Reigniting the Water Wars

Written By: Dr. Huma Baqai

In the event of a war, states are entitled to suspend treaties, including diplomatic relations by invoking Article 62 of the Vienna Convention. If India or Pakistan consider revoking the treaty, it is itself signaling an act of war. This will equip both the countries with the right under international law to take up any other coercive or non-coercive measure as an act of reprisal. This is not a pretty picture. Perhaps India should also be mindful of the fact that China is an upper-riparian country in Indus and Brahmaputra basins.

What’s ticking between Pakistan and India is not the nuclear bomb, but the water bomb. For years international relations strategists have warned that wars in the future would be over resources. Post-recent tensions in South Asia, Prime Minister Narendera Modi suspended meetings of the committee that oversees water sharing between India and Pakistan, using water as a diplomatic weapon. International experts are of the view that Delhi is using the water issue to put pressure on Pakistan in the dispute over Kashmir. The Indian strategy is to build huge storage facilities and canals over and around the rivers that flow through Indian administered Kashmir but most of the water is allotted to Pakistan under the Indus Water Treaty. The 56 year old treaty is under strain, and Modi’s stance and strategy is not conducive to its continuity. Like it is said, sharing the waters of the Cauvery has been an issue for decades but it is particularly contentious now. The latest development is that Pakistan has yet again approached the World Bank to address the violation of the Treaty by India. India has successfully stalled the appointment of the chairman of the Arbitration Court of Justice, which Pakistan had requested, by immediately moving in with a request for a neutral expert.

This new twist to the treaty has come at a time when Modi government has chosen to publicly threaten Pakistan with the abrogation of the treaty. India is threatening to cut Pakistan’s water access. The 56 year-old water sharing agreement has run into trouble as tensions have escalated between the rivals, post-Uri attack. Statements by Prime Minister Modi calling for a review of the Treaty where he said that blood and water cannot flow together, and then hinting at revoking the treaty were seen as confirmation of these apprehension.

However, this is not new. India has been following a policy of ‘dewatering Pakistan’ since long. India already has 20 hydro projects on the three western rivers allocated to Pakistan. It is now building another 10 and more are being planned.

In the past also, Islamabad has complained to the international court that the dam in the Gurez Valley, one of dozens planned by India, will affect Pakistan’s river flow and is illegal. The court had halted any permanent work on the river for the moment but India got the permission to continue tunneling and building other associated projects. In 1987, upon Pakistan’s objection, Delhi had to suspend the Tulbul Navigation Project on the Jhelum River. As per a BBC report, sources within Indian Water Resources Ministry have hinted that the project could now be revived. As part of Modi’s aggressive water policy, this will directly have an impact on Pakistan’s agriculture.

The former chairman of Indus River System Authority, Engineer Fateh Ullah Khan Gandapur said on record that India is using water as a ‘weapon of mass destruction’ to convert Pakistan into a desert and is diverting the entire flow into the Indian territory of Rajasthan. Salman Bashir, former foreign secretary of Pakistan, categorically said that diversion of Indus water by India will lead to war. Prime Minister Modi in one of his pre-election speeches in Batinda said that water that belongs to India should remain in India. Diverting the waters of Indus is not realistically possible, and cannot be done without triggering a war between the two countries.

Pakistan, India and Afghanistan Water Triangle
India has also tried to use its influence to start interfering with the flow of water from Afghanistan to Pakistan. Islamabad has shown its concern over New Delhi’s increased help to Kabul for development of a number of storages on the Kabul River without addressing Pakistan’s concerns. The Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his visit to Afghanistan back in 2011 had pledged $1.5bn in development assistance, with special interest in dam-building on the Kabul River. This commitment, apart from other heads, is meant for building 14 small and medium dams with total water storage capacity of 7.4MAF. International financial institutions including the World Bank have agreed to provide $7.079bn for these projects. In 2016, Indian experts completed the feasibility and detailed engineering of 12 projects to be built on River Kabul. If these 12 projects are completed, they will store 4.7 million acre feet of water, squeezing river flows to Pakistan. Moreover, in the absence of major dams in Pakistan, Pakistan will eventually end up buying electricity from Afghanistan, which may be the underlying purpose of this extensive 12 dam plan of the Afghan government with Indian collaboration. India and Afghanistan are actively exploring Chenab like run of the river projects on Afghanistan eastern rivers as a strategic offensive against Pakistan. Pakistan does not have any water treaty with Afghanistan. The rules governing flow of Afghanistan’s eastern rivers, mainly Kabul, Kunar and Chitral into Pakistan are just some internationally accepted principles. Pakistan in retaliation had hinted at diverting Chitral River before its entry into Afghanistan in the event of attempts made to deprive it of its due share. The strained relations between Pakistan and Afghanistan and the constant Indian manipulation of the conflict also has Pakistan’s water security at stake. A latest policy brief by Leadership for Environment and Development (LEAD) Pakistan titled “Hydro-diplomacy between Pakistan and Afghanistan” says “planned water projects on Kabul River by upper-riparian Afghanistan will adversely affect lower-riparian Pakistan. It is critically important to arrive at a consensus by understanding issues, maintaining historical rights and arriving at benefit sharing options for both countries through the use of Kabul River waters.”


We need to showcase our water vision for the future which includes not only raising objections to what India is doing but having a water conservation plan and a strategy to respond to climate change. Pakistan’s water security is intrinsically linked to its food security. In Pakistan little or no dams are being constructed and to add insult to injury the two largest dams are silting.

India has never underestimated the significance of river waters to strengthen its geostrategic interests in the region. It is now working on a double-squeeze water policy against Pakistan by constantly building on the western rivers in occupied Kashmir and facilitating projects on the Kabul River. The establishment in Delhi has a very aggressive water mindset towards Pakistan. It has under successive governments, talked about reviewing the Treaty “to teach Pakistan a lesson”. Modi is just more vocal about it.

The statement by P.M. Modi was not taken lightly by Pakistan, and it immediately approached the World Bank to appoint a chairman for the Court of Arbitration because Pakistan claims that the design of the 330 MW Kishanganga Project violated the treaty. India followed with the demand for the appointment of a neutral expert. The World Bank’s take on the situation is that both processes initiated by the respective countries were advancing at the same time, creating a risk of contradictory outcomes that potentially endanger the Treaty. Thus, the pause is to address this impasse. Arbitration has been halted over two Indian hydro-electric projects on the Chenab River; 850 MW Ratle and 330 MW Kishanganga. The World Bank has counseled bilateral negotiations between India and Pakistan. It has urged both the countries to sort out differences and problems by January 2017. The bank had initially agreed to initiate both the processes simultaneously, but decided to pause them post Indian objection.

India has welcomed the decision and is ready to talk to Pakistan bilaterally to resolve the issue. This sudden desire to talk to Pakistan over water has arised because it suits India for several reasons to achieve its end objectives. One; India has initiated this new twist in the Treaty by continuous violation and hurling threats at Pakistan. Two; India has been stonewalling all initiative for dialogue except on the Treaty, this happened only after the issue was taken to the World Bank. More interestingly, India has habitually sidelined the permanent Indus Commission, established under Article VIII of the Indus Water Treaty (IWT), the primary channel of communication between the two countries. Now the question arises why this sudden desire to resolve the water issue through dialogue? It is also important to note here that India, which is ready for bilateral negotiation with Pakistan after Pakistan approached the World Bank, had even suspended routine bi-annual talks between the Indus Commissions of the two countries, and had taken a principle decision to restart work on the Tulbul Navigation Project on the Jhelum.

The last time bilateral dialogue on the Treaty brought some success was in 1978. The situation between India and Pakistan is different today and we are in state of dispute paralysis. The trust deficit between the two countries is at its highest level. The LoC keeps blowing hot and cold. The theatre of conflict now also includes Afghanistan. Indian opposition to CPEC is an open secret. The atmospherics for dialogue to resolve a contentious issue, like water seem unlikely.

The Indian strategy of continuous building of projects and at the same time, threatening Pakistan with revoking of the Treaty and resorting to dialogue only are a time-gaining strategy because of international pressure to achieve its nefarious designs, does not induce any confidence. Pakistan has made it clear that it will not accept any modification or changes in the IWT. Pakistan’s reaction to the World Bank brokered pause is not positive. Since it is seen as an Indian strategy of gaining time to continue building, till it becomes fate accomplished. A review of the Treaty is also not acceptable to Pakistan. The review, as already stated by Indian experts, is aimed at more rights over the western rivers, which is Pakistan’s agriculture’s lifeline.

Legal status of the Treaty
Ahmer Bilal Soofi, an eminent Pakistani lawyer’s take on the Treaty is that “The Treaty has no provision for unilateral “suspension”. It is of an indefinite duration and was never intended to be time-specific, event-specific or regime-specific — but rather state-specific. It will not expire with regime change. It is binding on both the states equally and offers no exit provision. The Treaty survived the two wars as well as other Pakistan-India conflicts because none of them was termed a war under international law.

In the event of a war, states are entitled to suspend treaties, including diplomatic relations by invoking Article 62 of the Vienna Convention. If India or Pakistan consider revoking the Treaty, it is itself signaling an act of war. This will equip both the countries with the right under international law to take up any other coercive or non-coercive measure as an act of reprisal”. This is not a pretty picture. Perhaps India should also be mindful of the fact that China is an upper-riparian country in Indus and Brahmaputra basins.

India is playing with fire using water as a tool of aggressive diplomacy to mount pressure on Pakistan. Using a mutually used resource to gain geo-strategic advantage is a recipe for trouble. On the other hand Pakistan should not take this lightly. India has time and again successfully manipulated the World Bank brokerage to its advantage because of Pakistan’s delayed response and weak water diplomacy. Pakistan needs to put its act together now, both internally and externally. Giving foreign policy statements, largely just for the consumption of the internal audience without any real plan on the ground, will not work. We need to showcase our water vision for the future which includes not only raising objections to what India is doing but having a water conservation plan and a strategy to respond to climate change. Pakistan’s water security is intrinsically linked to its food security. In Pakistan little or no dams are being constructed and to add insult to injury the two largest dams are silting. Pakistani authorities have so far done nothing to develop water uses on River Kabul. There is also no progress on the Munda dam. It paints a very grim picture of our water resources, like it is said, wars in today’s world are not fought on the conventional front but on the diplomatic, intellectual and economic front.


The writer is an eminent analyst and anchor person. She is currently an Associate Professor at Department of Social Sciences and Liberal Arts at IBA, Karachi.

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


باہمی تعاون مگر پاکستان کی قیمت پر نہیں

تحریر: ڈاکٹر ماریہ سلطان

نیوکلیئر سپلائیرز گروپ اگرچہ ایک غیر روایتی نظام ہے تاہم ٹیکنالوجی کو کنٹرول میں رکھنے کا ایک اہم ذریعہ ہے۔روایتی طور پر اس سے نہ صرف حساس ٹیکنالوجی کی تجارت کو منضبط کیا جاتا رہا ہے بلکہ اسی نظام کے ذریعے تمام ہائی ٹیک مواد کی بین الاقوامی تجارت بھی ضابطہ کار میں لائی جاتی رہی ہے۔ دو الگ الگ فہرستوں میں تقسیم اس نظام کا ایک حصہ نیوکلیائی ٹیکنالوجی اور نیوکلیائی ہتھیاروں کے عدم پھیلاؤ کی صراحت کرتا ہے جب کہ دوسرے حصے میں بنیادی خام مال اور اہم مادوں ،جیسے بسمتھ، ایلومینیم وغیرہ، کی تجارت کا کنٹرول شامل ہے۔ مذکورہ دھاتیں اور دیگر نیوکلیائی مواد اور ٹیکنالوجی کسی بھی ملک کی ہائی ٹیک صنعت کی بقا کے لئے انتہائی اہمیت کی حامل ہیں۔ اس لئے نیوکلیئر سپلائیرز گروپ کی اہمیت اور اندیشے ان دونوں درجوں میں آزادانہ تجارت سے جڑے ہوئے ہیں۔

تاہم گزشتہ چند سالوں سے اس ادارے کی غیر جانب داری اور موثر رہنے کے بارے میں شکوک و شبہات جنم لے رہے ہیں۔ ان شکوک کی بنیادی وجہ ہندوستان کو اس گروپ کا ممبر بنانے کے لئے کی جانے والی امریکہ کی جانب سے کوششوں کا بہت عمل دخل ہے۔ گزشتہ چند سالوں میں امریکہ نے انتہائی جانبداری اور لاپروائی کا مظاہرہ کرتے ہوئے انڈیا کے ساتھ نہ صرف نیوکلیئر کے میدان میں باہمی تعاون کے معاہدے کئے اور اس کو نیوکلیئرسپلائیر گروپ کی ممبر شب دلانے کے لئے پہلے سے طے شدہ قوانین کو بائی پاس کرنے کی کوشش کی بلکہ اس باہمی تعاون کے منفی اثرات پاکستان کے نیوکلیئر پروگرام پر بھی پڑنے شروع ہو گئے۔اب نہ صرف پاکستان کو نیوکلیئرسپلائیر گروپ کا ممبر بنانے کی، میڈیا بشمول سوشل میڈیا کے ایک مذموم مہم شروع کر دی گئی ہے بلکہ پاکستان کے نیوکلیئر پروگرام، جس کی سکیورٹی ایک مسلمہ امر ہے، اس پر بھی حملے کئے جا رہے ہیں۔

ایک طرف تو بھارت کو نیوکلیئر سیفٹی کے ضمن میں بدترین ریکارڈ اور جوہری عدمِ پھیلاؤ کے عالمی معاہدے پر دستخط نہ کرنے کے باوجود نیوکلیئرسپلائیر گروپ کی رکنیت دی جارہی ہے جب کہ دوسری طرف پاکستان کے صنعتی اداروں کو غیرروایتی ذرائع استعمال کرتے ہوئے اپاہج کرنے کی منصوبہ بندی کی جارہی ہے۔ سوشل میڈیا اور غیر روایتی پروپیگنڈے کا مذموم مقاصد کے لئے استعمال نہ صرف شرمناک بلکہ معتبر عالمی اداروں کی ساکھ پر سوالیہ نشان کا باعث بھی بنے گا۔ پاکستان کے لئے یہ قطعی طور پر ناقابلِ قبول اور غیر منصفانہ طرزِ عمل ہے۔ اس سے جہاں ہماری مختصر اور طویل مدتی صنعتی ضروریات اور توانائی کے حصول کی کوششوں کو زِک پہنچے گی اس کے ساتھ ساتھ پاکستان کے دفاع کے لئے انتہائی اہم نیوکلیئر صلاحیت کو مذموم پروپیگنڈے کے ذریعے داغ دار کرنے کی کوشش اور نیوکلیئر سپلائیرز گروپ کی اتفاقِ رائے کی روایت ، اس کی دوہری ٹیکنالوجی کی تجارت کو متاثر کرنے کی اہلیت اور بھارت امریکہ کا گٹھ جوڑ، پاکستان کی ترقی کی کوششوں پر بری طرح اثر انداز ہو سکتا ہے۔دونوں ملکوں کی جانب سے نیوکلیئرسپلائیرز گروپ کے پلیٹ فارم کو استعمال کرنے کے یہ خدشات نہ صرف ترقی کے لئے ہمارے مشرق کے ساتھ اشتراک کو متاثر کریں گے بلکہ ہمارے ملک کی مستقبل میں تجارت نیز پاکستان اور امریکہ کے باہمی تعلقات پر بھی بُرے اثرات ڈالیں گے۔

جنیوا میں این ایس جی کے حوالے سے گفت و شنید اور بھارتی وزیرِاعظم کی این ایس جی میں شمولیت کی شاطرانہ کوششوں کو اس وقت شدید دھچکا لگا جب یہ انکشاف ہوا کہ نو بھارتی ادارے نیوکلیئرٹیکنالوجی کے حوالے سے خلاف ورزیوں کی وجہ سے حالیہ عرصے میں امریکہ کی درآمدی کنٹرول کی فہرست کا حصہ تھے۔ اس تمام کے باوجود موجودہ اوبامہ انتظامیہ اپنے آخری ایام میں بھارت کی نیوکلیئرسپلائیرز گروپ کی رکنیت کے حصول میں مدد کر رہی ہے۔ ساتھ ہی پاکستان کے نیوکلیئرپروگرام کے خلاف کسی معتبر شہادت کے بغیر ہی سوشل میڈیا اور انٹیلی جنس رپورٹوں کی بنیاد پرپاکستان کی جانب سے اٹھائے گئے اہم اقدامات کے بارے میں شکوک و شبہات پیدا کرنے کی کوششیں کی جارہی ہیں۔

نیوکلیئرسپلائیر گروپ میں شمولیت ہو یا دیگر نیوکلیئر سے متعلق معاملات پاکستانی قوم کے خدشات بے بنیاد نہیں بلکہ اس کی ایک تازہ مثال اوبامہ انتظامیہ کی جانب سے سات پاکستانی گروپس اور اداروں پر پابندی کا اعلان ہے۔ یو ایس ڈیپارٹمنٹ آف کامرس نے ان سات
کو ایک نوٹیفکیشن کے تحت
Export Administration Regulations (EAR)
کی فہرست میں شامل کیا ہے۔ تاہم یہ امر باعث تشویش اورمجرمانہ تعصب کی نشاندہی کرتا ہے کہ اس پابندی کا باعث بننے والی کسی بھی وجوہ کا ذکر نہیں کیا گیا ہے۔ موجودہ امریکی انتظامیہ کی جانب سے اپنے آخری مہینوں میں برتے گئے اس تعصب سے مستقبل میں دونوں ملکوں کے تعلقات شدید متاثر ہونے کا خدشہ ہے۔ اس لئے پاکستانی اداروں کی فہرست میں شمولیت کا ازسرِ نو جائزہ لینے کی اشد ضرورت ہے۔

غیرمصدقہ اور مشکوک ذرائع جیسا کہ سوشل میڈیا، تجارتی ویب سائٹوں، انٹیلی جنس رپورٹوں اور وکی لیکس کی بنیاد پر تیار کردہ الفا پروجیکٹ پر شکوک کے بادل چھائے ہوئے ہیں۔ اس مشکوک رپورٹ کی بنیاد پاکستان کے پروگرام کے بارے میں شکوک و شبہات اور خدشات پیدا کئے جار ہے ہیں۔ ایسی رپورٹوں سے نہ صرف پاکستان کی نیوکلیئرسپلائر گروپ میں شمولیت کا کیس پیچیدہ ہوجائے گابلکہ نئی امریکی انتظامیہ کے ساتھ باہمی تعاون کی کوششوں کو بھی نقصان پہنچے گا۔ ایسے ذرائع پر بھروسہ کرکے تشکیل دی گئی رپورٹ میں کالعدم اداروں کی فہرست میں شمولیت یا پاکستان کے نیوکلیئرپروگرام کے بارے میں تشویش پیدا کرنے کا جواز نہیں بنایا جانا چاہئے۔ پاکستانی کمپنیوں کی امریکہ کے کالعدم اداروں کی فہرست میں شمولیت ، جیسا کہ الفا رپورٹ میں تذکرہ کیا گیا، پاکستان کی دفاعی ، نیوکلیائی اور عمومی صنعتوں کو بری طرح متاثر کرے گی۔

مذکورہ پروجیکٹ کا بظاہر مذموم مقصد مخصوص عناصر کے ایما پر پروپیگنڈا کو بنیاد بنا کر پاکستانی معیشت کے لئے ریڑھ کی ہڈی کی حیثیت رکھنے والی صنعتوں کو نشانہ بنانا ہے۔ مزید برآں یہ رپورٹ موجودہ امریکی انتظامیہ کی جانب سے مستقبل کی امریکی انتظامیہ کے ساتھ پاکستان کے تعلقات پیچیدہ تر بنانے کی کوشش بھی ہے۔
پاکستان امریکہ کے ساتھ باہمی تعاون پر مبنی تعلقات قائم کرنے کا خواہش مند ہے اور پاکستان نیوکلیئرسپلائیرز گروپ کے معیارِ اہلیت پر پورا اترتا ہے۔ بے بنیاد،کمزور اور مشکوک معلومات کو بنیاد بنا کر امریکہ کی جانب سے پابندیوں کے شکار اداروں کی فہرست میں توسیع پاکستان کی تجارت اور ترقی پر منفی اثرات ڈالے گی۔ اس طریقے سے بغیر کسی اصول اور معیار کے بین الاقوامی برآمدی کنٹرولز کو سیاسی مقاصد کے حصول کے لئے استعمال کرنا باعثِ تشویش ہے۔ اسی طرح اگر بھارت کو ایٹمی ہتھیاروں کا پھیلاؤ روکنے کا قانوناً پابند نہیں کیا جاتا تو اس سے سب سے زیادہ نقصان نان این پی ٹی ممالک کو ہی ہو گا۔

پروجیکٹ الفا کے ذریعے یہ کوشش کی جا رہی ہے کہ پاکستان کو این ایس جی کی ممبرشپ نہ دی جائے اور یہ بے بنیاد تاثر دیا جارہا ہے کہ پاکستان خفیہ طور پر ایٹمی اور میزائل ٹیکنالوجی کے حصول کے لئے کوشاں ہے۔ پروجیکٹ الفا نہ صرف ٹھوس مواد سے محروم ہے بلکہ اس میں توازن کا خیال بھی نہیں رکھا گیا اور بظاہر اس پروجیکٹ کے ذریعے امریکہ۔ بھارت دفاعی صنعتوں کے مابین تعاون میں اضافے کے لئے راہ ہموار کرنا اور بھارت کو نیوکلیئرسپلائیرز گروپ کی رکنیت دینے کی کوشش ہے۔غیر روایتی نیٹ ورکس اور میڈیا میں چلائی جار ہی اس مسلسل مہم کا مقصد پاکستان کے دفاع،نیوکلیئر اور ہائی ٹیک صنعت کے خلاف پروپیگنڈا کرنا ہے جو کہ اصل حقائق سے قطعی مختلف ہے۔

بدقسمتی سے بھارت اور امریکہ کا باہمی تعاون بھارت کے لئے این ایس جی کی رکنیت کی درخواست تک محدود نہیں ہے بلکہ اس کاپس پردہ محرک دونوں ملکوں کے مابین دفاعی تجارت اور ٹیکنالوجی میں تعاون بھی ہے۔ اس تعاون کی چار جہتیں ہیں یعنی یو اے ویز
(Unmanned Aerial Vehicles)
کی بھارت میں پیداوار،بحرِ ہند میں بھارتی بالادستی کے لئے اقدامات،ایف سولہ کی فراہمی کا دفاعی معاہدہ اور جیٹ پروپلژن سسٹم جس سے بھارت اور امریکہ کے درمیان ہمیشہ کے لئے دفاعی معاہدہ تشکیل پا جائے گا۔

اسی طرح بھارت اور اسرائیل کا بری ،فضائی اور بحری فوجی تعاون بشمول انٹیلی جنس کا تبادلہ بھی جاری ہے۔ موساد اور را کے مابین تعاون صرف انٹیلی جنس کے تبادلے تک محدود نہیں بلکہ اسرائیل بھارتی فوجیوں کو سرجیکل سٹرائیکس کا اہل بنانے کے لئے تربیت بھی دے رہا ہے۔ دونوں ملکوں کے دفاعی اور سکیورٹی مفادات مشترکہ ہوتے جارہے ہیں جس کے نتیجے میں دونوں ملک وسیع پیمانے پر تعاون کررہے ہیں۔ جن میں بھارتی فضائیہ کے لئے جدید لڑاکا سسٹمز کی فراہمی،طویل فاصلے تک نشاندہی کرنے والے ٹریکنگ راڈار، زمین سے فضا میں طویل فاصلے تک مار کرنے والے میزائل،بحریہ کو جدید جنگی کشتیوں کی فراہمی اور بہتری میں تعاون، اینٹی سب میرین ہیلی کاپٹروں کے لئے تعاون،جاسوس سٹیلائٹ اور اینٹی بالسٹک میزائل ٹیکنالوجی میں تعاون شامل ہے۔ بھارت اور اسرائیل کے درمیان دفاعی اور ہائی ٹیک صنعتوں میں تعاون تقریباً نو ارب ڈالر تک پہنچ چکا ہے۔ دونوں ملک کشمیر میں مشترکہ طور پرپُر امن جدوجہدِ آزادی کو دبانے کے لئے کوشاں ہیں۔ سوشل میڈیا کے ذریعے پاکستان کو نیوکلیئر دھمکیاں انتہائی غیر ذمہ دارانہ طرزِ عمل ہے۔ اپنے مقاصد کے حصول کے لئے پروپیگنڈا مہم اور سوشل میڈیا کواستعمال کرنے میں ماہر اسرائیل کی وزارتِ دفاع کو چاہئے تھا کہ اسلام آباد کی طرف سے ردِ عمل آنے سے قبل ہی پاکستان کو دی جانے والی دھمکیوں سے لاتعلقی کا اعلان کردیتی۔ تاہم جس
نے اسرائیلی دھمکی والی خبر دی تھی اس کی تردید کرنے میں اسرائیل نے 96گھنٹے کی تاخیر کی۔ یہ تاخیر معاملے کی حساسیت کو دیکھتے ہوئے بلاوجہ نہیں تھی بلکہ حالیہ دھمکی سوشل میڈیا کو بطورِ ذریعہ استعمال کرنے اور اسے علمی مباحثے کا حصہ بنا کر حقیقی صورتِ حال کا تاثر دینے کی بہترین مثال ہے۔

پاکستان کے دفاع، ہائی ٹیک صنعتوں اور نیوکلیئرپروگرام کے خلاف ایسے غیرمحفوظ ذرائع سے قائم کیا گیا تاثر قطعی ناقابلِ قبول ہے۔ سیاسی بنیادوں پر پابندیوں کو وسعت دینا اور بھارت امریکہ اور بھارت اسرائیل دفاعی تعاون پاکستان کے لئے مزید پیچیدگیاں پیدا کر رہا ہے۔ بھارت اور امریکہ کا یہ تعاون اپنے مقاصد کو عملی جامہ پہنانے کے لئے کسی بھی ملک کو دہشت گردی کے نام پر نشانہ بنانے کے لئے بھی استعمال ہو سکتا ہے۔ مزید برآں امریکہ کی جانب سے بھارت کو ہائی ٹیک تجارت اور حساس ٹیکنالوجی کے میدان میں تعاون فراہم کیا جارہا ہے اور دوسری طرف پاکستان کو نان ٹیرف اور ٹیرف رکاوٹوں کے ذریعے ننانوے اعشاریہ آٹھ فیصد رسائی سے محروم کیا جا رہاہے۔

دلچسپ امر یہ ہے کہ امریکہ نے بھارت کے اصرار پر ان نو بھارتی اداروں کو پابندی کے شکار اداروں کی فہرست سے نکال دیا ہے جونیوکلیئر ٹیکنالوجی کے حوالے سے غیر قانونی سرگرمیوں میں ملوث رہے ہیں۔ جس سے بھارت پر عائد تجارتی پابندیاں ہٹا لی گئی ہیں۔ یہ تمام ادارے بھارت کے میزائل اور خلائی پروگرام پر دن رات عمل پیرا ہیں۔
بھارت کی این ایس جی میں شمولیت کے لئے امریکہ اس لئے بھی بھرپور کوششیں کر رہا ہے کہ بھارت اور امریکہ کی صنعت مشترک ہوگی جس سے بھارت کے بغیر ایس سی او ممالک کے مابین دفاعی تعاون کم موثر ہوجائے گا۔لگتا یہی ہے کہ ایشیاکی سطح پر بھارت کے ساتھ امریکہ اور دیگر چائنا مخالف ممالک کا ایک علاقائی بلاک بننے جا رہاہے۔ موجودہ امریکہ انتظامیہ کا بھارت کی طرف بے پناہ جھکاؤ امریکہ کے اپنے مفادات کو بھی ساؤتھ ایشیا میں زک پہنچائے گا کیونکہ اس خطے میں امریکہ تیزی سے صرف ایک ملک کے ساتھ تعاون کی جانب بڑھ رہا ہے۔

ماضی میں بھارت کو این ایس جی میں دی گئی رعایت عدم پھیلاؤ کے مقاصد کے لئے اچھی ثابت ہوئی، نہ ہی اس سے جنوبی ایشیا میں استحکام آسکا۔ ایٹمی و کیمیائی ہتھیاروں کے عدم پھیلاؤکو یقینی بنانے کے لئے علاقائی استحکام اہم ترین عنصر ہے۔ نان این پی ٹی ممالک کو رکنیت دینے کے حوالے سے اس کلب کے تمام (اڑتالیس) ممالک کو غیر امتیازی طریقہ کار اپنانا چاہئے۔ نہ کہ صرف ایک ملک کو استثنا دینے کی کوشش۔ پاکستان دیگر نان این پی ٹی ممالک کے ساتھ بیک وقت این ایس جی میں شمولیت کا خواہش مند ہے۔ جس کے لئے ضروری ہے کہ رکنیت کے لئے نان این پی ٹی ممالک کی جانب سے دی گئی دونوں درخواستوں کا منصفانہ اور بیک وقت جائزہ لیا جائے۔ ایسا منصفانہ اور بے تعصبانہ طریقہ اختیار کرنے سے نیوکلیائی پھیلاؤ کو روکنے میں بہت زیادہ مدد ملے گی۔ پاکستان تقریباً ایک عشرے سے این ایس جی کے ساتھ کام کر رہاہے اور اب باقاعدہ طور پر گروپ میں شمولیت کے لئے تیار ہے۔

اس تمام صورت حال میں جس کو نیوکلیئر سکیورٹی اور تجارت کے نام پر پاکستان کے خلاف استعمال کیا جا رہا ہے ایک اور پہلو کو بھی نظرانداز نہیں کرنا چاہئے۔ وہ پہلو پاکستان کی صنعتی ترقی کے لئے ٹیکنالوجی کا استعمال ہے۔ پاکستان اور چین سی پیک منصوبے کو صرف تجارتی راہداری کے معنوں میں نہیں لیا جانا چاہئے بلکہ پاکستان، آنے والی دہائیوں میں، اس کو ایک مکمل معاشی و صنعتی منصوبہ کے طور پر دیکھتا ہے۔ پاکستان میں صنعتی ترقی کے لئے ٹیکنالوجی کا حصول بہت اہم ہو گا اور کسی طرح کی قدغن ہمارے بہتر مستقبل میں ایک رکاوٹ تصور کی جائے گی۔

مضمون نگار ساؤتھ ایشین سٹریٹجک سٹیبلٹی انسٹی ٹیوٹ اور


یونیورسٹی کی ڈائریکٹر جنرل اور چیئرپرسن ہیں۔ مصنفہ جنوبی ایشیا کے نیو کلیئر آرمز کنٹرول اور ڈس آرمامنٹ معاملات اور دفاع کی ماہر تجزیہ نگارہیں۔ ان کے تحقیقی مضامین مختلف جرنلز‘ اخبارات اور کتابوں میں شائع ہوتے ہیں۔

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

وجیکٹ الفا کے ذریعے یہ کوشش کی جا رہی ہے کہ پاکستان کو این ایس جی کی ممبرشپ نہ دی جائے اور یہ بے بنیاد تاثر دیا جارہا ہے کہ پاکستان خفیہ طور پر ایٹمی اور میزائل ٹیکنالوجی کے حصول کے لئے کوشاں ہے۔ پروجیکٹ الفا نہ صرف ٹھوس مواد سے محروم ہے بلکہ اس میں توازن کا خیال بھی نہیں رکھا گیا اور بظاہر اس پروجیکٹ کے ذریعے امریکہ ۔بھارت دفاعی صنعتوں کے مابین تعاون میں اضافے کے لئے راہ ہموار کرنا اور بھارت کو نیوکلیئرسپلائیرز گروپ کی رکنیت دینے کی کوشش ہے۔غیر روایتی نیٹ ورکس اور میڈیا میں چلائی جار ہی اس مسلسل مہم کا مقصد پاکستان کے دفاع،نیوکلیئر اور ہائی ٹیک صنعت کے خلاف پروپیگنڈا کرنا ہے جو کہ اصل حقائق سے قطعی مختلف ہے۔



The Crisis in the Gulf

Published in Hilal English

Written By: Najam-ud-din Shaikh

As I write this article on the 20th July, it initially appeared that despite Secretary Tillerson’s best efforts the impasse between the grouping of Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain on the one hand and the state of Qatar was continuing. Tillerson’s aide, commenting on the efforts Tillerson made over a four day period shuttling between capitals and even concluding a U.S.-Qatar agreement to eliminate financing of terror, acknowledged that no solution had been arrived at and that the Americans expected no near term resolution.1 According to this briefing the Secretary had left “behind proposals with the “Saudi bloc” and with Qatar including a common set of principles that all countries can agree to so that we start from... a common place.”2

More recently however it seems that a via media has been found. Without withdrawing their 13 demands the combination of Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt announced that at their meeting in Cairo on July 5, it had been decided that 6 principles should be proposed to Qatar. These principles, according to a briefing for UN correspondents by Saudi Arabia's U.N. Ambassador Abdallah Al-Mouallimi, included commitments to combat extremism and terrorism, prevent financing and safe havens for such groups, and suspend all acts of provocation and speeches inciting hatred or violence.3 Another conciliatory note was struck by the Ambassador when he said that “while stopping incitement to violence is essential, but closing Al-Jazeera might not be necessary.”4 In effect the 13 demands initially framed can be deemed to have been dropped.

So there is a good chance that Qatar will accept these principles as a basis for discussion and negotiation and the rift in the ranks of the GCC will be repaired at least temporarily.

What has been the effect of the stand-off and the cutting of ties between Qatar on the one hand and the Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Egypt combined? It has pushed Qatar to rely on Iran and Turkey for food supplies and for the use of Iranian air space to keep its Airline operational. It had to cope with the return of Qatari nationals ordinarily resident in these countries to Qatar creating a major humanitarian problem. These will not be easily forgotten even when Qatar returns to the fold.

Who should one hold responsible? What impact does this have on the so-called alliance of Muslim countries with the USA that was theoretically cemented during President Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia in May. In making Saudi Arabia the first country he visited Trump sought to highlight his interest in joining with Muslim countries to counter terrorism by such organisations as the ISIS and Al-Qaeda. But he also focused on labelling Iran as the source of terrorism. In his speech, President Trump said “From Lebanon to Iraq to Yemen, Iran funds arms and trains terrorists, militias and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region.” Mr. Trump told dozens of Muslim heads of state, “It is a government that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing the destruction of Israel, death to America, and ruin for many leaders and nations in this very room.”5 At the joint press appearance with his Saudi counterpart Tillerson said, “Iran continues its hegemonic activities in this region in Yemen, in Iraq, in Syria, and its support of Hezbollah in Lebanon. And until Iran shows its willingness to be a good neighbor, I think is the words that were used by many, that shows its willingness to cease its enablement of the kind of destabilizing activities that go on, their payment of foreign fighters, their payment of militias to go into other countries and destabilize those countries, then Iran will not have a place around this table that was set today.”6

Clearly Saudi Arabia had achieved from the Trump visit what it had desired – a labelling of Iran as the villain of the peace and an American alliance with the Muslim countries that Saudi Arabia had brought together. It should be noted that what Trump claimed to have achieved in addition – Saudi agreement to buy $110 billion worth of U.S. arms and $400 billion in investments in the USA and Saudi Arabia turned out to be no more than agreements on paper. Bruce Riedel says, “There is no $110 billion deal. Instead, there are a bunch of letters of interest or intent, but not contracts… What the Saudis and the administration did is put together a notional package of the Saudi wish list of possible deals and portray that as a deal. Even then the numbers don’t add up. It’s fake news".7

It does not require much research to come to the conclusion that while waging an expensive war in Yemen and pursuing the vision for 2030 the Saudis are not going to have the funds available to make investments of $400 billion in the foreseeable future.

Why did it go further and choose to use the opportunity to settle old scores with Qatar. The answer to my mind lay in the encouragement they received from President Trump – an encouragement that ignored the close ties Qatar had assiduously built with the USA and which included hosting the airbase at which more than 10,000 American personnel were based and which was critical for the American air operations in Syria, Yemen, Iraq and Afghanistan.

It has now become clear that the current row began when the Qatar’s official account was hacked and aggressive statements were attributed to Qatari Amir. Ostensibly this prompted the June 5 severing of links by the Saudi-led group. A careful perusal of the reports published in the American media show that the hacking of the site was allegedly orchestrated from Washington by UAE Ambassador to the U.S. Yousef al-Otaiba.8 While he has denied this categorically,9 it has been confirmed by other reports that quoting American intelligence sources have made the same assertion.

Ambassador al-Otaiba has been over time perceived as one of the most well connected Ambassadors in Washington. His contacts with Jared Kushner, the President’s son-in-law and the man to whom Trump has entrusted the Middle East diplomacy are well recognised as are the contacts he appears to have developed with such Trump advisers as Steve Bannon. It would be reasonable to assume that he used these contacts to prompt the Trump tweets branding Qatar a terrorist state.

It is also clear that Tillerson and Mattis both have been strongly opposed to allowing these elements to determine policy and it seems that his tweets notwithstanding Trump has decided to give Tillerson the authority to determine policy on this issue. It is true however that Trump still cannot resist making statements that are out of line. In a recent interview to Christian Broadcasting Network, he underplayed the importance of the base in Qatar claiming that “If we ever had to leave, we would have 10 countries willing to build us another one, believe me, and they will pay for it.”10

He also suggested that he had differences with Tillerson but maintained that “Rex is doing a terrific job but he and I had a little bit of a difference only in terms of tone.”11

It is this mixed messaging that has created problems and will continue to do so.
In the meanwhile, we also have to look at the situation within Saudi Arabia. It does seem that there was a certain amount of discomfort at the removal of Mohammad bin Nayef from the line of succession. The royal family did get the approval of the appropriate bodies and as has been the practice in the past the family will stick together to ensure the stability they all need but it will bear watching as the new Crown Prince marches ahead with both the Vision 2030 and the war in Yemen.

For the time being at least it would seem that the plans for the Islamic army have either been abandoned or will be in cold storage.


The writer is a former Foreign Secretary and Ambassador to the USA and Iran is now the Head of the Global and Regional Studies Centre in the Institute of Business Management, a Karachi based University.

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


1 UAE orchestrated hacking of Qatari government sites, sparking regional upheaval, according to U.S. intelligence officials, The Washington Post, July 18, 2017.
2 Ibid.
3 Arabs Urge Qatar to Accept 6 Principles to Combat Extremism, Dawn, July 19, 2017.
4 Ibid.
5 In Saudi Arabia, Trump Reaches Out to Sunni Nations, at Iran’s Expense, The New York Times, May 21, 2017.
6 Tillerson press appearance with Saudi FM, May 21, 2017.
7 The $110 billion arms deal to Saudi Arabia is fake news, Bruce Riedel, Brookings, June 5, 2017.
8 UAE orchestrated hacking of Qatari government sites, sparking regional upheaval, according to U.S. intelligence officials, The Washington Post, July 16, 2017.
9 Ibid.
10 Trump says US has alternatives to Qatar’s Al Udeid airbase, The National Dubai, July 14, 2017.
11 Ibid.


Dismantling the Old Global Economic Order

Published in Hilal English

Written By: Shahid Javed Burki

President Donald Trump’s on-going policies towards the established global economic order go beyond the dismantling of the rule-based system of world commerce. Increased protectionism is not the only price the world will pay for the election of November 2016 as a result of which Trump took over the American presidency. In the first six months of his residence in the White House he has inflicted a number of injuries to the old system. His moves cover a number of areas – among them the role of the state, the United States’ fiscal system, and international migration.

The unexpected rise of Donald Trump to the pinnacle of political power in the United States has been explained in several different ways. The developments that caused Trump to gain the office of the United States presidency also affected other parts of the Western world. Five months before Trump was elected, voters in Britain pushed their government to leave the European Union. The British voters' decision introduced a new word in politics – Brexit – and upended the economic order that had been built over several decades. There was general agreement among scholars and policy analysts that much of the political upheaval in the Western world was caused by the unexpected consequences of globalization. This was the process that allowed the almost unconstrained flow of capital, information, goods and commodities across national borders. Sometimes it also permitted to movement of workers who would leave the economies where jobs were scarce and incomes were low to those in which opposite was the case. There was large-scale migration of people from the less developed world to those that were richer and offered opportunities that were not available at home. People from Mexico and Central America flooded into the United States. North Africa and the Middle East pushed hundreds of thousands of people into Europe.


dismantlingtheold.jpgNot only people could move but companies also left their homes and moved to the places where well-trained workers were relatively cheap and labor market regulations were weak and therefore, more accommodating of those who owned capital. These moves were facilitated by the information revolution. Production processes could be divided and located in places that were more friendly. Responding to these developments, Apple for instance assembled its popular items in China from the components made in a dozen countries in East Asia. The designing of the various products, of course, was undertaken in Seattle in western United States. The largest market for what the company produced was in America. Apple produced large profits which it did not keep in the United States. Hundreds of billions dollars were parked in such tax-friendly countries as Ireland.

Globalization, in other words, was a highly disruptive process. It produced winners as well as large numbers of losers. Those who lost turned to politics to express their resentment and also with the hope that they could follow the leaders who would be able to turn the clock back. The result, as already indicated, was Brexit in the United Kingdom and the rise of Donald Trump, the Republican candidate for the United States presidency. The “leavers” in Britain wished to bring back policymaking from Brussels to London. Trump gained attention by promising to make “America great again.” It also became clear that the anger that drove voters towards seeking desperate remedies for their situation will not go even when their economic conditions improved. The U.S. Census Bureau’s annual report, based on a survey of 95,000 households is the latest evidence that 2015 was a good year for the United States’ economy.

However, dry statistics don’t always produce strong political trends. The widespread anger that resulted in the election of Donald Trump did not abate and the pressure on Trump to adopt unorthodox approaches to economic management did not ease. In at least three areas, Trump adopted policies that deviated in fundamental ways from what had resulted in the creation of U.S.-dominated global economic and political order. The new administration had a different view of the role government could play in economic matters. It withdrew support from the institutions that had supported the old order. It gave up on a rule-based system of global trade. Some of what Trump promised to do – and some of what he began to follow once he was in office – was firmly embedded in the Republican Party’s economic philosophy. And it took steps to reduce, if not totally stop, the arrival of foreigners into the country.


As Krugman points out, international trade is governed by rules – rules America helped to put in place. Breaking the rules will lead to other countries doing the same. The result would be a trade war. And it’s foolish to imagine that America will win such a war.

In explaining what happened to the economy, the Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman argued that the Obama administration had the reverse of the traditional trickle down approach favored by the political right. There was an element of trickle-up economics in that administration’s response to the Great Recession. “Much of the stimulus involved expanding the social safety net, not just to protect the vulnerable, but to increase purchasing power and sustain demand. And in general the Obama-era policies have tried to help families directly, rather than showering benefits on the rich and hoping that the benefits trickle down.”

Trump’s policies would further aggravate the weaknesses in the United States’ economy. A weakened U.S. will not be good for the global economy. Economists such as Lawrence Summers have begun to worry that the United States' economy has entered the phase of what they term as “secular decline.” This is the consequence of a number of factors, among the aging of the population, not enough resources committed to education and training needed by an economy that was rapidly moving away from the traditional sectors, and neglect of physical infrastructure. The new administration will need to work on developing a new economic development paradigm.

The United States will need to develop a system of governance that caters to the basic needs for all citizens. The country has tended to give greater attention to individual action rather than the role of the state in having people provide for themselves. The enormous amount of effort devoted by the political right to do away with the system of health delivery that came to be called “Obamacare” is a good example of this belief about governance and the limited role that should be assigned to the state. The angry white men who provided the base on which Donald Trump was able to build his campaign had two contradictory demands. They wanted a limited state and yet a state that provided them income support through programs such as the Social Security system and health-care through state-subsidized Medicare program. In other words, the role Trump would like the government to play will not deliver economic goods to his political constituency. Instead, it will increase even more the share of the rich in national wealth. With this approach in place, his sojourn in the set-up may not last for very long.

International trade is the second area in which the Trump administration is bringing about immense changes. The policies being pursued are meant to bring back the jobs America had lost to the world. According to the news site Axios, Trump is “hell-bent” on imposing punitive tariffs on imports of steel and solar panels, claiming that other countries are taking advantage of America. This was the central theme of his campaign. Axios reports that the White House believes that Trump’s political base likes the idea of a trade war and “will love the fight.” But would such an approach win jobs for Trump’s supporters? Not necessarily for at least three reasons. First, a great deal of modern commerce is in intermediate goods – goods that make other goods, such as the components that go into the making of Iphones and Ipads. A tariff on steel may save steel jobs but will hurt jobs in the industries that use the product such as that manufactures of automobiles. In fact, trade and trade policy have little effect on total employment. They affect what kind of jobs are available in the economy but not much the total number. Then, as Krugman points out, international trade is governed by rules – rules America helped to put in place. Breaking the rules will lead to other countries doing the same. The result would be a trade war. “And it’s foolish to imagine that America will win such a war. For one thing we are far from being a dominant superpower in world trade – the European Union is just as big a player and capable of effective retaliation. Anyway, trade isn’t about winning and losing: it generally makes both sides of the deal richer, and a trade war usually hurts all the countries involved.”

Then there is the question of allowing foreigners to enter the country. During the campaign, Trump promised to build a wall all along the border with Mexico to keep out the Hispanic population. This was a popular move since there was widespread belief among the people who were attracted to the Trump candidacy that the migrants from Mexico and Central America had taken away the jobs the white, non-college educated population would have performed. The other migration-related promise by Trump concerned Muslims. Trump said that, if elected, he would ban the entry of all Muslims into his country. This also resonated well with one segment of the American population – people who were concerned that non-Christian migrants were hurting the old value system. Upon taking office, Trump issued an executive order that would have banned the entry of the citizens from seven Muslim majority countries in the Middle East. The order was challenged in the courts and declared to be unconstitutional. A revised version was issued but met the same fate in the lower courts. The administration appealed to the Supreme Court which upheld the order but in a restricted form.

How will history treat the Trump era? The answer will come later but the signs are clearly visible that his policies would have far reaching impact on existing international liberal political and economic order.


The writer is a former Caretaker Finance Minister of Pakistan. He also served as vice-president at the World Bank.

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


Follow Us On Twitter