanistan-based terrorism, a move that would
have pushed Pakistan instantly into global isolation.

One of the former generals, who sympathised with Taliban leader Mullah
Omar, even went so far as to suggest that anti-US demonstrations in
Pakistan be encouraged as a measure to increase pressure against the
international coalition.

This may be the reason that Gen Musharraf decided to keep the timing for
the announcement of his successor strictly to himself. Even Gen Mohammed
Yusuf was not aware of his promotion as the vice army chief until Gen
Musharraf invited him to his office at around 7 pm on October 7.

It may be a coincidence that within two hours of Pakistan's decision to
settle the critical issue of succession in its army, American planes and
missiles were over Afghanistan launching what has been billed as a
decisive war against global terrorism.

Musharraf's decision to appoint Gen Yusuf as his successor in the army
and Gen Aziz Khan as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff triggered
pre-mature retirements of two senior lieutenant generals leading to
fresh appointments in five of nine corps of Pakistan Army, besides the
appointment of a new head of the intelligence.

With most command assignments of lieutenant generals in Pakistan Army
now filled with newly promoted officers, it seemed that there may be no
need of fresh transfers and postings for almost another one year, before
two of the existing lieutenant general's retirements make way for two
promotions and subsequent posting.

Most military analysts feel that after recent reshuffle in its top
echelon, Pakistan Army has re-entered into, what an analyst said its
"proverbial calm and stability" with the chief of army staff in full
control of its policies and direction.

Sources say the last few weeks were not the smoothest phase of
Musharraf's tenure as army chief, particularly when three weeks ago
things appeared to be heading to dangerous waters when a top Western
intelligence service received information about an extremist religious
group's preparations to destabilise the Musharraf government with a
pledge to introduce Islamic revolution in the country.

Such reports may have contributed to publicly known nervousness in the
US administration about the stability of Musharraf administration in
Pakistan, particularly about the command and control of Pakistan's
nuclear assets, hence the sweeping changes. -Internews

Pakistan orders 75 suspect NGOs to pack up

ISLAMABAD, October 17 (Internews): Pakistan has ordered immediate
closure of dozens of "fake" local and foreign non-governmental
organisations (NGOs), apparently involved in Afghan welfare, and warned
many others of the same fate if they continue to involve in
"undesirable" activities.

Sources say that those warned have been given a one-month deadline,
ending early next month, to mend their ways.

Around 75 NGOs were identified by the authorities as either being 'paper
NGOs' or being involved in activities not in accordance with the
government's instructions.

These NGOs, which according to their announced mandate officially
communicated to the government of Pakistan, were engaged in welfare
activities for Afghans.

Such NGOs, including both local and foreign, are said to be in dozens
and mostly located in Peshawar, near the border with Afghanistan, and
its surrounding towns.

Their activities, the sources say, were not found convincing by the
authorities and that being mostly foreign-based and foreign-funded, have
not been complying with the instructions issued by the government.

Organisations falling in this category had been told in writing early
this month that they should comply with the government instructions in
case they desire to be allowed to work. In case of failure, they would
be asked to wrap up.

Charges of violation against them include using wireless sets without
permission while others were found involved in infighting amongst
different Afghan groups. Yet others were discovered flouting government
policy regarding the employment of staff.

The authorities have has also identified 35 NGOs based in Pakistan but
their area of operation is strictly inside Afghanistan. The authorities
do not find any justification for their existence in Pakistan so decided
that they be shifted inside Afghanistan.

However, in view of the ongoing military strikes in Afghanistan,
Pakistan has decided to defer their shifting. -Internews


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