Former XI Corps Commander Appointed Secretary Defence

Government of Pakistan on Friday appointed Lt.Gen (R) Asif Yasin Malik as new defence secretary in place of Nargis Sethi who had been given the additional charge of defence ministry’s top bureaucrat in January this year.

Sethi was assigned the job after the dismissal of Lt-Gen (R) Naeem Khalid Lodhi at the peak of a civil-military standoff over the infamous memogate affair.

Malik retired from active service last December as commander of the Peshawar-based 11 Corps. While commanding the corps, he oversaw counter-insurgency operations in tribal areas.The new defence secretary, who had attended training courses in the US, will hit the ground running with signing next week a bilateral MoU with the US on transit of cargo.

The MoU was approved by the federal cabinet this week.

Indian Lieutenant colonel in soup for befriending ISI agent on Facebook

NEW DELHI: In yet another security breach in the military, an Army officer has been caught for establishing contact on social networking site Facebook with a Bangladeshi woman working for Pakistan’s ISI. The woman, in fact, had earlier “honey-trapped” another Indian officer in an ISI espionage operation in Bangladesh late last year.

The Army is conducting a court of inquiry (CoI) against the officer, a lieutenant colonel from the 82 Armoured Regiment deployed in a forward formation in Suratgarh district of Rajasthan, to ascertain whether he divulged or compromised classified operational information along the western front with Pakistan.

The Army strongly denied reports that the lieutenant colonel had also got entangled in a honey trap — basically an intelligence operation for first seducing and then blackmailing a person into divulging confidential information – or that two laptops with sensitive information had gone missing.

“The officer was just chatting online with the woman on the computer … there was no physical contact. No laptops have been lost. We are conducting a CoI into the incident,” a senior officer said.

Intelligence Bureau got wind of the matter as they were already tracking the Bangladeshi woman, identified as Sheeba, after she had honey trapped another Indian lieutenant colonel, this time a Para Regiment commando, who was undergoing a staff college course in the Bangladesh military academy in Dhaka last year.

“The Para officer was compromised in the ISI honey trap at Dhaka. But instead of giving away any information, he alerted Indian authorities and was promptly flown out of Bangladesh,” an official said.

Other military officers have also been caught in honey traps in recent years. The Navy, for instance, last year sacked Commodore Sukhjinder Singh after his sexually explicit pictures with a Russian woman had surfaced. Singh was posted in Moscow as part of the Indian negotiating team for the acquisition of aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov (now rechristened INS Vikramaditya), for which India finally agreed to pay $2.33 billion after protracted and bitter negotiations with Russia.

Several military officers are also in the dock for compromising classified information and data through the improper use of internet or social networking websites like Facebook, Orkut and Twitter despite strict guidelines against such conduct.

Five to six officers, for instance, are facing a naval board of inquiry (BoI) after Chinese hackers were recently detected to have broken into sensitive naval computers, in and around Eastern Navy Command HQs at Visakhapatnam, with the help of “worm-infected” pen-drives.

Another BoI in the Mumbai-based Western Navy Command has recommended stringent action, including dismissal from service, against at least two commanders for posting confidential information and data, including location of warships and their patrolling patterns, on Facebook.

Gen Kayani Refuses To Meet US Assistant Defence Secretary Peter Lavoy

In a powerful signal of the extent to which bilateral ties have plummeted in recent times, the office of the Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, has politely turned down a request for a meeting by visiting US assistant defence secretary, Peter Lavoy.

“Yes, it is correct that a meeting was requested but the General Headquarters declined. We are not aware if Peter Lavoy was given any reasons,” Pakistani officials told The News. US officials in Washington also confirmed the same.

“There are several reasons for turning down Lavoy. It is to tell the Americans that you cannot be bad-mouthing us day in and day out and then expect a meeting with Pakistan’s most powerful personality. You cannot trash our sovereignty, threaten us, announce intensified drone attacks, kill our soldiers, refuse to apologise when you do the same in Kabul, hold back our money (CSF), threaten to cut off all aid and then pretend that it is business as usual,” is how one official put it.

The News spoke to officials involved in working out the ‘package deal’ with the US and it appears that there are clear instructions that more important than the pricing of the Nato containers is the US apology. “We would be willing to forgo charges in return for assurances on our sovereignty and offer of an apology. It means more than the money, we are more concerned about our dignity and honour. If we get assurances that our sovereignty will not be violated and our dignity will be respected, we will not bother about the money part. Price of containers is not an important issue,” said one official.

He said that Lavoy has been told that without an apology it would not be possible to move forward on opening up the Ground Lines of Communications, (GLOCs). “One cannot predict the outcome of our discussions. The process remains unpredictable. The apology remains the key to preserve our dignity. In the absence of same it has been difficult to move forward,” the official added.

Sources in Washington and Islamabad say that for the time being efforts are underway to ensure that an acceptable apology is delivered one way or the other to Pakistan. “There appears to be a slim chance that an acceptable apology will surface. Neither side is ready to accept the language the interlocutors are working on and time is running out. GHQ has to understand that a ready apology was pushed aside and now too many issues have overtaken the apology. US aid is being threatened to be completely cut off because of Shakeel Afridi’s arrest. One side has to step back and it appears no one is ready to do so,’ explained one diplomat.

The News also learnt Sunday that the establishment is also demanding nothing less than a US apology for the Salala killings and says that the ‘apology’ and not the ‘pricing’ of Nato containers is imperative for Pakistan. “No apology, no package deal,” is the message being sent to Lavoy.

Lavoy is still in town and Sunday evening was to be spent at the US embassy for informal discussions. The government is withholding commenting on the meetings that Lavoy has held so far, except an important one with finance minister Abdul Hafeez Sheikh on Saturday.Not too long ago, Pakistan also asked US ambassador for Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman not to come to Pakistan.

Kayani’s office has been quite generous in the past in accomodating visiting dignitaries, especially Americans. In fact there had been criticism that protocol has not been strictly followed and officials of lower ranks also found their way into the COAS’ office.

Less than twenty four hours ago Lavoy’s boss defense secretary Leon Panetta accused Pakistan’s military of giving safe havens to Afghan ‘terrorists’, threatened that the US would, if necessary, take action inside North Waziristan to take out the Haqqani network and publicly declared that the US was at war in Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata). “Without getting into the details of what we may or may not do, I think it suffices to say that the United States will do whatever it has to do to protect its forces,” threatened Panetta in a television interview.

As US rhetoric reaches a new high, it is understandable why Lavoy could not partake of a cup of coffee with Kayani.Meanwhile, the Pakistan military’s insistence that the US should apologise for intruding into Pakistan’s airspace on November 26, 2011 and killing and wounding its soldiers, is once again on the top of the agenda of all bilateral discussions.

However, there also appears to be some confusion about how ‘vital’ this US apology has become. For months now, the focus of deliberations has centered around a package deal which included fixing an agreed price for each Nato container passing through Pakistan, Coalition Support Funds payment to Pakistan, iron-clad guarantees that Salala-like attacks will not repeated, all agreements would be put on paper and a US apology would be delivered.

The US apology was not being highlighted until recently when foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar, in an interview in Doha to Foreign Policy magazine, challenged the Obama administration to live up to America’s democratic ideals by respecting the will of Pakistan’s elected legislature. “A representative Parliament of 180 million people has spoken on one subject. [This is] something which should have been forthcoming the day this incident happened, and what a partnership not only demands, but requires,” she said.

Pakistan Conducts Successful Test Fire of Cruise Missile Hatf-VII (Babur)

Pakistan today conducted a successful test fire of the multi tube, indigenously developed Cruise Missile Hatf-VII (Babur) having a range of 700 kms. Babur Cruise Missile is a low flying, terrain hugging missile with high maneuverability, pin point accuracy and radar avoidance features. It can carry both nuclear and conventional warheads and has stealth capabilities. It also incorporates the most modern cruise missile technology of Terrain Contour Matching (TERCOM) and Digital Scene Matching and Area Co-relation (DSMAC), which enhances its precision and effectiveness manifolds.
The missile was launched from a state of the art multi tube Missile Launch Vehicle (MLV) which significantly enhances the targeting and employment options of Babur Weapon System in both the conventional and nuclear modes.
The test was witnessed by Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Khalid Shameem Wynne, Director General Strategic Plans Division, Lieutenant General Khalid Ahmed Kidwai (R), Chairman National Engineering and Scientific Commission (NESCOM), Mr Muhammad Irfan Burney, senior officers from the armed forces and strategic organizations, scientists and engineers. The test will consolidate Pakistan’s strategic deterrence capability, and further strengthen national security.
The successful test has also been warmly appreciated by the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan, who have congratulated the scientists and engineers on their outstanding success.

New DG ISPR Maj Gen Bajwa Assumes Charge Today

Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa

Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa was commissioned in Punjab Regiment from Pakistan Military Academy Kakul in March 1984 in 34 Punjab Regiment. He has held various Command, staff and instructional appointments that include Command of an Anti Tank Battalion, an Infantry Brigade Group and a strike Infantry Division. He has been Brigade Major of an Infantry Brigade and Chief of Staff of a strike Corps. He has also been on the faculty of PMA Kakul and Command and Staff College Quetta. He has served as deputy Military Secretary to the President of Pakistan. Graduate of Command and Staff College Quetta, National Defence University and Staff College Camberley (UK), he also holds Master degree in Defence Studies from Kings College London (UK) and MSc War Studies from NDU, Islamabad. He is recipient of Tamgha-i-Basalat.

He is married and has three children.

He will assume the charge of Director General Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) on 4th June 2012.

16 Azad-Kashmir Regiment Convoy Attacked Near Risalpur

Yesterday, an Army convoy was attacked by a motorcyclist with a grenade near Risalpur-Shaki interchange. 1 Sepoy embraced martyrdom while 6 got injured including a Captain.

The convoy was of 16 Azad-Kashmir regiment which going to Mansehra camp from Dir Bala. A double-cabin was attacked by a motorcyclist. Convoy’s cover commander Captain Kashaan was travelling in this double-cabin. Sepoy Tauqeer embraced martyrdom on the spot while injured personnel were transferred to CMH Nowshera. Injured include: Captain Kashaan, Lance Naik Liaqat, Naik Afzal, Sepoy Tahir, Sepoy Zahid, Havaldar Imtiaz (Driver).

Robust Nuclear Security Mechanism in Place: CJSC General Wynne

General Khalid Shameem Wynne, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) visited the Headquarters of the Security Division of Strategic Plans Division (SPD) at Rawalpindi, for a review of security plans for Pakistan’s Strategic Assets.

General Khalid Shameem Wynne, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee being briefed on operational preparedness by Director General Security Major General Muhammad Tahir during his visit at Headquarters of the Security Division of Strategic Plans Division Rawalpindi.

A comprehensive briefing was given by Director General Security Major General Muhammad Tahir covering details of the operational preparedness of the Security Division.
Expressing complete satisfaction in the security arrangements, the CJCSC commended all concerned for their professional approach in enhancing nuclear security.

General Khalid Shameem Wynne, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee witnessing the operational display of state of the art security equipment.

CJCSC witnessed an operational display of state of the art Security equipment. Earlier, on arrival at Headquarters Security Division, CJCSC was received by Director General SPD Lieutenant General Khalid Ahmed Kidwai (Retired) and Director General Security Major General Muhammad Tahir.