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‘Militants being funded from abroad’

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PAKHTUNKHWA TIMES

IGP Khyber Pakthunkhwa Malik Naveed Khan here Wednesday ruled out the possibility of terrorism threats to the provincial capital and said that militants and their leadership are in disarray due to massive losses suffered by them at the hands of security forces. A handful of militants might have been shifted to Khyber Agency following the successful military operation in Orakzai Agency but there is no threat to Peshawar as security forces and police are fully capable to thwart enemy’ designs. This he said while responding to questions of journalists after giving detailed presentation on the overall law and order situation and police sacrifices during the war against terror here at Malik Saad Shaheed Police Lines. However, he said suicide attacks could not be ruled out.

The Khyber Pakthunkhwa police chief said that massive losses suffered by militants in their strongholds could be judged from the fact that their leadership now can’t move from one place to other and their safe heavens have been destroyed as result of successful operations of security forces. It was the successful operation that has established peace in Swat and Malakand division. To a question about sources of funding to militants, he said that the way they were equipped, armed, driving vehicles, they might getting funds from some foreign quarters that needs to be blocked. The presence of large number of Afghan refugees in Pakistan for the last 32 years had also added to the difficulties of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police in making close check on militants and terrorists, he added.

The IGP made it crystal clear that illegal emigrants would not be tolerated and would be expelled. The joint search operation that had conducted by paramilitary forces and Khyber Pakthunkhwa police against militants and anti-state elements in the outskirts of Peshawar has proved very successful, owing to significant improvement in law and order in the provincial capital, he maintained. The IGP said the entire nation was now united against the menace of militancy and terrorism and the time is not far away when this cancer would be uprooted completely, he remarked.

“Now, the government, political leadership, civil society, security forces, intelligentsia, people and religious scholars have joined hands with a strong resolve and commitment to wipeout the scourge of extremism, radicalization, militancy and terrorism and with the grace of God we will be triumph,” he remarked. To combat terrorism on sustainable basis, he said Quick Response Force and Elite Forces have been raised, saying that Quick Response Force present at every district headquarters can respond to any terrorists act within five minutes information. Likewise, 6725 Special Police Officers /Community Policemen have been recruited on merit to ward off the threats of terrorism and militancy. The introduction of community police has greatly discouraged militancy in areas where writ of Government was challenged, he added. The IGP said Khyber Pakthunkhwa police have rendered great sacrifices in the war against terror and it was acknowledged by all.

He said that 46 policemen had lost their lives in IED explosions in last two and half years, saying that 201 policemen had embraced martyrdom while fighting against terrorists while 229 militants were killed in 2009. The Police Chief said that 29394 explosive materials, 42 suicide jackets and 41010 hand grenades/dynamites/explosive materials have been seized during last two and half years by Khyber Pakthunkhwa police. Praising showers on police martyrs for their invaluable sacrifices for averting scores of terrorists’ attacks and protecting lives and properties of people of large number population, he said the heirs of martyrs would not be left alone.

The government under Shaheed police package has already announced free education, residential plots, Rs. Three million for heirs of martyred, reservation of special seats for their children and full salary till superannuation have been ensured. The IGP said that a batch of 25 policemen suffered by trauma and mental disorder due to terrorism has performed Umra and another batch will also be sent that had resulted improvement of their health. He said that 500 plots have been distributed among the heirs of martyrs in Regi Lalma township while colonies would also be constructed for policemen at Karak, Kohat, Nowshera and Haripura districts.

A monument would also be constructed for police martyrs at each district while police stations and police lines named after martyrs. In addition to policemen, he said that gallantry medals for civilians who demonstrated bravery would be given, saying that this award will also be given to a journalist. The Khyber Pakthunkhwa police chief said that a record number about 100 developmental projects were underway including construction of police lines, stations, posts, colonies etc that after completion would improve the socio-economic condition of policemen.

Regarding aid pledges of international donors countries, he urged the Friends of Pakistan to relax its rules and helped government to further strengthen and equip Khyber Pakthunkhwa police being the front line force in war against terrorism to defeat militancy, terrorism and insurgency once and for all. He said that terrorism was global issue and not related to Pakistan. The IGP also stressed the need for strengthening of Criminal Justice System to curb militancy and terrorism and radicalization on sound footings.

“Exterminating Muslims in India – the History of Spain revisited”

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Dalit Voice

Muslims ruled over Spain from 712 AD to 1492 AD for 780 years, yet today there are no Muslims in Spain though every aspect of Spanish life has a touch of Islam. Spanish language has many Arabic words, its music has an Arabic tone, its culture has more Arabic influence than the European, and proper nouns in Spanish often have the Arabic prefix al. From 1492, when the last bastion of Muslim political strength Grenada fell, the Muslims of Spain were on the decline and its culmination took place after 120 years when the last batch of Muslim die-hards left Spain in 1612. From that year, Islam vanished from the Spanish horizons.

A particular noteworthy point is that during this period of Islamic decline from Spain, the entire civilised world was ruled by Muslims. The Ottoman Turks had conquered Constantinople in 1553, and were ruling the entire Balkan Peninsula, Egypt was ruled by the powerful Mamiukes, Persia was at its political pinnacle under the Abbasi rulers, and India was ruled by the Moghals. Still Islam vanished from Spain and none of these great Muslim armies did anything to protect the Muslims of Spain. How Islam was ejected from Spain had been a subject of keen study by lndia’s Hindu Nazis in the 30s and 40s of this century. They studied this aspect to be copied in India and to counter this possibility, the Muslim leaders also studied this to prevent a repetition of the Spanish methods because Muslims (forming 11.35% of the population as per 1981 census) as lndia’s single largest minorities have become the biggest headache to the upper caste Hindus. But the present-day Muslims are totally ignorant of the history of Islamic decline in Spain and hence of the designs surrounding it.

Through this we intend to shed a little light on this subject so that the thinking section of the Muslims and their sympathisers may do some more research on this subject. As in India, Spanish Muslims had three categories: (i) the descendants of the original Arabs, (ii) descendants of Arab fathers and Spanish mothers and (iii) Christian converts to Islam. Immediately after the fall of Grenada many of the original Arabs to save their lives (not property, as they were not permitted to carry their wealth) left Spain to Tunisia and Morocco; many died on their journey by the attacking Christian hordes. Rest of the original Arabs who opted to live in Spain itself were subsequently branded ‘foreigners” (as in India) and destroyers of Spain. The other category of Muslims viz. the descendants of Muslim fathers and Christianmothers and converts from Christianity opted to live in Spain believing in the declaration of King Ferdinand that complete religious freedom would be guaranteed. (in India also, we are told that Muslims enjoy full religious freedom and minority rights). The attacks by Christian on their lives and property during the earlier years was pardoned as a temporary phenomenon.

Compare it with the development that took place in India after the partition (1947). But these attacks on Muslim life and property in Spain did not abate but continued for about 50 years with lesser intensity in a sporadic manner, just as it is happening in India today. In the earlier years, the Indian Muslims resisted and fought back. There were mini-battles in the streets, but gradually there were one-sided attacks and every time Muslims were the losers. Of late, the Hindu police itself is let lose to kill the Muslims in India.

While the organized Christian groups were committing such massacres, Ferdinand’s Govt, in Spain adopted the policy of eliminating Muslims from the services and adopting the following measures:-

Arabic was removed from administration,
schools attached to mosques were debarred from teaching academic and secular subjects like science, history, mathematics and philosophy. Only religious teaching could be imparted,
Lessons in history were faked by which the Muslim rule was dubbed as barbaric. Contribution of Muslims to the development of Spain was avoided,
Muslim houses were made objects of constant searching by police on allegations of arms hoarding and secret meetings,
Original Arab Muslims were projected as enemies of Christians and destroyers of Spain.
Christian converts were persuaded to reconvert to Christianity on the ground that their ancestors were forced to become Muslims and as there is no more coercion, they should revert to Christianity.
Muslims who were from Muslim-Christian parentage were branded as bastards and ridiculed and persuaded to revert to Christianity.
Marriages performed in the Islamic manner were directed to be registered with the judicial officers.
Islamic law was declared illegal. Every method followed in Spain is being experimented in India with better precision and timing.
Thus Muslims in Spain were made objects of ridicule, condemnation and continuous attack. Burning of Muslim houses and shops was encouraged to destroy their economy. Mock ceremonies of reconversion of Muslims to Christianity were held and publicized. In India, Hindu Nazis of all hues-Arya Samaj, Ramakrishna Mission, Vishwa Hindu Parishad etc,. are doing the same. The first two generation of Spanish Muslims adopted passive methods to save their religion by teaching Arabic to their children at home and mosques, and telling them orally about the realities but gradually they lost the zeal. When marriages were ordered to be celebrated only through Govt. agencies, Muslims in early stages performed dual marriages – one with the Govt. authorities and again privately in their homes in the Islamic manner. Gradually the second ceremony was given up as even such a private ceremony was banned.

During this period, Muslim masses gradually fell out of the grips of the Muslim leadership and Muslim elites started flocking to Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt where they were received with sympathy. Poor Muslim masses were left uncared for. This is exactly what is happening in India. The richer, English-educated Muslims are getting Brahminised. They have become imitators of upper caste Hindus as they live not in Muslim localities but in Hindu areas. The poor Muslims (they form 95% of the Muslim population) live in ghettos and being better followers of Islam, they are left high and dry. Hence they are getting killed in all anti-Muslim riots.

The seeds sown in the first half of the century in Spain started yielding results in the second half. There was no political leadership, no organization to protect Muslims and enlightened personalities to save the situation. Religious leaders knowing nothing but Islamic’ theology tried their best to save the situation, but against heavy propaganda by the Govt. agencies, lures and offers to reconverts, ignorance of Islamic values by the masses and sense of inferiority nurtured in the minds of Muslim masses were too big a force to be undone by the theologians. This needed a political leadership and an organization with arms to counter, but there was none. Those who spoke of invoking the help of Muslim powers of Turkey and Egypt were feared and exposed before the authorities (by the Muslims themselves) to be condemned. Without willing fighters, other Muslim powers could not help. Those who had settled in Turkey and Egypt advised the authorities there to desist’from such a thought as otherwise atrocities on Muslims of Spain would increase. An Ahmed Shah Abdaii was needed but th@’@ was none. And the Muslim masses joined the “mainstream” of Spanish life and the mullahs finding no job for their preaching gradually left Spain. And the last batch to leave Spain consisted of the diehard mullahs in 1612

In India also the political leadership of the Muslims became a tail of the Hindu parties led by the upper castes. Only the theological leadership like that of Moulana Hasan Ali Nadvi has tried to maintain the cultural identity of the Indian Muslims.

This “Spanish experiment” is being tried with greater energy and efficiency in India. Urdu, which is as Islamic in India as Arabic was in Spain, is being eased out. Muslims are voluntarily holding on to madrasas. English-educated richer Muslims are away from the Muslim masses. We saw this at the Tablighe Jamat International conference held in Bangalore (DV, March 15, 1985). They are not going to Muslim countries, but are taking refuge in their psychological and physical seclusion. Any move to organise them to protect the Muslim life and property is branded as communal. Any Muslim flirting, if not supporting the upper castes, is called a “nationalist Muslim”. The gulf between the Muslim masses and educated rich Muslims is widening every day. Mass killing of Muslims is considered something natural by the Muslim leadership itself. Whenever it is raised at international Islamic platforms such actions are called interference in the internal affairs of India. Muslims history is deleted from the syllabus. Names of Muslims who died for India are avoided. A great martyr who died for India like Tippu Sultan is unknown to youngsters, whereas the name of Tantia Tope, who fought not for India but for his pension, and Jhansi Laxmi Bai, who fought for her adopted son’s heirship to the throne, is brought on the lips of every Indian. No Muslim gets awards for his contribution to science, medicine, music, art or gallantry. Even those who fought from the ranks of the ruling Congress Party like Moulana Azad, Kidwai, Syed Mahmood, Humayun Kabir etc. do not have a road or extension named after them. But there are half-a-dozen in the names of each upper caste leaders in our towns and cities. History is being re-written. (“Falsifying Indian History”, DV editorial, April 16, 1985). Muslims are killed daily and their houses and shops burnt. The doors of the Army, police and administration are closed to them. And yet Muslim organizations to protect Islam are coming up like mushrooms. Everybody wants to protect Islam and nobody wants to protect Muslims. We are really worried.

A study of the Ruling Class policies reveals that it has great similarity with the one followed by Ferdinand and Isabelle in Spain. The only difference is that the Hindu upper castes are more sharp and sophisticated because of the limitations imposed in the 20th century by the checks exercisable by the United Nations Human Rights Charter and international public opinion.

The systematic and daily anti-Muslim riots resulting in loss of life and property, and above all the sense of fear in the hearts of every Muslim, elimination of the martial Muslims from the Defence, paramilitary and police forces and brahminising of these forces, closing the doors of appointments in Govt. services and public undertakings, Brahminisation of education and mass.media like radio, TV and advertisement, elimination of Urdu as official language from those areas which form the presentday States of Punjab, Haryana, UP, Bihar, parts of Madhya Pradesh, Maharastra, Andhra Pradhesh and Karnataka overnight in 1947-48, gradual closing of Urdu schools are all examples of positive anti-Muslim policies.

On the brahminical psychological warfare side comes the cries of Personal Law amendment, now diluted as common civil code, greatness of the Indian (Hindu) culture, projection of notorious anti-Muslim personalities like “Mahatma” Gandhi, B. G. Tilak, Madan Mohan Malaviya, Veer Savarkar, Lala Laipat Rai as heroes of India to belittle the contribution of Muslims for the development and progress of the country, re-writing of Indian history, describing Muslim professions like beef-selling as a sin and glorifying cow protection policies, introduction of mechanical slaughter of animals to throw out of job butchers, declaration of import and export business carried on by Muslims as smuggling are policies through which vulnerable Indian masses are misguided, resulting in a psychological anti-Muslim bias. Muslim electoral constituencies are divided horizontally and vertically so that they don’t have an effective voting power anywhere and thrusting upon them ultra-secular Muslim leaders who have started worshipping Hindu idols and such scenes being systematically televised. Unfortunately Muslim leaders, who are dejected with the Govt., repose much confidence in Hindu masses and hope to secure their help ignoring the fact that the poor Hindu (Dalit) masses are as much victims of such a propaganda. And as on this day only seeds are being sown. The harvest is yet to come. When the harvest reason comes, what will be harvested in India is repetition of Spain, unless the Muslims resort to counter measures soon.

It is high time the Muslim/ intelligentsia rises to the occasion to undo the repetition of the history of Spain in India. Islam has always been protected by the Muslim masses and not by the classes. Rich Muslims, who are not even 5% of the Muslim population (with minor exceptions) are joining the upper caste exploiters. They may talk of Islam but they have forgotten the fellow Muslims. Please note: religion does not protect its followers, but followers protect the religion. Remember if Islam has to be saved in India, Muslims have to be saved.

Pakistan: A firmer footing

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By Farhan Bokhari and James Lamont

Yusuf Raza Gilani, Pakistan’s prime minister, likes to receive visitors in the library of the prime ministerial mansion in Islamabad, its bookshelves decorated with ceremonial swords, daggers and other armorial objects. On the leonine crest of one small shield, a gift from Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, is the motto: “Ponder the improbable”.


Charm offensive: the Pakistani army in South Waziristan, close to the Afghan border. Successful campaigns against militants here and in the Swat valley have won Islamabad praise from the US

The words are apt for Mr Gilani, and for the country’s leadership as a whole. The civilian government led by him and President Asif Ali Zardari has defied the odds by staying in power and taking on militant Taliban groups that have struck the country’s main cities and even the army’s high command in Rawalpindi. Pakistanis have held their breath for the past two years, awaiting a regime change orchestrated by General Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani, the powerful army chief. In a country blighted by military rule for most of its 63 years, such a move would not be unprecedented.

However, Gen Kiyani has opted to work with the political leadership rather than against it. Indeed, the Pakistan People’s party administration is on course to become the first democratically elected government to serve a full term for three decades. It has galvanised the nation for a fight against militants. Most recently, Islamabad has basked in the embrace of Washington as both countries tried to rebuild a troubled partnership.

The combination of these three developments puts Pakistan in one of its strongest positions for two decades. The US is left with few choices but to back the country as it seeks to win the war in Afghanistan. But to become a credible and stable American ally for the long haul, Pakistan has to reform its economy, scale back the influence of the army and improve its relationship with India, its mighty southern neighbour. Gen Kiyani, a shrewd tactician, appears to be the man on whom this depends.

Not long ago, civilian rule looked shaky. There was speculation about “Minus One”, a code in Islamabad political circles for the removal of Mr Zardari, husband of slain opposition leader and former premier Benazir Bhutto. A government stand-off with the judiciary and the opposition, which caused protests in Lahore, the second largest city, almost invited the army to step in to restore order in March last year. In addition, the Taliban came within 90km of Islamabad after capturing the Swat valley, a tourist destination.

The civilian administration looks more assured today but internal security concerns, and international engagement over Afghanistan and with India, have propelled Gen Kiyani to its side.

Although once considered a weak understudy for the president, Mr Gilani is now viewed by the military as the more popular politician and has won its support for styling himself a leader of a country on a “war footing”. His ruling party is now poised to reverse vestiges of military rule by shifting powers from the presidency to the premiership, and return Pakistan to the founding vision of a parliamentary democracy.

“We have very ably completed two years with consensus in parliament,” says Mr Gilani. “The biggest success is that we have gathered the whole nation together on one platform for a fight against terrorism and that is the biggest victory ever.”

Bigger battles lie ahead. For the US, Pakistan’s neighbours and many Pakistanis, one of the most formidable challenges is reforming the pervasive security structure, which controls everything from cornflake factories to nuclear missiles. They want a decisive break with militant organisations that continue to sow discord in India, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and pose an increasingly global threat.

Many inside and outside Pakistan continue to see the army as pre-eminent, and suspect fighting India remains its priority rather than fighting old allies among the Afghan Taliban and Punjab-based militant groups.

Yet the country has won credibility, and praise, for the latter. Its clout has grown rapidly in Washington following successful campaigns against militants in South Waziristan, close to the Afghan border, and the Swat valley, and the arrest in February of Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the Taliban military chief in Afghanistan, and four other prominent Taliban leaders this year. US diplomats say the relationship has been “transformed” in recent months. “Pakistan has shown its ability to give a direction to future events, and to bring the Taliban to the negotiating table,” says one.

But there is no doubt that the US and Nato allies want Pakistan to do more. On his visit to Afghanistan last month Barack Obama, US president, said: “We have seen already progress with respect to the military campaign [in Pakistan] against extremism, but we also want to continue to make progress on [civilian assistance].”

At the core of the relationship with America is the endgame in Afghanistan. While Mr Obama is anxious to oversee the return of most of his troops fighting there ahead of the next US presidential election in 2012 and present a successful end to the campaign, Pakistan wants financial help in return for assisting the US, and its role in the country’s future recognised with political power for its former militant allies.

It is the emphasis on the fight against militants that has changed Pakistan’s precarious political balance. His leading role in engagement with Washington, which he visited at the end of last month, has brought the publicity-shy Gen Kiyani a more public role in what Hillary Clinton, US secretary of state, has called an “integrated” civilian and military leadership. The shift started in February when Gen Kiyani publicly outlined Islamabad’s priorities on its western and eastern borders, addressing goals in Afghanistan and disputes with India.

“Kiyani is clearly driving the agenda of the US-Pakistan engagement,” says Maria Kuusisto of the Eurasia Group, a political risk consultancy. “In the run-up to the dialogue, Kiyani called the relevant [secretaries], including ministers of foreign affairs, finance and water and power, to his army headquarters for consultations – and during the dialogue, Kiyani has taken the lead in presenting Pakistan’s case.”

While the US has welcomed Gen Kiyani’s participation as reflecting a united civilian and military leadership, his increasingly public role carries risks for Pakistan.

First, if the relationship with Washington falls short of expectations, Gen Kiyani stands to get the blame within Pakistan for the failure of a dialogue he is leading. Pakistan went to to the US with a list of demands, including better trade access, speedy delivery of financial assistance, construction of new power stations and help on disputes with India over the contested territory of Kashmir and water-sharing agreements in a drought-prone region. The government is also pushing for a civil nuclear deal similar to the one struck with India, which gave its nuclear programme global legitimacy – in spite of Pakistan’s record of nuclear proliferation – in the interests of “regional stability”. It came away with little new, in spite of a warm reception from Mrs Clinton.

The talks were “more significant for their atmospherics than any tangible outcome”, says Maleeha Lodhi, Pakistan’s former ambassador to the US and the UK. “Important, however, were assurances conveyed to the Pakistani delegation that America’s long- term strategic interests were consistent with Pakistan’s security.”

Taking on the Taliban

Pakistan has arrested as many as 20 Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders in its territory this year, giving hope to the US and other western allies that a country that once provided shelter to the Afghan Taliban is increasing pressure on militants along its border with Afghanistan. The arrests by the Inter-Services Intelligence military spy agency, including that of the Afghan Taliban’s second-in-command, are seen as a disruption of the Quetta Shura, a Taliban leadership council.

According to Gen Mahmood Durrani, previously Pakistan’s ambassador to the US and a former national security adviser, “The general’s presence is ‘optical’ to suggest that the army is going under the civil leaders’ [authority].”

Second, a more prominent role for the army is likely to reinforce the notion that the military is the most powerful force in the land, and that the civilian leadership is near irrelevant. This would be a stumbling block for recently restarted talks between Pakistan and India. New Delhi often complains that, with a choice between a weak civilian leadership and a powerful anti-Indian army, it does not know whom to talk to in Islamabad.

Indian commentators view American-trained Gen Kiyani as a chip off the old block. They are mistrustful of his past in the Inter-Services Intelligence, the nerve centre of the security system, and of his role as a commander in the 1990s on Pakistan’s side of the Line of Control in Kashmir at a time when cross-border insurgency increased. India’s diplomats are alarmed by what they see as his calculating introduction of water as a source of dispute. Some more hawkish analysts say water shortages in south Asia, rather than Kashmir, threaten to fuel future jihadi violence.

Gen Kiyani has impressed on the global stage, however. “The bluster that marked Musharraf has been dumped for quiet gravitas,” says Indrani Bagchi, diplomatic editor of the Times of India. She believes he is capable of outmanoeuvring India and Afghanistan at international meetings, such as January’s London conference on Afghanistan, where Pakistan’s role as a partner for the US and Nato in Afghanistan was boosted.

Third, a larger role for the army is unlikely to address some of the country’s gravest issues: the economy and internal administrative reform. Failure to oversee a robust set of economic reforms is risky in a country of 180m, mainly poor, people. Pakistan has made little progress in securing better trade access to European Union markets and larger preferential quotas for entry to the US. Uncertainty is mounting over government promises to the International Monetary Fund to strengthen the economy and a widening fiscal deficit.

“Can [Pakistan’s] policies be taken seriously when we have gone through three international financial bail-outs in the last 12 years and you can still not be certain if another one in the future will be required?” says Abid Hasan, former adviser on Pakistan to the World Bank. “There are long-term issues related to the rule of law, politics, governance and the economy.”

. . .

There is a sense in Pakistan that the military is in the ascendant; and for some this is welcome. “The Pakistani army is a very sophisticated army,” says Khurshid Kasuri, foreign minister under General Pervez Musharraf. “These people have been to defence universities all over the world. They have been to security conferences.”

Those in the wider region are less enthusiastic. Lalit Mansingh, former Indian foreign secretary, says Gen Kiyani is stepping into a more political role, though it is not clear how far he will go. He says a key question will be whether he extends his term as a service chief, a decision that must be taken by Mr Zardari. Gen Shuja Pasha, ISI head and an ally of Gen Kiyani, this year extended his term on grounds that it was not appropriate to replace him in the heat of battle. Other senior generals, such as Lt Gen Khalid Kidwai, chief of strategic plans division, have not stepped aside.

Gen Kiyani is due to step down in November but now looks nearly indispensable. “The really substantive, and strategic, exchanges [in Washington] took place outside the formal dialogue process in unpublicised meetings including a dinner hosted by Admiral [Mike] Mullen [the senior US military commander] and attended by Gen Kiyani,” says Ms Lodhi.

With the army at the head of the table and its chief likely to shun retirement, “Ponder the Improbable” may yet prove to be a fitting epitaph for a civilian government once again edged aside by the generals.