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

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

Written By: Omair Alavi

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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Written By: Muhammad Tauseeef Ansari

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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Written By: Husain Qazi

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Long live Pakistan-China friendship!


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

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Pakistan Navy Ships Escort Chinese Merchant Vessels

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


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


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


Opening Ceremony of Zhuhai Air Show

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

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

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


49th CISM World Military Sailing Championship 2016

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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


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

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

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



Written By: Feryal Ali Gauhar

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Written By: Dr. Shahnaz Khan

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


The writer is a regular contributer in national print media.

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Written By: Huma Kirmani

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


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Written By: Dr. Niaz Murtaza

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Written By: Nadeem F. Paracha

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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Written By: Dr. Zafar Nawaz Jaspal

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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Written By: Shamshad Ahmed

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


The writer is a former foreign secretary.

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Written By: Will Hatton

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

Iarrived in Pakistan totally unsure of what to expect.

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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


The writer is an adventurer and freelance journalist.

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

He blogs at www.thebrokebackpacker.com


Written By: Tariq Burki

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


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

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


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

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


Events of 1971 War

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

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

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

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

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

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

November 19, 1971:
Curfew imposed in Satkhira.

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

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

November 26, 1971:
Killed one Mukti through sniping.

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

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

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


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


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


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

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


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


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


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

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


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


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


Escape Attempt from POW Camp India:

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


Special Report By: Saim Siddiqui

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


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


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

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

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


Written By: Prof. Sharif al Mujahid

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Written By: Farrukh Khan Pitafi

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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Written By: Ahmer Bilal Soofi

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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Written By: Taj M. Khattak

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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