March 27, 2009

INTERVIEW WITH HONORABLE ITALIAN DEFENCE ATTACHÉ COLONEL (ARMY) ANTONIO PENNINO

ITALIAN DEFENCE ATTACHÉITALIAN DEFENCE ATTACHÉ

MEHMOOD-UL-HASSAN KHAN

1. Would you please share with us your childhood and schooling?

I was born in a little city, Benevento, 100 km far Naples and situated in the south of Italy. There I spent my childhood’s summers in the grandparents’ farm, while I attended the school in Caserta, not far from the hometown.

Benevento is a historical town of the Sannites. It was renamed Beneventum by the Romans, when it became an important base for Roman expansion in southern Italy. Then it was the capital of an important Lombard duchy controlling most of southern Italy. Monuments from classical times include Trajan’s Arch, the ruin of a Roman theatre, and the Ponte Lebbroso, a bridge old more 2000 years. The frequently rebuilt cathedral (founded 7th century), with the magnificent bronze doors; the 12th century cloister of the Church of Santa Sofia (8th century); and the castle (1321) are notable medieval buildings.

While Caserta is famous for the Bourbon Royal Palace, designed by the Italian architect Luigi Vanvitelli and constructed in the 18th century. It was one of the last triumphs of the Italian Baroque. Anyway my high school was humanistic preparatory, then I continue my study at University of Bologna, the oldest University of Europe. It was founded in 11th century where I completed my graduation in Economics and Commerce.

2. Would you please tell us about your professional career?

I started my military career to the Italian Military Academy. I completed the specialist training at the Application School. I was Platoon Leader and Company Commander at a Mechanized Infantry Battalion, I commanded also the Platoon and the Company in the Military Academy and the Company in the School of Infantry. I completed Based and Advanced Army Staff College, prior to attending Joint General Staff College. I commanded the Battalion and the Regiment and I filled Staff assignment at the Italian Joint Operations Headquarters. I was the Military Assistant of the Deputy Commander of the “Salamandra” Division in Bosnia-Herzegovina (SFOR), where I was awarded the Spanish White Cross for Meritorious Service. I was also awarded the Italian, NATO and France medals for operation in former Yugoslavia.

I have been serving as Italian Defense Attaché in Pakistan since 1st October 2006. I have diversified and integrated educational qualifications and professional expertise. I have master a Master in Strategic Science from the University of Turin. Furthermore, I am a qualified Patrolling Specially-Trained officer as well as the parachuting military license.Read More »INTERVIEW WITH HONORABLE ITALIAN DEFENCE ATTACHÉ COLONEL (ARMY) ANTONIO PENNINO

Islamabad diary: Battle for Pakistan

Ayaz Amir

This battle — now a simmering war of attrition — has been on for some time and we are losing it. The Pakistan army was always meant for wars against India. It hasn’t a clue about fighting the Taliban in Swat and Waziristan. Indeed, the army’s less than brilliant interventions in both these regions have been a powerful factor in making the Taliban more powerful.

We must understand the nature of this war. It is not between two armies. It is between two world-views and unless the world-view that the Pakistani state seemingly stands for is more powerful and makes more sense, the Taliban will win and the Pakistani state, as represented by its increasingly decrepit administrative machinery, will lose. Read More »Islamabad diary: Battle for Pakistan

Beyond gloom and doom —Saleem H Ali

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saleemhaliTo use the dominance of a few thousand militants in a narrow valley as somehow suggestive of a larger movement towards Talibanisation of the whole of Pakistan is preposterous. I am not saying this out of crass patriotism or starry-eyed optimism but rather after a deliberate analysis of historical precedent

On March 23, 2009, the day Pakistanis were commemorating sixty-nine years of the resolution that gave birth to the idea of an Islamic state on the subcontinent, a jihadist suicide bomber struck in the heart of Islamabad near Sitara Market. At that moment, I was sitting in a hotel in Muscat, flipping through the news channels from Sky News to BBC to CNN to Al Jazeera, and was alarmed to find immediate live coverage of the incident and commentary that suggested that the country was about to fall to the Taliban.

All the channels also featured long documentary pieces on the rule of Maulana Fazlullah and his minions in Swat, with a note of foreboding that the valley was only a hundred miles from Islamabad. Video images were then shown of how drug dealers were being flogged in public. Polished English reporters winced at the sight of the criminals in pain.Read More »Beyond gloom and doom —Saleem H Ali

Pakistan rupee exchange rates and gold prics on 26-Mar-09

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Dollar dominates rupee

KARACHI: The dollar continued to dominate the rupee in the interbank market, dealers said on Wednesday.

The greenback was up by seven paisas against the rupee during the day. The dollar started the day’s trading at Rs 80.51 for buying and after gaining strength closed at Rs 80.58 for buying and Rs 80.63 for selling.

However, the European single currency continued its downward trend for the second consecutive session as the rupee incurred a gain of 92 paisas during the day. The euro commenced the day’s trading at Rs 109.36 for buying and after losing strength closed at Rs 108.44 for buying and Rs 108.64 for selling. Read More »Pakistan rupee exchange rates and gold prics on 26-Mar-09