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November

پاک افغان تعلقات میں مدوجزر ۔ حقائق کی روشنی میں

تحریر:سمیع اللہ سمیع

دنیامیں طاقت کی رسہ کشی درحقیقت وسائل کی کھینچاتانی سے مشروط رہی ہے۔ افغانستان وہ بدقسمت ملک ہے جس کی سرحدوں سے انیسویں صدی کے وسط سے تاحال سپرپاورزکی آنکھ مچولی جاری ہے۔فرق بس اتناپڑاہے کہ اب برطانیہ کی جگہ امریکہ نے لے لی ہے جبکہ روس نسبتاًکمزورہونے کے باعث بیک فٹ پر لڑرہاہے۔بہت سے افغانی پرامیدہیں کہ روسی وزیراعظم ولادی میرپیوٹن اورڈونلڈٹرمپ دوطرفہ تعلقات میں بہتری لائیں گے توافغانستان چکی کے پاٹوں میںمزید پسنے سے محفوظ رہ جائے گا۔1930کی، افغانی معدنی وسائل پر،جرمن رپورٹ سے اب تک کی تازہ رپورٹ کے مطابق افغانستان میں 3ٹریلین ڈالرسے زائدکے معدنی وسائل موجودہیں ۔سی این بی سی اپنی ویب سائٹ پر لکھتاہے کہ افغان جنگ پر خرچ ہونے والے700 بلین ڈالراب امریکہ وہاں کے معدنی ذخائرسے حاصل کرے گا۔
United States Institute of Peace
کے مطابق افغانستان میں
Aynak
کے مقام پر
copper
کے ذخائرکی لاگت پچاس بلین ڈالرہے ۔سی این بی سی کے مطابق 1997میں افغان طالبان کاایک وفدیونین آئل کمپنی آف کیلی فورنیا
(UNOCAL)
سے گیس پائپ لائن کے دوبلین ڈالرکے منصوبے پر رضامند ہوا لیکن افغان طالبان چاہتے تھے کہ امریکہ انھیںسرکاری سطح پرتسلیم کرے، اسی بناپر یہ معاہدہ نہ ہو سکا۔ افغانستان کی 80فیصدآبادی کاتعلق زراعت کے پیشہ سے ہے جبکہ وہ اپنی ضرورت کی 24پروڈکٹس پاکستان سے درآمدکرتاہے جن میں چاول، ادویات اوردوسری روزمرہ کی اشیاء شامل ہیں۔اس طرح افغانستان پاکستانی مال کا تیسرا بڑاخریدارہے اوراس کی بیرون ملک برآمدات بھی پاکستان کے ساتھ اس کے 2010کے معاہدے۔
APTTA
کے تحت ہوتی ہیں۔ 2014کے آخرمیں افغانستان کی کمرشل ٹرانزٹ پچھترہزارسے کم ہوکرپینتیس ہزارتک رہ گئی جوہمارے لئے لمحہ فکریہ ہے جبکہ 2014کے آغاز پردوطرفہ تجارت کی شرح دوبلین ڈالرتھی۔اس کی خاص وجوہات ایرانی راستے کی آسانیاں، کرایہ اور کار گو اخراجات کی کمی اورڈالرکے مقابلے میں ایرانی کرنسی کی کم مالیت ہیں۔
اس وقت امریکی پالیسی اورآئی ایس کی بڑھتی ہوئی سرگرمیوں نے چین، ایران اورروس کومجبورکردیاہے کہ وہ افغانستان میں اپنے اثرورسوخ میں اضافہ کریں ۔خطے کے ان تین ممالک کامؤقف ہے کہ امریکہ افغانستان میں امن نہیں چاہتااوروہ اپنے آپ کوافغانستان کے لئے ناگزیر ثابت کرنے کی خاطربہت سے اقدامات اٹھا سکتا ہے۔ جیساکہ سابق افغان صدرحامدکرزئی نے
Russian TV
کو انٹرویودیتے ہوئے کہاکہ یہ سوال قابل غورہے کہ امریکی سکیورٹی فورسز اورسی آئی اے کی موجودگی میں دہشت گردتنظیم دولت اسلامیہ کاافغانستان میں واردہونااوربتدریج قوت بڑھانا کیسے ممکن ہوا؟انھوں نے کہاکہ امریکہ توافغانستان میں قیامِ امن کے لئے آیا تھا لیکن اس کے آنے کے بعدعدم استحکام،معاشی ابتری اوردہشت گردی میں اضافہ ہوا ہے۔ انہوں نے دوٹوک اندازمیں کہاکہ افغانیوں کو ہراساں کرنا، بمباری اور قتل وغارت سمیت جیلیں بھرناجیسے اقدامات اپنی اہمیت کھوبیٹھے ہیں۔ہمیں قیامِ امن کے لئے راہیں بھی پرامن ڈھونڈناہوں گی۔جب ان سے سوال کیاگیاکہ کیا امریکہ دولت اسلامیہ کوافغانستان میں اسلحہ فراہم کررہاہے ؟توانہوں نے بلاجھجک اس بات کااظہارکیاکہ میرے پاس لوگ آتے ہیں اوربتاتے ہیں کہ کیسے بے رنگ ہیلی کاپٹرروزانہ کی بنیادپراسلحہ لے کرآئی ایس کے مختلف ٹھکانوں تک پہنچاتے ہیں اورایساپورے افغانستان میں کیاجارہاہے۔اپنی بات کوجاری رکھتے ہوئے انھوں نے کہاکہ ہمیں یہ حق حاصل ہے کہ ہم پوچھیں کہ امریکہ کی موجودگی میں داعش کیسے پھیلی جبکہ وہ تو طالبان والقاعدہ کوختم کرنے آیاتھا۔انھوں نے دل کے پھپھولے پھوڑتے ہوئے مزیدکہاکہ افغانستان میں امریکی عملداری کاتویہ حال ہے کہ جب امریکی وزیردفاع جنرل میٹس افغانستان کی سرزمین پرقیام پذیر تھے تووہ کابل ائرپورٹ کوبھی محفوظ نہ بناسکے ۔ان کی یہ بات طالبان کی اس بات کی کسی حدتک تصدیق کرتی ہے کہ وہ آج بھی افغانستان کے آدھے حصے پر قابض ہیں۔انھوں نے پاکستان سے افغانستان کے تعلقات کوبہتربنانے کی اہمیت پربھی زوردیا۔

گزشتہ ماہ پشاورمیں الوداعی تقریب سے خطاب کرتے ہوئے افغان قونصل جنرل عبدالوحیدپوہان نے کہاکہ کچھ طاقتیں پاکستان اورافغانستان کوایک دوسرے سے دوررکھناچاہتی ہیں۔پاکستان وافغانستان کے بہترتعلقات نہ صرف اس خطے کے لئے بلکہ حالیہ حالات کے لئے بھی ناگزیرہیں۔

گزشتہ ماہ پشاورمیں الوداعی تقریب سے خطاب کرتے ہوئے افغان قونصل جنرل عبدالوحیدپوہان نے کہاکہ کچھ طاقتیں پاکستان اورافغانستان کوایک دوسرے سے دوررکھناچاہتی ہیں۔پاکستان وافغانستان کے بہترتعلقات نہ صرف اس خطے کے لئے بلکہ حالیہ حالات کے لئے بھی ناگزیرہیں۔انھوں نے اپنے جذبات کا اظہارکرتے ہوئے کہاکہ میں جتناعرصہ پشاورمیں رہا، مجھے محسوس ہی نہیں ہواکہ میں کسی دوسرے ملک میں آیاہواہوں ۔دونوں ممالک کے عوام ایک دوسرے کے قریب ہیں ۔افغان صدرسے جب بھی ملاقات ہوئی انھوں نے پاکستان کے ساتھ بہترتعلقات کی تلقین کی۔


افغان صدراشرف غنی نے اقتدارسنبھالتے ہی پاکستان سے بہترتعلقات کاعندیہ دیاتھالیکن پھررفتہ رفتہ سب کچھ سرد خانے کی نذرہوگیاجس میں آرمی پبلک سکول کاواقعہ ایک بڑامحرک تھا۔حالیہ بیجنگ کانفرنس میں افغان صدراشرف غنی نے اپنی مستقبل کی خارجہ پالیسی کے پانچ سرکلز بیان کئے جس میں پاکستان کو پہلے اوربھارت کو چوتھے سرکل میں رکھاگیایہ پاکستان کے بارے میں افغانستان کی پالیسی کایوٹرن ہے جو کہ ایک خوش آئندقدم ہے۔اس میں دونوں ممالک کی سول وملٹری قیادت کے دوروں اورنیک نیتی کاعمل دخل ہے۔19 ستمبرکواقوام متحدہ کی جنرل اسمبلی سے خطاب کرتے ہوئے بھی اشرف غنی کایہی کہناتھاکہ وہ پاکستان سے بہترتعلقات کے خواہاں ہیں۔ اس سے اگلے روز، بدھ کوافغان سفیر عمرزخیلوال نے پاکستان کے آرمی چیف جنرل قمرجاویدباجوہ سے ملاقات کی جس میں انھوں نے دونوں ممالک کے مابین تعلقات کی بہتری کے لئے نہ صرف آرمی چیف کی کوششوں کوسراہابلکہ امیدظاہرکی کہ وہ دونوں ممالک کو قریب لانے میں مزیدکرداراداکریں گے۔اس دوران ٹرمپ کی نئی افغان پالیسی اورخطے میں سکیورٹی کے حوالے سے بھی بات چیت کی گئی۔اس میٹنگ میں دونوں ممالک کے باہمی تعاون پر بھی اطمینان کااظہارکیاگیا۔

pakafghantaluqmado.jpg
آرمی چیف جنرل قمرجاویدباجوہ نے اپنے پہلے دورہ افغانستان کے نہایت مثبت نتائج حاصل کئے ۔اس دورہ میں ان کے ساتھ آئی ایس آئی کے ڈائریکٹر جنرل لیفٹیننٹ جنرل نویدمختاربھی شامل تھے۔صدراشرف غنی کے ساتھ ون ٹوون ملاقات تقریباً ڈیڑھ گھنٹہ جاری رہی جس میںغلط فہمیوں کے ازالے اوردونوں ممالک میں امن واستحکام کوجاری رکھنے کے لئے مختلف سطح کے مذاکراتی عمل کو تواترکے ساتھ جاری رکھنے پربھی اتفاق کیاگیا۔آرمی چیف نے قیامِ امن کے لئے افغان سکیورٹی فورسز کی تربیت کی بھی پیشکش کی ۔پاک فوج کے ترجمان نے اس دورہ کے بعد کہاکہ اس ملاقات کی سب سے اچھی بات یہ تھی کہ اس کے بعد کوئی منفی بیان سامنے نہیں آیا۔اس ملاقات کے بعدایک مثبت ماحول کی تعمیرمیں مددملی اورافغانستان اب سمجھ رہاہے کہ پاکستان اس کے لئے کتنا مثبت کرداراداکرسکتاہے۔


ڈونلڈٹرمپ کی21 اگست کی نئی افغان پالیسی کے مندرجات تووقت کے ساتھ ساتھ طشت ازبام ہوہی جائیں گے لیکن اس کی ایک جھلک یہ ہے کہ ستمبر 2017 میں افغانستان کی سرزمین پر موجوددہشت گردوں کے ٹھکانوں پر 751 بم پھینکے گئے جوکہ 2012کے بعد کسی ایک ماہ میں سب سے زیادہ تعداد ہے۔ مزے کی بات یہ ہے کہ ابھی تک امریکہ نے افغان طالبان کو محض مزاحمت کار قرار دیا ہواہے اورہمیں ڈومورکے چکرمیں الجھارکھاہے۔یہ وہی افغان پالیسی ہے جسے ستمبر میں سابق صدر حامدکرزئی نے افغانستان کے مسائل میں اضافے کاسبب قراردیاہے جبکہ اقوام متحدہ کی جنرل اسمبلی سے خطاب میں افغانی صدراشرف غنی نے اس بات پراطمینان کااظہارکیاہے کہ صدرٹرمپ نے مزید ٹروپس بھیج کر انتہاپسندوں کویہ پیغام دیاہے کہ ان کے لئے بہترراستہ میدان جنگ نہیں بلکہ مذاکرات کی میزہے۔یہ عجب اسرارہے کہ جب پاکستان،چین، امریکہ وافغانستان کے مابین جنوری 2016 میںفورنیشن پیس ٹاک شروع کی جاتی ہیں تو پانچویں سیشن میں کابل سے خبرلیک کی جاتی ہے کہ ملاعمرکراچی میں وفات پاچکے ہیں اورپاکستان نے اس لئے خبرکوعام نہیں کیا کہ طالبان پر اثرورسوخ میں کمی نہ آئے۔ پھراکیس مئی2016 میں ڈرون اٹیک کر کے طالبان رہنما ملااخترمنصور کو اگلی دنیا میں پہنچا دیا جاتاہے۔ دنیاپریہ ظاہر کیا جاتا ہے کہ یہ پاکستانی علاقے میں موجودتھے جبکہ ذرائع بتاتے ہیں کہ وہ ایران سے مذاکرات کرکے واپس جارہے تھے۔ اس وقت سے اب تک فورنیشن پیس ٹاک سردخانے کی نذر رہے۔ دوسری جانب پاکستانی سرزمین پر انٹیلی جینس شئیرنگ کے معاملے پرپاکستان نے کرم ایجنسی میں کارروائی کرتے ہوئے5 کینیڈین مغویوں کو بازیاب کرایاہے۔ دفترخارجہ کے ترجمان نفس زکریانے اس حوالے سے کہاہے کہ پاکستان سے زیادہ بہترکارروائی پاکستا ن کی سرزمین پر کوئی نہیں کر سکتا۔ امریکی وزیردفاع جیمزمیٹس اورامریکی صدرنے اس کارروائی کودونوں ممالک کے مابین ایک مثبت پیش رفت قراردیاہے۔ اس معاملے پر ڈی جی آئی ایس پی آر میجرجنرل آصف غفور نے وضاحت کرتے ہوئے کہا کہ امریکہ کی انٹیلی جینس شئیرنگ پر کارروائی پاک فوج ہی کرے گی کہ اس میں دہشت گردی سے نمٹنے کی صلاحیت موجود ہے، مشترکہ آپریشن کی کوئی صورت قابلِ قبول نہیں۔ضرورت اس امرکی ہے کہ اعتمادکی فضاقائم کی جائے۔


اقوام متحدہ کے 72ویں اجلاس کے بعد ایشیا سوسائٹی فورم سے بات کرتے ہوئے پاکستانی وزیرخارجہ خواجہ آصف نے کہا کہ امریکہ افغانستان میں اپنی ناکامیوں کو چھپانے کے لئے پاکستان کو قربانی کابکرانہ بنائے۔انھوں نے امریکہ کومتنبہ کیاکہ وہ پاکستان کوحقانی نیٹ ورک کے حوالے سے الزام دیناچھوڑدے، دو تین عشرے قبل یہی لوگ آپ کے
Darling
تھے ۔انھوں نے زوردیتے ہوئے کہا کہ جن لوگوں کوآج امریکہ زمین پر بوجھ قراردے رہاہے ،یہی لوگ دوتین عشرے قبل وائٹ ہائوس کے چہیتے تھے ۔انھوں نے مزید کہاکہ امریکہ نے ماضی میں بھی ہمارے لئے مشکلات کھڑی کی ہیں اوراب بھی شدت پسندی میں اضافے کا موجب بن رہاہے۔ پاکستان کے وزیراعظم شاہدخاقان عباسی نے بھی کہاکہ دنیاکوچاہئے کہ پاکستان کی دہشت گردی کے ضمن میں خدمات کوسراہے، اگر اسی طرح الزامات کاسلسلہ جاری رہاتو یہ خطے کے امن کے لئے سازگار ثابت نہ ہوگا۔انھوں نے یہ بھی کہاکہ پاکستان کوفوجی ضروریات کے لئے امریکہ پرزیادہ انحصارکی ضرورت نہیں ہے۔ اگرکسی کاایک راستہ بندکیاجائے تووہ لامحالہ دوسرا راستہ اختیارکرے گا۔


ضرورت اس امرکی ہے کہ افغان حکومت پاکستان کے ساتھ تعلقات میں کسی بھی تیسرے ملک کے منفی اثرات قبول نہ کرے ۔ بھارت جیساملک افغانستان کی سرزمین پر موجودہے ،ان کی اسمبلیوں میں لابنگ کررہاہے ،وہ کبھی نہیں چاہے گاکہ پاکستان وافغانستان کے تعلقات بحال ہوں اورجندال کے ذریعے لوہے کے بہترین ذخائربھارت کے ہاتھ لگیں ۔مختلف ذرائع اس بات کی تائید کررہے ہیںکہ لوہے کوبھارت تک پہنچانے کے لئے سجن جندال پاکستان سے واہگہ کازمینی راستہ مانگ رہاہے جسے قبول کرناپاکستان کے مفاد میں نہیں۔

ضرورت اس امرکی ہے کہ افغان حکومت پاکستان کے ساتھ تعلقات میں کسی بھی تیسرے ملک کے منفی اثرات قبول نہ کرے ۔ بھارت جیساملک افغانستان کی سرزمین پر موجودہے ،ان کی اسمبلیوں میں لابنگ کررہاہے ،وہ کبھی نہیں چاہے گاکہ پاکستان وافغانستان کے تعلقات بحال ہوں اورجندال کے ذریعے لوہے کے بہترین ذخائربھارت کے ہاتھ لگیں ۔مختلف ذرائع اس بات کی تائید کررہے ہیںکہ لوہے کوبھارت تک پہنچانے کے لئے سجن جندال پاکستان سے واہگہ کازمینی راستہ مانگ رہاہے جسے قبول کرناپاکستان کے مفاد میں نہیں۔


چارفریقی مذاکرات کا آغازہوچکاہے۔اس دوران امریکہ کی جانب سے کرم ایجنسی کی مخالف سمت افغانستان کے جنوب مشرقی صوبے پکتیا میںڈرون حملوں کے بعد طالبان کی جانب سے کئے گئے حملوں میں صوبائی پولیس آفیسر سمیت افغانستان کو 72افراد کی قربانی دینا پڑی ۔پکتیامیں حالیہ دہشت گردی کی واردات پر آرمی چیف جنرل قمرجاویدباجوہ نے کہاکہ دہشت گردی سے لڑنے والے افغان ہمارے بہادر بھائی ہیں،خطے کے استحکام کے لئے ہم مل کرلڑیں گے اور دہشت گردوں کوشکست دیں گے ۔اس موقع پر آئی ایس پی آرکی جانب سے اس بات کی تردید کی گئی کہ کرم ایجنسی میں کوئی ڈرون حملہ ہواہے۔آرمی چیف کے دورہ افغانستان کے بعد دونوں ممالک کی افواج کے تعاون اور باہمی اعتمادمیں اضافہ ہوا ہے۔ریزولیوٹ سپورٹ مشن
Resolute Support Missiom
کے تحت اطلاعات کابروقت تبادلہ کیاگیا۔ چار فریقی مذاکرات کے حوالے سے بات کرتے ہوئے پاکستانی وزیرخارجہ خواجہ آصف نے کہاکہ ہم نے طالبان کو کوئی محبت کاپیغام نہیں بھیجا، ان مذاکرات کے دوران امریکہ کوڈرون حملوں سے اجتناب برتناچاہئے اورہم اکیلے طالبان کومیزتک نہیں لاسکتے، اس ضمن میں افغان حکومت کا بھی تعاون درکار ہے۔
چار فریقی مذاکرات کے بعد بلوچستان میں دہشت گردی کے واقعے نے اس بات کاعندیہ دے دیاہے کہ خطے کاکون ساملک افغانستان میں قیام امن کی راہ میں رکاوٹیں کھڑی کرناچاہتاہے اورکس طرح کی بزدلانہ حرکات کرکے پاکستان کے عزائم کو پست کرنے کی سعیِ ناکام میں مصروفِ عمل ہے۔


خطے کی بدلتی ہوئی صورتحال اس بات کی غمازی کررہی ہے کہ اگر امریکہ نے ہوش کے ناخن نہ لئے اورجنگ کوجنگ سے ختم کرنے یااپنی طاقت کے زعم میں بھارت کوآگے لاکرخطے میں عدم توازن کی کوئی بھی کوشش کی تواس کے نتائج نہ صرف اس خطے کے لئے بلکہ اس خطے میں امریکہ کے مفادات کے لئے بھی بدتر ثابت ہوں گے۔آرمی چیف کے دورہ افغانستان کے بعددونوں ممالک کے مابین بڑھتی قربتیں کسی تیسرے ملک کو ان کے درمیان دراڑیں ڈالنے سے روک رہی ہیں۔ افغان صدر نے بھی پاکستان کادورہ کرنا ہے جس کے پاک افغان تعلقات پر یقینا نہایت مثبت اثرات مرتب ہوں گے۔ ان حالات کے تناظر میں قوی امید ہے کہ اس خطے کے عوام اپنے بہترمستقبل کے لئے کسی کادست نگررہنے کے بجائے آپس کے تعاون سے مسائل کاحل نکال لیں گے۔بصورت دیگراغیار ان کی معدنیات سمیت ان کاچین بھی چھین کے رہیں گے۔

مضمون نگار لاہور سے شائع ہونے والے ایک قومی اخبار کے ساتھ وابستہ ہیں۔

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10
October

Between the Brothers: Pak-Iran Relations

Written By: Ambassador (R) Khalid Aziz Babar

THE first 32 years of Pakistan-Iran relations were marked by cordiality and friendship. Iran was the first country to recognise Pakistan and Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi was the first Head of State to visit Pakistan in March 1950. In May 1950, a treaty of friendship was signed by Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan and the Shah. Both countries were allies of the United States and closely cooperated with each other in the political and military fields. Iran supported Pakistan on the Kashmir issue and backed it during the 1965 and 1971 wars. 

 

However, the intensity of the cordiality started to wane after the Islamic revolution in Iran in 1979. The relations gradually became tense, complex, and difficult. From a close ally of the United States, Tehran became an enemy of Washington overnight due to the latter’s close relationship with the Shah’s regime. Although, Pakistan did not waste any time in recognizing the Islamic revolution, Tehran started to view Pakistan with suspicion due to its military cooperation with the United States following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.

 

betthebroth.jpgThe ties strained after the withdrawal of the Soviet forces from Afghanistan in 1988. While Iran supported the Persian speaking Afghan leader of the Northern Alliance Ahmed Shah Masood, Pakistan favoured the Pashtun leader of Hezb-e Islami, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.


The relations further dipped in 1998 after Tehran accused the Taliban of killing 11 Iranian diplomats, 35 Iranian truck drivers and an Iranian journalist in Mazar-i-Sharif and deployed over 300,000 troops on the Afghan border and threatened to attack Afghanistan. This also strained relations with Pakistan.


The worst period of relations was after the emergence of the Jundallah group, a Sunni faith Iranian militant group blamed for several deadly bombing attacks inside Iran. On October 18, 2009, the Iranian city of Sarbaz in Sistan-Baluchestan was attacked by a suicide bomber, killing 42 people including senior Iranian security personnel and tribal chiefs. Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused ‘some elements in Pakistan’ of involvement. Tehran also blamed the United States, Britain, Saudi Arabia for being behind Jundallah attacks. During this period, a number of other factors caused further anguish in Tehran such as the U.S. drone flights close to the Iranian border taking off from Pakistan’s Shamsi Airfield; frequent border skirmishes between the Iranian border guards and smugglers and terrorist elements at the Sarawan and other border points, and Iran’s disquiet over Pakistan’s support to Bahrain security forces.


Although on November 19, 2010, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appealed to Muslims worldwide to support the freedom struggle in Jammu and Kashmir, Iran’s support to Pakistan on the Kashmir issue has been diminishing since then.


The relations took a positive turn after 2011 following Pakistan’s decision to ask the U.S. to vacate the Shamsi Airbase and subsequent elimination of the Jundallah. Former President Zardari visited Iran five times from 2011 to 2013, one of which was to participate in the ground breaking ceremony of the construction of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project.


Following the agreement on the nuclear issue between the West and Iran, we can now restart the gas pipeline project. The accord envisages to supply 750 million cubic feet of natural gas per day to Pakistan, which can also be used for the production of 4,000 Megawatts (MW) of power generation per day. Iran is already supplying 74 MW of electricity to Pakistan’s border town of ‘Mand’ and adjoining areas. The second electricity project is the supply of 100 MW of electricity to the port city of ‘Gwadar’.
There are several other initiatives which should be pursued by both sides vigorously such as the opening of new border crossing posts at Gabd-Rimdan point, close to the Gwadar Port, and Mand-Pashin point around the middle of the 900 km border. The opening of the two new border posts will significantly boost bilateral trade as goods trucks from Karachi will be able to cross into Iran within a day. Currently, there is only one border post at Taftan–Mirjaveh point and trucks from Karachi have to go to Quetta first and then to Taftan border post, making the journey to Iran at least twice as long compared to the direct route along the Makran Coastal Highway to Gabd-Rimdan border point. Trade between the two countries is currently insignificant accounting for less than half a billion dollars. An agreement to open the two new posts was reached in Tehran in 2011 during talks between former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and former Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani. However, the agreement was not implemented by the Iranians due to bureaucratic hurdles. According to a news report, an agreement was again reached during President Rouhani’s visit to Islamabad in March this year.


There have also been discussions on a number of other projects in the past such as the construction of the crude oil pipeline, up gradation of 633 kms Quetta-Zahidan railway track, construction of 143 km Noushki-Dalbandin Highway, and supply of 1,000 MW of electricity from Zahidan to Quetta through a transmission line. These projects could be examined again.


Strain in relations with Iran gives space to India to exploit the situation and stab us in the back by orchestrating terrorist attacks, and involving us in proxy wars with our neighbours. Iran and India are already cooperating in the development of the strategic Chabahar Port, which is close to our Gwadar Port, and the construction of a road link from Chabahar into Afghanistan, bypassing Pakistan. Iran also appears to be overlooking the subversive activities of the Indian consulate in Zahidan which is engaged in planning terrorist attacks inside Balochistan. The issue of Kulbushan Yadav capture from Iranian soil impling use of Iranian soil against Pakistan is a new thorn in Pak-Iran relation that must be removed.


At the minimum, the most important challenge for us today is to keep our borders with Iran free from tension and to have cordial relations with Tehran. Pakistan-Iran border of around 900 km is the largest stretch of our border on which Pakistan has not deployed its regular troops, saving us millions of rupees annually which otherwise would have been spent on stationing and maintaining troops on the border between the two countries. Pakistan must not allow this situation to change. And, the same formula also applies to Iran, too.

 

The writer served as Ambassador to the Islamic Republic of Iran from 2011 to 2013.

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06
November

Armed Forces’ Support to CPEC

Written By: S. M. Hali

It is heartening that the Armed Forces of Pakistan have pledged to not only support CPEC but safeguard it with their resources so that the mega project achieves fruition.

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is the flagship project of President Xi Jinping’s visionary One Belt, One Road (OBOR) mega development venture. CPEC commences from the deep sea port of Gwadar and terminates at Kashgar in the Xinjiang province of China, from where it merges into OBOR and fans out to the Central Asian States to the north and through mainland China to the east. OBOR is also known as the New Silk Road (NSR) and its essential component is the Maritime Silk Road.

 

armedforcessup.jpgThe CPEC holds hope for the people of Pakistan but has also given rise to controversies based on fallacies created by few objectors. The current government, which is the prime mover for the project in Pakistan, has tried to allay doubts regarding the mega project. It has also explained its various dimensions, which somehow have been overlooked by a few fickle minded people. Finally, broad consensus appears to have been reached and the project is gradually moving forward.


It is imperative to realize the OBOR or the NSR project, of which the CPEC is but one part since it promises prosperity and development not only for China and Pakistan but also for many countries located on the ancient Silk Road, particularly the landlocked Central Asia. This project has pinned hopes for progress, prosperity, growth and development on an infrastructure akin to the historic Silk Road. The zeal is cognisable because developing industries demand new markets; technological innovations facilitate international cooperation; better transportation and logistics increase trade efficiency; and growing energy demands require international cooperation. The advent of New Silk Road projects will act as a catalyst towards generating regional cooperation, building political flexibility, enhancing economic growth, offering trade diversifications, investing in transportation, mining and energy sectors.

 

armedforcessup1.jpgCentral Asian Republics bounded by the closed economy of the erstwhile USSR and limited by their geographical location, offering inadequate connectivity, are now being presented with an epoch making opportunity to play their destined roles in world economy. Their enthusiasm knows no bounds because suddenly they are being proffered the unique opportunity to become part of not one but a wide array of infrastructures, circumnavigating the entire globe. Traditionally, it was envisaged that media had shrunk the world to a global village and now it is the Silk Road concept which is bringing nations, races, continents and people closer in a tight-knit community sharing their resources of production, services, energy, information and understanding.


The CPEC is a comprehensive 15 year development project between Pakistan and China spanning 2015-2030 that entails the linking of Gwadar Port to China’s north-western region of Xinjiang through highways, railways, oil and gas pipelines, and an optical fiber link. Strategic energy cooperation between the two countries had been implemented before the proposal of the conception of the corridor. During the former Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao’s visit to Pakistan in December 2010, the National Energy Administration (NEA) of China and the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources of Pakistan issued a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the establishment of energy working-group mechanism. The first meeting of this group was held in August 2011, during which both sides had a thorough exchange of views on the development of electricity, coal, oil, gas and new energy industries. A cooperative program was generated to help Pakistan alleviate energy shortages at the second meeting in Pakistan in May 2012. The group was absorbed in the framework of the CPEC in 2013. At the third meeting in January 2014, both the countries reached consensus on nuclear power, electricity, coal and renewable energy, and agreed to set up a research team to promote energy cooperation for the construction of the CPEC, mainly including coal exploitation, oil and gas extraction, mining and transportation, and electric wire net arrangement, etc.


It is worth mentioning that Pakistan Army had already explored the possibilities of an inter-linked road network in 1997.¹ President Xi Jinping envisaged the project in 2013; subsequently, it was floated in Pakistan during the visit of China’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang in May 2013. Although Pakistan had just undergone General Elections in 2013, Premier Li met Pakistan’s Caretaker Prime Minister, President Zardari and Prime Minister designate Nawaz Sharif to reach important consensus on planning and constructing the CPEC. In February 2014, Pakistan’s President Mamnoon Hussain visited China to discuss the plans for an economic corridor in Pakistan. During Prime Minister Sharif’s visit to China in July 2013, the construction of the CPEC was reiterated. April 2015 was a historic month for Sino-Pakistan relations when Chinese President Xi and Pakistani Prime Minister Sharif signed an agreement worth USD 46 billion for the CPEC.


A discussion on the technical, financial and logistical dimensions of CPEC is beyond the scope of this article but it is imperative to note that the mega project faces a number of challenges. Major threat to the CPEC is from the risks to Pakistan’s security and stability. Militants in the tribal areas, insurgency in Balochistan, violence in Karachi, and growing religious extremism are believed to be serious causes of concern.


India has strong reservations regarding the CPEC – prior to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Beijing in September 2014 – it formally registered a strong protest against the construction of CPEC. According to Indian media, Chinese Ambassador to New Delhi was summoned by the External Affairs’ Ministry and informed that since the project was also being routed through Kashmir over which India staked claims, it had serious reservations.² President Xi had dismissed the objections, describing the economic corridor as a “commercial project.”³


Reportedly, in addition to opposing the CPEC, Indians have unleashed their spy agency RAW to sabotage the project. Pakistan’s Ministry of Interior officials have stated that their Chinese counterparts in a special briefing have expressed these fears. The arrest of Commander Kulbhushan Jadhav, a senior RAW operative from Balochistan proved Pakistan’s allegations correct. Commander Jadhav sang like a canary and divulged that he is a serving Indian Navy officer, who had been recruited to operate from Chabahar in Iran and establish a terror network in Balochistan, to enlist Baloch youth, train them for the use of deadly weapons, arm and incite them to wreak havoc to sabotage CPEC. Commander Jadhav’s incarceration, trial and sentencing may have impeded Indian machinations but reportedly, contingency plans have been put in place and RAW is working overtime to disrupt CPEC.


Besides India, there are other detractors of CPEC and OBOR. According to the ‘String of Pearls’ theory, coined in 2005 by the U.S. consulting firm Booz Allen Hamilton, China will try to expand its naval presence by building civilian maritime infrastructure along the Indian Ocean periphery.⁴ This corridor is one of the many mega-projects planned by China in Central, South and South-East Asia for expanding its political and economic influence to counter the relatively better established U.S. sphere of influence in the region. The U.S. has a similar agenda in the form of ‘Pivot to Asia’, which is aimed at countering China’s economic and military expansion in Asia-Pacific. According to a report published in 2013 by the London-based policy think tank Chatham House, ‘The increasing complexity of the Asia-Pacific region demands U.S. attention, and the United States remains well-positioned to play a pivotal role in the region through the 21st century.’ Resultantly, the U.S. has partnered itself with key players in the region such as India, Japan, Indonesia and Singapore to prevent China from spreading its influence.


The big power game has placed Pakistan in a unique position. It can potentially balance the major power rivalries and promote trade cooperation in the region as it enjoys good relations with both the West and China. Historically, there is precedence when a similar initiative had been taken by General Yahya Khan’s regime in 1970 that brought the two great powers China and the U.S. on the diplomatic table and, in current scenario a trade-oriented diplomacy by Pakistan can help reduce the complexities of this rivalry.


The U.S. opposition to CPEC and OBOR has now come out in the open with Secretary of Defence Jim Mattis’ briefing to the Senate Armed Services Committee that the U.S. opposes the OBOR project since it runs through disputed territory. $56 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), an important element of OBOR passes through Pakistan’s northern areas, which India claims is part of the disputed Jammu and Kashmir territory.


Paradoxically, the OBOR and CPEC are development projects and aim to bring economic prosperity to the region including the residents of Jammu and Kashmir. Contrast this with the Muslim population of Indian Occupied Kashmir, who are facing a reign of terror since 1947 and are currently being targeted with pellet guns for raising slogans of freedom. According to international and independent human rights organizations, the incessant use of pellet guns has martyred more than 200 Kashmiris and blinded over 3,600 youth. Instead of taking cognizance of the brutality faced by Kashmiris under Indian subjugation, the U.S. begrudges the development of Jammu and Kashmir.


It is heartening that the Armed Forces of Pakistan have pledged to not only support CPEC but safeguard it with their resources so that the mega project achieves fruition.


Pakistan Army has deployed the Special Security Division (SSD), a newly raised division of Pakistan Army tasked with providing security to the under construction CPEC and the workforce employed on the project. Operating under the command of a Major General, the 15,000 men force will guard CPEC and provide aerial support and state-of-the-art surveillance and monitoring systems to pre-empt terror attacks. The unit comprises 9 army composite battalions (9,000 personnel) and six civil armed forces (CAFs) wings (6,000 personnel). The security force consists of highly trained Special Forces potent enough to counter any threat emerging to the mega project of CPEC. The first convoy of goods shipped from Kashgar was guarded during transit by units of the Pakistan Army all the way to Gwadar, from where the containers were put on board different merchant vessels bound for various destinations.

Contrast this with the Muslim population of Indian Occupied Kashmir, who are facing a reign of terror since 1947 and are currently being targeted with pellet guns for raising slogans of freedom. According to international and independent human rights organizations, the incessant use of pellet guns has martyred more than 200 Kashmiris and blinded over 3,600 youth. Instead of taking cognizance of the brutality faced by Kashmiris under Indian subjugation, the U.S. begrudges the development of Jammu and Kashmir.


Pakistan Navy has also taken up the cudgel to secure the CPEC from maritime threats. To meet the challenge, PNS Akram, established at Gwadar, serves as a surveillance station and is considered the eyes and ears of Pakistan Navy, from where it monitors activities at the Gwadar Port as well as in the North Arabian Sea.


For the protection of Gwadar, there is also PNS Siddiq in Turbat, which is the primary airbase for fixed wing aircraft. The unit also provides facility to anchor to foreign naval units. Additionally, there is PNS Makran at Pasni, which is the secondary airbase for naval aviation and is used for both rotary wing and fixed wing aircraft. The naval base at Jiwani is another surveillance station coordinating with the maritime headquarters in Karachi. The 3rd and 4th battalions have been raised to protect the Gwadar Port and provide harbour defence.


Besides ensuring the maritime security of Gwadar Port, Pakistan Navy has been entrusted with the defence of the fish harbour, the entire hammerhead-shaped peninsula, including Koh-i-Batil, and the Chinese nationals residing in Gwadar. To safeguard the Gwadar Port, the navy has also raised the maritime security Task Force-88 on December 13, 2016. The area of responsibility of Task Force-88 starts from Gwadar Bay to Basol, extending seaward up to six nautical miles from the baseline of Pakistan. This includes the approaches to Gwadar Port as well.


Pakistan Air Force (PAF) is fully committed to provide impregnable security to CPEC project, which is of great strategic significance in synergy with sister services and other law enforcement agencies. PAF has a comprehensive security plan catering to Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) capability, which is essential for smooth completion of CPEC projects. The same was amply demonstrated in Operation Zarb-e-Azb. PAF has full capability to effectively undertake specialized roles of medical evacuation, search and rescue operations, area scanning and kinetic operations on CPEC.


Recently, Air Headquarters hosted a one-day symposium on “CPEC vis-à-vis Opportunities for Aviation Industry and Way Forward”. It was concluded that in effect, aviation is destined to play a principal role in generation of sustenance of economic dynamics. The unexplored aerial dimension of CPEC will be the real game changer for Pakistan. This dimension will exponentially expand the reach of CPEC and would be a key element in making Pakistan the next business hub of Asia. Air Silk Route and plans to meet the future aviation requirements will necessitate the establishment of New Aviation Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) setups, trained manpower, new airlines, joint ventures and rightly placed infrastructure to handle the need of future economic hub of South Asia. The formation of a working group under the Joint Cooperation Committee of Pakistan Air Force and Aviation Division can lead the integration of aviation dimension in CPEC.


While the government and the nation are geared to reap the benefits accruing from CPEC, the Armed Forces of Pakistan have picked up the gauntlet to ensure the security requisite for the successful completion of this mega project.

 

The writer is a former Group Captain from Pakistan Air Force who also served as Air and Naval Attaché at Riyadh (KSA).

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1. When an internal research paper was prepared for the GHQ Rawalpindi called “The Army’s Role in Nation Building” by Brigadier Riaz Ahmed Toor. This paper highlighted the need to develop a strong transportation network across all provinces by linking Gwadar and Karachi with the rest of the country for both peacetime and wartime periods. The CPEC’s road network project can be considered as the true practical face of this research paper published some 20 years ago. Hassan Khan, ‘Is China-Pakistan Economic Corridor really a game changer?’, Pakistan Today (Lahore), June, 13, 2015
2. NDTV report, “Before PM Narendra Modi's Trip, India Objects to China’s $46 Billion Economic Corridor with Pakistan”, May 12, 2015. http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/before-pms-trip-india-objects-to-chinas-46-billion-economic-corridor-with-pak-762533
3. “India raises objections over China Pakistan Economic Corridor”, The Express Tribune (Karachi), May 12, 2015.
4. Virginia Marantidou, “Revisiting China's 'String of Pearls' Strategy’, Issues & Insights, vol. 14, no. 7. Washington: D.C. Centre for Strategic & International Studies (Washington DC), June 24, 2014.

 
10
October

RISING CHINA

Written By: Dr. Ahmad Rashid Malik

It was predicted in the last quarter of the previous century that the 21th century would be an Asian century. The rise of Japan and other vibrant Asian Tigers made the prediction come true, while the rise of Chinese economy remained the most phenomenal component. While the strength of other powers has often eroded for political reasons and compatibility problems, China has constantly been on ascending trajectory. For these reasons, China avoids tensions in world politics and prefers a peaceful role in defusing conflicts in war zones. As China leads the Asian dream, it is safe to say that the future of Asia belongs to China and the Chinese century would be an Asian century.


China does not aspire for hegemony and it has not been the objective of Chinese foreign policy for the past 67 years. The concept of hegemony is contrary to Chinese culture, values and interests. China believes in peace, mutual cooperation, trust-building, and peaceful coexistence and is considerate and careful of its fourteen neighbors. A peaceful neighborhood diplomacy together with economic cooperation in bilateral, regional, and global context is the hallmark of the rise of China since 1949.

 

risingchinea.jpgIt took at least 22 years for China to convince many other nations including the United States that the emergence of the People’s Republic of China was peaceful and not hegemonic in nature. The United States made a breakthrough with China in 1971 and President Richard Nixon visited China in the following year and both sides established full diplomatic relations in 1979. A year earlier China had introduced economic reforms. As soon as China’s diplomatic, political, and economic isolation ended in the world, it started emerging as a global economic power. Within 32 years, China replaced Japan as the second most powerful Asian economy in 2010 in world arena. This further symbolized the rise of Asian Century after Japan.


Chinese economy has become truly global. It is world’s second largest economy and accounts for 15% share in global Gross Domectic Product (GDP), yet it is a developing economy with a huge potential to grow in future – though it is a centrally-planned, yet it is market-based competitive economy. Chinese economy has quadrupled since the 1970s and has the potential to double in the next decade. Today, China is the largest economy by Purchasing Power Parity (PPP), replacing the United States in 2014. China’s GDP is approaching U.S. $11 trillion. China’s foreign reserves are touching down to U.S. $3.7 trillion, the biggest of any nation’s reserves. The economy is still fast growing making it the fastest sustained expansion of a major economy in human history.


By 2015, China achieved all the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) for a population of 1.3 billion people. This is another attribution to this great nation. For many Asian nations with relatively small population and abundance of natural resources, that could not meet the MDGs and live under poverty and economic pressures, China is an economic model. China has markedly reduced social imbalances by presenting a true socialist economy for a large population.

 

 

risingchinea1.jpgChina has the second largest GDP after the United States in nominal terms. In 1978 Chinese GDP was only U.S. $148 billion that rose to U.S. $11 trillion in 2016. In the same year, Chinese exports were U.S. $10 billion comprising roughly raw materials; imports were almost the same. In 2015, Chinese exports turned around U.S. $2.2 trillion, making China world’s leader in exports.


The rise of China is also the rise of its investments. On the investment side, China received only U.S. $200 million from all global sources in 1980 but today China is the single largest recipient of foreign investment i.e., U.S. $136 billion. China is the third largest source of outward investment in the world. Chinese outbound investments continue to surge and are fast becoming a pillar of global economy. These investments greatly influence Europe, Asia, Africa and America. China’s global outbound investment exceeds U.S. $1 trillion. China expects an investment of U.S. $30 billion in the United States this year while last year, China invested U.S. $15 billion. Chinese are the biggest buyers of U.S. property – in U.S. real estate, Chinese firms have invested as much as over U.S. $300 billion.


With the Chinese economic ascendance a new world order would also be unfolding, challenging many old norms not suitable for developing Asian countries. China has shown positive indication to reshape global financial architecture. The formation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Silk Road Fund, founded in 2014, are two explicit examples. So far 57 countries have joined the bank. These financial institutions are closely linked with the One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative. CPEC is the flagship project of the OBOR offered to Pakistan in 2013 and 51 agreements worth U.S. $46 billion were signed when President Xi Jinping visited Pakistan in 2015. China has already emerged as the largest import and export destination of Pakistani goods.


China is the largest trading partner of many countries. Over 124 countries have more trade with China than the United States. China has replaced the Western-dominated trading system that has been practiced for centuries, which includes the United States, European Union, ASEAN, Russia, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and many other developed and developing countries. This also almost brought about an end to the American-dominated bipolarity in world politics.


China is not a military threat to the Asia-Pacific region, it is rather a balancer. There are some misperceptions about the rise of China in the South China Sea and these deliberate efforts are intended to damage the soft image of China. Chinese military is not confronting any specific enemy in the Asia-Pacific region except safeguarding its vital national interests. Tension exists mainly in the South China Sea with Japan and some other regional countries. There is, however, no direct confrontation with the United States and Russia. The Chinese preference is for a peaceful resolution of island issues in the South China Sea.


Instead of confrontation, China offers the “21st Century Maritime Silk Road” initiative under OBOR to enhance the prosperity and peace by engaging them in a productive manner as seeking hegemony is not the Chinese objective in the region. A large number of regional countries have been supportive of the Chinese trading and economic initiative. Chinese military initiatives are balancing the global power shift in the region instead of creating a vacuum or a tilt in favor of traditional dominating powers. No power alone could set forth the rules for domination of the system while China appears a challenger to these efforts. This creates fear in the mind of traditional powers as they are not yet ready to accept China as a balancer.


The international system in which Japan has grown and challenged Western economic hegemony after World War II no longer exists. The American-Soviet confrontation provided ample room for Japan’s economic ascendance during the Cold War. A decade before the end of the Cold War, China made preparations for its rise. Japan gained American support to have its share in the balancing act together with old and new allies. They are in a transition and there’s confusion in devising strategic and economic strategies to answer to the challenge they feel that comes from China. It is time to realize that a foreign-dominated and poverty-ridden China no longer exists in Asia-Pacific. The United States and her allies have to accommodate China in the long-run as new China is a reality and hope for future peace and prosperity.

 

The writer is Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Strategic Studies (ISS), Islamabad.

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