09
December
December 2016(EDITION 12, Volume 53)
 
Written By: Maria Khalid
The strength of a leader and an institution lies in the capacity to salvage results from seemingly impossible situations and inculcate the winning spirit. The strength of the Pakistan Armed Forces stems from the institutional strength, capability, determination....Read full article
 
Written By: Taj M. Khattak
What is national security? It is a very simple question to ask but not quite as simple to answer. The complexity arises from divergent views of any number of authors, each partially right, most wholly wrong....Read full article
 
Written By: Ahmer Bilal Soofi
The contemporary world order has profoundly altered the traditional notions of effective conduct of diplomacy. Today, intelligent state-craft includes strategic use of new and creative forms of diplomacy to settle....Read full article
 
Written By: Farrukh Khan Pitafi
Donald J. Trump’s victory took most of the world by surprise. Even on the election day exit polls were sure of a Hillary Clinton win. And when the realization dawned on the world, for a heart stopping....Read full article
 
Written By: Shamshad Ahmed
Lately, India's Narendra Modi has been claiming that he will isolate Pakistan. What he doesn't know is that in this region if there is any country already suffering a congenital isolation, it....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal
Donald Trump has been elected as the 45th President of the United States on November 8, 2016. The triumph of Trump was unexpected for many analysts and thereby they avowed it ‘a great upset of electoral....Read full article
 
Written By: Nadeem F. Paracha
Though created in 1947 as an independent Muslim-majority country, Pakistan is a land of some stunning geographical and cultural diversities. The country’s state institutions and constitution encourage the harnessing.....Read full article
 
Written By: Prof. Sharif al Mujahid
According to Iqbal, to preserve itself as “a distinct cultural unit”, for the Muslim minority “the chief formative factor” furnishing “those basic emotions and loyalties which gradually....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Niaz Murtaza
National governance can be defined as the processes of decision-making and implementation followed by state institutions. Good governance represents governance which enhances the welfare of all citizens of a country....Read full article
 
Written By: Huma Kirmani
December 16, a denounced day
Peshawar, the city of roses
Sparked fears of terrorism
Holocaust the angelic smiles of young hearts
Misery of thy cowardice
Assassination of hope
Terrorists and their formidable eye.....Read full article
 
Written By: Feryal Ali Gauhar
On July 26, 1953 Fidel Castro Ruz, along with an armed group of 123 men and women, attacked the Moncada army barracks in Santiago de Cuba in Guantanamo Province. The plan was to overthrow General Fulgencia Batista who, with....Read full article
 
Written By: Husain Qazi
Had there a thousand mountains been, my longing would have crossed them all.”
In the epic tale of Sassi Punnu the great Sufi poet Shah Abdul Lateef Bhittai aptly narrates the ordeals of....Read full article
 
Written By: Saim Siddiqui
Towards operationalization of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the pilot project, first trade convoy moved from Kashgar (Xinjiang) to Gwadar in the first week of November 2016. It was a historic moment for Pakistan....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Shahnaz Khan
The state of education in Pakistan has become increasingly incoherent, disjointed and disorganized over the past few decades. However before any further discussion can take place about education, we have to clarify some.....Read full article

 
Written By: Omair Alavi
Pakistan’s Cricket team may not be performing to the best of their abilities at the moment but the ‘Men in White’ have been there, have done that! They have completed their 400 Tests and we are acknowledging....Read full article
 
Written By: Tariq Burki
Indeed, the greatest fantasy a soldier may have is to face the enemy in battle and pitch his skills against him. The soldiers with no practical experience of a real battlefield, often wonder what it would be like to be in actual combat....Read full article
 
Written By: Muhammad Tauseeef Ansari
Spring season in Pakistan brings a myriad of flowers of all colours and hue. New leaves sprout from branches and new branches sprout from old barks. It was a wonderful day during the spring season in Pakistan, March....Read full article
 
Written By: Will Hatton
I have been travelling around the world for a long time now, funding my adventures at first through odd jobs I would pick up on the road and, now, through my blog. To travel has always been my passion, it’s the thing that excites me, that makes me get out....Read full article
 
 
Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat took the charge of Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) on November 28, 2016 from General Rashad Mehmood in an official ceremony held at Joint Staff Headquarters, Rawalpindi....Read full article
 
General Qamar Javed Bajwa assumed command of Pakistan Army as the 16th COAS on November 29, 2016. In a specially organized ceremony at GHQ, former COAS, Gen (R) Raheel Shareef passed the baton of command to Gen Bajwa, thus formally handing over military’s command ....Read full article
 
On his first visit to field formations, after taking over command of Pakistan Army, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff visited Corps Headquarters Peshawar and North Waziristan Agency. At Corps HQ, COAS was briefed about the prevailing security situation in KP, FATA and Malakand....Read full article
 
Pakistan Navy under auspices of Joint Services Headquarters organized 49th CISM World Military Sailing Championship 2016 from October 28 to November 1, 2016 at Marina Club, Karachi. Teams from nine countries including Bahrain, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan....Read full article
 
Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force, attended the opening ceremony of Zhuhai Air Show-2016. The Air Chief witnessed the aerial display of the Chinese Air Force aerobatic team, Royal Air Force aerobatic team....Read full article
 
Subsequent to formal inauguration of Gwadar Port, the cargo shipment set off from Gwadar Port under the protection of Pakistan Navy ships. The pilot project of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) successfully kicked off when the first ever cargo containers arrived from Kashgar.....Read full article
 
09
December

Written By: Omair Alavi

Pakistan’s Cricket team may not be performing to the best of their abilities at the moment but the ‘Men in White’ have been there, have done that! They have completed their 400 Tests and we are acknowledging their effort by picking out the top memorable moments from early 90s till recently, the era that covers some 200 odd Test matches. Be ready for the many matches where the Green Caps delivered the best performance and even stunned their greatest critics by being true ambassadors of the game.

 

downmomotwo.jpgRecords Galore at Karachi – 1993
Pakistan Cricket started a new era under Wasim Akram after Javed Miandad was stripped off captaincy in 1993; however, it was Waqar Younis’ debut match as Captain (he was named Wasim’s deputy) that found its place in the record books. First, the Burewala Express was the youngest captain to lead Pakistan in a Test match at 22 years and 15 days, breaking Javed Miandad’s record of 22 years and 260 days. It was also the last Test series in which Javed represented Pakistan. The first Test of the series was played at Defence Stadium in Karachi which became a Test centre with the match. Waqar Younis took as many as 13 wickets in the match (7 in the first, 6 in the second innings) to wrap up a famous victory by 131 runs.


Waqar’s Kandy Krush – 1994
There was a time Sri Lankans were considered minnows of Test Cricket; they began their resurgence in the mid 90s but their fightback was no match for Waqar Younis, on top of his game. His 11 wickets at Kandy (6 in first innings, 5 in second) helped Pakistan win the match by an innings and 52 runs. Inzamam-ul-Haq’s unbeaten century was also the highlight of the match where Basit Ali and Aamer Sohail also scored half centuries.


Wasim’s Wellington Wreck – 1994
Wasim Akram stepped down as captain after the revolt of 1994 that was led by most of the players in the side except Saleem Malik who took over the captaincy. On the tour of New Zealand, Wasim returned with vengeance, taking 11 wickets in the match, with 7/119 his best in Tests being the highlight of the second innings. An entertaining innings of 169 runs by Saeed Anwar was followed by 140 not out by skipper Saleem Malik and unbeaten 135 by Inzamam-ul-Haq and helped Pakistan win the match by an innings and 12 runs!


Mushy’s Sydney Coming – 1995
Before this Test, Mushtaq Ahmed, the leg spinner, was considered a second fiddle to the two Ws, one who was asked to bowl when Wasim and Waqar got tired. It all changed after the third and final Test of the series where Mushtaq triumphed over Shane Warne (8 wickets in the match) and finished the match with as many as 9 wickets. What was more important was the fact that after this match began Mushy’s golden period where whatever he did, won matches for Pakistan!


Too Hot To Handle – 1996
When Pakistan Cricket team left for England in 1996, they were supposed to give tough time to the hosts. Under Wasim Akram’s captaincy, they proved to be too-hot-to-handle for Atherton and his men, winning as many as 2 out of the 3 Tests. Inzamam-ul-Haq, Ijaz Ahmed, Saeed Anwar, Moin Khan and Saleem Malik finished the tour with centuries while Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Mushtaq Ahmed used their experience with English counties to keep the hosts on the backfoot.

 

downmomotwo1.jpgZimbabwe Wasim-ed! –1996
Wasim Akram was on top of his game when Zimbabwe came to Pakistan in 1996; in the first Test he ensured the match ended in a draw as he rescued Pakistan from a horrific position with his 257 not out that included the then world record 8th wicket partnership of 313 with Saqlain Mushtaq; in second Test, he finished with 10 wickets (6 wickets in the first innings, 4 in the second) to solidify his credentials as a world class all-rounder with no equal in international circuit.


Gaggu Mandi’s Zahid Takes 11 on Debut – 1996
Before there was Shoaib Akhtar, there was Mohammad Zahid who came, who saw and who took 11 wickets on his Test debut against New Zealand. In the first innings, the extremely quick Zahid combined with Mushtaq Ahmed to topple the Kiwis but in the second, he was the tormentor in chief with 7 wickets as the hosts won the match by an innings and 13 runs. Zahid’s pace and accuracy was what dreams are made of and had he not been injured, he might have had a great career for Pakistan.


Devastation at Durban – 1998
It took the combined might of 2 Pindi boys – Azhar Mahmood and Shoaib Akhtar – to get Pakistan their first win in South Africa. Aamer Sohail was leading the side in the second Test of the series in Rashid Latif's absence; in the first innings 132 of the 259 runs were scored by Azhar; Shoaib Akhtar then dismissed 5 South Africans without the help of the fielders (4 bowled, 1 leg before) to restrict the hosts to 231. Saeed Anwar's 118 ensured that the Proteas got 255 run target, which proved to be 29 runs too more for them as they fell prey to Mushtaq Ahmed's 6 wickets in the second innings and 9 wickets in the match.


When Pakistan Conquered Chennai – 1999
If there ever was a ‘Test Match of the last 20 years’ award, it would have gone to the Chennai Test where Pakistan won a battle against all odds. Saqlain Mushtaq's 10 wickets in the match (5 in each innings) were as crucial to Pakistan’s cause as Shahid Afridi's 141 and although the Match Referee Cammie Smith gave Sachin Tendulkar the Man of the Match award for his 136, Pakistan came out as the better side. Not even the 6-wicket hauls of Anil Kumble or Venkatesh Prasad were able to stop Pakistan from winning the match by 12 runs!


Shoaib Akhtar Rattles Kolkata – 1999
Shoaib Akhtar to Sachin Tendulkar… and he has bowled him! That was a career defining moment for the fastest bowler in the world who castled the best batsman on the very first delivery he faced. The first encounter of the Asian Test Championship between the two nations was won by Pakistan but not before they were reduced to 26/6 in the first session! The visitors staged a comeback through Saeed Anwar’s 188 not out despite Javagal Srinath’s 13 wickets in the match. The stadium had to be cleared after a riot in the second innings that erupted after Sachin Tendulkar was declared run out after a minor collision with that man Shoaib Akhtar who finished the match with 8 wickets, including that of Rahul ‘The Wall’ Dravid – twice.


Double Trouble at Dhaka – 1999
Pakistan and Sri Lanka reached the final of the first Asian Test Championship, which was played at a neutral venue – Dhaka. After Arshad Khan's 5 wickets saw Sri Lanka get dismissed for 231, it was left to Ijaz Ahmed and Inzamam-ul-Haq who scored 211 and 200 not out respectively in Pakistan’s only innings score of 594. Sri Lankans were dismissed for 188 in the second innings, thanks to Wasim Akram's second hat trick in as many matches, and against the same opponents!


Kaneria Bamboozles Bangladesh at Multan – 2001
It was a batting paradise where Bangladesh won the toss and elected to field; Danish Kaneria bamboozled them with his variations and ended their innings at 134, finishing with 6 wickets in the first innings. After all (Saeed Anwar, Taufeeq Umar, Inzamam-ul-Haq, Yousuf Youhana and Abdur Razzaq) but one batsmen from the top 6 scored centuries (number 3 Faisal Iqbal made 9), Bangladeshis were again bowled out for 148, leaving Pakistan with a victory by an innings and 264 runs. Danish Kaneria was declared Man of the Match for his 12 wickets on a batsmen friendly track.


Inzamam Demolishes Kiwis With 329 – 2002
Any match where the main batsman scores a triple ton runs and where the team gets dismissed for 643 runs is going to be one-sided. Thanks to Inzamam's 329 runs which remains the second highest Test score by a Pakistani (after Hanif Mohammad’s 337) and Imran Nazir's 127, Pakistan ended the second day with a huge advantage. The Kiwis couldn't survive Shoaib Akhtar's 6 wickets in the first innings as they were bowled out for 73, while in the second innings, Danish Kaneria played the destroyer-in-chief role perfectly with 5 wickets. The hosts won the match by an innings and 324 runs and the Kiwis were left wondering what they did wrong!

 

downmomotwo2.jpgInzi Saves the Day at Multan – 2003
Inzamam-ul-Haq had to prove his credentials after his failure in World Cup; he was recalled for the match against Bangladesh in Multan and not only did he prove his worth, he entered the race of the best batsman in the world with his match winning knock of 138 not out. He single handedly snatched victory from the mouth of visiting Bangladeshis who were sure of the win when they dismissed the 8th batsman at 205. Chasing 261, Inzamam managed to hit the winning runs with debutante Yasir Ali – the last man – on the other end!


Younis’ 267 Too Good To Be True – 2005
It was always going to be a smooth ride after Younis Khan and Inzamam-ul-Haq scored 324 runs for the third wicket against India in the 3rd Test at Bangalore. Pakistan had to win the match to level the series and that's exactly what they did as the visitors managed 570 runs in the first innings. Younis managed to score 267 runs in the first innings while Inzamam managed 184; Virender Sehwag replied back with 201 but Danish Kaneria's 5 wickets restricted the Indian innings to 449. Half centuries from top 3 helped Pakistan post a target of 383 to win for the hosts who could only manage 214!


Indians Krash Land in Karachi – 2006
After a disastrous opening day, Pakistan came back into the match with the help of its bowlers who were phenomenal to say the least. Thanks to Kamran Akmal's 113 and Abdur Razzaq and Shoaib Akhtar's 45 each, Pakistan was able to survive Irfan Khan's hat trick in the first over of the day. Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Asif and Abdur Razzaq shared 9 wickets to fall in the Indian innings while Faisal Iqbal's only Test century and nervous 90s from Abdur Razzaq and Mohammad Yousuf ensured Pakistan posted a humungous target on board. Chasing 607 to win, the visitors were dismissed for 265 that included hilarious dismissals of Indian batsmen including Sachin Tendulkar who had no answer to Mohammad Asif’s magic! The pacers shared 8 wickets to fall in the second innings as well while Kamran Akmal was declared Man of the Match!


The Calendar Year of Mohammad Yousuf – 2006
Mohammad Yousuf may have been dismissed for 0 in the Karachi Test but he was in phenomenal form that year as he scored 461 runs (at an average of 92.2) against the Indians at home; 631 runs (at an average of 90.14) against England in England and 665 runs (at an average of 133) against the West Indies when they toured Pakistan. His magical run saw him score as many as 1788 runs (at an average of 99.33) and he not only broke Viv Richards’ record of 1710 runs but also scored 6 centuries in 5 matches – during August and November – something even Don Bradman had not been able to do (his best was 6 centuries in 6 matches)!

 

downmomotwo3.jpgHistoric Win at Headingley – 2010
Before the spot fixing scandal came to fore, Pakistan was doing well in the international arena especially in Tests. Under their new skipper Salman Butt, the young team triumphed over Australia at Leeds by 3 wickets. The pace twins Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif took 3 wickets each as the famed Aussies batting line up was dismissed for 88 runs in their first innings. Pakistan managed to score 258 in their first innings while the pacers proved too good for the Aussies who managed just 349 in their second outing. Thanks to Imran Farhat's 67 and Azhar Ali's 51, Pakistan managed to reach the target of 180 runs with 3 wickets to spare.


England Paki-Stunned – 2012
Mohsin Khan’s return to Cricket pitted him against the very nation he scored a historical double century against England. He took over at a time when the team was in shambles yet in 3 Tests he shaped the destiny of Pakistan’s Cricket team. With Misbah-ul-Haq executing his instructions perfectly, Pakistan managed to beat the World Number 1 side by 3-0. Saeed Ajmal finished with as many as 24 wickets in 3 matches while Abdur Rehman wasn't far behind with 19. Azhar Ali (251), Younis Khan (193), Mohammad Hafeez (190) and Misbah-ul-Haq (180) were the leading scorers for the hosts who did nothing wrong on the tour, when in whites.


Summer of Records – 2014
Pakistan won home series against Australia in United Arab Emirates but it is the way they won the series that’s commendable. In the first innings of the first Test, Younis Khan and Sarfraz Ahmed scored tons while Misbah-ul-Haq, Asad Shafiq and Azhar Ali managed half centuries; in the second it was Ahmed Shehzad who scored a century alongside Younis Khan. The spin twins Zulfiqar Babar and Yasir Shah shared 9 wickets to fall in the final innings as Pakistan won the match by 221 runs. In the next outing, Azhar Ali and Misbah managed centuries while Younis scored a double ton that was followed by century in both innings by Azhar and Misbah, again. The captain's knock was at that time the joint fastest century off 56 balls and it enabled Pakistan to post a huge target on board. Zulfiqar Babar took 5 wickets to dismantle the Aussies who lost the match by 356 runs!

 

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09
December

Written By: Muhammad Tauseeef Ansari

Spring season in Pakistan brings a myriad of flowers of all colours and hue. New leaves sprout from branches and new branches sprout from old barks. It was a wonderful day during the spring season in Pakistan, March 1995 to be exact, when Pakistanis experienced the blooming of a new phenomenon in the world of audio-visual entertainment. A foreign educated and experienced broadcaster was “imported” to Pakistan to kick start the revolution in the world of radio. “Assalam-o-Alaikum Pakistan” voiced the launch of FM100 Pakistan, the first FM radio network of the country. It was Asif Ghazali, a seasoned broadcaster whose captivating voice and pleasant accent greeted Pakistanis with “Assalamo Alaikum Pakistan”. People immediately fell in love with the presenter and his style; a style that later became a landmark for all the radio presenters. Asif Ghazali, also the CEO of FM100 at that time, wears the feather in his cap of launching the first 24-hour stereo music FM radio network in Pakistan. FM100 was the flag bearer, with no or minimal competition in the early years. However, today we have a plethora of FM radio networks in Pakistan on national, regional and local levels.

 

totunefm.jpgBut why? Why was there a need to launch FM radio networks in Pakistan and why so many? A layman can never understand the dynamics of FM radio networks as he is more concerned with what is delivered to his heart via his ears. It’s the dish that counts not the toil of the chef. FM radio networks were launched under the umbrella of the media liberalization. Before private sector gained dominance in the world of media and entertainment, we Pakistanis were subjected to the state-run media channels which aired programs of their own interest; contrary to the basic idea of airing what the audience desires. The state-owned media was used to blatantly bombarding us with those narratives which, the then government, desired to ingrain in the minds of citizens. The poor citizens had no other choice.


FM100 changed everything. The need for FM stations emanated from the realization of success of similar phenomena in many countries, especially in the West. Also, the gap created by Radio Pakistan by not repositioning itself and failing to change according to the developing demands of the listeners, pulled investments into this sector; promising and delivering huge returns. As technology brought people closer, listeners in Pakistan not only enjoyed the music in stereo sound but also the interactive approach of the presenters on the FM radio networks. The cassette players in cars were replaced with radio sets having FM frequency. The callers who went live on radio with presenters and expressed their point of views on various topics gave the listeners an opportunity to hear what people in other areas of the country had to say and learn about their psyche and experiences. The housewives had their own share of cooking and beauty shows. With the advent of FM stations, it is not an uncommon sight to see a housewife doing her chores at home with FM radio blaring out loud music and interactive programs.


The success of this FM revolution attracted a lot of people to invest in the business. Different FM stations started mushrooming. City based channels were also launched which aired their programs and music to a certain city only. Country-wide networks are more popular among listeners due to the variety in programs and music. Furthermore, these country-wide networks also have the resources to come up with better presenters and better programs. Few FM networks also resorted to create strong outreach in particular geographical regions. Focusing on a specific region and airing programs in regional languages have been a forte of a few radio networks thus creating not only a niche market for themselves but also for the marketing of product/brands catering to these geographic locations.


No sane businessman will invest his money in a project which does not give him an adequate return on investment. So how does the FM radio station make money, and enough of it to keep the investment coming? The secret lies in the advertisements and branding of programs. Most of the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies reaped the benefits of increasing FM radio networks through allocation of their marketing expenditure on the newly identified opportunity. Whether it was tea, milk, beverages or petroleum products, everything that a man could buy was advertised on FM radio. Increasing consumerism after 1999 paved the way for telecom and financial sectors to jump on the bandwagon, too. Nowadays, anything and everything, whether it is a product or service that is being offered to public, is finding its way to the FM radio. The advertisement expenditure of the companies on FM radio networks is increasing gradually as the listenership of these FM radio network increases. The marketing push by the companies is directed towards FM radio networks based on the network coverage. Thus, the largest beneficiaries are those networks which have maximum coverage within the country. The regional FM radio networks also have a certain advantage due to dedicated regional listeners which are captured by programs in regional languages. This provides a window of opportunity to those products and service companies that want to target a particular region or their promotions cater for a specific city or a specific region. Hence their advertisements are aired on those specific regional FM radio networks.


Over the years, as the competition became tough, different networks evolved their Unique Selling Propositions (USPs) to attract advertisements. Some projected themselves as the network without any RJ/Presenter airing music only, while some, on the contrary, capitalized on the excellence of their presenters. Some claimed to have maximum coverage in the country while some claimed to have captured a certain region fully. Nonetheless, competition always kept all the networks improving themselves and coming up with new and better ideas to improve the program quality and the music experience. People now seldom listen to CDs or audio cassettes in their cars. Even public transport has FM radio installed. The rapid growth in mobile phone usage across Pakistan and influx of smart phones has also brought FM radio in to the hands of majority of the population; especially the youth. Increased awareness, expansion of knowledge base and access to global digital media has made listeners very particular about their choices and the quality which they expect from a good FM radio network. Different strata of the society have their own tastes and different age groups listen to not only a specific type of music but also their interaction with the RJs/presenters is at vastly different levels.


The latest entrant in this arena is Suno FM Radio Network (FM 89.4 & FM 96). It is a well expanded network that connects all Pakistanis especially people living in remote areas of KP, FATA and Balochistan. This was primarily introduced to counter the mushroom growth of FM radio networks in FATA and KP that were launched by the terrorist networks. These networks were proving to be a very lethal propaganda tool in the hands of terrorists to not only mislead the local populace but also coordinate their terror operations. Similarly, the network has been very effective in countering hostile propaganda by foreign radio channels particularly in Balochistan and FATA. Catering to all and sundry across the nation, it airs programs in both national and regional languages, with focus on quality content and a positive narrative formulation. The network is apolitical and only focuses on positive social and security themes. Its state-of-the-art equipment, and latest technology is a welcoming sign for the listeners who have learnt not to compromise on quality. In a nutshell, Suno FM Radio Network has played an effective role in national narrative formation and countering the FM radio networks of terrorists as well as neighbouring countries that were trying to infiltrate our media boundaries near Pakistan’s borders.


Development and evolution in the FM radio world in Pakistan has increased the competition among the players. All the networks rely heavily on the advertisement revenue and hence sometimes the narrative seems to be biased. A few harsh realities regarding a certain product may not be shared with the listeners if advertisements of that specific product is contributing significantly to the advertisement revenue of an FM radio network. Similarly high commercial ratings are a key to increased advertisement share of that FM radio network. This positively impacts the healthy competition but also leads to unwanted experiments that may prove detrimental to the whole sector as well. Pakistan’s current rating system is dependent on feedback majorly coming from urban population. This may render the ratings and thus the programming reflective of a certain strata of the society even though a greater proportion of the listenership is concentrated in rural areas. These are some inherent limitations which, over time will be smoothed out and bring greater clarity to the network owners, the regulators and also the listeners.


That being said, there still are a few areas where these FM radio networks need to work hard and improve. The first and the foremost is the absence of informative and educational value content for children and adolescents. The young ones do not have any segment or specific time dedicated programs for them. The program directors probably have not paid much attention to this segment of the population; possibly because of lack of availability of resources/content for kids or due to their inability to think afresh. Countless options of songs, poems, stories, radio plays and quiz or game shows exist that can be explored and the radio networks can carve out a niche market for themselves. There are countless organizations which are working for childern’s welfare in Pakistan; hence it will not be difficult to get some support (financial and otherwise). Similarly, a lot of kids’ products, that are target marketed to young ones, are easy to rope-in to sponsor programs with such kind of focus.


Secondly, the quality of presenters/RJs needs to be improved. Big networks do have some good quality presenters/RJs but, down the line, the listener is tormented by the senseless and directionless jibber jabber of the presenters. Who in the world has the time to think and share trivial details of one’s lunch menu? The presenters/RJs need to be trained and informed that they have an audience which can be groomed and their levels of understanding enhanced by sharing valuable information and knowledge. The RJs/Presenters can, and need to, educate the listeners on what is happening in the world and how people in Pakistan need to change; to fit into the global village; which is in a continuous state of flux. This task itself needs well-groomed presenters who are capable enough to maneuver their tirade into a meaningful conversation. It’s a great asset for presenters/RJs to have dedicated listeners who listen attentively and try to follow what is communicated to them. The RJs/Presenter must realize this power and put it to good use.


The FM radio which commenced from Assalam-o-Alaikum Pakistan has matured into a powerful tool for providing both entertainment and useful information. The listeners have also moved onto a mature stage where they are beyond the recipes and “tottkas” that were relentlessly beaten into their brains via their ears. Yes, they enjoy the music of all sorts but no, they cannot be fooled by meaningless conversations and lame jokes.

 

The writer is an Investment Banker by profession and also hosts shows on an FM radio network.

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09
December

Written By: Husain Qazi

Marching of a 250 vehicle convoy in the remote interior of Balochistan was indeed a great event. The isolation of Balochistan has ended and it’s on the path to progress. The newly constructed roads have brought peace and stability to the erstwhile volatile region. The results of a recently concluded study on socio-economic impact reveals that the living conditions of local populace have improved steadily after the infrastructure developments. Pakistan Army has been successful in winning the hearts and minds of locals who are increasingly becoming supportive of development works. The happy faces of the convey that travelled great distance from Kashgar to reach Gwadar was a manifestation of the fact that CPEC has taken a good start.

Had there a thousand mountains been, my longing would have crossed them all.”
In the epic tale of Sassi Punnu the great Sufi poet Shah Abdul Lateef Bhittai aptly narrates the ordeals of Sassi when she crosses over the treacherous mountains of Kech Makran to unite with her beloved husband, separated from her by the rivals.

“O mountain, when my love I meet; your tortures I'll relate;
Your hideous shadow ghosts at dawn, your winding way's deceit,”
The thorns and stones of the thirsty mountains and the travails of her travels in vast expanses of Balochistan depicted in the famous romance remained all the same for the last eight hundred years. Until recently Balochistan was known for its desolation, isolation and insurgency.


But a great transformation has taken place in the region. The dream of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has now become a reality by the move of the first CPEC convoy. The landlocked Central Asian States, the remote Chinese West and the warm water ports of Arabian Sea are joining each other by crossing the formidable mountains, desolate deserts and parched plains. It will be a connection between one third of the world population living in South Asia, Western China, Central Asian Republics and the Middle East.

 

optofcpec.jpgThough Pakistan and China are neighbours, they were separated by the formidable and impassable mountains of the Karakoram, Himalaya and Hindu Kush ranges. But the roots of our friendship were strong enough to surpass the physical difficulties. The connection between the two civilizations goes back thousands of years through the fabled Silk Route which bound the region in trade and friendship. The spread of Budhism from Taxila was also facilitated through this route.


The tracks and pathways between the two countries had existed for centuries but the advent of vehicular traffic brought in new requirements for carving out a dependable and all-weather road link between the two countries that could traverse the treacherous mountains, deep ravines and was able to withstand the vagaries of nature.


The Roots of CPEC
The realization of this great corridor has not been easy. The smooth commuting on this modern trade route is the fruit of relentless effort executed by the people of Pakistan and China for the last many decades.


When Pakistan came into being on August 14, 1947 the remote towns of North were disconnected due to lack of road access. The few mule tracks that existed remained blocked half the year due to snow. Even in summers land slides, avalanches and floods were common which rendered the pathways impassable.
It was at this juncture that a road access was planned to connect to the Pakistani North, and, the 522 km Indus Valley Road linking Abbotabad with Swat and Gilgit was constructed by Pakistan Army Engineers.


The success of this track encouraged Pakistani government to plan for an all-weather truck-able highway between the two countries for which the Frontier Works Organization (FWO) was raised from the organizational structure of Pakistan Army Engineers in 1966.


Construction of a road in one of the most difficult terrains of the world was arduous. The road had to pass through deep ravines, high mountains and an earthquake sensitive zone. Chinese road builders joined hands with FWO workforce and together they shed their grit and blood for the construction of Karakoram Highway which was to become the highest paved road of the world and the foundation of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.


The Culmination of CPEC
FWO and the Army Engineers have remained at the forefront to develop the length and breadth of Pakistan, particularly the far frontier, with state-of-the-art communication infrastructure.

 

optofcpec1.jpgThe Arabian Sea coastal belt of Pakistan provides a convenient access to the huge landlocked regions of Afghanistan, Central Asian States and Western China, however, it was disconnected from the mainland. The road journey from Gwadar to Karachi or Quetta took three tiring days and opportunities of socio-economic uplift were severely restricted.


It was at this juncture that FWO successfully undertook construction of 650 km long Makran Coastal Highway which proved to be a catalyst for the socio-economic development of Balochistan’s coastal areas.


Just a couple of years back FWO started its efforts to enhance connectivity of Gwadar Deep Sea Port with up country in which three major roads i.e. N-85 the Turbat-Panjgur-Hoshab road, the Gwadar-Turbat-Hoshab section of M-8 Motorway and the Kalat-Quetta-Chaman road have been completed, while active work is being carried out on the Khuzdar-Shahdadkot section of M-8.


Despite serious logistic constraints in wake of remoteness of the area, climatic constraints and resistance by the enemies of development, FWO has completed the onerous task of construction of road projects in Balochistan as part of the western route within the stipulated timeline. Completion of 870 kms of roads in about two years is a record by any international standard. Forty valiant workers of FWO laid down their lives for accomplishing projects of national significance.


Operationalization of the Western Route
Marching of a 250 vehicle convoy in the remote interior of Balochistan was indeed a great event. The isolation of Balochistan has ended and it’s on the path to progress. The newly constructed roads have brought peace and stability to the erstwhile volatile region. The results of a recently concluded study on socio-economic impact reveals that the living conditions of local populace have improved steadily after the infrastructure developments. Pakistan Army has been successful in winning the hearts and minds of locals who are increasingly becoming supportive of development works. The happy faces of the convoy that travelled great distance from Kashgar to reach Gwadar was a manifestation of the fact that CPEC has taken a good start.


A Warning to Detractors
South Asia on the whole has suffered a lot due to the jingoistic and hegemonic designs of some countries who believe that their success can only be achieved by fomenting tension and turmoil in the neighbourhood. CPEC was also targeted by these antagonistic forces. There were efforts in various directions to hamper its progress but Pakistan has bravely countered all such nefarious activities.


The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is now a reality.
Pakistanis have built it by offering toil, sweat and blood and know how to protect it. Pakistan Army is a force which is committed to the security of the motherland. Pakistan Army has defeated the forces of evil in the volatile regions of FATA, Balochistan and Karachi and will never let the nefarious designs of any mischief monger or perpetrator to succeed.


Peace and Progress for the Whole Region
CPEC opens up a world of opportunities not only for Pakistan and China but for the whole region. The Iranian border is just a hundred kilometers from Gwadar and Makran Coastal Highway constructed by FWO goes right upto the neighbouring country. For Afghan people, Pakistan has constructed two new routes passing through FATA, whereas the traditional routes via Khyber Pass and Quetta-Chaman have been improved to facilitate trade and movement. Similarly, the Central Asian States are the natural beneficiaries of improved access through Pakistan.


The valley of occupied Kashmir had historic links with China and Central Asian States through the routes passing through Pakistan. Unfortunately, hostility and belligerency has overpowered rationality and forces of unreason have denied progress to the local population of Indian occupied Kashmir.


Friends of CPEC
The grand start of CPEC was made possible by the collective efforts of government departments, private organizations, trade and logistic bodies of both Pakistan and China.


Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif in his speech called the arrival of the first trade convoy at Gwadar Port 'a watershed event', for bringing the dawn of immense trade and commerce opportunities for the whole region. The prime minister also commended the personal support and interest of former Chief of Army Staff General Raheel Sharif and Balochistan’s Chief Minister for executing the development projects, adding that the maritime security was being looked after by Pakistan Navy.


He lauded the services of FWO for the operationalization of Gwadar Port by laying three major road networks through the rough and difficult terrains of the province, over which the federal government has spent Rs. 49 billion. He paid tribute to the 40 brave FWO men who laid down their lives in the construction of the road projects.


Striving for a Bright Future
Operationalization of CPEC is a gift of Pakistan-China friendship for the whole region. Together these two great nations have braved out the difficulties and distractions that came in the way and together they will strive to make it even a bigger success.


Gwadar was not the final destination of the brave and bold who gathered there as pioneers of the first CPEC trade convoy. It was just the culmination point of the land journey and the start of the voyage to Jebel Ali, Dubai. The subsequent convoys will go even farther.


All along Pakistan, the Chinese guests brightened up the boulevards and thoroughfares from where they passed and people of Pakistan received them with open arms. Likewise, the message of peace, harmony and friendship will be carried to far-off lands. CPEC is destined to become a harbinger of peace that would realize the dream of changing the fate of three billion people of the region through economic transformation and the great leap forward has set in.


Long live Pakistan-China friendship!

 

The writer is a Development Communication Specialist with a Public Sector Organization.

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09
December
Pakistan Navy Ships Escort Chinese Merchant Vessels

Subsequent to formal inauguration of Gwadar Port, the cargo shipment set off from Gwadar Port under the protection of Pakistan Navy ships. The pilot project of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) successfully kicked off when the first ever cargo containers arrived from Kashgar to Gwadar. The cargo containers subsequently exported to Gulf through MV Cosco Willington and MV Al-Hussein. Pakistan Navy, being cognizant of its responsibility to make the maritime component of CPEC and Gwadar Port safe, deployed its ships and aircraft to provide security cover to the convoy through Western route to ensure safe and secure transit of MV Cosco Willington and MV Al-Hussein in international waters.

 

Pakistan Navy is according high priority to the security of maritime components of CPEC i.e., Gwadar Port, its approaches and the sea lanes leading to and from the port. The success of the CPEC and the Gwadar Port project is linked to the safe and secure maritime environment in the Indian Ocean region in general and the Arabian Sea in particular.

 

Pakistan Navy has adopted a multipronged approach to deal with the prevailing challenges such as beefing up security of Gwadar Port, conducting security patrols and coastal exercises, enhancing Maritime Domain Awareness and engaging other Law Enforcement Agencies (LEAs). Pakistan Navy remains fully committed and geared up to provide conducive maritime environment for uninterrupted flow of the maritime trade in waters under its jurisdiction.

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09
December
Opening Ceremony of Zhuhai Air Show

Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force, attended the opening ceremony of Zhuhai Air Show-2016. The Air Chief witnessed the aerial display of the Chinese Air Force aerobatic team, Royal Air Force aerobatic team (Red Arrows), J-20, FTC 2000 and various other aircraft. Later on, he visited the Pakistan Pavilion, set up by Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, Kamra; where he interacted with the PAF contingent participating in the show. He appreciated the performance of PAF personnel and said that the participation of Pakistan Air Force in the Air Show is a matter of pride for the nation. JF-17 aircraft of Pakistan Air Force was included in the static as well as aerial display in the Air Show.

The Air Chief also called on General Ma Xiotian, Commander People's Liberation Army (Air Force), and discussed matters of professional interest. Both the dignitaries agreed to enhance the cooperation in training and capability enhancement between the two friendly air forces. Later on he also visited various stalls at the show and met high ranking officials of the Air Forces of various countries.

A large number of delegations from different countries including Air Chiefs of a number of Air Forces were present on the occasion.

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09
December
49th CISM World Military Sailing Championship 2016

Pakistan Navy under auspices of Joint Services Headquarters organized 49th CISM World Military Sailing Championship 2016 from October 28 to November 1, 2016 at Marina Club, Karachi. Teams from nine countries including Bahrain, Finland, Netherlands, Norway, Pakistan, Poland, Qatar, Russia and Ukraine contested in this prestigious sailing championship whereas Palestine participated as observer only. During the Championship J-80 class boats were used in match racing format. Conseil International du Sport Militaries or International Military Sports Council (CISM) was established on February 18, 1948 which is one of the largest multi-disciplinary organizations in the world. It organizes various sports events for armed forces of member countries with the ultimate goal to contribute to world peace by uniting armed forces for the sports.


Opening ceremony of 49th CISM World Military Sailing Championship 2016 was held on October 28, 2016 at Defence Authority Marina Club, Karachi. Commander Pakistan Fleet, Vice Admiral Syed Arifullah Hussaini graced the occasion as Chief Guest. While speaking on the occasion, Vice Admiral Syed Arifullah Hussaini said that the event will not only promote “friendship through sport”, but will also bring world militaries together to further enhance cordial relationship.

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First Round Robin of 49th CISM World sailing comprised of total 36 matches. Top four teams qualified for further competitions out of 9 teams; team Norway led the group with Russia, Ukraine and Pakistan at second, third and fourth respectively on tie breaker. On third day of championship first final between Pakistan and Norway was played in which Pakistan defeated Norway by 3-0 and qualified for the final. In the second semifinal, Russia defeated Ukraine by 3-1. Final of the Championship was played between Pakistan and Russia. Russian sailing team with remarkable performance throughout the championship clinched first position winning the gold medal while Pakistan secured 2nd position. Both the nations were tied 1-1 after two races of the final, however, the Russians sailed to victory in the remaining two races to land the gold. Host Pakistan Navy’s team earned consolation by grabbing the silver, their first finish on the victory podium in the CISM sailing history. The Fair Play Trophy of the Championship was awarded to Ukraine, whereas Qatar, Poland, Finland, Bahrain and the Netherlands finished fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth respectively on the table.


49th CISM Sailing Championship 2016 concluded on November 1, 2016 with an impressive closing ceremony held at Defence Authority Marina Club, Karachi. Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah, who is himself a veteran sailor and two-time former Asian Games gold medalist in Enterprise class, was the chief guest on the occasion and awarded medals to the winning teams. While speaking on the occasion, the Naval Chief said that ‘sailing is a highly skillful and professional sport which is quite popular in the Armed Forces.’ He commended spirit of fair play, friendship and camaraderie displayed by the participating sailing teams during the Championship. He congratulated the winners and all the participating countries for displaying exemplary skills and dexterity during the matches. The Naval Chief also paid special gratitude to president CISM for his concerted efforts for promotion of sailing.

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09
December
COAS Visits Waziristan
On his first visit to field formations, after taking over command of Pakistan Army, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, Chief of Army Staff visited Corps Headquarters Peshawar and North Waziristan Agency. At Corps HQ, COAS was briefed about the prevailing security situation in KP, FATA and Malakand Division, ongoing stabilization and combing operations, progress of return of TDPs and continuing development projects. Later, COAS visited North Waziristan where he was briefed by the formation commander on security situation in the Agency, resettlement phase of TDPs and inspected the reconstruction work on ground. While speaking to troops on the occasion COAS said, “War against terrorism will continue with a focused approach and it will be taken to its logical conclusion till the total elimination of terrorism from our soil. We will continue to move ahead of the gains made so far.” Paying tribute to the brave tribes, officers and men of Army, FC, levies and police, he vowed, “No terrorists of any hue will be allowed to return.” Defence and security of Pakistan against external and internal threats will remain his ultimate objective as Chief of Army Staff. COAS also stressed the need for expediting the pace of raising of new FC wings for effective Pak-Afghan border management. He has said that TDP’s return will be completed within stipulated time, and they will be assisted in all ways to resettle respectfully.

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09
December
Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa Assumes Command of Pakistan Army as Chief of Army Staff

General Qamar Javed Bajwa assumed command of Pakistan Army as the 16th COAS on November 29, 2016. In a specially organized ceremony at GHQ, former COAS, Gen (R) Raheel Shareef passed the baton of command to Gen Bajwa, thus formally handing over military’s command to the newly appointed chief.

General Qamar Javed Bajwa was commissioned in 16 Baloch Regiment on October 24, 1980. He is a graduate of Canadian Forces Command and Staff College, (Toronto) Canada; Naval Postgraduate School, Monteray (California) USA and National Defence University, Islamabad. He has been an instructor at School of Infantry and Tactics, Quetta; Command and Staff College, Quetta and NDU. He has also served as Brigade Major of an Infantry Brigade and Chief of Staff of Rawalpindi Corps. He has commanded 16 Baloch Regiment, an Infantry Brigade and has commanded Infantry Division in Northern Areas as Commander FCNA. He has also commanded Pakistan Contingent in Congo, and has served as Commander 10 Corps, Rawalpindi.

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09
December
Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat: New Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee

Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat took the charge of Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) on November 28, 2016 from General Rashad Mehmood in an official ceremony held at Joint Staff Headquarters, Rawalpindi.

Gen Zubair Mahmood Hayat was commissioned in Artillery Regiment on October 24, 1980. He is a graduate of Fort Sill Oklahoma, USA; Command and Staff College Camberley, United Kingdom and National Defence University, Islamabad. He has extensive experience of command, staff and instructional appointments. He has commanded an Artillery Regiment, Mechanized Division Artillery, an Infantry Brigade and an Infantry Division. He has been Adjutant at PMA, Brigade Major of an Infantry Brigade, Army and Air adviser at the Pakistan embassy in UK. He has served as Chief of Staff of a Strike Corps, Private Secretary to COAS and Director General Staff Studies Directorate at GHQ. He also held the appointment of Director General Strategic Plans Division (SPD), and has commanded 31 Corps, Bahawalpur.

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09
December

Written By: Feryal Ali Gauhar

If there is in your hearts a vestige of love for your country, love for humanity, love for justice, listen carefully. I know that I will be silenced for many years; I know that the regime will try to suppress the truth by all possible means; I know that there will be a conspiracy to bury me in oblivion. But my voice will not be stifled – it will rise from my breast even when I feel most alone, and my heart will give it all the fire that callous cowards deny it….

(Fidel Castro Ruz, “History Will Absolve Me” Santiago de Cuba , 1953)

On July 26, 1953 Fidel Castro Ruz, along with an armed group of 123 men and women, attacked the Moncada army barracks in Santiago de Cuba in Guantanamo Province. The plan was to overthrow General Fulgencia Batista who, with the support of the armed forces, had forcibly taken control of Cuba in 1952. Fidel had intended to continue the struggle in the mountains in case the attack on the barracks failed. Some of the men were killed in the first attack; others surrendered. With eighteen men and with what arms and ammunition were left, Fidel retreated into the mountains. The terrain was completely unknown to the guerillas. For a week they held the heights of the Gran Piedra range and the army occupied the foothills. Fidel and his men could not come down; the army didn't risk coming up.

 

acertainamo.jpgIt was not force of arms, but hunger and thirst that ultimately overcame the rebel’s resistance. Fidel divided the men into smaller groups. Some of them managed to slip through the army lines; others surrendered. Finally, only two comrades remained with Fidel. While the three men slept, totally exhausted, a force led by Lieutenant Sarría surprised them at dawn. Fidel recalled that “this was Saturday, August 1st… This officer, a man of honor, saved us from being murdered on the spot with our hands tied behind us...”


The lieutenant who arrested Fidel ignored orders to have him executed and instead delivered him to the nearest civilian prison. In prison Fidel came close to death when his food was meant to have been poisoned. The captain entrusted with this task refused and instead revealed his orders to the Cuban people. He was court-martialed but, concerned about world opinion, Batista decided not to have Fidel killed. Instead, Fidel was put on trial charged with organizing an armed uprising.


Isolated and denied right to an attorney, Fidel prepared his own defense and spoke about the tyranny and injustice of dictatorial rule, testifying that “…only one who has been so deeply wounded, who has seen his country so forsaken and its justice trampled so, can speak at a moment like this with words that spring from the blood of his heart and the truth of his very gut… The fact is, when men carry the same ideals in their hearts, nothing can isolate them – neither prison walls nor the sod of cemeteries. For a single memory, a single spirit, a single idea, a single conscience, a single dignity will sustain them all…”


Fidel’s defence in court did not absolve him of the charges of armed insurrection. Instead, it earned him fifteen years in prison, and infinite respect as a man of deep commitment and integrity, a man with a vision and a purpose which could not be thwarted by tyranny. Fidel’s speech has been immortalized as a publication titled History Will Absolve Me. Fidel resisted despotism of all kinds, enduring the wrath of the world’s mightiest power which has attempted to assassinate him over six hundred times.


Fidel Castro Ruz was born on August 13, 1926 to a prosperous farmer and a servant, on a sugar plantation in the province of Holguín. Even as a child, Fidel was rebellious and at the age of thirteen he helped to organize a strike of sugar workers on his father's plantation. Fidel received a rigorous and disciplined Jesuit education and in 1950 graduated from Havana University with a doctorate in law.


As a young lawyer, Fidel took on cases for those who could not afford to pay for justice. It was possibly here that he came across the desperation and despair that stalked his country. In 1947 Fidel joined the Cuban People's Party, believing in this new party's campaign against corruption, injustice, poverty, unemployment and low wages. The Cuban People's Party accused government ministers of taking bribes and running the country for the benefit of the large American corporations that had factories and offices in Cuba.


In 1952, Fidel Castro became a candidate for Congress for the Cuban People's Party. He was a superb public speaker and soon built up a strong following amongst the young members of the party. The Cuban People's Party was expected to win the election but during the campaign General Batista usurped power, compelling Fidel to believe that the revolution was the only way to take power to the people.


Following his trial and imprisonment in 1953, pressure from the Cuban people compelled Batista to release Fidel after he had served only two years of his sentence. Batista also promised elections but when it became clear that they would not take place, Fidel left for Mexico where he began to plan another attempt to overthrow the Cuban government.


After building up a stock of guns and ammunition, Fidel, Ernesto 'Che' Guevara and eighty other rebels arrived in Cuba in 1956. This group became known as the July 26 Movement. With only 300 men ready to face ten thousand soldiers, the group planned to set up their base in the Sierra Maestra mountains. Despite fierce attacks which diminished Fidel’s forces to only sixteen men and twelve guns, the guerrillas took control of territory and redistributed the land amongst the peasants. In return, the peasants helped the guerrillas against Batista's soldiers. In some cases the peasants also joined Fidel's army, as did students from the cities and occasionally Catholic priests.


Batista’s need for information about Fidel's army led to the torture and deaths of innocent people who were publicly executed and then left hanging in the streets for several days as a warning to others, ironically increasing support for the guerrillas. In 1958, forty-five organizations signed an open letter supporting the July 26 Movement. National bodies representing lawyers, architects, dentists, accountants and social workers were amongst those who signed.


Seeing their interests threatened, the United States supplied Batista with planes, ships and tanks, and the latest technology such as napalm. In March 1958, the United States government, disillusioned with Batista's performance, suggested he held elections. This he did, but the people showed their dissatisfaction with his government by refusing to vote. Over 75 per cent of the voters in the capital Havana and 98 per cent in Santiago boycotted the polls.


On January 1, 1959 General Batista fled Cuba and Fidel Castro marched victoriously into Havana, taking control over the country. In 1960, Cuba's private commerce and industry were nationalised and U.S. businesses expropriated, leading to the severing of America’s economic and diplomatic ties with Cuba. In April 1961, Cuba was declared the first communist state in the western hemisphere, uncomfortably close to mainland USA. This small island proved to be a thorn in the side of the greatest capitalist economy of the world, and in order to protect itself, Cuba began acquiring weapons from the earstwhile Soviet Union, leading to the October 1962 missile crisis.


For over half a century, Fidel had struggled to give to the Cuban people what he believed were their inalienable rights to basic services, health and education, employment, ownership of and access to land and justice, and a sense of well-being and dignity. Reviled, attacked, scorned and feared by the leaders of the so-called Free World, Fidel remained steadfast, lifting millions of Cubans out of poverty and the state of subjugation.


Today Cuba has perhaps one of the most effective healthcare systems in the world. Cuba has 596 physicians per 100,000 people, while 95-100 per cent of the population has sustainable access to affordable essential drugs. Ninety-nine per cent of all children under the age of one are immunized against tuberculosis and measles. Over 90 per cent of Cubans have sustainable access to improved water sources and sanitation. Life expectancy of Cubans is 76 years. Only 7 infants die out of a total of 100,000 live births. Thirty-three mothers out of a 100,000 die in the process of giving birth. Cuba enjoys 96 per cent literacy.


Sixty-three years ago, Fidel Castro defended himself in the Moncada trial. Today his words are a beacon of light: In the world there must be a certain degree of honor just as there must be a certain amount of light. When there are many men without honor, there are always others who bear in themselves the honor of many men. These are the men who rebel with great force against those who steal the people's freedom, that is to say, against those who steal honor itself. In those men thousands more are contained, an entire people is contained, human dignity is contained...
Fidel Castro died at 90. Viva Castro. May his ideas live forever!

 

The writer studied Political Economy at McGill University, Montreal, Media Education at the University of London, Development Communication at the University of Southern California, and Cultural Heritage Management at the National College of Arts, Lahore. She teaches at apex institutions, writes columns for a leading daily, makes documentaries, and has published two best-selling novels.
 
09
December

Written By: Dr. Shahnaz Khan

Most people will agree that the quality of education offered in public institutions has deteriorated in the past few decades. This is not only a failure of the state but also a reason for mushrooming of private schools, academies, tutors as well as madrassas. To add insult to injury, due to complete lack of state's supervisory role the quality of education/instruction offered by these various outfits is vastly different. Parents and students are seen and treated as consumers rather than seekers of knowledge where institutions sell knowledge catering to different segments of society based on their financial situation.

The state of education in Pakistan has become increasingly incoherent, disjointed and disorganized over the past few decades. However before any further discussion can take place about education, we have to clarify some concepts based on which we can form opinions and offer solutions.


One of the most important concepts to grasp is that education and literacy are two different things. Literacy is simply an ability to perform certain tasks acquired through formal or informal schooling or instructions, which facilitate our efficient functioning in the modern society and may help us get jobs and accomplish certain technical tasks. It is definitely much better to be literate than illiterate but it should not be confused with education, which leads to broadening of mind, cultivation of learning and analytical skills, a search for truth, and becoming intellectually, emotionally and socially connected with one's environment and being able to influence it. If not wisdom, it is the road to achieving wisdom. It leads to deliberate and thoughtful living and not just making a living. Being literate adds tremendously to becoming educated as it opens the doors to many sources of knowledge which may not be otherwise accessible to us. Seen from this angle education is the essence of a human mind, as without it, it won't be much different from other living beings.

 

edupaknotto.jpgSo, if it is the essence of human mind then it is also a human right as without it one will not be fully human. Since the advent of modern methods of teaching, acquiring knowledge and explosive expansion of knowledge base, the difference between being literate and illiterate has become critical. This raises the question of how one can become literate which is a very important step towards being educated. In today's society where human beings have been divided into nation states rather than free flowing communities where one was free to move as one wished and where this responsibility to acquire literacy and thus to be educated was primarily shouldered by the parents or at times benevolent rulers, we argue that this should be under the domain of social contract between the state and citizens.


Democracy is considered the most desirable arrangement between the state and citizens. In democracy all citizens have equal rights. Thus to ensure the right and access to acquire quality education for all citizens becomes the state's responsibility. But we have seen state after state fail in achieving this goal. Even in the most developed countries this remains an elusive goal. In fact in the past few decades the situation has gotten worse. The main reason for this is the unchecked and unhindered promotion of neoliberal economy by imperialist powers. Neoliberal philosophy promotes free market economy where state has no role and supposedly free competition and market forces are the deciding factor for the outcome. A detailed discussion about neoliberalism is outside the scope of this article, but we know that state's regulatory powers have always been used to manipulate market. The use of free market is a facade and competition is non-existent as all big players try to monopolize the market. Under neoliberal economy there is commodification of every thing. And thus education has also become a victim of this as have healthcare, other social services and necessities of life. A commodity is always for sale at the maximum profit that can be extracted. According to a report by the Institute of Social and Policy Sciences (I-SAPS) in 2010 supported by Department For International Development (DFID), there is “considerable size of investment and expenditure by the private sector and a high rate of return.” According to the Census 1999-2000, the private sector's net return was 52% of investment plus expenditure in the year covered in the Census. This figure might well be understated because an accurate picture could not have been captured in the Census due to sensitivity of financial information. Despite this probability, this rate of return indicates that the incentive to invest in private education is high for profit-oriented entrepreneurs that would eventually lead to rapid expansion of the sector. This implies that education system has become a means to earn money rather than imparting knowledge.


This is the motive behind such a rapid increase in private educational institutions. And as a commodity it is offered to various segments of population according to their buying power, which essentially means that poor, various levels of middle classes and elite, each have specific schools where they send their children, just like the kind of houses they live in, clothes they wear, food they eat etc. Since the quality of education, type of teachers, methods of instruction, extra curricular activities and other means to expand knowledge like access to internet, art, culture, sports and entertainment etc. are the determining factors in the kind of educated young men and women coming out in practical life after graduation, these young people go back to their respective social and economic class with little or no chance of ever crossing that barrier. Thus poor school graduates become menial workers, clerks, drivers etc.; middle class students aspire for mid level management positions or corporate jobs; and elite class maintains its hold on the wealth and politics. Education instead of becoming an equalizer actually strengthens the class difference.


Most people will agree that the quality of education offered in public institutions has deteriorated in the past few decades. This is not only a failure of the state but also a reason for mushrooming of private schools, academies, tutors as well as madrassas. To add insult to injury, due to complete lack of state's supervisory role the quality of education/instruction offered by these various outfits is vastly different. Parents and students are seen and treated as consumers rather than seekers of knowledge where institutions sell knowledge catering to different segments of society based on their financial situation. Private schools, though much more expensive than public ones, are favored by parents because of the perceived better quality of education but there is no source to help them in making this choice. Since majority of private schools' primary goal is to make profit, naturally they try to minimize the amount spent per student and teacher.


The difference in the quality of education offered to various layers of socio-economic classes has a far reaching impact on the nation. Those who can afford superior quality education will always be ahead of those who went to poor schools. The future generations of elite class will continue to maintain their hold on country's affairs in all aspects of national life, and all policies well be made to their benefit. On the other hand, deprived of these opportunities, working class children will have to follow their parents' foot steps. And since being poor is not just inability to buy stuff but more importantly, also exclusion from decision making process of the nation, and even more importantly the ability to analyze and make sound decisions. Even if they make an effort, their voice does not carry weight, the poor are always on the sidelines of national life. This is not only contrary to democratic values but violation of human rights. In order to create a level playing field for all, the educational system has to be radically restructured.

 

The writer is a regular contributer in national print media.

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09
December

Written By: Huma Kirmani

December 16, a denounced day
Peshawar, the city of roses
Sparked fears of terrorism
Holocaust the angelic smiles of young hearts
Misery of thy cowardice
Assassination of hope
Terrorists and their formidable eye
Peshawar suffered a hemorrhage
Countless coffins that eve of parting
As earth had gotten fragrance of martyrdom
Blossoms of innocence
The mournful gloom did nothing to squash thee high spirits
Martyrs never die
But the villains do
Yet crucified on pedestal of Infamy
Divine fate of burning at stake
Ah! APS, Peshawar
Exquisite slogan of terrorism
So far the path was dark
Thus far, I slowly found my way
The villains were blackballed by youth, APS Peshawar
Kudos to the blossoms
Alas!
Who dwindled away the dust of time
Immortal memories of past recollection
As roses were sown in blood
In Milton’s words;
“All is not lost, the unconquerable will”
New roses blossom far across
Shines Pakistan!

 

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09
December

Written By: Dr. Niaz Murtaza

National governance can be defined as the processes of decision-making and implementation followed by state institutions. Good governance represents governance which enhances the welfare of all citizens of a country rather than benefiting elites only. Democracy is one form of governance. Democracy’s ideal distinctive features, unlike other governance forms like monarchy, include representativeness, accountability, participation and transparency. The hope is that given these distinctive features, democracy will lead to better governance than other forms of governance.


However, the reality is that not only in Pakistan but in most developing countries, the advent of democracy does not lead to better governance immediately. The quality of governance often deteriorates in the short and even medium-term as the representativeness introduced by elections does not immediately provide accountability, participation and transparency, which are the true pillars of good governance. This often leads to disillusionment with democracy and assertions that democracy is not well-suited to the situation of developing countries. It is argued that such countries need a transition period where an unelected government cleanses national politics of corrupt politicians through ruthless accountability. It then holds free and fair elections from which honest and committed politicians emerge who institute good governance and rapidly lead the country to progress.

 

demogoodgov.jpgThis argument looks attractive but is fallacious. The global experiences show that such digressions rarely deliver the promised good governance. The global pattern is quite similar in most developing countries. Non-elected governments initially produce administrative reforms and rapid economic growth. However, this initial era of good governance soon ends in economic stagnation, political violence and conflict which wipe out the initial gains and leave countries even worse off.


The reasons for this are not difficult to understand. In the view above, the causes for poor governance are seen as rooted in the existence of a thin crust of corrupt politicians which has seemingly descended from Mars and hijacked national politics. However, the reality is more complex. Politicians actually emerge from and reflect the realities of societies. Poor governance actually emerges from the way the societies of most developing countries are structured. Global experiences show that in-egalitarian societies, i.e., those with high inequality and ethnic divisions and tensions, and low education, income and urbanization, generally struggle to achieve good governance and progress. Such societies produce weak institutions, from which emerge self-serving leaders, who provide poor governance and follow policies which hamper progress and increase in-egalitarianism. This increased in-egalitarianism further perpetuates poor governance. Thus, in most low-income countries there is a vicious cycle between in-egalitarianism and poor governance irrespective of the forms of governance, since accountability, participation and transparency are weak in all of them.


This vicious cycle means that the rich and powerful are able to monopolize power at all levels even though democracy aims to give participation to poor people. A recent study conducted by Patten Development Organization found widespread entry of property dealers, lawyers and landowners into Islamabad’s local government system on seats reserved for landless farmworkers or labourers. The examination of the election papers of 41 councilors belonging to two mainstream parties returned on such seats showed that 35% are businessmen, 15% are property dealers, 8% are professionals and only 11% meet, that too partially, the requirements for such seats in the ICT Ordinance.


This vicious cycle cannot be broken by removing a thin crust of politicians because without deep societal changes, the new leadership that will emerge will be similar even with free and fair elections. Thus, short periods of unelected rule of even up to ten years fail to bring about sufficient change in society to fundamentally alter things. In fact, the lack of representative rule usually exacerbates tensions in society and leads to major violence under unelected governments. Recognizing the limits of such minor tinkering through short durations of unelected rule, many movements have adopted the path of revolutions with the goal of fundamentally altering societies to end in-egalitarianism rapidly. However, revolutions have a very mixed track-record. In some countries, revolutions were followed by the establishment of one-party dictatorships, e.g., the USSR and China. While there was some progress in reducing in-egalitarianism initially through land reforms and nationalization, the long-term results of top-down rule were horrendous. So, despite land reforms, China experienced a massive famine in the 1950s which killed 20 million people because of state policies forcing people to collective farm production. State oppression led to the murder of hundreds of thousands of people during the Cultural Revolution.


In other states, revolutions were followed by elected regimes, e.g., in USA and France. But even in those places there was no immediate and dramatic improvement in governance. The high levels of good governance that we see took more than a century to emerge there. This brings us to the sobering conclusion that while revolutions are a good tool to overthrow monarchs and dictators, they are not a good tool to produce good governance rapidly. The good governance that we see in western countries today emerged gradually due to a series of social movements led by civil society, such as women’s and civil rights movements, after the initial revolutions. While revolutions aim to overthrow the current systems, social movements aim to work within the existing weak democratic system to help improve it. So, such countries which already have a weak democratic system do not need the sledge-hammer of revolution to overthrow the system but the chisel of social movements to help refine and strengthen it by working to enhance accountability, participation and transparency under representative governments.


People grumble that by its eighth year and after one civilian transition, democracy should by now have delivered major reforms in accountability and bureaucracy as well as a much higher level of good governance. But do such young democracies ever do that? Near-septuagenarian democracies like India and Sri Lanka are only doing somewhat better than Pakistan on these issues. Thus, misconception exists about how quickly democracies mature to produce high-level governance. Yet, these arguments do not absolve the democratic elites to speed-up the efforts towards providing good governance to the people of Pakistan.


Political corruption is the issue which delegitimizes democracy in the eyes of many people and rightly so. However, there are two slightly different ways of viewing corruption. The first view is melodramatic. It holds that corruption is a curse, and without its removal countries cannot develop at all. Thus, eliminating corruption must come before all else. The view also holds that corruption can be quickly eliminated through short durations of non-representative rule. The second view on corruption is more realistic. It holds that corruption is a problem which slows down development. However, it also notes that several countries have managed to develop rapidly despite corruption and corrupt practices prevailing. This view also holds that eliminating corruption is a long-drawn process which consequently can only be accomplished under elected regimes. Empirical evidence supports the second view.


Global reviews of the Transparency Corruption Perceptions Index (TI) reveal that no country has eliminated corruption, the highest score on it being around 90%. TI data from 1995 onwards also reveals no state which has improved its score massively and quickly through extra-legal or legal ways. A review of Pakistan’s region shows that national TI scores have improved by less than 1% annually over 20 years. Pakistan’s scores on the TI index are well within regional norms, with China, India and Sri Lanka being slightly better than Pakistan, but Bangladesh, Nepal, Iran and Afghanistan being below it. Above scores of 25%, one finds many states developing rapidly. Countries like India and China have managed to develop rapidly despite having TI corruption scores fairly similar to Pakistan (38% and 35% respectively compared with 30% for Pakistan). China scores (35%) only slightly better than us (30%) today and scored 22% in 1995 by when it had grown rapidly for long. Pakistani TI scores are highest today since TI’s 1995 inception, are increasing normally, and are not unusual regionally, but our compulsive obsession in justifying illegal acts to control corruption is unusual. While we stand for zero corruption, and all this argument is not for accepting corruption resignedly but against unrealistic beliefs about how soon and how it reduces and adopting appropriate means within democratic systems to reduce it gradually.


Thus, the evolution of democracy and the emergence of accountability, transparency and participation require patience. But many analysts argue that we cannot afford to be patient with democracy as the poor governance under it could lead to state collapse. However, this is also a myth. Democracy’s edge over other forms of governance is crystal clear here. Almost all states which have collapsed politically in the last several decades were autocracies and not a single established democracy has ever collapsed so far. There is little chance of a political collapse in Pakistan. In fact, the chances of a political collapse have actually reduced significantly as a result of major operations against religious and ethnic militants.


So, Churchill was right. Democracy is the worst form of government except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time. However, global experiences show that given sufficient effort by citizens through civil society movements, representativeness, accountability, participation and transparency does ultimately emerge under democracy, leading to better governance gradually.

 

The writer is a political economist, a Senior Fellow at UC Berkeley and the Executive Director of Inspiring Pakistan, a progressive policy unit.

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08
December

The strength of a leader and an institution lies in the capacity to salvage results from seemingly impossible situations and inculcate the winning spirit. The strength of the Pakistan Armed Forces stems from the institutional strength, capability, determination and confidence to thwart all external and internal challenges to national security. The systems and procedures are ingrained in the body of the armed forces in such a way that the leader and the institution represent the one whole. There is such a synergy of top-down and bottom-up directives and aspirations respectively that there is always a movement of the whole mass and not parts. The structure of the armed forces institutionally generates a dynamic motion along the pathways of national interest, solidarity and security. There is always a higher purpose that provides inspiration to persevere. In the recent years Pakistan Armed Forces successfully tackled the multi-dimensional challenges of terrorism, extremism, foreign-sponsored ethnic militancy, and above all, the ever hostile neighbour on the eastern border.


Before Pakistan Army leaped forward to restore peace and order in the country, a general feeling of despondency, fear and hopelessness prevailed – the list of potential threats was seemingly endless. Alongside incessant bloody acts of terrorism across entire country, Karachi suffered approximately 250 incidents of violence per month as a result of deeply entrenched nexus of crime and corruption, while increasing activities of sub-nationalists in Balochistan supported by foreign countries were alarming. The concerns for a blowback if an operation was launched against terrorism driven by fanatical ideology-based loyalties also thickened the looming shadows of despair. In spite of all that Pakistan Armed Forces personifying courage and commitment, launched Operation Zarb-e-Azb to rid the country of terrorism and its other wicked manifestations. Pakistan also accepted the fight on two fronts but remained undeterred by the Indian diversionary moves along eastern border.


These operations brought concrete results and Pakistan Army fought vigorously to defeat the TTP and its allied groups, a task in which armies around the world have either failed or are struggling. The other enemies of peace were also targeted comprehensively in the entire country and normalcy has been restored; though at a heavy cost of death and disability paid by the valiant sons of the nation. With the right decisions, meticulous planning and bold execution, peace and security in the entire country has improved manifold. Today, we have a sense of hope and direction.


Alongside fighting the war, the institutional strength of the Pakistan Armed Forces showing wide-ranging capability and capacity, relentlessly worked to operationalize China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Pakistan Armed Forces have played a fundamental role to operationalize this project. The moving convoys along CPEC route will slash poverty and unlock countless opportunities for business and trade with its dividends reaching the common man. This is a practical manifestation of guaranteeing peace and prosperity to the people of Pakistan.


Altogether fitting was ex-COAS General Raheel Sharif’s statement before his departure, "Our challenges are not yet over.... Our journey towards peace is still underway, but our destination is not far off." Displaying the same resolve, new Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa has also assured the nation that war against terrorism will continue till total elimination of terrorism from Pakistan’s sacred soil. He has vowed that no terrorists of any hue and colour will ever be allowed to come back. He has also warned the enemy to stay away from mischief along eastern border else expect a befitting response every time and everywhere.


These successes on all external and internal fronts vindicate the institutional strength of Pakistan Armed Forces. Through a well structured system of thorough planning, bold execution and self-accountable course correction, Pakistan Armed Forces are well poised under all circumstances to come up to the expectations of the nation. We assure the nation that fight against extremism, terrorism and violence will be carried forward with utmost dedication and resilience till the elimination of last violent actor. The enemy on eastern border shall always find us vigilant to respond in the same coin.


We stand for peace but shall never shy away from other options!

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08
December

Written By: Nadeem F. Paracha

Though created in 1947 as an independent Muslim-majority country, Pakistan is a land of some stunning geographical and cultural diversities. The country’s state institutions and constitution encourage the harnessing of cultural, religious and sectarian diversities as a single sovereign unit based on certain historical commonalities.


Pakistan’s constitution provides space to the land’s various ethnic groups to democratically contribute in the process of state-building according to their own distinct cultural and ethnic mores.


This diversity, however, has also been a cause of discord; especially during initial decades after independence a single, monolithic idea of nationhood was constructed by the state and then attempted to be imposed upon a diverse population without a democratically attained consensus.

 

pakfuture.jpgBut over the decades, various democratic experiments have been rather successful in at least initiating the importance of yoking together a consensual concept of nationhood built from the unique economic, cultural and political genius derived from within the country’s various groups.


During the 1946 provincial and national elections in India that were held under British rule to determine its future in the region, the All India Muslim League (AIML) was advocating the creation of a separate Muslim-majority state. But what gets missed today is the fact that men such as the charismatic president of the AIML, Muhammad Ali Jinnah, had been envisioning a distinct country which all of India’s minorities could call home. For example, during its election campaign in Bengal, AIML leaders often spoke of a separate country which would have a Muslim majority but where India’s other minorities such as Sikhs, Zoroastrians, Buddhists and Christians too would be equal citizens, enjoying the same rights as the Muslims.


This narrative saw the minorities of India as being under the threat of a possible upper-caste Hindu majority once the British had left. This account also attempted to appeal to the sentiments of lower-caste Hindus and was actually successful in making a number of them (in the Bengal) to not only vote for AIML but also join the party!


AIML’s manifesto for the 1946 election claimed that a Muslim-majority state (or a state constructed by a minority community in India) was inherently more equipped to appreciate religious plurality, harmony and diversity than a state dominated by a large Hindu majority. It envisaged AIML’s idea of the state as something that had a soul. According to the manifesto, the state in the suggested Muslim-majority country ‘will be the alter-ego of the national being, and in good time the two would merge to form an ordered and conflict-free society.’


So in all likelihood, Mr. Jinnah was already anticipating a diverse country where interaction and engagement between a Muslim majority and other faiths in various economic, political and cultural spheres would be able to construct a dynamic society and state.


But, of course, once a minority became a majority in the new country, sectarian, sub-sectarian and ethnic differences came to the fore. And the intensity of these divisions was such that the nascent and inexperienced state of Pakistan fumbled badly to address the issue. It attempted to hastily create a national identity squarely based on a synthetic and monolithic paradigm of nationhood which ended up creating further fissures based on ethnicity and sects.


The idea was noble but the solution was cosmetic and the results, drastic. Indeed the country had to be kept intact as a single nation, but the state’s idea of this singularity only managed to offend and alienate various distinct groups. This resulted in episodes such as the 1971 tragedy and the eventual emergence of religious militancy, which, from the 1980s onwards, hijacked the faith-based dimensions of Pakistan’s nationalism and molded them into meaning a land which was to be forcibly dominated by an intransigent idea of Pakistan’s majority faith.


But despite the fact that the country lost its eastern wing (East Pakistan) in 1971 and then became extremely introverted and even myopic about how it saw itself as a Muslim-majority state, things in this respect actually began to straighten themselves out.


From the mid-2000s the state and government began to gradually return to the narrative of the ‘modernist Islam’ of the founders that had begun to erode in the 1970s and was replaced by an entirely reactive one from the 1980s onward. But the new narrative is more pragmatic than ideological. It is still very much a work-in-progress. It maintains that to make Pakistan an important economic player in the world, certain radical steps are necessary. These steps include the proliferation of free market enterprise and foreign investment, which, in turn, requires Pakistan to change its internal and external policies and crackdown on anything threatening the erosion of local and international economic confidence.


Optimists have already predicted that Pakistan is well on its way to pull itself out of the quicksand which it created and then fell into; whereas the skeptics have advised caution. They say it is just too early to predict anything conclusive because the mountain through which the country is now trying to drill a tunnel, has been piling upwards for over 30 years now.


Former Army Chief General Raheel Sharif, who took over as the country’s military chief during the third Nawaz Sharif government in 2013, clearly attempted to promote a more temperate outlook within the armed forces; or a point of view articulated to free the state’s war against religious militancy from any confusion which can arise in a soldier’s mind about an enemy that overtly uses religious symbolism and rhetoric.


General Raheel’s command signaled a shift on multiple fronts, gradually steering the military’s ideological narrative from the right to a more centrist disposition. It’s still a volatile undertaking because it is attempting to phase out a narrative that emerged in the 1980s and was then allowed to compound for various reasons.


Included in this narrative is a new-found angle as to how Pakistan’s diversity is to be seen. Instead of clubbing the country’s various ethnic, sectarian and religious groups into a cosmetic nationalistic whole designed by the state, the state is now clearly interacting positively with Pakistan’s latest experiments with civilian democracy and constitutionalism to construct a nation where every group is encouraged to participate in the nation-building process.


Economics is to play a major role in this endeavour. Because if, hopefully, the gigantic CPEC project is a success, it is bound to result in unprecedented economic growth in the country. And the nature of CPEC is such that it would require some equally unprecedented exhibition of resourcefulness from Pakistan. This will make the state and government of the country to draw brain and man power from across Pakistan, giving majority of Pakistanis a sense of participation and belonging in the state and nation building process.


A future Pakistan is not going to be a discordant, alienated, and demonized entity rampant with ethnic and religious violence. It will truly become the Pakistan Jinnah had in mind: A diverse and progressive society driven by a robust economy and a cohesive nationalist impulse built from the unique genius of every ethnic, culture and faith that resides here.

 

The writer is a Pakistani journalist, cultural, critic and satirist. He is the author of a detailed book on Pakistan’s ideological, political & social history, called ‘End of the Past.’

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08
December

Written By: Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal

Donald Trump has been elected as the 45th President of the United States on November 8, 2016. The triumph of Trump was unexpected for many analysts and thereby they avowed it ‘a great upset of electoral politics.’ Conversely, for many his triumph was likely due to a few trends in the United States domestic politics. Hillary Clinton was a popular presidential candidate, yet with many handicaps. Indeed, the constituents voted for a change, which they consider imperative for their betterment. Therefore, the revamp in Washington’s internal and external affairs is plausible. Whether Trump Administration realizes the dreams of the Americans or not, is a lesser concern for other nations. The allies, partners and above all strategic competitors are more concerned about the foreign policy of Trump Administration.


During the campaign, candidate Trump paid little attention to foreign policy. Moreover, he took several, sometimes contradictory, positions on the few issues that he addressed during his election speeches. His slogan “Make America Great Again,” contradicts his opinion that ‘the problems in Europe, Asia, NATO, and Syria, are for others to worry about.’ Though Trump Administration’s foreign policy would be the continuity of its domestic policies, yet drastic changes in the United States external affairs are not expected. It’s because Washington’s foreign policy is based on issues, not personalities. The literature on foreign policy analysis, however, confirms the role of individual/personality in both chalking out and execution of foreign policy. Hence, the pertinent question is; ‘what would President Trump do?’

 

pakusrelin.jpgToday, the two interlinked important questions for the Pakistani ruling elite are that what would be the foreign policy of Trump Administration? How would it shape Islamabad and Washington’s relations? Perhaps, it is too soon to make precise predictions about the Trump Administration’s approach towards Pakistan. For the sake of adequate analysis, the following discussion is divided into two sections. The first section precisely underscores the factors that contributed in Trump’s triumph. The understanding of these factors seems significant for professing about Trump Administration’s worldview in general and relations with Pakistan in particular. It is followed by forethought on Pakistan and United States bilateral relations.


Trump’s Triumph
According to election results, Hillary Clinton received 228 electoral votes (60,827,933 votes—47.8%) and Donald Trump got 290 (60,261,913 votes—47.3%). The winning candidate required minimum 270. Hence, Trump won the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. Interestingly, he secured majority electoral vote in spite of “characterizing Mexican immigrants as criminals, doubting the allegiances of Muslim-Americans, denigrating women and emboldening white supremacists” during his election campaign. Many analysts expressed their doubts about his victory prior to the polling day (November 8, 2016) because they were convinced that in the American society a leader who publicizes segregation and xenophobia enjoys very limited support. Moreover, they were overwhelmed by Clinton’s popularity.


Trump’s slogans ‘Make America Great Again’ and ‘Take Back Your Country’ certainly, were very attractive for both nationalists as well as jobless Americans. He outflanked his rival by moving decisively to the left on economic issues and also succeeded in painting Hillary Clinton as the agent of the rich and uncaring American elite. In addition, many other factors contributed in Donald Trump’s triumph in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election. Since the very beginning of 2016 Presidential campaign Hillary Clinton was encountering the email controversy. She made the mistake of using a private e-mail server while she was U.S. Secretary of State. She failed to settle this issue prior to her announcement as a presidential candidate. Consequently, James Comey’s (FBI Director’s) unprecedented decision to restart the e-mail investigation ten days before the vote, contributed significantly in ruining her bid to become the first female President of the United States. Perhaps, Comey’s bombshell had a decisive effect at a time when Mrs. Clinton was hoping to win the election. It refreshed the memories of those who believe that she could act insouciantly or irresponsible in the national security matters.


Secondly, Mrs. Clinton’s supporters wrongly expected too much from Barack Obama’s coalition of the suburban women, young adults, Black and Hispanic voters. According to exit polls, ‘one-third of Hispanic men voted for Trump despite his vow to build a wall on the Mexican border’. It seems that she also failed to muster the support of women. In addition, voter turnout manifests that Democrats either did not participate wholeheartedly or they rejected Clinton. For instance, according to reports she received 5–6 million votes less than President Barack Obama in 2012.


Thirdly, Mr. Trump successfully exploited the issues of a common man in the U.S., i.e., lost jobs, lost wages and lost stature. He severely criticized her policies as the Secretary of State. He often stated; “This is the legacy of Hillary Clinton: death, destruction and weakness.” He intelligently used American nationalism to muster the support of the jobless, especially those who wanted their jobs back. In his election campaign speeches, he promised to terminate all the trade agreements that damaged the U.S. industry and left Americans jobless and assured to throw out illegal immigrants.


Fourthly, candidate Trump insisted that the NATO allies would pay their security bills. He also opined that instead of spending on the security of Japan, South Korea and other allies, U.S. needed to spend at home, ‘to fix’ America’s problems. In this context, he suggested that South Korea and Japan should develop their own nuclear weapons. In the words of Professor Scott Sagan: “These kinds of statements are having an effect. A number of political leaders, mostly from the very conservative sides of the parties, are openly calling for nuclear weapons.” The common man in the United States seems less cognizant of the advantages which United States reap from Euro-Atlantic alliance and by providing security umbrella to Japan and South Korea. Therefore, his isolationist approach towards Europeans and Asian allies and reconciliatory approach towards the Russian Federation had a positive impact on many electors.


Fifthly, candidate Clinton was viewed as an agent of continuity, whereas, common Americans were aspiring for change. They were not in favor of status quo due to several policies of Obama Administration. That’s why they preferred an inexperienced Presidential candidate, Donald Trump, over the experienced candidate Hillary Clinton. Despite the fact that the latter forcefully highlighted throughout her campaign that she had a vast experience of governance. Many analysts have been interpreting the defeat of Hillary as a revolt against the establishment. The critics opined that United States is a ‘Republic’ instead of ‘Dynasty’ and thereby dynastic politics were not acceptable in a participatory political culture. The defeat of Hillary Clinton manifests that American voters were not eager to support the dynasties in American politics.


Although, theoretically, the projects such as building a wall along the U.S.-Mexican border; imposing severe curbs on immigration from Muslim countries; dismantling Obama-care; rewriting major trade deals; ramping up the fight against alleged Islamist militants, etc., seem feasible yet practically realizing them is a hard task. Moreover, his promise to adopt Mercantilist approach, which ensures protectionist barriers and punitive duties on imports to uplift the American industrial units, sounds rational but such an approach also has its own intrinsic adverse fallouts for the national economy.


The Trump Administration would be in an advantageous position due the Republican majority in both houses of the Congress i.e., the Senate and the House of Representatives. Thanks to the Republican majority, President Trump would be able to carry out his reform agenda through legislative power. Perhaps, he would sincerely focus on reforms for accomplishing his election manifesto to win the Presidential election in 2022.


Trump Administration and Pakistan
For decades, Pakistan has been a beneficiary of the U.S. aid, which the latter has always used as a strategic lever to pursue its global strategic pursuits. During the Cold War, for instance, assistance was provided to Pakistan as part of the former Soviet Union containment strategy. Presently, Islamabad is receiving U.S. aid due to its relevance in U.S. strategy to win the war on terror. Hence, the engagement between Islamabad and Washington would continue due to the ongoing war against terrorism and U.S. presence in Afghanistan. However, the situation would be different if Trump decides to pull out of Afghanistan.


Donald Trump is a Republican. Historically, Republicans have maintained a soft corner for Pakistan. Republican Presidents such as Nixon, Reagan, senior Bush and his son were closer to Pakistani establishment, not because of ideology but due to strategic developments in the neighbourhood of Pakistan. Realistically, they provided aid to Pakistan for the sake of U.S. national interest and kept a distance, when they felt that assisting Pakistan diplomatically and economically was not in their national interest. For instance, in 1971 Nixon Administration did not stop India from forcibly dismembering Pakistan. Similarly, after the withdrawal of Soviets from Afghanistan, President H.W. Bush, immediately imposed Pressler Amendment sanctions on Pakistan. Importantly, his predecessor President Reagan ignored Pakistan’s cold test of nuclear weapons in March 1983 because he needed Pakistan to end the Soviet occupation in Afghanistan.


The prevalent strategic environment is completely different. Trump acknowledged India as a ‘geopolitical ally’. Moreover, since the beginning of the twenty-first century, Republicans have been treating India as an important ally in Asia. Therefore, expecting inclination of the Republicans towards Pakistan in the prevalent global strategic environment would be an error of judgement. Donald Trump’s election speeches and trends in the American South Asian policy indicated that the new American administration would sustain Obama Administration’s Indo-U.S. strategic partnership and encourage New Delhi to increase its presence in the Indian Ocean. Trump Administration would facilitate New Delhi in purchasing American military hardware for supporting United States military industrial complex and also checking China in the Asia-Pacific.


Pakistan’s cementing strategic partnership with China would undoubtedly be unacceptable for Trump Administration. Therefore, it would incessantly reiterate the Obama Administration’s mantra of ‘Do More’ in case of eliminating the menace of terrorist organizations; pressurize Pakistan for capping its nuclear program, maintain explicit neutrality and implicit opposition to Islamabad’s entry into the voluntary technological cartels, i.e., Nuclear Suppliers Group, Missile Technology Control Regime, Wassenaar Arrangement, and Australia Group.


The military buildup of India is acceptable for United States in the current global strategic environment. Therefore, Trump Administration would have an affirmative approach towards India’s armed forces modernization and entry into technological cartels. Indeed, the Indian armed forces advancement would be perilous for the national security of Pakistan. It necessitates matching responses from Islamabad. The counter-measures for solidifying Pakistan’s defensive shield is likely to magnify arms race between the South Asian belligerent neighbours. Thus, Trump administration courting with India would neither be in the interest of Pakistan nor have constructive consequences for the South Asian strategic stability.


To conclude, our policy makers need to be more realistic in charting out a strategy to engage Trump Administration after January 20, 2017.

 

The writer is Associate Professor at School of Politics and International Relations at Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad.

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08
December

Written By: Shamshad Ahmed

Lately, India's Narendra Modi has been claiming that he will isolate Pakistan. What he doesn't know is that in this region if there is any country already suffering a congenital isolation, it is India which, because of its overbearing size and hegemonic clout, is generating many problems in the region including fear of domination among its smaller neighbours and a host of border conflicts and water disputes with them. It stands more or less alone as an 'exclusive' state without having to be identified in tandem with the rest of the countries in the region.


Ironically, all South Asian countries except Afghanistan share borders with India as the largest state of the region but not with each other. With this unique geographic feature seriously limiting its scope for genuine regional cooperation, SAARC even after three decades of its existence has not been able to deliver on its promise or potential. Now, in his typically belligerent mode, Modi has struck a fatal blow to SAARC by orchestrating the last minute cancellation of its summit meeting that was scheduled to be held last month in Islamabad.

 

amediasurg.jpgWhat else could one expect from a man who as chief minister of India's Gujarat State was responsible for the 2002 Gujarat riots that killed over 2000 Muslims and who for this reason was blacklisted as persona non grata by the EU and the U.S.? What now remains is SAARC's final burial and the best locale for the unceremonious event would be the place where it was born in 1985. Ironically, Modi's best partner in this inauspicious event could be none other than his Bangladeshi counterpart, known for her anti-Pakistan obsession. But when it comes to anti-Pakistan obsession, nobody can beat Modi.


His cold-blooded realpolitik has lately been manifesting in the ongoing Kashmir brutality. To divert global attention from this massive Kashmiri revolt against India's illegal military occupation of their state, he first engineered Pathankot incident and then the Uri drama. He also claimed an evidence-less 'surgical strike' allegedly somewhere across the Line of Control which turned out to be no more than a hoax. What is clear is that Modi's objective has been to destabilize Pakistan and weaken its armed forces which over the decades have emerged as the only cohesive force defending the country against external and internal threats.


Modi may have been kept from conducting a military 'surgical strike' across the Line of Control but surely did manage an intrusive media 'surgical strike' in the heart of Pakistan through a ‘false and fabricated story’ on the proceedings of an extraordinary high-level closed-door meeting planted in a major English daily of Pakistan. The PM office initially tried to deny the story but with the messenger refusing to disown it, came out with another statement expressing concern over the publication of a “fabricated news story” which was termed as "clearly violative of universally acknowledged principles of reporting on national security issues."


According to the statement, "the published story had risked the vital state interests through inclusion of inaccurate and misleading contents which had no relevance to actual discussion and facts.” Taking serious notice of the violation, the Prime Minister directed that those responsible should be identified for stern action. Meanwhile, a strongly worded statement issued by ISPR after former army chief Gen Raheel Sharif chaired a meeting of his Corps Commanders also expressed serious concern over what was claimed as "feeding of false and fabricated story of an important security meeting at PM House" and viewed it as “breach of national security”.


This statement clearly suggested the story in question was planted with malafide purpose and the reporter only played into the hands of vested interests who wanted to show the country in a poor light. To complicate things, the government having first tried to rubbish the report then quickly placed the reporter on Exit Control List. However, in next few days the travel ban was lifted with no explanation and the so-called reporter was allowed to leave the country. A delegation of the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) and the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) after a meeting with Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan claimed they had persuaded him to withdraw the ban.


With media going into its usual frenzy, feigning anger and frustration, speculating outlandish scenarios and spinning all sorts of wild theories, one is left with a question as to who really was behind this 'false and fabricated' story drama, and why. While the government apparently was looking for the people who 'leaked' the story, the debate in Pakistan quickly turned to whether the newspaper and its reporter should have done the story at all. Most people were of the view that by accepting a story fed from vested interests both had either acted irresponsibly or had fallen into a trap laid out by the enemy. On its part, the newspaper in question insisted on record that "it handled the story in a professional manner and carried it only after verification from multiple sources."


A federal minister in charge of Information and Broadcasting was then suddenly asked to step down for what was stated as a 'lapse' on his part in preventing the false and fabricated story. A commission was then established to investigate the whole episode. Whatever the findings of investigation, one thing is beyond doubt; given the timing and overall backdrop of domestic as well as external security situation, the whole episode smacks of intrigue. If it is really so, there is nothing new for us because we have seen such intrigues before. The 2011 Memogate was perhaps the most sophisticated version of a Byzantine intrigue in which the state itself was seen conspiring against its own sovereignty and integrity.


The notorious 'Memo' purportedly had solicited Washington’s behind-the-scenes intervention to put the Pakistan Army on the spot. In the present case too, the planted story seemed to have been motivated by the same lurking desire that seeks to weaken the army. In fact, since 2008, ineptitude and vulnerability has been the order of the day, with efforts surreptitiously seeking to weaken the armed forces. These sorts of things are being done to keep the armed forces at bay. But such efforts are self-defeating as Pakistan's state institutions are strong enough to defend the national interest and guarantee the security of the motherland.


No wonder, debate on civil-military relations have been an integral part of our body politic. With frequent political breakdowns and overall deterioration of various institutions, the institution of Pakistan Armed Forces has emerged as a primus inter pares, or first among equals. If there have been instances of military intervention in the past, it was only due to effective governance issues and lack of requisite strategic vision or talent in the ruling cadres leaving a vacuum to be filled by whosoever had the power and strategic proficiency.


At least during the last ten years of rule, the armed forces remained steadfast in their constitutional role and in a way providing every opportunity to other state institutions to do their job. Not only restricting to this, the armed forces assisted other state institutions in doing good things.

 

The disgraceful Memogate and now the surreptitious handling of the news leak (feed) issue only show insecurity at best or malafide at worst. What should be clear by now is that on vital security-related issues in a perilously-located country as ours, the pivotal role of so-called ‘establishment’ is indispensable for the preservation of the state's independence and integrity on which is predicated survival and growth of other institutions.


There is a need that other state institutions should be looking at the country's armed forces as their strength and an asset, not an adversary. Pakistan cannot afford any institutional clashes; these weaken the state. Vested foreign and local interests exploit the situation. A country remains vulnerable externally if it is weak domestically. Today, Pakistan is facing an exceptionally dangerous challenge with aggressive rhetoric as well as belligerent threats from India with equally hostile and ominous narratives emanating from Afghanistan and Washington.


As we remain engaged in a decisive battle for our security and survival, Pakistan is being subverted from within. Instead of walking into the traps, we should be joining together in reinforcing the elements of our nationhood. We badly need domestic cohesion and mutual confidence among the state institutions. To keep our country strong and stable, we must root out from our body politic the mindset of heresy, sedition and treachery that provides fertile ground for enemy maneuvers against Pakistan. It is also time our mainstream media owned its national responsibility by upholding our national ethos and defending the country’s independence, security and national integrity.

 

The writer is a former foreign secretary.

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08
December

Written By: Will Hatton

We returned to Ghulkin yet again and I met once more with Rehman and my Pakistani family. Visiting them again felt strangely like coming home. I’ve been travelling for nearly ten years now and don’t feel as though I belong to any one country but, in Pakistan, I feel at home. I have many friends here and, in fact, most of my best friends are Pakistani.

Iarrived in Pakistan totally unsure of what to expect.


I have been travelling around the world for a long time now, funding my adventures at first through odd jobs I would pick up on the road and, now, through my blog. To travel has always been my passion, it’s the thing that excites me, that makes me get out of bed in the morning; to experience new sights, new smells, new sounds, to make new friends and to do things which people tell me are impossible – this is why I exist.

 

backpackingthro.jpgWhen I first started travelling, I had no money for many years. I hitchhiked, slept rough, was reliant on the kindness of strangers for food and worked odd jobs whenever I could find them. My first adventure, at the age of nineteen, was fourteen months of travelling in India where, of course, I heard many things about Pakistan. Everything I heard made me simply want to travel to Pakistan more than ever, to find out the truth about the people and the place.


I had been backpacking in Iran for a couple of months and the closer I got to Pakistan, the more people warned me that it was simply not safe to visit. Determined to find out the truth for myself, I crossed from Iran and journeyed deep into the mountains. It was an adventure which was to change my life forever.


I started my adventure trip from Lahore, the Paris of Pakistan, where I met members of the Karakoram Club, a homegrown group of Pakistani adventurers, photographers and trekkers who made me feel at home and took me out for a crazy whirlwind tour of the city by motorbike.


I danced with Sufis, visited Lahore’s Eiffel Tower (seriously!? In Lahore? This blew my mind…), attended a university lecture with my friend Masoud, got a chance to play with my first AK-47 and haggled for bargains in the markets.


A week passed in a haze of exploring and partying, my friends took me to an underground rave – something that I had no idea existed in Pakistan – and to explore the truly incredible Badshahi Mosque. I feasted on Pakistani cuisine, enjoyed a cheeky smoke looking over the magnificent Lahore Fort and made many friends throughout the city.


After a week in Lahore, I headed north, keen to check out the mountains of which I had heard so much. The journey to Gilgit was long and uncomfortable but the beautiful scenic views made it so worthwhile.
Snow-capped peaks marching into the distance, as far as the eye could see, stunning glacial valleys and turquoise ribbons of water, weird rock formations and, ahead of me, the most impressive road I have ever seen; the Karakoram Highway.


Finally, I reached Gilgit and then travelled onwards to Karimabad where I met with a local man, Rehman, who contacted me over Facebook to invite me to his home and show me the mountains.
Rehman lives in the small village of Ghulkin and might just be the most hospitable person I have ever met. I spent an incredible week with him, his lovely wife Sitara and their four kids. We went for some incredible adventures.

 

backpackingthro1.jpgI crossed the mighty white glacier, spent an unforgettable evening camping out under a million stars, braved Passu Bridge and journeyed to the highest border crossing in the world at the Pakistan-China border.


Every day I would see something new that totally blew my mind; fantastical trucks with psychedelic patterns, fresh snow upon the Lady Finger peak, forts and orchards of apricot trees. Everywhere I turned, I was greeted with incredible enthusiasm and hospitality; Pakistan, it turned out, was not a dangerous country at all. The only danger seemed to be not wanting to leave and face death by chai (tea); I must have been offered thirty cups of chai a day!


One evening, I sat with Rehman and he showed me faded photographs of his father, Baig Khan, a famous guide in the Hunza region and his many German friends. Once upon a time, Rehman told me, Pakistan had been one of the world’s most popular climbing and trekking destinations. Almost overnight the industry collapsed following few unfortunate events and bad press in the media, the tourism industry in Pakistan had never fully recovered… Until now.

 

To the people of Pakistan, and especially to Pakistan Army: thank you for making my visit so incredible – travelling to Pakistan has been a highlight of my adventures all across the world.

I travelled to the Fairy Meadows, making fast friends with my police escort, Baba, a man with a mighty beard and impressive levels of energy. Although it was February, and damn cold, Baba made sure I made it to the Fairy Meadows, trekking with me through waist-deep snow despite his age – he must have been at least sixty and yet he was one of the strongest people I have ever met.


I camped in the shadow of Nanga Parbat, the world’s ninth highest mountain and one of the most beautiful sites I have seen in over nine years of travelling around the world.


I spent a wonderful few days in the Fairy Meadows, chatting with Baba and Gul Mohammad; a legend of Hunza and the proud operator of the Greenland Hotel; a series of gorgeous wooden cabins with some of the best views of the forest, the river, the glacier and, of course, Nanga Parbat.


Eventually, the time came to leave and I travelled to India, crossing the famous Wagah Border, and bought myself a rickshaw which I drove 2500 km across the country. My girlfriend, who I had met in Iran, came to meet me in India and I raved about Pakistan to her. Eventually, she agreed – we had to go back. We abandoned our plans in India and instead travelled to Iran where we got married and I converted to Islam, taking the name Reza. Following our wedding, we went on our honeymoon…to Pakistan, of course!


We returned to Pakistan in August and travelled deep into Swat, discovering huge Buddhist statues and incredible treks. Once again, I was simply blown away by the hospitality I received and the army soldiers were particularly kind and helpful whilst I was travelling in Swat.


We headed up to Skardu and then to Deosai and camped under a thousand perfect stars. In the night, four bears came to within two meters of my tent and a brave army officer ran to our aid, a burning branch in one hand to scare them off.


We returned to Ghulkin yet again and I met once more with Rehman and my Pakistani family. Visiting them again felt strangely like coming home. I’ve been travelling for nearly ten years now and don’t feel as though I belong to any one country but, in Pakistan, I feel at home. I have many friends here and, in fact, most of my best friends are Pakistani.

 

We headed up to Skardu and then to Deosai and camped under a thousand perfect stars. In the night, four bears came to within two meters of my tent and a brave army officer ran to our aid, a burning branch in one hand to scare them off.

I took to Instagram, sharing my stories with the world and was flooded with hundreds of emails from foreigners who wanted to know more about Pakistan, to explore this country on their own.


Slowly but surely, an idea began to form. Speaking to my friend Rehman, we made plans to open a guesthouse in Hunza in the future if we could find the money together.


Next year, I am returning to Pakistan again and, this time, I am bringing a group of twelve foreigners on an adventure backpacking tour deep into the mountains. It is a trip which I hope will help open up Pakistan to more tourists, to show people that it is a safe, welcoming and a truly beautiful country – this is my objective. Slowly but surely backpackers and climbers are starting to return to this amazing country and I hope that my writing will encourage more people to visit and to experience Pakistani hospitality themselves.


To the people of Pakistan, and especially to Pakistan Army: thank you for making my visit so incredible – travelling to Pakistan has been a highlight of my adventures all across the world.


To my friends, my hosts, the people who gave me a ride, a place to sleep, a meal, a smile, a handshake; you made my journey truly incredible, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

 

The writer is an adventurer and freelance journalist.

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

He blogs at www.thebrokebackpacker.com

 
08
December

Written By: Tariq Burki

From the diary of an infantry officer who participated in the war on Eastern Front as a Captain

 

Our troops deployed ahead of us were continuously repulsing enemy attacks and were raising the slogans of “Naara-e-Takbeer – Allah o Akbar” and “Pakistan Zindabad”. These slogans raised our morale and filled us with excitement and enthusiasm to confront the enemy. We asked for volunteers to place mines under enemy tanks and fire rockets at them from close ranges. These were to be suicidal missions. A number of soldiers volunteered themselves for the task.

Indeed, the greatest fantasy a soldier may have is to face the enemy in battle and pitch his skills against him. The soldiers with no practical experience of a real battlefield, often wonder what it would be like to be in actual combat. Likewise, ever since my induction in the army, I was also curious about the real feel of war. And more importantly, to know where we stood as an Army, as far as professionalism, dedication and courage were concerned. My father had the bitter experience of being part of a war which was ultimately lost. He and his comrades in the field were not responsible for the political and diplomatic reasons which ultimately pushed East Pakistan towards separation and brought about the defeat of Pakistani forces in the Eastern Theatre. Yet, they were destined to experience the agony of a defeat and the humility of a surrender. Pakistan Army was, however, made up of courageous, devoted officers and men, who despite being aware of the situation on ground, did not hesitate to sacrifice their lives for the motherland. History will not judge them by the yardstick of victory or defeat but by that of their devotion, selflessness and sacrifice. All these sons of the soil deserve recognition and our gratitude.

 

1971war.jpgMy father, Major (retired) Muhammadi Shah, was part of 15 FF Regiment during the war on Eastern Front, as a Captain, with hardly two years of service. Despite having a rural background, he somehow adopted the habit of maintaining a diary, which he regularly updated with his day-to-day observations and experiences. Being very young, whereas it would not be realistic to expect a mature analysis of the war as a whole, or the national policy thereof, his observations, feelings and experiences as a subaltern, could be of value and interest to our young officers.


15 FF Regiment was employed in Khulna/Jessore area in East Pakistan. The unit had the honour of having continued operating even after the bulk of the army surrendered under the instructions from the General Headquarters, on December 16, 1971. The regiment did not make part of the surrender ceremony and subsequently handed itself over on December 18, 1971, after having destroyed/disposed of its weapons and equipment at will. In succeeding paragraphs, I have tried to reproduce few of the experiences of my father during the said war. These have been extracted from his personal diary which he maintained from the beginning of the war till the final days.

 

Events of 1971 War

September 19, 1971:
We moved to Karachi from Lahore, by train, as part of the Advance Party.

September 26, 1971:
We moved from Dhaka to Khulna, by Steamer, at 1130 hours.

September 27, 1971:
Reached Khulna at 1600 hours local time and boarded a train for Jessore which dropped us at Jessore at 1800 hours.

September 29, 1971 (Jessore):
Went for reconnaissance of the area where we had to take up defensive positions. Returned from the reconnaissance on the same day.

October 7, 1971 (Jessore):
Additional troops started reaching Jessore from West Pakistan by C-130.

October 16, 1971:
After completing handing/taking over of stores with 25 Baloch, moved to Satkhira, where our B Echelon was located.

November 19, 1971:
Curfew imposed in Satkhira.

November 22, 1971:
One of our soldiers, Sepoy Isra Khan and an East Pakistani volunteer, embraced shahadat due to enemy fire. We had our first contact with Muktis, and killed 5 Muktis in the encounter. Could not sleep the whole night due to cold weather.

November 23, 1971:
We are improving our defensive positions on daily basis. Remained busy in liaising with the neighbouring
commanders.

November 26, 1971:
Killed one Mukti through sniping.

November 30, 1971:
Killed four Muktis across the river.

December 4, 1971:
Indian fighter planes crossed the international border. We could see them flying above our area.

December 8, 1971:
Jessore falls to the enemy. All troops deployed ahead of us thus fell back. We kept waiting for the enemy’s arrival at night. At 0030 hours, enemy reached our location. As per the instructions, we moved back to a new position in order to be able to take up defences at a more defensible ground and to be in a position to attrite the enemy.

 

December 9, 1971:
At around 0200 hours, reached at a new position in front of Khulna. Took some rest at the new defensive position. In the morning, sited some riflemen trenches and digging started. Occasionally the enemy fighter aircraft kept visiting our position. We observed that they were closely followed by our aircraft, but they were probably informed of the arrival of PAF fighters by their radars, and thus before the arrival of PAF jets, they used to make an escape towards their side of the international border. In any case, we carried on with the preparation of our defences uninterrupted as the enemy was still far away. The next night those deployed ahead of us came back. One of our companies was deployed ahead of us as a screen.

 

December 10, 1971:
Lieutenant Tariq from our unit, along with two sepoys, got injured and were sent back. Our troops deployed ahead of us were continuously repulsing enemy attacks and were raising the slogans of “Naara-e-Takbeer – Allah-o-Akbar” and “Pakistan Zindabad”. These slogans raised our morale and filled us with excitement and enthusiasm to confront the enemy. We asked for volunteers to place mines under enemy tanks and fire rockets at them from close ranges. These were to be suicidal missions. A number of soldiers volunteered themselves for the task. Everyone decided that this would be the last line, beyond which the enemy will not be allowed to advance. Although we had been ordered to move to this position as part of an overall plan, yet, the fighting soldiers were not satisfied with the arrangement, as they were not privy to the overall strategic thought-process going on at the Eastern Command level. When these troops were offered an opportunity to sacrifice their lives, while preventing enemy tanks from advancing, smiles came to their faces spontaneously. The enemy planes attacked our positions five times during the day, but by the grace of Almighty Allah none of our soldiers were injured. At around 1100 hours, we heard explosions and shelling behind us in the direction of Khulna. In the evening we came to know that two enemy boats, with Pakistani flags fixed over them (as deception), entered our area. Meanwhile, enemy aircraft also arrived and then the boats and the aircraft jointly attacked our positions. In the engagement, the enemy lost one of its aircraft and one out of the two boats. Our troops captured the other boat and made two officers and fourty eight other Indian Navy personnel Prisoners of War (POWs). At around 1700 hours, the enemy came into contact with our company deployed in front of us. Artillery shelling started along with intense automatic fire. Till morning, the enemy had launched four attacks, all of which had been repulsed. Captain Ahmad Bilal, who volunteered to go to the front, engaged a tank with a rocket launcher while standing out of his trench. He received three bullets in his chest and embraced shahadat.

 

December 11, 1971:
We had made contact with the enemy on December 10. We destroyed three enemy tanks on the same day. Intense enemy artillery shelling and small arms fire commenced early in the morning. By now we had become indifferent to the enemy shelling. We only had a paddy field in front of us. It was an open area. Just about 2000 yards ahead of us, our troops were engaged with the enemy. We could see the smoke rising from the destroyed enemy tanks and could also hear the “Naara-e-Takbeer” and “Pakistan Zindabad” slogans of our colleagues. We were eager to find out what was going on at the front and were watching through binoculars, but owing to thick vegetation, we could see nothing. The shelling continued throughout the day and night.

December 12, 1971:
In the morning, we could hear the sounds of automatic fire and artillery shelling from all directions. But despite this, everyone was in high spirits. Everyone was ready to sacrifice. We were all determined to fight till the last man, last bullet. We all wished to make history on this front. The shelling continued in intervals and enemy fighter aircraft were also flying over our positions four to five times a day. In the evening, intense enemy shelling commenced, followed by an attack, which was successfully repulsed. Our troops kept raising the slogans of “Naara-e-Takbeer” and “Pakistan Zindabad”. Around 0030 hours, the same night, enemy launched another attack under the cover of intense artillery shelling. The attack was repulsed. The enemy attacked again at 0430 hours, but could not dare to advance in our area. During this night, the enemy shelled the area so much that in the morning the whole ground in front of us was dotted with shell craters. A number of local civilians and cattles died due to the shelling. A number of houses were also destroyed. Two of our men got minor injuries. We found a Bihari whose throat had been slit, surely by Muktis.

 

December 13, 1971:
Sporadic shelling continued. Enemy fighter aircraft often flew over our defences, but being unable to identify our positions, returned without any engagement. At 1230 hours, enemy aircraft attacked our position with rockets and machine guns but could not cause any damage or casualties. The enemy aircraft rocketed their own positions also (probably by mistake), after which smoke could be seen rising from the area. The enemy kept engaging our positions with artillery, but at a very slow fire rate. In the evening, however, the shelling commenced with such intensity that one felt as if the rounds were being fired from a machine gun. The enemy tried to launch an attack under the cover of this intense bombardment. We opened artillery and mortar fire in response. One could hear the sounds of shelling and automatic fire in all directions. The enemy attack was repulsed. Intense enemy shelling continued for 15 minutes. At night, the enemy kept firing one odd round, which had a sedative effect on us and we fell asleep. The enemy used air, artillery and armour in succession. When artillery would pause, tank fire would commence and when tanks would take a break, air would start engagement. Despite all this, somehow we managed to have a sound sleep and were in high spirits. At around 1130 hours, five Gnat fighter aircraft of the enemy attacked our positions with rockets, machine gun fire and bombing. They attacked our position five times, but failed to cause any casualty. At around 2100 hours, enemy attacked again under the cover of heavy artillery shelling but the attack was repulsed. During the attack, our artillery fired star shells which illuminated the whole area in front of us and we were able to engage the enemy with accurate fire. The enemy would turn on the tank engines, move them forward a bit and then pull them back, just to demoralize our troops. But our troops, despite knowing that they were surrounded by the enemy, were in unbelievably high spirits. The area where the enemy wished to make a dent, was so heavily shelled that it appeared as if the land over there had been turned upside down. Had the enemy troops been exposed to such a volume of fire, they would probably have even doffed their uniforms, considering them heavy, and fled away. Mysteriously, despite this intense artillery shelling, we did not suffer any significant damage. After having failed to make any breakthrough, the enemy attacked the unit on our flank at around 0730 hours (December 15) but the enemy did not achieve anything there either except failure and disappointment.

 

December 15, 1971:
On this front, the enemy had so far lost around 500 men and hundreds must have been wounded (the communication through wireless sets indicate these losses). Today again at 0715 hours, the enemy started shelling our positions with artillery as well as mortars. The enemy guns took a break at 0900 hours. Mortars continued engaging our positions at a very slow rate. Enemy aircraft flew over our positions ten times, but except for sporadic rocket and machine gun fire, did not cause much damage. SU-7 aircraft also flew over our positions for the first time. At 1740 hours the enemy artillery started engaging our positions and the fire continued through the night.

 

Note:
Captain Arjumand Yar Khand, 15 FF Regiment mentioned later in this article, embraced shahadat on this day (December 15, 1971). Here's a narration of his brave fight and ultimate martyrdom, by Brigadier Mehboob Qadir:


“Captain Arjumand Yar Khand1 was a young and very handsome, rather feminish, officer from an infantry unit. He was known as the ‘baby of the battalion’. He was assigned the task of setting up a strong delaying position2 ahead of this defensive position to cause as much attrition and loss of time on the advancing enemy as possible. This officer, along with a handful of men, held his ground against repeated Indian armor and infantry assaults, hours of air bombing and straffing for nearly three days just as Headquarters Eastern Command was negotiating terms of surrender with Calcutta. On the third day, Arjumand’s delaying position was overrun after a pitched battle; not a soul returned. That day probably on December 15th, we received orders from Eastern Command to surrender. Brigadier ‘Makhmad’ Hayat refused to obey this order and we fought on for the next three days till literally the last bullet was left in our rifle chambers. We were facing 9 Indian Mountain Division whose officers told us the story of the incomparable bravery of Arjumand and his men after the war was over. During three days of pitched battle his men were being killed and seriously wounded, machine guns and anti-tank guns were being knocked out one after the other but Arjumand and his small force stood fast. On the last day Arjumand was the only one left in the delaying position. His men were either all killed or seriously wounded. Attacking Sikh infantry surrounded his trench and asked him to surrender as he was profusely bleeding from his shattered legs that had probably absorbed a direct Mortar shell hit. In dire need of medical aid, he refused. After a lot of persuasion he finally agreed. With one hand he lifted his weapon and with the other he was about to lob a hand grenade when they spotted him and had to kill him. This fearless young officer died fighting extremely bravely; so much so that even the enemy was full of praises for him. They had buried him with honor.”3

 

December 16, 1971:
The enemy shelling continued till morning. The battalion on our right withdrew after having caused significant damage to the enemy. After the withdrawal of the said battalion, the enemy encircled us and cut our route of withdrawal from behind. Around 1115 hours, while I was in D Company, busy in liaison, an order was received to move a platoon from D Company to the depth location. After about five minutes another order was received that the whole of D Company was to be moved to another location. I started moving towards my own company which was about 600 yards from D Company's location. After having moved for about 400 yards, I saw my buddy approaching me from the direction of my platoon location. He told me that my platoon had been ordered to move to the location of the Company Headquarters. I reached my platoon Headquarters, and found my platoon ready to move. When I reached at the location of the Company Headquarters, the Company Headquarters had already left the place. I enquired about further orders on wireless and was asked to move backwards, staying away from the road. I was not aware of the situation at that moment. On the route which I adopted during my move back, I could hear some artillery shelling and automatic fire. I therefore adjusted my route a bit. I could, however, make out from this fire that the enemy had cut our route of withdrawal. The shells were landing at a distance of about 400-500 yards away from us. I increased my speed. There were two routes available. One passed through a forest, which was being engaged by the enemy with artillery and the other one passed through a marshy area, with paddy fields. We adopted the route passing through the paddy fields. While moving through the marshes, an artillery shell landed in the middle of my troops but no one got hurt. I got worried considering that probably the enemy Observation Post had located our movement. I was also concerned about my troops, as there was neither any cover available from air observation, nor could we run for safety in case of an air attack. It was difficult even to carry our equipment and luggage in these marshes, carrying a casualty would have been an uphill task. Initially, everyone tried to move as fast as possible and clear this open, coverless patch as quickly as possible, but very soon everyone got exhausted and the pace became slower. Meanwhile, enemy fired four more rounds on the field which we were crossing but luckily no one got hurt. By around 1230 hours, we were able to reach the forest, after having crossed the marshy patch. I gathered my men, took some rest and asked for further instructions from the Company Headquarters. We were asked to report at a certain location on the road. On my way back, I came across my Commanding Officer and 2nd-in-Command. They asked me to give my troops some rest in the Khulna High School. In the meantime, I accompanied Commanding Officer and the 2nd-in-Command to reconnoiter my new company position. It was around 1300 hours. After having chosen my new defensive position, I deployed my company there. The trenches were already available in the position. Then I went to the Battalion Headquarters. There I had conversation with other officers of the battalion and we discussed the overall situation. I stayed at the Battalion Headquarters till the evening. Our men kept getting out of the enemy encirclement. At around 1500 hours, we received the news of ceasefire. We were ordered not to fire unless the enemy attacked us. At 1730 hours, we reorganized A and C Companies and took stock of the injured and missing personnel. Four of our officers were inside the enemy’s encirclement. Owing to the deficiency of officers, I was appointed as Company Commander of C Company at 1800 hours. And I shifted from my company to C Company. We had given enemy a tough resistance and caused them numerous casualties, but after the fall of Dhaka, the Eastern Command appeared to be left with no option but to surrender.

 

December 17, 1971:
Around 2355 hours in the night, we received orders to leave our company position and move back to Battalion Headquarters. We prepared to surrender the next day (December 18) as per the instructions (but did not fail to destroy all weapon and equipment that we thought should not fall in to enemy hands).

 

Escape Attempt from POW Camp India:

My father was part of a small group of officers who dug an underground tunnel in order to escape from the Bareli Prisoner of War Camp, India. When one night’s digging was left and they were set to escape, the matter was reported by an insider to the Camp authorities, who came the next day and filled the whole tunnel, ruining the efforts made by the group over a period of several weeks. The story of this escape attempt was published in Sayyara Digest issue of September 1975 with the title “Surrender se Surang tak”.

December 18, 1973:
I came from India to Pakistan. I was the Luggage Officer and was travelling in an open truck, but due to excitement and happiness, I did not feel any cold. We were warmly received and were taken to the Reception Camp. There we had some tea, sweets and meat. I was having meat for the first time in two years (that too in abundance). We then moved to Lahore “A” Mess. There we were treated with love and care. After filling some forms we went to Captain Arjumand Yar Khand Shaheed’s house. I could not face his mother. Because, while leaving for East Pakistan, she had kissed the forehead of her son and myself, being his friend. I still remember how she had kissed her son. Probably her sixth sense had told her that her son will not return. I had seen this on her face. I shed tears in their house because I could not control myself. From her attitude and the way she talked, I am convinced of her greatness. She is indeed a great mother of a great son and a great nation.

 

Diplomatic chatter and political rhetoric does not interest soldiers as much as the dribble of artillery shells or the rumbling of air strikes. During wars, field soldiers seldom, if ever, bother themselves with what is going on at the strategic level. They are neither judgmental about the planning process nor comment on the orders. They struggle on the battlefield with whatever they have at their disposal to accomplish the assigned tasks. A host of circumstances, influencing the overall battlefield environment, may then ultimately bring about either the victory or defeat of an army. Even the most splendid armies in the history of mankind suffered reverses on the battlefield. British, Germans and Japanese, to name just a few, all have had their share of defeat at some stage of their histories. Armies learn from their and others’ mistakes and build on their strengths through a process of evolution. In the battle of Al-Jisr (Persian Campaign – October 634 AD), for example, during the era of Caliph Umar bin Khattab (R.A.), Muslims suffered a setback and were routed from the battlefield. The Muslim fighters, who had thus fled the battlefield, were concerned as to how Hazrat Umar (R.A.) would deal with them. But to their surprise and against all the expectations, to the contrary, he protected them, solaced them and honoured them, because he understood the circumstances at the battlefield in that particular war. The same army got refitted and continued the tide of Muslim conquests.


In 1971, our armed force fought a desperate war under impossible circumstances; in a battlefield entered with insufficient resources and an unreliable supply line from the outset. At several places, individual units fought isolated battles, despite having been encircled and cut off from their bases. Neither the incessant bombing, however, nor the poor supply conditions, nor the political and diplomatic failings, could affect their morale or waiver their resolve. They remained committed and steadfast till the last moment. With enemy in front and enemy at the back, they fought with honour, courage, dignity and professionalism; bearing the brunt of intense shelling and bombardment.

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1 All we know about Captain Arjumand Yar Khand is from enemy’s mouth as neither he nor any of his men, returned from the post which they were assigned. He was recommended for Nishan-e-Haider, but the tragic end of the war shrouded the story of this hero of the nation, who did his best till the last of his breath for the defence of the motherland.

2 This delaying position was located in area Siramani on Khulna-Jessore road.

3 Mehboob Qadir, Fall from Grace, The Centre for Policy and Media Studies, (http://cpmspak.org/pdf/Fall%20from%20Grace.pdf)

 
08
December

Special Report By: Saim Siddiqui

Towards operationalization of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the pilot project, first trade convoy moved from Kashgar (Xinjiang) to Gwadar in the first week of November 2016. It was a historic moment for Pakistan to push-start the Flagship Project, CPEC, of China’s overarching initiative of One Belt, One Road (OBOR). The move was planned and coordinated by Frontier Works Organization (FWO) whereas the newly raised military formation Special Security Division (SSD) provided security to the convoy across Pakistan along the western route (main route), eastern route and combination of eastern and western routes. Despite obvious challenges, the western route along Kohat, D.I. Khan, Zhob, Quetta, Panjgur, Turbat, Gwadar was opted as a challenge which came forth as an opportunity to afford confidence to the newly raised security division.

 

thepilotpro.jpgThe convoy commenced its journey from Kashgar and reached Sost (Gilgit-Baltistan) where a remarkable inauguration ceremony was held. Chief Minister Gilgit-Baltistan Hafiz Hafeez-ur-Rehman, General Officer Commanding SSD, Major General Abid Rafique and Commander Force Command Northern Areas, Major General Saqib Mahmud Malik along with dignitaries from Sinotrans Logistics China and Gilgit-Baltistan attended the event. Few containers were also moved on rail and road from various cities of Punjab utilizing the eastern route and a combination of eastern and western routes to reach Gwadar and Karachi. SSD provided foolproof security throughout the length and breadth of Pakistan along all the routes. Major General Abid Rafique visited D.I. Khan and Quetta to oversee the move of the convoy and meet the troops employed for security duties. The commitment and enthusiasm of all the men of SSD was remarkable as CPEC became a reality with this landmark convoy move. Everyone was elated when troops deployed along D.I. Khan route raised slogans of Pak-China friendship, CPEC and SSD. During his visit to Quetta, Major General Abid Rafique also held meetings with Commander Southern Command and Chief Minister Balochistan with regard to security of the trade convoy and CPEC projects in Balochistan.

 

thepilotpro1.jpgWhile travelling with the convoy, I had the opportunity to interact with locals enroute, troops of SSD, Chinese officials and drivers of containers. Locals in Gilgit-Baltistan, Hazara, Punjab, KP and Balochistan unanimously welcomed the convoy, exchanged greetings with the Chinese, appreciated the efforts of Pakistan Army and hoped that CPEC would bring prosperity in their areas. On being asked about his challenging duty, a soldier of SSD said, “I feel proud and elevated while performing this duty as a pioneer for prosperity and the bright future of Pakistan.” Chinese officials and drivers appreciated the hospitality of Pakistanis, expressed their confidence over security arrangements and admired the culture, scenic beauty and Pakistani cuisine. They said that they never imagined Pakistan would be that beautiful and its people so hospitable.


The two week long journey under security arrangements of Special Security Division finally culminated at Gwadar where the grand launching ceremony of “First Pilot Trade Cargo” was held on November 13, 2016. The ceremony was attended by Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr. Nawaz Sharif, former COAS General Raheel Shareef along with ambassadors of fifteen countries including Chinese ambassador and civil/military dignitaries from home and abroad.


During their speeches at the ceremony, Chief Minister Balochistan and Chinese Defence Attaché appreciated the efforts of SSD in provision of security. Chinese DA expressed confidence on the future of CPEC due to the SSD, which now stands operationalized for security of the Chinese employed on CPEC projects. After disembarkation the convoy moved back to Sost and onwards to China along eastern route under the security of SSD. The move of the first mega trade convoy is an iconic event in the history of CPEC which has initiated the much awaited trade links between China and Pakistan, and has operationalized SSD. This convoy move has been instrumental in conveying a positive message not only at domestic, regional and global level but more importantly to China that CPEC routes are fully operational and secure for trade.

 
08
December

Written By: Prof. Sharif al Mujahid

According to Iqbal, to preserve itself as “a distinct cultural unit”, for the Muslim minority “the chief formative factor” furnishing “those basic emotions and loyalties which gradually unify scattered individuals and groups and finally transform them into a well-defined people, with a moral consciousness of their own. Indeed,… Islam, as a people-building force, has worked at its best” in India. And in order to ensure the survival of that distinct cultural unit, Iqbal proposed the setting up of a consolidated north western state or province commanding Muslim demographic dominance within an Indian federation or within or outside the British Empire. Thus, Iqbal’s ideology or panacea was meant for a country or a geographical unit where Muslims were demographically deficient and not one where they were demographically dominant. In the former case, they are gravely concerned about preserving themselves as a distinct cultural unit, and hence Islam, as a people-building force, was clutched at. Now once Muslims are demographically dominant, as in Pakistan, the preservation of a distinct (i.e., Muslim) cultural unit is already secured, and what assumes pivotal primacy is watan (territory) which glues peoples of all religions, sects and ethnicities into a single nation. The geographical confines of Pakistan, culturally secured, thus bestow all inhabitants living inside the territory of Pakistan equal obligations and privileges.

 

qideamam.jpgInterestingly, Jinnah, the pragmatic politician that he was, didn’t confine himself to only single factor analysis for a separate Muslim nationhood in his Lahore (1940) address. Jinnah adroitly supplanted his thesis with an inclusive civilizational ecology. That is, not merely two different religious philosophies, but also, and more importantly, two different social customs, literature, aspects of life and on life, inspiration from different sources of history, different epics, different heroes and different episodes, with overlapping heroes and villains, and victories and defeats. In short, Jinnah categorized Hindu and Muslim communities of India into two different civilizations. Thus, Jinnah raised the ideological antenna a notch or two higher and in his riposte on September 17, 1944, to Gandhi’s sarcastic reference to Muslims being merely “a body of converts”, he further elaborated these basic attributes of Muslim nationhood, climaxing it with the assertion that “by all canons of international law we are a nation”.


Interestingly, again, Jinnah’s 1940 address harks back to Chaudhary Rahmat Ali’s famous “Now or Never” (1933) manifesto, which lays down:


“In the five Northern Provinces of India, out of a total population of about forty millions, we, the Muslims, constitute about thirty millions. Our religion, culture, history, tradition, economic system, laws of inheritance, succession and marriage are basically and fundamentally different from those of the people living in the rest of India. The ideals which move our thirty million brethren-in-faith living in these Provinces to make the highest sacrifices are fundamentally different from those which inspire the Hindus. These differences are not confined to the broad basic principles but far from it. They extend to the minutest details of our lives. We do not inter-dine; we do not inter-marry. Our national customs and calendars, even our diet and dress are different.”


Incidentally, though barrowing almost verbatim from Chaudhary Rehmat Ali, Jinnah didn’t refer to him, just as in the case of Iqbal. This also shows unity of thought among the then Indian Muslim leadership about nationhood and need for a separate country.


Of course, Jinnah used this separate cultural and civilizational metaphor in order to bridge the horizontal cleavages amongst Muslims and mobilize them on a single platform, as E.I.J. Rosenthal points out. Indeed, Jinnah’s major concern at the moment was how to get the lumpin Muslim proletariat across the length and breadth of India – to borrow the Marxian imagery – morph into a critical mass so that it hones or braces itself for wrenching Pakistan out of hostile hands. Even so, all through the Pakistan Movement, civilizational ecology continued to remain the building bricks of his Two-Nation Theory, which he had conceived and proclaimed in 1940. And the spelling out of these bricks in mundane terms had resonated with the cherished, yet vague urges and aspirations of both the beleaguered literati and the masses, who were desperately in search of a crystallized and sustainable goal and a seasoned standard bearer. Thus, they inexorably got flocked to the sprawling Pakistan platform en masse during the critical 1945-46 elections – to make Pakistan irrefutable and inevitable. This explains Iskandar Mirza’s letter to Liaquat Ali Khan from Sambalpur, Orissa, on September 05, 1945 to establish the Pakistan Government as soon as possible in order to avoid “a great danger to my moral and spiritual life”. As he explained, he was used to seeing mosques and hearing the Azan five times a day in the North Western Frontier Province while in Sambalpur, he could see only the temples and hear Hindu Bhajans and the symbols blowing throughout the day. Iskandar Mirza was then a Political Agent in Orissa and later the last Governor General and the first President of Pakistan during 1955-58.

 

qideamamallam.jpgFollowing a dialectical pattern, one can infer that Iqbal’s 1930 address pertains to the demographically deficient Muslim India while Jinnah’s August 11, 1947 pronouncement envisions how Pakistan, a Muslim majority state, should set its ideological sails. Therein he spelled out the basic concept of an indivisible Pakistani nationhood. A nationhood with all those inhabiting Pakistan as full citizens with equal rights, equal privileges and equal obligations, without reference to colour, caste or creed, but solely with reference to the territory which they belonged to. In this it breathes the spirit of Misaq-i-Madina, enacted by the Prophet (P.B.U.H) in 2 A.H (Articles 25 – 35). Just as in the Misaq, which sanctified a land-based pluralist Ummah, so was the nation in Jinnah’s August 11 address territory-based.


By 1947, the statesman’s streak in Jinnah had crystallized, overtaking Jinnah the politician all the way. This creative shift enabled him to fathom and articulate the dictates of the new ground realities, leading him to proclaim the Two Nation States paradigm. And the two nations in his new paradigm were to be India and Pakistan. Partition had transformed the two nations, encapsulated in the Two-Nation Theory which had now acquired statehood, into two nation states. And therein lay Jinnah’s most notable contribution in consolidating Pakistan’s ideological frontier.


This equal citizenship dictum was supplemented by the ruling out of theocracy, a concept Jinnah had spoken against throughout the Pakistan struggle – as, for instance, on April 10, 1946, in his concluding address to the League Legislators’ Convention in Delhi: “What are we aiming at. It is not theocracy, not for a theocratic state. Religion is there and religion is dear to us.

 

All the worldly goods are nothing to us when we talk of religion; but there are other things which are very vital – our social life, our economic life. But without political power how can you defend your faith and your economic life?”


He also called for forgetting the past, for burying the hatchet, and for helping to eradicate the angularities of the majority and the minority communities. Remember, again, what Jinnah had said on August 11:


“If you change your past and work together in a spirit that everyone of you no matter to what community he belongs, no matter what relations he had with you in the past, no matter what is his colour, caste or creed, is first, second and last a citizen of this state with equal rights, privileges and obligations, there will be no end to the progress you will make.”


“I cannot emphasize it too much. We should begin to work in that spirit and in course of time all these angularities of the majority and minority community – the Hindu community and the Muslim community… will vanish.”


“…we are starting with this fundamental principle that we are all citizens and equal citizens of one State… now, I think we should keep that in front of us as our ideal and you will find that in course of time Hindus would cease to be Hindus and Muslims would cease to be Muslims, not in the religious sense, because that is the personal faith of each individual, but in the political sense as citizens of the State.”


And in the broad context of rampant discrimination against the minorities in present day Pakistan, such as Gojra (2009) and Badami Bagh (2013) mayhem in the Punjab, the All Saints Church massacre in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (September 2013), the searing Hindu saga of kidnappings and forced conversions and marriages in interior Sindh (2012-14) etc. This twin equal-citizenship dictum needs to be emphasized and acted upon, religiously and routinely.


Thus, this twin equal-citizenship is relevant even today since a good many of our critical problems may be traced to a deviation or transgression of this all-weather dictum. Most of the other items in Jinnah’s August 11 address and other pronouncements during 1947-48 are also relevant to contemporary Pakistan.

 

The writer is HEC Distinguished National Professor, who has recently co-edited UNESCO's History of Humanity, vol. VI, and The Jinnah Anthology (2010) and edited In Quest of Jinnah (2007); the only oral history on Pakistan's Founding Father.
 
08
December

Written By: Farrukh Khan Pitafi

Donald J. Trump’s victory took most of the world by surprise. Even on the election day exit polls were sure of a Hillary Clinton win. And when the realization dawned on the world, for a heart stopping moment it was pandemonium. Leaders of the NATO countries, the EU and other major international players all seemed simultaneously unnerved and in a haste to reach Trump. For a while it felt that just by winning an impossible election Trump had already delivered on the promise to make the world stop taking American power for granted. It took world leaders some time to reach and congratulate President-elect Trump. And then started another guessing game. Who would he appoint in his cabinet? Was he going to behave in the manner he promised on the campaign trail or that was merely the campaign rhetoric? The answer since then has been arriving in bits and pieces and the picture is far from finished yet.


Following Donald Trump’s candidature, just like the unorthodox and highly divisive 2016 Presidential election, has been an illuminating experience. The elections brought to the fore all the major elements at play. The good, the bad and the ugly all exploded on our television screens. We learned the intricacies, strengths, and weaknesses of the American election system. New trends, new thinking, new discourse, and new faces, all were so visible. Trump’s own campaign is accused of magnifying the worst in the American society. At one point in her campaign Hillary Clinton called half of Trump supporters a ‘basket of deplorables’. But a deeper look at Trump’s speeches reveals there was deep seated hurt and anguish among American working class over the erosion of jobs, uncertainty, and the threat of terrorism. Nuanced discussions on the election contest despite being there were widely ignored owing to the seemingly implausible nature of Trump’s bid. But that is history now. The question on everyone’s mind is what to expect from the President-elect’s term in office. And whether it is going to be as devastating as was suggested during the campaign. Here are few thoughts on that, but before that one crucial caveat. There still are many unknown unknowns in the situation, from probable cabinet picks to the possible recounts in three crucial states that while highly unlikely have a very distant but still possible chance of reversing Trump’s victory. Barring something dramatically improbable here is how things may shape up.


Back to the Drawing Board
Trump campaign promised to bulldoze everything that is taken for granted about America’s global role. From NATO and other allies footing the bill for their safety to challenging the conventional wisdom on nuclear non-proliferation, everything came under discussion. Commitments were made to bring back jobs from China to India to make America great again. It is crucial to note here that everything primarily focused on economic advantages for the American people. The second most important concern was to make America safe and secure against the threat of terrorism. A mix of both concerns played a vital role in stipulating a highly reactionary immigration policy. It was stated that Trump would deport 11 million illegal immigrants on his first day in office. Likewise, he also pledged a total freeze on Muslims entering United States for a period meant to examine the causes of radicalism in Muslim communities. Later under the growing outcry there was some let up and we were told that it applied to countries suffering from an extremist problem. Further still when the idea of extreme vetting was introduced the ban morphed into close monitoring.


Most of these comments were watered down as soon as it became clear Trump would be the next President of the United States. But at the time of writing of these lines Trump’s core team is taking shape. We have so far seen a mix of people from far right and the moderate establishment politicians visiting Trump Tower in New York for job interviews. Some of these names are heartening while the others are deeply disturbing. It will take a while for the fog of change to abate. But barring some staunch critics, the consensus is that Trump will settle for a less radical course of action. In either case his presidency will define the world order more robustly than any U.S. government in past many decades.


Nature of the World Order: Balance of Power Vs Interdependence:
The current world order is based on a diluted version of realpolitik. While great lip service is paid to the lofty ideals of collective security, the misapplication of the term has so far given rise to demons like international terrorism. Fortunately, technological advances and the growing economic strength of China in the past few decades has given rise to a shift towards a different world order. Chinese wisdom has led the emerging power to focus less on political squabbles around the world and more on its economic strength. Since a steady supply of raw materials and resources was a pivotal part of China’s economic plan, it has ushered in an era of interdependence. Despite a remarkable range divergence between the U.S. and Chinese worldviews, both countries are more economically interdependent than many care to admit. Despite Trump’s emphasis on turning the heat on China, his first pledge after being elected was to scrap the twelve nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement. This decision practically puts an end to the so-called pivot to Asia, meant to contain China. Thus, Chinese sphere of influence within Asia is bound to increase. And ever such a pragmatic business Trump is expected to ensure this does not automatically translate into a disadvantage for his own country. Hence the author of “The Art of the Deal” is expected to find a common ground with China and work to rebuild his own nation while cutting its international liabilities. Despite the rhetoric suggesting intensifying trade wars, the Sino-U.S. are expected to strengthen.


Trump has already vowed to work with Russia to find a lasting solution in Syria bringing the bilateral hostilities down significantly. While a post-Brexit, post-Trump world looks fractured and disjointed now, if planned carefully it can open floodgates of new trends that will make interdependence a lasting reality. This should be music to our ears. With China and Pakistan already being dubbed as the iron brothers, improving Pakistan-Russia relations and strengthening democratic institutions in the country, Pakistan’s interest lies exactly opposite to India’s self-proclaimed role of a counter-weight to China. It is in our interest to function where two of our closest allies, China and America work in tandem and develop a culture of pragmatic trust. While mutual paranoia and distrust over South China Sea tiff have seen new levels, it is true that no one is better placed to resolve the dispute amicably than Trump. In such a situation, an India, that is rapidly losing its democratic and secular credentials owing to the hardening of the state and society under Modi rule will lose its key bargaining chip.


Hazards of Demonizing America
No country likes to be hated. Would we? The world’s most powerful nation so far has often been demonized. With a Trump win especially after a very uncanny and disruptive election campaign chances are the elements bent on demonizing America may find it more convenient to mischaracterize the country. But that is one thing we should avoid at every cost. In our country, the anti-American sentiment has already been very high of late. The trouble based primarily on normative concerns it impedes from a practical approach to strengthening the ties. Mainstream and social media have made it a deeply connected world and results of surveys to gauge anti-Americanism in any society are often cited in the U.S. capital. It is surprising how many times findings of similar kind have featured in U.S. Congressional hearings and media debates on Pakistan. Much time and energy has gone into the relationship over past half century for both countries to walk away from it. It is critical than that a frank and informed debate between the two partners and within each country takes place reducing the misunderstandings to the minimum. If anything, the relationship needs more investment from our side. And right now, owing to democratization and improving transparency in our country, a remarkable meltdown of democracy in India, our key detractor, and our improving economic condition and soft power we are in a unique position to transform our image abroad.


Pakistan-U.S. Relations – An Alliance that Needs to Grow
The relationship that started back in 1950s has been mutually very rewarding. Pakistan helped the U.S. defeat the red peril and America helped build our defensive capability. There have been years of hiatus in between but since the start of the struggle against terrorism both countries banded together. However, given that at the height of the war on terror India was at a much better position to mischaracterize Pakistan and sow the seeds of discord, it did so unabashedly. Also, since it was only a decade after the fall of the Soviet Union, in the intervening period Huntington’s ‘Clash of Civilization’ hypothesis having framed the next confrontation being between the West and Muslim world and China, India maximized its profits by quietly promoting such misplaced notions. Our own inability to present ourselves as functioning democracy also marginalized our capacity to become a relatable ally. Consequently, we sacrificed and India was showered with praise.


It is owing to Indian obstinacy matched by its soft power that there exists so much denial about the true efficacy of Pakistan-U.S. relations on both sides. Two minutes into any discussion on the relations and you are reminded by both sides that both countries have their own national interests. Yes, they do. Every country does. But such disclaimers seldom brought up for the art of diplomacy are meant to align the interests of nations. Now that India is bent on making a fool of itself under an RSS controlled government and Pakistan is growing into a viable economy we can overcome these challenges. Successful nations do not lose allies. They learn to make new friends without losing the old ones. So, should we? Pakistan needs to connect differently with U.S. now and with Trump’s victory a welcome opportunity has presented itself. We can jettison the baggage of past sixteen years and tell our story to the American people like we never could in the past.


What Pakistan Can Offer
Pakistan, for long, has been viewed through a security prism. Even today the discussions on Pakistan revolve around the country’s fight against terrorism, stability in Afghanistan, its nuclear program and its confrontation with India. While our nation was busy in an epic struggle against terrorism, Indian media and culture industry very successfully kept presenting Pakistan as a failing or failed nation with a teetering pile of nuclear weapons and radical elements on the loose. Trump campaign initially also inhaled this propaganda but since then has been gradually moving away from extreme positions. When Trump assumes the role of a president he will have better position to appreciate how much progress Pakistan has made in safeguarding its homeland and its arsenal in the past decade. Better understanding will lead to better relations. Interestingly while India kept highlighting that Pakistan had a Muslims radicalism problem it has developed a radical Hindu problem of its own which is far lethal than ours. We need to highlight now that while Pakistani state saw the challenge facing it in time and has continued to confront it, Indian state is so overwhelmed by its own problem that it hasn’t even identified it as a threat. Extremists in India do not just attack Muslims in the country but Christians and other minorities too and it must be monitored with alarm by the West.


But security issues are just one dimension of Pakistani story. The country is home to approximately 190 million people. With growing economic connectivity, it is bound to uncover more opportunities giving rise to a growing middle class and subsequently a growing market. Since we are nearing the goal of becoming a regional hub of trade, our economic appeal is about to grow all over the world. As a country with a youth bulge which they present as a demographic dividend in India, our appetite for quality education both here and abroad is also expected to grow. These opportunities are enough to make Pakistan stand out in international market. If somewhere down the lane we also manage to harness the untapped potential of Central Asian economies, an effort in which direction is already being made we can become a massive regional dynamic to reckon with.


But we can still diversify our portfolio. There is no dearth of intellectual capital in the country. A country that has witnessed a tumultuous ebb and flow of fortunes. With a story to tell, a vibrant culture, we can invest more in our culture and entertainment industry to project a better image internationally and profit from it. If we make our economy investor friendly and competitive we can attract investment and business that may help us bridge gaps between us and other countries. Just take the example of Trump enterprise. India has already tried to leverage these businesses there to seek better relations with Donald Trump. Our tourism, real estate and hospitality industries can offer unique opportunities. And that is just a start. Sky is truly the limit.


Tryst With Terror
Our struggle against terrorism is unique. No Muslim country until the post-Arab spring chaos in Arab world had seen so much tumult, moved so close to oblivion, and emerged stronger and more democratic other than Pakistan. This is a distinct advantage. While our struggle against terrorism is far from over, if lessons learned and the national action plan against terror are perfected into a coherent model we might be of great use to help deradicalize other societies.


Bilaterally, American politicians, especially of the Republican persuasion, have been very vocal about the Haqqani network and the Taliban. Now that they are about to take over administration it is crucial to work with them closely for better understanding. Improved transparency and trust in the relationship will not come automatically and concerted efforts will have to be made. But once made it will be on a stronger footing. It is crucial to remember that while America has inhaled too much Indian propaganda in the past, America is not India. Despite so much polarization in its society the fringe elements have remained on the fringe. While India talks a great deal about Pakistan’s alleged double game, its own double game in projecting itself as a counter-weight to China in the West and simultaneously trying to benefit from growing Chinese prosperity and role in the region will not continue for long. As Trump brings a muscular approach to solving problems his national security team is expected to be full of capable civil and military professionals with whom Pakistan can easily work. Both countries can find ways to address each other’s concerns while remaining realistic.


In conclusion, it must be noted that although it is true that Trump’s victory was highly unexpected but it offers an opportunity for a unique reset where Pakistan’s ardent critics may easily be converted into long term allies. Pakistan needs to suit up for hectic advocacy, work on identifying the common ground and meanwhile also work to put its house in order.

 

The writer is an Islamabad-based TV journalist and tweets @FarrukhKPitafi

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08
December

Written By: Ahmer Bilal Soofi

The contemporary world order has profoundly altered the traditional notions of effective conduct of diplomacy. Today, intelligent state-craft includes strategic use of new and creative forms of diplomacy to settle disputes in the international system and achieve foreign policy objectives.
Now consider, for example, the current diplomatic impasse between India and Pakistan. For quite a while, India has been insisting on restricting the agenda of any bi-lateral dialogue with Pakistan to only ‘cross-border terrorism’ issues while Pakistan favours a more comprehensive dialogue framework which also includes talks over the Kashmir dispute. These are essentially well defined political agendas. But, despite some degree of personal comfort between Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif and Narendra Modi, the traditional bi-lateral channels of diplomacy remain log-jammed. Moreover, the various Track II dialogues involving retired military and civilian officials, prominent professionals and esteemed members of civil society from both the countries have not made much headway either. The attempted political matchmaking by informal envoys including former diplomats, businessmen and others has also not borne any fruit.

 

thecaseforlegal.jpgMeanwhile, as a red herring to divert global attention from its incessant blood-letting in Indian Occupied Kashmir, India has adopted a bombastic rhetorical posture against Pakistan in the aftermath of the Uri incident, including fabricated claims of a ‘surgical strike,’ that has raised tensions in South Asia to alarming levels.


Given this context and the avowed Indian attempts to isolate Pakistan diplomatically, the one thing that we have not yet tried is ‘legal diplomacy,’ by which I mean a structured legal approach towards improving our foreign relations and realizing our foreign policy goals through the prism of relevant domestic and international laws.


Recently, our neighbor, Iran, amply demonstrated the potency and utility of legal diplomacy in negotiating a favourable agreement (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) on its nuclear program with the United States and other permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. In the remainder of this article, I make the case for Pakistan to also actively engage in legal diplomacy not only to find acceptable solutions to our problems with India but to incorporate the same more broadly as an integral and permanent approach in the conduct of our foreign relations.


The fact that Pakistan has not yet resorted to legal diplomacy vis-à-vis India is quite surprising, given that the long-standing thorny issues between the two countries including Kashmir, Siachen, Sir Creek, water etc. are all matters within the purview of international law as well as the domestic laws of the two states.

Kulbhhushan Yadav’s case, in legal terms, is representative of an intervention by a state actor in a neighboring state for which, subject to evidence, India as a state will bear responsibility under international law. This is so because Yadav’s acts are legally attributable to his employing entity, which is the sub-set of the Indian Government. The Draft Articles on State Responsibility, a binding international law instrument, are clear about this.

It thus stands to reason that legal diplomacy will greatly fortify our position on the Kashmir issue by highlighting not just the 18 United Nations Security Council Resolutions on Kashmir before the global community, but also by advancing an interpretation of the Simla Agreement of 1972 in the light of the UN Charter’s Article 103, whereby, “In the event of a conflict between the obligations of the Members of the United Nations under the present Charter and their obligations under any other international agreement, their obligations under the present Charter shall prevail.” To further bolster our stance on Kashmir, several recent judgments of the Srinagar High Court can also be referenced. In the absence of the full resolution of the Kashmir dispute, these judicial decisions have explicitly ruled out the abolition of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, thus closing the door for any integration of Indian Occupied Kashmir with the Indian Federation. Moreover, the struggle of the Kashmiris as rooted in their right of self-determination will be underlined by drawing attention to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 2625, as well as by emphasizing upon the jus cogens or universal nature of the right of self-determination, in conformity with the International Court of Justice’s judgment in East Timor case (1995).


On the water issue with India, legal diplomacy should be employed to claim our full rights that are guaranteed to us under international law as a lower-riparian state. Most of these rights exist independently of the Indus Waters Treaty (IWT) in the form of customary international law. As far as the IWT is concerned, Pakistan should advance its interpretation of the Treaty in accordance with the Vienna Convention on Law of Treaties, and forcefully convey to India that the IWT cannot be unilaterally modified or terminated as per its Article XII (4) whereby, “The provisions of this Treaty [IWT]… shall continue in force until terminated by a duly ratified treaty concluded for that purpose between the two Governments.”


The more recent issues between Pakistan and India—progress on Mumbai, Samjhota and Ishrat Jahan trials; Pathankot investigation; Kulbhushan Yadav’s investigation and disclosures; Uri probe; and falsehood of India’s ‘surgical strike’ claim—also involve extensive legal propositions and processes. Notably, each of these issues constitute an independent and a separate case on which different teams of lawyers and investigators on both sides are independently working and strategizing on without consulting one another. This lack of coordination has inevitably led to a blame game with each side accusing the other of protecting its interests mainly through trial and investigation delays.


These recent matters between India and Pakistan are, in fact, representative of transnational crime scenarios where the crime of terrorism has been conspired in one jurisdiction and executed in the other. Some instances also involve links with third countries. Several different courts, therefore, are, or will be involved in almost all the said cases. The criminal law of both the states will be invoked. The law of evidence, with all its qualifiers, will be used for investigation and collection of evidence, whereby evidence must be transferred through a formal legal process to make it admissible before the courts of law. With trial witnesses physically scattered in two different jurisdictions, the attendant issues of recording their testimony and cross-examining them will need to be sorted. Moreover, there are outstanding differences regarding the legal basis and manner of the collection of intercepted calls and voice samples, and lingering issues such as the legal consequences of filing a Chalan on the basis of half-baked investigation need deliberation.

 

On the other hand, in the cases of Mumbai, Pathankot, and Uri, the offenders are neither state actors nor officials, but non-state actors, who conducted unauthorized and unlawful acts. Importantly, even though nationality is not the basis of responsibility in international law, Pakistan still continues to bear the responsibility of prosecuting them properly as a consequence of its international law obligations flowing from the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373.

Given all these legal complexities, it is perplexing that officials in India and Pakistan investigating these matters have never interacted with each other to match their notes or share evidence collected during their investigations with one another in joint investigation meetings.


In the Mumbai case, the prosecutors from both the countries have never met each other, whereas, for a trans national crime being tried in two different jurisdictions, preliminary meetings of prosecutors would otherwise be a certainty so as to divide the scope of the prosecution and the charges as well as the suspects for indictment. At the diplomatic level, the ‘cooperation’ in the Mumbai case has thus far been used as a smoke-screen for score-settling rather than for sorting the various legal complications involved in the case. In this context, the dossiers handed over to Pakistan’s High Commissioner were all actually inadmissible and of no worth before a court of law. Yet, this has been erroneously drummed up by India as a situation where although Pakistan has been provided with everything that it needs to convict the suspects, it is not doing enough on its part.


Notwithstanding their intellectual prowess in general, diplomats are not lawyers. In all fairness then, we should not expect them to grasp the subtleties of the various legal processes, especially at the trial level, which is generally considered as the most technical and highly confusing area of law even for seasoned practicing lawyers. Of course, there is a political dimension to several aspects of the Mumbai case which our diplomats are trained to handle. But, at the same time, the legal steps that are required to be taken cannot be exempted from. What crucially needs to be understood by diplomats on both sides is that if the evidence received from the other state is not court-worthy, then the state cannot, through some executive miracle, make it admissible to force a conviction merely to satisfy the sentiments of the other state. It is simply impossible for a state to guarantee an outcome of a trial because it cannot, and should not, influence the independent functioning of its judicial process in deference to the rule of law.
Kulbhhushan Yadav’s case, in legal terms, is representative of an intervention by a state actor in a neighboring state for which, subject to evidence, India as a state will bear responsibility under international law. This is so because Yadav’s acts are legally attributable to his employing entity, which is the sub-set of the Indian Government. The Draft Articles on State Responsibility, a binding international law instrument, are clear about this.


On the other hand, in the cases of Mumbai, Pathankot, and Uri, the offenders are neither state actors nor officials, but non-state actors, who conducted unauthorized and unlawful acts. Importantly, even though nationality is not the basis of responsibility in international law, Pakistan still continues to bear the responsibility of prosecuting them properly as a consequence of its international law obligations flowing from the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1373.


In this context, it is unfortunate that through traditional diplomacy alone, Pakistan has been unable to put across to the world the story of its prosecution of the Mumbai incident in particular despite undertaking several legal steps. These steps by the state of Pakistan include beefing up its prosecution team, designating a special judge for the trial who conducts hearings far more frequently than in ordinary cases, and contesting the request for relief by the suspects at every stage. Moreover, the state opposed the suspects’ bail applications and if not for this opposition Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi may have been released on bail in the very first year of trial because the evidence presented by the Indian side was insufficient to prevent it.


The state’s message is clear – Pakistan stands distanced from non-state actors and their irresponsible and unauthorized acts. Crucially though, this message will be better understood by the world community if Pakistan augments traditional diplomacy with legal diplomacy that will enable the state to properly document and present the various legal steps undertaken by it in the Mumbai case.


Legally speaking, Mumbai, Pathankot, Samjhauta, Ishrat Jehan, and Yadav issues remain trials and cases. Therefore, in all these cases, I suggest the need for both the states to embark upon legal diplomacy, where they can communicate with each other in legal terms, in the language of the procedure, and move forward wholeheartedly for bringing the perpetrators in these cases to justice.


The ambit of Pakistan’s legal diplomacy need not be restricted to India-Pakistan issues. Our foreign relations with the United States can also be strengthened by engaging with Washington in dispassionate legal terms. Issues such as drone strikes and compensation for the victims of these strikes, the reimbursements due to Pakistan under the Coalition Support Fund, the procurement of sensitive defense equipment like the F-16s and the recently enacted Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), all involve intricate questions of international law as well as domestic law of the United States. Pakistan, therefore, cannot effectively achieve its objectives with respect to these issues without complementing its traditional diplomacy with legal diplomacy.


Post-9/11, the United Nations Security Council has become a global legislative forum of sorts by passing a series of binding resolutions on counter-terrorism such as UNSC 1267 and UNSC 1373. This has necessitated the use of legal diplomacy at the United Nations as well.


Legal diplomacy can also bring internal clarity and harmony between the different state institutions and the federal and the provincial governments on the treatment of non-state actors by providing them a common legal agenda that will prevent them from buck-passing or engaging in a counter-productive blame game.


For all of the foregoing reasons, it is simply a necessary need of the hour for Pakistan to actively engage in legal diplomacy on all the fronts discussed in this space.

 

The author is Advocate Supreme Court of Pakistan, President Research Society of International Law and a former Federal Law Minister.

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08
December

Written By: Taj M. Khattak

What is national security? It is a very simple question to ask but not quite as simple to answer. The complexity arises from divergent views of any number of authors, each partially right, most wholly wrong. What constitutes security in both real and abstract terms, how it is achieved and what it achieves in turn, are each different aspects of national security which need to be addressed both separately and collectively in order to arrive at some conclusion which can be considered nearest to an answer ‘complete in itself’.


It is said that the past inevitably determines the present, as indeed the present will determine the future. The past historical context to fall back on for better appraisal of national security is relatively limited. And whatever is available – like failure of politicians to agree on a constitution for nine years after partition, hasty and unwarranted military interventions in 1958, 1977 and 1999, the mutually destructive politic of 1990s, and present dangerous trajectory shaped by militancy and unbridled corruption in the last few years, is so skewed that any lessons drawn would not have been tested against unassailable earlier decisions and be void of reasonable depth of experience.


A country’s security objectives cannot be realized without its military acting as a tool. During Pakistan Movement, Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, struggled for Pakistan constitutionally, without an organized military machine and its accompanying hierarchical order. To be fair, neither was there any need for it. But the downside of this void was twofold; one, the inherited military structure after partition lacked clarity about its place in affairs of state which prompted Quaid to offer advice on importance of constitution during his visit to Command and Staff College, Quetta and; two, the political class were so bereft of this historical experience that resignation of a well meaning COAS was asked for merely because he had uttered the words ‘national security council’ during a visit to Naval War College in Lahore.


In national security affairs, flawed conclusions can lead to disastrous consequences. After the fall of France in WW-II, Hitler, during negotiations with Britain’s Prime Minister Chamberlain on Munich Agreement in 1938, wrongly concluded that given the right conditions and terms, Britain could separately be persuaded towards a truce, after which Germany could re-orientate its military axis towards Russia and establish its supremacy once and for all.


To create these right psychological conditions, Hitler in his wisdom, didn’t push the retreating British Expeditionary Force at Dunkirk hard enough and allowed them to retreat. He obviously erred disastrously in overlooking Britain’s centuries old national security imperative of not allowing ‘balance of power’ in Europe to tilt in favor of any one country which had even enforced it by war by its past rulers.


The questions begging an answer therefore are: in charting out national security roadmap for Pakistan, is there a realistic assessment of historical context vis-a-viz India which dismembered Pakistan in 1971, and has evolved military doctrines to harm our country grievously. Is there a fuller understanding of Indo-U.S.-Afghan nexus to destabilize Pakistan? Or vis-a-viz Afghanistan for that matter, which has no case on Durand Line but, in spite of being a landlocked country and its dependence on Pakistan for trade, continues to play in the hands of others?


The role of U.S. in this nexus stands exposed because the tone and tenor of its condemnation is different for major terror incidents in Pakistan, Afghanistan or India. It doesn’t bring any credit to the U.S. when by design it does not want to correctly distinguish between a terrorist who blows up soft targets in Balochistan and a freedom fighter who battles regular Indian occupation army in Kashmir, whose cause has been on the UN agenda for decades.


Let us revert to understanding national security and examine views of only three distinguished personalities due to space constraints. Walter Lippmann, the famous American reporter credited with coining the phrase ‘Cold War’, is of the opinion that, “A nation has security when it doesn’t have to sacrifice its legitimate interests to avoid war and, if challenged, is able to maintain those (legitimate interest) by war”. This could be a militaristic approach to national security since exercising the war option is an operative part of this view.


The inference here is that a nation’s military power must remain in direct proportion to the number of legitimate interest it decides to pursue and protect. The longer the list of legitimate interest, the greater is the need for increase in military power, and the danger of falling into a spiraling trap of declaring even more pursuits as legitimate interest. We need to re-visit that list to see if we are not over-extended in commitments beyond our shores.


Robert McNamara, former President of World Bank viewed national security in economic terms. He observed that ‘Security is not military hardware, though it may include it; security is not military force, though it may encompass it. Security is development and without development there can be no security. A developing nation which does not, in fact, develop cannot remain secure for the intractable reason that its citizenry cannot shed its human nature’. This view is appealing to many as it inherently suggests that development is the basis for economic security which is more important than military security. It is logical to infer that a developing nation which does not in fact develop, is threatened more from within than from outside. Put bluntly in Pakistan’s context, one can say that people would be better served by more responsive health services, education, employment prospects, clean drinking water and less of expensive showcase projects reeking with corruption and benefitting a few.


The third view of national security by Helmut Von Treitschke, a 19th century political thinker from Austria, enunciates that ‘The real test of a state’s power status is its ability to decide, on its own, whether it should engage in warfare’. It therefore follows that a nation should limit its legitimate interest to the level up to which it can take independent decisions to use force for pursuing and protecting them. In this regard, every nation endeavours to be as sovereign as possible but autarky is a mirage which even superpowers have been disappointed in chasing (U.S.’ recent military adventures).


McNamara’s view was clearly propounded for developing nations but it would be a mistake to deduce that military expenditure is wasteful. In fact, it is as faulty an inference as to believe that security is directly proportional to military strength alone. Can there be economic development to complete exclusion of a matching military development, especially where threats to its legitimate interest exist? Perhaps yes, but only through curtailing a nation’s sovereign right to defend itself and outsourcing these function – like the U.S.-Japan relationship.


What is national security? This was the question posed in the beginning. Have we succeeded in achieving some semblance of national security? If we carry out an honest audit of ourselves, we might find that the answer to this question – if not a resounding ‘no’, then at best is a highly conditional ‘yes’. This might please few, but the nation at large is highly skeptical about this whole paradigm.


In order to achieve greater national security in a coherent manner, it might make sense to amalgamate the above divergent views; starting from economic security with matching military security, leading to forging military ability for defending national, including economic interests, to finally achieving as near a state of robust national security environment as possible (Helmut Von Treitschke view).


This is easier said than done as our experience of national security has been flawed by personal prejudices and ill-informed decisions. The situation is unlikely to change for the better, unless there is a fresh approach and government structure is revamped to achieve the desired goals.

 

The writer is a retired Vice Admiral and former VCNS of Pakistan Navy.

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08
November
November 2016(EDITION 11, Volume 53)
 
Written By: Maria Khalid
Modi’s Machiavellian plan for isolating Pakistan may be an Indian desire but the evidence suggests otherwise. Pakistan continues to enjoy important international stature due to its geopolitical significance, potent nuclear capability, professional strong....Read full article
 
Written By: Brian Cloughley
There are few areas of our globe that are not in a state of tension, and almost daily there is more erosion of what tranquillity continues to survive. The relentless military confrontation of Russia and China by the United States is the....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Minhas Majeed Khan
The former Indian Ambassador to the U.S., Arun K. Singh remarked in 2015 to a gathering in the U.S.:“America has its idea of Exceptionalism. We also have a notion of Indian Exceptionalism....Read full article
 
Written By: Zarrar Khuhro
“The old is dead, and the new cannot yet be born.”
(Antonio Gramsci)

Say what you want about the Cold War, it was at least a time of relatively certainty....Read full article
 
Written By: Brigadier (R) Syed Wajid Raza
Pakistan and China’s proverbial friendship crosses another monumental landmark. The people of both the nations jubilantly recieved the news that the first ever CPEC-specific Chinese convoy has completed its journey....Read full article
 
Written By: Muhammad Azam Khan
Indian strategic community seems to be in a frenzied mood to push India for a central role in global affairs. From permanent membership of UN Security Council and Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to test firing intermediate range ballistic....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Tughral Yamin
There was intense pressure and a global campaign to get India admitted into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) – a 48 member consortium created to control and regulate trade in fissile material and to prevent nuclear proliferation.....Read full article
 
Written By: Tahir Mahmood Azad
India is rapidly increasing its military muscle both in terms of conventional and unconventional forces. Indian aggressive military doctrine is not limited to a specific single agenda. It is in pursuit of regional hegemony....Read full article
 
Written By: Shahid Javed Burki
Most Pakistani specialists writing about the state of the country’s economy and its future prospects mostly deal with the present. Their emphasis is on the problems the country faces at this time and what needs to be done by the....Read full article
 
Special Report By: Zainab Javed
In a global discourse, Pak-Turk relations have become a popular narrative, especially across social media. As recognized years ago by our founders, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Turkey and Pakistan complement each.....Read full article
 
Written By: Maj Sameer Gardezi
Ask any child to draw a rough sketch of a mountain. There are significant chances that child would come up with a near perfect triangular peak with sloping shoulders jutting prominently out of its base. That is K2.....Read full article

 
Written By: Omair Alavi
Recently Pakistan Cricket team managed to reach the top position in Test Cricket Rankings under Misbah-ul-Haq; the team also played its 400th Test match last month and came out victorious in the historical encounter....Read full article
 
Special Report by: Asif Sohail
Pakistan Army hosted and organized the first ever International PACES Competition-2016 in the historic city of Lahore in which armies of 14 friendly countries participated in a six-day event. Presence of hundreds of foreign athletes was a....Read full article
 
Written By: Jennifer McKay
Managing national and trans-border disaster assistance is just one but an important part of the process to ensure countries are not weakened by the enormous impact of disasters....Read full article
 
Written By: Tahir Mehmood
In this Age of Globalization where men and institutions can see, compare and scrutinize all around, movement towards post-modern Western democratic state model is gradually expanding. Having tried various....Read full article
 
 
General Raheel Sharif, Chief of Army Staff inaugurated a newly constructed state-of-the-art building of Cadet College Spinkai in South Waziristan Agency. While talking to the tribal elders and cadets, COAS said that the future of our....Read full article
 
General Raheel Sharif, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) visited Army Liver Transplant Unit (ALTU) in Rawalpindi on October 24, 2016. During the visit, General Raheel Sharif was given detailed briefing about the state-of-the-art medical facilities established....Read full article
 
Chief of the Naval staff, Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah visited forward posts of Pakistan Navy at Creeks Area to review the combat readiness of Pakistan Navy. He was accompanied by Commander Coast Rear Admiral Waseem Akram. While interacting with the PN personnel.....Read full article
 
07
November

Written By: Omair Alavi

Recently Pakistan Cricket team managed to reach the top position in Test Cricket Rankings under Misbah-ul-Haq; the team also played its 400th Test match last month and came out victorious in the historical encounter. While we all hail the great Misbah-ul-Haq for his courageous captaincy and inspirational leadership, we must also acknowledge the efforts of those who inspired Misbah and his fellow countrymen to love the sport. We take a look at the Top 20 Memorable Moments of Pakistan Cricket (from 1952 to 1994) that covers some 200 odd Test Matches played by the Men in White and how they managed to inspire generations of Cricket lovers.

 

India Fazalled in First Series!

downthemomo.jpgPakistan is one of the luckier Test Cricket playing nations that won a Test match each in their first series against every Test playing nation, especially in the 50s. Their first tour was to neighboring India in 1952 where after losing the debut Test, the players bounced back and defeated India to register their first victory ever. Fazal Mahmood's 5/52 helped reduce India to 106 in their first innings; after Pakistan's reply of 331, thanks to Nazar Mohammad's unbeaten 124 (he carried the bat in the innings), Fazal returned to take 7 more wickets to finish with 12 wickets in the match. Indians were bowled out for 182 in the second innings and Fazal starred in Pakistan's victory by an innings and 43 runs.

 

Fazal Makes His Presence Felt at The Oval

To defeat the mighty England in their home conditions is a tough call even today and the two-year old Pakistan Cricket team achieved that at The Oval in 1954 – thanks to the majestic bowling by Fazal Mahmood. He ended up with 12 wickets in the match (6 in each innings) and that included the likes of Len Hutton, Denis Compton, Peter May, Tom Graveney and others. Chasing 168 runs to win, the hosts were dismissed for just 143, with Hanif Mohammad's direct throw ending the match for the tourists.

 

Fazal Shocks Aussies

Whenever Fazal ended up with 10 or more wickets in a match, Pakistan emerged victorious and that wasn't difficult when Australia and Pakistan played a one-off Test at National Stadium Karachi in 1956. Fazal Mahmood's devastating spell of 6/34 saw Australia get dismissed for 80 runs in the first innings; in the second innings, he finished with 7/80 as Australia managed a face-saving total of 187. No bowler besides Fazal Mahmood and Khan Mohammad took wickets for Pakistan in the match which they won by 9 wickets.

 

Hanif Defies All With Maverick Knock

Pakistan Cricket emerged on the map of cricketing world as a team with batting resources that were unmatched; during the tour of the West Indies in 1958, Hanif Mohammad scored the country’s first ever Triple Century in Tests at Barbados. Hanif ended up batting for 970 minutes which is a record in itself and helped ensure a draw against the hosts.

 

 downthemomo1.jpgDestroyed in Dhaka

Fazal Mahmood's fourth and last 10-wicket haul came against the West Indians in Dacca (now Dhaka) in 1959; his first innings 6/34 helped Pakistan restrict the visitors to just 76 runs while chasing 214 to win in the fourth innings the visitors were bowled out for 172 with Fazal ending up with 6/66.

 

The Arrival of Zed

He came, he batted and he conquered. In 1971, Pakistan’s Zaheer Abbas scored 274 runs in what was his second Test – first in England – and cemented his place in the side that saw him accumulate more than 5000 runs for his country.  In this Birmingham Test, Zaheer added century partnerships with seniors Mushtaq Mohammad and Asif Iqbal and although Pakistan failed to win the match, they managed to make the home team bat again.

 

 Dawn of the Javed

Not many players in the history of the game have maintained a healthy average of 50 runs per inning – the only one to do so is known as Javed Miandad who began his career in 1976 with 163 runs in his debut innings, followed by his first of many double century in his 3rd match. Till recently, he was the highest run getter for Pakistan and is regarded as probably the best tactician the game has ever known.

 

Majid’s Century Before Lunch

In Test Cricket, only 4 batsmen have scored a century before lunch on the first day – Pakistan's Majid Khan is one of the lucky few. During the 3rd Test of the series against New Zealand at Karachi in 1976, Majid scored 108 of his 112 runs on the first day and registered his name in record books forever.

 

New Look Pakistan – Too Hot for Australia

Mushtaq Mohammad led Pakistan to an 8-wicket win against Australia at Sydney in 1977 and that’s the match in which Imran Khan displayed his amazing talent as a bowler. He not only ended the match with 12 wickets but also impressed all with his speed, accuracy and willingness to learn.

 

Once Upon a Time, There Was a Raja

Wasim Raja may not have played much cricket for Pakistan but the left-handed batsmen is still remembered for his gutsy batting against the mighty West Indians in the series of 1976-77. Against the bowling attack that comprised of Andy Roberts, Michael Holding, Joel Garner, and Colin Croft he scored 517 runs at an average of 57 and hit as many as 14 sixes throughout the series.

 

India Humiliated in ‘78

The Indian cricket team’s first tour of Pakistan in two decades ended with the hosts winning 2 out of the 3 matches that too in style. Pakistan was asked to chase runs in both the Karachi and Lahore tests and in front of crowded stadiums, Mushtaq Mohammad’s men achieved the target well before the final delivery.

 

downthemomo2.jpg

Sarfraz Swings Pakistan to Surprise Win

Sarfraz Nawaz’s 9/86 at Melbourne in 1979 is probably one of the best bowling analysis in the world but what’s more interesting is the fact that his spell changed the game on its head. Australians were well-placed at 305/3, needing only 77 runs to win when Sarfraz bowled his heart out to take 7 wickets for just 1 run in a span of 33 balls. The hosts were dismissed for just 310 and Pakistan won the match by 71 runs!

 

Lord of the Lords

It was the summer of 1982 and the opening pair of Pakistan won the match for Pakistan – one through batting, the other through bowling. Mohsin Khan became the first Pakistani batsman to score a double century at the cricket headquarters and while his 200 helped Pakistan to 428 runs total in the first innings, it was Mudassar Nazar’s 6 wickets in the second that sealed the match for the visitors.

 

Imran Demolishes India

In 1982/83, Indians were one of the better batting sides in the world but Pakistan brought them back to the ground in the 6-match series, winning it by 3-0. Imran Khan's devastating bowling in the second innings of the 2nd Test saw him end the match with 11 wickets (3 and 8 wickets) while in the next match at Faisalabad, he achieved the same feat (6 and 5 wickets) besides scoring a century as well. He took as many as 8 wickets in the third win of the series (6 and 2 wickets) but the match will be remembered for his declaration that cost Javed Miandad (280 not out) what could have been his Triple Century.

 

Arrival of Wasim Akram

In 1985, he seemed like one of those youngsters who played cricket for fun but when Wasim Akram took 10 wickets in his second Test played at Dunedin against New Zealand, he dismissed 10 batsmen to announce his arrival. Pakistan lost the match but put Wasim on the cricket map and he went onto become the best left arm pacer the game has ever produced.

 

Spin Twins Party at Bangalore

Pakistan’s first win in India since 1952 came against pathetic umpiring and a deteriorating pitch that spun too much. The match in March 1987 was special for India as it was the final one for Sunil Gavaskar but Iqbal Qasim and Tauseef Ahmed had other ideas; both the spinners bowled their heart out and took as many as 9 wickets each in the match. Chasing 221 runs to win the match and the series, the hosts failed to cross 204 and Pakistan managed to win a series against India in India for the first time.

 

Abdul Qadir’s Best Downs England

Pakistan won the first Test of their series against England at home in 1987 thanks to Abdul Qadir’s brilliance with the ball. The leg spinner finished the match with 14 wickets including 9/56 in the first innings and that bowling performance was crucial as it put England under pressure right from the beginning.

 

Dynamic Duo Contributes to Historic Win

It took one of the best performances from Javed Miandad and Imran Khan to defeat West Indies at home in 1988; the gusty batsman scored a hundred against the likes of Ambrose, Walsh and Benjamin while Imran Khan took 11 wickets in the match and his scalps included captain Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Gus Logie, Richie Richardson and Carl Hooper.

 

Summer of Swing

Pakistan continued its winning streak under Javed Miandad as they managed to beat England twice in the 1992 series. In one of the matches, opening batsman Aamer Sohail scored a double hundred on the first day whereas Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis kept crushing English toes throughout the tour.

 

Inzamam Wins The Day

Shane Warne was a force to reckon with even before he visited Pakistan for his first Test series; he nearly won his team a match in Karachi where till then, Pakistan had not lost a match. The last wicket pair of Mushtaq Ahmed and Inzamam-ul-Haq stayed at the wicket and scored the required runs on the last day. In fact what went onto become the last ball of the match, Ian Healy missed a stumping chance off Warne and Pakistan emerged victorious from an impossible position.

(to be continued)... 

 

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07
November

Written By: Maj Sameer Gardezi

Ask any child to draw a rough sketch of a mountain. There are significant chances that child would come up with a near perfect triangular peak with sloping shoulders jutting prominently out of its base. That is K2!

 

This savage mountain both admired and feared is second to only one. Pakistan is the proud custodian of this beauty and the beast standing tall, delineating its northern border with China.

 

“K2” was the name given to the peak in 1852 by the British surveyor T.G. Montgomerie as part of the Great Trigonometric Survey carried out by the British Empire to demarcate its territories.knowingk2.jpg The “K” denotes the mountain range – Karakoram – and the “2” denotes that it is the second highest recorded peak. The mountain is known by a variety of names including the Chinese Qogir (great mountain), Chogori (Large Mountain) and Mount Godwin-Austen after an early explorer of the area. K2 has also been nicknamed as “The Savage Mountain” because of the extreme level of danger it poses to climbers. About the impersonal nature of the word K2, Fosco Maraini (an Italian photographer and mountaineer) remarked, “…… just the bare bones of a name, all rock and ice and storm and abyss. It makes no attempt to sound human. It is atoms and stars. It has the nakedness of the world before the first man – or of the cindered planet after the last.”

 

Approaches and Routes

K2 consists of two distinct sides, the formidable Chinese side comprising north and east face and the preferred Pakistani side with west and south face of the mountain. For climbing purposes K2 has ten well identified routes. Four routes on the Chinese side are rarely used while the Pakistani side has six established routes.

 

1.  Abruzzi Spur/South East Ridge. This is the standard route to reach K2 summit used by almost 75% of all climbers. It was first attempted by Duke of Abruzzi in 1909. The famous features on this route include “House's Chimney", "Black Pyramid”, the easily visible "shoulder” and a narrow couloir known as the "bottleneck".

 

 knowk2about.jpg2. South-South East Spur/Cesen Route. This route is a safe alternative to the Abruzzi Spur as it avoids Black Pyramid and the House’s Chimney.

 

3. Polish Route/South Face/Central Rib. It is one of the most dangerous approaches to K2. In July 1986, Jerzy Kukuczka and Tadeusz Piotrowski summited on this route. Piotrowski was killed while descending. Reinhold Messner (an Italian mountaineer) called it a suicidal route and so far, no one has attempted to take the Polish route again.

 

4. Magic Line/South-South West ridge/South West Pillar. This route is very complicated. It was first climbed in 1986 by the Polish-Slovak climbers. Since 2004, when Jordi Corominas of Spain climbed this route, no one has been successful in summiting it.

 

5.   West Face. This route is almost entirely made up of rock crevices and snow-covered couloirs. It was first used by the Japanese in 1997.

 

6. West Ridge/Japanese Route. First climbed in 1981 by Pakistani mountaineer Nazir Sabir and Elho Ohtani from Japan, this route originates from the distant Negrotto Glacier.

 

7.  North West Ridge. Located on the Chinese side of K2, it culminates in the north ridge. First ascent to this route was attempted in 1991.

 

8. North West Face. Also located on the Chinese side of K2, this route is known for its chaotic rock and snow fields extending all the way up to the summit. First ascent was made in 1990 by a Japanese team.

 

9. North Ridge. Opposite the Abruzzi Spur on the Chinese side is the north ridge which is rarely climbed, partly due to its very difficult access, which involves crossing the Shaksgam River and is a hazardous undertaking. Japanese ascent to the north ridge in 1982 was the first.

 

10. North East Ridge. The long and corniced north east ridge was used in 1902 by British engineer Oscar Eckenstein during the first ever attempt to summit K2. His attempt stalled at almost 6000m. This route was not attempted again for seventy-four years. In 1978, an American team was successful and was the first expedition to use a route other than the Abruzzi Spur.

 

East Face. No one has ever climbed the east face of K2 due to the instability of the snow and ice formations.

The Climbing History

The climbing history of K2 can be divided into two parts.

 

knowk2about1.jpg• The Attempts Era (1902-1953). This era was dominated by the Italian and American expeditions. In total there were five attempts. The first ever attempt to climb K2 was in 1902 by British engineer Oscar Eckenstein. His summit attempt along the north east ridge stalled at almost 6000m. In 1909, the Duke of Abruzzi attempted to climb via the south east ridge but made it only to 5974m. This route, called the Abruzzi Spur, later led to the first summit of K2. In 1938, the American expedition led by Charles Houston made upto 7925m on the Abruzzi Spur Route. A year later in 1939, Fritz Weissner made it upto 8380m but was forced to retreat. In 1953 Charles Houston attempted again but failed.

 

•  The Summits Era (1954-till date). This era starts from the first successful summit by an Italian team via the Abruzzi Spur on July 31, 1954. The team included a Pakistani member, Colonel Muhammad Ata-ullah, who had been a part of the 1953 American expedition. Captain (later Lt. General) G.S. Butt was the liaison officer. Also on the expedition was a porter from Hunza, Amir Mehdi, who lost his limbs to frostbite. Twenty-three years later, Ichiro Yoshizawa of Japan led the second successful ascent of K2 in 1977. Ichiro’s party also included Ashraf Aman, the first Pakistani to summit the mountain. In 1978, an American team made the third successful ascent of K2 using a new route i.e north east ridge. A notable Japanese ascent was that of the difficult north ridge on the Chinese side of the peak in 1982. The first climber to reach the summit of K2 twice was Czech climber Josef Rakoncaj. The first woman to summit K2 was Pole Wanda Rutkiewicz on June 23, 1986. In 1986, two Polish expeditions climbed via two new routes, the Magic Line and the Polish Line. On July 26, 2014, a team of six Pakistanis and three Italian climbers scaled K2 to commemorate 60 years of the first K2 ascent.

 

The Savage Mountain

Due to its high fatality rate, K2 is called the savage mountain. Most fatal accidents in K2’s history include the 1986 Disaster (thirteen dead), 1995 (six dead) and 2008 (eleven dead). The factors contributing to K2’s lethality include rock fall and avalanches, unpredictable weather, steep altitude, limited number of routes and the lack of oxygen. So far only 302 people have completed the ascent and at least 81 people have died attempting to climb.

 

K2 in Popular Culture

The Charisma of K2 has caught the imagination of many writers, photographers and film makers. Few of the movies based on K2 include: K2 (1991), Vertical Limit (2000); K2: Siren of the Himalayas (2012); and, The Summit (2012). Few books about K2 are: No Way Down: Life and Death on K2 (Graham Bowley); K2: Life and Death on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain (Ed Viesturs); K2: The Story of the Savage Mountain (Jim Curran); and, K2 Kahani (Mustansar Hussain Tarar).

 

K2 Base Camp Trek (Askole-Concordia)

The Almost one week long Askole-Concordia trek to K2 Base Camp has the status of being one of the most spectacular treks in the world. In the words of Fosco Maraini beyond Askole, the last human habitat, one enters into “The Greatest Museum of Shapes and Forms”. Important campsites enroute include Payu, Liligo, Urdokasand Goro and Concordia. From Concordia it takes another 5-6 hours to reach K2 Base Camp.

 

Pakistan indeed is fortunate to be the custodian of a mountain like K2. It is important to realize how we can use this gift of God to capitalize upon and benefit from. K2 could do wonders for Pakistan’s tourism industry, only if we take effective measures to make the most of it.

 
07
November
Naval Chief Visits Forward Posts in Creeks Area
Chief of the Naval staff, Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah visited forward posts of Pakistan Navy at Creeks Area to review the combat readiness of Pakistan Navy. He was accompanied by Commander Coast Rear Admiral Waseem Akram. While interacting with the PN personnel, the Naval Chief lauded their level of motivation and determination to safeguard the maritime frontiers of the country. He also urged them to come up to the expectations and confidence which their countrymen have posed in to them. Earlier during the day, the Admiral also visited Fleet Headquarters Karachi where he was briefed by Commander Pakistan Fleet about the operational matters and the highest state of vigil being maintained at sea frontiers.

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07
November
COAS Visits Army Liver Transplant Unit

General Raheel Sharif, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) visited Army Liver Transplant Unit (ALTU) in Rawalpindi on October 24, 2016. During the visit, General Raheel Sharif was given detailed briefing about the state-of-the-art medical facilities established at the institute. Chief of Army Staff visited different departments of the institute and spent time with patients and inquired about their well being. Appreciating doctors and paramedical staff of the institute, COAS commended their commitment and dedication for establishing such a facility and best medical care being extended to the patients.

 

ALTU is the first liver transplant program introduced in Pakistan Armed Forces, and third in the country which is being developed as National Multi-organ Transplant Centre. 260 successful hepato-pancreato-biliary (liver related) and six successful live liver transplant surgeries have been performed so far in consultation/collaboration with University Hospital Birmingham, UK.

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07
November
COAS Inaugurates Newly Constructed Building of Cadet College Spinkai

General Raheel Sharif, Chief of Army Staff inaugurated a newly constructed state-of-the-art building of Cadet College Spinkai in South Waziristan Agency. While talking to the tribal elders and cadets, COAS said that the future of our country can only be secured through an educated and passionate youth. "It is imperative for us to raise their potential to the optimal level so that they can measure up to the onerous challenges facing us today and awaiting us in the coming times. This cadet college is one of the series of quality institutions being built in all remote areas of FATA and rest of the country to hone our bright children. This initiative will go a great length in propelling the local youth into professional colleges and changing lives of their families."

 

Paying tributes to the Army and valiant tribes for defeating terrorists, clearing them from their hideouts and sacrificing while standing alongside each other, COAS said that ‘the whole world recognises our contribution in fighting the terrorism menace and seeks to learn from our experience. Pakistan Army will continue to support the people of this area till completing the task of rehabilitation, reconstruction and complete transition to local civil administration’. COAS especially thanked the local tribes for donating land for the College and paid gratitude to UAE leadership for financing the project.

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07
November

Written By: Tahir Mehmood

In this Age of Globalization where men and institutions can see, compare and scrutinize all around, movement towards post-modern Western democratic state model is gradually expanding. Having tried various authoritarian models in the past, most post-colonial states sooner or later will be giving in to the aspirations of individual and collective democratic freedom. However, mere mimicking by the former colonies, or, the Western convulsive shaping the colonies in its post-modern democratic state image after 9/11 have unleashed unbridled processes – mostly in shape of brutal wars on various fault lines. Most of the post-colonial Muslim world today faces the challenges of a social and political commotion due to domestic discontent fueled by direct or indirect foreign sponsorship. A cursory glance is sufficient to prove that internally or externally driven pursuit of post-modern Western democratic model is proving disastrous and a source of violence and instability. Nonetheless, the prevailing times are crucial point in the evolutions of the post-colonial societies. Moving forward without taking in to the considerations the pre-colonial political evolution of these societies can wrongly lead the pursuit of post-modern state model.

 

Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger while evaluating the forms of New World Order (from a U.S. policy making perspective) in his epic book Diplomacy observed that the Western world has reached a particular point in its political evolution. This evolution stretching over last few centuries took place in the direction of individual human freedom and minimizing the central state authority. According to Kissinger:

 

Curbing the power of central government has been a principal concern of Western political theorists, whereas, in most other societies, political theory has sought to buttress the authority of the state. Nowhere else has been such an insistence on expanding personal freedom. Western democracy evolved in culturally homogenous societies with a long common history…. The society and, in a sense, the nation preceded the state without having to be created by it. In such a setting, political parties represent variants of an underlying consensus [Italics added]; today’s minority is potentially tomorrow’s majority. (Henry Kissinger, Diplomacy, pp. 811)

 

During this evolutionary period, the Western societies passed through phase of the Modern State model whereby the republican state manifested its authority through effective governance and exercised sufficient influence over conduct of citizens’ life – be it the rights or obligations towards the state or domains of personal freedom. Re-emerging through the catastrophic shadows of Napoleonic Wars, World War I and World War II, the Western Modern state successfully steered through the intra-state struggles for individual and group freedom and transformed into a post-modern state – a state which is willingly minimizing its authority to individual and group freedom through the processes of democracy.  Kissinger aptly observed that in post Cold War era, the Western democracy has achieved an Underlying Consensus towards national unity and integrity. This provides leverage to various factions and groups within the state to oppose and compete for furthering the state power, its security and prosperity. Their opposition and competition do not present a threat to national security and integrity. Redrawing of national borders is almost a deeply buried issue in the Western political struggles.

 

Contrary to the Western world, the post-colonial world and particularly Muslim states inherit a different historical baggage. During the colonial phase, the quest and struggle for freedom and eroding the central state authority was not aimed at achieving personal human freedom but freedom from colonial masters. The local elites leading this struggle and masses following were only focused on overthrowing the foreign regime. After freedom was achieved, there emerged the issues of distribution and diffusion of power among various classes, groups and factions in the post-colonial state. However, in pursuit of efficiency and prosperity, the ruling elite in most of the post-colonial world often resorted to authoritarian models and managed to control the diffusion of power issues through strict state control. In these states, there was almost absence of democratic processes that could have addressed the issues emerging from freedom of individual or diverse but strong groups and factions. The state during this phase remained oblivious to deliver the governance in a manner that could have minimized the fault lines and have created the Underlying Consensus towards national unity and integrity. Hence, the state particularly in post-colonial Muslim world could not steer the diffusion of power towards a collective consensus falling well within the domains of state security and national integration. The religious, sectarian, ethnic and linguistic fault lines lived deeply buried but alive under the authoritarian state functioning. The post-colonial Muslim world continued living under various regimes and kingships till they were ushered in to the Age of Globalization. Then onwards the rapid expansion of technology made the spread of information across the borders to the extent that virtually state control through national frontiers is diminishing each passing day. The Social Media boom has made lateral flow of information and ideas much fast, cheap and easier. This rapid exposure to freedom has somewhat bewildered the individual and the state. There is a growing demand of individual, gender and factional freedom. Without formal declaration and at varying pace, the state in the post-colonial world is transforming to a post-modern state mode and yielding its authority to individual as well as group/factional freedom. This is in sync with the Western democratic state model, and with the spirit of the Age, but is it proving as beneficial to the aspirations of national unity and integrity as it did so in the Western world? The answer following the prevailing patterns in post-colonial Muslim world is in negative.

 

The post-colonial state in Muslim world is under severe strain of managing freedom boom and preventing anarchy. Duly fueled by external powers, this anarchic expansion of individual and factions provides abundant combustible material to the bloody flames of hatred and violence. Those who are burning in this fire are finding no ways to quell it. Those at the brink are finding it hard to avoid it. The erosion of state authority has proved disastrous for many Muslim societies. Instead of properly regulating the freedom, the state in these evolving societies either totally resisted or just succumbed to the emerging pressure and became victim of anarchy. The erosion of the state authority proved counterproductive and caused severe issues of governance and personal security. Ironically, this prevailing violent anarchy yet serves as no warning to other states and societies to regulate the processes of change in an orderly fashion. One finds a better illustration of prevailing and underlying violence-prone anarchical trends in post-colonial Muslim world in Fyodor Dostoyevsky famous novel Crime and Punishment. Dostoyevsky’s  depicts the prevailing conditions of a declining Czarist regime under the rising aspirations of the Socialist Order as:

 

 All were in a state of anxiety and no one could understand anyone else, each person thought that he alone possessed the truth and suffered agony as he looked at the others, beating his breast, weeping and wringing his hands. No one knew who to make the subject of the judgment, or how to go about it, no one could agree about what should be considered evil and what good. No one knew who to blame or who to acquit. People killed one another in a kind of senseless anger. Whole armies were ranged against one another, but no sooner had these armies been mobilized than they suddenly began to tear themselves to pieces, their ranks falling apart and their soldiers hurling themselves at one another, gashing and stabbing, biting and eating one another. (Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment, pp. 652)

 

Deeply lost in this present-day amazing quandary, to most the solution of all prevailing political ills lies in furthering the Western style democratic processes per se. But when these processes are put on ground to practice, rather protecting and projecting the collective will towards national security and prosperity, these unleash the challenges of various societal divisions and schisms – social, economic, religious, ethnic, linguistic etc. – and often loses their efficacy in this imbroglio. In case of post-colonial Muslim states, the national unity manifested through that Underlying Consensus which Kissinger gave advantage to the Western democracies is found missing. According to Kissinger:

 

In most parts of the world [other than Western], the state has preceded the nation; it was and often remains the principal element in forming it. Political parties, where they exist, reflect fixed, usually communal, identities; minorities and majorities tend to be permanent. In such societies, the political process is about domination, not alternation in office, which takes place, if at all, by coups rather than constitutional procedures. The concept of a loyal opposition – the essence of modern democracy – rarely prevails. Much more frequently, opposition is viewed as a threat to national cohesion, equated with treason, and ruthlessly suppressed. (Henry Kissinger, Diplomacy, pp. 811)

 

Besides these political challenges, various forms of militancy – mostly religious, sectarian and ethnic – have posed much serious challenges to the Muslim world. These militant groups have often found receiving direct and indirect support of foreign countries’ intelligence agencies pursuing their regional or global agendas. In few cases, the internal weaknesses of the post-colonial Muslim state deteriorated to the extent that it led to foreign military interventions. The masses in these countries actually aspired for more freedom through negation or weakening of central authority, but in return got plunged into abyss of violence and almost zero level of governance. The violence overtook all forms of dissent and divergence. There the post-colonial Muslim state is facing existential threat from the internal dissent and external interference (mostly by the Western world). Hitherto, the foreign forces’ physical intervention in shape of sending ground troops has not succeeded even in a single state to restore peace, order and governance. In order to avoid casualties and consequent domestic wrath, these foreign powers have now found a unique method of resolving intra-state disputes through excessive aerial bombing and weapons supply to the militant groups. It is also feared that Western notion of redrawing the national frontiers of Muslim world according to ethnic or cultural identities will unleash new eras of violent revisionist states. In short, the foreign envisioned and sponsored remedies have actually caused unending violence generating mechanisms. These methods and mechanisms are not likely to yield any peace and order in these post-colonial Muslim states and plight of the masses will continue. Thus there is a dire need to find home-made solutions to complex home-grown problems.

 

The above scenarios present very complex challenges to the ruling elite and to the core institutions responsible for the peace and security of the post-colonial Muslim states which are being threatened by internal political upheavals, religious and sectarian terrorism, and ethnic militancy. In this age of global freedom and post-modern state models presented by the West, return to authoritarian model is not an option for long term survival and prosperity of the nation. Similarly, tempting to implement post-modern model of state functioning by rapidly reducing or weakening state authority is also not likely to succeed due to absence of fundamental Underlying Consensus among various groups and entities towards national security and unity. Still it is important to find solutions to the dilemmas of these post-colonial states which have not been able to nurture modern democratic societies thus successfully absorbing and resolving all schisms, and, establishing indivisible national identity. Under prevailing circumstances, to smoothly pass through all phases of a post-modern state making, absence of violence generating capability by individuals or groups barring state forces appears the most important overriding factor. Any dissent short of violence will not pose existential threat to these states; will keep options of internal cohesion alive, thus providing no pretext for active foreign military interventions. During this period, these states must remain capable of defeating all non-state violent actors, and support democratic practices to eradicate the violence breeding social, economic and political causes.  

 

The introduction and continuation of democratic processes is fundamental to the long term health and wealth of these post-colonial states, but there must also be answers to effective governance, maintaining order and ensuring national security. The answer to the challenges of internal and external terrorism and militancy are big and strong militaries; for effective governance are potent and merit-based national bureaucracies; and, an independent judiciary is a must towards maintaining a social order short of violence. However, it has also been observed that in most of the post-colonial states, democratic elites and strong institutions often face the challenges of overlapping jurisdictions, get entangled in self-defeating power struggles and resort to zero sum approaches. These internal discords are exploited by foreign powers and finally end at aggregate national loss. Hence empowerment of democratic elites (usually representing one particular group and parochial than national in character) and presence of strong institutions presents a Catch-22 situation – nowhere to begin and nowhere to end!

 

Notwithstanding the complexity, this power management crisis demands a new Social Contract – a step ahead of Hobbesian and Lockian social contract that was between masses and the rulers. The new Social Contract begins from point of agreement on democratic form of government and maintenance of national security. It is a social contract between democratic ruling elites and powerful state institutions of the post-colonial state to support each others’ survival for maintaining health (security, peace, order etc.) and wealth (economic prosperity, social justice, distributions of wealth etc.) of the state. The ruling democratic elites and powerful state institutions must come to a mutual agreement to nurture and sustain the Underlying Consensus among all groups/factions of the state regarding national security and national integration. This demands a greater understanding, adjustments and compromises among all powerful organs of the post-colonial statehood. In this direction, a constitutional arrangement in formal sense and informal tacit cooperation for mutual co-existence should stretch over decades to ensure survival and prosperity of the state. To achieve this point of unity and consensus, all must support each other and rely only on internal dialogue processes. So far the track record of foreign powers’ interferences have resulted in greater loss of peace and stability, and exacerbated spread of violence. The salient contours of such a post-colonial Social Contract are: The Big Armies (in strong composite groups well dispersed on all important population and communication centers to counter all area-based local militant groups and ensure security of the state) not posing threat to the survival of Democratic Elites; Powerful Bureaucracies implementing merit-based governance and, Independent Judiciary not undermining others’ independence and providing justice. In such a Social Order, the Democratic Elites should be willing to adjust to internal autonomy of the state institutions and act as a moderator between masses and institutions. This is important to keep the state functioning according to aspirations of the citizens living in the state. The Democratic Elites espousing peoples’ aspiration should facilitate governance through effective and timely legislation. This system should allow for dissent and disagreement but short of coups or interference in internal autonomy of the state institutions. All issues must be settled with a degree of fairness so that prevalent trend of taking refuge by out-of-government ruling elite in foreign lands should be stopped. The Western model of opposition and accountability should serve as a guide as there is not a single example of First World ruling elite taking refuge in other countries. All trends of mutual exclusive approaches and zero sum gains will have to be shunned through well crafted constitutional provisions. The upshot of such a Social Contract is to ensure survival of the state through regulated non-violent flow of democratic expressions and social freedom. Thus the transformation from vestige of post-colonial to modern to post-modern state should not be a volcanic thrust but a gentle flow of stream quenching thirst of all without any destruction. In collective survival lies the key to individual or group survival.   

 

The post-colonial state particularly in Muslim world is passing through times of great peril. It must find indigenous solutions to the core issues of survival and prosperity!

 

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07
November

Written By: Jennifer McKay

Managing national and trans-border disaster assistance is just one but an important part of the process to ensure countries are not weakened by the enormous impact of disasters.

The potential for trans-border disasters in the Heart of Asia region is relatively high yet the lack of coordination mechanisms in the region for receiving foreign assistance has the potential to create chaos and instability when massive disasters strike. In a region that is beset with conflict, instability and poverty, the ability to respond rapidly and effectively to the enormous challenges that mega-disasters present, is critical. Understanding the management of international assistance for each country is a key component of the disaster management cycle.

 

Trans-border disasters present difficult challenges given the regional sensitivities between neighbouring countries. Response processes must therefore first be guided by national mechanisms which also include procedures and rules for accepting and receiving assistance. If each country has guidelines that are regularly updated to define and guide this process, it streamlines the efforts for all stakeholders, both host nation and assisting organisations.

 

managdiszas.jpg Other regional countries share Pakistan’s disaster management challenges, particularly in the mountainous regions that transverse a number of countries, and the earthquake fault lines that stretch across borders. Adjoining coastlines are at risk of cyclones. The international community is frequently called upon to provide assistance when the situation escalates to a stage that is unmanageable for the affected country’s resources. Yet few countries in the region have existing guidelines for receiving and utilizing all forms of foreign assistance in major disasters. Without established procedures for decision makers, the result is usually confusion and delays that may prolong the suffering of affected communities.

 

When large disasters strike, countries are usually inundated with offers of international assistance but few have comprehensive rules and procedures in place for accepting and managing incoming relief. As a result, large operations often experience a coordination and logistics problems causing bottlenecks at airports, delays, wastage, and unnecessary expense in the entry and distribution of international relief.  The arrival of unsolicited and unsuitable relief items also create a headache for authorities.

 

The recent Nepal Earthquake in April 2015 provides a good example of how things can go wrong in receiving international relief. Despite best efforts by the authorities, the devastated country was overwhelmed in handling the incoming relief efforts. The airport was a scene of chaos and the distribution arrangements not in place. This caused significant delays in aid reaching affected communities, adding to their misery.

 

In recognition of the need for a common operating picture and understanding, a number of such guidelines have been developed in other regions in Asia. The East Asia Summit, a grouping of 18 East Asian countries, now has a set of guidelines to overcome these same challenges. So too does ASEAN. In the South Asia region, SAARC has a set of guidelines for the member states. And now, under the Heart of Asia Istanbul Process, a new initiative in which Pakistan plays an important role, is under way which includes a number of activities to improve disaster risk management, including a project to develop the Host Nation Support Guidelines.

This can be avoided through proper planning and development of national guidelines for receiving and utilizing response assistance so systems are in place prior to any catastrophic event. Pakistan, despite the many disasters and complex emergencies, has no such guidelines although they have been called for since 2010. Although many lessons have been learned from the mega-disasters of the 2005 earthquake and 2010 floods, these are often forgotten as personnel who experienced the disaster are posted out or retired and the institutional memory is lost. Guidelines for decision-makers and regular capacity building of key personnel can make a significant difference when the time comes for action.

 

In recognition of the need for a common operating picture and understanding, a number of such guidelines have been developed in other regions in Asia.  The East Asia Summit, a grouping of 18 East Asian countries, now has a set of guidelines to overcome these same challenges. So too does ASEAN.  In the South Asia region, SAARC has a set of guidelines for the member states.  And now, under the Heart of Asia Istanbul Process (HOA), a new initiative in which Pakistan plays an important role, is under way which includes a number of activities to improve disaster risk management, including a project to develop the Host Nation Support Guidelines.

 

The HOA is a regional initiative focused on a secure, stable and prosperous Afghanistan in a secure and stable region by promoting regional security and cooperation through measures to build confidence and trust among countries. The Heart of Asia Istanbul Process includes 14 countries – Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, and the United Arab Emirates.

 

Heart of Asia is supported by the Commonwealth of Australia, Canada, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the Republic of France, the Federal Republic of Germany, Republic of Italy, Japan, Norway, Republic of Poland, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States as well as the United Nations, Economic Cooperation Organization, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, Organization for Islamic Cooperation, the European Union, the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia.

 

A number of Confidence-Building Measures (CBMs), focused on disaster management cooperation, fighting terrorism, counter-narcotics and trafficking, improved information sharing on trade, commerce and investment, connecting regional infrastructure, and cooperation in education and science, were agreed between Participating and Supporting Countries and Organisations to facilitate the Process. Different groupings of the Participating Countries are involved in each of these components.

 

The Disaster Management CBM has to date, been one of the most effective activities of all CBMs.  Eight HOA countries – Pakistan (Co-Chair), Afghanistan, Kazakhstan (Co-Chair), Iran, Turkey, Kyrgyzstan, China, and India – are the Participating Countries in the HOA DM-CBM. The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) is the lead agency in Pakistan to drive the process forward, supported by the Technical Partner for Heart of Asia, the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center. A road map and implementation plan for action has been agreed by Participating Countries and a number of initiatives are already under way.

 

The components of the HOA DM-CBM include: Establishment of DRR Portal; Creation and strengthening of a regional response capacity/guidelines; Development of a Host Nation Support Mechanism; Development of guidelines for sharing cross-border early warning information; Design of simulations and drills to assess and prepare for regional coordination; Development of a regional risk picture for resilient development planning through DRR mainstreaming for response contingency planning; Review of global indicators to establish a set of regional indicators for the HOA member countries and Strengthening of research, capacity building and knowledge management.

 

Disaster Management projects supported by donors and organisations in the region, including Japan and China, particularly in capacity building of national disaster management organisations, have already been conducted. Another of the key components – the development of host nation support mechanisms – is now being implemented with Pakistan developing its first set of national guidelines for requesting and receiving international assistance.

 

The development of Host Nation Support Guidelines will guide Pakistani decision-makers (and potentially other countries in HOA) during emergency situations for smooth operations in terms of receiving and utilizing relief and response. This also assists responding countries and organisations to understand the host processes before deployment. Through extensive consultations with stakeholders, the process will identify national procedures for accepting and coordinating international disaster response. NDMA has done much to improve all aspects of disaster management and to build linkages in the Heart of Asia countries. They are partnering with a team from the Asia Disaster Preparedness Center to implement this project.

 

For all countries, making the decision to accept foreign assistance is a sensitive and difficult one. One of the key decisions for any government when a major disaster strikes is at what point should foreign assistance, including deployments, be requested.  Most countries prefer as their first choice, to handle the emergency from internal resources. However, in large-scale disasters like earthquakes, countries can become overwhelmed by the scale of the event and at some point need to reach out for assistance.

 

Governments of disaster-affected countries need to know how to identify the escalation points where local capacity and resources for each type of disaster are likely to be overwhelmed, the type of assistance that may be required, and requisite protocols. This will allow for a systematised approach to when, where, and how the international community can respectfully engage to ensure timely action and ultimately a reduction in lives lost.

 

The roles and responsibilities of all stakeholders and how they can effectively receive and utilize all forms of international and cross-border assistance is a key issue. For example, as it is the Pakistan military that will host foreign military assets such as helicopters and aircraft sent to assist with rescue and relief, the requirements, procedures and coordination processes must be known prior to deployment. Ensuring that military assets are provided to the country with their own support is also critical, a lesson learned from previous disasters.

 

The more organised a responding country is in arranging deployments, the easier it is for the host nation to manage their assistance. Lessons from foreign assistance from previous disasters, such as that provided by the Australian Medical Task Force in the 2010 floods, offer excellent examples of how responding countries can provide a ‘whole-of-government’ response team and coordinate with the Host Nation. A coordinated response from assisting countries makes it easier for host countries to manage the incoming deployment and assign areas of responsibility and provide support. This ‘whole-of-government’ approach from assisting countries is becoming more common internationally.

 

The humanitarian organisations participating in disaster response are guided a series of principles, standards, and guidelines to ensure best humanitarian practices are followed. Some of the most important are the Oslo Guidelines for Humanitarian Civil-Military Assistance; Sphere Standards for Humanitarian Assistance; Humanitarian Accountability Partnership (HAP) Standards; ICRC – International Humanitarian Law, and Humanitarian Principles; International Guidelines on Gender-Sensitive Approach in Disasters. Each of these is important and most humanitarian agencies abide by these, as do many governments.

 

However, the ground realities often create conflict and confusion between the host nation and the humanitarian organisations that often have different expectations and understanding of the situation.  In the 2010 floods, this point created delays and confusion as government and humanitarian organisations tussled over the interpretation of certain principles when applied in the local context. This is another good reason to be clear on all matters before disasters strike.

 

There is much to be aware of in the response process. For example, women, children, the elderly, and less abled, are the most disadvantaged during disasters and complex emergencies. When displaced, their needs require immediate consideration and understanding of cultural norms, to ensure culturally appropriate relief, particularly for women. Displaced children are at higher risk of abduction and trafficking during displacement, so child protection issues must be considered from the outset to ensure the safety of children. NDMA’s Gender and Child Cell, as well as Gender Child Cells within PDMAs, take responsibility to ensure that the needs of women and children are considered in response and relief efforts. The establishment of these Cells and the policies they have developed, has resulted from lessons from previous disasters dating back to 2005. These now must be crosscutting themes in all considerations for response and for international responders to consider in their programming.

 

Other types of disasters that potentially require international assistance are also included in Host Nation Guidelines. Health emergencies have very specific requirements. Pakistan has been fortunate in that it has not suffered the kind of pandemics seen in other parts of the world. As was seen in the Ebola crisis in African countries, extensive foreign assistance is needed to battle an emergency of that level.  Work has already been done by Health Ministries and the World Health Organisation to assess the potential threats, and capacity to respond.  The need for international assistance in a major outbreak is highly likely.

 

Other important points that need to be clarified before a disaster are those pertaining to access and security for responding organisations. These are set by the Government of Pakistan, based on the prevailing conditions at the time. These can be changed or relaxed only at ministerial level. Rules governing INGOs already exist in Pakistan and need to be understood in considering international assistance. In the past, some international organisations have just ‘turned up’. This rarely continues anything other than problems as they are unprepared, not linked into the local disaster management network, do not have local partners, and unaware of local conditions and the genuine needs of communities. Rules and guidelines are important to manage and maintain structure in receiving assistance from deploying organisations.

 

There is so much to consider and the process of building shared knowledge, networks, and cooperation in the region is imperative. Pakistan takes its role in the overall Heart of Asia Process and its co-leadership of the DM-CBMs very seriously. The government hosted the fifth Heart of Asia ministerial conference in Islamabad in December 2015 attended by 14 Participating States, 17 Supporting Countries and 12 International and Regional Organisations. It will also be represented at the Heart of Asia Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) in Amritsar in December 2016. 

 

Although India withdrew from attending the SAARC Summit in Islamabad, and declined to attend the Annual Regional Consultative Committee on Disaster Management (RCC) meeting attended by 16 countries in Islamabad in October, a peaceful and stable Afghanistan and region is a key priority for Pakistan. Managing national and trans-border disaster assistance is just one but an important part of the process to ensure countries are not weakened by the enormous impact of disasters. Therefore, the government has chosen to overlook in these diplomatic slights and attend the AMCDRR in Amritsar. Building confidence and mutual understanding on disaster management with senior officials of all regional countries is much too important for Pakistan to miss such events.

 

There will be great challenges ahead for Pakistan and regional countries to achieve all the goals of the Heart of Asia Istanbul Process. Effective management of all aspects of major disasters – pre, during, and post – and a mutual understanding of each country for receiving assistance, will contribute much towards paving the way for a more resilient and stable region.

 

The writer is Australian Disaster Management and Civil-Military Relations Consultant, based in Islamabad where she consults for Government and UN agencies. She has also worked with ERRA and NDMA.

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07
November

Written By: Tahir Mahmood Azad

India is rapidly increasing its military muscle both in terms of conventional and unconventional forces. Indian aggressive military doctrine is not limited to a specific single agenda. It is in pursuit of regional hegemony and to fulfil its global aspirations. Presently, Indian armed forces consist of approximately 1.4 million men, possessing sophisticated military technology, nuclear weapons, long-range ballistic missiles and an Inter Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) capability. The rapid expansion of Indian military capabilities puts a question mark over the peaceful future of the South Asian region. According to an analysis, “Indian defence spending has doubled in real terms since 1997, growing at an average of 6.3 per cent per year.”1

 

 indiaexpect1.jpgAccording to SIPRI reports, Indian political leadership seems more ambitious in building military forces rather than focusing on socio-economic development. Recently, Narendra Modi’s government has announced a further 11 per cent hike and has raised military budget to U.S.$39.8 billion in 2015-2016.2 According to SIPRI's report, Indian defence expenditure in 2015 is $51.3 billion – higher than the previous year.3 India is the world’s leading buyer of conventional arms, with upwards of $100 billion estimated to be spent on developing its conventional [defence] forces over the next decade.4  There are speculations that the Indian estimated defence spending could be even higher in the coming years.

 

India’s Cold Start Doctrine (CSD) or threatened provocative proactive operations are estimated to be the most expensive military strategy. India is exceeding Pakistan in ‘revolutionary’ military resources such as high-performance aircraft, wide-area communications, reconnaissance, and battlefield awareness.5 This Indian military modernisation has further widened Pakistan’s conventional imbalance vis-à-vis India. India is also building and designing its own aircraft carrier. “The Indian Navy already has clearance to build six SSN Submersible Ships and Nuclear Submarines (nuclear-propelled but not nuclear-armed submarines).”6

 

India's credibility of sticking to a peaceful use of nuclear technology is already in question. The nuclear arms race in the South Asian region is a blatant consequence of non-compliance with the non-proliferation regime. Its quest for hydrogen bomb, fragile nuclear waste management system, weak nuclear security culture, lack of trained human resource, serious internal security threats and environmental effects are all a cause of grave concern for both the region with one-fifth of the world population as well as the international community.

In addition, after having received the “green signal” from the U.S., India – a non – NPT state-is expanding its nuclear program. It is making new nuclear deals with the international nuclear industry. India also plans to develop dozens of new nuclear power plants. Currently, there are 21 nuclear reactors7 already in operation. India has formulated a three-stage nuclear power program which was designed by Homi Bhabha in the 1950s:8

 

• Stage I – Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor [PHWR]

• Stage II – Fast Breeder Reactor

• Stage III – Thorium-based Reactors

 

It is a known fact that India has one of the largest shares of global thorium reserves. India plans to spend an estimated U.S. $150 billion adding dozens of new reactors around the country. According to Foreign Policy Magazine, “Within the next two decades, as many as 57 reactors could be operating (in India).”9 In order to facilitate India in the international nuclear club, the U.S. granted it a special “waiver” by violating all nuclear non-proliferation norms. Since 2008, India is being granted free access to international nuclear industry. “It has already received roughly 4,914 tons of uranium from France, Russia and Kazakhstan, and it has agreements with Canada, Mongolia, Argentina, Namibia, United Kingdom, Canada, Kazakhstan and South Korea for additional shipments.”10 Now question arises as to how much uranium India requires for civil nuclear energy purposes? What is the actual quantity of fissile material produced by India itself? What would be the criteria to check whether India will not misuse uranium from international market for military use? The technology acquired in 1970's for civil nuclear purposes from the U.S. and Canada has already been used for explosive purposes.11 India carried out its first nuclear explosion in 1974 and named it deceptively as "Smiling Buddha".

 

To establish and operate nuclear industry on a large scale, a huge number of trained and reliable human resources are required. Personnel and Human Reliability Programs (PRP and HRP) are a very important mechanism for a safe and secure nuclear program. To sustain a safe and secure nuclear program, a strong Nuclear Security Culture (NSC) is also vital. Is India well equipped to endorse all the criterion? According to one report, “the Indian Paramilitary Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which has a total of 95,000 personnel under civilian rather than military control and a U.S. $785 million budget, is supposed to keep these nuclear materials from leaking from India’s plants but it is short-staffed, ill-equipped, and inadequately trained.”12 This implies that the safety and security of India’s nuclear facilities is not reliable.

 

Another source of concern is India’s pursuit of a thermonuclear bomb. Former senior British and U.S. officials have confidently stated that India is actively developing a thermonuclear bomb and we are constantly monitoring it.13 Former project leader for nuclear intelligence at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Robert Kelley, stated that after analysing the available satellite imagery, as well as studying open source material on both sites, he believes that India is pursuing a larger thermonuclear arsenal. “Its development,” he warned, “will inevitably usher in a new nuclear arms race in a volatile region.”14

 

India's credibility of sticking to a peaceful use of nuclear technology is already in question. The nuclear arms race in the South Asian region is a blatant consequence of non-compliance with the non-proliferation regime. Its quest for hydrogen bomb, fragile nuclear waste management system, weak nuclear security culture, lack of trained human resource, serious internal security threats and environmental effects are all a cause of grave concern for both the region with one-fifth of the world population as well as the international community.

 

India needs to address these concerns before applying for Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) membership. It is obligatory for the member states of NSG to seriously and impartially consider the above mentioned apprehensions if non-proliferation is desired.

 

Peaceful use of nuclear technology is a fundamental right of every sovereign state. However, there are various procedures and arrangements to ensure before pursuing high level expansion of nuclear technology. In addition, there is also a need to address socio-political aspects while expanding the nuclear technology. Unfortunately, India has paid minimal attention to socio-political and domestic challenges. Despite being the largest democracy of the world, its non-inclusive policies and war prone mindset to control the region is more dominant. India is rapidly building its conventional and unconventional forces.

 

Furthermore, what would be the consequences if India conducts a thermonuclear device test?  Such Indian moves needs to be monitored before they proceed beyond the red lines. Unconditional nuclear favours to India will have very serious implications for global nuclear non-proliferation commitments. India is on the trajectory of rapidly growing nuclear installations with the undue support of the U.S. This would have implications not only for South Asia, but for other regions as well.

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1 Walter C. Ladwig III, “Indian Military Modernization and Conventional Deterrence in South Asia,” The Journal of Strategic Studies, 2015, p.2.
2 Ibid.
3 Mateen Haider, "India's growing military spending threatens Pakistan, says NSA Janjua," DAWN (Islamabad), April 05, 2016, http://www.dawn.com/news/125012, accessed on August 22, 2016.
4 Ibid.
5 Rodney W. Jones, “Conventional Military Imbalance and Strategic Stability in South Asia,” South Asian Strategic Stability Unit, University of Bradford, March 2005, p.5.
6 “India wants to build nuclear-powered aircraft carriers,” January 13, 2016, http://apdf-magazine.com/india-wants-to-build-nuclear-powered-aircraft-carriers/, accessed on February 02, 2016.
7 According to World Nuclear Association, currently, there are 21 reactors in operation. http://www.world-nuclear.org/info/Country-Profiles/Countries-G-N/India/, accessed on January 07, 2016.
8 IBP Inc., India Energy Policy, Laws and Regulations Handbook Volume 1 Strategic Information and Basic Laws, Lulu.com, 2015, pp.61-62.
9 Adrian Levy, R. Jeffrey Smith, “Fast, Radioactive, and Out of Control,” Foreign Policy, December 17, 2015, http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/12/17/fastradioactiveandoutofcontrolindianuclearsafeguards/, accessed on December 29, 2015.
10 Adrian Levy, “India Is Building a Top-Secret Nuclear City to Produce Thermonuclear Weapons, Experts Say,” Foreign Policy, December 16, 2015, http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/12/16/india_nuclear_city_top_secret_china_pakistan_barc/, accessed on December 28, 2015.
11 Mark Hibbs, “The Future of the Nuclear Suppliers Group,” Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, 2011, p.5,http://carnegieendowment.org/files/future_nsg.pdf, accessed on January 2015.
12 Adrian Levy, R. Jeffrey Smith, “Fast, Radioactive, and Out of Control,” Foreign Policy, December 17, 2015, http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/12/17/fastradioactiveandoutofcontrolindianuclearsafeguards/, accessed on December 29, 2015.
13 Levy, “India Is Building a Top-Secret Nuclear City to Produce Thermonuclear Weapons, Experts Say,”.
14 Ibid.

07
November

Written By: Dr. Tughral Yamin

There was intense pressure and a global campaign to get India admitted into the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) – a 48 member consortium created to control and regulate trade in fissile material and to prevent nuclear proliferation. Fortunately, it hit a dead end in the NSG meeting held in Seoul on June 23, 2016. That is not likely to be the end of the matter. In fact, I have a feeling that it will intensify India’s campaign to be accepted as a Nuclear Weapon State (NWS), while remaining outside the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). That is an irony of immense proportions that the NSG, initially known as the London Group, was created as a consequence of the Indian nuclear test in 1974. India had surreptitiously diverted nuclear material from its CANDU atomic reactor, meant for research purposes, to its nuclear weapon program. The worst affected because of India’s indiscretion in 1974 was Pakistan. Whereas, India was left off with a mild slap on its wrist, Pakistan was forced to bear the brunt of India’s illegal activity. U.S. put all its diplomatic pressure on France to wriggle out of a plan to provide a nuclear re-processing plant to Pakistan and the fuel for the Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (KANUPP) dried up. Pakistani scientists rose to the occasion and were able to fabricate fuel for Pakistan’s first nuclear power plant but for most of its life KANUPP operated on less than its optimal capacity.

 

For years now, India has slowly and gradually begun to be accepted as a nuclear power. In 2005, the U.S. had concluded a civil military nuclear deal with India and in 2008 it was on the forefront to get India a special waiver from the NSG. Pakistan wanted to oppose the move but it was arm-twisted into not putting up any opposition to this patently unfair concession. It is now well known, that Pakistan’s Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was set to post a strong letter opposing this deal but was asked by the government in power then, not to do so. The waiver gave India an occasion to strike dual technology deals with a number of countries including Australia, France, Japan and Kazakhstan to name a few.

 

Meanwhile India was plied with all kinds of concessions, waivers and exceptional nuclear treatment. Surely, this was not without a reason. The countries desiring closer nuclear and defence ties with India were eyeing a huge potential market that they could tap into and Pakistan was not in the same league.

 

India has been accepted as a strategic partner by the U.S. On the diplomatic front, they were ready to support its candidature for a permanent seat in the UN and on the nuclear front they were assured of the American support to become a member of the NSG, the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and the Wassenar Group. The statements issued by the White House, the State Department and the Department of Defence were all strongly in favour of India. The U.S. Defence Secretary Ashton Carter among others described the U.S. and India as natural strategic partners. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an address to a joint session of the U.S. Congress, was repeatedly applauded as he took swipes at Pakistan for harbouring terrorists.

 

The campaign to get India into the NSG failed because China and a number of other countries did not consider it strong enough to become an agenda point. An NSG applicant must be a signatory to the NPT or should belong to a Nuclear-Weapon-Free-Zone (NFWZ). With the U.S. strongly supporting it, India had lobbied extensively for the NSG membership. The Indian Prime Minister had met the Chinese President on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Indian Foreign Affairs Secretary S. Jaishankar had made a last minute dash to Beijing to convince them of his country’s credentials. The Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj had condescendingly said a few days earlier that India would not object to Pakistan also becoming a member of the NSG.

 

Now that the Indian campaign to enter the NSG has come to a grinding halt, there would be more plans afoot. The U.S. has been able to get India into the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) without any problem. What could be the next step? Perhaps to steamroll the Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty (FMCT) in the Conference on Disarmament (CD). Pakistan has been opposing it because it does not take into account the existing fissile material stocks. India currently is producing 7.7 times more fissile material than Pakistan. With existing stocks that are unaccounted for, India can fabricate many more warheads than Pakistan. The strategic stability in South Asia is highly skewered in India’s favour. Pakistan would need some glib diplomacy and a subtle balancing act to maintain the equilibrium.

 

The writer is a retired Brigadier and PhD. Presently he is the Associate Dean for Centre of International Peace & Stability (CIPS) at the National University of Sciences & Technology (NUST) Islamabad.

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07
November

Modi’s Machiavellian plan for isolating Pakistan may be an Indian desire but the evidence suggests otherwise. Pakistan continues to enjoy important international stature due to its geopolitical significance, potent nuclear capability, professional strong armed forces, and its economic potential. It remains a pivot to regional security, connectivity and prosperity; and is thus an important stakeholder in regional and world affairs.


Modi’s scheme of using the BRICS platform to isolate Pakistan despite repeatedly bringing up the issue of Pakistan couldn’t find voice in the Goa declaration. Instead China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said: “Pakistan has made huge efforts and great sacrifices in fighting terrorism. I think the international community should respect this. We also oppose the linking of terrorism to any specific country, ethnicity or religion. This is China's consistent position.” She added that China would support its all-weather ally amid a campaign by India to isolate Pakistan. Russia also refused to support India in its claims that Pakistan allegedly sponsors terrorism. In fact Modi was so obsessed and fixated on this agenda that he overplayed the issue in every session, which was outside the briefs of BRICS, derailing BRICS’ own agenda in the process.


Previously, while India was weighing its options for sub-conventional warfare with Pakistan, Russia’s foreign policy underwent a major paradigm shift. Russian soldiers came to Pakistan for the first ever joint military exercise Druzhba 2016 which former Defense Minister of India A. K. Antony termed as a failure of India’s foreign policy. Just before Putin’s visit to India, Russia's land force Commander-in-Chief General Oleg Salyukov announced that Russia would hold another round of military exercises with Pakistan in 2017.


The only progress, though counter productive, India made was that it conspired not to attend the SAARC summit that was to take place in Pakistan. One thing that needs to be clearly understood is that if we close the doors to such regional alliances, the regional cooperation, planning, stability and integration would be adversely affected. This in fact is a loss of all regional countries and should be seen in that perspective.


Another monumental breakthrough that Pakistan achieved was with the first-ever international PACES competition that was held in Pakistan between October 18 and 23. A total of 15 countries took part in the six day event including four SAARC countries.


Besides developments in relations with Russia and PACES competition, some other noteworthy developments also came to pass in the region. Despite having a deal on Chabahar Port between Iran and India, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, on the sidelines of the 2016 UNGA meeting, told Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif that Iran wants to be part of CPEC. Also Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during his recent visit to Azerbaijan – a country that has huge significance as the gateway between East and West, sitting on the edge of Europe and Western Asia – vowed to build strong economic, investment and military ties between the two countries. The President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyey also expressed his desire to work jointly on defense production and joint military exercises.


Acknowledgement of the cooperation and irreparable losses of Pakistan by the international community in the war against terror poses another predicament to Modi’s claims. The UK Chief of General Staff General Nicholas Carter and Sir Mark Lyall Grant, National Security Advisor to Prime Minister of UK in their recent visits to Pakistan recognized the achievements made by Pakistan in the fight against terrorism and its continued efforts for regional peace and stability.


Pakistan’s current position proceeds to reduce Modi’s ambitions to ad absurdum and his actions a mere desperate ploy. After these unsuccessful ventures India is left with no option but repeated LOC violations, regardless of the 2003 Ceasefire Agreement, killing and injuring a number of civilians. India must let go of this obdurate pattern and reconcile with Pakistan’s existence in order to stop hatching conspiracies to harm Pakistan.


It is important that the world continues to cooperate with Pakistan in terms of coping with terrorist threats in the region. There are countless opportunities and new life trajectories on the route surrounding diplomacy and peace if we get rid of the unwanted obstructions to such progress.

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07
November

Written By: Muhammad Azam Khan

Indian strategic community seems to be in a frenzied mood to push India for a central role in global affairs. From permanent membership of UN Security Council and Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) to test firing intermediate range ballistic and anti-ballistic missiles and goading for construction of Chabahar Port, the haste seems all over. The focus of current attention however is the region that is currently in global spotlight – Indo-Asia-Pacific or Indo-Pacific. The expression, broadly embraces hinterland and littorals washing the shores of Western and Eastern Indian Ocean and the western Pacific Ocean, chiefly South China Sea. The Strait of Malacca in the east links up Indian and Pacific Oceans while Strait of Hormuz steers economic growth in the region and beyond. Geopolitical commentators frequently invoke the term, often interchangeably, to describe strategic maritime security interests of powers in this nautical-cum-geographical land mass.


For long now, the region has been hub of international economic activity and a receptacle for fossil fuel. It has also seen major naval and marine operations above and beyond large naval coalition missions being conducted following 9/11. As late as in 2012, the region’s significance was reinforced when Obama administration published defence and strategic guidance or ‘Asia Pivot’. Also called, ‘rebalancing’, the ‘pivot’ aims to reorient sixty percent of the United States naval and marine forces from Atlantic to Pacific by 2020.


The ‘rebalancing’ was carried forward by the United States Navy and Marine Corps in their jointly released March 2015 United States Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Sea Power (Revised), CS21R. The strategy is a reworked version of 2007 strategy. CS21R purports to prepare U.S. naval and marine forces for ultimate encounter with China in the Pacific (South China Sea). It seeks ‘forward, engaged and ready’ posture for U.S. forces. To that end the United States banks on support of regional allies. The logistic supplies including basing facilities by these partners are critical components of the U.S. maritime strategy.

 

In the overarching scenario, India is perpetually cajoled to remain glued as a strategic partner of the United States. The Indian Navy is expected to safeguard the U.S. flanks in the Indian Ocean and in the process help itself build a strong navy, materially, technologically and operationally. Not quite surprisingly then,, the United States'' newfound strategic love for India has served as a catalyst reinvigorating latter’s long held ambition to become the ‘regional policeman’ in the Indian Ocean.

In the overarching scenario, India is perpetually cajoled to remain glued as a strategic partner of the United States. The Indian Navy is expected to safeguard the U.S. flanks in the Indian Ocean and in the process help itself build a strong navy, materially, technologically and operationally. Not quite surprisingly then, the United States' newfound strategic love for India has served as a catalyst reinvigorating latter’s long held ambition to become the ‘regional policeman’ in the Indian Ocean. “The United States is also investing in a long-term strategic partnership with India to support its ability to serve as a regional economic anchor and provider of security in the broader Indian Ocean region”, declared the United States defence and strategic guidance.


The United States has consequently subcontracted, if not all at least a major part of its military role in the Indian Ocean to New Delhi. In this mutually serving arrangement, India too feels comfortable with the United States Navy safeguarding New Delhi’s interests on the country’s eastern flank and further across the Strait of Malacca in the Far East and South China Sea.


In the backdrop of President Obama’s two visits to New Delhi duly reciprocated by four visits by Prime Minister Modi to Washington, the developing shared twin strategic objectives are unmistakable. Foremost is to prevent China’s economic ascend that resides in imposing projects like Asias Investment and Infrastructure Bank (AIIB) and ‘One Belt, One Road’. The second purpose seems an attempt to isolate Pakistan through conduct of clandestine operations by Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), United States, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), India and National Directorate of Security (NDS), Afghanistan as well as direct action. The recent developments including arrest of RAW and NDS agents in parts of Pakistan, the U.S. drone strike in Balochistan, Kabul’s unprovoked ablaze on Pakistan border security forces, and the U.S. failure to act against TTP (Fazlullah) despite repeated reminders underscore the unfolding game. Part of this blueprint aims to subvert Beijing’s entry into Indian Ocean through China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and economic stability of Pakistan.


During his address at the Naval Commanders’ Conference in October 2011, A.K. Antony, the then Indian Defence Minister, stated that the Indian Navy has been mandated to be a ‘net security provider’ to island nations in the IOR. On May 23, 2013, the Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh noted that India was well positioned to become a ‘net provider of security in the country’s immediate region and beyond’.


The title so conferred by the country’s apex political leadership was dutifully carried forward by the Indian Navy. In the ‘Indian Maritime Security Strategy’ of October 2015, Indian Navy accordingly boasts of earning national and international recognition. The Indian Navy has been entrusted with the ‘overall maritime security including coastal and offshore security’, notes the document. It then goes on to identify features that have shaped the new strategy. ‘The steady increase in the Indian Navy’s operational footprint across India’s areas of maritime interest, with a growing cooperative framework and contributions as a ‘net security provider’ in the maritime neighbourhood, including deployments for anti-piracy, maritime security and HADR operations’, is listed as one such feature.


But the flip side of Indian maritime build-up and ambitions is less than comforting. In January this year a total of nine incidents of armed robbery against ships were reported in Asia. Of these, six were directed against ships anchored in the coastal waters of India. The six incidents took place on both the western and the eastern seaboard of the country. Five attacks of armed robbery were directed against ships anchored in the Gulf of Kutch and Kandla (Gujarat coast), roughly 300 NM south-east of Karachi. One incident was reported against a ship anchored off Visakhapatnam on India’s east coast. All six incidents are believed to have taken place during hours of darkness. The perpetrators approached the ships, engaged in theft and in some cases, physically assaulted the crew. In at least three of these incidents, theft of stores onboard was reported as well.


If seen in isolation, the incidents may seem insignificant but certainly magnify given the professed maritime aspirations of the country. It is a sobering reminder of the need for India to review its oversized maritime ambitions. Blemished by several major accidents in recent years and unable to ‘secure’ country’s coastline, becoming ‘net security provider’ and ‘regional anchor’ for the broader Indian Ocean may be a pipedream if not a fanciful illusion. There is a yawning gap between Indian maritime ambitions and capabilities that needs to be plugged first before self bequeathing status like ‘net security provider’.

 

The writer is a freelance journalist. He frequently contributes on maritime security and other national issues.

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07
November

Written By: Zainab Javed

In a global discourse, Pak-Turk relations have become a popular narrative, especially across social media. As recognized years ago by our founders, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and Mohammad Ali Jinnah, Turkey and Pakistan complement each other’s national policies and ideologies and in recent times they have shown great sympathy and support for one another. Both nations have been forthcoming despite the 3,238 kilometers that geographically separate them. This bond can be attributed to more than just religious and cultural similarities, some linguistic overlaps or the shared love for good desserts and stagy television. In fact, the two brother nations have proven to be of service to each other multiple times over the past decades. More than anything it is instinctive and instrinsic acceptance for one another that has aligned the people of Pakistan and Turkey for long. The regard these nations hold for one another can be genuinely felt, as in my own case; when you find yourself surrounded by people who do not speak your language, do not dress in your clothes or even dine the way you have known, but still you somehow find yourself instilled with a sense of belonging.

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As Turkey gains popularity as a favourite tourist destination worldwide, to Pakistan it gains recognition as a brotherly state. With more students now choosing Turkey as an academic abode and more people finding it a suitable place to pursue careers; the number of Pakistanis living and visiting Turkey is now more than ever. While we are more than accustomed to the love we feel for our Turkish brothers and sisters and the fascination for their culture and values, here is a look at what people from different walks of life in Turkey have to say about Pakistan. As they share their encounters with Pakistanis and their opinions on Pak-Turk relations, ponder over the little details that pivot the current relationship between Pakistan and Turkey.

 

Sinan Mavi (Student)

sinan.jpgPakistani people are very kind, friendly, thoughtful and the ones to identify with us. I like the bond our nations have and the Pakistani lifestyle. I think that Pakistan and Turkey share similar social structures, traditions and a common belief in freedom and independence. The latter are very important to both nations and our histories hold proof of that. Owing to the similarities of traditions, thoughts and lifestyle, one can predict closer relations between Turkey and Pakistan in the future. In a global context, countries that complement each other’s political and economic interests are automatically aligned; which is what I see for our two nations. As the world polarizes, we can expect Pakistan and Turkey to end up in the same fold in the future.
 

Derya Dogur (Architect)

derya.jpgPakistan is a country that has much in common with Turkey. Both nations have suffered common pains and so we understand each other better on those sorrowful days. We also have similarities in food, family relations and various traditions. Pakistan is home to very colorful and diverse traditions, cities, landscapes, people and even clothes. This complex culture is what makes Pakistan so appealing. As far as I can recall both countries have been friends and have always stood by each other in difficult times. They have stood side by side on both good and bad days. I hope and I know that the relations with a foundation so great will only grow and become more and more beneficial for both parties. With the world globalizing, it is easier to maintain relations over distances and so it has become more common to establish friendships, communicate with and meet Pakistani people while being in Turkey. Pakistani people that I have got a chance to know have all been kind, helpful and intellectual.
 

Zeynep Elif Yelken (Student)

zeynap.jpgI used to live in a small town in Turkey where I did not get the chance to meet many Pakistanis until I joined university. Since the freshman year I met a bunch of Pakistanis who all seemed to be active in academic courses as well as social activities. It seems as if they were exposed to opportunities to socially and intellectually develop themselves back in Pakistan and I am glad to have found such company here in Turkey. Personally, I do not know much about political and state relationships but as far as the people are concerned, there might be some cultural and social barriers and some aspects that both countries could work on but altogether Pakistan can be seen as a sincere friend of Turkey to walk down these paths with.
 

Özlem Yeter (Student)

ozlem.jpgI only got to personally know Pakistanis once I started studying at my current university and one thing I observed right away and grew to adore was the sense of togetherness that they have. They make it a point to know almost every other Pakistani on campus and they spend all their time together. They truly support each other and they know how to have fun together. Turkish and Pakistani people are very much alike in certain cultural values; we all like to share and offer one another the food we have, we like to spend time together, to invite each other to our places and so on. I cannot tell much of a difference, putting the language and culinary aspects aside. I have come to know many Pakistanis; some have shared their special cup of tea with me and some have made me their famous biryani. Some even brought me their traditional clothes, introduced me to their traditional henna designs, music, dances and the strong bonds they hold. I see now that different motherlands or languages are not barriers. I wish there were more opportunities for Turkish people to meet Pakistanis and see what a beautiful thing it is to form bonds with people from miles away. I hope the friendship between these two nations stays as strong as it is now. Turkey will always stand by Pakistan as a brotherly nation.
 

Huseyin Abi (Taxi Driver)

husyen.jpgI personally enjoy Pakistani weddings very much. The colorful clothes, especially those of the bride and groom, and the extensive use of gold has always been a fascination to me. Their food is always the most wonderful part of the weddings though. With the songs and preparations, the entire saga of Pakistani weddings is something that I have come to love. I used to have a Pakistani friend who was a surgeon. I had met him at a hospital and we became friends and since then I grew to love Pakistani people. They are truly hospitable, warm hearted and sincere people who take care of each other.
 

Elçin Kutluca (Student)

elcin.jpgAs a Turkish citizen, I can easily say that Pakistan is our brotherly nation in every meaning of the word and sentiment. Since the establishment of Pakistan, both countries have extended support to each other during the most difficult of times. A story I recall is that of when Turkey was fighting the ‘War of Independence’; the Turkish army was in a critical situation and it struggled with finances as expenses peaked, given the circumstances. In that time of need, our brother Pakistan started sending us help and there are incidents narrated of Pakistani women having sold their jewelry to raise money for our support. I cannot put my feelings into words when I hear of these acts of love and compassion. Likewise when a dreadful earthquake hit Pakistan, at the time I was in elementary school, I personally remember putting together monetary aid and food to send to them. I could not have known then that I was helping the country that would soon be that of my life partner. Yes, I am engaged to a loving Pakistani guy. This bond makes us two people and one soul just like Turkey and Pakistan; two nations never to be separated. To sum up; Jeevay Jeevay Pakistan, Jeevay Jeevay Turkey! Zindabad Pakistan, Zindabad Turkey!
 

Canol Teber (Student)

canol.jpgBeing close friends with many Pakistanis in my university, I see how great of a people Pakistanis are with their rich culture and hospitality. We Turks in general see Pakistan and its people as our friends, and I see a bright future for the relations between Turkey and Pakistan. Love the biryani by the way!
 

Yeşim Kümbet (PhD Student and Project Assistant)

yesen.jpgAs a child I would walk through Cinnah Caddesi while on my way to Kugulu Park and I was always curious about the name of the street. Although initially I supposed it was a Turkish word, I soon learnt that Muhammad Ali Jinnah was the founder of Pakistan, and it made me happy to know we had an avenue named after him. Being a student at the Middle East Technical University I was fortunate enough to meet and get to know several international students and I can truly say that among my foreign friends, the Pakistanis are the kindest and friendliest. The Pakistani nation is in the hearts and minds of Turkish people and I think that Turkish-Pakistani relations are deeply rooted in the history of these nations and how they have continually extended support to one another during difficult times. We hold respect for each other’s history and identity and I have come to realize that Pakistani people also love and support Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. I am not only surprised but also take great pride in the honour my Pakistani friends have shown for Ataturk. An opinion I hold of this nation based on my interactions with Pakistani people is that it has fostered brilliant, strong and successful women. Malala is one commonly known figure of bravery and perseverance but the ideology runs throughout I believe. The cultural, political and military relations between the two nations are very strong but perhaps the same cannot be said for our economic relations, which I hope can be strengthened in the near future. I hope these brother countries continue to show support for each other as they have done in the past.
 

Esra Darici (Language Instructor)

esra.jpgI have been teaching Turkish to foreign students for a while now and the Pakistani students are always a very special group among the entire class. Their smiling faces are forever a fond memory. All my Pakistani students have proven to be friendly and positive individuals and their presence in class is made noticeable by how much more enjoyable they make the lessons. I am greatly drawn to their adherence to their traditions and culture which they always carry with them; the lovely colorful clothes, traditional dances and also the difficult language, Urdu.
 
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07
November

Special Report by: Asif Sohail

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Pakistan Army hosted and organized the first ever International PACES Competition-2016 in the historic city of Lahore in which armies of 14 friendly countries participated in a six-day event. Presence of hundreds of foreign athletes was a remarkable reflection of their solidarity not only with the Pakistan Army but with the people of our beloved country. While addressing the graceful closing ceremony of the event at the Fortress Stadium on October 23, COAS Gen Raheel Sharif said, “Today Pakistan stands more integrated with rest of the world than ever before.”


It was a packed-to-capacity house at the Fortress Stadium where General Raheel Sharif delightfully announced that the First International PACES Competition had been a great success and resolved to hold such events in future as well which he hoped would see even larger and more diverse participation. He also thanked the participating army teams of the foreign countries for their active participation in the event. “Your presence is a mark of our everlasting friendship. I earnestly hope that your stay in Pakistan has been comfortable and you will carry pleasant memories back home,” he said.

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Physical Agility and Combat Efficiency System (PACES) of Pakistan Army has been designed to demand and generate a high level of combat efficiency which is essential for the challenges of modern warfare. In recent years it has proven its effectiveness, particularly during the ongoing war against terrorism. General Raheel, in his address, also commented, “Operation Zarb-e-Azb is an example of War for Peace which is bringing stability and prosperity to Pakistan and the region. Our troops confronted insurmountable challenges that called for extreme endurance and constant vigilance. Our success against terrorism owes immensely to the physical strength and mental robustness of our officers and men. This coupled with sincerity of purpose and clear direction contributed heavily towards fortifying their will and morale during intense and demanding operations. Today, our brave men can tell the world with pride that by eliminating terrorist networks from the far reaches of Pakistan-Afghan border, an environment of peace and prosperity is flourishing. Having overcome the heartless enemy, we are set to march forward on the road to progress”.

 

pakpaecdfscompt2.jpgThe First Day: First International PACES Competition-2016 commenced amid a graceful opening ceremony which was attended by a large crowd at the Ayub Stadium on the morning of October 18. Commander Lahore Corps Lt General Sadiq Ali declared the PACES Competition open. All the participating teams joined a Flag March Past, followed by Army’s regimental troupes, representing all provinces of Pakistan including Gilgit-Baltistan and Azad Kashmir, which presented traditional folk dances on the tune of famous regional songs and a spectacular demonstration by the Pakistan Army band which won thunderous applause from the audience. Armies from Bahrain, Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Maldives, Malaysia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Turkey and England actively participated in the March Past. The most impressive and heart-touching gesture was demonstrated by Chinese and Turkish soldiers who showed their sincere and lasting friendship with Pakistan by holding their own as well as Pakistani flags during the March Past.


In the afternoon, Army teams from all participating foreign countries contested in the category of Pull-Ups on the opening day at the Ayub Stadium Cantonment. It was a wonderful occasion to watch as athletes engaged themselves in a highly charged but disciplined contest to outshine others. However, soldiers from People’s Liberation Army (China) and Pakistan Army excelled and brought laurels for their countries. China’s First Sergeant Zhang Qi completed 71 Pull-Ups while Pakistan Army’s Sepoy Zubair scored 67 Pull-Ups in two minutes time. A Chinese Lance Corporal lagged behind with just one completing 66 Pull-Ups to get the third position.


Second Day: The 3.2 kilometer Race was the main event contested on the second day of the PACES Competition. A total of 326 enthusiastic athletes who were divided into five groups took part in the Race which started from Askari-10 near the Allama Iqbal International Airport and ended at Ayub Stadium Cantt. Throughout the route of the Race the athletes were warmly greeted by school children standing on the road sides holding large welcome banners and waved flags of the participating countries.


Ibrahim Hikmat Khalil of Jordanian Army won the Race covering 3.2 kilometer distance in 9 minutes and 38 seconds. Pakistan Army’s Sepoy Mohammed Naveed got second position who took 9 minutes and 43 seconds to reach the distance. People’s Liberation Army’s (China) Zhu Kang Xiang took 9 minutes and 46 seconds to reach the destination.


Third Day: The day belonged to Pakistan Army whose jawans outshined their competitors convincingly in the Sit-Ups category at the Ayub Stadium Cantt. A total number of 325 athletes belonging to Army teams of 15 countries participated in the contest. They were divided into six groups and each of them joined a rigorous display of resolution and endurance during the 30 minutes time allotted. Nevertheless, Pakistan Army soldiers outshined them and established their supremacy taking first three positions. Sabir Hussain completed 2076 Sit-Ups in the allotted 30 minutes time to grab the first position. Sepoy Mohammed Faisal completed 2061 and Mohammed Niaz with 2034 Sit-Ups got second and third positions respectively.


Fourth Day: Pakistan Army maintained their winning streak as they grabbed first two positions in the Push-Ups category contested at the Ayub Stadium Cantonment. A total number of 325 athletes belonging to 14 armies across the globe contested in the Push-Ups category. They were divided into eight groups. Pakistan Army jawans grabbed first two positions with superb display of their amazing stamina and endurance. Mohammed Faisal got the position completing exactly 1400 Push-Ups in thirty minutes. Though Ibrar Hussain was far away from him but his 1368 Push-Ups earned him the second position. People’s Liberation Army’s (China) Zhang Qi remained third with 1322 Push-Ups. Fourth and fifth positions also went to Chinese Army. The visitors from Beijing Huang Wi Dong with 1294 Push-Ups and Long Ying Hong with 1214 got fourth and fifth positions respectively.

 

pakpaecdfscompt3.jpgFifth Day: People’s Liberation Army (China) won all three top positions in the Combat Efficiency Test (CET) category of the Competition held at the Mehfooz Shaheed Garrison.


CET was the ultimate test of endurance and agility of soldiers belonging to fourteen different countries which was not only the essence but the most interesting category contested in the whole event. The competitors were given a gruelling task to reach and hit the target, covering a 165 square meter area, in the minimum possible time. From the starting point to the end, the soldiers were required to negotiate 11 different obstacles including a zig-zag run, jumping a 9 meter ditch, casualty evacuation to a safe place, crawling through a 20 inch high barred trench, carrying an ammunition box, grabbing the weapon, throwing a grenade to clear the area before firing five shots at the target.


Huang Lei completed the whole contest in 50.40 seconds. He was followed by his team mate Sun Deng Feng who took 51.89 seconds. Third position also went to the Chinese soldier Wang Jianhe who consumed 52.13 seconds.


The soldiers of participating countries praised the physical fitness of Pakistani soldiers. Robert Prince of England said, “Pakistan Army’s patron of physical training is exemplary. Though we could not win in any category but we learned a lot from the PACES Competition,” he said. Col Asfaq of Bangladesh Army said, “participation in the PACES Competition is an unforgettable and great learning experience for our soldiers. PACES Competition has made us realize how valuable is fitness and agility for the present day soldiers. I hope that it would help in enhancing our physical fitness and combat agility to match the world standard,” he further said. Col Ashfaq shared that he and his soldiers would carry sweet memories of their comfortable stay and warm hospitality back home. People’s Liberation Army’s (China) Mache Vi said, “PACES Competition has strengthened mutual love and friendship between our two countries.”


Sixth Day: Thousands of enthusiastic athletes belonging to all genders and age groups participated in two separate 3.2 and 2 kilometers Mini Marathons which was the last event of the First International PACES Competition-2016 that concluded on October 23.


Over three thousands ran for 3.2 kilometers category Race which started from Askari-10 and ended at the Ayub Stadium Cantonment. Most of the participants were youngsters and middle-aged men. Some old but fervent athletes also participated in the Race which amused the foreign athletes. One of the participants bought a Nike shirt and trousers for the race on Saturday night. “Marathon is always a fun race and I wanted to enjoy it to the fullest,” he said. Wahid Ali ran barefooted. “I feel easy that way,” he asserted and got first position in the Children category. However, Professor Mohammed Rafiq was the oldest runner in that category.


Participation of over twelve hundred women and children added glamour to the Race. They ran for a 2 kilometers Race that started from the Lahore Garrison Golf and Country Club to end at the Ayub Stadium. Eight years old Toheed was the youngest runner of the Race who thought: “I am a tortoise running amongst the hares. Slow and steady wins the Race”


The presence of Lahorites who turned up in huge numbers to show their solidarity with Pakistan Army and to pay homage to the visitors who passionately participated in the 6-day competition and the Mini Marathon, refuting the claims that Pakistan was unsafe for international sports. They lined up along the 3.2 kilometers Race route to cheer and encourage the runners waving flags and raising slogans. The organizers of the Race had set up few stalls where mineral water bottles were available for the runners.
At the end of the Race, Inspector General Training & Evaluation Lt General Qamar Javed Bajwa, who was the chief guest at the occasion, distributed prizes among the winners.


At the end of PACES Championship, Pakistan Army was declared the Champions of the First International PACES Competition-2016. People’s Liberation Army (China), Sri Lanka and Nepal got second, third and fourth positions respectively. Pakistan Army’s Mohammed Faisal was declared fit-of-the-fittest athlete of the competition.


The organizers were aware of the importance of the mega event and had made excellent arrangements for holding it in a befitting manner. They had attached army officers as translators with the participating teams which made media’s job easy. General Raheel also appreciated the arrangement and successful holding of PACES event. “On behalf of Pakistan Army, I once again extend my gratitude to the delegates for their participation and my compliments to the organizers, especially, IGT&E and Commander 4 Corps for holding this international event in a praiseworthy manner”.

 

Results:
Children aged 9 to 12: Wahid Ali (Ist), Shoaib Ali (2nd), Saif Ali (3rd)
Boys 12-18: Maroof Younis (Ist), Farrukh Bashir (2nd), Nadeem Abbas (3rd)
Gents 18+: Sohail Ahmed (Ist), Tariq Mehmood (2nd), Hari Kymar Rinal (3rd)
Girls 12-18: Tehreem Alam (Ist), Javaria (2nd), Turab Zahra (3rd)
Ladies 18-35: Farhat Bano (Ist), Rabia Ashiq (2nd), Samabia Noureen (3rd)
Ladies over 35: Mrs Maqbool (Ist), Dr Fatima (2nd), Tahira Yasmeen (3rd)

 
07
November

Written By: Shahid Javed Burki

Most Pakistani specialists writing about the state of the country’s economy and its future prospects mostly deal with the present. Their emphasis is on the problems the country faces at this time and what needs to be done by the government to deal with them. This was also the focus of the quarterly reports issued by the International Monetary Fund when the country was subject to periodic reviews by the Washington-based agency. By and large the IMF was satisfied with the handling of the economy by the current set of managers. It was pleased that the Pakistani economy had pulled out from the plunge it took during the tenure of the government that held the reins of power from 2008 to 2013. The quarterly tranches of the program negotiated in July 2013 a couple of months after the present government took office continued to be released. The completion of the arrangement was an achievement since several previous IMF programs were canceled after the release of a few installments. There are, therefore, good reasons why policymakers in Islamabad are happy at what they have achieved in the three years they have been in power. The Fund expects that in the next few years the rate of economic growth could approach 5 per cent a year.

 

It is my belief that the country can do much better than implied in the analyses by the IMF. With good management and some luck it could begin to approach the rates of growth that have become common for the nations of the Asian continent. History is both a guide as well as a pointer to the future. Looking at it that way leads to the type of analysis economists call “path dependence”.

My approach in this essay will be different. Rather than focusing on the present I will read the past; by looking at the 70-year old history of the Pakistani economy, I will draw some lessons that could be applied to the future. It is my belief that the country can do much better than implied in the analyses by the IMF. With good management and some luck it could begin to approach the rates of growth that have become common for the nations of the Asian continent. History is both a guide as well as a pointer to the future. Looking at it that way leads to the type of analysis economists call “path dependence”.


What does Pakistan’s rich economic history tell us about the present as well as the future? Looking at the past we notice several attributes that have enormous relevance for the making of policy for the future. First, the country and its people have shown great resilience and fortitude in dealing with a series of problems that have hit them repeatedly. pakeconomy.jpgMost were successfully dealt with and in the way they were handled left deep impressions on the state of the economy. Second, policymakers often chose easy ways to find the resources needed to grow the economy. Third, they found it hard to break from the past when sustained progress could only be ensured by moving along different paths. Fourth, those in power often did not appreciate the opportunities available outside the country. Fifth, the policymakers did not fully factor in their country’s enviable location in thinking about the future. Sixth, not enough attention was paid to making the country’s rich human resource; an important determinant of economic growth and social betterment. And seventh, the country’s rich agricultural endowment was not used to produce rapid economic growth and increase exports. Long treaties can be written about each of these attributes; I will, however, cover them quickly and briefly.

 

According to estimates by the World Bank, water productivity is very low in Pakistan. The institution measures it in terms of what it calls “crop-per-drop” according to which Pakistan produces one dollar worth of output per cubic feet of water compared to two dollars for India, four for Indonesia, nine for China and 93 for Germany. Significant changes in the pattern of cropping could measurably increase productivity and increase the country’s export earnings.

There is very little recognition about the exceptionally difficult circumstances in which Pakistan was born almost 70 years ago. The country had nothing: there was no capital city, no government, no currency, no central bank, not much of a banking sector, very little industry, and great deal of poverty. On top of all this, eight million refugees, mostly destitute, arrived from India. They had to be accommodated in a population reduced to only 24 million as a consequence of the departure of six million Hindus and Sikhs who left for India. When Pakistan took its first population census in 1951, one out of every four of its citizens was born outside the country. Human history has no other example of the absorption of so many by so few. And yet this was done within a matter of months.


But there was more to come. India, Pakistan’s sibling state, made it hard for the new, predominantly Muslim state, to stand on its economic feet. New Delhi refused to release to Pakistan what were called the “sterling balances”. This was the amount of compensation London agreed to pay the Indian colony for contributing to the war effort. Pakistan’s share was left with India since Karachi, the country’s then capital, did not have a central bank to receive the amount. When Pakistan had made the needed arrangements, New Delhi under Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru refused to send the money across. It took a visit by Liaquat Ali Khan, Pakistan’s prime minister and Ghulam Muhammad, minister of finance and intervention by Lord Louis Mountbatten and Mahatama Gandhi before the amount owed to Pakistan arrived in Karachi. This story is well told by the historian Stanley Wolpert who has written extensively on various aspects of South Asia’s history.


But the Nehru administration went even beyond to hurt Pakistan. It cut off the supply of electricity to Lahore that was partly depended on a coal-fired plant that was now on the Indian side of the border. It began to reduce the flow of water into Pakistan from the canal headworks that were now in India. The final blow came in the 1949 when India declared a trade embargo to punish Pakistan for not devaluing its currency with respect to the United States dollar as was done by all other members of the British Commonwealth. “India will not pay 144 of its rupees for 100 of those of Pakistan,” said Sardar Vallahbhai Patel, the powerful home minister in the Nehru cabinet, and closed the border with its neighbor.


Thus jolted Pakistan began the search for external support to purchase the goods and commodities it needed to work its economy. Two things happened to assist the country in its time of need. The Korean War that began in 1950 and lasted for three years created a large demand for some of the commodities Pakistan had in surplus: jute, cotton and leather exports shot up. Additional export earnings could be spent on the critically needed imports. The second development was the realization by the United States that it needed to work with other nations to stop the advance of Communism into Europe and Asia. The Korean War stopped the Communist advance at the 38th Parallel that became the border between North and South Korea. The war was won by the United States with the help of a dozen and half members of the United Nations. With that as its experience, Washington launched other multilateral defense agreements.


Pakistan became an active member of two of the three organizations sponsored by the United States – the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) and the Southeast Treaty Organization (SEATO). Thus allied with the United States, Pakistan received large doses of economic and military assistance. Much of the economic miracle of President Ayub Khan when the gross domestic product increased at the rate of almost 7 per cent a year was supported by American aid. The rate at which the Pakistani economy expanded was twice as that of neighboring India. Two other periods of high rates of growth followed in the 1980s and 2000s and both were aided by foreign capital flows. A pattern had been set: for Pakistan to grow its economy it needed external capital flows. Pakistan has found it difficult to reduce the dependency on foreign aid. Economic performance depended on the content of foreign policy. This twinning had enormous consequences for the way Pakistan developed. A fundamental reform of fiscal management is needed to have Pakistan rely more on its own resources for developing the economy.


Development thinking in Pakistan has never recognized its enviable location. The country sits on top of India and also is a link between China and the energy rich countries of the Middle East. To the north are five landlocked countries of Central Asia with large land masses, small populations and enormous mineral wealth. Peter Frankopan, in his work on this region, paints well its importance. “It is a region characterized in western minds as backward, despotic and violent… For all their apparent ‘otherness,’ however, these lands have always been of pivotal importance in global history in one way or another, linking east and west, serving as melting-pot where ideas, customs, and languages have jostled with each other from antiquity to today. And today the Silk Roads are rising again – unobserved and overlooked by many.” The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is a part of this adventure.


Connecting the country to these asset-rich places was never thought of as one of the major determinants of economic growth. This has happened only very recently with the last year launch of the Beijing funded CPEC. Recently there has been much talk about Pakistan’s isolation. It is correct to worry about this but breaking out of it should mean more than courting the West. It should include a rethink of relations with Central Asia. A very rough calculation suggests that properly executed over a decade, the CPEC could add a percentage and a half points to the country’s GDP growth by 2025.


Pakistan’s demographic problems are well known as is the failure of the past governments to commit much to developing the large and growing human resource. The population is poorly educated and poorly trained. Since it is very young – half of Pakistan’s almost 200 million people are below the age of 23 – turning public attention to them would create a potentially rich human asset. My rough estimates indicate that in the megacities of Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad-Rawalpindi some 75 percent of the population is below the age of 23. This is a highly restive segment of the population that needs to be catered for with some urgency. To use a cliché: Pakistan needs to develop the human resource on a war footing, with full engagement by both the public and private sector.


Agriculture is another ignored asset in the country. Pakistan has the largest contiguous irrigated area in the world. It was initially developed by the British in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to provide food grains to the food short areas in the east of its Indian colony. That objective was obtained and once the virgin lands of the Punjab and Sindh were in full production, famines in East India were largely controlled. But Pakistan has remained stuck in this history. It has not used its water resources to full advantage. According to estimates by the World Bank, water productivity is very low in Pakistan. The institution measures it in terms of what it calls “crop-per-drop” according to which Pakistan produces one dollar worth of output per cubic feet of water compared to two dollars for India, four for Indonesia, nine for China and 93 for Germany. Significant changes in the pattern of cropping could measurably increase productivity and increase the country’s export earnings.


These then are some of the features that should figure in the badly needed growth strategy. This should be based on self-reliance; use of the country’s location to better interact with the world outside; improve the quality of the human resource so that the youth can feed into the development and modernization of the economy, and tap the vast potential of the sector of agriculture sector. There is no reason why such a strategy will not help Pakistan to achieve the “miracle rates of growth” attained by so many countries in Asia. But this will happen only with good economic governance.

 

The writer is a former caretaker finance minister and served as vice-president at the World Bank.

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1 Peter Frankopan, The Silk Roads: A New History of the World (London, Bloomsbury, 2015) pp. 511-513.
 
07
November

Written By: Brigadier (R) Syed Wajid Raza

Pakistan and China’s proverbial friendship crosses another monumental landmark. The people of both the nations jubilantly recieved the news that the first ever CPEC-specific Chinese convoy has completed its journey from Xinjiang to Gwadar. This is the first drop of heavenly blissful rain of hope and prosperity. The CPEC is a shining glitter that will cover the skies of regions across Asia, Africa, Europe and beyond. Pakistan sees CPEC as corridor of peace and prosperity by binding regional countries together to bring about an economic transformation through enhanced connectivity and become a major arbiter to placate the superpower rivalries and promote trade cooperation among the regions. This is a daunting task that demands a matching sagacity, commitment and national resolve.


Recent years have seen a profusion of domestic discussion on economic road map connected to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Pakistan’s geographical advantage has been a source of Beijing's commitment to connect China by land with Europe, Africa, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. Chinese premier Li Keqiang proposed conversion of former Silk Route into Maritime Silk Road in May 2013 during his visit to Pakistan.

 

rolloingwhell.jpgBeijing’s transnational economic narrative rests on its policy of connectivity “One Belt, One Road (OBOR)”, envisioning three corridors passing through northern China linking Europe through Moscow, Helsinki, Rotterdam and Berlin. Central corridor is to connect China with Central Asia and eventually with Europe. The southern corridor passes through Chinese Xinjiang autonomous territory in northwest of China and passes through Pakistan till Gwadar and that connects it with sea routes in all directions. (Map 1).


The estimated cost of CPEC is approximately U.S. $75 billion, out of which U.S. $46 billion would be spent on Pakistan. In bilateral terms, the investment portfolio is more than four times compared to total U.S. economic aid to Pakistan in the post 9/11 years.


Geo-strategic importance of Pakistan impacts upon its geo-political significance due to influence on geographic factors of the state power, international conduct and advantages it derives from its position; making it junction of great powers of South Asia, West Asia and Central Asia and a way from resource efficient countries to resource deficient countries of the region. According to Stephen Cohn “While history has been unkind to Pakistan, its geography has been its greatest benefit. It has resource rich area in the north-west, people rich in the north-east.”


China needs energy resources, food and minerals; particularly for its land-locked Western China, which is not possible without altering geographical barriers necessary to connect China physically with giant markets of Asia, Europe and Africa. China in its own part is 4500 km away from Xinjiang compared to the distance of 2500 km from deep waters of Gwadar Port.


The CPEC shall have three corridors (eastern, central and western alignment) within the territories of Pakistan. The eastern alignment for example would pass through remote region of Gwadar, travel Makran Coastal Highway (eastwards towards Karachi), interior Sindh and connect southern, central and northern regions of Punjab before reaching Islamabad. Regional connectivity with India would be possible (if it happens) through the Hyderabad-Mirpur Khas-Khokhrapar-Zero Point link and the Wagah border in Lahore.

 

rolloingwhell1.jpgThe corridors from Islamabad onward extend to Haripur, Abbottabad and Mansehra, a portion would run through Muzaffarabad, however main alignment connects Khunjerab through Diamer and Gilgit areas in northern Pakistan. The corridor runs through the Pamir Plateau and Karakoram Range after connecting especially constructed nodes to link all provincial capitals.


The western alignment would be running through Khuzdar and Dera Bugti in Balochistan, districts of Southern Punjab and D.I. Khan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. A link from Taxila through Peshawar to Torkham would connect Jalalabad in Afghanistan with additional regional connectivity links through Chaman to Afghanistan and Iran through Quetta Koh-e-Taftan.


The CPEC would offer Central Asian regions the shortest route of 2600 km as compared to Iran’s 4500 km or Turkey’s 5000 km. In geo-economic terms CPEC would facilitate China with crucial links for transporting oil and gas from the Persian Gulf and minerals and food from Africa, besides opening opportunities for Gulf States and Africa to lift trade and business.


The connectivity is critical phase of the project; implying infrastructure development of 3000 kms road and 1800 kms of rail linking Kashgar in China’s western Xinjiang region with the port of Gwadar in Balochistan, with a network of oil pipelines, an airport and railway station in Gwadar, a string of energy projects, special economic zones, dry ports and other setups capable of creating more than two million jobs and reduce demand-supply gap in energy-starved Pakistan.


The South Asia is one of the world’s least economically integrated regions; plagued by conflicts to have kept its focus on “zero-sum geo-strategic posturing” rather than recognizing the benefits of integration. The southern corridor can bring greater cohesion in South Asia to serve as a driver of connectivity between South Asia and East Asia to benefit China, Iran, Afghanistan, and stretching all the way to Myanmar.


China faced with strategic issues in South China Sea and eastern seaboard needs alternative trade routes for the Middle East, Africa and Europe. CPEC affords China an alternative trade route, cutting distance and time from the present long and slow 10,000 km by ship from the Persian Gulf through the Strait of Malacca in the eastern seaboard of China taking approximately 10 days for Chinese shipments to reach the waters of Gwadar and few more days to various destinations along the Indian Ocean.


Through Malacca Strait, China imports 80% of oil and desperately needs a safe passage in the Indian Ocean to avoid its vulnerabilities in the Strait of Malacca controlled by India. Reduction of the Chinese reliance on the Malacca route is important being a potential flashpoint of blockade by the United States Pacific Command (USPACOM) in periods of major hostility.


The geographical disadvantage of landlocked West China region being home to Chinese Uyghurs and hotbed of East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) is becoming an instrument of instability for Chinese integrity. CPEC is therefore seen as addressing intricate issues of Chinese internal stability through much needed economic revival.


The strategic initiatives however are fraught with challenges in the rebalancing Asia. In the rebalancing environment of Asia, the position and postures of most southern countries would be determined by the growing threats of terrorism, regional conflicts and Indo-U.S. venture of containing China. Therefore, the challenges of rebalancing would confuse most key players to respond on factors of diplomacy, politics, security and economy.


CPEC would be facing political and geopolitical challenges (especially due to foreign powers), for example: unrest in most districts of Balochistan, and, Indian concerns on the alignment of routes in Azad Kashmir etc. Russia is under sanctions over its disputes with Ukraine. There are civil wars in Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq. Other countries that the OBOR initiative is supposed to connect have been subjected to political instability, international sanctions, or both. CPEC would be faced with exploitable domestic, regional and international interests and therefore, Pakistan needs defining in narrow terms scenarios to be envisioned more broadly that could impact the project.


The domestic consensus building is important during every phase of project development as simmering domestic political disagreements can be a factor shaping position and postures on this initiative. There is also a need to address growing skepticism amongst the international strategic community as many mega projects in the region have been mired in security problems and political disagreements.


Pakistan has a history, where numerous opportunities of "turning points" in the past were missed. In the early 1960s Pakistan was doing so well that economists predicted the country to be one of the future leading economic powers of Asia. The gains were reversed after two wars and after the abandonment of free market policies that were replaced with inefficient, corrupt and badly managed socialist model in 70s.


The Pak-Iran pipeline is on hold, the World Bank-backed Central Asia to South Asian electricity transmission and trade project has to contend withpassage and security issues in Afghanistan and Pakistan. There are serious regional and international interests attached to these projects.


India apprehends presence of Chinese at Gwadar to checkmate their economic aspirations and maritime expansion. India contemplates that corridor would strengthen Pakistan and increase China's geopolitical and economic influence in the region. India has expressed its frustration frequently and therefore danger remains if India could succeed in creating a security situation for Pakistan through its agents. The capture of Indian officer serving for RAW speaks volumes of Indian negative intentions.


Western and regional countries may not be comfortable with the prospects of the corridor with Chinese presence at Gwadar Port for two reasons: one; they may not have interest in fostering greater Chinese independence of energy supply, and, fear of hampering smooth supply of oil to West through Gulf in case of crisis. Pakistan needs to secure its own national interests by becoming a diplomatic balancer, ensuring that its own economy doesn’t get trampled beneath.


The biggest challenge to the corridor can be foreign incited and funded threats of extremism, separatism and terrorism. Ostensibly, the deployment of terror network all along the corridor from the Chinese Xinjiang into Pakistani territory upto Gwadar cannot be a coincidence. There is growing evidence of foreign sponsorship and presence of hostile intelligence agencies in making it “terror ground” to disrupt the projects in the corridor.


The security of project is a critical issue, to be guarded from the spillover effects right from the outset. Pakistan Army has raised two Special Security Divisions (SSD) for the security of corridor: A sum of USD 250 million is kept for security needs of the project. SSD would be in addition to 8,000 security personnel already deployed by Pakistan’s security forces to protect 8,100 Chinese working on about 210 projects across Pakistan.


Pakistan’s capacity to handle such a mega project would confront another challenge. In the absence of experts, the project can confront governance issues, being complex in our case due to corruption, dysfunction and incompetence of Pakistan's governing structures and rampant culture of patronage. These problems for instance are reflected in the domain of transportation system in terms of trucking, rail services, port activities, pipelines, and related operations requiring trucks (especially long-haul trucks), railway stock, ships, airplanes, and all of the parts, maintenance, fuel, and servicing needed to keep them all operating.


It requires high level of skill, extensive international networks, and a huge amount of experience to tackle the challenges of operating and managing transport and logistics across the CPEC region. This is to be viewed in the context of Pakistan International Airlines, which has exaggerated grotesque figure of employees per aircraft; one of the highest rates in the world and railways is in shambles.


According to Anatol Lieven, professor at Georgetown University in Qatar and a visiting professor at King's College London, "Pakistan needs a huge outside investment in infrastructure to complement Chinese investment in order to boost outside confidence, raise indigenous tax-collection to a respectable level and technical base in order to benefit from the project."


All governments of Pakistan have suffered from chronic failure to raise taxes, currently there is barely 10 percent of GDP and lowest tax-collection ratio in Asia. Pakistan’s state-owned banks and industries are under influence and often used as a source of political patronage. Pakistan’s financial institutions are constrained to deal with highest profile institutions related to OBOR, most notably the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), the New Development Bank (formerly “BRICS” Development Bank), and the Silk Road Fund, seen otherwise to fill a gap of multilateral agencies and compensate China’s lack of voice in existing multilateral institutions such as the World Bank, IMF, and Asian Development Bank.


The CPEC initiative will undoubtedly bring various parts of Pakistan closer together through physical, psychological, economic, cultural, and political linkages. It will improve infrastructure in places that need it and promote economic development along the way. However, the success of CPEC is connected with the government’s and institutional capacity and overall governance of project, implying dealing with intricate national security issues, forging domestic political consensus, safeguarding Pakistan’s industrial sector and above all preventing negative geopolitical influences in the region. The question however remains: is governance by chance or by choice? In presence of such challenges national unity and consensus is of vital importance.


We have a ‘Game Changer’ at hand and we must change the Game!

 

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1The concept of connectivity under OBOR: Southeast Asia: Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, Vietnam South Asia: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka. Central and Western Asia: Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan. Middle East and Africa: Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Yemen. Central and Eastern Europe: Albania, Belarus, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia. Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Ukraine.

 
07
November

Written By: Zarrar Khuhro

“The old is dead, and the new cannot yet be born.”
(Antonio Gramsci)

Say what you want about the Cold War, it was at least a time of relatively certainty. Lines were clearly drawn, alliances were well-defined and the world was divided neatly into first, second and third categories.


And while there were wars, coups and massacres, the world remained frozen in place for the most part with superpower rivalry being the main geopolitical driver.


But all things must come to an end and so did the Cold War, with the following thaw ushering an era of relative flux where the triumphant U.S. sought to enjoy the spoils of war while other nations sought to adjust themselves to the New World Order – some with more success than others.

 

thesumonal.jpgWhile the United States looked around for the next great rival to define itself against, no real contenders showed up until the geopolitical earthquake of 9/11. The events of that fateful day plunged the world into the so-called War on Terror, embroiling the U.S. into a conflict in Afghanistan and then into the disastrous neocon adventure that was the occupation of Iraq. While these wars did indeed shatter what remained of regional order, especially in the Middle East, they also distracted the U.S. from completing what would later be called the ‘Asian Pivot’, a realignment of forces towards the Pacific in an attempt to contain and curb an increasingly prosperous and assertive China. Now, with the U.S. virtually divorced from Middle Eastern affairs (after having effectively plunged the region into a mini world war), it is free to focus on China and the East – though China has indeed taken advantage of the breathing space the War on Terror afforded it. So with what seems like a new system of alliances emerging, what is Pakistan’s place in the world? Admittedly this is a vast topic and one better suited for a book, but one shall attempt to cover as many bases as possible in this piece.


The Way of the Dragon
Before we examine what CPEC means for Pakistan-China relations, we have to understand what this project, and the larger One Belt, One Road (OBOR) project that it is a part of, means for China.


Let’s start with what then-president Hu Jintao called the ‘Malacca Dilemma’ back in 2003. He referred to the Malacca straits, a narrow 850km stretch of water between the Malay Peninsula and Sumatra – a crucial maritime thoroughfare through which about 80% of China’s oil imports have to pass. In the event of a blockade in these straits, China would face a crisis of great proportions given the lack of a viable alternate sea route to provide the massive amount of energy that China needs.


Then we must turn to the increasingly contentious South China Sea, where an arbitration council recently gave a ruling against China’s claims on this body of water. Here we see Japan, South Korea and other littoral nations, backed by the U.S. both diplomatically and militarily, opposing China’s claims. Undeterred, China is going ahead with a variety of measures such as the deployment of naval assets and the construction of artificial islands that could potentially serve as naval staging posts. However, in the unlikely event of a military confrontation, China will certainly find herself outgunned just as it finds itself relatively cornered diplomatically. Granted the Phillippines president Duterte seems to have flipped to China, but whether that results in an actual realignment remains to be seen.


All this points to the need for an alternative trade route or series of routes, and that’s where OBOR comes in. Here we have two major components: the Silk Road Economic Belt, roughly analogous to the ancient Silk Road, and the Maritime Silk Road – anchored by naval bases in friendly countries, stretching from China’s coast all the way to Africa. Where CPEC comes in as a 3,000 kilometer long corridor linking the Belt and Road.


But that’s just one part of the picture. OBOR also aims at creating a network of regional economies that will be, to one extent or another, dependent on the Chinese economy and thus politically tied to Beijing. Once complete, this network will also provide immense diplomatic dividends to China, as nations whose economic well-being depends on China will be inclined to lend it support in diplomatic forums.


Yet another reason for OBOR’s importance to China is purely domestic. China pulled off one economic miracle in the recent past, lifting some 800 million people out of poverty, but maintaining that prosperity entails finding work for Chinese industries which are increasingly operating below capacity. Moreover, China faces the issue of increasing domestic economic inequality and must now transfer resources from its prosperous coastal areas to the relatively underdeveloped hinterland in order to stave off discontent that could potentially destabilize Beijing. CPEC in particular aims to do just that, by turning the remote area of Kashgar into a trade hub.


Thus, we see that OBOR represents for China the solution to various strategic, diplomatic and economic issues and that its importance is nothing short of paramount. It does not then take a great deal of imagination to recognize that Pakistan’s importance to China has also increased manifold – something that is reflected by increasingly close ties and coordinated diplomatic support. The Chinese have also become uncharacteristically active in their outreach of late, with the Chinese embassy issuing statements and data on CPEC in an apparent attempt to address domestic Pakistani concerns and the Chinese ambassador to Pakistan Sun Weidong also recently met PTI Chairman Imran Khan where CPEC was the main topic of discussion.


At the same time, we see increased jockeying for influence between China and India when it comes to the Maritime Silk Road, with both countries actively courting littoral states to try and draw them into their respective orbits.


Early last year Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi signed several deals with Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena in what was billed as Modi’s first ‘big ticket achievement’ in the diplomatic field. For China this was something of a reversal of fortune, as the previous Sri Lankan president, Rajapakse, had pointedly increased defence cooperation with China, which funded the construction of a port in Colombo and also provided soft loans for a variety of infrastructural projects.


The tiny island nation of the Maldives is also being similarly wooed, with China said to be interested in building a port in the Southern part of the country – the Laamu Atoll – which India fears could be used to host troops and naval assets. China is already providing funding for the expansion of Maldives’ international airport, all of which is happening despite Maldives’ stated ‘India-first’ policy, and there are concerns in New Delhi that Maldives may be slipping into the Chinese orbit. One should of course note that the Indian Navy has maintained a presence in Maldives since 2009, and that the country’s former president, Mohamed Nasheed has been outspoken about his country’s increasing closeness to Beijing, in an attempt to curry Indian favour.


Armed with these examples, we now have a suitable context to examine Xi Jinping’s recent visit to Bangladesh, the first by a Chinese head of state in 30 years. During this ‘milestone’ visit deals worth over $21 billion were signed, which was in addition to previous multi-billion dollar investments made by Chinese companies in Bangladesh. China is Bangladesh’s biggest trading partner with trade crossing $10 billion and Bangladesh is already a major buyer of Chinese weapons, second only to Pakistan according to a study by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

 

Another misstep by India that has yet to be sufficiently exploited is its open endorsement of Baloch insurgent groups which have declared CPEC as a prime target. That’s a move sure to invite Chinese chagrin, especially if Chinese nationals are targeted in Pakistan and is certainly a point Pakistan can use diplomatically. Moreover, a somewhat less explored area is how Iran, which is concerned with possible separatist feelings amongst its Baloch population, is viewing this Indian declaration. Certainly there too is a possible schism in Tehran’s relations with New Delhi that can be exploited.

Naturally, this is ringing some alarm bells in India which fears that China may thus gain access to the Bay of Bengal. However, geography dictates that Dhaka will remain closer to New Delhi while also taking advantage of Chinese largesse.


While Bangladesh will not be spinning out of the Indian orbit anytime soon, it does give an indication of the shape of Beijing’s OBOR-linked diplomacy and its attempts to curtail Indian influence.


The importance of this outreach is magnified when we consider that India is also attempting to make similar inroads in China’s sphere of influence, as evidenced by the Malabar naval exercises held with the U.S. and Japan in the Philippines Sea this year and India’s stance on the South China Sea arbitration council ruling.


As New Delhi moves more firmly into its strategic alliance with the United States, one can expect more countermoves from Beijing, but given the massive trade volume between India and China one should not expect push to come to shove anytime soon and nor should Pakistan take Chinese support for granted. After all, the business of China is business and the stated Chinese policy is to emphasise economic development over military confrontation – something we could stand to learn from. As a case in point, take the Bangladesh example; China did not recognize that country in 1971 and opposed its entry to the United Nations but now, spurred by its own interests, is no longer looking at Dhaka through a Pakistani prism.


The Russian Enigma
Beaten and bruised though it may have been, the Bear is back – sort of. For decades, a supine Russia shorn of its Soviet Empire watched haplessly as NATO expanded ever closer to Russia’s borders and former client states and allies defected to the West.


A pushback was inevitable, as even a casual reading of Russian history would tell us and a pushback – from Ukraine to the Crimea and all the way to Georgia – is what we are seeing.


Taking advantage of the United States’ relative disengagement from the Middle East, Putin has recently sent what is Russia’s largest naval deployment since the Cold War to aid its ruthless campaign in Syria – which has already effectively become a proving ground for Russian arms technology and tactics.


Engaged in an alliance with Bashar-al Assad and Iran, Russia has now become one of the main power brokers in the Middle East – a considerable irony given the new era of U.S.-Iran cooperation that the Iran nuclear deal was supposed to usher in.


Another component of Russian strategy is to stymie the U.S.’ ‘Asian Pivot’ by forging closer ties with China, something that became rather evident when Russia and China staged joint naval exercises in the South China Sea in September this year.


But at the same time, the U.S. is becoming closer to countries that were previously considered close Russian allies, such as India – which has also prompted a pushback from Moscow.


It is in these contexts that the recent improvements in Pakistan-Russia ties should be viewed. Make no mistake, Moscow and Islamabad moving closer in recent years is a break from their historic Cold War hostility. This is evident by a number of factors above and beyond the recent Druzhba-2016 military exercises held between Russia and Pakistan. While these have been billed as the ‘first-ever’ such exercises, one should bear in mind that Russia has held two previous naval exercises – Arabian Monsoon 2014 and Arabian Monsoon 2015 – with Pakistan, though the Druzhba exercises are more significant in that they are ‘real’ military exercises involving combat troops.


Nor is this exercise the only example of growing Russo-Pakistani ties; in 2014 an agreement on military technical cooperation was signed and the Russian-Pakistani Consultative Group on Strategic Stability is very much functional. Also, when Russia was imposed an embargo on food supplies from the West in 2014 in retaliation for sanctions imposed over Ukraine, Pakistan stepped in to take advantage of the vacuum by enhancing food exports to Russia. Another move that has slipped under the radar is the construction of a North-South gas pipeline between Russia and Pakistan with an estimated cost of $2 billion and an expected annual capacity of up to 12.4 billion cubic meters of gas. Work on this project, a partnership between RT Global Resources, a subsidiary of Russia's state technologies corporation Rostec, and Pakistani Inter State Gas System, has already begun. And then there is of course Russia’s support for Pakistan’s membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.


In and of themselves these projects and liaisons are not earth-shattering, but viewed in the backdrop of the previously contentious relations between Pakistan and Russia these are indeed significant.


Here one must also bear in mind that for Russia, Indo-Pak relations are not a zero-sum game. Russia’s historic ties with India will certainly be maintained and Moscow – which essentially has only weapons and energy to offer – will not miss out on the chance to get a slice of the lucrative Indian defense market for Pakistan’s sake. Take for example, the multi-billion dollar defense and energy deals recently signed by Indian PM Modi and Russian President Putin.


Viewed on a larger canvas, Russia’s burgeoning ties with China – and by extension, Pakistan – are also diplomatic bargaining tools in its relations with the U.S. and India. Nevertheless, the openings that have been made in relations with Moscow are positive and should be further developed without regard to Russia’s relations with India. Indeed, we should take pains to not emulate the increasingly shrill and unrealistic tone adopted by Indian diplomats in their rather unsuccessful attempts to ‘isolate’ Pakistan.


A Game of Chess
While a chessboard is black and white, we must bear in mind that the world we live in is defined by shades of grey. A world in flux is one in which adaptability is a key survival trait for any nation, and especially for one positioned as complex as Pakistan.


Given that our strategic outlook is largely determined by a seemingly unending confrontation with a much larger neighbour, we need to avoid the trap of engaging in an ultimately self-defeating arms race. Indeed, to hearken back to the Cold War, it is this very race that eventually doomed the USSR. While it is tempting to view the world primarily through a security lens, one cannot escape the corollary that a strong defence is impossible without a strong economy, and that in turn is impossible without a strong educational and social base.


When it comes to the field of diplomacy, the temptation to view relations with other countries, whether neighboring or otherwise, purely through an Indian lens (a local variant of ‘you are with us or against us’) must be avoided at all costs. Indeed, we need to take advantage of miscalculations made by India and in fact exploit those miscalculations. Take for example India’s comically failed attempt to use BRICS as a platform for Pakistan-bashing, something that even sections of the usually shrill and jingoistic Indian media reluctantly admitted. While India overplays its hand by raising the issue of terrorism and Pakistan at fora where such talk is politely ignored, Pakistan can and should present itself as a state keen to do business with others and act in a responsible manner.


Another misstep by India that has yet to be sufficiently exploited is its open endorsement of Baloch insurgent groups which have declared CPEC as a prime target. That’s a move sure to invite Chinese chagrin, especially if Chinese nationals are targeted in Pakistan and is certainly a point Pakistan can use diplomatically. Moreover a somewhat less explored area is how Iran, which is concerned with possible separatist feelings amongst its Baloch population, is viewing this Indian declaration. Certainly there too is a possible schism in Tehran’s relations with New Delhi that can be exploited. Of course, this is not enough in and of itself and must be matched with developing closer economic ties with Iran as well, and CPEC gives us the opportunity to do just that. Iran has already expressed its desire to participate in CPEC, something that has been welcomed by China, and has taken pains to stress that the Chabahar project is not meant as a rival to Gwadar. Whether or not that is true, Iranian frustration with what they see as the slow pace of the Chabahar project is increasingly evident. Here, one advantage we can leverage is Pakistan’s rather deft avoidance of getting entangled in the Saudi-Iran proxy conflict that is raging across the Middle East.


For the purposes of brevity, a detailed analysis of Pakistan’s relations with Afghanistan and the U.S. has been omitted, but suffice it to say that the same pragmatic approach that we need to adopt in our relations with other countries applies here as well. In the emerging multipolar world, the old dictum that states have no permanent friends or enemies, only permanent interests, holds truer than ever.

 

The writer has worked extensively in Pakistan's print and electronic media and is currently hosting a talk show on a private TV Channel.

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07
November

Written By: Dr. Minhas Majeed Khan

The former Indian Ambassador to the U.S., Arun K. Singh remarked in 2015 to a gathering in the U.S.:


“America has its idea of Exceptionalism. We also have a notion of Indian Exceptionalism.” He further said, “India has realised that its partnership with the U.S. is the most important. India’s strategic policy is driven by its development needs and no, India has not abandoned the concept of strategic autonomy.”1


In the above statement, two significant terms – ‘Indian Exceptionalism’ and ‘Strategic Autonomy’ are the focus of this article. The current aggression of India against Pakistan and these remarks demand an analysis of India’s hegemonic designs and its aspirations to dictate regional and global policies. While India has yet to achieve its dream to become a ‘global hegemon’, it is striving hard to manipulate regional affairs in its favour and hence influence regional politics. Of the regional countries, Pakistan is one that India has always seen as a threat despite Pakistan’s multiple attempts to bring India to table to resolve bilateral issues for the peace and prosperity of not only the region but the world at large, keeping in view that both are nuclear states. India on the other hand is “obsessively campaigning across the globe to have Pakistan recognised as a ‘rogue terrorist state’ and subsequently isolated” whereas, portraying itself as a thriving democracy with Modi’s slogans, such as equality for all. His statement during the election campaign to adopt a muscular policy towards Pakistan reflects this mindset. Modi and RSS with a history of Hindutva never accepted the very existence of Pakistan. These are dangerous developments, however, within India Modi’s opponents see him as a ‘demagogue’ and ‘hatemonger’ for his discriminatory domestic and foreign policy.

 

It is a fact that India has always ignored the concept of neighbourhood, taking into account, its relations with most of its neighbours. At the same time it wants to dominate the policies of major powers that want an enhanced level of interaction with Pakistan. India’s opposition to CPEC is an attempt to hamper economic development of the region, which is in sharp contrast to regionalism. Modi and RSS ideology is not only intensifying communal violence and anti-Muslim activities within India which is gross violation of human rights but his aggressive foreign policy will also destabilise the fragile deterrence stability in the region.

To begin with, the idea of American Exceptionalism, has ‘gone viral as it serves for the most part as a term of polarisation that divides liberals from conservatives’. American Exceptionalism refers to the theory that the U.S. is qualitatively different from other nations with a special role based on liberty, egalitarianism, populism and laissez faire, to lead the world. Walt described this as: “over the last two centuries, prominent Americans have described the U.S. as an ‘empire of liberty’, a ‘shining city on a hill’, the ‘last best hope of earth’, the ‘leader of the free world’ and the ‘indispensible nation’. Adherents of this ideology hold an ingrained belief that “the country’s unique geography and place on historical timeline endows its leadership with the right to proselytise (even militarily, if needed) its governing, economic and social models all across the globe.”


Taking a note of the above quote of the Indian diplomat, it is important to understand how Indian Exceptionalism is defined. Mahajan explains Indian Exceptionalism or Indian model of Exceptionalism as one that accommodates and respects cultural, religious and language diversities and ensuring that minorities have freedom to live in accordance with their cultural and religious practices.

 

It is high time that the international community intervene and send a strong message to India to abandon its irresponsible behaviour, which has put regional peace and security at risk. More importantly, the international community should take the hyperbolic statements of Modi and his hawkish officials, like Dovel, seriously. It is very unfortunate that Modi who was once not authorised to enter the U.S. because of his brutalities in Gujarat, is now acceptable to the U.S. The U.S. should assert itself and pressurise India being a strategic partner to resolve not only Kashmir issue amicably but also take notice of the human rights violations in India under the International Religious Freedom Act (1998) and put India on the list of Country of Particular Concern (CPC).

The debate is not whether Exceptionalism may fit in well with the U.S. or not, but to examine whether India under Narendera Modi truly upholds this idea and will act as a responsible ‘international stakeholder’ according to the U.S. definition of ‘international stakeholder’. Particularly so when none other than the U.S. itself has commended Indian Exceptionalism. Modi’s poll slogan “sabka saath, sabka vikas” (harmony for all, development for all) was endorsed by Secretary of State John Kerry when he visited India in July 2014. However, Gujarat under his Chief Ministership and Indian Occupied Kashmir under his Premiership present a different picture about the secular credentials of India.


Interestingly, Amartya Sen views Modi’s understanding and pledges of economic development as wrong, because for him, development is a process in which human beings are at the centre. Sen opposed his election as the Prime Minister for the persistent Hindutva element in his agenda. It can be argued that Hindutva in terms of religious dominance over political decision is a reality in India under Modi despite the fact that India claims to be a secular state.


According to Human Rights Watch’s World Report 2016, even when the Prime Minister was celebrating democracy abroad, back home civil society groups and government critics faced harassment, intimidation and lawsuits. Modi’s government, despite its pledges, failed to improve respect for religious freedom, protect the rights of women and children and end abuses against marginalised communities. Particularly Muslims and Christians were harassed, threatened and in some cases attacked by right-wing Hindu fringe groups.

 

themystindia.jpgIt is also important to mention here that Modi and RSS ideology has not only alienated Muslims, Sikhs, Christians and Dalits but is also one of the reasons of the growing Nexalite insurgency in India. It is also denying the right of self-determination to Kashmiri people by abrogating Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, which would merge Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK) into the Indian Union. Having said that, one cannot forget the recent atrocities in IOK where since July hundreds of Kashmiris have been martyred, hundreds of others injured and young girls and women were raped.


The general perception in India about Modi is that he would divide and damage India because of pursuing RSS agenda. It was also acknowledged by Christophe Jaffrelot, who is an expert in extremism in South Asia, that even though Modi may have emancipated himself from RSS high command, yet “Modi may well do anyway what the RSS has wanted to do for decades because he is perfectly in tune with their ideology”.


The person behind India’s aggressive policies based on RSS ideology is Ajit Doval, the most powerful National Security Advisor who pushed for India’s abandonment of ‘non-alignment’ policy in favour of ‘multi alignment’. Having abandoned its geopolitical tradition with a change in India’s strategic calculations, Modi is all set to partner with the U.S. keeping in view that the common factor behind this alliance is China. The bilateral relations between Russia and India are closer, “yet disturbingly, so too are India’s ties with the U.S., which have been advanced at the obvious expense of China’s security.” It is the palpable Sinophobia that is pushing India to interfere in the internal affairs of China. It is accused of extending visas to some political figures that are supporting Uighur terrorist movement and other anti-Chinese groups from Xinjiang, Inner Mongolia and some pro-democracy groups to attend gathering of anti-Chinese separatist and regime change groups.


Various scholarly writings point out the innate double standards of India, justifying its ‘multi-alignment’ for its closer relations with the U.S. but at the same time it warns its multipolar partners in BRICS from adopting a ‘multi-alignment’ approach towards Pakistan. It is easy to understand that India’s harsh language is not just reactionary rhetoric towards Pakistan, but has broader significance for major powers and in present scenario – Russia and China. India is indicating that its bilateral relationship with each of the two will be irrevocably marred if they continue their strategic relations with Pakistan. This is where India is flaunting its Exceptionalism and Strategic Autonomy.


Korybko presents Indian Exceptionalism and Strategic Autonomy case by arguing that for diplomatic reasons and to save its international image India will ‘plausibly deny’ but it is leading the hybrid war on CPEC, the $46 billion Chinese-led investment corridor through Pakistan and Beijing’s only reliable non-Malacca route to the Indian Ocean, in such an obsessive and aggressive manner that it has come to fully dominate the country’s regional policy. International observers were also stunned by the reports of prominent Indian news channel CNN-News 18 that claimed that Russia had decided to snub Pakistan due to the Uri attack and had cancelled the joint military exercise “Druzhba-2016," with Pakistan, as a sign of solidarity with India. It was a major international embarrassment for India because the news proved baseless and its strategy to diplomatically isolate Pakistan fell flat. Despite Indian Ministry of External Affairs suggestion to cancel it, Moscow went ahead with the planned joint military exercise. It did not stop there; India has once again conveyed its opposition to Russia over its joint exercise with Pakistan.


It is important to mention India’s joint military exercise with the U.S. in the Himalayas within close proximity to the Chinese border, which is not seen as a problem by its leadership. Surprisingly, India applies ‘Strategic Autonomy’ to itself only but opposes when Moscow practices it as part of its military diplomacy and wider balancing act in Asia which, therefore, makes this double standard the defining characteristic of ‘Indian Exceptionalism’.


Taking an account of the Uri Attack, which occurred before the 71st opening of the UN General Assembly, India crossed the limits of international norms. To counter Pakistan’s stance on Kashmir, India raised the issue of Balochistan at the UN to harm Pakistan’s image globally posing its geopolitical stratagem under the cover of ‘democratic-humanitarian concern’. The naivety exhibited here is that Balochistan is entirely a domestic issue for Pakistan, but Kashmir is an agenda of the UN with various resolutions behind it to which India has blatantly refused to act upon. India also decided to pull out of the SAARC Summit in Islamabad. Bangladesh, Afghanistan, and Bhutan joined India by announcing not to attend the summit. It is not only a blow to the concept of regional integration but also hampers cooperation among regional states – all because of Indian aggressive designs.


It is an open secret that India is sponsoring Baloch separatism in Pakistan. The arrest of RAW chief operative Kulbushan Yadav in Quetta and his confession is but one instance of Indian involvement in the unrest in Balochistan. Pakistan had shared three dossiers containing evidences of Indian role in fuelling terrorism in Balochistan, Karachi and Tribal Areas of Pakistan to the U.S. and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. India was hoping that its strategy of diatribes and fierce information warfare at the UN will isolate Pakistan but it abysmally failed. Pakistan’s position on Kashmir was supported by OIC, Iranian President Rouhani who also agree to work together with China and Pakistan on CPEC and recently by Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev in Baku – a humiliating blow for India.


Another major embarrassment was India’s misleading claim to have conducted surgical strikes. Infact India committed a ceasefire violation by resorting to unprovoked firing at some border point, which was responded effectively but two soldiers were martyred in Indian mortar shelling. However, the lies were exposed before the world as the United Nations told that its mission tasked with monitoring the LOC “has not directly observed” any firing along the LOC. While much has been said and written about the Indian lie, mentioning a report published in a Japanese magazine, ‘The Diplomat’ is very important that reported that the Indian Army does not possess the capability of surgical strikes inside Pakistan.


To conclude, India without any doubt is pursuing a policy of Exceptionalism and Strategic Autonomy. It is a fact that India has always ignored the concept of neighbourhood, taking into account, its relations with most of its neighbours. At the same time it wants to dominate the policies of major powers that want an enhanced level of interaction with Pakistan. India’s opposition to CPEC is an attempt to hamper economic development of the region, which is in sharp contrast to regionalism. Modi and RSS ideology is not only intensifying communal violence and anti-Muslim activities within India which is gross violation of human rights but his aggressive foreign policy will also destabilise the fragile deterrence stability in the region.


It is high time that the international community intervenes and sends a strong message to India to abandon its irresponsible behaviour, which has put regional peace and security at risk. More importantly, the international community should take the hyperbolic statements of Modi and his hawkish officials like Doval seriously. It is very unfortunate that Modi who was once not authorised to enter the U.S. because of his brutalities in Gujarat, is now acceptable to the U.S. The U.S. should assert itself and pressurise India being a strategic partner to resolve not only Kashmir issue amicably but also take notice of the human rights violations in India under the International Religious Freedom Act (1998) and put India on the list of Country of Particular Concern (CPC).


For Pakistan, it is important to invest in lobbying abroad to counter India’s venomous anti-Pakistan rhetoric. It is now more important that Pakistan should strengthen its economic and strategic relations not only with China, Russia and other neighbouring countries but also with Central Asian states, European Union, African states, Latin and Central America. Finally, not to let India exploit Pakistan’s internal vulnerabilities, it is important that state institutions are explicit in their claims that they are on one page and we as a nation stand united.

 

The writer is an Assistant Professor at the Department of International Relations at University of Peshawar, Pakistan.

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

 

1 http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp- national/india-us- manage-differences- better-now- says-retired-envoy/article9142944.ece

2 http://katehon.com/article/heres-what- uri-attack- kashmir-has- do-russia- and-china

 
07
November

Written By: Brian Cloughley

There are few areas of our globe that are not in a state of tension, and almost daily there is more erosion of what tranquillity continues to survive. The relentless military confrontation of Russia and China by the United States is the largest scale threat to world peace, but other discord, contrived or inadvertent, contributes to instability and increases the likelihood of wider wars than those being waged in a depressing number of countries.


The U.S.-declared global “war on terror” begun in 2001 has mutated into conflict throughout the world, and, according to The Costs of War Project has not only resulted in the deaths of over 6,800 members of the U.S. military but also “cost the lives of over 210,000 civilians.” It notes in October 2016 that “Americans continue to serve in both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and the U.S. has been regularly bombing targets in six Muslim-majority countries — Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.” In its analyses the Project does not include the US-NATO war in Muslim Libya, reduced to a catastrophic shambles in which fanatics of the Islamic State terrorist organisation are now based, as they are in every other country that has been subjected to U.S. military action.

 

theroadtowar.jpg

Media cover in India was united in unqualified acceptance and approval of the “surgical strikes” story, and much reporting could be fairly described as overexcited to the point of being emotionally incontinent. This could be expected on some of the less responsible of the TV channels, and sections of the press, but extended to newspapers usually regarded as being objective.

The blow-back effects of such interference have included incalculable but obviously significant growth in anti-U.S. sentiment in the Muslim world and, of even more concern, a decrease in regional stability combined with a massive refugee problem which affects Europe but not the United States.


So far in this century the consequences of wars have been entirely negative. They have caused the deaths of countless innocent, destroyed national infrastructure to the extent that it may never be possible to restore it, and been disastrous in disruption to the lives of millions of ordinary people. It would therefore be most unwise of any country, with such examples in mind, to take any action that might lead to a conflict that could increase in intensity to the point of disaster.


Yet after the 18th September terrorist raid on an army camp at Uri in Indian-administered Kashmir, India appears to have taken a policy decision to confront Pakistan relentlessly and uncompromisingly, to the point of threatening major military action. The overwhelming national feeling in India is massively against Pakistan, and the government in Delhi has been under enormous pressure to actually go to war.

 

And one should therefore reflect on the findings of researchers from Rutgers University, the University of Colorado-Boulder and the University of California, Los Angeles, that after a nuclear exchange about 21 million people in the sub-continent would die within the first week from blast effects, burns and acute radiation. The final consequences are incalculable.

There have been many such instances in the past that have involved accusations by India that Pakistan has been actively involved in terrorist attacks in India, but although it is undoubtedly a fact that perpetrators of some of these had indeed been based in Pakistan, there is yet to be evidence produced that they had been sent to commit their outrages by anyone in authority in Pakistan.


Certainly the Indian media, fed by the usual “well-placed sources” which may or may not have had official blessing, convinced the country’s entire population that Pakistan as a nation is without doubt to blame for the atrocities. Following the Uri incident the media swung into top gear to highlight Prime Minister Modi’s comment that “I assure the nation that those behind this despicable attack will not go unpunished,” and make it clear that “those” referred solely to Pakistan.


It has all happened before, but what is illuminating and more disturbing about the current drumbeat of war is that Indian social media is playing a major part in the Delhi government’s boosting of support for movement down the road to war, which gathered impetus after reportage of what were claimed to be “surgical strikes” on the Pakistan side of the Line of Control.


It should be borne in mind that India’s contention is that the four Jaish-e-Mohammed terrorists (and there is no doubt that the word “terrorist” is apposite) who carried out the Uri attacks must have had their movement across the Line of Control officially facilitated by the Pakistan Army; but the notion that transit is impossible without sanction or assistance was made doubtful by Delhi’s official statement a few days later that “a soldier from 37 Rashtriya Rifles with weapons has inadvertently crossed over to the Pakistan side of the Line of Control.


In any event, India claims there are bases on the Pakistan side in which hundreds of terrorists are poised to attack from “launch pads,” and that after the Uri assault “the Indian army conducted surgical strikes at several of these launch pads to pre-empt infiltration by terrorists.”

 

Given the tactics likely to be employed by India, there would almost inevitably be rapid escalation to release of nuclear weapons, and there is no possibility whatever that subsequent exchanges could in any way be restricted. Once begun, they would only intensify.

This assertion of military action was, to be kind, a trifle exaggerated. There were, indeed, intensive and prolonged artillery bombardments and small arms’ fire attacks by the Indian army, and even a couple of mild forays towards the Line in a remote area in which there is no physical barrier. But the claim that there were “surgical strikes” involving airborne troops and helicopters and bags of Bollywood Braveheart boldness is a little over the top. These didn’t happen, and there is no evidence whatever to support claims that these did.


But social media doesn’t need evidence to support any statements that appear in, on, by or through it, and it is a troubling thought that an entire country can be moved towards supporting war by frenzied denizens of the Twittersphere.


The level of what can only be called hysteria was disquieting, and the BBC reported that “#ModiPunishesPak was trending top of Twitter in India, hours after the media first reported ‘the strikes.’ The other top trending hashtags included #SurgicalStrike and #IndianArmy. A Narendra Modi fan club account tweeted a clip from a Tom and Jerry cartoon film to show India spanking Pakistan. Government supporters gushed that this was a ‘proud moment for India,’ with one Bollywood actor thanking the army for doing what India ‘should have done 30 years ago.’ A clutch of news channels were waxing delirious on how India had taught Pakistan a lesson and speculated endlessly about the details of the operation. Things were much more serious between the two nuclear-armed rivals, they say, after the 2001 attack by Pakistan-based militants (as claimed) on the Indian parliament but there was no social media then, and the calls to escalate the conflict were more muted.”


Media cover in India was united in unqualified acceptance and approval of the “surgical strikes” story, and much reporting could be fairly described as overexcited to the point of being emotionally incontinent. This could be expected from some of the less responsible of the TV channels, and sections of the press, but extended to newspapers usually regarded as being objective.


It is enlightening but most disquieting to read the tweets and public online comments in Indian newspapers advocating war on Pakistan. Those who write such frenzied exhortations in the “#PunishPak” style have no concept — not the most basic notion — of what could result from war between the two countries.


Given the tactics likely to be employed by India, there would almost inevitably be rapid escalation to release of nuclear weapons, and there is no possibility whatever that subsequent exchanges could in any way be restricted. Once begun, they would only intensify.


And one should therefore reflect on the findings of researchers from Rutgers University, the University of Colorado-Boulder and the University of California, Los Angeles, that after a nuclear exchange about 21 million people in the sub-continent would die within the first week from blast effects, burns and acute radiation. The final consequences are incalculable.


The road to war between India and Pakistan is wide and open. And it is terrifying to realise that it has been made more likely by the hysterical Twittersphere. Surely sanity must prevail?

 

The writer is a France based retired officer of Australian Army and is an expert on South Asian affairs. He is also author of different books, and contributes extensively in international media.

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10
October
October 2016(EDITION 10, Volume 53)
 
Written By: Maria Khalid
The accusatory fingers of India settled conveniently on Pakistan after an attack on Indian Army Camp in Uri, Jammu and Kashmir during the early hours of September 18. The attack happened at a time when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was....Read full article
 
Written By: Amir Zia
Plain, simple logic says that if the Indian troops carried out ‘surgical strikes’ in Azad Kashmir as claimed, Pakistan would have retaliated and immediately raised the issue internationally....Read full article
 
Written By: Taj M. Khattak
India and U.S. have recently signed a Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) which could have far reaching implications for the region in the prevailing environments of their strategic relationship. It was first proposed by Washington in 2004 but resisted by....Read full article
 
Written By: Rear Admiral Waseem Akram
India is geographically an island nation surrounded by the Bay of Bengal, the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea, whereas to its north lay the majestic Himalayan Ranges. India shares its land borders with China, Nepal, Bhutan Bangladesh, Burma and Pakistan and has unsettled....Read full article
 
Written By: Ambassador (R) Khalid Aziz Babar
THE first 32 years of Pakistan-Iran relations were marked by cordiality and friendship. Iran was the first country to recognise Pakistan and Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi was the first Head of State to visit Pakistan in March 1950. In May 1950, a treaty....Read full article
 
Written By: Ahmed Quraishi
The current Kashmir crisis has shattered every myth the world has come to know and believe about the oldest pending conflict since the Second World War. It is proven now that India does not control Kashmir and has a tenuous....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Ahmad Rashid Malik
It was predicted in the last quarter of the previous century that the 21th century would be an Asian century. The rise of Japan and other vibrant Asian Tigers made the prediction come true, while the rise of Chinese economy remained the most phenomenal component.....Read full article
 
Written By: Ghazala Yasmin Jalil
India claims that it has a flawless non-proliferation record and it should be made part of the mainstream nuclear club. It also wants a membership of the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) partially based on this “spotless” non-proliferation record....Read full article
 
Written By: Ejaz Haider
Prussian military theorist Carl von Clausewitz is famously known to have given the concept of Centre of Gravity (COG) in his On War, until recently the Bible of war theory. There’s nary....Read full article
 
Written By: Farrukh Khan Pitafi
Saint Louis (Missouri) and Atlantic City (New Jersey) both bear testimony to the far reaching and often debilitating consequences. St. Louis, the Midwestern city that once boasted of being the fourth largest American city with a population nearing a million....Read full article
 
Written By: Nadeem F. Paracha
Just as the emergence of Field Marshal Ayub Khan’s regime coup in 1958 had (initially) been popular, the arrival of the one headed by General Pervez Musharraf too was largely received with a sigh of relief and even joy by most Pakistanis. Tired of the political....Read full article
 
Written By: Brig (R) Mehboob Qadir
United Nations’ Security Council was originally designed to prevent war and provide an equitable world order. A noble mission which was soon consigned to the dustbin of good intentions as power tussle between the two super powers of the day began to assert itself....Read full article
 
Special Report By: Maria Khalid
Over the past two years, in the strategic relationship of the Ministry of Defence of Russia and Pakistan, there has been a real breakthrough. The regional diplomatic dynamics have taken a turn as U.S. grows closer to India; Russia and Pakistan are jointly.....Read full article
 
Written By: Wing Commander Haroon Kirmani
Traditionally, armed forces of a state are structured and trained to fight a well-defined adversary in a regular conflict, governed by Law of Armed Conflict applicable to the belligerents. However, when terrorism from non-state actors posed a threat to peace.....Read full article
 
Written By: Prof. Sharif al Mujahid
Addressing the Independence Day meeting on August 15, 1951, at Jahangir Park, Karachi, Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan had predicted that “if for the defense of Pakistan the nation has to shed blood, Liaquat’s blood shall be mingled with it.” Two....Read full article

 
Written By: Hadia Tariq
Qasim leaned against the water bowser behind the unit’s kitchen and stared at the small cluster of bright colorful poppies. The delicate yet strangely resilient flowers danced happily on the warm April day. Qasim had to admit he understood the....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Hania Amin
The answer is to manage it. Can we do it on our own? Definitely, it’s a manageable thing. A constant reminder to our own selves about adopting a relaxed posture, a less strained body and a smile on our face works. Stress.....Read full article
 
Written By: Omair Alavi
Whenever the loss in the final of the first World T20 would be discussed, Misbah-ul-Haq’s name would be taken in a negative way; similarly, the fans of the game would never be able to forget his slow batting in the semi-final of World Cup 2011 against.....Read full article
 
 
General Raheel Sharif, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) visited front line troops busy in operations along Pak-Afghan Border in Khyber Agency. COAS was given detailed briefing by Operation Commander on progress of operations and gains consolidated so far. Showing satisfaction.....Read full article
 
Pak-U.S. bilateral exercise “Inspired Gambit” that was held in South Carolina for 9 days concluded on September 15, 2016. The exercise was aimed at gaining from each other’s experiences in the domain....Read full article
 
Iranian Naval Ships LAVAN, KONARAK, FALAKHEN and KHANJAR arrived Karachi on a three days port visit. The visiting ships were received by officials of Pakistan Navy and Iranian diplomats. During the visit, the officers and men of Iranian Navy Ships ....Read full article
 
Pakistan Navy has inducted its 3rd state-of-the-art ATR aircraft and Scan Eagle Unmanned Aerial System in its fleet to augment effectiveness and enhance its operational flexibility and reach.....Read full article
 
10
October

Written By: Dr. Hania Amin

The question is can we get rid of stress? No!!

getridstress.jpgThe answer is to manage it. Can we do it on our own? Definitely, it’s a manageable thing. A constant reminder to our own selves about adopting a relaxed posture, a less strained body and a smile on our face works. Stress can change a person’s behavior from subtle changes to a significant psychiatric disorder. Name any mental illness and stress has a role to play in its etiology. Behavioral changes are any such changes significant enough to mark a difference in someone’s behavior or when someone is not like his usual self. Screaming can be an example of behavioral change on a spectrum which can go to severe physical aggression towards others. This brings them to psychiatric facilities. I believe gone are the days when visiting a psychiatrist used to be a taboo. If you aren’t able to manage it, help is available and accessible. Nothing stops you from seeking treatment for insomnia if you can’t avoid it. Why not accept our emotional difficulties and why wait for physical symptoms to appear before seeking help?

Here are some tips to manage stress:

Exercise

Make some kind of physical activity a definite part of your daily routine, even it is a simple 20 minutes walk or ten minutes jog.
 

Get Spiritual

Indulge in some kind of meditation. The soothing effects of spirituality and prayer is evident in lot of recent research papers. Being associated with any kind of faith and religion makes you less susceptible to daily worries and tensions.
 

Get Psychological

This includes a list of psychological strategies:

• Objectively analyze your thoughts.

• Replace negative thoughts with positive ones.

• Identify the persistent wrong ways of thinking e.g., black and white thinking.

 

Eat Healthy

Consume fresh vegetables and fruits to improve your nutrition, lose weight and naturally feel better every passing day.
 

Drink Plenty of Water

Maintain good hydration as roughly 60% of the body is made of water. Adequate and regular water consumption has numerous health benefits.
 

Adequate Sleep

Having a good night sleep is must for restoring energy and feeling good. Not getting enough sleep makes people irritable and unable to concentrate. Moreover people who don’t get sufficient sleep are at a greater risk for chronic health problems.
 

Talking to a Friend

Talking to someone who listens to your problems in a non-judgmental way is always preferable instead of keeping things inside.
 
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10
October

Written By: Omair Alavi

Whenever the loss in the final of the first World T20 would be discussed, Misbah-ul-Haq’s name would be taken in a negative way; similarly, the fans of the game would never be able to forget his slow batting in the semi-final of World Cup 2011 against India that cost Pakistan a chance to play the grand finale, and also saw India become World Champions for the second time. He remains one of those unlucky players who managed to end their ODI careers without scoring a century. However, these are the only three instances when the country hated Misbah-ul-Haq for he has returned the favor big time. He is the second captain in the history of Pakistani Cricket (after Mushtaq Mohammad) who decided to quit limited overs format for an extended Test career. Unlike Mushtaq, he has been blessed with administrators who have backed him all the way and he has helped Pakistan win matches and series where others had faltered before him. Let’s take a look at the 8 instances where Misbah-ul-Haq has made Pakistan proud by being Misbah-ul-Haq, the leader who commands respect, the Captain who is courageous on the field and the skipper no one wants to leave.

 

misbahtheeight.jpgWhen He Led Pakistan to Victory in the Asia Cup Final in Bangladesh
A struggling Pakistan side was playing the hosts country Bangladesh in the final of the Asia Cup in March 2012, nearly 20 years after winning the World Cup in Melbourne. However, the team managed to score just 236 runs for the loss of 9 wickets, due to the inept batting performance of Mohammad Hafeez who scored 40 runs off 87 deliveries. Chasing 237 to win in front of a hostile crowd and a Pakistan-hating Bangladeshi Prime Minister Hasina Wajid, Misbah and his band of brothers won the match by just 2 runs with relatively newcomer Aizaz Cheema bowling the final over. Misbah-ul-Haq became the second Pakistani after Moin Khan to clinch the Asia Cup and Pakistan came out victorious. Sadly, the host PM left the stadium as soon as the match ended and didn’t even stay back for the ceremony, proving that sore losers still exist in the sporting world.

 


When He Became the First South Asian Skipper to Defeat South Africa in an ODI Series
South Africa has always been a tough place to win for Pakistan, especially in the one-day arena. However, Misbah-ul-Haq became the first captain from South Asia to return victorious, defeating the Proteas in an ODI series, 2-1 in November 2013. Pakistan won the first match by 23 runs due to the heroics of Anwar Ali and Bilawal Bhatti who combined to score 82 runs and take 5 wickets on their one-day debut. Their all-round performance helped lay the foundation of a thrilling win in the second match where the visitors won by just one run. Misbah’s cause was helped in the second ODI by Ahmed Shehzad's century and Junaid Khan's 3 wickets that proved too much for the hosts.

 

misbahtheeight1.jpgWhen He Made the Moustache Gesture to Outgoing Coach After Defeating Sri Lanka
And then there was the thrilling encounter between Pakistan and Sri Lanka at Sharjah in January 2014. Chasing 302 runs to win in 59 overs, Misbah-ul-Haq threw his defensive strategy out of the ground and entered the 4th innings as an attacking captain. From openers Khurram Manzoor and Ahmed Shehzad who put up a century stand in the first innings to Sarfraz Ahmed who was playing for his position in the side, everyone contributed in the run chase. Azhar Ali who was making a comeback into the team took over the leading role and scored a brilliant 103 off 137 deliveries with the help of 6 fours. Along with the skipper, he added as many as 109 runs in less than 20 overs and saw Pakistan win the match with 1.3 overs to spare. Misbah scored the winning runs and then made a now-famous 'moustache gesture' for the outgoing coach Dav Whatmore, who was leaving the squad after the series.


When He Equaled the Record of the Fastest Century in Test Cricket
Misbah-ul-Haq was in the form of his life against Australia in November 2014; in the second Test of the series. He started the match with a 168-ball century against the likes of Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Peter Siddle and Nathan Lyon. But it was in the second innings that he tore away the tag of Tuk Tuk by blasting the Aussies to all parts of the ground for his 56-ball century. His partner in the run-spree Azhar Ali also scored a century in both the innings of the match but it was Misbah's 11 fours and 5 sixes that made the headlines the next day. He couldn't break the record of the fastest century but equaled the long-standing feat of Sir Vivian Richards who had achieved it nearly 2 decades earlier. The record was finally broken last year by Kiwi batsman Brendon McCullum in his final Test, but it's Misbah who should be credited for daring to go where no one had gone before.

 

misbahtheeight2.jpgWhen He Held Aloft the First Pakistan Super League Trophy as Skipper of Islamabad United
He may have scored just 166 runs in his 9 matches for Islamabad United but it rarely mattered after he masterminded their comeback in the event and ended it with winning the coveted trophy. They started the event with 2 losses – one against Quetta Gladiators and other against Peshawar Zalmi. After winning the third match against Karachi Kings, Misbah-ul-Haq was dropped and Shane Watson took over as captain but after one win against Lahore Qalandars, he too lost against Quetta Gladiators and Peshawar Zalmi. Misbah-ul-Haq returned to the side as skipper and as a changed man after Shane Watson had to leave for Australia due to injury; not only did the Islamabad United won its remaining league matches against Karachi Kings and Lahore Qalandars, they also stunned crowd favorites Peshawar Zalmi in the 3rd Qualifying Final and the tournament favorite Quetta Gladiators in the grand finale to emerge as the winners of the first Pakistan Super League.


When He Scored His First Century at Home of Cricket at 42 Years
When Pakistan Team was about to leave for England earlier this year, analysts were critical of Misbah-ul-Haq’s decision to continue despite being over 42 years old. Pakistan’s captain however was calm about the situation and told the pundits to be ready for a surprise. Not only did he manage to win the first Test against England, he managed to make his debut at the home of Cricket in style. Misbah-ul-Haq wrote his name in history books by scoring 114 runs at Lord’s with the help of as many as 18 fours. Only 5 Test Cricketers (between 1921 and 1934) had managed to score a century at over 42 that too at the Home of Cricket (only Australia’s Warren Bardsley had done that at Lord’s). Misbah made the event memorable by saluting the Pakistan Army trainers at Abbottabad Training Camp and showed them that despite scoring a century, he could do 10 push-ups as well. The act was disliked by the losing captain Alistair Cook that day and he must have been fuming when the whole team did push-ups after Yasir Shah bowled Pakistan to victory. Others also repeated the act whenever they could during the series, which might have enraged the losing side but won over the locals for good.

 

misbahtheeight3.jpgWhen He Equaled the Series Against England and Went Home With Player of the Series Award
It takes a big heart to admit your failures and Misbah-ul-Haq did that ahead of the fourth and final match of the series against England. He not only decided to back Younis Khan who was terribly out of sorts but also with Yasir Shah who was unable to repeat his heroics of the first Test in succeeding matches. He also dropped the out-of-form Mohammad Hafeez and Rahat Ali and included newcomer Iftikhar Ahmed; asked Azhar Ali to open the innings, promoted Asad Shafiq to number 3 and brought back Wahab Riaz who was axed for average performance in the first two Tests. Not only did all the players delivered when the chips were down, it was Younis Khan who stole the show with his masterful 218 runs in the first innings. Sohail Khan took 5 wickets in the first innings while Yasir Shah managed to bamboozle the hosts with as many wickets in the second innings and Pakistan won the match by a huge margin of 10 wickets. Misbah ended the series with 282 runs at an average of 40 runs per innings with the help of one century and two fifties, and was declared Player of the Series for his outstanding performance.


When He Was Handed Over the ICC Test Championship Mace in Lahore
Misbah-ul-Haq is not at ordinary cricketer, in fact he isn't just another Pakistan captain. He is the only leader to have won 22 matches for Pakistan which is more than what Imran Khan, Javed Miandad or even Mushtaq Mohammad were able to do. He took over the captaincy when the Pakistan Cricket team had lost three of its main players – Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Asif and Salman Butt – to match-fixing scandal; he had to make a team from a bunch of cricketers who didn't have much experience of international cricket. Without playing a Test match at home as captain, Misbah has achieved what many in Pakistan wouldn't have dreamed of achieving. He is the reason why Pakistan has become the ‘Number1 Team in Test Cricket’ and he is the reason why we have the reputation as the team that doesn't need home ground or support from local umpires or crowd for victory. His good work has overshadowed his negatives and the way he is moving forward, there is nothing that can defeat this resolute individual from achieving his goals. Well done Misbah!

 

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10
October

Written By: Hadia Tariq

A tale of two martyred friends who lived and fought together.

Part 2

Qasim leaned against the water bowser behind the unit’s kitchen and stared at the small cluster of bright colorful poppies. The delicate yet strangely resilient flowers danced happily on the warm April day. Qasim had to admit he understood the flowers’ joy, he too enjoyed the feeling of the warm rays of the sun on his face. The warmth of the spring sun was like a balm on a soar after the harsh winters.


It was like everything had come to life once more. The birds chirped happy songs praising Allah in their own beautiful way. Small animals had come out of their hiding places to soak up the sun. The bees were busy making honey while the ants collected food. The flowers showed off their cheerful colors. The pomegranate trees bent down with the heavy fruits, and the tall blue pines and maples stood tall and green showing off their fresh leaves.

 

thestarstira.jpgAs he closed his eyes and tilted his face towards the sky his conversation with the Commanding Officer (CO) from an hour ago rattled in his mind. His CO told him that due to the role he played in retrieving Maj Gulfam’s body and his killing of an important terrorist leader, he was to receive a war medal (Tamgha-e-Basalat) on Pakistan’s Independence Day.


With that, his thoughts turned to his family. Qasim remembered the faces of each of the members of his extensive family and thought about the sweet farewell. He was remembering the feeling of his father’s embrace when his friend tapped his shoulder and said, “It’s time!”


With a swift nod he picked up the rifle supported against the small rock and stood up. He motioned his friend to lead and followed with his head held high and an excited smile on his face. Even after so many years of duty, he still got excited about each new operation as he did the first time. May be even a bit more for he knew how good it felt to send a terrorist to hell.
***
Qasim’s jeep in which his driver, four soldiers and himself were riding formed the rear of their convoy. They had cleared a major part of the Tirah Valley in the previous months and were moving towards their next mission. They wouldn’t rest until very last one of terrorists were present on their homeland.


“Sir you didn’t bring us sweets this time,” one of the men sitting behind him complained. Qasim turned around in his seat and took note of the man’s double chin before saying, “Too much sweets are bad for you.”


“No Sir, my father says that everyone has to take medicine in old age, so why not enjoy everything in one’s youth,” the man replied with an all knowing nod of his head. This evoked a laugh from everyone in the jeep.
“And your father is a doctor?” Qasim enquired still chuckling.
“No sir, the D of doctor scares him!” The man replied with a laugh.


Qasim shook his head in amusement and was just about to say something when an unimaginable pain engulfed his entire left side and a loud blast resonated in his ear. The jeep was thrown to the right and took a few turns before falling on its side. Smell of sulfur and burning rubber filled the air and shouts and groans from the passengers could be heard. For a moment the intense pain prevented anything from making sense. It felt like someone had poured boiling acid on his left arm and leg and was stabbing the burning flesh with a salted knife.

 

thestaroftirah.jpgBut then his senses started to come back, first his hearing then his sight. In a pain induced haze he realized that the jeep's left tire had come over a hidden Improvised Explosive Device (IED). Taking a deep breath Qasim remembered that he was in charge of the jeep with five more people.


And even though speaking seemed difficult he managed to croak out a soft, “Is everyone okay?”
His breathing was becoming shallow and blood was pounding in his ears loudly but he needed to make sure his comrades were okay. He tried to move his hands but all he felt was a weak twitch on the right side which was pressed under him and extreme pain from the left side. He again tried the same approach with his lower limbs and this time the pain was even more intense. But he couldn’t be bothered by that; he needed to make sure that the others were okay.


He wasn’t sure what he said next but whatever it was it defiantly did the trick and one by one each man confirmed that they were alive. Qasim found it strangely pleasant as each man was more worried about Qasim than himself.
“Don’t worry about me, just give me the wireless set,” Qasim asked with a smile which was just as beautiful and hopeful as ever.
As soon as he had his fingers wrapped around the wireless set he called his CO and in the meantime ordered his comrades to stay alert.
“Qasim?” The CO inquired as soon as they were connected.
“Sir!” He replied squeezing his eyes tightly to stop a scream of pain from escaping his lips as his leg throbbed.
“Everything okay?” The CO enquired detecting the weakness in the single word uttered by his junior.


“No Sir, please send us a helicopter. Our jeep just ran over an IED.” Qasim explained while his vision was becoming blurry with each passing second.
What the CO said next he didn’t hear for the wireless set slipped from his hand and sleep tried to take him away. He knew he had to resist sleep for if he slept he might never be awake again. And he had to stay awake until the helicopter came and he knew all his soldiers were alright.
***
It no longer hurt; it was as if his brain had suppressed the pain. And as soon as the paramedical staff had assured him that the men with him were indeed okay, Qasim had finally allowed sleep to lure him. But unfortunately the man from the medical corp, who was sitting beside his head had refused to let him go to sleep. He had told Qasim to keep his eyes open. Qasim had tried explaining that he did want to stay awake but the sleep was too powerful. Even his tongue felt heavy. Qasim didn’t like the feeling of not being in control but right then he felt helpless.

 

His breathing was becoming shallow and blood was pounding in his ears loudly but he needed to make sure his comrades were okay. He tried to move his hands but all he felt was a weak twitch on the right side which was pressed under him and extreme pain from the left side. He again tried the same approach with his lower limbs and this time the pain was even more intense. But he couldn’t be bothered by that, he needed to make sure that the others were okay.

After what seemed like forever but couldn’t have been that long they finally reached the hospital. Somewhere in the back of his mind Qasim wanted to know whether they were in Peshawar or not. He knew his family would be informed and he didn’t want to cause them any inconvenience. As the doctor informed him that they were going to give him anesthesia he wondered how his family would react. Would they be able to deal with another loss soon after losing his mother?
***
Qasim leaned against the wall with his arms folded on his chest as he watched his old father lean down to plant a kiss on his forehead. It was a strange experience mattered his body from outside. And even though it no longer he still felt a hint of sadness when he noticed a missing limb under the blue hospital sheets. Uncrossing his legs he stepped away from the wall and stared at his reflection in a small mirror hanging beside the window.


A soft smile touched his lips when he noticed that he was still in his uniform, and though the uniform had taken a deep maroon shade due to his blood it was cleaner than ever before. A sweet fragrance filled his nose and he knew it came from him. He stared down at the green cap in his hand and very carefully put it on his head. After he was satisfied with it, he took one last critical look at himself and then pushing back his shoulders he raised his head.


Slowly walking to his side Qasim tried to place a hand on his father’s shoulder, but unfortunately he coundn’t touch him, just like his father couldn’t see him. But his father felt him for he raised his head and stared directly at him.
“Allah Hafiz Abbu!” Qasim whispered as he saluted his father for the last time.
A tear slipped his father’s eyes and descended down his cheek before disappearing in the pearly white beard. A faint smile touched the lips that had kissed Qasim’s forehead so many times as he closed his eyes and turned around to place a kiss on his son’s cannula covered hand. Qasim felt the kiss on his hand that was held to his temple and he knew that he was dismissed.


With a smile he turned to his right and came face to face with his mother who stood dressed in a beautiful white dress. She appeared younger, more radiant and beautiful than the last time he had seen her. Yet she smiled the same sweet smile she had smiled every time her eyes fell on Qasim.
“Ammi?” Qasim whispered.
“You have been so brave my dear boy,” his mother replied as she held out her hand for him to take.
“I missed you so much.” Qasim breathe out as he placed his palm on his mother’s.
“And I love you, my boy. Ammi is so proud of you.” His mother replied as she pulled him closer to her.
Capt Qasim had embraced martyrdom. His abode now was destined to be heavens.
He was now anxiously waiting for his happy reunion with his martyred friend Maj Gulfam Shaheed! Such mysterious but noble are the facets of love, comradeship and duty!

 
10
October

Written By: Prof. Sharif al Mujahid

A special contribution by Prof. Sharif al Mujahid on 65th death anniversary of Liaquat Ali Khan (1895-1951), the first Prime Minister of Pakistan

 

Addressing the Independence Day meeting on August 15, 1951, at Jahangir Park, Karachi, Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan had predicted that “if for the defense of Pakistan the nation has to shed blood, Liaquat’s blood shall be mingled with it.” Two months later, he fell to a hail of bullets in Company Gardens, Rawalpindi, with the words, “May Allah save Pakistan.” This last prayer sums up Liaquat’s obsessive concern for Pakistan which he had struggled, toiled, and died for.


Liaquat who became Pakistan’s first Prime Minister in 1947, had behind him a rich family, academic, and political background. He was born in Karnal (East Punjab) on October 1, 1895; he belonged to a family of landed aristocrats which claimed descent from Nawsherawan Adil of Iran. His education included a Bachelor degree from Aligarh (1918), a Masters from Exeter College, Oxford, and a Law degree from Inner Temple (1922).

 

liaqaialikhanoct.jpgHis involvement with legislative politics began in 1927 when he was elected to the United Provinces (U. P.) Council; he was re-elected twice (1930, 1933), became its Deputy President (1931), and, later, leader of the Democratic Party. In early 1937, he was elected to the newly constituted U.P. Assembly, and in February 1941 to the Central Legislative Assembly. For over two decades till 1947, he was associated with the Aligarh Muslim University.


His involvement with Muslim politics came in 1928 when the U.P. League recommended him for membership of the All India Muslim League (AIML) Council. He attended the Jinnah League session in Calcutta in December 1928, where he came in contact with Jinnah. In 1932 he alongwith his newly married Begum (Rana) saw Jinnah at Hampstead Heath, England; and had reportedly requested the latter to return to India from self-exile, to give a lead to the Musalmans who were divided and in disarray. His association with Jinnah would last for the next sixteen years, and with the years, he became closely associated with Jinnah.


And it was a measure of Jinnah’s sustained confidence in Liaquat that he got him appointed as AIML General Secretary at a time when he had launched upon its reorganization in 1936, and that he named Liaquat to the highest offices available within the Muslim League during the 1940s – Deputy Leader of the Muslim League Assembly Party in the Central Assembly (1943); member, Committee of Action (1943), Chairman of the Central Parliamentary Board (1945); leader of the League group in the Interim Government (October 1946), and, finally, Prime Minister of Pakistan (1947).

 

But how could Liaquat gain the confidence of a disciplinarian and exacting president, such as Jinnah was, in such measure? Because, as Jinnah himself said, while proposing Liaquat’s name for another term as General Secretary in 1943, “The Nawabzada had worked … day and night, and none could possibly have an idea of the great burden he shouldered. Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan commands the universal respect and confidence of the Musalmans. Though a Nawabzada, he is a thorough proletarian, and I hope other Nawab in the country will follow his example.”

But how could Liaquat gain the confidence of a disciplinarian and exacting president, such as Jinnah was, in such measure? Because, as Jinnah himself said, while proposing Liaquat’s name for another term as General Secretary in 1943, “The Nawabzada had worked … day and night, and none could possibly have an idea of the great burden he shouldered. Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan commands the universal respect and confidence of the Musalmans. Though a Nawabzada, he is a thorough proletarian, and I hope other Nawab in the country will follow his example.”


A study of the Quaid-i-Azam Papers and the Archives of Freedom Movement, which have become accessible to researchers only recently reveal how Liaquat worked day and night. Like Jinnah, he responded to every letter received, even those from politically non-descript individuals, and in the 1940s he literally received hundreds of letters and telegrams every month. He was responsible for implementing policies and programmes decided upon by the League’s high command; he looked after day-to-day organizational matters; he tried to keep the factious and feuding provincial leaders within reasonable limits of divergence and infighting. And during the critical 1945-46 elections, his role in adjudicating disputes and resolving differences, in keeping the League’s election machine well-oiled and in top gear, and in galvanizing the nation and the students for a verdict in Pakistan’s favour was only next to Jinnah.


It is not usually known that Liaquat had also served as a trouble shooter and shock absorber all through this period, his quiet diplomacy, unassuming demeanour, affability and easy accessibility enabling him to play this role rather superbly. Indeed, several top leaders (e.g., Nawab Ismail Khan of the U.P., Sir Sikander Hayat Khan of the Punjab, and Fazlul Haq of Bengal) sent messages to Jinnah through Liaquat – messages which they could not address direct to Jinnah for the fear of being misunderstood.


Thus, Liaquat helped to narrow down differences within the party’s leadership from time to time. He also tried to keep Jinnah abreast of subterranean differences which, if left unchecked in good time, could have well snowballed and led to serious crises. In tandem, he also tried to mollify estranged leaders or Jinnah, as the case may be, and to checkmate the differences from coming into “the open”. And by doing all this, he helped to keep the somewhat apparently “monolithic” edifice of the League leadership intact – a prerequisite so critical for success in the on going tussle against the Congress and in the struggle for Pakistan. Apparently monolithic because it was not in terms of ground reality as it usually is the case with all massive organizations in history, which Achilles’ heel of the League Ayesha Jalal overemphasizes, again and again, in her controversial work, The Sole Spokesman (1985).


In terms of his political acumen, three major events stand out. First, at the Meerut Divisional Conference in March 1939, he propounded partition as the most rational solution to India’s constitutional problem. Coming on the heels of the Sindh Provincial Muslim League Conference’s resolution of October 1938, this came as a shot in the arm to the proponents of partition, especially since, in a more concrete sense, Liaquat represented Central League’s thinking on the issue. Second, in his interview with Sir Stafford Cripps in December 1939, he proposed three options – the provincial option i.e., each province be given the option to join the Indian federation or not; a loose confederation with a limited centre; and, outright partition between Hindus and Muslims. Remarkably though, these three options constituted the basis of the three major British proposals during the 1940s – the Cripps Plan (1942), the Cabinet Mission Plan (1946) and the Mountbatten Plan (1947).


Third, in his talks with Bhulabhai Desai, leader of the Congress Party in the Central Assembly in 1944, he proposed parity between Congress and the League in any future set up at the Centre, besides coalitional governments in the provinces and they became the core points in the Desai-Liaquat formula “Pact”. This was the first time that this parity principle which the League had long demanded in any coalitional set up, but was denied, had been conceded by the Congress at any level. Once lifted beyond the pale of controversy, this key provision became the basis for the quota of seats for Hindus and Muslims/Congress and the League in the subsequent Wavell (1945) and Interim Government (1946) proposals. Thus, Liaquat’s contribution in getting the principle of parity accepted assumes a milestone status.


Jinnah was reportedly a little “unhappy” about Liaquat having contracted the “Pact” behind his back (since he lay ill at Matheran) but was fully alive to both its significance and its long term implications. He, therefore, accepted Liaquat’s “explanation” and exonerated him of any “breach of trust”, while Desai, though blessed by Gandhi in his talks with Liaquat at the time, was even denied a Congress ticket in the 1945-46 elections.


During 1937-38, Jinnah bestrode first Muslim India and then Pakistan like a Colossus; but he also knew, as The Times (London) wrote, “that his work would not last unless he taught his people to be independent of his guidance, and more and more he gave over the responsibilities of the government to the band of able men he had collected and trained”. Philip Noel-Baker, Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations (1947-50), attested to this refreshing trait in the Quaid’s supreme leadership role when he said, “His power was great, yet his greatness was that he used his power to make a team of men, who could carry on the work when he was gone.”


And that band of able men was headed by Liaquat who picked up the mantle of national leadership upon his leader’s demise. Unassuming all the time, never seeking the limelight and content to work behind the scenes under Jinnah’s towering shadow, as Liaquat was generally known to be, almost no one thought that he could bring to the fore the sort of leadership qualities which he did at the time of Pakistan’s greatest crisis which the Quaid’s death represented in her early years. But the deft manner in which he tackled problems, both internal and external, and consolidated Pakistan surprised almost everyone and won him recognition both nationally and internationally. “No one played more successfully the role of Cavour to his leader’s Mazzini”, remarked The Times of India (Bombay). And “he guided the fortunes of his country with a certainty which amounted to genius”, wrote The Statesman (Calcutta).


During the next three years (1948-51), Pakistan was confronted with some new problems, besides the old ones. First was to belie the assumption that Pakistan would collapse once she had to face the continuing partition problems by herself without the guidance of the Great Leader – the assumption that provoked Dawn to proclaim “Quaid-i-Azam is dead: Long live Pakistan”. Though by no means easy, Liaquat ably filled in the vacuum caused by Jinnah’s exit from the scene.


Second, Jinnah’s exit emboldened India to go on the offensive in a big way. Within twelve hours of Jinnah’s burial, she mounted an invasion of Hyderabad state, and had it occupied within five days. In September 1949, India imposed a trade embargo in the wake of devaluation of her currency, putting Pakistan into a serious economic strain since India was at that time the largest buyer of Pakistani jute, the country’s premier cash crop. In early 1950, the Indian Prime Minister threatened to use “other methods” and got her troops massed within striking distance of West Pakistan, in order to pressurize Pakistan into accepting New Delhi’s viewpoint on the minorities’ question. Again, in July 1951, India amassed her troops on West Pakistan’s borders. Each time Liaquat stood his ground, took effective measures to counter the Indian moves, showed courage, determination and statesmanship, and galvanized the nation as a solid phalanx.


In the meantime, he consolidated what had already been accomplished in Jinnah’s life time, enlarged upon it and carried forward the process of building Pakistan. Thus, he accomplished a good deal in making Pakistan a going concern and a growing enterprise.


Internally, Pakistan was politically stable, and, though still short of resources, economically unstable and burgeoning. Internationally, Pakistan had carved out for herself a place in the comity of nations and at the international fora; Pakistan was also courted by the big powers, as indicated by an invitation to Liaquat by both Moscow and Washington. “Three years of Liaquat Ali Khan’s leadership”, said Sir Olaf Caroe, one time Governor of the NWFP, “carried Pakistan through difficulty and crisis to the achievement of a degree of political stability rare in any democratic country … of economic prosperity beyond her rosiest dreams, and of an honoured place in the affairs of nations.”


And since, as The Times of India said, “he died in the line of duty … and fell for the country,” the Quaid-i-Millat of yesteryears became the Shaheed-i-Millat since 1951.

 

The writer is HEC Distinguished National Professor, who has recently co-edited UNESCO's History of Humanity, vol. VI, and The Jinnah Anthology (2010) and edited In Quest of Jinnah (2007); the only oral history on Pakistan's Founding Father.
 
10
October
Pakistan Navy Inducts 3rd ATR Aircraft and Scan Eagle Unmanned Aerial System

Pakistan Navy has inducted its 3rd state-of-the-art ATR aircraft and Scan Eagle Unmanned Aerial System in its fleet to augment effectiveness and enhance its operational flexibility and reach. An impressive induction ceremony was held at PNS MEHRAN. Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah was the Chief Guest on the occasion.

ATRs aircraft are modern and widely operated turboprop platforms equipped with state-of-the-art Traffic Collision Avoidance System (TCAS), auto pilot and high efficiency 6 bladed propellers. The average ground speed of the aircraft is 250 knots with an endurance of about 6 hours. Addition of the ATR Aircraft in Aviation Fleet is a giant leap forward in accelerating the capabilities of PN Air Arm which will provide a low cost solution to Maritime Operations at sea.

Speaking on the occasion, Chief of the Naval Staff said, "Pakistan Navy Air Arm has come a long way since its inception in early seventies. Induction of ATR Aircraft is a part of PN Aviation Vision 2030." He further added, "Complex and fluid maritime environment in our region requires Pakistan Navy to shoulder more challenging tasks related to Maritime Security besides, maintaining combat readiness against the traditional threats. In this regard, Aviation is undoubtedly an indispensible component of the Fleet for all envisaged tasks." The Naval Chief said that induction of Scan Eagle UAV System in Pakistan Navy ‘is yet another major transformation in terms of acquisition of new capabilities. It will definitely start a new era in PN’s operational capability by providing ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance) and variety of other tasks particularly. These UAVs can monitor entire coastline including creeks area round the clock’.

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10
October
Pakistan and Iran Conduct Joint Naval Exercise ‘Passex’
Iranian Naval Ships LAVAN, KONARAK, FALAKHEN and KHANJAR arrived Karachi on a three days port visit. The visiting ships were received by officials of Pakistan Navy and Iranian diplomats. During the visit, the officers and men of Iranian Navy Ships had professional discussions and interactions with their counterparts in Pakistan Navy on subjects of mutual interest. Moreover, operational training activities, exchange of visits by naval personnel and sports activities were also conducted. After the stay at Karachi, a Passage Exercise (PASSEX) was also conducted at sea to improve interoperability between the two navies. In line with government policies, the current visit will help promote peace and security in the region and enhance maritime collaboration between the two countries.

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10
October
Pak-U.S. Joint Exercise “Inspired Gambit” Concludes
Pak-U.S. bilateral exercise “Inspired Gambit” that was held in South Carolina for 9 days concluded on September 15, 2016. The exercise was aimed at gaining from each other’s experiences in the domain of counter-terrorism and containing the menace of IEDs. Troops from Special Services Group and Aviation participated in the exercise.

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10
October
COAS Visits Khyber Agency

General Raheel Sharif, Chief of Army Staff (COAS) visited front line troops busy in operations along Pak-Afghan Border in Khyber Agency. COAS was given detailed briefing by Operation Commander on progress of operations and gains consolidated so far. Showing satisfaction over the progress of operation, COAS appreciated the highest state of morale and professionalism shown in fighting terrorists of various organisations hiding in the most rugged terrain.newscoasvit.jpg


Clearance of mountain passes in Rajgal despite this being the most treacherous terrain, where terrorists were entrenched on the high mountain passes to stay both sides of the border, is a manifestation of Pakistan's commitment to check cross border movement and will go a long way in helping our initiative of Border Management.


COAS directed enhanced vigilance and pro-active approach to stop any type of movement of terrorists. While talking to troops, COAS said that the nation and valiant Army has paid a huge price to fight terrorism. “We will commit all efforts to clear all remote pockets and sleeper cells of terrorists till their total elimination from the country”, COAS said.

10
October

Written By: Wing Commander Haroon Kirmani

Traditionally, armed forces of a state are structured and trained to fight a well-defined adversary in a regular conflict, governed by Law of Armed Conflict applicable to the belligerents. However, when terrorism from non-state actors posed a threat to peace and stability in Pakistan, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) undertook counter-terrorism operations for the first time. Air operations by PAF against militants in FATA were first conducted in Operation Al-Mizan in 2004 on a limited scale. This short duration operation continued for about three months. It was a new experience for PAF to engage targets in such a terrain where terrorists’ hideouts and associated infrastructure presented a challenge. Non-availability of desired capabilities and lack of experience in fighting irregular warfare was another major challenge for the armed forces in general, and PAF in particular.

 

pakoffenc.jpgPAF, after realizing these challenges and limitations carved out a strategy identifying most essential capabilities that were required for successful and effective execution of counter-terrorism operations and embarked on an ambitious force modernization plan. As a result of these efforts, PAF was able to equip itself with the required capabilities and trained its personnel for undertaking these operations.


In the timeframe approaching January 2008, PAF undertook operations in support of Pakistan Army in South Waziristan under code name Operation Tri Star. By this time the enemy had become well-equipped, battle-hardened, well-funded and well settled. The terrorists resorted to ‘Hit-and-Run’ tactics, reducing their exposure time to the security forces for a planned counter attack. Post-attack response by the LEAs/security forces entirely depended on immediate available force in the proximity. PAF fighter jets provided this capability to react quickly from operational bases, reaching anywhere in FATA within minutes, and engaging militants from high altitude with pinpoint precision. One such incident was the siege of Ladha Fort in South Waziristan. PAF was called upon by the ground forces to engage militants' firing locations. As a result of PAF’s timely action, Pakistan Army was able to hold Ladha Fort with minimum losses. The militants suffered major casualties because of the lethal and precise blows delivered by PAF while assisting the ground forces in defending their positions.


In the same timeframe, PAF undertook Operation Falcon Sweep to support Pakistan Army’s various operations i.e., Operation Rah-e-Haq in Swat, and Operation Sher Dil series in Bajaur and Mohmand Agencies. In 2009, Pakistan Army with the support of PAF planned operation Rah-e-Rast in Swat area which was codenamed Operation Burq by PAF. Capitalizing on its earlier experiences, PAF destroyed and neutralized a number of militants’ command centres, hideouts, training camps, ammunition dumps, and routes and passes to block their escape to neighboring areas. After PAF's successful preparatory strikes, Pakistan Army launched its operations which ended with a timely achievement of objectives and defeat of terrorists.

 

pakoffenc1.jpgIn mid-October 2009, ahead of Operation Rah-e-Nijat, PAF engaged militants in South Waziristan on an unprecedented scale. PAF started softening up targets in South Waziristan to support subsequent operation of Pakistan Army. The high ridges and slopes in valleys, which were occupied by the terrorists and where they had developed bunkers and pickets to ambush convoys, had to be cleared to ensure safe and swift movement of the troops. During the initial phase of about five days, PAF destroyed more than 150 targets engaging training centres, hideouts, ammunition depots and command and control centres.


After Operation Rah-e-Nijat, PAF continued its operations in support of Pakistan Army; Operation Brekna in Mohmand, Operation Koh-e-Sufaid and Operation Azmara-e-Gharo in Kurram and Orakzai agencies. In addition to these operations, numerous operations of relatively lower scale were also conducted in Khyber Agency. In Operation Brekna, taking over of Walidad Top was a major event. Another noteworthy operation by our ground troops was taking over of Mira-Sar Top in a very short time.


In June 2014, Operation Zarb-e-Azb which continues till date, became a symbol of will of Pakistani nation. Coordination between PAF and Pakistan Army in this operation was a continuous process. PAF precision strikes paved way for Pakistan Army to conduct their kinetic operations with minimum losses inflicting huge damages to the terrorists. As the operation reaches its concluding phase, terrorists have been driven out of their hideouts (killed and neutralized) and our country has emerged stronger and safer from the menace of terrorism.


These counter-terrorist missions were first of a kind, conducted by an air force which bore fruit and highlighted the importance of air power in these kinds of operations. PAF’s involvement in these operations and the results it achieved in driving the terrorists out of Pakistan has been duly acknowledged. PAF’s professional and unflinching support to the land forces and law enforcement agencies will continue till achieving the end state of war by comprehensively defeating the forces of evil and achieving peace and stability in Pakistan and the entire region.

 
10
October

Written By: Brig (R) Mehboob Qadir

United Nations’ Security Council was originally designed to prevent war and provide an equitable world order. A noble mission which was soon consigned to the dustbin of good intentions as power tussle between the two super powers of the day began to assert itself and found expression in a bipolar world. Soon the forum turned into a boxing ring where the U.S. and former Soviet Union shadow boxed for their proxies and protégés jostling elsewhere in the world. No major war broke out but particularly vicious regional wars on behest of one or the other super power continued to ravage the globe till the Soviet Union disintegrated in late eighties. It came as a godsent opportunity for the U.S. to be able to disengage from the frustrating and expensive grapple of mounting a matching response into a comfortable position of choosing her own time and venue to initiate political-military actions as a lone super power. Subsequent invasions of Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and now Syria-Iraq swamp are leading examples of a hobbled Security Council and brief but devastating period of short lived U.S. honeymoon with itself. Soon U.S. muscle flexing began to be checkmated and challenged by a far more suave and astute global player. Brilliance of China’s diplomatic and economic ripostes not only astounded U.S. policy makers but also confounded them immeasurably.

 

shadowspup.jpgU.S. was sitting cozy in the belief that what was good for the goose is good for the gander too. They thought U.S.-NATO cordon originally thrown around former Soviet Union would do for China too with minor adjustments as both lay in the same geographical zone, that they had evolving Chinese power firmly fixed in a steel ring through their extensive naval deployment and 24/7 satellite coverage from Gibraltar, south to Aden, skirting Sri Lanka, passing through the Malacca Straits on to South China Sea. There was no way China could match this siege militarily or technologically in a given time, advantageously.


However China addressed a seemingly hopeless situation with their known sagacity, vision and superior diplomatic skills. Far sighted as they are, they had long ago weaned away Pakistan from an erratic and unreliable U.S. alliance. While U.S. continued to treat Pakistan more or less as a valet on call, China treated the country with respect, empathy and understanding. Before the U.S. and her allies could realize China was able to skillfully lock them up in a trillions of dollars worth of economic web thus precluding a war, laid and connected Chinese mainland with Russia and Europe with high speed railways and pumped gas and oil from Russia and Central Asia through thousands of kilometers of pipelines. Simultaneously it vigorously worked upon improving military hardware, aviation, theater electronics, space sciences and nuclear weapons technologies. By 2010 time was ripe to undertake a push towards the Indian Ocean. The aim had been to break the U.S. sea based cordon and gain a relatively secure access to the Indian Ocean for greater maritime liberty of action.


To that end there were basically the following four options available, out of which two had to be adopted:
A. Spur 1
(i) South China-Mayanmar/Thailand-Malaysia-Bay of Bengal.
(ii) South China-Nepal-India-Indian Ocean.
B. Spur2
(i) Western China (Xinjiang)-Pakistan-Indian Ocean.
(ii) Western China-CARs-Afghanistan/Iran-Indian Ocean.


Malacca Strait was a choke point that caused immediate concerns because of increasing Indian tri-service build-up at Andaman-Nicobar Islands and hostile U.S. intrusions into South China Sea. Therefore they chose to build Myanmar-Bay of Bengal spur first and for the second and the most important one they selected the one that passes through Pakistan. Manageability, political reliability and economy of effort should it come to ensuring its physical security in the event of a threat were the main considerations. This spur is called CPEC and is directly a function of the inviolable imperatives of China’s national security, more than any benefit that might accrue to the intervening territories from sizeable investments in pipelines, road-rail infrastructure, industrial parks and ports along the way. This spur has turned out to be a masterly Chinese global stroke which will eventually strike at the cordon around her at its weakest opposite Gwadar. Sensing the paramount nature of the maneuver Pakistan responded by playing her ultimate geo-strategic trump card; CPEC is Pakistan all the way from its point of origin to its termination at Gwadar.

 

The Security Council is becoming color blind, it appears. It cannot see 700,000 Indian troops in Indian occupied Kashmir who have imposed a crippling curfew in the Valley; already killed 110 and injured 8000 Kashmiris protesting for their right of self determination, and blinded 150 men, women and children in Srinagar alone with indiscriminate use of pellet guns, ever since. This virtual detention of an entire population is causing great hardships to Kashmiris locked up in their homes. The whole of Indian occupied Kashmir has literally become a jail.

As far as India is concerned, it was since long looking for a respectful role in the unfolding new great game in the region. It tried hard to carve out a role for itself in a war-ravaged Afghanistan and got its fingers nearly burnt. After billions of dollars and dutifully massaging the Afghan stallion her hold is at best tentative in that devastated country. Then it began to look towards CARs but with similar results. Why Pakistan had such an effortless equation with myriad Afghans and why India finds it so expensive? The answer is rooted in history. With India they had a centuries old relationship of a victor to the vanquished. With Pakistan, as it is now, was that of their viceroy which frequently supervised conquered territories inside the Indian sub-continent. Therefore the two would always be on different pedestals with reference to Afghanistan. Repeated U.S. wooing of India finally led her into a husky whisper relationship which remains to be seen how it would prosper. Normally in Asia and Africa, U.S. makes alliances of conveniences. This time it has chosen India, and for its part India is trying to grapple as much benefits from the U.S. as possible, but India should be sure that this expedient friendship would betray her sooner then later.


Meanwhile the evolving but great bonding between China and Pakistan and its possible regional and global effects seem to have created tremors in Washington and New Delhi alike. Together both India and U.S. have come to adopt a Pakistan hostile strategic posture which aims to constrict Pakistan’s room for diplomatic maneuver and pulverize her political-military will into submission. Their game plan goes beyond this generic description. The close co-location of OBOR-CPEC, India-Iran Trade Corridor originating at Chabahar and immense hydrocarbon and ore reserves in Central Asia make it a very lucrative real estate. The emerging possibility of China becoming a two seas power is real and imminent. If left alone in this sensitive region China can turn the tables on the U.S. If China’s exquisite geo-strategic maneuvre through Pakistan is allowed to mature, the core objective of U.S. rebalancing to Asia Pacific will suffer a serious setback. Thus it can be seen that continued U.S. military presence in Afghanistan was primarily designed to ensure her ability to radiate strategic effects upon OBOR-CPEC from a vulnerable flank of their launch zone, keep Pakistan in check through controlled chaos, keep a watchful eye upon CARs and Iran, and prevent Afghanistan from being reoccupied by AQ-Afghan Taliban combine or swept by ISIS. So the fun fare is not for the pleasure of Afghanistan alone. Suppression of Pakistan helps India to finally become a regional power, isolate and bury irksome Kashmir struggle for plebiscite, become permanent member of the Security Council and a member of the NSG without signing NPT; a really luscious menu.


With Modi coming into power in India two years ago, relations between India and U.S. thickened exponentially, particularly in defense, intelligence sharing and nuclear fields. Exerting pressure on Pakistan over counter-terrorism and related matters is part of their grand design where Sanctions Committee of the Security Council and its field arm, the Monitoring Team (MT) have become tools of coercion in their hands. There has been a steadily rising stream of Pakistan related listing proposals by India and the U.S. and the pains the MT has taken to help India in preparing incriminatory draft summaries of Pakistani men allegedly involved in terrorism in India is unprecedented. There are other smart acts by MT such as amending list entries, using aliases to list splinter individuals and entities and the like which keep Pakistan on the hop the year around. U.S. and India have been able to largely politicize the Sanctions Committee and the MT jeopardizing their objectivity to Pakistan’s detriment. At any rate major part of Security Council broad weave of countering terrorism which includes over 30 Security Council resolutions and an elaborate network of agencies, funds, offices, organizations and programs, is geared towards the symptomatic treatment of the sickness. The UN appears to have deliberately opted to overlook addressing the root causes of terrorism. Unresolved Palestine and Kashmir disputes are two of the four global flash points which continue to jeopardize world peace.


On this score the UNSC has unfortunately been compromised and is likely to be seen increasingly partisan with reference to matters concerning Pakistan in future, which does not augur well for a country which is already facing existential threats ranging from India’s weaponization of river waters and terror proxies inside Pakistan , climate change (Pakistan is the tenth most endangered country), dysfunctional economy, poor law and order, sectarian and ethnic strife, terrorism, infirm writ of the state, food insecurity, energy deficiency, health and education shortfalls, falling exports ($3 billion in cotton exports alone this year) and rising cost of maintaining a credible defense. Add to this intrusive interventions by the U.S., India and Afghanistan and the brew becomes explosive. If push comes to shove and should Pakistan find it unbearable the consequences for her regional protagonists and their distant patron alike will be horrific. Slapping sanctions as threatened by the U.S. or undermining the writ of the state as envisaged by India can have serious repercussions. This can lead to international intervention mandated by the Security Council. But before that much could happen.


Take the high profile killing of Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Akhtar Mansoor near Naushki Balochistan in May this year. It is an instructive case study in how the U.S. manipulates a certain advantage to arm twist states regardless of the fact that they were friendly or not. This time it was Pakistan, a country which helped to defeat their arch adversary, USSR, in Afghanistan and secured them the sole super power status in just one stroke. But our friend does not believe in cumbersome moral obligations, it pays for the service done and then moves on. Pakistan has been wrong all along expecting a good turn from U.S. and its current surrogates Afghanistan and India. That will never come as long as Pakistan has its hat in hand turned upside down.


Pakistan rightly feels the top Taliban leader was targeted inside Balochistan under a premeditated plan, after months of surveillance and being precision tracked for hundreds of kilometers as he entered Pakistan from an Iranian border immigration post. He was known to be the only Taliban leader who reportedly favored dialogue for peace in Afghanistan much against a forceful resistance from the rest. The timing and locale of his killing were calculated to serve multiple purposes directly and by ripple effects. His falsified CNIC and Pakistani passport were found completely intact, as if placed afterwards, upon his body and the car which were charred beyond recognition: The intent of this well-managed kill could be:-


a. Establish Pakistan as harbor and base for Afghan Taliban leadership and shura.
b. Inferred complicity of the state of Pakistan in allegedly providing him falsified CNIC and passport.
c. Pakistan’s alleged non-compliance with sanctions regime by facilitating his travels abroad under an acquired ID and allowing possession of assets.
d. Scuttle Quadrilateral Dialogue for peace in Afghanistan by killing him just two days after its last meeting and blame Pakistan for not doing enough to bring Taliban to the table just as the new Taliban leadership refused to be engaged as expected.
e. Degrade Pakistan’s standing as a secure and reliable intermediary. Pakistan had facilitated the process on express U.S. request.
f. Portray Pakistan as duplicitous and a hub of terror and instability in the region, thereby hoping to force the country on the back foot.
g. Discourage CPEC’s physical passage through Balochistan as insecure and implausible in conjunction with other interventions by India and Afghanistan in the same arid tract.
h. Deter a possible Sino-Russian rebalancing to the Indian Ocean. Russia is firmly a security and economic partner in OBOR and with mainland China and their threat perceptions are beginning to coincide at the global plain.
j. In case the objectives listed above seem not to find enough traction, simultaneously prepare grounds for UNSC mandated international intervention in Pakistan as ‘failed state’ with reference to run-away terrorism and endangered nuclear weapons arsenal.


Sanctions Committee/MT ex UNSC was quick off their feet to take notice. Pakistan too had presented in the UN volumes of thick dossiers on the RAW connections with TTP and terrorists in Pakistan, Indian Prime Minister admits his contacts with Baloch sub-nationalists in Pakistani Balochistan where Indian Navy‘s serving officer, Commander Kulbhushan Yadav has been caught red handed running terror networks fully funded and sponsored by Indian state including those in Karachi, but the MT did not notice. Pakistan has presented a comprehensive dossier on Kulbhushan Yadav’s terror and sabotage networks in Balochistan and Karachi. One would like to see a matching enthusiasm by MT to pounce upon this case like that of Taliban leader’s killing.


The Security Council is becoming color blind, it appears. It cannot see 700,000 Indian troops in Indian occupied Kashmir who have imposed a crippling curfew in the Valley; already killed 110 and injured 8000 Kashmiris protesting for their right of self determination, and blinded 150 men, women and children in Srinagar alone with indiscriminate use of pellet guns, ever since. This virtual detention of an entire population is causing great hardships to Kashmiris locked up in their homes. The whole of Indian occupied Kashmir has literally become a jail.


It may now be quite clear what kind of Machiavellian game is being played and how the world’s innkeeper and its organs could become tools of exploitation and coercion. The stakes are of tremendous importance and a failure to realize the criticality of the evolving diplomatic environment can be catastrophic. India has been able to arouse and sustain two hostile states on her borders and both are nuclear armed. China has gone on to become a global power against which India has helped to wet nurse a Tibetan government in exile, invited over rebel Uyghur leaders, joined hands with U.S. to intrude into South China Sea and got into deep defense cooperation with U.S. which singes China directly. India has managed to earn China’s lasting ire and is recklessly adding more to it.


Pakistan stands with China in this great geo-strategic shift taking place in the region, but that is not enough. We need to adopt a holistic approach to the impact of these forces on our country and direct their energy into national service. To borrow from Munir Akram (The Threat of U.S. Sanctions, DAWN, September 18, 2016) Pakistan needs to put its act together. It has to “vigorously project (the fact) that all militant groups have been eliminated from North Waziristan and the rest are being cleared. Call for Afghan and U.S. support to fence the border and strengthen border controls. Demand action from Kabul and U.S. to eliminate TTP safe havens in Afghanistan and end Indian and Afghan support to the TTP and BLA. Reaffirm international consensus that peace in Afghanistan can be restored only through negotiations.” As for Kashmir “It should reaffirm legitimacy of Kashmiri freedom (read plebiscite) movement, reject its equation with terrorism, seek condemnation of India’s gross and systematic violation of human rights in occupied Kashmir.” Equally importantly “expose India’s current and past role as a state sponsor of terrorism and a serial perpetrator of state terrorism. It should reject all discussion with India on terrorism until it stops its repression in Kashmir and ends sponsorship of the TTP and BLA.” One could not agree more with Munir Akram that we need to clean our own Augean stables and that U.S. (and also India) must understand that “coercion is not an option in the conduct of relations with Pakistan”.

 

The writer is a retired Brigadier and former Director of ISPR. He contributes regularly for national print media.

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10
October

Written By: Nadeem F. Paracha

Just as the emergence of Field Marshal Ayub Khan’s regime coup in 1958 had (initially) been popular, the arrival of the one headed by General Pervez Musharraf too was largely received with a sigh of relief and even joy by most Pakistanis. Tired of the political chaos, corruption, intrigues and ethnic and sectarian violence that had plagued the 1990s, Pakistanis looked forward to a period of some sort of stability.


In the first five years of his government, President Musharraf managed to inject this sense of stability. Ethnic violence greatly receded, the economy strengthened, various radical religious and sectarian organizations were banned and economic maneuvers reinforced the financial status of the middle-classes. Such moves augmented a revival of sorts in the country’s cultural activities as well as modern art-forms such as popular music, fine arts, theater and fashion thrived. Folk music too made a brief comeback as the regime tried to complement its moderate image by promoting Sufism among the growing urban middle and lower middle classes.

 

earthquake.jpgThe regime also initiated a revolution in the country’s electronic media, allowing a number of privately-owned news and entertainment TV channels to mushroom. However, the feel-good sentiment that the regime managed to inoculate in its first few years was awkwardly paralleled by the rise of resistance to the regime by violent religious outfits which began to emerge after Musharraf agreed to join the ‘War on Terror.’


The euphoria surrounding the regime lasted till about 2006. President Musharraf seemed to have been enjoying a continuous stretch of popularity when the northern areas of the country (including the capital, Islamabad) were hit by a devastating earthquake. Thousands died in the catastrophe but the regime was quick to offer aid backed by an unprecedented charity drive undertaken by various civilian organizations and individuals.


Interestingly, the drive also seemed to have stirred some latent resentments, especially in the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK). When the economy (that seemed to have been bloated like a bubble), began to deflate, President Musharraf started to face his first round of direct criticism that mostly came from opposition groups who were enthusiastically invited by the string of private TV channels that had emerged from 2002 onwards. Then, in late 2006, President Musharraf casually dismissed a controversial and ambitious former Chief Justice of Supreme Court of Pakistan. The TV channels gave a sensationalist twist to the episode and drummed-up a narrative which explained him as defying ‘the illegitimate orders.’


Lawyers poured out on the streets of Lahore and Islamabad and demanded that the Chief Justice be restored. As the protests of the lawyers grew louder, they now also demanded that the President should also resign and fresh elections be held. Seeing the protests as an opening and with the way the agitation began to be covered by the electronic media the political parties too jumped in.


President Musharraf was clearly taken aback by the commotion which was then followed by another crisis when radical clerics and their supporters from Islamabad’s Red Mosque began to abduct cops, and also women working at beauty parlors. They attacked music shops too. After negotiations between the government and the clerics failed, the government ordered the troops to storm the mosque where the armed clerics were holed up. The security forces managed to clear out the seminary after overcoming the tough resistance by the terrorists.


The event was freely covered by the new TV channels which, in an exhibition of some of the most anarchic coverage of a sensitive issue, further compounded the tense situation. Exaggerated figures of the civilians killed were often quoted and the clerics were given more airtime to sound out their views than government officials. The confusion created by the media and the regime’s own weakness to counter the narrative that was being built, eventually saw the emergence of an alliance of extremist militants who began to target public places supposedly to avenge the ‘Red Mosque massacre.’


It was at this point that the Lawyers’ Movement that had been initially started by progressive groups of lawyers began its shift to the right. The movement’s greatest presence was felt in urban Punjab and the KPK.


Unlike the movement against the Ayub regime (which included the participation of the working classes and the peasants as well), the movement against Musharraf was more like the one against Z.A. Bhutto in 1977 in which the majority of participants had belonged to the urban middle and lower middle-classes.


What was left behind the commotion were just memories of a stable Pakistan which, however, by the end of Musharraf’s regime had become a place of deep political and ideological cleavages, a crumbling economy, a blood-soaked insurgency in the tribal areas, and deadly sectarian conflicts.

The earthquake seemed to have destroyed more than just buildings and lives of those who lived in them.

 

The writer is a journalist, cultural critic and satirist. He is the author of a detailed book on Pakistan’s ideological, political & social history, called ‘End of the Past.’

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10
October

The accusatory fingers of India settled conveniently on Pakistan after an attack on Indian Army Camp in Uri, Jammu and Kashmir during the early hours of September 18. The attack happened at a time when Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was going to raise Kashmir issue in the United Nations General Assembly. In the aftermath of the attack, India seemed to be lacking the underlying theory of communication in the peace talk arena and has been more than eager to shore up its irrational catastrophic pessimism while hurling a number of threats, saying it would reduce Pakistan to the status of a pariah in the international community.


India's blatantly implausible claims hardly convinced anyone as their statements and actions are lacking in credibility due to the morass of lies and myopic point of view prevailing in their corridors of power. The hostile narrative and accusations intended to weaken the cause of Kashmir before the United Nations General Assembly came before the matter was even investigated, deflecting attention from the deaths of over a hundred Kashmiris, hundreds of blinded children and infants by shotgun pellets and over six thousand unarmed civilians injured during the last two months.


Uprising in Kashmir is undoubtedly indigenous. Kashmir is subject to India’s Armed Forces Special Powers Act which grants the military wide powers to arrest, shoot to kill, occupy or destroy property. The result is a culture of brutal disdain for the local population. The people have been victimized severely while being denied all human values, as there’s hardly any atrocity and humanitarian abuse that hasn’t been committed against them by the Indian troops.


Besides its repression and gross human rights violations in Kashmir, India has been sponsoring terrorism in Pakistan in various forms. It has carried out bomb blasts in Pakistan through the militant proxies, doled out money for the separatist cause in Balochistan, and sponsored TTP and BLA terrorist networks. To cite a recent prominent example, Kulbhushan Yadav, an Indian naval officer operating in our territory, blew the cover off of India’s intentions to fail CPEC for the achievement of its military and political ends, and, also exposed the ring of RAW agents working along the same lines.


India also falsifies when it claims to have carried out 'surgical strikes' inside Pakistan which actually was cross-border firing that killed two Pakistani soldiers. Besides India is also preparing to launch a cyber war which will give a new dimension to this warfare and bring out India's nefarious designs for weakening Pakistan. In face of all these provocations and naked Indian aggression, Pakistan is ready for a matching response should the need arise.


It is no secret that the aggressive intelligence approach of RAW takes support of psychological warfare, terrorism and insurgency to destabilize the country it is targeting. The evolving nature of the threat preceding the Uri attack may expand the notion of irregular warfare beyond its previous bounds. Antidotes to the probable forms of sub-conventional warfare should be found now that conventional war has become a receding option and India is likely try to find and exploit opportunities in Pakistan like it has done in the recent past.


Although India is a big market economy and is carrying out trade with a large number of countries in a number of sectors and industries, the world must probe India's involvement in state-sponsored and cross-border terrorism in all reason and fairness irrespective of these trade links.


But let us not deviate from the real cause and focus on Kashmir while responding to India in a befitting manner. While we catalogue this mendacity and uncover the truth for the world, the international community must heed the calls of the people of Kashmir and send a UN fact-finding mission to Kashmir to take stock of extra-judicial killings followed by demilitarization of Jammu and Kashmir and UN-backed plebiscite to save the region from grave repercussions.

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10
October

Written By: Dr. Ahmad Rashid Malik

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


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

 

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


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


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

 

 

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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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

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10
October

Written By: Ambassador (R) Khalid Aziz Babar

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

 

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

 

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

 

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

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10
October

Written By: Rear Admiral Waseem Akram

India is geographically an island nation surrounded by the Bay of Bengal, the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea, whereas to its north lay the majestic Himalayan Ranges. India shares its land borders with China, Nepal, Bhutan Bangladesh, Burma and Pakistan and has unsettled disputes with all its neighbours. China and India in particular have serious border disputes over 4000 km of shared borders in the Himalayas. Since the entire frontier runs through some of the highest elevations, it is impossible for either country to launch any meaningful armoured assault or sustain any major land operation against the other. In retrospect, China and India despite being neighbours are walled off from each other, with few passes available for communication linkages, hence chances of any major military encounter between them over land is minimal. The other major issue, India has, is with Pakistan, a nation located west of India, occupying a strategic position, as it blocks Indian land route access to Iran, Afghanistan and CARs to the West. Pakistan and India since inception, have unresolved ideological, political and land disputes, principal amongst them being the occupation of the state of Kashmir, occupied and oppressed by India for over 60 years, against their will for the right of self-determination.


With the disintegration of the USSR and strategic realignment with the U.S. since 1992, Indian by using money earned by its diaspora and foreign direct investment, has witnessed a phenomenal growth in its economy. Not only has the growth been in its GDP and foreign reserves, but for the first time in its history, India is poised to shift from its age old agriculture based economy to be an industrial giant. With industrial aspirations spiraling upwards, its want for raw material and energy resources requires assurances and safeguards.


India is currently the world's fourth-largest consumer of energy with a total energy consumption of 638 million tons of oil equivalent, behind Russia, China and the United States. India currently consumes 3.7 million bpd of crude oil and it is estimated that by 2040 India's daily crude usage will be to the tune of 10 million bpd. In 2014, India spent $138 billion to import 79 percent of its crude oil from abroad, out of which more than 57 percent came from the Middle East, specifically Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Kuwait and the UAE, while 85% of the country’s LNG came from Qatar and 5% from Yemen. It is estimated that by 2040, India will import 90 percent of its crude oil from abroad. Though Saudi Arabia is currently India's largest supplier, providing about 18 percent of the country's oil, however, New Delhi is actively trying to further deepen its diplomatic ties with Iran in order to diversify its foreign dependence. Concurrently, the surging domestic demand for coal will transform India, the world's second-largest coal producer, into the biggest coal importer within the next five years.


According to 2015 estimates some 7.589 million non-resident Indians are working in the Middle East and they are remitting about U.S. $ 37.2 billion (2014 estimates) back to India. Due to this large work force, India is exporting about U.S. $ 52.8 billion worth of goods to the Middle East.


Amidst this economic boom, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi undertook a series of visits in the CARs/Middle East in a bid to secure Indian aspiring interests. First on the list were five Central Asian countries – Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan whom he visited from July 6-13, 2015. Apart from exploring the possibility of tapping huge hydrocarbon, mineral and uranium resources from these countries, PM Modi offered India’s expertise in improving security situation for checking the growing Islamic militancy in the region. He also discussed the possibility of lease of ex-Soviet airbase Ayni for the Indian Air Force with Tajikistan’s President Emomali Rahmon. It is believed that the key objectives behind these enhanced engagements, besides bilateral trade, was to paint Pakistan as a villain in the region and that is supporting Taliban and other extremist Islamic groups, thereby creating a pretext of increased India’s presence in the periphery of China.


Prime Minister Modi next visited the UAE for two days in August 2015 and became the first Indian Prime Minister to visit the United Arab Emirates in 34 years. During his visit to UAE he held talks with His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. During his visit, UAE and India raised their partnership to a strategic level by setting up a UAE-India Infrastructure Investment Fund with a target of $75 billion (Dh275 billion) and establishing a mechanism for regular meetings between their security agencies to improve operational cooperation. UAE also promised allocation of land for establishment of a Temple in Abu Dhabi, a religious victory for the Hindu extremist government in India. In addition, UAE also promised to support India in its bid for a permanent seat in for the United Nations Security Council; an act being regarded as a major diplomatic victory.

An economic power, with fairly strong armed forces and with a nuclear triad in place, is now set to project power far beyond its borders. The reasons for this power projection are manifold. First and the foremost is the securing of a constant source of raw material and energy for India’s rising industrial demands, with sea as its chief mode of transportation. Re-orientation of POL storage and other industrial manufacturing facilities to the East coast of India has been sparked by the India's supply-demand imbalance and its growing dependence on the Middle East and Africa.


Indian Prime Minister then visited Saudi Arabia on April 2-3, 2016 to bolster India’s engagement with the Kingdom. The two sides signed five agreements, including plans to cooperate in intelligence sharing, related to terror financing and money laundering, as well as a labour cooperation agreement, besides promoting bilateral investments in the private sector. The two sides also agreed on the need to intensify defence cooperation through mutual visits of military experts and joint military exercises. King Salman awarded Prime Minister Modi with Saudi Arabia’s highest civilian award, the King Abdul Aziz Sash. During his visit, Modi also met Crown Prince and Interior Minister Mohammed bin Nayef and held one-on-one talks with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir and Board Chairman of Aramco, Abdul Aziz al-Faleh, who is also the Health Minister. It is important to note that bilateral trade between the two countries has reached $39 billion in 2014, which is expected to get a boost from the recent visit.


Prime Minister Modi’s next stop was Iran from May 22-23 this year. This was the first bilateral visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Iran in last 15 years. During the visit the two sides signed 12 MoUs, out of which five were regarding Chabahar Port and its associated infrastructure. India has pledged to invest $85 million in the first phase of construction of two berths in the port, one for container handling and other for multipurpose cargo.


In the second phase, India pledged to invest another $110 million to develop a 901km long railroad, linking Chabahar to the iron ore mines in Hajigak, Afghanistan. It is pertinent to mention that Iran has declared the surrounding area as a free trade industrial zone. The other MoUs covered potential Indian development of the Farzad B gas field, spelling out India’s monetary commitments, executing entities, deadlines, etc. It may be recalled that Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran railway line has already been inaugurated and India is making investments in the Iranian port of Chabahar with multiple aims in mind.


Fully backed by the Obama administration, Prime Minister Modi has cultivated a close relationship with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. On May 23, the three leaders witnessed the signing of a trilateral Chabahar Port agreement. Apart from meeting its energy needs, India intends to use Chabahar Port to expand trade with Afghanistan and Central Asia. Despite the fact that a large population of Indians is living below poverty line, India has steadily increased its presence and political influence in Afghanistan by donating development assistance of some U.S. $ 2 billion. In 2009, India completed work on 217 km highway (Route 606) that has linked Afghan city of Zaranj with border town of Delaram, which is connected through local roads network with Iranian port of Chabahar.


On June 4, PM Modi was given highest civilian award, the Amir Amanullah Khan Award by Afghan President. On the same day both the leaders also inaugurated Salma Dam in Herat province close to Iranian border, a $290 million project likely to provide electricity and irrigation water to locals. It is important to note that Herat population is predominately Shia and Iran enjoys good political influence in the area.


In another unprecedented move, PM Modi was offered the opportunity by Afghan President to address the Afghan nation through television. During his address Modi showed his deep concerns regarding insurgency gaining momentum under new Taliban leader Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada. The address was indirectly a political snub for Pakistan and a shrewd move to implicate Islamabad in the ongoing terrorist activities in Afghanistan.


In his next stop to Qatar and during a meeting on June 6 with Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, Modi signed seven MOUs on a range of subjects, including Qatar's promise to invest in India's National Infrastructure and Investment Fund (the Qatar Investment Authority already owns a $1 billion stake in Indian telecommunications firm Bharti Airtel).


For centuries, due to its peculiar geographic location, abundant agricultural and natural resources and huge human capital, India attracted invading armies from land and colonial powers through the sea. A nation that witnessed its riches exploited and transferred out, is now looking to emerge as a global power itself. India has spent nearly two decades to develop a strategic partnership with the U.S., an act amply supported by Tel Aviv. An economic power, with fairly strong armed forces and with a nuclear triad in place, is now set to project power far beyond its borders. The reasons for this power projection are manifold. First and the foremost is the securing of a constant source of raw material and energy for India’s rising industrial demands, with sea as its chief mode of transportation. Re-orientation of POL storage and other industrial manufacturing facilities to the East Coast of India has been sparked by the India's supply-demand imbalance and its growing dependence on Middle East and Africa.


Since majority of Indian energy imports and manufactured goods exports are through sea to and from the Gulf, the East Coast of India is of extreme economic significance. Therefore India’s Eastern seaboard, or in other words the North Arabian Sea (NAS) and beyond has figured out dominantly amongst Indian political, economic and military planners in recent decades. Pakistan being a major stakeholder in the NAS providing the most likely route for CARs energy highway and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) through Gwadar, therefore securing of its interests in the sea has taken a centre stage in Indian politics. India has thus embarked upon an unprecedented and aggressive expansionist and modernization regime to transform its sea power in order to have an effective influence on the NAS in particular and IO in general.


Historically Pakistan has enjoyed cordial and close diplomatic and military relations with GCC countries, including a strategic alliance with Saudi Arabia. However due to ongoing internal turmoil, fight against terrorism in the shape of Operation Zarb-e-Azb and external pressures of sorts, Pakistan was unable to provide the military support expected during the recent Yemen crisis. This created a void which was duly identified and amply exploited by India. Playing its economic card and using its present strategic leverage with the U.S., India has secured a defense cooperation pact with the Kingdom in 2016. Similarly Modi again was able to make a dent in UAE-Pakistan relations when it won the backing of Abu Dhabi for India’s bid for permanent seat in UN Security Council.


In another shrewd move India has been able to secure a pact with Iran for construction and operations of Chabahar Port emulating Sino-Pakistan model for Gwadar Port. This pact will not only allow India to expand its trade routes with Central Asia but play an instrumental role in furthering its reach and influence in Afghanistan. From military stand point this port could act as spring board for India. It is a known fact that Indo-Iran strategic relationship is carving an environment to deny a Taliban dominated government returning to Kabul after the U.S. withdrawal. It is also an established fact that India while operating from Afghanistan, is trying to destabilize Pakistan by sponsoring TTP and sub-nationalist/insurgents in Balochistan. Similarly by bribing corrupt leadership of the present Afghan government, intelligence and military officials, New Delhi is trying to create a divide in between two partner countries that have survived and thrived together for decades. This in effect is to create a two-front dilemma for Pakistan, thereby stretching the nation and its element of nation power to the extremes.


Pakistan is located at extension of the Middle East. It has religious, cultural as well as historic affinity with the Middle Eastern countries including Iran. However competing interest in Afghanistan and Islamabad’s historic close ties with Riyadh is viewed with suspicion by Iran. Apart from geo-economics these are major contributory factors in bringing New Delhi close to Tehran. Pakistan could ill afford to let Iran and Afghanistan fall into the orbit of Indo-ERF axis. Therefore it is imperative for Pakistan to highlight that the real threat to the region is from Indo-Israel nexus and not from Pakistan and this threat basically resides in ideological domain. At present India is the largest recipient of Israeli arms and ammunition. India by cementing its relations with the U.S. through Israel is vying for the same role in South Asia, what function Tel Aviv is performing that is suppression and fragmentation of Muslim world. The irony of this complex game is that India is using money basically belonging to Muslims which is earned by non-resident Indians working in Gulf States to increase its military strength. It is contemplated that in future these Israeli origin arms acquired by India would be used to shed Muslim blood in the region. Similarly large arms shopping spree by New Delhi allows Tel Aviv to increase its economic clout globally thus ensuring consistent subjugations of Palestinian Muslims. In the same context through a well thought out media campaign Pakistan must bring to the front, Prime Minister Modi’s role in slaughtering of 2000 Muslims in Gujarat riots by Hindu extremists, desecration of Babri Mosque and strangulation of innocent Muslims in various Indian states on charges of consuming cow meat in recent months. Similarly denuding the actual objectives of India and its allies to divide and then rule the Muslim world would not restore the position of Pakistan in the Middle East but would also halt Indian malicious ingress into Central Asia and Middle East.


Another interesting phenomenon is that Indian aspirations of growth and its want for energy resources leave India vulnerable. As its dependence on raw materials and energy resources from sea increases, so does the opportunity of exploitation. A strong and potent Pakistan Navy could be that vital EoNP that helps in threatening the energy corridors of India by challenging its Sea Lines of Communication. Similarly the potential ability of Pakistan Navy to target and neutralize economic and military infrastructure on the Indian East Coast in times of war could also add to defensive dilemmas of the Indian military thinkers. Similarly, the other two services, Pakistan Army and Pakistan Air Force with enhanced capabilities will be a strong check on Indian expansionist designs duly supported by few other foreign powers.

 

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10
October

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Special Report By: Maria Khalid

Over the past two years, in the strategic relationship of the Ministry of Defence of Russia and Pakistan, there has been a real breakthrough. The regional diplomatic dynamics have taken a turn as U.S. grows closer to India; Russia and Pakistan are jointly working towards heralding a new era of professional collaboration while balancing power in the region. The salient manifestation of this improvement includes Pakistan and Russia signing the defence cooperation agreement in November 2014 during the first ever visit of Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu to Islamabad in 45 years, lifting a years-long ban on the sale of Russian arms to Pakistan. The agreement provides for cooperation to promote international security; intensification of counter-terrorism efforts and arms control activities; strengthening collaboration in various military fields and sharing experiences. The deal was followed by another technical cooperation agreement to pave the way for sale of defence equipment to Pakistan.

 

theregpeace1.jpgThe joint military drills are aimed at bolstering and building up military cooperation between the two countries and are another sign of warming ties between Islamabad and Moscow. Russia is interested in using Pakistan Army’s expertise against terrorism as Russian Federation, its citizens and property have been the targets of international terrorism and persistent domestic insurgency for over a decade and a half. Terrorism also represents an obstacle to peace process in the North Caucasus while posing a threat to the stability of Russia. Pakistan has also been the victim of terrorism for more than a decade but the end-game shifted the tide as the Armed Forces fought resolutely in the face of terrorism and extremism that resulted in a much stable security environment.


Russia’s Southern MD Mountain Motorised Rifle Brigade deployed to Karachay-Cherkessia Republic (North Caucasus), and also officers from the headquarters’ staff arrived in Pakistan on September 23, 2016 on an Ilyushin II-76 military transport plane for the exercise codenamed ‘Druzhba 2016', a Russian word meaning ‘friendship’. Back in Russia they are deployed to Karachay- Cherkessia Republic located in the North Caucasus area of southern European Russia. It covers mostly mountainous terrain, thus they came fully prepared with their mountain gear as well as ammunition for their standard weapons.

 

theregpeace2.jpgUpon their arrival at the location of training, Cherat, they met Pakistani soldiers under the sounds of orchestra; a military band played the military tunes as a welcome gesture. Initially Russian military familiarized with the infrastructure field camps, place of residence and of employment and then the training began officially.


A narrow winding one-way road goes all the way up to the mountain city of Cherat where the Special Services Group (SSG) Base lies in a small cantonment located 4500ft above sea level. The hill commands a view of the whole of Peshawar valley on one side and on the other of a portion of Khwarra valley in Peshawar and of Kohat as far as the Indus. The cantonment dates back to 1861 where it was first used as a sanitorium for the British troops. It was declared a cantonment in 1886 and a hospital, church and a few bungalows were built. The crests on the cliffs are a reminder of that. The oldest crest which adorns the cliffs was put up in 1881. A shuhada monument with the standard SSG formation insignia – a lightning bolt and commando dagger – stands tall atop the stairs in front of the old British crests.

 

Seven days later, when we reached the site on Thursday, September 29, 2016, the Russian troops had been divided into three groups for the exercises. Group C was practicing casualty evacuation. Corporal Nikolei lay on a stretcher on the ground motionless while he was being tied to the stretcher with the help of ropes by the other soldiers. “It can be easily carried to the helicopter evacuation site now,” told Senior Lieutenant Evgeny, the interpreter. “This position allows no movement barring one arm that is freed for blood circulation. And cigarettes or snacks of course,” laughed one soldier as he explained, sporting a cap with Druzhba 2016 printed on it.

 

theregpeace3.jpgCarriage of casualties down the mountains becomes cumbersome during operations. Troops are often deployed in inhospitable and farflung posts where the survival is dictated by the terrain, altitude and the climate peculiar to the specific region which may have either high peaks with intervening deep gorges, barren hostile glaciers, extremely cold climate in high altitude areas, high temperatures or moist climates.


As he sat in a tent watching his troops participating in the exercise, sunlight pouring through the side touched the fair Russian features bringing out the blue eyes of the Brigade Commander, Col Dmitriev Sergie Alexandrovich. When asked how he felt being in Pakistan, he spoke, “We have received a very warm welcome in Pakistan and I see that people are excited to have us here. I feel fortunate and proud to be the first to represent the Russian forces in Pakistan. Our goal here is not only to share experience but the foremost is to establish good relations between our nations.”


A few other soldiers were descending a very steep face of a cliff with the help of a climbing rope anchored to the cliff at the top. Using a rappel device, which utilized the friction of the rope through the device to control his descent, they were sliding down the fixed rope to the cliff-base. It was a part of their technical climbing exercise. They finally held a final demonstration where they climbed down the cliff carrying guns and fired during the descent and as soon as they descended they opened fire again on the enemies supposedly present in the area according to the scenario under practice.


As we sat watching the feat I asked about the training. Col Alexandrovich responded, “As a military officer I couldn’t ignore the technological differences and specifics of training being conducted here at the school. Instructors here are well trained and they know the craft. I have seen the Pakistani soldiers during the classes and I can see they are true professionals. Our soldiers are trying to act jointly and communicating without knowing each other's language. It’s too early to say what experience we would take from each other and what techniques could we incorporate into our routine. It would depend on the training features and operational requirements. However in any kind of terrain we must know how to fight.”


He continued, “My perception about Pakistan was always positive but before I came here I only had a general opinion about Pakistan. I didn’t know the culture, features and the peculiarities of this country. Of course what you watch on TV is not really enough to fully realize how the real Pakistan is. Now that I’m here I’ve learnt about the real Pakistan and I like it

very much.”

 

We moved on to watch another staged military tactical exercise that Group B was carrying which involved reconnaissance operations in order to find terrorist pockets and ammunition caches in the mountainou region of Cherat and performed systematic acts of clearance and breakthrough, blocking a built-up area where illegal armed groups were supposedly hiding. The assault groups of the two countries started joint seizure of the buildings and the destruction of the simulated enemy after a detailed target clarification and evaluation of intelligence of the prevailing situation. The objective was to neutralize the enemy with speed, precision and minimum collateral damage. The soldiers threw smoke grenades to cover their move up to the terrorists with smoke and charged inside. They worked their way along the building assisted by cover fire of Russian Kalashnikov "Pecheneg" machineguns and sniper rifles "Dragunov SVD" and the Pakistani M4 assault rifles with grenade launchers and fired at the wooden figures which imitated the simulated enemy placement. The troops were brimming with confidence as they carried out the demonstration. Rapidity of movement and surprise formed life and soul of this offensive.

 

theregpeace4.jpg“I’m certain that this kind of collaboration will only grow. Let me express the hope that in future I’ll be receiving Pakistani contingent in Russia. Of course I cannot say how long will it take?” said Col. Alexandrovich as we followed the troops around.


The exercise was aimed at enhancing the skills and techniques of fighting in a built up area and room clearance as well as chasing them through the open fields and mountains. The houses were made of mud and bricks surrounded by trees and shrubs in between the mountain ridges. “From the experience in War on Terror, a similar place has been created for the troops’ practice,” told Major Kafeel, our conducting officer at SSG.


The quiet of the place was broken only by the sounds of birds or chatter among the Russian journalist Khudoleev Konstantine, from the TV and Radio Company of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation ‘STAR’, and his cameraman as they awaited the demonstration of Group A with their camera ready. The scenario was that the road was mined with an IED and it struck the vehicle taking lives of the soldiers riding in it. A group of soldiers on patrol nearby moved swiftly down the mountains, directing the machine gunfire towards the terrorists and took them in custody following the standard operating procedures. At the end they appraised every exercise and looked for faults and loopholes to improve upon.


"The exercises in Druzhba 2016 overall comprise minor tactics, small team actions, mountain warfare, built-up area clearance, fighting in a built-up area, weapon firing technique, weapon training, fire and maneuver, helicopter rappelling, and air assault techniques. The final exercise will be air assault in which the terrorist hideouts will be approached through air and ground. MI 17s, PAF fighter jets and Cobra gunships are going to take part in it. The troops will share their experiences, and learn together to fight in the mountains and destroy illegal armed groups," told Lt Col (OIC training) Sajjad Ali. "On October 10, 2016, the Russian team will bid farewell to the Pakistani colleagues and return to its place of permanent deployment in Karachay-Cherkessia."


It is expected that the exercise will form the bedrock of Islamabad-Moscow rapprochement and pave way for a truly comprehensive relationship, broadening our defence and healthy military-to-military technical cooperation along with a burgeoning array of similar joint military exercises.

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10
October

Written By: Farrukh Khan Pitafi

Saint Louis (Missouri) and Atlantic City (New Jersey) both bear testimony to the far reaching and often debilitating consequences. St. Louis, the Midwestern city that once boasted of being the fourth largest American city with a population nearing a million, has now shrunk to one third of the population and been relegated to 60th position in the country. Reason? Industrial restructuring and loss of jobs. Now when you drive around the city you come across a number of closed factories. As a result, violence, crime and tensions along the racial fault lines have exploded earning it the reputation of one of the worst cities in America. Recent riots in Ferguson in adjacent area brought further bad name to the city.


Atlantic City on which the American version of monopoly and the recent television series Boardwalk Empire are based was once a magnet for tourism. With its sprawling hotels and casinos, it was a darling of investors. Donald Trump built his first three hotels and casinos here. That was then. However, with the gradual warming up of other states to the peculiar kind of tourism this city attracted and after the 2008 property crash it has been losing business and population rapidly. Businesses now are shutting down and houses being foreclosed. Donald Trump is no more involved in the said casinos. Meanwhile Revel, a $2.4 billion resort, hotel and casino has been sold and resold for much meager sum. Its last auction brought $82 million. The city is silently dying.


These two case studies are important because they highlight and explain two very important phenomena. The flight of capital and the rise of Donald Trump. American Midwest, once known for its industrial belt has now witnessed its transformation into the rust belt. The blue collared jobs in this region have been shipped out of the country to the cheaper labour markets in Asia. And these areas are now supposed to vote for Trump because the unemployed population here is enthralled by his message, albeit flawed in essence, of bringing back jobs. Jobs are important. Jobs make and break lives and economies.

 

beyondglobil.jpgOne interesting aspect of the exodus of these jobs to Asian market is that while they have landed into other countries, Pakistan has more or less missed the opportunity. One reason has to be of the relative unrest and insecurity witnessed in past decade when these business opportunities were materializing. Another cause again is of the relative lack of political instability. Between 2007 and 2013 the country witnessed really shaky form of governments. But the most crucial of them all is the lack of foresight and planning. Before the new economic trends set in, back in 1990s when we were worrying mostly about Afghanistan, the then Indian finance minister Dr. Manmohan Singh opened up the hitherto socialist modelled economy to investment and reform. By the time the investors realized the true potential of the region – the basic infrastructure – was already in place. Attempts were still being made to reform the country’s bureaucracy which is still not fixed yet. But from IT hubs to manufacturing friendly zones, from human capital to technology incubators all were in place. Indian economy then grew phenomenally.


But Indian economy still essentially lacks two things. One, good governance. Two, discipline. Move away from big cities and Indian government vanishes without trace along with basic infrastructure and amenities. But discipline is a far more important issue. Owing to a weak and archaic post-colonial state structure and the penchant to be recognized as a democracy and part socialist part capitalist economy the country could not hone its labor class into a well-disciplined working force. Strikes, lack of efficiency, corruption, rising intolerance and absence of working ethics are exhausting the economy’s true potential. Overpopulation and so-called family values also complicate the situation further.


Compare it with China. The country has more or less similar population with poor infrastructure. However, owing to the communist takeover and gradual reform the workforce is really disciplined. First came discipline and then Deng Xiaoping’s reforms, Jiang Zemin’s concept of three represents opening doors to capitalism and eventually One Belt, One Road policy that has brought promise of riches to our doorstep. While in India the bureaucracy and the elite failed Dr. Manmohan Singh’s ambitious agenda, China has been kind to its leaders’ vision of reform. In China it is quite visible that the things have been thought through.


In Pakistan it is never too late for the right kind of atmosphere to develop. The trouble is like India – our priorities primarily remain political than economic. China however understood the principle that in order to be politically strong a country essentially has to be economically boisterous. Right now due to the heavy Chinese investment in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor the important priority has to be to bring about this crucial shift in the worldview. As we progress further we will also discuss the lessons we can learn from the Chinese worldview and the American experiments. Yet it is important to comprehend that in the coming days we are about to witness another huge transformation which will deprive these booming regional economies of their newly found riches if they do not transform by the speed of light.


The Great Transformation Ahead
Right at a time when we are learning the virtues of creating business environment and new jobs, it is heartrending to note that these opportunities will not stay with us for long. Quest for cheaper labor brought investors to these markets. An added bonus was the consumer market. However, the latter is essentially based on the purchasing power of the consumers which brings us back to the same issue: Jobs. As these economies enjoy relative affluence, consumerism is bound to increase putting a pressure on labor costs. So the appeal of cheap labor is bound to erode with the passage of time.


And while this realization has not fully dawned on the planners in these markets, another challenge is silently arising. That of the rise of machines. We all work with machines. They make life easier for us. But what happens when the machines can think for themselves and can work on a pre-programmed trajectory with more efficiency and precision than any of us. I know it feels like a page out of Isaac Asimov’s book. But it is not.


While we were sleeping or sleepwalking, the man has revolutionized science. He has split atoms, learnt to read and rewrite codes hidden in the DNA. One such conversation he had was with the machines. The supercomputers of yesteryears have shrunken into the palms of your hands in the shape of your smart phones. With the rise of the internet and satellite based communication the conversation has moved forward. Experiments in robotics and artificial intelligence both are about to revolutionize our societies. These extensions of our own knowledge and experience are conspiring to take our jobs away from us. Not convinced? Consider this.


Transportation industry is a huge employer all over the world. According to an estimate of American Trucking Association there are 3.5 million professional truck drivers in the U.S. alone. When you factor in other position in the industry that do not involve driving the number reaches 8.7 million. One out of every 15 workers in America are associated with this field. And for a second picture it is all gone. Daimler’s eighteen wheeler Freightliner Inspiration driverless trucks are already in testing stage in Nevada. According to an estimate these self-driving vehicles will be available for broader commercial use in five to ten years. Such prototypes are first developed at exorbitant prices but once mass production starts and appetite increases the prices come crashing down. Now imagine truck drivers all over the world losing jobs at once. An average everyday driver after all is a high maintenance liability compared to a self-driven machine which doesn’t need food, sleep or weekly offs. Now apply the same principle in every industry that employs a large number of people.


In defense industry too we have witnessed the rise in the use of drones. Behind these drones sits the pilot back in his own country controlling the technology remotely. While most of this action takes place in real time, communication over long distance has its disadvantages. So consider one leap of imagination where smart chipsets are fixed on these drones with elaborate programming and instructions. What will be the future of fighter pilots then? And please do not live with any delusions. That technology is already here. An artificial intelligence program called Alpha has already been developed to fly drones and according to the results published in the Journal of Defense Management it has already managed to beat human pilots in simulations. Now take this principle and apply it on every machine used in warfare. In the age of cloud computing and ever shrinking chips there is no dearth of possibilities.


Social Consequences of Technological Shift
If this transformation comes to pass as seems inevitable, the most frightening prospect is of human societies without jobs. If loss of jobs in America can bring about such a devastating change in people’s mood that the racial fault lines in one of the world’s most advanced societies start exploding and voters do not mind opting for political choices as mindboggling as Trump, just think of its impact on societies like ours.


It is clear that with each passing day the dissatisfaction and the rage in the third world countries with huge populations may increase astronomically and result in total collapse in social cohesion. Poverty hurts when affluence is unknown but once you taste the fruits of wealth, losing it can have totally debilitating consequences. It is imperative then that a country like ours plans ahead and avoids hitting a brick wall unwittingly. The secret is to know that jobs do not disappear altogether but shift to the higher planes of knowledge and learning. Behind each machine and each artificial intelligence there always will be human influence and human presence. The trick then is to realize which kind of workforce to produce. And that can only happen when our priorities are well defined and basically correct.


Getting Priorities Straight
The first priority that we have to get straight is the emphasis on economics. Politics is an essential part of who we are. A country that exists in such rough neighborhood, is encircled by such mammoths of countries and has been at the crossroads of history forever is bound to think politically. And yet China’s experience has shown us when focus is on economics, the political priorities sort themselves out. Without economic prosperity every political gain proves momentary and ephemeral.


The second issue is that of numbers. Planning ahead essentially needs data. And in our country not only do we have dearth of institutions that generate credible data needed for effective planning, we even have not been able to conduct census in past two decades. And even the one we had back in 1998 was lacking in authenticity as the crucial process of post census survey was delayed for considerable time compromising original results. So basically we are making do with the projections since 1981. 35 years of projections, hunches and speculations. If our arithmetic slipped even a bit as must have happened given the quality of scholarship in the country a huge chunk of population would remain disenfranchised. No wonder then that this country had to endure instability and disquiet for decades. In a country where elections have repeatedly been held we keep deferring this crucial exercise. This has to change as was rightly pointed out by the Supreme Court of Pakistan.


Then there is the matter of education. We have already pointed out that without quality education we will have to say goodbye to jobs of the future. But there we are victims of double whammy. Illiteracy is already rampant. But the education we impart is also lacking in quality and is not designed to offer a fighting chance in changing economy. Let me give you one simple example in our higher education. I have asked successive Higher Education Commission chairmen as to why our universities are still teaching English literature meant to critique poets and writers of bygone days when they could easily be taught creative writing where they get a chance to write and sell their work in the global market. I will let you know as soon as I get a convincing answer. We need to reinvent our curriculum, throw out ideationally marred old syllabi and start afresh with some investment in research and development.


The fourth issue is of population growth. Somehow we have convinced ourselves that it is of little importance. After the 18th Amendment and devolution of the subject to provinces it has become almost a lost cause. Population does not increase, it multiplies. In a country with such a large population living below the line of basic subsistence this is, and has to be, unacceptable.


Fifth is the importance of private enterprises. Somehow job creation in Pakistan is confused with employment in government sector. For any state such a course of action is suicidal in nature. All over the world it is the private sector that is supposed to create jobs. The state needs to make it a priority that the ease of doing business has to be ensured and private investments protected.


And here two more aspects are noteworthy. One of transparency and the other of infrastructure development. I haven’t seen any other country where every other person talks and complains so frequently about corruption and yet wants to stop it at the micro/local level. Charity essentially has to begin at home. The problem is compounded when we obsess about the accountability for the past decades. That may well be important but this is often done only to shift responsibility. It is important that immediate focus should be on today not yesterday. That a set of procedures be laid out that ensure no more corruption is possible in current and future transactions. That is the only way investor will feel comfortable in bringing money to the country. And somehow we have developed the habit of jeering at the projects of infrastructure development. This has to go. Without infrastructure no investor will ever come here.


Trading Opportunities
One trade route is already promising to change our destiny. China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, when developed, will bring a lot of business to the country. And yet owing to the above mentioned lack of priorities we still do not have capacity to absorb the wealth thus generated. What is more, the new opportunities may bring about a demographic shift in the country. Given our ethnic and cultural sensitivities we need in-depth studies to examine the true impact. Sadly, we do not even have the appropriate think tanks, research organizations to cater to these needs.


And would you say that CPEC is the optimum use of our true trading potential? Evidently not. Consider how many economic powerhouses exist in our neighborhood or extended neighborhood. Iran, Central Asia, Gulf countries, Russia etc., we can build linkages, benefit enormously and can still manage to protect our individuality.


We have dreamed to act as a route between Central Asia and hot waters for quite some time. The biggest stumbling block is Afghanistan. Trouble is it looks more and more implausible because of a belligerent Afghanistan that demands access to India in return. And given that India is currently ruled by a bunch of zealots that seek cheap thrills by confronting Pakistan this seems impossible. Does it not? Here China’s example should come to our rescue. Politics is supposed to serve economic interest and not otherwise. China trades with every country that can fulfil its needs no matter how belligerent. What is needed is an intelligent strategy to ensure Indian trucks passing through Pakistan are not used to undermine Pakistan’s national interest or culture. If we devise such safeguards Pakistan can start benefiting from access to Central Asia on a quid pro quo basis once Modi regime is gone. Afghanistan perhaps will never be too friendly with Pakistan. But that is no reason for us to stay away from our Central Asian friends. And Central Asia also badly needs this trade to start owing to deteriorating economic conditions there.


Do We Have Time?
How much time do we have before the technological advances change our world? It will take ten years for the technology to truly mature and further five to ten years in reaching our part of the world. Fifteen to twenty years are enough to raise an entire generation. So we do have time. Provided we really start today and plan meticulously for the future. For that we will need internal stability and national consensus. If that is achieved the preparation will essentially come in two phases. First, bringing in investors and creating traditional jobs that are already in vogue. That way a solid bedrock of wealth and affluence is created for the next generation. The second step entails bringing about the qualitative changes that have been discussed above.


Conclusion: Innovate, Innovate, Innovate
One hallmark of American economy is its neat division of labor. We have discussed the industrial belt at the start already. Similarly take a look at Silicon Valley. And with every such grid exists at least one university to provide the intellectual capital needed for growth. If we want to grow, we will have to structure our economy in this fashion. And along with that we will have to lay the foundation of an intellectual and economic environment where innovation becomes the norm. From startups to high quality research and educational institutions the state will have to ensure it is forthcoming helping the private sector comes up with the best initiatives needed. The time to act is now.

 

The writer is an Islamabad-based TV journalist and tweets @FarrukhKPitafi

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10
October

Written By: Ejaz Haider

The point is simple: Clausewitz was writing and observing in the early 19th century. The nature of war, its thrust, its manoeuvres, its outcomes were very different from the fast-changing nature of war in 21st century. For instance, how does one define the COG, or even Clausewitz’ original Schwerpunkt, and apply it to cyberwar with hackers wreaking havoc in virtual spaces and whose attacks have terrible physical consequences? How did the concept work in Vietnam, for instance, where the U.S. military, despite winning the battles lost the war? Or in Afghanistan or Iraq or Libya? How do we apply the concept, whether in terms of COG or ‘point of effort’ to non-state, trans-national actors and groups that have shown remarkable, protean resilience at surviving the application of force, even when such application has been targeted and selective and even degraded their leadership?

Prussian military theorist Carl von Clausewitz is famously known to have given the concept of Centre of Gravity (COG) in his On War, until recently the Bible of war theory. There’s nary a military school that doesn’t talk about COG. Since at least 1986, the concept has been a mainstay of U.S. military operations. And yet, everyone has grappled with the concept, trying to figure out what it actually means.


Reason: not only is the concept vague and abstract, as recent writings have determined, it is also a mistranslation of the term Clausewitz used — Schwerpunkt. But before we get down to what Clausewitz meant, let’s list, at the outset, at least two problems with On War. They are not new and have been identified before but it is important to recap them to position the argument here.

 

The first problem is about the authorship of On War. We know that Clausewitz died early, before he had the opportunity to put his notes and manuscripts together. What we have today is a collection of his notes and manuscripts compiled and edited by his widow, Marie von Clausewitz, with assistance from Clausewitz’ students and military colleagues. The three volumes that comprise On War from the 10 they collected and compiled were their interpretation of Clausewitz, who did not have the advantage of revising or editing that draft.


This is also made clear by a note Clausewitz wrote, calling his manuscripts “a mass of conceptions not brought into form… [and which are] open to endless misconceptions.” The quote, it must be said, is contained in Liddell Hart’s Strategy who wasn’t particularly enamoured of Clausewitzean thought. That said, this warning comes directly from Clausewitz and must inform any reading of On War.


theelucive.jpgBut an even bigger problem, noted by several scholars of Clausewitz, both civilian and military, relates to translations from German. This, of course, is a general problem with translating any work where words can have several connotations and meanings. The term Centre of Gravity, in German, would be Gravitationspunkt. In fact, this is exactly the phrase used by the Austrian army to denote COG. Clausewitz, however, as we have noted above, used the term Schwerpunkt which, scholars have noted, should mean “weight of focus or point of effort”, a concept evidently different from COG which can be understood as a hub or the central source of power of the adversary.


This mistranslation has been one of the major problems informing the elusive understanding of COG. Military theorists and planners have been debating ad nauseam whether the COG denotes the strongest point of the adversary or his weakest. An additional problem is the fact, again well-known, that Clausewitz was theorising in and through the concepts of physics of his own time. The application of force and the drag were derived straight from mechanics. But the application of force on an inanimate object is very different from such application on an animate object which is not a single entity. Its reaction will be unknown and how it will morph once force has been applied on it are unknown variables.


To be fair to Clausewitz, he did realise that and hence his ‘fog of war’. Still, when we use COG as some central point of the adversary which, when struck, will yield favourable results, we make the mistake of assuming that (a) the adversary is a simple rather than complex object and (b) that if it unravels, it will necessarily collapse and could not regenerate.


Lawrence Freedman, professor of war studies at King’s College London, put it thus: “First, countries, or indeed any political entities, or their armed forces, do not have COGs. As a metaphor, it encourages a search for some vital core that holds the enemy system together. If this core can be identified and successfully attacked, it is supposed that the enemy system will unravel. This assumes an interconnected and interdependent system, incapable of adaption and regeneration. Yet once some key element is removed, social organisations do not necessarily collapse. There may be a transformation, but this could be into something more robust and durable. Taking out the enemy regime, for example, may not result in something pliable and cooperative, but instead a new entity that is as unfriendly and less manageable.”


Freedman’s reference to “a new entity that is as unfriendly and less manageable” is a scenario we are witnessing unfolding in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya, to name just the four recent examples. When the United States was planning to go into Iraq, I was at the prestigious Brookings Institution. The U.S. planning was focused on defeating the Iraqi army. This, as I noted repeatedly at the time, was both correct and flawed. Correct, because the U.S.-led allied offensive would surely take out the Iraqi army, as it did; flawed, because beyond that the U.S. didn’t have a plan and Iraq — for several reasons — had the potential to transform into a far more dangerous entity, which it did and has.


The point is simple: Clausewitz was writing and observing in the early 19th century. The nature of war, its thrust, its manoeuvres, its outcomes were very different from the fast-changing nature of war in 21st century. For instance, how does one define the COG, or even Clausewitz’ original Schwerpunkt, and apply it to cyberwar with hackers wreaking havoc in virtual spaces and whose attacks have terrible physical consequences? How did the concept work in Vietnam, for instance, where the U.S. military, despite winning the battles lost the war? Or in Afghanistan or Iraq or Libya? How do we apply the concept, whether in terms of COG or ‘point of effort’ to non-state, trans-national actors and groups that have shown remarkable, protean resilience at surviving the application of force, even when such application has been targeted and selective and even degraded their leadership?


As Freedman argues: “Force can have an instrumental value, even when it is not decisive in itself. There is always a need to understand enemy objectives and capabilities, but that does not always require working out how to impose a total collapse. Their forces might be deterred, denied, deflected, and displaced without being threatened with a terminal defeat.”


This refers us back to what Sun Tzu said in The Art of War: “In general, the method for employing the military is this: Preserving the enemy's state capital is best, destroying their state capital second-best. Preserving their army is best, destroying their army second-best. Preserving their battalions is best, destroying their battalions second-best…Subjugating the enemy's army without fighting is the true pinnacle of excellence.”


There are lessons in this for us, both in relation to state actors as well as the non-state actors we are fighting. Dealing with state actors, as Sun Tzu makes clear, is not just a function of military power but creation of synergy by harnessing all elements of national power. Ditto for NSAs. They morph and draw their strength from society. That is where one has to deal with the idea. In that sense, the COG or Schwerpunkt (point of effort) becomes an idea more than something physical which can be dominated through the use of force alone. In other words, the point of effort must be to translate the use of force into utility of force.


Clausewitz is useful, very useful indeed. But only if he is read with some of the caveats we have discussed above. For this, within the military, we need thinking officers at all levels, officers who can challenge institutional wisdom and get rewarded for that.

 

The writer was a Ford Scholar at the Programme in Arms Control, Disarmament and International Security at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1997) and a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C. (2002-03). He is currently Editor, National Security Affairs, at a private TV channel and contributes to several publications.

Twitter: @ejazhaider

 
10
October

Written By: Ghazala Yasmin Jalil

India claims that it has a flawless non-proliferation record and it should be made part of the mainstream nuclear club. It also wants a membership of the Nuclear Suppliers’ Group (NSG) partially based on this “spotless” non-proliferation record. In reality India’s non-proliferation record, however, is not as clean as it would have us believe. One of the most glaring examples is the 1974 nuclear explosion itself, for which India diverted nuclear fuel from Canadian reactors – supplied for peaceful and civilian use – to conduct a nuclear weapons test. Ironically, the NSG was created in the wake of this explosion specifically aimed at preventing the diversion of civil nuclear technology for military purposes in future. While India has always taken the moral high ground in non-proliferation by demanding complete nuclear disarmament and non-discriminatory approach, in practice it has pursued an aggressive nuclear weapons programme in order to achieve a major regional and global power status. India’s path to a nuclear weapon status is replete with many proliferation activities like illicit procurement, centrifuge know-how leakage, and a poor implementation of national export control system. Moreover, the safety and security of its nuclear installations is also in question where there are many instances of nuclear thefts and security breaches. India’s non-proliferation record is far from impeccable as it claims due to long list of documented breaches.

 

Diversion of Foreign Civil Nuclear Assistance for Weapons Use
The single most important and glaring example of India’s nuclear proliferation is the 1974 nuclear explosion, called the ‘Smiling Buddha.’ The nuclear explosion used the plutonium from the nuclear reactor supplied by Canada. Thus, India is the first country that diverted plutonium from reactors supplied for peaceful purposes towards making a nuclear bomb. The plutonium was produced in the Canadian-Indian Reactor, U.S. (CIRUS), which had been operating since 1960. It was built by Canada under the “Atoms for Peace” programme. The 21 tons of heavy water needed to operate the reactor were supplied by the U.S. In return, India had a written agreement with the suppliers that obliged it to use the nuclear reactor for peaceful purposes. Once confronted, India claimed that it was a “peaceful nuclear explosion.”

 

indianonpro.jpgIndia had another agreement with the U.S. in 1963, which covered the two nuclear power reactors at Tarapur and their fuel. The spent fuel from these reactors is in storage and contains India’s most reactor grade plutonium. India claims that it can reprocess the spent fuel to extract plutonium for use in its civilian power reactors as fuel. That plutonium can be used for nuclear weapons. Reportedly, the plutonium from Tarapur reactors is enough to make hundreds of nuclear warheads. However, the 1963 agreement required India to get approval from the U.S. for reprocessing the plutonium placed at its disposal. India disputes this and insists that it is free to reprocess the spent fuel at any time. The U.S. has kept the matter dormant because it is an irritant in relations between the two countries. This is yet another glaring instance of nuclear proliferation done by Indian.


Illicit Procurement
Indian nuclear entities and companies have procured nuclear dual-use material and equipment without revealing to the supplier that the end user is an unsafeguarded uranium enrichment plant. The Institute of Science and International Security (ISIS) released two reports in 2006, which give details of India’s proliferation activities.1 The ISIS reports reveal that India has a tendering process for acquiring equipment for its gas centrifuge programme. The Department of Atomic Energy’s (DAE) sub-entity Indian Rare Earths (IRE) uses websites and newspapers to invite companies for supply or manufacture of equipment without specifying that the end user is a gas centrifuge programme under the DAE. According to the ISIS report, this process has been going on for years with hundreds of advertisements for tenders.


Another instance is when in August 2005, an Indian ordnance factory attempted to use a Polish and a Europe-based Egyptian firm to obtain a controlled item – a three-roller four-axis CNC flow-forming machine from a European supplier. The accompanying specifications showed that it could be used to manufacture missile casings.2


The ISIS 2008 report establishes Indian illicit procurements of Tributyl Phosphate (TBP), which is a dual use chemical used in nuclear programme to separate plutonium. India used her trading companies to procure TBP secretly from German and Russian suppliers. The end user for the substance was Nuclear Fuel Complex in Hyderabad. These middle companies procured the TBP without the supplier knowing that the substance was meant for unsafeguarded nuclear programme.3


Centrifuge Know-How Leakage
The ISIS reports also reveal that India’s tendering process for acquiring equipment for its gas centrifuge programme also leaks sensitive gas centrifuge information. Interested bidders can purchase documents, which cost around U.S. $10, and some of them contain detailed drawings and manufacturing instructions for direct use centrifuge components and other sensitive centrifuge related items. The tender advertisements do not indicate to the bidder that the items will be used in a gas centrifuge facility. However, the whole tendering process was meant to outfit the Indian gas centrifuge programme, codenamed Rare Materials Project (RMP) under the DAE. The tender documents contain drawings and precise specifications. The level of detail is such that these documents would be considered classified in supplier countries. The bidding companies may leak the designs for secret nuclear programmes. Therefore, this opens many direct and indirect avenues for proliferation.


Poorly-Implemented National Export Control System
Indian export controls are poorly implemented with a greater possibility of onward proliferation. An ISIS report raises the issue that under inadequate Indian export controls, once imported items are re-exported it can be a great source of concern vis-à-vis onward proliferation. This turns more dangerous as proliferant states are known to target Indian industries.6 With the India-U.S. civil nuclear deal coming through and many other Western countries engaging in nuclear trade with India, there will be a dramatic increase in nuclear dual-use items. This will further strain an already inadequate export control system.


Illicit Heavy Water Acquisitions
India's nuclear programme requires a steady stream of heavy water. During the 1980s, India arranged secret shipments of Chinese, Soviet and Norwegian heavy water to help start the Madras and Dhruva reactors through a West German nuclear materials broker named Alfred Hempel. Between 1983 and 1989 India received at least 80 tons of Soviet heavy water under the table, and 26.5 tons of Norwegian heavy water through diversions.7


Nuclear Thefts and Accident
India has had a long history of thefts of nuclear material and mishaps or near-accidents at its nuclear facilities. This raises concerns over onward proliferation of nuclear materials as well as the safety and security of its nuclear facilities. Limited access to fissile material and international safeguards on nuclear facilities are the main barriers to nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism. However, India has a poor record on both counts. In fulfilment of the terms of the India-U.S. nuclear deal, India has placed 22 of its nuclear facilities under IAEA safeguards.8 But there is a long list of incidents of theft of nuclear material as well as concerns over the safety of its nuclear installations. Potential effects of plutonium or uranium thefts go beyond national borders with the possibility of onward proliferation and threats of nuclear terrorism.


According to a 1996 report made available to IAEA, Indian nuclear facilities have had 130 instances of safety related concerns, of which 95 required urgent action.9 According to an Indian parliamentary report, 147 mishaps or security related occurrences were reported in Indian atomic energy plants between the period 1995 to 1998. Out of these instances, 28 were of acute nature and 9 of these occurred in nuclear power installations.10


The incidents of nuclear theft date back to the 1980s but increased manifold in the 1990s and 2000s. This article would just mention a few of the theft cases. In July 1998, Indian Central Bureau of Intelligence (CBI) uncovered a theft racket of Uranium in Tamil Nadu. Of the 8 kg seized, 6 kg was weapons grade unenriched uranium.11 This led to cases of further seizure of uranium on July 31, 1998 of 2kg uranium. Samples showed 2.2% enrichment which indicated that it had come from an atomic research centre. On May 1, 2000 Mumbai police seized 8.3 kg uranium from scrap dealers which originated from the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), which was said to be depleted but radioactive.12


Also in November 2000, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported two incidents of uranium theft in India. In one incident, the Indian police seized three uranium rods and arrested eight persons on charges of illicit trafficking of nuclear material. In the second incident, the Indian police seized 57 pounds of uranium and arrested two men on charges of illicit trafficking of radioactive material.13 Again in November 2000, the Indian intelligence seized 25kg of highly radioactive uranium from a scrap dealer in Bibi Cancer Hospital.14 In August 2001, the revelation of 200 grams of semi-processed uranium theft in West Bengal led to the arrest of a uranium smuggling gang.15 In December 2006, a container packed with radioactive material was stolen from Indian fortified research atomic facility near Mumbai. Again in September 2008, Police in the north-eastern Indian state of Meghalaya arrested five people on charges of smuggling uranium ore.16


In March 2010, a gamma unit containing Cobalt-60 pencils was improperly disposed off by University of Delhi in violation of national regulations for radiation protection and safety of radioactive sources. This incident resulted in the material landing in the hand of a scrap dealer in West Delhi which led to the death of one person and seven were reportedly affected by radiation injuries.17 Also in 2013, leftist guerrillas in Northeast India illegally obtained uranium ore from a government-run milling complex and strapped it to high explosives to make a crude bomb before they were caught by the police.18


There have been instances in India where employees have carried out damaging activities within a nuclear facility. For instance, in 2009, a disgruntled employee at the Kaiga Atomic Power Station in Karnataka was reportedly responsible for contaminating drinking water supply with heavy water from the plant which led to the poisoning of 45 employees. Similarly, there have been media reports that there have been 25 intrusions at Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC) in the last two years.19


The long list of nuclear thefts in India raises concerns over the presence of a nuclear mafia in India and organised crime relating to nuclear materials. This has been a great source of concern since the effects of national nuclear theft go beyond national borders. Such incidents are likely to lead to nuclear terrorism which is an international issue of concern.


Of even greater concern are finding of a 2012 analysis by the British Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) and the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) in New Delhi which highlighted the potential of theft of material suitable for use in weapons of mass destruction from insufficiently protected nuclear and chemical facilities in India. The report concluded that there is a potentially high risk of the material falling into the hands of wrong elements and radiological material being used in the form of a “dirty bomb” in terrorist activities.20


Another analysis published by the Foreign Policy magazine expresses grave concerns that India is not adequately safeguarding its fast-expanding nuclear installations and materials. An incident in October 2014 raised fresh concerns over the safety of Indian nuclear facilities when a person of the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), which was assigned to protect India's nuclear facilities and weapons related materials and installations, opened fire and killed several people in the very facility he was assigned to protect.21


According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, an estimated 90 to 110 nuclear warheads are stored in six or so nuclear sites which are guarded by CISF. A 2013 confidential draft report of the Home Ministry revealed that the force is short staffed, ill equipped and inadequately trained.22


The U.S. and other Western countries have long expressed concerns over the safety of India’s nuclear facilities. However, India refuses any help from the U.S. in improving its nuclear safety and its nuclear programme that still remains shrouded in secrecy. This, however, is a matter of grave concern, especially with India-U.S. civil nuclear deal coming through. Moreover, many other countries are eagerly engaging in nuclear trade with India. This means that close to 60 reactors may be operational in the next two decades. With a poor nuclear safety and security record, it only means that there would be dozens more nuclear reactors that would be vulnerable to theft and accidents.


Of even greater concern are latest reports that India is also building a top secret nuclear city to produce thermonuclear weapons in Southern Karnataka. Reportedly, it will be the subcontinent’s largest complex of nuclear centrifuges, atomic research laboratories and weapons testing facilities and is expected to be completed in 2017.23 Of much significance are the reports that India is building thermonuclear weapons which have a much greater explosive force. This again follows the same clandestine pattern where India exploded its first “peaceful” nuclear device, when it tested first in 1998, and is now pursuing thermonuclear weapons without the international community and especially the U.S. being aware of it. This signifies that India is the engine of nuclear proliferation and nuclear competition in South Asia. This will not only further heighten Pakistan’s threat perceptions and that of China, but may give them an incentive to pursue thermonuclear weapons of their own. This would only fuel a pointless nuclear arms race. Moreover, having a nuclear city means adding to the already extensive number of Indian nuclear facilities that need to be safeguarded. The safety and security of India’s nuclear facilities thus becomes a matter of even graver concern. This may lead to onward proliferation or nuclear terrorism, or both.


It is clear that India has a poor nuclear materials safety record. According to the 2014 NTI (Nuclear Materials Security Index), which assesses the security of nuclear materials around the world, India scores below Pakistan, and is ranked only above North Korea and Iran.


Black Diamonds Incident
Black diamonds are found naturally and considered rare. However, Indian scientists have been trying to create them artificially through radioactive processes. In 1992, scientists from BARC were reportedly involved in exporting ‘black diamonds’ internationally. Scientists were using research reactor APSARA to irradiate natural diamonds, making them darker and radioactive and selling them on the international market. These diamonds have dangerously high levels of radioactivity.24 BARC is central to India’s nuclear weapons infrastructure. The fact that scientists from this facility were willing to engage in illegal and dangerous practices heightens fears that other nuclear material may also be available for illicit trade.


Proliferation by Individuals and Entities: Links with Iranian and Iraqi Programmes
India has a history of cooperation with Iran.25 It had a nuclear cooperation agreement with Iran signed in 1975. During the period of 1980-3, India helped in building the Bushehr nuclear plant and also sent scientists and personnel to Iran in 1982. India negotiated a deal for the sale of a 10 MW nuclear reactor to Iran in 1991 despite U.S. displeasure. Nuclear scientist Dr. Prasad, head of the Nuclear Corporation of India worked in Bushehr after his retirement. Another scientist Narander Singh also worked in Iranian nuclear facilities.26


President George W. Bush administration sanctioned several Indian entities for transferring technologies and know-how to Iraq and Iran that could contribute to chemical or biological weapons programmes.27 The U.S. clamped sanctions on five Indian entities and four individuals for their involvement in proliferation. In 2002-03, the U.S. imposed sanctions on the Indian entity Hans Raj Shiv for transferring WMD equipment and technology to Iraq.28 Protech Consultants Pvt Ltd came under sanctions in 2003 for transfers to Iraq. NEC Engineers Pvt Limited came under the U.S. sanctions in 2003 for proliferation activities related to chemical and biological weapons.29


An Indian scientist Dr. Prasad and former Chairman of Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited Dr. Surendar came under sanctions in 2004 for facilitating WMD and missile related programme.30 In 2007, two Indian nationals Sudarshan and Mythili were arrested in the U.S. for illegally transferring latest computer technology meant for missile guidance system for their government’s research and development entities.31 Likewise, Sabero Organic and Sandhya Organic Chemicals Pvt Ltd were sanctioned in 2005 for proliferation to Iran.


Conclusion
India has time and again claimed that the country has a spotless non-proliferation record. However, the long list of proliferation activities ranging from nuclear theft and accidents, diversion of peaceful material for weapons use, illegal nuclear materials procurement, centrifuge know-how leakage prove that this claim is a myth, far removed from the reality. In fact, “the spotless nonproliferation record” is a narrative that India is being aided and abetted by its Western allies firstly, because their strategic interests are converging and building India as a strong regional power to counter a rising China is in their interest. Secondly, the narrative also helps pave a smooth path for Western countries to engage in lucrative nuclear business with India.

 

The writer is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad and focuses on nuclear and arms control & disarmament issues.

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

 

1 David Albright and Susan Basu, “India’s Gas Centrifuge Program: Stopping Illicit Procurement and the Leakage of Technical Centrifuge Know-How,” Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) Report, March 10, 2006, http://isis-online.org/uploads/isis-reports/documents/indianprocurement.pdf, and David Albright and Susan Basu, “Neither a Determined Proliferator Nor a Responsible Nuclear State,” Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) Report, April 5, 2006, http://isis-online.org/uploads/isis-reports/documents/indiacritique.pdf
2 David Albright and Susan Basu, “India’s Gas Centrifuge Program: Stopping Illicit Procurement and the Leakage of Technical Centrifuge Know-How,” op.cit, p. 5.
3 David Albright and Paul Brannan, “Indian Nuclear Export Controls and Information Security: Important Questions Remain,” September 18, 2008,http://www.isis-online.org/publications/southasia/India_18September2008.pdf
4 David Albright and Susan Basu, “Neither a Determined Proliferator Nor a Responsible Nuclear State,”op.cit, p. 3.
5 David Albright and Susan Basu, “Neither a Determined Proliferator Nor a Responsible Nuclear State,” op.cit, p. 4.
6 David Albright and Susan Basu, “Neither a Determined Proliferator Nor a Responsible Nuclear State,”op.cit, p. 2.
7 India Moves From Smuggling to Exporting Heavy Water, The Risk Report, Volume 1 Number 2 (March 1995)
8 India country profile –Nuclear, http://www.nti.org/country-profiles/india/nuclear/
9 NayanChanda, “The Perils of Power”, Far Eastern Economic Review, February 4. 1999, pp.10–17
10 Ritu Sarin, “Hunt for yellow cake,” The Indian Express, June 4, 1998.
11 “Uranium Racket unearthed,” Press Trust of India, July 24, 1998.
12 The Times of India, May 6, 2000.
13 Dr. Shireen Mazari and Maria Sultan, “Nuclear Safety and Terrorism: A Case Study of India,” Issue 19, Islamabad Papers, 2001, ISSI
14 Ibid.
15 “Uranium smugglers caught in India,” BBC News, August 27. 2001
16 “India Arrests for ‘uranium theft’”, BBC News, September 10, 2008, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7608984.stm
17 Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan, “Nuclear Security in India,” Observer Research Foundation (ORF).
18 Adrian Levy and Jeffrey Smith, “Fast, Radioactive and Out of Control,”Foreign Policy, December 17, 2015, http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/12/17/fast-radioactive-and-out-of-control-india-nuclear-safeguards/
19 Ibid.
20 “Report cites risk of WMD material theft in India,”June 19, 2012, http://www.nti.org/gsn/article/report-highlights-risks-cbrn-material-theft-india/
21 Adrian Levy and Jeffrey Smith, “Fast, Radioactive and Out of Control,”Foreign Policy, op.cit.
22 Referred to in Adrian Levy and Jeffrey Smith, “Fast, Radioactive and Out of Control,” Foreign Policy, op.cit.
23 Adrian Levy, “India is Building a Top-Secret Nuclear City to Produce Thermonuclear Weapons, expert say,”Foreign Policy, December 16, 2015, http://foreignpolicy.com/2015/12/16/india_nuclear_city_top_secret_china_pakistan_barc/
24 Dr.ShireenMazari and Maria Sultan, “Nuclear Safety and Terrorism: A Case Study of India,”op.cit.
25 Iran has long been accused and sanctioned for pursuing the path to nuclear weapons development and a deal was recently finalized that hoped to halt or considerably slow down the progress on producing nuclear weapons grade fissile material.
26 “India’s Proliferation Record,”http://ssii.com.pk/str/articles.php?subaction=showfull&id=1353849362&ucat=13&template=Headlines&value1news=value1news&var1news=value1news
27 Arms Control and Proliferation Profile: India, https://www.armscontrol.org/factsheets/indiaprofile
28 U.S. Senate Report to Committee on Foreign Relations on U.S.-India Peaceful Atomic Energy Cooperation and U.S. Additional Protocol Implementation Act, 20 July 2006, available at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/CRPT-109srpt288/html/CRPT-109srpt288.htm
29 Ibid.
30 Paul K. Kerr, “U.S. Nuclear Cooperation with India: Issues for Congress,” CRS (November, 2009), p.8, available at http://fpc.state.gov/documents/organization/132243.pdf
31 Indians held in U.S. for selling missile parts,” The Dawn, 5 April 2007, available at http://www.dawn.com/news/240828/indians-held-in-us-for-selling-missile-parts

 

 
10
October

Written By: Ahmed Quraishi

The current Kashmir crisis has shattered every myth the world has come to know and believe about the oldest pending conflict since the Second World War. It is proven now that India does not control Kashmir and has a tenuous control at best over the state it invaded in 1947 and later illegally annexed. The world is no longer silent and ignorant about Indian human rights violations. The unarmed Kashmiris did and can break the siege and force the world to see what India wants to hide. And the United Nations can intervene and force a solution despite Indian non-cooperation.


The seven million Kashmiris of Kashmir Valley have effectively unsettled the world's second largest standing army. Today, Kashmir is the world's biggest peaceful civil disobedience movement to end a military occupation. The irony is that India, which produced Gandhi, a symbol of peaceful civil disobedience against British rule, is today a repressive and violent military occupier, in many ways far worse than the British colonizers. (The Indian army is accused of using rape as a tool of war in Kashmir, according to human rights organizations, and the government in New Delhi is quick to create laws that protect Indian soldiers involved in gang rapes and other war crimes.)

 

 

howindiacanmake.jpgIndia cannot defeat freedom in Kashmir any more than Britain could defeat the Indian quest for freedom seventy years ago.


India has failed to pacify Kashmir in seven decades and, short of an outright military-led genocide, cannot continue to forcibly maintain the status quo.


The Indian mismanagement of Kashmir conflict and the latest crisis betrays a high level of political and military immaturity in New Delhi that belies India's claim to big-power status. What's worse, the continued Indian mismanagement and wrong policy choices promise to destabilize a highly militarized region and entangle world powers already busy in Syria and other conflicts.


India has failed to resolve Kashmir issue and is unable or unwilling to act responsibly to end the conflict. An international intervention has become inevitable.

 

It is time that India offloads its Kashmir Burden and rids itself and the region of the source of incessant conflict for the past 69 years. The ruling elite in New Delhi should listen to Indian voices of reason that believe India should let the Kashmiris go.

The UN Has Spoken
The September 13 statement of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al-Hussein ends more than half-century of international silence on Kashmir conflict. It is a landmark development that settles the Indian claim over Kashmir being Indian territory (it is not, the High Commissioner has referred to Indian-administered Kashmir), and opens the door to international diplomacy to resolve the conflict.


In brief, the top international bureaucrat overseeing the global humanitarian system linked India to the use of excessive force in Kashmir reminded New Delhi that his office awaits Indian invitation to a UN fact-finding mission to Srinagar to meet victims, and declared that Kashmir requires an impartial international probe into the role of Indian army in the disputed region.


These were the High Commissioner's exact words:
“Two months ago, I requested the agreement of the Governments of India and Pakistan to invite teams from my Office to visit both sides of the line of control: in other words the Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan-administered Kashmir. We had previously received reports, and still continue to do so, claiming the Indian authorities had used force excessively against the civilian population under its administration. We furthermore received conflicting narratives from the two sides as to the cause for the confrontations and the reported large numbers of people killed and wounded. I believe an independent, impartial and international mission is now needed crucially and that it should be given free and complete access to establish an objective assessment of the claims made by the two sides. I received last Friday a letter from the Government of Pakistan formally inviting an OHCHR team to the Pakistani side of the line of control, but in tandem with a mission to the Indian side. I have yet to receive a formal letter from the Government of India. I therefore request here and publicly, from the two Governments, access that is unconditional to both sides of the line of control.”

 

howindiacanmake1.jpgThis UN statement brought Kashmir back to international limelight after decades of neglect, alerted the community of international human rights activists and defenders to the urgency in Kashmir, put world powers on notice, and most importantly marked the failure of Indian diplomacy to convince the world of its position on Kashmir conflict.


The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights was delivering a policy statement at the start of the 33rd session of Human Rights Council at Geneva. This also was the first statement at the beginning of the second decade of the Council. Besides Kashmir, the statement dealt with Syria, Crimea, and other international conflicts.


The Indian response to the UN High Commissioner was immature, shocking and irresponsible, considering that it comes from a country that wants world-power status and thinks it should have a permanent seat in UN Security Council. Ajit Kumar, the Indian permanent representative at the Human Rights Council, made a confusing and disjointed statement. Kashmir belongs to India, he said, then went on to protest why the UN High Commissioner used the term ‘Indian-administered Kashmir’. He tried to win international sympathy by playing the Largest-Democracy Card (LDC), claiming that the Indian occupation setup in Kashmir was democratically elected.

 

India cannot defeat the idea of freedom. Countries more powerful than New Delhi have tried and failed in the past. Kashmir never was and will never be part of India. There is so much bad blood now between Kashmiris and Indians, especially after July 8, that coexistence does not seem possible.

Considering the fast-deteriorating situation between Pakistan and India because of the killings of the civilian population in Kashmir at the hands of the Indian army, diplomats, journalists and rights defenders expected a wiser response from India.


Indian Compulsions
Logically speaking, India has every reason to resolve Kashmir at this stage. New Delhi should have welcomed the opportunity of intervention by UN Human Rights Council. The High Commissioner gave Indian government a face-saving exit from a crisis that is getting out of Indian hands, if it has not already. Prime Minister Modi is facing Indian army commanders every day who tell him to pull out their soldiers from crowd-management assignments in Indian-occupied Kashmir. Indian generals tell Modi it is not their job to act as a riot police, and that the only solution they can offer at this stage is to start opening fire on every group of Kashmiri civilians peacefully protesting against Indian rule.


There is another stronger reason why India should accept a UN intervention after the September 13 statement of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. After the attack on an Indian occupation army camp at Uri, near the temporary ceasefire line known as Line of Control, some Indian army commanders reportedly want to offset their failure in taming Kashmir by encouraging New Delhi to start a war against Pakistan. They have two ready pretexts: one is the Uri attack; and second is Modi government's ready-made charge that the massive civil disobedience movement and uprising in Kashmir is ‘orchestrated’ by Pakistan.


The UN High Commissioner's statement can save India from the warmongers in the government, like Ajit Doval, the national security advisor, and from some in the military who want to push India to an all-out war to cover up for failures in Kashmir. They also hope that war would end the Kashmir freedom movement and help India to subjugate Kashmiris for several more decades.


Kashmir entangles five of the nine known nuclear powers in the world – Pakistan, India and China directly, and United States, Russia indirectly. When India threatened war, Moscow sent Russian Army contingent to Islamabad for scheduled military exercises, turning down Modi's request to cancel the exercises.


Why Prime Minister Modi would not take the chance offered by the UN High Commissioner to extricate himself and his demoralized army from the Kashmir quagmire is anybody’s guess.


Kashmir Damages India's International Standing
With the UN breaking its silence on Kashmir (aside from the statement by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, the UN Secretary-General has twice issued statements on Kashmir since July), the international media is disparaging India on Kashmir. New Delhi has not experienced this level of bad press in decades. Gains made by spending hundreds of millions of dollars on image-enhancing advertising campaigns, like ‘Incredible India’ and ‘Made in India’, could wipe out because of tensions and instability.


The American magazine, Quartz, boldly singled out Ajit Doval, the militant Indian national security advisor, for criticism for the tensions in the region in its September 18 report titled, ‘Doval Doctrine: Narendra Modi’s aggressive stand on Pakistan might make India more vulnerable to terror.’


The Guardian and Al-Jazeera have boldly covered Indian Army's attacks and killings of the civilian population in Kashmir with blunt headlines such as, ‘India is blinding young Kashmiri protesters – and no one will face justice,’ published by The Guardian on July 18.


The New York Times Editorial Board has written twice on Kashmir in two months. On both occasions, the paper has come down hard on India, going even to the extent of calling key allies of Modi's ruling party as ‘irresponsible’ for warmongering.


Within India itself, voices of dissent are growing. Few Indians are interested in Kashmir outside the Hindi Belt, the minority Hindi-speaking regions of North India that dominate the government and army in New Delhi. Many non-Hindi speaking Indians, who are in majority, feel Kashmir is a matter of ego for North Indian Hindi-speaking rulers. The Hindi-speaking ruling elite often gets derided for fixation on Kashmir and Pakistan, and is giving little attention to serious issues of health, poverty and social development that plague India.


Kashmir has cost India dearly. Wars and tensions related to this conflict have played a role in stopping India from winning support for a permanent seat in UN Security Council and membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group.


India's Kashmir Burden
It is time that India offloads its Kashmir burden and rids itself and the region of the source of incessant conflict for the past 69 years. The ruling elite in New Delhi should listen to Indian voices of reason that believe India should let the Kashmiris go.


India cannot defeat the idea of freedom. Countries more powerful than New Delhi have tried and failed in the past. Kashmir never was and will never be part of India. There is so much bad blood now between Kashmiris and Indians, especially after July 8, that coexistence does not seem possible.


Any well wisher of India would ultimately give the same advice: India should heed the call of UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, allow a fact-finding mission to visit the victims in Kashmir. This will help start a process of healing in Kashmir and the region. The next steps could include withdrawal of the Indian army from the region. At a later stage, Pakistan could join India and the UN in finding a political solution, which could end in some form of a referendum supervised by the United Nations for Indian Occupied Kashmir and Azad Kashmir to decide their fate in accordance with UNSC resolutions.


This process will be arduous and will require the sustained commitment of India, Pakistan and the UN, but it is possible. Anything less than this will probably not be acceptable to the Kashmiris and the cycle of deaths and war could continue.


With the door to diplomacy opened by the United Nations, India should get on the right side of history and make things right for itself, for Kashmir, and for peace in the region and the world.

 

The author is a writer, journalist, researcher. He works on Kashmir for YFK-International Kashmir Lobby Group.

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10
October

Written By: Taj M. Khattak

LEMOA would lay a framework which would enable India and U.S. to reciprocally share military logistics which would greatly help in furthering their staying power over extended distances. Besides, LEMOA, they have also inked Communications Interoperability and Security Memorandum Agreement (CISMOA) and Basic Exchange and Co-operation Agreement (BECA) for geo-spatial co-operation. CISMOA would allow India an access into U.S.’ proprietary encrypted communications equipment and systems for secure communications with Indian naval, ground and air assets. BECA meanwhile would facilitate geo-spatial co-operation and allow sharing sensitive data to assist targeting and navigation.

*****

In the words of Secretary Carter, these ‘three fundamental agreements’ will guide U.S.’ high technology co-operation with India. He has also referred to it as ‘an anchor of global security’. The U.S. hasn’t done too well to improve global security wherever else it dropped its anchor in recent times like in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Yemen to name a few places. The regional countries therefore see this development as yet another move for expansionist designs and hegemony considering that India ranks number two globally in procurement of arms. For the foreseeable future, these and other Indo-U.S. accords are likely to stay as a constant in regional politics and warrant robust policy responses to counter their impact and reach.

*****

India and U.S. have recently signed a Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) which could have far reaching implications for the region in the prevailing environments of their strategic relationship. It was first proposed by Washington in 2004 but resisted by the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government for reasons of being too intrusive, compromising country’s ‘non-aligned stance’ in international arena and irking neighboring China and Russia.


The proposal was fast-tracked after Prime Minister Modi came into power and the ensuing bonhomie between the two leaders – Modi has met Obama seven times in last three years, on one forum or the other, and Obama has visited India twice in his eight years of presidency – a first for any U.S. President. In their joint strategic vision in 2015, the two leaders envisaged their countries as important drivers for broad-based regional prosperity and global growth. They agreed to build a partnership to support increased connectivity for sustainable and inclusive development as well as poverty alleviation. The agreement calls for deeper co-operation between two militaries through sharing of each other’s logistic support bases, with no provisions of stationing troops yet, but there is obviously more than what meets the eye.

 

LEMOA would lay a framework which would enable India and U.S. to reciprocally share military logistics which would greatly help in furthering their staying power over extended distances. Besides, LEMOA, they have also inked Communications Interoperability and Security Memorandum Agreement (CISMOA) and Basic Exchange and Co-operation Agreement (BECA) for geo-spatial co-operation. CISMOA would allow India an access into U.S.’ proprietary encrypted communications equipment and systems for secure communications with Indian naval, ground and air assets. BECA meanwhile would facilitate geo-spatial co-operation and allow sharing sensitive data to assist targeting and navigation.


Unlike the Cold War era alignments, these agreements are specific – for U.S. it is against China and for India against Pakistan. It is not clear how this will affect India’s strategic nuclear submarines program which is strongly and irrevocably tethered to Russian nuclear industry. Under an ‘Information Exchange’ accord, a team of U.S. Navy officials recently visited Cochin shipyard where India’s first indigenous aircraft carrier (IAC-1) is under construction and the project was facing technical difficulties. LEMOA will further boost that initiative.

 

indouslogic.jpg

Under a new maritime security dialogue, which addresses cross-cutting security and foreign policy issues, India and U.S. have concluded a ‘White Shipping Agreement’ (WSA), ostensibly to improve maritime domain awareness but in plain words it will allow India and U.S. to exchange information about ships in their respective waters. It has been agreed to classify ships into three categories, i.e., white (commercial), grey (naval) and black (illegal vessels). The Indian Navy’s Information Management and Analysis Centre (IMAC) at Gurgaon would act as the nodal center for WSA related activities. Whether or not, joint U.S.-Indian Navy patrols in Indian Ocean and South China Sea (SCS), which are presently being resisted by India, materialize in the future remains to be seen.

 

India is already violating the spirit of United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) by requiring 24 hours prior notice for ships carrying hazardous and dangerous cargos like oil, chemicals, noxious liquids, and radio-active material to enter its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). In other words it is endeavoring to ‘territorialize’ its EEZ when UNCLOS only grants sovereignty over living and non-living resources on or under the seabed but below surface of water. Since both India and U.S. see global terrorism through their own foggy prisms, WSA will give added impetus to this abuse of internationally recognized principle of right of innocent passage in oceans of the world.

 

India, a non-claimant and extra-regional actor, has grossly overstated its interest when it sent a naval task force for an extended deployment into SCS, including joint participation with other non-claimant Japan and U.S. Navy in ‘Exercise Malabar’ off Okinawa. U.S. has wooed regional claimant Vietnam by lifting lethal weapons sale restrictions to exert further pressure on China.

The agreement pledges safeguarding maritime security and ensuring freedom of navigation and over-flights throughout the region including South China Sea (SCS). It emphasis on enhancing energy transmission, free trade, people-to-people contact and development of infrastructure and connectivity linking South, South East, and Central Asia, The two sides called upon all parties to avoid threat or use of force and pursue resolution of territorial and maritime disputes through peaceful means in accordance with universally recognized principles of international law, including the UNCLOS.


The SCS reference is unambiguously pointed towards China which has laid historic claims to Spratly and Paracels islands. For China, the facilities on Fiery Cross Reef in middle of the sea is crucial as it serves the purpose of an ‘unsinkable aircraft carrier’, as it were, for protection of its energy lifeline and seaborne trade comprising raw material and finished products from its major industrial centers heading for or emerging from Malacca Straits. Shanghai alone handles the highest volume of global trade valued at U.S. $ 2 trillion annually. This protection becomes critical since out of the two entry/exit points in Indian Ocean, the one at Straits of Hormuz in Persian Gulf is controlled since 1995 by the U.S. through its Fifth Fleet in Bahrain and the other, Malacca Straits, by India through its tri-services Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) at Port Blair.


The SCS territorial dispute dates back to 1887 when France (as colonial power) and China signed ‘China-Vietnam Boundary Accord’ which recognized China as rightful owner of Paracels and Spratlys islands. After World War II, when former President Harry Truman extended U.S. control of continental shelf to unspecified limits, claiming all natural resources and other South American nations extended their claim to 200 nautical miles; China also re-asserted its claim to these islands and produced its now famous 9-dash map.

 

In their joint vision, Obama and Modi also pledged common commitment to Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). This would be funny, were it not a serious matter. Secretary Kerry recently forgot to counsel his hosts in New Delhi against perpetuating worst form of state sponsored terrorism in Kashmir but President Obama remembered human rights in Laos which created much furor and reflected just how much even its close allies are frustrated with U.S. duplicity.

Beijing’s historic claim is now being challenged by the U.S. through conducting what it calls ‘freedom of navigation’ operations’ (FONOP) in SCS. Recently, after a large scale Chinese presence in SCS which included aircraft carrier, modern ships and submarines, the U.S. conducted its FONOP-3 which also constituted an aircraft carrier, modern ships and submarines. The FONOP-3 has now been followed by a joint exercise by Russian and Chinese Navies. The U.S. naval maneuvers are clearly intimidation tactics as there is nothing in Permanent Court of Arbitration’s award on SCS which supports a mandatory congressional assessment negating China’s sovereign claim and justify military action if it contemplated one.


India, a non-claimant and extra-regional actor, has grossly overstated its interest when it sent a naval task force for an extended deployment into SCS, including joint participation with other non-claimant Japan and U.S. Navy in ‘Exercise Malabar’ off Okinawa. U.S. has wooed regional claimant Vietnam by lifting lethal weapons sale restrictions to exert further pressure on China.


Whether or not, joint U.S.-Indian Navy patrols in Indian Ocean and South China Sea, which are presently being resisted by India, materialize in the future remains to be seen. But LEMOA will help such deployments which are violations of reasonable principles of geo-political moderation which heighten regional tensions when need of the hour is to demilitarize and diffuse the situation through diplomacy. Interestingly, USA has not ratified UNCLOS even though it has no maritime territorial dispute with any country but rarely misses an opportunity to call upon others to resolve disputes in accordance with this law.


In their joint vision, Obama and Modi also pledged common commitment to Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). This would be funny, were it not a serious matter. Secretary Kerry recently forgot to counsel his hosts in New Delhi against perpetuating worst form of state sponsored terrorism in Kashmir but President Obama remembered human rights in Laos which created much furor and reflected just how much even its close allies are frustrated with U.S. duplicity.


In the words of Secretary Carter, these ‘three fundamental agreements’ will guide U.S.’ high technology co-operation with India. He has also referred to it as ‘an anchor of global security’. The U.S. hasn’t done too well to improve global security wherever else it dropped its anchor in recent times like in Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia and Yemen to name a few places. The regional countries therefore see this development as yet another move for expansionist designs and hegemony considering that India ranks number two globally in procurement of arms. For the foreseeable future, these and other Indo-U.S. accords are likely to stay as a constant in regional politics and warrant robust policy responses to counter their impact and reach.


The Indo-U.S. nuclear deal has already affected delicate strategic stability in the region, which, in tandem with U.S. support for India’s membership of Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) and UNO, could be further exacerbated by LEMOA. For some corrections in the strategic imbalance in the short term perspective, it would make sense to move close to our all weather friend China. However, with burgeoning Indo-China trade, it is quite likely that Sino-Indian geo-economics imperative may over shadow Sino-Pak geo-strategic and geo-political considerations. This, despite CPEC, could constrain China from embracing Pakistan any tighter than we would wish and might come sooner than we anticipate.


Before that tipping point reaches, we need to address our known internal shortcomings and re-set our national compass to weather the storms in the turbulent times ahead.

 

The writer is a retired Vice Admiral of Pakistan Navy.

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10
October

Written By: Amir Zia

Plain, simple logic says that if the Indian troops carried out ‘surgical strikes’ in Azad Kashmir as claimed, Pakistan would have retaliated and immediately raised the issue internationally.


After all, how can silence over any cross-border intrusion suit Pakistan? Taking an Indian aggression lying down means encouraging an already belligerent Hindu nationalist government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to act more belligerently. It would be opening gates for other such future assaults and accepting Indian hegemony. Absence of a pro-active military, political or diplomatic stance from Pakistan in the face of Indian aggression would also damage the struggle of Kashmiris against New Delhi’s rule in the occupied valley. It is tantamount to foregoing the right to defend ourselves and surrendering the country’s sovereignty.

 

In a nutshell, staying silent could never be an option for Pakistan had the Indians breached the international or the disputed border as New Delhi claims that its forces did on the night of September 28-29 in four sectors of Azad Kashmir – Bhimbar, Hot Spring, Lipa and Kel. If the Indian claim had been true, Pakistan would have responded with all its might – come what may – even when its ruling elite appears fractured and divided.

 

behindfence.jpg

Skirmishes along the Line of Control in the form of an exchange of small arms, mortar or artillery fire cannot be described as surgical strikes under any military or non-military definition. On September 29, Indians violated the ceasefire and resorted to unprovoked firing, which the Pakistani troops matched blow by blow. According to the Director General ISPR, Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa, Indian troops opened fire at 2 a.m. at four locations over an area spanning 155 miles. The exchange of gunfire lasted about five hours, but the Indian troops did not cross the Line of Control, he told a group of local and foreign journalists in Baghsar, Azad Kashmir – a couple of days after the incident.


Pakistan remains justified in asking why have not the Indians produced any evidence of their much-trumpeted surgical strikes, including bodies if they took them back? Why the Indian leadership has not been able to pinpoint the places where the damage was done or the targets that were destroyed or killed?


Pakistan, according to General Bajwa, welcomes an independent inquiry to verify the authenticity of the Indian claims. “Our side remains open to the United Nations observers and journalists,” he said. This position is in contrast to that of Indians, who have barred independent journalists and observers from visiting the troubled occupied Kashmir region.

 

One obvious explanation of this increased rhetoric is that the domestic compulsions of Indian politics is forcing Modi government to heighten tensions, which suits Modi ahead of elections in a couple of crucial states. The Indian premier will be able to rally behind his party the conservative Hindu vote bank to whom he promised that he would get tough with Pakistan in response to the alleged terrorism fomented from its soil.

Pakistan, on its part, has so far stuck to the Ceasefire Agreement between the South Asian nuclear armed rivals 2003. Pakistan Army responds only when Indians fire on its positions. Such ceasefire violations from the Indian side have increased since Modi assumed power in May, 2014.


Many Indians may find it ironic that despite all the chest-thumping and claims of executing punishing surgical strikes on the alleged training camps of militants, Pakistan Army is asking a simple question “where did these occur and how come they have remained ignorant of the fact?”


And Pakistan is not the only one challenging the false Indian narrative. The United Nations’ Military Observer Group (UNMOGIP) also failed to find any evidence to verify the Indian claim, while no other independent source has yet managed to confirm it either.


Even India’s half-baked version is enough to torpedo its own claims. Firstly, the term ‘surgical strikes’ is generally associated with airstrikes. They are carried out with precision weapons, delivered through aircraft, helicopter, armed drones or cruise missiles. Any such strike is difficult to defend because of its speed and element of surprise. According to India’s own claim it was a ground assault.


Secondly, if it was a ground intrusion, as claimed, it is impossible for any force – small or large – to penetrate even a couple of kilometers inside Azad Kashmir, hit the targets and return undetected on foot in a matter of four to five hours in one of the world’s most sensitive and heavily deployed frontiers.


The fact is that Indians targeted Pakistani posts, as they always do, from across the border in which two Pakistani soldiers were martyred and that resulted in an exchange of fire. Nothing less and nothing more.


Perhaps it’s not even the matter of debate now whether Indians really carried out their much propagated ‘surgical strikes’ in Azad Kashmir or not.


The pertinent question, however, is then why is the Indian leadership making such false claims? Is there any design behind this madness of taking the credit of executing surgical strikes that never happened?


One obvious explanation of this increased rhetoric is that the domestic compulsions of Indian politics is forcing Modi government to heighten tensions, which suits Modi ahead of elections in a couple of crucial states. The Indian premier will be able to rally behind his party the conservative Hindu vote bank to whom he promised that he would get tough with Pakistan in response to the alleged terrorism fomented from its soil.


The second reason behind India’s white lies is that even without conducting any “surgical” or “non-surgical strikes,” it lowered the threshold for any possible conflict between the two countries. This is a dangerous development in this nuclear-armed region as New Delhi has practically war-gamed the possibility of such a strike and underlined to the world that it would like to take such a step.
Therefore, Pakistan’s Armed Forces cannot remain contended with the fact that such intrusion did not occur. The enemy has revealed its intentions in big, bold letters.


Indian security officials describe New Delhi’s aggressive posture as “defensive-offensive”, which is a stark departure from the past “defensive” one. Under this policy, being dubbed as the Doval Doctrine, New Delhi plans to build pressure on Pakistan on several fronts. And the LoC is just one of the many. Hurting Pakistan’s economy, sponsoring and fomenting terrorism in Balochistan and Karachi and pushing a diplomatic offensive to portray the country as a breeding ground of regional and international terrorism remain some of the other announced and unannounced components of this strategy.


The Indian leadership believes that their country’s growing economic clout and strategic partnership with the United States would allow them to get away with brinkmanship in order to throw Pakistan on the back foot, equate Kashmir’s indigenous freedom struggle with terrorism and even scrap the World Bank-brokered water sharing agreement between the two countries. But this is their wishful thinking as Pakistan Army troops are fully alert on Eastern borders to respond to any aggression by India.


This Indian strategy has made South Asia as the world’s most unsafe nuclear flash-point.


It would be wrong to assume that Indians started their overt diplomatic offensive and the covert efforts to destabilize Pakistan through terrorism after the September 18 attack on their Brigade Headquarters in Uri or because of the ongoing popular anti-India uprising in the occupied Kashmir following the killing of 22-year-old Kashmiri freedom fighter Burhan Muzaffar Wani on July 8. They have been working on this strategy and executing it in parts since Modi assumed power. Remember the arrest of Indian spy Kulbhushan Yadav in March 2016 from Balochistan. Yadav had been operating a network involved in terrorist activities in parts of Balochistan and Karachi.


In our case while the masses have rallied around the Pakistani Armed Forces, the political leadership has to take the initiative, show vision and go beyond offering lip-service in tackling and countering the Indian threat.


Pakistan needs a sustained multi-pronged approach on a war-footing to secure its national interests and ensure continued diplomatic and political support to Kashmir’s freedom struggle.


Firstly, it involves putting your own house in order and taking some basic steps like appointing a fulltime foreign minister to spearhead the country’s diplomatic efforts and counter the Indian moves to internationally isolate Islamabad. It also requires rejuvenating and restructuring the dormant Kashmir Committee and appointing as its head a person of diplomatic background.


Pakistan also needs to support the Kashmiri diaspora in the western countries by giving them the lead and ownership of efforts aimed at highlighting the Indian atrocities and human rights violations as well as underlining the need for a plebiscite in line with the UN resolution.


Pakistan also has to unapologetically spell out through a sustained international campaign that a genuine freedom struggle cannot be equated with terrorism. The central contradiction in Pakistan-India relations is not terrorism, but the unresolved Kashmir dispute. There should be no compromise on this position.


Experience shows that bilateralism has miserably failed between Pakistan and India in resolving the Kashmir conflict. While Pakistan should remain open to direct talks, but these should not bar it from internationalizing this issue at every available forum.


Islamabad also must reconsider its foreign policy particularly towards Afghanistan, which has joined hands with India to destabilize Pakistan. The United States and its NATO allies have been using Pakistan as a scapegoat for their policy failures in Afghanistan. They are building pressure on Islamabad by giving a free-hand to India in the war-ravaged state. Pakistan must refuse to bow to the pressure and demands of “Do More” and ask Washington to address its concerns regarding the use of Afghan soil against the country.


Resolving Pakistan’s internal challenges – no matter how small they are – should also be a priority to deny Indians from exploiting our internal vulnerabilities. This requires smart politics, some give and take and precise operations in some of the volatile parts of the country.


Pakistan Armed Forces have the capacity and ability to counter any Indian aggression, but the fourth generation warfare cannot be won until all the state institutions, including the media, are supporting this effort. Pakistan can only ensure regional peace if it is politically stable and united, economically vibrant and militarily strong.

 

The writer is an eminent journalist who regularly contributes for print and electronic media.

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Twitter: @AmirZia1

 
08
September
September 2016(EDITION 9, Volume 53)
 
Written By: Maria Khalid
In a bid to intimidate her newly born neighbour, India crossed the international border into Pakistan on the western front declaring the beginning of the war in September 1965....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal
The features of the change in the international politics have become more perceptible during the recent years. Therefore, today, the states' foreign and strategic policies are in a revamping process....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Ahmad Rashid Malik
On Indian Independence Day on August 15, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his third consecutive Independence Day speech celebrating 70th anniversary, once again threatened Pakistan’s territorial integration. Speaking at the Red Fort....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Yaqoob Khan Bangash
On August 15, 2016 Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the usual Independence Day speech under the shadows of the imposing Red Fort, constructed by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan. Speaking from the ramparts of fort from where a vast empire was controlled in the seventeenth century, Modi sounded almost like the Mughal Emperor himself....Read full article
 
Written By: Didier Chaudet
Regardless of how the diplomatic links may evolve over time, Iran and Pakistan have many reasons to be friendly towards one another. And the reasons for that are so much connected to each nation’s interests that it should help overcome any problem between the two countries....Read full article
 
Written By: Zamir Akram
In July 2016, the Arbitration Tribunal of the United Nations Conference on the Law of Sea (UNCLOS) ruled in favour of the Philippines against China on their conflicting claims in the South China Sea. Beijing, which had boycotted the Tribunal’s proceedings....Read full article
 
Written By: Ejaz Haider
The military generally operates on what can be called the 33.33 per cent principle – 33.33 per cent deployment, the same percentage in the training cycle and the remaining 33.33 per cent resting and retrofitting. This is when there’s peace.....Read full article
 
Written By: Vice Admiral (R) Iqbal F. Quadir
It was a dawn like any other. Streaks of sun rays were fanning out of the eastern sky. In Karachi harbor and outside it was peaceful and quiet. Merchant ships of various nations lay at berths inside or at anchors in approaches to the port with deck lights on....Read full article
 
Written By: Col (R) Azam Qadri
Being a student of military history, I have not come across any example, where a military doctor was involved in taking the surrender of a jet fighter and its pilot. It is an interesting story and a feather in the cap of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) that brought about this....Read full article
 
Written By: Hadia Tariq
“Sir Gul, what’s the reason you seem happier than usual?” Captain Qasim Zia asked Major Gulfam Hussian with a raised eyebrow as the thirty two year old man walked in the mess with a slight swagger in his steps and a very excited grin on his face....Read full article
 
Written By: Sobia Sarwar
“Are you sure,?” he said while straightening up.
“Yeah, it’s not there. I’m sure,” I answered, but he was barely listening.
He examined the lines on his palm through the hardened calluses, a stark reminder of the extensive military....Read full article
 
Written By: Lt Col Shahzad Munir
He was standing beside his tank, an old vintage machine, scanning the area in front for traces of enemy. But was it an enemy? They were the ones who were sheltered and looked after by his late father almost thirty years ago. But today, they were firing at his troops and he was not in a mood....Read full article
 
Written By: Lt Col Danish Javed
“It is truer to say that martyrs create faith more than faith creates martyrs.”(Miguel de Unamuno)

They were sitting in an office in a pleasant mood with smiles on their face, one was busy in writing and the other was making calls. Their desks were.....Read full article
 
Written By: Ghazi Salahuddin
Sometimes I get an opportunity to interact with our young boys and girls in educational institutions. And always, on such occasions, I have one specific question for them. This is how I phrase it: “What does it mean to be young in Pakistan at this.....Read full article
 
Written By: Maj Malik Yasir Fareed
It is said that heroes give their lives for something bigger than oneself as the soldiers give their lives for their country. After becoming a soldier, from civil to military transition among others, a major transformation taking place in a personality....Read full article

 
Written By: Mudassar Jehangir
The official statistics suggest that more than half of Pakistani population carries a mobile phone, and the craze is rising exponentially. From a small kid to a mature adult, everyone wants to get hold of the latest smart phone but out of all the people who believe....Read full article
 
Written By: Maj Sana Nasri
From basic ‘landships’ to flame-throwing dragons, a concept of tanks – ‘the killing machine’ was first used in 1916 in WWI as there was a need for a deadly weapon that could cross No-Man’s Land, crush the barbed wires and destroy the enemy’s trenches.....Read full article
 
Written By: Adiah Afraz
This is from twenty or more years ago when as a college student I had participated in a debating competition at Risalpur. I flip through the album and a few photographs fall on my lap. I squint at the one taken from a distance, showing.....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Riaz Ahmad
Many writers believe that Lord Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of British Empire in India, came to India on March 22, 1947 for the purpose of partitioning the subcontinent. But the reality is different. He came to India as a nominee of the British Crown, and as a matter.....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Nadeem Omar Tarar
When Pakistani government chose to shift capital from the bustling port city of Karachi to the north of Rawalpindi, where the Potohar plateau rises to Margalla Hills, little did they realize that they are establishing a direct territorial link to the capital of an ancient civilization.....Read full article
 
Written By: Omair Alavi
Every four years, the world’s best athletes meet up at the Olympic Games to decide who the best among the rest is; who will come out as winners and who will be relegated to the ‘loser’ camp; whose world record will stay intact.....Read full article
 
 
 
COAS Gen Raheel Sharif visited Malaysia on a two days official visit on August 17-18, 2016. A smartly turned out contingent of Malaysian Army presented guard of honour to COAS on arrival at Army Headquarters....Read full article
 
A 17000 tons Fleet Tanker for Pakistan Navy was launched in an impressive ceremony held at Karachi Shipyard & Engineering Works (KS&EW). The contract of Fleet Tanker was signed under ....Read full article
 
General David Lee Goldfein, Chief of Staff, United States Air Force visited Air Headquarters Islamabad on August 13. On his arrival at Air Headquarters, the distinguished guest paid homage to the martyrs of PAF by laying floral wreath on Martyrs’ Monument.....Read full article
 
08
September

Written By: Adiah Afraz

Going through my old albums, I suddenly come across one that makes me stop in my tracks. Risaplur Days, it says, and I smile.


Oh, what a treat!

This is from twenty or more years ago when as a college student I had participated in a debating competition at Risalpur. I flip through the album and a few photographs fall on my lap. I squint at the one taken from a distance, showing a few faces sitting on the hammock-like seats of a C130 aircraft. “Who are these people?” I try to recall their names but fail. Ah! Sweet memories. And I flip some more until I find my favorite one. It’s a photograph of me wearing an officer’s cap, and posing with ten other girls doing the same. Grinning like we had hit jackpot, and eyes sparkling with a sense of crime for stealing those caps from God knows where, we all look like monkeys soldiering in a boot camp. What happy times!

 

mrpricellelss.jpgThen there is another one of us posing with a Squadron Leader who, poor guy, looks like he has swallowed gum which is now stuck somewhere down his throat. Squished between rows of over excited college girls his expression is just that… Priceless!!!


I recall we had found Mr. Priceless walking briskly along a pathway one dark night in Risalpur. Not knowing much about uniforms and ranks, we marked him as our target and followed him on his trail. Mr. Target looked all serious and purposeful, not taking anybody’s nonsense and going from one mess area to another with all the sternness in the world when suddenly he found himself confronted by a dozen of us sizing him up. “Hmm. This is the time to take revenge for all those cadets stalking us on our nightly strolls,” we each thought to ourselves as we narrowed the circle around Mr. Him. Not knowing what he had done to deserve this, Mr. Squadron Leader very respectfully asked us if we were lost.
“No Sir,” we said, “We just want an autograph.”


Not sure how he had acquired his newly found fame, and yet not letting go of the propriety expected of an officer, Mr. Squadron Leader first tried to dissuade us from Mission Autograph, but soon accepted defeat and offered us an alternative: A photograph instead of an autograph! “Alright,” we said, thinking of our supervisors about to catch up on us, and quickly gathered around him to pose for a photo. Click, and the memory was captured for yet another life time, but soon to be forgotten in the present moment then.


Or so I had thought. For I had never imagined I would meet Mr. Priceless again. In fact when he came face to face with me two days later, I almost considered myself dead, because he was going to be my pilot for the complimentary ride each one of us received on our very own aircraft with our very own pilot.


But to my surprise, Mr. Priceless was very serious and very polite almost as if he had no clue who I was. “It was very dark that night and there were so many of us,” I thought with relief, “of course he doesn’t remember my face.” And swish we went up in the air and swoop the little aircraft did something up there. “Umm, you know what, I am not a big fan of flying,” I told my pilot feeling a little queasy. “No worries, the fear goes away as soon as you are the one flying the aircraft” said my pilot with a poker face as he held up his hands in the air. “What??” I looked at him in horror. “Am I flying this aircraft?” My heart sank and so did the aircraft (or so I thought).


“Do you want me to take a photograph?” My pilot asked as polite as ever.
“Did he say autograph?” My heart sank even further. “Is he going to kill me now?” I tried to read his expressions. And swoosh something happened and suddenly we were upside down, but just for a split second. “O My God, this man remembers me and he is surely going to kill me now.... Or am I the one doing the killing?” I wasn’t very sure because my pilot’s hands were still in the air.


Now we must remember that those were the times when the hard-core feminism had not touched most of our Pakistani hearts as it has now, and flying was still considered a manly pursuit. In fact those were the years when women in the Pakistan Air Force were few in number and still a novelty. I still remember the faces of all five of them we had met at the Risalpur Air Base that year, and how those brilliant women were mostly considered objects of wonder rather than inspiration. And yet, despite my inability to reconcile with the idea of a woman flying an aircraft, in that moment of crisis I did justice to myself and smiled as if I owned that little thing.


“I will show Mr. Priceless,” I thought. “I will show him how to fly an aircraft.”
But before I could put my words to action, the ride was over and we found ourselves landing.
“You won’t believe what just happened to me,” I told my friends. “Our Mr. Squadron Leader was flying me today and he almost killed me.”
“This can’t be,” said one of my friends. “Because Mr. Squadron Leader was MY pilot today and I think I almost killed HIM.”
“Why? Did he offer to take your photograph too?” I asked.
“Of course he did,” said my friend, “and he also put the plane on auto pilot and acted as if I was the one flying the aircraft.”
“O My God, Mr. Squadron Leader is a ghost,” I gasped. “How else do you explain him being in two aircrafts doing the same things to two people?”
We quickly ran to the others to share our findings.


Soon our story was talk of the town and spies started pouring in from our enemy, the boys’ camp, to help us add fuel to the fire. Our initial interrogation with the boys revealed that our Squadron Leader was not only a ghost but a really good one too, because half the debater’s camp had reported the same sequence of events having happened to them. The swishing of the plane, the hands-in-the-air trick, the offer to take a photograph slash autograph, the upside down action, and zoom the landing of the plane.
“But why is Mr. Squadron Leader doing this to the boys?” one of us asked as we regrouped to compare notes. “The boys never stopped him for an autograph. His fight is surely with us girls.”
“Maybe Mr. Squadron Leader is a serial ghost. Like the one who spooks people in a series,” offered somebody from a corner.


“But how do the boys know our Mr. Squadron Leader?” asked somebody else. “They never saw him. How do they know it’s the same guy we are talking about?”
Now this made us stop and think. And made us think really hard.
There was silence for a moment, as each one of us contemplated this point. The night grew darker than before, a twig crackled somewhere in the distance, we could hear the crickets stop chirping as the silence grew denser and deeper.


And suddenly a sound made us jump out of our skins.
It was the sound of a thousand steps walking towards us. We held our breaths and looked towards the dimly lit bent in the road ahead of us.
“Look,” whispered somebody from another corner. “It’s the ghost.”
And there it was! Emerging from the shadows, with the sound of the steps, our very own Mr. Priceless, the Squadron Leader, followed by a dozen or so faces that looked exactly like him. One after the other they emerged in the semi darkness, Mr. Priceless and his look alikes, and one after another they passed by us.


We watched them in horror, holding on to our seats, not saying a word, as they passed one by one, and one by one they disappeared again in the shadows around another bent in the road just behind us.
And the sound of the thousand steps echoed long after they had vanished from our view.
The silence grew longer as not a peep was heard from the spell bound audience, and then somebody whispered as if woken from a dream.
“It’s the uniform,” said the voice.
“They all look the same in the uniform.”

 

The writer is a columnist, an Oxford graduate and an English language teaching professional.

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

 
08
September

Written By: Mudassar Jehangir

The official statistics suggest that more than half of Pakistani population carries a mobile phone, and the craze is rising exponentially. From a small kid to a mature adult, everyone wants to get hold of the latest smart phone but out of all the people who believe they cannot live without a cell phone, merely a negligible percentage knows what actually a smart phone is. A dominant part of our mobile phone subscriber base does not want to think beyond selfies, cameras, and social media.


Probably we just don’t care, but a computer user is as vulnerable to a cyber criminal as a mobile phone user is. I assume we never have time to read the manual before installing any software. We never bother and believe in hit-and-trial methods. Mobile phone technology was boastfully introduced in Pakistan in the late 90s. However, it is still indigestible how all those strategists could never find few moments to sit together and chalk out some useful rules and regulations to regulate the use of this technology. In 2016, we finally have a document called Prevention of Electronic Crimes Bill 2015 which is also somewhat controversial and not comprehensive enough as the Pakistan Electronic Crimes Ordinance (PECO) in 2008.


We were all living a simple life. Therefore, the odds of technology have always been an alien concept to us but with the establishment of technology parks, centrally controlled metro train systems, several e-governance initiatives and a series of announcements of digitizing the entire society make us evenly exposed to the tyranny of cyberspace. If we don’t equip ourselves with the arsenal, we would never be safe in this e-world. Only a set of clauses won’t make a difference. Our society needs a change of mindset and the realization of the fact that we are not protected even inside our homes.


The smart phones have every necessary hardware and pre-built softwares that can even count the number of breaths we take. It keeps communicating with the nearest tower all the time and that tower to the entire system of telecommunication that has encapsulated the whole world like clouds. Whatever we do, is going into the safe repositories of large organizations. There is no way you can stop the auto-activation of any feature of your mobile phone. And what if you figure out such spying, where would you complain in Pakistan? We have no adequate forum….


Just to give you a little understanding, 97% of the smart phones in Pakistan are based on Android OS and for activating all the apps you need to log in through your Gmail ID. Now, how secure is your Gmail solely depends on your level of information and exposure to the technology. According to a survey, most of the users in Pakistan don’t have sufficient knowledge of configuring proper security levels inside their smart phones. Ever wonder why a picture from past suddenly pops up on your screen even when you had deleted it long ago. It happens because Google, on its servers, keeps a record of every tiny thing you do through your mobile phone.


To breach the security of servers and steal the data, there exist a lot of ways. Or they (in the case of more individuals) just need to activate a virus inside our phone that you must have erroneously installed, unknowingly, because it was embedded into a free game app that you or your kid downloaded a few days ago. In this case, you will no more be the owner of your phone. I rarely believe in the claims of software and security companies because even the most secure systems are a piece of cake to crack by a smart hacker.


This is why even the most secure companies on earth keep paying white hackers for improving the security bugs. A recent example is the USD 200,000 offer from Apple for finding loopholes into its products. This measure is a part of SOPs for strengthening the systems that clearly shows there is always room for the smartest guy to get in. If these companies are unable to secure themselves, where does a poor technology user stand in Pakistan?


Just recently child abduction went viral on social media and many days after it was realized by the authorities that certain groups on social media are also taking benefit of the situation and circulating news of fake abduction cases through Facebook and other social networking sites for creating a panic situation in the public. Interestingly, a high-ranking police official in Karachi came up with a confession of helplessness that he did not have enough resources to track people behind the mess.


Since we are relatively new to this world, we therefore don’t have a clue about what's going on around us. Producing proper statistics on the rate and pattern of cybercrime in Pakistan is a far-sighted wish. Let's take the example of the most developed country, the U.S. A latest research done by BTB Security based on the data from the FBI, FTC, U.S. Justice Department and other vendors confirm that cybercrime has risen exponentially in the U.S. and despite all the tech-based measures, it is surging like anything.


The findings reveal that business data of 190 million users was compromised in 2015. The identity theft had gone up by more than double from 8.3 million in 2005 to 17.6 million registered cases in 2014. Similarly, ransomware which was once a sub-million dollar business has swelled to $ 24 million in 2015. When I asked BTB Managing Director, Ron Schlecht about what cybercrime would be like in next ten years, he responded with concerns about the infrastructure that creates the digital world. According to him, "Hardware and software are aging, and it will create a vacuum of expense and time for those who were defending it."


Today, security experts believe that cyber wars are imminent, and terrorist organizations will exploit the digital realm to inflict real physical damage.
A widely accepted fact in the U.S. is its critical infrastructure which is vulnerable to collapse, and its electronic voting system is equally vulnerable to cyber attack. Huffington Post reports that what is considered a remote possibility in the U.S. – cyber attacks throughout the most sensitive parts of the U.S. government – are now becoming commonplace.


Just to refresh your mind, we are talking about a country considered technologically aware and that exports the most secure security solutions to the world. Where do we put Pakistan on the map where more than half of the population keeps a mobile phone, and most of the devices are housing multiple mobile SIMs which unfortunately are not backed by proper documentation. Most would argue with me in favor of biometric SIM verification system but how fool proof a verification would be when NADRA is in the process of verifying the CNICs of more than 25 million families.


Cybercrime happens because we step in the cyber world, and you can’t protect a nation today by just making a law stringent than ever. The technology we use for our comfort also opens the window for an outsider to peep in. We have to shut that window, and it can only be done through mass education. There should be an extensive exercise and involvement of people from all walks of life for making a comprehensive policy to meet the challenges of