09
February
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February 2016(EDITION 2, Volume 53)
 
Written By: Kanwal Kiani
Once more future of Pakistan was attacked. Though the massacre in Bacha Khan University Charsadda was contained, but intents of the enemy were clear – hitting soft targets, spreading fright and terror....Read full article
 
Written By: Jennifer McKay
A special report by Australian Disaster Management Consultant, Jennifer McKay Siachen Glacier is one of the world’s most spectacular but inaccessible places on the planet....Read full article
 
Written By: Rasul Bakhsh Rais
There is not one but quite a few ongoing wars in the Middle East at the moment – Iraq, Syria, Yemen are more visible but also Lebanon, Egypt, Libya and somewhat Bahrain....Read full article
 
Written By: Masood Khan
Pakistan as a state should exude confidence. This is a prerequisite for a successful foreign policy. But what does that mean, precisely? Confidence means a state would be self-assured and would have strong belief....Read full article
 
Written By: Husain Abdul Rehman
The development of FATA was started under the Pakistan Army’s strategy of ‘Winning Hearts and Minds’ through peace, security and stabilization in the region. With massive efforts by the Frontier Works Organization....Read full article
 
Written By: Ahmer Bilal Soofi
The recent round of talks between Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif and Narendra Modi has opened up the possibilities for resolution of some of the historic and long-standing issues bedevilling South Asia, including....Read full article
 
Written By: Capt Sana Nasri
Need of the time for every country is to guard their air space which can only be possible with the latest and leading inventory of aircrafts and helicopters. Nowadays, helicopter is the most efficient source used for various mission....Read full article
 
Written By: Maj Gen (R) Askari Raza Malik
The pre-eminent military task, and what separates (the military professional) from all other occupations, is that soldiers are routinely prepared to kill. In addition to killing and preparing to kill, the soldier has two....Read full article
 
Written By: Prof. Sharif al Mujahid
During Pakistan’s first decade, Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar was one of the nation’s greatest leaders. Indeed, his contribution to national consolidation and integration was perhaps next only to Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Liaquat Ali Khan....Read full article
 
Written By: Amir Zia
For the world powers and our neighbours, Islamabad remains central to Afghanistan’s fragile peace process. Yet, directly or indirectly Pakistan often is being portrayed as the “fall guy” in this protracted conflict....Read full article
 
Written By: Muhammad Azam Khan
The US based influential Foreign Policy magazine recently reported that India is building a top secret nuclear facility in southern state of Karnataka (formerly Mysore) to produce thermonuclear weapons. Located in the city of Challakere....Read full article
 
Written By: Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal
The trends in the global politics indicate that the year 2016 would witness a new format of strategic competition between/among the Great Powers. The regional brawls give rise to proxy wars entailing regional and global instability....Read full article

 
Written By: Dr. Raja Muhammad Khan
In the recent political history of Indian-Held Kashmir (IHK), the year 2014 was crucial in four respects. First; for the first time, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP); a non-state, Hindu nationalist party secured 25 seats in the Legislative Assembly....Read full article
 
Written By: Maj. Kanwal Kiani
We often get inspirations from some extraordinary people around us and thus they become our role models – but not necessarily everyone gets a chance to meet these icons and get to know about....Read full article
 
Written By: Gauher Aftab
 
Written By: Maj Gen Muhammad Khalil Dar
On the regretful night of 14 January 2016, there was an unusual heavy presence of Aviators at Army Graveyard. We all were there to pay tribute to an old timer aviator Brig Ghulam Jabbar who had left for heavenly abode....Read full article
 
Written By: Lt Col (Retd) Muhammad Sunawar
My son Capt Muhammad Bilal Sunawar embraced shahadat on November 20, 2009 while fighting vigorously with terrorists (Chechens, Uzbeks, and Tajiks) at Pash Ziarat, located approximately 30 km north of Sara Rogha in South Waziristan....Read full article
 
COAS, Gen Raheel Sharif visited Turbat, Talar and Gwadar on January 1, 2016 and reviewed progress of projects being constructed by Army Engineers as part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.....Read full article
 
Pakistan Navy and People's Liberation Army (PLA Navy) have been interacting since long, however, bilateral naval exercises are unique in the entire spectrum of multifaceted maritime operations. The maiden bilateral exercise....Read full article
 
The Basic Anti Terrorist Training Course held at PAF Special Services wing, concluded graduating 226 PAF personnel including 60 officers and 166 Airmen. For the first time in the history of PAF, five lady officers also participated in the training.....Read full article
 
09
February

Written By: Maj Gen Muhammad Khalil Dar

On the regretful night of 14 January 2016, there was an unusual heavy presence of Aviators at Army Graveyard. We all were there to pay tribute to an old timer aviator Brig Ghulam Jabbar who had left for heavenly abode. I as General Officer Commanding (GOC) Army Aviation had asked all youngsters and the rest to attend the funeral. After the burial we all went to the grave of Lt Gen A. B. Awan and paid homage, who had died exactly 20 years ago in January 1996. While being little mystified by the sheer co-incident, it struck my mind that we had just witnessed the end of the very beginning. Lt Gen A. B. Awan and Brig Jabbar were the two icons who, together symbolized the very initial steps of an arm which we now recognize as Army Aviation.

 

 

endbeg1.jpgWhat we now see as an impressionable force of over 300 aircraft actually began its journey by a force not larger than a mere flight i.e., No. 1 Air OP Flt (Air Observation Post Flight), Royal Pakistan Air Force. Four fabric covered Auster aircraft were left at Lahore Airport as Pakistan’s share by the British 659 Air OP squadron, once rest of the squadron flew back to India in October 1947 as it had been temporarily located in Lahore to assist Boundary Commission. This section plus strength of aircraft were supposed to act as Air Observation platforms as an integral part of Artillery (operational control) but being technical specialty the aircraft were maintained by the Air Force (technical control) in line with the British practices.

 

When it came to flying there was no military pilot from Artillery readily available less one young Capt A. B. Awan who was under training in UK as first Muslim pilot for Air OP since June 1947. Initial responsibilities of flying operations, hence, were assumed by 3 RPAF officers and four British pilots made to overstay for smooth transition. Flying Officer Nazir Saddique became the first Pakistani pilot to fly Austers ex Artillery. Brigadier Harris, the then Director Artillery soon selected five gunner officers for the dedicated Air OP training from UK. Capt Ghulam Jabbar from 3 SP Regiment Artillery and Capt Kirmani returned successfully while rest were dropped out during flying.

 

 

endbeg.jpgOnce, in 1949, four new Austers were made available by Britain, two milestone events happened one of which actually laid the very foundation stone of the future Army Aviation. First, due to space constraints No 1 Air OP Flt had to relocate to a temporary airfield (known as Dhamial airfield due to close-by village Dhamial). Second, four Austers were flown to East Pakistan. In both the events the lead roles were played by Maj A. B. Awan and Capt Jabbar. They settled the flight in Dhamial in April, kick started construction of the first hangar and by November same year flew the aircraft to East Pakistan along with two Polish pilots. The formation was led by Capt Jabbar while Maj A. B. Awan flew at the tail being senior, taking three days from Chaklala to half submerged airfield of Dacca making night stays at Agra and Gaya in India. One DC-3 Dakota aircraft provided these enroute logistic and Search and Rescue (SAR) support. The formation, however, was personally received by GOC 14 Division, General Muhammad Ayub Khan.


PAF was in headlines as a national pride since 1959 when it flawlessly flew a formation of 16 F-86s at Mauripur and established its international position that the pilots of this young nation were not less in skill by any international standards. Aviators followed PAF on heels and March 23rd, 1960 was stamped as the most prideful day when a tightly packed formation of newly acquired 16 L-19 aircraft gave flight past; it was led by Maj Ghulam Jabbar. Lt Col A. B. Awan on the other hand left as Defence Attache (DA) Turkey in 1961 after having been the first aviator to do PMA Company Commander, undergone Command and Staff College (C&SC), became an instructor pilot and the first Commanding Officer of Air Op Squadron.

 

 

endbeg2.jpgBy October 1962, inconspicuous Dhamial had become a bee hive after housing two Air OP Squadrons and the Air OP School coupled with day long flying activities. Once Dhamial was assigned the status of Army Aviation Base, Lt Col Jabbar became the first Base Commander Dhamial in Feb 1964. Once the post was upgraded to the rank of Brig in 1969, he was posted as the first Brig as Base Commander Dhamial, which essentially was the total aviation at that time as the squadrons in Lahore and Multan fell under the command of Dhamial Base.


When in 1970, Pakistan Army decided to buy Alt-III helicopters for Northern Areas and to support construction of Karakoram Highway (KKH), Brig Jabbar was chosen as an expert and team leader. This high power highly agile helicopter was procured not only for Army but for PAF as well and soon the desolate people and soldiers of Chitral, Gilgit and 12 Division area were witnessing a flying machine for the first time in history. This visionary decision later proved to be priceless once at the beginning of Siachen Conflict in 1983-85 these helicopters and, by then highly trained pilots proved to be the only eyes available, at Army level, at those unforgiving heights.


The very first Lt A. B. Awan retired as Lt Gen in 1982 while raising 5 Corps, besides commanding 18 Division and as commandant of Command and Staff College (C&SC) Quetta in the rank of Maj Gen and Commanding 12 Division Artillery and Military Intelligence Directorate in the rank of Brigadier. Brig Ghulam Jabbar retired in 1973 as the first Director of Army Aviation and lived a retired life. He remained an active member of Aviation family till his departure. His services for the country in general and Aviation in particular will always be remembered and his absence will be felt forever. He was a torch bearer and a role model for all aviators. His funeral was attended by Brig MM Karim, now the senior most aviator, who at the age of 95 remains active as a fatherly figure to more than 850 pilots of Army Aviation. I consider myself fortunate that on my promotion to the rank of Maj Gen, both, Brig Jabbar and Brig Karim were the ones, along with my father who pinned the ranks on my shoulders.

In memory of the icons who laid foundations of a strong and battle worthy Pakistan Army Aviation with no big assets left by British Army but mere four old vintage aircraft.

*****

 
09
February

Written By: Prof. Sharif al Mujahid

(On the occasion of death anniversary of Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar who died on February 14, 1958)

 

During Pakistan’s first decade, Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar was one of the nation’s greatest leaders. Indeed, his contribution to national consolidation and integration was perhaps next only to Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah and Liaquat Ali Khan. That also explains the people’s insistence, backed by Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah, on burying him near his erstwhile colleagues. And he was buried on the site reserved for the Quaid’s mausoleum, despite Feroz Khan Noon Government’s serious objections and great reluctance.


As events would have it, the loss of Sardar Nishtar at that critical juncture in Pakistan’s history was something the nation could ill-afford for the simple reason that he stood head and shoulders above the other leaders.


First, he was among Jinnah’s closest associates. He had enjoyed his trust and confidence, having been allowed into his inner counsels and, for all that one knows, was privy to the working of the Quaid’s mind. And, having participated whole-souledly in the mainstream Muslim politics, he was as well aware of the impulses and the motivations behind the Pakistan movement.

 

sardabdnis.jpgSardar Nishtar was in politics since the Khilafat days (1920-22) but it was during 1945-47 that he became an all-India figure. He was chosen by Jinnah himself to represent the Muslims and the Muslim League along with others at the Second Simla Conference (1946), and the June 3 (1947) leaders’ conference with the Viceroy on the partition plan, and in the Interim Government (1946-47). As the story goes, the Congressite Dr. Khan Sahib, the NWFP premier at the time, had embarrassed Jinnah at the First Simla Conference (June-July 1945) when he claimed to speak on Muslim India’s behalf. So Jinnah nominated Nishtar as one of the League delegates to the Second Simla Conference, and Dr. Khan Sahib dare not open his mouth in his presence. Even otherwise, since Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan had become the leader of the Muslim League in the Assembly early in 1946, if anyone could represent the NWFP at the centre, it could only be Sardar Nishtar. His sobriety and cool-mindedness are attested to by other sources as well. For instance, from his fasteness in Sambalpur in Orissa, where Iskander Mirza (later Pakistan’s last Governor-General [1955-56] and first President [1956-58]) was the Political Agent, he describes Qayyum as “the warring horse”, and Nishtar as “sober” and “serious”, in a letter to Liaquat Ali Khan on September 5, 1945.


Second, like his supreme leader, Nishtar believed in service above self. Indeed, his was a life of unremitting service to his people and his country, and he never cared for any office. Even the presidentship of Pakistan Muslim League which he occupied during the last two years of his life (1956-58) was not of his seeking: he consented to occupy it in the interest of the nation when the various groups in the organization sought him not only as the consensus candidate, but also as one who had the organizational ability, the tenacity, the devotion and the stature to accomplish the onerous task that awaited the future incumbent, with singular success.


Third, amidst various temptations to surrender principles at the altar of office and/or expediency, he stood steadfast and did not waver. His sincerity of purpose, his dedication to principles, and his devotion to duty were something unmatched in the Pakistan of middle 1950s. No wonder, they earned for him the gratitude of the nation and the esteem of all, friends and foes alike.


Fourth, Sardar Nishtar was also one of those few men who stood steadfast to the ideology behind the Pakistan Movement. After the fateful events of April 1953 when Governor General Ghulam Muhammad struck down the legally constituted Nazimuddin government, paving the way for a reash of political disruptions in subsequent years. On this precipitate action, Sardar Nishtar’s comment was summed up in two couplest:


“Bas itni khata par rahbari cheeni gayee hum say/Kay hum say qafilay manizil pay lutwa‘ay nahi jatay”
(“Leadership was snatched from us merely on the ground that we cannot abandon the masses at the mercy of decoits”), and,
“Nairangeay siyasat-i-dauran to dekhi‘ay/Manzil unheen mili jo shareek-i-safar na thay”
(“Look at the irony of contemporary politics/those who shunned the Caravan, have reached the Destination!”)


In any case, amidst the then prevalent gloom, Sardar Nishtar stood out as a beacon of light, donning the role of a true and worthy successor to Jinnah and Liaquat and even as Jinnah and Liaquat died in harness, so did he. Inspite of his failing health and his doctor’s advice, he undertook extensive tours during 1956-57 and he worked to the last day of his life. And all that to retrieve the lost ground, to set this nation back to the principles to uphold for which it was created.


Again, like them, he was a born leader of men. He had a personal magnetism all his own. He was a powerful orator (besides being a poet), and he was adept at handling crowds. He spoke to them on their wavelength and in terms intelligible to them; he could move them to action.


Indeed, during the formative phase of Pakistani history no leader, except for Jinnah and Liaquat, had become so endearing to the masses as Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar did. He drew huge crowds, wherever he went, whether in the East or in the West.


His tours in East Pakistan during 1955 were hugely successful. And even in death, he could draw such crowds, although he held no office, nor was the League in power. Anyone who had watched the huge concourse of people preceding and following his bier on M.A. Jinnah Road on that fateful Friday (February 14, 1958) could not have helped the inescapable conclusion that he was essentially a man of the masses.


Even in the tributes paid to him by leaders of all the parties, Nishtar proved himself to be a great national leader – a leader transcending party differences and regional loyalties. It is rather instructive that even his office of the Pakistan Muslim League early in 1956 (when the Pakistani political landscape was replete with a host of parties) did not detract in any way his claim to national leadership.


Since the Governor General’s coup of April 1953 against the dominant political elites, the Muslim League had increasingly become moribund, and had lost touch with the masses, while most of its leadership had become a coterie of self-seekers. But during 1956-58, as president of Pakistan Muslim League, Sardar Nishtar breathed new life into the organization: he organized and reactivated it; transformed it into a live organization; and, had it securely grounded to its foundational principles and ideological moorings. Thus, by 1958, if only because of his endless strivings, the Muslim League had reestablished contact with the masses: it had largely recovered its erstwhile popularity and prestige, and, but for the Mirza-Ayub coup of October 1958, it would surely have returned as the single largest party in the elections, rescheduled in February 1959.


When he took over the Muslim League’s leadership, Sardar Nishtar was a sick man; on the other hand, the task that awaited him seemed almost insurmountable. And yet, inspite of great personal peril, he undertook the job and achieved singular success, in a sense, he worked himself to death. And because of the magnitude of his achievements, he was as of that date perhaps the greatest leader Pakistan has had after Jinnah and Liaquat Ali. He was also the most active president of the Muslim League during the 1950s.


It is obvious that political disruption (such as that represented by the October 1958 coup) would never have occurred in Pakistan but for the dearth of strong, mass-based political parties. Hence, in revitalizing the Pakistan Muslim League, Sardar Nishtar’s contribution must be judged not in terms of merely resuscitation or regeneration of a political party in decline, but in terms of providing the country with a truly national party which, in any case, is a prerequisite for national consolidation and integration. Thus, his services were not merely for a political party, but primarily and essentially for the nation.


By the same token, his death was primarily and essentially a national loss, while the loss suffered by the Pakistan Muslim League was immense and immeasurable. As Mumtaz Daulatana had put it, he represented “the last glorious link with our freedom struggle” and as Maulana Ihtishamul Haq said, he was “the last leader amongst the veterans who served the cause of Pakistan and fought to preserve its ideology.”


In perspective, then, his loss was all the more irreparable. Indeed, his untimely death created a void in the national leadership which could not be filled in for a long while.

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.
 
09
February
PAF’s Basic Anti Terrorist Training Course Concludes

newspafbas.jpg

The Basic Anti Terrorist Training Course held at PAF Special Services wing, concluded graduating 226 PAF personnel including 60 officers and 166 Airmen. For the first time in the history of PAF, five lady officers also participated in the training.


At the end Air Chief Marshal Sohail Aman, Chief of the Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force awarded certificates and trophies to the graduating personnel. Flying Officer Zainab won the trophy for best Lady Officer of the course while Flying Officer Faheem clinched the trophy for Overall Best performance in the course. Senior Aircraft Man Saqib was awarded the trophy for best in firing.

09
February
Pak Navy and PLA (N) Bilateral Naval Exercises & Indian Ocean Naval Symposium Activities

Pakistan Navy and People's Liberation Army (PLA Navy) have been interacting since long, however, bilateral naval exercises are unique in the entire spectrum of multifaceted maritime operations. The maiden bilateral exercise of the series held in Sep 2014 at Karachi laid a solid foundation for the subsequent 2nd exercise in Shanghai, China and adjoining areas from 28 Dec 2015 to 3rd Jan 16.

 

newspakchin.jpg

Pakistan Navy Ships SHAMSHEER and NASR along with embarked helicopters were extended warm welcome and hospitality during their visit to Shanghai for participation in the exercise. Official call on by senior military and civilian officials, joint interactive sessions, seminars on professional topics and social events were the hallmark of the Harbour phase. The Sea phase of the exercise covered the entire spectrum of naval operations in Surface, Sub-surface and Air warfare domains. PLA (N) was represented at sea by large number of naval units including ships, submarine, fighter aircraft and helicopters. Salient events conducted at sea included basic to advance level anti-submarine warfare exercises with PLA (N) submarines, live Gunnery Air & Surface firing practices and Maritime Interdiction Operations involving Special Forces from both sides.


Leveraging the ever growing military cooperation, the 3rd Pakistan Navy and PLA (Navy) Bilateral Exercise of the series was conducted at North Arabian Sea. PLA (Navy) Task Group comprising two destroyers/ships and one Fleet Tanker, headed by Rear Admiral Yu Manjiang visited Karachi to participate in the exercise.

 

newspakchin1.jpgThe sea phase of the exercise covered wide spectrum of maritime and naval operations by ships, helicopters, Maritime Patrol Aircraft, Fighters and Special Forces. Joint Boarding Operations by Special Forces, Air Defence Exercises, Communication Drills and Joint Manoeuvres by ships were the hallmark of the events conducted at sea. A de-brief/hot wash-up of the exercise was also held at sea upon culmination of the exercise.


Cognizant of the fact that naval collaboration between Pakistan Navy and PLA (Navy) has become even more important in the backdrop of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to effectively handle complex asymmetric challenges in the maritime domain, the successful conduct of these bilateral exercises held in close timeframe is reflective of strong mutual desire to improve the level of coordination and interoperability at operational and tactical levels. These exercises not only provided a further impetus to growing mutual naval collaboration to effectively contribute towards contemporary maritime security challenges in the region, it also contributed in terms of providing valuable opportunity for both Pakistan Navy and PLA (Navy) to learn from each other’s experiences and refine warfare tactics.

 

Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Muhammad Zakaullah visited the PLA (Navy) Ship LIUZHOU at Karachi and met the Chinese Flotilla Commander, Deputy Chief of Staff PLA (Navy) South Sea Fleet, Rear Admiral Yu Manjiang.
09
February
COAS Visit to Turbat, Talar and Gwadar Reviews Progress of CPEC projects by Army Engineers

COAS, Gen Raheel Sharif visited Turbat, Talar and Gwadar on January 1, 2016 and reviewed progress of projects being constructed by Army Engineers as part of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).


He was briefed in detail about the law and order situation in Balochistan particularly in Makran division and progress on the ongoing development projects. He was told that overall security situation in Makran division has improved and graph of militancy has declined considerably. He directed all concerned to take stringent security measures for the security of engineers and labourers, particularly for Chinese nationals working on Gwadar Port and other projects.


While highlighting the importance of under construction projects linked with the CPEC and Gwadar Port, COAS said that all possible measures in coordination with civil government would be taken to make Gwadar a safe city for local and foreign investors. He said these projects will transform the lives of people of Pakistan, particularly Balochistan and bring prosperity to the region. COAS appreciated army troops engaged in various development works particularly FWO for their untiring efforts and sacrifices for the construction of a vast road network across the length and breadth of Balochistan, against all odds, at an amazing pace.


He also paid rich tribute to Shuhada of Army, other Law Enforcement Agencies and civilians who laid down their lives for security and development of the area. While interacting with local elders, he also paid rich tributes to the proud and valiant people of Balochistan and thanked them for their unconditional cooperation and support for development projects, assuring them that they will be best served by these projects. He emphasized that the potential of Balochistan as a regional hub for trade in goods and energy will only be realized with a whole of nation approach for its security and development.


Commending Army, FC and other LEAs for extraordinary efforts for security, COAS said, ‘completion of these projects is directly linked with law and order situation of the province’ and vowed that, the armed forces will take all necessary actions to help bring back normalcy.

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09
February

Written By: Maj. Kanwal Kiani

We often get inspirations from some extraordinary people around us and thus they become our role models – but not necessarily everyone gets a chance to meet these icons and get to know about their life experiences.


In the context of Pakistan, when we think about social services, one name immediately strikes our minds – Abdul Sattar Edhi. Like many others he is my role model, too – I had never thought in life that one day I would get a chance to meet him.


It was a Friday afternoon, when Hilal team entered the main Headquarters near Boltan Market Karachi. After entering a big hall and introduction, I asked the young lady at reception about him, she pointed her finger and said, ‘he is sitting on your left’.


And he was no different from the image we always see on TV screens. Dressed in simple dark grey shalwar kameez, wearing Quaid-i-Azam cap – an eminent persona with a grey white beard, sharp features and frail body, whom we all know as Abdul Sattar Edhi; a saint among ordinary people like us, an emblem of hope for many poverty-stricken people of Pakistan.

 

metlegd.jpgAfter a couple of minutes his youngest son Faisal Edhi took us into a modest yet impressive office festooned with pictures of M.A. Jinnah, an old family photograph of Abdul Sattar Edhi, and certificates by different international organizations along with posters of public service messages.


It was not an interview but a conversation with the family, and Abdul Sattar Edhi despite his ailment took part, sharing his life occurrences with Hilal team while listening to Faisal Edhi.
Born in 1928 in Bantva (a small town in Kathiawar, India), at the age of 20, he joined a charitable trust run by the Memons, the community to which his family belonged. He was dismayed when saw that the organization only helped their own community. He then decided to work for humans regardless of faith, class, identity – he aimed to serve humanity – and he does so successfully. He preaches to be a human and love the humanity.


He was taught to help people at very little age, when his mother used to give him two paisa's and advised to give one to the needy and keep other as his pocket-money. Later he learnt how to take care of sick, when his mother was bedridden due to paralyses. That was certainly the foundation stone which shaped him into the living legend he is today.


Now 87, Edhi started his charity work 60 years ago with an old van converted into an ambulance, and set out on numerous life-saving missions. He set up homes for the mentally-retarded and old people when observed them mistreated by families, opened orphanages when saw children sleeping with dogs on footpaths, built dispensaries and homes when found women in distress and raised thousands of unwanted or illegal infants.


"I have travelled 72 countries of the world but could not find any country like ours and nation as Pakistanis. Edhi foundation has never accepted donations offered by either own or foreign governments. Whenever I needed money, I begged people of Pakistan and they contributed generously. I incalculably worked for almost 55 years of my life for humanity – now I have gone weak and old, cannot contribute physically but I do supervise my son Faisal, who is managing the foundation,” told Edhi sahib in a feeble voice.

 

metlegd1.jpg“People sometimes don't understand the true concept of charity, and doubt my efforts and sincerity. Some of the money and jewelry that we had collected for poor people was robbed on gun point. People asked whose amanat was it? That was amanat of deprived and needy people of Pakistan that was amanat we had gathered through begging. My religious beliefs are also questioned…. Alhamdulillah I am Muslim, I offer five time prayers and I always seek help and guidance from Allah and He has been very kind to me. But besides all I always care for humanity; not only for Muslims or Pakistanis. Things were never easy for me and my family, but we always remain self-effacing,” he further added.


As he said his ‘religion’ is humanitarianism, so for people who doubt his religious morality may have a look on the activities performed under the patronage of Edhi Trust, they would be surprised to note the unison between tasks of Edhi Foundation and true practices of our religion. So does his actions not speak louder move words?


Long ago, one day when he was passing by a market, he saw a badly beaten-up man lying helplessly on the road, people were gathered around but nobody tried to save his life and just watched him die. He decided that day, that he would take care of dead, wounded, too. Today everyone knows that even if its armed fight going on anywhere, people fighting would stop and let Edhi ambulance rescue wounded and pickup the dead.


Here I would like to share what he narrated in his autobiography by Tehmina Durrani, published in 1996, about recovering the stinking cadavers "rivers, from inside wells, from road sides, accident sites and hospitals… When families forsook them, and authorities threw them away, I picked them up… Then I bathed and cared for each and every victim of circumstance."
While sharing his feelings Faisal Edhi told Hilal, "I was very attached with my father, although he had no time for us, but I used to wait for him especially in Ramadan. At the age of 13, I went to USA for studies but came back after 3 years as I wanted to work with Edhi sahib and thus became his right hand. This task though involves immense hard work and sacrifices, but with supervision of Edhi sahib we are trying to continue the services the way he have been doing in the past."


Faisal Edhi further shared that Edhi sahib always treated the kids in the centres and his own children equally. "You can figure it out with one little example that I wanted to have a bicycle and a small motor car but Edhi sahib did not buy one for me," and said, "it would be unjust if I give you one, and not to my hundreds of kids." He has spent his entire life in the service of mankind, without personal benefits or gain, and taught us the same values he has been following throughout." He has won many national and international certificates and awards for his meritorious humanitarian services not only inside Pakistan but wherever in the world calamities occur, but he has no lust for fame," added Faisal.


In 1964 Edhi sahib married Bilqis who worked as a nurse at the Edhi dispensary. They have four children two daughters and two sons. She had been managing orphanages, maternity homes, girls’ hostels and nursing homes under the banner of Edhi Foundation. As Faisal Edhi is helping his father, likewise their eldest daughter has become a helping hand of her mother Bilqis Edhi.


While talking to Bilqis Edhi whom Edhi sahib calls his strength, we asked about the life journey she has been spending with the icon of humanity. "He has spent his life to help others. Regardless of knowing about his commitments, sometimes I used to complain that he never gives time to our own children, but gradually we learnt to live with it. He missed his daughter's wedding, he did not attend funeral of our grandson Bilal, whom he loved more than his kids.”

 

metlegd2.jpgLet me share this most heartrending incident that jolted our family and you can evidently see what kind of a person Edhi sahib is. It was July 9, 1992 when he was going to Ghotki to help people dead or injured as a result of train accident and our grandson Bilal died. He was the youngest son of my eldest daughter Kubra. And we loved him more than our own kids. The love and affection Edhi sahib had for Bilal, was never seen for his own kids. He still says that Bilal was part of his heart and after Bilal he would not be able to love anyone. Although he had seen sufferings of other people too many times but the pain he went through after seeing Bilal’s burnt body, was unbearable. He was burnt by a psycho patient Irshad who, with her children, was living in our home.

 

Just to take revenge from my daughter Kubra that why she complained of her ill-discipline, she burnt my six-year-old grandson alive with scorching water that too on eid day. But instead of taking any action against her, Edhi sahib sent her for treatment in on other centre and asked us to forgive her, too. How the life with a person who always loved and respected humanity, could be an easy one? We never spent time together as family but learnt true spirit of sacrifice from him. He always trusted me for bringing up our children and he still likes when I take care of the abandoned children until they are adopted by someone. When asked about for how long they keep track of such children she replied, "maximum of 5 to 6 years, as we get busy with other kids coming into the centres but the parents do apprise us about the kids, send us their pictures and sometimes bring them to meet us.”


When I asked about how the organization is working on that large scale without government funding, she told about the policy of Edhi Foundation and said, “Whenever international donors offer us donations we politely either refuse or distribute in the same country, since we get enough from Pakistanis, we do not take money from government or from abroad.”


Upon asking about likes and dislikes of Edhi sahib she told, "He has always led a simple life, with undemanding eating habits. Usually he takes pieces of old bread in the morning, and raw cooked vegetable or any daal (pulse) in meals. When we were newly married, my friends used to make fun of him eating chapati with water-melon, but I never mind that as I knew my husband." I was very immature when we got married, but he was always kind and tolerant.


While commenting on Operation Zarb-e-Azb Edhi sahib appreciated the efforts of Pak Army and said, "Pak Fauj under the leadership of Gen Raheel Sharif is fighting for a peaceful Pakistan, the soldiers are helping humanity, we are with them, my all prayers are with them for success of this noble cause."


“Today when I look back into my life, I don't feel any regrets, I attained whatever I wished for, Allah has always been so helpful and kind.” Though every word of Edhi sahib is a message for us but he through platform of Hilal, specially wanted to pass on to the youth that humbleness is the most distinctive trait for humans, so be humble, love humanity and be a human.


Upon leaving the premises of Edhi Headquarters, and spending a half day, I really felt honoured meeting a brutally honest, simple and a very compassionate man. Who has transferred his saint host philosophy in his future generation, too. We pray for his speedy recovery and long healthy life, as someone else may not be able to serve mankind the way he is doing.

Awards Conferred upon Abdul Sattar Edhi

National Awards

• Shield of Honour by Pakistan Army (E & C).
• Honorary Doctorate Degree by Institute of Business Administration, 2006.
• Khidmat Award by Pakistan Academy of Medical Sciences.
• Human Rights Award by Pakistan Human Rights Society.
• Pakistan Civic Award by Pakistan Civic Society, 1992.
• Nishan-e-Imtiaz by Government of Pakistan, 1989.
• The Social Worker of Sub-Continent by Government of Sindh, 1989.

 

International Honours

• Magsaysay Award for Public Service from Philippines.
• International Balzan Prize for Humanity, Peace and Brotherhood from Italy, 2000.
• Hamdan Award for volunteers in Humanitarian Medical Services from UAE, 2000.
• Paul Harris Fellow from Rotary International Foundation, 1993.
• Largest Voluntary Ambulance Organization of the World by Guinness Book of World Records, 2000.
• International Lenin Peace Prize for services in the Armenian earthquake disaster from Russia (former USSR), 1988.

*****


Future Project:

Today the Edhi Foundation has approximately 550 ambulances, including two planes and a helicopter. Currently, he is building a system of roadside medical aid centres, each with an emergency vehicle, every 35 miles along Pakistan’s highways, from Khyber to Karachi.

Quick Bites

• Passion: Serving Humanity
• Favourite Song: Dukhaaey dil jo kisi ka wo aadmi kia hai
• Favourite Fruit: Mango
• Best Companion: Biliqis Edhi
• Most Favourite Kid: Faisal Edhi

*****

 
09
February

Written By: Dr. Raja Muhammad Khan

In the recent political history of Indian-Held Kashmir (IHK), the year 2014 was crucial in four respects. First; for the first time, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP); a non-state, Hindu nationalist party secured 25 seats in the Legislative Assembly of 87 members. Second, through a power sharing deal, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and BJP formed a coalition government in March 2015. In a way, the BJP not only made it to Legislative Assembly of IHK, but also became part of the government in the occupied state. Though this quick electoral victory of BJP owe a lot to federal government in New Delhi (BJP led NDA Government), yet over the years, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) made inroads into the Hindu dominated areas of the Jammu region of IHK. Third; India started unprovoked firing across the Line of Control, killing dozens of innocent Kashmiri people and provocative statements issued by the Indian Prime Minister, Narindra Modi and his cabinet ministers against Pakistan and campaign of integrating Kashmir into Indian Union. Four; 'Kashmir Million March' was organized in United Kingdom (London) in October 2014 by Kashmiri diaspora, living all over the world. The Kashmir Million March was organized to highlight the disputed nature of Kashmir and to remind international community their responsibilities towards resolution of this unresolved issue for over seven decades now. This global campaign was aimed at highlighting the otherwise dark aspects of Kashmir struggle, which India did not allow the world to know about.

 

These include; massive human rights’ violations in Indian occupied Kashmir, the rapes committed by occupied forces, and future evil designs of India to deprive Kashmiri people of their basic rights and militarization of the state. The foremost aspect, Kashmir Million March was to remind the British Government of its responsibilities towards the dispute, which as a former Colonial power, it has to implement as a moral obligation. This, indeed, is a black spot on the face of British Government. It was British Government, which left this issue unresolved at the time of partition of British India. Rather, British Viceroy, Lord Mountbatten, helped India in the illegal occupation of the state in 1947.


In the Election-2014, though BJP could not win even a single seat from Valley and Ladakh, yet, won almost all seats from Jammu province. Today, despite presence of a sizable portion of Muslim population in the Jammu province, Hindu nationalist BJP and its militant wing RSS is practically ruling there. It is worth mentioning that in the last census held in Kashmir (1941), prior to partition of the Sub-continent, Muslims constituted 62 percent in the Jammu province and Hindus merely 30 percent of the total population. After First Kashmir War (1947-49), and subsequently during later wars and clashes between Pakistan and India, a sizeable portion of the Muslim population from Jammu migrated to various parts of Pakistan. The successive Indian governments inhabited Hindus in the areas vacated by Muslims, through a phased programme, thus making demographic changes in Jammu. These demographic changes have severely affected the state.

 

indmanip.jpgToday, over 60 percent population in Jammu is Hindu with 32 percent Muslim population. In the last few years, four more districts were carved out from the existing six districts in such a way that, except Poonch, Rajori and Doda, all other (seven) districts depict Hindu majority. The dominant character of Hindu nationalists mostly under the RSS has subdued the Muslims even in those areas, where they are in majority. Not only the demographic changes have been made in Jammu province but also through a well-planned strategy, India is eliminating the Kashmiri identity; the Kashmiriat. The people of Jammu are being poised to have their own separate identity, away from the Kashmiri identity. There is, indeed, complete hold of the RSS in Jammu province and electoral victory of BJP in 2014 was the outcome of this strapping Hindu grip. Though currently the RSS is moving ahead with this agenda of Hindutva. Hindutva is a terminology coined by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar in 1923. The RSS and affiliates like Vishva Hindu Parishad are the promoters of this ideology. BJP adopted this ideology as its official ideology in 1989. Nevertheless, Hindu dominance in Jammu made its way through years of contemplation and manipulation by New Delhi.


In Ladakh, the dominant distinctiveness being promoted by Indian Government is Buddhist identity, rather tham original Kashmiri character. Otherwise, being directly ruled by New Delhi, the people are forced to show their allegiance with India directly, rather via Srinagar. Indian spying network is trying to create a divide among the people of Kargil-Daras on sectarian lines. In July 2014, Prime Minister, Narindra Modi offered them a direct package in order to magnetize them towards New Delhi. The Ladakh region has been mesmerized as a separate region, with its own identity rather than the Kashmiri one.


Indian Government is creating a situation, where only the Vale of Kashmir will have Kashmiri identity. Even within the Valley, the Kashmiri Pandits, mainly Hindu, are being differently identified. The strategy being followed by India is to isolate the people who are struggling for their right of self-determination. Indeed, during the current phase of freedom struggle, the Vale of Kashmir remained hub of all separatists’ activities, though a huge population from Jammu province and even Ladakh was part of it in the past. Now, they have moved underground or mostly shifted to Valley, owing to the RSS domination and anti-Muslim campaign in Jammu. The demographic changes and doing away with the Kashmiri identity is being persuaded with the objective of restricting the movement in narrow areas of Valley only, delinking them from rest of IHK.


Whereas, the BJP and Indian Union must be very excited over this development, the people of the State are extremely depressed and gloomy over this manipulation by India. Elections-2014 were held under the domination of over 700,000 Indian security forces. Not only the Kashmiris were forced to poll, but millions of Hindu migrants, who left the state long ago were brought on the day of polling. Earlier, Indian Election Commission registered these migrant Hindus in those areas, where either low turn-out was expected or BJP’s victory was to be ensured. During the election campaign in IHK, Indian Prime Minister Modi was concerned about the migrants in Jammu region, whom he wanted to settle in Valley and Muslim majority areas of Jammu province. During his public address, Modi said, “The settlement of the migrants is a major issue in Jammu, where most of them are living.” He further said, “It’s not my job to woo the people by listing out the problems of Jammu and Kashmir. I am the person who will take one problem in hand at a time and solve it. Now, see the state of affairs of the state where 20% population are migrants. Isn’t it our job to settle them?” Indeed, through this move, Modi and BJP are planning to bring further demographic changes in IHK, especially the Valley, where there is 95% Muslim population.


Mr. Omar Abdullah, the former Chief Minister of IHK has accused the BJP for manipulation of the migrant issue. He said, “We want all genuine Kashmiri Pandits who are resettled outside the state to vote but what we do not want is that the BJP manipulates the system to suit their advantage and give them electoral gains. We have no problem with the right to vote of those migrants who left the valley before 1990. But even those who left the valley after 1990, and have resettled in other parts of the country and may even be registered as voters there, are being brought into the electoral rolls for the assembly polls. The nature of the problem is serious since even those who left the valley prior to 1990 are now being registered as migrant voters. This makes a difference in pockets or constituencies which are Muslim-dominated and where a poll boycott was expected to be effective — even a bloc of 2,000-3,000 migrant votes may end up swinging the result.”


Today, people of IHK are indeed spending their lives in an open prison, where one Indian soldier is imposed over ten Kashmiri people. With such a siege, it is obvious that Kashmiris cannot exercise their will freely for their future status. This indeed was the real cause, which prompted the Kashmiris to rise for their right of self-determination in 1990 and faced Indian brutalities resulting into deaths of 113,000 people.


It is worth mentioning that, in 2014 Indian elections, the BJP Government came to power with the agenda that it will abrogate Article 370 of Indian Constitution, paving way for integration of IHK into Indian Union. Indeed, Kashmiris never consented the Indian rule nor its constitution ever; therefore, Indian Government has miscalculated the past events in Kashmir and indeed is misreading the current developments. Regarding the Article 370, the former Chief Minister of IHK, Mr. Omar Abdullah, once said; “Article 370 is the only constitutional link between J-K and the rest of India. Talk of revocation is not just ill informed but it is irresponsible.” India or IHK Legislative Assembly cannot integrate or change the status of Kashmir in the light of two UN Resolutions; March 30, 1951, and January 24, 1957. Through these Resolutions, State’s Constituent Assembly was prohibited to determine the future status of the state, until there is a UN sponsored plebiscite. Kashmiris are seriously concerned that despite clear UN Resolutions, Indian leadership is declaring Kashmir as its integral part.


India has to understand that it cannot change the status of Kashmir against the will of Kashmiris nor can it integrate the state into Indian Union. The Kashmiris have never reconciled with Indian occupation, its rule and constitution. The natural inclination of the people of Jammu and Kashmir has been towards Pakistan. This inclination has not only been because of religious affinity but also, indeed, necessitated by the geo-politics of the socio-economic interdependence that dates back to pre-partition history of India. Then, a vast majority of Kashmiri and Pakistani people had a common origin and post-partition, this social bondage has further strengthened to an dissoluble level over the years. The year 2015 witnessed a renewed dedication of Kashmiris for the state of Pakistan, which was quite obvious from the public demonstration of Kashmiris during their social gatherings and fluttering Pakistani flags over their houses.


The real issue of the Indian occupied Kashmir is neither an infrastructure development for connectivity nor civic facilities that the Indian government gives to selected people. Kashmiris are afraid that Indian Government is conspiring to do away the Kashmir identity as a phased strategy. The rehabilitation of migrants to change the demography of the state is another area of concern for the people of IHK. Then there are massive human rights’ violations in IHK at the hands of Indian state forces ever since 1989. There have been massive human rights’ violations in the occupied state, after Kashmiri people re-started their freedom struggle in 1989/90. Indeed, India wants Kashmir, not Kashmiris. For India, Kashmir is a strategic state; having geopolitical as well as geo-economic significance. India has never respected Kashmiri people, particularly, the Muslims, who always wished for their own future with Pakistan. Indian rulers (Nehru to Modi) always abhor this Kashmiri desire and demand, but none could defeat it, as it is in their blood and genes, which could not be eliminated.


The people of Kashmir have reiterated many a times that their future is linked with Pakistan. The renewed expression of waving Pakistani flags in a huge demonstration in the Valley, where people chanted anti-India and pro-Pakistan slogans should be taken as the decision for the future of Kashmir and Kashmiris. Indeed, Indian Government is making all out efforts to undo this Kashmiri spirit. However, if India could not change the hearts and minds of Kashmiris in its favour in last sixty-seven years, how it can do that now with oppression and use of force?

The writer is Head of International Relations Department at National Defence University (NDU), Islamabad. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 
09
February

Once more future of Pakistan was attacked. Though the massacre in Bacha Khan University Charsadda was contained, but intents of the enemy were clear – hitting soft targets, spreading fright and terror. The terrorists went for ‘soft targets’ but had to face resistance by daring and resilient security staff and teachers, who initially engaged them until police and then troops from Pakistan Army reached the site in shortest possible time. This act of courage is highly appreciable. It was indeed a major success of the Armed Forces that within an hour, the four terrorists were spotted, isolated and killed. Later four facilitators were also brought before the media and public was informed about the role they played in facilitating the attack.


This recent brutal and cowardly act by the terrorists is an ample evidence of the fact that the ongoing war is being fought for our survival, and, fighting against the terror is a shared responsibility. Together as a nation we are to defend Pakistan. For that, we have to rise above ourselves and do what is best for Pakistan. In this war our resolve is clear: to break the web of curses like extremism and, evil nexus of terrorism and corruption with the support and backing of the entire nation. Certainly, Pakistan Armed Forces will eliminate such threats posed to our security and sovereignty.


Although Pakistan Army is putting all its efforts to check the forces of extremism and terrorism duly supported by foreign hands for more than a decade, but military force alone is not a holistic answer to these challenges. It needs a comprehensive response from all organs of the state. All pillars of the state including legislative, executive, judiciary and media have important roles to build a strong counter narrative against militancy. Our efforts to educate the youth being misled by the extremist mindset are also vital for a secure future of Pakistan as destiny lies in the hands of our future generation. We have to put all efforts to defeat the hate-ideology of the enemies of Pakistan.


As we share the grief of Charsadda attack victims, we stand firmly with all those who had suffered due to terrorism. However, our message to the terrorists is loud and clear. The evil shall not be allowed to win. Such cowardly sporadic acts do not waver the resolve but further harden the response.


They will be fought, chased and eliminated.

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

09
February

Written By: Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal

The trends in the global politics indicate that the year 2016 would witness a new format of strategic competition between/among the Great Powers. The regional brawls give rise to proxy wars entailing regional and global instability. The volatility in the strategic environment would encourage both qualitative and quantitative buildup of the military arsenals of the nations. The lesser probability of horizontal nuclear proliferation would not cease the vertical proliferation of nuclear weapons. Almost all the nuclear weapon states would continue modernization of their nuclear arsenals.


The transnational terrorist syndicate would continue haunting the national security of the nations. The global consensus against the menace of terrorism would not be able to combat effectively and eliminate completely the terrorist groups and their sanctuaries located in both developed and developing states. The focus would remain on the killing of terrorists instead of adequately addressing the causes of terrorism. Nonetheless, the political and strategic competition among the leading actors of the international politics would not thwart the processes of economic cooperation.


The drift towards multi-polarity in the global setting is increasing the complexity in Pakistan’s strategic environment. Today, therefore, the successful pursuit of national interest is a demanding task for Islamabad. Notwithstanding, the year 2016 is having immense political and economic opportunities for Pakistan. The cashing of these external opportunities requires political stability, rule of law and above all internally secure, and peaceful, environment. The interplay between the internal and external policies necessitates being mindful of both international and regional developments.


Washington, Moscow and Beijing would remain the key actors on the global political and strategic chessboard. Therefore, the professional foreign policy-makers give priority to maintaining cordial relations with these nations. Realistically, the destabilization in the Great Powers’ relations cannot be ruled out in the near future. Therefore, the vigilant decision-makers ought to be remained cognizant of events that are having potential to stabilize, or destabilize, the Great Powers’ relations. It is because the shift in their bilateral relations directly affects the regional strategic environments and necessitates immediate responses from the regional actors.


Islamabad has succeeded in cultivating and sustaining better relations with Washington, Moscow and Beijing in the recent years. Today, Obama Administration commends Pakistan’s operation Zarb-e-Azb. Instead of repeating the mantra of ‘do-more’ it is closely working with Islamabad for reconciliation in Afghanistan. On January 11, 2016, Pakistan hosted first quadrilateral steering committee meeting on reconciliation in Afghanistan in Islamabad. The representatives of United States, Afghanistan, China and Pakistan participated in the meeting to restart a stalled dialogue process between the Government of Afghanistan and Afghan Taliban to end the strife in Afghanistan.


Moscow and Beijing facilitated Pakistan’s entry into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in 2015. The former also agreed to sell sophisticated military hardware to Pakistan. On August 19, 2015, Islamabad signed an agreement with the Russian Federation to purchase four MI-35 ‘Hind’ attack helicopters. Indeed, it’s a major foreign policy accomplishment. Moscow, historically, had been reluctant to sell military hardware to Pakistan due to the opposition of its ally – India.


Pakistan and China have, intelligently and systematically, institutionalized their strategic partnership since decades. Today, Islamabad is reaping the benefits of this partnership. Beijing is also cognizant of the vitality of strategic partnership’s sustainability for the pursuits of its interests in the transforming global strategic environment. The trends indicate that both nations would energetically-cum-practically continue to bolster their strategic partnership. In April 2015, Chinese President Xi Jinping signed 51 Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) and announced $46 billion investment in Pakistan. Simultaneously, Government of Pakistan has endlessly been endeavouring to materialize the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The CPEC seems essential for President Xi Jinping’s ‘One Belt-One Road’ vision and also imperative for Pakistan’s economic growth.


The preceding discussion generates optimism about Pakistan’s relations with the Great Powers. However, a few developments in the international environment are not ignorable for a realistic foreign and strategic policy. On January 12, 2016, the US President Barack Obama stated in his State of the Union address: “instability will continue for decades in many parts of the world – in the Middle East, in Afghanistan and Pakistan, in parts of Central America, Africa and Asia. Some of these places may become safe havens for new terrorist networks; others will fall victim to ethnic conflict, or famine, feeding the next wave of refugees.” President Obama’s observation about Pakistan’s future is debatable. Pakistan’s Armed Forces have restored the writ of the state in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). Consequently, the local and transnational terrorist groups’ sanctuaries were demolished and a large number of terrorists were killed. Some of them succeeded in escaping from the area and settling in the neighbouring Afghanistan. Moreover, the political stability and nearly 80% decrease of terrorist activities has generated a favourable environment for the Foreign Direct Investment in Pakistan. Precisely, the sustainability of political and economic stability falsifies the negativity about Pakistan’s future.


Russian Federation’s occupation of Crimea in March 2014 introduced a destabilizing variable in the European strategic environment. Ukraine, being a partner of the NATO, had expected military assistance from the United States and its like-minded states. In reality, Article 5 of NATO’s charter only permits collective security arrangements for members of the alliance. Partners of the NATO are not qualified for the military assistance in crisis or war. Though the NATO countries avoided overt military assistance to Ukraine, yet they immensely supported diplomatically and economically to Kiev. They levied punishing economic sanctions against the Russian Federation. The United States and Europeans’ support to Ukraine alarmed Moscow. President Putin announced to revamp Russian national security policy. He also ordered to induct 46 intercontinental ballistic missiles in 2015 to upgrade Russian offensive punch.


The developments in the Middle East, especially the protracted civil war in Syria and rise of Islamic State or Daesh have increased mistrust between Moscow and Washington. Consequently, the former increased its invest in “preparing civil defences” and “mobilization,” including industrial mobilization as part of its national security strategy. It was reported that the civil defence was an essential part of Soviet war preparations designed to minimize losses and ensure overall victory in a nuclear standoff with the US and its allies. The current Russia’s National Security Strategy (a fundamental document of strategic planning) reveals that Kremlin seriously sees an imminent threat of armed conflict with the US and its allies. The US is allegedly threatening Russia in the West, in the East and in the Arctic.


Beijing had also revamped its Asia-Pacific strategy during the recent years. In the economic sphere it has embarked on major initiatives such as ‘One Belt-One Road’ and ‘Maritime Silk Route’ (an expansive initiative to build up land and maritime trade routes) and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. These epitomize Beijing’s efforts to reshape Asia’s financial architecture. The economic vision of China is advantageous for Pakistan.


Importantly, China has been endeavouring to reshape Asia’s security structure. It has adopted an assertive diplomacy in Southeast Asia, which might result into a China-Vietnam or China-Philippines standoff in the South China Sea. Such a standoff could entangle the US in the regional conflict. China’s newly created bases on the disputed Spratly Islands undermine Japan’s strategic interests. Beijing is also vocal about its right to monitor the navigation operations in the South China Sea, which is not in line with the US stance on upholding international norms and laws. Moreover, today, Asia-Pacific region is a geostrategic priority for the United States. Obama administration’s pivot or rebalance strategy in Asia-Pacific was designed in 2011-12 to contain China. Precisely, the conflict between Washington and Beijing would be detrimental for Pakistan’s global agenda.


Islamabad cannot ignore the developments in its neighbourhood, especially in the Middle East, Persian/Arabian Gulf, Afghanistan and India. The Middle East, today, is suffering from the perilous wave of sectarian conflicts. The current wave is dangerous because the states in the region seem incapable to manage it. Certainly, the political and economic stability in the neighbourhood is imperative for Pakistan’s national security, economic prosperity and societal harmony.


Iran’s clout in the regional and international politics has increased after Tehran’s historic nuclear deal with global powers on July 14, 2015. The deal curbed its nuclear ambitions but failed to desist Tehran from the development and testing of ballistic missiles. Tehran’s compliance with its obligations under nuclear accord entailed the United States and the European Union lifting off the sanctions on January 16, 2016. The end of sanctions would not only boost country’s economy but also encourage Tehran to play an assertive role in the Arabian/Persian Gulf region. Both these developments would not directly undermine Pakistan’s national interest. The diplomatic standoff between Riyadh and Tehran is very much disturbing for Islamabad. Therefore, Islamabad launched a mediation effort to end the standoff between Iran and Saudi Arabia.


The United States and India’s strategic partnership and India’s military doctrine transformation entailing armed forces’ modernization has increased the significance of nuclear weapons in Pakistan’s defensive arrangements. New Delhi and Islamabad have qualitatively and quantitatively improved their respective nuclear arsenals. The vertical proliferation of nuclear weapons has not destabilized the regional strategic environment. Nevertheless, India’s missile defence would be a most serious future threat to the South Asian strategic stability.


Since decades India has been working on the missile defence system. Scientifically speaking, New Delhi’s missile defence systems’ research and development is not reliable. It may not provide India an effective shield against Pakistan’s nuclear missiles. Even if the system cannot reliably intercept ballistic missiles after they are launched, the missile defence deployments could trigger a regional arms’ race.


Afghanistan’s situation has not improved in 2015. The increasing anarchy in Afghanistan is not only questioning the effectiveness of the elected Unity Government led by President Ghani; it is equally alarming for the neighbouring states, especially Pakistan. Central Asia is becoming an increasingly important region for Pakistan’s energy demands and trading market. Islamabad’s clout in Central Asia would definitely grow in 2016 due to the work on CPEC, CASA-1000, TAPI etc. Certainly, stability in Afghanistan is vital for connectivity with Central Asian states.


To conclude, despite the likely political and strategic realignments between/among the Great Powers, upward surge in conventional and nuclear weaponry; 2016 would be a year of immense political and economic opportunities for Pakistan.

The writer is Director and Associate Professor at the School of Politics and International Relations, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad. He contributes for print and electronic media regularly. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Despite the likely political and strategic realignments between/among the Great Powers, upward surge in conventional and nuclear weaponry; 2016 would be a year of immense political and economic opportunities for Pakistan.

*****

 
09
February

Written By: Muhammad Azam Khan

The US based influential Foreign Policy magazine recently reported that India is building a top secret nuclear facility in southern state of Karnataka (formerly Mysore) to produce thermonuclear weapons. Located in the city of Challakere, about 260 km from Mysore on the India’s western coast, the facility is expected to be completed by 2017. It will upgrade India’s nuclear weapons but would be “deeply unsettling” for its neighbours, according to the report. The report lists that the project’s primary aim is to expand the government’s nuclear research, to produce fuel for Indian nuclear reactors, and to help power the country’s fleet of nuclear submarines.


Substantiating this report, retired Indian nuclear scientists and military officers disclosed in interviews that India’s growing fleet of nuclear submarines would be the first and foremost beneficiary of the newly produced enriched uranium. Welcome to the maritime arena, the Indian Ocean, one of the two upcoming global battle grounds for geo-political contest, rivalry as well as cooperation in this century. The other being South China Sea in the western Pacific Ocean.


Previously reeling from some enduring security challenges, the Indian Ocean is now confronted with an unwinnable race for military nuclearization duly adding to the regional woes and instability. Through the northern Arabian Sea in the western Indian Ocean huge shipments of fossil fuels and other goods destined for regional and extra regional countries traverse each day. The economic growth of these countries is tied to this area of the Indian Ocean. The chaos in the Middle East and rise of ISIS impinge on the region’s fragile maritime security. The unfolding geopolitical landscape is meanwhile steadily fuelling angst in the region. India’s unfounded agitation on CPEC, the P5+1 agreement with Iran on latter’s nuclear programme and the recent move by Riyadh to forge 34 nation alliance cannot conceal the strategic fissures, the likely triggers for realignments in the Indian Ocean.


Besides conventional naval build up, the intimidating doctrines and bellicose policies aimed at regional domination and overwhelming the small island states, India is in overdrive to subvert strategic, political and economic interest of neighbouring countries. But little does New Delhi recognize that this zeal for absolute mastery is only a recipe that will further cut on the precarious regional stability.


A major reason spawning persistent instability in the Indian Ocean and on its shores, at least in strategic sense, has been the 2007 nuclear accord between Washington and New Delhi. Critics even then warned the United States, it would reward India for its secret pursuits of the bombs and allow it to expand work on nuclear weapons. Almost eight years on, the prophecy has held true.


An unnamed senior official in the US administration recently stated that India’s civilian nuclear programme is profiting from new access to imported nuclear fuel after removal of embargo in 2007 and now requires almost “no homemade enriched uranium”. While India has yet to purchase a single nuclear reactor from Washington, it has already received around 4,914 tonnes of uranium from France, Russia and Kazakhstan and has agreements in place with Canada, Argentina and Namibia for additional shipments.
The International Panel on Fissile Materials, a consortium of nuclear experts from 16 countries, estimates that the Arihant class, India’s locally constructed nuclear submarine core requires only about 143 pounds of uranium, enriched to 30 percent – a measure of how many of its isotopes can be readily used in weaponry. Using this figure and the estimated capacity of the centrifuges India is installing in the upcoming secret site at Karnataka alone, former IAEA analysts conclude that even after refuelling its entire fleet of nuclear submarines (estimated to be 3-5 in next decade or so) there would be 352 pounds of weapon grade uranium left over every year enough for at least 22 Hydrogen bombs.


This, then, is the net result of Indo-US nuclear accord. It serves to demonstrate how the deal has and shall continue to help New Delhi expand its nuclear ambitions of becoming a “regional policeman” in the Indian Ocean. While Washington works hard to promote global nuclear disarmament with one hand, it tacitly supports proliferation with the other.


But “if wishes were horses, beggars would ride." India faces some daunting internal and external challenges before it can assume the mantle of a “regional policeman” or simply put rule through a blue water navy. There is no universally accepted definition of a blue water navy. Generally, however, it refers to the ability of a navy to sustain broad range of maritime operations across the open ocean. A blue water navy is one able to operate in blue water, and thus beyond the coastal or littoral regions and well on the other side of exclusive economic zone of 200 nautical miles (370 km). Such navies usually have one or more aircraft carriers besides nuclear submarines with power projection capabilities at great ranges. A blue water navy is also able to sustain operations for extended duration without support from the shore or home base. Only few navies in the world today hold true blue water potential. With eleven aircraft carriers, the United States Navy has more than the combined total of all countries.


Regardless, the challenges to accomplish blue water status for the Indian Navy are humongous. The number one internal challenge is uninspiring performance of India’s premier research and development organization, DRDO, which handles bulk of all domestic military production. This is over and above the lamentable lack of strategic culture amongst its political class as well as bureaucracy. International expert Stephen Cohen dissects this issue extensively in his best selling work “Arming without Aiming”.


Numerous major military projects undertaken by DRDO in the past including stealth ships for the Indian navy, Arjun tank, Light Combat aircraft etc. have rusted, hitting snags and resulting in exceptional delays with cost overruns. Consequently, India’s military continues to import about 70 percent of its sophisticated weapon systems from overseas. This foreign dependence is a major internal faultline severely inhibiting India’s rise as a military power. In case of navy the problem further compounds given the wholesale hardware changes required to switch over from the Cold War vintage Russian platforms-technology to local products.


In a recent interview with Times of India, former Chief of Army Staff General V.P Malik maintained that his country’s war preparedness will remain hampered unless DRDO and ordnance factories are made more accountable. In a scathing indictment of India’s bureaucracy, General Malik said, “the Ministry of Defence is a bad organization. Accountability within the Ministry is zero.” He added that if DRDO was not delivering, he would like some secretary, some joint secretary resigning or sacked besides the DRDO head.
On operational side, India’s sole nuclear submarine, Arihant is not yet fully integrated with the fleet. But even once integrated, the more tough business of delegating nuclear command authority to a field commander (officer of the rank of Commander or Captain Lt Col/Col equivalent), commanding the nuclear submarine will have to be resolved. In the meantime, the Indian navy carrier, Vikramaditya (Admiral Gorshkov) brought from Russia after painful delays of several years is still unable to fully support fighter operations from its flight deck.


Externally, the greatest hurdle standing in the path of India’s rise in the western Indian Ocean, if not the entire Indian Ocean, is Pakistan with its small yet resilient navy. With port of Gwadar just next to the Strait of Hormuz acting as gateway to multiple regions, CPEC promises economic boon for both, China and Pakistan. Given its steadily rising stakes in the region, Beijing is set to increase military footprint in the Indian Ocean to ensure security of trade and assets. Washington will do well to lower its mollycoddling with the Modi government. Anything short will only stir up more instability.

The writer is a freelance columnist. Can be reached at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
An unnamed senior official in the US administration recently stated that India’s civilian nuclear programme is profiting from new access to imported nuclear fuel after removal of embargo in 2007 and now require almost “no homemade enriched uranium”. While India has yet to purchase a single nuclear reactor from Washington, it has already received around 4,914 tonnes of uranium from France, Russia and Kazakhstan and has agreements in place with Canada, Argentina and Namibia for additional shipments.

*****

 
09
February

Written By: Amir Zia

For the world powers and our neighbours, Islamabad remains central to Afghanistan’s fragile peace process. Yet, directly or indirectly Pakistan often is being portrayed as the “fall guy” in this protracted conflict. On the one hand Pakistan’s role is seen as pivotal for reconciliation and stability in this war-torn country, while on the other, many distracters call Pakistan the biggest impediment in achieving this goal.


However, the bottom-line is that expectations from Pakistan are huge and can be described often as self-contradictory and unrealistic if seen in the right context. For instance, Pakistan is expected to halt the two-way cross-border movement of Afghan insurgents and local and foreign militants but its hands are tied as it is not being allowed to place an effective control mechanism on more than 2,700 km long porous frontier with Afghanistan. Kabul has been consistently rejecting all endeavours of Pakistan i.e., fencing, mining or putting bio-metric system on the international border. It also doesn’t want any effective immigration regime to check, regulate and monitor the cross border flow of people. Still Pakistan is unrealistically expected to raise an iron-wall out of nothing to check the flow of militants on both the sides of the border.


Similarly, Islamabad is persistently being asked to help prevent the Afghan Taliban from launching attacks against the Kabul government. However, little is being done on the other side of the border for establishing government’s writ or winning the hearts and minds of Pashtun tribes, which feel alienated and see the Kabul government with deep suspicion and mistrust. Afghan government’s weak writ over its territory provides all the operating space to insurgents. But Islamabad is unrealistically expected to control the pace of war from the other side of the international border Line.


Pakistan is also expected to play a decisive role in the reconciliation attempts in Afghanistan. By this, Kabul and its patrons, including the United States, expect Islamabad to deliver the Afghan Taliban to the negotiating table. They also want Pakistan to coax the Islamic militia to make a deal, which is favourable for Kabul. This list of these huge expectations doesn’t end here. Pakistan is also being simultaneously pressurized to start a crackdown on the Afghan insurgents, who allegedly operate from the Pakistani soil. In a nutshell, the paradoxical demand is that the Pakistani Armed Forces fight the Taliban and at the same time deliver them for peace talks.

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Then we have the complication of the sustained propaganda campaign being carried out against Pakistan from across the border. Whenever Afghan insurgents resort to a terror attack or make battlefield gains, Kabul and its patrons are quick to directly, or indirectly point fingers at Pakistan and try to hold it responsible for their own failings. This blame game – started and perfected by former Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his some western sponsors – continues even today albeit in fits and starts. Ashraf Ghani’s ascend to power triggered hopes of greater cooperation and confidence building measures between the two countries, but powerful elements in Kabul continue to create mistrust and poison the relationship.
Indeed, Pakistan has been transformed into the proverbial ‘whipping boy’ and scapegoat not only by its critics, but some most allied allies. (In the English courts of 16th and 17th centuries, ‘whipping boy’ used to be an official position, entailing a young boy assigned to a young prince. Whenever the prince misbehaved, committed mischief or failed in his schoolwork, ‘whipping boy,’ faced consequences and the punishment.)
Pakistan confronts a similar dilemma. It is being painted black, defamed and criticized sometimes officially and more frequently unofficially by the western media through planted reports and skewed comments and analysis for jobs, which the “royalty” of today’s world failed to do properly. The thrust of both the official and unofficial tirade against Pakistan is that it is not doing enough in the global fight against terrorism and extremism.


Officially Washington and its allies are often full of praise for the role, sacrifices and contributions of Pakistan in this war, but their media and think-tanks routinely accuse Pakistani Armed Forces and intelligence agencies of playing a double-game. By this, they mean that Pakistan is not going all out against terrorist groups and supporting, sponsoring and protecting the select ones among them. Most such analysis and reports are based on shadowy unnamed ‘top diplomatic’ and ‘security officials.’


The western media continues to push the line that Pakistan uses proxies to further its agenda in Afghanistan. With the Indian propaganda weaved into this narrative, Pakistan is being painted as a “perfect villain” or a “rouge state”. These complete lies and half-truths – presented without context – do have buyers in a world where many individuals, organizations and states are looking for ways to pass on the blame of failures, half-done jobs, short-comings and poor strategy on others.


For instance, such propaganda blames Pakistan for serving as the epicentre of Islamic militancy, but deliberately ignores its historical context. There is hardly any mention about the role of the United States and other western powers in propping up the pan-Islamist trend to fight the former Soviet Union and its backed communist regime in Kabul in the 1980s. It also conveniently overlooks the fact that the financial, media and military might of the “free world” along with the allied Muslim states heavily invested in creating a conservative, anti-modern, intolerant and militant interpretation of Islam.


An entire social process was unleashed in most parts of the Muslim world on these lines in which Pakistan served as a frontline state. This very investment of the “free world” transformed into ghosts Al-Qaeda and its likes. Isn’t the first wave of anti-West Islamic radicals in the end-20th century comprised of veterans of the anti-Soviet Afghan resistance? Shouldn’t they be seen as the “unintended consequences” or “products” of that war, which brain-washed even children trough text-books, which promoted militancy, intolerance and extremist ideas and ideals? The Islamic State in Iraq & Syria or Daesh is the latest morphosis of this free-world-sponsored trend of arming and using non-state actors to bring down governments. And there is hardly any sustained effort to roll-back this social process.


Such efforts require investment in education, social development as well as solution to some of the old disputes on Muslims’ lands – from Kashmir to Palestine. Ironically, these issues are not even discussed or highlighted.


Similarly, the process of arming, financing and using the non-state actors continues even today by the West in the Middle East. Wars in Iraq, Libya and Syria are a testimony of this fact, underlining that no lessons have been learnt from the past.


Our friends also disregard the fact the way Washington and its allies abandoned Afghanistan all through the 1990s, it played a big role in making the situation in Afghanistan more complex. Those were the times when Afghanistan, awash with weapons and reeling with a new cycle of civil war, was left for Pakistan to deal with. A porous border and millions of refugees were seen only as Pakistan’s headache.


The rise of Afghan Taliban, the infiltration of Al-Qaeda and other pan-Islamist militant groups in Afghanistan were the realities, which Pakistan had faced with its limited resources in a hostile neighbourhood. In other words, Pakistan became the perfect victim of callous world power politics and policies. And yet, ironically, the biggest victim of the Afghan war is being painted as a villain by vested interests in our neighbouring countries and elements in the West.


While discussing post-9/11 period, detractors of Pakistan allege that Islamabad saved its so-called “assets,” including the Haqqani network. These allegations are pushed disregarding the fact that it was basically Pakistan’s cooperation and help that led to the swift collapse of the Afghan Taliban regime. Pakistan arrested and handed over hundreds of top Al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders and operators to the international coalition in line with UN resolutions. And it was Pakistan that suffered the most because of the extremists’ backlash for its support to the international war effort. Pakistani civilians and forces paid this price through their sweat, tears and blood. More than 60,000 people have been martyred since early 2002 in terrorist attacks. And this number is mounting.


Yet, Pakistan continues to face unrelenting pressure to open up new fronts and to do more, though the US-led coalition officially pulled itself out of the war effort in end-December 2014.


For a country like Pakistan, there are limits of the use of power. While Pakistan being a responsible member of the international community, must do all it can to promote peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan, it cannot, and should not, open all fronts to appease foreign powers. It must set priorities in line with its national interests. Pakistan makes all efforts to establish the state’s writ to ensure that its soil is not being used for terrorism against any other country. This is one of the cornerstones of Pakistan’s foreign policy. That’s why for the first time in history, Pakistan moved troops into the previously ungoverned and semi-autonomous tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. Pakistan managed to establish its writ slowly, but surely, in these areas and that too at a great human cost and sacrifice.


Operation Zarb-e-Azb in North Waziristan is the continuation of this effort, which started during the period of former President Pervez Musharraf in one of the most difficult mountainous terrains of the world. Unlike the US-led coalition forces, Pakistan does not have the option of walking away from its mission. It has to prevail and win this war for its own national security and unity.


After fighting the longest 13-year overseas war in US history and spending trillions of dollars, American strategists have only to showcase a wobbly Kabul regime, a fractured state, reenergized Afghan Taliban and prospects of another round of bloody civil war.


The communist regime of Najibullah in Kabul fared better after the exit of the Soviet forces in Afghanistan in February 1989 as it managed to survive another three years on its own. Can one say with surety about the present Afghan government that it would last even for few months if the international support gets fully withdrawn?


That’s the reason behind the renewed push for a negotiated-settlement with the Afghan Taliban – an idea which Pakistan proposed soon after the American adventure started in Afghanistan on October 7, 2001 – barely less than a month after the 9/11 attacks.


Musharraf, the architect of Pakistan’s policy-change in Afghanistan, while extending Islamabad’s cooperation against hardened terrorists in line with the UN resolution, advocated a greater representation for Pashtuns in Kabul and reconciliation with the Afghan Taliban – an idea which did not find any takers at that time. However, today the United States and the Afghan government are trying to strike a deal with Taliban with the help of China and Pakistan.


This is a good omen for peace, but requires a lot of focus, sincerity, hard work and give-and-take from all the players involved in the quadrilateral talks. There is a need to learn from the past mistakes.


The US-led coalition in Afghanistan should realize that it lost focus in the Afghan war at a crucial stage as Washington opened a new front in Iraq in March 2003. The US-backed regime in Kabul did little to address Pakistan’s legitimate concerns about the security and sanctity of its western frontiers. The Northern Alliance, which marched into Kabul after the Taliban retreat, was given a much bigger share in power at the cost of Afghanistan’s Pashtun majority.


Kabul allowed Indians to establish its forward intelligence bases in the form of consulates close to Pakistani borders to foment violence and terrorism in Pakistan. It also extended support, protection and shelter to anti-state element from Pakistan on the Afghan soil.


In recent years, most of the deadly terrorists’ strikes carried out on the Pakistani soil – from December 16, 2014 terrorist strike at the Army Public School Peshawar to the latest attack at the Bacha Khan University Charsadda – originated from Afghanistan where masterminds and operators of the extremist Pakistani Taliban, and their foreign allies enjoy safe places. Similarly, Afghanistan is also serving as a base for the insurgents who are trying to trigger trouble in Balochistan. India enjoys a free hand to use Afghan soil not just for intelligence gathering but also for violence, sabotage and terrorism in Pakistan. Kabul has to move briskly to address Pakistani concerns that have all the potential to strain relations between the two countries despite sincere efforts by Pakistani leadership to improve relations.


As far as Pakistan is concerned, it remains clear that a peaceful and stable Afghanistan is vital not just for the regional peace but also Pakistan’s own fight against religiously-motivated terrorism and extremism. Pakistan in return asks nothing of a government in Kabul that does not allow use of its territory for any kind of anti-Pakistan activities. This is the minimum requirement a country can have with its neighbour after standing with it through thick and thin for more than 35 years. Is Kabul in a mood to play the ball? Is the Afghan leadership ready to work with Islamabad for greater cooperation and regional peace? Will it act against those responsible for terrorism in Pakistan? Or unrealistic expectations from Pakistan continue to plague relations between the two countries? The choices can never be simpler.

The writer is an eminent journalist who regularly contributes for print and electronic media. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Twitter: @AmirZia1
Is the Afghan leadership ready to work with Islamabad for greater cooperation and regional peace? Will it act against those responsible for terrorism in Pakistan? Or unrealistic expectations from Pakistan continue to plague relations between the two countries? The choices can never be simpler.

*****

Similarly, Afghanistan is also serving as a base for the insurgents who are trying to trigger trouble in Balochistan. India enjoys a free hand to use Afghan soil not just for intelligence gathering but also for violence, sabotage and terrorism in Pakistan. Kabul has to move briskly to address Pakistani concerns that have all the potential to strain relations between the two countries despite sincere efforts by Pakistani leadership to improve relations.

*****

 
09
February

Written By: Maj Gen (R) Askari Raza Malik

“The pre-eminent military task, and what separates (the military professional) from all other occupations, is that soldiers are routinely prepared to kill. In addition to killing and preparing to kill, the soldier has two other principle duties… some soldiers die and when they are not dying, they must be preparing to die”.

(James H. Toner)

 

Army is not only a profession – it is a way of life. Abundance of pride more than compensates for the scarcity of money and worldly comforts. Demanding physical standards in turn nourish a sense of well being, health and strength; mental and physical toughness nurture courage, steadfastness and confidence to perform; patriotism and comradeship make sacrifice easy. For a soldier, laying life for the country is the ultimate pride. Muslims and non-Muslims have stood shoulder to shoulder in bringing honour and pride to their unit, regiment, the Army and our country.


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Soldiers all over the world are the same. The soldiers from two armies may find it more convenient to communicate with each other than their respective civilian counterparts, that is why it is easier to build confidence between two generals than two politicians or diplomats.

 

They are trained and expected to either kill or die. All the armies of the world have their true heroes. During the Second World War, Allies and the Axis powers both had a fair share of their brave. The Indian Army acquitted itself admirably well under the British. The Gorkhas, Sikh, Jat, Punjab, Frontier Force and Baloch regiments earned themselves laurels no less than any in the world. The grateful nations in turn love their soldiers like the majority in Pakistan dotes upon theirs.

 

But a Pakistani soldier has a unique motivation. He does his duty here and earns his reward in the hereafter, too. That is the concept of Jihad – the notion that has been thoroughly distorted by the Taliban for their lust for money and power and comprehensively confused by the Indian lobby that equates it with terrorism. The oppressors have always called resistance as terror. De Gaulle was a terrorist to Nazis and in recent past Mandela was once considered the biggest terrorist of the century. The antagonists of Pakistan both at home and abroad wilfully live in this confusion, a kind of masochism they relish and writhe in. There is no cure to a self-inflicted psychiatric condition that is reflected in their mania to see Pakistan give in to India and forget about Kashmir. That fits well in their geopolitical perception of an Indian dominated region, an impossible dream. Jihad in fact is defensive in essence, a resistance against oppression and tyranny. But much to the chagrin of the enemy the word Jihad does propel, galvanize, catapult and sky rocket the spirit to fight and die.

 

After 1971 War, an Indian general officer in erstwhile East Pakistan had brought his infantry officers to show them the body of Captain Anis Shaheed, sprawled on the opposite slope of an Indian heavy machine gun bunker that he had destroyed before embracing martyrdom. He said, “This is how an infantry officer dies.” He showed them another gunner’s body lying on his gun and said, “That is how a gunner dies.” That general must have been a great soldier himself.

 

On that fateful morning of 18 September, 2015 Captain Asfandyar jumped on the back seat of his commander’s jeep. It looked as if they were going out on a picnic. He loved his job. He was prepared for the ultimate. He had even purchased a piece of land for his grave. In few hours, the news of his martyrdom had hit the brigade headquarters like a bombshell. They mourned the death of the youngest amongst them and gave him a befitting send off. But they were immensely proud of him, too.

 

The Grade Three Officer (G-3) is supposed to remain by the side of the commander. He was hit. No. In close quarter combat there is only one line and that is the front line. All the officers along with their men were in the same line, facing the enemy who was at best fifty metres away. The combat space is thus restricted. Major Hasib was hit but it was truly Asfandyar’s day. All the officers like their commander to lead from the front, which is what a good leader is expected to do. All of them loved their job. All of them were prepared to die. This is the way… that we live and die. This is the profession of arms!

 

The Soldier

 

It is the soldier, not the reporter,
Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the soldier, not the poet,
Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the soldier, not the campus organizer,
Who has given us the freedom to demonstrate.
It is the soldier, not the lawyer,
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves under the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,

(Charles M. Province, US Army)

*****

 
09
February

Written By: Capt Sana Nasri

Need of the time for every country is to guard their air space which can only be possible with the latest and leading inventory of aircrafts and helicopters. Nowadays, helicopter is the most efficient source used for various missions of logistics, warfare and rescue. Helicopters have been providing air support to the troops on ground starting from World War II, through the Vietnam War and to the present. The aim is to engage targets on the ground from top, playing pivotal role in facilitating and fully supporting the land forces. These multi-role attack helicopters having superiority over ground-based armour and tanks have grown in recognition. Attack helicopters, or gunships, have become almost identifiable given their widespread use in combat zones. Their ability to engage targets on the ground as well as in the air allows them to cater for multiple roles and every military commander desires to have them while resolving varying mission requirements. Armed with cannons, rockets and guided missiles, also equipped with latest avionics and aerobatic equipment, the modern attack helicopter needs to be adept at providing anti-tank capabilities, direct and close air support for ground troops. Following is the profile of 5 best attack helicopters in the world today, based on their state-of-the-art capabilities of avionics, speed, agility and firepower.

 

Z-10

Z-10 is the new Chinese attack helicopter, built by the Changhe Aircraft Industries Corporation, with design input from Russia's Kamov Design Bureau.z-10.jpg It is the first dedicated modern Chinese attack helicopter, which is also exported to friendly countries. It has been designed with extensive technical assistance from well renowned Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs). Z-10 is a standard gunship configuration with a narrow fuselage and stepped tandem cockpits. Gunner is seated at the front and the pilot is at the rear. Weapons consist of 23 mm cannon, HJ-10 anti-tank guided missiles (comparable to the AGM-114 Hellfire), 57 mm rockets and TY-90 air-to-air missiles as well as its 23 mm chain gun, which can eject about 600 8oz shells a minute. It can also carry unoperated rocket pods.

 

The primary sensor is the round turret on the bottom half of its nose. It carries a variety of cameras, including night vision, electro-optical and infrared imaging. Due to its size it can carry powerful thermal imaging and night vision equipment. Z-10 will have future upgrades including millimetre wave radar similar to the Longbow American system, more powerful WZ-16 turbo shaft engines to increase speed and armour, with enhanced infrared and electronic countermeasures, and the ability to network with drones.

 

EC-665 Tiger

The Eurocopter 665 ec-665.jpg Tiger is 13-metre four-bladed hingeless attack helicopter manufactured by Eurocopter, a subsidiary of EADS (European Aeronautics Defence and Space) and issued by both France and Germany. It is a light weight, two-seat attack helicopter designed to perform a wide range of missions including armed surveillance, anti-tank and close air support, escort and protection of friendly assets; and can operate in all weather conditions. Available in combat fire support and anti-tank configurations, it features an advanced design with extensive use of composites, leading avionics with glass cockpit and stealth technology. It can accommodate anti-tank and air-to-air missiles, 68mm rockets, and small/medium calibre guns as well as advanced sights. It will perform anti-tank missions using HOT or Trigat missiles and the Osiris mast-mounted sight. It has self-defence capability against airborne threats through the use of Mistral Missiles.

 

Tiger is powered with full authority digital engine controls (FADEC), two MTU Turbomeca Rolls-Royce MTR 390 turbo shaft engines. It can withstand 23 mm auto-cannon fire and boast minimal visual, radar, infrared and sound signatures to remain difficult to identify. The body of the aircraft is composed of 80% carbon fibre, reinforced polymer and Kevlar, 11% aluminum and 6% titanium, whereas the Tiger's rotors are made from fibre-plastic able to withstand bird strikes and combat damage. It has low maintenance and high survivability. The cockpit can be ejected in the event of a fatal failure, thus saving the crew. It is also known as Tiger ASGARD, Tiger HAC, Tiger and UH-Tiger.

 

Ka-50 Black Shark (Hokum)

The Ka-50 Black Shark helicopter, developed by Kamov Helicopters JSC, carries the NATO codename Hokum-A, ka-50.jpg with Hokum-B – the two-seat version, (Ka-52). Black Shark is a single-seat Russian attack helicopter with the unique coaxial rotor system of the Kamov design bureau. In 1980s it was designed and adopted for service in the Russian Army in 1995. It was designed to be fast, small and agile to improve survivability and lethality, made to be operated by one man only. The Russian designed Ka-50 Hokum which can carry a huge weapon load in its four external hardpoints to carry 24 Vikhr missiles, four 20-round rocket pods, or a mixture. Also, it can carry the AA-11/R-73 Archer air-to-air missiles, which makes the Hokum a very capable threat against opposing attack helicopters. The 30 mm 2A42 is also mounted on the Hokum, although more like a fighter’s cannon. Its top speed is 350 kilometres per hour, and it has a combat radius of 250 kilometres.

 

Bell AH-1Z Zulu

The powerful AH-1Z is designed for 21st century. bell-ah.jpg It is supplied by Bell Helicopter Textron, produced to meet the rigorous requirements for the US Marine Corp.  Its design brings together proven AH-1W airframe reliability, a new composite four bladed rotor system and twin T700-GE-401engines, based on the AH-1W Super Cobra. It is capable, flexible and multi-mission. It delivers excellent armour, dynamics, agility and avionics to incorporate the latest in survivability and crashworthiness. With anti-armour capability, it engages and defeats the broadest array of threats at standoff ranges that defy imagination. It has bearingless composite main rotor system, uprated transmission, and a new target sighting system. It contains 75% fewer parts in comparison to other four-bladed articulated systems, resulting in cheaper, easier and more efficient maintenance. It features heavy weapons capability of AGM-114A, B, and C Hellfire and anti-tank missiles, 70 mm rockets, 19 or 7 shot pods, AIM-9 Sidewinder (A superior supersonic air-to-air missile with infrared target detection for fire and forget capability.), LUU-2A/B night-time illumination flare, Mk 77 fire bombs, and 20 mm cannon with a higher muzzle velocity and flatter trajectory for better accuracy. It is capable of handling M50-series rounds designed specifically for air-to-air combat. Its modern cockpit having identical front and rear cockpits, provides true ability to fly and fight from either cockpit, so there's no need to have separate training programmes for front or back seaters. Designed for lower maintenance, it has fault detection sensors that facilitate “on-condition” maintenance.

 

Agusta A129 Mangusta

The A129 Mangusta, armed with anti-tank and area-suppression weapons’ systems, is intended primarily as an attack helicopter to be used against armoured targets. Its development is the responsibility of Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI), with Agusta Westland Italian Company as the main partner. The aircraft can operate during day, night, and all-weather conditions; satisfying the most complex technical requirements.agusta.jpg The A129 claims to be a proven 'hot climate' operator, as demonstrated during its peacekeeping operations. The Agusta aircraft company began its design work in 1978. It is similar to AH-64 Apache, Mi-28 Havoc, Ka-50 Hokum. It has four-blade main rotor mounted on the top centre of the cabin, able to withstand hits from 23 mm cannon fire while its weapon-carrying wings are short, stubby, and mid-mounted on the fuselage. The fuselage is highly angular, slender and tapered to the rear, with fixed landing gear and armoured for ballistic protection. The tandem cockpit is glassed-in and flat-plated, and tapered from the cockpit to the blunted nose. The two man crew, comprising a pilot and gunner, sit in a conventional tandem cockpit. The tail boom tapers to the rear, with a high, swept-back fin with square tip. The flats are unequally tapered with a square tip, while the belly fin has the rear landing wheel attached. The tail rotor is mounted on the left side. Two turbo shaft engines Rolls-Royce Gem 1004 with semicircular air intakes are mounted alongside the top of the fuselage. This helicopter is used in anti-armour, armed reconnaissance, ground attack, escort, fire support and anti-aircraft roles. For the anti-ground mission the helicopter employs various armaments, Hellfire missiles, in the air-to-air role, the FIM-92 Stinger missile, 81 mm or 70 mm (2.75 in) unguided rockets; an M197 three-barrel 20 mm cannon is also installed onto a nose-mounted Oto Melara TM-197B turret. Spike-ER, a fourth-generation anti-tank missile, has been added to the A129's arsenal. Modern warfare can only be fought by having latest technology and development in all types of armament that involves the helicopters too. In order to have better performance with enhanced protection, firepower, agility, speed, survivability and high lethality, we have to be advanced in our inventory and improve it with time and requirement. However, crew training of these gunships is also important, as performance of the actual machine depends on the performance of the crew.

 
09
February

Written By: Ahmer Bilal Soofi

The recent round of talks between Prime Ministers Nawaz Sharif and Narendra Modi has opened up the possibilities for resolution of some of the historic and long-standing issues bedevilling South Asia, including Kashmir, which prominently features as an agenda item in the comprehensive bilateral dialogue framework agreed upon by Pakistan and India in December, 2015. No doubt, this represents a rare political moment, which no one should oppose, provided our core national interests are also safeguarded.


In the backdrop of the Kashmir dispute and the recent Indo-Pak talks, an important game-changing legal development has materialized. This development, in the form of a judgment pronounced by the Srinagar High Court in October 2015 in Ashok Kumar v. State of J&K, has for all legal and practical purposes revived Kashmir as a bilateral dispute between Pakistan and India. Accordingly, it has also unlocked some interesting options for Pakistan.


Thus far, while exercising executive control over the erstwhile State of Jammu & Kashmir, both Pakistan and India have also attempted to claim title to its territories by incorporating it into their respective constitutions.


In this context, Pakistan’s Constitution contains Article 257, which states:
“257. Provision relating to the State of Jammu and Kashmir. When the people of the State of Jammu and Kashmir decide to accede to Pakistan, the relationship between Pakistan and that State shall be determined in accordance with the wishes of the people of that State.”


On the other hand, India’s Constitution contains Article 1 and Article 370, which state:
“1. Name and territory of the Union.—(1) India, that is Bharat, shall be a union of States.
(2) The states and the territories thereof shall be as specified in the First Schedule.
(3) The territory of India shall comprise
(a) …
(b) the Union territories specified in the First Schedule;[Entry 15 of First Schedule says: Jammu and Kashmir:- The territory which immediately before the commencement of this Constitution was comprised in the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir] and
(c) …”
“370. Temporary provisions with respect to the State of Jammu and Kashmir.
(1) Notwithstanding anything in this Constitution,
(a) the provisions of Article 238 shall not apply in relation to the State of Jammu and Kashmir;
(b) the power of Parliament to make laws for the said State shall be limited to
(i) those matters in the Union List and the Concurrent List which, in consultation with the Government of the State, are declared by the President to correspond to matters specified in the Instrument of Accession governing the accession of the State to the Dominion of India as the matters with respect to which the Dominion Legislature may make laws for that State; and

(ii) such other matters in the said Lists as, with the concurrence of the Government of the State, the President may by order specify.

 

kasmirdisp.jpgExplanation: For the purposes of this article, the Government of the State means the person for the time being recognised by the President as the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir acting on the advice of the Council of Ministers for the time being in office under the Maharaja’s Proclamation dated the fifth day of March, 1948 ;


(c) the provisions of Article 1 and of this article shall apply in relation to that State;
(d) such of the other provisions of this Constitution shall apply in relation to that State subject to such exceptions and modifications as the President may by order specify: Provided that no such order which relates to the matters specified in the Instrument of Accession of the State referred to in paragraph (i) of sub clause (b) shall be issued except in consultation with the Government of the State.


Provided further that no such order which relates to matters other than those referred to in the last preceding proviso shall be issued except with the concurrence of that Government.
(2) If the concurrence of the Government of the State referred to in paragraph (ii) of sub clause (b) of clause (1) or in the second proviso to sub clause (d) of that clause be given before the Constituent Assembly for the purpose of framing the Constitution of the State is convened, it shall be placed before such Assembly for such decision as it may take thereon.


(3) Notwithstanding anything in the foregoing provisions of this article, the President may, by public notification, declare that this article shall cease to be operative or shall be operative only with such exceptions and modifications and from such date as he may specify:


Provided that the recommendation of the Constituent Assembly of the State referred to in clause (2) shall be necessary before the President issues such a notification.
Whereas Pakistan has steadfastly held onto its principled position of holding free and impartial plebiscite in Kashmir, India, on the other hand, has been attempting to water down Article 370 of its Constitution to argue integration of Indian-held Kashmir into the territories of the Union of India. Not surprisingly, therefore, the Modi government’s position upon assuming the reins of power was to repeal or amend Article 370.


Within this context, the Srinagar High Court’s interpretation of Article 370 in Ashok Kumar v. State of J&K has delivered a serious jolt to the Modi government’s intentions. This judgment, rendered in October, 2015 by the Court comprising Justices Hasnain Massodi and Janak Raj Kotwai, clearly holds that the temporary status of Indian-held Kashmir within the Union of India will forever remain temporary. The Court, therefore, has crucially modified the Indian government’s political position by declaring as legally incorrect the viewpoint that Article 370 of the Indian Constitution has been whittled down and that gradually by the flux of time Indian-held Kashmir has been amalgamated into the territories of the Union of India.


For long, distinguished academics and scholars like AG Noorani have been of the view that the temporary status of Indian-held Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution cannot be altered unless approved by the Constituent Assembly of the Indian-held Kashmir. Critically, what had hitherto constituted merely academic viewpoint has now been granted legal sanctification by the Srinagar High Court.


The kernel issue in Ashok Kumar v. State of J&K was whether or not certain amendments made to Article 16 of the Indian Constitution were applicable to Indian-held Kashmir. The Indian government unsuccessfully asserted before the Court that a combined reading of Article 1 of the Constitution of India, which includes Indian-held Kashmir in the territories of Union of India, and Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order 1954, results in ipso facto application of all amendments made to the Constitution of India to the territory of Indian-held Kashmir.


While dismissing this line of argument, the Court traced the history of accession of Indian-held Kashmir with the Union of India and observed that the attending circumstances of accession of Indian-held Kashmir to the Union of India clearly indicates that, unlike other states that acceded to the Union of India, a special constitutional status for Indian-held Kashmir was envisioned. The Court, therefore, found the Indian government’s claim to treat Indian-held Kashmir at par with other states that acceded to it, to be legally incorrect and baseless. In no uncertain terms, it held that:


“21(i). The text of Instrument of Accession, though, similar to such Instruments signed by other Princely States…yet paragraphs 4 and 7 of the Instrument of Accession and the Communication whereby Governor General accepted the accession, made it clear that Dominion of India did not treat accession by the State to Dominion of India, in the manner it treated accession made by other Princely States to the Dominion. It was made sufficiently clear that the State was to stand on a different pedestal and to be given distinct and different, status as regards constitutional powers, it was to enjoy after accession.”


Moreover, the Srinagar High Court significantly found that Article 370 can cease to have effect, only and only when the procedure prescribed in proviso to clause 3 of Article 370 is met and not otherwise. In this regard, even the Senior Assistant Advocate General conceded in his arguments before the Court that any constitutional provision or amendment to such provision shall only be applicable to Indian-held Kashmir if the procedure prescribed in Article 370 is followed and not otherwise. This procedure unexceptionally requires a notification from the President of India following a recommendation from the Constituent Assembly of Indian-held Kashmir. Since, however, the Constituent Assembly had not made any such recommendation before its dissolution on January 25, 1957, the Court held that Article 370 has consequently attained a permanent status within the framework of the Constitution of India. To this effect, the Court specifically stated that:


“36. … the State of Jammu and Kashmir while acceding to India, retained limited sovereignty and did not merge with Dominion of India, like other Princely States that signed instrument of Accession with Dominion of India. The State continues to enjoy special status to the extent of limited sovereignty retained by the State. The limited sovereignty or special status stands guaranteed under Article 370 of the Constitution – only provision of the Constitution that applied to the State ex-propriogorige or on its own. The only other Constitutional provision made applicable by Article 370 of the Constitution of the State is Article 1. No other provision of the Constitution as provided under Article 370 (1), would be applicable to the State except, by Presidential order in consultation with the State except, in case the provision is akin to subjects delineated in Instrument of Accession and with concurrence of the State, in case it does not fall within ambit of Instrument of Accession. It follows that Article 370 though titled as “Temporary Provision” and included in Para XXI titled “Temporary, Transitional and Special Provisions” has assumed place of permanence in the Constitution. It is beyond amendment, repeal or abrogation, in as much as Constituent Assembly of the State before its dissolution did not recommend its amendment or repeal…”


Importantly, the Court’s reasoning in Ashok Kumar v. State of J&K is in line with the prior consistent view of the apex courts in India. Earlier in 2015, another division bench of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court in Bhupinder Singh Sodhi v. Union of India had also recognized the sovereignty of the Indian-held Kashmir. That judgment, pronounced by Justices Muzaffar Hussain Attar and Mohammad Magrey, held that: “… The sovereignty of the State of J&K under the rule of Maharaja, even after signing of Instrument of Accession and in view of framing of its own Constitution, thus ‘legally and constitutionally remained intact and untampered.’” Likewise, in Prem Nath Kaul vs. The State of Jammu and Kashmir (AIR 1959 SC 749) the Supreme Court of India concluded that the mere signing of instruments of accession did not affect the sovereignty of Maharaja of the State of Kashmir.


The surgical and consistent jurisprudence on Indian-held Kashmir’s special status evolved by the Indian apex courts cannot be ignored or reversed lightly. Nevertheless, India has been claiming before the international community that Indian-held Kashmir has been amalgamated into the territories of the Union of India and hence it will never relinquish its control over Indian-held Kashmir. This claim though, as abundantly clear from judgments mentioned above, is without any legal substance or merit and has no approval of the judicial organ of the Indian state itself.


By foreclosing any legislative efforts by the Indian government to integrate Indian-held Kashmir with the Union of India, these judgments crucially serve as judicial and constitutional reminders that the title to the territory of Kashmir remains an outstanding and unresolved dispute between Pakistan and India. They, thus, reaffirm Pakistan’s position on Kashmir under international law, while contradicting the political position adopted by Prime Minister Modi’s government.


So far, to our own detriment, these judgments have escaped the serious attention and scrutiny of the Pakistani interlocutors. At the United Nations General Assembly Third Committee’s session in November 2015, Pakistan rejected the Indian claim that Kashmir is its integral part by solely relying on Security Council resolutions. The recent judgment by the Srinagar High Court, and the earlier jurisprudence of the apex Courts in India as well as its legal significance vis-à-vis India’s diplomatic position were not brought to the attention of the Committee. To bolster our position on Kashmir, Pakistan must cash in on these legal pronouncements in the future and seriously consider bringing them to the attention of the United Nations Secretary General’s office.


The Srinagar High Court’s judgment and other relevant jurisprudence discussed in this article represent a stinging legal rebuff by India’s own judicial organs to its diplomatic position that Kashmir is no longer an issue germane for bilateral discussions between Pakistan and India. Through the prism of this legal landscape, Kashmir very much stands revitalized as a bilateral dispute and Prime Minister Modi’s government has no choice but to resolve it through the dialogue process with Pakistan.

The writer is Advocate Supreme Court of Pakistan, President Research Society of International Law and former Federal Law Minister. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Within this context, the Srinagar High Court’s interpretation of Article 370 in Ashok Kumar v. State of J&K has delivered a serious jolt to the Modi government’s intentions. This judgment, rendered in October, 2015 by the Court comprising Justices Hasnain Massodi and Janak Raj Kotwai, clearly holds that the temporary status of Indian-held Kashmir within the Union of India will forever remain temporary. The Court, therefore, has crucially modified the Indian government’s political position by declaring as legally incorrect the viewpoint that Article 370 of the Indian Constitution has been whittled down and that gradually by the flux of time Indian-held Kashmir has been amalgamated into the territories of the Union of India.

*****

By foreclosing any legislative efforts by the Indian government to integrate Indian-held Kashmir with the Union of India, these judgments crucially serve as judicial and constitutional reminders that the title to the territory of Kashmir remains an outstanding and unresolved dispute between Pakistan and India. They, thus, reaffirm Pakistan’s position on Kashmir under international law, while contradicting the political position adopted by Prime Minister Modi’s government.

*****

 
09
February

Written By: Jennifer McKay

 

A special report by Australian Disaster Management Consultant, Jennifer McKay

Siachen Glacier is one of the world’s most spectacular but inaccessible places on the planet. Located in the high eastern Karakorams, it is the longest glacier in the non-polar region. Covering a distance of 76 kilometres and an area of more than 700 sq. kms, it has extreme temperatures dropping as low as -70¬ degree Celsius and receives snowfalls of up to 1,000 mm (35 ft). Most of us will never get to see it, nor would we survive in such harsh conditions even if we could, yet this region has a profound effects on the water resources of Pakistan and the lives of all who live here and its importance cannot be ignored.


The melting water from the Siachen Glacier is the main source of the Nubra River in Ladakh, which then drains into the Shyok River. The Shyok then joins 3,180 km long Indus River which flows through Pakistan, providing water for communities, and feeding agricultural systems along the way, before flowing into the Arabian Sea. What happens to the environment of the Siachen Glacier is a major concern for Pakistan, not just in military and security terms, but also as the lifeblood of the country. Any changes in the environment on Siachen Glacier, have a downstream impact on the quality and flow of water in Pakistan.


Also often referred as the "Highest Battlefield in the World", it is off limits to anyone except for the Indian Army which, since 1984, has occupied the glacier and its tributaries, five passes of the high Saltoro Ridge. Both Pakistan and India claim sovereignty over the entire Siachen region and deploy armies but Pakistan Army does not control the glacier itself. Pakistan controls the glacial valleys west of the Saltoro Ridge. Pakistani soldiers, who have served in the Siachen region, have told me tales of extreme hardship, freezing cold, and conflict. Death from extreme climatic conditions has claimed the lives of thousands of soldiers over the years. The Gyari Avalanche in 2012 which took the lives of 129 Pakistani soldiers and 11 civilians, is a reminder of the risks to those who serve there, and what a long way from help should anything go seriously wrong at high altitudes! To be in this environment for months at a time, is unimaginable to most people yet, there they serve with great courage and honour.


For mountaineers and high-altitude trekkers, to visit mostly remains a distant dream except for those few civilians chosen from defence-related institutions each year to trek with the Indian Army to the glacier in what is surely a public relations exercise to promote the continued occupation of the glacier. Without impartial civilian access to the glacier, it is unlikely in the short term that the full environmental damage be ever assessed.

 

siachenmelting.jpgThe Indian troops and infrastructure far outnumber those of Pakistan in the Siachen region. In the last 31 years since India has occupied the Siachen Glacier, it has inflicted a great deal of damage on this fragile environment. Building of pipelines, drilling, chemical leakage, human waste, and construction of buildings in defiance of agreements, as well as troop movements and helicopter flights, have put pressure on the glacier and surrounding regions. Combined with the impacts of climate change on the mountains and glaciers, the impacts of this human intervention have serious implications for Pakistan.


Pakistani experts believe that the decline of the glacier is more due to the human interventions and degradation by the Indian Army than temperature rise. Most likely, it is a combination of both heavy militarization of the glacier itself, and exacerbating changes in the climate. Pakistan has for some years called for a demilitarisation of Siachen but India has strongly resisted this proposal. In a 2006 cable by the then US Deputy Chief of Mission in India, Geoff Pyatt, which came to light in the Wikileaks release of confidential embassy documents, it was reported that Foreign Secretary level talks, between Pakistan and India, had reviewed the Siachen situation. However, it was reported that an Indian official had stated that there was “no way in hell” that a withdrawal by India would be allowed to happen. In his comments at the end of the cable, Pyatt noted that “The Indian Army is resistant to giving up this territory under any condition for a variety of reasons – strategic advantage over China, internal Army corruption, distrust of Pakistan, and a desire to keep hold of advantageous territory that thousands of Indian soldiers have died protecting.” Nothing seems to have changed since then.


Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif again included the suggestion of a complete withdrawal from Siachen Glacier in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly in New York in September 2015 along with the demilitarisation of Kashmir. India’s response was again far from positive. Whether this will be an item on the proposed comprehensive bilateral talks with India remains to be seen.


Climate change is a global topic today and many still find it confusing due to the complexity of scientific arguments. Terminologies such as fossil fuels, carbon emissions, carbon footprints, greenhouse gasses, and the positions of the developed versus developing world, are confusing for non-followers of the debate. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) defines climate change as “a change of climate which is attributed directly, or indirectly, to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods. Climate change may be due to natural internal processes or external forcings, or to persistent anthropogenic changes in the composition of the atmosphere or in land use”.


The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) explains the impacts of this complex issue well in the opening statements on their website: “Climate Change is the major, overriding environmental issue of our times, and the single greatest challenge facing environmental regulators. It is a growing crisis with economic, health and safety, food production, security, and other dimensions. Shifting weather patterns, for example, threaten food production through increased unpredictability of precipitation, rising sea levels, contaminate coastal freshwater reserves and increase the risk of catastrophic flooding, and a warming atmosphere aids the pole-ward spread of pests and diseases once limited to the tropics.” They continue by noting that “mountain glaciers are in alarming retreat and the downstream effects of reduced water supply in the driest months will have repercussions that transcend generations.” These are already challenges for Pakistan.


Pakistan is considered to be the fourth most affected country by climate change and we have already seen the effects in shifts in monsoon patterns, melting of glaciers, increasing number of glacial lake outburst floods, flash and riverine floods, rising sea levels, depleting water reserves, increased salinity and droughts. In recent years Pakistan has suffered from every one of these disasters, sometimes on a massive scale. Most recently we have again seen glacial outburst floods in Chitral which caused devastation to local communities. Detailed studies of the increased number and causes of landslides and avalanches to properly assess the future disaster risks have never been undertaken. Such disasters – large and small – are likely to increase in the future. Eventually, the increase in melting and resulting glacial lake outburst and riverine floods, will shift to a decrease in water supplies as glacial areas dry up. While this won’t happen tomorrow, we must find solutions for the future now. Damage to the glaciers is not something that can be reversed in a few years.


So what is Pakistan doing about the impact of climate change and all the issues that this encompasses including the mountains and glaciers such as Siachen, and how is the country engaging in the global discussions? There is a certainly heightened awareness of climate change and a great deal of talk but to date; but it is more talk and less action. This is partly due to resources and capacity and perhaps, political will.


For two weeks in December, a major global ‘talk fest’, the United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP 21) was attended by world leaders and other stakeholders in Paris to discuss the issues and negotiate a global agreement for the future. Pakistan was a participant at COP 21, with a speech in the opening session by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The Pakistan Minister for Climate Change also addressed the conference in a very short speech, highlighting the challenges ahead for the country. In addition, the accompanying delegation including representatives of government, NGOs and think tanks, held a series of discussions and seminars on the sidelines of COP 21. However, many in Pakistan have criticised the level of preparedness and lack of commitments from Pakistan for this major event as compared to many other countries.


Prior to COP 21, Pakistan’s Ministry of Climate Change in consultation with leading NGOs and think tanks that have expertise and interest in climate change, developed a draft Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) statement to be lodged for COP 21, a requirement for all participating countries. However, other ministries did not approve the INDC and instead, a very weak short non-committal INDC of less than one page was lodged. The document referred to the National Climate Change Policy (2012) but oddly, also to at least two national policies which do not yet exist – water and agriculture. These two policies are critical for the future of Pakistan. These two policies must be developed and/or finalised and implemented, taking into account the long-term impacts of the many complexities of climate change. Otherwise, in years to come, these two sectors will suffer immeasurably as will the people of Pakistan.


According to the official UN statement released at the end of COP 21, the Paris Agreement’s main aim is to keep a global temperature rise this century well below 2 degrees Celsius and to drive efforts to limit the temperature increase even further to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The 1.5 degree Celsius limit is a significantly safer defence line against the worst impacts of a changing climate. Additionally, the agreement aims to strengthen the ability to deal with the impacts of climate change.


UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said: “We have entered a new era of global cooperation on one of the most complex issues ever to confront humanity. For the first time, every country in the world has pledged to curb emissions, strengthen resilience and join in common cause to take common climate action. This is a resounding success for multilateralism.”


The Paris Agreement and the outcomes of the UN climate conference (COP 21) identified the crucial issues and expected outcomes as:


• Mitigation – reducing emissions fast enough to achieve the temperature goal.
• A transparency system and global stock-take – accounting for climate action.
• Adaptation – strengthening ability of countries to deal with climate impacts.
• Loss and damage – strengthening ability to recover from climate impacts.
• Support – including finance, for nations to build clean, resilient futures.


Countries were also called upon to reduce their emissions as soon as possible. The submission of national climate action plans detailing future objectives were also called for. To assist developing countries that are the most affected yet release the lowest in terms of emissions, developed countries and voluntary contributions from other countries, a fund of USD 100 billion a year is to be established. However, there are ambiguities in these funding arrangements with the contribution of developed countries providing the major contribution but in developing countries the major contribution would come from the public sector. This is likely to be difficult given the economic challenges for Pakistan and other developing countries. Further, for countries to access these funds, a competitive process will be implemented dependent on workable proposals. These will need to be backed up with sound analysis of issues and how the funds will address these.


The mountains of the Karakoram, Himalaya and Hindu Kush, and the melting of glaciers – and the reasons for this – must be part of the climate change research and solutions for Pakistan. While the topic of Siachen Glacier is sensitive, it cannot be ignored when analysing the cause and effect. At the Lahore Forum on Climate Change in October 2015, held as a lead up to COP 21, the Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs highlighted these issues, related to the Siachen Glacier, in his address. He said, “Long-term projections are equally ominous: owing to military activity and presence in Siachen, glaciers in the Himalayas are receding faster than in any other part of the world. At this rate, many glaciers may well disappear by 2050,” and, “that is why Pakistan has proposed to withdraw forces from Siachen and suggested to establish a 'Peace Park' there.”


Siachen is not the only glacier in the Himalayan, Hindu Kush and Karakoram region – there are other thousands of glaciers – but it is one most affected by substantial human inhabitation and resulting environmental damage. The respected International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) along with specialist partners, have been developing an atlas of the glaciers to help identify and address the changes in future from Global Warming and Climate Change as well as human intervention. ICIMOD expects temperatures that across the mountainous Hindu Kush-Himalayan region will increase by about 1–2°C (in some places by up to 4–5°C) by 2050. This is alarming given the impact the receding glaciers will have on almost 200 million people in Pakistan and also the wider region. ICIMOD’s findings must be analysed from a Pakistan perspective as part of an overall process to find the way forward.


Much more needs to be done to ensure a holistic understanding of the impact of climate change agenda in Pakistan. More attention needs to be paid to the sources of our water and the mountains and glaciers which feed the river systems. Water security is critical to agriculture, food security, national security and regional security. Siachen Glacier plays a part in this and the human interventions there should be on Pakistan’s strategic agenda for both climate change as well as bilateral talks with India, no matter how sensitive and challenging a topic it is to address from regional security and other perspectives. It is unlikely though, that in the foreseeable future, India will change its tough stance despite the serious impact that the status of water flows from Siachen have on the lives of millions of people including those in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

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. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
The Indian troops and infrastructure far outnumber those of Pakistan in the Siachen region. In the last 31 years since India has occupied the Siachen Glacier, it has inflicted a great deal of damage on this fragile environment. Building of pipelines, drilling, chemical leakage, human waste, and construction of buildings in defiance of agreements, as well as troop movements and helicopter flights, have put pressure on the glacier and surrounding regions. Combined with the impacts of climate change on the mountains and glaciers, the impacts of this human intervention have serious implications for Pakistan.

*****

Pakistan has for some years called for a demilitarisation of Siachen but India has strongly resisted this proposal. In a 2006 cable by the then US Deputy Chief of Mission in India, Geoff Pyatt, which came to light in the Wikileaks release of confidential embassy documents, it was reported that Foreign Secretary level talks between Pakistan and India had reviewed the Siachen situation. However, it was reported that an Indian official had stated that there was “no way in hell” that a withdrawal by India would be allowed to happen. In his comments at the end of the cable, Pyatt noted that “The Indian Army is resistant to giving up this territory under any condition for a variety of reasons – strategic advantage over China, internal Army corruption, distrust of Pakistan, and a desire to keep hold of advantageous territory that thousands of Indian soldiers have died protecting.” Nothing seems to have changed since then.

*****

 
09
February

Written By: Husain Abdul Rehman

The development of FATA was started under the Pakistan Army’s strategy of ‘Winning Hearts and Minds’ through peace, security and stabilization in the region. With massive efforts by the Frontier Works Organization (FWO), the once forbidden Frontier is opening up with a network of roads and improvements in water management and electric supply. Details regarding few of these projects are shared through these pages.


Khyber Pass – Revival of the Ancient Route
Trade Trucks passing through Michni Post, little short of Pak-Afghan border at Torkham


Steeped in adventure, bloodshed and mystery,
The Khyber remains the doorway of History!


According to the historians, each rock and hill along the Khyber Pass has a story to tell. Since centuries the historic route has seen the hordes of traders, invaders and explorers marching through its rocky terrain on the legendary Grand Trunk Road to reach the Indian subcontinent.

 

inroadfata.jpgThe expansion of Peshawar-Torkham Road (under progress) will greatly facilitate the landlocked Afghanistan and Central Asian States towards trade and travel. Beyond the Pakistani border, the Torkham-Jalalabad Road was constructed inside Afghanistan some years back by FWO. Recently an additional carriageway of the road has been taken up by FWO to facilitate the increasing traffic between the two neighbouring countries.


Central Trade Corridor – Passing Through the Heart of FATA
Khyber Pass and Quetta-Kandahar route via Bolan Pass constituted the two access ways to Afghanistan and Central Asia but now the two neighbours have a new land link through the Dera Ismail Khan-Wana-AngoorAda Road. Passing through the snowcapped mountains of Waziristan and traversing the historic Gomal Pass (which was closed by the British after the first Afghan War), the road not only showcases the amazing beauty of the once forbidden Frontier but has initiated significant economic activity all along.

 

inroadfata1.jpgEnhanced communication shall reduce internal rivalries by facilitating interaction amongst the tribesmen whereas law and order situation will improve through greater accessibility and logistic support available to law enforcers.


The Northern Prong of Central Trade Corridor constitutes the 80 km long Bannu-Miranshah-Ghulam Khan Road which passes through the prominent towns of North Waziristan Agency. Passing through the Tochi Pass, this was a preferred route between the two countries that was dotted by the heavy trade trucks plying between the two countries.


The ‘New Trade Corridor’ between Pakistan and Afghanistan reduces the distance between Karachi and Kabul by 400 kilometres compared to the Khyber Pass route. The traffic for the huge landlocked region of Afghanistan and Central Asia will conveniently pass through this quiet road to join the Indus Highway which is now set to become an international route of the Pakistan-China Economic Corridor.

 

inroadfata2.jpgTo Afghanistan and beyond on the Central Trade Corridor
A significant development in our adjoining region is the 2200 kilometres long Afghanistan Ring Road which will connect prominent Afghan cities i.e., Jalalabad, Kandahar and Kabul, will further facilitate international trade and travel. The Central Trade Corridor is a vital socio-economic link between Indus Highway and the Afghan Ring Road. The biggest spin-off will be the livelihood revolution and economic prosperity for FATA region in particular and for all the neighbouring countries in general.


The North-South Connectivity
Miranshah and Wana are the Headquarters of the North and South Waziristan Agencies respectively. Beyond Wana the road starts ascending and passes through the mountains of Suleman Range where several peaks are above 8000 ft. It is a typical mountainous area abounded by thick vegetation and known for its steep cliffs and sharp turns. Occasionally the road passes through some mountainous torrent or a small but swift river. These characteristics made it an ideal stronghold for Taliban and it was declared invincible. It was through the sheer bravery and determination of Pakistan Army that the area was cleared after many sacrifices.


The 75 km Wana-Shakai-Makeen Road completed by FWO links Wana – the capital of South Waziristan agency with North Waziristan Agency from where the 73 km Makeen-Razmak-Miranshah Road stretches till the Afghan border. Construction of a two lane carriageway on this route has significantly established the writ of the state and this beautiful area shall now be known for its natural beauty and not as a terrorists, den.

 

inroadfata3.jpgThrough the Tunnels and Bridges
Tank, the historic town, located a little before the South Waziristan Agency is indeed the gateway to FATA. It is from here that a path leads to the ancient Gomal Pass and another to Razmak, the beautiful hill station of Waziristan that was named as “Little England” by the British due to its ice capped peaks and salubrious climate. It was here that the first Cadet College of the Tribal Areas was established which is known for its high standards of education.


The Tank-Jandola-Makeen Road has been hailed as a landmark development for the logistics of Waziristan. The 110 km path was reduced to a mere dirt track but has now been rebuilt and upgraded by FWO. The narrow tunnels of Jandola and Ahmedwam and all major bridges were widened for the trade trucks to pass through.


New bridges have replaced the old ones.
Further the Makeen-Razmak-Miranshah Road (73 km) provides a vital link between South and North Waziristan. The 9 metre wide road traverses through a difficult terrain. Adverse security situation in North Waziristan Agency made the construction activities difficult but the road picked up pace after the operation Zarb-e-Azb and was completed in a short time.

 

inroadfata4.jpgThe Marble Road of Mohmand
Mohmand Agency is known for its rich marble deposits but the steep inclines and the sharp turns of the mountainous area made its transportation difficult. The 45 km long Ghallanai-Mohmand Ghat road is being constructed to provide better logistics for the transportation of this precious mineral resource of FATA. The road includes a 751 m long Tunnel at Nahaki which will ease out the steep incline which was difficult for the heavy trucks to negotiate.


Nahaki Tunnel at the Ghallanai-Mohmand Ghat Road
Further the road can be linked with Nawa Pass which is a historic passage leading to Afghanistan. It can also be further extended to Bajaur Agency for a short connectivity to Dir, Malakand and Chitral Districts.


Irrigating the Arid Zone
The completion of Gomal Zam Dam is a big step for the peace and prosperity of South Waziristan. With its huge reservoir of 1.14 MAF water and a completely lined canal network of 260 km, the dam will irrigate 1,63,086 acres of Tank and/ D.I. Khan districts. The electricity generated from flowing water will be sufficient for 2500 households of South Waziristan. It has effectively controlled flash floods which caused large scale devastation in the past.


Gomal Zam Dam is located in an area that was once the epicentre of terrorism. The construction work was abandoned by the Chinese constructors when their camp was attacked by militants in 2004, it was then handed over to FWO and completed with great effort and sacrifices. Besides the socio-economic opportunities, it is a significant boost for environment and tourism.


The Dhana Irrigation and Water Supply Scheme, located few kilometres east of Wana will utilize the rain and flood run off to provide additional potable water for irrigation of 13,000 acres of farm land. It will also help in conserving and recharging the ground water table of the arid area. The scheme constitutes two main canals with an accumulative capacity of one thousand cusecs. Besides fulfilling the irrigation needs Dhana is set to become a superb picnic spot along the road and the lake overshadowing the green hills shall become an ornament in the overall arid scenario prevailing around Wana.

 

inroadfata5.jpgThe author, surrounded by the happy children of Dhana
The successful completion of Gomal Zam Dam prompted the government to take up the Kundiwam Dam project in South Waziristan agency which will generate 83.4 MW Hydel Power, store 1.2 MAF water and irrigate an area of 3,62,380 acres. Feasibility studies are complete and the dam is poised to bring opportunities of improved livelihood.


Lighting Up the Remote Frontier
The people of Waziristan warmly cooperated for the construction of Gomal Zam Dam. To develop local ownership of the project it was promised that 50% of the electricity generated from the dam will be provided to the people of Waziristan but that required laying of a new transmission line and upgradation of Wana Grid Station which was severely damaged during insurgency. Both these projects were accomplished for providing power to these remote areas.


FWO workforce also rebuilt the 11 KV Feeder from Jandola-Sararogha-Jannata-Ladha and 33 KV Feeder from Jandola-Chaghmalai-Barwand.


Impact of FATA Development Projects
• Development process has helped to improve the security conditions in FATA and militancy effect has decreased.
• For the volatile FATA region where security situation is fast improving, as prominent institutions are involved in the development and progress of the region.
• Travel and transport activities have greatly benefited by improved road network.
• 80% of South Waziristan residents believe that development work has positively improved common man’s life and improved economic and business conditions.
• The development projects created long-term employments in transport and communication sectors whereas construction of roads, bridges and dams provided short run employments.
• School enrolment has increased due to better access and transportation.
• FATA people are happy to see development and progress after many years of turmoil.
• In the area that was once under heavy influence of militants a roadside café by the name of Pakistan Hotel symbolizes the relief and gratitude of FATA people for being out of militancy.

Maj (Retd) Husain Abdul Rehman is currently serving at the Frontier Works Organisation as Public Relations Officer.
 
09
February

Written By: Masood Khan

Pakistan as a state should exude confidence. This is a prerequisite for a successful foreign policy. But what does that mean, precisely? Confidence means a state would be self-assured and would have strong belief in its abilities and potential. Its leadership and people will be imbued with the spirit to craft the destiny of the nation against all odds. They will have strong faith in their future. Confidence is never a bluster or delusion; it is based on reality. At the same time, Pakistan should spruce up its self-image and cleanse it of self-inhibiting skepticism. If we do not believe in ourselves, no one else would.


Foreign policy must be viewed and pursued in its entirety. It should never be compartmentalized. An effective foreign policy consolidates the successes a country has had; creates and taps into new opportunities; and aggressively redresses deficits and weaknesses.
To take right decisions at the right time, it is important that we fully understand the global and regional strategic environment and its future trends. This is one part; the other and more important part is to influence the environment for peace, stability and development. The global politico-economic landscape is not static, but constantly evolving; nor can be our foreign policy. Therefore, within the framework of its fundamentals and principles, our foreign policy needs to be responsive to new trend lines. The megatrends in future, for instance, will be rise of many developing countries, poverty alleviation, increase in the middle class, more reliance on asymmetric warfare and diffusion in global power-sharing.

 

howshouldpak.jpgForeign policy draws its strength from internal stability and progress. It cannot operate in a vacuum. Therefore, all state institutions have to contribute more actively to the formulation and implementation of foreign policy.


The minimalist, but most crucial objectives of our foreign policy are peace, national security and economic development. But this is not enough. We should constantly strive to enhance our influence in the region and broader international community. Without this kind of orientation, a country would have difficulty in achieving even its minimum goals.


Within this framework, our most pressing priorities are economic development and strengthening of our defence capability. If we are weak in any of these two areas, we would remain vulnerable.


A conducive regional environment is necessary for achieving these objectives. But even if, despite our best efforts, we do not succeed in creating peaceful conditions we should learn to stay focused on our two core objectives – security and development. This makes our task even more difficult, but not impossible. Many states have flourished in warlike conditions. Economies of China, Turkey and Colombia, for instance, are doing well economically despite security challenges and volatility in their neighbourhoods. Peaceful conditions, of course, would be ideal.


Within this overall context, our foreign policy should focus on the following objectives:
1. Make Pakistan a Hard State: Pakistan's western border is porous and its eastern border is heavily fortified. Internally, Pakistan has been penetrated through the so-called fourth generation warfare. In addition to terrorism, political, ethnic and sectarian violence has mushroomed. We need to secure our western borders and root out all forms of violence. The writ of the state has to be re-established. There should be no ungoverned spaces in Pakistan's territory. The most frequent and horrendous terrorist attacks in the world target Pakistan and Afghanistan. If we are unable to fully eliminate terrorism and violence, we would be perceived as a volatile country in an unstable region. These perceptions have a direct impact on pursuit of our foreign policy and deny us the opportunities for investment and development.


2. Enhance Pakistan's Prestige: Despite all the challenges, Pakistan has done well as a state. We have survived serious and multiple crises. No other nation has shown the kind of resilience Pakistan has. But many analysts abroad choose to characterize Pakistan as a "dystopia". Obviously there is a disconnect with the ground realities in these analyses and we need to correct such distortions. We regained prestige in the international community last year because of the successes of Operation Zarb-e-Azb and growing positive trends in our economy. We need to build on this positive surge. This should not be merely a feel-good or aspirational effort. We do have to develop intellectual and communication competencies to project Pakistan with all its strengths. The development of such skills should not be ensconced only in government departments. Other outlets should be enabled to collaborate with the government to project Pakistan in true light and promote confidence in Pakistan as a viable state. We should not argue that they would present Pakistan in a better light when all the problems have been resolved. We need Pakistan's projection now when the world is looking at it through the thick layers of misperceptions and prejudice. Promotion and propagation of Pakistan's soft power is one tool in this endeavour, but I believe that enhancing Pakistan's prestige should run as a golden thread through all our policy initiatives.


3. Enable Pakistan's Economy to Grow: The past year was relatively good for Pakistan's economy. The key factor in the positive assessments of Pakistan's economic outlook was a higher GDP growth rate and the launch of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). International Monetary Fund (IMF) has said that Pakistan's economy has reached a "pivotal moment". For the past several decades, Pakistan has been on the verge of an economic take off, but never really took off. Today conditions are ripe for Pakistan's take-off and this opportunity should not be squandered. This year, Pakistan should be re-categorized from a "frontier economy" to an "emerging market" because our macroeconomic indicators are becoming stable and the interest of global investors in Pakistan's economy is becoming deeper. Pakistani diplomats, including economic and commercial counsellors, should be given intensive orientation to see Pakistan's ties with other countries through the prism of economics. The mindset has to change from one of expecting to be sought after to the one of seeking and creating opportunities. Economic diplomacy should be undertaken more assertively, vigorously and skilfully.


4. Maintain and Refine Pakistan's Defence Capability: No matter what the pressures are, we should mobilize resources and find ways to modernize our defence capability both in the strategic and conventional realms. In addition to maintaining full spectrum deterrence and improving conventional symmetry vis-à-vis India, the entire state should gain more traction and credibility in the global informational and communications’ sphere to create better understanding of our defence doctrines. Pakistan is a victim of fourth generation warfare but it mostly relies on conventional instruments to combat that threat. For a long time to come, we may have to deal with this and other evolving threats and therefore our capabilities should be tailored to opposing them in an adequate manner.


5. Invest in Regional Cooperation: There is no paucity of regional forums – some are functional, others dysfunctional. Pakistan should devote its maximum energies to these forums as that will be most productive. Closer association with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) will have direct benefits for Pakistan, including its support to the CPEC. Pakistan, as host later this year, should use the platform of the SAARC Summit to showcase Pakistani society's inherent strengths and its quest for regional consensus-building. Pakistan has a special position in D-8 and Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO). These two organizations need to be revitalized. The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) must be buttressed but the key to OIC's activation would be an entente between Saudi Arabia and Iran. ASEAN is yet another forum, with which we should have closer ties.


6. Continue to Engage India: Engagement with India is not going to be easy, despite a new beginning that has been made. Terrorist attacks like the ones in Charsadda and Pathankot would continue to cast a shadow over the talks. One cannot rule out another incident. Unless some major revision of their positions is done by both sides, a breakthrough on Jammu and Kashmir is not likely. The agenda on terrorism is two-sided. India has complaints about the involvement of Pakistani non-state actors in the Mumbai terrorist attack and now in Pathankot; and Pakistan has openly accused India's intelligence agency of fomenting subversion and abetting terrorism in FATA, Balochistan and Karachi. During the talks, it would be difficult to sweep these highly divisive issues under the carpet. One should not expect instant solutions from the India-Pakistan dialogue process, even then it is imperative to have an engagement between the two nuclear-armed states for upholding a ceasefire along the Line of Control and Working Boundary and to avert a major conflagration. From that point of view, an anemic engagement is better than no engagement at all, but this should not be at the expense of national dignity.


7. Support to Afghan Dialogue: Our efforts to revive the peace and reconciliation process have succeeded, but the key actor – Afghan Taliban – is still not fully there at the negotiating table. Afghanistan and the US expect Pakistan to put pressure on Afghan Taliban to cease violence and come to the negotiating table. Pakistan has some clout with them but it is evident that they accept nobody's 'diktat'. Therefore, all would have to find some ways to induce and incentivize Taliban's participation in the dialogue. The use of force on either side would hamper talks. Pakistan, along with other members of the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG), should continue to emphasize the need for pragmatic and flexible approaches. The parties should not try to outsmart each other but explore win-win solutions. Genuine peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan would be a test not just for Pakistan, but also for Afghan and American diplomacy. The US should especially appreciate that the diplomatic challenge in Afghanistan is no less daunting than in Vietnam, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. One needs all the ingenuity to find a solution acceptable to all sides. Under no circumstances should Pakistan allow itself to be painted in a corner for not delivering on peace. Primarily, peacemaking should be perceived as the responsibility of the Afghan Government, the Afghan Taliban, and other political forces and factions in Afghanistan. But 2016 should be the year for Pakistan and Afghanistan to prove naysayers and saboteurs wrong who contend that the two countries will remain pitted against each other. Pakistan should continue to deepen its bilateral institutional, economic and cultural linkages with Afghanistan to develop mutual stakes and to offset differences in other areas. More diplomats, army officers, parliamentarians, scholars, students, media-persons, and professionals should be given placements in training institutions in Pakistan.


8. Take Relations with China to New Heights: This – Pakistan-China relations – is one track that has worked most productively in the past several decades and holds huge promise in future for both countries. While dealing with the difficult bilateral relationships, Pakistan may feel at times that it is dissipating its energies, although peacemaking is a goal worth pursuing in its own right, strengthening ties with China has proved to be most rewarding. The decisions taken during the visit to Pakistan of President Xi Jinping last year have forecast our practical cooperation in the energy, industry, infrastructure and telecommunication sectors for the next fifteen years. The CPEC has bound us inexorably for years to come; and together our two countries would become an economic axis for the multiple regions joined by Pakistan. So it would be our continuous responsibility to reassure China that despite some dissension on CPEC, national consensus would back this mega-project. New heights in the relationship would mean expansion in our strategic and defence ties, energy partnerships, and people-to-people contact. China and Pakistan will have to devise a strategy to counter and expose malicious propaganda against the two countries meant to impair their relations and undermine the CPEC. More networking between media houses of the two countries can help address this issue.


9. Reinforce Ties With the US and Europe: The past year was a good year for Pakistan-US relations. In the Joint Statement issued on October 23, 2016, the two countries resolved to "expand the bilateral relationship in areas outside the traditional security realm", including trade and investment; education, science and technology; energy; and climate change. We need to create or reinforce an interface for fulfilling these commitments. Priority should be attached to getting greater number of students into American universities especially in the fields of science and technology. Of course, we should continue to have dialogue with the US on nuclear issues, with a clear understanding that Pakistan would not accept any limitations on its nuclear programme. The focus should be on nuclear security and Pakistan's entry into the Nuclear Suppliers Group, without any discrimination.


10. Maintain Balanced Approach Towards the Middle East: The Middle East needs diplomacy as never before; and Pakistan's role has been very constructive in this regard. It is not clear where the Middle East would go in 2016 and beyond. All indications are ominous. One positive development has been a rapprochement between Iran and the Western powers but that too has made the region more febrile. The Gulf countries fear that Iran would try to use its additional resources and income to flex its strategic muscles and destabilize states in the region. Iran is buoyant after its new-found freedom from sanctions and this too is galling for the Arab countries whose oil revenues are dwindling fast. In the Middle East, the situation is fluid. Pakistan has to maintain its traditional solidarity with Saudi Arabia; and work on the new avenues that are opening up for our energy, trade and industrial ties with Iran. It is like walking on eggshells but this delicate balancing has to be done. To best way to walk this thin line is to continue to make mediatory efforts with our two friendly countries, even if they do not succeed instantly. This is necessary to prevent a major war in our neighourhood, to protect our interests, and to save our land from strategic competition along sectarian lines.


11. Pursue Vision East Asia: It is not a well known fact that East Asia generally is quite hospitable to Pakistan and we have a basic architecture in place with ASEAN, as well as Japan and the Republic of Korea, but we have not taken our relationship with this region to its optimal level. Potential exists for building or expanding partnerships in trade, agro-based industry, sea food industry, petrochemicals, electronics, value added textiles, leather products, infrastructure development, construction and tourism. Our Vision East Asia needs rejuvenation and more drive to upgrade this effort.


12. Explore Africa: Africa is coming up fast economically. Major emerging nations – China, India and Turkey, for instance – have established their presence in that continent. Pakistan too needs to partner with African countries in extractive industries, construction, civil aviation, banking, exchange of professionals and students, and diplomacy. Pakistan frequently needs support of Africa in the United Nations, where it has the largest voting bloc. Africa and Pakistan both need their markets for trade in commodities and services. And in the new future, East African countries would be readily connected to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).


13. Increase Presence in the Multilateral Fora: In Pakistan, a general perception is that multilateral diplomacy is only about peace and security – Jammu and Kashmir, nuclear issues, peacekeeping, and Afghanistan. Well it is important for Pakistan in these areas; but it is much more than that. Currently, the UN Security Council remains immobilized on crucial issues because of the competing interests of major powers. On the contrary, important decisions are being made in the realms of sustainable development, energy, climate change and disaster risk reduction which have a direct bearing on Pakistan. This kind of decision-making is not limited to the United Nations; international financial institutions, regional forums and international conferences are re-shaping the global landscape. But my own experience of woking with multilateral forums is that Pakistan is a reluctant multilateralist. The general perception is that participation in multilateral forums is 'globe trotting' or 'junkets'. Because of this bias, Pakistan is absent from many international and regional decision-making tables or is inadequately represented. This needs to be changed. While we should continue to capitalize on our strengths in such areas as peacekeeping, where Pakistan enjoys prestige, it should gain space in global economic decision-making


14. Synergize: The current inter-ministerial communication needs to be taken to a higher level so that concerned departments do not operate in silos.


15. Update Your Briefs: Talking to the people in the street and even in government departments one gets the impression that we are still living in the Cold War era. Well, the fact is that we are not. The world has been transformed because of several powerful, sweeping waves of globalization, information revolution and new technologies. This trend would strongly continue into the future. We need to liberate ourselves from the Cold War fault lines and become part of the globalizing world through adopting hardheaded, practical and pragmatic approaches to integrate into the world value chains.


Our foreign and security policies should be multilinear rather than unilinear. Although there has been a media explosion in Pakistan in the past decade, we still lag behind in leveraging our national and international media in putting across our point of view. Similarly, our think tanks need to create an appropriate environment for formation of correct perceptions about Pakistan.


Overall, our performance in the past year in foreign policy has been very good. We are moving in the right direction. What we need is more speed, better precision, and improved synchronization. In the coming year, we can make all these alignments, while keeping in view our long-term goals.

The writer is Director General, Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad and a former Ambassador to the United Nations (in both New York and Geneva) and China.
Talking to the people in the street and even in government departments one gets the impression that we are still living in the Cold War era. Well, the fact is that we are not. The world has been transformed because of several powerful, sweeping waves of globalization, information revolution and new technologies. This trend would strongly continue into the future. We need to liberate ourselves from the Cold War fault lines and become part of the globalizing world through adopting hardheaded, practical and pragmatic approaches to integrate into the world value chains.

*****

Despite all the challenges, Pakistan has done well as a state. We have survived serious and multiple crises. No other nation has shown the kind of resilience Pakistan has. But many analysts abroad choose to characterize Pakistan as a "dystopia". Obviously there is a disconnect with the ground realities in these analyses and we need to correct such distortions. We regained prestige in the international community last year because of the successes of Operation Zarb-e-Azb and growing positive trends in our economy. We need to build on this positive surge. This should not be merely a feel-good or aspirational effort. We do have to develop intellectual and communication competencies to project Pakistan with all its strengths.

*****

Within this framework, our most pressing priorities are economic development and strengthening of our defence capability. If we are weak in any of these two areas, we would remain vulnerable. A conducive regional environment is necessary for achieving these objectives. But even if, despite our best efforts, we do not succeed in creating peaceful conditions we should learn to stay focused on our two core objectives – security and development. This makes our task even more difficult, but not impossible. Many states have flourished in warlike conditions.

*****

No matter what the pressures are, we should mobilize resources and find ways to modernize our defence capablity both in the strategic and conventional realms. In addition to maintaining full spectrum deterrence and improving conventional symmetry vis-à-vis India, the entire state should gain more traction and credibility in the global informational and communications’ sphere to create better understanding of our defence doctrines.

*****

Our foreign and security policies should be multilinear rather than unilinear.

*****

This year, Pakistan should be re-categorized from a "frontier economy" to an "emerging market" because our macroeconomic indicators are becoming stable and the interest of global investors in Pakistan's economy is becoming keener.

*****

One should not expect instant solutions from the India-Pakistan dialogue process, even then it is imperative to have an engagement between the two nuclear-armed states for upholding a ceasefire along the Line of Control and Working Boundary and to avert a major conflagration. From that point of view, an anemic engagement is better than no engagement at all, but this should not be at the expense of national dignity.

*****

Afghanistan and the US expect Pakistan to put pressure on Afghan Taliban to cease violence and come to the negotiating table. Pakistan has some clout with them but it is evident that they accept nobody's 'diktat'. Therefore, all would have to find some ways to induce and incentivize Taliban's participation in the dialogue.

*****

Africa and Pakistan both need their markets for trade in commodities and services. And in the new future, East African countries would be readily connected to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

While we should continue to capitalize on our strengths in such areas as peacekeeping, where Pakistan enjoys prestige, it should gain space in global economic decision-making

In the Middle East, the situation is fluid. Pakistan has to maintain its traditional solidarity with Saudi Arabia; and work on the new avenues that are opening up for our energy, trade and industrial ties with Iran. It is like walking on eggshells but this delicate balancing has to be done. To best way to walk this thin line is to continue to make mediatory efforts with our two friendly countries, even if they do not succeed instantly. This is necessary to prevent a major war in our neighourhood, to protect our interests, and to save our land from strategic competition along sectarian lines.

*****

Our Vision East Asia needs rejuvenation and more drive to upgrade this effort.

*****

 
09
February

Written By: Rasul Bakhsh Rais

There is not one but quite a few ongoing wars in the Middle East at the moment – Iraq, Syria, Yemen are more visible but also Lebanon, Egypt, Libya and somewhat Bahrain. What has caused these wars? Who are the actors and what are their motivations? What Pakistan must fear and how can it ward off the adverse effects of these wars? These are some of the questions I wish to address here. One thing obvious about the causes is that the post-Ottoman state system that the French and British more effectively put in place in early 1920s has in several ways collapsed. The internal dynamics of some of the states underwent a radical transformation with Arab nationalism, revolutionary spirit, reconstruction and Arab revival getting a new steam in the early fifties. The monarchies that the British had established and endowed to the prominent tribal chiefs and families allied in the destruction of the Ottoman Empire crumbled with the military arm of these states modernizing and expanding.

themiddleeast.jpg
Then, the Arab nationalism became reflective of change – revolution – that also meant, ousting of the monarchies in Egypt, Iraq, Syria, and much later in Libya from power. The military regimes with a single party and dominant leader on the top established ‘new’ order. They fuelled public emotions with anti-Western agenda, which included a common front in support of the Palestinian cause. The agenda of change was supposed to focus on cultural, national and regional revival. They had a new dream of creating modern nation-states out of tribal social structures, economic backwardness, illiterate masses and overall very traditional societies.


Better known as ‘radical’ regimes, they started out with great ideas of modernity that included progress, unity and harmony. These were some of the same ideas that the young Turks, nearly half a century before them had used to revive the Ottoman Empire. The Arab reformers wanted to build national states beyond the religious affiliation, sect, creed or ethnicity. They wanted the state to provide a common bonding through citizenship, equal rights and opportunities for all to grow individually and collectively as members of diverse communities.


The post-Ottoman Arab regimes had some of the serious fault lines. They were not drawn according to any principle of ethnicity, sub-national identity or according to any democratic notion of consent. Which social groups became part of which specific kingdom was a decision that the French and the British took together – the division and re-demarcation of the Arab territories and regions of the Ottomans. This also included a promise to create a Jews homeland, a secret and not-so-secret understanding with the world Zionist movement. The Arab reformists used the familiar instrument of nation building through the agency of the state – military, intelligence network, bureaucracy, education and development. One of the major themes of reforms in the Arab world was social and economic equality which popularized the idea of Arab socialism. All the Arab modernists vigorously pursued secular ideas – religion was a private matter, which had nothing to do with the affairs of the state. Some of the regimes, like Egypt under Nasser launched ruthless, violent campaign against the Islamist parties – the Muslim Brotherhood. They all feared opposition from the religious groups more than any other for they were more organized, had alternative ideological vision and could mobilize public support.


Within few decades, the reformist Arab regimes began losing their legitimacy. They failed to deliver on the promises. Humiliating defeat in the 1967 war with Israel exposed the hoax of power and rise and the people in general began to question their credibility. They mostly survived and continue to rule by authoritarian structures – police, intelligence, torture and execution of opponent. Freedom and rights – the two hallmarks of modernity – never touched the land of the reformist regimes. They existed on populism, personality cult, repression and propaganda. Exactly, oppression was the main instrument of control. Unlike the benevolence, closeness and fraternity of the kings, the reformists ruled through fear and clannish politics, which fragmented the societies more than coalescing them into a single nation.


While democracy, pluralism and building participatory institutions in many of the post-colonial world was the preferred route to modernism, the Middle East reformist autocrats embraced authoritarianism, which had many gray shades of fascism. The ‘reformists’ over the decades became a new status quo force and established personalized rule. The transfer of power followed no set constitutional rules but reflected intense, often violent power struggles. Every effort for reforms, openness and tolerance of alternative view of politics and economy was suppressed.


These autocratic regimes (if perceptions are not stronger than reality!) lost every slice of legitimacy, moral ground, and even touch with the reality. Mostly ruled by fear, repression and unconstrained power of the state, of which they built up only the coercive hard power – not the soft power of political connectivity or sensitivity to needs of common man. They ran empty on everything that could connect them with their subjects.


This was also the story of Iran under the Shah, which, unlike many of the radical Arab states, had tremendous American and British influence. On many accounts, Iran had been wronged, humiliated and ruled more in the interest of Shah and his foreign patrons. All that from oil, trade, and arms’ deals, to protect the Shah as one of the two regional gendarmes of the American-sponsored regional security architecture, was done at the expense of Iran, its resources and people. History of Iran in the 20th century is a history of epic struggle of recovering the nation, the state, independence, power and influence. Shah of Iran also pursued visibly some of these dreams but more in the context of his role first, as a monarch, and second as subservient to the interests of the Western powers. The two roles had become intermixed and interconnected.


Let’s save the story of Iran for some other time, but it would suffice to say that revolt against the Shah was nationwide, too broad and deep and too determined to dislodge, no matter what the cost he or his CIA handlers had realized. The resistance to Shah was better organized and had deeper roots in the general masses than the “Arab Spring” thirty-years later. The role of the clergy was central to the Islamic revolution in Iran that, unlike the westernized allies and so-called modernist allies with Shah, were connected with the masses. Therefore, once in power, they represented the popular sentiments deep in the masses more than the affluent urban middle class.


In one remarkable way the Islamic Iran pursues some of the old dreams of power, regional influence, distinctive civilizational character and very separate identity within the Islamic world. Let us not forget, Iran is Islamic but not Arab, and it takes lot of historical pride in its history – arts, sciences, heritage, literature and language. As a nation, it has a big unified core, bigger than other nation in the Middle East. The simple fact is that it wants to pursue power – as evidently as any other nation state would do with the credential and resources it has.


Compared to Arab states – now most of them aligned with Saudi Arabia – Iran does not have much of the material resources, like material wealth, great economy or even the economic progress that the Saudi Arabia and Sheikhdoms on the opposite side of the Gulf have achieved. Under the new regime it is believed to have pursued a conscious and willful policy of mobilizing, strengthening and even using the sectarian divide in the Muslim countries to advance its national interests. Harmful as it is for many of the states, including Pakistan in terms of promoting sectarian conflict, it has been an effective tool of foreign policy in many of the Arab states that were weak internally or facing tremendous legitimacy crises. The built up of Hezbollah in Lebanon, Houthie rebels in Yemen, and sending its Al Qudus forces into Iraq and Syria to fight against the enemies of the regime there indicate a clear bent of the policy. The Shia militia that have wider regional components and have been drawn from many Muslim states within the region are now a new security reality in Syria and Iraq. Iran, it is alleged, has supported elements within Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to destabilize them – for better bargain for the Shia populations.


It seems there are two centres of Islam emerging in the Middle East – Iran and Saudi Arabia. This has the potential to divide the Islamic world into two rival religious communities. For decades, both of them have been reportedly funding rival religious networks that have often spilled over into political-sectarian violence. Pakistan is one of those countries that have been the battleground of this sectarian strife. Today, it covers the entire Middle East. It is sad, but very true in my judgment, hoping that future developments will prove me wrong.


There is a well-known but less-spoken talk about clashing objective of the two rivals, which is to control the Arab heartland – precisely Iraq and Syria through regimes that would closely align and work with Riyadh or Tehran. At the moment, they have thrown everything they have into the battles. Whosoever wins the control of the Arab heartland will control the future security of the wider Middle East from Afghanistan to Lebanon. For that reason, we witness emergence of rival alliances among states and non-state actors.


The third and fourth competitors for the Arab heartland are Daesh and Turkey, the latter more concerned about protecting itself from the fallout of political fragmentation of the neighbouring states than by any idea of re-establishing Ottoman-type influence. For Turkey the world has drastically changed for that to attempt. However, Daesh with its loose inspirational fragments emerging overnight here and there may remain a constant destabilizing force and even a big security risk until it is decisively defeated.


What we are witnessing is a first modern great religious (read sectarian) clash among the Muslim states. This has the potential to expand as a long drawn bloody war. Most probably it will end indecisively without any clear winner, but before any realization among the hawks on both sides of the power-divide in the Middle East takes place, lot of damage might be done to security and stability of the region. We may find the states of the region in worse shape than we found them at the time of independence.


Pakistan is in much better shape institutionally and in terms of the structure of the state. The size of the population, the diversity of economy and constitutional democracy provide us a lot of strength. But over time, we have grown weaker, more vulnerable and somewhat divided on some of the core national issues. Our resilience and national vigour not by itself protect us from the raging fires of wars in the Middle East. We need to devise a neutral strategy – not to be aligned with either of the two, while making diplomatic efforts to broker peace between them. At home, we need to strengthen law and institutional capacity to act strongly against any section, group or party that works outside the policy of the state.

 

The writer is an eminent defence/political analyst who regularly contributes for print and electronic media. Presently he is on the faculty of LUMS. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Pakistan is in much better shape institutionally and in terms of the structure of the state. The size of the population, the diversity of economy and constitutional democracy provide us a lot of strength. But over time, we have grown weaker, more vulnerable and somewhat divided on some of the core national issues. Our resilience and national vigour not by itself protect us from the raging fires of wars in the Middle East. We need to devise a neutral strategy – not to be aligned with either of the two, while making diplomatic efforts to broker peace between them. At home, we need to strengthen law and institutional capacity to act strongly against any section, group or party that works outside the policy of the state.

*****

 

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