09
January

The Rise of Nationalism in Europe

Written By: Saad Qamar Iqbal

Are EU’s Days Numbered?

Dramatic changes in the social and political landscape of EU pose serious doubts!

Brexit, and a gradual rise of nationalism in Europe is actively challenging the very idea of a merged European Union. The threat always existed in subtle forms of migration, financial and identity crisis. It has taken a more direct form as far-right, eurosceptic parties are gaining dramatic momentum. Far-right nationalists in Austria and Denmark have won their respective elections. Political entities openly denouncing the idea of European Union are gaining crucial support in Germany, Netherlands and elsewhere. Their progress varies across Europe; but France's Marine Le Pen, presently Europe’s most feared far-right politician is taking a good shot at the presidency, summing up the overall grim situation. With nationalism rearing its “ugly head”, is European Union past its partially-achieved prime?

 

theriseinnat1.jpgFrance and Frexit
France is of particular importance to EU’s integrity. Its historical role in the formation of EU in contrast to Britain’s which always appeared rather disgruntled and the current political might it possesses reinstates how Frexit could put EU in all sorts of jeopardy. What makes this even a possibility? Marine Le Pen, the nationalist leader contesting for presidency has openly attacked the idea of Euro and open borders. In 2015, her party, National Front bagged 6.8 million votes – their highest ever. The presidential elections are to be held in April 2017, and Le Pen is not facing a very convincing opposition. Most polls have rated her chances of success high: IPsos giving her a 14 points lead compared to Nicolas Sarkozy. She is known for anti-immigration policies and has often made headlines with her anti-Muslim remarks. The 48-years old re-established her strength as a politician in 2015 when she expelled the founder of the party, Jean-Marie Le Pen for his controversial statements.


Migration Crisis Forging Strong
Refugee influx is arguably the deepest-seated reason behind the consistent surge of nationalism in Europe. It is linked with other economic and social concerns like unemployment, weak law and order, and identity crisis in Europe. “Open borders” form an active part of rhetoric by the far-right politicians. Germany has been the refugee paradise for long, receiving more than a million refugees in 2015 – courtesy Angela Markel, the German Chancellor and apparently the last flag-bearer of Liberal Europe. The public perception is not equally welcoming. Markel will be seeking 4th term as the Chancellor but her party is losing ground to the opponents promising anti-migration policies.

 

theriseinnat.jpgThe refugee crisis is only getting worse with over 60 million people displaced worldwide. Europe is a relatively easy access for Syrians, with Germany being the favourite country. As Syrian crisis has no end in sight, Europe feels pressed to close the borders.


Anti-Establishment Sentiments
A strong public perception can make or break the government. The rising popularity of nationalistic views among people comes as the most discernible symptom of mounting nationalism in Europe. Interestingly, public sentiments do not always portray the situation on ground. They are often triggered taking little reality in account. Consider France as an example: the common belief is that Frenchmen are worse-off today. An overview of France’s performance suggests otherwise with a stable unemployment rate of 10%, lower than many other European nations. The other economic indicators are not bleak as suggested by the prevailing perception.


Mega Terrorist Attacks
The overall negativity in Europe fueling nationalism is largely augmented by major terrorist attacks since 2014. Charlie Hebdo, Paris; Nice and Brussels attacks reinforced the idea that Europe is gravely vulnerable. It fortifies a thorny opinion that this danger comes from the outsiders and has now seeped deep into the society. Revelations such as the Paris attack terrorists hailed from Brussels, reminded people how open borders are doing more harm than good. Nice attacker was a Tunisian-French, weakening the “multicultural Europe” stance and strengthening the anti-immigration belief now widely-held. Hate-incidents and Burkini bans are contributing to an exceedingly hostile atmosphere. The rising sense of insecurity is cashed-in by the far right political players. Terrorism, however, is not a simple phenomenon. It is a result of decades old policies and wars steering the situation into a vicious cycle. And a social boycott of a certain fraction in society is unlikely to get any favourable outcomes.


The Uncertainty of the Future
As evident from the case of Brexit; leaving EU cannot be an overnight matter. Legal obstacles and economic repercussions make it a lengthy bureaucratic process. Nationalist parties try maneuvering Brexit to their advantage, citing it as an example to follow. However, the subsequent economic crunch and the overall “guilt” sentiment in UK – at least in the short-term – may actually thwart their attempts. Frexit may seem a far-fetched idea, but so did Brexit at one time. Even if Frexit realizes, which is still quite improbable, the EU is likely to hold itself with Germany assuming the sole-leader role. Sub-blocs within EU may spring up and EU could lose its prominence in world politics. That being said, this strong wave of nationalism may recede before a major change is realized. In any case, Europeans remain unconvinced by years-old promises of how globalization will make their daily lives better than before. A rollback was thus imminent.

 

The writer is a visiting student at EDHEC Business School, France.

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 
08
January

Politics of Power Posturing

Written By: Hussain H. Zaidi

The South Asian portion of the NSS is thus a continuation of Trump’s Afghan strategy announced in August 2017, which at that time represented a flip-flop on his previous opposition to America’s costly involvement in foreign wars. With the Afghan Army having proved unequal to the task of holding itself against the heightened Taliban onslaught and the IS taking root in Afghanistan, American exasperation is on the rise. What can be a safer haven for militant outfits than a country like Afghanistan where the writ of the state is conspicuous by its absence, an overwhelming majority of the population has been condemned to live in abject poverty and squalor, and where sufficient ideological support exists for radical Islamist groups?

Pakistan, maintains that it does not follow the policy-notion of good and bad militants and that by accusing it of backing Afghan militants, Washington is tilting at windmills. Not only that, it is the militants based in Afghanistan who are responsible for several acts of terrorism on Pakistani soil. So it is Pakistan which is paying the price of continuing instability in Afghanistan. If any country has a cause for complaint against its neighbour, it’s Pakistan over Afghan security forces failure to rein in terrorists on their side of the international border.

The new National Security Strategy (NSS) of the United States unveiled by the Donald Trump administration outlines the fundamental concerns and objectives of the domestic and foreign policies of the globe’s sole superpower. It also has significant implications for South and Central Asia including Pakistan.


Before discussing the major contours of Trump’s NSS, it may be a useful exercise to look at similar documents drawn up by his two immediate predecessors, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.


President Bush’s NSS, announced in 2002, was based on the doctrine of pre-emption which committed his administration to acting against emerging “threats” before they were fully formed. “We cannot defend America and our friends by hoping for the best… In the new world we have entered, the only path to peace and security is the path of action,” said the Bush era NSS document. The doctrine of pre-emption implied indubitable belief in the power of America to alter the course of the world. It was by invoking that doctrine that the U.S. forces invaded Iraq.


The NSS of President Obama, unveiled in 2010, was more realistic in substance and more conciliatory in tone. “To succeed, we must face the world as it is,” admitted the opening paragraph of the NSS document. The strategy reiterated America’s role in shaping a global order capable of grappling with the 21st century challenges including wars over religion, ethnicity, nuclear proliferation, and economic instability and inequality. However, the NSS acknowledged that no single country was capable of meeting those challenges on its own. Hence, American interests were to be pursued through a rule-based international system in which all nations had rights as well as obligations.


In a departure from Bush’s pr-emption doctrine, Obama’s security strategy embraced engagement with “hostile” nations and collective action as the means to pursuing U.S. strategic objectives. Be that as it may, in the name of the rule-based multilateral system and collective action, NATO troops intervened in Libya in 2011 to bring the Gaddafi regime down. The U.S. also sided with some Middle Eastern countries in their unsuccessful pursuit to topple President Assad in Syria.

 

Any punitive measures, while they may put Pakistan in a spot, would make it difficult for Washington to hit the bull’s eye in Afghanistan. Whether Americans like it or lump it, alienating Pakistan will further frustrate the cause of peace in the war-torn country. Constructive engagement with Islamabad rather than penalization – or even “putting it on notice” – is the only viable policy option for Washington.

“To disrupt, dismantle and defeat Al-Qaeda and its affiliates” was described by the Obama administration NSS document as a key strategic objective of the U.S., which was to be achieved through a “judicious” use of American power both military and civilian. Pakistan together with Afghanistan was termed the “epicenter” of terrorism. Recognising the importance of Islamabad in defeating Al-Qaeda, the strategy sought to “foster a relationship with Pakistan founded upon mutual interests and mutual respects.”


What difference does the Trump administration’s NSS bring? The NSS paper starts with a profession of America First, which may be regarded as the keystone of the entire strategy. The opening paragraph reads: “An America that is safe, prosperous, and free at home is an America with the strength, confidence, and will to lead abroad. It is an America that can preserve peace, uphold liberty, and create enduring advantages for the American people. Putting America first is the duty of our government and the foundation for U.S. leadership in the world.”

 

plitcisofpower.jpgWhat is the significance of putting the central emphasis on America first? Does it mean that previous governments had subordinated American interests to some over-riding value, principle, or mission – a “blunder” that Trump will abjure? Or does it mean a return to the isolationism that had characterized U.S. foreign policy until nearly a century ago?


It is customary for American leaders and policy-makers to describe their actions in terms of a mission being guided by universal values, such as democracy, freedom, human rights, and the rule of law. In fact, pragmatism has always been the mainspring of U.S. policies and actions. A self-styled torchbearer of democracy, America has supported absolute monarchies and other forms of authoritarianism whenever it is deemed to be in its interest. The nation, that in theory respects international law, has from time to time intervened in different parts of the world to pull down “rogue” regimes. So, in a word, it has always been a case of couching perceived national interests in the garb of some ennobling principle.


The authors of the new NSS have only been blunt, in keeping with the tantrums that their president can’t resist making. In its own words, “It is a strategy of principled realism that is guided by outcomes, not ideology. It is based upon the view that peace, security, and prosperity depend on strong, sovereign nations that respect their citizens at home and cooperate to advance peace abroad. And it is grounded in the realization that American principles are a lasting force for good in the world.” One can note here the typical protestation of moral superiority of the U.S. over other nations.


In the beginning of his presidency, Trump did give the impression of harking back to isolationism, when, for instance, he had his country walk out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a trade treaty. But subsequent developments supported by a reading of the NSS document contradict this impression.
To begin with, the above quoted opening paragraph of the NSS makes it clear that the U.S. will continue to provide leadership to the world. In point of fact, “America first” will better enable the leadership to fulfil that role. In a subsequent page, the paper argues that when the U.S. does not lead, “malign actors” fill the void to the detriment of its interests.


The strategy paper recognizes that the Americans live in a competitive world; and thus as U.S. goes about accomplishing its leadership role, it will face competition mainly from two other nations, viz China and Russia. Both the competitors are criticized for representing “unfair” (economically) and “repressive” (politically) systems, as opposed to the “fair” and “free” system espoused by the U.S.

From the competitors, the NSS passes on to the threats. In the first place, there are “rouge” states like North Korea and Iran, which are set on destabilizing respective regions (Middle East in case of Iran, and East Asia in case of North Korea) and threatening American allies. Then there are transnational criminal and cataclysmic organizations, such as the so-called Islamic State (IS). While competitors and threats may call for different responses, the fundamental contest is seen to remain between those who put value on human freedom and dignity – Washington and its allies — and those who “oppress and enforce uniformity” – the adversaries.


At this point, the strategy paper makes a case for departure from the policies of previous administrations. Those policies, the argument goes, were based on the largely mistaken assumption that engagement with the rivals would turn them into partners; instead they (rivals) capitalized on the opportunities and now they pose an even greater threat to U.S. interests. The best way to grapple with such challenges is to make America more competitive, which calls for an America first strategy. The first responsibility of a government, the paper notes, is to its own people.


The strategy is based on four pillars: The first is protecting the American people, the territory and the American way of life. This will be done by preventing nuclear, chemical and biological attacks; blocking terrorists from reaching America; safeguarding the critical infrastructure; and deterring, disrupting, and defeating potential threats before they reach the country. The language here reminds the reader of the Bush doctrine of pre-emption.


The second pillar is promoting American prosperity. This goal will be achieved by reinvigorating the economy, addressing trade imbalances and unfair trade practices and maintaining the lead in research and technology. Preserving peace forms the third pillar, which calls for military and technological strength and exhorts the allies to share their responsibility in meeting common threats. The fourth and final pillar is advancing U.S. influence by leading in multilateral organizations and spreading American values of free enterprise and democracy.


The NSS will be tailored taking into account specific regional dynamics. Regions characterized by instability and weak governance are deemed to offer both threats and opportunities to U.S. interest: threats because such regions provide an environment conducive for terrorist organizations to thrive; opportunities because such a situation can serve as a springboard for ratcheting up security and prosperity.


Pakistan figures in the subsection on South and Central Asia (SCA). The authors of the NSS are well aware of the enormous importance of the region: It accounts for a quarter of the world population; it has two nuclear states (Pakistan and India), quite a few emerging economies; and “a fifth of all U.S.-designated terrorist groups.” Logically, the more important the region, the greater are the challenges that it presents to American policy-makers. One of these challenges takes the form of “threats from transnational terrorists and militants operating from within Pakistan,” which, it is believed, can endanger the security of the U.S. as well as that of its allies (read India and Afghanistan). Then there is “the prospect for an Indo-Pakistani military conflict that could lead to a nuclear exchange.” The paper also mentions the possibility of nuclear weapons or technology falling into the hands of terrorists.


The goals set by the NSS for SCA include maintaining American presence in the region sufficient to neutralize the security related threats, having “a Pakistan that is not engaged in destabilizing behavior,” and securing an Afghanistan that is stable and self-reliant, and making the region resistant to becoming a safe haven for the so called jihadi organizations.


In order to achieve these goals, a set of policy actions encompassing political, economic and security related measures will be taken by the U.S. The first such action described by the strategy paper is deepening strategic partnership with India and supporting its “leadership role” in the region. Pakistan will be “pressed” to beef up its counterterrorism efforts and take a “decisive” action against militants “operating on its soil” – failure to do so will undermine Washington-Islamabad partnership, so goes the threat – and “encouraged” to continue to demonstrate that its nuclear assets are safe. Afghan peace and security will be promoted by supporting Afghan forces in their fight against militant outfits, such as the Taliban, the IS, and Al-Qaeda. On the whole, SCA states will be helped to maintain their sovereignty against rising Chinese influence in the region.


The Americans will also encourage economic integration of SCA, which for all practical purposes means unrestricted trade between India and Pakistan and pressing Pakistan to allow Indian exports’ overland access to Afghanistan. India will be encouraged to increase its economic assistance in the region. U.S. trade and investment relations with Pakistan will be strengthened subject to its improved counterterrorism efforts. In other words, if Pakistan expects generous capital inflows from the U.S., it must measure up to the latter’s counterterrorism standards.


The South Asian portion of the NSS is thus a continuation of Trump’s Afghan strategy announced in August 2017, which at that time represented a flip-flop on his previous opposition to America’s costly involvement in foreign wars. With the Afghan Army having proved unequal to the task of holding itself against the heightened Taliban onslaught and the IS taking root in Afghanistan, American exasperation is on the rise. What can be a safer haven for militant outfits than a country like Afghanistan where the writ of the state is conspicuous by its absence, an overwhelming majority of the population has been condemned to live in abject poverty and squalor, and where sufficient ideological support exists for radical Islamist groups? Nearly two decades ago, it was these characteristics of Afghanistan that provided a fertile ground for Al-Qaeda to thrive in the country.

 

Exasperation clouds judgment. Instead of setting the Afghan house in order, the finger is pointed at Pakistan for being the “prime cause” of the squalid state of affairs in its north-western neighbour. The ultimatum to stick the knife into Pakistan in case it does not mend its ways has not come as a surprise. The Americans have been making such threats for years. The Trump team has only been more obtrusive in the choice of words.

Exasperation clouds judgment. Instead of setting the Afghan house in order, the finger is pointed at Pakistan for being the “prime cause” of the squalid state of affairs in its north-western neighbour. The ultimatum to stick the knife into Pakistan in case it does not mend its ways has not come as a surprise. The Americans have been making such threats for years. The Trump team has only been more obtrusive in the choice of words. On the other hand, India’s leadership role in Afghanistan will be supported, which may be seen as one way to punish Pakistan. The greater the Indian role in Afghanistan, the stronger will be its influence on the coalition government in Kabul to the detriment of Pakistan.


In essence, the Trump administration’s view of Pakistan, as brought out by the NSS, is the same as that held by the one that preceded it: an errant boy in the comity of nations in need of foreign assistance to sustain itself. So if the screw is turned on the chap, it may see reason.


The flip side is that Pakistan is the sixth-largest nation in the world in terms of its population and the second-largest state, economy and military power in South Asia. It possesses nuclear weapons and – at least on paper – is a major non-Nato ally as well as a strategic partner. Such credentials make Pakistan exceedingly important for durable peace in the region.


Understandably, the Obama administration as well as Congress had remained on tenterhooks on Pakistan. Should Islamabad be left to its own devices or continue to be engaged? Was going harder or softer a better course of action in dealing with Pakistan? Should Pakistan be declared a state sponsor of terrorism?


Pakistan maintains that it does not follow the policy-notion of good and bad militants and that by accusing it of backing Afghan militants, Washington is tilting at windmills. Not only that, it is the militants based in Afghanistan who are responsible for several acts of terrorism on Pakistani soil. So it is Pakistan which is paying the price of continuing instability in Afghanistan. If any country has a cause for complaint against its neighbour, it’s Pakistan over Afghan security forces failure to rein in terrorists on their side of the international border.


In international relations, as in interpersonal relations, perception is more important than reality. Despite Pakistan’s rebuttal, the Americans as well as their lackeys – the Afghans and Indians – remain unimpressed. In their book, mere tilting at Pakistan would be of little consequence. So the Trump administration must tighten up on Islamabad. This may take the form of designating Islamabad as a state sponsor of terrorism, revoking its non-Nato Ally status, or carrying out strikes on alleged militant hideouts in the settled areas of Pakistan, which may result in a good number of civilian casualties.


Any punitive measures, while they may put Pakistan in a spot, would make it difficult for Washington to hit the bull’s eye in Afghanistan. Whether Americans like it or lump it, alienating Pakistan will further frustrate the cause of peace in the war-torn country.


Constructive engagement with Islamabad rather than penalization – or even “putting it on notice” – is the only viable policy option for Washington.


Giving India a greater role in the region will raise Pakistan’s as well as China’s hackles. The envisaged role will be seen by both Beijing and Islamabad as running counter to their strategic interests in the region and bring the two even closer to each other.


It is time for the U.S. to resort to prudence, take practical measures to allay Pakistan’s legitimate concerns, stop being used by myopic leadership of India and Afghanistan and, also give peace a pragmatic chance. Pakistan has faced the brunt of this long drawn U.S. war and will meet halfway for peace and peace alone!

 

The author, a graduate from a Western European University, writes on political and economic issues.

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 
10
January

پاکستان کا معاشی مستقبل۔۔۔امکانات اور چیلنجز

تحریر: خالد محمود رسول

کچھ سوالات بظاہر جتنے سادہ اور آسان ہوتے ہیں ان کے جواب اتنے ہی پیچیدہ اور مشکل ہوتے ہیں۔ ان میں سے ایک سوال یہ بھی ہے کہ پاکستان کا معاشی مستقبل کیا ہے ؟ گلاس آدھا خالی ہے یا آدھا بھرا ہوا ۔ اس موضوع پر سوچتے ہوئے ہمیں یہ مشہور مقولہ بہت یاد آیا۔ کسی رجائیت پسند سے پوچھیں تو وہ اگر مگر کے لوازمات کے ساتھ تان امید پر توڑے گا، ہاں اگر کسی بیزار اور یاسیت پسند سے پوچھ بیٹھیں تو وہ اگر مگر کے تکلف کے بغیر آپ کو بتانے میں ایک سیکنڈ نہیں لگائے گا کہ صبح گیا یا شام گیا والا معاملہ ہے۔


ہمیں خواہ مخواہ کی رجائیت سے لگائو ہے نہ نِری مایوسی سے دل بستگی ہے، ہمیں حقیقت کے دامن سے تعلق ہی میں عافیت سمجھ میں آتی ہے۔ زندگی کی دھوپ چھائوں اور دنیا کے بیشتر ممالک کو تین دہائیاں قریب سے دیکھنے کے بعد اسی نتیجے پر پہنچے ہیں کہ بہت سے معاملات نہ تو سراسر بلیک ہوتے ہیں نہ وائیٹ۔ حقیقت کہیں درمیان میں دھندلے گرے ایریا میں ہوتی ہے۔ پاکستان کا معاشی مستقبل کیا ہے ؟ اس سوال کا جواب بھی امکانات اور چیلنجز کے گرے ایریا میں ہے۔ قدم درست سمت میں اٹھے تو امکانات پر پڑی دھند چھٹنے میں زیادہ وقت نہیں لگے گا، اگر ڈگمگاتے قدم نہ سنبھلے تو چیلنجز کی دھند مزید گہری ہو سکتی ہے۔


آج کی معیشت کا ایک محتاط جائزہ لیں تو کچھ رجحانات مثبت ہیں اور کچھ منفی سمت کی طرف اشارہ کرتے ہیں۔ مثبت اشاریوں میں سب سے نمایاں یہ ہے کہ نو سالوں کے بعد پہلی بار گزشتہ سال شرح نمو پانچ فی صد سالانہ سے زائد رہی۔ رواں مالی سال میں ہدف چھ فی صد سے زائد رکھا گیا ہے لیکن گئے گزرے حالات میں بھی آئی ایم یف کے ماہرین تک اس سال کی شرح نمو کا تخمینہ گزشتہ سال سے زائد یعنی 5.7%تک لگا رہے ہیں۔ افراطِ زر کی شرح گزشتہ سال چار فی صد سے کچھ زائد تھی، اس سال بھی قدرے زیادہ لیکن کنٹرول میں متوقع ہے۔ بیرونی سرمایہ کاری میں بھی گزشتہ سال کی نسبت بہتری ہے، جو توقع سے کم ہے لیکن مثبت سمت میں ضرور ہے۔ مالیاتی خسارہ 2013میں جی ڈی پی کا 8.8% تھا جو گزشتہ سال کم ہو کر 4.6%رہا۔
معیشت کا مجموعی حجم تین سو ارب ڈالر کے لگ بھگ پہنچ گیا ہے جو سال 2000میں 180ارب ڈالر تھا۔ قوت خرید کے پیمانے یعنی
Purchasing Power Parity
پر دیکھیں تو معیشت کا حجم ایک ٹریلین ڈالر تک جا پہنچا ہے۔ فی کس آمدنی گزشتہ سال 1333ڈالر سے بڑھ کر اس سال 1629 ڈالر تک پہنچ گئی ہے۔ ٹیکس جی ڈی پی کا تناسب جو 2013میں گر کر 8.7%ہو گیا تھا سال 2016-17 میں بڑھ کر 10.7% ہو گیا ( یہ الگ تلخ حقیقت ہے کہ یہ شرح خطے میں کم ترین تناسب میں سے ہے )۔
معیشت کے نمایاں منفی اور پریشان کن رجحانات کی فہرست بھی قابلِ غور ہے۔ پاکستان کی برآمدات میں معکوس ترقی ہو رہی ہے۔ سال 2013میں پاکستان کی کل برآمدات چوبیس ارب ڈالر تھیں جو سال 2016-17میں کم ہو کر بیس ارب ڈالر تک رہ گئیں۔ اس دوران میں درآمدات میں مسلسل اضافہ ہوا۔ گزشتہ سال ریکارڈ درآمدات ہوئیں اور یوں یہ حجم باون ارب ڈالر تک جا پہنچا۔ برآمدات اور درآمدات کا تباہ کن تفاوت جسے تجارتی خسارہ کہا جاتا ہے، بڑھ کر بتیس ارب ڈالر ہو گیا یعنی تجارتی خسارہ کل برآمدات سے بھی زیادہ رہا۔ اس خطرناک رجحان نے زرِمبادلہ کے ذخائرپر مستقل دبائو رکھا۔

 

pakkamahashimustakbil.jpgپاکستان کے زرِمبادلہ کے ذخائر اپنی بلند ترین سطح یعنی بائیس ارب ڈالر سے کم ہو کر بمشکل انیس ارب ڈالر رہ گئے ہیں۔ ان ذخائر میں ڈیٹ مارکیٹ سے حال میں حاصل کی گئی رقوم بھی شامل ہیں۔ بیرون ملک سے ترسیلات زر میں بھی کمی کا رجحان ہے۔ یوں مسلسل بڑھتے ہوئے تجارتی خسارے، معمول کی ادائیگیوں اور سکڑتی ہوئی ترسیلات زر کی وجہ سے زرِ مبادلہ پر دبائو مسلسل بڑھ رہا ہے۔ اسی دبائو کی وجہ سے حال ہی میں روپے اور ڈالر کی شرح میں چار فی صد تک کمی ہوئی ہے۔ آنے والے سالوں میں پاکستان کی بیرونی ادائیگیوں میں مزید اضافے کی توقع ہے۔ اگر برآمدات میں خاطر خواہ اضافہ نہ ہو سکا اور درآمدات کی حوصلہ شکنی نہ ہوئی تو زرِمبادلہ کے ذخائر میں مسلسل کمی کی وجہ سے پاکستان کو ایک بار پھر آئی ایم ایف کے پاس جانے کی مجبوری کا سامنا ہو گا۔


ٹیکس جی ڈی پی کا تناسب خطرناک حد تک کم ہے۔ ماضی میں کی گئی تمام کوششیں ناکام رہیں۔ ٹیکس نظام میں کوئی خاطر خواہ بہتری نہیں آسکی۔ بلیک اکانومی کا حجم بھی وقت کے ساتھ ساتھ بڑھتا گیا۔ کچھ ماہرین بلیک اکانومی کو مجموعی اکانومی کے حجم کا ساٹھ فی صد سے بھی زائد بتاتے ہیں۔ معاشی ناہمواری اور علاقائی تفاوت بھی وقت کے ساتھ بڑھا ہے۔ آبادی کے نئے اعدادوشمار سے ظاہر ہوا کہ آبادی کا حجم توقع سے کہیں زیادہ نکلا۔ ہر سال چالیس لاکھ سے زائد افراد ملازمت کی حد کو پہنچتے ہیں لیکن روزگار کے امکانات اس رفتار سے نہیں بڑھ رہے۔


ملک میں کاروبار کرنا کس قدر آسان ہے، اس اشاریے کو جانچنے کے لئے ورلڈ بنک ہر سال ممبر ممالک کا ایک سروے کرتا ہے۔ تازہ ترین سروے کے مطابق پاکستان کاروبار کی آسانی کے اعتبار سے 190ممالک میں 144 ویں نمبر پر ہے۔ دنیا کے دیگر ممالک میں کاروباری مسابقت کی سکت کیا ہے اور اس پیمانے پر پاکستان کی پوزیشن کیا ہے؟
Global Competitiveness Index 2017-18
کے مطابق پاکستان 137 ممالک میں 115 ویں نمبر پر ہے۔ عالمی ادارے اور ماہرین معیشت اداروں میں اصلاحات پر زور دیتے آئے ہیں لیکن مختلف ادوار کی حکومتوں کا اصلاحات کا ریکارڈ مایوس کن ہی رہا۔ پبلک سیکٹر کارپوریشنز اس کی ایک واضح مثال ہیں جن میں سالہا سال سے سیکڑوں ارب روپے کا خسارہ ہو جاتا ہے لیکن اس خسارے کو روکنے کی سبیل نظر نہیں آتی، حالانکہ اس خسارے کا جی ڈی پی پر سالانہ ڈیڑھ سے دو فی صدصرف ہو جاتا ہے ۔


الغرض معیشت میں کچھ مثبت رجحانات ہیں تو کئی خطرناک منفی رجحانات بھی موجود ہیں۔ معیشت میں بہتری لانے کے لئے مثبت رجحانات کو مزید مضبوط اور مؤثر بنانے کی ضرورت ہے اور منفی رجحانات کو مثبت سمت میں لوٹانا ضروری ہے۔ جن مثبت رجحانات کو جاری رکھنے اور مزید مضبوط کرنے کی ضرورت ہے ان میںمعیشت کی سالانہ شرح نمو ہے۔ چین اور بھارت میں سالانہ شرح نمو آنے والے سالوں میںچھ سے سات فی صد کے درمیان متوقع ہے۔ ایشیائی ترقیاتی بنک کے حالیہ اعداوشمار کے مطابق آسیان5
(ASEAN5)
میں بھی سالانہ شرح نمو چھ کے لگ بھگ متوقع ہے۔ اس اعتبار سے پاکستان اگر چھ فی صد سے زائد سالانہ شرح نمو برقرار رکھنے میں کامیاب ہو جائے تو پاکستان کی معیشت علاقے کی دیگر معیشتوں کے ہمقدم رہے گی ورنہ پیچھے رہ جائے گی۔


سالانہ شرح نمو چھ فی صد سے زائد کرنے کے لئے معیشت کے ان تمام عوامل پر توجہ اور ان میں نتیجہ خیز تبدیلی لانے کی ضرورت ہو گی جن کا ذکر اوپر کیاگیا ہے۔ ملکی معیشت میں زراعت کا اہم کردار ہے۔ زراعت میں فصلوں اور لائیو اسٹاک دونوں کے لئے الگ الگ ہنگامی پروگرام ترتیب دینے اور ان پر عمل کرنے کی ضرورت ہے جس سے فصلوں کی فی ایکڑ پیداوار میں دنیا کے عمومی معیار کے مطابق اضافہ حاصل کیا جائے۔ لائیو اسٹاک میں نمایاں مقام ہونے کے باوجود پاکستان کی لائیو اسٹاک برآمدات نہ ہونے کے برابر ہیں۔ پیداوار کے طریقوں اور فوڈ سیفٹی کے عالمی معیارات سے ہم بہت پیچھے ہیں۔ دنیا کے ساتھ اس واضح فرق کو پورا کرکے زراعت کی کایا پلٹی جا سکتی ہے۔


پاکستان کی اکانومی میں صنعت کا حصہ ایک چوتھائی سے بھی کم رہ گیا ہے۔ صنعت کا بنیادی ڈھانچہ عمومی اعتبار سے
low technology
پر استوار ہے۔ اکانومی آف سکیل کے اعتبار سے دیکھیں تو معیشت کے زیادہ تر شعبے دنیا کی رینکنگ میں کہیں آخری نمبروں پر پائے جاتے ہیں۔ عالمی تجارتی سمجھوتوں اور ورلڈ ٹرید آرگنائزیشن کے قیام کے بعد ہمارے ہاں درآمدی ٹیرف غیر ضروری عجلت میں بہت کم کئے گئے جس کی وجہ سے صنعت کے زیادہ تر شعبے اپنے آپ کو ان تبدیلیوں کے لئے بروقت تیار نہ کر سکے۔ اس کا لازمی نتیجہ یہ ہوا کہ آسان امپورٹ اور پر کشش کم درآمدی ٹیرف کی وجہ سے گزشتہ بیس بائیس سالوں کے دوران مقامی مارکیٹوں میں غیر ملکی سامان کی بہتات ہو گئی ۔ دوسری طرف انڈسٹری پر دستاویزی انتظام میں آنے اور مختلف النوع ٹیکسوں کے ساتھ ساتھ درآمدات کی یلغار نے نہایت منفی اثرات چھوڑے ہیں۔ ہمیں یاد ہے کہ دو سال قبل لاہور کی ایک یونیورسٹی میں ایک کانفرنس میں اعدادوشمار کی مدد سے ایک معاشی ماہر نے یہ ثابت کرنے کی کوشش کی کہ پاکستان میں اب معکوس صنعتی ترقی ہے یعنی
De-industrialization
۔پاکستان میں صنعتی اداروں کی تعداد میں سمال اور میڈیم انڈسٹری کا حصہ سمیڈا کی ایک رپورٹ کے مطابق 97% سے بھی زائد ہے لیکن اس کے باوجود قومی پیداوار میں سمال اور میڈیم انڈسٹری کا حصہ زیادہ نمایاں نہیں۔ ان حالات میں ضروری ہے کہ پاکستان میں انڈسٹری کے ڈھانچے میں ایسی تبدیلیاں لائی جائیں جس سے بڑی انڈسٹری کے ساتھ ساتھ درمیانی اور چھوٹی انڈسٹری میں بہتر اور برتر ٹیکنالوجی بروئے کار لائی جائے۔ پیداوار کے اعتبار سے
value added
مصنوعات تیار کی جائیں۔ انڈسٹری کے لئے عالمی معیار کے ہنر مند افراد کی تعلیم اور تربیت کے لئے تعلیمی نظام کو ڈگری بانٹنے والے زیاں کار رجحان سے بدل کر ٹیکنالوجی اور سائنسی میدان کا شہسوار بنائے بغیر چارہ نہیں۔ زراعت اور صنعت کو جدید اور بہتر ٹیکنالوجی پر ترتیب دینے سے لامحالہ سروسز سیکٹر خود بخود نئے تقاضوں کے مطابق ہم آہنگ ہو سکے گا۔
فری ٹریڈ ایگریمنٹ
Free Trade Agreement
یعنی نئے عالمی تجارتی نظام کا خاصہ ہیں۔ سیکڑوں ایف ٹی ایز ورلڈ ٹریڈ آرگنائزیشن میں رجسٹرڈ ہیں لیکن ان میں سے چند درجن نہایت کامیاب ہیں۔ بد قسمتی سے پاکستان کا آزادانہ تجارت کے معاہدوں کا تجربہ قطعاً سود مند نہیں رہا۔ ا س میں ناتجربہ کاری کا بھی دخل ہے اور کچھ نامناسب ترجیحات کا بھی۔ نتیجہ یہ نکلا کہ ان معاہدوں کی بدولت پاکستان کی مارکیٹوں میں غیر ملکی سامان کی بھرمار ہے جبکہ ملکی انڈسٹری گوناگوں مسائل کی وجہ سے نمو پانے سے قا صر دکھائی دے رہی ہے۔ ضرورت اس امر کی ہے کہ آزادانہ تجارت کے معاہدوں کا از سرِ نو جا ئزہ لیا جائے اور ان میں موجود خامیوں کو درست کرکے انہیں فریقین کے لئے برابری کے امکانات کے قابل بنا یا جائے۔
پاکستان کی معیشت میں موجود مثبت رجحانات کی بناء پر دنیا کی معروف مالیاتی فرم
Pricewaterhouse Coopers
نے 2017 میں اپنی رپورٹ میں پاکستان کی معیشت کو 2050 میں دنیا کی 16 ویں بڑی معیشت بن سکنے کی پیشگوئی کی۔ اس طرح بلوم برگ نے بھی پاکستان کی معیشت میںحوصلہ افزا رائے کا اظہار کیا ۔ سی پیک کی ذریعے ساٹھ ارب ڈالرز کی سرمایہ کاری نے پاکستان کی معیشت کے وسط مدتی اور طویل مدتی امکانات کو بہت سہارا دیا ہے۔بجلی، انفراسٹرکچر منصوبوں، پورٹس اور انڈسٹریل پارکس کے ذریعے پاکستانی معیشت پر گہرے اور سود مند اثرات ہونے کی توقع ہے۔ اس جائزے کا حاصل یہ کہ ویلیو ایڈڈ برآمدات میں اضافے، درآمدات کی کچھ حد تک حوصلہ شکنی، ٹیکس جی ڈی پی تناسب بڑھانے، معیشت میں دستاویزی انتظام کے فروغ ، کرپشن کی حوصلہ شکنی سمیت ایسے اقدامات سے پاکستان کی معیشت دنیا میں ایک مضبوط اور فروغ پذیر معیشت بن کر ابھرنے کے تمام امکانات رکھتی ہے۔
ذرا نم ہو تو یہ مٹی بڑی زرخیز ہے ساقی 

مضمون نگار ایک قومی اخبارمیں سیاسی ' سماجی اور معاشی موضوعات پر کالم لکھتے ہیں۔

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 
08
February

Race for the NSG

Written By: Zamir Akram

Nevertheless, the discriminatory U.S. approach towards Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programs has continued with repeated demands on Pakistan to “cap” its strategic capabilities and to demonstrate “restraint”, while no such demands are being made from India. Moreover, the U.S. has not only denied the extension of a similar waiver to Pakistan as given to India but has also opposed Pakistan’s membership of the NSG.

Pakistan and India are currently in a race to join the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), a cartel of 48 countries that regulates the trade in nuclear materials and technologies. Membership of the group is considered by both countries as acceptance into the nuclear mainstream and recognition of their status as responsible nuclear weapon states – a status that has been denied to them since their nuclear tests in 1998. Membership can also help them overcome their energy crises by easy access to nuclear energy. Since NSG decisions are taken by consensus, all NSG members have to agree to accept Pakistan and India as members but evolving such consensus is both complicated and contentious.

 

racefornsg.jpgNuclear technology is dual use – it can be used for civilian or peaceful purposes such as generating electricity and for developing nuclear weapons. To contain the spread of nuclear weapons or nuclear weapons 'proliferation', the major nuclear powers – the United States and the (then) Soviet Union – negotiated an international treaty, the Non-Proliferation Treaty or NPT in 1968 according to which the countries that had acquired nuclear weapons before 1968 were accepted as Nuclear Weapon States (NWS) and the others, the Non-Nuclear Weapon States (NNWS) undertook not to acquire nuclear weapons in return for assurances that they would receive international assistance for the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and that the NWS would engage in efforts towards ultimate nuclear disarmament. Apart from the U.S. and the Soviet Union, the UK, France and China, which had acquired nuclear weapons before 1968, were recognized as NWS by the NPT while the others were forbidden to cross the nuclear weapons threshold. At the time France and China refused to join the NPT while among the NNWS, India, Israel and Pakistan also refused to sign the NPT. Whereas India described the treaty as discriminatory, Pakistan argued that owing to its security concerns vis-a-vis India, it would join the treaty only if India did so. Meanwhile, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), created in 1957 to promote only peaceful uses of nuclear energy, was tasked to ensure implementation of the NPT.

 

This approach is part of a larger Indo-U.S. strategic partnership in which Washington has fully supported and assisted Indian strategic and conventional military build-up including development of short, medium and long range missiles, including submarine launched missiles, Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) and even work on a hydrogen bomb, apart from increasing its arsenal of nuclear warheads. It is worth noting that this increase in nuclear weapons by India has been facilitated by the NSG waiver which, as has been documented by Harvard University’s Belfer Center, has enabled India to divert nuclear fuel from civilian to military uses apart from being able to use its indigenous sources of nuclear fuel for exclusive military use while using imported fuel for its civilian program.

However, the first Indian nuclear test in 1974 demonstrated that despite the NPT and the IAEA, a country could use its peaceful or civilian nuclear facilities to clandestinely develop nuclear weapons capability by illicitly diverting nuclear fuel and technology from civilian to military purposes. As a result, the 1974 Indian nuclear test led to the creation of the NSG in the same year to plug the gaps and prevent clandestine diversion of nuclear materials.


The Indian test also led to the enactment of several laws in the U.S. aimed at preventing further acts of nuclear proliferation through sanctions. However, neither the U.S. nor any other NWS did much in practical terms to punish Indian proliferation. The French even sent a congratulatory message to the Indians! On the other hand, focus shifted towards preventing Pakistan from acquiring nuclear weapons through such laws as the Glenn and Symington Amendments and then through the Pakistan-specific Pressler Amendment which was used to put sanctions on Pakistan in 1990. Earlier, the U.S. also extended extreme pressure on France to cancel its Reprocessing Plant agreement with Pakistan. This was the start of the discriminatory treatment of Pakistan compared to India by the U.S. and its Western partners which continues till today. Only China has extended cooperation to Pakistan in the civilian nuclear field, even after it joined the NPT and the NSG on the basis of the “grand father” clause that it signed before joining these organizations.


The next major Indian act of nuclear proliferation was the tests in May 1998. Washington was caught totally unaware by these tests as its focus had been entirely on Pakistan despite the newly elected BJP government’s declared intention of acquiring nuclear weapons as well as fore-warnings by Pakistan about the preparations for these tests by India. The Western reaction, led by the U.S., was to pressurize Pakistan not to respond by conducting its own tests. However, Pakistan’s compulsion to ensure the credibility of its deterrence in the face of dire Indian threats led to the tests by Pakistan a few days later. In response the U.S. and its partners made no distinction between the culprit and the victim, imposing sanctions on both and leading the international community in castigating the two countries through a UN Security Council resolution that called for discontinuing all forms of nuclear related cooperation with India and Pakistan.

 

For now, Pakistan, with the principled support of countries like China, Turkey and others, has scored a tactical success in its efforts to ensure that there is impartial treatment for the two applicants for NSG membership. But this race is far from over. We will need to continue with our out-reach efforts and engage in sustained diplomacy in our quest for NSG membership.

Within a couple of years, however, the global strategic dynamics, especially the growing American objective of containing a rising China, brought about a change in U.S. policy towards India motivated by the objective of using India as a counter-weight to China. This trend started by the Clinton administration was taken further by succeeding Presidents Bush and Obama. In a major departure from U.S. non-proliferation policy, Bush engineered changes in U.S. laws and pushed through in 2008 a country-specific waiver for India from the international non-proliferation and safe-guards regime including the NPT and the NSG, enabling India to engage in civilian nuclear cooperation with several countries. Obama has taken this policy even further, promising to ensure Indian membership of the NSG and other technology control cartels like the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), the Australia Group and the Wassenaar Arrangement. It is, indeed, ironic that the U.S. is pushing Indian membership of the NSG despite the fact that this group was set up in response to the Indian nuclear test of 1974. This approach is part of a larger Indo-U.S. strategic partnership in which Washington has fully supported and assisted Indian strategic and conventional military build-up including development of short, medium and long range missiles, including submarine launched missiles, Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD) and even work on a hydrogen bomb, apart from increasing its arsenal of nuclear warheads. It is worth noting that this increase in nuclear weapons by India has been facilitated by the NSG waiver which, as has been documented by Harvard University’s Belfer Center, has enabled India to divert nuclear fuel from civilian to military uses apart from being able to use its indigenous sources of nuclear fuel for exclusive military use while using imported fuel for its civilian program.


Meanwhile, the nuclear sanctions against Pakistan were waived in view of the U.S. need for Pakistan’s assistance in its so-called War on Terror following the terrorist attacks in the U.S. on September 11, 2001. Nevertheless, the discriminatory U.S. approach towards Pakistan’s nuclear and missile programs has continued with repeated demands on Pakistan to “cap” its strategic capabilities and to demonstrate “restraint”, while no such demands are being made from India. Moreover, the U.S. has not only denied the extension of a similar waiver to Pakistan as given to India but has also opposed Pakistan’s membership of the NSG.

As for the safety and security of Pakistan’s nuclear assets, the fact is that Pakistan has the most robust system of safety, security and safeguards which has been recognized as such by the IAEA and even by U.S. President Obama in the context of the U.S. sponsored Nuclear Security Summit process. As such, the allegations against Pakistan in this negative narrative do not stand up to close scrutiny and lack credibility.

Such discrimination at the policy level has been supplemented by American/Western efforts to build-up a negative narrative about Pakistan’s strategic program through manipulation of the western media, academics and think-tanks. This alleges that Pakistan has the fastest growing nuclear weapons program, which is at risk of being taken over by terrorists and extremists and that is destabilizing security in South Asia. These wild allegations are not supported by facts nor are they consistent with existing realities. The fact is that compared to India, Pakistan has far less nuclear facilities and that India has been producing nuclear weapons and fissile material for nuclear weapons as well as their delivery system before 1974, much before Pakistan launched its own strategic program. Moreover, after the 2008 waiver for India, it has been able to use its indigenous sources of fissile material exclusively for nuclear weapons production without needing to divide it between civilian and military use as Pakistan is forced to do. Add to this the fact that India has also been clandestinely diverting nuclear fuel imported under the 2008 waiver from civilian to military purposes. As for the safety and security of Pakistan’s nuclear assets, the fact is that Pakistan has the most robust system of safety, security and safeguards which has been recognized as such by the IAEA and even by U.S. President Obama in the context of the U.S. sponsored Nuclear Security Summit process. As such, the allegations against Pakistan in this negative narrative do not stand up to close scrutiny and lack credibility.


The question, therefore, arises as to why this discrimination against Pakistan? In my personal view, the real reason is that the U.S. and the western powers in general are uncomfortable with a Muslim country like Pakistan possessing a nuclear weapons capability even though Pakistan has always stated that this capability is for its deterrence against India and not against any other country. With the change in the global strategic environment wherein the U.S. is trying to contain China, an added factor has become the U.S. need to build-up India against China, owing to which Washington is actually helping India’s military build-up while seeking “restraint” by Pakistan.


A critical part of this U.S. strategy and a principal demand by India to partner with Washington is to ensure India’s inclusion and acceptance in the nuclear mainstream which would lead to India’s recognition as a de-facto if not de-jure member of the nuclear club – the P-5. Since Indian entry to the NPT as a nuclear weapon state is time barred and it is extremely difficult to amend the NPT deadline owing to opposition by the Non-Nuclear Weapon States (NNWS) and China, the next best option is to have India accepted as a member of the NSG. That is the real reason for the concentrated efforts by the Modi-Obama clique to push Indian membership of the NSG.


For this reason it is equally important for Pakistan to ensure its simultaneous membership of the NSG with India and to prevent yet another exemption for New Delhi and continuing discrimination towards Islamabad. If a country like India which has twice thrust nuclear proliferation in South Asia (in 1974 and 1998) can be admitted to the NSG, then Pakistan, which has been forced to react to Indian proliferation for ensuring its security, has a legitimate right as well to be accepted into the nuclear mainstream as a responsible nuclear weapon state and admitted to the NSG. For sure, Pakistan’s credentials for NSG membership are at least equal if not better than those of India. Pakistan did not introduce nuclear weapons in South Asia. It is not responsible for the nuclear and missile race in the region – in fact after the 1998 tests, it proposed a Strategic Restraint Regime in South Asia to prevent further development of de-stabilizing weapons – Ballistic Missile Defence (BMD), nuclear Sub-marine Launched Ballistic Missiles (SLBMs) and Inter-Continental Ballistic Missiles (ICBMs) – as is being done by India. Nor is Pakistan pursuing India’s lead in developing a hydrogen bomb which it is doing in Karnataka according to Adrian Levy in Foreign Policy (December 2015). Unlike India, Pakistan voted in favour of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) in the UN and observes a unilateral moratorium on nuclear testing. It has also offered a bilateral test ban arrangement to India which New Delhi has rejected. Pakistan also has a transparent and robust Command and Control System as well as effective fire-walls for the safety and security of its strategic assets consistent with IAEA guidelines. This has been recognized by the Director General of the IAEA. It is also noteworthy that Harvard University’s Belfer Center report of March 2016 quotes U.S. officials as stating that “India’s security measures are weaker than those of Pakistan” and that President Obama and U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have repeatedly expressed confidence in Pakistan’s nuclear safety arrangements. As regards the specific work of the NSG, Pakistan has been implementing comprehensive export controls that are fully harmonized with those of the NSG.

It is equally important for Pakistan to ensure its simultaneous membership of the NSG with India and to prevent yet another exemption for New Delhi and continuing discrimination towards Islamabad. If a country like India which has twice thrust nuclear proliferation in South Asia (in 1974 and 1998) can be admitted to the NSG, then Pakistan, which has been forced to react to Indian proliferation for ensuring its security, has a legitimate right as well to be accepted into the nuclear mainstream as a responsible nuclear weapon state and admitted to the NSG.

Since applying for membership last June, Pakistan has reached out to all NSG member states and called upon them to consider its request on the basis of equitable, impartial and non-discriminatory criteria. These countries, while considering requests from both India and Pakistan, confront the central issue of how to deal with countries that are nuclear weapon states but not parties to the NPT, which is the existing criteria for NSG membership. The Obama administration, in its hurry to push through Indian membership before end of its tenure in office, has argued that India is already “like-minded” and should be given membership on that basis. However, sensing reluctance of some states to accept such a biased approach, most notably China, the U.S. agreed to evolve new criteria but advocated that it be no more than the commitments India has already given for its 2008 waiver. Accordingly, using intense pressure, the Americans persuaded the outgoing Chair of the NSG, Ambassador Grossi of Argentina and the current Chair, Ambassador Song of South Korea, to put forward a proposal in December 2016 designed to suit India but exclude Pakistan. According to this formula, the applicant state must separate its civilian and military nuclear facilities; accept an Additional Protocol with the IAEA; not divert any imported nuclear material to unsafeguarded facilities; enter into a safeguards agreement with the IAEA covering all its existing and future civilian facilities; not to conduct any nuclear test and describe its policies in support of the CTBT. These are conditions that India has already accepted for the 2008 waiver or can give without compromising its nuclear program or position on the CTBT. The other elements of this proposal that are designed to virtually scuttle Pakistan’s membership are that it implicitly calls for Indian membership before Pakistan since it mentions that as a member India will not oppose other membership requests, an assurance that would be worthless for Pakistan; and, that even when Pakistan becomes a member it will still need to obtain waiver in order to be eligible for nuclear trade with other NSG members – a condition that can always be denied by India (or the U.S.) since the NSG works on the basis of consensus.


This formula is so fundamentally biased in India’s favour that more than 10 countries have expressed their opposition to it, including China, Brazil, New Zealand, Ireland, Switzerland and Turkey among others. Consequently, the NSG meeting scheduled for December last year had to be postponed till February-March 2017. These countries have also asked the ‘Chair’ to engage in a transparent consultative process with all NSG members and pursue the two stage process agreed at the Seoul NSG Plenary meeting in June 2016 according to which the group shall first agree by consensus on the membership criteria and then consider the applications of Pakistan and India.


Pakistan’s principled position on the need for an equitable and non-discriminatory criteria has, therefore, been vindicated and the attempt by the U.S. and other Indian supporters to give India preferential treatment has been defeated. President Obama will, therefore, not be able to fulfil his promise to his friend Modi. It remains to be seen whether the new U.S. President, Donald Trump, will carry on with this policy. Given the strategic convergence between the U.S. and India, it is likely that he will.


For now, Pakistan, with the principled support of countries like China, Turkey and others, has scored a tactical success in its efforts to ensure that there is impartial treatment for the two applicants for NSG membership. But this race is far from over. We will need to continue with our out-reach efforts and engage in sustained diplomacy in our quest for NSG membership.

 

Former ambassador Zamir Akram is currently Advisor to the Strategic Plans Division, Government of Pakistan. He remained Pakistan’s Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN and other international organizations.

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Follow Us On Twitter